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The Architectural Trio: Edition #40
Happy Sunday! Following a week off from the Architectural Trio due to my holiday in Madrid, this week it’s back with a vengeance. This week’s projects are varied in location, scale and function, yet they all show impressive creativity and architectural talent. Today we’ve surpassed an important and pleasing milestone on Barn21, with this article being the 101st post on the site. Over the next 100 and beyond I hope to continue inspiring you and showcasing some of my favourite architecture, design and music, as well as exploring and developing my own projects and ability as an architect, writer and photographer. With all that to look forward to, let’s quickly glance back at this week’s architecture.
Newbern Library, America, Rural Studio
Rural Studio are a student design-build programme that provides architectural services to benefit deprived areas. They were approached by the local community of Newbern, a small town in Alabama, to create a library that could act as a new public focal point. The project makes use of a previously derelict bank building that was donated by a local family for the project. CNC milled cypress shelving now lines the interior, with deep nooks providing spaces for computer stations and reading alcoves. Despite adding an extension, some existing internal features were retained in order to maintain the charm of the original building. These include the bank vault door as well as the pine flooring, whose plain aspect contrasts the patterned ceiling. Whitewashing the bricks of the exterior was a controversial decision, however in my opinion it is successful. The new facade treatment modernises the building and complements the cypress cladding of the extension, whilst also displaying the texture of the past. Another pleasing touch is the perforated courtyard walls, which are made from bricks removed from the bank during the extension’s construction.
Foro Boca, Mexico, Rojkind Arquitectos
This bold concert hall forms part of a rejuvenation plan for the mouth of the Jamapa River on the Gulf of Mexico. The building’s angular form and board marked, textured surfaces are inspired by the rough rocky sea wall found nearby. Large, slanted formwork has left a jagged pattern on both the internal and external concrete walls of the building, adding to its strong, brutal appearance. Alongside the immediate visual punch provided by the form, many subtle decisions have further elevated the building. The view from the approach contains a wonderful visual illusion, with one massive block seeming to float above the ground. This draws visitors towards it and leads to the concert hall’s entrance underneath, perfect. It is clear that a lot of thought has gone into conceiving the project as a whole, from the external landscaping to the main hall’s interior design, since every aspect shares a similar aesthetic. Whilst the sole use of concrete externally works well to create a very minimal set of tones with the sea and nearby greenery, use of timber internally is vital to soften the atmosphere. The cavernous spaces could feel cold and overwhelming, however the timber adds an organic and comforting familiarity.
Aframe Rehab By Subtraction, Canada, Jean Verville
Architect Jean Verville has reworked an existing A-frame cottage in the forests of Quebec, reducing its floor area to ideally suit the needs of the client and their family. Acting as a nature retreat, the black timber clad cabin is a tranquil sanctuary nestled amongst the trees. Following consultations with the family, the architect chose to reduce the building’s floor area from 88m² to 64m². This streamlining brings the functions of the house closer together to create a cosier and more communal atmosphere. In contrast to the dark exterior which blends with the surrounding forest, the interior is bright and airy thanks to the high ceiling facilitated by the A-frame and extensive use of white paint. The white painted surfaces also complement the internal Canadian maple joinery. Using multiple levels throughout the house make for an interesting layout that provides a range of views out to a nearby lake as well as the forest. It also creates smaller, more private areas for member’s of the client’s family.