Posts Tagged ‘design’

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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

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Architecture Monday

May 27, 2019

Pardon me if I indulge here for a moment by posting another adaptive re-use design by Heatherwick studios, this time from South Africa, transforming a building type familiar to many and found throughout the world:  the waterside concrete grain silo.

On the one hand, grain silos are super strong and resilient.  On the other hand, they’re kind of limiting… what is one to do with all that tubular space?  Fortunately, the first hand and the second hand can come together, with the unified strength allowing for massive holes to be cut into the structure without collapse.

And that was the founding point of the design.  Using a leftover kernel of corn that was literally picked up at the base of one of the silos as the template, a massive atrium was cut into the silos to create a grand entry and circulation space.  And hoo boy, grand it is!  Glazed on top and with circular elevators and stairs gliding through the peripheral silos it’s a stunning sight to behold.  And one of detail mastery as well; the skill on display required to cut the concrete in the complex curving forms is amazing.

The adjacent grading tower with its strong boxy form is a nice contrast to the silo tubes.  With jeweled windows that protrude from the strong boxy frame additional galleries, event spaces, and even a hotel are created.  Best of all might be the amazing roof sculpture gardens that not only provide an amazing panoramic view of the area coupled with sculpture, but also the skylights for the atrium upon which you can walk and cavort and dance.  Or the rooftop pool for the hotel…

One of the strict desires/briefs by the client was “No curving galleries!  Art is not round!”  So the majority of the galleries seem to be white boxes that totally belie the silo nature in which they are contained.  This to me is unfortunate; while I get the desire for straight walls, to not find a path that could both celebrate the curvy while maintaining the orthogonal is a bit of a lost opportunity.  But that hardly breaks the project.  As an amazing reuse of a very industrial building this is an exceptional win, delightful to experience and doubly great that African modern artists now have a local home upon which to have their works displayed and celebrated.  Great stuff.

The Zeitz MOCAA by Heatherwick Studios

Bonus video!  Click here:  https://vimeo.com/269008579

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Architecture Monday

May 20, 2019

Old and new.  Molten aluminum and brick.  Perforations sprouting greenery.  Nestled between the historic and the imposing landscape.  An addition and refurbishment of an old convent-turned-museum along the northern coast of Spain.

A nice addition merging the historical with the new, with a bounty of marvelous detail work.  Great stuff.

San Telmo Museum by Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos

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Architecture Monday

May 13, 2019

So this is nifty.  You’ve got these two former coal hopper warehouses that, while built by the same person, are not parallel (to better work with the incoming rail lines and turning radiuses).  They are big, made of brick, super solid, and full of arched loading bays that would be perfect to convert into stores.

Cool.  Now, you also want to include both indoor and outdoor event spaces and do something to unify the two buildings.  Hmm, what to do…  well, how about “pulling” the roof like taffy and have the buildings kiss?

Which turns out to be as equally impressive inside!

Lots of nice stuff here that builds upon all sorts of features that were already in place from the industrial days: the multiple ground planes, the train access bridges, the rugged and tactile brick, the Victorian ironworks.  All pulled together with additional bridges, lots of glass, and, of course, the twin ribbons hovering like magic over the new plaza.

Cool beans and a fabulous adaptive reuse project.  Coal Drops Yard by Heatherwick Studio

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Architecture Monday

May 6, 2019

Step yourself across the bridge, marveling at the captivating roof before heading down the entrance stair that bisects this island cabin.  Enter, nestle in, and enjoy.

Nestled itself into the surrounding landscape, the cabin follows the topography of the ground below, the floor raising and lowering as it spirals around a central hearth that sports built in furniture.  Warm wood frames it all, with a wood scrim wrapping on all sides (even above!) that filters light like the leaves on a tree.  At night, the cabin glows as a lantern.

Day or night, a cozy little retreat.  Nicely done.

The appropriately named House on an Island by Atelier Oslo

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Architecture Monday

April 29, 2019

Now this is a thing of sinuous beauty.  Four intersecting cylinders, shaped and carved by ellipses to form a striking curvaceous form, rendered all the more amazing by the fact that it’s all brick.  Jutting directly out of the water (a bridge is needed to access it it) it’s like an ancient landmass rising directly from the fjord.

The brickwork itself is amazing, custom glazed in hues that vary from the water towards sky, its regularity interrupted not only by the curving forms but also punctuated by special oversized (and circular!) bricks.  The windows and brick merge together to continue the forms, and the whole thing dances in its interactions with water and sky, light and shadow.

Inside, all those curving forms make for some lovely spaces that also boast views out of the great windows towards the city and landscape beyond.  And check out those details, like the circular elevator and wrap-around stair or the conference table with a chandelier that takes reflected sunlight and spreads it throughout the room.  Great stuff.

What a delightfully sculptural and sweet building.  Nicely designed to fill its role, a great mix of indoor and outdoor spaces and a fitting ambassador welcoming you to the city.

The Fjordenhus by Studio Olafur Eliasson and Sebastian Behmann.

Bonus video!