An old London chapel is reborn into a modern home and artist studio

June 19, 2018 by  
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UK architect Alexander Nikjoo has breathed new life into a Victorian chapel by transforming it into a contemporary home and studio for an artist. Located in Deptford in South London, the renovation has streamlined the look of the former chapel with a fresh coat of paint and a minimalist material palette. The interior was refreshed to feel bright and airy with plenty of natural light. Although the old chapel was already being used as a studio space by the time Nikjoo was approached for the project, it was dark and uninviting. In transforming the building, the architect kept the layout and several architectural features intact, such as the exposed roof trusses. “The building was stripped back to its original form revealing features and details that had been covered through years of piecemeal extensions and additions,” Nikjoo said. “Restored using a palette of rich yet simple materials, the new interventions interweave with the existing fabric of the building.” In contrast to the black exterior, the interior is filled with light-colored materials — including oak, birch plywood , oiled pine, stone and polished concrete floors — that help create a welcoming atmosphere. Skylights and windows bring in copious amounts of natural light, while the tall ceiling brings the view upward toward the new mezzanine built with birch plywood railings. Related: Stunning chapel in Japan brings a fractal forest indoors The former nave now houses the open-plan living area, dining room and kitchen that are positioned linearly from the entrance. The stairs to the mezzanine level, which opens up to a flat roof terrace, are located behind the kitchen. The master suite and two guest bedrooms with a shared bathroom are tucked away in the rear of the home where the vestry once was. Storage is discreetly hidden away behind wooden doors to maintain the minimalist aesthetic. + Nikjoo Via Dezeen Images by Nikjoo

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An old London chapel is reborn into a modern home and artist studio

A 1920 Swiss barn is reborn as a modern home for a family of five

June 11, 2018 by  
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Swiss design studio Ralph Germann architectes  has overhauled an old drafty barn into a beautiful contemporary home with a new timber annex. Located in the rural village of Orsières in southeast Switzerland, the barn renovation and expansion project was commissioned by a family of five who sought a modern and light-filled abode. The adaptive reuse project—named the House EKC—was built with locally sourced materials and is equipped with an air-water heat pump, solar thermal panels, and dimmable LEDs. The House EKC covers an area of 2,153 square feet and includes a 108-square-feet outdoor terrace . The old barn had originally been used for hay storage in the upper loft while the lower volume was used as a stable for goats or sheep. Ralph Germann completely gutted the barn and rebuilt a reinforced concrete structure, including the walls and slabs, to meet seismic code. Thermal insulation was applied in the interior in order to preserve the barn’s “‘vernacular’ aesthetics.” “The insertion of large windows into the masonry respected “the principle of origin”,” said the architects. “The glass simply took the place where wood has originally been and supplies light and passive heat. A balcony-loggia made out of concrete and wood took the place of the old balcony which was used to sun-dry the hay.” The new wooden annex mimics the proportions and low gabled roofline of the historic barn. The timber, which includes larch and spruce wood, were sourced locally from the Val Ferret region. Related: The rustic exterior of this abandoned barn hides a surprising space to get away from it all The light-filled interior features plaster walls and ceilings finished in mineral paint “white RAL 9010” that reflect light and helps create the illusion of more space. Oiled-brush larch wood lines the floors. The main staircase is built of solid larch and serves as the backbone of the house. The solid larch furniture was designed by Ralph Germann to ensure a cohesive interior design. The custom design also presented the opportunity to create a high-back bench in the dining area that doubles as a guardrail for the staircase. The kitchen features white laminate with “Dekton gray concrete” countertops. + Ralph Germann architectes Images by Lionel Henriod

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A 1920 Swiss barn is reborn as a modern home for a family of five

Century-old Japanese townhouse reborn as Blue Bottle Coffees first Kyoto location

June 6, 2018 by  
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Japanese architecture firm Schemata Architects has unveiled Blue Bottle Coffee’s first outpost in Kyoto  – and it’s housed in a century-old building. Following the aesthetic of the previous Schemata-designed Blue Bottle cafes in Tokyo, the newest location features a minimalist and modern design that takes inspiration from the surrounding urban fabric. The two-story structure was carefully overhauled to allow for new functionality while preserving and exposing historic elements. Completed in March this year, the Blue Bottle Coffee Kyoto Cafe is located near the base of Kyoto’s forested Higashiyama mountains and along the approach to Nanzen-ji Temple, a Zen Buddhist temple and one of the historic city’s top tourist attractions. The cafe was built inside a traditional Japanese townhouse (known as ‘machiya’) consisting of two separate buildings. Schemata Architects renovated the buildings into a ‘Merchandise building’ and a ‘Cafe building’ with a total floor area of nearly 3,500 square feet. As was typical of traditional Japanese architecture at the turn of the 20th century, the original floors of the machiya were raised nearly 20 inches off the ground. To create a seamless appearance and to accommodate patrons with special mobility needs, the Blue Bottle Cafe’s architects demolished the raised wooden floors and made them level with the ground. The new floors feature terrazzo containing the same type of pebbles used outside. The same terrazzo material was also used in the counters and benches. Related: Tokyo capsule hotel gets a Finnish-inspired refresh and sauna “The floor inside the counter is also level with the customer area to maintain the same eye level between customers and staff following the same concept as the other shops, while integrating Japanese and American cultures at the same time,” said the architects. “The continuous white floor is stripped of all unnecessary things and the structure is stripped of existing finishes to expose the original roof structure and clay walls, and one can see traces of its 100-year old history throughout the large, medium and small spaces in the structure originally composed of two separate buildings.” The second floor has been converted into an open-plan office with glass frontage. + Schemata Architects Images by Takumi Ota

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Century-old Japanese townhouse reborn as Blue Bottle Coffees first Kyoto location

Historic Zhuhai sugar factory to be reborn as a low-carbon cultural hub

June 4, 2018 by  
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A new adaptive reuse project is looking to save a sweet piece of history in China. International design firm Woods Bagot  unveiled plans to revitalize the disused Hongqi Zhen Sugar Factory in Zhuhai’s Jinwan District, turning it into a spectacular new cultural park. Designed to include a sugar industry museum and a chocolate factory (among other facilities), the mixed-use development will aim to offset its carbon footprint with solar panels, rainwater harvesting, and geothermal heating and cooling systems. Located in the Pearl River Delta in south China’s Guangdong province, Zhuhai is one of China’s premier tourist destinations and has even been nicknamed the Chinese Riviera. The revitalization project will tap into the existing tourist infrastructure and offer a wide suite of attractions on a 78,877-square-meter plot. A large park will occupy the heart of the project and will be ringed by landscape features including a floral garden walk, a sculpture garden, a farming experience, and scenic waterscapes and wetlands transformed from former industrial waterbodies. The development is divided into different thematic zones that range from the bustling retail street to the tranquil wedding lake and wetland boardwalk. “It is a privilege to create a place where a whole community can capture and celebrate their proud industrial history,” said Charlie Chen, Studio Leader at Woods Bagot. “At the heart of our strategy is a desire to inspire and engage the diverse people that will enjoy the site – from locals and former factory workers to tourists, families and children alike. The result will be a showcase of old and new, and provide Zhuhai with a rich cultural landmark for generations to come.” In addition to diverse retail and restaurant offerings, the firm plans to add a boutique hotel , wedding venue, and start-up offices. Related: MVRDV will transform the Tirana Pyramid, a former communist monument, into an education center One of the firm’s major design goals is to repurpose as many of the existing sugar factory buildings as possible. New buildings will be designed to match the industrial aesthetic and will only rise two to three stories in height in order to differentiate themselves from taller historic architecture. Murals and other artistic installations will commemorate the site’s history. + Woods Bagot Images via Woods Bagot

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Historic Zhuhai sugar factory to be reborn as a low-carbon cultural hub

MVRDV will transform the Tirana Pyramid, a former communist monument, into an education center

May 24, 2018 by  
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Albania’s controversial Tirana Pyramid—a former monument to the country’s communist leader—will finally be repurposed after years of decay. MVRDV  has officially unveiled designs to transform the pyramidal structure into a large green technology education center. The pyramid will be opened up to the surroundings and filled with natural light and greenery, ultimately making the interior more welcoming to the public. Set in the center of the city, the Tirana Pyramid originally served as a museum honoring the legacy of Enver Hoxha, the long-time leader of communist Albania. Following the collapse of Communism in 1991, the concrete communist monument was repurposed for a variety of uses, from a nightclub to a NATO base, during the Kosovo War. In recent years, developers have called for the Tirana Pyramid’s demolition, which stirred controversy among its architects and the greater populace, many of whom had developed an attachment to the monument despite its increasingly decrepit and vandalized appearance. Rather than demolish the unique structure, MVRDV aims to preserve the silhouette while making the 127,000-square-foot building more accessible. “Though in the past, there were plans to transform this monumental building into a national theatre, this never materialised which left this fantastic building in ruin for more than a decade,” says Winy Maas , co-founder of MVRDV. “It is a symbol for many Albanians. For the older generation, it is a memory to the cultural events during communist times, for the recent generation it became the place to celebrate the new era. We will open it up to its surroundings as a structure in the park, that can be populated by people, trees, and containers for co-working. We will make the beams accessible and safe so that we can all climb to the top and celebrate the structure, with views of the city of Tirana. We create an inhabited monument.” Related: BIG unveils designs for bow tie-shaped National Theater of Albania In addition to natural light , the architects will introduce greenery to the building atrium. The team will also make the facade roof—a popular hangout spot for young people—officially available to all visitors, populating it with pavilions and other pop-up structures conducive to temporary events and sightseeing. The project is slated for completion in 2019. + MVRDV Renderings by MVRDV, Exterior image by Gent Onuzi and Wikimedia

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MVRDV will transform the Tirana Pyramid, a former communist monument, into an education center

A storage shed is transformed into a bespoke light-filled home in London

May 17, 2018 by  
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London-based architecture firm De Rosee Sa has given an old storage shed a new lease on life by converting it into a bright, bespoke family home. Sandwiched between terraced gardens and a row of 16 West London garages, the shed — renamed the Courtyard House — was brilliantly renovated, despite challenging regulations that included height limitations and the requirement that any new form must match the existing gable outline. Divided into two floors, the Courtyard House organizes the communal areas and the first bedroom on the ground floor, while the basement level houses a second bedroom that opens up to a private external courtyard . The architects solved the challenge of bringing light into the narrow 121-foot-long site by adding three external courtyards accessed through Crittal-style steel and glass doors. The home achieves its bright and airy atmosphere with crisp white walls, balanced by timber floors and black steel framing. Related: Fairytale-inspired lakeside cabin is made from locally felled and milled timber Western red cedar battens line the internal walls of the courtyards in a nod to the site’s history as a timber yard. The wood is also used inside to frame small spaces including the bathroom, study and utility room. “We worked very hard in the initial stages to convince the clients that developing this house was a risk worth taking,” said Max de Rosee, Director of De Rosee Sa Architects. “The most satisfying aspects of the project is the top light that pours into the interiors and the long views through the courtyards. Once inside, you forget that this house is in London.” + De Rosee Sa Via Dwell Images by Alex James Photography

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A storage shed is transformed into a bespoke light-filled home in London

Aperture-like windows maximize shading in this stunning Vancouver residence

May 16, 2018 by  
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When Arno Matis Architecture was tapped to help reshape the identity of Vancouver’s Cambie Street, they designed Aperture, a beautiful site-responsive residential development. The city-block-sized structure derives its name from its striking aperture-like openings with glass-and-wood veneer walls angled in response to each facade’s unique solar exposure. Built to LEED Gold specifications, Aperture maximizes passive shading and is topped with green roofs. Created using Arno Matis Architecture’s “Responsive Density Design” strategy, Aperture emphasizes “social porosity” and urban connections. In response to the site context, the 98,000-square-foot building steps down from two six-story mid-rise blocks located along a busy street down to four two-story villas more in scale to the single-family neighborhood in the north. Two courtyard axes bisect the development to allow for the penetration of natural light and mountain views. Related: LEED Gold UBC Aquatic Center takes an innovative approach to water recycling “Stratigraphic architectural themes echo the area’s mid-century modern architectural vocabulary,” wrote the architects. “ Cantilever decks and strong horizontal lines create a sense of lightness and lower the massing profile.” The angled walls that frame each aperture, made of mahogany veneer sandwiched between two encapsulated UV glass layers, lend the building a sense of warmth. The insulated glass also increases thermal resistance and reduces solar gain. + Arno Matis Architecture Images © Michael Elkan

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Aperture-like windows maximize shading in this stunning Vancouver residence

Artist upcycles discarded cassette tapes into eco-friendly MusicCloth

May 16, 2018 by  
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When Singaporean artist and founder of Rehyphen®  Jessica Chuan Yi Xin stumbled upon a stash of forgotten cassette tapes in her room, she brainstormed a way to reuse the material rather than contribute to the growing problem of e-waste. A bit of ingenuity and experimentation led her to develop MusicCloth®, a handwoven textile made from upcycled magnetic tapes. According to the United Nations , nearly 45 million metric tons of electronic waste was generated in 2016 — an increase of 8 percent from just two years prior. As an advocate for the environment, Chuan created MusicCloth® to raise awareness for upcycling and the global problem of e-waste. Chuan developed the innovative textile after nine months of research and development using cassette tapes donated by friends and family. In 2016, she launched a successful  Kickstarter  campaign for MusicCloth® tote bags. The campaign not only raised the funds needed to take the project to the next level, but it also allowed her to collect cassette tapes from donors around the world. Chuan weaves MusicCloth® by hand in a simple yet labor-intensive process. In addition to tote bags, the malleable material has been used to create art , wallets, notebooks and dresses. Chuan and her team at Rehyphen® also expanded to offer workshops through Airbnb’s “Experiences” platform to teach visitors in Singapore how to weave MusicCloth® creations. The globally recognized textile has even found a place in New York City’s Material ConneXion library and has also been recognized by the University of Pennsylvania and Red Dot 21. The material was recently entered in the Golden Pin Design Award’s new Integration Design category. Related: This jewelry is made with upcycled gold from Dell computers “We hope to encourage people to see waste with fresh perspective, and get curious about how things are made,” Chuan said. “We throw things away for they are broken, no longer useful or having lost their charm. We, however, elevate everyday objects to a work of art, and to show that up-cycling art is not an environment movement but instead is a reminder that observing the other side of existence is the essence of art.” + Rehyphen® Images via Rehyphen®

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Artist upcycles discarded cassette tapes into eco-friendly MusicCloth

German company converts old shipping containers into gorgeous living spaces

May 16, 2018 by  
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Building with shipping containers may be a growing trend, but converting these steel boxes into livable spaces is no easy feat. Thankfully, forward-thinking German company  Containerwerk  is making the process a lot easier by reforming recycled containers to pass on to architects, who will then create beautiful homes or offices within the structures. Building with shipping containers has been popular for years, but the actual process of transforming the old steel boxes into viable living structures is quite complicated. One of the biggest challenges is insulating the structures so that they can be used as homes, offices or shelters. Related: Striking apartment complex is made of 48 raw shipping containers Containerwerk co-founder Ivan Mallinowski invented an industrial system to line the structures with a layer of foam insulation .”Insulation is the big problem with building houses with containers,” Mallinowski said in a Dezeen  video. “If you look at the physics of a container, it is made from steel, and steel is a very good heat conductor. We build a special type of insulation. It’s a monolithic insulation, made by an industrial process and surrounds the whole container inside without any heat bridges.” According to Mallinowski, using the specialty foam insulation not only makes the containers more  efficient ; it also allows for 10-centimeter thick walls, meaning that designers can make the most out of the containers’ already limited space. He said, “We can build very thin walls so that the space in the container is as big as possible.” The company recently displayed a finished work at this year’s Milan Design Week . The installation featured a two-story shipping container home made from three refurbished containers. It was prefabricated off site, and it took just two days to assemble at the event. A colorful exterior with large round windows gave the home a fun, contemporary feel. The modern design continued on throughout the interior, where high-end furniture and natural light created a vibrant living space, a drastic change from the structures’ original use. + Containerwerk Via Dezeen Images via Containerwerk

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German company converts old shipping containers into gorgeous living spaces

Historic Copenhagen post office transformed into a beautiful mixed-use hub

April 27, 2018 by  
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A historic gem in the heart of Copenhagen has been sensitively revamped to suit the modern needs of the bustling city. Årstiderne Arkitekter transformed the 18th-century former post office, known as Postgården, into a mixed-use hub with retail, showrooms, and offices, with workspaces for 800 people. Located on one of Copenhagen’s busiest shopping streets, Postgården has enjoyed a storied history as not only the first to print Danish stamps in 1851, but also as the post office of lore where the famous Hans Christian Andersen regularly picked up his mail. In recent years, however, the post office sat largely empty and its introverted facade closed the building off from the public. “The vision for the project has therefore been to open up the block and invite the public inside,” wrote the architects. “The project involved taking a well-known site in Copenhagen –originally a workplace for several hundred people– and re-establishing it as a central address for shops and offices.” Related: Derelict London post office transformed into an artisanal bakery In upgrading the 170,000-square-foot building to meet modern requirements, the architects were careful to preserve the building’s historical character and studied each room one by one. The team worked in close collaboration with specialists trained in conservation work to restore the architecture, providing a unique backdrop to the light-filled and contemporary interior design. Shops line the lower levels while offices are stacked above. + Årstiderne Arkitekter Via ArchDaily

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