Nearly 5,000 prefab concrete panels wrap BIG-designed outdoor urban room in France

July 12, 2019 by  
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Bjarke Ingels Group and FREAKS freearchitects have completed a new cultural center for Bordeaux , France that frames the UNESCO-listed city’s love for contemporary art, film, performances and the waterfront. Dubbed MÉCA (Maison de l’Économie Créative et de la Culture en Aquitaine), the art-filled public space takes the shape of an angular loop that houses three regional arts agencies: FRAC for contemporary art; ALCA for cinema, literature and audiovisuals; and OARA for performing arts. By leaving a void in the center of the building, the architects successfully preserved views of and public passage to the waterfront, while creating a shaded “urban living room” accessible to all. Spanning an area of 18,000 square meters, MÉCA is centrally located between the River Garonne and Saint-Jean train station. The design knits together the cultural institutions it houses with public space with the creation of a porous building accessed via a series of steps and ramps that extends from the pavement of the existing river promenade to the 1,100-square-meter outdoor urban room at the heart of MÉCA and beyond to Quai de Paludate street. MÉCA’s outdoor spaces can also be transformed into a stage for concerts and performances or an extended gallery for sculptures and other art installations. The contemporary building is clad in a facade of 4,800 prefabricated concrete panels punctuated with windows of various sizes. The concrete panels are sandblasted and textured with locally sourced sandstone. Above the outdoor room hangs a 7-meter-tall MÉCA sign that the architects liken to a “modern chandelier” fitted with white LEDs. A permanent bronze sculpture depicting a half-head of Hermes by French artist Benoît Maire marks the riverside entrance. Related: Free off-grid shelter pops up for urban explorers in Bordeaux Inside MÉCA, visitors can dine at the restaurant Le CREM, which is dressed with wine-inspired red and cork furnishings designed by BIG, and enjoy performances in OARA’s 250-seat theater. ALCA’s red-accented 80-seat cinema, production offices and project incubation area are located directly upstairs while the upper floors are occupied by FRAC’s exhibition space, production studios, storage facilities, 90-seat auditorium and cafe. An 850-square-meter public terrace tops the roof. + BIG Photography by Laurian Ghinitoiu via BIG

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Nearly 5,000 prefab concrete panels wrap BIG-designed outdoor urban room in France

Angular Casa Casi Cubo in Chile plays with light, wind and shadow

February 20, 2018 by  
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Casa Casi Cubo in Chile uses geometry and patterns to provide shelter from the strong local winds — letting in tons of light. LAND Arquitectos designed the house as a pavilion -like structure that plays around with different shapes to create a balance between protection from the elements and exposing its occupants to expansive views of the sea. The designer deconstructed the shape of a parallelepiped and used pine wood to generate a series of bends that demarcate the edges of the roof and the facades of the building. Instead of trying to stand up to strong winds, the design breaks them up and channels them along the exterior. Related: Chile’s rustic Casa Pollo is made from recycled zinc plates and reclaimed wood The main shared space, where the stove and barbecue area are located, face the north side of the site and is the most protected from strong air currents. This space is connected to a semi-covered area enveloped by a perforated wooden skin. This outdoor space allows occupants to watch the passing sun and enjoy the constant interplay of light and shadow. + LAND Arquitectos Via Plataforma Arquitectura Photos by Sergio Pirrone

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Angular Casa Casi Cubo in Chile plays with light, wind and shadow

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