Te Ara Hihiko / Athfield Architects

Architects: Athfield Architects
Location: Wellington,
Design Team: John Hardwick Smith, Katherine Dean, Chris Winwood
Collaborators: Dunning Thornton Consultants (Structural Engineers), Arrow International (Contractor), Jacob Scott (Artist), Nick Kapica (Wayshowing & Signage)
Area: 3,500 sqm
Year: 2012
Photographs: Courtesy of Trends Publishing, Matt Paterson

From the architect. The design for Wellington’s Massey University College of Creative Arts building, Te Ara Hihiko, is the outcome of a Design competition won by Athfield Architects Ltd in collaboration with Dunning Thornton Consultants and Arrow International.

The building is arranged on a north-south axis and comprises a pair of vertically stacked, lofty but lightweight linear studio ‘containers’ that straddle the escarpment, stepping down the contour and enveloping a major new circulation route connecting the upper and lower terraces of the campus, inspiring the Maori name of the building, Te Ara Hihiko; ‘the creative pathway’.

Through the centre of the building, at a junction between floating and grounded building elements, crossing from west to east, from high to low, are double height spaces that allow views through the building. Here the main gallery is centred, offering the building a strong centralised address to both upper and lower terraces. The completed building provides flexible open-plan studio teaching space as well as group research spaces, workshop, green-screen film studio, gallery and a multipurpose presentation space.

The structure includes the world’s first multi-storey post-tensioned timber frame, resting on a conventional masonry and insitu concrete plinth, The structural design enables the building to ‘rock’ open and closed as the frame sways in an earthquake and incorporates damage avoidance design principles allowing for early occupation of the building following an earthquake. The simplicity, regularity, and proportions of the post-tensioned LVL frame eliminate the requirement for fixed structural divisions on the upper two levels and allow a wide range of spatial layouts, fit out and uses over time. The frame is highly articulated and expressed from both inside and outside, contributing strongly to the character of the building.

The building employs many environmental principles including a timber frame with low embodied energy, composite floor units combining the compressive thermal mass and acoustic properties of concrete with the tensile and lightness of timber. Natural ventilation is also used throughout the building, and combined light and ventilation shafts centrally located within the building provide additional fresh air and daylight into the interior spaces. The exposure of timber in the frame and floor structure, in combination with a range of other raw materials, integrated with art installations such as the Jacob Scott art carved ceiling panels, provides a robust, textured and inspiring framework and ambience for students to create and exhibit work.

Te Ara Hihiko / Athfield Architects Courtesy of Trends Publishing Te Ara Hihiko / Athfield Architects Courtesy of Trends Publishing Te Ara Hihiko / Athfield Architects © Matt Paterson Te Ara Hihiko / Athfield Architects Courtesy of Trends Publishing Te Ara Hihiko / Athfield Architects Courtesy of Trends Publishing Te Ara Hihiko / Athfield Architects Courtesy of Trends Publishing Te Ara Hihiko / Athfield Architects Courtesy of Trends Publishing Te Ara Hihiko / Athfield Architects Second Floor Plan Te Ara Hihiko / Athfield Architects Third Floor Plan Te Ara Hihiko / Athfield Architects West Elevation Te Ara Hihiko / Athfield Architects East Elevation

How to Buy a Home and not a Headache

house not a headache1 How to Buy a Home and not a HeadacheWe want to help you make your house a home and save you the pain, agony and heachaches that can be associated with home ownership. We want to help you avoid buyer’s remorse altogether. Read on and this as your guide to buying a perfect home, not a headache!

home 1a How to Buy a Home and not a Headache

Get your ducks in a row

The number one cause of home-related headaches is finances. It’s most important to get all your financial ducks in a row and really know where your finances stand before you even start the house hunting process. Meet with mortgage and financial specialists to figure out just what you can afford. Buying a house is not a straight-forward process. You’ll need to know how much to have on hand first for your deposit, and then what percentage of your mortgage you will need to put down in cash. You will also need to know how much cash to set aside for renovations and home improvements. You will also need to have a safe amount of emergency money in the bank for potential problems and disasters. In home-ownership, there is always something that needs to be fixed or replaced.

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Consider your lifestyle

Your home will reflect your lifestyle in many ways. Are you single? Married? Do you have, or do you plan on starting a family in the near future? Are you athletic and outdoorsy, preferring to be near running trails and open fields or are you more culture-oriented, preferring museums, galleries and restaurants?

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Know what you’re getting into

Hire a home inspector or engineer to take a thorough look at the property you intend on buying. A home inspection will be so thorough that it will inspect every element from foundation to the roof and everything in between like plumbing and electrical work, light switches and faucets. With this incredibly detailed report in hand you will have some idea of the issues you will be facing. You can determine at that point whether you want to go on with the purchase of the home or whether you would prefer to walk away. Things break in the home. Things break often. Be prepared to run to the hardware store often.  Also be prepared to call the professionals and do not be caught off-guard by the unexpected.

house or condo How to Buy a Home and not a Headache

House or condo

The key to home ownership is deciding what it is that you want – and making a decision that will not leave you feeling with regret. Perhaps you love the idea of owning a house but are daunted by the size, expense and maintenance. If this is the case you may well want to consider an apartment or condominium. When you purchase a condo or apartment there will be other factors to think about. While you’ll not be responsible for lawn management you will have dues that will cover the costs of all grounds and property management. You will have association fees as well and possibly certain rules to adhere by. If you plan on remodeling your condo, you will need to run it by the association for approval.

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Location, location, location

Scout of the neighborhood and the lay of the land before you put any offers on your home. Just as important as what’s inside your home is what is outside the home. While you can remodel and repaint the inside, you cannot change the outside – I do not mean your home’s facade, I mean the location of your home. Before you start house hunting you ought to scout out several neighborhoods. Do this in the evening and do this during the weekends. Will you be commuting? Will you need to be near a train station or highways? For commuters, it might behoove you to try out the commute from the possible new location. Are you better off living in or near a city? Or do you prefer the quiet of the countryside. If you have children you will want to put much thought into your neighborhood and school systems.

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The heart is in the home

It’s what inside that matters. You should absolutely make a list of what it is that you must have in your home, include items that are important to you even though they may not necessarily be on the must have list.  You may see a home and decide that your priorities have shifted. Certain things like flooring and appliances are easily changed. Other things, like porches, fireplaces, number of bedrooms and bathrooms can always be added, but at a great expense. Look at as many homes as you can. The right one will speak to you!

outside the home How to Buy a Home and not a Headache

Go Outside

Equally important is the outside of your home. Do you wish to have a lot of land or a small piece of property? The more property your home sits on, the more maintenance that will be required. You’ll need to take care of lawns, shrubs, trees and at least once a year, removal of the leaves that have been shed by the trees.  Outside maintenance is very can be very time consuming, depending on the size of your property, could take up a greater part of your weekend. If you’d rather not be bound to your yard, you will need to factor in the additional costs of property maintenance.

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Size Matters

Last but not least in the case of home ownership, size does matter. Do not buy more house than you can afford. In addition to higher taxes, your utility costs – lighting, cooling and heating will go up dramatically. If you buy more home than you can handle it could end up swallowing you whole, consuming your life. You don’t want to be so house-poor that you have no money left over to enjoy the other things in life. You’ll also need to pay attention that you don’t buy too small. If you have a growing, or plan on growing your family in the near future, you will want to be sure there’s plenty of room to accommodate this growth.

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Binder Woodcenter Executive Pavilion / Matteo Thun & Partners

Architects: Matteo Thun & Partners
Location: ,
Project Leader Architecture: Bruno Franchi
Project Leader Interior Design: Uta Bahn
Architects In Charge: Oliver Hofmeister, Julia Leinfelder, Jens Seemüller
Interior Designer: Michael Catoir
Area: 4000.0 sqm
Year: 2007
Photographs: Jens Weber

Landscaping: Laura Zampieri
Light Designer: Simone Fumagalli
Electronic System: Franz Binder GesmbH Holzindustrie, A – 6263 Fügen/Zillertal
Construction Documentation: Harald Dablander, Bahnhofstraße 2, A – 6361 Hopfgarten
Site Supervision: Ing.-Büro Seibold + Seibold, Kardinal-Preysing-Platz 14, D – 85072 Eichstätt
Statics: Merz Kaufmann Partner GmbH, Sägerstraße 4, A – 6850 Dornbirn
Technical And Sanitary Facilities: Ing.-Büro Angerer Walter, Kienbergstraße 33 a, A – 6200 Jenbach
Electric Planning: MS Consulting, Martin Scherbaum, Hans-Denck-Str. 16, D – 85051 Ingolstadt-Spitalhof
Shell Work: Dechant Baumanagement GmbH, Abt-Knauer-Str. 3, D – 96260 Weismain
Wood Construction: Sohm Holzbautechnik GmbH., Bühel 818, A – 6861 Alberschwende

From the architect. Binder is one of the leading European companies in the wood industry. The clean-cut and precisely designed new executive pavilion of the Kösching wood mill to the north of Munich, Bavaria, is surrounded by warehouses: an all-glass central section (the entrance hall) and four lateral constructions, made of alternating glass and wooden panels, wedged into the former to create a clean-cut H-shaped base and two inner courtyards, two quiet, dry gardens on either side of the foyer.

The first courtyard serves reception purposes, the second is more private. Together with the entrance structure they form a transparent sequence, an axis of visibility opening onto the surrounding countryside. Another axis perpendicular to the first runs lengthways right across the central section: a sort of crossroads for the eyes, visual trajectories melding the transition between inside and outside into a seamless flow of space. Everything is set beneath a large flat roof, a big wooden sheet with powerful overhangs, projecting over the courtyards like a wide-brimmed hat.

The building programme is equally clear: administration offices and spaces for holding conferences and seminars, a single-storey office building which exploits, to the very last millimetre, the construction-perceptual properties of wood. But a very innovative kind of wood.

The entire building is actually made of BBS panels (Binder-Brettsperrholz), one of the leading products in the Binder catalogue: large and very thick (27 cm) prefabricated sheets of multi-layered structural plywood (spruce and larch) made entirely of wood, geometrically combined in the least laborious way possible to form a versatile “raw material” for building. It has excellent heat, sound and fireproof properties and does not require any extra insulation. Full-height coplanar glass panels alternate with BBS panels of the same size to form a lively façade pattern framing the surrounding landscape: transparency and material substance to create an idea of contrast.

The interiors duly follow suit, with dark shades on the surfaces and clear colours for the furniture; vice-versa, depending on the area involved, the finishes come in natural stone, felt, leather and wool, with custom-coatings for the office units. How to create a business card in the guise of architecture.

Binder Woodcenter Executive Pavilion / Matteo Thun & Partners © Jens Weber Binder Woodcenter Executive Pavilion / Matteo Thun & Partners © Jens Weber Binder Woodcenter Executive Pavilion / Matteo Thun & Partners © Jens Weber Binder Woodcenter Executive Pavilion / Matteo Thun & Partners © Jens Weber Binder Woodcenter Executive Pavilion / Matteo Thun & Partners © Jens Weber Binder Woodcenter Executive Pavilion / Matteo Thun & Partners © Jens Weber Binder Woodcenter Executive Pavilion / Matteo Thun & Partners © Jens Weber Binder Woodcenter Executive Pavilion / Matteo Thun & Partners © Jens Weber Binder Woodcenter Executive Pavilion / Matteo Thun & Partners © Jens Weber Binder Woodcenter Executive Pavilion / Matteo Thun & Partners Plan Binder Woodcenter Executive Pavilion / Matteo Thun & Partners Plan Binder Woodcenter Executive Pavilion / Matteo Thun & Partners Site Plan Binder Woodcenter Executive Pavilion / Matteo Thun & Partners Section

The Warehaus by Residential Attitudes

Residential Attitudes have completed The Warehaus located in Perth, Australia.

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Description

Light, volume & space were the primary influences behind this passive solar designed residence. Solar access to the front and a busy road to the rear drove the creation of a central courtyard with two storey alfresco and mezzanine walkway which formed the focal point of the home. The mixture of timber and stone complement the metal work and concrete giving the home a warm industrial edge.

The free form living area features a central polished plaster ethanol fireplace and is adjacent to the state of the art kitchen with a concealed cool room and pantry. The remainder of the ground floor is comprised of a library, powder room, laundry and a separate master wing with dressing room, ensuite and private courtyard.

Designed for multi-generational living, the upper floor has a separate living room and balcony which overlooks the stairwell and courtyard beyond. Both upper floor bedrooms access the mezzanine walkway and have a shared bathroom and separate kitchenette.

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Design: Residential Attitudes

Design means doing what I say

neverlistenOccasionally I read an article that I completely agree with. I nod my head, check an imaginary box somewhere in my cerebellum that’s labeled “see what I mean” and retweet that article. This article actually: “Great design = getting people to do what you want.”, by Seth Godin

Then I go to bed. At 2:32 am, I wake up and think “wait, …. do I?”

I read Seth’s article. And found myself convinced. I believed (because I wanted to believe) that my efforts as a designer are spent trying to get the client to want the things that I think they should want. After all, I have years of experience in this, and I’ve probably approached the clients particular design challenge in a hundred different ways over the years. I’ve probably learned to avoid a few problems and pitfalls that lie along the path that this particular client is walking down. I can be a good guide for them, pointing out where the cracks are in their plans, warning them of the mistakes that they are about to make. They should trust me right? Isn’t that why they hired me? Aren’t they expecting to benefit from my expertise? Because:

Great design is pushing/focusing the user to do something that he’ll thank you for later.

- Seth Godin

Is it my role as a designer to find a way to make the client want what I want them to want? What I believe is right? Am I supposed to be designing for what’s best for the project,site,community,etc. and just assume that the client will thank me for it later?

But then the alternate seems less appealing as well. Am I only here to “draw up” what the client wants to build? Do I just assemble the documents needed to get through the process and leave my opinions out of it? Am I just a filter for the clients ideas? Is that what all those firms who label themselves “service” firms are trying to do? Was I hired to “write” down everything you’re saying no matter how much it makes my heart hurt? If you already know what you want and you’re just looking for someone to put it onto paper, why do you need an architect?  Or as Frank Gehry not so eloquently put it:

I don’t know why people hire architects and then tell them what to do.

- Frank Gehry

Apparently, Frank doesn’t need to be nice to get clients anymore.

.

I hear both sides of this argument again and again from architects.

  1. “We should provide a service to help our client navigate the process.”
  2. “We should find creative solutions to complex problems.”

To be honest, I’m getting tired of the argument. Are we creative artists? Or are we simply providing a service? There are only 2 people that fit those two molds. One is an pompous jerk, and the other is so dull I want to poke my eyes out with the mechanical pencil in their shirt pocket.

There’s a middle ground that’s much more effective, and it’s the space that most of us work in everyday. We listen to what the clients aspires to, we get excited about the potential, we share our experiences with similar aspirations, we warn of the possible risks involved in these aspirations, we notice the limitations of the initial idea and point out ways to expand it and build on it, we get excited about that possibility, we get you excited about that possibility, you worry about drifting too far away from what you had in mind, we hear that, but we can’t let go of the possibility of something awesome, we plead our case for it, you’re swayed a bit, reluctantly, so we try it out, we like some of it, we see the excesses of some of it, we rethink it, we compromise, we try again, we get excited again, we search for what we’re looking for, and at some point we forget who’s idea was who’s and we just look at the problem at hand, we solve, we imagine, we create, we build.

At some point the distinction between the “right” thing to do and that thing that you “told me” to do falls away, and we start talking about the thing that we ARE doing. We start saying “we” instead of “me”, and “I” and “you”. Because, that’s what great design really is:

Great design is getting to a place where WE (designer and the client) are creating the same thing, together.

Block 13-14 / Burton Hamfelt Architectuur Stedebouw Prototypes

Architects: Burton Hamfelt Architectuur Stedebouw Prototypes
Location: Almere, The Netherlands
Associate Architects: BD Architectuur, Arnhem
Area: 30,000 sqm
Year: 2010
Photographs: Jan Bitter

Urban Concept: T+T Design, Gouda
Engineers: Steens BV, Zoetemeer
Service Engineers: DGMR, Arnhem

From the architect. In the coming years the centre of Almere Buiten, a small satellite city just west of Almere Centre in Flevoland, the Netherlands is being upgraded to function as a renewed commercial core serving 50,000 inhabitants. The basis of this renewal is to regenerate the existing post war commercial centre as a coherent whole through a series of large scale multi-functional blocks and renewed public spaces. These blocks define clear zones for public space while at the same time upgrade the centre with higher quality shops, more parking facilities and more dwellings.

Block 13 and 14 form two of these new blocks. Unlike the ambitious commercial centre of Almere Centre, Almere Buiten will be more down to earth, more local and above all ‘more green’. This has resulted in an concept called ‘extra vert’ that emphasizes and builds on the existing green character of Almere Buiten as an identity for the city. Occupying an anchoring position in the plan, Block 13 and 14 take both the strategic commercial position in the plan, the extra green and the rich mixture of parking, housing and shops to generate a new synergy of functions between the urban blocks.

Our proposal takes as it’s inspiration the linear farming patterns of the Dutch polder landscape as both a reference to the ‘genus loci’ of Almere Buiten and the functional zoning implied by the parking and circulation strips on the roof. While the parking is clearly divided along the train tracks and the housing orientated to the south and the public square, a unity of soft to hard materials express the stripping pattern that continues from the ‘fifth’ elevation, the roof, down along the side elevations. A tower of 36 meters with ‘jumping’ glass balconies anchors the blocks on the site.

Block 13-14 / Burton Hamfelt Architectuur Stedebouw Prototypes © Jan Bitter Block 13-14 / Burton Hamfelt Architectuur Stedebouw Prototypes © Jan Bitter Block 13-14 / Burton Hamfelt Architectuur Stedebouw Prototypes © Jan Bitter Block 13-14 / Burton Hamfelt Architectuur Stedebouw Prototypes © Jan Bitter Block 13-14 / Burton Hamfelt Architectuur Stedebouw Prototypes © Jan Bitter Block 13-14 / Burton Hamfelt Architectuur Stedebouw Prototypes © Jan Bitter Block 13-14 / Burton Hamfelt Architectuur Stedebouw Prototypes © Jan Bitter Block 13-14 / Burton Hamfelt Architectuur Stedebouw Prototypes © Jan Bitter Block 13-14 / Burton Hamfelt Architectuur Stedebouw Prototypes © Jan Bitter Block 13-14 / Burton Hamfelt Architectuur Stedebouw Prototypes © Jan Bitter Block 13-14 / Burton Hamfelt Architectuur Stedebouw Prototypes © Jan Bitter Block 13-14 / Burton Hamfelt Architectuur Stedebouw Prototypes © Jan Bitter Block 13-14 / Burton Hamfelt Architectuur Stedebouw Prototypes © Jan Bitter Block 13-14 / Burton Hamfelt Architectuur Stedebouw Prototypes Elevation Block 13-14 / Burton Hamfelt Architectuur Stedebouw Prototypes Model Block 13-14 / Burton Hamfelt Architectuur Stedebouw Prototypes Plan Block 13-14 / Burton Hamfelt Architectuur Stedebouw Prototypes Diagram

Design Competition for James Stirling’s Florey Building

The Queen’s College, is delighted to announce the launch of the Florey Design Competition. The College seeks a dedicated team to restore and add new facilities to ’s modernist masterpiece, The Florey building, which is Grade II listed.

Admired worldwide for its boldness and heroism, the Florey has been beset with infamous technical and practical failings since it opened forty years ago. Despite this, the building has remained largely popular with undergraduates for its sociable spaces and views of the river setting.

Teams must also address the wider site for the inclusion of new accommodation, social and modern facilities, as well as improving and refreshing the overall river setting. For further details please click here.