The Cresta by Jonathan Segal

The Cresta by Jonathan Segal

Asher 8:27 pm 8:27 pm

The Cresta by Jonathan Segal located in the wealthy beach city of La Jolla, San Diego, CA | The Hardt




The Cresta by Jonathan Segal FAIA located in the wealthy beach city of La Jolla, San Diego, CA. The 5,300ft² (492 m²) home has 3-stories; 1 below and 2 above grade which are accented by floor to ceiling and large open expanses to the outdoors. The home constructed entirely out of “cast in place” concrete on a 5,000 ft²  (464 m²) lot. Adjacent to the front of the structure a reflecting and swimming pool has been integrated into the overall design of the project for thermal cooling and create the perception of floating.



Photos by © Matthew Segal



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SOS Children’s Village In Djibouti Urko Sanchez Architects

SOS Children’s Village In Djibouti Urko Sanchez Architects

Asher 10:10 pm 10:16 pm

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
John Andrews  Ugandan Architect based in Djibouti
Fritz Bachlechner  Austrian Project Manager based in Kenya
Estrella de Andrés Spanish Architect based in Kenya
Oliver Kabure 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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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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Shelter For Roman Ruins by Peter Zumthor

Shelter For Roman Ruins by Peter Zumthor

Asher 3:42 pm 3:50 pm




Shelter For Roman Ruins by Peter Zumthor located in Chur, Switzerland | The Hardt


Shelter For Roman Ruins by Peter Zumthor located in Chur, Switzerland. Peter Zumthor is a Swiss architect I put right up there with Tadao Ando as my all time favorite. Mr. Zumthor is responsible for designing a piece of architecture so stunning, it made me rethink the entire concept of what a building actually is, from a very rudimentary basis. The building is the Kunsthaus Bregenz in Austria by Peter Zumthor. I’ll do a post here and a full post on the site this week. But I digress, one of the first big projects for the 2009 Pritzker Prize-winning architect Peter Zumthor was this protective pavilion built to cover the remains of two Roman buildings. Built in 1985-86 and located in the capital of the Swiss canton of Graubünden.       




Chur is no less than the oldest town in Switzerland: the first settlements found at the site date to 3.500BC. In 15BC the Roman Empire conquered the village and designated Chur (Curia Raetorum) to be the capital of their new funded Roman province of Curia – hence the name Chur.  In those days the location at the right shore of the Rhine River was a strategic crossroad where several of the major Alpine transit routes came together before continuing down river. The Romans inhabited the area that is nowadays called Welschdörfli, just off the historic town center of Chur. In modern days archaeological excavations uncovered a complete Roman quarter. The authorities decided to preserve the excavations and to open them for public exhibition. Local Swiss architect Peter Zumthor was chosen as responsible for the design.



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Neuendorf House (1991) by John Pawson + Claudio Silvestrin

Neuendorf House (1991) by John Pawson + Claudio Silvestrin

Asher 11:23 am 11:23 am

Located in Mallorca, Spain Neuendorf House (1991) by John Pawson + Claudio Silvestrin | The Hardt


Located in Mallorca, Spain Neuendorf House (1991) by John Pawson + Claudio Silvestrin. This vacation house for a German art dealer is set in an almond grove on the island of Mallorca, with views of sea and mountains. The office’s first full architectural project, the design explores ways of achieving a quality of proportion in outside space more usually associated with interiors. The composition of the atrium is emphatically vertical, the exaggerated height of the walls dramatized by the narrowness of the slot opening. As the design brings together certain conventions of interior and exterior spaces, so it plays with the opposition of raw nature and the formality of architecture, pigments from the soil being used to tint the render. The house is currently used as a vacation rental. Check the seasonal rates + a music video shot at the how on the next page, following the photo gallery.

via John Pawson


In partnership with Claudio Silvestrin

Project Team
Crispin Osborne

Richard Bryan

via John Pawson



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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