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The Architectural Trio: Edition #21
Happy Sunday to you! Of course, it’s time for another entry of the Architectural Trio to give you a fix of great architecture from the past week. In the past seven days I finished my latest architecture book called “Cities are Good for You”. Whilst it focused more on urban planning than individual architectural projects, it was a very interesting book with a number of thought provoking case studies. Since I am only about halfway through my summer holiday, I am now on the search for a new book. If anyone has a recommendation, please let me know. Time for this week’s Trio, hope you enjoy it.
Casa MS, Brazil, Studio Arthur Casas
This Sao Paulo house for a family with three grown up daughters borders a golf course on its south side. Extensive moveable glazing opens up the open plan living area to the outside, making the most of the golf course views while allowing air to ventilate the space. A pool further cools the microclimate around the property, and is cleaned by plants and fish. Private spaces are hidden away on the north side of the property, with large wooden shutters increasing privacy on the street facing facade. Differing floor materials distinguish between public and private areas, with stone in the former and warmer wood in the latter. The strong horizontality of Casa MS looks as impressive from a distance as it does from the poolside. I particularly like the clean joins of different materials in this property. Each block is strongly defined, making for a visually appealing composition. Also, the perpendicular planes intersect one another pleasingly. There is definitely a trend for horizontal residences that splay outwards currently, which I am not complaining about. Whilst Casa MS uses a frequently seen form, it has been executed exquisitely and creatively by Studio Arthur Casas, hence it deserves its place as one of the best modern houses on this blog.
Feuerwehr Vierschach, Italy, Pedevilla Architects
This fire station in the Alps is raw, novel and intriguing. Normally, I don’t like large blocks of concrete, brutalism seems heavy and intimidating to me, especially in the grey skies of Britain. However, just using a red admixture in the concrete gives this fire station a completely different feel. The red tint and framing is a subtle nod to the traditional brilliant red of fire engines, it works very well to make the building unique without being showy. The boldness and solidity that makes the building assuring and strong comes from the raw textured concrete. It is a sensible choice for its durability which will cope with the harsh winters of the locale. Internally the same aesthetic is used in the garages and changing rooms. A warmer palette of wood is used in meeting rooms and offices, whilst black cabinetry links the two separate themes. Like last week with the weathered steel house, this project is not one I would’ve thought I would’ve liked if someone had described it to me. However, the images present it fantastically. It embodies the confidence and assurance that fire services provide, whilst using neat, subtle and personal touches to make the building fun and interesting.
House 19, England, Jestico + Whiles
House 19 uses local materials not conventionally used for architecture to bed the building into its surroundings. Flint is increasing in popularity in England, with many high profile projects such as Flint House that won a national RIBA award last year making the most of its interesting aesthetic. In house 19 it is used as a secondary material to complement black stained cedar cladding. The roof uses zinc, its dark tone similar to the cedar whilst accentuating the large gable with the roof lip. Finally, Core-ten steel is used for accents both inside and out, adding a necessary pop to certain areas of the property. The house was designed by and for one of the firm’s directors, however he was careful to ensure the property appealed to a general audience. He recognised the need for the house to cater to future generations, resulting in exclusion of some personal desires replaced by potential for adaptation. The main living space is open and light, and its semi-double height allows the gable slant to be highlighted whilst adding an interesting view down from the first floor. Adding to the achievements of House 19 is a nomination for RIBA’s House of the Year 2016 competition and carbon neutrality. A ground source heat pump, earth tube ventilation and photovoltaic panels all contribute to sustainability. In my architecture school you are told to use a maximum of two materials and glass in your building. House 19 proves that in the right hands, many more materials can be used and still be unified to create a complete and attractive whole. House 19 is captivating from every angle, inside and out, which is testament to the vision and architectural mind of the owner and architect.