Posts Tagged ‘Sustainability’

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Architecture Monday

August 27, 2018

Alright, this turned out very cool.  It’s a community sauna (yes, sauna!), designed and built very much from the community.  Sitting atop an existing pier structure in the rapidly changing and former industrial harbor of Gothenburg, the project brought together architects and local volunteers to create something new using as much recycled materials as possible sourced from its industrial surroundings.

Which turned out to be a very cool generator for form (and function).  Ya got what ya got, be it corrugated metal, bits of wood at certain lengths, tonnes of excess bottles, and who knows, those stairs might well have been a cast-off find as well.  With that you play, and play, and play some more, and before you know it, you’ve got something visually engaging and a series of spaces that are perfect for the sauna experience.

Check out the glow from those bottle windows, or the sinuous wood womb that is the sauna proper.  Or even the walkway leading to and from it all, looking like a natural dry riverbed from the odd bits of wood and random bits of stone tiling.

To go to this sauna is a trip, a playful one, that not only engages the community but truly comes from and can be owned by the community.  Perched out on the already interesting structure of the pier, it’s rough and tumble cladding speaks to the old while its sculptural nature enlivens all that is around it.  Best of all, that crazy form permeates to create a sweet experience within.  Good stuff.

The Svettekörka by Raumlabor.

 

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Architecture Monday

July 2, 2018

This is a level of playful niftiness I can totally get behind.  It’s also a great thought provoker on how we can design more smartly and use less space/resources/etc by designing with (still playful!) flexibility in mind.  All in a small garden house.

Four elegantly designed wood structures interlock on a wood deck; two of the structures are quite solid, two are greenhouse-like windows from floor to the top of the pointy roof.  We can do the math, but there’s five basic configurations that alternate the position of shade and light, solid and void, view and privacy, and even open versus enclosed.

There isn’t much more than that, but there needn’t be.  With things closed up, it’s a cozy cabin perfect for huddling close to the fireplace on a cool winter’s night.  Push the glazed ends out, and you’ve got room for a ginormous dinner party.  Flip it around, and your daily living space takes in all the beauty of spring or fall.  Sleep under the stars, or sleep curled up in the corner.  Come summer, the house splits and you’ve got patio living at its finest.  Or zebra it all.  Rearrange to respond to whatever flies your fancy that day.

Very cool.  And very nicely done too.  I really like the intricate and beautiful wood trusses that form the greenhouse portions, and there’s something equally elegant in the pairing of the wood siding and steel roof in the cabin portions.  The wood stove is designed to mesh well (and be safe!) in all configurations, even providing an outdoor cook spot when the centre is open.  And like the house itself, the lot is both expansive and nestled, with a pond on one side and a copse of trees on the other.

I like this aplenty.  The Garden House by Caspar Schols.

Also, bonus video!

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Architecture Monday

June 25, 2018

The first word that comes to mind in seeing this house is “lantern.”  Maybe because of the warm glow amongst the dramatic skies of northern Nova Scotia, but also because of its vertically stretched proportions making it appears it has been set, gingerly, down on the land.  It catches the eye and marks a place without needing to invade or dominate the landscape.

Surrounded by woods and with views of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, the board pattern that adorns its face matches the trees that encompass it in both colour and thinness.  I love the updated interpretation of the traditional east-Canadian windbreak, rendered in heavy, rusting, steel that marries well with the marbled patina of the wood slats.

Inside, all that height is put to good use, with walls and a mezzanine becoming like freestanding objects within the lantern.  The narrow strips of window and skylights casting a playful air throughout the space, balancing the large windows that let the view flow out towards the water on the other.

Well proportioned, embracing vernacular architecture, and ensuring a light touch that nonetheless creates something special and a joy to be in.  My biggest add or alternate would have been to add a hearth.  Overall, a wonderful cabin retreat.

Rabbit Snare Gorge by Omar Gandhi Architect and Design Base 8

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Architecture Monday

May 28, 2018

So, you want to build housing in an already developed urban area while keeping it affordable and avoid mass demolition and relocation.  Cool.  In that case, you can adaptive reuse, and/or build in the interstitial spaces, those little lots and underused and awkward side yards and alleyways.  In the case of Starter Home* 1 (the * is part of the name, not a footnote…), that’s exactly what OJT did.  Squeezed into a narrow lot in New Orleans, the home is pretty much what it says on the tin, a nice house for those just starting out.

Befitting the nature of the project, the constraints and surroundings of the site informed the design.  And while there are a few choices I’m not fond of, it is a nicely done solution.  The front face of the house starts low, to maintain the scale with its neighbors, before rising towards the rear, up to the maximum height allowed by code.  In addition, the front gutter and first of the sawtooth roof ridges closely align with the roofline of one of the ones next door, a subtle but harmonizing move that further ties the home to the community.

Inside, we have a two and a half level home, sporting an airy loft near the back.  I especially like the interval between the house and the cleaned muscular brick of its neighbor, as the space between acts both a lightwell and, with its gapless wood deck kissing the wall, a nice textured backdrop. The open plan and plethora of windows keeps the house feeling big and grand, ready to accommodate multitudes.  And if you want to curl up in a cozy spot, that loft’s got you covered.

It’s always great when a research project gets built to really test things out.  This one came out quite fine.

3106 St Thomas by OJT.

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Impressions of an Electric Car Driver

May 24, 2018

When I posted my little musical interlude a couple of months ago, it wasn’t just a random whim – I’d received my invite to configure my Tesla Model 3.  A few weeks later, I got the call to come and pick it up.  It’s the only thing I ever stood in line for to pre-order, plunking money down in a sort of ultra-Kickstarter production wait deal.  And thus far, it’s been totally worth it. Read the rest of this entry ?

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A little song tonight…

March 22, 2018

(Pardon me while I do a little happy dance)

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Architecture Monday

March 19, 2018

A double spiral.  One is a garden.  The other is house.  Together they intertwine to create living spaces that are never more than a step away from greenery.

From the living room (which overlooks even more greenery along with a pond/pool in the generous rear yard) through the kitchen to the office to the bedroom, the continuous meadow-like greenery follows the rise of the house, leading up towards a bonus garden on the roof.  As could be expected, the house is filled with light from this spiraling courtyard.  The materials within are kept simple and clean, to better highlight the lushness of the foliage nearby – in a way like a gallery, the windows taking the place of frames, and the garden the painting.

I like this a lot.  I can imagine the design brief:  we want as much of our lot to be garden as possible, and we want it to be as visible from the house as possible.  Lifting the garden/ground plane up and wrapping the two together is a great solution, leading not only to the ample garden views, but some very interesting ceilings and room geometries.  As a bonus, the combination of the green roof, integrated with water collection ponds at the edges of the roof, plus all the natural light and the solar panels make for a very sustainable house.

Gorgeous greenery, fun rooms, lovely spaces, and a house that gives back to the environment.  That’s one very sweet combination.

MeMO house by BAM! Arquitectura