Architecture Monday

It’s no big secret that I love rough, rich, exposed textural brick (yet I am way less of a fan of brick veneer, curiously).  I also love clean lines and careful attention to detail that punches through to both accentuate and punctuate.

All of which is why this house is such a delight for me, for it has all the above in spades.  A clean plastered box on the outside with an equally clean standing seam roof, it turns into a rich delight on the inside with its exposed brick and equally exposed wood roof framing above.  Thick steel frames jut out in several places, creating entryways and window porticos.

While using few elements the diversity in feeling for each space within is great.  There’s plenty to love in here, but my favourite has to be the office /bedroomwith the ladder-accessible loft.

Very nicely done.  House V by Martin Skoček.

Architecture Monday

Take a little dash of ruins (an old parchment factory, in this case) and dab of an old cow shed, apply some adaptive reuse and a bit of careful addition inside of the old walls, and you have one nice addition for a historic Victorian house.

Rather than demolish the rough and rich ruin walls, the new additions slips between them to make their aged texture a part of the composition, further heightened by the mismatch of stone and brick between the various structures.  Even better, while the new addition is, well, new, much of it was built using material found on site.

Throughout old and new material are juxtaposed artfully, as are their crisp lines and jagged edges.  Looking out, whether from the living space or the new rooftop deck above the addition, the walls of the factory ruin – and its lovely pointed window! – frames everything while forming a little courtyard.

Some sweet adaptive reuse going on here and a great use of the existing conditions.  While the temptation is often to scrape clean and start fresh, this is a good example of where embracing the rough and tumble leads to something far more exciting to live in.

The Parchment Works House by Will Gamble Architects

Architecture Monday

This one for sure can be filed under the category of tiny house (it’s about 12 m2/130 ft2).  But interestingly it’s also perched on a roof of an existing building – a demonstration of reclaiming leftover spaces to create something not only valuable but that could also be rendered beautiful.

The simple bent A-frame structure is covered in a gleaming seamed metal roof that reflects the sky during the day and the urban lights at night, while the twin glazed ends (one clear, one frosted for privacy) turns the house into a lantern and beacon in its own right.  It’s also quite elegant, a shapely little folly that slides unobtrusively into the skyline.

For this first version, things were kept simple on the inside, with an exposed wood structure and paneling that contains coconut-based insulation.  A rectangular core near the back contains the major utility functions for the house, making the most of its small space.  This leaves the living space and loft above to open upwards and outwards through the full-height window that offers views of the mountains beyond.  With windows at both ends of this small house, it is an understatement to say that it is suffused with light.  At the same time, its opaque side walls, along with the porch-like overhangs at both ends, prevents glare overload while also keeping the house from overheating in the equatorial sun.

Whether interested in small houses or not, or whether interested in a project that latches onto an existing building (adaptive expansion rather than adaptive reuse?) or not, its simple form and resulting poetics makes this a house to take note of.

The ”Parasite” House by El Sindicato Arquitectura

Architecture Monday

Here’s a sweet pair of homes, built together by splitting a corner lot.  Almost the same, but not quite, the two play off each other to create two new units where only one might have otherwise stood.  Even better, they were built on a budget with high energy standards in mind and yet never skimped on design quality to satisfy either of those aims.

I love how their simple forms and simple materials work nicely together, with the vertical striations on the standing seem metal roof and wall panels pairing nicely with the deeply coloured horizontal wood boards.  The clean detailing wherever two surfaces meet lets the houses read like idyllic forms, sketches made real and resting lightly on the land.

Inside, the covered porch/portico under the pitched roof continues through the ample window to create a lofty living space.  I also really dig the large rolling barn doors that lead to the office and the bedrooms at the back of the house.  And with the kitchen pushed out into the wood-covered extension, the exposed rafters and roof ridge can continue back from the front room to lend the house a very expansive and bright feeling.

This is some good stuff going on here.  Two homes built with purpose and flair, showing that good design and “everyday typical housing” are not incompatible or impossible.  Nicely done.

Two Houses on Oak Hill Avenue by Studio 804.

 

Architecture Monday

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.

Architecture Monday

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.

Architecture Monday

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.

Architecture Monday

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

Architecture Monday

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.

Architecture Monday

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