A Chippefield project has a kind of calming effect on the senses. For the government of the Austrian city of Innsbruck -along with this project’s developers – I imagine DC’s proposal for the Kaufhaus Tyrol Department StoreÂ was like taking a deep breath of fresh air and saying ‘everything is going to be alright’.
Long story short – this retail project in the heart of a ‘traditional’ [re: Baroque] Austrian city was a mess, and chewed up two different architecture firms before Chipperfield was called in to clean up the mess. A few months later his office was redesigning the entire project with the blessings of the client and the government – a task that had apparently seemed impossible to the previous designers.
Possibly the nicest part – at first glance the project really isn’t a big deal. Calm, simple, clean, quiet, respectful of its context without fading into the background – are we sure this is a retail project? Was the developer confused?
While not DC’s greatest project, the firm was able to stay true to its typically dope style, creating something elegant and modern [out of a shopping mall – my ninjas, please]. While obviously going for a modern approach, the project sought to address its context in an appropriate way – and does so by angling slightly along its long facade. This subtly breaks the mass into three sections, meant to be reminiscent of the massing of the surrounding historic buildings. The fifth floor of the project is also pulled back, mimicking the way floors were added to the surrounding structures throughout the years.
I don’t really think I’m a fan of the museum as a whole [link below], but this staircase is SICK! Too bad they’ll have to give it some handrails – you know, to keep people from falling to their death and all that…
I’ve had this project sitting here as a draft post for a few weeks now [titled ‘silly sick concrete house’]. I first came across the house, ‘Maison du Beton‘ [‘House of Concrete’] by Atelier st, over at Arch Daily about a month or so ago and knew it had to find its way to AMNP.
Located within a ‘typical’ residential community in Cainsdorf, Germany, the house picks up the scale of the local homes – and then breaks with tradition. The angular geometries of the project are accentuated by the use cast-in-place concrete as a building material – creating simple, almost monolithic, facades that stand in stark contrast to the building’s surroundings.
The interior of the home then breaks further away from local norms – where large, open spaces have been created within the concrete shell. Additionally, the designers played with the heights of spaces on the interior, creating double-height spaces that do not necessarily correspond to the treatment of the exterior – so that the house doesn’t “give it all away” from the outside.
[click images for larger view]
“House with Crest”
The holes are lined up on a cross shape. The hole is made on the architecture like the perforated line. This architecture is “House with Crest”. A light that penetrates into the architecture always moves and never stays. It is a symbolic spectacle. A light that goes through the hole is projected in a circle shape, moves unlimitedly, and never stays. Occasionally, it disappears, and it appears.
For our second installment of Ninjas of the Month: Eastern Design we have the MON Factory/House 8 in Kyoto, Japan. Completed in 2007, the 260 m2 project houses both a workshop of a traditional craftsman and his family home.
The owner wanted a home that could accommodate his business – creating crests for traditional Japanese clothing – while keeping the living and work spaces distinct and separate. EASTERN’s solution was to raise the majority of the project off of street level, creating a parking area beneath the main structure of the building, with a storefront for the craftsman’s business on the street. The workspace is then directly above the shop, connecting the two spaces while making the actual workshop more private.
The second level – with the workshop and living spaces – is divided by two courtyards into it’s primary parts, namely the workshop, the living room / kitchen area, and the bedroom, by two small courtyard spaces. Essentially, hallways run along both sides of the house [around these courtyards, which don’t reach the perimeter of the building], connecting the various spaces. Get a better look at the plan in larger detail, here.
We “lift the one-storied house to the sky” to create calm interior space. It is lifted to 3m in the sky. The space under that is lent as a parking lot. The one-storied house lifted to the sky makes “two outside spaces placed among three inside spaces”. The wind and the light of nature gather from the sky into two outside void spaces. And that extends to three inside spaces.
The only break in the exterior concrete walls of the building come in the form of a series of circular ‘holes’ – which speak directly to the circular shape of the tradition crests being made in the workshop.
Two street side walls overlap on “Mise (show/shop)” space from right and left as like the breast of the Kimono. The “breast” interior becomes the shop space. The circular holes made for a cross shape becomes a pattern that decorates the wall as a crest. The kinds of crests reaches 7000. Any complicated crest pattern is formed from circle.
The workshop area and the living area are separated and also connected. The client and his daughter have such living style. The crest making is a delicate work and also a business work. It is quiet, and also busy. The drifting cloud is seen, and they finish working, and relax in the living room at the middle space.
The reflected light becomes an infinite line of light and extends into the darkness of twilight on both side window of the living room. And the dark becomes deeper. In this one-storied house lifted to the sky a night goes on like that.
Next week we’ll be back with the next installment of this current ‘Ninja(s) of the Month’ feature, looking into the work of EASTERN design.
::photographs by Kouichi Torimura::
::images, info + quoted text courtesy of EASTERN design office, Inc::
Designed by AMNP’s current ‘Ninja(s) of the Month‘, EASTERN design office, the Slit House is a 210 square meter reinforced concrete home in Japan. Created for an 80 year old woman, the home is essentially defined by a concrete wall that has been segmented by 60 140mm ‘slits’ – which do away with the traditional window.
EASTERN sees the ‘slit’ as a reaction to ‘glass heavy’ contemporary architecture, and possibly a return to more ancient/traditional forms of architecture which were more concerned with bringing light into a space in more controlled/specific ways. Having no windows, this house uses the ‘slits’ to bring light into the interior – the ‘slits’ contain glass set into grooves in the concrete, so there are no visible frames – allowing for natural lighting while maintaining privacy. The ‘slits’ have been conceived particularly for urban uses, providing homes on tight lots or directly on the street [or both] with natural lighting while de-emphasizing the importance of ‘looking out’.
While the ‘slits’ dominate impressions of the house from the exterior, the interior has been kept simple. Wooden walls have bee used throughout, allowing for the space to be reorganized over time – as either uses or occupant(s) change over time. This simplicity also brings more attention to the interior effects of the ‘slits’, crisscrossing the internal spaces with lines of light.
This spacing of he concrete panels also turns the home into one giant timepiece, to some extent – tracking light and shadows throughout the day.
At the dawn, watery light comes into the house through the slits. That makes the entire room bright faintly.
At 9:30AM,sequence of the feeble light that reflects to header of slits appears.
At 10:30AM, the sunlight pierces through angled slits at first. At 11:00AM,the sunlight pierces through all slits. The sunlight through the slit and the reflected light on the header of the slit project the stripe of V type to the long corridor. If you saw the repetition of this edgy light, you might feel as if time of 11:00AM has stopped. In as much as ten minutes, the reflected light on the header disappears. The shape of the light that the slit makes changes from V type into one stripe. The moments that the sun pierces through the angled slits and through the straight slits are different.
The angled slits get a little earlier. The momentary time lag let us feel a running of the sun and makes us forefeel the upcoming time of the dusk. And it shortens little by little. And watery light fills the house again with soft brightness.
Then the night comes before long.
Next we’ll be back with the next installment of this current ‘Ninja(s) of the Month’ feature – Horizontal House.
::photographs by Kouichi Torimura::
::images, info + quoted text courtesy of EASTERN design office, Inc::
Calm, but not sterile.
Humble, and yet unexpected.
Economical, nothing extravagant.
Open space with flexible floor plans and a space to contemplate.
These were the requirements as described by the client for this project – a Japanese-German couple which plans on living in one of the units and selling the other. I would add ‘sexy as hell’ and ‘siiick’…
This ‘2 Houses’ project was designed by the Hong Kong based Cheungvogl Architects + Designers for a site in Tokyo – and it’s pretty stunning. Iconographic forms and simple materials [concrete and aged timber] create ‘twin’ houses – each protected from the street by a concrete wall that runs the perimeter of the site. Entering either unit, the spaces are lit with skylights – and from individual courtyard spaces that run the length of the site.
This play on public vs private, making the units completely self-contained and closed off from the street, is quite dramatic – creating what I would imagine to be a quiet, private refuge.
The two houses, standing side by side, related and yet separated. Its outline traces back years of history within the context. Simple detailing, rough concrete and aged timber are elements that tie the two houses together. Within them, store calmness.
Inside the house, the connection to the outside is reduced down to two linear courtyards. Framing ‘the tree’ standing on a sheet of white gravel, absence from the city’s influence, quietly documenting time. Contrary to the ground floor, the pitched roof is a small space enclosing the stair leading to an undefined open room – the roof itself. Three meter above ground, the city skyline seems almost tangible. Looking back, ‘the tree’ is standing still.
Those of you who read the site regularly won’t need me to go into how geeked I am off of these renderings – but I do have tosay that they’re feckin’ DOPE, and you should head over to Cheungvogl’s website for larger versions. Also, the subtle slideshow method they use to show the images is quite nice, and shouldn’t be slept-on. Enjoy.
Designed by ADOC [Arquitectura Design Ordenamento Consultores], what we’ve got here today is a proposal for university housing in Zaragoza, Spain. Say it with me now: my ninjas, please… Now, I warned readers in my post on KKA’s fishmarket project that I had a collection of projects that utilize the iconic gable-roofed home shape – and this university housing project is definitely the most extreme / strangest use of the form I’ve come across so far.
The project starts out with a simplistic, minimalist take on the gabled roof house form, creating a single volume to house the university students in an individual module. This module is then multiplied, stacked and arrayed – creating 5 storey housing blocks, seemingly connected by the long central hallways familiar to a typical apartment building.
ADOC likens each floor to a street – individual homes, connected by a shared pathway. We can see this idea in the section best – where the drawing shows not just a narrow hallway, but what looks like a small, two-storey, space that connects the individual volumes to the shared path. Now, I have no idea how big this space is – but it looks to be at least the width of the hallway itself.
That said, if the ‘outdoor’ space is also as long as the individual volume itself and double-height – does this create a useable, individual, ‘outdoor’ emulating space within the structure created by the amalgamation of these individual ‘houses’? It’s definitely a fascinating idea – combining forms we associated with the things we like about single-family homes to create structures that use the land more efficiently, and achieve a higher density without depriving residents of a sense of individual, private space.
Assuming any of this is the case, I think we need to imagine this type of project post-occupancy -where I would expect to find that residents had really taken ownership of their personal volume. Painting, personalizing, decorating, planting – I wonder if you could really achieve the diversity found on an actual street in a project such as this one. I would argue that it may even have to capacity to exceed the individuality found on many streets – as so much single-family residential construction looks so so similar, and the simple fact that single-family homes having clear owners/residents and addresses/land seems to reduce the occupants’ desire to personalize the exterior of the building in additional ways.
Thanks to our ninja Manuel for the link – don’t hesitate to hit me up if you come across something that you think ninjas should know about. Email me at email@example.com – or drop me a DM on Twitter @ArchitectureMNP.
This project was also covered a while back by our ninjas over at plusmood, which you can read here.
Sustainable but beautiful: this is the goal I have pursued in all of my projects for years. South Face is the outcome of this constant quest for sustainable design that engages with actual production systems found on the market.
An installation designed by Iosa Ghini Associati for the 2009 Interni Design Energies, Milano, ‘South Face’ provides informal, sheltered seating for passers-by. Constructed of an insulated modular wall of hollow panels made from an eco-cement, the faÃ§adeÂ of the installation provides some thermal insulation for the small space it encloses – while using the south-facing faÃ§ade as a ‘vertical garden’, intended to absorb a limited amount of carbon dioxide from the local environment.
The designers make the argument that “sustainability is usually associated with sterile forms in which aesthetics are often overlooked”, and therefore their project aims to “create spectacular aesthetic effects, making sustainability both beautiful and feasible”. While I would say that many sustainable projects are both ‘green’ and ‘beautiful’ [obviously], I think that there remains a need to push this argument that projects aren’t ‘good’ simply because they’re ‘green’. I’m slightly concerned that while sustainability will survive the economic downturn and this apparent current trend against the ‘architecture of excess’, that this new trend isn’t appropriately concerned with aesthetic value. Cameron Sinclair isn’t Mies, arguing for a form-follows-function approach that lends itself to ‘beautiful’ design – rather, we’ve entered into a conversation seemingly built upon the idea that the aesthetics aren’t important, which seems to be little more than an excuse for bad design.
::images + quoted text provided by Iosa Ghini Associati::