Tetsuka House (2003-2005) by John Pawson

Tetsuka House (2003-2005) by John Pawson

Asher 10:14 pm 10:14 pm

Tetsuka House (2003-2005) by John Pawson, situated in Tokyo, Japan | The Hardt


Tetsuka House (2003-2005) by John Pawson, situated in Tokyo, Japan. This design for a compact site in a suburb of Tokyo, the office’s first realized the domestic project in Japan, takes the form of a rectangular box containing living quarters, a room dedicated to the rituals of the traditional tea ceremony and a double-height courtyard open to the sky. The concrete envelope is tinted to reflect the internal division between floors and animated by openings. These apertures frame a series of meticulously edited vistas out of the building that become part of the landscape of the interior. The exaggerated length of the wall leading to the entrance brings quiet theatre to the experience of arrival. Project Team Shingo Ozawa


Photography Hisao Suzuki

Blairgowrie Back Beach (2013) by Wolveridge Architects

Blairgowrie Back Beach (2013) by Wolveridge Architects

Asher 7:48 pm 7:48 pm

Blairgowrie Back Beach (2013) by Wolveridge Architects situated in Blairgowrie VIC, Australia | The Hardt


Blairgowrie Back Beach (2013) by Wolveridge Architects situated in Blairgowrie VIC, Australia. The clients for this project approached us around Easter in 2011. They are a young family from the city who had purchased this terrific sloping allotment just five minutes’ walk from back beach along Bass Strait. The landform was dominated by an awkward contour and it was clear that the site was halfway up a dune. The block to the west was the top of the dune and the vacant block to the east was the bottom. There was native vegetation, but it was sporadic and insignificant. We were briefed to provide a family home that would give plenty of outdoor space and play area for the kids and their friends, but most importantly the brief insisted that the feel of the house be quite divorced from reminders of life in the city. We studied the landform and we studied the planning requirements. We then prepared a building envelope, placing the dwelling as far to the rear (south) of the lot as possible, providing a terrific expanse of open space to the north. By the time we pushed the form back, it was significantly elevated.


As the founding materials are sand, we undertook a major rethink of the landform and the site’s contours by excavating under the dwelling area to create a large undercroft and lower ground floor rumpus area and used that fill to create a north facing quadrangle at the upper level. The result is an apparent single story, low slung dwelling on arrival. A further challenge contemplated the public aspect. The road is located north of the site, therefore a driveway for car parking and arrivals needed to consider how we might plan to make this open space private. We employed a permeable but physical barrier dissecting the public and private aspects of the dwelling. The form of the barrier, a series of free-standing steel sheets with 100mm gaps exists as a sculptural element in the landscape, evoking images of the found object. Access to the dwelling is external, via a garden path defined by a further device, a line of pillars constructed from rammed earth also emerging as objects in the landscape, seemingly molded by the conditions over time. This element clearly defines the public and private realms, yet provides crossovers and transitional spaces in the form of a sandpit, an outdoor shower area, and landscape planting zones. The dwelling itself is conceived over four main modules. Two main living zones separated by a services zone which is located directly over the rumpus room below. The fourth module is the semi roofed external living area, linking the dwelling interior with the landscape. The clients embraced a robust approach to the design of the dwelling. The plan form is rectilinear, with hallways wide enough for kids to ride their bikes. A second linking bbq deck completes the circuit. The materials are generally recycled timbers, with blackened plywood walls, a black ceiling which encourages the enjoyment of light and the externally framed views of the landscape. The bathrooms are glossy heat treated mild steel which reflects the color of the mosaic tiled floors and the shafts of light from the skylights. At night, the sheets imbue a warmth in the reflection of incandescent light.




One of the owners grew up in Eltham, a rural bushland retreat east of the city in a house designed by Alistair Knox. The imagery portrayed by the client of a childhood memory growing up in a Knox dwelling had a significant impact on the project. We considered the use of breeze block and concrete block to provide reminders and links back to notions of the surf clubhouse. Through the development of the design, these elements became more refined with the use of rammed earth and the implementation of laser cut screens employing one of the common motifs of the breeze block.



© Derek Swalwell



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Outdistance by Derek Swalwell

Outdistance by Derek Swalwell

Asher 7:04 pm 7:07 pm

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




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Trousdale Estates by famed developer Paul Trousdale

Trousdale Estates by famed developer Paul Trousdale

Asher 12:03 pm 12:12 pm

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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Church of San Giovanni Battista (1996) by Mario Botta

Church of San Giovanni Battista (1996) by Mario Botta

Asher 4:53 pm 4:53 pm


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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House in Monterey by Tadao Ando

House in Monterey by Tadao Ando

Asher 9:19 am 9:20 am

House in Monterey by the GOAT Tadao Ando located In Monterrey, Mexico | The Hardt


TADAO ANDO – Trailer from film moment on Vimeo.



Set within the Hardt of Cumbres National Park, House in Monterey by Tadao Ando located In Monterrey, Mexico. The house built by the Japanese architect, Tadao Ando, Pritzker Prize in 1995, hovers between heaven and earth. A concrete construction, graphic and aerial, facing a site which it restores the spectacular beauty.  Built in the middle of the national park, the house escapes the tropical mist that sometimes hangs over the city, while enjoying the spectacular view of the Sierra de las Mitras. To convince the architect who was initially reluctant to engage in such an adventure, the owners of the place, Alberto and Alejandra Fernandez passed through the Embassy of Japan in Mexico City. “We convinced him by explaining to him in a simple letter that if he realized this house, it was as if he were participating in the construction of a small part of paradise on earth. “The couple then appealed to the construction company Paralelo, to carry out the main work. Because there was no company in Mexico that could meet the demands and fame of the work of Tadao Ando. Two experts from the Japanese agency, Yukio Tanaka and Kohei Sugita came specifically to Monterrey to meet the Parelalo workers on site. Construction began in 2009 and was completed in 2011.




While most of the rooms face landscaping, the master suite and the large living room on the ground floor give on the terrace of the pool, whose floor, paved with Indonesian granite tiles, is tinged with green when it is wet, thus counterbalancing the general monochromatic tone. In this number of rooms despite everything limited in view of the surface of the place, sobriety enacts its serene law, the sense of emptiness also inhabited, the quest for silence, contemplation. Wooden flooring, concrete walls, steel structures and large windows to abolish any border with the outside. The stroke of genius is then to have articulated the plan of the house around a monumental library. Covering all the part of a wall, its amounts, declined in a dark tone, contrast with the light returned by the bay windows. From the second level, the view of the valley is magnificent.




The shelves fill up as and when, according to the inspirations, the moments, the stays, the journeys. If this library became the heart of the house, its rallying point, a bit like a hearth, because in this couple with three children, books have replaced televisions and computers, it also acts as an intermediary between living areas: the entrance, the corridor and the master bedroom located on the first level, and the reception rooms on the ground floor including a kitchen dining room, a large living room, a master suite, the children’s rooms There is also a wine cellar and a gym. The grandeur and simplicity of this almost celestial architectural rigor definitely force respect.




It blends in with nature unless it’s the other way around. Overlooking the city of Monterrey, the house that Tadao Ando designed for a couple of Mexican nature lovers, revives the philosophy of its iconic achievements, the Church of Light in Ibaraki, the Langen Foundation in Neuss, Germany, the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts in St. Louis, Missouri: Achieving cerebral architecture without being abstract, spiritual without being mystical. In short, the cult of simplicity elevated to the rank of ethics. For the plan, this serene observer of the order of things was inspired by the architectural tradition of the country of the Rising Sun, the planing beauty of Japanese gardens. The approach that is found everywhere here since the vertiginous living space of one thousand five square meters echoes the size of the surrounding landscape. With its angles and terraces, its very graphic porticoes, its quadrilateral shape inspired by Mexican haciendas and its swimming pool that seems to be suspended, the house is an architectural performance in osmosis with rocks and vegetation, and especially with the cosmic tones. of the site.



In order not to disturb the natural order of things, the branches of certain trees even cross the terraces, as if the flora were gaining the upper hand. the house is an architectural performance in osmosis with rocks and vegetation, and especially with the cosmic tones of the site. In order not to disturb the natural order of things, the branches of certain trees even cross the terraces, as if the flora were gaining the upper hand. the house is an architectural performance in osmosis with rocks and vegetation, and especially with the cosmic tones of the site. In order not to disturb the natural order of things, the branches of certain trees even cross the terraces, as if the flora were gaining the upper hand.




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