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The Architectural Trio: Edition #22
Having missed the Architectural Trio for a couple of weeks due to poor projects and inspiration to write about other topics, this week it’s back! It is approximately a month until I start my final year at university, which is both exciting and a little terrifying. Posts will likely become more infrequent as I throw myself into my projects, however I will try to write as often as possible. Before the year begins however I will be travelling to Sevilla and Copenhagen to explore their architecture. I will of course be writing a post about my discoveries, so you can look forward to that. This week’s trio is impressive, containing two exemplary buildings and an experiment that I think seems very interesting. So, let’s get started!
Casa G, Mexico, Delfino Lozano
This holiday house in the city of Zapopan uses visually strong brick and black steel to enforce itself on its long narrow site. The colour of the bricks is one of my favourites, with fiery reds and oranges that vary in tone. They also appear to have a pleasing tactility, whilst their heavy use both internally and externally helps to clarify the layout for users. From a detailing point of view, the lights are superb in this building. They add an extra layer of interest and highlight the bricks. Another intriguing touch is the steel beam running between the two buildings. Whilst some probably don’t like this feature I think it strengthens the site’s axis. A number of perpendicular planes intersect the main building, so why shouldn’t some lines continue as well? I get the feeling this home could be encapsulated with a few deliberate pen strokes, which demonstrates the clear intentions and exquisite application of Delfina Lozano’s design.
Quonochontaug House, America, Bernheimer Architecture
This award winning holiday home is situated on Rhode Island, near New York. It has a creative and unique design that has been carefully considered to ensure its success. The main aim of the architects was to emphasise the changing natural light conditions internally during the day, since many New Yorkers' only experience these conditions whilst outside on the city streets. To do this, skylit pyramidal voids penetrate the interior to bring natural light inside. I am not completely sure how Bernheimer Architecture have managed to fit a first floor into this house with the double height voids, however impressively the floor contains a master bedroom, second bedroom and shared bathroom. The voids create a wonderfully light open plan ground floor and interesting ceiling pattern that would no doubt draw visitors to look up towards the skylights. Externally charred and treated cypress wood has been used to contrast the bright white interior. The horizontal slats stretch the building, reducing its imposing nature caused by the strong blocky forms. What is perhaps a little sad is that you get no indication of the pyramidal skylights from the outside, however that is a small personal disappointment that does not detract from the quality of this striking house.
The Window House, Japan, Muji and Kengo Kuma
Finally the experimental house… This is Japanese brand Muji’s latest foray into architecture, having designed a number of buildings over the last decade or so. Adapted from a 2008 design by Kengo Kuma, The Window House is a prefabricated home that can be adapted to fit into specific sites. It gets its name from the irregular arrangement of frameless windows that are present on all four sides of the building. I am a big fan of Muji products, since they are a seemingly perfect blend of building quality, price and design. In fact, they produce my favourite pen, which is probably my most heavily used architecture tool. This house will be furnished and filled with their products, which sounds like a sort of heaven to me. Due to this fascination, I was intrigued to read that this house’s occupancy is being opened up to anyone via a competition. Until 31st August, you can apply to live in the house for the next two years for free with your family or flatmates, in return for regular feedback sessions with Muji. Whilst tempting, I’m unable to apply due to my complete lack of ability to communicate in Japanese. Oh well, maybe in future they’ll test a British prototype, one can dream…