June 25th, 2013 – Travel to any major city and it’s likely you’ll find a modern art museum, a natural history museum, or maybe even a children’s museum of sorts. Although these museums are visually educating and incredibly useful, boutique-style museums are popping up around the globe, sharing a more intimate, and sometimes local story. On the outskirts of a small German town called Schoningen, Holzer Kobler Architekturen have built the new Paläon Research and Experience Center, which focuses on the town’s oldest hunting weapon – Schöninger spears.
The location of the museum is built on a significant archaeological site, a plot of farm land where archeologists’ excavated a series of 300,000 year old Schöninger spears roughly 20 years ago, the oldest complete hunting weapons ever.
The discovery of multiple, completely preserved wooden artifacts from the Paleolithic Period were surrounded by an old hunting campsite where more than 10,000 bones of wild horses, seven wooden spears, spear fragments, and a boomerang were found.
Founding architects Barbara Holzer and Tristan Kobler designed the outer skin of the new structure to act as a giant mirror that reflects the surrounding landscape and thus becomes one with the surroundings. Ultimately, the precisely crafted volume is covered with a reflective surface that becomes a mirror of the landscape.
Tinted windows are carved out of the building in sharp cuts that sprawl across the mirror surface, which allows natural light to filter into the exhibition in an interesting way. Inside, white angular walls become a fascinating architectural backdrop for the rich history of Schoningen.
The futuristic form of the building takes shape as the mirros are diagonally planked across the buildings surface.
This post is curated by KNSTRCT in partnership with Jaguar. Experience F-TYPE.
June 12th, 2013 – Ever wish you could add a little more greenery and light to your life? Nope, that dead, neglected orchid in the corner of your cubicle doesn’t count, nor the flickering fluorescent excuse for a light. We’re talking about stripping down the walls and welcoming the sun with open arms (and SPF 75). We’re talking about ‘living’ greenhouses – a growing design trend.
‘Living’ greenhouses are re-defining the function of the classic greenhouse by utilizing the traditional plant conservatory as homes, offices, and restaurants. The architects behind these brilliantly simple structures have been transparent in their designs. Literally. They’re providing a fresh perspective by breaking down conventional walls and erecting translucent spaces that flood living and working zones with warmth and sunlight.
Besides looking super cool and making your sad, stucco-clad neighbors obscenely jealous, these ethereal structures serve as veritable hot beds for inspiration and fresh ideas. You could say they’re fertile grounds for growth – personal or otherwise. Opaque wall treatments add privacy and sun protection, and proper ventilation systems can control heating and cooling. Not to mention, plants offer positive psychological effects and indoor air purification, removing CO2, which is correlated with lower work performance. One thing’s for sure, when it comes to living greenhouses, the only thing that’ll be in a vegetative state are the Ficus plants. We give them two green thumbs up.
Casa Mediterráneo has teamed up with Manuel Ocaña Arquitecto to breathe new life into an old railway station in Benalúa, Alicante. The archaic exoskeleton of the former station remains, while new life springs forth under the Klein-blue translucent roof.
Sunlight reverberates off an aluminum lattice, casting a sea of blue shadows onto a range of event spaces, built to host exhibitions, concerts, shows or parties – all supporting Casa Mediterráneo’s pillar of fostering public diplomacy. Photography captured by David Frutos.
To combat short hours of sunlight in the winter, Tato Architects erected the top floor of their residential project inside sheds that sit atop the roof. Designed for a small family in a residential neighborhood in Japan, the project utilized translucent polycarbonate walls to allow for maximum sunlight, a stable indoor climate and ample ventilation for the lower floor.
Brilliantly simple in design, the sunroom collects heat in winter, and exhausts heat in summer via the breeze from five motor-operated windows.
Sitting atop Copenhagen’s rectangular urban landscape like a bubble perfectly poised to pop, The Dome of Visions’ delicately erected skeleton and glass-like façade almost create gravity-defying floating effect. Designed by Danish architects Kristoffer Tejlgaard and Benny Jepsen, The Dome encourages vibrant life in a space clouded by construction cranes and freight containers. Upon entering, guests’ senses are greeted with the warmth of a summer afternoon, the wafting scent of rosemary and the spectacular sight of a 100-year old olive tree.
An angular steel and glass framework comprise the beautifully transparent House Café located in the Kanyon Shopping Mall in Istanbul. The brainchild of Turkish design firm Autoban, the cafe is an adaptation of the mall’s original architecture, revamped with a walnut platform that adds warmth to the space and elevates it to a whole new playing field.
Founded on the structure of a carbon molecule, the dome allows for substantial strength and stability, while the construction optimizes resources, using minimal building materials and boasting reduced energy consumption for heating due to minimal surface area and the aerodynamic form.
The epitome of waterfront property, the Garden Shed by architect Ville Hara and designer Linda Bergroth of Hel Yes! features a unique prefabricated garden shed on a remote Finnish island. Customizing their prototype with a wooden floor, solar panels, steps made from reclaimed brick, safety glass and automatic openers to control the temperature inside, the pre-made greenhouse can be bought in four different variations and is built upon modular parts that can be assembled by simply using an everyday screwdriver.
Mirroring spindly scaffolding, House NA utilizes an open floor plan with minimal walls, ever-ascending levels, and a bright, airy aesthetic. Designed by Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto, the Tokyo house is divided into three main stories, then subdivided further into staggered platforms. The open interior is comprised of 21 individual floor plates situated at various heights, allowing residents to move freely and unobstructed from one sun-drenched space to another.
June 3rd, 2013 - The codfish – “bacalhau” – has always been deeply knitted into Portuguese cuisine. Legend has it that there are at least 1000 thousand ways to cook it, making this fish a local foodie favorite. Architects Nuno Mateus and José Mateus, co-founders of Portugual-based architecture firm ARX, designed the Ílhavo Maritime Museum in the city of Ílhavo back in 2002, the finalized project was even deserving of nominated for the Mies van der Rohe Award in 2003.
Now, the museum is one of the most visited museums in the region of Centro de Portugal, telling a story of high sea fishing in the Newfoundland and in Greenland, as well as in the “ria” of Aveiro. The Mateus brothers have recently revisited their celebrated museum to design a new codfish aquarium.
The codfish aquarium connects two other buildings and is a complex built ensemble. At the heart of the building museum visitors will find the fish and the sea. The visitor’s path is a spiraling ramp, a journey that begins in suspension over the tank, to turn into a diving mode of gradual discovery, an experience of immersion in the cod habitat. The informal auditorium, with extensive visibility into the aquarium, marks a pause in the visit for contemplation and information about the life of this species.
The architects use their expertise in creating contrast and movement throughout the space as architectural elements such as ramped hallways, stairs, and exhibition features visually fold into one another, allowing the visitors to learn about the history of codfish fishing in a fantastic way.
The aquarium features a Sea Room that presents an interesting collection of nautical instruments and miniatures of ancient boats. The new extension will be the first in the country, and the ideal place to observe this interesting species with a closer look. The Codfish Aquarium is a must-see spot of the city of Ílhavo, which intensely promotes the preservation of sea traditions.
May 16th 2013 - São Paulo’s Fazenda Boa Vista development is a massive 1,800 acre residential and hospitality complex rolling with perfectly trimmed hills, deep blue lakes, and untouched landscapes. The property features an array of amenities such a clubhouses, an equestrian center, golf course, tennis courts, five star hotel, and a spa. Also within the complex is a collective of newly built residences designed by Brazil’s architectural headliners, Isay Weinfeld, Arthur Casas, and Paulo Jacobsen and Bernardo Jacobsen of Jacobsen Arquitetura.
Jacobsen’s new MDT house is in the well designed company of Fazenda Boa Vista’s newly built residences. The home is sectioned into three rectangular volumes that are juxtaposed together to create three full patios, a gourmet kitchen, home theater, large entertaining areas, a kids room, library, and a swimming pool.
The outside of the MDT home is outfitted with a stone wall covered in vertical wood panels ranging in hues of brown, orange, and yellow. The stone and wood wall constitutes most of the exterior walls, except for the areas that overlook the pool and courtyard. Here, the bedroom suites fit straight into one of the rectangular volume, each bedroom has a glass wall so guests have a view of the swimming pool through the wood panels.
One feature not to be missed is the large wood covered patio that overlooks the pool. On the patio, modern furniture pieces create unique conversation areas, and the gourmet kitchen is only steps away to feed the need for serving and entertaining.
The architects took a topographical approach to develop to sculpt the land of the MDT House. Variations in floor and ceiling create different ceiling heights and different relationships with the garden, sometimes enabling direct access to the gardens and pool.
Photography by Leonardo Finotti
May 14th, 2013 – Nestled among the forested hills of the Serra dos Órgãos is Petrópolis, also known as The Imperial City of Brazil. Petrópolis is a popular summer holiday spot amongst the locals of Rio de Janeiro, a perfect place for the clients of Jacobsen Arquitetura to build a new holiday home to have a place to spend their weekends and holidays with family and friends. Because the couple planned on filling the house with frequent visitors, it was necessary for Paulo Jacobsen and Bernardo Jacobsen, founding architects of Jacobsen Arquitetura, create a program cautiously thought to create the perfect wellness and relaxation center.
Perhaps the title of JN House is a bit too modest of a mantra. Many might refer to this build more of an estate than a “home”, as the property features a main house, spa, swimming pool, pond, dog’s room, tennis court, leisure pavilion, hydro massage room, gym, small warehouse, garage, office, home theater – to name a few.
The architects took a topographical approach to develop to sculpt the land of what was to become the JN House. One concept behind the structure was to integrate architecture with nature, the elements that create the house were often hidden in the natural unevenness of the site, so there is mimicking with the land.
Consequently, the construction was distributed through the land, being basically a single story house characterized by different independent blocks. Concrete structures and garden slabs bind into the topography and others subtly stand out through a mesh of wood in the landscape, created through a succession of structural frames.
The access to the house is through a paved pathway leading to a suspended volume. This creates a front porch with a stunning view of the rocky mountains in the background. From a central core of the main house, you will find implanted on the land the SPA located by the pool, the children’s house, leisure pavilion with a tennis court and further away from the house the maids’ quarters.
The main house has a linear floor plan. On the ground floor of this construction are the living and dining rooms, lavatory, pantry, four guest suites and a deck. The deck faces the pool and spa. The guest suites have bladed louvered panels closing. In the inferior part of the house is the garage, office, lavatory, service area and a home theater.
The garden slabs form a ceiling for some blocks of the house, so indoor comfort is maintained for visitors. The fireplace and interior gardens help regulate the temperature. The existence of large glass panels and skylights lets in natural light.
The house generates different atmospheres depending on the brightness. By day the porticos create a game of exciting lights and shadow and at night the lights make the room cozy.
May 8th 2013 – Architect Mário Martins, founder of Mário Martins Atelier, has been molding the contemporary structures of western Algrave, Portugal for the past 20 years. Martins latest addition to the Algrave’s rolling landscape is the Villa Escarpa, a rectangular white structure suspended from the hillside that was inspired by the Bauhaus movement. The Bauhaus philosophy was founded on the principal that form should follow function, while all other distractions and decoration should be avoided. Martins relates to this philosophy and wanted the space to be understood for its purity.
The pairing of architect and client could not have been more perfect for the Villa Escarpa. In this case, the client and the Martins shared very similar definitions of “modern” and “statement living”, which gave the architect a clear direction for the design of the home.Martins believes that modern design can be achieved through several overriding principles – clean, straight lines, simple uncluttered spaces and a mix of natural and industrial materials.
The Villa Escarpa hangs from the hilltop, overlooking the crashing waves that smash against the cliffs that line the pretty village of Praia da Luz. The luxurious villa constitutes pure white lines, open floor plans and easy indoor-outdoor flow, combined with an abundance of glass for the owners to admire the oceanfront vistas.
The site of the villa has been landscaped with olive, fig, and almond trees, which were planted to preserve the natural surroundings of the National Ecological Reserve within which the property sits.
As an architectural showpiece, Martins cleverly designed the villa to maximize light and space. The stunning house offers five bedrooms, living areas, stylish kitchen with top appliances, private screening room, games area and a 4-car garage. The main spaces were constructed with glass walls that fully open up to the outside world.
The bottom level of the two-story rectangular home is severed down the center with a rectangular pool. Martins situated the pool in a high traffic location, a logical choice when it comes to the path of the sun, but also a place where the home owners would be hosting parties and entertaining guests.
Martins incorporated the small body of water into the layout of the home by including a series of steps that cross over the pool. Here, party guests would be able to grab a few bites in the open kitchen, then walk across the pool, and onto the terrace to admire the views.
Inside, Martins idea of “modern” is further expressed with a cool and neutral color palate that reflects the pristine atmosphere contrasted sometimes with edgy, unique and bold design accents. Unique and minimalistic furniture pieces are scattered throughout the villa with abstract canvased artwork as a backdrop.
Style, elegance and practicality are embedded into the design, combining crisp architecture, luxurious appointments and functionality that make the Villa Escarpa
Strikingly sleek, this ultra-modern villa redefines the expectations of Algarve real estate by being family-friendly yet über-stylish. Inspired by the streamlined Bauhaus aesthetics, the luxurious villa enjoys pure white lines, open floor plans and easy indoor-outdoor flow, combined with an abundance of glass.
Photography By Fernando Guerra
April 6th, 2013 – Perhaps it’s not just Isay Weinfeld’s love for structures that renders him one of Brazil’s top architects. Weinfeld, a self proclaimed ‘sponge’, regularly extends his curiosity beyond design to the subjects of philosophy, astronomy, politics, music, cinema, and literature. The architect even organizes regular lectures for his office, discussing topics ranging from Existentialism to media. “Knowledge for him is a shared experience, not a solitary pursuit,” New York-based architectural designer and journalist Raul Barreneche explains as he treats archi-nerds everywhere to a wonderful written and visual exploration into Weinfeld and his prolific body of work in the new book, Isay Weinfeld.
Last week Weinfeld’s team sent us a copy of the book to experience the collective first hand. The book is an examination of seventeen pieces of work by Weinfeld, described with texts and pictures with more than two hundred beautiful photographs. Weinfled’s previous 2008 book was a guide through the architects residential builds. This new issue is dedicated to the architect’s commercial works, such as São Paulo’s upscale Disco nightclub, Galeria Luisa Strina, Clube Chocolate, Hotel Fasano, and Fadenza Boa Vista. For each project, Barreneche documents personal insights from Weinfeld, along with his architectural drawings.
The book opens with a look into Disco, an upscale nightclub in São Paulo that Weinfeld worked on for six years. At Disco, Isay was able to “strike a balance between natural, and seductive black spaces that let music and dancing take center stage with carefully choreographed moments of color,” Barreneche explained. Upon entering the club, visitors are immediately submerged in a long tunnel outfitted in small rectangular mosaic tiles. It is here, that photographer Paulo Pampolin captured Weinfeld proudly standing amongst of his creation, as seen above.
Over 200 large photographs illustrate the volume taken by world renowned snappers like Leonardo Finotti and Nelson Kon, but this dreamy photograph of the Equestrian Center Clubhouse at the Fazenda Boa Vista was taken by Fernando Guerra of FG+SG Architectural Photography. The Equestrian Center Clubhouse evolved on the tail end of Weinfeld’s build up of the massive 1,800 acre residential and hospitality complex in Porto Feliz.
Another night club absorbing pages in the book is São Paulo’s Bar Numero. “Weinfeld is always orchestrating how visitors will move through the space,” Barreneche explains. “After crossing the steel walkway, one steps into a vestibule with walls and ceilings clad entirely in bronze mirror. From here, the entrance leads to a low-ceiling bar area – and then the drama unfolds as one gazes down the length of the 112,53 feet-long interior, which ends in a towering glass window. Beyond is an illuminated thick garden with palm trees, orchids, heliconia, and jasmine.”
Barrenche also outlines the story behind the Fasano Las Piedras – Fasano Group’s first hotel outside of Brazil, in Punta Del Este, Uruguay. Barreneche noted that Weinfeld’s first visit to the vast, open land marked the integral preservation of the original hacienda of the property’s former owner. Weinfeld saw to it that the historic hacienda was organically woven into the design of the new hotel, where bungalows, pools, and pavilions are now scattered throughout the cactus-covered land.
The steeply-angled sides of The White Chapel pay homage to an architectural style that has been present through history. The A-frame structure is sharp, dramatic, and sculptural – and with the open rafters, Cheng was able to create a repetitive layering effect that hides all of the bulky technical equipment.
The architect used white in the chapel to create a contrast from the stunning aquatic surroundings. A still, shallow pool of water surrounds the chapel, reflecting its image perfectly at night.
Inside, the pews (chairs) are arranged in a traditional manner – cut down the middle facing front. On the stage, a long transparent Lucite table along with angular Lucite chairs leave the architecture uninterrupted.
Cheng played with the idea of reflections throughout the space by introducing high gloss white floors that mirror the dynamic interior architecture. While outside, the pond creates a dramatic reflection of the exterior shape of the chapel.
Photography By Danny Cheng Interiors
April 25th, 2013 – We’ve been keeping a close eye on Singaore’s PARKROYAL on Pickering ever since WOHA Architects released their architectural renderings of a lush four-story hotel full of tall sky-gardens, reflecting pools, waterfalls, planter terraces and cascading vertical greenery, a few years back. The initial renderings of the hotel looked like a botanical wonder-world, leaving us curious to know if WOHA’s principals Wong Mun Summ and Richard Hassell could vividly translate their rendering art into reality.
The recent unveiling of the property is proof enough that creatives at WOHA, whom have have long been advocates of the ultimate ‘green city’, were able to execute the creation of the garden hotel, that actually doubled the green-growing potential of its site. At the PARKROYAL greenery flourishes throughout the entire complex, and the trees and gardens of the hotel appears to merge with those of the adjoining park as one continuous sweep of urban parkland. Massive curvaceous sky-gardens, draped with tropical plants and supporting swathes of frangipani and palm trees, are cantilevered at every fourth level between the blocks of guest rooms.
The hotel breaks new ground by introducing the state’s first solar-powered sky-gardens. Amongst its other energy conservation features are the use of automatic light, rain and motion sensors, rain harvesting and NEWater (recycled water). Nature-inspired materials and textures such as light and dark wood, pebbles, water, and glass are used throughout the design of the hotel. The 367 elegantly furnished guestrooms and suites offer spectacular views of the city and the hotel’s sky-gardens. A soothing color palette of calm greens and natural wood, accented with abundant light, provides a relaxed and tranquil atmosphere for the guests throughout their stay
Set outdoors amidst landscaping and waterfalls, the fifth floor is a dedicated wellness space which incorporates fitness and recreational facilities including an infinity pool overlooking the city, jacuzzi, fitness center, outdoor terrace and a 300-metre garden walk. Colorful birdcage-shaped cabanas are positioned around the pool area, providing comfortable chill-out spaces. The award-winning St. Gregory spa, which will be launched in March, offers signature therapies and a wide range of luxurious body and beauty treatments.
One of the PARKROYAL’s feature establishments is the Orchid Club Lounge, located at the top level of the hotel, commands 360-degree views of the city skyline. Equipped with private meeting spaces and dedicated Club Concierge service, guests staying on the handsomely furnished Club floors will also enjoy a host of privileges such as champagne breakfast, evening cocktails and canapés, all-day refreshments as well as priority check-in and check-out service.
For its innovative and sustainable design, PARKROYAL on Pickering has been awarded the BCA (Building and Construction Authority) Green Mark Platinum, the highest rating for green buildings in Singapore. It is also the recipient of the Solar Pioneer Award as one of the first in the country’s hospitality sector to use a solar energy system.
WOHA’s desire to restore a feeling of community to Asian cities is crucial to their architecture, and reciprocity is intrinsic to their vision of the city at large and to their projects in particular. The PARKROYAL on Pickering is a very public and very Singaporean hotel. The scale of the architecture responds to the intricacies of the city: the height of the ubiquitous tree canopies, the size and orientation of the adjoining tower blocks, and the proportions of the historic streetscapes.
The over-riding concept was that of a building-as-garden for an idealised green city. As WOHA say… “We wanted to recreate an urban street scale, so that people walking and driving could pick up interesting details. And we wanted to work with the building’s mass and appearance, so we could avoid the usual city scale of building-as-silhouette, and so we could implement a garden-themed aesthetic.”
Photography By Patrick Bingham-Hall
April 15th, 2013 – It looks like the kids finally got their way – someone transformed their kindergarten school into a ring-shaped bouncy castle. Architect Keiichiro Sako, founder of Beijing-based Sako Architects, is the person responsible for creating LOOP, a 45,000 square foot, color coordinated kindergarten school in Tianjin.
Located in the fourth largest city in China, Tianjin is home to over 300 Fortune 500 companies. As business brings more international families into Tianjin, bilingual schools are at a high demand. LOOP is a chance for parents to completely immerse their children into a world of imaginative, interactive, and colorful learning methods in both Chinese and English.
To create the unorthodox establishment, Sako, along with his team of architects, Yoko FUJII, Shuhei AOYAMA, and Junya KAZUNO went to work on dreaming up a place that has an element of freedom, somewhere where the children can experience joy while learning.
The exterior shell of the white building is covered in rows of large airplane style windows, where the window sills are painted one of 7 different colors that represent a specific location. The bright selection of colors help the kids get around, it’s much easier to get to the nurses office if you know to look out for the color red on the walls, floors and handrails of the balconies.
The kindergarten is formed by curves, as the entire structure rounds into a loop. Children enter the school on wooden stairs that climb to the second floor, under the large blue arch of the building.
Here, the kids are greeted with an outdoor courtyard (entering school at the playground? Sign us up!) with all of the classrooms facing towards it. This is is a wonderful space for children to play and enjoy the fresh air. With security in mind, Sako made sure that the layout provided that the whole courtyard would be in visible range for most adults.
On the 3rd floor children can access to a balcony that leads to a roof top garden. Turf grass covers the roof top and is divided by large colorful walls, allowing for teachers to keep their students in proper sections.
Under the outdoor courtyard there is an indoor courtyard for multi-purpose uses. This space has 3 rounded atrium’s connecting to the outdoor space on upper level for better natural lighting and for creating a indoor playing space for children in bad weather conditions.
The ceiling on each floor is in 18 different colors, with white louver boards under the ceiling. The color changing can been seen through the gaps between the louver boards when walking in the corridor. Also there are 18 different color columns in the courtyard, the children can use these colors to identify the location.
Photography By Sako Architects
April 4th, 2013 – About an hour south of the bustling Melbourne streets is the pristine shoreline of Torquay, a small surfing town know for their appreciation of the arts. Home to the Australian Surfing Industry, the town attracts a fleet of laid back do-gooders (it’s common for the locals act voluntarily as custodians) who have an eye for creative, yet authentic architecture and design. It’s here that local Architect Tony Hobba of Tony Hobba Architects created a seaside shack called Third Wave Kiosk for surfers to grab a morning coffee before they hit the water.
The kiosk gets its mantra from the Third Wave of Coffee, which refers to a current movement to produce high-quality coffee, and consider coffee as an artisanal foodstuff, like wine, rather than a commodity, like wheat.
The coffee shop was constructed on a tight budget. To work within the monetary constraints, Hobba proposed the use of recycled sheet piles, often used as formwork for seawalls, in which he create a sculptural envelope around a standard concrete block building.
These particular sheet piles were originally used during the 2010 floods in Victoria as temporary formwork for sandbanking overflowing rivers. Bonus points for up-cycling. The sheeting wraps around the structure, created a wave like effect that adds interest and architectural relevance to the location.
Because the Kiosk is royally situated on top the cliff, Hobba created an outdoor bar where patrons can grub on their meal while enjoying the stellar view ocean view. The wavy kiosk has now become a staple landmark for the town, and its visibility has made it a meeting point for walkers, surf schools and the nearby camp site.
Photography Courtesy of Rory Gardiner
March 27th, 2013 - The Melbourne-based creatives at Lyons Architects are adding some serious life into the local architecture scene. The architects, whom recently completed the lively Student Portals At RMIT in Swanston have turned their attention to a near $100 million dollar molecular science complex for Lims La Trobe University, officially titled the LIMS Complex. Prof John Dewar, vice-chancellor at La Trobe University says “La Trobe is one of Australia’s top research universities in the fields of cell biology and biochemistry, and the labs and facilities our researchers can access at LIMS will help bolster our lead in these important disciplines.”
The six-level state of the art teaching and research building has some stand out architectural characteristics. Lyons created an undulating honeycomb-like facade on the rectangular building, where colorful angular components frame the windows. Towards the center of the building three of these components are outfitted with wood, and shoot out from the building to create an eye-catching effect. Lyons welcomed massive structural columns into the design by covering them with bright colors, then angling the columns to create huge X’s throughout the building, reminiscent of a jungle gym. Inside, researchers are able to conduct work in spaces full of a medley of vibrant colors, with an overflowing amount of natural light that filters in from the over-sized custom windows – making those long hours in the lab more do-able.
Photography by Dianna Snape
March 26th, 2013 – If Klingon’s decided to go into the wine business, this futuristic camouflaged winery might suit their style. After six centuries in business, the Antinori family, owners of the Marchesi Antinori Winery, are re-branding their company’s entire estate with a completely refreshed graphic identity and a new state of the art facility hidden in the Chianti hilltops. The Florence-based creatives at Archea Associati are responsible for the contemporary transformation of the six generation company that is run by Marquis Piero Antinori with the support of his three daughters, Albiera, Allegra, and Alessia.
Archea’s Founding architects Laura Andreini, Marco Casamonti, Giovanni Polazzi, and Silvia Fabi worked closely with Antinori for what would be the most pivotal shift for the historic winery to date. The new facility is located in the Village Bargino (San Casciano Val di Pesa) at the foot of the hill along the Firenze-Siena. Amazingly, the 530,000 square foot building is hardly noticeable, the overall visual effect is minimal thanks to the inclusion of the work in the hillside through two ‘cuts’ that follow angular contour lines.
The new build consists of seven separate buildings, of varying sizes and heights, along with a road that connects the building itself with the main access road and a seperate road that connects the floor at first level with the floor at the second level – from an aerial perspective, the entire facility is hidden.
Antinori is a well cultured owner who has made it possible for Archea to pursue, through architecture, the enhancement of the landscape and the surroundings as expression of the cultural and social valence of the place where wine is produced. The physical and intellectual construction of the winery pivots on the profound and deep-rooted ties with the land, a relationship which is so intense and suffered (also in terms of economic investment) as to make the architectural image conceal itself and blend into it.
The façade extends horizontally along the natural slope, paced by the rows of vines which, along with the earth, form its “roof cover”. The openings or cuts discreetly reveal the underground interior: the office areas and bottle storage areas are situated on the top level and the areas where the wine is produced are arranged along the lower.
To cater to the produce at hand, ideal thermo-hygrometric conditions for the slow maturing of the the wine require the barrels to sit in darkness in the terracotta vaults. The architecture is required to work seamlessly with the production process of the grapes, which descend (as if by gravity) from the point of arrival, to the fermentation tanks to the underground barrel vault.
The offices, the administrative areas and executive offices, located on the upper level, are paced by a sequence of internal court illuminated by circular holes scattered across the vineyard-roof. This system also serves to provide light for the guesthouse and the caretaker’s dwelling.
The choice of materials and technologies evoke the feeling of local tradition and simplicity. Terracotta, for example was used throughout the space because it is a natural Italian resource that will work with the surrounding earth to cool and insulate the winery, creating the ideal climatic conditions for the production of wine.
The transformation of the Antinori Winery doesn’t stop with the architecture, Archea created an entirely new graphic identity to match the upgraded structure. Archea designed a system of symbols and icons that are now recognized on site and are commonly used for way finding. These icons are scattered around the facility and lead visitors and winery workers to areas such as food, restrooms, offices, and the shop. The icons create a harmonious dialogue with the spaces, colors, and materials, which becomes functional for the winery visitors.
The design team created an abstract version of the roof side of the facility as the new Antinori Winery logo, which is branded on the bottle, packaging, and signage.
Photography by Leonardo Finotti
March 11th, 2013 – On a hillside rising high above a lagoon that flows into the Atlantic Ocean, the House in Rainha takes claim to two rectangular volumes constructed of concrete and glass. Brussels based architecture firm AABE designed the residence, which functions as the holiday home for a family who enjoys escaping the city for relaxing weekend getaways. Theoretically, the two level home is separated into two sections; the ‘day level’ is constructed of glass and embraces 360 degree views, and the ‘night level’, is built of concrete, houses the sleeping quarters, and allows for more privacy.
The two level home begins with an entirely concrete structure secured into the hillside. Vehap Shehi, project manager of the build explained that here, on the night level, “the family room is placed in the center of the floor. This family room “distributes” all the bedrooms, which are open directly to the garden.” Because the entire first floor is covered in concrete, getting the right shade was integral. Shehi noted that various concrete colors and tones were tested directly on the site to ensure that the color properly suited the environment.
On top of the concrete structure sits a smaller rectangular glass volume. This space houses the living room, dining room, kitchen, and a fireplace, which looks out onto an infinity pool. The pool descends into the rooftop of the concrete structure below, At night, the mirror formed by the water of the pool reflects an array of twinkling stars for the owners to admire.
Photography by FG + SG, Fernando Guerra – Sergio Guerra
March 4th, 2013 – Singapore-based Guz Architects are well known for creating bona fide tropical fortresses’ throughout southeast Asia. The firms latest project comes in the form of Coco Privé, a secluded resort on the Kuda Hithi Island in the Maldives. On the island, Guz Wilkinson, founder and principal architect at Guz Architects, designed on master residence, the Palm Residence, and five other private villas. The architecture reflects the natural charms of its surroundings, an elegant blend of modern and natural materials, where craft and attention to detail combine to achieve a spacious, elegant and intimate haven.
As soon as guests get off the boat they are greeted by a long wood dock that is decorated with oil lanterns, large vases, and crisp white furniture. The dock leads guests straight down a jungle path into a modern oasis that is the lobby. Just like it’s waters, it’s crystal clear that this destination is designed for the discerning few, where privacy and exclusivity extend far beyond the expectations of the ordinary. The Palm residence has an open plan, free-flowing design coupled with a palette of natural earthy hues and sweeping views of the ocean. The first floor of the residence has a fully stocked library, cocktail bar and wine room, and an expansive living room filled with bespoke pieces to the mirrored ceiling of the large dining room that hosts up to eight of your family and friends. Above, on the second floor is the master bedroom, a second living room, and an infinity pool where a king-size sun lounger sits inside the water.
There are five other villas on the Island, the Starfish Villa, Heron Villa, Trurtle Villa, Manta Villa, and the Gecko Villa. Each of the villas are situated in different parts of the island to allow for maximum privacy and relaxation. All of the villas come with a private pool and are very spacious. Among the facilities are a library, cocktail bar, gym, and steam room, as well as a personal chef for those out-of-hours cravings. Activities on the island go from feeding stingrays to exploring the chef’s garden. With unparalleled beauty and wondrous coastal scenery, a tapestry of 1192 pristine islands lay like emeralds amidst the azure blue of a crystal clear sea and an abundance of natural sea life make their home in the vivid turquoise coral reef.
February 22nd, 2013 – Port Hedland is a natural deep anchorage port in Western Australia. Only 14,000 people live in the town, but it is a significant destination for major sports and social gatherings for the local community. The town was in need for a new recreation center. The town commissioned the creative team from ARM Architecture to build the Wanangkura Stadium, which includes an indoor playing court, a gym, squash courts, club rooms for local football teams, short term childcare minding and function rooms. The towns population is forecasted to increase by 2.5 times in the next 23 years, therefore, the need to build a sport and recreation facility which catered to people of all ages and sports of all types was in demand.
After deciding on the architects, the town let the community decide on the name. Hundreds of names for the $35 million building were submitted by the town residents which finally led to Wanangkura, meaning ‘whirlwind’ in the local Kariyarra language. The title pays tribute to the center’s cyclonic pattern design that creating a shimmering, rippling effect on an otherwise flat landscape.
The architects explained that their “approach to the design considered this building as a mirage – a shimmering, rippling effect on an otherwise flat landscape. Using a ‘halftone’ pixelated technique, the building’s entry facade acts as a clear visual image from long distances, whilst being highly aggregated on closer inspection.”
The 48,000 square foot building is covered in black and blue vitrified facade panels, which on close inspection appear to have been installed at random but from a distance represents a cyclone pattern. LED lights are installed on the front facade and enhance the unique pattern and shape of the building at night. Externally, the building is covered in approximately 3955 vitrified enamel panels, which were manufactured and delivered from China. The panels have been created to withstand the extreme Pilbara heat and also severe winds caused by tropical cyclones.
Inside the stadium, the club changing rooms have been painted black and white in honor of the home football team, South Hedland Swans. Upstairs is the function room, which spans the length of the indoor stadium with large windows facing the sports oval. The function room has a bar and will be installed with large flatscreen TV’s to provide the ultimate sports experience. Offices and conference rooms are also located on the upper level, with floor to ceiling windows giving people inside a birds’ eye view of everything that is happening below.
The town has become excited about the new building, describing the creative boxy structure as the most unique building in Port Hedland.
Peter Bennetts photography
February 14th, 2013 – Lisbon based Aspa Arquitectos explores the use of void spaces when they re-worked the Junqueira Apartment, and transformed the single level space into a contrasting two level dwelling. The juxtaposing second level expansion comes as a new addition to the existing structure, thought of not as a restoration, but as an extension, putting to good use the “empty” space of the building in relation to its original characteristics. The architects constructed the sleek black unit to fit snug into the 18 foot high ceiling, creating a mezzanine for the residents. Black steps reach down from the mezzanine and meet new steps cut out of a high-gloss white custom unit where they continue to the floor. It was important for Aspa’s Co-founders José Maria Cumbre and Nuno Sousa Caetano to maintain the original decorative and constructional characteristics of the building intact, while revitalizing the space with a unique new addition.
(Photography By Fernando Guerra FG+SG Fotografia De Arquitectura)
February 12th, 2013 – The groundbreaking design of three Vittra Free School Organization’s in Stockholm are challenging the traditional learning environments for children. Rosan Bosch Studio has created imaginative, interactive, and colorful interiors that supports the unorthodox educational methods of the new age school. The three schools that Dutch-born artist Rosan Bosch have cleverly designed are located in Telefonplan, Södermalm, and Brotorp.
The design of Brotorp strives to support the school’s pedagogical methods and gives teachers and students the opportunity to work in different settings depending on the learning situation. The design solution comprises small caves for concentration and contemplation, a colorful cave with deep red upholstery, organic high tables for group work, and a soft lounge furniture for informal gatherings.
The schools have individually designed sections for three different age groups – a custom designed library and a multicolored podium are among the conspicuous design elements. In the preschool area, a large green structure occupies the space creating a multifunctional landscape for play and exploration.
The structure is built at children’s height and they will find comfort in the small pockets and niches – while at the same time adults can create an overview of the entire room.
With a similar design concept to Brotorp, principal designer Rosan Bosch has transformed common areas at Södermalm into an inspiring learning environment that brings together education and leisure.
Crystal chandeliers, colorful caves and a library that opens like a treasure chest. Here, the school has 350 students and is located in a historic building in central Stockholm.
“Rosan Bosch has created a learning environment that helps us keep our educational visions into reality,” says Annica Ångell, rector of Vittra Södermalm. “She has created an environment that gives the students and teachers the opportunity to chose from different environments depending on their needs. It’s a huge support in their daily work.”
(Photography Courtesy of Rosan Bosch Studio)
February 11th 2013 – Brazilian architect Isay Weinfeld and his creative team have been building the Fazenda Boa Vista, a massive 1,800 acre residential and hospitality complex in Porto Feliz, piece by piece. Last year we checked in with the architect for a brief update on the progress of the estate, when KNSTRCT featured the Fasano hotel at Fazenda Boa Vista and the Clubhouse, both elements of the complex. Now, Weinfeld has unveiled the stunning 7,000 square foot Equestrian Center Clubhouse, his most recent edition to the property.
Large amoeba-shapes are cut out of the large fair-faced rectangular concrete top, which is being supported by a series of stilts. Under the concrete slab, three closed cubic volumes of space make up the locker rooms, kitchen, and lounge. The locker rooms and kitchen are housed in a wood cladded spaces for privacy, but the bar/lounge is enclosed by glass walls, which allow guests to enjoy a cocktail or snack while overlooking the equestrian competition track.
The architecture of Equestrian Clubhouse celebrates a closeness with nature as it is open and inviting. The openness of the space makes it possible for riders to interact with the clubhouse, even on their horse. A series of curvy walkways make their way around the three spaces with open planters that are similarly amoeba shaped as the cut-outs in the concrete roof. Above the polished cement floors in the lounge are plush tan sofas and white tulip end tables, welcoming game spectators to sit, relax, and enjoy the performances.
(Photography By Fernando Guerra)
February 6th, 2013 – As you’re munching on your blueberry scone and sipping your warm latte this morning, there is a series of train-like structures crawling on a floating ice shelf 900 miles from the South Pole. The Halley VI Research Station officially opened yesterday with 25 years of research leading up to this moment. Previous attempts to build antarctic research stations have resulted in them becoming snowed in, therefore immobile. Halley V continues to operate effectively, but a significant calving of the ice shelf is predicted within the next decade, which would see it floating out to sea as a giant iceberg! This prediction led to an international design competition in 2004 for of a new, fully relocatable base for 16 people in the winter and 52 in the summer. The British Antarctic Survey selected Hugh Broughton Architects, and engineering giants AECOM, as the winners.
The structures are hydraulically elevated ski based modules that respond to annually rising snow levels and determines when and if there is a need to relocate the base if the site calves off as an iceberg.Here, the snow levels rise by over 3 feet each year and the sun does not rise above the horizon for 105 days during winter – the magical stars provide earthly entertainment for the team of engineers, researchers, and architects.
The nature of the project is unusual and extreme. It’s clear that Karl Tuplin, Halley VI’s Project Manager, has a big passion for the chilly Antarctic. Tuplin’s entire life has been taken over by the project as leads the structures on site and has blogged about Halley VI’s struggles, concerns, and triumphs for the curious minds. Along with Tuplin, Architect Hugh Broughton made frequent trips to the site also keeping a detailed diary.
Temperatures drop to -56C and the site can be buffeted by winds in excess of 100 mph, because of the harsh weather conditions, access by ship and plane is limited to a 3-months window. Materials and components required to construct the new base have to be delivered across fragile sea ice, which can fracture at any time. The design of the structures have been developed in response to the demands of the science, the comfort of the residents, build-ability and the operations inherent in the life of a research station.
To meet these demands it is crucial to create a design, which maximizes flexibility. This is achieved with a modular approach. Modules can be used for a wide variety of activities ranging from laboratories and bedrooms to recreation areas and energy centers. Connected together, the modules form the new station. Modularity brings significant benefits in terms of flexibility, ease of construction, maintenance, relocation, fire safety, acoustics and robustness. The station is centered on two modular platforms. The northern platform provides the principal habitat. The southern platform contains science modules.
The majority of activities that take place at Halley can be provided for using the standard blue module, there are some activities, which are constant, and require a distinct approach. These activities are housed in a special red central module. This is the principal space for eating, drinking and recreation and is the major destination at the new base. The central module provides a dramatic open plan social area at the heart of the station. The project demonstrates the ability to create world-class sustainable design to awesome technical criteria.
Halley VI is the most environmentally friendly facility that BAS has built. Low on environmental impact during construction, with an extremely efficient, environmentally aware performance life cycle, it can be easily moved and eventually taken apart when the time comes. Halley VI will be a visitor to Antarctica, not a resident. The buildings rest entirely on the surface of the ice shelf. This mobility and flexibility means that the new station will survive and perform on the ice for far longer than any of its distinguished predecessors.
(Photography by British Antarctic Survey)
February 6th, 2013 – Architect Paul Masi, Co-founder of New York based firm Bates Masi, spent his childhood summers in breezy Montauk. Masi’s partner, Harry Bates, is a longtime resident of East Hampton, making it fair to say that East Coast elegance runs in their veins. The firm has an impressive portfolio filled with 45 years of authentic and contemporary coastal homes, most recently the Sagaponack House.
The architects approached the design with the idea of sculpting away rather than building out. This subtraction concept manifested into a long boxy wood structure where spaces run the full width of the house with floor to ceiling sliding doors on both sides. If the owners open all of the windows and sliding doors, people passing by would be able to see completely through the home, to the ocean on the other side. Awesome.
The home is situated between the Atlantic Ocean and a freshwater pond, like a barrier between two bodies of water. Because of the location of the site, coastal and wetland zoning regulations became integral to the design, choice of materials, and layout. Heavy gauge corten steel was chosen because it is low maintenance in spite of being relentlessly sandblasted by the wind.
Cedar siding and screens are finished using a Victorian technique in which the iron sulphate in a blend of white vinegar and iron filings reacts with the tannins in wood, creating an ebony finish that penetrates through the material and will not require refinishing.
The plinth of the elevated house is carved into a series of stepped planters that are further sculpted into the entry steps, mediating the different grades required by flood control regulations. Regulations are limiting, but Bates & Masi used the conditional restraints to their advantage, even creating vegetated roofs further reduce the environmental impact.
The interior spaces are nested within one another. Operable partitions pull out from the walls of the living room, carving out a media room within the living room when privacy is desired. Conversely, with the partitions open, the media room merges with the living room for large gatherings.
The thickness of the wall separating the dining room and kitchen is also cut away, utilizing its depth to accommodate a wine rack that also functions as a light fixture.
The home is built for an adventurous type couple with 4 young sons – meaning the interior finishes needed to be sturdy! The cedar sideboards are a dominant interior element, making its way into each of the spaces.
The bedroom walls and ceilings are covered with the wood, complemented with minimalistic furniture, and can completely open up to the stunning ocean – that is literally in the back yard.
(Photography By Michael Moran)
February 4th, 2013 – If you let it, life can lead you down a spiraling path of joys and surprises. Thirty years ago Marcio Kogan, founder of the celebrated Brazilian architecture firm Studio MK27, was working his way up as a film director. A young Kogan decided to set down the camera and tell his story through a different medium – architecture. His change of heart led him to create a cluster of remarkable structures deep in the tropics, most recently, the MM House.
Bragança Paulista is a small municipality in São Paulo. Today, Bragança has become a commuter town due to its close proximity to São Paulo and Campinas. As a result, real estate is developing at a fast pace making room for a new batch of creative residences. The MM House is an elongated farmhouse-esque structure constructed of wood and concrete, with a living roof full of green plants. The home was designed with a linear layout and is consumed by a staggering 9 bedrooms, 10 bathrooms, 3 living rooms, 2 kitchens, and a wood terrace that intersects the home and trails an infinity pool. Concrete covers the short sides of the house, while the long sides are surfaced with a screen of retractable slender wooden slats. The slats wrap the entire envelope along the exterior glass wall to soften direct sunlight, with the ability to open entirely to the outside.
The interior of the house are reminiscent of Kogan’s signature style – wood ceilings, white walls, cool lounging areas filled with unique and eclectic furniture pieces. In one living room, an entire wall of books with a built in concrete fireplace becomes the backdrop to a warm and relaxing seating area. The central living room and main kitchen is open to the terrace and the pool, a place where eating, sitting, and playing all come together – the ideal layout for entertaining a large amount of people.