Posts Tagged ‘design’

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Architecture Monday

August 7, 2017

I just find this one really nifty.  An auditorium/stadium/community centre made pretty much entirely out of bamboo and a thatched roof.  And it’s gorgeous.  Arches upon arches upon truss-like-arches, going back as far as the eye can see.  Openings in the roof plane like an unfolding lotus flower casts light inward, highlighting the evocative structure even as it provides illumination.  Walls, balconies, stage, also all made of bamboo, held together by woven ropes.

Lovely.  Locally sourced, naturally harvested, nothing but borax salt for treatment, full of natural light and ventilation, and a delight to experience both inside and out.  Great stuff.

Bamboo Sports Hall at the Panyaden International School by Chiangmai Life Construction

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Architecture Monday

July 31, 2017

Now this is a pair of small houses/cabins that I totally adore.  Designed by the same school that designed the micro-dormitories I spoke about before, the different site and different intent here led to something equally quite different, yet just as enticing.

Slung low and with both weathering metal and reclaimed wood as an exterior, they slide nicely into the red desert landscape that surrounds them.  One hovers, while one embeds itself into the ground.  “Sibling” cubes, they are carved and articulated in ways that render them unique, most prominently by their shaded and protected outdoor porches that provide perfect vantage points to watch the sunsets and the beauty of the landscape.

But to me even more magic happens within.  The placement of windows and the tight integration of (built-in) furniture with the forms is exquisite.  These are not large cabins by size, but they most certainly don’t feel cramped.  The bathroom is cool enough, but the beds are amazing.  In the one cabin, lying with both a huge picture window by your feet, but also the low-slung window perfectly at bed level to let your eyes dance along the horizon as you fall asleep… And in the other cabin, the bunk bed arrangement creating two wonderful sleeping “pods”, the lower like a whole wood cabin to yourself, the upper with a skylight placed just so to let your eyes dance along the glory of the celestial sphere as you fall asleep…

Great stuff.  Carefully thought out and rigorously done, these are buildings that fit their location and create a space and a feeling within that is delightfully uplifting.  On my list to visit and experience one day.

Red Sands Cabins by the Colorado Building Workshop

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Architecture Monday

July 24, 2017

A wonderful school project in Zambia.  Using locally sourced materials and careful study of the site, this is one great set of classrooms.  The roof is calculated to shade the structure just right from the hot hot sun, acting like a giant parasol that keeps things below cool.  The windows are placed both high and low to let in lots of light without causing glare.  The split design lets the spaces between classroom blocks be porticos, porches, and spaces to gather and teach.  And the space between the parasol and the buildings is used as additional, open-air, classrooms – which in turn is a further moment of delight in the perforated wall that frames the stair access.

That seemingly mundane concrete block that makes the perforated wall possible is almost invisible to our eyes, so jaded by the usual uses of concrete block in our everyday lives, by careful detailing and the application of a lusciously smooth plaster.  With a rhythm defined by the carefully placed windows, it stands proudly but not disruptively amongst the big skies and grasslands that surround it.

This is no big budget project.  It is, however, big on design.  Creativity transcends.  It takes what’s there and multiplies it, crafting delightful spaces that works better for more people, in turn acting as a force multiplier for the activities of the community.  Great work.

Chipakata Children’s Academy by Susan Rodriguez, Frank Lupo, Randy Antonia Lott, Fabian Bedolla, Hiroko Nakatani, Mehonaz Kazi

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Architecturally Chuffed

July 23, 2017

I received this in an email this from a client a couple of years after project completion and it is music to my architect ears:

“Your visit gave me a chance to reflect again on how happy I am with the way we designed the space. Along with all the technical requirements, it was important to me that it feel pleasant to work in, and indeed it does.”

A space that feels great and works well is what we strive for, and it is always wonderful to know when we hit that mark.

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Architecture Monday

July 10, 2017

Sometimes, even architecture has to go to the toilet.

And I think these are great toilets.  They’re for a park in Austin, TX, so they’re more of an outhouse for hikers and cyclists than a traditional toilet, but that I think helps make them so nice.  Check out how the two buildings look like they could nestle into each other, and how though they’ve been pulled apart they’re still talking to each other.  They’ve got a nice muscular feel, something primal, and I really like how the angled forms of thick, rusting steel both reflects the light with glints of metallic vigour or becomes rich and textured, depending on the time of day.  Plus the way the shadows of the trees dance across.  You could pass at the same time each day and yet it would never be exactly the same experience.

Inside things are rough and rugged, and oh my did you look up?  How’s that for a surreal and yet great bathroom break view?  Yes, that tree is coming into your restroom.  Take a multi-meaning nature break to recharge… this has to be one of the top toilet experiences out there.

These are fun.  A word not normally associated with toilets to be sure, but that playfulness is what makes ’em even neater.  Intriguing, airy, and a view to the trees and the skies beyond, all while you do your business.

The Lady Bird Loo, by Mell Lawrence Architects.

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Architecture Monday

July 3, 2017

Oh my, I love this!  That crazy amazing facade of windows upon windows upon windows is great in its own right, but its backstory is even sweeter:  they are all reclaimed.  Every single one of them had a previous life.  And it doesn’t stop with just the windows:  old farm equipment is reborn as furniture, bottles become light fixtures, bricks and wood and more are all given a second career.

This community building is literally built from bits that have histories from within the the community.  It’s a reuse gem.

Those windows look great on the outside, and they glow magnificently like a lantern at night, but wow is it even better inside.  The twin-layer of the irregular windows creates an absolutely marvelous space, a complex intricacy of lines and patterns and shapes (almost a Mondrian painting) that in turn creates a tableau of light and shadow, both on the windows themselves and projected onto the walls.   And that rising roofline, beneath which sits the shop and taproom, contrasts so nicely with the more compact brewery, exploding the senses upward and outward in elation.  It’s exhilarating.

Not that the brewery itself is any slouch, nicely proportioned and well refined detailing with a traditional Japanese bent.  A reclaimed brick pathway cuts crosswise through the building, pulling you through and linking the community BBQ and lawn outside back to the town.  Inside, the pathway is flanked on one side by the cluttered homeliness of the shop, and by the precision stainless steel brewery on the other.

There’s so much to love here.  A very resource-minded building that uses a simple palette of materials, many found and reclaimed, with careful craft to create delightful spaces within while connecting to the community without.  Great, great work.

Kamikatz Public House by Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP  (whom I just realized also did the Ribbon Chapel I featured earlier…)

 

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Architecture Monday

June 5, 2017

Short and sweet tonight, which almost describes this little house in Japan – just swap out short with tall.  Definitively sweet.  A house born of constraints.  When you don’t have much land upon which to build, and said land costs a fortune, you gotta get creative and make the most of what you’ve got and use those very constraints to push yourself to generate beauty.

A long, tall, slightly curving space dominates the house, a cathedral-like space that ends in a remarkable window with an even more remarkable curtain.  Off of this nave spirals the working centres of the house, interspersed with gardens, all equally and generously glazed.  It’s simple, lovely, poetic, and crafts a delightful place to live in a mere 645 square feet (60 square metres).  And at the very top, you sleep in a treehouse.

Nicely done.  O House by Hideyuki Nakayama Architecture.