While the facade is the work of the French architect Jean Nouvel, each of the Hotel Puerta América’s 12 floors – from the elevator lobbies down to the blankets and bathrobes – has been conceived by powerhouse architects and design studios, among them Arata Isozaki, Norman Foster, Marc Newson, Ron Arad, Richard Gluckman, Javier Mariscal, Victorio & Lucchino and Zaha Hadid. With public spaces like the Black Tears restaurant designed by Christian Liaigre and the underground garage by Teresa Sapey, the Puerta América can bill itself as “12 floors with 19 stars.”
Hotel Puerta América, Madrid, Spain, $250 to between $1,500 and $3,900 for the suites, designed by Starchitects.
The new Mountain Retreat has to deal with quite different terrain. Located in New Zealand’s Southern Lakes, a mountainous landscape of snow-capped peaks and dense beech forest, this is a low impact second home designed as a place to get away from everything. The aesthetic approach is subdued, with a minimal palette of hard-wearing materials. The stone exterior, concrete floors and dark wood give the Retreat the feeling of a cave, embedded in the hillside.
This building was constructed for the purpose of promoting Xi, a brand of apartments. In addition to the standard type of a showroom apartment unit, a larger share of the floor area is allocated as a variable cultural space for the local residents, which as a result creates a brand-new building typology: a housing cultural center. As economic forces and cultural activities seem to form complex interrelationships causing our private and public spheres to merge and invade each other, this building comes as a product of these current phenomena.
Xi gallery, Yeonsan-dong, Pusan, Korea, by Minsuk Cho, Kisu Park, Seoul, South Korea for Mass Studies
The new Boston Institute of Contemporary Art is located on the harbor at Fan Pier in south Boston. The best feature is the “gallery box”: a large exhibition space on one level that dramatically cantilevers over the Harborwalk toward the water.
For a site near a forest, where the building is situated has one major drawback: south-western access. In order to avoid the functional collision of the driveway and the garden, the driveway was ‘pushed’ into the ground. This prompted the idea of a driveway leading inside to the the ground floor level, from underneath the building, which became possible thanks to the creation of an inner atrium with the driveway in it. This in turn has made it possible to obtain a new type of house, which is the reverse of an atrial building. The Aatrial House is closed to the inside and open to the surroundings.
This art studio, in addition to providing for the amenities of storage, cooking, cleaning, and reading, posed the problem of how to achieve extreme horizontal openness in order to move freely within the studio. It is based upon an expanded NYC loft typology that has been displaced to the countryside.
Winters Studio, by MOS
The residential building H16 consists of two contrasting cubes responding to the particular situation on the inclined plot. The black cube is constructed from prefabricated architectural concrete sections and accommodates the private rooms, thus ensuring intimacy and possibilities for retreat. A dense hedge at street level shields the glass cube from view. The ensemble is augmented by a light-coloured cube, which is visually connected to the residential building by a steel terrace and houses the garage and engineering.
H16, Stuttgart, Germany, by Werner Sobek
Umbau House, is the later work of the architect Theodor Laubi (1956) The property has been refurbished with new owners, who have established an art gallery on the first floor. Inspired by South American architects of the 50′s there is plenty of built in furniture in the rooms.
Umbau House, Zurich, Switzerland, by Gabrielle Hächler and Andreas Fuhrimann
Ellsworth Residence belongs to a keen art collector. The interior layout features an expansive living and dining area, with enough space to house works like an specially commissioned installation by Arizona artist Mayme Kratz, but also offers wide views to the desert surrounding the house.
‘My primary concern for the design was to minimize the impact to the pristine desert site explains Michael P. Johnson, ‘by bridging the desert arroyo, we minimized scarring of the desert floor’.