Oh I so love these works by Abelardo Morell! Turning an entire room into a camera obscura, then photographing the result. There’s something very mystifying and fascinating about the real world projected into 3D space rather than a flat screen, interacting with the room, a mix of the mundane and the fantastical (and it’s up to us to choose which of either the room or the world is the mundane one and which is the fantastical). So nifty.
I can’t possibly link them all, so find more at his gallery here!
I’ve been a fan of the work by Patkau Architects for decades now, admiring the rich complex geometries of their buildings. This otherwise small and humble gathering space is no different. Eight repeating ‘petals’ form a circular room that soars up to the sky, like cloth captured in a breeze. Meanwhile, sculptural windows around the base allows the gaze to reach out towards the mountain like upon which the building is perched.
This is the second building on this site, using the same foundations as the previous one that had unfortunately burned down. The curving structure is astoundingly made of standard 2x4s turned into sinuous gluelam beams. Unfurling like a blossom and meeting at an oculus, the smooth white petals create a delicate space that gently holds everyone within.
Resting nicely within the landscape, it’s lovely work all around, and airy form that befits its use and place. Great stuff and another fine addition to the Patkau portfolio.
I think by now people know I love trains, and that I equally love many train stations (another nod here to one of my favs, in Ottawa). And as sad as it is when a train station is no longer in use, it’s ok in my book when it’s converted so wickedly as is this one in Brussels!
Good old school and lofty train stations are already such wonderful spaces, and what’s been done here is to leave most of it well enough alone, inserting independent multi-level pavilions to create offices, retail, entertainment, and more. These also create a network of streets that lead to large public gardens that just fit wonderfully under the soaring roofs. Crafted of wood, the whole thing is a welcoming space indeed.
Adaptive reuse, FSC-certified cross-laminated timber, water capture, natural ventilation, and PV panels integrated onto the grand front windows, AND an exciting space to be in… what’s there not to love about this? Great stuff.
Take the profile of the row houses in a Netherlands village, squish and compress and combine, and you have the fun shape of this community centre. That includes, among other things, a library, which resides under one of its high peaks supported these soaring forms of laminated lumber:
There’s a lot of nifty things about this community centre and nursery that are pretty cool, not the least of which is the way it organizes itself around a courtyard and gardens, or the many sustainable features (including an underground labyrinth for natural air conditioning). But what I’m going to fixate on tonight is its brick. It’s rugged brick, which creates a rich base texture, but it’s also used in extraordinary ways to create patterns, layers, shadows, and remarkable sculptural forms, both inside and out.
There are so many nifty techniques used here, from the simple shift of horizontal to vertical courses, or a shift from running to stacked bond, to stepped depth and the turning of bricks to create projections that explode into 3D and catch the sun in brickly delights. The many circular openings that jump out from the rectangular walls and patterns. And then there’s the form of the building itself, big and boxy but using the depth of its walls, revealed by recesses and openings, to create something feeling comfortingly sturdy.
Grand work. Brick can be very banal, but with some care it can be quite an impressive and wonderful beast. I love it.
Oh this one’s awesome… (and kinda close to my hometown!) An over 125 year old romanesque post office brought to new purpose to become a ‘bookless’ library, filled with creative labs and maker spaces and more. And it’s not just the stately post office building, it’s a new wrap-around glass pavilion that reaches out to engage the adjacent canal and make the whole shebang a part of the community space.
So, yeah, that gallery that hangs out over the river pretty much sells the whole thing. I mean, the original (and restored) post office is also lovely, with its arched windows, half turrets, towers, steep gable roof, and the brick and stone. All of that is enhanced with the new glass and steel surround that cantilevers not just once, but twice, hovering first over the water, then above over a patio/deck. And the undersides of which hasn’t been neglected, with polished aluminum and integrated lighting that speaks towards a future river walk. It’s dynamic and playful and though a very different language than the original building that contrast enhances each other, even more so when they are reflected off the water whether by day or, glowing like a lantern, at night.
Lots of light, lots of great views to the river and city beyond, and more interplay between the crisp new and the rugged old are what awaits within. These two languages combine in a culmination in the third floor maker space, inhabiting the cathedral-like space under the old high-pitched roof amongst the old support frames.
For an added bonus, there’s the glass ceiling that looks up into the old clock tower, putting the mechanisms on display!
Very cool project, another example of taking something already existing and, through re-use and a clever set of additions, turning it into something even greater. Plus public maker spaces/etc are a great addition to a community (I loved the one at the new library in Helsinki). And if you, like me, still love traditional book-filled libraries, there’s one right across the river.
I love adaptive reuse of just about every type, but there’s something extra lovely when old coal-fired power plants or coal storage yards are repurposed into something much less destructive. It doesn’t hurt that the soaring spaces and muscular structure within lends themselves well to all sorts of great insertions and intricate spatial play. To that end, here’s a nice new example of the genre, a bit of adaptive reuse in Wisconsin aptly named The Powerhouse.
A set of big brick boxes, built over time, is what defines the old plant, punctuated by strips of tall windows. A new fieldhouse made of polycarbonate panels is a nifty counterpoint, creating a diffuse glow inside by day and a lantern outside at night. And it’s hard to miss the smokestack as a calling card…
All the space inside is used in fun ways, mixing new levels with old and with the new functions intertwined around old machinery and infrastructure. The suspended running track is cool, traversing through all three old buildings and the new addition, letting you see the different eras and types of buildings while also interacting with old roof trusses and other bits of the building. And check out the idea of the climbing walls within the old coal hoppers! Now that’s a super nifty idea.
Good stuff. A new life for an old building, saving all the materials and the energy it took to build them, and turning it into a plethora of fun spaces for all sorts of great uses while also tying the waters edge, the city, and the university campus together. Mighty fine work.
That picture alone is enough to pique my interest; a music room nestled within a roof shed, crowned by a skylight with linear LEDs for supplementary lighting. It’s exciting in its own right, even more so when you throw musicians into the mix. But that’s just the start! For it is part of a monastery that has been artfully turned into a music conservatory.
While the above music room is in a new wing, there’s plenty of great examples where old and new are mixed to create something special. Like the former cloister turned dining hall, roofed over in a sandblasted glass that makes the restored white plaster surfaces glow.
Or the hallways and stairwells, and the monastic cells/bedrooms…
Culminating in a second music room in the rafters, this time in the historical portion of the building, with light streaming down to accentuate the rough hewn lumber framing. And airy and mystical place for practice.
A wonderful piece of adaptive reuse, and knowing much I love adaptive reuse there’s no way I can’t fall in love with this. Great stuff.