Posts Tagged ‘adaptive reuse’

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Architecture Monday

February 4, 2019

Another building tonight by one of my favs, BIG Architects… but something decidedly different in scale, scope, and form from much of their other work.  It is a restaurant that becomes a village.

The starting point for the project is itself quite nifty, the adaptive reuse of a protected warehouse that once stored mines (explosives!) for the Royal Danish Army (that is also, humorously, across the river from and affords a great view of BIG’s power plant and ski slope (I am not making that up… this is an actual thing!)).  Due to the landmarked status of the building, the buildable area was very limited, only being allowed in the small areas where small extensions had been erected in times past.  The client was an avant-garde restaurant serving reinvention of Nordic cuisine.  Oh, and they wanted greenhouses to supply their kitchen.  Ready?  Go!

The result is quite glorious.  BIG settled on three main starting points:  filling the existing landmarked structure with the “back of house” functions, off of which hangs a kitchen that in turn off of which radiates a number of small pavilions to form a village of architectural forms.  Each one of these pavilions has its own character both inside and out, and each have their privileged views both outwards towards the nature preserve, water, or the city, while each also have a view to the central and open service kitchen.

There’s a lot of beauty to be found here in the meticulous detailing of all the seemingly disparate buildings.  Brick roofs!  Highly articulated ceilings with glowing skylights!  Striated stone walls!  Rough brick and sensual wood!  A feeling of old and new dancing together!  Cozy enclosure and expansive windows!  And to literally top it all off, an amazing glass roof that connects everything together.

And while it might be considered “dead simple”, the entry way is what entices me the most for the way it serenely presents itself, a lovely mass of steel and wood, seemingly-symmetrical-but-in-actuality nestled between two differently crafted pavilions.  The proportions, the combination of materials, the way the overhang invites and calls forward, it’s all so very well done.

Yeah, gotta add this one to my list of places to visit (even if I can’t get a reservation within).  There’s something magical in this assemblage, and I want to experience it in person.

NOMA 2.0 by BIG Architects

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Architecture Monday

January 7, 2019

Let’s start 2019 off with a sweet adaptive reuse of an old powerhouse on the shores of the East River with views of the Brooklyn Bridge.  Can you say brick arches galore?

And how!  Leaving intact the exterior shell of the building, including its many, many metal shutters, the project’s new guts celebrate the aged solidity of all that brick.  To start, the newly carved open-air courtyard and pedestrian walkway connects the waterfront park to the city and turns those thick walls into an art object.  An object you can get up close and personal with through publicly accessible walkways and a roof terrace.  Want to see the park and the nearby Brookland Bridge?  Or the very cool carousel that’s just next door?  Those same terraces have you covered.

Going further upward, the new structure is rendered in glass and beefy steel, extending the feel of the building without mimicking the material or exact look.  By pulling back from the edges of the old walls, more terraces and green roofs are created while, again, celebrating the aged beauty of those rugged brick walls.

Inside, old structure and new are merged into an antithesis of a sterile office environment.  I especially love how they dealt with the windows, making a sealed structure while allowing the full depth of the wall to be felt through each opening from both inside and out (further enhanced on the outside by being framed with those shutters).

Even better?  This is right next to St Anne’s Warehouse, another adaptive reuse par excellence (featured here a couple of years ago).  Good stuff you’ve got going on there, Brooklyn!

Empire Stores, by S9 Architecture.

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Architecture Monday

December 3, 2018

Ok, there is a lot of similarity in the house below and the amazing work by Ando I shared a couple of weeks ago… but the scales are vastly different.  Here, a tight three-house compound in northern Beijing with non-existent yards was reimagined into a single home.  Keeping and upgrading the existing house along the north side of the compound, new additions were added along the west and south sides to create a U-shaped arrangement that creates a generous courtyard.

I’ll admit, I can be a sucker for exposed brick (especially in adaptive reuse scenarios), and this project has them in spades.  But there are a lot of other great details as well:  the exposed log-structured roof in the renovated old house, the patio and rock garden in the courtyard, the expansive windows and rotating screens, and the LED light strip that illuminates the intricacies and texture of the old tile roof at night.  With the generous windows throughout, the house feels continuous even though it’s wrapped around a courtyard; the courtyard becomes just another room to look through.

Like with the Ando design, it’s a very interesting mix of old and new, both factually and figuratively.  There’s a historic ruggedness in the brick and tiles and iron-grey railings and window frames, accented by the smooth concrete and crafted wood paneling.

I especially like this bonus moment where the courtyard opens a vista that allows the profile of the house next door to mirror that of the mountain ridge in the background.

Overall it’s good stuff.  Not a total adaptive reuse, but still a partial one that makes most of what was there before.

Backyard by CCDI

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Architecture Monday

November 19, 2018

This is by architect Tadao Ando.  So you know it will have spaces that evoke, quite viscerally, feelings of exquisiteness and marvel.  His mastery of light and form and proportion and volume is second to none.

Even if you haven’t been a follower of of my previous architecture posts, with an intro like that I don’t need to say that he’s definitively one of my favs.  I’ve admired many of his buildings, but this one has something extra unique and of interest to me:  it’s an adaptive reuse of an existing building, an insertion into a robust and formal brick shell, using the pre-existing walls and openings to create new forms and experiences within.

From those powerful atriums, where his silky and monochrome concrete forms play beautifully off the rich and rough red brick, to the more intimate and subdued galleries, to the new rooftop pavilion and glass-lined walkways, there’s almost no moment that doesn’t delight.

A wicked tour de force.  And much easier for me to visit than heading off to Japan again.  Very much on my list of places to visit.

Wrightwood 659 Exhibition Space by Tadao Ando & Associates

 

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Architecture Monday

October 1, 2018

Adaptive reuse, highly textured and rugged insertions, large mechanical devices operated by hand cranks… yep, it must be a design by Olson Kundig!

And how!  Once an old mechanic’s garage, the walls, ceiling, and windows all proudly wear the patina of time.  Within this rich background are added the equally industrial-like bits to turn the space into a winery and a company HQ.  Large pivoting windows replace the old garage doors, allowing the tasting room to become part of the sidewalk and vice-versa.  Everything within the room (including a large seating platform that doubles as a stage) is movable to allow as many uses as possible, from tasting to dinner to dancing to poetry to music jams.

Offices occupy the other half of the building, separated by or alternately opened to the winery via a single step up and large sliding solid steel plates that fit the look perfectly.

Yeah, I like this one a lot.  It hits so many of my aesthetic inclinations. Good stuff.

Charles Smith Winery and World HQ by Olson Kundig

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Architecture Monday

September 3, 2018

Coal, generators, and ballet.  A juxtaposition, and one that works great in this adaptive reuse project that saw an abandoned (for 50 years!) power plant reworked into a new center for dance in downtown Kansas City.

The best adaptive projects find ways to incorporate and celebrate the original, and for me, rugged industrial spaces like this offer the most potential for doing just that.  There’s no hiding or plastering over here, with the lofty and steel-laden character of the power plant not only kept but enhanced with new skylights and additions carefully woven to maintain the cathedral-like atmosphere.

Out of this, lots of very cool elements and spaces emerge!  The main dance studio, occupying a former engine room, shoots three stories upward and is bathed in light.  Old coal chutes are dolled up to become both visual interest as well new pendant light fixtures.  Coal bunkers become dressing rooms.

But the piece de resistance must be the old chimney.  Forming a centerpiece to the studio floor, the already-shortened stack gets capped in glass to become a glorious skylight.  Even better, it still functions as a chimney of sorts, only now for air rather than smoke, providing natural stack ventilation that helps keep the place cool.

What a great job and a mighty fine new home for the KC ballet.  The Todd Bolender Center for Dance and Creativity by BNIM.

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Architecture Monday

August 20, 2018

Let’s fly back to the future tonight.  To 1962.  To a building that looks very much like it’s going to take flight.  One that both ushered in a new era of air travel and has lost no power in its experience so many decades later.

Soaring, sinuous, sensual concrete that soars, emerging from the ground and arcing seamlessly into forms that very much evoke outstretched wings.  This is the greatest magic of the building, these curving forms that never cease and make for an enclosure that blurs the distinction between floor, wall, and ceiling, punctuated by ribbons of skylights that, coupled with the ginormous windows, belie any weighty feel of the concrete it is made of.  Lofty is an apt term, and walking in it pulls you forward, urging exploration and hinting at the adventure to come.

How each form blends into each other is the second magic.  A railing becomes a column column becomes a seat becomes a check in desk becomes a sign.  Natch, there’s something enticing of the classic 60’s décor and aesthetics, but this is a building that transcends simple nostalgia.  The design is expertly handled; all those merging lines and curves could have very easily become a right and confusing mess of visual clutter.

But let’s not totally discount that great furniture and décor.  Purpose built to fit in, the red upholstery contrasts strikingly with the white marble inlays in the concrete.  We’d call it retro-future now, and it’s still great.

Definitively a classic, one of the great designs of the world.  Fortunately, it has avoided the fate of closure and is in the midst of being reinvented as a hotel, due to open next year.  When next I’m in NYC, I’ve got to visit.

The TWA Flight Center/Terminal, by Eero Saarinen.

(Of interesting additional note: this was also the first air terminal to incorporate many of what we’d consider just par for the course these days — jetways, public address system, electric schedule board, even baggage carousels…)