The Casa das Artes (House of the Arts) in Miranda do Corvo, Portugal, expresses the meeting between two identities, rural and urban, in a landscape marked by the Lousã Mountains. Designed by Lisbon-based Future Architecture Thinking (FAT), the building features a contemporary and volumetrically expressive language. The sloping roofs establish a dialogue with the geometry of the mountain landscape, in an analogy to the village rooftops. The dynamism achieved through the continuity between façades and roof is accented by a strong red colour, emphasizing its design and highlighting the building through the surrounding landscaped area vegetation.
More than a building, the Casa das Artes pretends to be an iconic landmark, celebrating the place where people meet, where culture and art happens, a space capable of promoting and stimulating creative activity, increasing the population quality of life. The project was conceived by creating versatile spaces, technically suitable for different kinds of events, in order to serve all segments of the population. [Information provided via e-mail by Joao Morgado; Photo credits: João Morgado - Architecture Photography]
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Architect Flavio Castro has designed the Planalto House in São Paulo, Brazil.
The way of appropriation of the 800 square meters available for the establishment of the house (20x40m) is quite clear. Two large perpendiculars volumes mark the territory and categorize the uses and functions of other areas of the land.
A rectangular prism, perpendicular to the street, contains the intimate features of the house on the upper floor, occupying only half of the land and releasing the other half for recreation and landscaping.
Serving as a support and focused only on the main floor, another rectangular prism, but in different proportions, contains the service and social functions of the house.
The upper volume seems to rest on the main floor, which creates a series of statements that reinforce the architectural propose. Main floor and upper floor are implanted orthogonally. Exactly on this single point of contact, there is the vertical connection between them.
The metal beams on the edge of the volume parallel to the street, reinforce the idea of independence between the volumes and reveal the structural functioning of the house. The residence has a mixed structure of pillars and metal “I” beams and massive slabs of concrete with 20 cm thickness.
The main access platform, located under the front overhang on the main floor, provides access to the corridor 1.80 m wide running through the house, connecting various environments. After passing through the service area, we come to the point of access to two key areas: the social rooms (like an indoor pavilion) and the barbecue area (recreation).
We could consider them as areas, although defined, diffuse it provides a series of possible uses in addition to which they were designed.
The same type of access is provided on the upper floor, where the monotony is broken by bays of double height (stair and the fireplace room) and isolated pillars.
A garden-terrace covers the main floor block of the garage and recreation area. It can be accessed by the stairs at the recreation area.It is a space of multiple functions.
The characteristics of the materials used in this residence as chromaticism, texture and transparency were carefully chosen because of the intentions pursued in each space. While the transparence integrates, the concrete do the oposite. The concrete walls divide the space, while the large sliding glass doors bring the landscape into the house.
The materials are sincere. The concrete, glass, wood and steel are shown in its essence, without intermediaries.
The Planalto house was conceived as a urban house for a couple with 02 children and could be considered as exemplary of the current Brazilian contemporary architecture.
Architect: Flavio Castro
Architect Christopher Simmonds has designed the Muskoka Cottage in Muskoka, Ontario, Canada.
The vaulted forms of this post and beam structure straddle a seasonal stream and climb a rambling granite outcrop of the Canadian Shield.
Envisioned as a multi-generational retreat, the centre of this home is a high ceilinged pavilion of Douglas Fir centred on a stone and concrete fireplace. Sliding glass doors stack away to achieve unparalleled intimacy between the kitchen/dining area and the adjacent patio that overlooks a sheltered bay.
High ceilinged spaces with operable clerestory windows ensure that breezes off the lake keep the home well ventilated and cool on summer days.
A master suite is accessed by a glazed link which bridges the seasonal stream and affords a more secluded sanctuary when desired. At the opposite end of the home the bedroom wing steps upward to match the steeply ascending rock profile and provides stunning views to the lake vista. A pair of interconnecting bedrooms and a kid’s bunkroom are located at the second level while another bedroom with ensuite is perched up a final flight of stairs.
A basalt stone floor flows through the main level of the house while the upper bedroom levels have an Ipé plank finish. Both materials contrast effectively with the warm tones of the Douglas Fir posts, beams and exposed roof decking and the “cabinet grade” fir wall paneling. Granite faced walls wrap from the exterior through to the interior to ground the experience of moving through this cluster of forms.
Fibre cement panels and cedar planking contrast with the stone’s weight to complete the building exterior skin. Ground source heat pumps provide heating and cooling through a radiant floor system and ducted ventilation.
Architect: Christopher Simmonds Architect
Herzog & DeMueron - Pfaffenholz sports complex, St. Louis 1993. One of the firm’s first experiments with “screen-printed” concrete, which was used more abundantly in later projects. The rear facade features a straw-like insulation, who’s pattern is also screened on the dark glass mounted in front of it. The project sits right on the Swiss/French border, directly adjacent to their spinal rehabilitation center. Photos (C) Margherita Spiluttini, Aron Lorincz.
FT Architects - Archery and Boxing facilities, Tokyo 2013. Each timber structure, while similar in scale, materiality, and design concept, is given a different treatment based on the activity within. The timber roof of the archery range is light, delicately detailed, and set against a black back-drop, referencing the proportions and precision of the archer’s arrows. The boxing studio has a stacked timber roof that is heavy, aggressive, and detailed with over-sized bolts, creating a visual movement akin to the physical contact of the boxing match. The exterior continues the theme; the light brown stain on the archery studio responds to the materials of the bow and arrow, while the more concrete finish of the boxing ring feels more grounded. Via.
atelier rzlbd, headed by Reza Aliabadi, was tapped to design a modern and minimal home in Toronto that was anything but ordinary. The homeowners travel the world and collect sculptures from the places they visit and that’s what inspired the design. A totem is essentially sculptures within a sculpture and the Totem House is built as a vertical gallery to exhibit the homeowner’s artwork.
The exterior is mostly a large charcoal brick volume with two small blocks extracted and clad in wood. It gives the appearance that the entire core material is wood instead of brick.
Each sculpture was carefully measured and placed in a specific niched within the interior tower. An open staircase connects the three floors, circulating around the totem, creating a gallery to observe the works.
With the exception of the appliances, everything in the kitchen is concealed behind white cabinet doors that go from floor to ceiling.
The master bedroom merges the en suite into the sleeping space, flooding both with natural light. Careful attention had to be paid to the wet and dry zones. Marble tiles separate the wet areas and define the shower and tub space from the rest of the space with hardwoods.
I’m guessing privacy isn’t an issue for these homeowner’s as there is none when it’s shower time.
Photos by borXu Design .
The Medic’s House is a modern extension to a 1950′s three bedroom house in Hampshire, United Kingdom, envisioned by Andy Ramus and Laurent Metrich of AR Design Studio. The residence is inhabited by two Winchester based Doctors, who needed extra living space with the arrival of their new baby daughter. AR Design Studio’s solution was to “create a large charcoal grey living box at ground level with a full height glazed opening elevation to the garden. A timber clad sleeping pod is perched above at first floor level providing the additional bedrooms”.
The ground floor of the addition hosts the kitchen, an open plan living and dining area, a toilet and three large eco-friendly sliding glass panels offering garden views. A highly minimalist design approach, with black and white finishes was chosen. This gives the place an elegant, yet sober feel, softened only by the rich landscape outdoors. [Photography: Martin Gardner]
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[Turbulence House by Steven Holl Architects]
There’s a curious movement that has been gaining momentum in the architectural world over the last decade and, whether you know it or not, you’ve probably witnessed some of the evidence. The examples are beautifully foreign, evoking visions of a sublime existence free from the monotony of everyday objects. There aren’t any dishrags upsetting the harmony in these environments, no electrical outlets cluttering the tranquility, and even the kitchen hood has been eliminated to maintain perfect visual cohesion. An antiquated collection of found objects, precariously arranged on a bookcase or coffee table, lends an esoteric narrative to the space. Bespoke handmade bowls escape a life of utility and, instead, grace the cabinetry as sculptures would a museum. Outside, the surrounding landscape is perpetually void of vehicles. In fact, there never even seems to be access to these sites (how the heck did the photographer get there and where did they park?). Gutters, downspouts and, for that matter, roof planes don’t have any business in this setting.
[Desert Nomad Cubes by Rick Joy Architects]
These are but a few common characteristics of installation art — defined as an artistic genre of three-dimensional works that are often site-specific and designed to transform the perception of a space. (Thanks, Wikipedia.) And there’s nothing wrong with that in and of itself. Art should have value whether it hangs on a wall or sits on a foundation. These works serve a specific clientele, they advance creativity in the world, and they provide artistic inspiration to the design-minded. All of which are attributes we admire and seek out for ourselves and our community.
[House II by Peter Eisenman Architects]
The trouble occurs when we start referring to installation art as houses. When we lump them in the same category with houses for living, things get messy. Evaluated as dwelling, the art is often criticized for its lack of practicality and, well, livability. On the flip side, houses for living that are measured against these curated examples always fall short of an unattainable stylized purity. We’re not suggesting that either paradigm is better or worse, right or wrong, but simply that they are fundamentally different in nature from one another.
[Turbulence House by Steven Holl Architects]
What becomes important here is creating a distinction. Pure art is not intended to be lived in (granted, you could conceivably spend a few days in these installations, but it would be on par with spending the night at MOMA). Likewise, true houses don’t aspire to be gallery pieces, they have different goals (like livability, for instance). Intermingling the two is harmful to architecture and art alike.
As designers and builders of houses for living, we’re proposing that this distinction provides a healthy break. Art installations can be evaluated as thought-provoking pieces to dreamily look upon and temporarily indulge in inhabiting. And houses for living can be measured as functional, beautiful dwelling spaces for a lifetime. It’s our intent to provide a different filter in which to view this situation. With any luck it simplifies the equation and sidesteps the misunderstandings so common between the two. Both types of built work ought to be appreciated for the specific experience they aim to offer.
Cheers from Team BUILD
In this installment of Friday Five, we spotlight London-based Tracy Lowy, the British powerhouse behind Living Rooms, luxury alternatives to hotels that offer you the services of a hotel but the privacy and space of an actual home. Noticing a need in the market for modern, luxury-filled apartments in 1993, Lowy set out to fill the gap of extended stay residences that make the likes of Hollywood stars and film producers and directors feel right at home in temporary digs across the pond. Coming from a family in the hotel business with a desire to be an architect, Lowy combined her skills and decks each property with influential British designers and unique finds. Let’s see what she picks in this edition of Friday Five.
1. Solange Azagury-Partridge
Without any formal training Solange has defined an iconoclastic approach to jewellery design. The exquisite collections are beautifully made and every piece says something, everything has a hidden message. Offering the modern woman everything she could possibly wish for.
2. Piet Hein Eek
A Dutch furniture designer who works bits of found wood and salvaged materials into intricate patchwork, one-of-a-kind pieces. The thinking behind his work is partly a desire to rescue these discarded pieces of wood and also to escape the soullessness of mass production.
3. Gorilla trekking in Uganda
I trekked through Bwindi impenetrable forest to see some of the last remaining mountain gorillas. Seeing these incredible creatures in their natural habitat was both inspiring and humbling. I was struck by how intelligent, playful and expressive they were. An experience I will never forget.
4. Gary Hume
One of my favorite artists. Hume is an accomplished draughtsman and painter of minimalist pictures that teeter on the edge abstraction. He captures emotions and characters and simplifies images of everyday objects that are boldly rendered in thick high gloss.
5. The milkman
The milkman is part of the cultural heritage of British tradition. I get organic milk delivered to my door three times a week by my friendly milkman Steve who arrives on an electric float. I love supporting a service that was until recently on the brink of extinction.
Longhi Architects designed this spectacular house with a futuristic look in La Planicie, Lima (Peru). The clients, when asked what exactly are they hoping for, replied that they wanted a home “for ever”, a place so nice and comfortable that would make them spend the rest of their lives there. Such a nice thought! Along with clients, who were extremely thrilled to share their thoughts with someone who was perfectly capable to understand their vision, the architect responsible with the new project understood that this was his opportunity to outline the values of an ancestral contemporary architectural project.
The house boasts several 3D-like volumes and some interesting circular ornaments encompassing the side windows of the house. Seen from distance, the peculiar home looks like a spaceship, due to the futuristic elements defining it. “The metaphor for the design was to imagine that a big ancestral rock was foundin the site andneeded to be carved in order to accommodate the living spaces.The carving of the spaces would generate interesting “built in” furniture with strong texture to be assorted with other natural and artificial materials in order fortheallegorystone to remain as natural as possible to eventually be perceived as part of the owner’s desired garden.” Photo credit: Juan Solano.
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