Villa Castro by Architecture Project + Jens Bruenslow located in Naxxar, Malta | The Hardt
Villa Castro by Architecture Project + Jens Bruenslow located in Naxxar, in the center of the island of Malta. Its location on the perimeter of an Urban Conservation Area has led to drastic modification of the original setting of the villa, recent building developments destroying irreversibly its original context. The project programme was organized around the needs of a family and guestrooms to accommodate relatives and friends. The garden, as well as the two internal courtyards, were preserved and, following an unsuccessful attempt at acquiring the remaining portion of the garden immediately adjacent to the existing one, an extension was designed and grafted on the boundary wall to mitigate the negative visual impact of the recent neighboring block of apartments. The restoration element of the project entailed the securing of dangerous parts, the removal of inserted structures and accretions which conflicted with the authentic organisation of space or with the clarity of architectural form, the reopening of blocked arches and the introduction of a few additional openings to allow firstly for more light into the building and, secondly, to strengthen the already well defined symmetry of the garden and courtyard facades. The same principle guided the organization of the external areas. The existing spaces were organized accordingly to the needs of the clients, leaving the ground floor for a living, play and entertainment while dedicating the upper entirely to individual bedrooms. Since the depth of the old annex structures is very narrow and rooms typically distributed in an ‘enfilade’ arrangement, an external access balcony was added replacing an existing open balcony.
Moreover, a new stairwell designed in a contemporary language was introduced in an existing backyard to link the long string of rooms aligned along the perimeter, as well as to create space for another bedroom above it. A new extension was built with just enough thickness to house guest quarters that tower over the garden and screen off the new development while closing off the composition of the garden and defining its end facade. They are lifted over the ground on slender columns in order not to obstruct the cornices and pilasters and the pediment of the gate which once led to the garden beyond. All new extensions were conceived as simple volumes and are defined and positioned to compliment, and coexist with the existing building. They are treated in such a way as to allow maximum light on the inside while retaining a monolithic appearance from the outside in sympathy with the old building. Although almost entirely glazed, this is achieved by means of a dense wooden screen, creating a composition based on the contrast of materiality. The screens are made from American cedar, which will, over time, acquire a natural protective patina of silvery grey that blends in with the limestone surfaces of the old house. Like all projects that involve the rehabilitation and extension of old structures, time is an important element of the composition of which the building is made, and that will unravel with time.
© Alex Attard
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Casa Lola by interior designer Jan Eleni Lemonedes and Ronnie Stam located in Porto Seguro, Bahia, Brazil | The Hardt
Casa Lola by interior designer Jan Eleni Lemonedes and Ronnie Stam located in Porto Seguro, Bahia, Brazil. Bahia, municipality of Porto Seguro, the town of Trancoso. There is, among other simple constructions, an abode of disconcerting simplicity. The light walls, the white cement, the wood of doors and doorways, the surrounding woods and the fringe flowers on the facade are part of a kind of samba played by a symphony orchestra, a Candeia for four pianos and a violin.
All right, Candeia was not from Bahia, but from Rio. And this beautiful Bahia house is not the result of local creativity, but the head of a New Yorker: Jan Eleni Lemonedes, interior designer, which explains the trained look to trace beauties anywhere. Her initial contact with her husband, Ronnie Stam, the creative director, and her daughter, Lola, with Trancoso, took place in 2010 when the family spent ten days in the village and was captured by the beach, food, music and the Square. Soon the searches began for a refuge nearby.
When finding this little house with areas of fisherman’s nook, closed the deal and Jan started the reform project. Of the original construction, only half of the existing area remained, 45 m², where a studio type, a charming cottage works. With an eye on more space, the couple raised, on the same ground, the second residence, with 125 m² and rustic atmosphere similar to the first. Inside the old space, the wooden bench of Trancoso makes a beautiful composition with the round breadboard hanging on the wall – with Brazilian face, the piece came from New York. “We have created an internal patio with a swimming pool that promotes the connection between the two”, says Jan. In every corner of Casa Lola, as the architectural group was baptized, one sees the Dati brand, a local artisan who used eucalyptus for to compose banks, chaises, beds and other pieces that contributed to the RG Bahia of the dwelling.
The pleasure of taking care of each item, she says, is what gives personality to the setting. “All the decisions, from the choice of the floor to the walls, were well thought out,” he says, indicating how he appropriated space already during the process of building the houses. And making is no way to say, because the inspiration that gave rise to the proposal came from Trancoso’s loom sheets , with that elegant rusticity of hand-made. While residing in aloft in Manhattan and consider herself a typical new yorker, Jan believes that the seasons in Bahia, which can last for up to two months and happen about three times a year, have made her a more patient person. “New Yorkers have a fast pace. In Trancoso, things are much slower, “he says.
But this only improves the place where, for her, “even the imperfections become perfect in our eyes.” And if the identification with this land is so great, living permanently in the village would be in the plans of the family? Jan says that he sees this possibility on the horizon: “Yes, in an ideal scenario …”.
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Trousdale Estates by famed developer Paul Trousdale, located in Beverly Hill, Ca. | The Hardt
Trousdale Estates by famed developer Paul Trousdale, located in Beverly Hill, Ca. Trousdale Estates is a 410-acre enclave of large, luxurious homes in Beverly Hills, California. Primarily developed in the 1950s and ’60s, it quickly became famous for its concentration of celebrity residents and the unrestrained extravagance of its midcentury modern architecture. Often working with unlimited budgets, these designers created sprawling, elegant backdrops for the ultimate expression of the American Dream in the mid-to-late twentieth century. In Trousdale, Price explores the architectural backgrounds, details, and floor plans of the amazing homes, giving readers an inside view of the world-famous Beverly Hills style. Lavish new photography is interspersed with archival and historic images, illustrating the glamour of Trousdale both then and now.
Very few, if any, other places on the planet can claim such a concentration of talent, power, wealth, and, thanks to its rash of drop-dead gorgeous architecture from the mid- to late 20th century, good taste. It’s Old Hollywood glamour at its finest and freshest. Historically snubbed by more grandiose and established corners of Beverly Hills and Bel Air, the leafy realm—originally a sprawling estate owned by members of the Doheny oil dynasty—has more recently earned stable recognition for being an architectural treasure. Trousdale Estates (Regan Arts, $75), a new coffee-table tome by producer and historian Steven M. Price, who chronicles in its pages the area’s famous residents, historical milestones, and society gossip. Not to mention its cache of images revealing the 410-acre neighborhood’s homes designed by luminaries such as Lloyd Wright (son of Frank Lloyd Wright), Wallace Neff, Buff & Hensman, and Cliff May, among many others. As architect Brad Dunning writes in the book’s foreword, “But most of all it’s (cocktail) time to revel in a strange and extraordinary past, place, and era.”
This is an absolute must-own coffee table book for any midcentury modern enthusiast, especially if you live in Los Angeles. The price for this book has gotten way ridiculous even though its one of the more well-produced books in my collection so I would recommend waiting until the prices go down due to copies coming to market or it is decided that they will publish the second edition. Regardless, make sure you find a way to own this book, I was fortunate to have been at the right place at the right time and was able to purchase my copy on pre-order.
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Mario Botta -The Space Beyond (Official Trailer – English) from Michael Glowacki on Vimeo.
Located in Mogno, Switzerland, Church of San Giovanni Battista (1996) by Mario Botta | The Hardt
The Church of San Giovanni Battista (Italian: Chiesa di San Giovanni Battista; German: Kirche San Giovanni Battista) is located in the alpine village of Mogno in the Swiss canton of Ticino. Mario Botta describes his mountainous architecture as influenced by “two points of interaction: the exterior with the landscape; the interior with the domestic.” In this study I examine how his design of two churches in Ticino, Switzerland addresses the dissonance between the stoic exterior of the mountains and the touch of human scale inviting worshipers to solitude. I analyze Botta’s mountainous churches of the Chapel of St. Mary of the Angels, built in Monte Tamaro, 1990-1996 and the San Giovanni Battista Church, built in Mogno, 1992-1998
The two churches exemplify the challenges of designing a house of worship for small parishes within breathtaking nature. The first challenge addresses the design solutions in the context of remote areas in the Alps. These locations evoke in themselves a spiritual experience, and the issue is how architecture contributes to the desired spiritual solitude. Second, both buildings were built from local stones linking them to their specific sites, expressing monumental qualities, and adhering to the spiritual qualities of the space: “Although the landscape is immense, the insertion of even a small object changes the scenery.” This solution brings with it the idea of architecture transforming the landscape, which in turn stimulates the spirit of man. Third, in each of the churches light is treated to enhance spiritual transcendence and to illustrate divine presence. Furthermore, these churches may be perceived as part of the continuous attempt of humans to build pillars from stone as a sacred link between earth and heaven, and as an expression of possessing the mountain.
Mountains are perceived as God’s dwelling and as a spot where the sacred manifests itself: “Now Mount Sinai was altogether in smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire; and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly” (Exodus 19:18). Moreover, the echoes of the surrounding mountains are perceived as the voices of spirits.4 These spiritual experiences inspire humans to erect their own ‘sacred mountains’. See for example the story of Jacob who set the stone up as a pillar and poured oil on its top to establish a sacred vertical axis (Genesis 28:18). These sacred structures often imitate in stone the form of mountains or are built on top of a mountain.
Botta’s two churches are good examples for both of these approaches. The chapel in Monte Tamaro stands on top of the mountain and “’detaches’ itself from the mountain to form a new horizon, the starting point of an ideal viaduct.”5 The external horizontal axis of this chapel creates a sacred path offering a new glimpse of the mountains as a continuation of the worshiper-pilgrim’s infinite path for meditation and thought. Botta claims that building the chapel was a sign of a man in the landscape encompassing “the tension between man and nature.” The Church in Mogno was constructed as a vertical “pillar” becoming the focal point of the valley’s skyline, where two points in the valley are bridged to transform the landscape. This vertical axis expresses the spiritual axis mundi of the village, standing “as a bulwark for the village, in defiance of the mountain.” Indeed the church in Mogno was built in a place of an avalanche that caused death and loss. The location was requested by the residents of the village who said, “We want to construct a new church because there used to be a church here.” Thus the driving force underlying the project was maintaining the collective memory of the community. Botta’s design “brings with it not only the geography but also the memory, the culture, the history of that very place.”
The use of locally quarried stones in the design of these churches expresses the specificity of the place as well as permanence and human longings for eternity. Stone is part of the layers and colors of the earth as shaped by winds and water and reveals the sacredness of the earth. In a poetic way stone is a gift of nature that illustrates the soul of the earth. Botta believes that putting a stone on earth is a sacred act of architecture and signifies the possession of the earth. This act “strives to evoke the deepest values suggested by the language of stones. Their symbolic and metaphoric meaning becomes an extraordinarily current message that involves the architect beyond the religious sphere.”
The chapel in Monte Tamaro is constructed from reinforced concrete faced with rusticated porphyry. This stone façade makes the chapel blend into the rocks of the mountain and transforms the mountain’s peak into a new height. Botta introduces us to a temporal visual experience with an outdoor procession on top of the chapel/the mountain. The stone of this chapel is facing the exterior only; the interior concrete is painted black and white to enhance the interplay of light and shadow and to create an intimate place to showcase contemporary liturgical art. Plastering the walls for displaying art resembles the fresco chapels in history.
In contrast, the church in Mogno is built of alternating courses of gray Riveo granite and white Peccia marble outside and inside, reminding us of some of the Tuscan Romanesque cathedrals. As such it continues a long history of church construction and creates a statement of permanence. The stone in this church demonstrates Botta’s mass architecture and enhances the transformation of the geometry of the building from a square plan to an ellipse and then to a circle.
While stone construction is a sacred act of architecture representing earth and permanence, the light becomes the soul of this act by introducing heaven. Eliade stated: “Even before any religious values have been set upon the sky it reveals its transcendence. The sky symbolizes transcendence, power, and changelessness simply by being there. It exists because it is high, infinite, immovable, powerful.”15 Light enhances the meaning of materials, forms, lines, and colors and beautifies the building. The visual experience in sacred settings contributes to the connection of the human with a higher order of things, with the essential and the immutable truth. The heavenly light in sacred settings illustrates the divine presence and is perceived as an attempt to enrich the inner spiritual experience of Lord as Light.17 This, in turn, fulfills human striving to be closer to the Divine. Moreover, light creates the temporal ambiance of the sacred since it is “the visual sign of the relationship that exists between the architectural work and the cosmic values of the surroundings.” Interestingly Botta treated this relation of light to the cosmos differently in the two churches. The chapel at Monte Tamaro, which is located below the outdoor crucifix, under the walkway on top of the mountain, is dimly lit like a grotto. Natural light penetrates through very small windows in the bottom of the circular sidewalls and through slits from a skylight. This light effect and the space’s strong linear path draw our attention to the artwork at the apes and diminish the invitation to meditation inside a protective ‘cave’ in the mountains.
In the Mogno church, Botta introduced the ever-changing patterns of light and the relation to the cosmos through a circular glass roof. The sky opens up beyond the glass roof and brings the worshiper closer to the Divine. Two granite buttresses pierce the envelope of the building, arch over the interior and create an axis that aligns with the nave’s axis of the destroyed historic church. The light coming from above highlights this connection to the past and eternity. It also demonstrates Botta’s transformational geometry in stone. This, in turn, creates an interplay of stone layout, natural light, and shadows. In this church, Botta used light to capture the passage of time and establish our relationship with the solar, seasonal cycles and the eternal.
Intense Text via ArtWay
Today marks 2 years since I started TheHardt Instagram account. I had no clue that I would end up embracing my creativity to such an extent that an excitingly beautiful website would be born. Thanks for joing me on this adventure and I promise to continue curating fire content for you plus lots more.
Check out more on Mario Botta below
MARIO BOTTA, Mountain Church, Ticino, Switzerland from Ivan Maria Friedman on Vimeo.
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Tea Room (2000-2002) erected in castle ruin complex, Montemor-o-Velho, João Mendes Ribeiro, located in Paço das Infantas, Portugal | The Hardt
Tea Room erected in castle ruin complex, Montemor-o-Velho, João Mendes Ribeiro, Paço das Infantas, Portugal. It is believed that the paço (palace) of Montemor-o-Velho was first built in the 12th century. It is now well established that the paço was the object of a dispute, at the beginning of the 13th century, between Dom Afonso III and his sisters, Infantas Dona Teresa, Dona S, ncha and Dona Mafalda. The current name of the place – Paço das Infantas – originates from this quarrel. Its ruins rise well above the southeast walls of the castle, overlooking the river Mondego’s valley. The proposal for the construction of a Tea House in the surrounding areas of the Paço das Infantas is the result of the analysis of the monument, attempting to clarify its historical significance by means of a contemporary use. By creating a novel pathway along the walls, the former entrance of the castle is evoked. The inner space of the ruins is occupied by a virtually weightless building, made innocuous by its geometry and the way it stands free from the surrounding ruins, which are perceived as its actual walls. The construction consists of a glass box confined by two horizontal planes – a metal roof and a wooden floor – joined together by a volume comprising the service areas. The pavement extends southeast in a platform that doubles as a terrace elevated above ground, thereby detaching the construction from its surroundings. Ultimately, this approach creates an autonomous construction, which is valued by a strong geometric and material language, simultaneously ascribing a new and coherent meaning to the ruins.
Photos by Edgar Martins, João Mendes Ribeiro
Tea House, Paço das Infantas, Montemor-o-Velho Castle, Portugal
Project year: 1997
Construction year: 1999-2000
Client: Instituto Português do Património Arquitectónico, Montemor-o-Velho City Hall
Location: Montemor-o-Velho Castle, Portugal
Author: João Mendes Ribeiro
Collaboration: Carlos Antunes, Cidália Silva, Desirée Pedro, José António Bandeirinha, Manuela Nogueira, Pedro Grandão
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TKSTYLE Office (2018) by JACKY.W DESIGN located in Long Feng Lu, Nanhu Qu, Jiaxing Shi, Zhejiang Sheng, China | The Hardt
TKSTYLE Office (2018) by JACKY.W DESIGN located in Long Feng Lu, Nanhu Qu, Jiaxing Shi, Zhejiang Sheng, China. It is commonly considered that people cannot enjoy work and life at the same time, although they are hardly separated from each other completely. Through breaking the routines and bringing a “home” into the workspace, JACKY.W DESIGN created an open and multifunctional living experience space for the fashion brand TKSTYLE BOUTIQUE. At the entrance, several clusters of dry corn stalks are placed by the wall, bringing nature into the space. The large 360-degree revolving door neutralizes the space temperament dominated by cement with its warm wooden texture.
The designers gave full play to the structure and height (8 meters) of the original space and ingeniously integrated functional areas for working, reception, fitness, and conference, etc. into the two-story space without rigid partitions. There are windows in each wall, which ensures sufficient natural lights to penetrate to the space, thereby resulting in a bright and airy environment. The open layout of the space made it possible for the designers to apply the concept of co-living and cooperative working. Integrating household settings with the workspace in a harmonious way requires quality execution of design and sensibility to details. The design features an industrial style, combined with the exquisite upholstered furniture and adornments, making the overall space rough, simple yet delicate.