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The Architectural Trio: Edition #19
This week’s Architectural Trio is top quality, and I found it difficult to choose which projects to include. It is odd how some weeks I have a surplus of amazing architecture to pick from and others there seems to be only one or two impressive designs. This week I uploaded a book review of Towards a New Architecture by Le Corbusier, a seminal and very thought provoking piece of writing. I have also started reading a book called Cities Are Good For You. It has started very well and brings up some interesting points about Singapore and Newark, America, which are run in very different ways but can both be viewed as successful cities. With those updates out of the way, let’s get on with this week’s Trio.
Aluminium House, Spain, Fran Silvestre Arquitectos
The main aim of Aluminium House was to lower the profile of the two storey villa in order to settle it into its surroundings. Extension of the upper level presents the ground floor as a continuation of the patio, reinforcing the concept. Material choices also link the patio and ground floor with both using stone. In contrast, the bold overhang uses aluminium cladding with a frameless glass balcony to declutter the composition. The interior is just as minimal as the exterior, white marble flooring and monochrome units are lit by large skylights. I particularly like the striped aluminium in this project which changes slightly in tone depending on the light that falls on it. Also, the craft and effort which has gone into decreasing the visible parts of this house is very impressive. Connections, frames and joins are hidden as much as possible, making for a visually tranquil appearance that matches the often clear blue skies of Madrid.
Leff Art Studio, America, TBD Architecture + Design Studio
This studio for a creative couple in a hamlet on Long Island, New York, bends around the trees on the site in order to retain them. The foundations were hand dug and designed in a fashion that allowed the piers to be moved in the case of discovering precious roots for the nearby trees. Also, the building is raised on a steel frame to further minimise disruption. The two intersecting volumes reflect the couple’s individual pursuits, with the polycarbonate section used for collage creation and the cedar clad box used for ceramics. I am a big fan of the use of polycarbonate cladding in the right circumstances. In this instance, I think it is an inspired decision as the shadows of the trees and natural daylight that softly penetrates the cladding create an ethereal atmosphere. Also, the semi transparent material causes the box to glow in the dark, a scene which allows the studio to be appreciated at night when viewed from the couple’s main residence. I also like how the two simple forms have been interlocked, with their seemingly contrasting qualities actually complementing one another. TBD Architecture’s studio is simple, yet enduringly pleasing and respectful to the surrounding nature.
Houe H, Spain, ABIBOO Studio
This villa for an international sportsman is vast, bold and impressive. Different cladding materials reflect different uses, with board marked concrete marking secondary spaces, stucco and glass relating to primary spaces and reflective metal defining nighttime areas. The blocks of each material help observers to work out how the large villa works as a whole, splitting the building into more manageable chunks. The building’s composition was imagined to mimic a sponge, with small spaces between the interlocking forms creating private terraces and light wells. Internally, the house contains a number of luxury spaces such as meditation rooms, an indoor swimming pool and gym, and a room for displaying the client’s art collection. Moving outside, decking, turf and white gravel contribute to the property’s cooling strategy alongside water management systems, natural ventilation and geothermal heat pumps. Visually the house is very striking at first, almost Zaha Hadid-esque in its angular appearance. Sometimes this appearance does not work, however in House H it reflects the standing of the sportsman client and matches the bold material decisions and spacial indulgences. The board marked concrete and trees used in the landscaping are highlights for me, which only increase the status of this grand villa.