Posts Tagged ‘community’

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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.

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Architecture Monday

August 27, 2018

Alright, this turned out very cool.  It’s a community sauna (yes, sauna!), designed and built very much from the community.  Sitting atop an existing pier structure in the rapidly changing and former industrial harbor of Gothenburg, the project brought together architects and local volunteers to create something new using as much recycled materials as possible sourced from its industrial surroundings.

Which turned out to be a very cool generator for form (and function).  Ya got what ya got, be it corrugated metal, bits of wood at certain lengths, tonnes of excess bottles, and who knows, those stairs might well have been a cast-off find as well.  With that you play, and play, and play some more, and before you know it, you’ve got something visually engaging and a series of spaces that are perfect for the sauna experience.

Check out the glow from those bottle windows, or the sinuous wood womb that is the sauna proper.  Or even the walkway leading to and from it all, looking like a natural dry riverbed from the odd bits of wood and random bits of stone tiling.

To go to this sauna is a trip, a playful one, that not only engages the community but truly comes from and can be owned by the community.  Perched out on the already interesting structure of the pier, it’s rough and tumble cladding speaks to the old while its sculptural nature enlivens all that is around it.  Best of all, that crazy form permeates to create a sweet experience within.  Good stuff.

The Svettekörka by Raumlabor.

 

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Wonder Wednesday

July 25, 2018

The Nagano Olympics opening ceremony finale.  A wonder because:

1 – It’s Beethoven’s 9th symphony 4th movement ‘Ode to Joy’.  That alone would render it wondrous.

2 – But it’s also being performed live from six locations across five continents.  The technical wizardry to pull this off was quite the feat, taking the orchestra and main choral from Japan and beaming it to the other five continents then taking the return stream, leading to six different feeds that, thanks to transmission delays, are all totally out of sync with each other, so that they then put it all back together and properly in time (constantly adjusting to prevent drift) and then piping it into the stadium.

3 – But the real piece de resistance is what’s happening within the stadium.  Not the dancers, but in the audience.  Because look at the crowd.  Standing.  And signing along.  In German.  That’s a love of music right there, and 100% perfect for the spirit of something like the Olympics.

Wonderful.