Posts Tagged ‘adaptive reuse’

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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…)

 

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Architecture Monday

July 9, 2018

The Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern.  A glorious adaptive reuse, and one that created one of the most iconic spaces in the museum world, that of the old Turbine Hall.  Rather than fill the great void with new floors or ring the walls with art, it was left as an impressive canvas, a shell that itself is grand and uplifting and inspires wonder while forming the basis for temporary and site-specific installations, artwork of a place, all capped by a new, glowing, roof lantern.  One room, many faces.

Speaks for itself.  Very cool.

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Architecture Monday

June 18, 2018

Constraints can be fun, for they remove the paralysis of the blank slate, and call forth creativity and invention.  This project certainly had both in spades; for one, it’s a renovation (and perhaps adaptive reuse?) of a lovely and quirky stone building in an Italian hillside town, and for two, it’s absolutely tiny.  And it’s an apartment.

 

Here’s what the existing conditions brought:  a lofty space made of richly textured walls that constrict the further in you go thanks to walls not aligning.  It also brought a floor level that was several steps below the equally small entry yard.  Into that context, the renovation begins with an elevated deck and fire pit in the entry space, coupled with extended brick and rusted steel walls to create a private courtyard.

Inside, though, is a tonne of very cool additions and installations.  Most noticeably is the barrel vault that creates the second floor.  Much more than a flat ceiling would be, it maintains a sense of height (in what is not exactly a very high room) while also splitting the ground floor into different zones without walls or encroaching on the limited floor space.  Adding to this feel are the bits of built-in furniture and cabinets, especially the sofa/mantlepiece/fireplace that extends to accentuate the angular shape of the room.

Up the spiral staircase, a thickened closet becomes a restroom and shower, while on the opposite, angled, wall, the headboard grows in thickness to follow the closet and create depth between itself and the angled wall.  Nicest of all is the freestanding sink and mirror, a statuesque object next to the window (itself with a sweet thick steel plate sill) overlooking the mountains beyond.

My only quibble would be with the exposed wiring, not for its exposedness, but for its seeming lack of care.  In a space where there is a lot of play between the beautiful existing stone and the slickly crafted additions, the wiring occupies an awkward middle ground.

A very nicely done project, fully using the great character of the oddly shaped existing space and adding just what’s needed to make a beautiful abode.

Effegi House by Archiplan