There’s lots to love about this school in India, not the least of which is the tantalizing oval form, made of local limestone blocks that blend so seamlessly into the landscape on which it sits. Add to that the beautiful basket weave pattern of brick that tops it off to create a large rooftop patio – sweet in its own right but if you look carefully you’ll see that the screen isn’t level all the way around, subtly sweeping upward to great effect. And the blue tile of that roof patio is a fun little touch.
The brick weave also does double duty by accelerating the wind through the venturi effect, helping to cool the courtyard in the extremely hot locale. Likewise, the thick limestone and mortar do their duty in this regard by creating a thermal mass that absorbs the heat throughout the day and keeping temperatures within the classrooms manageable without need of mechanical support. Rounding out the trifecta, the clerestory windows along the back do their own double duty to illuminate without glare as well as let the hot air rise and escape.
This is an architecture of a place, for a place, and that makes it top notch work.
Rajkumari Ratnavati Girl’s School by Diana Kellogg Architects
Love this little retreat/cabin in the hills of Mexico. Small and straightforward, yet delightfully evocative.
For starters, it’s a truncated box, with a patio covered a triangle of canvas as an awning that completes the rectangle from above… with a bonus that the canopy is supported/suspended by a nifty steel beam perched on the cabin’s roof.
The cabin itself rests on a foundation that’s a tad smaller, making it all appear to hover and float off the ground.
Board formed concrete lends a nice texture and scale to the whole thing, left natural within but painted black on the outside — something that I think works really well, creating subtle highlights and a rich ‘charred wood’ look that lets the building fade well into the landscape.
Enclosed on three sides, the last side is slick steel and glass, stretching towards the light and the world.
A small retreated of simple elements designed with care and flair. Great work.
Bungalow H by ET.co
This is a super posh hotel, so the theatricality is to be expected. And what stunning theatricality it is, in a kind of ‘walk on water’ sort of way.
In overall form it’s not all that dissimilar from Louis Kahn’s Salk Institute, with a row of angular forms creating an axis, highlighted by a water feature, and open to the sea. Though certainly heightened here by making the entirety of the axis the water feature, and the forms all that more bold (and, at night, colourful!) Plus the addition of a bird’s nest…
A neat mix of architecture creating spatial art. I dig it.
Viceroy Los Cabos (formerly Mar Adentro) by Miguel Angel Aragonés
’tis the season for… Scotch. So here’s the new Macallan distillery, with a wildflower-laden roof that merges into the countryside!
The Macallan Distillery and Visitor Experience by RSHP
The new Greek church near the WTC in NYC is interesting for a couple of reasons… for one, it’s designed Santiago Calatrava in a very restrained way that is decidedly uncharacteristic for him:
For two, it is clad in sections of translucent marble. Which is always mind tweaking for me; whenever I think of stone the first thing that comes to mind is light passing through it such that it can become downright luminous, and yet, that is a thing that some stone amazingly can do. Such that, at night, this building very much becomes a lantern:
Unfortunately, this ends up not being carried through to be used in an interesting way on the interior. Unlike the alabaster panels at the LA cathedral I visited some years ago, only a ring of fingerling arches around the base of the dome allows any of the light pass through into the inside:
Still, it is a nifty little architectural gimmick.
St Nicholas Church and Shrine, photos by Field Condition, by Santiago Calatrava.
I will admit, my first thought was that this school was in a Nordic country. Awesomely, it is not; it’s in Arkansas, with an amazing design that wraps a couple of buildings in a sculptural and continual roof that turns downward to become a screen wall.
And something about that matte grey metal really works here – it’s not a bland neutral, but instead subtlety reflects the hues of its surroundings and of the ever-changing sky. It also pairs well with the wood of the building itself that resides behind the sheltered arcade/atrium created by the screen wall. Then add in a sweet connection to its site (including on-site stormwater catching), a site replete with native plantings, and a couple of protected courtyards with playful water elements. Good stuff.
Inside the spaces follow the bold lines of the roof to create dynamic and bold spaces that also tie themselves to the outside. And that cafeteria! Wood slat roof (with chandeliers) creating this striking and strong linear pull towards the grand vista.
Certainly, we all need an artistic photo of rain drops falling onto our educational pool…
High grade work! And only one of several buildings on this property that follow the school’s teaching organization of Reels (narrative and visual communications through film), Wheels (physics and mechanics through bikes), and Meals (biology and chemistry through food).
Home Building at Thaden School by Eskew+Dumez+Ripple (and the master campus plan can be found here!)
Another adaptive reuse! This time in Amsterdam, with a rejuvenation of a former mercantile exchange. While the outside’s been brought back to all its turreted pointiness, it’s the addition of the glass geodesic-like dome on top that caught my interest.
It’s not much of a presence from the street, and it’s not trying to be. It even cuts into itself to avoid impinging on the turrets (while, as a bonus, creating an outdoor gathering space). But it’s one wicked, column-fee space inside, a soaring crystal cover whose diagonal rib work offers dynamic windows onto the world.
And then, in one of those turrets, is this very cool time-infused room…
Sweet work. The Diamond Exchange Capital C Amsterdam by ZJA + HEYLIGERS
In keeping with the recent somewhat-theme… a home with a courtyard! But with a circular twist… so even better it’s a tower/courtyard theme mashup…
But it’s not a round building. The perimeter is fully rectangular to fit the site and the surroundings. Only the wedge-shaped carport with rounded fence and the equally angular window on the front façade gives any hint of what’s within. (Nicely, the box also is a rich grey stucco that both hides the wood within and the wedge cutout once again gives it away.)
Add in a few double height spaces and a few choice changes in levels to create different conditions within, all splaying from that central atrium, and you’ve got yourself a nifty little house. Cool stuff.
The aptly named 360° house by YUUA Architects
Is this a house for Rapunzel? Sure, why not… but it’s even cooler than that! Take a restored hull of and old mill as the literal core, add an airy addition to one side to compliment the heavy brick construction of the mill on the other, and you have a most intriguing place to live.
Not surprisingly given both living in a tower but also its smallish size, the tower, there’s a lot of vertical division going on within, with the library on the first floor, the bathroom on the second, bedroom on the third, and crowned with an office (with a view!). All accessed by a sweeping stair that travels along the outer edge and punctuated with arched windows.
This photo shows off much of what I love here, including the way the heavy texture of the brick plays off the slickness of the floors and the steel and glass addition. And the fun of tower living! But also how much that arched opening into the brick tower it looks like a giant pizza oven…
Adaptive reuse, tower living, libraries, and more. Great stuff.
House Wind by Architecten De Bruyn
When I visited the Amager Bakke, the power plant + ski hill (no, really!) in Copenhagen, besides the ski slope not being open yet (we unfortunately visited just a scant month or so before completion), there was this other odd thing they were adding to the side of the building. I didn’t realize what it was at the time, but turns out it’s a giant climbing wall. And I do mean giant. The building is tall enough for a ski slope… so this thing is 85 meters (280 feet) tall! It’s so tall it’s a 4 pitch lead/sport climb only, and requires a multi-pitch certification just to climb it’s 4 lanes (8 routes total). Amazing.
Check out more, including route topos, videos, and more at https://www.dbkk.dk/amagernordvaeg/vaeggen and https://www.copenhill.dk/en/aktiviteter/klatring