Friday, February 15, 2013

This Week in Architecture: Episode IV, Part i

Welcome to a monster edition of "This Week in Architecture". So large, that it will be split in two! The reason? First, why not? And second, I know I skimped a little last week. Plus, lots of cool things are happening this week!

Interior Light-Single Family Housing

Designed by Viraje Architects, this single-family home sits in beautiful Valencia, Spain, home of the famed Tomatina Festival. While appearing quite simple from the outside, the inside includes a wide open floor plan, lots of glass walls and a seemingly endless amount of space. There is a glassed off internal courtyard, and this is the defining aspect behind the design of each floor.

Now, maybe it's just the perfectly white walls with striking black accents, but I love this house. Of course, we see it without all the furniture and natural amount of junk that people generally bring with them when they move. However, I think seeing the wonderful open spaces before moving in might actually inspire me to leave a lot behind and really cut down on the amount of things I have.

The final thing that is notable is the sliding doors -- there are multiple sliding doors that actually slide into the doors, hidden away as if they were never there in the first place!

For many more pictures, check out the full story here.

Coupled House

It seems this week that residencies were really piquing my interest. Our next story comes from Tokyo Japan, where Naoi Architecture and Design Office have designed the Coupled House. While this home also contains lots of stark white walls, there is a warmth brought to it all with the rich-grained wood.

The original project was actually a renovation on a small plot in an existing neighborhood. Since many other homes in the area had also been recently refurbished, NADO made sure to preserve the scale of the home, but gave it a completely new face.

In Japanese culture, gardens and courtyards play a huge role in the home. They help to connect people to the outside world, most notably their neighbors. This helps foster new relationships among the group and allow new ones to blossom. It even helps to relieve stress caused by claustrophobia and oppressiveness. In order to use this same sort of concept in a living space, the home has lots of empty spaces that aren't really defined for a particular use or purpose. In a way, these almost become the gardens of the indoors, allowing for interpersonal interaction and a strong realization of the other inhabitants in the home.

Japanese culture intrigues me, and seeing how it affects the design process is really interesting. The "coupled" portion of the name comes from the connection of these spaces not only to each other, but to the inhabitants, and also from one inhabitant to another. The entire home revolves around connections, whether internal or external.

Check out the full story here.

The Timmelsjoch Experience

We now jump to Brenner Pass, Italy to see the Timmelsjoch Experience, designed by Werner Tscholl Architects. On first thought of Italy, I would imagine there aren't many of us picturing steep mountain faces and snow-covered fields. Instead, most focus on the intrigue of Venice, the legacy of the papacy and Rome, and the mild climate of the Mediterranean. And yet here we have a museum that looks like it almost literally sits in the middle of nowhere.

The Timmelsjoch is a large indentation in the Alpine ridge between the Reschen Pass and the Brenner Pass. Where an old mule road once laid, a highway now exists, with architectural sculptures popping up at several stopping places along the road, existing as a place for travelers to learn about the surrounding area and its history. There are, altogether, five sculptures, two on the Austrian side, and two on the Italian side. The final exists at the highest point both as a sculpture and a museum. Should you ever be driving from Austria to Italy or vice versa, this is definitely worth a stop.

Check out the full story here.

Masonic Amphitheatre Project

We move across the pond to the States, where the Masonic Amphitheatre Project in Clifton Forge, Virginia was recently announced as the 2012 American-Architects Building of the Year. Designed and constructed by the design/buildLAB at Virginia Tech's School of Architecture + Design, it's simple structure provides an entirely new way to experience whatever might be going on onstage.

Husband and wife team Marie and Keith Zawistowski (who studied under Samuel Mockbee at Auburn's Rural Studio) now head up the third-year architecture studio known as design/build. The new theatre replaces an old truck tire facility and gives visual mention to Clifton Forge's past as a railroad town. It was extremely well-received by the town, and, given the award, well received by the nation as well!

The runner-up of American-Architects Building of the Year is also mentioned in the article.

Check out the full story here.

Non-Design: Architecture's (Counter-Intuitive) Future

The title is what caught my eye on this one, and upon further inspection, the article talks about the need for simple design to be a solution for the poverty-stricken homeless. How simple could a building really get in order to save these people from living on the street? Surely they don't need much. And while many might argue that designing a super simplistic house isn't really design at all but the lack thereof, it's something that really might become a necessity in the future.

One of the more notable quotes that I found in the article was the ability to "change everything without changing anything". What an interesting concept: no one is trying to relocate people, change their lives, take everything away; but rather they are given an option, and a true space they can call their own. The Quinta Monroy development in Chile helps this idea along significantly. Though simple concrete boxes from the outside, the homes (which only cost $7500 for both land and a house; far less than most people's cars in the States) are stacked apartment-style dwellings with a bathroom, kitchen, and empty space.

So what do you think? Is this really the future of architecture? Designing futuristic marvels is all well and good (though extremely expensive) but when it comes down to basic practicality, what can we do there?

Check out the full story here.

Keep your eyes peeled for the second part of this week's episode, which will be posted either later tonight or first thing tomorrow. Thanks for reading!

1 comment:

  1. I do not think this was the intention of these houses. They already existed in 1920 by dutch designer. Why don't engineers and artists create from their mind instead of the internet and books of school. It's being a disaster..


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