Architecture Monday

Oh wow, the funkitude is strong with this one!  The curves, the copper, the protrusions, the sinuous shingle work, the way hit juts out from its sloping site to fly into the trees…

This is a house that is very much tailored to its owner, with little bits all over designed to support their lifestyle, from the meditation apertures (with wild circular glazing) to the acoustic ceiling for chorale singing to the gardens and the flow of inside and out.  Whether you like its particular stylings or not, it’s definitively got flair.

I dig it.  Very unique and fun and I bet the owner is super happy in it.  Creatively fantastic.

The Wilkinson Residence by Robert Harvey Oshatz.

Architecture Monday

This is a nifty little building experiment.  Starting with the humble brick wall, this renovation explores quasi-thickening the exterior façade to provide both texture as well as interior utility.

The result is this rich brick wall laid out in this checkerboard pattern of solid and void, whether windows or actual void at the top where a roof terrace resides.  The thickening part comes from pushing in each edge of the checkerboard to create a waffle of alcoves.  On the outside, each of the windows is pushed in, allowing for plants and greenery to grace the city.

Within, each of these alcoves are used for built-in desks, shelving, seating, or other furniture.  Windows alternate from low to high, a sculptural assemblage that brings visual interest and also lets light penetrate deep within the units.

This is cool.  It takes a local tradition and building material, and uses it in a new way to create a nifty face to the city (+ greenery) while also doing double duty and trying out something different for the apartments inside.  Plus the name of the project is a lot of fun:

“Operation Between Walls” by Natura Futura Arquitectura

Architecture Monday

This is a fun little take on the ‘typical’ shipping container house.  By slicing some of the containers along the diagonal (like they were the target of some giant’s sword practice) before stacking them the house gains a strong geometric form that rises from the ground and strikes out towards the sky.

As a bonus, this sculptural move also creates a series of open air decks and patios, giving every level of the house its own garden (or pool!) along with plenty of light, all culminating in a roof deck that overlooks the surrounding neighborhood.  On the flipside, the rising form also allows for a subterranean garage which further allows the property to be free for living space.

What I really appreciate in the house are all the little bits that take advantage of the shipping container as a module and as a material:  The slit windows that fit between the corrugations and create dramatic lighting patterns on the floor and ceiling.  The electrical outlets hiding within the container’s C-channel frames.  The brightly painted sleeping pods nestled within the perfect with of a container module.  And how the parking cut on the underside is leveraged to create raked seating for a home theatre.

But the house goes beyond being just cute and inventive, it’s got a great feel to it with plenty of light and texture, especially from the wood floors and ceilings (which also appear to be from recycled materials).  I like it lots, great stuff.

Carroll House by LOT-EK

Architecture Monday

I’ve prided myself on being able to Tetris space really well… no matter if it’s packing a car or making the most of my living space.  However, I gotta say this small house really elevates the art of Tetrising to a whole new, delicious, level!

This tiny home is built in a hutong, a narrow alley between an existing wall and adjacent building.  And not only that, it’s wrapped around a corner.  But it’s no dark, awkward, and cramped hovel.  By leaving one edge continually open as a kind of atrium hallway – including making great use of the tall and curved wall it adjoins by painting finishing it white and running a continual skylight along its edge – and placing nearly all of the living spaces on the other side as a series of adaptable cubic follies, it’s got great flow, feeling airy and even expansive.

Varying in height and chock full of tiny living tricks, bits of these follies slide and shift to reconfigure the spaces as needed to accommodate various uses, providing plenty of communal day space that becomes more private as it shifts to sleepy time.  At one end, a large glass door and window is actually one giant unit that can swing completely open, making the back patio and the house into one.  Equally nifty is that the cubes are fully climbable, leading to spaces left dedicated to children play, study, and sleep areas.  It’s kind of like the ultimate bunk bed or tree house, but still inside.  (Fear not, the adults aren’t completely left out of the fun, for on the other side of the L, there’s also a mezzanine bedroom and office.)

(And seeing that bench brings me a smile, for I have one of those in my foyer as well!   Though sometimes it’s also used to practice kung fu… then again, for all I know, so is the one in the photo…)

I love this.  Really smart design that creates an awesome house in the most conventionally unlikely of places, showing that the boxes in our mind of what a house needs to be can be quickly expanded with some carefully packed yet playful boxes in a creative home.  Nicely done.

Dengshikou Huton Residence by BLUE Architecture Studio

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.