The Centro Interpretação is a cultural centre built by architecture studio Spaceworkers inside a nineteen-century schoolhouse in Paredes, Portugal. The purpose of the structure is to provide information to tourists and serve as a venue for exhibitions and educational events. The all-black insertion is comprised of two volumes – an auditorium and an information desk/store, separated by the space in between, also painted black. The shape of the new centre mirrors the geometry of the existing building, creating a dialogue between the two. Architect Rui Dinis explains: We wanted to preserve the identity of the place with our intervention. We didn’t want to lose the shape of the ceiling, so we chose to add a kind of replicating structure. The white creates the atmosphere, the black gives some form and the activities of the space will bring the other colours. Architects built a modern complex, that is respectful of the space it occupies, achieving beautiful synergy between the old and the new. Photography by Fernando Guerra
Categorized “Architecture & Interior design”
House J sits on a small, unassuming site in Yamaguchi, Japan. Situated in a busy residential neighborhood, House J provides a peaceful oasis for its residents. Designed by Keiko Maita Architect Office, this structure features three floors that revolve around an inner garden. A roof terrace offers additional outdoor space. House J is a thoughtful solution to common design challenges: lack of space and lack of privacy. By situating the rooms around an inner courtyard, the architects create an image of seclusion. The large windows and pragmatic use of square footage illude to a home much larger than its actual footprint. Overall, House J is a wonderful response to a bustling neighborhood in southern Japan.
The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas is a stunning piece of architecture by Tadao Ando. Ando’s work is influenced by the Japanese concept of Zen, which focuses on simplicity and inner peace. This museum stresses this concept through its simple form, connection with nature, and selective use of materials. The structure is made of concrete, steel, and glass, and is surrounded by a large reflecting pool. The minimal spaces in The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth allow plenty of room for sculpture, paintings, and people. With it’s thoughtful simplicity Ando’s museum enhances the art it contains, therefore enhancing the user’s overall experience. This building is everything a museum should be: pure, practical, and peaceful.
House Apelle, a charming single family home, is located in a wooded area of Finland. Designed by the unique architect and artist Marco Casagrande, of Casagrande Laboratory, this home was designed with particular attention to the surrounding environment. According to Casagrande: The building rests in a natural harbor like a boat in a sheltering pocket surrounded by bed rocks and trees… The house is in the forest as much as the forest is in the house – the architecture is a mediator between the modern man and nature. The interior is largely open, with few walls separating a central living space from the private areas on the sides of the house. Large windows and the use of natural materials bring the outdoors in. This is a lovely multifunctional home that bridges the gaps between modern and traditional, beauty and function, man and nature.
Completed in 2000, the simplistic beauty of Takashi Yamaguchi & Associates’ Glass Temple still stands unwavered. Located in Kyoto, Japan at foot of Mount Funayama where the hills are burnt to suggest souls entering paradise, this temple stands as a accompaniment to the existing Reigenko-jj, an imperial temple built by emperor Gomizuni-o in 1638. As a place of worship, the reaction to the site by Takashi Yamaguchi & Associates is one based on working with the flow of time. The architects sought to overlay our own time on the past in a way that would render it distinct. There is an overt and obvious appreciation for the sacred-ness of the site through the still-ness of the materiality and form. There is an obvious quiet-ness imposed also. Purposely sunken into the site, this Glass Temple represents a retreated respect to the existing temple, the site and its spiritual importance. The architects, when visiting the site, commented that they saw clearly how the building had lived and breathed within the flow of time from past to present. The emphasis then became to engage in a built outcome that would also breathe; have a sense of purity and embody an ethereal core. The...
Designed as a residence that also serves the practice of a physiotherapist, House D-Z was designed by Belgian architects Graux & Baeyens located in Oudenaarde. The blocks that form the volume of the house cleverly stagger to bring in sunlight and optimize views while carefully protecting the privacy of the owner from the neighbors in such close proximity. It is a relatively simple concept yet the architects have delivered it with such beautiful proportions, details and finishes. The monolithic form of the volumes naturally support the intention of the window wall that frames the view of the garden. What I enjoy most is the unique series of stairs which repeat in the cross section, defining the separated volumes of the private and public spaces in this minimalist residence. Photographs by Luc Roymans.
Markthuis is a private home renovation and extension by BARCODE Architects, also known as the Buro for Architecture and Contemporary Design. Located in Belgium, this house was designed around the owner’s art collection and hunting trophies. The structure features an open plan living area with a double height ceiling. The walls in this space serve as tall exhibition walls. The bedrooms and intimate dwelling spaces are placed on the upper story for privacy. I love how BARCODE Architects kept this structure minimal in order to maximize the viewing of the artifacts in the home. Like a museum or gallery, this home enhances the objects inside it. Every detail is perfectly designed to create a clean, crisp palette. And check out that staircase: it is a work of art in itself!
Located in Japan, Brownie is a bakery shop and residence which utilizes a unique layout to meet the needs of the owners. Designed by Uchida Architect Design Office, this structure serves the residents and bakery visitors. The entrance is set between the house and the shop, allowing for integration of the two areas. The structure fans out from the entrance, with the bakery to the southeast and the home to the northwest. This layout also allows the users to fully experience the natural surroundings: the windows are positioned to maximize viewing. Merging two programs in one structure is often a challenge for designers. Uchida rose to this challenge with a unique floor plan that serves both program and environment. Well done!
The San Paolo Parish by Fuksas Architetto, completed in 2009, is a carefully articulated play with volumes. In concept, the main space is a box suspended within a box. It’s a play of intersecting regulated shapes, strategically placed, with emphasis on the void. The relief between volumes is therefore where the natural light enters the structure, allowing for shards of light to move through the spaces over time. Light enters both horizontally and vertically through the space. Emphasising the play with nature and built elements. Located in Foligno, Italy, the San Paolo Parish was initially conceived for a competition, which was won in 2001. The jury cited that the design was a sign of innovation that met the latest international research, becoming a symbol of rebirth for the city after the earthquake. Also therefore capturing the essence of what the spiritual and meditative space is intended to embody. This project features the use of pure geometries and natural day-lighting that create a spiritual connection with the heaven. Comprised predominantly of concrete, glass and metal, the series of regulated shapes that comprise the San Paolo Parish complex is beautiful. The lines are consistent, beautifully executed and each element is carefully curated....
Designed by Wendell Burnette Architects, The Dialogue House sits well-shaded at the base of Echo Mountain in Phoenix, Arizona with captivating views of the South Mountain and Sierra Estrella Mountain ranges as well as downtown Phoenix . As described by the architects: Two volumes of light – one warm and one cool – one projected to the expansive horizon and one toward the canopy of the desert sky. Inspired by John Van Dyke’s ruminations on the phenomena of desert light specifically “colored air” and “reflected light” in his 1907 book titled The Desert – Further Studies in Natural Appearances. These images by Bill Timmerman capture the most beautiful moments of this house. I love the contrast of the dramatic volumes of the exterior to the subtle, more intricate details of the interiors and finishes. The desert views and light compliment the architecture and complete the experience of a minimalist habitat in such an environment.
The Fukasawa House, located in a suburb of Tokyo, looks simple and unassuming from the street. On the interior, however, this home is a design marvel. Designed by Japanese based architects MDS, the house experiments with the characteristics and limitations of wooden structures. Fukasawa House uses V-shaped posts to support beams constructed from common timber. This arrangement allows for a open, large rooms that are divided by the wooden posts rather than solid walls. Wood framed structures are often an obstacle for modern designers. MDS took this obstacle and turned it into a playful, daring structure. The use of wood in this home allows for an aesthetically pleasing environment. But the ideas behind this residence are the true driving force of the design.
Designed with a very specific purpose — to separate the owners from a loud, busy street in downtown Miyasaki, southern Japan, into their own private sanctuary — architect Michiya Tsukano of Tsukano Architect Office delivers this monolithic white structure with only a narrow vertical slice to interrupt it. The home was designed around a private courtyard, that provides natural lighting for the interiors and is overlooked by every room. Concrete walls and surfaces are balanced with light-colored timber panels, warm ceramics, white plaster and glass. My favorite part is where the concrete dining table meets the white pebbled courtyard floor at the same level, a flowing continuity barely interrupted by a large glass pane. The design exudes the calm and peacefulness of its statement of purpose and is an interesting contemporary hybrid between traditional Japanese design and Western standards.