Architecture Monday

Very excited that Francis Kéré won the Pritzker prize this year!  I’ve spoken about their work on here before (here and here — including one of the very first Architecture Mondays!) and everything I said then I am still enamored with today, especially the creation of great space and design with what many might term “limited resources.”  Because terming it such can be a death knell to the spirit.  As Kéré himself says, “It’s not because you are limited in resources that you should accept mediocrity. No, I never accept that! I try to do things I feel proud of.”

I ought to do some deep dives into more of his works, but for the moment enjoy this smattering of photos from his firm’s work:

“Simplicity doesn’t mean banality, it doesn’t mean something is not rich. It can be really rich.”

Absolutely!  Great work.  A big congrats to Francis Kéré for the well deserved win.  Check out the Pritzker’s announcement here, and the Kéré Architecture firm here.

Architecture Monday

Presidential libraries are an… interesting conceit.  This new design for the upcoming Teddy Roosevelt library caught my eye however, for the way it tries hard to not catch the eye.  Trying to capture his love of landscape, the library nestles itself into a landform.  It’s not trying to pretend it’s a natural hill, but rather complement them while providing porches and perches to view the so-called “badlands” of nearby Teddy Roosevelt National Park.

The whole project really needs to be seen in terms of context of its site plan, with paths and follies that dot the landscape, connected to trails and sweeping elevated boardwalks.  Not to mention the green roof which becomes a path in its own right, and the material palette of engineered wood and lovely rammed earth.

Perhaps it’s not surprising that I would love this, given how much I’ve gushed in the past about its architects, Snøhetta.  Who are no strangers to libraries both epic (Library of Alexandria) and integral (Calgary Library), nor strangers to working to engage the wonders of the site around them (such as with their cabins or the theatrical Under).

Sweet work.  The Teddy Roosevelt Presidential Library, by Snøhetta.

Architecture Monday

While shipping container architecture has become a bit of a thing (I’ve highlighted a few here in the past – I still love this train station), this one takes a different approach to using the ubiquitous containers:  as inhabitable roof structure.

A design for a warehouse, the 12 containers are spaced out along the length, each supported by a pair of v-columns and the spaces between spanned by frosted glass.  This makes for a surprisingly light and airy grand hall that appears more at home as a gallery or ballroom than a warehouse. Which isn’t too far off the mark – the abundant amount of light not only makes for a low-energy operation of a warehouse, but the space is enjoyed by gymnasts and skaters that the sports company sponsors.  (Which explains why the photoshoot is full of performers!)

A long catwalk gives access to the containers so they can still be used, and the whole thing leads to a combined office area where the more conventional roof is held in place by nifty giant letters that spell out the company’s name of Amaya.

I dig it.  Think warehouse, and you’re probably not thinking of something you’d like to spend time in.  But why not?  Here’s a working building that uses “working” materials (concrete block, steel, shipping containers) to create a delightful space to work.  Rock on.

Amaya Headquarters by RuizEsquiroz

Architecture Monday

It’s not quite a hobbit hole… but it is an underground house.  One that, with its sunken courtyard, perhaps has an even more dramatic entry than a simple round door in the side of a hill.

How this came to be is kind of fun:  the owners enjoy hang gliding and from that vantage point gave a lot of thought of how the house would appear from the air.  Also, they didn’t want to cut down too many of the avocado trees on the property, and who could blame them?  Avocadoes are awesome.  Hence, the buried house.

Now, it’s not 100% buried, for one façade does indeed get exposed, with a slope partially carved away to reveal the house just like that hobbit hole front door.  Between that face and the entry sub-subterranean courtyard, coupled with its narrow and linear layout and a few choice skylights, there’s plenty of light despite its buried nature.  If the slope wasn’t there, I think it would’ve worked equally well (and I might even have preferred it this way) with two sunken courtyards.  Definitively very cool how the very green roof is an extension of the field, littered with wildflower bushes and, of course, those avocado trees!

Very nice, a way of inhabiting the field rather than perching on it, living in the soil just as the nature around it.

Aguacates House by Francisco Pardo Arquitecto

Architecture Monday

They say California is in love with their cars… which leaves lots of extra car and road bits around… so why not get playful and use them into your architecture?

Road signs for fences and railings and siding, hatchback glass for awnings, station wagon tails for a a gate, plus repurposed sheet metal and more!

Something fun by Leger Wanaselja Architecture

 

 

Architecture Monday

I like this, a building ‘rescued’ from it’s intended undifferentiated glass box origins, taking the raw concrete frame and building something that is more in tune with its context and the environment in which it sits.  With colour, pattern, and plenty of greenery, it is at once nicer to look at, nicer to be in, and nicer to the planet.

The whole idea is quite clever in a rather logical way.  The side of the building that sees the most sun in this hot and humid environment houses the stair core and other utility elements, creating a buffer to keep heat and glare out.  The other two sunny sides are surrounded by open-air balconies, two of which are encased in a colorful set of scrim, shifting in geometric patterns to create openings out of which plants poke their leaves towards the sun.  The other two levels are protected by the overhang and more potted plants.

Heat and glare are kept out, and you’re working next to a little garden oasis.  Even more so when you open the sliding doors and let the breeze flow through.  As a supreme bonus, check out the little reading nook, nestled into the walls throughout!

Sweet work.  A building that could have been a pillbox that instead found life as a nifty object that’s lush and creates a wonderful space inside, all while needing less energy to run.  That’s what it’s all about.

MGB Headquarters by Spacefiction Studio

Architecture Monday

A play of light and shadow, a patter of falling rain, a breeze that flows throughout, and a house that organizes itself around a covered courtyard pool, with geometric perforated concrete panels that lets all the above happen.

And geometric boldness pretty much rules the day all throughout the house.  There’s lots of cool stuff going on, as the house pulls and stretches this way and that to catch the light or a breeze.  Or to catch a tree, embracing a towering royal palm tree that becomes another courtyard.

The great hall, no surprise, is really the centerpiece, opening without barrier to the pool with the three skylights (two angled to catch the morning sun, the other to catch the evening) being just the beginning as the concrete screen above the pool further lets the light dance about.  As a bonus, the cross-ventilation from this open screen above the pool, plus those on the front and back of the house, keeps it cool and pleasant and lets everyone be late into the evening before any lights need to be turned on.

Great designs embrace their context, and this house does so in spades.  Great work, and looks like a very fun place to live.

Casa Delpín by Nataniel Fúster

Architecture Monday

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with masonry and brick.  The banal, everywhere, front-façade-only, use of brick veneer on a generic house, well… that can go jump in a lake.  But highly expressive, truthfully used, rich textured brick, made even better when it’s got history and patina?  From what I’ve posted before on this blog, I think it’s quite clear that I’m totally into that.

This one can’t fulfill the history and patina part, but no matter; feast your eyes on this beauty!

If there was a picture needed for “expressive brick”, this, without a doubt, would fit the bill perfectly.  There’s so much going on, it’s hard to know where to begin.  A reinterpretation of a traditional fortress, it’s got inward-canted walls, rounded (or not!) corners, a dark stone base that rises into a vibrant brick top, bits of stone or brick that jut out or are recessed inward, and it culminates with arching brick latticeworks that top it off like a crown.  All this then further punctuated by patterned concrete boxes that poke out to form rooms or balconies.  It’s exquisite.

And it gets even better within.  Formed around a central shaft and stair, the different levels spiral upwards, creating numerous courtyards and porches and allowing nearly all parts of the house to be visually connected to each other.  The latticed stone and brick are left exposed inside, often further articulated and accentuated to provide a rich backdrop and a sense of solidity.  Best of all is the quality of light, sifting through the openings and lattices in ways both dramatic and serene.

Can this get much better?  How about yes;  the openings were not arbitrary and were instead designed with the venturi effect in mind to naturally cool and ventilate the house, and the roof collects water in a traditional kund and stores the excess in a cistern.  It’s designed to be a part of the world, not apart from it.

Needless to say, great stuff.  A wonderful piece of work.

The Gadi House by  PMA madhushala