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.
On both, the front and the lake side, this sculptural villa shows very expressive and ornamental facades. Facing mount pilatus the white concrete elements are dotted with circular openings that allow glimpses into the two-levelled orangery with its exotic plants, as well as the lounge, the guest tract and the staircase accessed through one of the openings at the ground floor. The lake side with superb mountain views of the rigi and the bürgenstock shows off a protruding, glistering loggia made of round glass bricks. Very decorative, such elements are a strong contrast to the rough renderings of the side facades. The basement nestles along the slope and opens into a large fitness area with a 25 meter pool, half inside, half outside, which is inserted in a white terrazzo plate. This terrazzo plate extends gracefully from the pool bar located inside along the boathouse made of white tinted, rough jetted concrete into lake lucerne.
O House, Lucerne, Switzerland, by Philippe Stuebi Architekten Gmbh
The project consist in the reconstruction of building from the 19th century, inserted in the Lapa/Prazeres district. The pre-existing build was in an advanced degree of degradation, the facades and the side walls were the only usable structure.
The Metla Building stands out on the campus of the University of Joensuu due to its material and its concise form. From the exterior, the building appears to be a wood box. The forecourt, which is the gate to the building and which is demarcated by the walls made from logs from demolished houses. The offices and laboratory facilities of the research institute curl around the inner courtyard and the vestibule. The yard is dominated by the conference facilities, which resemble a boat that has been turned upside down, and the sloped columns of the vestibule, which have been inspired by the log booms from floating logs down rivers.
Cabel Industry produced software systems for banks. Then new headquarters is created using a single sign: architectural global shape, fastenings, entrance cuts, furniture handles and decorations. During the day coloured glass create liquid chromatic effects inside black and white offices, instead of night time when coloured cuts project out vivid lighting effects underlining holes, cuts and shapes of the building.
Cabel Industry headquarters, Empoli, Italy, by Massimo Mariani, via: dezeen