Renowned Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza has fully renovated the Boa Nova Tea House in Matosinhos, Portugal, one of his earliest commissions (1963). The refurbished building will open as a restaurant, and outside mealtimes it will be possible to visit with guided tours by the Association Casa da Arquitectura. “One of Siza’s first built projects, it is significant that the restaurant is not far from the town of Matosinhos where the architect grew up, and set in a landscape that he was intimately familiar with. It was still possible in Portugal of the 1960s to make architecture by working in close contact with the site, and this work, much like the Leça Swimming Pools of 1966, is about ‘building the landscape’ of this marginal zone on the Atlantic – through a careful analysis of the weather and tides, existing plant life and rock formations, and the relationship to the avenue and city behind.” says Álvaro Siza.
Boa Nova Tea House, Matosinhos, Portugal, by Alvaro Siza Vieira
Photography by Joao Morgado
The building site, further down a long private drive, levels out toward the west into an edge condition dominated by an expansive vista – layers and layers of distant mountain ranges – that in the evening seem to epitomize the drama of the Arizona Sunset. Due to the elevation of the site beneath the community’s gaze and the entry gate at the road it became important to us – to recede the house as a deep shadow – into the depth and complexity of the desert floor below.
The plinth was cast in place with one material throughout such that a wall, a floor, a ramp, a step, or a bench could be experienced as part of one contiguous stone. The Verde River eventually connects to the Salt River, which collectively tumbles some of the worlds hardest aggregate through the lowest point of the valley, where along with sand and cement, it is harvested for locally produced concrete. A “highway concrete mix” with oversized 1 ½” aggregate was specifically selected for this project and mixed with a small percentage of the earth pigment – raw umber. We wanted to work the surfaces of the plinth in order to reveal the composite qualities of the material, sand, conglomerate gravel, pebbles, broken stone, in a cement matrix, and consequently a window into the geologic time of this place.
The overall height of the landform follows the design guidelines and therefore the ground at precisely 24’ above natural grade in a segmented monocline that spirals almost imperceptibly up and around and out where the solid mass of the courtyard form opens up to the distant west. In conjunction with this geometry, the outsides of the earth and concrete landform are faceted inward 3 degrees from vertical. The hat required for the earth walls protects the monolithic courtyard form as a contiguous part of a faceted shadow that begins at the outermost edge of the monocline and continues inward toward the inner court where it stops just short of itself inscribing an irregular frame for the sky.
Desert Courtyard House, Scottsdale, Arizona, by Wendell Burnette Architects
Photography by Bill Timmerman
Aura mirror series are developed out of a metaphor of a glowing object. The hemispherical shaped mirrors with a solid aluminium base are electroplated with copper, chrome and nickel coating. This converts the mirrors into a whole reflecting object rather than just a surface. The flat mirror surface in the core of the hemispheres is tilted towards you.
The project is about tactility and sensibility. Aura´s format relates to fit into two open hands. The way the massive and seamless material feels against your skin gives a sense of holding something scarce. The polished surface contrasts to your natural skin and the way the heavy material is pressed into your hands. Other aspects of sensibility Aura touches is when the object is exposed to light. Then the light is reflected differently from the flat mirror surface and the circular body; making you aware of your surrounding and light changes.The thought is to create physical and mental recognition in the moment. Aura mirror series consists of wall and table mirror.
Aura, by Bjørn van den Berg
Knokke lies on the easterly extremity of the Belgian coast, close to the Netherlands border. A key challenge for the interior architecture of this apartment on the dunes was to harmonise the potential for expansiveness offered by the raw floor plan with the programmatic requirements of the brief. The layout falls into two main territories: roughly one quarter of the floor area is given over to generous private quarters, incorporating bedroom, dressing area, shower and terrace; with the remainder of the plan left spatially fluid, preserving internal vistas of twenty metres while accommodating the functions of kitchen, dining, living and library.
North Sea Apartment, Knokke, Belgium, by John Pawson, Project Architect
Ben Collins, Mark Treharne, Photography by Pieter-Jan De Pue
Its name, its structure and its ability to adapt to the surroundings owes its conception to the bamboo plant. Their idea was to take advantage of led technology to “cultivate a crop” of very slender shaped lamps in a variety of heights which allow the users to create a personalized combination of lighting to suit their needs and which is ideal for outdoor spaces. The slim lines of the Bamboo collection, designed by Antoni Arola & Enric Rodríguez, integrates natu- rally with exterior surroundings. During the day it melts discreetly into the landscape. At night, Bam – Boo illuminates and highlights paths, transit areas and also large open spaces. The result is a light installation that emits concentrated light beams through the darkness, illuminating without contaminating.
An eclectic mix of houses, gravel roads ending at the bay and wooded lots provide a nostalgic, informal setting for this new house. In an effort to integrate living spaces with the outdoors while maintaining privacy from Burbage Lane and neighboring houses, the scheme is organized around a centrally located garden. With sixteen foot high ceilings, the eastern volume contains the public living spaces. Continuous clerestory windows assist in providing an abundance of natural light into the space, allowing views to the treetops and sky while minimizing the close proximity of the adjacent houses. A twenty foot wide glass wall slides into a pocket, enhancing the relationship to the outdoors, and provides a sense of living in a garden. The two story western volume is comprised of bedrooms and a small second floor living space. A one story glass link connects the volumes and visually opens to the central garden.
The house was conceived as two simple, flat-roofed volumes, varying in height, intersecting and overlapping a one story circulation space which connects the volumes. The east volume is constructed with cement board, the west volume with corrugated siding and the one story connecting space with the ground face concrete block. The exterior material palette is quiet and subdued. Materials are selected for their expected long term durability, ease of installation and initial cost. The impact of the one story horizontal volume facing the street is intended to reflect the scale of neighboring structures while the narrow two story volumes are oriented perpendicular to the street reducing their apparent scale. This house is designed in strong counterpoint to many of the houses built in the last era of abundant resources, expensive materials, and limitless floor area. The house is not large; it comprises three bedrooms and 2400 square feet. The house is constructed with modest materials that include concrete floors throughout the first floor, oak flooring on the second floor and plastic laminate and oak millwork.
The Lujan House, Ocean View, Delaware, by Robert M. Gurney
Photography by Anice Hoachlander, HD Photo
The project is to design a condo with an area of 1,600 sq.ft. in Montreal. It is located at the second floor of a 1920’s industrial building on St-Dominique Street. It was previously owned by the Dominion Preserving Company Limited where was produce the famous Habitant canned soups. The mandate was to relocate the kitchen and to add a third bedroom for the couple’s second child. The 10 feet length sofa, with the new gas fireplace, defines the living room. The existing second bedroom has been reduced to create a hallway to access the third bedroom. Adjacent, the bathroom is a continuation of the frosted glass facade; thus, these two rooms have natural light from the living room windows, facing southwest, while preserving privacy. At the entrance, the closed room has been abolished to make way for multifunctional storage cabinets and white soundproof curtain has been installed ahead the principal door. The kitchen, open plan, is an extension of this entrance, where unfolds the dining room. On the ground, the existing solid maple floors were sanded and varnished. The steel structure in the center of the space is bare, expose and fireproof. Only the bathroom have a white epoxy floor finish, matched with sink and faucet. The shower is enclosed by a grey epoxy on all surfaces. A clear glass panel, installed at the end of the shower, accentuates the depth of the space by its reflection.
Espace St-Dominique, Montreal, Canada, by Anne Sophie Goneau
Photography by Adrien Williams
The owners of this new residence, a married couple, lost their previous home in a forest fire near Boulder three years ago. After considering the options, they decided to head back into the burn zone, purchasing a steep site located in an area burned in the same fire. While the site sits at an elevation of 7500 feet it is just seven miles from downtown Boulder. The 2200-square-foot house, a simple bar shifted at the point of entry between the garage and main house and skewed at both ends to capture views, hovers above the stark slope of the hillside below. Views are framed under and through the house, at times seeming to bring the distant mountains inside. There are two slotted openings on the north side placed strategically to wash light onto the floor of the main living space and the wall of the master bedroom. A skylight fills the entire hallway to the bedrooms to create a light-filled transition from the living room. The south side of the house is almost completely glazed, allowing the abundant winter sun to passively heat the radiant concrete mass floor. Heat is provided by a geothermal heat pump, while an 8KW PV array offsets the electrical use to bring the house close to net zero energy performance.
Sunshine Canyon Residence, Boulder, Colorado, by THA Architecture
Photography by Jeremy Bittermann
“Flowers aren’t just beautiful to show on tables,” said Makoto Azuma, a 38-year-old artist based in Tokyo. His latest installation piece, if you could call it that, takes this statement to the extreme. Two botanical objects – “Shiki 1,” a Japanese white pine bonsai suspended from a metal frame, and an untitled arrangement of orchids, hydrangeas, lilies and irises, among other blossoms – were launched into the stratosphere on Tuesday in Black Rock Desert outside Gerlach, Nevada, a site made famous for its hosting of the annual Burning Man festival. ”I wanted to see the movement and beauty of plants and flowers suspended in space,” Azuma explained that morning.
Dotdotdot has designed a showroom in Pont Saint Martin, Val d’Aosta for the Data Center Technology & Operations of Engineering, a leading company in Italy, specialized in software and IT services. This communication-oriented ambience dedicated specifically to the clients illustrates the corporate values, the solutions, the projects and the projects through a demonstrative pathway has been designed to make the invisible visible.
Subdivision of the spaces, furnishing solutions, interactive experiences: in this project for Engineering dotdotdot has exploited, maximized and optimized its know-how in architecture, interiors and interaction design. The hub of the project is the ‘demo’ area where the clients will enjoy a full immersion and interactive experience, thanks to the large table used as a platform for navigating the multi-media contents. This table provides direct feedback on the large curved video-projection wall; this adds a touch of scenographic impact that is transformed into a visual support of the contents.
On entering the showroom, the client immediately becomes the protagonist of the full immersion and communicational experience. The different ambiences, split by function, are part of a single visual identity, expressing the corporate values of innovation, research, internationalization and growth. The space has been designed to be versatile and flexible, to satisfy the different needs of the participants and the varying degree of communication required and the depth of investigation/research applied to the contents. The furnishings have also been designed to guarantee maximum versatility. The materials – full-depth color MDF (medium-dense fibreboard) and the colorways combine to project an overall visual identity that differentiates the spaces according to function.
The objective of the design was to use architectonic choices, the materials and color to explain to the client the study behind the interfaces, the infographs and the communication, with the perception of an ambience that is undeniably avant-garde yet extremely user-friendly.
Showroom, by Dotdotdot, for the Data Center Technology & Operations of Engineering
Photography by Mauro Angelantoni