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The Architectural Trio: Edition #14
Whilst I was originally excited about this week’s trio due to the articles I had read over the last seven days, I was quite disappointed when it came to selecting my three buildings. A lot of projects appeared striking and impressive on the surface, however under closer inspection all had faults that meant they were not worthy of the post. Luckily three gems shone out amongst the mundane, and here they are…
The Schwimmhalle Finckensteinallee, Germany, Veauthier Meyer Architects
This Berlin swimming pool has been beautifully restored after becoming dilapidated and closing to the public in 2006. It originally housed the training facility for cadets of Hitler’s bodyguard division. The architects were tasked with improving the environmental credentials of the pool alongside reinvigorating it. The new ceiling references the original glazed roof and restores the sense of scale in the pool hall which used to have a suspended ceiling. The windows have been redesigned with a high thermal insulation value, as well as the dimensions of the original glazing in the World War II facility. A diving board has been removed, meaning that the 25x50m pool now has a constant depth of 2m, saving large quantities of energy. Since the building is listed, some aspects had to be retained. However in my opinion the architects have intelligently woven new features into the design so they complement the original neo-classicism.
T Weekend Residence, Japan, Process5 Design
The design of T Weekend Residence centres around activities that cannot be done in a city, such as “having a barbecue with friends in summer” or “taking a nap with a fire burning in a wood-burning stove in winter” according to the architect. It is formed of three floors which are connected by a narrow staircase. One of my favourite aspects of the property is its street elevation. It is striking and simple, immediately attracting curiosity, whilst the materials pleasingly play off one another. Internally, I like the permeability of the back of the property which can be opened up in many different ways. One slight let down is the material palette, which I think becomes overwhelmingly extensive in the interior. However I am a purist that prefers just a few materials, whereas others like the chaos of more. Overall, I definitely think this house fits its aim, providing a tranquil setting for the city-dweller clients to unwind and partake in unusual activities.
Riparian House, India, Architecture Brio
Riparian House sits on a hill in the Western Ghats, a mountain range in Western India. The site is steeply sloped, so the architects chose to project the house out from the hill. This decision helps the building settle into its surroundings, as well as improving thermal conditions internally. A green roof has provided extra space for the inhabitants, a fantastic view out to the river and mountains, and insulation to cool the building in summer. Bamboo screens increase privacy whilst creating changing light conditions throughout the day that add to the interest of the architecture. The most impressive feature of this house in my opinion is how it balances settling into the hillside and standing out in its own right as an impressive building. The material choice is fantastic, with the shades and tones referencing the surrounding landscape and complementing each other. Whether in summer sun or foggy riverside mist, Riparian House seems to be part of the ground in which it sits, as though it has always been there.