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The Architectural Trio: Edition #38
Round up your weekend with another selection of three brilliant buildings. This week’s Architectural Trio is a mixed bunch, however all interesting in their own right and deserving of your attention. The other article from the past seven days explores the architectural and wider context of one of my favourite quotes, “Architects are sceptical optimists”. It was enjoyable to write and I’m proud of the outcome, so check it out. After reading this week’s Trio, of course…
Southern Utah Museum Of Art, America, Brooks + Scarpa
This museum’s memorable form references nearby sandstone formations found in the Bryce Canyon National Park and Zion National Park in Utah. As well as the deep crevices at each end, a gentle sloping roof references canyons and collects rainwater and snow melt, channelling them to an underground aquifer. Other sustainable solutions include overhangs on the North and South side for cooling purposes, whilst artificial lighting is part of temporary exhibition screens, limiting electricity use. The full height glazing permits views of The Red Hill in the distance, and allows natural light to penetrate the interior. What I particularly like about this design is its bold and heavy yet sinuous concrete. The material seems to almost be melting as it forms the building, which is a very interesting and rarely used aesthetic. The architects did take a risk here, but I’d say it’s paid off.
The Pink House, Portugal, Mezzo Atelier
First built in the early 20th century, this charming stable has been converted into a pair of guesthouses by Mezzo Atelier. They recognised the need to retain the character of the original building, however revitalise it as an interesting and exciting piece of architecture. There is no getting away from the bold pink paint, which was chosen in reference to the tone of other nearby houses. I really like this touch, it adds a lot of joy to the scheme and pleasingly contrasts the old wall. The property needed a complete internal overhaul to make it suitable for living, and the architects have done a wonderful job. The aesthetic is clean and bright, with a mix of modern elements and organic references to the past. The exposed timber truss is especially beautiful, as is the locally grown Japanese Cedar used for the internal furnishings and joinery. Another pleasing reference is the ocre hue chosen for some elements, which relates to the traditional colour of window frames in the area.
AM4 Tower, The Netherlands, Benthem Crouwel
I said this week is varied, and I wasn’t lying. This data centre tower in a science park near Amsterdam takes on different appearances at different angles during different times of day. Clad in reflective triangular cross section panels which sit on a black background, the building looks black, silver or gold depending on the situation. These panels also taper towards the sky, referencing the flow of information into the cloud. Since it forms part of Amsterdam’s university campus, the architects didn’t want the building to appear too menacing like many other large data centres. One creative decision to maintain significant security without using high fences was to create a moat around the complex, which can subsequently only be reached over bridges. The building also contains a welcoming public lobby with views out to the rest of the science park. This design is both sensible and thoughtful, marrying the importance of data security with the freedom of expression of architecture.