Daycare Sundries is a modern kindergarten located southwest of the town Babenhausen in Germany. Designing a school is always a challenge: the structure needs to hold a large percentage of children to adults while keeping everyone occupied and safe. As a result, stark utilitarian structures tend to dominate in the industry. Designed by Ecker Architekten, Daycare Sundries is the exception. On first approach the building gives the impression of a work of art rather than a kindergarten. With a closer look, however, smartly crafted details start to emerge. The structure is segmented into two wings, one for the older students and one for the younger. Four double-height classrooms house the older children on the north end of the site. Built in lockers and cubbies provide no-fuss storage in both halves of the school. The dining hall and gymnasium, used by students of all ages, are the centerpieces of the structure. Tall windows are prevalent on a majority of the exterior walls. The windows warm the school with natural light and views of the peaceful landscape. Pale brick covers other parts of the facade; the material is a nod to the medieval architecture in neighboring towns. Lawns and paved areas around the building provide space for...
Urban Interventions gradually became the darling of art enthusiasts, especially when created by talented visual artists injecting a good deal of personality and politics into mundane spaces. The premise of altering the mood, or one might say, the dynamics of certain neighborhoods isn’t an easy feat to achieve. Urban interventions may come in various shapes and sizes though. In a bold move, XML Architects introduced at the center of Amsterdam’s Red Light District, the Hangover Information Center, a clear intrusion of alien visual concept, breaking away from burlesque and darker motifs. Bright white lights guide individuals to a pharmacy-like ambient offering a vitamin-infused drink, handed by employees behind a 9 meter long counter made with sheets of polycarbonate. The experience resembles a quick trip to your local pharmacy, if said pharmacy was reduced to great geometric design and two particular products. Stylish bottles of water and vitamin drinks make up an impressive blue wall as the central visual attraction. The main product is called RESET, promising a speedy recovery from a night of heavy drinking, thanks to its main ingredient, glutathione. This is a great example of a tasteful and functional urban intervention, all made with beautiful architecture and interior...
House in Possanco is a contemporary home featuring a captivating array of architectural gestures. Designed by the prominent Portuguese firm ARX, this weekend home is located in the arid landscape of Possanco, Portugal. The structure is defined by a pure white facade with strategic carvings, which create windows and skylights. The pristine sheets of white are expertly constructed, allowing the entire building to exude the air of designed precision. Four patios cut through the bold form and are situated throughout the home. A triangular cantilever juts from the side of the building. It is an exciting piece, and it plays with the viewer’s sense of scale and structure. The interior is void of decoration. Instead, long and uniquely formed shadows are splashed along the walls like artwork. The highly geometric roof adds visual interest to any of the home’s interior rooms. The many windows and openings ensure plenty of natural light and views of the exterior landscape. The abstract nature of House in Possanco pushes the viewer to explore further. This is not a structure that can be admired casually: it requires one’s keen attention and an appreciation for the modern and spectacular. Photography by Fernando Guerra FG+SG.
Everyone loves animals and it’s great to know that they can receive the best care in such beautiful places. CRAM Foundation is an organization for the rehabilitation and conservation of marine animals in El Prat de Llobregat, Catalonia. Built in 2010 by Hidalgo Hartmann Arquitectura, a Spanish/German studio based in Barcelona, it is located in the old golf course of the Catalan town in an area of 18,000 square meters and develops the three basic guidelines of the foundation. It includes a recovery clinic, an administration building, a space for postmortem studies and several pools and tanks needed for the treatment of the specimens arriving at the center, and their reintroduction into the sea in the shortest time possible. The project seeks to balance the clinical program of research and public program with minimum possible means to ensure that the conditions of the activity become the key factors in defining the architectural features and volume as a whole. A beautiful place close to the sea, amazing buildings and above all, great work.
Home 11 is an elegant dwelling in Amsterdam. The structure was previously a large garage. i29 Interior Architects renovated the garage into a modern apartment for two people. The color palette is defined by three materials: white sheetrock, natural oak, and gleaming black surfaces. The elevated kitchen is composed of wooden cabinets and a black island. Step down into the living room and you’ll find an oak wall with black shelving and a small fireplace. The doors to the bedroom and bathroom blend with the wood-clad walls. Skylights run across the ceiling and provide a plethora of natural light. To connect the home with the outdoors, i29 Interior Architects included a small outdoor patio and designed the living room carpet in a green mossy pattern. Home 11 is an incredibly posh dwelling. The materials and furnishings combine to give the home a luxury feel. The skylights are a wonderful addition. Never underestimate the power of simple materials, natural light, and great design. Photography by Ewout Huibers.
Sushi Azuma is a Japanese restaurant designed by the Osaka-based architecture practice Stile led by Ietsugu Ohara. The concept for the architecture is conceived with the traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony in mind, where the activity revolves around the preparation and presentation of the tea. The interior spaces and the materials are kept to a strict minimalist architecture, allowing the colors and lighting to present and highlight the preparation and dining of sushi. Everything has been meticulously designed in this space, from the proportion of the furniture to the sizes of the paneling, to a visual play on the architecture such as on the inside of the private dining niches where the cantilevered table appears to subtly ‘lift’ itself from the bench seating, which is such a clever, minimalist detail. Accent walls are dipped in a contrasting darker wood while curved walls are only highlighted by the cove lighting, allowing the public and private spaces to coexist as an integral part of the architectural procession. While Ohara’s intention was to focus on the food, one cannot help but appreciate the calm and peaceful aesthetic of Sushi Azuma’s minimalism. Construction: Ida Home. / Jiro Ida Lighting: MAXRAY. / Hiroyuki Nagatomi Decorative lighting: flame. / Kenichi...
Located in the landscape of the island of Hirvensalo, Finland, the exterior of the St. Henry’s Ecumenical Art Chapel stands out for its copper surface, that will be weathered green with time to be in harmony with the sorrounding trees and nature. After a small entrance foyer, there is the grand hall, shaped like a fish’s stomach, symbol of first Christians, with the altar at the end of the axis, illuminated through windows with artworks by artist Hannu Konola. There is also a gallery in the rear of the space, so the exhibitions and the ceremonies coexist in the same space, much like in the Renaissance churches. The chapel, a project by Sanaksenaho Architects, has a loadbearing structure of curved ribs of laminated pine and walls covered with untreated wooden lining, where there is an emphasized contrast between light and shadow. The architects explain: The most important building material besides wood and copper is natural light. It gets the forms, spaces and surfaces live all day long. The idea is to walk through shadowy spaces towards altar and the light, the source of which is hidden.
Copenhagen-based Norm Architects designed this remarkable townhouse inside a deceptively rustic exterior; beyond the structure itself, the minimalist sensibility springs from elegant hand-picked furnishings. The project in hand can be considered an all-around marvel, it delivers on all fronts easily. The structure showcases assorted features; ranging from high ceilings adorned with a skylight, a transparent staircase, numerous wide windows to shower the interior with natural light and, finally, beautiful wood beams (painted in white, of course). The coup de coeur to take this exquisite residence to the next level is the well curated interior design. The white canvas accommodates the black and white objects effortlessly, bringing out the best of them for each room. This project really shows off its strength when familiar, and often overused design pieces gain new life and freshness — such as the various chairs, lamps and tables carefully placed throughout each room. All of the elements and insights above are frequently listed as essential trends on several publications, it speaks volume on the quality and success of the architect’s endeavor.
Based in Maastricht, the Netherlands, Studio Niels was founded under Niels Maier with a focus on interior design and its effects on the built environments. Varied in size, the studio’s approach depends on its philosophy about clarity, simplicity, and contextualization; this is apparent through the Authentic Mansion 2, completed in 2011. Also located in Maastricht, this apartment was designed to be monochromic with stark white interiors, highlighting the wooden floor and contrasting home furnishes. Behind the television is a hidden shelf that is utilized to both cover the technical system and provide a place for storage, which is a clever spatial move. I especially appreciate the negative space produced from the continuously white interior, appearing under the sink, between the bed, through the key hole, and many more instances. This shows an articulation in details that Studio Niels was able to achieve through envisioning a bigger picture, then narrowing down in scale—an important quality of designers alike. The minimalism in Authentic Mansion 2 is strongly apparent, emitting an elegance and sophistication. What else can a client ask for? A space of minimal design, maximal effect.
The French branch of the Italian company Marchesini, a leader in packaging applications, was built in 2008 by architects Benoit Jallon and Umberto Napolitano of LAN Architecture in Saint Mesmes — a small town about 40 kilometers east of Paris. Aseptic yet elegant, formal yet cozy, flexible yet defined, are only apparent contradictions that define the ispirational principles that guided LAN Architecture to achieve the design of this 1,000 square meter building, which extends over 6,000 square meters of land. Its face is oriented with the wide glass wall in the direction of Paris, the marketplace of the office. The main interest of the site lies in its morphology and in its orientation. The level of the soil follows a slope of 3 feet above sea level, and the west side provides an exceptional view of the surrounding hills. In the planning phase we examined the relation between the building and the landscape, and between users of the building and the landscape. Strong, iconic and hotly black.
Plywood House is a distinct home refurbishment tucked among London’s traditional Victorian row homes. The exterior is comprised of brick and concrete punctured by single framed windows. These materials are splashed throughout the interior as well. Concrete and brick are wonderful raw materials that add visual interest inside and out. However, the most distinguishing feature of this home is its namesake: plywood. Plywood is one of the simplest yet most versatile construction materials. In Plywood House, it is used instead of sheetrock to form the walls and ceilings. The soft wood casts a warm light throughout the minimal interior. Designed by Simon Astridge Architecture Workshop, the living spaces of Plywood House are distributed across two stories. The first floor holds a cast concrete kitchen, dining, and living rooms. The master suite, structured entirely with plywood, fills the second story. I love when modest materials are allowed to take center stage. Plywood House creates a beautiful aesthetic from an often overlooked construction material. Perfect!
Aroeira III is an elegant dwelling located on a sunny, arid hilltop in Portugal. The home is designed by ColectivArquitectura, a small architectural office located in Lisbon, Portugal. The thoughtful design seeks to maximize sun exposure and work with the sloped landscape. The structure is u-shaped and divided among two low-lying levels. This building is refreshingly honest about its structure both inside and out. The reinforced concrete foundation is visible throughout the exterior, while steel support beams puncture the wood and glass facade. These classic materials continue on the interior. Exposed concrete walls and floors are juxtaposed with wood panelling and stairs. The floor to ceiling windows keep everything bright and airy. Aroeira III embraces a design that is as beautiful as it is timeless. This is surely a home that will be admired for years to come. Photography by FG+SG Architectural Photography.