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A typographic tribute honours the residents and neighbours of a now-demolished house

A typographic tribute honours the residents and neighbours of a now-demolished house in Sainte-Marie

 

 

For five days in November 2020, a house in Sainte-Marie, Québec, identified all of its residents and neighbourson Saint Louis Avenue. Antoine Audet, Maude Faucher, James Audet… the list included hundreds of names inked on strips of white paper and pasted to the clapboards.

 

The ephemeral design was the project of Louis Gagnon, creative director of the Montréal-based studio Paprika who lived in the house as a child and wanted to honour its tenants and friends before it was demolished. Back in 2019, major flooding swamped the city, and the government required that the most damaged residences be razed. 283 Saint Louis was one of nearly 60 to be torn down that summer.

 

At the time, 93-year-old Béatrice Vachon had been living in the house for nearly seven decades. “She hoped to spend her twilight years at the same address,” the studio said. “Sainte-Marie is the kind of tight-knit community where everyone knows everyone, from one generation to the next. Here, neighbours saw children being born and growing up; and neighbours helping each other was simply a common practice. Very few people have ever walked away.”

 

As the city prepared for such life-altering change, Gagnon reached out to his sisters to help remember former residents, frequent visitors, and others with ties to the neighbourhood. Before printing the names, he tweaked an existing font to reflect the decorative architectural details, and many of the letters feature curved flourishes with upper points evocative of those on the front porch columns.

 

One photo of 283 Saint-Louis just before it was levelled shows Vachon standing outside her home plastered with the typographic tribute. “As darkness arrives, the house stands before its imminent destruction, bearing witness to a life of stories and memories,” Gagnon said. “A last homage. An act of resilience.”

 

 

 

By Grace Ebert, on Thisiscolossal.com, June 2022. 

Eleven supertall skyscrapers that demonstrate the “human aspiration to go higher”

Eleven supertall skyscrapers that demonstrate the “human aspiration to go higher”

 

 

Supertall skyscrapers have changed the way that we think about cities, says author of the book “Supertall”, Stefan Al. He highlights 11 tall buildings that have had a major impact over the past decade.

 

The tension surrounding tall buildings goes back as far as the Eiffel Tower and even back to the ancient Egyptians, explained Al.

 

“There’s that contrast between this human aspiration to go higher and same time there’s a rejection of novelty,” he told Dezeen, referencing the history of tall buildings. “When the Empire State Building was built in New York, also it kind of stuck out what stood out like a sore thumb, and it wasn’t all praise.”

 

Supertalls “probably a good thing for the skyline”

Al believes that the intersection of changing zoning laws and ever-expanding populations make supertalls inevitable and that they are necessary to deal with growing populations.

 

The diversity of designs currently being created can also positively contributes to cities, he said. “Because we can keep our cities more compact, we can reduce the amount of land that we consume, we can spend more resources and [use] relatively smaller units of land,” he said.

 

“There’s more diversity now than there was before”

In New York, Al is confident that regulations like Law 97, which penalizes buildings with high carbon emissions, and the re-cladding of older skyscrapers is contributing to changing building culture in the city.

 

Commenting on the recent super skinny skyscrapers in Manhattan, Al said that the right of use allows New York’s skyline to be constructed without community input, making it different from many of the cities on the list. “Should New York change that system?” he asked “That’s a good question because it also has some benefits that it gives transparency to property owners and what they can build.”

 

“But if you just look at the aesthetics of the towers, you can really see that there’s more diversity now than there was before,” Al continued.

 

However, Al did acknowledge that the supertall skyscrapers should be critiqued, and that public debate is probably the best mechanism for managing the tension surrounding them.

 

“For some of those critics that recognize that [New York City] has a lot of issues and these towers represent inequities that exist,” he said. “If you look at London, for instance, because there’s so much public debate around these buildings, and because the public actually has a say, this can really make or break the development or planning of a certain project.”

 

“So it’s interesting, as architects, to understand the culture of a place and the publicness of a particular building, and we need to make sure that people will also embrace the symbol that will represent,” he continued.

 

These are the Al’s 11 supertalls that have changed the way we think about skyscrapers:

 

  • 111 West 57th Street, New York, USA by SHoP Architects (2022)
  • Hanking Center, Shenzhen, China by Morphosis Architects (2021)
  • Regis Chigago, USA by Studio Gang (2020)
  • Raffles City, Chogqing, China by Moshe Safdie (2020)
  • Comcast Technology Center, Philadelphia, USA by Foster + Partners (2019)
  • MahaNakhon, Bangkok, Thailand bu OMA (2016)
  • 432 Park Avenue, New York, USA by Rafael Viñoly (2015)
  • Shanghai Tower, Shanghai, China by Genlser (2015)
  • The Shard, London, UK, by Renzo Piano (2012)
  • Canton Tower, Guangzhou, China by Information Based Architecture (2010).
  • Burj Khalifa, Dubai, UAE, by SOM (2010).

 

 

By Ben Dreith, on Dezeen, June 2022. 

Chromatic Installation

A chromatic installation by Felipe Pantone turns a public walkway into an architectural kaleidoscope

 

 

Argentinian-Spanish artist Felipe Pantone magnifies the prismatic principles that ground his Subtractive Variability series to a phenomenal scale in the newly installed “Quick Tide.”

 

Whether working in kinetic sculpture or large-scale murals, Pantone investigates the vast realm of colour theory and its bottomless potential, in this instance transforming the cyan, magenta, and yellow model into a dynamic display. “The idea of creating a system in which I can create endless colour combinations within the visible colour spectrum by simply rotating or displacing the same image over and over (in C, M, Y)… the results are always random, unexpected, yet always interesting for me,” Pantone tells Colossal.

 

The site-specific “Quick Tide” wraps the upper and lower levels of an elevated walkway in London’s Greenwich Peninsula with a vibrant collision of light and pigment.

 

Angled blocks hold radial gradients to “make obvious where the different colours overlap and how different hues appear. These details are usually easy to find as chromatic aberrations in prints by looking under the magnifier,” the artist shares, noting that the combinations shift in appearance depending on the time of day and position of the viewer.

 

Pantone will soon open a solo show titled Manipulable at Tokyo’s Gallery Common that invites visitors to interact with the works.

 

 

 

By Grace Ebert, on ThisisColossal.com , May 2022. 

Dune-like Beeah Headquarters in Sharjah

Zaha Hadid Architects took visual cues from undulating desert dunes when creating the sinuous headquarters for environmental management company Beeah Group in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.

 

Designed by the late architect Zaha Hadid, the long-awaited Beeah Headquarters takes the form of a series “of interconnecting dunes” that echo its Al Sajaa desert surroundings.

 

The 9,000-square-metre building serves as a management and administrative centre for Beeah Group. According to Zaha Hadid Architects, it has a focus on sustainability to reflect the company’s work.

 

It is powered by a solar array and meets LEED Platinum standards – the highest certification awarded by the green building certification program – setting “a new benchmark for future workplaces”.

 

“The headquarters is the latest milestone for Beeah Group as it continues to pioneer innovations for Sharjah and across the globe, establishing a base of operations for the group to diversify into new, future-critical industries,” said Zaha Hadid Architects.

 

“With their new headquarters, Beeah demonstrates how technology can scale sustainable impact and ultimately serve as a blueprint for tomorrow’s smart, sustainable cities.”

 

While echoing the surrounding sand dunes, the form of the Beeah Headquarters is also designed and orientated to withstand extreme weather conditions experienced on the site. The building is powered by a solar array linked to Tesla battery packs, which the studio said meets the building’s energy demand throughout each day and night.

 

Glazing is minimised across the office to prevent exposure to the harsh desert sun, while glass fibre-reinforced concrete panels across the exterior help to regulate internal temperatures. There are also on-site water treatment facilities that filter wastewater to minimise consumption. The spaces are designed to maximise natural light despite limited glazing

 

Inside, the building is divided into two wings. One houses the Beeah Group’s public and management departments while the other contains the administrative zone. These areas are connected by a central courtyard, described by Zaha Hadid Architects as an “oasis within the building” that helps provide natural ventilation. A highlight of the interior is the building’s 15-metre-high domed foyer, which has been designed to enhance natural ventilation and allow natural light to filter through.

 

The headquarters also features a visitors’ centre, auditorium and ​​smart meeting rooms designed to facilitate collaboration with remote and office workers.

 

All internal spaces are positioned to ensure ample natural light and outward views without requiring expanses of glass. A smart building management system has been incorporated to automatically adjust lighting and temperature depending on occupancy and the time of day.

 

Zaha Hadid Architects was established in 1980 by Hadid and is now headed up by Patrik Schumacher. It won the competition to create the Beeah Headquarters in 2013, which it designed in collaboration with engineers and consultants Atelier Ten and Buro Happold.

 

 

By Lizzie Crook, on Dezeen.com, April 2022. 

Photography by Hufton+Crow

Tiny Moomin-inspired houses ignite big design debate

Tiny Moomin-inspired houses ignite big design debate

 

Think they’re impractical? Here’s why you’re wrong.

 

Two tiny triangular houses in Norway have sparked fierce debate on Reddit. The ‘Pan Treetop Cabins‘ are named after the Greek god of forests and meadows and draw inspiration from the Moomins’ magical homes in the work of Tove Janson.

 

The homes themselves are fitted compactly into A-frame cabins, clad in black oxidised zinc and steel. These are perched, seemingly precariously, on spindly stilts. Visitors access the cabins via free-standing spiral staircases and elevated walkways. The lofty abodes were designed by architect Espen Surnevik and are located in Gjesåssjøen, Norway.

These charming, long-legged structures are a passion project driven by journalist Kristian Rostad and actress Christine Mowinckel, who recruited some specialists to help bring their vision to life.

 

The houses have actually been nominated for several design awards. However, that hasn’t put off grumpy commenters on Reddit, who have plenty to say about just how impractical they think the design is. Let’s take a closer look at some of main lines of argument and try and answer the question: is this the most magical home design in existence, or is it wholly impractical?

 

 

1. Woah, that’s too many stairs

 

Many commenters seem extremely worried about the spiral staircase that provides access to the cabin. “I’m thinking about coming home with multiple bags of groceries after working OT. It’s a nope,” says one. Have these people never lived in a flat? Or even a two-storey house? Look at the scale here – it’s two floors’ worth of steps maximum. Able-bodied visitors, you can probably manage it. Even while holding your bags of kjøttboller and aquavit.

 

On the same theme is the issue of decorating the flat. “Getting the furniture in there must have been fun,” jokes one Reddit user. They may have a sort-of point here. But then again, it’s a very small cabin, and it’s already been furnished. How those first interior designers got the sofa in will remain a mystery, but until it comes time to redecorate, it’s not an issue.

 

2. That doesn’t look very stable

 

“Better hope it’s not windy,” writes one concerned commenter. Obviously, this has been addressed. Those legs may look spindly, but they are powerful. In fact, a scientist – Finn-Erick Nilsen – was enlisted to make the calculations that would ensure the structure was nice and stable. The designs can apparently “withstand the force of a double hurricane”. There’s an added bonus in that you’d never have to worry about flooding, either. And we’re betting any heavy snowfall would slide off that steep roof no trouble.

 

3. Is this a zombie apocalypse house?

 

We’d have to do some more research to properly assess how this Moomin-style house would fare against a zombie army, but on first impressions we think it looks pretty good. “Zombies would take those skinny legs out in no time,” says one commenter – but we’ve already debunked that theory.

 

In fact, while a zombie invasion remains distant, there are practical benefits you can enjoy today. These huts are two hours from Oslo, in a huge ecological reserve – which means there are plenty of elk, venison, wolves, bears and lynxes roaming around. So perhaps it is better to be a little elevated.

 

4. You forgot to build the other half!

 

“I think they forgot to build lower floors” says one commenter. “The scene hasn’t finished loading yet,” quips another. Neither are really valid points. One major selling point here is the views. And the whole aesthetic plays on the idea of a charming little treehouse from a storybook. You want a massive triangular base on that? No. It’d ruin it. Size isn’t everything.

 

5. What about wheelchair users?

 

Entirely valid. Can’t argue here, this is no good at all for anyone with mobility problems. Perhaps the next version could find a way to integrate an equally magical lift? It’s also going to be a bit of a nightmare for tall people, but they can probably just stay right in the centre.

 

 

By Ruth Hamilton, on Creative Bloq, published January 22, 2020

Modernist birdhouses

Modernist birdhouses shaped after Palm Springs’ mid-century architecture

Wood-maker Steve Hadeka presents this adorable collection of modernist birdhouses. Existing in many civilizations since antiquity, these man-made boxes provide animals a place to nest in.

 

Inspired by modernist architecture found in Palm Springs and some parts of Miami, these birdhouses could twin with your own house while giving a safe place for birds to nest.

 

Stylish and colorful, the modernist birdhouses are both cute and functional and are made in stainless steel, spray paint and wood. ‘The culmination of 8 years of research, development and prototypes, have led me to Palm Canyon: a sweet little nod to mid-century and modern architectural styles,’ comments Steve Hadeka on Etsy, where he sells the birdhouses.

‘This fully-functioning birdhouse is built to withstand the test of time and live in the elements. Though, many of my clients choose to display these birdhouses indoors, as an art piece.’

 

The modernist birdhouses have been created with North American nesting birds in mind: from nuthatches to wrens and finches, the houses provide the perfect size for these creatures. The paint job has been doing with vibrant colors that ensure will last, even when placed outdoors. Each miniature house includes two handy clean-out ports in the back, for optional season vacuuming. A handy mounting flange is included and install.

 

 

This content is an abstract from Designboom, May 27, 2020. Images courtesy of Steve Hadeka / pleasantranch