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The Architectural Trio: Edition #37
Another week, and more buildings! Welcome to the Architectural Trio, where this week is another cracker after last week’s wonderful selection. Other posts you can find on the blog from this week include the highlights from my recent visit to Córdoba, and a personal article reflecting on the university tutorial that made me cry, and how it changed my approach to architecture. Round up your week of architecture following the World Architecture Festival with the Architectural Trio, enjoy!
Entre Pinos, Mexico, Taller Hector Barroso
Entre Pinos, meaning “Between Pines”, is a collection of five identical houses in the forest around the town of Valle de Bravo. Each property is formed by a cluster of volumes of varying heights, which are arranged around their own private courtyard to provide “views, silence and intimacy”, as claimed by the architect. To achieve this atmosphere and admit light into the properties the south facing, courtyard facades are relatively open with floor to ceiling glazing. In contrast, the north facing facades are relatively closed to provide privacy on the public entrance side of the houses. The most memorable feature of this design, the warm, earthy pink surfaces were created with a render that was mixed using the excavated soil from the site. Alongside linking the aesthetic of the buildings to their surroundings, this decision also increased the sustainability of the build. Whilst I’m sure the locally made bricks would have looked stunning left exposed on these buildings too, the render is a true stroke of genius which softens the design into its tranquil and organic setting and relates the exterior to the interior. Another very pleasing aspect of this project in my opinion are the timber roof beams. They are reassuringly solid and their depth stops the relatively small internal spaces from feeling compressive.
The Waterdog, Belgium, Klaarchitectuur
This monument turned chapel in Limburg, Belgium, has been given a new lease of life as an architecture studio and community events space by the firm Klaarchitectuur. The heritage of the previously dilapidated building has been deliberately maintained and celebrated, with studio leader Gregory Nijs stating “I fell in love with the charm of the old chapel several years ago, so it was vital the historical character of the building remained intact”. In order to provide functional spaces without altering the structure or internal surfaces of the chapel, the practice stacked four boxes of standalone structure on top of one another within the space. These boxes contain different departments and are connected by solid black staircases. Although the separation is generally clear between the old and new, creative inclusion of one with the other has been incorporated. For example, the roof structure has been left exposed in the top volume, allowing a close up view and maximisation of the space. Also, this volume protrudes from the roof of the chapel, creating further space and hinting at the internal forms. This was a simple task since the roof was already in a state of disrepair and had to be completely replaced. This project has just enough warmth and human touches to maintain a comfortable balance between the derelict and modern aesthetic. They blend beautifully, particularly with the geometry of the oak parquet flooring and spherical pendant lights that contrast the organic, patchy walls. Achieving such an exquisite outcome from what must have been a challenging set of conditions is testament to the skill of Klaarchitectuur.
T House And Restaurant, Vietnam, KIENTRUC O
This house in a small Ho Chi Minh City alleyway has been remodelled to create both a residence and restaurant, with the aim of connecting the house to the garden to the street. The gridded screen is a stunning and novel feature that will no doubt set the restaurant apart visually from its competitors. The architect claims to have modelled its dimensions on Le Corbusier’s system of modular scale, and whilst I am sceptical that this has any kind of effect, it makes for a pretty pattern that beautifully frames the greenery behind. The different glazing types further add to the intrigue of the element, which, not only acting as a visual device, also provides a layer of privacy for diners in the restaurant’s garden. The internal spaces have been painted all white to allow the dark browns of the furniture and lush greens to pop, whilst the bright lighting makes the building seem like a lantern. Sadly there was little information about the house at the rear of the building, however if it’s as wonderful as the restaurant I’m sure it’s a joy to reside in.