Kengo Kumas competition-winning aquatic center connects land and sea in Copenhagen

March 28, 2018 by  
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Kengo Kuma & Associates beat out the likes of BIG and 3XN Architects in a design competition for a new waterfront cultural center that will form part of Copenhagen’s artificial Paper Island (Papirøen). Chosen unanimously by the jury, Kuma’s winning scheme will offer leisure and recreational facilities housed within pyramidal volumes echoing the roof profiles of Christiansholm island. The buildings will also be built of brick in reference to traditional Danish craft. Revealed earlier this year, Kuma’s designs for the Papirøen Waterfront Culture Center were created in collaboration with Danish subcontractors Cornelius Voge, Soren Jensen engineers and Niels Sigsgaard. The 53,820-square-foot complex will be developed as part of COBE’s competition-winning masterplan for Paper Island . The masterplan and the waterfront cultural center are slated for completion by 2021. “The new Waterfront Cultural Center with Harbor baths at Paper Island is to highlight the significance of water in the history, culture and vibrant urban life in Copenhagen ,” wrote Yuki Ikeguchi, Partner in charge. “Our focus in design is to create an experience, and not just a standalone object, in the form of the landscape, art and architecture that are unified and defined by the water. Our design proposal strives to offer the diverse experiences of water in various states and conditions such as reflection of light and shadow, steam and flow that appeal to human senses.” Related: COBE Architects to transform Copenhagen’s Paper Island into a bustling cultural hub The cultural center is located on a corner site and will offer expansive views of the water inside and out. Skylights punctuate the cone-shaped buildings to let natural light into the ground-floor pools. The perforated brick facade also allows diffused light inside. + Kengo Kuma & Associates Via ArchDaily Images via Kengo Kuma & Associates

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Hairy micro-office teleports you to a world of calm

January 18, 2018 by  
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We’ve seen our fair share of unusual architecture , but this “hairy” building is a first. UK-based 2hD Architecture Workshop designed a surreal structure called “Mission Control” that’s entirely clad in brown bristles and appears to be mysteriously void of any doors or windows. Created as a micro-office and haven for concentration, the workspace located in a Nottingham garden is described by the architects as “an exercise in teleportation, designed to take us from the everyday hurly burly to another world, one of calm, quiet, and focus.” Built to replace a derelict glazed shed of the same size, Mission Control was constructed as a freestanding workspace extension of 2hD Architecture Workshop’s home office . Unlike the collaborative home office environment, Mission Control functions as an isolation chamber for uninterrupted concentration. The architects describe the short walk from the home office to the new micro-office—a distance of 13 feet—as an important “ceremonial commute” for leaving distractions behind and getting into the working mindset. “We built this custom-designed structure as the antithesis of a ‘contemplation space with landscape views and flowing inside-outside space’,” said the architects. “In contrast, we needed an almost monastic cell, removed from physical context and worldly distraction, where we could retreat to immerse ourselves in brain work.” Related: You can build one of these tiny backyard offices in less than a week for under $7000 Interlocking natural coco-fiber broom heads cover the outer facade of the 75-square-foot micro-office and create a visually seamless surface with a well-hidden door. The “hairy” exterior sheathes a pitched structure with a sloping roof made with polycarbonate and punctuated by an operable skylight to let in natural light and ventilation. Inside, whitewashed plywood clads the walls and ceilings that are wrapped with sheep’s wool insulation. Two back-to-back desks are placed beneath the low ceiling. + 2hD Architecture Workshop Images by Thibaut Devulder and Tom Hughes

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Dark unused garage is transformed into a cozy light-filled studio in San Francisco

July 31, 2017 by  
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The garage is the last place most people want to cozy up in, but that’s not so for the lucky owners of this beautiful garage-turned-studio space in San Francisco. Local architect Beverly Choe transformed an old, unused garage into the Clifford Studio, a dreamy, light-filled work studio and reading nook. Filled with suffused light and lined with timber, this adaptive reuse project is the perfect cozy hideout brought to life with minimalist decor with splashes of greenery and warm textures. The architect reimagined the garage, formerly a carriage house, as a “box for suffused light” painted shades of blue on the outside. A long skylight spans most of the building and natural light is filtered through the exposed beams that help minimize glare. Large glazed openings at the front and back of the studio let in more natural light and frame views of the outdoor sunken courtyard and garden. Board-formed concrete planters along the western and eastern sides of the courtyard relate to the timber-lined interior, creating a natural outdoor extension of the studio. The courtyard’s sunken profile also helps make the building appear taller. Related: Small and windowless garage in Lisbon transformed into an elegant modern loft Completed over the course of a year-and-a-half, the converted garage makes the most of a small space with the solid oak casework that forms walls of shelves, furnishings, and hidden storage. A blue-tiled bathroom is hidden off on the side of the oak paneling. The minimalist interior is open and airy and allows for flexibility of use, from a reading room to artist’s work studio. The architect treated natural light as a crucial material in the design process. + Beverly Choe Via Dwell Images by Mariko Reed

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Dark unused garage is transformed into a cozy light-filled studio in San Francisco

Gorgeous Japanese-inspired reading nook breathes new life into a Frank Gehry-designed home

June 16, 2017 by  
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A slice of reading heaven has been inserted into this Frank Gehry -designed home in Los Angeles’ Sawtelle Japantown. Local studio Dan Brunn Architecture gutted and renovated the 1970s house named Hide Out with a minimalist aesthetic that pays homage to Gehry’s original design. Commissioned by a pair of art collectors, the stylish home disrupts its art gallery-like feel with large walnut surfaces that add warmth and even carve out an enviable reading nook by the garden. Formerly owned by the Janss Family, the 3,600-square-foot Hide Out house was overhauled to create an open-air area on the first floor for displaying the work of the new owner, artist James Jean. Since the Janss Family discarded some of Gehry’s signature details in the original construction of the home, Dan Brunn Architecture used the renovation as an opportunity to bring back those lost architectural details. In addition to the oversized rectangular skylight in the center of the home—the only major architectural detail from Gehry’s design that the Janss retained—the architects added dynamic shapes and a simple material palette typical of Gehry’s style in the 1970s and 1980s. The renovated Hide Out features a simple material palette of walnut , concrete, and glass and is filled with natural light from the rectangular skylight and new glazed openings. White walls and pale concrete floors are broken up by eye-catching walnut surfaces, such as the handcrafted and beautifully sculptural walnut staircase at the heart of the home. The open-plan layout is decorated with minimal furnishings to keep focus on the art. Related: How Frank Gehry’s provocative designs go from concept to reality In reference to the home’s surroundings in the Little Osaka neighborhood, the architects drew inspiration from Japanese design for multiple aspects of the home, including furnishing. The reclaimed timber coffee table, for instance, was custom made with traditional Japanese joinery. Traditional Japanese tearooms provided inspiration for an inserted walnut volume that functions as a reading nook, meeting space, or meditation room. The room overlooks a garden planted with traditional Japanese species of bamboo, gingko, and maple. + Dan Brunn Architecture Via Dezeen Images © Brandon Shigeta

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Gorgeous Japanese-inspired reading nook breathes new life into a Frank Gehry-designed home

Spherical timber teahouse hides in the treetops of Austria

May 19, 2017 by  
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Teatime is served with a side of enviable treetop views at the pod-shaped Teahouse Riedenthaln nestled in an Austrian garden. Architecture firm a-lp architektur designed the curious igloo-shaped timber hideaway as a modern interpretation of the traditional Japanese teahouse . The 10-square-meter elevated space was largely built from recycled oak wood offcuts. Located in a private garden, the spherical room serves as a place to drink tea, for hosting regression therapy clients, and as a possible sleeping area. A ramp leads up to the low and narrow entrance that opens to a light-filled and surprisingly spacious interior. Natural light fills the cave-like space through a large painted skylight and two rectangular windows. Related: Cocoon Tree: A lightweight, spherical treehouse for sustainable living The tiny teahouse retreat is raised on four black-painted pillars, made of tree trunks. Locally chopped oak timber was used as the main material for the teahouse. The wood cladding was recycled from the small timber offcuts of a local wine barrel-maker and assembled in stacks of over forty layers. The furniture, which includes a counter with a sink, window seat, and sleeping area, is also made from oak timber. + a-lp architektur Via ArchDaily Images by Christine Leuthner

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Circular home boasts 360-degree views so owners can watch their dogs

March 27, 2017 by  
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The biggest motivation behind this circular home’s 360-degree views isn’t the beautiful landscape—it’s the homeowners’ dogs. Dutch architecture firm 123DV designed 360 Villa, a contemporary dwelling in the Netherlands that shows how architecture can be inclusive of humans and animals. Commissioned by a couple who own a pair of beautiful Alaskan Malamutes, the custom home is wrapped in glazing to allow the couple to stay in constant contact with their dogs both in and outside the home. Surrounded by a sloped lawn, the 85-square-meter 360 Villa offers ample space for the homeowners’ two Alaskan Malamutes to play and release their high energy. To give the dogs space and the constant contact they need with their owners, 123DV designed the home with a circular plan and wrapped it in a “continuous window” to provide visual contact between the dogs and couple. The roof extends over the edge of the home to create a wraparound canopy that provides shelter from the rain and sun. Related: This house has a special staircase designed just for dogs To preserve privacy, the architects built up the land into a hill on the street-facing side of the villa so that the owners can see their dogs without needing a full-height window . Despite the small footprint, the 360 Villa feels spacious thanks to the large windows and the open floor plan. The open-plan kitchen, dining room, and living area take up around two-thirds of the interior and open to an outdoor deck. The bedroom and bathroom can be closed off from the living room by sliding doors. A large circular skylight in the middle of the home lets in additional natural light. + 123DV Via ArchDaily Images © Hannah Anthonysz

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Trump administration could open door to geoengineering

March 27, 2017 by  
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President Donald Trump’s main stance on climate change is usually denial, but if he does take action it could be with the controversial approach of geoengineering . Large-scale climate engineering didn’t receive much support under President Barack Obama, but now environmental organizations are saying in the new administration interest may be building for solar geoengineering, or spraying sulphate particles in the air with the hope of reflecting the sun’s radiation back into outer space to lower Earth’s temperature. Harvard University scientists David Keith and Frank Keutsch, who started the largest solar geoengineering research program in the world, may find support in the new administration. The two engineers hope to test spraying in 2018 in Arizona via a high-altitude balloon to obtain information of the practice’s impacts at a large scale. At a geoengineering forum last week, Keith seemed to indicate now might be the time to carry the research forward, saying he is ready for field testing. A briefing paper for the form stated the context for talking about solar geoengineering research “has changed substantially since we planned and funded this forum nearly one year ago.” Related: US Congress could fund geoengineering research for the first time Rex Tillerson , current Secretary of State, might also support geoengineering. The Guardian reported ExxonMobil scientists worked on geoengineering techniques like carbon dioxide removal while Tillerson was CEO, and at a 2015 ExxonMobil shareholder meeting Tillerson said “plan B has always been grounded in our beliefs around the continued evolution of technology and engineered solutions.” And one of the Trump Environmental Protection Agency transition architects, David Schnare, has lobbied American lawmakers and testified to the Senate in support of the controversial approach to climate change. Silvia Riberio of watchdog organization ETC Group told The Guardian, “Clearly parts of the Trump administration are very willing to open the door to reckless schemes like David Keith’s, and may well have quietly given the nod to open-air experiments. Worryingly, geoengineering may emerge as this administration’s preferred approach to global warming . In their view, building a big beautiful wall of sulphate in the sky could be a perfect excuse to allow uncontrolled fossil fuel extraction. We need to be focusing on radical emissions cuts, not dangerous and unjust technofixes.” Via The Guardian Images via Pixabay and Wikimedia Commons

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Trump administration could open door to geoengineering

Amazing transformation of a decrepit cave into a beautiful modern home

February 7, 2017 by  
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Cave homes may conjure up thoughts of primitive living, but that’s not so for one lucky man who received the cave makeover of his dreams in China’s Shanxi Province. As part of a home renovation TV series called “Wow New Home,” architect Shi Yang of hyperSity Architects renovated a decrepit cave house into a stunning modern home. Despite the dramatic transformation, the new home still preserves elements of the traditional cave design. Read on to see the first episode of Wow New Home (in Chinese, starts at 4:00) and how a ramshackle cave was turned into an incredible new abode for five. Located in the Loess Plateau, the former house was one of many cave homes, called yaodong, typical of the area. These traditional dwellings have long been used for their energy-efficient properties; the earth naturally keeps the cave warm in winters and cool in summer. The house in question belonged to a family of five who lived in a series of dark and damp caves that were in a serious state of disrepair, with tilting and crumbling walls. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0u9ty_VyiGg The architects wanted to retain the traditional elements of the cave house while providing a modern refresh. To that end, they preserved the shape of the arched walls and mainly used rammed earth for construction. The interior layout of the home was redesigned in the style of a Chinese courtyard house to open the interior up to natural light and ventilation with space for bamboo gardens. The cave space to the north was mostly left intact, whereas the spaces to the south and west were torn down and reconstructed to make space for five small courtyards connected via a zigzag path. Related: More Than 30 Million People in China Live in Eco-Friendly Caves The renovated home matches the original building height but is strikingly contemporary in appearance. A mix of clay and sand from the nearby mountains were used for the reddish rammed earth walls, creating a visual departure from the original brownish gray earthern walls. The home is entered through the arched doorway that connects to the first courtyard. A path weaves through the new southern-oriented courtyards and cave rooms—which house a kitchen, bedrooms, storage room, dining room, and bathroom—and finally ends at the northernmost space in the rear that’s divided into the grandmother’s bedroom and living room. A skylight punctuates the northernmost space to let in extra light and ventilation. + Wow?? Via ArchDaily

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This Secret Garden House in Singapore is full of elegant surprises

October 27, 2016 by  
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Wallflower’s client commissioned the home design for the upscale area of Bukit Timah in central Singapore. Rising to the request for a “luxurious, tropical, contemporary family home,” the design team produced a unique, airy space with a mostly open floor plan and multiple decks and terraces to take advantage of the region’s temperate climate. The home has a sunken basement and a long swimming pool , which work together to open up the ground-level areas of the house on the sloped lot. Related: Sunny Side House transforms a narrow lot into an airy family home The home’s predominant shapes are rectangular, with an L-shaped footprint comprised of smaller boxes. Interspersed throughout the structure, though, are expansive round skylights that invite wide bright spotlights to dance around the home’s interior, adding curves to what is otherwise a very angular space. The home also features a protected interior atrium, where two-story trees grow in front of a dense privacy wall, offering the homeowners a uniquely cozy living space without sacrificing daylight or views of nature. Perhaps one of the best features about the home itself is the rooftop terrace, which stretches the length of the building’s elegant L shape. With a clear glass perimeter protecting from missteps, the deck features multiple lounging areas and plenty of greenery , a nod to the home’s lush surroundings. Just off in the distance, high-rises obscure the mountainous view, but the Secret Garden House offers plenty of other delicious sights, without the eyestrain. + Wallflower Architecture + Design Via ArchDaily Images via Marc Tey

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This Secret Garden House in Singapore is full of elegant surprises

Pop-up art studios challenge the rising costs of Londons creative workforce

July 4, 2016 by  
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The Minima Moralia pop-up studio asks the question, “Will London still be the capital of creativity, arts and crafts in 10 years time?” The pair points out that soon only the independently wealthy will be able to afford the necessary means to be a productive member of the creative industry, as rental fees and training costs soar. Their studio could serve as a beginning to more affordable and accessible creative spaces. Related: The Observatory is a duo of charred-timber, off-grid art studios traveling around the UK Inspired by Theodor Adorno’s commentary on the “damaged lives” of London’s artists, the studio challenges its inhabitants to simplify their necessities in the tight quarters, yet also draw influence from the surroundings. Described as a type of “urban acupuncture,” the studios target and revive areas in the city most typically discarded or ignored. A modular steel frame is the starting point for the studio’s design, allowing a variety of different window, shelving, and desk configurations. A folding canopy completely opens up one side of the space, while a smaller vertical window gives an at-home feel to the artist inside. Bright sun or stars can filter in through an overhead skylight, furthering the connection to the space and inspiration outdoors. +Minima Moralia Via  Dezeen Images via Tomaso Boano and Jonas Prišmontas

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