Posts Tagged ‘Architecture’

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Architecture Monday

December 17, 2018

Wow, check out this wicked pizzeria from Matera, Italy.  Above a fast-flowing river that has cut a canyon deep into the surrounding landscape, the natural caves in this region have been used for shelter for thousands of years, developing into a city where many buildings hug the cliff face and extend deep into the rock.  There, human intervention merges seamlessly with the natural beauty of the caves, and this pizzeria is no exception.

There’s something lovely about the rock itself, wonderfully smooth and light in colour.  Lofting high overhead, it comfortably envelops and feels very much down to earth (pun most decidedly intended).

But it’s those moments where the undressed rock meets clearly worked stone, or when it meets plaster, steel, and glass, where the magic really happens.  And there are a plethora of those moments throughout.  That masonry pointed arch, or the embedded glass forming the entry way (further enhanced by the rusting steel), or the pure smooth white plaster that dissolves into the rock… punctuated by slender and elegant metal armatures and lights.

As can be expected for a cavern, it’s a delightfully complex floor plan, further leading to feeling both intriguing and yet decidedly snug.

I love those stairs, heading upward to a ‘private cave’!  Or the wine rack, comfortably nestled into a natural niche.

I totally dig it (yes, another intended pun!).  In my next travels to Italy I need to stop by this region and see all the great architecture that uses the best of its context like this.

Oi Marì by Manca Studio

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Architecture Monday

December 10, 2018

This is an interesting one to me.  Firstly, no doubt, for its unabashed wedge shape of blackness, as though a geological form or some ancient monument emerging from the ground (made all the more striking in winter in stark contrast with the snow).  Secondly, for the fact that this striking form has been crafted with some of the humblest, and inexpensive, of materials.  Lastly, for it’s multifunctional use, intended to be a craft and studio space for audiovisual design and exhibitions.

To that purpose, the inside was purposefully left raw and unfussy, with plenty of open space to be used as a studio.  But it still possesses a few nice touches that keep it from being a drab bunker of nondescript offices.  That concrete stair core, with its careful assemblage of cut-away concrete walls, is certainly a worthy entry and centerpiece.

Multi-purpose, made for the community, and an expressive design that demonstrates that big budgets aren’t always needed for good buildings.  Nicely done.

The Cathedral by Petra Gipp Arkitektur

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Architecture Monday

December 3, 2018

Ok, there is a lot of similarity in the house below and the amazing work by Ando I shared a couple of weeks ago… but the scales are vastly different.  Here, a tight three-house compound in northern Beijing with non-existent yards was reimagined into a single home.  Keeping and upgrading the existing house along the north side of the compound, new additions were added along the west and south sides to create a U-shaped arrangement that creates a generous courtyard.

I’ll admit, I can be a sucker for exposed brick (especially in adaptive reuse scenarios), and this project has them in spades.  But there are a lot of other great details as well:  the exposed log-structured roof in the renovated old house, the patio and rock garden in the courtyard, the expansive windows and rotating screens, and the LED light strip that illuminates the intricacies and texture of the old tile roof at night.  With the generous windows throughout, the house feels continuous even though it’s wrapped around a courtyard; the courtyard becomes just another room to look through.

Like with the Ando design, it’s a very interesting mix of old and new, both factually and figuratively.  There’s a historic ruggedness in the brick and tiles and iron-grey railings and window frames, accented by the smooth concrete and crafted wood paneling.

I especially like this bonus moment where the courtyard opens a vista that allows the profile of the house next door to mirror that of the mountain ridge in the background.

Overall it’s good stuff.  Not a total adaptive reuse, but still a partial one that makes most of what was there before.

Backyard by CCDI

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Architecture Monday

November 26, 2018

I love it when companies recognize good design makes for a better running enterprise, especially for building types that, over the past century or so, have been considered “utilitarian” and thus “unnecessary” or “wasteful” to spend any effort in making them places that treat their worker’s right.

And so, behold!  A fishing facility of docks and warehouses and processing and offices all high up in the rugged northern part of Norway.

It’s a fun mix of colour and forms and graphics that support both easy wayfinding as well as creating a great backdrop in the dark nights of winter.  Large windows let the surrounding landscape (or the northern lights) fill the employee areas.  The varied forms create an abundance of interesting places while hiding tonnes of little nautical hints throughout, all capped by the dramatic flying bar that houses the offices and other amenities.

Good stuff.  A well-crafted complex that improves operations while/by honouring its employees.  A delight nestled into a rugged landscape. Well done.

Holmen Industrial Area designed by the great team at Snøhetta.

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Architecture Monday

November 19, 2018

This is by architect Tadao Ando.  So you know it will have spaces that evoke, quite viscerally, feelings of exquisiteness and marvel.  His mastery of light and form and proportion and volume is second to none.

Even if you haven’t been a follower of of my previous architecture posts, with an intro like that I don’t need to say that he’s definitively one of my favs.  I’ve admired many of his buildings, but this one has something extra unique and of interest to me:  it’s an adaptive reuse of an existing building, an insertion into a robust and formal brick shell, using the pre-existing walls and openings to create new forms and experiences within.

From those powerful atriums, where his silky and monochrome concrete forms play beautifully off the rich and rough red brick, to the more intimate and subdued galleries, to the new rooftop pavilion and glass-lined walkways, there’s almost no moment that doesn’t delight.

A wicked tour de force.  And much easier for me to visit than heading off to Japan again.  Very much on my list of places to visit.

Wrightwood 659 Exhibition Space by Tadao Ando & Associates

 

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Architecture Monday

November 12, 2018

I’m not going to lie; this post is almost entirely driven by that first image.  Something about that lush greenery (it’s in Indonesia), surrounded by the solidity and blue-grey texture of the surrounding walls, with that pathway emerging to head over a bridge made of that same blue-grey stone over a pool of placid water to mark the boundary before stepping onto a terrazzo floor while a canopy of warm wood floats overhead, all counterpointed by that wood vase… yeah.  I dig it.

I also won’t lie to say I don’t have some concerns for this house’s location and size, perched on a steep hillside in what seems to be spectacular countryside.  So I’m a bit conflicted about this one, not knowing the full context and what may have been taken away to create these beautiful moments — sometimes just because we can build somewhere doesn’t mean we ought to.  And of beautiful moments, this house does indeed have plenty, with lots of lovely interplay between the surrounding vegetation and the built spaces of the house, with vistas and openings and courtyards and hanging gardens, oh my!

Inventive and a great blend of traditional house types with modern sensibilities.

The Chameleon Villa, by Word of Mouth Architecture

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Architecture Monday

November 5, 2018

I posted about the new Calgary Central Library earlier this year while it was still under construction… and now it’s done and open!

And it still looks great.  I waxed poetic a bunch about the lovely spaces that the renderings were beginning to develop, and the photos of the real deal show that it shines through in its final built form.  I still especially dig how it straddles the new light rail line, and the way they use the twin curves to inform the layout, creating the sensual atrium surrounded by a mix of spaces, all culminating in the communal “living room” at the building’s prominent prow.

This was one of my favourite renderings, and I like it even more in actuality, the way it frames the end of the street, and how the contrast heightens the features and beauty of both the old and the new.

Always fun to see the design/renderings and the final product, and it’s doubly great when the final form equals (or even, in some instances, surpasses) the pristine control of a computerized view.  Good stuff.  Now I’m even more keen to sometime.

The Central Calgary Library by Snøhetta