In honour of international cat day… catitecture!
And the ultimate kitty door…
Ok, maybe THIS is the ultimate kitty door:
Perhaps one of the most famous architectural photos of all time. Certainly it is one of the most famous of modern architecture, and likely introduced many to this new mode of design and its new architectural ways, forms, and materials. It was built in 1957 as a Case Study House, which themselves are an interesting thing, some 36 home designs sponsored by Arts & Architecture magazine as experiments in American residential architecture. This one, the Case Study House #22, overlooks Los Angeles by dramatically cantilevering the glassed-in and nearly transparent living room over the edge of the cliff, something this photo by Julius Shulman does wonders to highlight. To the eyes of the day it must have appeared completely otherworldly.
Is it gauche of me to post two BIG designs in a row? Feh, no matter, for I will use this to illustrate the ways they employ similar forms and ideas in responsive and different ways, and with a different language of materials. Behold, the appropriately named 79&Park (it’s next to a park, you see…)
Another of their “landform courtyard” style buildings, this one places the emphasis on wood and windows, with large vertical forms stacked upwards, each unit distinguishing itself with its own arrangement of fenestration. The result delivers order without rigidity, and variety without becoming a jumble.
Of course, the big moves still ring true here, with the stepped sections of the building responding to the aforementioned park while providing for both the courtyard as well as the sweet green rooftop gardens (complete with trees!). This arrangement also allows the units the most out of those giant windows, with plenty of avenue for light and views outward.
The killer is that this isn’t likely considered highly unusual or “grand luxury.” If my impression of the country when I visited was correct, this level of design is not that uncommon nor reserved for the hyper-well to do. It’s a recognition that quality of life affects us all, and why shouldn’t we strive for areas that shout, “this is a spot for living and living well!”
If you looked at this and thought, “That looks like a BIG building,” well, you wouldn’t be wrong. One part 8 House, one part Mountain House, with the addition of a striking gesture towards the water.
Starting with a simple courtyard square shape, the building angles itself down on one end while angling upward on the other, allowing it to open itself towards the city while also embracing the water on the other. Really embracing, as the water flows into the courtyard for easy access. And really open, as a public path from the city rises up and circles the whole building along a green roof.
Unfortunately, there’s no interior shots I can find yet, so no idea what it’s like in those units with the giant angled windows that overhang the water…
Though I joked at the start about being able to recognize it, really there’s no knock against them to engage their well-tested features in new ways to create another neat and enlivening place to live.
Oh I dig this apartment building in Winnipeg. Looking much like something that would be at home in the Nordic countries, it takes a roughish site and elevates (pun intended) itself to create some nifty living spaces.
A floating donut of weathered steel and glass would not be a pretty fair description of the building. Supported by slender concrete pilotis, the hovering drum also sports a central aerial courtyard that gives access to the units. Impaled by the stair and elevator access, it’s a neat sculptural entry to one’s house.
The units themselves are interesting. No surprise, they are wedge shaped, and they place the more utility functions near the entrance, allowing the rest of the space to expand outward towards the fully glazed exterior wall. Unit type A is seriously… interesting, with the free-standing tub you have to pass by whenever you enter or leave. It can be enclosed by movable partitions, so it can still become a private bathing area, but it is certainly genre-breaking and subverts what we would consider “normal”!
As a final crown, the building takes advantage of the stair/elevator core to perch a glass box of a penthouse with a full 360 degrees of view.
I dig it. Something out of the ordinary, creating great living conditions on a marginal site, enlivening the city as well as those who inhabit it. Sweet design!
62M Apartments by 5468796 Architects (who also worked on this storage/gateway I posted about a while back, also in weathered steel)
Here’s a nifty photo I took of a pretty cool space… can you guess where this is?
Check out this nifty school right next to the California Science Centre. Adaptive reuse + a new wing by Morphosis. And as a Morphosis building you know you’re going to get a lot of hyper expressive screens, stairways, and outdoor pavilions, but this comes with a bonus covered courtyard nestled within the historical structure plus green roofs and a berm that embraces the new building.
Next to a science centre, art museum, olympic stadium, and soon to be motion picture museum, plus a DC-8 as an entry piece, and nifty architecture… pretty darn cool.
An old and run-down church. Stripped to its bones, leaving bare its wonderfully rugged stone construction. Soaring upwards, it imparts a sense of solidity and longevity.
Into that verticality is placed an elevated chapel, raised and ensconced in a forest of wood. Beside and above, a new elongated concrete barrel vault hovers away from the existing walls, mediating the light from the windows and providing acoustics for the choir.
The rest of the furnishings are equally slender and spare, playing well as a counterpoint to the rough walls. Opposite the new chapel in the apse is a remarkable focal point: panels of thin marble create a screen before a full-height window, a glowing ribbon blazing into the interior.
This one isn’t quite an adaptive reuse, and it isn’t quite a renovation either… perhaps a re-inhabitation? Whatever we might classify it, it’s splendid.