Cleverly rotated volumes make the most of a tiny Shanghai apartment

July 30, 2018 by  
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With a population of over 24 million, it’s no wonder that apartments are small in the Chinese mega-city of Shanghai . Thanks to clever space-saving techniques and design, however, making life pleasant in small spaces is more than possible, as seen in this recent apartment renovation on Kangping Road. Local architecture practice TOWOdesign transformed a tiny apartment into the 10 Degrees House, a multifunctional abode that uses enclosed volumes to cleverly delineate its various programs while maintaining an open and colorful character. Despite the 430-square-foot apartment’s small footprint , the brief asked for a home that would include a bedroom as well as an office, entertainment area, storage and all other functions necessary in daily living. Rather than walls, the TOWOdesign inserted four “function boxes” with curved edges, each of which services a different program. The four boxes include the bedroom, bath, entertainment space and the centrally placed kitchen with integrated storage. All of the boxes are wrapped in light-colored timber, except for the kitchen unit that is covered in glossy, bright yellow panels. “However, some contradictions appeared after placing the boxes in this small space, especially the box for entertainment; it blocked the entire flow line and view of the whole space,” the architects said in a project statement. “Therefore, TOWOdesign made some adjustment to the previous design. They rotated all the functional boxes by 10 degrees; in this way, said problems were all solved perfectly. What’s more, the 10 degree rotation made some interesting intersections. For example, next to the box for resting, the intersection space happens to be good for installing a staircase with storage cabinets hidden, which is very flexible and practical.” Related: This kitchen in a box makes it easy to cook in micro-apartments and tiny homes The spaces in between the rotated volumes, such as the living room and open kitchen, feel spacious thanks to the use of white walls and large mirrors. Space-saving elements, like the folding dining table and plenty of hidden storage, help reduce visual clutter. + TOWOdesign Images by TOWOdesign

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Cleverly rotated volumes make the most of a tiny Shanghai apartment

Iceberg-inspired cultural center celebrates Inuit traditions

June 26, 2018 by  
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When Montreal-based Blouin Orzes architectes was tapped to design a new Inuit cultural center for the arctic region of Nunavik, they knew that the project would be no easy task. Nunavik, which occupies the northern third of the province of Quebec, not only has a harsh climate, but also faces incredibly high construction costs due to its remote location and lack of materials, which can only be shipped during the brief summer season. Despite these challenges, Blouin Orzes architectes has the advantage of experience—the firm has worked in Nunavik since 2000 and tapped into its intimate understanding of the culture and people to design a Cultural Center that celebrates Inuit traditions in a striking, iceberg-inspired building. Located in the Northern Village of Kuujjuaraapik near the mouth of the Great Whale River, the new 680-square-meter Cultural Center was created in close collaboration with the community. Drawing inspiration from the shape of icebergs , the architects designed the building—which spans 1 1/2 stories—with a strong geometric shape. The facility is sheathed in steel panels and yellow-painted timber planks that reference the sand dune on which the village sits. “Despite living in extremely remote communities, Nunavik’s Inuit do not hesitate travelling long distances by plane to visit each other or to attend an important cultural event,” wrote Blouin Orzes architectes in a statement. “Since the fall of 2017, the 10,000 people living in one of Nunavik’s 14 communities can now gather in a new Cultural Centre located in the Northern Village of Kuujjuaraapik, north of the 55th parallel. Originally planned as a showcase for the highly popular Inuit Games, the facility lends itself to all sorts of events, from storytelling, singing and dancing to concerts, films, banquets and other types of gatherings.” Related: Tiny Alaskan village votes to abandon 400-year-old ancestral home because of climate change The facility is accessed via a concrete ramp that extends to form an outdoor gathering space. A deep south-facing overhang that echoes the portico of the nearby church, the oldest structure in the village, protects the entrance. Beyond the lobby is the main hall, which accommodates up to 300 people and is equipped with state-of-the art AV equipment. + Blouin Orzes architectes Aerial image by Heiko Wittenborn, all others by Blouin Orzes architectes

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Iceberg-inspired cultural center celebrates Inuit traditions

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