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Archive for January, 2012

Lighthouse in Utrecht, the Netherlands by BYTR Architects

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

Article source: BYTR Architects

A corner house on one of the prettiest locations along the canal is provided  with a new living layer in a metal rooftop extension. A glass wall is wrapped  with a light, perforated aluminum skin. Windows occasionally pinch through  this layer or are covered by it, providing various degrees of openness and  closeness.

Horizon view (Image Courtesy Ossip van Duivenbode)

  • Architects: BYTR Architects
  • Project: Lighthouse
  • Location: Utrecht, the Netherlands
  • Project team: Tjerk van de Wetering, Richel Lubbers, Dominique Vermeulen
  • Client: fam. Van Dieren, Utrecht
  • Design: 2006
  • Realisation: 2010
  • Photography: Ossip van Duivenbode


Grenelle Tower in Paris, France by Atelier Zündel & Cristea

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

Article source: Atelier Zündel & Cristea

Paris is currently reviewing its ambitions of “greatness”. However, within a country where speed is not necessarily a condition of efficiency, and where “quality of life” is elevated to “the art of living”, a purely geographic and territorial expansion based upon the American model is unfeasible.

Grenelle Tower

  • Architects: Atelier Zündel & Cristea
  • Project: Grenelle Tower
  • Location: Paris, France
  • Client: EVOLO
  • Contractors: BET Choulet
  • Cost: 300 M€ HT
  • Surface: 168 000 m² shon
  • Project: Multiactivities skyscraper


Villa Carlotta hotel in Sicily, Italy by Architrend Architecture

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

Article source: Architrend Architecture

The architectural project articulates the space in response to various demands: relating with the urban context, dialoguing with the various bodies of the building, acting as a filter between indoors and outdoors, responding to the need for living comfort, etc. The direction of the space relates man with the building with the aim of generating places that improve the quality of life. A banal assumption for all designers, but it is precisely for its complex simplicity that there are few examples in which this theoretic base has become an excellent project, without falling into the banal or the paternalist.

Front View (Images Courtesy Umberto Agnello)

  • Architect: Architrend Architecture – Gaetano Manganello & Carmelo Tumino
  • Name of Project: Villa Carlotta hotel
  • Location: Ragusa, Sicily, Italy
  • Project: 2003
  • Completed: 2005
  • Materials: Stone, Steel, Glass, Wood
  • Area: 13.620 sqm
  • Volume: 5.000 cum
  • Photo: Umberto Agnello


Water House in Coastal Connecticut by Newick Architects

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

Article source: Newick Architects
Photographs: Robert Benson Photography

Located on an extraordinary coastal Connecticut site, this house sits at the edge of Long Island Sound. A four bedroom, simple plan, 1950’s ranch existed on the site when the project began. Its proximity to the water would not have been replicable if not for the existing condition. A sixty foot long window wall, eight feet high now offers an unobstructed view of the Sound. The colors and materials of the interior range from grey to white and have surface reflectivity that ranges from matte to reflective.


Water House Coastal Connecticut

  • Architect: Newick Architects
  • Name of Project: Water House
  • Location: Coastal Connecticut, United States
  • Software used: AutoCad and 3D Studio Max


LumenHAUS in Washington D.C. by Virginia Tech Solar Team

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

Article source: Virginia Tech Solar Team

The house is both a dwelling and an exhibition informing the public about issues of alternative energy and sustainability. It has been exhibited in Washington D.C., Times Square, Madrid, Spain, Millennium Park, and at the Farnsworth House in Plano Ill.

Image Courtesy Virginia Tech Solar Team

  • Architects: Virginia Tech Solar Team
  • Project: LumenHAUS
  • Location: Washington D.C.
  • Owner: School of Architecture + Design, Virginia Tech
  • Structural Engineer: ARUP
  • Cladding/Material Fabrication: Zahner and Associates, Inc.
  • Control Systems: Siemens
  • Geothermal Materials: Mechanical Equipment Sales
  • Hardware: Hafele America Co.
  • Photovoltaics: Solar Connexions; Baseline Solar; SMB Solar; RTKL
  • Photography: Virginia Tech Solar Team


House H in Tokyo, Japan by Sou Fujimoto Architects

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Article source: Sou Fujimoto ArchitectsHouse

A dwelling for a family of three located in a residential district in Tokyo.

To live in a multi-storey dwelling in a dense metropolis like Tokyo is somehow similar to living in a large tree. Within a large tree, there exists few large branches, of which endows numerous qualities; -pleasant places to sit, sleep, and present places for discourse. While these branches are individual places under protection, they are simultaneously equipped with mutual relationships that allow one to sense the presence of one another across each branch.  A network of relationships interwoven across many places throughout the branches. A proposal for a landscape where the duality of opposites; individuality and holistic co-exist through relationship.

Exterior View (Images Courtesy Iwan Baan)

  • Architect: Sou Fujimoto Architects
  • Project title: House H
  • Location: Tokyo, Japan
  • Design year: from 2006 to 2008
  • Construction year: from 2008 to 2009
  • Principal in charge: Sou Fujimoto
  • Photography: Iwan Baan
  • Software used: Vectorworks for the drawings


New Headquaters Decos Technology Group in Noordwijk, Netherlands by Inbo Architect

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Article source: Inbo Architect

The new headquarters of the Decos Technology Group in Noordwijk (NL) has recently officially been opened. It will initiate a new era for this international company having a custom-made workspace to encourage the use and apply their own innovative technologies. The commission for the building was acquired by Inbo Architects from the Netherlands in a competition between renowned Dutch offices. The new headquarters has been designed to symbolize the intangible cutting-edge technologies the company develops and uses, ensuring the leading position Decos has through their companies philosophy.

Image Courtesy Gerard van Beek

  • Architects: Inbo Architect
  • Project: New Headquaters Decos Technology Group
  • Location: Huygensstraat 30, 2201 DK Noordwijk (NL)
  • Surface: 2531 m2
  • Design: 2008
  • Start realisation: 2009
  • Completion: mei 2011
  • Specialities: completely paperless environment; 3 floors + basement, 120-225 working spaces, 90 parking spaces, 5000 m2 site


Lille Museum of Modern, Contemporary and Outside Art in Villeneuve d’Ascq, France by Manuelle Gautrand Architecture

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Article source: Manuelle Gautrand Architecture

The project concerns the refurbishment and the extension of the Lille Modern Art Museum in a magnificent park at Villeneuve d’Ascq. The existing building, designed by Roland Simounet in 1983, is already on the Historic monuments list. The project aims at building up the museum as a continuous and fluid entity, this by adding new galleries dedicated to a collection of Art Brut works, from a travelling movement that extrapolates existing spaces. A complete refurbishment of the existing building was next required, some parts were very worn.

Exterior View (Images Courtesy Max Lerouge – LMCU)

  • Architect: Manuelle Gautrand Architecture
  • Name of Project: Lille Museum of Modern, Contemporary and Outside Art
  • Location: Allée du Musée, Villeneuve d’Ascq, France
  • Type: Refurbishment and extension of the existing modern Art Museum (Roland Simounet, architect)
  • Representative Architect: Manuelle Gautrand
  • Photos Credit: © Max Lerouge – LMCU, Philippe Ruault and © Vincent Fillon


Dead Sea Resort & Opera House in Jordan by Accent Design Group

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Article source: Accent Design Group

The main concept in this project is to create a resort that naturally blends in this special site, by having the built up areas merge naturally with the surroundings, appearing as terraces in the landscape. These terraces, or strips, would contain the individual housing units, amidst a natural/artificial landscape of palm trees and water pools.


  • Architects: Accent Design Group
  • Project: Dead Sea Resort & Opera House
  • Location: Dead Sea, Jordan
  • Lead Architect : Elie ABS
  • Project team : Aline FADOUS,  Charbel KARAM, Luana MAHFOUZ,  Petia RATZOV, Nagham TABAJA
  • Project Consultant : Elie G. Haddad
  • Project area : 45,000 sqm
  • Type : Hotel & Resort


VJAA Receives 2012 AIA Architecture Firm Award

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Article source:  Zach Mortice, Managing Editor, AIArchitect

VJAA | 2012 AIA Architecture Firm Award Recipient

The American Institute of Architects Board of Directors on Dec. 8 awarded the 2012 AIA Architecture Firm Award to VJAA (Vincent James Associates Architects), the modest Minnesota firm respected for its consistently rigorous approach to research-driven form-making. The AIA Architecture Firm Award, given annually, is the highest honor the AIA bestows on an architecture firm, and recognizes a practice that has consistently produced distinguished architecture for at least 10 years. VJAA will be honored at the AIA 2012 National Convention and Design Exposition in Washington, D.C.

AIA President Clark Manus, FAIA, notified firm principal Vincent James, FAIA, by telephone immediately after the Board made its decision. “Thank you very much,” James said. “The AIA has been wonderful, and we depend on it in many ways. This is really just amazing.”

St. John’s Abbey and Monastery Chapter House and Chapel in Collegeville, Minnesota

Searching for embedded logic

Founded only in 1995, VJAA has already won acclaim for the way it uses architectural research to create buildings uniquely and empirically attuned to their geography, climate, history, and culture. The firm’s three principals—Vincent James, FAIA; Jennifer Yoos, AIA; and Nathan Knutson, AIA—have led VJAA on a wide-ranging search for the embedded logic of projects: the essential markers of place, function, materiality, and craft that lie beneath each work and serve as an armature for its development.

For a moderately sized firm in a struggling economy, spending time and money on these kinds of open-ended explorations could be a risky gambit, but Minneapolis-based VJAA has made it an explicit part of its practice. One area this research has focused on is material innovations, including technologies that combine structural and skin elements, surfaces that filter specified amounts of sound and light, and systems that temper the ambient climate. Another area of intensive research for VJAA is digital practice tools, like energy models. With digital energy modeling, the firm’s latest projects have started their design path with projections of how they’ll perform in a real-world environment, and these buildings are frequently cited for their pioneering sustainability. One recent project, the Charles Hostler Student Center at American University in Beirut, Lebanon, received a 2009 COTE Top 10 award, but this isn’t the only honor VJAA has been celebrated with recently: ARCHITECT Magazine named VJAA the top award-winning firm in 2010.

The Charles Hostler Student Center at American University of Beirut in Lebanon

For VJAA, this research has a much broader purpose than coming up with new gadgets to impress prospective clients. Most importantly, James and his colleagues use it to revise and refine the design process itself. From the firm’s award submission packet: “The critical function of our research is as much to provoke a rethinking or retooling of our process project-by-project as it is to inform the specific content of our work.”

It’s a design philosophy noted by previous winners of the AIA Firm Award, including David Miller, FAIA, of Miller Hull Partnership. “Theirs is an archetypal example of a reflective practice where they are constantly reevaluating the process with the undertaking of each new enterprise,” he wrote in a letter of recommendation.

The Dayton House in Minneapolis all images courtesy of VJAA

Until relatively recently, VJAA was a regional practice centered in the Upper Midwest, but its research has allowed it to create buildings that expertly respond to diverse geographies and climates in locations as varied as New Orleans and the Middle East. This research doesn’t only look forward to new levels of building performance and function; it also helps the firm look backwards. VJAA applied this practice approach in additions, renovations, and interventions to several Marcel Breuer–designed buildings on the Collegeville, Minn., campus of St. John’s University. In these mid-20th-century Brutalist buildings made of cast-in-place concrete, VJAA sensitively added new views, public spaces, and circulation routes, preserving the unique Modernist legacy of the campus and the work of an AIA Gold Medalist. Similarly, the firm’s international projects have explored how vernacular building traditions can be re-imagined with contemporary levels of function and performance.

“VJAA creates a place- and purpose-specific architecture founded on broad societal, technological, and artistic values,” wrote Andrea Leers, FAIA, of 2007 AIA Firm Award recipient Leers Weinzapfel Associates, in a recommendation letter. “Their work eloquently demonstrates the creative possibilities of joining environmental innovation, material exploration, and a thoughtful and economical response to site and program.”

The Lavin-Bernick Center for University Life at Tulane in New Orleans

Refinement and restraint

True to their Midwestern roots, VJAA’s aesthetic is unassuming, clean, subtle, and contextual; its buildings are unfailingly polite and friendly, no matter where in the world they’re located. “In an era frequently characterized by architectural indulgence and excess, VJAA is creating architecture of refinement and restraint,” wrote Leers in her recommendation letter.

A few of VJAA’s most notable projects include:

The Charles Hostler Student Center in Beirut, Lebanon, which organizes a village of contextual masonry and glass student amenity buildings around a radial “street” plan designed for ideal solar orientation, thus creating shaded microclimates. The facility uses a multitude of active (as well as passive) sustainability strategies like solar power, green roofs, and geothermal cooling.

The Type/Variant House in Wisconsin, a collection of richly textured wood-framed and copper-clad rectilinear volumes arranged on a rural site asymmetrically, which use their unique geometry to enhance the display of art objects in a sequential pattern.

The Lavin-Bernick Center for University Life at Tulane University in New Orleans, a student center addition and renovation that uses layers of porch-like screening and shading to facilitate the circulation of daylight and natural ventilation.

The Minneapolis Rowing Club Building in Minneapolis, a simple building that lets light pour in from a canted top corner window, illuminating a parallel series of interior roof trusses that serve as a visual metaphor for the teamwork associated with rowing; oars pushing their craft forward in lockstep.

Like all the best VJAA projects, these buildings offer a rare gift: expertly balanced designs situated at a precise intersection between expression and context, offering new ways for users to experience their site. “What I admire most about VJAA is the resoluteness of their work at every scale,” wrote Marlon Blackwell, FAIA, in a recommendation letter. “Whether it is at the scale of the city, the scale of the building, or the scale of the hand, each project is developed as a comprehensive, integrated system of determined relationships.” Whether it’s a simple house addition’s way of re-centering the domestic sphere toward better views, sunlight, and summer breezes, or a college campus’ second opportunity to define its identity through the evolution of the work of a Modern architecture master, VJAA has perfected the art of envisioning its buildings as vehicles to fully and truly experience a place.

The Minneapolis Rowing Club Building in Minneapolis

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