This, I would say, is really an architecture of place. A terra cotta workshop in Vietnam, placed on a vibrant riverbank, it is a spot of community, of tradition, of gathering, and of art.
The need is for a spot to place traditional terra cotta pottery to dry and cure. Created with terra-cotta like brick, this three-story tower is perforated with hundreds of gaps to let the air, light, and views through. Inside, a repetitive wood framed system provides plenty of cubby holes for storing terra cotta works.
As a bonus, the ground floor doubles as a tea house, with a central table and recessed seating area that allows for a moment of rest and conversation, gazing upward towards the clouds as they pass by. I also really like how the stairways and pathways are integral within the wood shelving system. Walking becomes an experience, with pottery above and below, the sky above, and vistas through the brick out to the river and landscape. A lovely play of light, material, and movement.
This is a sweet design, grabbing what’s local and available (and hence inexpensive) and creating a wonderful space to play in for the whole community.
Terra Cotta Studio by Tropical Space
A little dawwww for everyone…
illustration by Matthias Hausmann
Well… continuing to explore that crazy amazing insight, I’ve hit that point where now nothing seems to work anymore, where all the amazing feelings and results from just last week now I cannot reproduce one iota and everything falls apart at the lightest push.
When you deepen your understanding and dive into a new or deeper concept, the masters have noted, it will feel as though you are beginning all over.
So, intellectually I know this is on the path, but dang if it still ain’t a bit demoralizing!
And I’ve already got the next practice scheduled to keep on playing.
“And, by the way, remember that talent is completely overrated, if you want something it’s just about putting in the hard work :) Talent has precisely nothing to do with results.”
– Martin from Wintergatan
(I love this quote. I’ve spoken before about what I call the Tyranny of Talent and what I created there still holds. We tend to view great ability or skill in someone – especially in the fields of physical or artistic prowess, but in many areas – largely dependent on some ingrained, born-with, special thing. And if I/we weren’t gifted with it, well, tough luck for us, we can never achieve greatness (though even that term is kinda fraught). At the same time, we accidentally denigrate the hard work and dedication it did take for those who excel to get to that position of excellence.
I suppose it is, in a way, also a discharge of thwarted ambitions, of feelings of inadequacy, of upset with ourselves for not taking on or giving up on something we do, actually, at our core want. But it’s a temporary discharge at best and anything but empowering (for anyone). It cuts off our expression and our desires, and it relegates us to a dustbin of invalid and not lucky.
It is great to come across a quote like Martin’s to remind that talent only seems magical because we are only seeing the result, not all that led to it. Practice is the way to skill, and the journey itself can be a lot of fun.)
It may come as a a bit of a surprise, but not all buildings housing architecture schools are architecturally great. This new one in Sudbury, however, I’d say ranks up there. Serving the north and indigenous communities, it’s a nice mix of old and new, rough and refined, and features a plethora of nice rooms and spaces, using sight lines, structure, geometry, and light to create little exiting moments. As a bonus, it began with some adaptive reuse of existing buildings (including an old train station), and sports a lovely planeted roof.
Sudbury’s a pretty industrial town, so it’s cool to me that the school abuts the working rail line right in the heart of downtown (also, hence the ability to incorporate an old train station). Arranged to form a couple of courtyards and exterior exhibition spaces, the exterior is mostly low-key, but (much like the inside) decisively punctuated by moments that carve a strong identity: the corner angled cantilever, the inset signage, and the interplay between old and new.
The inside speaks mostly for itself through these pictures. The architects used the structure to great effect, bringing to bear both robust steel frames as well as large cross-laminated timber beams. Elsewhere, the existing wood trusses and rough-cut columns from one of the reused buildings lends an appropriate air to the school’s fabrication shop. With both mezzanines and cuts into the ground, height is leveraged to allow for both light and views to travel, allowing students and the public to see all the goings-on.
From the grand critique pit to the small reading nooks, the design nicely mixes up the scale and flexibility of use. Coupled with long vistas of repeating elements, there’s excitement and interest everywhere you look.
Very nifty, expertly done, and a great place to start your architectural education. The McEwen School of Architecture by LGA Architectural Partners.