Posts Tagged ‘modern architecture’
November 18th, 2013 – Draped over the hillside of La Coruña, a busy port city of Spain, sits a new structure that is formalized by the continuous flow of a completely neutral wrap – no edges, no color, no texture. The unfolding piece of architecture, titled Casa V, is the work of Madrid-based studio Dosis de Arquitectura. Casa V appears to be a new build, but it is actually the rehabilitation, adaptation and expansion of an existing vacation house, designed and built in the early 1960’s. After spending nearly fifty years worth of holidays in the home, it became imperative for the growing family to expand the house.
In the span of the last fifty years, even though the number of family members have increased, the house has remained the same, unable to fulfill current and future needs of the family. Dosis de Arquitectura’s principal architects Ignacio Peydro and Isabel Collado set out to create a home where the entirety of the family’s three generations would be able to enjoy the holidays simultaneously.
The existing home remains at the top of the hill, allowing the fluctuating architecture of the new structure to unfold as it cascades down the slope. The expansion, which consists of a side wing that articulates itself with the old building on the northeast, is intended to house the two younger generations.
The original house accommodates social areas for the entire family, as well as sleeping quarters for the first generation. With the home’s new addition, each family member has their own independence while being together, under the same roof.
Peydro and Collado designed the home to spread across the land, creating the perfect opportunity for an entirely new social area for the family – the rooftop. The rooftop serves as a private garden and a quiet place to enjoy unobstructed views of the Spanish landscape.
The interior spaces take on the form directed by the architectural shape of the exterior walls. The bedrooms, bathrooms, hallways and stairs all conform to the angular and curvacious likeness of the exterior architecture.
The harsh feel of unpolished concrete is juxtaposed with a smooth, high-gloss white finish to create the home’s stunning spiral staircase. Inside, areas are defined by the unfolding of matter in space and time, which topologically adapts itself to what happens inside.
Photography Courtesy of Dosis de Arquitectura
November 5th, 2013 – Once upon a time, architecture was at the forefront of social innovation, addressing issues that the entire society felt were worth finding creative solutions for. As we’ve zoomed into the 21st century, have we lost the true intention behind the meaning of architecture? Are today’s architects catering too much to cut-throat developers who settle with the realization of banal structures?
Introducing Fairy Tales: The World’s First Architecture Storytelling Competition. Have you ever dreamed of an architecture competition that would inspire you to create something whimsical, magic and fun? A competition that would excite your fantasy to produce something that can be appreciated not just by your fellow architects and designers, but by all audiences. Well, this dreamy new competition encourages all of the above, and is open to architects, engineers, designers, illustrators, students and creatives worldwide.
KNSTRCT was thrilled to catch up with one of the Fairy Tale’s high profile judges, Pentagram designer Paula Scher, to get her thoughts on the completion. Scher has created some of the most iconic graphics of the modern world such as the logos of Citi Bank, The Metropolitan Opera, CNN, and Microsoft. So what was it about the Fairy Tales completion that attracted the famed designer to the jury panel? “As an environmental designer I am attracted to narratives in public spaces.” Scher explained. ”Very often architects are purely concerned with form and ignore the spirit and even function of the building for formalistic reasons. I am pleased that there is an architectural competition where spirited ideas become the important part of the equation.”
The competition is an extension of Blank Space’s mission to uncover the true power of architecture by creating new opportunities for design to engage the public. Blank Space is asking for you to invent a story for your design. They would like you to rewrite the way architecture communicates itself to the world, and to do so in the most unconventional way. Schedule Launching Date: September 9, 2013 Early Registration: Until December 6 at midnight Late Registration: Until the Deadline Deadline for Questions: January 10 until midnight Submission Deadline: January 17, 2014 until midnight Results Announced: February 2014 * note: All the dates and time listed are EST, which is GMT-5 hours – More information.
Outside, portions of the 22 feet high A-frame structure are covered with black steel cladding, while other parts of the exterior are outfitted with reflective mirror. Contrasting materials allows the mirror components to blend in with the natural surroundings, and the black-hued components to visually jump from the mountain landscapes.
The architects at UUfie created a free-flowing floor plan with comfortable and flexible spaces to meet the needs of a large family who will be housed in the cottage. A continuous set of windows are carved from the A-frame structure to provide natural light and openness – blurring the boundaries of interior and exterior.
In a conscious effort to integrate nature into the family’s daily activities, mirrored surfaces and several openings strategically punctuate the pale wood fish-scale textured walls.
The hand-chiseled staircase contributes to the raw aesthetic of the completely bespoke piece of architecture that was built using traditional construction practices and locally-sourced materials.
Formally educated in Tokyo, UUfie’s principal designer is highly influenced by the distinctive minimalist aesthetic of contemporary Japanese architecture. From that background, A delicate appreciation for nature, simplicity and fine details were scrupulously implemented into this poetic mountainside structure.
Photography by Naho Kubota
October 10th, 2013 – The realization of Isay Weinfeld’s Casa Cubo is the mutual vision of the Brazilian architect and the home owners; two contemporary art collectors. Conceived from the belief that art should be shared, Casa Cubo is a lodging and support center to artists and the development of the arts, but with all necessary facilities to serve as a home.
Architecturally, the home stands as a three level cube with a mezzanine directly above the ground floor. From the street, one enters the house walking up a stone path set in the midst of a lush garden. An entrance hall gives way to a wide room featuring double ceiling height and polished concrete flooring, intended to host events, exhibitions or simply function as a lounge, opening onto a small green lawn. The gallery, located on the basement level, opens onto a small patio bathed in natural light through an opening on the above slab.
The mezzanine is set on the concrete slab topping the kitchen, dining room. The entrance hall on the ground floor, houses the library, which is marked by three strong elements: a shelving unit extending the whole back wall, running over a strip of fixed glass next to the floor, and a spiral staircase covered in wood that leads to the three bedrooms with bathrooms upstairs.
The ultimate highlight of the space is the unexpected employment of art pieces scattered throughout the interiors. Artist Antony Gormley’s headless human-like sculptures carved from lead and fiberglass are secured into the ceiling, dangling by their necks. Custom furnishings, hand-stitched quilts, and bespoke railings all act as individual and unique art pieces within the gallery.
A contemporary floating concrete staircase extends from the ground floor to the mezzanine. Once on the mezzanine, Weinfeld contrasted the modern concrete staircase below with a wonderful Brazilian ironwood floating spiral staircase that reaches up to the living quarters.
All in all, this residence is a marriage between two great loves. The unconditional love of everything that is art and architecture. Both great loves come from one source: Isay Weinfeld.
September 8th, 2013 – Shoreham Vineyard House, a weekend retreat designed by Jackson Clements Burrows, provides its owners with a place to relax from the everyday stressors of the week and just “wine” a little. This earthy weekender, seated comfortably among the vines from a vineyard on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula in Australia, offers its occupants with a weekend of understated luxury. The home was designed using passive design principals, which give the space a casual and modest feel despite its sizeable dimensions. Although the Shoreham House is ample in space, each room is fresh in character and function making this second home as comfortable and accommodating as the first.
Visitors approach the house up a gravel driveway, which leads past the left wing of the house to the main entrance, the garage. Approaching the house in this way makes it appear like a gargantuan wooden box. The house sits atop a natural cliff providing the house with a view of Western Port. The descending roof of the house was positioned to manage the winds, which are often very persistent on the embankment. The roof extends from the bulk of the house over the garage with a space in-between, which acts as the formal entry to the home. A wooden slider front door with an antique door inset brings texture and focus to the entry.
Entering the door brings guests into the entry hall decorated with bottles of wine form the vineyard. Guests can either go right towards the main living space and parent’s wing, left to the guest and children’s wing, or through a small entry to a climate-controlled wine room.
Let’s go right towards the heart of the house, the main living room. This room is very open with a kitchen at one end and a large fireplace at the other. Couches, chairs and a long table help create a homey space for lounging or eating with family during any season. Large sliding doors lead outside to the veranda, which overlooks the vineyard to the west and stone terrace positioned above a freshly planted garden to the east. The verandas was designed to be a social place, acting as another living room during the days of pleasant weather. The terrace overlooks the waters of Western Port, which gives the terrace a completely different character than the veranda.
Vines grow just beyond the verandas edge. The rooms of the house appear to be burrowed right between the vines so that “when viewed from this side, it is a house in the landscape, not on the landscape.” The house is mostly timber with the exception of contrasting black stained columns from the veranda. The columns were designed to imitate the linear growth of the vines. The deliberate selection of a limited palette was chosen to “settle” the design into its surroundings.
Continuing back into the house and past the kitchen is a second living room devoted mostly to television watching. A staircase between the kitchen and the second living room leads to the master bedroom, which sits beneath the high point of the roof. A smaller suite is connected to the bedroom. Both rooms have spectacular views of the waters of Western Port. Wooden blinds provide the master bathroom with privacy from the living room below.
Moving on to the left wing visitors will pass several bedrooms, another living space, and bathing areas. This wing was designed so it could be closed off when the owners are visiting without children or guests. The rooms in this wing benefit from vineyard views through sliding glass doors. Despite the many rooms, the house is described as being “one room think” which helps with cross ventilation while reverse brick-veneer construction aids in thermal performance.
Jackson Clements Burrows successfully created a materially and texturally warm and rich space “like an oak wine barrel,” which blends effortlessly into its surroundings.
Writing By Jessica Britvich
September 7th, 2013 – Perhaps it’s not just Isay Weinfeld’s extraordinary craft for designing beautiful structures that renders him one of Brazil’s most celebrated architects. Weinfeld has an innate knack for creating architecture and spaces that inherently bring people together. Two hours outside the Brazilian metropolis of São Paulo is Weinfeld’s recently completed Casa Piracicaba, a monolithic concrete home built for a growing family to enjoy holidays and vacations with one another.
The three story, L-shaped structure is strategically arranged on a 21,500 square foot piece of sloping land in a gated community near the town of Piracicaba. The three floors are arranged in perpendicular axes, making the home’s exotic garden accessible from any floor. The lower ground is semi-subterranean and houses the storage areas, the mechanical room and garage.
The ground floor is laid out as an L-shape and accessible from the street through a curvacious S-shaped ramp. The ground floor is occupied by the service areas and the lounge/dining room. Here, the dining room is fully encased in glass, and overlooks the back portion of the land that merges with the pool deck through wide sliding doors. The other side of the dining room is shielded from the sun and secluded from the street because of a long sun baffle constructed of large vertical concrete slabs, unevenly placed along the whole facade.
On top of the house is a monolithic volume that stretches perpendicularly to the contour of the land and is cantilevered towards the street. This hulking piece of architecture is planted on the higher section of the land, and houses the sleeping quarters. The center of this rectangular structure opens onto a large wooden deck, built on the ceiling slab over the lounge/dining room of the second level.
The swimming pool is located in the nook of the “L”. Facing the pool, an open social area is integrated from the inside to the outside via a set of sliding doors and a wooden deck that leads to the water’s edge. The angle between the social area and the service area frames the pool.
Inside, all of the furnishings have been chosen or designed specifically for this house. Weinfeld himself created some exclusive pieces for the house, such as a bed, desk and one of the many sofas. The architect complemented his own furniture designs with mid-century classics like the Esterinha chair designed by Charles Eames.
While the main structure is concrete, the building displays a variety of interior and exterior finishes ranging from stone cladding on walls to marble in the bathrooms. The Piracicaba House embodies a sophisticated balance of sculpture, drama, and comfort. Making this home, the perfect holiday retreat for a large family to be together
October 2nd, 2013 – Buried in the trees of Kazakhstan’s sweeping Almaty forest is a cylindrical glass structure designed to help one with spiritual and creative development. At the moment, the four-story greenhouse designed by Architect Aibek Almasov, founder of A.Masow Design Studio, is still in early conceptual phases. Soon, the realized home will be a tranquilizing escape from the bustling of Almaty – Kazakhstan’s largest, most developed and culturally diverse city.
Almasov designed the ‘Tree in the house‘ as a tool of meditation, an abstract labyrinth of sorts. For thousands of years, human beings have created the spiral paths that fold back on themselves within labyrinths for reasons ranging from decoration to art and myth. Used as a meditation tool consisting of a walkable single line path, a labyrinth can be a source of solace and can quieten a distracted or over-reactive mind. For some, walking a labyrinth can help resolve inner discomfort and still the mind.
Inside the greenhouse, the single line path of the labyrinth comes in the form of an endless circular ring. The round layout of each floor is continuous from the first floor to the top floor, connected with a spiral stone staircases between each level. At the center of the home is one giant tree that ascends from the ground to the glass roof.
Natural materials such as wood and stone are integrated into the design to parallel the habitual surroundings of the structure. Here, guests of the retreat have the opportunity to use the space as a spiritual tool, quietly revolving on a pathway that can help one to ponder life’s greater mysteries.
Images by A.Masow Design Studio
September 9th, 2013 – Westerners have an undeniable desire to reach a respectable comprehension of Eastern culture. We do so through observing their customs, and through observation, hopefully, comes understanding. Some say, that the best way to engulf oneself in another culture is through food. Enter, the Matsuri Boetie restaurant in Paris, France. Designed by Moreau Kusunoki Architects, this Japanese food-bar concept appears simple, albeit beautiful, at first glance. However, once you begin a bit of introspective examination, you may notice a few unsuspected happenings.
The designers have given thought to this space that will possibly go unnoticed to the reluctant observer. For instance, we all know that wood can provide a certain acoustic ambience, but by using softly worked rough wood, assigned in a harmoniously vertical pattern, you’re able to create a wonderful sense of calmness and serenity.
In keeping with the theme of tranquility, Matsuri Boetie also houses several black fiber panels, which assist in the absorption of noise. It’s with these simple, yet highly technical design methods that the architects were able to create such a conscious space in the heart of Paris.
From the furniture, to the lighting, the firm of Moreau Kusunoki has managed to keep traditional Japanese sensibilities as the central theme. This can surely be appreciated from a Western standpoint. Through allowing customers to experience a feeling of intimacy while they eat, the aim is to bring forth a better understanding of the Japanese culture itself.
Look for Moreau Kusunoki Architectes (Matsuri Boetie) as they compete for Best European Restaurant in the 2013 Restaurant and Bar Design Awards on September 12th in London. Writing by Jordan Bailey.
Photography Courtesy of Moreau Kusunoki Architectes
August 29th, 2013 – In the middle of historic Moscow, Russia stands a weapons salon that is of a bit higher-caliber than your local Cabela’s. That is unless the stuffed mountain lions at your local branch are mounted above marble floors among moldings, and monograms. This is the image of Kolchugas Weapons Salon, Russia’s first, non-government store of weapons.
The salon is located a merers 150 meters from Red Square and a short distance from the Kremlin in one of the many buildings in the area rich with history. This is why abandoning the typical hunting look of most weapon retailers in exchange for a more regal, sophisticated design was no random shot in the dark for Valery Lizunov and Valery Bykov, leading architects of the project from the architectural studio at ARCHPOINT. They envisioned a weapons salon that elegantly complemented and flowed with the historic design of the building and it’s surroundings, and what they created was a spectacular showcase of sporting and hunting equipment.
The Kolchugas Weapons Salon is often viewed as less of a store and more of an exhibition. For the first time in Russian history the guns have been taken from the counter and are instead showcased in display cases adorned with red cloth backdrops detailed with a royal classic pattern and carriage tie. This design gives the salon a museum like feel while allowing visitors to have direct access to the products.
The walls are also outfitted with moldings and monograms. Panels of oak arches stand under the vaulted ceiling and deer heads are mounted above each cabinet. The interior color scheme aims to mimic the color of natural wood through the use of white oak. Painted walls, trim windows, stained oak veneer, and marble floor are other major elements in the design.
One section of the salon is dedicated to the world-famous firearm company, Beretta. The design of this section is inspired by the Italian company’s corporate design style which favors dark wood finishes, parquet flooring, and bright backdrops. The only decoration in this section is the Beretta logo, which is embossed on the walls and windows.
The salon has zones for edged weapons, guns, clothing and even a VIP customer’s area. Zones are separated by the contrasting textures of wood and paint. Architect Valeria Bykova, reflected on the difficulties he faced executing this design, mentioning problems with removing bearing elements in such a historic building along with finding capacity for ventilation. He also wanted to be sure to accentuate the historic elements of the building such as the high celling and coving. He even went as far as preserving some of the door hinges and original masonry.
But the biggest focus of the project was ensuring the Ministry of Internal Affairs didn’t become all up in arms. Therefore, special safety requirements regarding equipment rooms, storage facilities, warehouses, premises for display, demonstration, and the placement of weapons must be strictly adhered to. Lucky the architect never found himself under fire. The design was a success along with the Kolchugas Weapons Salon itself, which this year celebrates its 10th anniversary of dedication to premium clientele by collecting the best of foreign and domestic manufacture’s weapons, accessories, and hunting equipment.
Photography by Sergey Morguno
Scripted by Jessica Britvich
August 22nd, 2013 – Two towering condominium buildings, King Blue, are the latest addition to Toronto’s growing skyline. Setting up shop in the epicenter of Toronto’s King Street West neighborhood, the 48 and 44 story buildings deliver the ultimate in style, sophistication, luxury, and amenities, all within an exquisite urban environment. The design of the high-end establishments are oozing with intoxicating swagger, thanks to Sai Leung design director of award winning interior design firm Munge Leung. Leung is well known for his meticulous work and uncompromising standards, which made his skills a perfect fit to design the trendy new condominiums that feature 807 luxurious suites with gourmet kitchens and spa-like bathrooms, two private lobby’s, two rooftop terraces, a pool bar, theater, fitness center, and a yoga room.
Designed for animation and activity for residents and their guests, behaving as an extension of the King Street West lifestyle. The street-level facades on King Street, Blue Jays Way and Mercer Street will be lined with restaurants and retail that embody the vibrancy of Toronto’s Entertainment District. “Our goal with king blue’s design is to promote human interaction and conversation.” says Alessandro Munge, Munge Leung’s managing partner. “Success would be to see people in the elevators not looking at their smart-phones, but engaging with each other because there is familiarity and comfort.”
“The courtyard will be King Blue’s cornerstone, with the two tower lobbies connecting to it,” says Alessandro Munge, Managing Partner at Munge Leung. “It will be like a village well from long ago, the gathering spot of the development for residents, guests and the public. The design aspires to integrate the energy and activity reflected by the surrounding spaces, with the courtyard acting as the perfect meeting place with the two towers soaring above it.”
“We studied the pace and pulse of King Street West and its distinct feel,” continues Munge. “And we designed the common spaces within King Blue to reflect the confidence and self-assured ebullience that comes from the area itself.” With both residential towers playing off the rooftop terrace, Munge Leung envisioned an interactive and sophisticated community setting, stimulated by the hub of energy emanating from King Blue’s common areas.
Amongst the most engaging social elements for residents will be a rooftop terrace atop the Canadian Westinghouse Building. Featuring an exclusive pool and bar, landscaped terrace with waterfall feature, sculptured trellis, adjacent party room and multi-media room, full catering facilities and kitchen, outdoor fire pits, private lounges and dining areas, the rooftop terrace will be a gathering spot for social interaction, entertaining and stimulating conversations.
August 20th, 2013 – The recent recipient of two German Design Council Awards, SPARK is an internationally-renowned, innovative architecture and design consultancy with a flare for creating breath-taking, modern buildings. Led by their fearless leader and founding director Stephen Pimbley, SPARK continues to take the architecture world by storm with their larger than life creations – not only in size, but also in electrifying architectural charisma. A U.K. native, Pimbley attended the Royal College of Art London in 1984 where he was a Gulbenkian scholar. He then started his professional career at the London offices of Richard Rogers and Partners, subsequently joining Troughton McAlsan’s team and becoming project director of Alsop’s famed Hôtel du Département in Marseille. Pimbley’s star continued to rise as he led the rejuvenation of Clarke Quay in Singapore, spring-boarding his jump to Asia and the eventual founding of SPARK, together with a handful of architects. Thankfully, we had a opportunity to chat with Pimbley about his influences, taking big risks, and whether or not he is satisfied creatively.
K: Where did you grow up and how was creativity a part of your childhood?
SP: I grew up just outside Cardiff on the coast of South Wales. The fine arts were perceived as being a soft educational option in Wales during the 1960’s and 1970’s. As a consequence, I was steered towards what was considered to be polite classic subjects, such as the sciences. I collected British Empire stamps, drew birds, super heroes, and cars, and listened to my main men Marc Bolan and David Bowie. My ability to draw, the advent of punk rock, and its portent of an alternative future saved me from following my father into banking.
K: Who influences your work?
SP: The people I have had the privilege of working with, those I currently work with, and the website ffffound.com.
K: What is your preferred rendering media?
SP: Anything that gets the message across, people it seems have become very snobbish over how information is produced, are you Grasshopper, 3D Studio Max or Sketch Up? Personally I have always liked collage, a somewhat distorted but heightened reality.
K: What is your favorite budget material to use in design?
SP: Corbusian concrete, i.e. it does not look like manicured Japanese concrete used by Tado Ando and others.
K: Can you describe the evolution of Spark as an architecture firm?
SP: The senior partners of SPARK have worked together for 12 years, albeit in a practice that changed names when it changed hands. We survived the uncertainty of being bought and sold to build our own business in a part of the world that is undergoing huge social and economic change. We constantly do our best to keep up with demand and build things that have quality and cultural credibility.
K: Are you satisfied creatively?
SP: Yes, amidst moments of worthlessness, despondency, despair and fear.
K. Have you had a point where you’ve had to take a big risk to move forward?
SP: Buying our business out and away from a leviathan of an architectural corporation, so we could breathe more easily and take responsibility for our own future. It’s the best thing we ever did!
K: Is it difficult to find a balance between work life and family?
SP: There is no balance, or at least the fulcrum has gone missing.
K: What does wasted time look like to you?
SP: People who come to work late and go home early
K: What work are you most proud of?
SP: A library built as part of the Fai-Fah project.
K: What kind of legacy do you hope to leave?
SP: A lot of what passes for legacy is mere ego propping, so probably a time capsule: my bits and bobs contained in a Crawford’s custard cream biscuit tin I buried in my parents back garden in 1970. It contains, if its still there, a Blue Peter badge I pinched from my next door neighbor, a Welsh rugby program signed by Gareth Edwards, and a used ticket stub for the Leeds United versus Chelsea FA cup final replay.
K: If you could give one piece of advice to another architect starting out, what would you say?
SP: Start your own studio as soon as possible.
August 15th, 2013 – Architect Gonzalo Mardones Viviani, founder of Gonzalo Mardones Arquitecto, served up a monolithic and contemporary home for retired international tennis champion Marcelo Rios on the foothills of Santiago, Chile. The sculptural, and visual expression of the structure was achieved by using simple line forms that allow the architecture to adapt to the sloping hill. The home is built on a series of levels and is half-buried in order to showcase the stunning visuals of the magnificent natural scenery.
Perhaps the most captivating feature of the home are the rooftops. On top of most levels, an expanding large terrace stretches out to the distance: a place to stay, enjoy the views, the environment, and sunshine. On the highest level, the continuous roof was intended to be covered with natural vegetation and grass, but Marcelo, like every time he visited Wimbledon says that “The grass is for cows”, which led the architects to implement a roof with synthetic grass.
The artificial grass was installed on rafters, which created an opportunity to generate an air bed that protects the cover from direct sunlight, preventing overheating and affecting the air conditioning inside the house. The garden was designed as a raised platform over the sprawling adjacent golf course, where it is possible to see it but not to be exposed to it.
Viviani chose to use just one material, the exposed concrete. The architects added titanium dioxide to the concrete to give the material a standout whitening effect. By including a titanium dioxide additive to the concrete, a process known as photocatalysis then takes place, causing the material to help break down smog or other pollution that has attached itself to the concrete substrate.
The house was designed with two opposite faces: one face is closed off to the street and is surrounded by courtyards, the second face is completely open to the terraces, garden, and views. The entrance hall acts like a kneecap that relates and distributes the different levels of the home, generating inside a sum of continuous merged spaces seeking the views to the garden, the golf course, the remote landscape, and natural light.
The home includes an impressive 9 bedrooms, 4 terraces, grand kitchen and living areas, a theater, game room, swimming pool, and a proud trophy room to display the world class awards and medals of Rois.
August 14th, 2013 – Built on an urbanisation-control zone that is legally an un-buildable plot of land between a residential area and farmland, the Boundary house was never supposed to exist. However, the clients’ of Yasuhiro Yamashita, founder of Tokyo-based architecture firm Atelier Tekuto, have vested rights in the land that made it possible to have their house built on this specific site. Tekuto gave careful consideration as to how he could make the most of land like this – land situated between residential areas and farmland, a site sandwiched between urban and rural areas – as well as newly developed residential sites with a number of suspended issues, which are often found in Japan.
Tekuto concluded that rather than impose an urban style of architecture, the answer would be to suggest that the house exists in harmony with nature. The architect took into account that the site had once had close ties with the natural area surrounding it. “To formalize this, I aimed to build a space that stimulates the five human senses and that allows people to enjoy a boundary-less sensation between nature and the architecture.” The architect explained.
The maze-like structure of the building is designed so that the interior can merge with the exterior, and top lights offer the first solution for blurring the boundaries between architecture and nature. Sixteen top lights, with openings of similar detail, are set on both the interior and exterior, and separating the outside and inside is just inlaid glass.
The second solution lies in how the walls are structured. After numerous discussions with the construction engineer, the material Tekuto decided to use for the interior walls is a structural wooden material made by combining 62 mm of glue-laminated timber in a concavo-convex manner. Their surface is painted with a persimmon tannin containing Bengara (sanguine) or ferric oxide-based red coloring. Polished, charred Japanese cedar wood was used on the exterior walls, giving an almost identical appearance to the inner walls.
Seven identical potted plants, placed both inside and outside, are the third solution to blurring the boundaries. Together, these three features make you lose the sense of whether you are in or out. They will obscure the boundaries between architecture and nature. Tekuto says that he “wanted to create a space where it is difficult to distinguish between the inside and outside by carefully choosing the materials for walls, floors, and ceilings: therefore, we have selected a high-density wall material, white flooring material, and a specially textured ceiling material. I believe that choosing the right material can be more effective than simply reversing inside and outside.”
The design of the house has become very similar to the shape of the pear garden situated next door to Boundary House. Tekuto pondered on the garden, saying “I really do not know if this is because I was somehow influenced by the garden, or because a garden-like shaped house is a very common style of architecture in this area.” Another garden is situated on the rooftop and, when the plants and trees grow, these green areas will seem to merge with the garden next door, making the house look even better.
July 9th, 2013 – The story behind Marseille’s new museum, MAMO, short for MArseille MOdulor, runs deep into the roots of modern architecture to pay tribute to a building and an architect. The recently opened MAMO is housed in the upper levels of Le Corbusier’s Cité Radieuse, an extensive apartment complex built in 1947 that is often described as a “vertical village”. The pioneer of modern architecture was an instrumental urbanist who spearheaded the movement toward contemporary vertical living, making it no surprise that the architect would push the boundaries of urban living by incorporating all of 337 apartments, a restaurant, a hotel, a bookstore and a nursery school into one tower.
The beloved building was widely noted as a meaningful and prized piece of architecture and went on to be classified as one of France’s historical monuments in the 1980′s.
A turn of events took place for Cité Radieuse in 2010, when the building’s rooftop gym and solarium went up for sale. Designer Ito Morabito, who goes by Ora-Ito professionally, purchased it as a collector might. “Like you buy a piece of art, but architecture,” he noted. After the acquisition, it became Ora-Ito’s self-appointed mission to honor the iconic structure.
Ora-Ito transformed the rooftop of Cité Radieuse into MAMO, a contemporary art center dedicated to exhibitions and creative ateliers. The renovation was a three year undertaking that involved a full restoration of the original rooftop structure, including the removal of an unsightly add on, and the realization of design elements in Le Corbusier’s blueprints that had not been realized when the building was originally constructed.
The opening of MAMO kicked off with the exhibition of Ora-Ito’s friend and sometimes collaborator, the French artist Xavier Veilhan. Titled Architectons, the exhibition features a series of large-scale sculptures made specifically for this space and includes an angular bust of Le Corbusier on the rooftop. Veilhan created Le Corbusier’s bust as a way to pay homage to a master on the top of his legendary build. “Le Corbusier would be proud,” Ora-Ito said.
Photography by Diane Arques
August 7th, 2013 – In need of a soulful soak under the Northern Lights? Less than an hour’s drive from the cultural landmarks of Reykjavik and set against a backdrop of majestic mountainous lava fields, stands the new Ion Hotel. Designed by the Santa Monica based architecture firm Minarc, the Ion exists in a land of myth and legend, on an island where fire meets ice, surrounded by hot springs, glaciers, and the mystical glow of the Northern Lights.
In early moments of the design phase, the architects at Minarc became overwhelmingly inspired by the environmental surroundings of Mt. Hengill, near Thingvellir national park. This inspiration manifested in a piece of architecture that incorporates innovative materials, sustainable practices, and the natural features of Iceland into its design.
The prefabricated, panelised building system exceeds environmentally safe building standards. In addition to the use of sustainable materials, Ion is surrounded by hot springs, which provide geothermal hot water and energy.
Driftwood and other natural materials are used extensively in furniture throughout the hotel. Beds and chairs are built from recycled materials. Mirrors are framed with indigenous Birchwood. Lights made of lava and found-wood illuminate the rooms.
Relevant images of the Icelandic horse, the Seljalandsfoss waterfall, and other Icelandic outfit the walls of the hotel rooms. Each guest room is detailed with restrained lighting effects and subtle color palettes, as well as an abundance of natural daylight. Large picture windows in each room offer breathtaking views of Lake Thingvallavatn and the surrounding mountains, over which nature’s own theater unfolds as the most spectacular light show, the Northern Lights, comes to life.
On the deck of the hotel, a rectangular heated pool stretches out from the building, toward the hilltops, where guests can admire the colorful lights rushing through the sky above them.
Lastly, Ion offers its guests a perfect viewing room at the Northern Lights Bar. A unique place to experience the night sky. The double height windows and the comfortable lounge area gives travelers the perfect spot to experience the views over the dramatic landscapes and the night sky.
March 8th, 2013 – Going to the dentist can be similar to asking someone to punch you in the face. Unless you’re a champion MMA fighter and you’re used to taking some gnarly upper cuts, a visit to the dentist is dreadful. We take it back, even MMA fighters don’t fancy getting their face drilled out – who does? Most people build up large amounts of anxiety when coming face to face with their arch-dental-nemesis. An anxiety that can be easily relieved in an imaginative environment. A tooth sore should not mean an eye sore. Now, wouldn’t it be cool if your dentist’s office felt like a warm and comfortable coffee shop? A place straight out of Seattle with wood planked floors, brick walls, and local artwork to jog your thoughts away from the unnerving task at hand. Would your mind wander away from the painful shots if there were an ancient map sprawled across the ceiling? We think so! To celebrate the dentists and designers who are using their creative juices to change the look and feel of the typical unwelcoming and stodgy dental offices, we’ve put together a roundup of stellar dental offices around the globe.
Dental Club by OOS AG located in Lucerne, Switzerland
Clinica Sabadell EN designed by Alfred Garcia Gotós Estudi
Toothbeary Dental Clinic in London designed by Luis Nieves
Dental Clinic in Oporto, Portugal designed by Paulo Merlini
D. Vision Dental Clinic in Prague designed by A1 Architects
ORL Clinic by MALVI located in Kalamaria, Thessaloniki
Dental Clinic in Lisbon designed by Pedra Silva Architects
Chiyodanomori Dental Clinic by Hironaka Ogawa & Associates located in Japan
GKK Dental Ambulatory by X Architekten
Weissraum Dental Surgery Clinic by Ippolito Fleitz Group
July 30th, 2013 – Scattered among a grove of cork and olive trees, the 56 private suites that make up Évora’s new Ecorkhotel give travelers the opportunity to experience a contemporary and eco-minded lifestyle. Designed by architect José Carlos Cruz, the architecture is a refreshing reminder of Portugal’s traditional whitewashed plaster structures re-worked with a purist twist by balancing elements of simple form with nature. To relate the building to it’s surroundings, Cruz outfitted the entire exterior of the main building with recycled cork cladding, a 100% natural product harvested by hand from the native cork oak – making the Ecork the first and only hotel in the world with this feature.
The town of Évora is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, due to its rich history and well-preserved old town center. Évora is still mostly enclosed by ancient medieval walls, and houses a large number of monuments dating from various historical periods, including a Roman Temple. As the world has deemed this nearby land universally important, the realization of the Ecorkhotel was created with respect for the local history and consideration for nature.
The hotel was designed with maximum energy efficiency in mind, using geothermal and solar energy to heat and cool 56 villa suites. In addition to the geothermal and solar technology, eco-minded materials such as cork wrap the exterior of the main building, working as a thermic and acoustic isolator.
To mimic the twelve acres of rolling hills that the hotel is situated on, the architect designed large rolling curves that hang over the hallway that leads in and out of the main building.
A gridded pathway of yellow bricks directs hotel guests through rows of connected boxy white villas, each with a small kitchen and private terrace, flat screen television, and eco-friendly linens.
The walls of the hotel’s courtyard and the villa terrace partitions have rows of cut-out shapes that cause interesting shadows throughout the day, and double as a glowing lantern in an ancient forest at night.
The Ecorkspa has five treatment rooms, four being for private purposes and another room for couples treatments, the indoor swimming pool, a Turkish bath, and a sauna. The spa also features a relaxation room with a Chromotherapy device, where trained chromotherapists claim to be able to use light in the form of color to balance “energy” wherever a person’s body be lacking, whether it be on physical, emotional, spiritual, or mental levels.
July 21st, 2013 - Clare Cousins Architect’s have recently completed Moor Street Studio in Fitzroy, a suburb of Melbourne. The upbeat and energetic design is an internal office fit-out for a creative design studio and a private residence for its directors within a striking three level building constructed in 2001 by architect Ivan Rijavec in Fitzroy.
Working beautifully within the original structure of the building, Clare Cousins, leading architect and founder of Melbourne-based practice, proposed a respectful approach to celebrating the historic building’s best assets, while implementing modern design elements.
The proposal consists of two mirrored self contained units over three levels in a striking architecturally designed building. Maintaining a restrained color palette the internal works focus on fine detailing & highly textured surfaces. Custom-designed elements were made in collaboration with local designers, including lighting designer Volker Haug, steel manufacturers Glyde Metal Industries Pty Ltd, and artist Rowena Martinich.
A boxy glass conference room becomes a eye-catching feature for the studio with a large scale commissioned mural painted by prominent local artist Rowena Martinich. The mural stands out among the white space and forms a colorful backdrop to the meeting room. The project respects the iconic nature of the existing building, while creating a strong visual identity for the design studio within.
The exterior of the building has an almost entirely glass front which was created during an architecture renovation in 2001. The renovation gave a modern look to the facade and ensured that bursts of sunlight filter through the office.
July 19th, 2013 – An out-of-the-box brand that turns the act of purchasing a mobile product into an active and fun experience, has hit the shelves of Shanghai. COORDINATION ASIA, a Shanghai-based architecture firm known for creating visually robust environments, completed a new breed of telecom stores named AER for AISIDI, one of China’s leading resellers for mobile and digital products and services.
AER is a retail brand that enhances the life of the individual mobile user by offering customized mobile services in a playful, cool and customer-focused environment. The Lego-influenced shop is overflowing with voluptuous typography, creative display units, and an eye-catching indigo blue paint job!
Instead of rolling out the red carpet, the designers at COORDINATION painted a black pathway down the center of the store that reads ‘app up your life’ in a mixture of various-styled fonts.
AER is based on a great understanding of mobile lifestyle, in which mobile devices keep you connected, entertained and updated through a variety of online and offline apps. The store is designed as an interactive environment that caters to the needs of different target-customers: Trendy, Lifestyle and Tech Savvy.
Products are thematically presented in combination with related accessories, apps and carriers on custom-made presentation tables with ‘serving trays’. Following a black runway from the entrance, customers find the App Bar where they can try out mobile apps on a large interactive screen.
Photography Provided By COORDINATION ASIA
July 17th, 2013 – Surrounded by a family of seasoned Moonah trees, the Blairgowrie House, is an extensive reworking of an existing seaside residence in Victoria. Wolveridge Architects conjured up the contemporary additions to the home with their joyful, and meticulous clients in mind – a young family of five. What was once a modest beach house, has been transformed into a minimalistic and visually balanced wood-filled retreat.
Blairgowrie is a small seaside town along the coastline of Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, a place where owner-builder, Tim Prebble, has meticulously executed Wolveridge Architects’ design to produce a flexible and current home for his family. The house’s main living areas occupy the first floor – opening up the long house to an overflowing amount of natural light and expansive views over the Bay.
On the ground level, the garage and storage area neighbor one another, while the master bedroom and bathroom, which remain in the older portion of the house, are found on the significantly smaller second level near the back of the property. Dark stained timber cladding and anodized window frames create a geometric design on the new facade – a rearranged and futuristic play on a Federal styled facade.
The initial design concept was derived from the sheltered, north-facing courtyard, which creates a temperate outdoor area for the house that can be utilized throughout the year. Located at the center of the home, the courtyard welcomes visitors as they climb the stairs from the entrance up to the first floor. The space is sheltered from the sun by a roof of timber battens and from the wind by the rest of the house, buffering the space from cool southeasterly and southwesterly winds.
The main living areas of the home have been configured around the courtyard, joined by a series of louvers that encourage cross-ventilation through the house. Three children’s bedrooms and two bathrooms reside near the front of the home, while behind the courtyard the house opens up to become an open-plan living, kitchen and dining area. The new extension cedes to the existing house, which sits slightly higher on the sloped site. The lower level of the old house has been transformed into a den-like sunken children’s playroom.
Deeply set windows create a patterned facade, allowing light in without overwhelming the house with the intense heat of the summer sun. In sunlight, the aluminum frames of these windows cast shadows over the building’s timber skin, while at night the house becomes illuminated by the glowing, lantern-like windows.
July 11th, 2013 – It doesn’t matter if you’re a 2 year old learning to climb your first step, or a veteran architect conceptualizing a monolithic spiral, we’re all fascinated with stairs. It seems so obvious, most of us tread on them everyday, but when creative minds shed a new perspective on the common architectural necessity, that regular ol’ staircase can become visual gold. Architects Sergey Mishin and Katya Larina of Studio Mishin teamed up with Daniel Llofriu Pou and Alberto Arguimbau of Arup to build a beautifully illuminated, perforated copper staircase for Michin’s new Villa Mallorca.
In the early months of 2010, Studio Mishin contacted the technical architects and engineers at Arup. At this point the villa was largely complete but still needed a central staircase. Spanning three floors, the architect’s vision consisted of an imposing staircase that lies at the central heart of the building and creates a visual link by the use of perforated copper panels throughout the interior and exterior of the building.
Specialist advice was necessary to finish the detail design, engineering and construction of this unique proposal. Arup´s Materials Consulting and Lighting Design´s teams in Berlin began to work on the practicality of realizing and building the copper cladding. “The detailed design of the complex structure is based on a limited set of panel types and interface geometries to allow for a consistent appearance and an efficient procurement. The installation is sequenced in such a way that the structural panels interlock with each other and a delicate substructure to minimize visible connections.” Explained Jan Wurm, Arup’s Materials Practice Leader for Europe.
Wurm continued to explain that “the lighting design accentuates the geometry of the perforations of the copper panels through backlighting, with dramatic lighting from above to reveal the texture and material properties of the copper and laminated wood. An innovative approach to both maintenance and construction for the lighting elements was also a critical element of the success of the project.” The result of such a detailed process is a clad with almost 200m² of composite panel, including treated copper, bonded and structural timber with approximately 12,000 perforations made by a CNC water jet cutter.
June 29th, 2013 – “We like to think of our interventions as positive manipulation of the human brain,” Paulo Merlini, founder of Portugal-based architecture firm Paulo Merlini Arquitectura explained of their recently completed Bakery In Oporto. “We focus on giving positive inputs to appeal to all the five senses (when possible) so that we can alter ones homeostatic level, and as result make people feel happier.”
The architect tends to approach his work with a mixture of research and philosophy, which manifests metaphysical environments that keep functionality well intact. “Our main concern is to create spaces that gives people the right stimuli, positively influencing their homeostatic levels.” Merlini continued, “this is a concern based in the notion that we´re the product of an evolution. As such, we focus on the knowledge of the human body, mainly on the brain response to exterior stimuli.”
The light filled spaces is comprised of a repeating gang of thin laser-cut wood slats on the ceiling and walls. The cream colored slats become the architectural highlight of the bakery because of its sculptural disposition and alluring lighting effects that gives the space a magical glow.
Each slat separated by a mere four inches, became a moment of opportunity for Merlini as he proposed a new logo for the bakery and saw the perfect place to showcase it. “Wooden stripes descend through two of the walls creating an effect that dialogs directly with the consumer. When one moves throw space, hidden forms start to appear on the walls. Those forms are an abstraction of the proposed logo. The intention is to unconsciously reinforce the image of the firm in one’s mind.”
Merlini’s chiseled ceiling functions seamlessly with the lighting of the space, along with the bakery’s new branding and identity initiative. But, the architect had another, more playful, reason for creating the sculptural slats, “we made the ceiling ‘melt’ in some points to make it look like a cake topping,” Merlini noted.
The harmoniously designed space is separated into three sections, each evoking a slightly different feeling. The intention of this method was to create a space where diners would be able to choose a place that parallels their personal comfort levels. One thing we are sure of, when it comes to scarfing down a succulent cupcake, personal comfort is essential.
June 26th, 2013 – The second Hotel Indigo in Germany recently opened up with a premier new steakhouse for Berlin’s foodies, La Maison de L’entrecôte. The bronze beef establishment is gaining a reputation for amazing steak, paired with an affordable price and stylish digs – and the locals are filtering in to get a cut.
La maison de L’entrecôte serves only one dish: entrecôte (sirloin steak). Diners are allowed to chose between three different sizes along with the temperature of the steak, making this dining experience an appreciated break from novel sized menus of some surrounding establishments.
The eatery is divided into sections by curtains of bronze metal beads that manifest stunning reflections of yellow light throughout the space. Inside the beaded curtain section, the walls and ceiling are upholstered with a warm bronze fabric which form into the banquettes.
The use of authentic materials such as wood, stone, and marble create a luxurious and inviting ambiance in the main dining room. Here, rectangles with radial corners are repetitiously carved out of the taupe ceiling to house the glowing light fixtures that hang above the dining room tables.
Because of the restaurants main dish, the cow becomes an elegant mascot for the space. A life size white cow greets guests upon entrance, then again, when small white cows grace the tables as a centerpiece.
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.