Posts Tagged ‘house’

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Architecture Monday

November 4, 2019

One of the jokes I make about my trip is that I travelled over 8000km just to look at apartment buildings.  And… well, it is kinda true.  I did look, quite intensely, at a lot of apartment buildings.  Some, like the last three posts here, were deliberate visits, but many were seen and experienced just by walking past.  There is a plethora of both solid and nifty apartment buildings throughout the Nordic cities, ranging from the sedate and mighty fine to the wild and adventurous.

(By the way, don’t get me wrong, I also love very much the “old school” 5-story urban string of walk-ups, often concealing lovely little courtyards.  They make for wonderful living and a lovely streetscape and urban fabric!)

To start our tour, I really liked these towers, for they were definitively not in a “trendy” neighborhood but still exhibited design care.  Varied window placements, textured brick patterns, but above all else, check out those hanging community rooms, suspended in the light atrium!  That’s a funky and nifty touch.

These ones jut into a pond, overlooking a park with a wood longboat sculpture…

Funky balconies and great colour, ho!

I totally looove this one.  Encompasses a courtyard, volumes jutting in and out, encased in nature, and, best of all, it is (I think, anyway) university student housing.  That’s way better than the residence housing during my time at university!

Clearly a deliberate and artful design.  Certainly nifty, and the angled volumes work to provide the inner units with views out to the ocean.

This one is hilarious, in that it’s done by BIG Architects, and I didn’t even know it before I stumbled upon it.  They’re everywhere!

Just a small sampling of various other buildings.  Overall, I found the “design median” quite high.  While some were meant for the “luxury” category many were not, often glimpsed from the tram or metro as we glided by.  All, I’d say, sprung from a general civic sense and understanding that well designed spaces elevates the everyday experience of for all.

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Architecture Monday

October 28, 2019

Two successful projects under their belt.  The same developer approaches them again with a new site just down the road.  Time to go for the hat trick… and boom: The 8 Tallet (8 House) is born.

Looking from above, there’s certainly no mystery where the name comes from.  A winding row of apartments shaped into a double courtyard arrangement, with an open flow in the pinch point that leads both into the courtyards but also allows for unimpeded cross traffic.  But the killer concept comes in the form of its sloping nature, filled with continual open-air ramps and staircases that connects nearly every unit together in one giant loop, from the ground to the top floor, fostering community connection and creating a sense of neighborliness not often found in large apartment blocks.

As with the previous two projects, there are several different configurations of apartments, some featuring front porches that abut the ramp, others with balconies facing the courtyards.  The courtyards are planted quiet spaces, and the entire building dips down to reach the ground (sporting a planted roof) along its southern corner, allowing light into the courtyard and views out to the fields and marshes of a preserve.

It’s big, yet bright and airy and interesting and playful and definitively a cut above the usual apartment building fare.  It’s rightfully famous and well known… so well known that it has had to post notices all around to remind us that, while amazing, it is still home:

As a bonus, we ate at the café at the base of that planted roof, looking out over the waters and wildlife and artwork of the park area to the south.  (And the food was excellent.)

As a double bonus, check out the great iconography and wayfinding graphics!

Hat trick totally achieved.  A mighty fine design in every sense.  Splendid work.

8 Tallet by BIG Architects.

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Architecture Monday

October 21, 2019

From last week’s post we’re going to walk just a few steps to the project next door, and BIG’s next apartment building.  With one successful project under their belt, the (same) developer was willing to loosen the reins a bit.  So, naturally, they built a mountain.

Named just that, the idea was to tweak the usual concept of parking below/apartments above by skewing the whole thing into a giant slope, and where this slope is made up of overlapping units.  Never thicker than one overlap, this arrangement allows each unit to be a balcony garden for the unit one level up.  In other words, starting at ground level, each unit has its own yard as the building slides upward towards the sky.  With each yard ringed by planters, it’s become a lush green hillside.

Just as nice, both the parking underneath and the pathways to the apartments are not rough afterthoughts.  The sides of the building are covered in giant metal scrims that follow the apartment’s stacking and onto which are etched a giant photo of a mountain.  Access to the apartments themselves are from the back of the units in a series of glazed hallways that open to the equally angled parking ramps, each hallway a unique beacon of colour.  (Which is also visible from the exterior and very impressive at night!)  Most niftily, since a regular elevator wouldn’t work, an angular funicular-like car connects the levels together.

Plus, as a bonus, you get this mural as you enter the garage!

Another great project idea, executed with aplomb.  It takes the programmatic requirements (a parking garage, a stack of apartments) and re-mixes them in a way that makes each one better and allows for that unique thing:  the spacious gardens.  I also appreciate how, despite it could be considered a “Phase 2” of apartments for the same developer on a site right adjacent the first, it became its own thing, providing variety for both the inhabitants and the cityscape.  Sweet indeed.

Mountain Dwellings by BIG Architects.

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Architecture Monday

October 14, 2019

One of BIG’s first major projects was an apartment building (the story of how they got the commission is one of amazing gall and almost amusing slyness) in a newly emerging area within Copenhagen.  As it was their first project, the developer was not willing to give them too much leeway in what they designed.  “Keep it somewhat in the box” is essentially what he told them.  So they did… though they twisted the heck out of that box.

Starting with a basic 2-bar design for two apartment buildings, they proceeded to poke and prod the forms to create a zig-zag pattern, creating a park nestled within the v-shape of one and a shared courtyard between the two.  And while the second building is nice in its own right, it’s that building facing the park that everyone remembers, for its balconies.  It’s crazy, amazing, assemblage of balconies.

With their distinct shape and positioning, it’s an amazing sight to behold, filled with intricacies of form, space, and light.  What’s even better and what I really love is how much the residents have taken the expressiveness of the form and used it as a launching point, adding holiday lights, artwork, and more.  Even the apartments themselves become something fun by bathing the inside with coloured light.  We visited the building as the sun was setting and the burst of colour and play of lights through the shadowed forms of those triangular balconies was very cool to experience.

Alas we didn’t get to go inside (it is, after all, housing).  But from photos on the ‘net, the apartments themselves also seem awesome, with dozens upon dozens of unique configurations all interlocking around each other to create something way more than your typical cookie-cutter stacking.  Filled with light, they feel fresh and invigorating, with lots of little areas of interest and fun.

Great work, showing wonderful and playful design that fit within the caution of a housing developer.  And definitively indicatory of the start of a storied practice for BIG.

VM Houses by BIG Architects

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Architecture Monday

July 29, 2019

The frame’s the thing with this house, and what a frame it is.  Two interlocking forms of striking, angled, black wood, each splaying at their ends to create covered porches.  One is tall and sits on the ground, while the other is long and narrow and seems to float above the ground as it pierces through the first.

Inside, the piercing form is clear and serves to delineate spaces even as your eye is drawn towards the windows that border the covered porch.

Nifty design.  Sleeve House by actual / office.

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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

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.