Outdistance by Derek Swalwell

Outdistance by Derek Swalwell

Outdistance, the first solo show by my friend and prominent architecture photographer, Derek Swalwell. Shot entirely in Italy | The Hardt


Outdistance, the first solo show by my friend and prominent architecture photographer, Derek Swalwell. Shot entirely in Italy, Swalwell takes an intimate look at the works of famed architects Carlo Scarpa, Aldo Rossi and Carlo Aymonino to uncover a new narrative around these historically significant locations.

Through his curious lens and precise composition, Outdistance pays an extraordinary tribute to these design greats, focusing in on the details whilst capturing the magnetic dance between architecture and light.

Derek’s work has featured in a magnitude of design and architecture books and magazines across the world, including Architectural Digest (USA), Architectural Digest (MEX), Vogue Living, Architectural Review, Architecture Australia, Elle Decor to name a few.




Architecture has always been a fascination for me, and I think one of the contributing factors was my time traveling and seeing architectural innovation from across the world. I became interested in how the light worked through buildings. The way that the design of a building contributes to it’s changing throughout the day upon their trajectory of the sun.” 

– Derek Swalwell



Learn more about Derek Swalwell and his latest work here




Aesthetically and Geographically Related Projects:





House 2LH (2016) by Luciano Kruk

House 2LH (2016) by Luciano Kruk

House 2LH (2016) by Luciano Kruk located in Tigre, Argentina | The Hardt


House 2LH (2016) by Luciano Kruk located in Tigre, Argentina. The client – a medium-scale construction company – carried out a market study on the housing demands of the average socio-economic class in the northern area of Greater Buenos Aires. When finding scarce in the commercial offer of houses of constructive and architectural quality -for which there is a great demand-, he decides to commission the Study the design of a prototype of housing capable of being replicated: the Casa 2HL.


The housing commissioned would have to be configured in a single plant. It had to adapt to lots of medium dimensions (17 to 20 m wide by 35 to 40 m deep approximately) and its footage could not exceed 170 m² total. The program -established by the client- should respond to the needs of a family type: a social area composed of a living-dining-kitchen, a master bedroom served by a bathroom en suite, two secondary bedrooms with shared bathroom, local service, solarium, pool, and barbeque.




In response to these requirements, the Study proposes a dwelling contained in a pure prism organized on a modular grid of 1×1 m, of lateral en-suite mostly paraments and open to the front and the quiet part of the building. The distribution of the spaces around a central patio was proposed, which would not only help to illuminate the interior circulations but also -for its plant layout- to generate cross ventilation through all the premises of the house. The selection of materials was made with the intention of prioritizing the control of costs and their speed and constructive practicality. Instead of the traditional exposed concrete used in our homes, we used the masonry of load-bearing hollow brick; and instead of the smoothed cement floor, it was decided to coat them with 1×1 m plates of cement-like termination porcellanite.


In order to preserve the privacy of the front bedrooms -without these losing the views to the outside- and to protect them from the direct incidence of the sun, an artifact was constituted by vertical shutters and a hardwood pergola, structured by profiles of double steel T. A similar resource was used to create a gallery in the quiet part of the building that served as an expansion to the master bedroom and the social area. With the purpose of emphasizing the luminosity and spaciousness of their spaces dimensions, we suggest a chromatically clear interior, while for the exterior we proposed a darker finish, able to dialogue without competition with its natural environment. The first house of the series was built in 2016 in the neighborhood of La Comarca (neighbor to Nordelta) in the Tigre Party of the Province of Buenos Aires.



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Headquarters of the architecture and design studio Sanahuja & Partners

Headquarters of the architecture and design studio Sanahuja & Partners

Located in Calle Denia, Valencia, Headquarters of the architecture and design studio Sanahuja & Partners (2012) | The Hardt


Located in Calle Denia, Valencia, Headquarters of the architecture and design studio Sanahuja & Partners (2012)The new headquarters of the Valencian firm seeks to accommodate cultural activities, research and work in the field of architecture, with a desire to open and interrelate with other related disciplines such as interior design, industrial design or landscape, linked to the wide professional structure of the study. The multifunctional space occupying the ground floor and the old warehouse space is called Hat Gallery. This space allows organizing exhibition activities relating to architecture, design, and art in general, while it also can accommodate meetings, lectures, screenings and workshops. It becomes the means of communication and the neighborhood’s outlet for the programmed cultural activities.




Aesthetically and Geographically Related Projects:




Casa Lola by interior designer Jan Eleni Lemonedes and Ronnie Stam

Casa Lola by interior designer Jan Eleni Lemonedes and Ronnie Stam

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 …”. 



Aesthetically and Geographically Related Projects:




Trousdale Estates by famed developer Paul Trousdale

Trousdale Estates by famed developer Paul Trousdale

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.  




Aesthetically and Geographically Related Projects:


Church of San Giovanni Battista (1996) by Mario Botta

Church of San Giovanni Battista (1996) by Mario Botta


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.



Aesthetically and Geographically Related Projects:





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