Posts Tagged ‘community’

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Architecture Monday

November 18, 2019

Let’s slip back over to Oslo tonight, to visit the Opera House (which also houses he National Ballet, plus theatre, concerts, and more) designed by none other than one of my favs, Snøhetta.

One of the things that makes this building stand out – besides its gleaming white facets emerging from the water like an iceberg – is how much it integrates itself into the city through those facets.  They are huge ramps, inviting everyone to stroll up the face of the building and walk along the roof, taking in the views, sun, and experience.  And whenever we passed there were always plenty of people doing just that.  Even better, several times a year they anchor a barge in the bay for either a stage or a screen and host giant, free, concerts and other events.  (We even saw the barge being prepared on our last day there).

Inside, things take a turn for the sensual, with the three theatres contrasting the angular exterior through being wrapped in rich and sinuous wood.  The lofty main entry hall is extra fun, seeing past the wood drum as it rises to watch people pass by the windows as they walk on the roof outside.

The seating lobbies and the main theatre both carry the rich and enveloping theme even further.

A cool and nifty exterior coupled with a warm and nifty interior makes for a sculptural and appropriately theatrical building of beauty, well used and well loved by the city, and now its almost de facto center point.  Great work.

The Norwegian National Opera House by Snøhetta.  (Who won the commission through a blind open design competition – only after the entry was chosen did anyone learn the fortune that that a local Oslo firm had won!)

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Architecture Monday

November 4, 2019

One of the jokes I make about my trip is that I travelled over 8000km just to look at apartment buildings.  And… well, it is kinda true.  I did look, quite intensely, at a lot of apartment buildings.  Some, like the last three posts here, were deliberate visits, but many were seen and experienced just by walking past.  There is a plethora of both solid and nifty apartment buildings throughout the Nordic cities, ranging from the sedate and mighty fine to the wild and adventurous.

(By the way, don’t get me wrong, I also love very much the “old school” 5-story urban string of walk-ups, often concealing lovely little courtyards.  They make for wonderful living and a lovely streetscape and urban fabric!)

To start our tour, I really liked these towers, for they were definitively not in a “trendy” neighborhood but still exhibited design care.  Varied window placements, textured brick patterns, but above all else, check out those hanging community rooms, suspended in the light atrium!  That’s a funky and nifty touch.

These ones jut into a pond, overlooking a park with a wood longboat sculpture…

Funky balconies and great colour, ho!

I totally looove this one.  Encompasses a courtyard, volumes jutting in and out, encased in nature, and, best of all, it is (I think, anyway) university student housing.  That’s way better than the residence housing during my time at university!

Clearly a deliberate and artful design.  Certainly nifty, and the angled volumes work to provide the inner units with views out to the ocean.

This one is hilarious, in that it’s done by BIG Architects, and I didn’t even know it before I stumbled upon it.  They’re everywhere!

Just a small sampling of various other buildings.  Overall, I found the “design median” quite high.  While some were meant for the “luxury” category many were not, often glimpsed from the tram or metro as we glided by.  All, I’d say, sprung from a general civic sense and understanding that well designed spaces elevates the everyday experience of for all.

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Architecture Monday

September 16, 2019

The library train continues!  And what’s this, combining books and adaptive reuse, two of my favorite things, together?  Yes indeed!

Housed in a former tram (streetcar) maintenance sheds, the library takes full advantage of the old tramway doors to craft huge windows with giant shutters that playfully incorporate a bookshelf motif when open.

Inside, the space is kept wide open, punctuated only by furniture (including the bookshelves with colourful seating/desks), and a mezzanine against the great exposed brick wall that itself nestles a kid’s corner that rises like a boxy mountain.

Nicely, the library expands outward into an adjacent café, which itself is adjacent to a sports complex that occupies the rest of the repair shed.  Even there, books (and games) abound!

Altogether forming a wicked community hub, this is one great bit of adaptive reuse, keeping the history and aged ruggedness of the old shed and marrying it with an airy comfort.  I liked it a bunch, if I lived nearby I’d be there often for sure.  Nicely done.

The Norrebro Bibliotek

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Philosophy Tuesday

May 14, 2019

Often the most frustrating things

About a tragedy –

Whether one unfolding,

One yet to come,

Or one done and gone;

Whether personal,

Or of a nation,

Or of the planet;

Whether solid,

Or existential;

No matter the type –

Are the twin responses

Proffered by many:

 “It doesn’t/won’t make any difference to MY life”

Or

“It had nothing to do with me, it just happened.”

 

Indifference and lack of accountability

Are the two most destructive traits

Of humanity.

 

We have the capacity to care.

Empathy and responsibility

Are two of our most beautiful traits

When we choose to employ them.

 

It can be so easy,

Instinctual even,

To close our eyes and pretend

It’s not our problem,

And that things that affect others

Are somehow beneath our care.

 

Yet, we desire others to be there for us

When tragedy strikes.

Why do we try to have it both ways?

 

We are rapidly running out of time

On so many things.

And, really, little is truly

Independent from us.

It comes around to affect us eventually.

 

Now is the time

To engage our hearts,

Our empathy,

Our compassion,

And unleash our finest traits.

Before we are no more.

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Architecture Monday

March 25, 2019

Ah, I love this!  A new school in a remote village in Senegal, the Fass School uses local materials and know-how to beautiful effect, creating something unique and beautiful for the community.

Befitting the region, the design features lots of natural ventilation, white reflective walls, and a high ceiling to keep the space comfortable during the hot and bright days.  The tall roof also serves double duty to help channel rain to an existing underground aquafer when the driving rains arrive.  Add to all that that a generous courtyard and large porches.  It’s a wonderful example of form and function singing together, creating delightful spaces that enhance the learning within.

If this project looks a bit familiar, it is because it is by Toshiko Mori, who designed the Thread Cultural Center I posted about a few years ago.  Just like there, I love her continued exploration and use of the local forms and materials, the curving surfaces flowing together to create a unified whole, both in the school and the adjacent teacher’s house (and toilets!).

Really great work, providing a new hub and opportunity for a community, celebrating the culture, history, and creating something lovely well within the budget of a nonprofit.  Great design comes from the heart, not necessarily the wallet.

The Fass School by Toshiko Mori.

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Wonder Wednesday

March 6, 2019

Our beautiful home

With the new Dragon II spacecraft approaching

A new dawn

In more ways than one

“We can be united by a cause that’s not based on fear, threat or common enemy but rather on a bold endeavor, an insatiable curiosity to go beyond what is known and to do what has never been done. We Humans were built for Exploration.  And we were built to do it together.”

Photo and Quote by Anne McClain

(Who has a glorious and delightful series on her twitter feed giving a tour of the station to the little earth plush that arrived with the Dragon II… very cute!)

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Architecture Monday

February 18, 2019

I posted about the Sagrada Familia quite a few years ago (aside: it’s been four years?  Wow…) and every time I come across a picture of the nave it still floors me.  (Here’s a 360 interior shot that gives some sense of it – the interplay of all the elements in motion while walking would render it more magical still).  Still on my list of places to visit, though more and more I’m planning out in the future for when it is completed, if only because even the ancillary spaces are going to be something amazing.

Case in point:  A neighbor recently visited the cathedral and brought me a book that shows a picture of the “crossing room” – a room just above the main crossing of the nave and the apse, where the main tower is to rise, and it is, in a word, stunning.

The columns are continuation of the ones below, angled and formed to follow the structural forces without requiring exterior buttressing, creating these marvelous concentric rings of interplaying columns leading up to a whole gaggle of hyperboloids vaults that will be skylights… all punctuated by these angled and gem-like windows.  The floor itself is suspended by these columns, hovering over the vaults below, with raked steps perfect for both quiet contemplation or a choir or any number of things.  It is a thing of beauty, both spatially and structurally.

Here’s a 360 degree photo:

Even crazier is that the tower jutting above is going to be equally stunning in an entirely different way.  Where this room has columns enclosing an open centre, the tower will have a sculptural central element (housing a glass lift) sinuously rising to the tower’s full height surrounded by diamond windows and colourful tiling.

 

No photo yet – construction is just underway – but have a rendered video instead:

Just incredible.  The level of intricacy in both the work but also the number of rooms and spaces where you wouldn’t think there would be any, generated by following the conceptual underpinnings of the design to its fullest detail, all with the intent to create beauty over and over and over again.  Absolutely wondrous.

The Sagrada Familia by Antoni Gaudi and countless others who have carried on the work.