Solis Residence by Renato D’Ettorre Architects, located on Hamilton Island, Australia | The Hardt
Solis Residence by Renato D’Ettorre Architects, located on Hamilton Island, Australia. The residence is sculpted from concrete, stone, block work and glass resulting in a sequence of dramatic volumes incorporating airy living spaces and private sheltered outdoor zones. The building elements are intertwined with reflection ponds and a swimming pool, lending a sense of tranquility. Every level of this house, every turn, and every vantage point provides enormous surprise and delight. Corners of the house float above the terraced landscape, garden terraces and nooks set into the hillside, which features natural stone retaining walls and continuing encounters with water pools and ponds. The house was the recipient of the House of the Year project at the Australian Institute of Architects’ 2011 Central Queensland Regional Architecture Awards.
The house changes its mood on the descent. The upper living areas are light-filled and airy, with little distinction between indoor and outdoor space. In fact, only a small section of this floor can be closed down by screens to provide security, particularly during tropical storms. The lower reaches of the house are more cavernous – cool bedroom chambers, again formed on the ocean views. The palette is concrete and travertine, designed for easy, maintenance-free, cool living in the tropics while acting as a calm counterpoint to complex spatial and sculptural interactions. Terraces are fluid extensions of internal spaces capturing cooling breezes. Swimming pools, reflection ponds and strategically positioned trickling waterfalls soothe both indoors and outdoors. The house is also built to withstand the destructive forces of tropical cyclones. The client had asked for low maintenance materials – so concrete became the primary material.
SOS Children’s Village In Djibouti Urko Sanchez Architects located in Tadjoura, Djibouti | The Hardt
SOS Children Village in Tadjourah, Djibouti from Urko Sanchez Architects on Vimeo.
SOS Children’s Village In Djibouti Urko Sanchez Architects located in Tadjoura, Djibouti. Djibouti is located in the Horn of Africa, which suffers from persistent droughts and severe scarcities. We were approached by SOS Kinderdorf to design a residential compound of 15 houses where to run their family-strengthening programmes. We learned about SOS systems, about the community where the project would take place, their nomadic traditions and the extreme climate of the region. We searched for traditional housing references in similar cultural and climatic environments and finally decided to design a MEDINA with certain singularities:
A – It is a medina for children – A safe environment, with no cars, where the narrow streets and squares become places to play
B – It is a medina with plenty of open spaces – Public and private spaces are clearly defined. And in the private, the inside and outside areas melt, allowing residents to maintain certain outdoors living.
C – It is a medina with lots of vegetation – Where the inhabitants are encouraged to take care of their plants and benefit from the result.
In terms of distribution, all houses follow the same scheme but are arranged in different ways, placed close to each other giving shade one another and generating alleys between them in an apparent disordered way. Natural ventilation and sun shading were intensely studied, introducing natural ventilation towers where needed.
The construction of this project was possible thanks to an international team, which reflects the mixture of backgrounds in the practice of our profession, making every project a very enriching experience.
– Dji Fu
|Chinese Contractor based in Djibouti
||Ugandan Architect based in Djibouti
|| Austrian Project Manager based in Kenya
|Estrella de Andrés
||Spanish Architect based in Kenya
||Kenyan engineer based in Kenya
The funding came from the German Cooperation Aid. The materials were very simple: cement blocks, RC structure and Cemcrete finish from a South African company.
Photos by © Javier Callejas
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Musealization of the Archaeological Area of Praça Nova do Castelo by João Luís Jorge Carrilho da Graça Architects located in London, England | The Hardt
The hill now occupied by the Castle of St. George is the first site of human occupation – dating from the Iron Age – that would transfigure in place the strategic elevation over the Tagus estuary and its interior territory that gave birth to the city of Lisbon. In the walled area, the Praça Nova do Castelo occupies an intramural promontory, delimited by defensive structures to the north and west, and by the Santa Cruz Church to the south, a promontory with a visual domain that extends over the walls to the East, from the city at your feet to the horizon of the estuary. An extensive archaeological excavation of this site, begun in 1986, exhibited traces of its successive occupation periods – settlement of the Iron Age, medieval Muslim dwellings and a 15th century palace – with the most relevant artifacts being removed and exhibited at the Castle Museum, the excavation being open to the intervention of protection and musealization.
This intervention addressed the themes of the protection, revelation, and reading of the palimpsest that any archaeological excavation represents, with a pragmatic intention to clarify the palindromic character that the exposed structures suggest in their spatial distribution. Thus, the first action was the clear delimitation of the archaeological site with a precise incision, comparable to the surgical incision in a living body. A corten steel membrane was inserted to contain the raised perimeter topography, allowing either access or a panoramic view of the site, evolving the materiality of this incision slowly and inexorably as a living tissue. The same precision of cut characterizes the elements inscribed in the site that allow the comfortable drift of the visitor – steps, skates, and benches, marmoreal and perennial – distinguishing them from the rough texture of exposed walls and foundations.
Descending to the excavated surface, to its simultaneous first spatial level and last level of occupation – the vestiges of a pavement of the Palace of the Bishops of Lisbon -, a console structure protects the mosaics, structure whose obverse is a black mirrored surface that returns to the visitor the vertical perspective on the pavement, this perspective that the elevated location of the pavement does not allow it to be direct. Moving forward on the site and in its timeline, the necessary cover for the protection of the eleventh-century Muslim domestic structures and the frescoes on which they subsist was taken as an opportunity to reproduce, through a conjectural interpretation, their spatial experience as a sequence of independent spaces organized around courtyards that introduced light and ventilation to dwellings otherwise enclosed outside. Declared abstract and scenographic, the white walls that enact the domestic spatiality of the two excavated dwellings float on the visible wall sections, anchoring themselves on the ground at the mere six points where these sections permit, while their translucent polycarbonate and slats of wood, filters the sunlight.
Underlying the entire archaeological site, the vestiges of the occupation of the Iron Age are exposed and protected by a compact volume that, in a spiraling movement, detaches itself from the bordering corten steel walls to embrace the well needed for its revelation. Massive and dramatic, this volume is punctually fenestrated by horizontal features that invite the curiosity of the observation of its interior, leading the visitor around the excavation pit to the point the view is unobstructed and both the physical and temporal distances of the exposed structures are made evident. The palimpsest of the site’s history is thus decoded and the possibility of its clarified temporal and spatial palindromic reading not only through the reading of the written information accompanying the visit, but above all, and significantly, through the experience built by the materialization of its protection and musealization.
© FG + SG – Fernando Guerra, Sergio Guerra
Architects: Carrilho da Graça Architects – João Luís Carrilho da Graça
Built area: 3500 m²
Type of project: Cultural
Location: London, England, United Kingdom
Detached 4 floors: Detache
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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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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
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Check out more on Mario Botta below
MARIO BOTTA, Mountain Church, Ticino, Switzerland from Ivan Maria Friedman on Vimeo.
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Tao Hua Yuan Tea House by CL3 Architects located in Nanjing, China | The Hardt
Tao Hua Yuan Tea House by CL3 Architects located in Nanjing, China. A home by that name in Souzhou, west of Shanghai, was the most expensive ever to hit the market in mainland China (one billion Chinese yuan, the equivalent of $154 million) when it was completed in 2016. CL3 Architect’s view of utopia is considerably more simplified. The Hong Kong-based design firm has created an homage to the tea culture of China with the Tao Hua Yuan tea house in Nanjing, using a quiet Zen aesthetic and a simple style to bring tranquility in a bustling urban and resort area.
The architecture tells much of the story: a contemporary structure using flat planes, right angles, lots of glass and open areas. “The architecture is inspired by a Chinese courtyard house, with a series of enclosed spaces formed around open spaces and connected by covered walkways,” says William Lim, managing director of the firm. “The building is in a clear outline of single rectangles, tucked away in the forest like a masterpiece of nature.”
But if the architecture is contemporary, it’s the materials – marble and glass, but also wood and bamboo – that tell the Zen story, a harmonious combination of hard and soft.
“The marble is strong and steady, the glass is clear and pure,” says Lim. “The interior becomes the extension of the architecture – simple materials and concise lines to create Zen tranquility.”
Inside, lanterns, paintings, and works of art express the “one-with-nature” story, along with what Lim calls “scholar rocks.”
“Scholar rocks are massive rocks recovered from river beds with naturally eroded holes and wrinkles,” he explains. “Six massive rocks sit on a platform of black mirror, simulating water reflection. This serves as a piece of art installation, as well as dividing the teahouse into semi-private zones. The verticality of the young forest is reinforced by the vertical lines in the interior design in the background of black glass.”
Symbolic Chinese culture is never far from the designers’ thinking. For example, custom-designed furniture and lighting reflect the importance of balance in Chinese style. Low-rise furniture – the kinds that prevailed in ancient times when people tended to sit on the floor – is matched with modern high-type furniture. “They are mainly made of wood and are in simple colors,” Lim says, “containing both classical charm and fresh ideas, giving a contemporary interpretation to the Chinese cultural heritage.” Creating the appropriate tea house is not a casual endeavor in a culture where tea commands such an important position. “Tea absorbs the spirit of the universe,” says Lim, “appealing to men of letters throughout the ages.”
By Steve Kaufman
Photography: Nirut Benjabanpot, Hong Kong
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