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Archive for 2013

Verbania Opera Hall in Italy by Andrea Maffei Architects

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

Article source: Andrea Maffei Architects

The intervention area is located in a residential neighborhood in the center of Intra (Verbania), consisting of residential buildings and a plaza parking space. The project’ objective was to create a building to transform the existing context around. The form has been designed both to solve the functional needs of the theatre and to design an absolute form, which could become a new point of reference for citizens and a distinguishing element of the context around it. In the contemporary city, the buildings always led to similar mixed contexts in which we find no evidence that can address the tensions and movements of the city in a specific way. The purpose of a public building as the new theater of Verbania was this: to become a coordinating element of the city and transform the context.

Image Courtesy © Andrea Maffei Architects

  • Architects: Andrea Maffei Architects
  • Project: Verbania Opera Hall
  • Location: Verbania (VB)
  • Program: opera theatre and concert hall
  • Client: City of Verbania
  • Competition: 2007
  • Project: Arata Isozaki + Andrea Maffei
  • Design team: Hidenari Arai, Takeshi Miura, Kenji Yatsu, Rawad Choubassi, Simone Utzeri, Filippo Biagi, Atsuko Suzuki, Andrea Maffei Architects / Stefano Tozzi, M+T & Partners
  • Structure: ing. Mutsuro Sasaki, SAPS Tokyo
  • Mep plants: Hilson Moran Italia, Milano

A Vacation home on Easter Island in Kaltene, Rojas district, Latvia by Zaigas Gailes Birojs

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

Article source:  Zaigas Gailes Birojs

Living house

The original red brick building – a Fish Factory pumping station was built by collective farm Banga engineers in 1980s. Over 20 years since it was built, it has never been exploired. The monument of industrial architecture from the Soviet era was transformed into a vacation home for ourselves.
Transformation of the Pumping Station into a vacation home is an uninvasive conversion of both site and building.

Aerial view of the Vacation home on Easter island, Image Courtesy © Ansis Starks

  • Architects: Zaigas Gailes Birojs 
  • Project: A Vacation home on Easter Island
  • Location: Kaltene, Rojas district, Latvia
  • Total area: Living house: 798 m2, Bath house: 52 m2
  • Authors: Zaiga Gaile, Maris Gailis, Agnese Sirma
  • Project: Zaigas Gailes Birojs Ltd.
  • Client/Developer: Maris Gailis
  • General contractor: PS Serviss Ltd.
  • Engineers: Construction- Tavs Nams Ltd.,Water supply and sewage; Heating and ventilation – Ardiko projektesana Ltd.,Electricity project- MJ elektro Ltd.,Low intensity current project- Telemaks Ltd.,  Hydrotechnical works – BGS Ltd., Harbour construction works – HT-konsalting Ltd.
  • Project: 2005-2006
  • Building process: 2006-2010

Ruins of fish factory pumping station before conversion to a vacation home, Image Courtesy © Maris Gailis

The original brick walls were preserved and repaired where neccesary. The facade has been insulated and covered with rusted corten steel plates from Ruukki. It was important to us that the square block on the island – for many years, a prominent Kaltene landmark – keep its original reddish tone. The Pump House is opened up on the seaward side. The blind northeast façade is given large, new windows with aluminium frames, like those in the façade facing the shore. The building is no longer a massive block, it becomes open and transparent. In the middle, on both sides, are glass doors of the same dimensions as the windows. All of the tall windows and doors are outfitted with sliding shutters. The shutters, like the cladding of the façade, are made of corten steel plates, but are perforated and mounted on stainless steel frames. Architectural details and landscaping elements such as the gate and the outside lamps are also made of rusted steel. The height of the former pump room (7 m) makes it possible to build mezzanine platforms on steel frames clad with exotic wood (Yatoba) planks.

Night view from the pier , Image Courtesy © Ainars Meiers

The subterranean part of the building has been covered with a reinforced concrete slab to create a basement with a low ceiling. The style of the interior was determined by the industrial origins of the building, as can be seen in the open constructions and the rough, untreated surfaces. The brick external walls have been lightly trowelled with lime mortar and painted white, leaving the texture of the brickwork visible. The partition walls are from aerated concrete blocks trowelled with lime mortar and painted white. The reinforced concrete panels of the ceiling and the supporting beams have been minimally restored and left in their original condition, with only a light wash of concrete paint. The metal telpher that moves along the two load-bearing rails below the ceiling and the blue-tinted rails have simply been washed and coated with furniture wax. The rails, which run from one end of the house to the other, fulfil a number of new functions.The ceiling luminaires along both sides of the house are mounted on these rails. The free-standing wall of shelf units is held upright with the help of a new aluminium truss spanned across the rails. The pulleys for the wires and counterweights supporting the metal hood of the fireplace are also fastened to the rails.

The building has ribbon-shaped foundation on palling. All of the living area floors are heated with water from the ground- source heat pump and clad with exotic wood planks.

Architect Zaiga Gaile at the Entrance door. Facade detail of the perforated corten steel shutters, Image Courtesy © Ansis Starks

The Bath house-Nautilus

The Bathhouse – the Nautilus – is located on the beach. It resembles the turret of a submarine and is clad with riveted stainless-steel plates. The strange object is an attempt at organic, sculptural expression in architectural form, a perhaps somewhat ironic version of the traditional Latvian bathhouse. We understood that the object would have to be something sculptural – different in form and material from the main house.

Living space with the dining table and kitchen area, Image Courtesy © Ansis Starks

Nautilus has a stainless steel carcass construction, which was created in a warehouse, transportated and put together on site.  The outer plates were clenched to the stainless steel construction.  Plates – 1.5mm thick (Finnish). Between the carcass there is a 20cm thick layer of foam-glass insulation (imported from Germany). Inner wall finish- white plastering. Doors, windows – individual design, made from stainless steel. Heating – electric warm floors. Ventilation – natural. Floor – stainless steel plates. Sauna – electric stove. Finished with asp wooden planks. Outer bath tube is created from individual design in stainless steel with two massage spouts and underwater lightning. Bath water is kept warm with electric heat ~37 degrees. Bath tube has a cover, to keep the water warm, when it is not used. Water is taken from underground drillhole supply. Nautilus was created by individual constructor Dzintars Pliksis, who worked on the site for a year. Nautilus bath house is defined as a design object, and creation of such took a very long time and accurate work. The owner Maris Gailis found the soviet time perescope by putting an add in the internet. The wooden furniture in the interior is of exotic wood Yatoba – the same as in the living house. Lightning objects were taken from ship interior catalogues. Nautilus idea originated during Christmass holiday as a reflection of captain’s Nemo cabin out of Gil Vern’s novel. Young people call it: cosmic architecture. The success lies in the fact that all the work was done very attentively and accurately-a perfect quality.

Lounging area – ‘yurt’ with individually designed mobile fireplace, Image Courtesy © Ansis Starks


The family vacation home  is an environmentally friendly object that is autonomous in regard of heating, ventilation, water supply and sewage. The only exception is electric power, although we had initially hoped to produce power with a wind generator. The idea has been put on hold until government support is made available for individually produced electric power. The buildings are heated with help of a ground- source heat pump that takes energy from an artesian drill hole.

View of the children’s apartment with closed shutters, Image Courtesy © Ansis Starks

Natural air exchange is provided by ventilation ducts in the chimneys of the Pumping Station. The rooms in the basement and the main hall are ventilated through the original pipes of the pumping system installed below the ground level of the island.

Water is drawn from a 70 m deep artesian well located in the beach zone. Sewage is biologically treated. The biological purification tank is buried on the south end of the island, the purified water is drained into the ground.

At the end of the mole is a transformer substation that provides the island with power. Power cables run under the surface of the mole from the transformer station to the basement of the main building. A 32 kW generator has also been installed in the basement to provide electricity in the case of a power failure. The fuel supply is sufficient for seven days.

Master bedroom on mezzazine platform, Image Courtesy © Ansis Starks


The name of the area – Easter Island was chosen due to the fact that the owners- Zaiga and Maris Gaili discovered the property on a trip along Kurzeme shoreline on Easter morning. Therefore the design of perforation of the window and door Corten-steel shutters was created based on the original sculptures of the Moai – the stone giants of the original Easter Island, downscaled 1:250 – which appear to be watching each other from opposite shutters.

Architectural details and landscaping elements such as the gate and the outside lamps are also individually designes and made of rusted steel. They look as if they have been there forever, corroded over the years – just like the old water pipes of the Pumping Station, which have an authentic patina.

The bath house ‘Nautilus’ located on private beach behind the vacation house, Image Courtesy © Maija Putnina


The design of the interior is an exercise in contrasts: rough, cool industrial surfaces and perfectly finished, warm wood. The stark element is represented by the crudely finished brickwork walls, the concrete panels, the metal beams, platforms, stairs and railings, the aluminium windows. The contrast is achieved with consistent and abundant use of wood – a style borrowed from the architecture of yachts and ships.

The concept for the furnishings is based on highquality design that has stood the test of time.

View to the open sea from the outdoor bath tub in Nautilus, Image Courtesy © Ansis Starks


Kitchen was individually designed and equipped by Bulthaup. It is located on one side of the living area beneath the master apartment balcony. It has an island with installed sink, shelves and wine refrigirator; built-in coffe mashine, ice-maker, microwave, stove and oven. All equipment from Gaggenau.

Exclusive elements

The Vacation house is located on the only artificial island in the Baltic sea.

Given the name of Easter Island due to the Easter Holidays, when it was discovered by the owners.The conversion project anticipates preservation of the island’s landscape and architectural features, these being understood as a monument of Soviet industrial architecture – a token of a bygone time and place. Transformation of the Pumping Station into a vacation home is an uninvasive conversion of both site and building.

Site plan, Image Courtesy © ZaigasGailesBirojs

Additional information

International awards

Vacation Home On Easter Island has been shortlisted in the category House at WORLD ARCHITECTURE FESTIVAL 2012, which took place in Singapore from October 3 to 5, 2012,

Project -  Vacation home on Easter Island has been nominated for Mies van der Rohe 2011 award.

Project has won the International Architecture Award 2010 by The Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design; and been 2009 House of the Year by WAN (World Architecture News) long list finalist.

Ground floor plan, Image Courtesy © ZaigasGailesBirojs

Local awards:

2009    The Best Projects of Latvia 2009 award – A Vacation home on Easter Island, Kaltene, Latvia

Annual award of Latvian Architect Association

2009    Public vote winner 2009 – A Vacation home on Easter Island, Kaltene, Latvia

2008    The Best Modern Solution in Historical Environment – reconstruction of pump station of experimental factory, Kaltene, Roja disctrict, Latvia

Annual award of Cultural Heritage 2007

2008    The Best Building in Latvia, 2007 in nomination Reconstruction, First Prize – conversion of former fish pumping station to residential house, Kaltene, Roja district, Latvia

Annual award of Latvian Builders Associantion

Alpha Units in Lewisham, Sydney by Tony Owen Partners

Sunday, June 9th, 2013

Article source: Tony Owen Partners

The Alpha by Tony Owen Partners is due to start construction in July. Located in Lewisham on the fringe of the Sydney city centre, the Alpha will form the cornerstone of the new McGill master plan prepared by Tony Owen Partners. Alpha’s distinctive design and style which sets it apart from other developments. Its hexagonal pod-like façade creates an environmental screen which controls light and frames the views, allowing maximum exposure as well as privacy. The seven storey building encompasses a selection of one bedroom and two bedroom apartments and retail/commercial spaces. The top levels contain two and three bedroom two storey ‘skyhomes’ with hexagonal metal pods leading onto expansive roof terraces with panoramic views towards the city and surrounding parklands.

Image Courtesy © Tony Owen Partners


Pettelaarpark in Hertogenbosch, Nederland by ZZDP Architecten

Sunday, June 9th, 2013

Article source: ZZDP Architecten

The Building is situated in the business park Pettelaarpark. Its location facing the ring road A2, means it is being seen from various angles.

Although a single building was planned on the site, two separate owners joined forced to develop the site. The resulting massing reflects the wishes of the clients to create two independent building, while providing the unity the urban planners envisioned.

Image Courtesy © Michel Kievits

  • Architects: ZZDP Architecten
  • Project: Pettelaarpark
  • Location: Merendonkweg, ’s Hertogenbosch, Nederland
  • GFA:  12.600 sq.m., 420 parking places
  • Completion : March 2012
  • Architect: Joris Deur, Adam Smit
  • Team: Lysann Theiler, Frank Hoekzema
  • Photographer: Michel Kievits (more…)

Chan Chan Visitor Center in Trujillo, Peru by Utopus studio

Sunday, June 9th, 2013

Article source: Utopus studio

The visitors’ center serves as an entry and educational center for the archaeological site of Chan Chan, an ancient city that was once the capital of the Chimor Kingdom (4th to 11th century) that existed along the north coast of South America. The visitors’ center is located at the entrance of the Tschudi Palace, the only palace open to visitors among the other eight palaces of the ancient city of Chan Chan.

Image Courtesy © Utopus studio

  • Architects: Utopus studio
  • Project: Chan Chan
  • Location: Chan-Chan Ruins, Trujillo, Peru
  • Date: 1998
  • Client: National Institute of Culture (Instituto Nacional de Cultura)
  • Area: 625 sqm
  • Materials: adobe, wood, cane, earth, brick, gravel and ceramic
  • Program: ramps, courtyard, tickets booth, exhibition galleries, cafeteria, and shops
  • Software used: CAD and free hand drawings


House Walde in Kitzbühel, Austria by GOGL ARCHITEKTEN

Sunday, June 9th, 2013

Article source: GOGL ARCHITEKTEN

The client requested an open, light-filled room with the garden and the beautiful backdrop of the Kitzbühl Alps integrated into the living space.

Image Courtesy © Mario Webhofer

  • Architects: GOGL ARCHITEKTEN
  • Project: House Walde
  • Location: Kitzbühel, Austria
  • Category: one family house
  • Start of planning: May 2008
  • Start of construction: July 2011
  • Completion: Nov. 2012


TWIN BLADE in Amsterdam by NIO architecten

Sunday, June 9th, 2013

Article source: NIO architecten

It’s a well-known adage that the knife cuts both ways. What this means is that each advantage has its disadvantage, that there’s a drawback to everything. This makes it an unanswerable platitude that results in a great deal of apathy. Better than a knife that cuts both ways is a knife with two blades, which share the same handle and where each blade has a single cutting edge. This is known as a twin blade. It allows you to cut two different things at a single stroke or to facilitate two dissimilar functions – or characters – at one and the same time. And that’s the idea behind the houseboat.

Image Courtesy © NIO Architect

  • Architects: NIO architecten
  • Project: TWIN BLADE
  • Location: Amsterdam
  • Address: Jaagpad 17, Amsterdam
  • Design: NIO Architects
  • Client: Private
  • Contractors: Het Waterhuys (basic structure)
  • Design team: Maurice Nio and Arek Seredyn
  • Start design: September 2009
  • Completion: 2012
  • Construction costs: €400,000
  • Software used: AutoCAD


Tent House in Cañete, Lima, Peru by Nómena Arquitectos

Sunday, June 9th, 2013

Article source: Nómena Arquitectos

A weightless plane parallel to a surface that projects a shadow creating a habitable space beneath it. This project is a temporal private beach house. It’s located south of Lima, district of Cañete, within a desert climate near to the Pacific Ocean.

Image Courtesy © Juan Solano

  • Architects: Nómena Arquitectos
  • Project: Tent House
  • Location: Cañete, Lima, Peru
  • Terrain area: 198.55m2
  • Built area: 278.25m2
  • Design Team: Talía Valdéz
  • Photographs: Juan Solano
  • Constructor: EF Contratistas
  • Structural design: Eng. César Villegas
  • Sanitary engineer: Eng.  José Luis Vega
  • Electric engineer: Eng. José Luis Vega


House of Shiroyama in kanagawa prefecture, japan by araki sasaki architects

Sunday, June 9th, 2013

Article source:  araki sasaki architects

Charred wooden planks wrap the exterior of the ‘House in Shiroyama’ by Japanese practice Araki + Sasaki architects (A+Sa), differentiating
it from its neighbors in the suburban area. The two-story wood-frame construction takes on the shape of a regular square, characterized on
the inside by the exposed natural plywood textures and surfaces and open spaces that expose the true scale of the structure from the social
areas on the ground floor.  The pitched roof gently rises on each side equally until reaching a square skylight that forms a structural ring 
allowing natural light to illuminate the entire interior.  The construction was approached from a DIY technique, using standard member sizes
and connections to allow for easy future expansion and a rational structural grid. The knots of the plywood filled and polished with epoxy resin. The ground level contains the kitchen and dining areas
on an elevated wooden platform, with a private bathroom and bedroom. The wooden beams that hold up the loft level floorboards are
left uncovered allowing a direct visual connection. A staircase at the entrance connects to the partial second story that can be used as a
living or working space.

Image Courtesy © araki sasaki architects

  • Architects: araki sasaki architects
  • Project: House of Shiroyama
  • Location: kanagawa prefecture,  japan
  • Site area149.03
  • Built area53.00
  • Ground floor53.00
  • First floor32.30
  • Total floor85.30
  • Height 7.8m, 2 stories
  • Software used: VECTER WORKS


House Tsi, Mooikloof in South Africa by Nico van der Meulen Architects

Saturday, June 8th, 2013

Article source: Nico van der Meulen Architects

When the owners of this home approached Nico van der Meulen Architects, their brief was simple: “to design a stunning, cutting-edge, contemporary home”. The only absolute requirement was that it had to be visually extraordinary with an indoor swimming pool.

The relaxed attitude of the client and the large site (10 000m²/~2.5 acres) provided the architects with a golden opportunity to explore the home three-dimensionally with advanced 3D computer software, and fuse the programmatic requirements into the 3D model. The outcome was a design where form meets function. Enhancing the structure are the incorporation of sun-orientation, circulation, open-plan living areas, view orientation and privacy.

Image Courtesy © Nico van der Meulen Architects


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