Known for their work in adding greenery to the cities of Vietnam, Vo Trong Nghia Architects have unveiled their latest set of condominiums for Ho Chi Minh City – three towers covered in bamboo. Located 3.5km from the centre of Ho Chi Minh City, their project “Diamond Lotus” has enough units for 720 families, with a total floor space of 67,240 square meters across its three buildings. Read more about this project after the break.Aerial Rendered Night View. Image Courtesy of Vo Trong Nghia Architects
To create a large green space, which is rarely available in the city, the three buildings have a connected roof – a feature also following Vietnamese Feng Shui. The facades of the three towers are covered in planter boxes, mitigating the tropical sunlight and reducing heat gain. Chosen for its structural flexibility, particularly against storms, bamboo will be planted throughout each 22-story building.Exterior Rendered Street. Image Courtesy of Vo Trong Nghia Architects Interior Rendered View. Image Courtesy of Vo Trong Nghia Architects
Unlike most projects in Ho Chi Minh City, which reduce green space with their development, Diamond Lotus not only creates comfort for its residents but adds to the landscape of Ho Chi Minh. Appearing amid the density of the city, this project will be the first green landmark of Ho Chi Minh, dedicated to changing the perspective of citizens on environmental sustainability.Exterior Rendered Roofscape. Image Courtesy of Vo Trong Nghia Architects
From the architect. The striking tower on the extension of the PHÄNOMENTA Science Centre in Lüdenscheid has the potential to become a famous landmark and a symbol of architectural and engineering excellence. Based on a feasibility study by schneider+schumacher, the interdisciplinary collaboration between KKW Architekten, WERNER Bauingenieure and formTL Ingenieure created an impressive steelwork truss tower that encompasses a helix shaped membrane stretched over its interior. By applying the tower-in-tower principle, this primary structure encloses a Foucault pendulum that is suspended independently of the secondary bearing structure. This defined separation allows the pendulum to move freely without being influenced by wind and vibrations from the primary structure, thus allowing visitors to the Science Centre to observe the Earth's rotation.© beier+wellach projekte
The tower is just one part of the extension to PHÄNOMENTA: a two-storey extension creates an additional 1,400 m2 of exhibition space and zones characterised by expressive forms. This is a direct is a result of the requirements of the tower's geometry but it also ensures the functionality of the exhibition space. The monolithic design of the concrete building also serves as the foundation for the distinctive steel structure. The framework consists of diagonally supported struts throughout the concrete structure and the elegant light-weight steel truss tower structure is made up of triangular circular hollow tube sections that are welded airtight. The complex design, incorporated nodes where up to six pipes meet at various angles, required a comprehensive 3D CAD analysis. Membrane forces associated with pretensioning and wind are channelled directly into the junctions with a view to preventing excessive bending stress on the frames. In order to facilitate with hoisting and assembling of the individual tower segments, special screw connections were arranged in the frames beside the junctions and covered with special semi-cylindrical metal sheets. This eliminated the need for welding work at heights and concealed the segmentation sections.© Rutzen, Pressestelle Stadt LA?denscheid
The helix membrane inside the steelwork supporting structure appears delicate and light – "a structure that is almost barely there," as described by formTL CEO Gerd Schmid – and yet it is still visually impressive. The helix consists of just three structural components: 990 m² of membrane, three structural cables and nine anchoring rods with clamps. These elements are sufficient to enable the membrane to adhere to the rotating and vertically tapered tower structure. While the calculated maximum form guarantees collision clearance from the outer tower tubes, the calculated minimum form prevents disturbances with the inner pendulum structure. The curved helix structure has a particularly striking effect at night, when the back-lit seams of the membrane and the shadows of the ropes converge upwards to form a cone shape, lending the tower an even loftier appearance. KKW Architekten developed the light planning for this impressive illumination feature in partnership with Winkels Behrens Pospich Ingenieure für Haustechnik GmbH (wbp). wbp was also responsible for the technical building fittings including the light management of the LEDs.Section © KKW Architekten © Trillian GmbH
The Foucault pendulum suspended from the secondary bearing structure not only helps visitors to “experience” the rotation of the Earth. The exhibition space below designed by designers from beier+wellach projekte is home to the stunning Phänorama: a 360º-projection of Lüdenscheid and the surrounding area that is controlled by the oscillation duration of the 30m-long pendulum similar to an oversized kaleidoscope.© Rutzen, Pressestelle Stadt LA?denscheid
In 2013 and 2014, we published two posts rounding up some of the best architectural Instagrammers out there. Now, with the #ArchDaily hashtag recently surpassing 500,000 posts across the whole of Instagram, we thought it was high time for an update. Our latest list, of course, includes many very talented photographers that are sure to fill your stream with great architectural images. Also included though are a number of photographers who fill more niche areas of interest: from updates on major New York construction projects from field_condition, to updates from filmmaker tomaskoolhaas as he creates his documentary on his father Rem; and from dailyoverview's captivating images of our Earth from above, to sejkko's charming photographs of Portugal's "Lonely Houses," there's something to interest everyone.
A photo posted by Cocu (Chen) Liu | Chicago???? (@cocu_liu) on Aug 22, 2015 at 6:47pm PDT
Today on the website, an update on Related's Hudson Yards mega development on the Far West Side. #architecture #design #construction #realestate #HudsonYards #NYC #NewYork #elkusmanfredi #KPF #facade #glass #office #retail #nycprimeshots #nycrealestate #streetdreamsmag
A photo posted by Field Condition (@field_condition) on Sep 17, 2015 at 3:22pm PDT
A photo posted by Paul Brouns (@paulbrouns) on Jul 25, 2015 at 12:17pm PDT
A photo posted by Fabian (@fab_d) on Sep 3, 2015 at 10:48am PDT
A photo posted by Chris (@chrisnumber8) on Sep 3, 2015 at 1:40am PDT
A photo posted by @vdubl on Sep 14, 2015 at 9:04pm PDT
A photo posted by Denis Esakov (@deggustator) on Sep 16, 2015 at 9:26pm PDT
A photo posted by ??????????????r o c (@stoptheroc) on Aug 31, 2015 at 5:13am PDT
A photo posted by Miguel de Guzmán (@imagensubliminal) on Sep 18, 2015 at 9:54am PDT
A photo posted by Tomas Koolhaas (@tomaskoolhaas) on Aug 30, 2015 at 3:07pm PDT
A photo posted by Federico Cairoli (@federicocairoli) on Sep 7, 2015 at 8:59am PDT
A photo posted by ???????????Jeanette Hägglund (@etna_11) on Sep 13, 2015 at 10:52pm PDT
A photo posted by joana franca (@joanafranca) on Aug 4, 2015 at 9:37am PDT
A photo posted by Marvin | (@architect_vin) on Jul 24, 2015 at 7:35am PDT
A photo posted by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (@skidmoreowingsmerrill) on Sep 18, 2015 at 7:26am PDT
A photo posted by Daily Overview (@dailyoverview) on Sep 15, 2015 at 7:11am PDT
A photo posted by My name is Nuno (@nunoassis) on Sep 9, 2015 at 6:13am PDT
A photo posted by Emilio Colaiezzi (@colaiezzi) on Jul 18, 2015 at 5:41am PDT
A photo posted by christina (@cm.images) on Sep 6, 2015 at 4:06am PDT
A photo posted by Aitor Galcerá (@aitorgalcera) on Sep 19, 2015 at 3:04am PDT
A photo posted by @helloocheryl on Sep 14, 2015 at 7:21am PDT
A photo posted by @sejkko on Aug 3, 2015 at 12:50pm PDT
A photo posted by sw.sh (@sw.sh) on Jul 19, 2015 at 4:47am PDT
A photo posted by Philipp, Switzerland (@lerichti) on Jul 5, 2015 at 10:12am PDT
A video posted by Dan Hogman (@danhogman) on Sep 1, 2015 at 8:43am PDT
From the architect. When LIMES International wanted to relocate to a purpose built office in Valkenburg, The Netherlands – STOL architecten created a building with a striking exterior and airy interior. The build features a number of staircases designed by specialist, EeStairs - which come together to create a spectacular effect. The building houses all the company’s needs, including individual office spaces, meeting rooms and a restaurant.Courtesy of STOL architecten
The new building has been designed with no obvious front and rear façade in order to make the most of views over the river ‘de Rijn’ and the rest of the town.Courtesy of STOL architecten
“LIMES International specified a spacious office building that could easily accommodate any future changes or expansions and had an open and inviting atmosphere,” explains Chris Warmenhoven, architect/partner of, STOL architecten. “With this in mind we opted for an abstract design and modern shaped building.”Ground Floor Plan
The end result is a bold monolithic style building that appears to be placed on a glass plinth, giving the illusion that this iconic building is lighter than air, hovering in place. The façade of the building is finished with Mosa Terra Tones tiles in shades of grey that are arranged around staggered openings, which heighten the buildings sculptural quality. Large rectangular windows, framed with Accoya wood, are positioned on each side of the building, which in turn is orientated to make the most of the surrounding views.Courtesy of STOL architecten
The inside of the building has been equally carefully considered in collaboration with interior architect, Ciomé. Although simplistic at first glance the white walls, light wooden floors and stainless steel that characterises the interior of the LIMES International building ensures that even the central atrium of the building has a light feel.Courtesy of STOL architecten
When designing the building LIMES International was very enthusiastic about the staircase ideas by STOL architecten. The central atrium features a number of striking staircases that come together to create an eye-catching feature.Courtesy of STOL architecten
In collaboration with EeStairs, the internationally renowned staircase manufacturer, STOL architecten designed a series of staircases that crossed the square atrium space at asymmetric angles. With white stringers, frosted glass treads and stainless steel handrails the stairs are perfectly in keeping with the rest of the interior and add to the weightless feel of the space.Section 2-2
The stairs add an exciting experiential element to the interior; by being set at unusual angles the staircases provide interesting vantage points into the workspaces as well as a wonderful view to look out on from a desk. Complex positioning of the staircases also represents the importance of interconnectivity in the work place and has become a physical representation of the importance of people coming together and working as a cohesive team.Courtesy of STOL architecten
“The possibilities at EeStairs are endless. They make stairs of very high quality, both in the level of detail and the in the design,” said project architect Jean-Paul Corèl.Courtesy of STOL architecten
“The staircases for LIMES International project have been carefully positioned to frame a statement light feature,” explains Cornelis van Vlastuin, EeStairs’ Creative Director. “The combination of the cascading light feature and the staircases add to the feeling of buoyancy that the building exudes resulting in an exceptional interior.”Courtesy of STOL architecten
From the architect. The project is located in Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin in an "Alt Bau" (old traditional building) and went over complete renovation. The apartment (82m) had a problematic layout and one very robust wall. Turning an obstacle into a potential, that wall was exposed with all its roughness, decorated only with the signs of time. The productive- creative parts of the apartment were revolved around it.© Diane Adam
The act of exposer started a dialogue between the old and the new, the past and the present and reected the situation of the house (close to the Berlin wall path) and the family. Other originals elements were treated the same (oor, doors, door knobs...). Doors where exposed, repainted and inlaid with vitrage art (by an artist in Israel). The original wooden oor was restored and treated with oil.Floor Plan
The tenants are a couple with their daughter and a dog. The young family migrated from the warm, lighten city of Tel Aviv and are used to a dierent way of space usage. And so the old apartment received a new, light, more open layout. The oor was painted whit to increase the light coming inside, furnitures layer was made light and bright to bring a bit of the Tel Aviv young freshness to complete the old traditional, natural character of the original infrastructure and elements of the Berliner apartment.© Diane Adam
Furnitures as the dining chairs were carefully collected from 2nd hand ( ebay, 2nd hand stores) and others as the dining table and light were purchased in small shops in the near area of the apartment. The oce, shelfs and stools were designd by the designer and manufactured by a carpenter. The coee table in the living room was created by the designer in the spirit of the project. Some visual elements as pictures (old view of the streets in Tel Aviv in its earlier times) and vitrage were brought from Tel Aviv.© Diane Adam
From the architect. At its core, Box House II has a courtyard layout, with a living space on one side and sleeping quarter on the other side. This courtyard layout is placed in the first floor sandwiched between two other floors. The layout, then, disintegrates along a diagonal line dividing it into a large outdoor terrace and an indoor double-height common space with a prominent staircase.© Nelson Garrido
The main facades of the house are composed as a single carved box. The two main facades conceal the internal logic of the plan behind large abstracted forms as to bring an element of surprise to the experience of the plan and section. This abstraction is especially legible at the middle section of the facades where the plan is introverted toward the courtyard leaving the façade clear of openings.Section Diagram
Box House II modernizes the courtyard house order. It takes the archetype of rooms around an open space of the courtyard layout and reintroduces it in a sectional experience that cuts through all the houses’ three floors. Then, it masks this experience with abstracted facades that leaves most of the delight to the users’ daily lives.© Nelson Garrido
A large cylindrical cut pierces through the second/third floor allowing the sunlight to penetrate into the terrace and the double-height space while delineating the functions in the upper floor. It, also, adds a dynamic sectional experience at the heart of the users’ daily routine. The sleeping quarter, the living section, the main dining space, and the daily entrance have a direct relation to this sectional experience making it the heart of this design.© Nelson Garrido
From the architect. Leading multi-disciplinary design firm GHD Woodhead has recently completed a new carbon-neutral function centre and administrative headquarters for a major metropolitan cemeteries trust in Melbourne, Australia. Situated in the heart of Springvale Botanical Cemetery, the Clarence Reardon Centre was designed to sit in harmony with its lush botanical context.© Shannon McGrath
The mass of the upper floor is clad in highly-reflective double-glazing, allowing it to not only perform well in the harsh Australian climate but also cloak itself in the imagery of its natural setting rather than compete with it. The building’s long, smooth and ephemeral form catches and continues the colours and shapes of the surrounding sky and tree canopies, shifting and changing as time passes and weather turns – a simple homage to the beautiful yet transitory patterns of life.© Shannon McGrath
The centre is a mixed-use building that contains 7 flexible function rooms, a commercial kitchen, staff canteen, café and florist on the ground floor while the client’s head offices occupy 1800 m2 of open- plan office space on the first floor.© Shannon McGrath
Sited within the cemetery’s central precinct, it serves as a focal point connecting the cemetery’s various centres of activity – these include existing chapels to the west, a newly-refurbished customer-facing centre to the south-east and maintenance facilities immediately to the north. The building allows for the consolidation of much of the client’s workforce under a single roof and forms a critical component of the cemetery’s medium-term business and environmental design strategy.Ground Floor Plan
In deference to the sensitive nature of the cemetery’s operations and ambience, the building’s material palette is deliberately neutral and timeless, emphasizing the raw colours and textures of high- quality in-situ concrete, glass, bluestone and local timbers. Great emphasis was placed on the permeation of natural daylight into and views out of interior spaces via full-height perimeter glazing and generous clerestory lighting from above.© Shannon McGrath
Generous bluestone-paved pedestrian spaces and a large timber outdoor deck create a seamless street-level experience, and embrace a centuries-old gum tree to the south-east.First Floor Plan
On the ground floor, the supporting structure of the building was carefully refined and optimised – concrete columns were shaped to form housings for operable wall panels, and a sweeping feature column serves not only to signify entry and address but also support a large overhanging portion of the upper floor on the south-east. In this way, the substantial upper mass of the building appears to float and dissolve into its environment, reducing its visual impact.© Shannon McGrath
In addition to its impressive panoramic exterior, the Clarence Reardon Centre was envisioned to be a local leader of environmentally responsive architecture, designed to be carbon-neutral under the One Planet rating system. A side from a high-performance double-glazed façade, the building leverages its large open roof area to harvest rainwater and solar energy.© Shannon McGrath
The upper volume of the building overhangs the ground floor to reduce glare and direct solar gain, allowing full-height double-glazing to front-of-house spaces that provide maximised views out into the landscape. On the western elevation, the building ‘s façade and floor plate break into faceted planes that direct vision glazing away from the harsh evening sun and create kaleidoscopic reflections of nearby tree lines silhouetted against the setting sun.© Shannon McGrath
UNSW Master of Architecture presents its annual Graduation Exhibition, 'UNCHARTED PARADIGMS'. Uncharted Paradigms provides a comprehensive insight into the various possible approaches to architectural design.
The wide range of projects seeks to examine the anticipated present and future states of the built environment, coupled with a critical examination of the role which architecture plays in the shaping of space and urban fabric.
Ranging from the design of medium density residential units to the research and masterplanning of Rozelle Bay, Uncharted Paradigms represents the architecture program’s dedication to exploration of issues which transcend a range of social, cultural and geographical boundaries.
Opening Night: Friday 27th November 2015, 6:30PM - 10:00 PM
Exhibition: Saturday 28th November 2015 - Tuesday 1st December 2015, Daily 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Download the information related to this event here.
Just Sleep Jiaoxi , located in Jiaoxi township, Yilan County, Taiwan, is a hot spring hotel renovated from an old 6-floor reinforced concrete building. The idea was to create a form of bathhouse along the balcony with vertical louver attached to it.© Highlite Images
The bathhouse images bring back to the memory of good old time: soaking hot spring with families, curling-up smoke, smelling of cypress go along with the sulfur and noise in the dark and glossy Japanese style wooden building.© Highlite Images
The building façade was covered with dark stone paint, glazed with deep concave window and attached with wooden-like vertical louver to enclose the bathing space. The fascination for the mystic home of Yubaba (character of movie “The Spirit Away) within the mountains, for darkness and light, for light reflections on the water or in the steam saturated air, discover the richness between bathing and green nature-these notions inspired the architect.© Highlite Images
138-unit hotel rooms were equipped with private bathhouse to try to integrate the sense of relaxation into the design and enjoy a highly sensuous and restorative experience.© Highlite Images Floor Plan © Highlite Images
From the architect. Inhabiting a 1909 historic masonry building in Seattle's vibrant Capitol Hill neighborhood, Ritual House is amongst a number of new businesses making 19th Avenue East their home. The weathered brick storefront of Ritual House, works in contrast to the light modern interior beyond, which spans from street to alley. Residing between a coffee shop to the north and a Jujitsu school to the south, it is the first yoga studio opened by the Ritual House owners.© Kevin Scott
The space was a blank slate with a simple brief; a 40+ person yoga studio, two changing rooms, check-in desk, retail and space for transitioning between classes. The division of a long narrow open plan called for a creative solution to fulfil the owners requirements. The insertion of a central organising structureallows for separation of the studio space and front of house, with a large sliding wall on its east face.Floor Plan
This plywood box incorporates the new programmatic elements while simultaneously managing the circulation of the space which peaks and troughs throughout the day. The plywood box hovers between the exposed LVL wood rafters above and oak floors below and incorporates a built in wall of custom storage cubes on its south side, flanking a transition space.© Kevin Scott
The sliding wall on the east face of the plywood box works to serve several functions. Primarily it is used for visual and acoustical privacy, closing off the studio when class is in session. A smaller pilot door is located in the sliding wall to allow latecomers a chance to slip into class with less disturbance. Between classes the sliding wall accommodates the exchange of students with a clear opening of 9’through the transition space. The sliding wall also allows to naturally vent the space with large operable windows on both the east and west facing glazed walls.© Kevin Scott
The introduction of LVL rafters throughout the space creates a natural rhythm which draws the eye from street to alley when the sliding wall is open. The rafters are also intrinsic to the lighting design; LED strips run the length of the rafters, pointed toward the ceiling to create a gentle glow ideal for inducing a meditative state. The rafters also accommodate structural load and can be used for aerial yoga as well as for hanging display racks in the entry area where there is a small element of retail required.© Kevin Scott
A century old board-formed, cast-in-place concrete wall was revealed and retained during the construction process. Hand scraped and sandblasted over three days, the beauty of the wall was revealed after being covered by layers of plaster and paint added over the last hundred years. The texture of the concrete catches the western sun and provides balance to the smooth faced plywood casework and painted walls as well as recalling the history of the building.© Kevin Scott
From the architect. The community centre is a key-element of the city, being located between a true urban area and an A-listed park. It answers three main issues:
- how to create a true meeting place for the town as the whole, while bridging a 6m high level gap
- how to offer qualitative transition from the city to the park, from urban to wild
- how to dissolve within the existing landscape and disappear from neighbours’ eyes© Adrià Goula
Two main features define the architectural solution: on the outside a generous pedestrian path offers both distance from the neighbours and sufficient light to semi-underground level.First Floor Plan
On the inside, the central hall follows the same direction, stretching from the urban square to a belvedere onto the park. This hall gives access to various services with specific degrees of intimacy (community centre, kindergarten, centre for youth, associative spaces), while being a gathering place with abundant light.© Adrià Goula
The envelope of the building is multifaceted, with various angles to answer different conditions, to reduce visual impact and to maximize views to the outside.Ground Floor Plan
The result is visually discreet building that offers numerous relations to the park and the city, all in accordance to the various functions it hosts.© Adrià Goula
Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) has been selected to design the new Tianjin Juilliard School. The same practice that expanded Juilliard's New York home in 2009, DS+R plans to build the new facility in Tianjin by 2018. The project has already received preliminary approval of a graduate degree program from China’s Ministry of Education.
Once complete, the new school will offer a Master of Music degree from Juilliard in the areas of orchestral performance, chamber music performance, and collaborative piano; a pre-college program; an instrumental training program; adult education; and public performances and exhibits.
“I believe that maintaining Juilliard’s prominence in the global performing arts landscape will depend on a robust series of programs to engage with a wide range of learners in different parts of the world,” President Polisi said. “Together with the roots we will build in Tianjin, our educational apps for the consumer market, our program for primary and secondary school students, and future digital products are all part of this strategy. All of these programs are structured in a way that not only will preserve, support, and enhance the world-class performing arts education that Juilliard offers in New York, but provide new kinds of work for our alumni, build communities of support around the world, open access to new pools of talent, and position Juilliard as a leader in global performing arts education.”
No renderings of the design have been released at this time.
From the architect. The VV House is built on a terrain of 20x40 with a slope greater than 25%. The terrain’s declivity imposed the shape of the house in 3 floors in a way to accommodate its rooms and allow, through its panoramic openings, a broad view of the extern scenario, where there is a dense vegetation in the valley in which the construction is situated.© Joana França
The architectural concept integrates in its main volume two pure forms of parallelepipeds that overlaps transversally, one, the top volume, connects with the street, the other, the bottom volume, makes a barrier. Purposefully done, because in that condominium the majority of the houses have walls, what interferes in the architecture, transforming the house into an invitation to the curious look of who passes through.Section
The intimate area of the house is in the connection with the street and in the upper floor, connecting the garage to the suites, being the vertical circulation through the stair linking to the social area that corresponds to the living room, dining room, kitchen, gourmet area and balcony. In this social floor – ground floor – there is also a service area and an office. Down the stairs of the balcony, arrives to the leisure area composed by gym, sauna, wet deck and swimming pool with lane.© Joana França
In the main entrance on the side of the house it was used a finishing of the Natural line from GAIL. In the bedrooms floor it was used laminate flooring of the Nature line from DURAFLOOR. The living room floor was made of Ipê little planks. The wood panel of the western façade and the closure of the horizontal windows were made of strips of 2,5 x 2,5 of Ipê wood. The gourmet area and the balcony floors are from the Concretyssima line from PORTOBELLO. The constructive technique of the structure is reinforced concrete.© Joana França
The house was evaluated in R$ 2,500,000,00.
Just as the luxury condominium high rise opens for sales, Zaha Hadid Architects and Related Companies have released a new image of 520 West 28th - Zaha Hadid's first residential building in New York. Planned for a prime location in West Chelsea, alongside the High Line and nearby Renzo Piano's newly-opened Whitney Museum and Diller Scofidio + Renfro's future Culture Shed, the 11-story development is offering 39 distinct residences, some reaching up to 6,391-square-feet.
“I’ve always been fascinated by the High Line and its possibilities for the city. Decades ago, I used to visit the galleries in the area and consider how to build along the route. It's very exciting to be building there now,” said Zaha Hadid. “The design engages with the city while concepts of fluid spatial flow create a dynamic new living environment.”
With 21 "interlaced" floors, the building is comprised of "organic curves and chevron patterns" on the exterior that carve "generous outdoor spaces and enhance privacy" for each resident. From its facade to the smallest interior detail, the entire "sculptural" building shares a "seamless vision," making each unit unique, including its $50 million penthouse.
“520 West 28th will make a profound statement to New York City’s visual landscape with its compelling design and prominent location on the High Line, while at the same time offering residents an exclusive opportunity to live within a work of art designed by one of the world’s most celebrated architects," said Greg Gushee, Executive Vice President of Related Companies.
520 West 28th is scheduled for completion in early 2017.
From the architect. The studio is in process of preparing the second stage, to be installed in May 2016. Both concepts, which will be interrelated, are part of a work structured into two acts.© Jarred Gastreich
Green Varnish, designed by landscape architecture firm nomad studio, is the first installation of its kind which is located in the courtyard of CAM in Saint Louis, with the aim of completely transforming and altering the space. A green fabric made up of thousands of plants floats in the space, symbolically covering the inconvenient facts of society. The structure occupies approximately 200 square metres and has turned the courtyard into an exuberant sculpture filled with life. It is a natural tapestry which plays with the architectural space, while provoking it.© David Johnson
This project has been directed by William E. Roberts and Laura Santín, founding Partners of nomad studio, known for its intuitive approach of combining contemporary art and design with natural elements. Their work, which has been internationally awarded, has mainly focused on projects closely related to the social and environmental impact of landscape architecture.Floor Plan
The Green Varnish Installation
With Green Varnish, nomad studio explores the necessity of hiding inconvenient realities with politically correct beauty. A spectacular green fabric elegantly floats over the floor of the museum's courtyard.Courtesy of Nomad Studio
With this installation, William and Laura reflect on society's tendency to ignore and hide any relevant information which represents an inconvenience. In this specific case, on how our lifestyle is altering natural systems. We live in denial within vanishing landscapes, refusing to accept reality. Landscapes are gradually ceasing to be operative in their ecological structures and therefore, will transition into a completely different landscape in search of a new ecological order.Section
For William and Laura: “Deep inside the collective awareness, it is clear we need to overcome major changes in order to cope with climate change. Currently, our response is completely reactionary and we mainly express it in two different manners: pure rejection or some form of green shift that enables us to continue business as usual.”© David Johnson
With Green Varnish nomad studio is making an ironic gesture towards the ‘greening’ trend camouflaged beneath the mantra of sustainability, resilience and other words which are often abused in the current world of design.© David Johnson
Rural Urban Framework (RUF) has been named winner of the 2015 Curry Stone Design Prize at the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial. Addressing China's unprecedented rural-to-urban migration, RUF has (so far) helped 18 depopulating villages throughout the country prepare for their inevitable transformation by building schools, community centers, hospitals, houses and infrastructure in a collaborative process that empowers locals.
“The work of RUF is addressing one of the most urgent current geopolitical issues, how to deal with the imbalances created by large mass migrations,” said Emiliano Gandolfi, the Prize Director. “Their work is exemplifying how architecture should establish a dialogue with the community and the environment in order to built structures that respond to their changing needs.”New houses under construction in Jintai Village following the 2008 earthquake and 2011 landslide.. Image © Rural Urban Framework (RUF)
The research and design collaborative, whose Angdong Hospital Project was nominated as a finalist in ArchDaily's 2015 Building of the Year awards, was founded in 2006 by University of Hong Kong professors Joshua Bolchover and John Lin - both natives of rural Chinese villages. The founders, and their four in-house designers, see China as "an ideal laboratory" to explore the future of architecture.
“In China and the world, we live in an urban age, but we believe its future course is intertwined with the fate of the rural,” says RUF.The prototype village house in Shijia is wrapped in a brick screen, which provides ventilation while protecting the interior mud walls.. Image © Rural Urban Framework (RUF) The playground of Qinmo Village school is used for festivals and community events as well as school assemblies.. Image © Rural Urban Framework (RUF)
The Curry Stone Design Prize is "one of the most recognized social impact design awards celebrating socially engaged practitioners and the influence and reach of design as a force for improving lives and strengthening communities." Its goal is to "inspire the next generation of designers to harness their ingenuity and craft for social good by sharing and supporting the impactful work of leading social impact practitioners."
Becoming "the Sistine Chapel of Food" required a lot of invisible hard work. As Rotterdam's Markthal turns one year old, MVRDV's Head of Public Relations and Business Development Jan Knikker reflects on how the PR and media hype around Markthal Rotterdam was organized. This article is also supplemented by an interview conducted by ArchDaily with Winy Maas and Jan Knikker, which connects the parallel lines of the building's design and its PR campaign.
If I say that this is a PR story will you believe a single word? Markthal Rotterdam is a PR story with astonishing results: since its opening by queen Maxima in October 2014, our office MVRDV has nearly doubled in size to 110 staff members and it’s still growing. We - and The Financial Times - call it the “Markthal Effect”. In the first year the building reached over 8 million visitors, more than the Eiffel Tower, Bilbao Guggenheim or Tate Modern. 800 articles were published worldwide. It was hailed as a Sistine Chapel for food, a symbol of urban renaissance, a cool place to go. With the roughly 4 million visitors that came from outside of Rotterdam, the city saw its tourism grow.
How did that happen? It would be an easy assumption to think that a great building naturally attracts this kind of attention. But it all started quietly. In 2004 developer Provast and MVRDV won the competition with a plan that resembles the current design, except with one big difference: the colorful art piece which brightens up the inside of Markthal was at that stage also all over the outside facade. In any other city that would have lead to an instant protest movement against the zeppelin hangar covered in a gigantic fruit wallpaper. But not in Rotterdam. Public awareness started only once the construction became noisy.
Above, a video of some of Markthal's residents. Videos of residents and stall owners, produced as part of the PR campaign, are included throughout this article.
In 2013, three years into the construction, Markthal’s superstructure started to emerge above the fence. People started to realize that this totally unbelievable building would actually happen. It hit me that this could be the big one for MVRDV, the project that would become a household name, much better known than its architect. I wanted to make full use of the potential and called Provast to become involved in its PR.
Our client, Provast, specializes in high end inner city developments, routinely opening their mixed-use buildings with big bang celebrations, and they initially did not see the added value of the architect’s office interfering with their opening. The architect in the end is a small company among the contractors, developers and the 25 other companies that worked on Markthal. Provast was clear that the opening was going to be their party, and they had to invite thousands of people who had somehow participated in the decade it took to realize Markthal. Fair enough, but together with Rotterdam Marketing (the city’s public-private marketing engine) we convinced them of the need for a collective approach regarding the PR and we succeeded in shaping a team consisting of Rotterdam Partners, Provast, Corio and MVRDV. We created short communication lines within the team to act fast. The sheer potential of this project for each organisation was exciting, and this made the teamwork effective.© Daria Scagliola+Stijn Brakkee
Rotterdam Partners were surprised by our open door policy, saying “It’s unique, MVRDV always says yes.” As the building grew, the interest in it started to grow, stirred up by this active PR team. The higher up the structure got, the more press and site visits we organized, including highlights such as the 5,000 visitors during the national construction day, or the 90 foreign journalists that visited Rotterdam and Markthal for the presentation of the new Toyota Aygo. For the last two months before the opening, all PR people visited the site on daily basis, meeting groups of tourists and estate agents on their way through the construction site, with hard hats and rubber boots - the site had started to become a public attraction. Then the contractor had enough. For the final month they closed the site in order to be able to finalize the construction. Of course we all ignored the ban as much as we could and sneaked in through every gap in their security. By the time Markthal was ready to open, we had been able to tour an unprecedented 12,000 people over the site.
Provast director Hans Schröder, an entrepreneur at heart, saw a business opportunity. He decided to start a souvenir shop inside the building. We thought it to be funny, and in an afternoon filled with laughter we designed him mugs, cushions and umbrellas. To our great surprise he instantly forwarded the designs to a manufacturer in China and so the Markthal souvenir range was born.
A month before the opening we organized a press preview for magazines with long deadlines, a makeshift cafe was built inside the hall and the press gathered. Alongside the magazines, some newspapers also demanded access. Publishing the building before completion is tricky; it’s not finished, it’s not populated, but the journalists have to write a conclusion. The only thing they can do is guess and discuss the architecture as such, but architecture is an applied art: if you can’t see the use all critique remains fictional. The best solution would be a presentation a month after the opening to write an informed article based on the question of whether the building functions well or not, but the law of news gathering and the location of the building in the center of Rotterdam made this impossible. This was too big to be kept quiet.
Hysteria started when Provast received a positive answer to our request for Queen Maxima to open the building. Already more than 200 journalists had RSVPed, and now 150 additional requests hit the team, from high brow to entertainment, attracted by the royalty. The size of the PR team was doubled to deal with the rush. At this stage the phone would not stop ringing at Provast. People started to demand access, but Provast had only 1,600 spaces available for the opening, so many had to be disappointed. Construction lasted up until the last day, and while the first food was being stocked up, some market stalls were still under construction.© Daria Scagliola+Stijn Brakkee
September 30th 2014, one day before Maxima came, was the day of the press opening. One of the apartments became a press center, and all day long there were tours through the building - often 50 journalists at a time, divided into different languages and guided by PR people speaking these languages. The division was simple: Provast had no business abroad so MVRDV did the foreign and architecture press and Provast the Dutch news outlets. Corio went for the food press, to give Markthal’s entrepreneurs a head start. Rotterdam Partners strategically organized the visits and toured the gigantic group to see other parts of the city.
In the hall meanwhile it was a party, after the proud market vendors had invited their family and friends to what was to become their last free day before Christmas. Both groups started to mix and the hall exceeded its officially allowed amount of visitors. The fire department had to let people wait outside.
Winy Maas and Hans & Hans (Provast’s Hans Schröder and Hans de Jong) gave two press conferences for national and international press, and Winy Maas then gave 14 interviews in a row, in four languages. In the evening Winy Maas hopped from one restaurant (30 foreign journalists invited by a Ministry) to the next (a group of 20 foreign journalists invited by Rotterdam Partners). The PR team was up until late to help the happy and mostly fizzed up journalists, only to raise red-eyed in the early morning to make sure the countless TV channels would get a good spot to film the queen.
The opening was all sing-along, laughter, multi-cultured - about Maxima’s flowery dress and happy stall owners. When the invited crowd in their suits and cocktail dresses left the building to have drinks in the adjacent church, the public was for the first time allowed to enter the building. They had been waiting for 10 years and now they were in a rush. Within 5 minutes the hall was absolutely choked, heads all over the place and constant flash lights buzzing above the crowd. Sale had started instantly.© Nico Saieh
The next morning was devoted to press clippings, hundreds of emails requesting images despite the fact that there was a website to freely access them, and the enthusiastic press flooded in: “Markthal the new Food-Walhalla”, “The Sistine Chapel of Food” “Superdutch goes Supersized in psychedelic marketplace”, “Will Rotterdam’s Markthal be equivalent of Bilbao’s Guggenheim?” Within the first week we counted 120 articles and 95% of them were good to excellent; a humbling experience. Even local newspaper AD’s investigative journalist Antti Liukku had written a positive piece and The Guardian’s Olli Wainwright seemed genuinely impressed: his article was critical, but not as hard as he is known to treat other buildings sometimes. The fact that underneath the article The Guardian had correctly mentioned that his trip was sponsored sparked a debate about the work of Rotterdam Partners, however their team seemed used to it and, unimpressed, just counted the British tourists that came to the Rotterdam Info-Point with a copy of the article in their hand demanding the location of this “folly.” There is no such thing as bad publicity and the investment of a few hundred Euros was turned into an article worth £18,000 of advertisement value.
“High trees catch wind” is one of the most Dutch of proverbs, and soon a destructive pamphlet titled “Fuck off with your bio-smoothies” was written by Zihni Özdil and Arjen van Veelen. The writers analyzed the Markthal to be a symbol of unwanted gentrification and called Markthal an “historical clusterfuck of gentrification, segregation and neoliberalism.” The article was initially published in the smaller newspaper NRC Next but made it into the edition of NRC Handelsblad, a serious business and culture-oriented publication, and so Hans Schröder wrote a letter defending the building’s budget entrepreneurs. But the damage was done, and Markthal started to get a reputation for being expensive. The PR team learned the prices of chicken in the hall (ranging from €2.99 to €26.95) and had to tell the story over and over again. It was a cultural thing: the German, French, Italian or British press was not fussed about this as in these countries markets are more pricy than supermarkets and their produce is better. But in Holland the market is the place to go if Aldi is too expensive. I sent an email to Zihni Özdil, a sociologist who had earlier predicted a land slide for the Muslim party that never came, telling him line-for-line what was incorrect in the article - a useless exercise as he never replied. In the meantime, Markthal was sent in for the Aga Khan award for architecture “in which Muslims have a significant presence.”
While Markthal counted its millionth visitor in the first three weeks, the total count of articles went up to 550, from all over the world, even in distant countries such as Vietnam, Australia, Iran and Columbia. So much popularity is suspect to architects, and while the building received one real estate award after the other and the engineer of the cable net facade was elected engineer of the year, the architecture community did not see the arch as a worthy winner.
Among the praise the critics hit hard, on all levels. Eminent sociologist Arnold Reijndorp wrote an eloquent analysis of the building in which he stated that Markthal is not a market. Germany's Baumeister magazine followed the same logic. Critical monitoring is the essential democratic task the press has in society, but articles with incorrect information gave me sleepless nights. A spectacular water leak in an apartment turned into an urban legend about complex installations. One day inside the hall I overheard a young architecture student walk into Markthal and say “typically MVRDV, bad details.” The detail he looked at while saying this made its designer engineer of the year, but old prejudice is hard to beat. Tastes differ and the building is called too gray, too colorful, too chique, too raw, too this, too that. In the meantime, unaffected by critics, more people keep visiting the building than ever imagined, tourists come to Rotterdam and the press keeps writing about it. On various social media 20,000 images of the housing arch can already be found.© Ossip van Duivenbode
After six months we made a first evaluation and interviewed inhabitants and market vendors. The general consensus is positive; there are issues but nothing that cannot be solved. We also had an epiphany: the market lady who sells her family’s cheese told me that Markthal is a real market. “Some people complain that tourists just eat or just look but don’t buy. But all I see are potential customers. If they are not in front of my stall I get out there and lure them in with nibbles, or I simply yell. The stalls with staff that play on their cell phones are doomed. Waiting does not work, this is not a mall, this is a market.”
PR is certainly easier with a strong subject such as Markthal, but it does not just happen. Do you remember the high expectations for the EMP in Seattle, or the Royal Ontario Museum extension in Toronto, or the City of Arts & Sciences in Valencia, or the MARTa in Herford? The overall urban development and investment needs to be right, and then it’s just very hard work: it is the invisible work of calling, spinning, emailing and organizing countless visits. Markthal had an eleven page information sheet, so much was there to say about the various aspects of the building. Its architecture, its technology, its sustainability, its construction, its financial side, the tenants, the history of the site. Each journalist had a different approach and interest and we tried to meet these interests individually. We initiated hundreds of visits, interviews and we said yes to even more. Most visitors were toured by Rotterdam Partners to other initiatives in the city, to see designers, artists, De Rotterdam, the Urban Farm, the innovation port M4H, the bottom up, the top down, making each visit a multi-potential event.
Even now, every day a journalist or person of interest is being led through Markthal, and Rotterdam benefits from this. Markthal is not an object on Mars, so visitors want to know more about the city that made it possible to create this building, its entrepreneurial spirit, its hunger for innovation, its history and its people. Thanks to the open nature of architectural practice and the popularity of Markthal, we are able to deliver them the story and answer their questions honestly, without lies or a hidden agenda. After all, we are just an architecture office and not a Silicon Valley market dominator or a polluting car company. We can afford to be honest.© Daria Scagliola+Stijn Brakkee
Many thanks to the power team that shaped Markthal’s public appearance: Krystle de Koster-Heselaars and Chantal Hoogeveen for Provast, Eva Lambooij for Corio (now Klepierre), Kim Heinen and Judith Boer for Rotterdam Partners and Isabel Pagel and Jan van de Kamp for MVRDV.
Today marks one year since Queen Máxima of the Netherlands opened MVRDV's Markthal in Rotterdam to great public fanfare. In the 12 months since this event, the building has come to be recognized by the architectural establishment as being among the most important of MVRDV's designs. Perhaps more interestingly though, it has become widely popular among the general public - on Google you can find references to "Rotterdam's Sistine Chapel" in a variety of languages, and articles about the building have appeared in publications everywhere from Colombia to Vietnam.
MVRDV Head of Public Relations and Business Development Jan Knikker's article, published today on ArchDaily, shows that this widespread recognition was not accidental; it was the result of a widespread and comprehensive PR strategy initiated by MVRDV and carried out by a team that included every one of the building's major stakeholders. It's a fascinating and provocative tale that offers an insight into one of the least trusted facets of architectural practice. However, it also largely ignored one important element that undoubtedly contributed to the building's popularity: its design.
In order to connect the two parallel lines of Markthal's design and its PR campaign, we spoke to Knikker and founder of MVRDV Winy Maas to talk about Markthal, PR, awards and architectural media. Read on for the full interview.© Daria Scagliola+Stijn Brakkee
Rory Stott: In Jan's article explaining the story of the Markthal PR campaign he writes "It hit me that this could be the big one for MVRDV, the project that would become a household name, much better known than its architect." What is it about Markthal's design that makes it such an important building in MVRDV's portfolio, and Jan, what exactly was it that brought you to this realization?
Winy Maas: Markthal is important within our portfolio in rather a specific way: for now it is the most popular building we’ve built. Other buildings have other important positions in different ways: they excel in being democratic, green, social or experimental. Architecture is an applied art and the sheer fact that so many people have visited Markthal gives the building a strong meaning.
Jan Knikker: The moment of realization came while I was walking around the construction site when the second floor was coming up. From the streets around, people kept staring at the structure even then, as it was only beginning to emerge. I pictured the completed building in my mind, and was thrilled that something that to me seemed so surreal, would soon become a reality. Rotterdam lacked a large interior space at that time and here it was, the city’s living room. If you extend any house with a living room you change life inside the house, and clearly this building was going to change Rotterdam in that way.Fons van der Linden & Maureen Lub, Markthal residents. This photoseries of Markthal residents and stall owners was commissioned by MVRDV for their upcoming monograph (not as part of their PR campaign); the images are shared throughout this article. Image © Daria Scagliola & Stijn Brakkee
RS: Even if this building is remembered as "the big one" for MVRDV, you are presumably not content to settle with your greatest success behind you. What lessons will you take forward from Markthal to ensure future success?
WM: Ha. Brace yourself, there will be more "big ones." Markthal is a design from 2004 and like many of our projects it is characterized by its love for density, and its contextualism, on multiple levels. The design of the market hall responds to the urban setting, the desire to monumentalize and celebrate food, the program of the market and the financial situation that supports it. Don’t forget, it’s not a folly; it’s a highly rational building, but it is also bold and daring. Perhaps the biggest lesson learned from Markthal is that we can build a well-organised and highly functional commercial building of 100,000 square meters within time and budget without compromising its overall quality and concept. Also, we came close to creating a public space with private money.
A great deal of the building’s success is due to the fact that Provast, our client, was passionate; they wanted quality; and that we as architects found solutions to all of their demands, problems and sometimes also, their fears. We also exceeded their expectations, which is important because it creates room for more architectural experimentation. With Markthal we grew up as an office, without compromising our ideals.Kenneth Mackay & Pascal Pichel, Markthal residents. Image © Daria Scagliola & Stijn Brakkee
RS: There are many buildings that critics have suggested bring the sought-after "Bilbao Effect" to their cities - but they don't usually involve markets and housing. What was it about this project that allowed such an unusual confluence of things?
WM: The Bilbao Effect was never our goal, it was a by-product we noticed only recently, since The Financial Times wrote about it and the visitor numbers were published. The question to us was, how to build a contemporary covered market that attracts people and that emphasizes the need for good food? That a market can be a celebration of food we learned from Spain, but the introverted architecture of the Spanish market halls was outdated and would not work in Holland. There was no budget for the imposing environment this celebration of food required - because the rental prices of the market stalls are low - so we simply used the apartments as the walls and ceiling of the hall itself. A straightforward but effective urban intervention. In the wake of it we created a new typology of apartments that has become immensely popular.
I think we succeeded in celebrating and monumentalizing food, and that in itself is such a universal value: we all eat, we all like food. This is why Markthal became so tactile.Nicole van der Vliet, Markthal resident. Image © Daria Scagliola & Stijn Brakkee
RS: Jan's article mentions that while Markthal was spectacularly received by the press and the people, and received multiple real estate and engineering awards, architectural awards have eluded it. The reason given in the article is that "so much popularity is suspect to architects." Do you think this is the whole story, or is there more to Markthal's awards snub than this?
WM: I don’t see this as an issue so much.
JK: I monitor the overall response to our work and this aspect surprised me so I wrote it down. Architects are, in my view, very sensitive and suspicious towards marketing. As an architecture PR professional I find myself in a constant dilemma between reaching out to potential clients that require a more general approach, and to architects who demand a more intellectual exchange. Of course there are ways to engage architects commercially, brands such as Freitag, Maison Margiela or Camper are experts in it, but from peers they expect content. So every time I post another millionth visitor they are probably embarrassed about our garishness, whilst developers tend to be impressed.
Peers are important: we meet them in juries and need their approval; but architects often seem to reflect critically on mass success, and Markthal is, in its essence, a wholly popular building. I also sometimes wonder whether our work is fully understood. The architects in the jury of the Building of the Year award of the Royal Dutch Society of Architects mentioned for example that the hallways in Markthal’s housing are disappointing.
WM: Huh? They are covered with beautiful stone and have a double sculptural stairway. And windows to the Markthal itself… Have they been inside? The hallways are a carefully staged experience. We extended the street in its materialization right up the apartments' front doors with granite. The Rotterdam street stone is also Markthal’s façade material, it is in the lobby, the lift and the hallways, and at the end of this grey granite trajectory there is a window on to the radiant colours of the market, almost as a catharsis. There is less of an intermediate situation between the outside and the inhabitant’s intimate, interior world.
JK: I recently spoke to many of the building’s residents and they confirmed that the experience works as we intended it to. Every time they come home or leave, they have a quick look into the market. The hallways already feel as though they are part of the city, and are designed not to detract from the main architectural event. In The Hague, you have the Panorama Mesdag, where visitors walk through a tunnel and suddenly appear in the midst of this overwhelming 360-degree painting; Markthal’s hallways also offer this experience. They’re meant to fade into the background, as service spaces "serving" the main hall with its vast ceiling. I wonder whether the jury understood this when judging the entry. Markthal’s press text was already 11 pages long, and it is impossible to explain every detail. I wish people would call more often before judging.
I think there is sometimes a harsh discourse in architecture that is not always as productive as it could be. Why can’t nostalgic architects just enjoy blobs as being different? Not being an architect, it continues to surprise me how little the profession is collectively organized. There are hardly any good unions for architects and tender conditions are grim. Architects are continuously forced to work for free against each other. In my opinion the constant competition and negative reactions to each others' work is bad for the profession. Winy is about to publish a book made at The Why Factory about one of the side-effects of the situation.
WM: The book is titled "Copy Paste, the bad ass copy guide." We explore one of the last taboos in architecture, the copyright, or its Asian translation, the right to copy. In science you can take the latest research as a basis for the next step, but you need to quote your predecessors of course. In architecture, there is an obsession with authorship. In the book we discuss the dilemma, but also offer a guide and method for copying, or even better, evolving and improving. With the help of some tools we developed, we turn iconic museums into housing, hospitals and even bridges. It’s great fun.
JK: Open source would be a great way for the discipline to evolve. But, you would not mind a copy of Markthal popping up in say, Buenos Aires?
WM: In a way it would be a compliment, but we should not settle for just a copy. The architects should say "we took the idea of MVRDV’s Markthal and developed it further" or "we adapted it to a new urban context" and this should be general practice and generally accepted, not a one-off event.Staff at Bram Ladage, one of Markthal's stalls. Image © Daria Scagliola & Stijn Brakkee
RS: What would the profile of Markthal be today if you hadn't initiated such a widespread PR campaign? More generally, what are your thoughts on the role that PR plays in promoting certain projects over others and therefore directing architectural debate?
JK: I see the promotion of Markthal very much as part of the long-term regeneration process that Rotterdam, as a city, started in 1989 after experiencing urban decay when the port became automated. Without the PR campaign, the city would lack an important player in this urban transformation, and within the last year, an extra 4 million visitors. MVRDV as an office would be smaller and perhaps still be more of an architects’ insider tip. During the crisis we professionalized the practice and Markthal then gave us the PR boost to grow. But it’s all relative, there are few architects who are household names, the general public still does not know us but the building is well known around the globe.
More generally speaking, PR in today’s media society is just a part of the job; it is a tool like BIM or BREEAM. Trying to steer the general debate through PR definitely has limits. A mediagenic building hits much harder than one which isn’t. I can do a lot to help the building’s impact, but I cannot create the same impact with every building. Markthal was in one sense highly unusual because of its role in the wider story of the city’s transformation, and in another, a continuation and extension of what we do for every building we design.
WM: Especially if a significant project is not that mediagenic, we present it continuously in universities so that it enters the discourse in that way. It is more of a struggle. The Why Factory analysed media coverage of architecture and found that any project above 500 square meters is less likely to evoke identification and therefore less likely to be published by the general media. And architecture media follows this logic up to a point. You all love smallness, digestibility. For example our Didden Village is well covered on ArchDaily; but Barba, The Why Factory’s project on the effect of new flexible materials which provokingly predicts the end of architecture, hasn’t been discussed by you yet. It will come out this autumn as a book. We would love to discuss more of these kinds of admittedly more abstract research projects with you; things which are and should be a bigger part of the architectural debate. Aren’t you otherwise always too late?
"Barba" will be featured on ArchDaily upon publication later this year.
From the architect. In the small town of Rijssen 2by4-architects designed the new healthcare and housing complex ‘Eltheto’ for elderly people. Until recently elderly people were seen as a group that functions outside of modern society and are only in need of care. The contemporary healthcare centers and housing for elderly people are still designed according to his idea. Over the past decennia this resulted in a range of introvert buildings where the main focus is healthcare instead of the quality of life itself.Diagram 2
For Eltheto 2by4-architects inverted this concept and separated the housing and healthcare program. The housing program functions like a particular housing program that one would find in a suburb. They are open and social housing blocks where the main focus is on the quality of life and staying part of the social context. For the less independent inhabitants the housing program is adjusted according to their needs, but still the focus on quality of life remains.Courtesy of 2by4-architects
The architecture of the different housing blocks reflects if they are for the more independent elderly, the social orientated elderly or elderly in need of health care. Although this results into different volumes all the blocks are clearly part of the same family that together with the public space form an integrated social place to live for the next generation of elderly.Courtesy of 2by4-architects
The focus of the design comes from a life style research that looks at the different needs and characteristics of elderly. Part of the research indicates that if elderly have to move away from their life style, in order to receive health care, their life expectancy will decrease. They become less mobile, more dependant and eventually socially isolated. Loneliness has become a major issue among elderly, especially if one of the partners has passed away.Courtesy of 2by4-architects
Eltheto's goal is to keep elderly part of modern life and society by providing the right healthcare and housing that fits their current needs. If their needs will change they are able to receive health care at home or move to one of the other Eltheto buildings that are designed to provide more specialized health care. This way they can stay home longer and when they eventually need to move they'll stay within the same neighbourhood.Courtesy of 2by4-architects
The 4 housing blocks at the Eltheto complex provide housing for independent elderly singles and couples, elderly with Alzheimer, elderly with somatic disabilities and mentally disabled elderly. These 4 housing blocks are situated around several public spaces. The public spaces interact between the housing blocks, the centrally located healthcare centre and the neighbourhood. The public space is owned by the client, a housing corporation and a heath care organization, who want the elderly to use the public space according to their own ideas.Courtesy of 2by4-architects
The elderly are stimulated to organize themselves and use the public place for programs like communal gardening, outdoor events and meetings, play games like Pétanque or just sit under one of the trees and enjoy the things happening around them. The public space acquires its green character by its numerous trees and plants, all carefully chosen by colour, shading amount, flowering period and fruit types criteria. All this contributes to the so-called natural healing environment.Diagram 1
The communal healthcare centre is located in the centre of the public space and can be seen as the heart of the whole complex. It provides health care services not only for the people living at Eltheto, but also for the neighbourhood. Besides health care the centre incorporates many some public services, such as a restaurant, a library, a shop for daily groceries, a meditation centre, day care, hair salon and numerous activity areas and office spaces.Courtesy of 2by4-architects
The centre is accessible directly from the public space in order to strengthen even more the relationship between the indoor and outdoor spaces as well as the overall public character of this modern healthcare complex.
Welcome to the third installment of The Long(ish) Read: an AD feature which uncovers texts written by notable essayists that resonate with contemporary architecture, interior architecture, urbanism or landscape design. In this extract from The Seven Lamps of Architecture, published in 1849 and considered to be John Ruskin's first complete book on architecture, his studies are distilled into seven moral principles. These "Lamps" were intended to guide architectural practice of the time, advocating a profound respect for the original fabric of existing buildings. The opening chapter—The Lamp of Sacrifice—attempts to "distinguish carefully between Architecture and Building," set against the backdrop of Ruskin's (often criticised) world-view on the discipline at large.
John Ruskin in brief
Born in London in 1819, Ruskin was an art, architecture and society critic who, throughout his eighty-one year life, painted, wrote and campaigned for (widespread) societal change. Although not an architect himself, he lived through the height of the British Empire with Queen Victoria at its helm, and helped to pioneer the proliferation of the Romantic and Gothic Revival movements in England. He would later write The Stones of Venice (1851–53), for which he is most well known.Plate I (Page 33, Vol. V). ImageOrnaments from Rouen, St. Lo, and Venice
Extract from the beginning of Chapter One: The Lamp of Sacrifice
I. Architecture is the art which so disposes and adorns the edifices raised by man for whatsoever uses, that the sight of them contributes to his mental health, power and pleasure.
It is very necessary, in the outset of all inquiry, to distinguish carefully between Architecture and Building.
To build, literally to confirm, is by common understanding to put together and adjust the several pieces of any edifice or receptacle of a considerable size. Thus we have church building, house building, ship building, and coach building. That one edifice stands, another floats, and another is suspended on iron springs, makes no difference in the nature of the art, if so it may be called, of building or edification. The persons who profess that art, are severally builders, ecclesiastical, naval, or of whatever other name their work may justify; but building does not become architecture merely by the stability of what it erects; and it is no more architecture which raises a church, or which fits it to receive and contain with comfort a required number of persons occupied in certain religious offices, than it is architecture which makes a carriage commodious or a ship swift. I do not, of course, mean that the word is not often, or even may not be legitimately, applied in such a sense (as we speak of naval architecture); but in that sense architecture ceases to be one of the fine arts, and it is therefore better not to run the risk, by loose nomenclature, of the confusion which would arise, and has often arisen, from extending principles which belong altogether to building, into the sphere of architecture proper.
Let us, therefore, at once confine the name to that art which, taking up and admitting, as conditions of its working, the necessities and common uses of the building, impresses on its form certain characters venerable or beautiful, but otherwise unnecessary. Thus, I suppose, no one would call the laws architectural which determine the height of a breastwork or the position of a bastion. But if to the stone facing of that bastion be added an unnecessary feature, as a cable moulding, that is Architecture. It would be similarly unreasonable to call battlements or machicolations architectural features, so long as they consist only of an advanced gallery supported on projecting masses, with open intervals beneath for offence. But if these projecting masses be carved beneath into rounded courses, which are useless, and if the headings of the intervals be arched and trefoiled, which is useless, that is Architecture. It may not be always easy to draw the line so sharply and simply, because there are few buildings which have not some pretence or color of being architectural; neither can there be any architecture which is not based on building, nor any good architecture which is not based on good building; but it is perfectly easy and very necessary to keep the ideas distinct, and to understand fully that Architecture concerns itself only with those characters of an edifice which are above and beyond its common use. I say common; because a building raised to the honor of God, or in memory of men, has surely a use to which its architectural adornment fits it; but not a use which limits, by any inevitable necessities, its plan or details.
II. Architecture proper, then, naturally arranges itself under five heads:—
Now, of the principles which I would endeavor to develop, while all must be, as I have said, applicable to every stage and style of the art, some, and especially those which are exciting rather than directing, have necessarily fuller reference to one kind of building than another; and among these I would place first that spirit which, having influence in all, has nevertheless such especial reference to devotional and memorial architecture—the spirit which offers for such work precious things simply because they are precious; not as being necessary to the building, but as an offering, surrendering, and sacrifice of what is to ourselves desirable. It seems to me, not only that this feeling is in most cases wholly wanting in those who forward the devotional buildings of the present day; but that it would even be regarded as an ignorant, dangerous, or perhaps criminal principle by many among us. I have not space to enter into dispute of all the various objections which may be urged against it—they are many and spacious; but I may, perhaps, ask the reader's patience while I set down those simple reasons which cause me to believe it a good and just feeling, and as well-pleasing to God and honorable in men, as it is beyond all dispute necessary to the production of any great work in the kind with which we are at present concerned.
Read The Seven Lamps of Architecture on Project Gutenberg.John Ruskin in 1882. Image Courtesy of Wellcome Library