Posts Tagged ‘design’

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Architecture Monday

July 15, 2019

If this building looks like it was assembled from a kit of almost random parts, well, that is because it, in many ways, is.  Gathered from 30 traditional villages demolished to make way for new developments, the leftover remnants were gathered up and used to create the distinctive faces of the buildings.  Recycled brick, tiles, stones – some which date back over a thousand years – were carefully arranged to create a stable structure that surrounds the angled shape of the museum.

Even the concrete structure of the museum has something unique embedded within.  Using bamboo formwork during construction, it emerges heavily textured, full of rich variation that complements (while still being different) the assembly of found fragments.

As a bonus, the slanting and rough surfaces create striking canyons and courtyards.

I have some trepidation about this building – it is certainly striking and nifty and in many ways beautiful, but it’s also hard to not think of the 30 villages demolished in the name of “progress” that resulted in a rubber-stamp gridded city of rigid uniformity (and of ecological dubiousness).*  Still, for what it is, I do like its creative form and the architect’s desire to give expression to those who lost their villages (at least in an “if I can’t stop it at least I can do something” kind of way, I imagine).

The Ningbo History Museum by Wang Shu, Amateur Architecture Studio

 

* In China, the past is often bulldozed to make way for the new.  “Historic Buildings” as a concept has even less of a presence than it does over here.

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Architecture Monday

July 8, 2019

Here’s a fun home that creates hillside living in the midst of the city!  Its smooth white and expressive exterior only hints at what’s within…

Ringed with swooping forms, sloping green roofs, and punctuated by pavilions, it’s a playful and yet serene affair.

Inside there are plenty of connections to all those verdant hillside swoops and the private courtyard.  Centered around a traditional Korean hearth, the spaces unfold in a spiral with fun intricacies and suffused with plenty of light.

A house out of the ordinary, filled with delight.  Very cool!

Flying House by IROJE KHM Architects

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Architecture Monday

July 1, 2019

In honour of Canada Day, here are some photos of our lovely Parliament Hill Centre Block!

Radiant in autumn…

The beaver is a proud and noble animal!

The always impressive Confederation Hall.

Artistry in stone and glass.

And it’s totally hard to not fall in love with the library…

While I’ve always had a softer spot in my heart for the East and West blocks (and their greater intricacies vs the perfectly-symmetrical Centre block), I still do like the Centre block a tonne.

Happy Canada Day everyone!

 

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Architecture Monday

June 24, 2019

Hold up for a second… Wine and Olson Kundig architecture?  Sign me up!

I’ve spoken about Olson Kundig’s work before, and I very much love their work, especially their ability to pair the rough and rugged with the refined and precise.  And they do so not only in terms of materials and mechanisms, but even, and especially, spatially, crafting highly elegant spaces that emerge from within the hardy structure.  And this winery is no exception, with a plethora of striking tableaus as you travel through the complex.

Or, as you travel outside and around the complex as well.  Set upon a hilltop it is a nice assemblage of different buildings, appearing timeless yet modern at the same time.

(And check out that belltower!)

Great work.  I gotta go visit this next time I’m in BC.

Mission Hill Family Estate by Olson Kundig Architects

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Architecture Monday

June 17, 2019

I do like me my little spaces of contemplation, and this one in the Ukraine is a mighty fine example.

Outside, it’s got this quirky little form that is somehow familiar yet also not at the same time.  Square yet also curvy, simple yet with some surprising complexity near the top, and an off-centre entryway that is even more mysterious with the extra roof that hovers inches above the ground.  And covered in shingles that match the trunks of the trees in which it is nestled.

Inside there’s beautiful stuff happening, especially when you look up.  That is one cool oculus, a twist of geometries that elates, further punctuated by some precision lighting.  Simply adorned, the wood interior arcs upwards, bending towards the light.

And that strange ground-hovering double roof turns out to be there to shield a continuous window band, aligned horizontally with your view as you sit peacefully on the floor.

Very nicely done, a space both quiet and exciting.  Good stuff.

Chapel of the Intercession by RdsBrothers

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Architecture Monday

June 10, 2019

For less than the price of a small “shack” in my current neck of the woods,* you can buy a designated historical masterpiece by none other than Frank Lloyd Wright.  And once again, thanks to the magic of a real estate listing, we get great photos of the inside of such a usually private work!  Lo, let us feast our eyes upon the Pappas house:

The Pappas residence was one of FLW’s “Usonian” houses.  Usonia was a concept that Wright developed and turned into a manifesto of sort, espousing ideas about housing and living and community planning.  They were squarely intended to be for middle class families, built with materials and methods that were straightforward to manage costs, yet at the same time coupled with a strong design to make them sing.

While the Usonian concept calls for strong integration with the site and nature around it, and many homes were built on sloped or otherwise interesting lots, that isn’t as much on display here at the Pappas house.  But what is fits with many of the moves that FLW brought to his design:  a strong horizontal feel, high clerestory windows to bring in light, breaking down corners and even whole walls through windows and glass doors, and a masterclass in using differing levels and ceiling heights to create a playful and interesting set of interlocking spaces. Material use is also well on point, marrying the mosaic-like solidity of concrete blocks and tile with the warmth and continuity of wood, punctuated by all that glass.

The house for sale even comes with original FLW furniture!

Compared to the monumentality of the Ennis house, this is anything but.  Yet in no way does that diminish the qualities within.  It may not be the strongest of FLW’s Usonian designs, but it’s still darn good.

The Pappas house by Frank Lloyd Wright.  Images and Listing by Dielmann Sotheby’s International Realty.

 

* To be fair, some of the shacks (albeit not too many) are Eichler houses, which are quite amazing in their own right.  And I do mean that; I live in an Eichler-inspired home, and it’s fine, but walking into a true Eichler just hits you with how exquisite the space and design is.  Of course, to buy an actual Eichler in this area is going to cost you wayyyyy more than buying a “Like-ler” (as the local planning department has named them) and certainly way more than the Pappas house out in Missouri.

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Architecture Monday

June 3, 2019

For many years my friends and I would travel to Toronto to visit, among other things, the few gaming stores to get our fill of RPG materials.  Taking the subway from Scarborough, we’d walk through then from the Eaton’s Centre down Queen Street, and up Spadina Avenue to our main gaming store haunt.  Along the way, we would pass around this amusing oddity, a point where the street flowed around a large island located smack in the centerline of the street.  On that island was a rather stately building that, despite that stateliness, we never could tell what it was used for, or whether it was even use at all.

Well, I needn’t wonder any longer, for the building has been taken and expanded into the new home for the School of Architecture at the University of Toronto!  From the restored front to the landscaped back, the building mixes old and new and emphasizes the juncture between the two, turning that intersection into the primary entryways into the building.  The addition is a box, primarily relying on changes in the roofline and topography to provide some (and I might say just barely enough) articulation and interest.

The best happens inside that box, however, with a plethora of interconnecting spaces radiating off a principal hall that serves multiple duties as auditorium, gallery, and critique space, all culminating at a large graduate studio on the top floor.  With a sculptural ceiling that allows for an abundance of natural, indirect, light, the hall then itself connects through generous circulation to other ancillary spaces allowing the whole affair to come alive in different ways throughout the needs of the school year.  Crits, symposiums, workshops, and extra project space are all well accommodated.

I think my favourite spaces though are the revamped interiors of that stately original, bringing forth much of the character and form of the existing building and rendering it in a nice and new twist with careful touches and with some striking lighting.

Overall, I call this one a win.  The interpenetrating shards of the interior works excellently in providing the varied spaces needed for an architecture school, and there is a nice interplay between the orthographic and grounded original building and the airy, fractal-like new (which in of itself is great for budding architects to experience).  And best of all, it’s brought life and use to a building that was once this odd folly cut off from the city by a busy road and streetcars.  Now it’s a vibrant hub that even makes the detour drive around it curious and new.  Well done.

The Daniels Building by NADAAA