Posts Tagged ‘adaptive reuse’

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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

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Architecture Monday

June 4, 2018

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.

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Architecture Monday

March 26, 2018

“Hey, we have this old, unused, industrial crane.  Can we do anything with it?”

“Oh we can….”

Yeah, there’s no way I can’t love this project.   Projecting from a pier in Copenhagen, this does indeed start with a giant dock crane, towering over both land and sea.  Repainted in a rich black, the design team inserted four architectural moments:  A conversation room, a meeting room, a hotel room, and a spa.

Wait, what?  Is this getting crazier by the minute?

Sure is, and in a good way.  Using all of that height, all of that size, and all of that structural capacity, this eclectic mix of uses is open and available to anyone who wants to book them.

Throughout, the various spaces maintain a richly appointed and restrained pallet that lets the views out onto the water and the city be the impressive backdrop. At midlevel, the glass box meeting room is quite self-explanatory, and climbing upwards, both the spa and the one-room hotel are delightful places to unwind.

My favourite for sure is the small meeting/conversation room, perched out beneath the crane’s boom, reaching towards the water and with an angled window that lets you lean out and surround yourself with an ever-changing tableau.  Using the existing bones of the old workhorse, its evolved into a meditative space of serenity.

Yeah, I dig this project a lot.  Gotta check it out when I’m over that way… and even book a stay.

The Krane by Arcgency