AMNP was recently contacted by Elian Stefa & Gyler Mydyti – students at the Landscape Architecture Graduate Program at the Politecnico di Milano – regarding their thesis project. Entitled ‘Concrete Mushrooms‘, the work consists of a 20 minute documentary film they are currently editing, along with a proposal to transform these abandoned bunkers throughout the Albanian landscape into an organized network of permanent shelters to be used by tourists who hike the region.
The project – or the documentary at least – is set to be finished in late December. Hopefully we’ll have more then of what looks like a really interesting proposal.
Head on over to REBURBIA to vote on your favorite submission to the competition, which is dedicated to re-envisioning the suburbs. Finalists have been chosen by the judges and [I think] the rest is up to you.
I would also encourage you to check out the ‘Notable Entries‘, as many of them are sick – such as Glass Houses: (Matta) Clark County, Nevada by ZELLNERPLUS, which I’ve decided to feature here. Basically, I think this was my favorite of the submissions – largely due to the fact that the notion of splitting McMansions into smaller units Gordon Matta Clark style is just too ridiculous not to love. I mean, my ninjas, PLEASE – thing is brilliant.
Anyways, ending up on AMNP isn’t anywhere near as good as winning the competition – but I wanted to give the project a shout.
Glass Houses: (Matta) Clark County, Nevada by ZELLNERPLUS
Nevada has the highest foreclosure rate in the United States. 70,000 homes are affected- meaning 1 in 16 in homes is vacant. Not coincidentally, there are nearly 6,000 Clark County School District students who are now considered homeless. 1/3 of the homeless in Nevada are children under the age of 18, suggesting a much larger floating homeless population.
Re-inventing suburbia today is not a matter of making better houses or improving suburban planning. This project, although highly speculative, seeks to suggest a means of closing the gap between a near-absurd excess of new but vacant suburban homes across the nation, and our tragic, burgeoning homeless population.
We proceed from a Gordon Matta-Clark like vivisection of the typical subdivision. Each house within a standardized block is subdivided into four unequal units separated by a 3 meter wide gap that provides communal access and light. The interiors of each unit are reconfigured and capped with double glazed plates. The glass offers both a means of delivering acoustical and light control (via electrified privacy film.) Thermal control is delivered by employing the cavity space as a temperature buffer.
The ambition of re-envisioning the suburb must address what to do with the human as well as physical fall-out created by failed suburban development models and toxic financial speculation. Until we address the literal and metaphorical implications of these issues we are just gilding the suburban lily.
The ‘LET THEM BURN‘ entry was also pretty entertaining – but really dark.
The typical architecture-school final thesis project tends to start as a theoretical written document, laying out a students individual thoughts and concepts on a particular architectural topic – which then evolves into a ‘paper architecture’ project, designed by the student and explained in drawings, diagrams, models, and maybe some animations.
Quad Space – the M-Arch thesis project of University at Buffalo students Michael-John Bailie, Paul Dudowski, Ernest Ng H.H., and Dan Stripp – is, as you can see, no ‘typical’ thesis project. Rather than leave the project on paper, the four students decided to test their ideas in the real world – through a fairly drastic/awesome renovation of a 400 SF 1850’s Buffalo home. From the team:
Quad Space is an insertion of an architectural academic exercise as a full-scale constructed exploration to spatially and structurally manipulate and define the division of four spaces within a 400 sqf house.
Project background, via Quad Space:
This thesis re-evaluates the operations of architectural exercises within the academia and its role and relationship with the social, communal and economic environment that it is based in. This thesis project will critically investigates the process of establishing an academic architectural research project as a full scale construction insertion in the city of Buffalo, through the physical manipulation and conversion of a derelict house into a habitable space.
This collaborative thesis project is strengthened and necessitated by the nature, scale and logistics of a full scale architectural construction exercise involving coordination, compromises and negotiations by four individuals, while also being challenged and contorted by the conventions of the academia and its definition of a thesis work as a purely individual exercise.
This thesis project operates within the space of two current economic situations: the first being the stagnant and derelict economic landscape of Buffaloâ€™s domestic environment in which the insertion of this academic project, self-motivated and independently funded by architectural students/ designers/ builders/ owners creates a sense of iconography and raise awareness for innovative attitudes towards the re-considering the banal within such an urban landscape.
The second Â being that of the typical American view of domesticity, which the thesis acknowledges and provokes by challenging the perception of conventionally extensive spatial needs within the ideal American home and domestic landscape, by re-defining and re-interpreting conventional building codes requirements for minimal living.
The 4 students bought the existing structure for $6,500 at auction, and subsequently gutted the building and tore down an addition to prep for their project. The total cost of the renovation/redesign is estimated at $32,000 – with donations from a number of local construction-related companies.
From a programmatic standpoint, the project takes the existing 400 SF home and inserts 4 volumes [seen in diagram above] into the space – creating 4 private living spaces. Each of these inserted volumes pushes through the existing home, becoming visible on the exterior as a uniquely defined space. The interstitial space remaining between these insertions will then function as communal space, such as kitchen, bath, and living room. Check the Quad Space blog for some great photos of the process of cutting the existing facades and roof, then sliding the newly created volumes through from the inside – pretty sick.
Now, I know what you’re thinking – you want to see the finished product. AMNP has already arranged to stay in contact with one of the team members, and I look forward to bringing readers images of the completed project when the team wraps everything up – possibly with some of their thoughts on the process of collaborating on a thesis, actually building an academic project like this, and reactions to the completed structure. For those of you in NYC, the project will also be exhibited in September [images, obviously] as part of “Arch Schools: Visions of the Future”, an annual exhibition at the Center for Architecture.
Head over to the Quad Space blog for more images and information on the project, and process photos documenting the construction.
::info, images and quoted text courtesy of the Quad Space team::
[Ed. Note: Adorable Asian children not included – so back off all you Madonna and Brangelina wannabes…]
I’m pretty sure I saw this project in April’s issue of Dwell – but regardless, it’s sick and had to be on AMNP [I couldn’t risk any of you ninjas missing out – it would’ve been irresponsible of me]. Essentially an adaptive-reuse project, the project transformed a warehouse in a mixed-use neighborhood into a courtyard house [obviously, as the name suggests].
The Courtyard HouseÂ was inspired by an ancient form of architecture and a new form of North American urban thinking – infill housing as an alternative urban typology.
By converting a contractor warehouse in a mixed-use industrial neighborhood, the ambition was to create a modern, affordable home and studio for a family of four – one which could successfully adapt to a mid-block or laneway situation, where there is no typical front or back. The design of the house is generated by an emphasis on the views and activities of the interior courtyards, where all the windows look inwards.
My question is this: why are courtyard homes not more prevalent in ‘urban’ areas that are more dense than our suburbs, but still not so dense that single [or 2 family] homes aren’t practical? So many communities – the one I live in, for example – are ‘urban’, yet have an abundance of 1 and 2 family homes with yards, etc. These homes are on narrow lots and are often-times pressed for space – yet they still opt to pull back from the street so as to make a gesture to the American lawn, while facing the street like so many suburban homes [regardless of street traffic, etc]. While the project featured here is obviously a converted warehouse, and seems like it may be a little too disconnected [internally] from the street visually – the typology obviously works and makes sense. Use the volume of the house to create private, outdoor spaces.
::Photos by Rob Fiocca::
.:images and info via-> Studio Junction
Studio 360 takes us on a tour of missile a silo turned happy home:
“The underground nuclear missile bases and silos are still out there in Kansas. Many of them are now empty â€“ but not for long. Studio 360â€™s Eric Molinsky visits a peace activist who is turning decommissioned nuclear missile bases and silos into family homes.”
That’s some pretty serious adaptive reuse right there…
You can download the show from Studio 360 here, or subscribe to the Studio 360 Podcast through iTunes [or by copying this URL into your iTunes: http://www.studio360.org/index.xml]
::Thanks to the Studio 360 Intern who hit us with a link::
Designed by BDP, the Shetland Museum and Archives serves as a cultural hub for the Shetland Islands in Scotland – both housing the archives of the islands and telling it’s history with a maritime theme and contemporary feel.
The new building, coming in at 3,500 square meters, integrated existing boat sheds into the design – and serves as the centerpiece to the restoration of the entire historic dock. In addition to the archives and exhibits, the museum includes a restaurant with seating for 90, and a 120 seat auditorium space.
The main building’s form is derived from the historical context – traditional Shetland building, called Lodberries, which had gabled ends ‘rising from the sea’, constructed with traditional materials [harled masonry walls, timber windows and slate pitched roofs].
But the ‘Boat Hall’ is really the center of the project. In order to create an ‘icon’ for the project, and the area, BDP created a taller, timber-clad structure made up of four inclined polygonal walls, separated by strips of vertical glazing. Once again taking cues from the area’s history, the form is based on the sails of ‘Herring Drifters’, boats which were built at the very dock where the museum is located.
The three storey tall structure is home to five historic boats – suspended at various heights within the space, viewed from two platforms within the space – recounting the history of the Shetland boat from its Viking roots to more contemporary designs.
Preston, green ninja master over at Jetson Green, writes:
As an interesting example of adaptive reuse, I thought it would be fun to showcase the design of Menefee + Winer’s office in Atlanta, Georgia.Â Located at 1075 Brady Avenue near Georgia Tech, the 4,100 sf building used to be bland, gray muffler shop (see bottom) — but now with its vibrant colors and fierce shape, how about the transformation?Â This LEED Silver building is also, interestingly, the first LEED-NC certified architect’s office in Georgia.
Click here to read read the rest of this article [this is just an excerpt] over at Jetson Green.
::article written by Preston, founder + editor of Jetson Green – original article entitled Muffler Shop Converted to First LEED-NC Architect Office in Georgia. These articles from Jetson Green on MNPâ€™s Green Tuesdays are part of a feature you can find here every week – just click any Tuesday in the calender and enjoy! And for more â€˜greenâ€™ news + info, head on over to Green.MNP::
What do you do with a leftover WWII bunker on Frankfurt’s East harbor? While knocking it over might seem like a good idea, Index Architekten has put this one to work as a cultural place “[defining] it as the motor for municipal transformation”. In a dramatic shift in program, the bunker has been converted into studio space for local artists and the home of the Institute for New Media.
Due to high costs, demolition wasn’t an option – therefore the bunker “turned somewhat into an elevated construction site – like on a rock in the city, a carefully calculated wooden box will sit up there”. This wooden box house’s the studio spaces and the Institute for New Media, while the heavy pre-existing has been transformed into studio spaces for musicians.
[image: 3rd floor plan]
Additionally, the plans of the ‘wooden box’ have been tuned inside-out – the studios are pushed to the center, and all the circulation + public space has been pulled to the exterior, creating both a “dialogue with the city” and immediate connection to the exterior for all the spaces.