Client: Secretaría de Cultura del Estado de Morelos (Cristina Faesler)
Text description provided by the architects. The project for the new Cultural Center is located on a site opposite the archeological zone of Teopanzolco, a situation that proposes two fundamental strategies: on the one hand to enhance the relationship with the archeological site and on the other to generate a significant public space.
The building is organized around two elements, a triangular building that contains the public programs (lobbies, services, box office, cloakroom, auditorium) and the platform surrounding it that contains the operation zones (dressing rooms, storage, workshops, etc), including a multipurpose black box theater.
The horizontal platform surrounding the triangular building serves as a viewing area for the archeological zone and towards the city. This grand plinth contains a series of patios, one of which, facing the secondary entrance to the auditorium, has been sunk into the ground to create a small open-air theater space. This platform generates a variety of exterior spaces and resolves the secondary access to the interior of the auditorium or to the platform itself, while incorporating the existing large trees.
Meanwhile, the main triangular-shaped roof comprises a large stepped ramp that emerges from the intersection with the horizontal platform that surrounds it and substantially reduces the physical presence and visual impact of the new building, as well as converting the roof itself into an additional open-air auditorium, which has the archeological site as a backdrop. This great triangular esplanade forms the roof of the auditorium’s main hall, and contains another, smaller triangular esplanade that in turn forms the roof of the main lobby. Both platforms descend in opposite directions and create a visual interplay of inclined planes that can be appreciated from different points of the building. The main lobby is a semi-open space with strategically located apertures permitting cross-ventilation, avoiding the use of electrical air conditioning systems. The axis of composition of the triangular floor plan of the entrance space was deliberately aligned with the main pyramid. As a result, the lobby placed exactly opposite the pyramid becomes a viewpoint and a space for meeting before or after events, and a space that establishes an ongoing dialogue with contemporary cultural life and the presence of the past.
Building Control Inspector: Head Projects Building Control
Text description provided by the architects. Dartmouth Park is a district of north London in the London Borough of Camden, on the slope of the hill that rises up to Highgate from Kentish Town. On its west side, it borders Parliament Hill Fields, notable for its views of the London skyline.
The clients owned the upper maisonette and had lived there for several years. When their downstairs neighbour decided to leave, they were able to agree the purchase of the ground floor flat and appoint architects, De Rosee Sa, to re-instate the building back to its original arrangement as a three-storey townhouse.
There were a few challenges; primarily how to increase the proportions to give the house a sense of grandeur and generosity of space. The first priority was to tackle a low floor to ceiling height on the ground floor, made more difficult by an unsympathetic level change between the front and rear of the building. De Rosee Sa overcame this by moving the level change further towards the front, using the front as a cloakroom area, framing the bay window with tongue and groove cupboards either side and a window bench.
The extra height gained in the middle of the ground floor facilitated the proportions to locate the kitchen in the middle, with an adjacent dining area. The living room is located towards the rear, with a Defra Approved wood burning stove and new glazing towards the garden. A long skylight brings lights deep into the plan. Joinery around the fireplace gives the living area additional detail and atmosphere.
The extension into the rear garden was rebuilt and widened to match the depth and shape of the neighbouring roof pitch but using Blue Staffordshire brick to give it a more contemporary treatment with crisp architectural details. A glass sliding door and window seat under a large window addresses the new patio and garden. Cava limestone was used for the patio and steps up to the lawn area. De Rosee Sa also designed the western red cedar clad garden sheds.
From the architect. The house is located on a steep slope at the Lipno Reservoir with an unfavourable north-east orientation, high above sea level (745 metres). The design of the house tries to find an answer to these rather difficult and contradictory conditions. The whole body of the house is divided into two masses.
The bottom concrete base is designed to have minimal plan footprint. It contains bedrooms connected with the exterior by a terrace, in the basement there is a small wellness room and a technical room. A glassed-in rectangular prism rests across the concrete base, projecting out 8 metres on both sides. The prism is positioned on the edge of the base, as close to water surface as possible, thus it seems to levitate among trees over the lake.
The living space is opened to the sun and the panoramic views of the lake through the glassed-in facade. Folding shutters regulate the extent to which the facade is open and can also be closed completely. The construction of the base is sandwich reinforced concrete; the upper rectangular prism is formed by steel truss construction, coated with resistant HPL compact boards. The house is heated by a heat pump connected to deep wells.
Construction Physics (Sound Protection, Acoustics): Michael Wichser + Partner AG
Construction Physics (Thermal Insulation): Michael Wichser + Partner AG, Dbendorf
Landscape Architecture: Hager Partner AG, Zurich
From the architect. ELLI Residential Building and Studio
The “ELLI” project is a prototype for individual inner-city redensification. In a commercially used courtyard area, a five-story residential building emerges, with a minimal footprint and a double underground floor with a spacious studio and event room. With a footprint of only around 5 by 10 meters, the new building has highly compact living space. At the same time as the construction of the residential building, a studio was also installed. For this purpose, the full courtyard was given an underground level and an extensive column-free space with large skylights was created.
The objective was to utilize the courtyard of a pre-existing office and commercial building in Zurich’s District 4 as optimally as possible while practicing cost-efficient construction as a means to make the newly built space affordable to rent. The tall, slim, new structure inconspicuously nestles up to the adjoining residential building. Concrete elements, prefabricated using optimised production techniques, form the envelope of the new single-family house and characterize its architectural expression, both inside and out. Thus, the building is a kind of “building shell”, which can be lived in without any compromises in terms of comfort or appearance. A “rough” aesthetic predominates, inside and out. The facade is characterized by the pattern of joints between the industrially manufactured concrete elements. Inside, a palette of various red hues brings out features that contrast with the grey color of the “bton brut”.
The residential building, the studio and the pre-existing offices in the neighboring building represent combinable units that can react to changing conditions, in work, and in life, at any time. They supplement each other harmoniously, but can just as easily be used independently of each other. This environment flexibly adapts to current requirements, which guarantees sustainable and long-term usage of these new spaces. ELLI has won the 1st prize in the competition HUSER DES JAHRES (Houses of the Year) 2017, which is awarded by the Callwey publishing house and the Deutsches Architekturmuseum DAM.
From the architect. Sageun-dong in Seoul is a topographically isolated village. The southeast side of the village is surrounded by Cheonggyecheon stream and Hanyang University, while the north side is surrounded by the adjacent hill. The Saguendong-gil road that leads to the back gate of Hanyang University serves as the access way to the village, and yet pedestrian access to the village is difficult in many ways since the uphill path is very steep. Unlike any other neighborhoods in Seoul, the unique atmosphere of Sangeun-dong resulted from such isolated topography.
The atmosphere of Sajeong-dong is past-oriented. The unique ambiance of this village is all the more noticeable when the village is compared to the geopolitical aspects of Seoul and metropolitan areas where the commercial areas for work are completely separated from the bedroom communities for residence. Sageun-dong is reminiscent of residential areas in the 80’s where neighborhood convenience facilities were alive and active.
As elaborated in the legal definition of ‘neighborhood living facilities’ that refers to the living convenience and wellbeing of residents, a residential area is supposed to have daily necessities available for the residents at close range. However, residents who have lost their neighborhood living facilities are now enjoying a strange consumption pattern of going to discount superstores and managing the distribution and storage of their daily necessities on their own. Since there is nothing much to do in the neighborhood, the villages in Seoul are quiet day and night (especially ever since children started to attend several private academies after school hours).
However, in the case of Sageun-dong, which has gone through geopolitical isolation and the circumstances of the days have made its residents take care of all living-related consumptions in the neighborhood, the village, just like the villages in the eighties, is busy during the day and becomes quiet only when everyone goes inside to go to bed. Another reason for the unique bustling ambiance of this village can be found in its population distribution, which is mixed with the students of Hanyang University living apart from their families and the residents who have lived in the same neighborhood for several decades. In other words, this village is inhabited by a mixture of adults and youths, or settlers and nomads.
The reason development activities in his kind of old neighborhood clashes with preservation is because they presuppose merging of lots. Small plots of land do not guarantee sufficient development profit and are rarely developed independently because reusing existing buildings is financially advantageous in most cases. As always, people find solutions for problems: they combine the lots to pursue maximum profit within legal limits. The merging of lots changes the urban structure; takes away the alleys; makes the neighbors move; and destroys families and the society. However, when confronted with this very natural capitalist activity, a romantic outcry for the preservation of urban structure is easily defeated. And it is unclear whether this defeat is bad.
The client’s requirements were simple; to ensure maximum floor area ratio within the 139 lot, and make the building functional and convenient. The building is composed of one owner unit for the client’s household, and eight rental units for Hanyang University students. To this basic concept, we proposed and added a few items such as an elevator facility as winning elements in the competition with surrounding rental housings.
We were able to find our own way of solutions for the dilemma of Sageun-dong between development and preservation by securing the highest number of units at 200% FAR, providing neighborhood living facilities, securing attics, installing balconies, and squeezing in an elevator facility. If architectural practices, that were only possible in larger scale projects from merging of lots, can be realized in smaller scale projects, clients will not insist on taking the annoying course of expanding their projects. They can seek profit and preserve the urban structure. Thus, the work can be sufficiently capitalistic and romantic at the same time. We can certainly make developments while preserving our neighborhoods.
The building also responds to the demands of the contemporary residential environment. The strongest trend dominating the current residential culture is the spatial integration that underwent rapidly mainly in housings for a single household. This trend is prominent also in Sageun-dong, which serves as a dormitory for Hanyang University. The housing type called ‘one-room,’ where the living room, the bedroom, and the kitchen are all placed in one space, is now getting to the point of combining the kitchen with the bathroom relying solely on their common feature of water being used there. (The rationale seems to be that eating and excreting in the same space is as efficient as eating and sleeping in the same space.)
Here, we found the reason why the living environment today is so vulgar. For people to live in, a space needs to be properly partitioned. Apartments turn into chicken factory farms as balcony spaces are recklessly taken over by extended living area. This type of one-room office spaces gave birth to the circumstances of people being forced to live in a ‘gosiwon’ that doesn’t even has a window if they are poor. Different kind of spaces, however small, need to be present in a house; spaces such as a balcony, multipurpose room, bathtub, a living room loosely separated from the kitchen, built-in cabinets or closet that fit the space, etc.
Even though we took into consideration various aspects of the building, it was inevitable that the absolute size of the building would be small. In order to secure the maximum number of units, small units about the same size had to be replicated. Windows were fabricated to add personality to each unit. The windows in two units with identical floor plan but on different floors were positioned differently. The smaller the room, the greater the impact of change. With this arrangement, we hope the residents will at least be able to declare their respective taste. A wistful situation might occur where a person is upset because the room that suits his/her taste has been leased already. We feel sad that even such a wistful situation is missing in the residential environment of young people nowadays.
We traced the maximum volume along the slant line for solar access and the shape of the land and ultimately found a diamond-shape slanted mass. Lifting up the mass (like a skirt) and placing in an opening that leads to the veranda on the 4th floor, we realized that it was appropriate for the owner’s unit to be on the 4th floor rather than on the top 5th floor. Our client was concerned about possible interferences from the tenant households on the 5th floor, but we persuaded herto think about the usefulness of the veranda on the 4th floor and the marketability of the two units on the 5th floor respectively equipped with an attic. When the slant line for north-side solar access is applied to a building, the staircase is usually placed at the southern corner, where the slope is least likely to interfere the staircase. This means that the staircase would be placed on the sunniest side of the building.
We rejected this planning approach used without a doubt in the home business market and instead moved the staircase northward as far as possible allowing for the height of the last floor. As a result, we were able to secure units with southern exposure evenly throughout all floors in the building. The configuration of the staircase itself was also the outcome of studying the limits set by the building code. The somewhat complex staircase, which combines straight stairs with an effective width of 1.2m and winding stairs with an effective width of 0.9m, minimized the area of common use space and increased the area of exclusive use for each unit. The small neighborhood living facility we were able to secure on the 1st floor owes its existence entirely to our devoted study of the location and configuration of the staircase.
The two slopes along the slant lines for solar access meet at one corner at respective angles. In order to minimize the contamination of the slopes, we decided to use zinc standing seam finishing for the slopes and worked with the joints based on the corner where the two slopes meet. In this way, we were able to finish the corner with the standing seam alone without using additional flashing. As shown in the elevation, the finishing resultingly accentuated the slanted mass. The design process of this building is not an “invention” but is a kind of “discovery” in that its most significant design element was automatically calculated based on the Building Act prescribing slant line for solar access. Our task was to reveal the virtualitythat is spread around the site through the language of architecture, and what was needed here was archaeological diligence rather than inspiration.
The finishing material used for the slopes was a product called Azengar from VMZinc. It is a matte light grey product. It is not our way to finish a strong formative change with a strong material change. The finishing for the slopes was chosen among natural materials that would clash the least with the white stucco finish on the vertical face of the building. Due to cost problems, we were unsure until the last moment whether we could proceed with our plan. Fortunately, thanks to the determination of our client who trusted the initial design more than the architect himself, we were able to realize the design. As the building looked like a 3-year-old building when it was just completed, we hope that it will look like a 3-year-old building even after 30 years.
This project asks the question whether local values and individual urge for development are compatible. Our answer to this question was that realizing the maximum asset value in a small plot of land is actually helpful for the preservation of local values. As a matter of fact, no one will destroy their own neighborhood if profit can be attained. At the same time, this project was our answer to promoting an alternative to the existing housing styles for young people today by pursuing diversity of space.
Diversity, however, was realized indirectly. It was realized through the shape and position of the windows, the variation of minimized balconies, and the delicate arrangement of built-in cabinets according to each unit space. This was also the outcome of considering first the interests of the client. Spatial diversity is not something worth pursuing at the expense of decisively compromising profits. We believe that the preservation of local community and the creation of healthy living environment ultimately lead to the overall benefit of our community, but the architectural practice today seems to be far behind from what we believe.
Canada’s future tallest building, The One, has broken ground in downtown Toronto. Designed by Foster + Partners, the 85-story building will become the country’s first supertall skyscraper (commonly defined as taller than 300 meters/980 feet), rising to a peak of 306 meters (1,004 feet). The tower will also take over the title of Canada‘s second tallest manmade structure, behind only the CN Tower.
Located at the corner of Bloor Street and Yonge Street on the border between downtown and Yorkville, the residential tower will respond to its unique context, embodying the neighborhood character of Yorkville, the bustling commercial life of Bloor Street and the local heritage of Yonge Street.
The One is the final piece of the jigsaw in the tower cluster at the Yonge and Bloor node one of the most prominent intersections in the city, said Giles Robinson, Senior Partner, Foster + Partners. The project creates a new anchor for high-end retail along Bloor Street West, while respecting the urban scale of Yonge Street. The design is respectful of the legacy of the William Luke Buildings, and incorporates the historic 19th century brick structures within the larger development.
The design is a natural evolution of Foster’s signature style, with expertly detailed glass curtain walls and an expressed structural frame clad in a champagne bronze metal. Program types within are revealed on the building surface: a large, open ground floor provides a inviting space for retail, while mechanical floors are set back from the facade plane. These pieces come together to create a clearly articulated composition and give the building a unique identity on the skyline.
Residences are designed around 57-square-meter (620-square-foot) planning modules, allowing for flexible arrangements and a variety of unit types. A series of duplex penthouses cap the building, offering panoramic views of Lake Ontario. A sky lobby will provide access to amenities including a spa, gym, library and formal entertaining room, and well as a large south-facing terrace where tenants can congregate.
The One will set new standards for commercial and retail developments in Canada, added Robinson. We’re extremely excited to be working with [Mizrahi Developments] to realise this fantastic vision, and look forward to the next stages of the project with great anticipation.
From the architect. The high plains? When we visit the place, the visual impact of the landscape is what’s going to make the strongest impression in the development of the project, a landscape of mountains, a lake and a secluded forrest of pines. We can add a house made of adobe in the middle of the place, already previously reconstructed for the rest of its owner; these are the two main aspects to take into account in the evolution of this venture.
As we previously mentioned, and following the line of our client, one of the top priorities is to maintain the adobe base material with which the house was made, transforming it in a welcoming space for guests. And to this, we expect to integrate a resting place for families during the weekend.
From this, we start out with the functional scheme of a household. From a new place of rest with three comfortable bedrooms we’d turn it into a cozy suite-type home that excels from the typical home, using the landscape at its best.
How to generate an architectonic solution that mixes up together the old construction with a brand new modern structure, without having the adobe house lose its prime focus? This is where the idea of building the next step in a lower level comes from. Besides this, we consider the lot’s topographic, leaving its surface empty for it to turn into a terrace, this will become part of an old-fashioned social area that’s in no way going to diminish the landscape.
To successfully achieve what’s planned, we are aiming at having the new construction as open as it can be, having the vast majority of the facade made of glass, taking full advantage of the landscape. Nevertheless, it was of the utmost importance to take into account that, because of the location of the project, camera glasses and floor with its own heating system to preserve the warmth on the inside of the house.