Architecture

Architecture

October 7 2008




Dupli Casa, a private residence by the Neckar river, near the old town of Marbach in South- Western Germany, is a wonderfull example of connection and fluidity. It connects the inside with the outside, up with down, air with ground and - most cleverly - past with present and even future.



From the outside, the three-storey concrete villa looks like a bit like some sort of a fiberglass motorboat job gone funny, yet it also manages to look immensely appealing and intriguing. From some angles, the structure appears to be standing upside down - the lower exterior rim spilling onto the lawn and forming a part of a roof structure, if the building were to stand the other way around. It could have been blown there by the wind; it could be a StarWarsian vehicle frozen in place; it could be just taking off to outer space.



The outdoor swimming pool and the white surface surrounding it seem like a perfect reflection of the house, almost as if the house had been face down on the ground, and when it was lifted off the ground, the process had left an imprint of a swimming pool on the ground and the large window opening in the house.



The views from the inside are amazing, especially from the vast ground-level openings that again, give the sensation of flying, being airborne, weightlessness. Everything is fluid, flowing and smooth.
 
All of this is very much in keeping with the main inspiration for the house. The new residence follows the footprint of the previous dwelling and its numerous extensions. The idea was to let the 'family archaeology' continue in the new building. It's a house that remembers its beginnings in 1984 yet projects boldly into the  future.



Dupli Casa is the work of Jurgen Mayer H., founder and principal of his cross-disciplinary studio. J. Mayer H. Architekten in Berlin. Other team members include Georg Schmidthals, Thorsten Blatter and Simon Takasak, plus Uli Wiesler's architecture studio based in Stuttgart. - Tuija Seipell
 

Architecture

July 22 2008



Norihiko Dan
– born in 1956 in the Kanagawa Prefecture in Japan – is the designer of the beautiful Munetsugu Hall, completed in 2007 in Naka Ward, Nagoya, Japan. It is a privately-funded concert hall that continues the age-old but almost-dead tradition of wealthy arts patrons initiating and financing the creation of art spaces. Fluid, white wall shapes are the distinctive feature of Munetsugu Hall’s main performance space. The walls bring to mind artistic sweep marks left by a gigantic builder who in his boredom doodled in his mortar tray with a massive trowel and then let the shapes solidify.

Norihiko Dan has won several architecture awards in Japan and Taiwan including the Distinguished Architect Award of the Japanese Institute of Architecture and the ARCADIA Award Gold Medal in 2007. His work has been part of exhibitions in Japan, Taiwan, USA, Canada, Germany, Austria, Italy and the UK. In addition to being a respected architect and educator, Norihiko Dan is also an architecture historian and writes novels and screenplays.

Munetsugu Hall’s generous benefactor is Tokuji Munetsugu who with his wife Naomi made a fortune in the restaurants business. Their company Ichibanya Co. Ltd. (based in Aichi, Japan) operates more than 1,000 curry and pasta restaurants under the names Curry House CoCo Ichibanya and Pasta de Coco. Munetsugu spent two billion yen to build the 310-seat concert hall. He has also set up a nonprofit organization to support welfare, sports and arts activities. - Tuija Seipell

Architecture

July 7 2008




Golf and drab are synonyms, right? And the mere mention of Golf and Country Club makes you run. Away. Fast. Golf may indeed have a bit ofan image problem but that did not deter the 'rich-based' Smolenicky & Partner Architektur when they were retained to work on the expansion of the venerable Sempachersee Golf Club located near Lucerne in Switzerland.



In addition to the new club house-restaurant building and the newmaintenance building, both of which Smolenicky designed, the expansionincluded a second 18-hole golf course. All of this has made Golf Club Sempachersee the largest golf club in Switzerland and, quite likely,the club with the coolest club house.



In their approach to the club house, Smolenicky sought to manifesttwo things: what they call the country character of the golfing culture of the Sempachersee course - and the course's worldly sophistication. They took their design cues from the rural warmth of a timber barn and the clear lines of a Maserati sports car. The resulting building, the sleek and minimalist interior, and themagnificent 180-degree panoramic views of the Sempachersee lake and theAlps might just be reasons enough to give golf another chance. Or, atthe very least, rethink what a golfing environment could look like. By Tuija Seipell

Architecture

May 28 2008



Antwerp, Belgium-based one-year-old sculp(IT) is a partnership of two architects, Pieter Peerlings and Silvia Mertens. They have recently completed a clever office, residence and studio for themselves in what they call “Antwerp’s narrowest house” located in Anwerp’s former red-light district. They took a 2.4-meter (7 feet 10 inches) wide space between two buildings, erected a steel skeleton in it and installed four wooden floors, one each for work, dining, relaxing and sleeping, plus a bath tub on the roof.



A one-piece staircase connects the floors. The walls are all glass, allowing light in and creating a feel of space. In a nod to the area’s “exhibitionist” past, each “window” to the street has a black frame emphasizing the showcase or display aspect. The multi-color lighting scheme completes the seedy notion. By Tuija Seipell



Architecture

May 19 2008




There’s a new planet in the solar system and it’s called Luxury. Actually, it is here on earth, on a little-known island called

Nurai,

located northeast of Abu Dhabi city.

The 130,000-square-meter island is about to be transformed into an achingly glamorous and luxurious resort and exclusive private residential estate, comprised of one boutique luxury hotel resort with 60 suites, 31 beachfront estates and 36 water villas.



The mammoth project is a collaboration between New York based Studio Dror, led by Dror Benshetrit, that has designed the residences, and the Paris-based firm AW2 are responsible for the design of the hotel.

The sheer scale of the project is awe-inspiring; the incredible multi-storey water villas alone will span 515 square metres each, comprising of three bedrooms, four bathrooms, a private rooftop garden with spa pool, private infinity pool, multiple decks, outdoor barbeque area, gourmet kitchen and concealed service quarters. No doubt Tom & Katie are making their reservations already.



As for the private “Seaside” residences (which are sure to be snapped up by Saudi Princes and oil shieks because they will probably be the only ones who can afford them), the five bedroom-six bathroom estates span across between 3,000 — 6,050 square metres.
 
Each “Seaside” estate will include a private beach and garden, rooftop garden with spa pool, infinity swimming pool, indoor reflecting pools, concealed service quarters, entertainment patios, outdoor dining areas, chef and show kitchens and outdoor showers.

The resort is due to open in 2010 and residences start at €20 million. By Lisa Evans




Architecture

May 15 2008



Some of us think that our far off ancestors lived in the trees — and during our childhood, when our thoughts and memories are most pure, we yearn to climb trees growing in our gardens, in our parks, in our cities.  As we get older, the urge to climb trees subsides as we ride elevators up to our offices in the sky and look out across the cities where we live.  Yet occasionally, as we’re sealed up tight in our artificially climatic spaces, we long for a breath of fresh air.



At a German company called baumraum  an architect, a landscape architect, an arbologist, and a craftsman design modern, natural and solidly constructed treehouses. Each treehouse project is assessed individually. The team takes into consideration both the condition of the environment and of the tree, with the size and features the clients desire.  


baumraum offers a range of wood-types as well as options for insulated walls.  Treespaces can be outfitted with sitting and sleeping benches, storage spaces, a mini-kitchen, heating, glass windows, lighting, as well as a sound system for multimedia.  Every piece is pre-fabricated in a workshop, and then brought together on site.



Sound like something you’ve been wanting?  The baumraum team offers free consultation where they can talk you through every option available as you put together your dream treehouse.  The treehouses can span multiple levels and sit among several trees.  Treehouses are mostly secured with ropes, thereby minimising the impact of stress to the tree or trees on which the house is placed.  And if a tree is particularly weak, or even if a treehouse is wanted where there is no suitable tree, stilts are used to guarantee people everywhere can once again climb trees. By Andrew J Wiener.



Architecture

April 11 2008




The owner couple of this beautiful pre-fabricated cabin on the shores of Lake Simcoe in Ontario, Canada, has been coming to their large recreational property for a quarter-century. But the big property in a great recreational location translated into lots of overnight guests and no privacy for the owners.

They felt they needed a 'getaway,' a place at their own property where they could capture the peace and serenity of the surrounding four-season nature without disturbing any of the existing trees or structures. They needed a place that remembers what the Simcoe cottage-country is all about.

The brilliant, award-winning solution by Toronto-based Taylor Smyth Architects is the one-room Sunset Cabin, a real cabin with a decidedly contemporary feel. The wonderful cabin has won several architectural and design awards and met the clients’ needs perfectly.

It is a one-room (190 square feet in size), self-contained box that was built by furniture craftsmen in four weeks in a Toronto parking lot and installed on site in 10 days.

Three of the exterior walls are floor-to-ceiling glass and of those, two are encased in horizontal cedar-screens for privacy, shade and light effects inside. One of the cedar screens has a large opening providing a direct view of the sunset from the built-in bed. The rest of the screen has random smaller gaps to allow various vignettes of the surrounding nature and to create fantastic light patterns inside. The slats are positioned so that there is no direct view in from the outside, but at the same time, it the inside feels almost wall-less.



The untreated cedar of the outer structure will turn silvery grey over time, helping the cabin blend in with its natural surroundings. In addition, the roof, visible from the existing main building, is a green roof planted with native plants of the area, further ensuring that the building mixes in with the landscape rather than sticks out in it.

All interior surfaces are unpainted birch veneer plywood, including the built-in storage cabinets. Doors at both ends of the cabin allow for cross ventilation. The interior floor extends outside to form a deck where the rustic feel continues with the screened-off outdoor shower.

The owners are apparently spending more time at their property than ever before. They enjoy the cabin year-round, heating it by a wood-burning stove and, if needed, electric heaters. Most likely, they are not inviting guests to share the space, so we can join in only by admiring the images. By Tuija Seipell


Architecture

April 8 2008




Zaha Hadid's silvery building resembling a sub-surface ferry or a space ship is the winning entry in the competition for the design of the Guggenheim Hermitage Museum in the ancient city of Vilnius, capital and the largest city of the Republic of Lithuania.

Although Vilnius is one of Europe's smallest capitals, it has a long, strong and culturally rich history, beautifully reflected in its well-preserved Old Town with cathedrals dating back to the 12th century. The Pritzker prize-winning architect Hadid's futuristic building will be an arts centre and a museum, housing selected collections of both the New York's Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and the St. Petersburg- based State Hermitage Museum.




The jury selected Hadid's (Zaha Hadid Architects) design over those of equally famous architects Daniel Libeskind (Studio Daniel Libeskind) and Massimiliano Fuksas (Studio Fuksas).

A feasibility study, commissioned by the recently established Jonas Mekas Visual Arts Centre in Vilnius, is expected to be completed by mid-June 2008. Depending on its outcome, the museum could open as early as in 2011. By Tuija Seipell

Architecture

March 5 2008



Most of us have a personal image of an ideal escape or getaway. A secluded beach shack hidden on an island paradise - a tucked away cabin built into a snowy mountainside - a private chateaux set on the quiet, rolling hills of a vineyard - basically anywhere we feel removed from the mundane normalcy of our own daily lives. 



X.Pace, a Sydney/Singapore-based design studio is on the verge of helping us redefine the ultimate lifestyle solution - the highly luxurious Hingarae residences and resort located in Lake Taupo on New Zealand's north island. Hingarae embodies everything one would expect from 6 star standards - the ideal balance of extreme luxury, privacy and ultra-modern built form set upon a pristine natural environment. 



The development will offer twenty eight opportunities to own a fully-furnished Hingarae Module. Each individual Module is 200 square metres set carefully within 1 hectare of natural landscape. Oversized glazing allows uninterrupted views to the surrounding forest, green countryside, snow-capped mountains and crystal blue lake. The interior design is equally rewarding offering an exceptional imported blend of modern and futuristic furniture. The main living space sits on a revolving disc floor that allows orientation toward the exterior or the LCD screen.



Numerous additions to Hingarae Module ownership include an electric car for all on-site traveling, personal use of Hingarae's premium luxury 4WD vehicles for off-site travel, access to on-call helicopter, on-going membership to Jack Nicklaus' Kinloch Golf Club, ongoing winter season's pass to Mount Ruapehu's Whakapapa (New Zealand's largest ski area), shared use of Hingarae's motor launch and unlimited access to the 6 Star Hotel Hingarae and all its facilities including a recording studio. Hingarae also fully manages and maintains each Module and its individual acreage.



Nearly every aspect of a superior style of living has been taken into consideration during the conception and development phases of Hingarae. Unlike anything in the world, this New Zealand destination will soon embody the ultimate expression of escape for those of us able to get in - as prices start from US$1.9 million. As for the rest of us, we can always hope for an invitation from a generous friend. By Andrew J Wiener.

Architecture

February 27 2008




An architect's house could be his ultimate expression of his relationship to the surrounding world. Arthur Casas positioned his own House in Iporanga outside of Sao Paulo deep in the Atlantic forest - the quintessential Brazilian landscape according to Casas.

Two symmetrical rectangular cubes face one another on the north and south sides of the site. Two retractable 36 foot-high glass walls connect the cubes and frame the main living and dining rooms of the house. The entire exterior is panelled in Cumaru wood that blends effortlessly into the surrounding forest.



Cumaru is also used inside as flooring where it stands out against the stark white walls - the only 'colour' found in the minimalist space. To an architect, one of the defining features of the overall design of a structure is effective interior spatial division. In his own house, Casas successfully divided the ground floor into distinct public and private areas. The kitchen and service area - including a separate bedroom and bathroom - were placed in the north cube structure. A studio and a guest bedroom and bathroom are located on the opposite side. The entire space is connected by the vast living room flanked by wood terraces on both ends. An infinity pool appears to be spilling over to soak the surrounding flora.



A floating Cumaru stairway leads to the first level, where one finds the master suite in the southern cube. A narrow bridge crosses over the middle of the living room and leads to an additional guest bedroom, bathroom and a home theater.

The main objective of Casas' design brief for the House in Iporanga was to provide an escape into the Brazilian forest. He has accomplished the creation of a personal retreat, a place where he is able to relax and recharge. By Andrew J Wiener




Random Archive

Art
Ads