The Johnson house, Pierre Koenig’s only building in Northern California, was built on a 20-by-20-foot grid. Glass curtain walls open the house to the landscaping and expansive views. A see-through central fireplace forms the centerpiece of the open-plan living-dining area.
Koenig’s additions in 1988 included two new bedrooms, filling the former carport and entry, and providing a new carport in an added wing. The project also involved stripping away a dropped ceiling, wood veneer paneling that hid the steel siding, bay windows, and Victorian-style beveled-glass doors.
“It’s absolutely, completely functional and complete and honest in the delight of its revealed structure. It’s so simple and beautiful, so unadorned. It’s direct and a joy to live in,” Cynthia Riebe says of the house. “I love the night light and how it changes, and the reflections through the interior and the exterior. There’s no boundary between the two.”
The house was restored and expanded by Cynthia and Fred Riebe during the 1990s with the help of Koenig himself. Structure: Steel-framed and steel-sided. The ceilings and exterior walls are unadorned, corrugated steel decking. Laminated wallboard sheathes the interior walls.
Designed by French architect and winner of the Pritzker Prize, Christian de Portzamparc, the Hergé Museum is due to open on June 2nd of this year. The icon that was (and still is) Tintin played a role in most of our childhoods. Even today Tintin and Snowy are making waves in recently translated Chinese copies in Asia. A stroke of comic-book genius, Tintin evolved from the brush of belgian artist Georges Prosper Remi, or as he is more commonly known, Hergé. Unfortunately the masterful Hergé passed away in 1983 but thanks to the new Hergé Museum in Brussels, its not too late to pay hommage to his work.
The house on the beach at Raumati is discreetly folded between neighbours, a very simple form deceptively simply executed. Rooms are large but few, open but with complete privacy. This house demonstrates that a home need not be huge to be made of luxuriously large spaces. All year living is not only practical, but offers the attractions of watching a storm strike the windows while the open fire blazes.
Raumati Beach House, Raumati, New Zealand by Herriot + Melhuish Architecture
The New York Times shows an Image from “Frank Lloyd Wright: From Within Outward,” an exhibition currently on view at the Guggenheim Museum, the models of Wright’s designs are attracting as much attention as the exhibition itself. Perhaps the most notable model is that of Wright’s Herbert Jacobs House #1 of 1936-37, the first of the architect’s pioneering open-plan, energy-efficient Usonian houses. The basswood model takes the house’s components — from its window frames to its innovative copper-piped radiant-heating system — and explodes them, so that they seem to hang in midair.
Frank Lloyd Wright: The Re-Model, at The Moment, New York Times
For decades, the woods and fields of SW Michigan and NW Indiana, with their close proximity to Lake Michigan, have offered Chicagoans weekend reprieves from urban intensity – and a short travel distance. To gain a sense of rural privacy, the owners were looking to experience pastoral views of nature and foliage, more than lake views, in searching for their vacation property. They were fortunate to find the land that fit their aesthetic aspirations and wanted a home that would similarly match their concepts for living.
The cottage was designed with a simple structure, a horizontal wood rain screen of cedar to privatize the entry sequence on the North, and a wall of operable glass on the South. The open plan of the kitchen, dining, living area and porch as one room intensifies the views to meadow and woods to the South and maximizes the solar gain in the winter. Radiant heat in the ground concrete floors is enhanced by passive solar gain, and runs throughout the three-bedroom cottage. The arrangement of the rooms and glass are to maximize views of the outdoor environment, while providing the most energy efficient operation.
Coffou Cottage, Michigan City, Indiana, USA, by Brininstool+Lynch
the holiday house sits as walkable sculptural building in the strong landscape with a square ruin, old retaining walls, large rocks as well as olive groves and oak tree forests. In the south the house has a spectacular terrace with a great view on the sea and with a low, broad parapet. Under the terrace is a further guest room with a bath and cellar. The living space has the atmosphere of a covered outside space and gets maximum glazing on the back too, which releases the view as contrast to the width of the sea on the bizarre rock landscape lying directly behind. Two large movable wall pieces let the living space with kitchen and bedroom become a large flowing area. Outside the oversized staircase dramatizes the hillside situation and connects the guest room and its separate terrace with the house in a generous gesture.
Draeger House, Corsica, by Philippe Stuebi Architekten Gmbh
“I have always admired Brazilian modernism that began in the 1930s. Incredible work was done by dozens of starchitects like Lucio Costa, Lina Bo Bardi, Oscar Niemeyer, Rino Levi and Affonso Reidy. It’s always surprising to me that in the early and mid-20th century, Brazil produced the projects that it did – so simple and elegant. A lesson for our superfluous world in crisis.”
- Marcio Kogan
Pritzker Prize winning architect, Peter Zumthor is often described as the “architect’s architect”. His rigorous approach and uncompromising attitude to every aspect of design and construction have resulted in a small number of perfectly formed buildings, the most famous of which are the Thermal Baths in Vals (1996). Many of his projects take several years to build, or fail to be built at all. He is best known for contemplative, elemental buildings and a careful style of working. He describes his method as being like that of US minimalist composer John Cage – an aleatoric process of conversation and reduction.
The wooden houses are built in the traditional Swiss regional style. The walls are composed of pine boards that are assembled, frame free, by tongue and groove. The height of the houses make the walls appear to be paper thin. Zumthor likes his structures to exude lightness and even fragility. All of the roofs of the region are obligated by law to use rough-hewn granite slabs for roof tiling. These roofs, require massive structures including one, or two central beams at the peak of the roof. Zumthor eliminates the central beam by pulling the frames together at their bases with steel rods in order to form the peak thus creating an empty space between the house and the roof.
Books: Peter Zumthor: Thinking Architecture
In this book Peter Zumthor expresses his motivation in designing buildings that speak to our feelings and understanding in so many ways and that possess a powerful and unmistakable presence and personality. The book is illustrated throughout with colour photographs by Laura Padgett of Zumthor’s new home and studio in Haldenstein. This book has been described as “cult reading material for students and architects around the world”.
Buy it here: Amazon
A new building for Nestlé by Rojkind Arquitectos. After their impressive Chocolate Museum, they got the commission to design a new facility on the city of Querétaro, that includes laboratories, offices, and auditorium and a tasting area.
One of the design constraints came from the fact that the center of Querétaro was declared as World Heritage by the UNESCO on 1996. So, the new building was required to have a portico with arches. Rojkind faced this by re-interpreting both the portico and the arches, by excavating a series of intersected spheres from orthogonal buildings, excavations which repeated conform an open and continuous space.
At first view the result of these complex shapes would have required digital fabrication, but a simple system of semi spherical domes made out of steel arches and rings allowed for an easy construction with local workers.
Brazilian architect Marcio Kogan plays with space in a way that makes you think that if he ever gets bored, a second career as a movie set designer awaits.
Through all four projects, the box form – Kogan’s favourite motif – occurs time and again but in carefully nuanced combinations: precisely planed concrete boxes within boxes (a function of security concerns in São Paulo); stoned lined boxes on top of boxes; and timber slatted boxes that open outwards towards a slim-lined lap pool perhaps with no doors to mark inside or outside.