The remote alpine village of Vals is best known to the world at large as the home of Switzerland’s popular Valser mineral water. Since 1996, though, architecture fanatics and spa connoisseurs have known Vals as the home of Peter Zumthor’s Therme spa, an ultra-modernist design statement in grey Valser quartzite, a place that somehow crafts a near-religious experience out of little more than stone, water and judiciously applied light. The combinations of light and shade, open and enclosed spaces and linear elements make for a highly sensuous and restorative experience.
Therme Vals, by Peter Zumthor,
+ Therme Vals
The Crescent House exemplifies how a novel form can fulfill the requirements of a brief better than a conventional box. As a shape, the crescent is ideally suited to personal living space, because it shelters and encloses while at the same time opening out and forging a sense of connection with the exterior world. The accommodation is formed by two nested crescents connected by a curving circulation and gallery space that runs the length of the building. The outer crescent contains bedrooms, bathrooms and private living areas and turns a solid convex wall to the nearby road, while the inner crescent is devoted to cooking, eating and relaxing. A full-height concave glass wall draws the early morning sun into the house and offers an uninterrupted prospect of the garden, while the arms of the inner crescent extend to frame the view, offering privacy and enclosure without confinement.
- Make Architects
The Crescent House, Wiltshire, United Kingdom, by Make Architects
A weekend house for a couple located on a rocky coast two hours drive from Tokyo. The site is a rocky stretch facing the Pacific Ocean with approaches sloping down to the water level. The characteristic of its plan, imagined like the branches of a tree, is a continuous one room. All the required spaces, entrance, living area, dining area, kitchen, bed room, Japanese style room, study room and bath room are arranged in this continuous one room. Oriented in different directions, one can find various views of the ocean walking throughout the house. Living area, bedroom and bathroom each has its unique relation to the ocean. Architecture as primitive, “in-between natural and man-made”.
The clients for this house renovation / extension, a couple with three daughters, are a creative, democratic unit. The father directs film trailers, the mother is a graphic designer and illustrator. The scheme leaves half of the house for the daughter’s bedrooms and incorporates the other half plus new extensions in front and back into a public zone and a private bedroom for the parents. Multi-toned, bright colors accentuate the new pieces which suggests a graphic expression representative of the family’s interests.
Alan Family House, Los Angeles, USA, by Neil Denari and Duks Koschitz with Joe Willendra, for NMDA
Frank Lloyd Wright. (American, 1867-1959). Fallingwater, Edgar J. Kaufmann House, Mill Run, Pennsylvania. 1934-37. Acrylic, wood, metal, expanded polystyrene, and paint.
Permanent Collection MoMA
A new project adjacent to the Battersea power plant in London. Because of the scale of the building it was necessary to introduce voids within the volumes to enable daylight penetration.
Battersea Weave Office Building, London, United Kingdom by UNStudio
Responsible for landmark Louis Vuitton stores in Japan, Hong Kong, and New York, Aoki Jun uses innovative materials and construction to modulate light in their interiors.
Louis Vuitton stores, by Aoki Jun
The Farnsworth House, designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in 1946 for his client, Dr Edith Farnsworth, is seminal. It asserted America as the pre-eminent home of modernism after the war. It also reduced (for the first time) the idea of a dwelling to its skeletal minimal.
Farnsworth House, Plano, Illinois USA by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
+ Farnsworth House National Historic Site
Buy the Book: Mies van der Rohe: A Critical Biography