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The Architectural Trio: Edition #23
This weekend is sandwiched between two blocks of work experience I’ve undertaken during the summer. My first week was very interesting, so hopefully the second one will be even better. There was a lot of high quality work in architecture this week, at one point I had seven projects on my possibles list so it was a challenge to narrow it down. I have managed to cut the list to three projects and an honourable mention, that’s as good as it’s going to get… I hope you enjoy the projects!
Sketch Concept Store, Spain, Pauzarq
Sketch, the women’s clothing retailer, have reworked their San Sebastian store interior to incorporate timber lined, gabled archways. The archways which were simple to slot in hide ugly structural columns, whilst also splitting the store into four sections that help to define different areas and create changing views as customers move around the shop. One of my favourite combinations architecturally is timber and white paint, especially in sunny Mediterranean locations. This shop is no exception, with its bright environment and tactile appeal. The gables are welcoming and house like (from an English point of view at least) and the tree provides an important contrasting centrepiece. One subtle touch that might go amiss is the continuation of the timber border lines past the gable apexes, adding a dynamism to the wall elevations. One aspect which I found a little disappointing was the marble exterior elevation. Possibly it matched the old interior and hasn’t yet been changed, however I think it is quite disconnected from the interior scheme. Still, this should not detract from Pauzarq’s wonderful internal design.
Hem House, Vietnam, Sanuki Daisuke
Sanuki Daisuke cleverly uses window positioning and grills in Hem House to admit ample light into the property whilst maintaining security in the tight hems (narrow alleyways) of Ho Chi Minh City. The architect wanted to combat the often cage like appearance of hem houses, so the grills are minimal and decorative. The textured grey terrazzo on the exterior adds to the secure appearance, however it has a minimal, sophisticated edge too. Internally, a number of creative and playful features have been incorporated. For example, a window seat sits inside the largest window that wraps around the building’s chamfered corner, allowing extensive views down to the vibrant streets. I can imagine spending evenings comfortably reading or even just observing at this window seat. The thick walls contain shelved storage, allowing the walls to be decorated with personal objects and mementos as opposed to flat artwork. The final aspect that clinched a spot in this week’s Architectural Trio is the roof garden. Extending from the office on the top floor, a light yet private and secluded roof garden acts as a peaceful haven for the client. Sanuki Daisuke has succeeded on many levels with a challenging brief, creating a novel and engaging home to match the busy hems.
Jikka, Japan, Issei Suma
Coming right from a fairytale are these five pointed structures in a mountainous area of Japan.The complex acts as a workspace and home for two elderly women, who provide delivered meals to the elderly in the surrounding community. The structures are certainly unique, and despite their circular appearance they are actually square in plan which makes for easier space arrangement. The walls are sheer concrete, with timber beams tapering towards a common point to form the wacky roofs.The internal spaces seem very Japanese to me, minimal with understated class and tactile charm. Each room serves a different purpose, with the most interesting being the spiral shaped swimming pool. This pool allows wheelchair users easy access which is important since the building will sometimes be used by the clients as a nursing home. On the surface, Jikka could appear as a crazy and unconsidered fantasy building, however when you explore the design it becomes clear that the design has been well thought through.
Ocean House, America, Roger Ferris + Partners
Rhode Island is currently throwing out some beautiful homes, having seen three this week I’m thinking I should move there. Ocean house is the latest in a line of visually strong holiday retreats on the Island, another of which was included in last week’s Architectural Trio. The gabled blocks reference traditional boat sheds in the area, as well as framing some stunning sea views. Weathered ipe, a durable hardwood, has been used for the exterior cladding along with zinc roof panels. The way the house glows in the evening light is particularly striking, and the bold elevations with thick walls give the house a rigidity and assurance, as though it has always been there. Whilst it didn’t make the cut against stiff competition, it is clear to see that Roger Ferris and Partners have imagined a hugely creative and memorable design.