Posts Tagged ‘community’

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Architecture Monday

January 14, 2019

Sometimes, when you do well in school you get a gold star.  This particular school takes that notion in an almost literal way.

Shaped like a star, the layout of the school does a couple of cool things.  Each radiant point houses a grade levels or two, each sporting its own design character as well as age-appropriate sizing.  At the same time, grouping the shared and special functions by the centre creates the school unified and creates a strong communal point.  It at the same time allows for separate environments and scale that allow the students to relate to the building and feel safe within, while still allowing the school to be a unified whole through interactions and gatherings in the communal core.

And what a core!  The piece de resistance, the stair and open-air (and deconstructed) library and gallery seating and stage and who knows what else keeps the area alive and engaged with activity throughout the day while also being a powerful and ownable element in its own right.

The angled nature of each of the wings means that there’s no hallways per se; things are wide enough that the circulation can serve double duty as seminar and collaboration space.  And if that wasn’t enough, the place is littered with smaller rooms and nooks and all sorts of great spaces for students to gather and do work or just socialize.

Wait… is that… a nook with a literal PIT of LEGO?  (Well, I guess it is in Denmark)  Man… I love this school even more now.

As a bonus, check out those wicked and very fun conceptual drawings of the building!

Compared to many of the institutional and staid schools that abound, this is a design that aims to make an engaging and delightful place for the students and teachers who spend so many hours there.  Plus its design is geared towards natural ventilation, full of light, covered in solar panels, and aims outward towards playgrounds and parks and trails leading into the surrounding neighborhood.  Splendidly done.

Nordstjerneskolen (New City School) by Arkitema Architects

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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

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

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Architecture Monday

October 8, 2018

I don’t normally post renders of “might be built” buildings, but this one caught my eye.  For one, it is in Toronto, near a district I used to walk through all the time.  For two, there’s something compelling to me about the design.

The old building on-site, listed on the city’s historic register, originally housed (I think) a library.  The lower level, which admittedly has likely been renovated into blandville over the years, is nothing to write home about, but the second story has these pronounced decorative pilasters, windows, and a gaggle of other accoutrements.

What makes the new building nifty to me is how it uses those elements in its design.  It’s not a copy, not by a long shot (nor should it be), but that same language of those windows is carried forth along on the second story.  I especially like how then it is reinvented on the first floor, with large arched storefront windows and, even more wickedly, with the two half-arches that meet at each corner.  These corner arches open and ultimately dissolve the corners at the first floor, giving the building a very interesting profile and creating naturally inviting entry points.

The building then continues by being a great example of how to design with an eye to context.  The brick lends texture and a call back to the history of the buildings that surround it.  The reveal between the first and second story, as well as the cornice at the second story, tie into the horizontal lines of the store next door.  The cornice itself recalls the original building while also speaking to the adjacent old fire hall.  And the two new levels, delicate glass boxes, step back from the street, creating not only green garden/patio spaces but also reducing the building’s bulk.

I’m sold.  A great example of how our everyday buildings in the middle of a city done by completely commercial interests can still be, and should be, nicely designed.

12 Ossington by Hariri Pontarini Architects.

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Friendly Friday

September 21, 2018

Check out today’s Google Doodle!

Wonderful.  Rock on forever, Mr Rogers.

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Architecture Monday

September 17, 2018

If you were to take the name “Wall of Knowledge” literally, what would you do?

Forming the gateway to a school organized around a large exterior courtyard, these ginormous frames along with the inset rusted-metal fence make for one powerful gateway.  Step a bit closer, and it gets cooler as you can see that the holes in the fence are made of punched-out letters.  With its boldness, the texture of the stone, and richness of the rusty metal, the ensemble presents a memorable face to the world.

Beyond the gateway, the exterior of the school holds no more great surprises and is pretty banal by comparison (though it is organized nicely around the courtyard and other open spaces).  That said, there are some nice moments of surprise within, with pops of colour or writing, and some especially nice use of light and shadow.

A great entry to bring forth excitement as you enter the hallowed halls of learning.

The Wall of Knowledge Middle School by Tarik Zoubdi Architect and Mounir Benchekroun Architect

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Architecture Monday

September 3, 2018

Coal, generators, and ballet.  A juxtaposition, and one that works great in this adaptive reuse project that saw an abandoned (for 50 years!) power plant reworked into a new center for dance in downtown Kansas City.

The best adaptive projects find ways to incorporate and celebrate the original, and for me, rugged industrial spaces like this offer the most potential for doing just that.  There’s no hiding or plastering over here, with the lofty and steel-laden character of the power plant not only kept but enhanced with new skylights and additions carefully woven to maintain the cathedral-like atmosphere.

Out of this, lots of very cool elements and spaces emerge!  The main dance studio, occupying a former engine room, shoots three stories upward and is bathed in light.  Old coal chutes are dolled up to become both visual interest as well new pendant light fixtures.  Coal bunkers become dressing rooms.

But the piece de resistance must be the old chimney.  Forming a centerpiece to the studio floor, the already-shortened stack gets capped in glass to become a glorious skylight.  Even better, it still functions as a chimney of sorts, only now for air rather than smoke, providing natural stack ventilation that helps keep the place cool.

What a great job and a mighty fine new home for the KC ballet.  The Todd Bolender Center for Dance and Creativity by BNIM.