5/31/2012

Ecole Maternelle Javelot; France


Eva Samuel Architects are credited with designing a revolutionary concept redefining the way children use space in education.  Designers consider their Parisian Kindergarten to be a "sophisticated toy". The current building had to go through serious renovations to become a suitably functional and inspiring place for children.  It was necessary to fill in a swimming pool, move a bowling alley, pierce floors and create openings, to enlarge the school downwards through the concrete slab and give it a street-level entrance.  In short, and extension by excavation.




The building's envelope is a response to several environmental aims: visual protection, increased natural light to counteract the surrounding solar screens, no thermal bridges, natural ventilation and double flux in winter. The school is the first to comply with the City of Paris's climate plan.  The result is a thick facade with varied reliefs – bay, alcove, and concave windows – which are used horizontally on the roof as skylights and to house air treatment machinery and ventilation chimneys.  These multi-form strawberry-colored elements enliven and dematerialize the facades.  Their anodized aluminum cladding changes from pink to golden grey to green depending on one's movements,  point of view, and the color of the sky and reflections from nearby buildings.




The atmosphere inside the school is gentle and serene.  The only colors are those of the materials themselves, such as the wood of the false ceilings and the bay windows.  The facade's thickness creates a strong sense of protection and minimizes outlook from neighboring towers.  The children enjoy taking over the micro- spaces generated by the facade's thickness, using them as mini-living rooms, for reading, tea parties, hiding, etc.




5/30/2012

Rey Juan Carlos Hospital


Traditionally hospitals have all typically been designed with the same aesthetic and functional parameters and can be sometimes depressing.  An design team lead by architect Rafael de La-Hoz set of to transform the citizen into customers, for a new type of hospital, which in addition to assisting with the proven effectiveness of our healthcare system, can feel at all times the center of all care, giving them all attention.



This new hospital model is configured in three basic elements: efficiency, light and silence, features that are key to both well designed hospital and residential architecture.  Conceptually, the new hospital is arranged on base that gives structure to the healthcare units, outpatient diagnosis and treatment.  Structured in three modules or parallel buildings that reflect the best hospital main structures: flexibility, expansion, functional clarity and horizontal circulations.





The structure is arranged in two units of hospitalization, two oval crowns with gentle curves giving a different view from the depressive sensory residential forms of the rationalist "block bar", and inspired by the best of recent residential architecture.  The design implements specific new practices such as: elimination of corridors and in consequence the elimination of annoying noise, concentric circulation, light and silence around a common atrium.  Two functional concept spaces: base and crown, which are linked to form a new architecture, a model that offers to the professionals the opportunity to treat and to the citizen to be treated in an environment where the natural light and the silence result in therapeutics.





5/29/2012

University Senate Center; Beer Sheva, Israel


The Senate Center complex at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev serves as the university's administrative center.  It contains an office building, the Senate hall, and an exhibition space.




Designers at Chyutin Architects positioned the main office building to terminate the main pedestrian axis, facing the campus's main entrance.  The building is shaped like a monolithic cube with sandstone cladding, and encloses a circular inner courtyard.




The main entrance to the plaza and to the complex is designed like a cleft carved into the rock of a canyon.  The courtyard is closed towards the desert, and constitutes an inner world that is protected against the winds and shaded from the sun.  The use of an inner courtyard is a characteristic element of residential and public buildings in the Mediterranean and desert regions.  The Senate Hall is shaped like an inclined cone, cladded with sandstone bricks, and stands apart, several meters in front of the main building, thus creating a tension between them.




5/22/2012

The Carpinteira Bridge


The core of the city of Covilha, in the interior of Portugal, occupies a promontory in the southern foothills of the Serra da Estrela, visually dominating a vast and fertile landscape of relative flatness the Cova da Beira region– which extends from the Estrela to the Gardunha and Malcata mountain ranges.  The particular topography of the territory in which the city is inscribed not only determined the form and strategies of its urban design, but too has provided the technical and economic means for its development.

The design and construction (2003-2009) by Joao Luis Carrilho da Graca, with Afaconsult, of a cycling and pedestrian bridge over the Carpinteira valley as part of a plan to "flatten" the experience of movement through the city and between its center and the outlying areas, draws a line on this landscape that determines and provides a new possibility of movement across the valley.  Above the steep granite slopes of the water course, where the hollow facades of the woolen mills and the granite walls that supported the Ramolas de Sol (structures for drying of the wool) remain, the bridge is drawn, curve and counter-curve, anchored at the level determined by the platform of the Penedos Altos municipal swimming pool on one side and, 220 meters farther, the same level in the opposite hillside, 52 meters above the watercourse.



The non-perpendicularity between the imaginary line connecting the points of mooring and the axis of the valley provided the opportunity for the layout of the bridge deck to install, rather than a rupture, a slip of the Euclidean paradigm.  A curved line in three sections, the middle section normal to the slopes and  perpendicular to the axis of the valley, and inflecting at each end drawing a serpentine figure connected at both ends at the pre-determined landing points.



Cladded in white, and black in the soffits, the Carpinteira bridge draws a portico, almost abstract over the river and the landscape, installing a new framework of visual and physical relations, thus providing a re-mapping the territory.  The bridge not only encourages us to cross it by necessity, but also to physically wander, because it is able to make coexist, in itself and the landscape it reveals.

Connecting Riads; Casablanca


This project is located on the east side of the Anfa district in Casablanca, Morocco on a plot situated between the Gran Theatre boulevard and a residential area composed of low-rise building and an urban park.  The Riad complex is composed of different residential typologies ranging from 70 to 160 sqm.  The apartments follow a 6 x 3 meter module in which a grid arranges the individual rooms.  There are five unit types and different subtypes depending on the orientation and geometry.



Designers at AQSO developed a scheme which allows for a continuous block aligned with the surrounding streets, wrapping around two large 'riads'.  This simple gesture is further defined by the particular context of each side of the sit in a way that the different elevation heights become a contemporary and expressive form to which the roof is formed by staircase shaped green terraces. This configuration develops an urban character toward the boulevard, reducing its scale to the opposite side.  The upward volume allows the apartments to enjoy the views of the park.




The building facade has two different strategies; the exterior skin facing the most public context becomes an introverted and formal element while the interior skin facing the private courtyards becomes extrovert and domestic.  The exterior is made by long balconies enclosed by sliding latticework panels and the second one is just a white and plain surface only interrupted by long windows and large protruding balconies.  The building block is also perforated through big openings working as green terraces and allowing good ventilation and views.



On the semi-public areas, the landscape is treated with an organic layout combining cobbled paving pathways, water features and native vegetation of trees and low-maintenance plants.

5/16/2012

The Blade; Seoul Korea


Dominique Perrault is the chosen designer of a new 300 meter high tower, called The Blade,  located within the future Yongsan International Business Center in Seoul.  In 2008, Dreamhub, a consortium of thirty of the largest Korean companies, has launched an international urban planning competition for the master plan of Yongsan International Business center.  The chosen master plan named "Archipelago 21" was proposed by Daniel Libeskind.  In September 2011, Dreamhub ordered fifteen renowned international architecture studios to design towers within the master plan, which is expected to become a new symbol and growth engine for the 21st century.



The buildings in the business district are interconnected by a large park.  Connected to three other major business centers of the city, the future business center is developed away from the large monofunctional complexes, offering not only office space but also housing, shops and many government facilities, cultural, educational, and transportation facilities.





The buildings unique rhomboid prism shape, with changing appearances at various angles of approach, serves as a geographic landmark, and iconic figure.