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Architecture Monday

October 22, 2018

I do so love rammed earth construction.  (So much so that it was one of my first Architecture Monday posts.)  Something about it exudes warmth for me, often coupled with a delightful tactile roughness along with the beauty from the colourful striations.

So that I love this office in Paraguay is no surprise.  Made with reused formwork, recycled glass, and encircling existing trees, what would be a box is otherwise twisted into a spiral to enclose the office, kitchenette, toilet, and, of course, the trees.  Cuts in both the walls and ceiling let in plenty of light to splay across those rough walls to create a lovely play of shadow that changes throughout the day.

Basic in form, this is a great example of how wonderful space can be created without breaking the bank.  All it takes are deft hands and minds, care, and a desire to build something beautiful.

Earth Box by Equipo de Arquitectura (who occupy this very office)

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Wonder Wednesday

October 17, 2018

This picture of my beloved CN Tower:

Amusing not only for its odd look in its unfinished state (looks like they just reached the top out point for the Sky Pod), but also how bare and barren the skyline (or lack thereof) around it feels, with nary a tall building in site.  These were early days in what would become the big TO….

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Philosophy Tuesday

October 16, 2018

Bravery

Has nothing to do

With being fearless

 

Being brave

Is not the absence of fear

 

Being brave

It is having fear

And doing it anyway

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Architecture Monday

October 15, 2018

This is a little house that packs a big punch.  Nestled tightly on a small lot, it presents itself as a lovingly crafted wood box, with vertical slits the only indication of the jewels within.

Inside, weave themselves around three open-air gardens, bathing each room in ample light and serene views.  A hearth greets at the entryway, leading to the common area before spiraling off to the bedrooms and tatami room.  Though not big in actual size it doesn’t feel cramped and makes the most of its restrictive lot.

I especially like that tatami room, accessed through a narrow corner entryway to create an area secluded from the rest of the house yet still open to the greenery.  And at night, cleverly positioned lights create wonderful shadow play across the walls and floors.

It’s a spare aesthetic for sure, done well through meticulous craft.  Nicely done.

House in Akashi by arbol

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Wonder Wednesday

October 10, 2018

A diary of math and wonderous (and amusing!) drawings:

… and it all culminates in this:

An 18th century chicken in trousers.

See the whole hilarious thread on twitter here from the Museum of English Rural Life

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Philosophy Tuesday

October 9, 2018

efficiency is about doing something perfectly

 

if you are 100% efficient,

but you’re not doing the right thing,

then you’re perfectly wrong

 

sometimes, focusing on improving efficiency

isn’t the right question to be asking

 

being less bad

is not the same

as being, or doing, or creating, a good

 

it is easy to be bought off

by the rush of false accomplishment

that comes from improving on a process

that comes by being more efficient

 

but the real payoff

and the real fulfillment

comes when we return to the base condition,

seed our intentions,

let our central selves free,

and create into the world

that which is a good

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Architecture Monday

October 8, 2018

I don’t normally post renders of “might be built” buildings, but this one caught my eye.  For one, it is in Toronto, near a district I used to walk through all the time.  For two, there’s something compelling to me about the design.

The old building on-site, listed on the city’s historic register, originally housed (I think) a library.  The lower level, which admittedly has likely been renovated into blandville over the years, is nothing to write home about, but the second story has these pronounced decorative pilasters, windows, and a gaggle of other accoutrements.

What makes the new building nifty to me is how it uses those elements in its design.  It’s not a copy, not by a long shot (nor should it be), but that same language of those windows is carried forth along on the second story.  I especially like how then it is reinvented on the first floor, with large arched storefront windows and, even more wickedly, with the two half-arches that meet at each corner.  These corner arches open and ultimately dissolve the corners at the first floor, giving the building a very interesting profile and creating naturally inviting entry points.

The building then continues by being a great example of how to design with an eye to context.  The brick lends texture and a call back to the history of the buildings that surround it.  The reveal between the first and second story, as well as the cornice at the second story, tie into the horizontal lines of the store next door.  The cornice itself recalls the original building while also speaking to the adjacent old fire hall.  And the two new levels, delicate glass boxes, step back from the street, creating not only green garden/patio spaces but also reducing the building’s bulk.

I’m sold.  A great example of how our everyday buildings in the middle of a city done by completely commercial interests can still be, and should be, nicely designed.

12 Ossington by Hariri Pontarini Architects.