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
Ginkgo Lounge, Portimão, Portugal, by Tiago Rosado, via: Arch Daily
The project demonstrates how architecture can delicately integrate in nature. Designed by Graça Correia and Roberto Ragazzi, it is located on a plot bordering the Cavado River in the Gerês region of Portugal. It elegantly composes with the natural surroundings, as its pure volumetric form with its concrete finish anchors itself on one side, and then protrudes in the air with an impressive cantilever that points toward the river.
Gerês House, Caniçada, Vieira do Minho, Portugal, by Graça Correia e Roberto Ragazzi, Correia Ragazzi Arquitectos
Yatzer has an in-depth article about the new BMW Museum by Atelier Bruecknen in Munich. Opened on June 21st, 2008, it sets a new standard in the realm of brand-focused museums. Along with the BMW Welt, opened in October 2007, and the BMW factory tour, the museum is the final component of the BMW Triad, where two million visitors are expected annually.
In contrast to construction projects of other automobile manufactures, the new museum building would not originate in a green meadow; instead, it was a matter of integrating the new museum into the existing structural fabric of the group headquarters in Munich, according to the brochures handed out at the start of the tour. Here, trendsetting architecture already had a presence from the original 1973 plans of the Viennese architect Karl Schwanzer. This ensemble consists of the “Four Cylinder” high-rise construction, the adjoining low buildings, and the “Museum Bowl” which carries the BMW logo on the roof, and has subsequently developed into a landmark of the car group.