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The Architectural Trio: Edition #48
After a break from the Architectural Trio due to a weekend holiday in Málaga, this week it's back with a vengeance, featuring two houses in Portugal and England and a swimming pool in Canada. Fresh articles have been few and far between recently, mainly because I'm dedicating a lot of time to the Barn21 redesign. It is certainly a challenge learning how to write html and css, but it's enjoyable and so far I'm happy with the results. In general I have managed to replicate the aesthetic I outlined in the visual design mock-ups. In the coming weeks I expect I'll write a piece regarding my progress on the coding, since I think I am almost at the halfway point. Spotlights In Granada was the other post to feature on the site in the past fortnight, a gorgeous scene of lights dotting the mountains surrounding the city; find it in the photography section. Before you check that out, scroll down to explore this week's Architectural Trio.
Casa ED&JO, Portugal, NOARQ
In this project situated in a town North of Porto, NOARQ have turned the challenges presented by the awkward triangular site into creative architectural elements. The plot is overlooked on its North edge by neighbouring buildings, and the East and West borders are roads. In order to maintain privacy within the scheme, NOARQ chose to present virtually solid facades to the three aforementioned directions, then open up the South facade and create light wells to bring daylight into the property. Positioning the home to the North of the site facilitated a garden to the South as well that the glazed walls open up into. For the summer months when the powerful high altitude sun is unwelcome, a sinuous curved overhang shades the interiors. Speaking of interiors, the main living spaces are open plan and face the garden, with the more private bedrooms located in the Northern section of the plan. Wooden flooring is used throughout the property. This design seems deceptively obvious when presented as a complete project, however in fact is it a highly creative and refined scheme on a very difficult site that I don't think many architects would be capable of imagining.
Southwick Yard, England, Belsize Architects
Somehow, Belsize Architects have managed to construct a four bedroom home on this incredibly tight site that used to be a one bedroom mews. Southwick Yard is located near Hyde Park in London, a highly desirable area where space is at a premium. For this reason, the architects chose to dig down to create a basement below the property's two above ground levels. As shown in the first photo, the house is overlooked by relatively tall residential buildings in almost all directions, so Belsize Architects have used some creative solutions to admit light into the home whilst maintaining privacy. A central light well descends through all three levels, and is especially important in lighting the two bedrooms in the basement. Also, the staircase acts as a second light well due to its construction out of translucent glass, alongside looking very sleek and modern. Skylights and large windows where approriate round off the daylighting techniques in the project. In my opinion the external material palette of thin bricks and timber that has been charred using shou-sugi-ban, a traditional Japanese technique, is an inspired decision. The materials sit in harmony with the context, however they are different enough that the building subtly and elegantly stands out from its surroundings. Southwick yard is a highly thoughtful and well rounded scheme that represents the pure creativity flowing from Belsize Architects.
University Of British Columbia Aquatic Centre, Canada, MJMA and Acton Ostry Architects
I'll admit, I'm a sucker for swimming pool architecture. Having already featured many in past Architectural Trios, the UBC Aquatic Centre in Vancouver is the latest in an esteemed group. The bold, confident design of the new centre is fitting considering UBC has the most successful swim team in Canada. Split into four distinct areas, the centre serves a range of users, from casual swimmers to future Olympians. As can be seen from the photos above, blue and white is the consistent colour scheme, as is common in swimming pool architecture. The bright blue water pops against the white architecture, which is naturally daylit thanks to a central skylight that runs down the middle of the roof. Glazed walls also bring in natural light, with some containing a grid of small blue squares to aid privacy (in changing areas etc.). Sustainability was at the forefront of the design, as it should be with any new build in the current climate. Energy is obtained from UBC's District Energy system, rainfall is captured to refill the pools after evaporative loss, and greywater is reused for toilet flushing and site irrigation. An on campus research team also devised a technique to limit the harm caused to those with asthma by the air within the pool halls. Fresh air is pumped from the benches at ground level over the pools, scouring them, before passing into the perimeter gutters. The scope of the UBC Aquatic Centre design matches the ambition of its swim team, whilst also appealing to more casual users through its striking and bright aesthetic, which is testament to the skill of the architects.