Posts Tagged ‘adaptive reuse’

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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

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Architecture Monday

March 5, 2018

Imagine stumbling on an enigmatic “ruin” – an old cement factory with cavernous rooms, punctuated by massive supports (sometimes for things no longer there), and dotted with stairs leading to nowhere.  A child’s dream to explore… and a playground for a whimsical and very cool reinvention.  With some careful demolition and clever insertions, the old factory was transformed into offices, archives, a library, theatre, and a huge multi-function space.

I love this thing!  The whole thing is visually interesting and teasing, very fairy tale like (which is very much helped by the gothic-like tracery added to windows and around doors).  The rich texture of the rough concrete helps a bunch too, evoking the feel of natural stone that the castle was either carved in to, or otherwise built out of.  Surrounded by gardens and greenery, it really is like inhabiting a forgotten world.

And the rooms inside are a delight as well.  From the old concrete silos (round rooms! aka turrets!) to the great machine halls, everywhere the original (industrial) shapes are used to excellent effect.  Solid yet soaring, heavy yet filled with light, with smooth wood and steel contrasting with the rough natural concrete, it’s a delight for the senses.

Sorry for the million pictures  here, but there are just so many of them that catch my imagination.  I’ve gotta try and visit this place sometime.  What an amazing piece of adaptive reuse, using the bones of something gone to create something wonderful and new.

The Factory by Ricardo Bofill

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Architecture Monday

January 15, 2018

Oooo, this nice.  A former barn/shelter for goats, nestled against a cliffside, refinished with local materials, and expanded with a lovely addition, all to become a cottage available for travelers to rent.  With bonus sheep that graze right outside the doorstep!

There’s lots to be said for the tactile beauty of rough plaster walls, and the feel of being ensconced within their thick confines.  Check out how the plaster curves to meet the doors and windows, accentuating the natural feel.  One long room divided only by furniture, the loftyness of the open rafter roof overhead coupled with the white walls make for a grand and glowing space in the day, and a cozy nestled up by the fireplace spot at night.

The new addition is also quite sweet.  Mirroring the cottage’s form without being a slavish copy, the rough, board formed and ground-coloured concrete fits nicely into the lush and earthy surroundings.  Even the chimney gets into the act, adding a nice fine point to the overall composition.

The view from the bedroom, wow.  And while that huge window by itself would be quite amazing, paring it with that smaller one in the corner adds that extra je ne sais quoi to make for an even more stunning experience.  The pure white (and again softly rounded) room also enhances the verdant colours, saturating the beauty of the surroundings.

And those seemingly glazed side alcoves you may have noticed in the outside pictures?  One’s the entrance to the addition, and the other, well, I present to you a sunken tub with a perfect platform for sky and star gazing.

Nicely done, a fabulous example of adaptive reuse.  Lovely.  Adding it to my list of places to visit and stay.

The Lost Cottage