Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Abedian School of Architecture in Queensland, Australia by CRAB studio
January 28th, 2014 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: CRAB studio
The Abedian School of Architecture is located on the campus designed in the 1980s by Arata Isozaki. It forms part of the Faculty of Architecture and Sustainable Design. Winning the competition in January 2011, CRAB was awarded the contract and the building was completed in 2013.
Peter Cook’s and Gavin Robotham’s long experience as teachers of architecture and their regular working knowledge of several including the Bartlett, AA, Harvard, SCI-ARC, Columbia, Frankfurt and UCLA enabled them to incorporate a response to many anecdotal criteria as well as constructional and climatic objectives.
The building is a long, airy loft on two to three levels articulated by a series of ‘scoops’: defining structure-enclosures that can be used for casual meetings and ‘crit’ sessions. These line the central street that gently rises up the hilltop site. As befits a hot and sometimes sticky climate, the building is airy and folds over upon itself in a series of fan-like roofs and slits with advantage is taken of the east-west axis to clarify a very climate-controlled development of the building envelope that includes sunshade ‘eyebrows’ on the sundrenched north side.
The Abedian School of Architecture is CRAB’S second University building. As with their other work, the sociology and sense of ‘theatre’, of small, intimate groups within institutions, the importance of the non-curricula moments – and a ‘sense of theatre’ – all run through the project which is taken right through to their design of its colourful and highly flexible furniture.
It is a different type of set-up from most others. In mannerism it might seem to resemble a workshop or art studio. Yet it produces buildings of a substantial scale– a housing block of 97 apartments in Madrid, 21,000 square metres university facility buildings in Vienna and a new architectural school in Brisbane, Australia. The studio pursues all sorts of design challenges from pack-up-and-go inflatable to temporary structure and from culture, institution building to investigating the potential of urban areas.
All these, as well as the moderately scaled pavilions, bridges or truly experimental projects are treated equally as an opportunity to explore alternatives to the architecture of ‘polite modernism’ with which everyone is familiar. No configuration, combination of techniques, of materials or of constructible alternatives is creatively rejected.
Perhaps this should come as no surprise in the light of CRAB’s Directors:
Sir Peter Cook (founder of Archigram) who, besides the ‘Plug-in City’ of the 1960s and the Graz ‘Kunsthaus’ (with Colin Fournier) of the 2000’s has designed and invented a myriad of much-published schemes, or for Gavin Robotham who returned some years ago from Harvard to become the job architect (and creative ‘whizz’) on the interiors of Sheffield’s ‘Magna’ centre (awarded the Stirling Prize in 2004) and the interior of Libeskind’s War Museum North.
In a recent ‘profile’ on the office in ‘Building Design’, it was described as ”… a hive of activity… just what architecture needs just now CRAB is a breath of fresh air”.
In Graz, the winning of a competition led to a greatly enjoyed building that is now used by the Austrian government on posters to declare “Austria – the old meets the new”, with a 70%+ public approval rating from a recent survey and housing a succession of highly reviewed art shows and events. The winning of the Vienna competition was in some measure based upon the CRAB partners’ deep experience in education and student life and the scheme involves several new types of seminar space, courtyard, and garden and various nooks and crannies for quiet thinking. This has led to a fascinating and undulating form: unlike the majority of boring academic buildings.
In order for this to all happen, the office is now augmenting its team to include highly experienced architects as well as the hand-picked young designers that Cook and Robotham already collect via their strong academic links.
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Category: Educational Center