Posts Tagged ‘adaptive reuse’

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Architecture Monday

September 25, 2017

Some eye candy tonight of a very nice adaptive reuse from Montreal!  This one’s filled with delicious contrasts and intersections:  rugged brickwork with slick and smooth walls, deep tones with vibrant colours, old materials kissing new ones, deep windows with flush lighting, and some great shadow play.  As a bonus, this is an old railway station….

Lightspeed Offices by ACDF Architecture

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Architecture Monday

August 14, 2017

There’s something quite arresting about this house, in even this one photo.  The sun is certainly one reason why, gleaming off the smooth white polished and plastered walls (from locally sourced lime and salt) to bathe the interior in a sensuous glow… but for me it’s the way that smooth and polished plaster plays off the rough block construction that form the walls and columns, and even more so along the rough groin vaulting of the roof.  Against the strong uniform background the shadows and textures really pop, and the different patterns and surfaces make for a tableau of visual delights.  Even the stairs and floor are finely honed, adding their contrast between the silky and the coarse.

Even better is this is an adaptive reuse, made from a former lamp-oil mill built in the 17th century.  It does what adaptive reuse does best, letting the rugged form speak of its time and place while carrying it forward with a new use and new insertions.

Nicely done.  Ludovica + Roberto PalombaSerafini House by Palomba Serafini Associati

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Architecture Monday

June 12, 2017

Books, architecture, and delicious adaptive reuse.  An ancient church + insertion + lighting = one glorious space, and one of the most impressive bookstores on the planet.

I really love the clarity of concept (shown in the sketch above) and the simplicity of the basic design:  a stark multistory bookcase that hugs one side of the old church’s nave.  The black steel contrasts with the white of the stone pillars and arches, while the colourful books mirrors and joins hands with the fading frescoes on the ceiling.  It calls itself out, never trying to fake its way into being an original part of the church, yet it’s rhythms and proportions work harmoniously with elder.  And best of all, the placement of the bookshelf does nothing to diminish the grandeur of the space, or of the amazing windows.  Quite the contrary – by occupying but a part of the nave it heightens (pun semi-intended) the existing space.

And then, when you get up in the bookcase, and find yourself nestled up close and personal with vaults, arches, and those frescoes, the perspective shifts are wonderful indeed.

Also really liking the design for the apse, with a robust chandelier that creates an interplay of low, intimate space inside of the taller exuberance, and the built-in furniture that feels both at once monastic as well as contemporary.

This was a church that had been deconsecrated in the late 1700s and had languished in use and purpose, and it fills me with excitement to see it get this second lease on life.  And doubly so for such a great space.

Selexyz Dominicanen Bookstore by Merkx+Girod Architecten

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Architecture Monday

April 17, 2017

A nice little piece of adaptive reuse tonight, converting an auto body shop into a Japanese bathhouse.  Wait, what?

But yes, that is completely the case.  Often we overlook many of the buildings around us, indifferent to them and only noticing when we come across big-A or grand architecture.  Yet the everyday buildings make much more of an impression on us (very much every day as it says in their name), and everyday buildings are all capable of being spaces that invite and uplift.  And so, here, this everyday building was repurposed (I will not say rehabilitated, for I don’t think it was unhabilitated before) with care to create a serene space where we may not have expected one to be found.

Exposed brick, cleaned up timber supports and columns plus new walls made of reclaimed wood, an adjusted ceiling to transform the proportions of the space, skylight to bring light deep into the space, a sealed and polished concrete floor – all elements that make themselves seen in various combinations throughout the bathhouse.  Add to that an overall aesthetic that continually mixes opposites to heighten and enhance each and every part.  It’s straightforward and sensuous.  Lovely place.

Onsen in San Francisco.

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Architecture Monday

March 13, 2017

Let’s journey to King’s Cross station tonight, to visit the new West Concourse.  Fantastically combining adaptive reuse of the existing historic buildings with expressive structural elegance, it creates a great new expanse of space that welcomes travelers to London.

This was one complex project, touching a total of five existing buildings to improve flow and access to a bevy of train lines, underground railways, a hotel, and more.  For me the big delights are the fact that, despite this massive undertaking, they sought to preserve as much of the existing fabric as possible, and using that as a starting-off point for some great moments and spaces.

Inside the existing buildings, there is a wonderful dialogue between the old and the new, between the contemporary modifications and the historic backdrop.  It is not necessary to copy or mirror the past in order for a building to fit in with its neighbors (or, in this case, fit inside).  There are numerous ways to make the two be in dialogue and, even better, enhance each other in a way that a pastiche repetition would not.  Steel and glass and sleek lighting plays very well with the old brick, highlighting and beautifying the rich texture of the beefy masonry.

The new entry hall takes a different, but equally fruitful, path, with a radiant forest of columns and beams that form a dome over the entire hall (and that also delicately nestles in against the existing curved face of the Great Northern Hotel).  Tall, soaring, and seeming to float overhead, the roof highlights the restored facade of the Western Range building and leaving plenty of room for the necessities of a very busy train station.

The existing platforms were also similarly restored and upgraded, so that travelers today can marvel at the energetic structures that long have been a staple in grand stations.

Overall, lovely work.  And, as a bonus… at the end of the grand new concourse, a new, semi-secret platform was added, known to all those who have read the Harry Potter books:

King’s Cross Station by John McAlsan + Partners

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Architecture Monday

March 6, 2017

Adaptive reuse, skateboarding, and shoes.

Hmm.  A curious mix indeed.  As is the project brief for a large underground venue to host performance spaces, art galleries, video display, food and drink, and, most surprisingly, a large skate park.  All within 150 year old brick train tunnels under an active rail yard.

This is a nifty project.  Architecture is all about space.  It’s about how a space is defined, how it feels, and how it performs.  To the architect, materials, light, and volume are the palette.  With those tools, inspiration can come from anywhere.  And here, the architects have done a great job at embracing the motifs and physical features of the skateboarding world (including the pattern often used in Vans shoes) to shape their design.   Deft moves of concrete and a splendid use of light enhance the rough and rigid train tunnels to create a dynamic series of interconnected rooms.  Altogether, despite its seemingly rough and tumble nature, the whole assemblage actually feels kind of refined.

Very cool.  House of Vans in London, by Pete Hellicar and Tim Greatrex.

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Architecture Monday

December 26, 2016

This one’s not built yet, but it’s already got me intrigued.  An insertion into and old former water tower, in the town of Noordwijk, Netherlands.

Through that lovely model we can see how this is an example of a building “designed in section”, which is to say that there has been a lot of attention placed into the interplay of rooms and spaces in the vertical direction.  We’re more familiar with looking at plan views, and evaluating how this room joins another room just next to it.  But the upwards dance is just as important in creating spaces that feel good and enlivening, especially in something like a tower which, by it’s very nature, can’t accommodate much spreading out.  The model shows off the complex interlocking rooms, with mezzanines, double height spaces, stairs criss-crossing, and the grand windows both high and low.

An adaptive reuse (yay!) that will house both a private home and some public areas, the tower will be capped with a viewing platform to look out over the rugged landscape.  Colour me interested!

Water Tower by Studio Akkerhuis