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The Architectural Trio: Edition #46
Another week and another three buildings for you to sink your teeth into, welcome to the Architectural Trio! This edition consists of buildings with a relatively monotone palette, that stand out due to their sensitivity to both function and context. Also uploaded in the past seven days is a summary of stage two in my mission to redesign Barn21 from the ground up, which looks at the preliminary sketches and planning. Before heading over there, check out the Trio below.
The Taubman Building, America, Preston Scott Cohen
The design of this new wing for the University of Michigan’s architecture and planning college elegantly enhances its tight and awkward site between a landscaped area and the existing art and architecture building. The Cambridge based architects aimed for the building to be “experienced as a promenade composed of distinctive architectural episodes”. One of these notable episodes include a sheltered, external area where the building has been raised up on piloti, with the void acting as a space for large outdoor displays and bike storage. Another is the atrium, a large, angular area that can be used for reviews, lectures, dinners or as a workspace. It looks sparse in the photos, however I’m sure the students and art that will inevitably fill it will create a wonderful, vibrant energy. The key to the success of this project in my eyes is the provision and quality of the students’ working areas. Having had experience of an architecture school where there was painfully inadequate space, The Taubman Building looks like a dream. The working areas are flooded with natural light through the bold sawtooth roof and large areas of glazing, which also provide views out to the natural surroundings.
Ancram Barn, America, Worrell Yeung
This minimal barn simplifies the rural vernacular found in the Hudson Valley where it is located. Sitting near the main house of the client on their 30 acre site, the building contains two distinct sections. The first is a two car garage and storage area where the scissor truss roof and panelling have been left exposed; it’s rough and ready appearance matches its function. The second space is a covered room that is open on three sides, permitting views back to the house and out towards the Berkshire Mountains. It is often used by the clients as an outdoor, shaded dining room and evening relaxation space. The material palette is simple and complementary, with black sheet roofing and hemlock timber used both internally and externally. The latter has been stained black to improve weather resistance and match the roofing, contributing to a unified aesthetic. This sleek and understated barn is both visually striking and comfortable in its surroundings. Its simple dual functionality is perfectly represented in its design.
Springingstream Guesthouse, China, WEI Architects
This stunning guesthouse will be used to generate income for the local village community of Chi Xi in the Fuding County of China, which has been earmarked for development since 1984 as part of a government initiative to alleviate extreme poverty in the country. Until now that funding never came, however the derelict house was chosen to be renovated as part of a television show demonstrating the value of restoring old buildings. Whilst I am unsure whether this project is solely propaganda or a genuine attempt to improve conditions for the village, whatever the motive the design is beautiful. Consisting of the aforementioned house as well as a new guesthouse woven into a structure previously used for sheep pens, the design makes wonderful use of traditional craftsmanship and pays much needed respect to the existing masonry shell. The architects also facilitated the use of unwanted windows recovered from the region, further adding to the charm of the project. The wavy verandah roofs are a pleasing visual nod to the surrounding mountains, especially when they follow the profile of the distant view like in the photo above. This project no doubt matches the creativity, beauty and drama of its photos, and hopefully it will go on to provide a vital income for a community in need.