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The Architectural Trio: Edition #7
This week in architecture was slightly underwhelming, however the three projects I have chosen are interesting in different ways. Each has a novel aspect which in my opinion enhances them and makes them more memorable. A memorable feature can elevate an ordinary building into something fantastic, if the addition has been sensitively considered. As summer continues I can almost feel my architectural knowledge leaking away, however through writing blog posts and partaking in a summer project hopefully I will manage to maintain at least some of what I learnt last year. So without further ado, here’s this week’s Architectural Trio…
Family Home, England, Scenario Architecture
This family home in Hackney was extended and reimagined by Scenario architecture, increasing the floor space from 103m² to 252m². The previously two storey property had its ceiling raised and an extra floor and roof garden added. The building contains two quirks which particularly appeal to me as they have been clearly thought through and incorporated into the design from an early stage. The first is the inclusion of a window that allows visibility of the roof garden from the main living area. The window allows the children to be seen playing on the roof by the parents when they are inside, as well as admitting more natural daylight into the property. This requirement was included in the brief, and it has been executed creatively by the architect. The other memorable feature in this building is the bannister, which runs as a sinuous curve all the way through the property. Whilst the rest of the house is fairly angular, the smooth curving handrail adds a human touch to the interiors and highlights the important role the stairs play in linking the relatively small floors and separating certain areas such as the study and living room.
Dancing Mountain House, Indonesia, Budi Pradono Architects
Dancing Mountain House was designed for a couple of retired lecturers and their extended family on the island of Java, the fourth biggest in Indonesia. The house has steeply sloped roofs with skylights to reference the surrounding mountains, as well as a zig-zagging roof at the back which looks similar to vernacular village architecture from a distance. My admiration for this project comes from the lengths the architects went to to involve the local community, local traditions and sustainable techniques. The whole house was built over two years by locals that were taught how to build on the job. Bamboo, which is found in abundance in the surrounding area, is the main structural material, and it provides a strong yet flexible frame that will be able to withstand powerful Indonesian storms. Sustainable applications included increasing the number of trees on the plot by planting a medicinal tree, and incorporating rainwater harvesting and solar thermal technology to warm the water for bathing.
Northcote Warehouse, Canada, Pleysier Perkins
This private family home used to a be a warehouse, then a bland medical centre during the 1990s and 2000s. The family that acquired the building wanted it to be converted into a three bedroom family home with open plan spaces. To me the front facade is peculiar and engaging due to its strange glazing composition and dimensions. Inside an interior box of rooms allows surrounding spaces to be double height, making the most of daylight from the long vertical window in the children’s play area (which is particularly important as there’s no garden). The main living area is more conventional, with an open plan kitchen and dining/living room with white walls and oak detailing, creating a calm and welcoming atmosphere. The large proud window on the front of the property has a sill that the occupants can sit on and relax whilst watching the world pass by. This is the kind of subtle and personal touch that makes some architecture a delight to experience and use from day to day.