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To see a World in a grain of sand, already beats, in which the being that is

And a Heaven in a wild flower, going to be born, further developed, already

Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand, appears wholly complete. That is the diagram
And Eternity in an hour. in a work of architecture. In my architecture,
diagrams have played an important role. And
How many times have I repeated this whenever I am asked for documentation to
beautiful poem by William Blake to my publish a project, I include some diagram to
students, trying to inculcate them with how explain my intentions clearly. The diagram
much of the ineffable the best architecture expresses the idea precisely. It is the first
has. ‘To see a World in a grain of sand’ has concretion from thought to reality. When I
quite a bit to do with what a diagram is in draw a diagram, it seems as though I wink
relation to the project that it explains to my eyes in the attitude that Shakespeare
us. While the dictionary says that diagram describes so well at the beginning of his
is a ‘graphic figure that explains a specific beautiful Sonnet 43:
phenomenon’, knowing how complex ‘When most I wink, then do my eyes best see,
constructed architecture is, we are surprised For all the day they view things unrespected.’
by the diagram’s capacity, as a small and ALBERTO CAMPO BAEZA
simple drawing, to express so much. Like the
grain of sand does in regard to the world.
I have written time and time again that
architecture is ‘built idea’. And to build
these ideas, one needs design plans that
can express what and how this reality is.
These drawings are like anatomical cross-
sections of the new architectural body.
They are the development of other, simpler
drawings that defined the project in a more
general manner before. And if we keep
pulling the thread, we reach a key moment:
the beginning. There, the very schematic
drawings appear as the diagrams. The
diagram is the key drawing that contains
within it the seed for the entire project. It
would be like the foetus in which the heart

Admired: Boutade
The diagrams made by the masters express clear ideas with simple pencil
strokes. Mies’s diagrams, tense, elegant and serene, are the prelude to his
impeccable architecture. Le Corbusier’s diagrams, categorical, strong and
forceful, speak of the universality of his works.
And Alvar Aalto’s diagrams, lyrical, organic and fluid, put forward the
emotion of his spaces. But if I had to choose one diagram, I would choose
the drawing Le Corbusier made of Villa Stein in Garches as a bare box
at the side of which he wrote ‘très difficile (satisfaction de l´esprit)’.
56 | 1 Satisfaction of the spirit, what is that if not architecture? 57 | 1
My real obsession is landscapes, like Ayers Trade fair as landscape between the east and west entrances that
Rock, the red mountain in Australia, the atolls The design of the New Milan Trade Fair provide the main accesses to the Trade
in Polynesia, enormous dunes that form and chooses to make the longitudinal connection Fair. The buildings along the central axis
dissolve in the deserts, icebergs. I have always axis its main generator; a spine which are suspended above diversely treated
been fascinated by the beauty of the absence of gives structure to the entire complex. landscaped areas: water, green areas and
form, the imperfection of beauty. I have always This space, the ‘central axis’, is the place concrete, with the flanking stainless-steel
asked myself how it is possible to create a form of activities, the centre of information, and and glass facades of the exhibition halls,
of architecture with no shape and with no the place of crossing. These concepts are become the scenography. Above the whole
geometrical or complex dimensions. I believe developed through the positioning of a of this space extends the vast roof – an
that artists, even the worst ones, are better series of buildings alongside the main axis, undulating lightweight structure like a veil; a
than architects, because artists always start with connections at ground level, and at veil, with a surface area exceeding
from a vision; architects never speak about it, footbridge level, 6.5m above. The buildings 46 000sqm, and over 1300m in length.
they always speak about a project. I became an host various functions: restaurants, meeting MASSIMILIANO FUKSAS, MASSIMILIANO
architect because my mother was afraid I would rooms, office spaces, and reception areas FUKSAS ARCHITETTO
become an artist and, to her way of thinking, that connect with the exhibition halls. The
artists were people who never had any money. My pathway stretches between two areas,
dream is that everyone can have ideas, passions
and feelings. What is the point in struggling to
earn more and more, to gain more power?


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Page 29
1 This new art museum in St Louis is conceived as a flexible
The new museum at night – mass
touched by light. shell for experiment that reaches out to its surroundings.
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Meet me in St Louis, Louis, meet me at the Fair’, sang Judy Garland,

and the city is celebrating the centenary of that high point in its
fortunes, even as it struggles – like so many others in the Midwest –
to regenerate its battered core. Progress has been made since Eero
Saarinen’s Gateway Arch was built on the banks of the Mississippi in
1968, and the Grand Center Arts District at the edge of downtown
has recently acquired two small but potent gems: Tadao Ando’s
Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts and the Contemporary Art Museum
by Allied Works Architecture. They occupy neighbouring sites and
conduct a lively dialogue across a shared courtyard dominated by a
Richard Serra torqued steel sculpture.
What’s remarkable is how well these two radically different
buildings complement each other visually as well as in purpose. The
Pulitzer, which opened two years ago, is a signature work by Ando in
the finest in-situ concrete. It has the air of a spiritual retreat: refined,
serene, and inward-looking; a place for solitary contemplation of
twentieth-century masterworks from the Pulitzer collection, which is
open by appointment two days a week. In contrast, Allied Works
principal Brad Cloepfil designed the new museum as a flexible shell
for experimentation in the visual arts, and programmes that reach out
to the depressed neighbourhood and the general public. Concrete
walls are clad in tightly woven stainless-steel mesh, and expansive
location plan windows open up views from street to courtyard. Galleries for
changing exhibitions occupy a quarter of its 2500 sq m; the rest are
given over to a large performance space, an education centre and
café, plus upstairs offices and classrooms. The building cost only $6.5
million, substantially less than its neighbour.
Thanks to the generosity of Emily Pulitzer and other patrons, the
C ONTEMPORARY ART MUSEUM , CAM has moved far beyond its modest beginnings in a downtown
S T L OUIS , M ISSOURI , USA storefront, and it selected Allied Works from a shortlist that included
ARCHITECT Herzog & de Meuron, Rem Koolhaas, and Peter Zumthor. It was a
A LLIED W ORKS prescient choice, for Cloepfil has since won acclaim for prestigious 3

The museum complex in St Louis’
depressed cityscape. Allied Works’
new building (left) joins Ando’s
museum on the right.
Concrete walls wrapped in stainless-
steel mesh are beautifully smooth,
impassive surfaces.
30 | 1 2 Expansive windows open up views. 31 | 10
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1 entrance lobby
2 gallery spaces
3 education studio
4 performance space
5 courtyard
6 café
7 loading
8 line of Ando building
9 administrative offices
10 resource centre
11 classroom

cross section cross section

6 5 9

7 10
1 4

2 11

The internal courtyard.
32 | 1 ground floor plan (scale approx 1:1250) first floor plan Detail of mesh-wrapped walls. 6 33 | 10
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axonometric of building elements

arts projects in New York, Dallas, and Seattle, all of which are north facade, and steps lead down from this introductory space to
characterized by a cool minimalism and sensitivity to aesthetic needs. the galleries. Cloepfil has played with space and light as though they
As he explains: ‘In making space for contemporary art, the architecture were liquids, containing and releasing them, allowing visitors to feel
must first serve the artist; not by attempting to render a background they are swimming through galleries that open up to each other and
for the art, but by providing the artist with a specific spatial presence, to outdoor areas that are tightly enclosed by the two buildings. There
an intentional vacancy that achieves meaning through the art itself.’ He are two levels of wall: 4m high sections at ground level, and a 6m high
also spoke of creating ‘a fusion of the city and the arts.’ band that wraps around the upper level in serpentine fashion, tying
Cloepfil has pushed the building out to a curved corner that the spaces together. The steel mesh is carried inside in places to add
gives it a distinctive prow, and has restored the original street line – another layer and a contrasting texture to the white painted
in contrast to the Pulitzer, which is pulled back. The contents of the sheetrock on the display walls. Ceiling planes float at different levels,
building are revealed though window walls, so that its role as an art admitting light from clerestories and blocking direct sun. The effect is
centre is immediately apparent. Concrete walls are sandblasted to one of interlocking boxes cut away to leave only a few defining edges.
dematerialize the surface and distinguish it from Ando’s small Paul Ha, the new director of St Louis CAM, made his reputation at
modules. The mesh is set 100-150mm from the walls, unifying the White Columns, New York’s most adventurous alternative art
facade and shading the office and classroom windows. It’s a concept space. ‘It changes one’s perception of art to see it in a different
that the architect has developed and taken further in the setting,’ he observes, ‘and artists welcome the challenge of
translucent membrane he proposes to wrap around the former responding to the energy of place.’ For Cloepfil, the task was ‘to
Huntington Hartford Gallery in New York, a marble-clad Venetian make spaces that serve the arts and artists, while allowing for a
pastiche by Edward Durrell Stone, to provide a new home for the subtle emotional response from the individual. It was imperative to
Museum of Contemporary Arts and Design. create a physical environment that visitors would feel comfortable
Double glass doors open onto the lobby from a setback in the returning to again and again.’ MICHAEL WEBB

9 10

Allied Works, Portland, USA
Hélène Binet

Looking through the courtyard.
After the compression of the
outdoor areas, galleries are tall, airy,
luminous spaces.
9, 10
The building is conceived as a
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such skills will eventually be lost for ever. Here, James Morris presents a photographic survey of some astonishing examples of religious and domestic buildings.
Building with mud is one of the oldest architectural traditions and is still practised with remarkable results in parts of West Africa, though there are fears that

Above: Friday Mosque, Djenné, Mali – biggest mud building in the world and defining image of West
African architecture. Foundations are more than 500 years old, though building has often been rebuilt.
Right: mosque, Yebe, Mali. Stick-studded mosques of Niger delta region define the unique aesthetic of
Western Sudan. Though wooden posts have practical functions – as scaffold for re-rendering, structural
support, and assisting in expelling moisture from heart of the wall – the most striking impact is visual.
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Too often, when people in the West think of

traditional African architecture, they perceive
nothing more than a mud hut; a primitive ver-
nacular half remembered from a Tarzan film.
But why this ignorance of half a continent’s
heritage? Possibly because the great dynastic
civilizations of the region were already in
decline when European colonizers first
exposed these cultures to a wider audience.
Being made of perishable mud, many older
buildings have been lost, unlike the stone or
brick structures of other ancient cultures. Or
possibly this lack of awareness is because the
buildings are just too strange, too foreign to
have been easily appreciated by outsiders.
Often they are more like huge monolithic
sculptures or ceramic pots than architecture
as we might conventionally think of it. But the
surviving buildings are neither historic monu-
ments in the classic sense, nor are they as cul-
turally remote as they may initially appear.
They share many of the qualities now valued
in Western architectural thinking such as sus-
tainability, sculptural form and community
participation in their conception and making.
Though part of long held traditions and
ancient cultures, they are also contemporary
structures, serving a current purpose. If they
lost their relevance and were neglected, they
would collapse. In the West, mud is effec-
tively regarded as dirt, yet in rural Africa (as
in so much of the world) it is the most com-
mon of building materials with which every-
body has direct contact. Maintaining and
resurfacing of buildings is part of the rhythm
of life, and there is an ongoing and active
participation in their continuing existence.
This is not a museum culture.
Superbly formed and highly expressive,
these extraordinary buildings emerge from
the most basic of materials, earth and water,
and in the harshest of conditions. They are
vibrant works of art with their own distinct
and striking aesthetic, skilfully responding to
the qualities of African light and the inher-
ent properties of mud to emphasize shadow,
texture, silhouette, profile and form. During
the course of a year the mud render dries,
the surface is covered in a web of cracks and
then it slowly starts to peel off before being
re-rendered. With each re-rendering, the
shape of a building is subtly altered, so

Top: Nando Mosque, Mali. Supposedly built by a giant

in one night, this highly sculptural mosque is a unique
structure that borders the magical and fantastical.
Middle: women’s quarters, Tangasoko, Burkina Faso.
Among the Kassena people, each married woman has
her own quarters in the family compound. Built by
men and decorated by women, they contain living
room and adjoining kitchen. On her death they are
allowed to disintegrate, the land and crumbled earth
to be reused by a future generation.
Bottom: house of the chief of Djenné, Mali. Moroccan
influenced wooden windows are a recent development.
Right: Hogon House, Sanga, Mali. The most distinct
architectural form of the Dogon people, the Hogon
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change and movement are ever present. The

material is tactile, warm and vulnerable,
demanding and receiving an engaged rela-
tionship with its users. Often people attempt
to cement render the buildings, but not only
does this destroy them physically, as they rot
from within, but it also destroys their char-
acter. Their uniqueness is their muddiness.
The future of these buildings is hard to
predict. Mud is such a vulnerable material
and there is an enthusiasm for building in
concrete. Given the means, many would tear
down their mud houses and build cement
block and tin roofed replacements, common
practice in those countries that can afford to
do so. So what will happen when rural
Africans are lifted out of their desperate
poverty? Will there be an understandable
rush to rid themselves of the physical mani-
festations of that harrowing past? It can
already be seen in wealthier countries such
as Ghana and Nigeria where there is virtu-
ally nothing left for future generations to
repair and preserve. Not only the buildings
have gone but also the skills to build them.
It is a gradual process of extinction.
Already the extraordinary upturned jelly
mould houses of the Mousgoum people of
Cameroon are gone, soon those of the
Kassena and Gurensi in Ghana will disap-
pear. The Sakho houses of the Boso in Mali
are all abandoned and in ruins. It is quite
possible that when west Africa emerges from
below the poverty line there will be little of
its built heritage remaining to be appreci-
ated. The saving grace is probably Islam,
ever expanding and building more mosques,
but even then only in rural parts. In cities,
the mosques funded by Wahabi Saudi funds
are atrocious concrete imitations of a bas-
tardized Middle Eastern style.
In the sparsely populated Sahal plains of
the Western Sudan, traditional built forms
in mud are the most striking representations
of human creativity and a unique part of our
world culture – they should not be forgotten.

These photographs are taken from Butabu – adobe architecture of West

Africa, James Morris and Suzanne Preston Blier, New York,
Princeton Architectural Press, 2003.

Top: house, Djenné, Mali. Mud rendered walls have to

be resurfaced regularly. As the mud dries it cracks,
forming a delicate textured surface. The gently
moulded structure behind the wall is a covered
staircase opening onto the flat roof. The shape will
subtly alter each time it is re-rendered.
Bottom: house, Djenné, Mali. The blank facade with
tiny openings for windows is a traditional style for the
Djenné house. Domestic activity is concentrated in
the open courtyard to the rear.
Right: Sanam Mosque, Niger, designed in 1998 by
Abou Moussa who travelled hundreds of miles from
Yaamaa to this inaccessible region in the north of the
country. It was built in 45 days by the whole village
and appears to be the largest and most striking recent
mud building in Niger.
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Royal Academy Forum

Sponsored by


Landscape has long been a source of inspiration. RA Forum invited art historian Malcolm Andrews, author of
Measuring America Andro Linklater, artists Simon Callery and Hamish Fulton, film-maker Patrick Keiller and
architect Farshid Moussavi to discuss the Meaning, Mapping and Making of Landscape. Edited by Jeremy Melvin.

MALCOLM ANDREWS the Romantic version of landscape. However, modern understanding

Origins of the term ‘landscape’ seem to lie in northern Europe: the of landscape often emphasizes its conceptual, cultural significance
Dutch, Belgian, German terms, Lantschap, Lantskip, Landschaft rather than the topographical or material meaning. Landscape is
respectively. Sometimes it was used to designate land in the immediate explored as a mental construct. ‘Landscape is Nature mediated by
environs of a town or city, not just natural scenery. When eventually Culture’ is an attractively succinct definition, until one begins to ask
used in terms of art, it designates the area of a religious painting that what exactly is ‘Nature’? and question the extent to which ‘Nature’
forms the setting for the central drama and its protagonists. Thomas itself is a cultural construct? Can we oppose Nature and Culture so
Blount’s Glossographia (1670) gives a definition that might have applied easily as this definition suggests? Where do we draw the line between
to the term through much of the early modern period: Nature and Culture to preserve the integrity of ‘Nature’? These
‘Landtskip (Belg) Parergon, Paisage, or By-work, which is an questions suggest that ‘tastes’ in landscape act as a cultural barometer
expressing the Land, by Hills, Woods, Castles, valleys, Rivers, Cities of civilization’s sense of its relationship with Nature.
&c as far as may be shewed in our Horizon. All that which in a Picture Images of landscape often evoke sheer pleasure, a pleasure which
is not of the body or argument thereof is Landskip, Parergon, or by-work. arises from several possible sources. It might be associations, such as
As in the Table of our Saviors passion, the picture of Christ upon the memories of holidays, pastoral idylls, the peacefulness, the slower pace,
Rood (which is the proper English word for Cross) the two theeves, the or a whole imagined way of life. Equally it could be from the space,
blessed Virgin Mary, and St John, are the argument: But the City, light, freedom, colour found in landscape. It might also be seen as an
Jerusalem, the Country about, the clouds, and the like, are Landskip.’ It is antidote, either to an over-controlled domestic environment, or the
the outdoor setting for the principal dramatic action, and includes complexity and pressure of city living. Contrasting Joel Meyerowitz’s
towns and settlements as well as countryside scenes. However, it was Broadway and West 46th Street with Claude Monet’s Meadow with Haystacks
during the Enlightenment that Landscape became more emphatically shows the latter. Meyerowitz gives an archetypal view of the
associated with natural, non-urban scenery. Romanticism’s worship of contemporary city. All is oppressive foreground with lots of people but
Nature and of the Sublime in Nature, and its recoil from early no human interaction against a bewildering array of signs, where
industrialization and rapid urbanization pushed Landscape into Monet offers depth, readability at a glance and softened forms,
remoter retreat from signs of developed civilization. We have inherited feathery texture and gentle gradation and soft colour against

Joel Meyerowitz, Broadway and West 46th Street, 1976. Claude Monet, Meadow with Haystacks near Giverny, 1885. 81 | 1
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Royal Academy Forum

Meyerowitz’s hard, sharp edges and austere geometry. The metropolis whom the appropriation of territory – metaphorical or otherwise –
is the new wilderness, but constituted by almost the opposite is morally and politically incorrect. Richard Long, for instance, has
components to those of the old natural wilderness: instead of a place said, ‘I like the idea of using the land without possessing it’, and he
almost wholly empty of humans and devoid of any artefacts, the city is makes this explicit when referring to his works, they ‘are made of
a place overused by humans and consisting wholly of artefacts. the place, they are re-arrangements of it and in time will be re-
As we become more urbanized and mechanized, the greater our absorbed by it’.
appetite for landscapes without human presence, or signs of human
presence – unless, that is, the human presence is organically The artist in the landscape
sympathetic to landscape, such as shepherds, cottages, or cornfields. The history of the artist’s relationship to landscape has been one of
The relish for the Sublime – for mountain scenery, horror, mystery increasing intimacy with and intervention in the motif. This is partly
and the irrational – arose just at the time when the Enlightenment was because we have had too much landscape art. ‘Today our sight is a
celebrating triumphant discoveries of Nature’s Laws. In Romanticism little weary, burdened by the memory of a thousand images ... We no
the perception of our fragile mutability heightened a sense of Nature’s longer see Nature; we see pictures over and over again’, said Cézanne
stable, unchanging constitution. That mindset is less and less in 1902. But Turner expressed the trend towards this intimate
sustainable now: Nature we know to be a dynamic, changing process, connection when he asked, ‘What would they have? I wonder what
its renewability limited. So the experience of landscape is attuned to they think the sea’s like? I wish they’d been in it’. If the goal is not just
our desires and expectations, and to our cultural conditioning. to be out in the landscape but to be swept up into the forces of nature,
Since the early modern period, landscape has become an the corollary is, as caught in Giuseppe Penone’s, First Breath (1977),
increasingly precious aesthetic amenity. We like to consume it. We that the presence of the artist becomes fugitive and ephemeral. In
put a value on it. On 4 October 1769, while at Keswick, Thomas 1999 he said, ‘This work is a reminder that every breath we exhale is
Gray encapsulated this point, ‘[I] saw in my glass a picture, that if I an introduction of one body of air into another, and that, in a sense,
could transmitt to you, & fix it in all the softness of its living colours, our innermost being is identical to and cannot be separated from the
would fairly sell for a thousand pounds’. Modern day tourists follow world around us’. We eat, drink, and breathe landscape.
Gray’s line of thought. They see a grand stretch of lakes and The old dichotomies begin to collapse as artists emphasize their
mountains, use the camera to frame a section of the spectacle, and sense of symbiosis with, rather than detachment from, Nature.
take the picture, supposedly ‘fixing it in all the softness of its living Sensing an interdependence with Nature, they sharpen ecological and
colours’. Then they get it developed and printed and offer it for sale, political sensitivities. This profoundly affects the art of landscape in
Trench 10 (2000) from The Segsbury Project: Callery’s plasterwork, which captures the whole length of a Bronze Age ditch at Alfred’s Castle.
and these terms, ‘take’, ‘capture’ and ‘fix’ all belong to the language of our day. Michael Snow said of his landscape film La Région Centrale,
appropriation. Landscape is a commodity. It is commodified as an (1969): ‘I recorded the visit of some of our minds and bodies and
aesthetic amenity as well as a piece of real estate. In View from Mount machinery to a wild place, but I didn’t colonize it. I hardly even SIMON CALLERY with ideas about how and why we respond to landscape (this includes
Holyoke, Thomas Cole schematically dramatizes landscape values in a borrowed it’. the urban landscape) on a sensual level and not in depicting its visual
diagonally divided composition. In the sunlit river valley the new Working alongside archaeologists gave Simon Callery an opportunity appearance. With the trappings of representation obliterated, the
farms, wrested from the wilderness, and the grid of their fields, Joel Meyerowitz, Broadway and West 46th Street, New York (1976). © Joel Meyerowitz,
‘to see how a painter of the urban landscape from London’s East End paintings offer a lean and stripped down physicality defined by
flourish in a benign, fertile, mappable landscape. Old savage America 2003/Courtesy of Ariel Meyerowitz Gallery, New York. would respond to a paradigm of the English landscape’. In July 1996 specific proportion, luminosity and surface quality. They are intended
survives in the unmappable high-country wilderness on the left, as a Thomas Cole, View from Mount Holyoke. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Mrs Russell in association with the photographer Andrew Watson, Callery to provide a slowed down, drawn out and extended perceptual
Sage, 1908 (08228). Photograph © 1995 The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Romantically precious landscape of the Sublime. documented a 20m x 40m trench at the chalk excavation at the Iron experience. This experience is dependent solely on a response to the
Giuseppe Penone, ‘Primo Soffio’, 1977. Photograph 60x45cm.
Both the camera’s and the real-estate surveyor’s appropriation of Claude Monet, French 1840-1926, Meadow with Haystacks near Giverny, 1885. Oil on canvas, Age Segsbury Camp in Oxfordshire with 378 black and white images material nature of the work. This way of looking, or better, this way of
landscape is in contrast to some modern artistic sensibilities, for 74 x 93.5cm, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Bequest of Arthur Tracy Cabot, 42.541. taken from a height of 2.5m. Invited back for the excavation of sensing, leads to an experience in which the viewer is no longer the
Alfred’s Castle in 2000, he was ‘eager to make a work that utilized the passive recipient of the visual information contained in an artist’s
actual surface material of the excavation’. This resulted in a production. The dynamic is altered and the viewer is active in an
plasterwork, poured in 1m x 2m sections, across a 20m x 2m Bronze equation that is a reversal of the traditional flow between artwork and
Age trench, that ‘captured the entire chalk surface’ rather than just audience. The expressive end of this encounter is that the viewer,
taking its negative form. He discusses his work with Jeremy Melvin. rather than the artwork or artist, becomes the subject of their
perceptual process.
One aspect of your engagement with landscape seems to be a reverse JM
of the traditional reasons for painting nature. Traditionally landscape Another difference lies in the treatment of architecture. In Poussin or
painting was a way of suggesting depth and distance beyond the Claude, architecture has quite specific and defined roles (though often
individual, of externalizing feelings, and of setting up hierarchies highly complex and allegorical), it is about objects set in a larger
according to distance from the viewer/painter. Your work seems to picture. In your work, architecture helps to define a way of looking:
draw everything to the surface as if it were mirroring these sensations an example would be the way you use entasis on the frames of your
back to the individual, of focusing inwards rather than outwards. paintings to help structure the way of looking.

I think the point where I begin a painting is the point where I do not want to depict architecture or expect it to play a role in an
82 | 1 Thomas Cole, View from Mount Holyoke, 1836. Giuseppe Penone, Primo Soffio, 1977. traditional landscape painting leaves off. I am interested in working unfolding narrative. I want the paintings to be architectural in 83 | 1
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Royal Academy Forum

character. For example, in recent large-scale tall paintings I have used SC

the classical Greek architectural principle of entasis – most clearly One of the most striking aspects of working on an excavation was a
seen in the tapering in the columns of the Parthenon in Athens. heightened awareness of time quite unlike the urban experience.
The dimensions of these paintings are slightly narrower at the top Time as an element and a constituent of place was tangible on site.
than at the bottom. This is achieved by the introduction of a subtle This sensation was not immediate but was generated by a developing
curve that begins at 5/8ths up on the vertical height of the stretcher. understanding of the particular characteristics of the landscape.
The need to distort from the accurate rectangle satisfies a perceptive There is also the principle of stratigraphy in excavation that defines
sense of rightness that a tall rectangular form appears smaller at the the relationship of objects to one another in time. Objects that are
top. This encourages us to relate to the painting as a physical form found on the same horizontal plane can be considered contemporary
and creates the possibility that an experience of the work is not to one another, while objects that are found at a greater vertical depth
exclusive to the eye but also involves the body. can be considered older. I began to feel that this axis of two lines was
The intention behind applying architectural principle to an expressive way of understanding time and could be fed into the
contemporary painting is to tap into the highly developed way we use way I use line in painting.
our senses as we navigate and negotiate the built environment on a It follows that we could grade the landscape and the city in terms of
daily basis. I identify one of the defining qualities about the way we their horizontality and verticality and draw conclusions on the extent
understand architecture through a process of measuring ourselves in to which an emphasis on the axis influences how we respond.
relation to it. This could almost be considered common sense and
should be as active in the art gallery as it is on the street. JM M3 at Twyford Down, near Winchester. Photograph: © British Film Institute. Charborough Park, Dorset. Photograph: © British Film Institute.
Does this sense of time seem to demand such an intimate and precise
JM record (thinking of photography) of what you found there, in a way
In that sense, perhaps, it bears some comparison with archaeology, as that the more familiar urban environment would not? PATRICK KEILLER “Middle England” which he sees as a landscape increasingly
a technique for drawing out perceptions, or for helping to define a characterized by sexual repression, homophobia and the frequent
surface. SC Towards the end of 1996 I had written an essay (published as ‘Port advocacy of child beating.
The desire that a sense of time defines the experience of the finished Statistics’ in The Unknown City, Kerr and Borden eds, MIT, 2001), ‘At the same time, he is dimly aware that the UK is still the fifth
SC work is only really possible if a perceptual route to this end is which began: largest trading economy in the world and that British, even English
I want to use architectural references to elicit a response that involves established. In the case of a work called The Segsbury Project (378 large- ‘Robinson in Space, a film (35mm colour 82mins UK 1997), was people, particularly women and the young, are probably neither as
all our senses and doesn’t prioritize the eye. My approach to making scale black and white prints that record the surface of a 20m x 40m photographed between March and November 1995. It documents the sexually unemancipated, as sadistic or as miserable as he thinks the
work from direct experience of excavation has been to concentrate on site at 2:1 housed in seven plan chests), the detail of the photographic explorations of an unseen fictional character called Robinson, who look of the UK suggests. The film’s narrative is based on a series of
the surface material of the site. For example the 20m x 2m sculpture prints sets up a visual encounter with an archaeological surface. In was the protagonist of the earlier London, which was a re-imagination journeys in which his prejudices are examined, and some of them are
called ‘Trench 10’ was made by pouring plaster onto the chalk surface this work, detail and intimacy of the prints was necessary to bring of its subject suggested by the Surrealist literature of Paris. Robinson in disposed of.’
of an excavated Bronze Age ditch. The surface of the work is not about a questioning of the surface. Space is a similar study of the look of present-day England in 1995, and
simply the negative form of this ditch as the plaster acted to capture Intimacy depends on sensory knowledge and the work must was suggested to some extent by Defoe’s Tour through the Whole Island of
the chalk loose. Above all this is a work that is animated by our communicate this, whether it is the familiar urban environment or an Great Britain. Among its subjects are many new spaces, particularly the
interaction with surface – in this case a historical surface. excavation in the rural landscape. sites where manufactured products are produced, imported and
distributed. Robinson has been commissioned by ‘a well-known
JM JM international advertising agency’ to undertake a study of the ‘problem’
Did working with archaeologists in the landscape offer a different Given that there are differences between cities and landscapes, does of England. It is not stated in the film what this problem is, but there
sense of time to working in the contemporary city? architecture in cities have a compatible role with archaeology in the are images of Eton, Oxford and Cambridge, a Rover car plant, the
landscape? inward investment sites of Toyota and Samsung, a lot of ports,
supermarkets, a shopping mall and other subjects which evoke the by
SC now familiar critique of ‘gentlemanly capitalism’, which sees the UK’s
It is not unreasonable to suggest that the reasons why archaeologists economic weakness as a result of the City of London’s long term
are drawn to certain sites tells us as much about our current interests [English] neglect of the [UK’s] industrial economy, particularly its
as it does about our distant past. We seem to visit and revisit places for manufacturing base.
the reasons the original inhabitants settled there. This reflects the ‘Early in the film, its narrator quotes from Oscar Wilde’s The Picture
extent to which the quality of place defines what kind of architecture of Dorian Gray: “It is only shallow people who do not judge by
is built and the role architecture plays in defining the quality of a appearances. The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the
place. invisible ... ” The appearances by which the viewer is invited to judge
The first excavation I was involved in was an Iron Age hill fort are initially the dilapidation of public space, the extent of visible
settlement and the second an Iron Age hill fort with the remains of a poverty, the absence of UK branded products in the shops and on the
Romano-British villa at its centre. The work I made was a record of roads, and England’s cultural conservatism. Robinson’s image of the
the traces of early forms of architecture and a testing ground for UK’s industry is based on his memories of the collapse of the early
examining the validity of landscape as a subject for contemporary art. Thatcher years. He has assumed that poverty and dilapidation are the
Photographs of the installation at the Officers’ Mess, Dover Castle: John Riddy. The Segsbury Project is a
result of economic failure, and that economic failure is a result of the
collaboration between the Henry Moore Foundation Contemporary Projects, English Heritage and inability of UK industry to produce desirable consumer products. He
84 | 1 Trench 10 surface detail: plaster acquires loose chalk – interaction with historical surface. the Laboratory at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art. believes, moreover, that this has something to do with the feel of Manchester Ship Canal at Latchford, Warrington. Photograph: © British Film Institute. 85 | 1
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Royal Academy Forum

FOREIGN OFFICE ARCHITECTS: FARSHID MOUSSAVI generators of a new topography, based on the forms of sand dunes.
‘We worked with the dune sizes’, explained Moussavi ‘to define the JUNIPER
At the Yokohama Ferry Terminal, Foreign Office Architects ramps and to enclose two auditoria’: (outdoor arenas with flat areas A GUIDED AND SHERPA ASSISTED CLIMB TO
proposed a new synthesis between landscape and architectural and banked seating for activities like rock concerts). Other parts are THE SUMMIT PLATEAU OF CHO OYU AT 8175M
form. Instead of the old distinction between figure and ground, less prescriptive, where the forms open up to create possibilities for VIA THE CLASSIC ROUTE WITHOUT
which often translated into artifice – architecture – and nature, or varied types of habitation and activity. On the lee side, sheltered SUPPLEMENTARY OXYGEN TIBET AUTUMN
the landscape, Farshid Moussavi explained, they see the from the sea breezes, plants take root, just as in a natural dune 2000
relationship as a series of networks combining social, political and landscape.
geological influences. Consequently, ‘the vocabulary of landscape is Sand dunes, though, are extremely fragile, and this park is
replaced by a network of systems, connections and interferences’, designed for intensive use, so the surface has to be hard. The basic A GUIDED GROUP WALK
and architecture becomes a strategy for ‘trying to negotiate a way element, a concrete tile, is rather larger than a grain of sand, but the TO THE SUMMIT OF ACONCAGUA AT 6959M
across them’. shape itself has geometric properties which, when multiplied, help to VIA THE RELINCHOS VALLEY AND THE
What has driven this interaction between landscape and generate the overall forms. As Moussavi said, ‘it meets most bound- FALSE POLISH ROUTE, ARGENTINA 15-28
architecture, between nature and artifice, is Information aries, but where it does not, it is not cut’, emphasizing the integrity FEBRUARY 2003
Technology. With this new computing power, geometry, once the of its geometry. A dyed concrete resin fills residual spaces. The result-
unyielding arbiter, can now assume far more complex and ing colour stripes help to orientate visitors and to define routes and
sophisticated forms which increasingly mimic nature. ‘Geometry’, zones within the park, using communication as link between topog-
explained Moussavi, ‘is now more comparable to real nature, and raphy and function. HAMISH FULTON: BIODIVERSITY, WALKING IN EVERY THING IS (MADE OF) SOMETHING – AND ALL ‘CONTEMPORARY
the distinctions between the organic and the rational are blurred.’ An unbuilt proposal for a ‘hortus medicus’ [medical garden] for RELATION TO EVERYTHING …
Yokohama introduced a ‘geometry that almost looks organic’ and the Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis in Basel also consciously ABSENT. THE LOCATION OF THE WALK IS NOT IN THE GALLERY
brought several other consequences. Creating ‘different conditions blurs boundaries between natural and artificial. On an undulating It would seem there are two possibilities for so-called ‘Landscape’ art: AND THE WALK ITSELF IS A PAST EVENT.
of space, coherence and diversity within the same conception’, the surface, areas are seeded in different patterns with different parts, painting, from the past, and outdoor sculpture in the present.
free-flowing forms replace prescribed circulation routes with an but the undulations are actually openings to a subterranean car However, the starting place of my own art is the experience of walking WALKING IS PRACTICAL NOT THEORETICAL.
urban ground, increasing density of circulation and appearing to park, or ‘lungs for the body of car parking’, as Moussavi puts it. … and walking is not an art material. In terms of self-imposed rules
reconfigure themselves continually along the terminal’s length. Here ‘the figure of the human body’ becomes a way of combining this means every piece of art I make is the result of a specific walk. WALKING INTO THE DISTANCE – BEYOND IMAGINATION.
These complex geometries are ‘close to nature’, but nature the ancient motif of physic gardens, perhaps the earliest places for (From 1970 to the present I have made 238 identifiable walks, walking ONCE A WALK HAS BEEN COMPLETED, IT CANNOT BE DESTROYED.
manipulated to provide for human need. the work that Novartis now does in laboratories and factories, with from one full day to 64 consecutive days. The longest distance I have A WALK, IS AN INVISIBLE MONUMENT TO ‘TIME’ (‘LANDSCAPE’ ART
A waterfront park in Barcelona conveys ‘a total concept of urban the eminently modern function of car parking. Neither traditional walked is 2838km and the highest altitude I have climbed to is SHOULD ENCOMPASS MORE THAN JUST THE HISTORY OF ART.)
landscape’. With a fall of 11m across the shorter dimension of the landscape nor conventional urban form, the landscape uses 8175m.) To outline my ideas I would like to present the following
site, from the esplanade to the bathing area at the sea’s edge, it is complex geometry to form a new synthesis which is both statements. Each small concentration of words implies larger issues.
too steep to negotiate in a straight line, so diagonal ramps became historically aware and sensitive to contemporary needs. IN THE COURSE OF PRODUCING MY ARTWORKS I USE ONLY
86 | 1 Foreign Office Architects: Yokohama Terminal. Unbuilt project for Novartis in Basel – physic gardens related to ‘lungs for the body of car parking’.
WALK. 87 | 1
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Royal Academy Forum

ANDRO LINKLATER squares. It can be halved, quartered, eighthed, and sixteenthed, and
Measuring America argues that America came to be what it is through still leave a whole number. And each is easily measured by a chain – a
the way it defined its landscape. Anyone who has flown across the US mile is 80 chains, a half-mile is 40, a quarter is 20, and to a surveyor
sees the world’s largest human-made construct, though its significance nothing could be easier to measure – a 40-acre square was merely 20
is almost invisible unless you know what to look for – straight lines. In chains by 20. Its numerical neatness ensured that 40 acres became the
California’s Great Central Valley they show up in the chequerboard basic unit on which Jefferson’s great landed democracy was built.
arrangement of orchards; flying over the Sierras they appear in the Owning a 40 was the bottom rung on the property ladder.
rectangular farms deep in valley bottoms; crossing any big city, The 10 acre square is integral to the planning of US cities – 10
Phoenix, Arizona or Salt Lake City, or Chicago itself, they’re revealed chains by 10 – such as the central square of Salt Lake City, or of
in the graph-paper grid of streets; all across the Midwest they can be Philadelphia, Chicago, and others. It was an extraordinary
found in the great squared-off pattern of corn and soya fields. Around transformation. Within a century, the land that had no shape had
this framework, a particular kind of democracy and a particular kind become property. Anyone could own it. The government sold it for
of capitalism and a particular kind of spirit developed. $2 an acre, offering credit for those with no cash, and even after the
These lines all derive from the US Public Land Survey which began 1862 Homesteading Act you could get 160 acres by squatting.
on 30 September 1785 when Thomas Hutchins, first Geographer of
the United States, unrolled a 22 yard Gunter’s chain on the west bank Winners and losers
of the Ohio river. The US needed to raise money, and the only asset It was the survey that underpinned the legends of the frontier. It
that it possessed was land beyond the Appalachians. A few explorers guaranteed the pioneers legal possession of their land. But it was not
had penetrated beyond the mountains and brought back wonderful just an administrative exercise. In the process a society was being
reports of this mouth-watering land. Hutchins’ job was to measure it created around the mass distribution of property. To European visi-
out and map it on a surveyor’s plat. It was a kind of magic – tors, accustomed to thinking of land-ownership as the key indicator
unmeasured it was wilderness, measured it became real estate. of social class, this was revolutionary, and the outlook of these prop-
But he did it in a very particular way. Congress required him to lay erty-owners seemed to them astonishing. As early as 1813, the trav-
out lines running due east-west and six miles apart, and these were to eller John Melish remarked approvingly: ‘Every industrious citizen
be cut at right angles by other lines running due north-south, and also of the United States has the power to become a freeholder … and
six miles apart. This created a grid of squares, known as townships, the land being purely his own, there is no setting limits to his pros-
each measuring 36 square miles. The townships divided into 36 one- perity. No proud tyrant can lord it over him.’
mile-square sections, which would be sold at auction. This pattern of In her book The Domestic Manners of the Americans written 20 years
squares was Thomas Jefferson’s idea. Squares could be easily later, Fanny Trollope took a less admiring view of the egalitarianism
measured, easily subdivided, easily bought and sold. Squares would that came from allowing absolutely anyone to acquire land. ‘Any
put land into the hands of the people. From the start, therefore, the man’s son may become the equal of any other man’s son, and the
survey was expected not simply to raise money, but to shape a society. consciousness of this is certainly a spur to exertion’, she observed. ‘On
The surveyors’ equipment was basic: a compass through which the the other hand, it is also a spur to that coarse familiarity, untempered
surveyor took a sighting on a distant mark to find due west on his by any shadow of respect, which is assumed by the grossest and lowest
compass, and a 22 yard chain to measure the distance. Once the in their intercourse with the highest and most refined.’ For the first
surveyor had the direction, a team of axemen would be sent to hack time an entire society was being created, peacefully and legally,
out a path or vista through the trees. Finally, the foreman took the around a horizontal model of land distribution. However different
front end of the chain and marched towards the mark; when the their viewpoints, both John Melish and Fanny Trollope were
chain was fully stretched he cried ‘Tally!’, stuck in a tally pin, and testifying to the effectiveness of Jefferson’s social engineering.
waited for the hindman to join him, gathering up the chain. So they The losers in all this distribution of property were the native
moved across the country like caterpillars, hunching up and stretching Americans. Almost every Indian war fought by the US government
out, through forests, over swamps, up mountains, and down ravines, from the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794 to the massacre at
but always travelling in straight lines. Wounded Knee in 1890 had its origins in the urge to prise ownership
By the end of the nineteenth century, most of the continent had of land from the original occupants, and almost every Indian defeat
been squared off into townships, and sections. Each township section was followed by a treaty in which they ceded territory to the US
is a square mile or 640 acres, a number easily subdivided into smaller government. Immediately afterwards, the surveyors would arrive with
their chains and compasses, and in their wake came the settlers.
The great United States It required a paradigm shift to accept that land might be a
grid: not just a means of commodity, have a monetary value, be used as a guarantee against
turning wilderness into
real estate, but an which cash could be borrowed. Without it, what we recognize to be a
armature for capitalist
modern way of thinking could not come into being. Nowhere did land
as commodity take hold more strongly than in the US – the squares
made it easy – the result was a fiercely competitive society.
As the first visitors to the US recognized, the experience of owning
property forged a new society that no one had seen before. Around
88 | 1 this structure American democracy and capitalism grew.
In general, diagrams and sketches explain rather than the design. We won this

Roland Halbe
and highlight a design idea quite well; if competition and realised the project.
done properly, they get well to the point. Finally the collages seek to clarify a
Like caricatures, they will focus on the thought. Almost naïve, they might cause
general idea. There is a verbal equivalent people to rethink the obvious. They work
to this that will, if done properly, describe best if they show the obvious and use
a design concept in just very few words. examples from daily life.
This is comparable to advertising; the best In general, I believe that the better
ones having the fewest words. A great the diagram, the clearer the concept, the
one-liner in our office, a verbal one-liner, stronger the design, and the better it
was ‘glittering by day, illuminated at night’ survives the battles of implementation and
for the Bristol Project. These words we had realisation. STEFAN BEHNISCH of BEHNISCH,
borrowed and bent from one of my father’s BEHNISCH & PARTNER
projects, the Olympic facilities in Munich.
The four diagrams illustrated, were
drawn spontaneously in lectures to explain
designed or realised projects. (I have one of
those nifty laptops where you can scribble
or draw or write on the screen; I use it
extensively.) Fig a, the Genzyme Center in
Cambridge, MA, USA; fig b, Norddeutsche fig c
Landesbank in Hanover; fig c, the Universe
Paradise, a theme park originally for Las
In the diagrams for the IBN institute
competition, fig d, our all-time favourites, we
tried to explain concepts and atmospheres

fig a

fig d

fig b

32 | 1 BEHNISCH 33 | 1
The original Higgins
The extension to Higgins Hall at reconciled by a ramp that creates made of foamed aluminium, a Hall, before fire
Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, the an extended promenade traversing product that is widely used for destroyed the middle
largest independent college of art between the street front and impact absorption in automobile 2
Clad in a translucent
and design in the US, is Steven garden back of the building. The bumpers. The building’s structural skin, Holl’s new building
Holl’s first major institutional ramp is capped by an asymmetrical frame, independent of the old re-consolidates the
commission in his home territory gullwing skylight that juxtaposes loadbearing masonry walls,
of New York City. Higgins Hall, different qualities of daylight from comprises six large precast
which houses Pratt’s architecture tall north- and low south-facing concrete columns linked by beams.
programme, formerly consisted of glazing. The new link provides While the four corner columns
three separate historic landmark public and social spaces including are ‘static,’ the central column on
buildings. However, when the an entrance lobby that splits along each facade shifts and mutates to
central building was destroyed by the fissure to provide a ground accommodate the cranked beams
fire in 1996, the two remaining level reception and gallery and a of different floor levels on either
were left isolated. Holl was lower level lobby serving a new side of the fissure. Precast floor
appointed to stitch them together, auditorium and classrooms. This planks are simply finished with
a task that has been tackled by entrance, together with design polished concrete topping, and
balancing the need for sensitivity studios on upper floors, ensures voids in the planks are utilised as
to the historic buildings with the that the new building is occupied wiring conduits.
desire to create a new identity and and active around the clock. On upper levels, elegant linear
a landmark on the street. In keeping with the character aluminium uplighters, designed
The difference in floor levels of the nineteenth-century brick by the architects, illuminate the
between the two historic buildings, buildings – which have been exposed concrete soffit, while in
which increases sequentially from renovated by Rogers Marvel the auditorium, holes cut in the
a mere 12mm at ground level Architects – the material precast planks provide recessed
to 2m on the fourth floor roof, vocabulary of the new infill is lighting – bare bulbs without the
was the key factor in shaping the robust. This provides the setting usual metal housing. In contrast
scheme. The new insertion pulls for Holl to pursue his interest with this spartan character,
out existing floor levels from the in material experimentation, galvanised ducts at the north
north and south wings, and the including handrails of rusted and south ends of the new link
fault line where they meet – which steel that are merely sealed are exuberant, dipping below the
Holl calls the ‘dissonant zone’ – is and a handsome gallery door concrete beams to terminate in

This new insertion balances sensitivity to
history with a formal and civic boldness.


54 | 2 STEVEN HOLL A RCHITECTS exploded projection of building elements 2 55 | 2
flamboyant three-throated grills The newly created H-block has a
adjacent to each column. west-facing forecourt on St James Studios at the
topmost level.
The serene interior atmosphere Place. A sculpted ground of steps 4
is created largely by the design and ramps, partly formed of bricks A ramp forms
an extended
of the east and west facades, salvaged from the fire, makes the promenade and
where structural glass channels transition from street to entrance, reconciles floor
level differences.
filled with translucent white which is marked by a projecting 5
insulation provide diffuse daylight glazed lobby that is an outgrowth Entrance hall with
stairs curving down
to the entrance lobby, gallery of the clear fissure in the to a lower level
and studios. At the fault line, the translucent facade. To the east, the lecture hall.

thick translucent skin gives way basement auditorium roof creates

to a patchwork of clear glazing, a raised terrace that, accessible
sometimes canted, in red oxide from the gallery, overlooks the
painted steel framing, which marks rear gardens of terraced houses
the dissonant zone of the ramp adjacent to the site.
and allows generous views out. Investing in the reconstruction
The clean repetitive character of Higgins Hall is one piece of a
of the glass channels contrasts larger initiative developed over
markedly with the historic the past 13 years by Thomas
buildings, which provide quirky F. Schutte, President of Pratt,
‘as found’ interior elevations who has worked to improve 3
to the north and south. This the campus and use it as an
serendipitous character is very engine to convincingly stimulate
evident in the auditorium, where the regeneration of this area of
cast iron columns and remnants of Brooklyn. Because the architecture
field stone foundations combine school is a block away from the
with ad hoc openings in brickwork Pratt campus, it must have an
to create a striking contrast with academic identity and work as 8
the pared down discipline of the part of the city. The building
concrete insertion. clearly fulfils both roles with its
8 14 8


first floor

entrance forecourt providing a

5 13
1 lower lobby modest new public space where
2 classroom students meet and linger all hours.
3 lecture hall
4 multimedia This modest infill project
5 offices yields rich returns at many levels.
6 copy room
7 storage 11 The concept of the dissonant
8 studio
9 entrance court
10 zone permeates the scheme,
10 lobby orchestrating plan, section and
11 reception 12
12 gallery 9 elevation as well as circulation,
cross section looking north
13 sculpture terrace daylight and views. Through its
14 ramp
direct expression of materials
ground floor plan (scale approx 1:1000) and details, the building enables
the architecture school to play a
didactic role for the students it
4 3 8
houses. This quiet, spare insertion
does not ape the old buildings
but has its own distinct identity,
5 2 creating an ensemble that provides
1 welcome public and educational
amenities and strengthens Pratt’s
6 presence in the city.
Steven Holl Architects, New York
56 | 2 long section looking east lower ground floor 5 All photographs by Andy Ryan except no 1 57 | 2
ar feb 04 feilden done 3/1/04 11:43 AM Page 68

U NIVERSITY CAMPUS , Walking around the University of

G LOUCESTER , E NGLAND Gloucestershire’s new campus with Peter
ARCHITECT Clegg, it is immediately apparent that
F EILDEN C LEGG B RADLEY architects Feilden Clegg Bradley passionately
A RCHITECTS believe in, and profoundly understand, the
significant contribution that education brings
to our lives – not only in terms of
architecture and regeneration, as a group of
architects who love to build, but far more
holistically. Education is undoubtedly in
FCBA’s blood, and while their extensive 25
year portfolio includes excellent arts,
housing, and community projects, the
fulfilment of the practice’s priorities is
perhaps most explicit in their work for
education. FCBA design as users, and when
designing places where people seek
education, they repeatedly draw on
collective personal experiences as students,
parents, and teachers. So, a practice
internationally known for its pioneering
innovations in environmental sustainability
and energy efficiency, gives more by
reflecting on an equally significant
commitment to the broader issues of
economic and social sustainability.
For more than 12 years, the UK’s higher
education sector has offered FCBA scope
and opportunity to innovate, becoming a
staple and producing significant buildings for
Sunderland and Aston Universities, the Open
University and London’s Imperial College.
However, despite such individual successes,
richer results seem to have come when the
practice has been engaged in long-standing
client relationships, such as those with King
Alfred’s College in Winchester, and here in
Gloucestershire; both of which have been
nurtured since the early 1990s. By relying on
a culture of learning and innovation,
universities and colleges have historically
acted as laboratories for architectural
experimentation, and while commercial
realities exist, academic institutions tend to
prioritize long-term investment over quick-
fix, fast-buck incentives – as has been FCBA’s
experience in Gloucestershire.
Under the ambitious stewardship of the
University’s Vice Chancellor Dame Janet
Trotter, the University of Gloucestershire
has become one of the West Country’s more
committed architectural patrons,
commissioning FCBA’s award-winning
intervention within the gothic revival quad of
Francis Close Hall Campus in 1994, Edward
Cullinan’s Art Media and Design facilities at
Pitville campus (AR April 1994), and most


With its lofty atrium and generous
glazed link, Feilden Clegg Bradley’s
After years of absence, a new university campus brings new facilities building gives
Gloucester’s new campus stature
68 | 2 access to higher education back to the city of Gloucester. and presence. 69 | 2
ar feb 04 feilden done 3/1/04 11:43 AM Page 70

recently with its new Sport and Exercise campus its own identity and sense of place.
Sciences campus in the heart of Gloucester. So phase one, which was completed for the
On college land formerly occupied by a student intake of October 2002, included a
1950s training college, the new campus was new learning resources and teaching centre,
built to redress the uneven distribution of the sports science facility, and refectory, which
county’s higher education facilities, which collectively form a north-south armature
since 1992 had been solely within Cheltenham. that acts as the campus’ heart and spine.
In 1996, FCBA were appointed to review the Parallel to this sits another north-south
potential of the site, and to co-ordinate a long- terrace of 180 study rooms, all with private
term campus strategy. bathrooms, which terminates in a student
As the first stage, building stock was common room and bar. It forms a communal
evaluated to see if any of structures from the cluster that, when linked to the facilities
previous five decades of development could building by an east-west landscaped body
be re-used. But, after considering flexibility of water, creates an entrance threshold
of use, options for upgrading (particularly in for the site.
terms of energy conservation), Organizing buildings on this axis was
organizational efficiency, site distribution, central to the campus’ environmental
and architectural quality, FCBA somewhat strategy, avoiding bleak north-facing study
reluctantly concluded that demolition was bedrooms, enabling both the learning
the most feasible option. A decision that may resource centre and the sport sciences masterplan concept
have been regrettable in terms of embodied building to exploit diffuse north light
energy, but which increased opportunities to (reducing dependency on artificial lighting),
develop a high density, centralized strategy. and optimizing the performance of the EU
This, while offering scope for expansion, and DTI funded photovoltaic array recently
would create sufficient critical mass within a installed onto the sport sciences building’s
2 3
modest first phase to give the fledgling distinctive tick-section roof. (An installation

U NIVERSITY CAMPUS , 1 reception

2 learning resources centre
G LOUCESTER , E NGLAND 3 lecture theatre
ARCHITECT 4 refectory
5 sports hall
F EILDEN C LEGG B RADLEY 6 staff offices
7 teaching rooms

A learning centre
B sport sciences building
C common room and bar
D student housing
E landscaped pool

D 4

E E E 2

From the south-west approach, this modest
collection of buildings creates an impressive
flagship campus for the University of
3 Gloucestershire.
Louvres on the southerly facade eliminate direct
sunlight from the principal teaching rooms.
With the first of five student accommodation
blocks behind, the student bar and common room
70 | 2 site plan (scale approx 1:2000) ground floor plan (scale approx 1:1000) help create a defined campus gateway. 4 71 | 2
ar feb 04 feilden done 3/1/04 11:43 AM Page 72

operates in a number of modes to provide implemented over the last 15 years. So, if
seasonal environmental stability. In summer, Richard Feilden’s prediction of an equivalent
night purging charges the ventilation circuit shift in secondary education over the next 15
with coolth to temper incoming air, while years is correct, we look forward to seeing
exposed soffits are chilled to absorb surplus how FCBA re-apply their expertise to the
heat gains. In winter, trickle charge heating of UK’s new generation of City Academy
the thermal mass warms a steady supply of schools. ‘We love designing schools,’ says
fresh air, which gently heats the soffits and Feilden, with a smile that exhibits a slightly
provides displacement ventilation through mischievous pleasure. A pleasure and
the floor. Heat recovery systems are also optimism that seems to imply that regardless
employed with a thermal wheel preheating of what decisions central government may
incoming air, and exhaust air is discharged take, FCBA will be there to get under the
into the foyer to reduce uncomfortable skin of legislation, funding and targets to help
down-draughts in the otherwise un-tempered produce the best schools that money can
glazed link. buy. After all, designing the building is only
While budget limitations denied lavish part of the battle, and FCBA fully understand
materials, a degree of finesse has been this. Regardless of the practice’s technical
estimated to meet 50 per cent of the sport achieved through the careful placing of finer and theoretical competence, they have never
sciences building’s demand, equivalent to 30 quality materials, such as timber acoustic adopted a highbrow architectural position.
per cent of the precinct’s combined load.) panelling in the atrium, and a Siza-esque Instead, with sustained integrity, their
With this in place, attention focused on the limestone plinth in the foyer. The main investment in clients and long-term
most complex environmental problem: the disappointment, however, has been how aspirations has brought them increasing
internal conditioning of the learning security measures have denied users the popularity: a deserved reward for choosing
resources centre. permeability between the learning and not to engage in the architectural pageantry
With the dramatic increase in IT provision teaching spaces as originally designed, that tempts so many other practices away
in education, there are now many resulting in the central atrium and core being from the essence of longevity that all
environmental variables to consider when isolated rather than a dynamic place of architects should pursue. ROB GREGORY
seeking to create stable comfort levels. interaction. Still, this operational decision is
Learning from experience gained on the clearly reversible. Architects
Martial Rose Library in Winchester, FCBA On the whole, the University is delightful Feilden Clegg Bradley Architects, Bath
Project team
again adopted a hollow core displacement to visit, and as more students move in, and
Peter Clegg, Bill Gething, David Stansfield, Matt Somerville,
ventilation strategy: a system that responds when vegetation matures to soften the Toby Lewis, Elena Marco Brugete
well to the most onerous conditions during impact of the somewhat disappointing hard Project manager
winter months, when maximum occupancy landscaping, it will undoubtedly host a Burnley Wilson Fish, John Burnley
Structural engineer
levels demand high air change targets thriving student community. FCBA’s most Whitby Bird & Partners
without throwing away the free heat benefit significant achievement has been an ability to M&E engineer
that computers and people provide. create a place with just three basic moves, WSP
Photovoltaic consultant
Using standardized building components, producing a solution credited by the RIBA ESD
the TermoDeck system converts a humble for being ‘gimmick free’ and offering ‘a Facade consultant
hollow-core precast concrete floor slab into serious welcoming handshake for a new age Montresor Partnership
Landscape consultant
a fully integrated circuit of thermal batteries: HQ’. On choosing to invest in the higher
Mitchell Harris Partnership
a modular structural system that contributes education sector, FCBA have responded well Photographs
to the visual order of the spaces and which to the strategic changes that have been Mandy Reynolds 6
7 8


5 7 2
The campus’s distinctive razorback
northlights support the college’s
490m 2 photovoltaic array.
Even during the winter months, the 7 2
café’s sheltered terrace provides a
welcome place of rest ...
... from the physical exertion of
serious play ... 3 2
... and the mental stimulation of sport
sciences work.

72 | 2 section through lecture theatre, seminar rooms, atrium and learning resources (scale approx 1:250), see key p70 73 | 2
ar feb 04 Mulvin done 3/1/04 11:58 AM Page 52

Founded in the mid-nineteenth One of the most recent campus Conceived both as a place of work
century as the Catholic University additions is McCullough Mulvin’s and social interaction, the project
of Ireland, University College extension to the Virus Reference is one of a series of new pavilions
Dublin (UCD) was first Laboratory (VRL). Affiliated with designed to support and challenge
established in the heart of Dublin the university’s Department of the notion of architecture in the
overlooking St Stephen’s Green. Medical Microbiology, the VRL landscape that informed UCD’s
Famous alumni include Gerard provides a national diagnostic orginal development in the 1960s.
Manley Hopkins and James virology service for Ireland, as well More specifically, it is clearly an
Joyce. During the 1960s, the as undertaking research and issuing object building in the greenfield
university decamped to a regular publications. The new campus tradition, but is also
suburban greenfield site at building slots into a tight site concerned with connecting with
Belfield, to the south of the city between the main VRL laboratory its surroundings and creating a
centre. Over time the campus has and Ardmore House on the upper sense of place. The main public
evolved and expanded, adding part of the campus. Though small in frontage is defined by a triangular,
new faculty buildings, student scale, the project plays a significant rock-studded parvis while the
residences and recreational role in consolidating the inner edge encloses a small garden
facilities. With 10 faculties, 80 relationship between the central landscaped in an artfully minimal
departments and a student body buildings and the surrounding Japanese style, creating a peaceful
of 22 000, UCD is now the largest landscape, and, in particular, the haven for contemplation.
university in Ireland. lake directly below it. With its lightweight skin and
simple geometry, the new building
forms an expressive contrast with
its more leaden brick and stone-
clad campus counterparts.
Facades are wrapped in a taut skin
of interlocking and overlapping
panels of glass and Western red
cedar which project and recede
from the main surface plane.
The cedar will weather to a
delicate silvery grey, but the light
has a slightly different effect on
the vertical and horizontal boards,
so that the skin will eventually 1, 2
The new extension is an object
resemble a piece of worn building in the landscape, starkly
fabric with subtly contrasting different from its neighbours,
but it also strives to connect with
textures. Extended parapets its surroundings and create a
sense of place.
give the building muscular, cube- 3
1 like, proportions. Detail of Western red cedar skin.

This extension to UCD’s microbiology department is a
rational cube that reworks the campus object building.


52 | 2 A RCHITECTS 2 3 53 | 2
ar feb 04 Mulvin done 3/1/04 11:58 AM Page 54

The plan is elegantly economical, UCD’S evolving campus can,

with offices on the upper floor perhaps, be compared to a 40
and a laboratory, canteen and year conversation, with new
meeting room at ground level, members joining in and adding to
with access to the courtyard the growing dialogue. McCullough
garden. In abstract, the plan Mulvin’s modest yet intelligently
resembles a simple unicellular judged contribution adds to the
organism, with a coloured richness of this academic debate.
circulation core as its nucleus. CATHERINE SLESSOR
The free-standing, sky-blue core
can be glimpsed as you move
McCullough Mulvin Architects, Dublin
through the building and a canted Structural engineer
link corridor connects the new Thomas Garland & Partners
Services engineer
extension with the main
UCD Buildings Services Department
laboratory. The linking arm also Photographs
functions as an entrance hall. Christian Richters site plan

7 7

first floor plan long section

1 main department
2 link
3 entrance
4 circulation core
5 laboratory
6 canteen
7 offices

5 6

cross section
5 6


cross section

The crisp cube. Horizontal and
vertical cedar strips will weather in
slightly different ways.
Internal Japanese-style garden and
link to the main department (left).
54 | 2 ground floor plan (scale approx 1:250) The coloured circulation core. 55 | 2
The recasting of a former
seventeenth-century monastery A statue of
in the Andalucian city of Jerez Saint Augustine
presides over
as municipal offices represents the remodelled
former Cloister
the latest phase in the building’s of the Novices.
protracted and colourful history. 2
The new wing
An evolving succession of uses, adjoins the
first as a hospital, then monastery nineteenth-
century Casa
then barracks (occupied by French del Capitán.
troops during the Peninsular
War) also speaks of a remarkable
physical durability and adaptability
that makes resonant connections
with the city’s history. This is
no mimsily fragile relic, fretted
over by conservation bodies,
but a doughty survivor of the
cumulative effects of time, war
and social change.
Overseen by the Seville-based
partnership of Antonio Martínez
García & Juan Luis Trillo de Leyva,
the building’s latest incarnation
as offices, archive and exhibition
space is another pragmatic
adaptation to new demands
(mercifully less exacting than
Napoleon’s). The Seville duo’s
scheme preserves what is worth
preserving, notably the Cloister
of the Novices, and also adds
major new parts, executed in
an understated, yet recognisably
contemporary language. The
outcome is a powerful dialogue
between the historical strata and
the new insertions.
The original plan of the
monastery was based around a
large central courtyard attached to


The latest phase in the evolution of this
historic monastery in Jerez transforms it
into an archive and civic offices. 65 | 2
3 4 5 6

a smaller Cloister of the Novices. In their imperviousness and largely toplit and from here a pair 3
Patio between the new wing
The new work is focused around plainness, the white rendered of big picture windows frame (right) and the refurbished
A Casa del Capitán this smaller cloister, which is now walls of the new wing are modern vistas out to the mountains south Casa del Capitán.
B Cloister of the Novices 7 4
C main cloister enclosed and incorporated into reinterpretations of Iberian of Jerez and its alcázar. Materials Patio in the remodelled
D former stables a new wing as a soaring, double- vernacular, as are the patio spaces (dark timber, concrete, white cloister brings in light.
C 5
E Church of St Augustine
height exhibition space. Though that infiltrate the complex, subtly marble) and detailing display an New parts wrap around and
over the cloister.
E 4 no longer open to the elements, filtering light, setting up intriguing appropriately monastic rigour. 6
A the courtyard void still admits through views. A narrow patio Though sensitive to the nuances Library and archive spaces,
spread over two floors.
light, through a series of deep separates the new volume from of history, the scheme has a
1 entrance to complex slots strategically cut into the roof the nineteenth-century Casa del boldness in both conception and
2 patio
3 office entrance and walls of the floors above. Two Capitán (the former barracks execution that lets architecture of
D 4 vertical circulation spine new office storeys wrap over and commander’s house), now all eras speak for itself. C. S.
5 Casa del Capitán
6 cloister/exhibition space around the cloister, and a salvaged refurbished to accommodate
7 offices Architect
8 library and archive
statue of Saint Augustine, to various ancillary functions. Offices
first floor roof plan Antonio Martínez García & Juan Luis Trillo
9 post room whose order the monastery was are flexible, open-plan spaces, de Leyva, Seville
10 audio-visual suite
originally devoted, presides over linked by a new spine of vertical Photographs
the remodelled ensemble. circulation. The upper floor is Duccio Malagamba

site plan


ground floor plan (scale approx 1:1000) second floor cross section through cloister and offices looking east cross section through circulation spine looking east

To understand recent changes to Britain’s

Parliamentary arrangements, it is important
to remember the backgrounds of the leading
Labour politicians of the last 30 years. For
example, the Labour Party (which ruled for
the first three and last 10) has had as its leaders
James Callaghan (Welsh); Michael Foot (Welsh);
Neil Kinnock (Welsh); John Smith (Scottish); and
Tony Blair (English but Scottish-educated). His
heir-apparent is Gordon Brown (Scottish).
Given this parade of the non-English
succeeding in national politics via Westminster,
why should they have supported devolution and
parliamentary buildings in Scotland and Wales?
The answer was partly to do with counteracting
Scottish and Welsh nationalism; it appears that
the creation of a Scottish Parliament, with
its extraordinary building designed by Enric
Miralles (AR November 2004), and now the
Richard Rogers Partnership National Assembly
for Wales, have put those genies back in the
bottle, at least for the time being.
Instead, Gordon Brown recently made an
extraordinary speech in which he called on the
British to start flying the national flag, the Union
Jack, in the American way, and start behaving
more ‘patriotically’. This hypocritical drivel
was greeted with the loud raspberry it surely
deserved; the British only wave flags on very
special occasions – for example a visit by the
Queen. She will be going to Cardiff on St David’s
Day (1 March) to open the RRP building.
Happily, the architects and their client have
avoided the temptation to turn the Assembly
building into a Disney-esque representation of
all that is Welsh. While many of the materials
used are of Welsh origin, their selection has been
part of an environmental programme aimed at
minimising journey times for materials. (Other
key programme elements included a design life
of 100 years, and accessible and inclusive design
for people of all ages and abilities.)
This is the first pavilion building by the Richard
Rogers Partnership, and a relatively small project
for the practice (Madrid Airport opens shortly,
for example). However, it punches well above its
weight in creating architectural presence in the

The dramatic
front elevation and
oversailing roof
address Cardiff Bay.
Neighbours include
the Pierhead
building, now a linked
educational facility,
and the Millennium
Centre beyond.
1 2
28 | 2 29 | 2
view view
context of the Millennium Centre next door,
the adjacent Pierhead building being used as an
educational facility, and of Cardiff Bay itself,
a large expanse of water behind the barrage
designed by Will Alsop.
The extended overhanging roof, with its
undulating red cedar slatted timber soffit, is a
visual complement to the rippling water in the
bay beyond. It gives a real sense of importance
and occasion as you arrive, at plinth level
(magnificently built in Welsh slate, cleaved and
pillared to show off the quality of the material).
You enter an offset security zone and then arrive
in the main ‘living room’ space, a huge volume
where you can sit, attend informal meetings or
presentations, and watch whatever is happening
in the assembly chamber on one of the many
screens available (all the IT in the buildings is
top-grade). Within the volume you can go to the
upper level café and sit round the magnificent
timber-clad ‘bell’ that acts as a light source
and ventilation exit for the assembly chamber
at lower ground level, which includes meeting
rooms and three double-height, glazed-wall
committee chambers. Glass bridges link to an
adjacent existing office building where members
and staff have permanent facilities, but most of
the circulation in the building is open to all.
Natural ventilation is the norm, with the
help of 27 boreholes 100m deep, connected
to heat exchangers to provide a temperature
range control, there is some mechanical and
air-conditioning assistance if required, plus
underfloor heating. It feels very clement.

Upper level of the public space; the
café is next to the ‘Bell’ structure
which hovers over the debating
chamber below. Furniture, by Arne
Jacobsen, was selected after appraising
the condition of what he used for St
Catherine’s College, Oxford.
The plinth level arrival space and
information desk.
exploded axonometric showing the
Chamber and two levels above

30 | 2 long section showing what is believed to be Europe’s biggest wind cowl short section showing the services plenum 4 31 | 2
view view
Natural ventilation is
available to vir tually all areas
though there is mixed mode
assistance for extreme
conditions. A wood-fuelled
boiler provides renewable
heating while a rainwater
harvesting system supplies
all (except potable) water.
Daylight is maximised. The
overall design achieved an
‘excellent’ BREEAM rating
and exceeds best practice
guidelines. Automatic
controls monitor internal and
external environments and
adjust passive elements (eg,
windows) and active systems
(eg, heating).
Performance monitoring is
carried out through sensors in
the building structure.

ventilation strategy using the cowl

Triple-height slots run
either side of the debating
The public views the
Assembly at work through
unintrusive security glazing.
Upward view of the bell/
funnel – allowing in light,
taking out air.
6 7

ground condition heat exchangers and apertures create an integrated environmental approach

Architect This was a project that had its moments of

Richard Rogers
Partnership, London drama; at one stage the architects were sidelined
Structural engineer and had to win a second competition, with
Environmental/ME Taylor Woodrow, to complete the project they
services engineer had designed after winning a first competition.
Acoustic consultant There were some difficult technical requirements
SRL (security, especially after 9/11) and elements (like
Landscape architect
translation rooms) which put pressure on space.
Photographs RRP director Ivan Harbour cites the Richard
Richard Bryant/Arcaid Rogers dictum, about good buildings comprising
simple plans and complex sections, in his
description of the building, and he acknowledges
an unexpected source of inspiration for the
curving roof design – a never-built sculpture for
the RRP Bordeaux Law Courts (AR July 1999)
where Harbour was also project director.
A complex story and programme has resulted
in a building of clarity and calm, which impresses
without becoming bombastic, and gives Cardiff
a first-class building in which Welsh governance
32 | 2 lower ground level with debating chamber and committee/meeting rooms mid level; visitors can observe the Assembly and committees at work roof plan; glazed bridge links connect to the existing administration block will be admirably housed. PAUL FINCH 33 | 2

Photographs: Edmund Sumner/VIEW

Those who thought the Winter Olympics were all about slithering rapidly of snow, too much snow) and a cast iron deadline. One day’s sun could
across ice or snow wearing a condom or sequins, might be reassured by melt three feet of snow, wiping out a day’s work.
the more culturally refined caperings of this year’s Snow Show staged Ultimately human endeavour overcame nature to make a dramatic
in the Italian alpine resort of Sestriere, as an adjunct to (and possibly mark on the winter landscape. Lebbeus Woods, working with Kiki Smith,
distraction from) the Games. Curated by New York-based Lance Fung, designed Looking Glass (main picture), a frozen pond with fibre optic
the show reprises the successful formula of previous years, staged in the cables which emit swirling trails of light, like the tracks of phantom
more refrigerated climes of Finland (AR March 2004), in which teams of skaters. Slide Meeting (bottom left) by Williams & Tsien and Carsten
architects and artists collaborate to create temporary structures out of Holler is a geometric bunker penetrated by chutes for high speed
ice and snow. Within certain practical limits, imagination can take flight sledging. Norman Foster’s personal passion for cross-country skiing
with extraordinary results. This time, the Torino Olympic Committee inspires Where Are You (middle), a sculpted snow dial with the global
provided funding with Regione Piedmont and London’s Albion Gallery. co-ordinates for his London office designed in collaboration with Spanish
Though the photographs here convey an appropriate sense of artistic artist Jaume Plensa. By contrast,Yoko Ono’s Penal Colony (far right)
serenity, actually bringing to life the vision of people such as Daniel Buren, produced with fellow Japanese Arata Isozaki is an austere and oppressive
Yoko Ono, Norman Foster and Arata Isozaki was fraught with difficulties. grey labyrinth. From fantasy to nightmare, the Snow Show (www.
Fung’s construction team of students working and local contractors was celebrates the creative potential of the white stuff and
confronted with yo-yoing temperatures, varying weather conditions (lack perks up the winter scene. It runs until 19 March. C. S.

82 | 3
redwood grove

This holiday house in Big Sur is a highly tactful and inventive A

response to stringent local environmental regulations.

site plan

Big Sur, a rocky outcrop on the Architecture to design a modest, specified, and the builders had to The house is set back from a dirt
shore of central California, is a comfortable house that would drill 500 feet down into bedrock road behind a screen of cedar
magical place with two distinct reunite three generations, while to secure drinking water. battens, closed at the centre to
personalities.Visitors speed along giving each individual their own Fougeron immersed herself conceal bathrooms and kitchen,
the winding coast highway, pausing personal space. in the spirit of place, noting the and feathering out to either
at overlook points to admire New construction near Big Sur course of the sun, and getting side. A thin butterfly roof seems
the spectacle of towering cliffs, is stringently regulated, and the a feeling for the land, before to float over a deep clerestory
surf-lashed rocks, rolling hills and architect spent nearly four years sketching her design. ‘I didn’t of ribbed channel glass, and is
meadows. Most residents live dealing with ten different agencies want the house to loom too supported at one end by two
out of public view in canyons before being granted a permit. large or look as though it had slender bowed steel columns.
that slash through the hills and The look of the house was never flown in from another galaxy,’ she The house is raised nearly a
provide access to stony beaches. an issue for the county or the explains. ‘It needed to reach for metre off the ground to reduce its
Unplanned bohemian communities Coastal Commission, but rather the sky because the sun drops impact on the land and protect it
flourish amid this wild natural its impact on the environment, and below the edge of the canyon in from flooding if the nearby creek
beauty. A Bay Area family bought its avoidance of seismic faults and the early afternoon. At night, it’s overflows. The rear facade is much
a plot of land and camped there the habitat of protected species. completely dark outside and you bolder and open to nature. An
with their children for decades Setbacks and the amount of night- can gaze up to the stars through expansive corner window and a
before commissioning Fougeron time illumination were precisely the high windows.’ projecting glass bay that serves as


Screened by a veil of cedar
battens, the house is cradled
in a deep canyon.
Volumes are slightly
elevated to protect from
Roof oversails to enclose
tall, veranda-like spaces.
3 Detail of cedar screen. 53 | 3
a solarium cut through copper- balustrade. Mitered corner It is easy to see the influence of 5
Upper level spaces are
clad walls. windows dissolve the structure Pierre Chareau’s Maison de Verre connected by a walkway.
A grey stuccoed stair tower and open it to the canyon. The in Paris and Frank Lloyd Wright’s 6
Sitting lightly in nature
containing a steel moment frame steel-framed glass bay opens Usonian houses, but Fougeron has – the Big Sur life.
anchors the house, structurally onto a deck, from which you brought her own experience and The focal inglenook.
and visually. A ramp leads to step down into the wilderness artistry to this elegant retreat. She 8
Detail of upper level library
the entry. Bedrooms at either and its abundant wild life, or was born in Paris, but has spent and roof structure.
end bracket the communal walk a mile to the beach. most of her life in the United
space, which rises full height The house is so well composed States, and opened her office in
to cable-braced fir joists. The that it neither competes with nor San Francisco in 1986. Best-known
transparency and the high is overpowered by the canyon. for a much grander urban house in
ceilings of the living area are An earth-toned, radiant-heated Palo Alto, she is currently working
accentuated by a snug inglenook concrete floor, yellow cedar on two public libraries, a loft
with benches flanking a fireplace. joinery and anigre panelling remodelling, and a house-studio.
Stairs ascend to a slatted warm the interior. The cast glass MICHAEL WEBB
mezzanine gallery that contains pixellates the foliage and its
a library, overlooks the double- channels create a vertical rhythm, Architect
Fougeron Architecture, San Francisco
height master bedroom, and almost concealing the delicate Photographs
leads to a room of bunk beds steel rods that support the roof. Richard Barnes
1 entrance
for visiting children. On both The details are refined without 2 car port
3 bedroom
levels, spaces are interwoven being precious, and there’s an 4 bathroom
and interconnected through intelligent mix of standard and 5 kitchen
6 living/dining
glazed openings or over a glass custom components. 7 sleeping loft
8 library
9 deck
10 void

10 10
3 8 7


cross section first floor

3 6 3

long section

4 5 4

ground floor plan (scale approx 1:200)


7 8 55 | 3
Constructing a one-off residence is a costly, messy, and time-consuming its first prefabricated iT house. This sleek aluminium-framed glass
process, which is why, for the past ninety years, progressive architects pavilion can be customised with one of several artist-designed vinyl
have dreamed of standardised modern houses built on a production skins, which provide shade, privacy, and a distinctive signature.
line like cars and aircraft. Le Corbusier’s 1914 Citrohan house was an Now, the LA design-build firm of Marmol Radziner, best-known for
early sketch. Buckminster Fuller dedicated twenty years to refining his its restoration of classic modern houses by Neutra, Schindler and John
cylindrical aluminium Dymaxion house, only to abandon the project in Lautner, has joined in the quest. To show potential buyers what they
1946, just as production in a Kansas aircraft plant was about to begin. can expect, Leo Marmol experimented on himself and his wife. Their
Jean Prouvé manufactured two prototypes of a tropical house that were recently completed weekend house in Desert Hot Springs was fabricated
air-shipped to French West Africa in 1951 (AR December 2005), but by a company that specialises in commercial work, and it doubles as a
he, too, was soon out of business. prototype for the houses that they will soon be manufacturing themselves
Prefabrication is commonplace in the building industries of Sweden, in a factory in Vernon in south-central LA. If you didn’t know it had
Japan, and the US but the product is usually an ersatz historicism. been trucked in as a set of 10 modules that were lowered into place with
Only the humble trailer home has enjoyed commercial success as an a mobile crane and bolted together, you’d think it was one of the sleek,
unadorned steel module. However, the goal of making good design minimalist houses the firm builds on-site.
more affordable by rationalising construction has always remained in ‘Prefabrication is not an end in itself but a means of creating an
view, and there has been a surge of activity in the US over the past affordable modern living environment,’ insists Marmol. A path leads up
three years. Consumer magazines have hosted design competitions, a gentle rise from the detached car port to a flight of shallow steps and
promoted prize-winning models, and found firms to produce them. recessed entry. Low-slung silvery boxes and covered decks are mounted
In San Francisco, Michelle Kaufmann could barely afford to build a on a recessed concrete foundation and the delicacy of the steel posts
simple house on-site for herself and her husband, but is now producing and glazing bars contribute to the illusion that the house is floating
two factory-built versions of that one-off structure. In LA, Jennifer over the desert floor. Expansive windows open the interior up to long
Siegal’s Office of Mobile Design is developing innovative solutions and vistas and walkways frame the mountains. A rubber membrane creates
the partnership of Linda Taalman and Alan Koch has just completed a thermal barrier between the metal cladding and wood-lined interior.

Modules for living

The advantages of prefabrication have yet to be translated into decent architecture,
but in California, cradle of the modern house, experimentation goes on to provide elegant,
economical dwellings that have a viability beyond the prototype stage.

The prototypical Desert
House, designed for Leo
Marmol and his wife, that
shows prospective buyers
what to expect.
Elegantly minimal, but
64 | 3 entirely prefabricated. Desert House floor plan (scale approx 1:500)

House under
in the
The Desert
house lineage.
Luxe living,
3 economy of
design and

deluxe model: 8 modules $630 100

advanced model: 6 modules $465 700

An entry hall separates the master bedroom from the kitchen-dining-

living area, which opens onto a covered terrace and pool. A walkway
leads to the guest bedroom and a detached studio, which are set at
an angle to the main house. In its lightness and fusion of indoors and
outdoors, it evokes Neutra’s sixty-year-old Kaufman house, which the
firm restored in the mid 1990s.
In planning their prefab menu of four basic models, ranging in
size from 61 to 242sqm plus extensive deck areas, Marmol Radziner
tried to avoid the mistakes that have bedevilled other attempts at
standardisation. By creating modules rather than a kit of posts and
intermediate model: 3 modules $295 000
panels, they can undertake ninety per cent of the fabrication in their
factory. The recycled steel frames assure rigidity and minimise the
need for solid walls. The size of the modules (17m long and about 4m
square), is the largest volume allowed on California highways without
costly waivers. Wiring, plumbing and cabinetry are built in, and the web
site ( allows buyers to upgrade the standard
offerings of equipment, flooring, and colours. They can build their own
foundations, secure permits and pick up the modules at the factory door,
or turn everything over to the architects for a comprehensive service.
Cost for full assembly is around $2700 per sqm, which comes in at the
midpoint between the least expensive prefab offerings and the ground-
up houses this firm builds.
For the customer, this system of prefabrication is like ordering a car, intermediate model: 3 modules $295 000
selecting colours and options, then coming back a few months later
and driving it away. That’s a big saving in time, hassle and cost, and
the final price is set in advance. The best of the prefabricated houses
are environmentally friendly, save on the waste of materials and site
traffic, and minimise the inconvenience of construction to neighbours.
But their impact on the housebuilding market is likely to be minimal
until a major developer decides to embrace this intelligent, economical
alternative to current archaic practices. MICHAEL WEBB
66 | 3 All photographs by David Glomb except 3 & 4 basic model: 2 modules $215 000

ar march 04 barkow done 5/4/04 12:17 PM Page 62

With 6000 employees worldwide, auspicious location for a building

Trumpf AG is one of the great intended to serve as a place for
German postwar manufacturing welcoming clients and guests. The
success stories, prospering in the conundrum was resolved by astute
heavily industrialized heartland of massing and subdivision of
Swabia around Stuttgart. As such, volumes. As you walk up the gentle
Trumpf’s management has pursued slope, past the administrative and
a bold architectural mission that research buildings from the ’70s,
matches the company’s leading the new building’s layered
edge reputation in laser technology structure comes into view. The
and machine tools. In particular, it landscape is marked by generously
has cultivated a fruitful relationship spaced steps, with each threshold
with architects Barkow Leibinger, highlighted by long strips of laser-
who have been involved in cut metal plates that
spearheading Trumpf’s rapid chronologically document the
international expansion in company’s meteoric rise and
Germany, Switzerland, the US, and expansion. So even before they
latterly in Italy, Slovakia and the cross this entrance platform,
Czech Republic. visitors have subconsciously
The Berlin-based partnership absorbed some corporate history.
has been responsible for the The lines of the steps extend
masterplanning and design of an into the ground floor, demarcating
evolving Trumpf research and the three main functions of the
production campus. In 1999, it entrance area (lobby, 200 seat
designed a manufacturing plant for auditorium and exhibition space).
laser technology at the company’s The resulting polygonal shapes are
headquarters in Stuttgart- arranged in a strong, almost
Ditzingen and a year later, a sculptural, relationship to each
Systems Technology plant was other. Barkow Leibinger refer
added. The new 9000m2 metaphorically to those three
Distribution and Service Centre is ground floor volumes as ‘stones’.
the third phase of the expansion Interrupted only by floor to ceiling
plan. The results have given window openings, their solid grey
Trumpf an increasingly basalt facades exude a monumental
recognizable architectural image, yet precisely aligned verticality.
following the model of other Inside, a generous longitudinal
German corporations – for corridor connects the stones. A
instance Vitra, Rimowa metal relief, cut using the most
(Grimshaw) or the Ernsting family advanced Trumpf machinery, runs
(Chipperfield), which have along the entire length of the
animated their industrial sites with ground floor corridor, concealing
notable buildings. the large exhaust air ducts which
The latest addition to the service the ground floor. With its
Trumpf Campus presented the decorative yet functional spirit, this
architects with their greatest part of the building is reminiscent
challenge to date. The site is at an of a cultural institution or
odd corner and borders directly university. Gaps between stones
on to a busy motorway, not an are filled by a pair of reinforced- 1
2 3



STEPPING Besprechung Garderobe WC

WC WC Teeküche

Foyer Saal
Glazed office block seems to float above

STONES more massive, stone-clad volumes.

Entrance courtyard.
An attempt to make urban architecture New building addresses busy
motorway, forming beacon for
62 | 3 on a very difficult and disjointed site. long section industrial campus beyond. 63 | 3
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concrete cores which stabilize the free spaces with only a couple of manufacturer Vitra. Empirical and Architect
Barkow Leibinger Architekten, Berlin
two parallel office wings above. meeting rooms on each floor. Split- analytical studies were used to
Structural engineers
Though taking up the same basic level offices are connected by devise a special type of office Conzett, Bronzoni, Gartmann;
footprint (55 x 9m), the wings are gracefully rising staircases. Space furniture that greatly reduced Boll & Partner
offset against each other by 11m flows fluidly, with daylight flooding individual filing space but added Mechanical engineers
Transsolar; Henne & Walter, Reutlingen
and vary both in height and in the in, and natural cross ventilation other features; for instance, a Landscape consultant
number of storeys. There is a utilizes the open cores as thermal writing desk that can be pulled out. Gabi Kiefer
striking contrast between the light, stacks, with passive cooling during The understated colour scheme of Photographs
Margherita Spiluttini
transparent horizontal structure of the summer months and heat grey furniture, green fabric screens
the office floors and the solid recovery during the winter. and brown felt wall coverings adds
verticality of the stones below. Offices appear as calm, to the elegant, workmanlike 4
Parallel office blocks linked by stairs.
Glazed, double-skinned facades on uncluttered spaces, but are also internal atmosphere. 5, 7
the north and south sides screen thoughtfully detailed and highly This latest building consolidates A metal relief, cut using Trumpf
machinery, animates the entrance
the building as much as enhance its practical. Their economical Barkow Leibinger’s relationship hall on ground floor.
pervading impression of lightness. organization arose from Barkow with Trumpf; the next phase of 6
Interiors are calm, light and
Each of the 500m2 office floors Leibinger’s collaboration with corporate campus development is workmanlike.
(four on the north and five on the engineering scientists at the eagerly awaited. Offices are a triumph of functional
south side), are open-plan, column- Fraunhofer Institute and furniture CHRISTIAN BRENSING economy.

cross section with energy use strategy first floor 4 5

6 7


2 entrance hall
CENTRE , S TUTTGART - 3 auditorium


1 3

64 | 3 site plan ground floor plan (scale approx 1:1000) 65 | 10

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Los Angeles making it a place to visit rather than drive through.
The Disney Concert Hall has radically transformed a block of downtown

Downtown Los Angeles has never
looked so good. Curved surfaces
reflect light and sky, and lead to
new vistas. 1
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From the first solo notes of The Star-Spangled Banner, sung by jazz site dips from an easterly corner – the formal and photogenic entry
vocalist Dianne Reeves in spotlight at centre stage, to the final court – to the west, where a steel ribbon canopy signals entry to
crescendo of the entire LA Philharmonic expressing the energy and REDCAT, the Roy and Edna Disney CalArts Theater, a
shock of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, the inaugural performance at the supplementary arts space accommodated within the parking
Walt Disney Concert Hall was a calibrated workout for both music structure as it rises above street level.
and architecture. This is a hall where music in its various iterations In the 1980s, the acropolis of eclectic elements was characteristic
seems remarkably at home with an audience sometimes gathered of such playful urban works as Stirling’s Neue Staatsgalerie in
vertiginously in the round. Stuttgart (AR December 1984), Hollein’s Abteiberg Museum in
For a building instantaneously acclaimed as a vanguard masterpiece, Mönchengladbach (AR December 1982), and Gehry’s own Loyola
the Walt Disney Concert Hall is surprisingly traditional. True, its University Law School on a flat site just west of Downtown LA.
giant external petals of stainless-steel cladding are wonderful amid Nevertheless, Gehry’s virtuosity and experimentation allowed for his
the isolated towers of Downtown. From afar, they glisten and reflect inclusion, alongside a younger generation, in the New York
the sky, then taunt – like the cape of some ingenious Deconstructivist Architecture exhibition (also 1988), with its ambitions
sculptor/matador – and swoop away when viewed up-close. Thrilling to forge a hyper-Modernist avant-garde. Seldom prone to theorizing,
to drive past, the Hall’s cladding plays a sophisticated game of Gehry’s office further developed in the 1990s away from shards and
concave and convex surfaces that, unlike the mostly opaque walls of violent fragmentation to a volumetric architecture of dynamic
the Baroque, contain reflections of light and sky and lead the eye out surfaces engendered (as with the Bilbao Guggenheim, AR December
to newly framed aspects of adjacent buildings. Downtown Los 1997) by evolving computer technology.
Angeles has never looked so good. Perhaps because of this long gestation period, the Walt Disney
Being LA, concertgoers inevitably arrive by car, leaving the garage Concert Hall – in particular the auditorium and the office blocks
by a red escalator lobby topped by one of many fractured skylights. exposed on the plinth – retains Gehry’s earlier concern with a
As with Hans Hollein’s concoction, and that of Stirling and Wilford in Cubistic assemblage of objects together with an emerging ability to
the original competition back in 1988, Gehry’s building takes drape space with complexly shaped membranes. Although a large
advantage of its slightly raised site to play with metaphors of Greek public greenhouse has been lost, auditorium massing still shifts from
Acropolis and German stadtkrone. (Fourth invitee Gottfried Böhm’s the axial coordinates of the urban block, setting up a tension that is
proposal, also stadtkrone-like, was more akin to a Wagnerian partially held in check by orthogonal, stone-clad office
gasworks.) Surrounded by heavily trafficked streets, the orthogonal accommodation to south and west. 2


long section

Organic forms poised on
orthogonal masonry base that
responds to urban grid.
3, 4
The gardens and paths lifted above
street level offer a whole new public
56 | 3 cross section realm of complexity and delight. 57 | 3
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1 future café
2 drop off C ONCERT HALL ,
3 platform pits
6 future restaurant
7 Philharmonic store G EHRY P ARTNERS
8 concert hall
9 lobby
10 choral hall
The great formal entrance at
11 pre-concert
street level is relatively little used
12 founders’ room
because most opera-goers arrive
13 dressing rooms
by car and park underground.
14 offices
15 gardens
16 open-air stage
17 east atrium
18 west atrium

orchestra level +16ft (4.93m)

lobby level 0 (scale approx 1:725)

58 | 3 5
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1 future café C ONCERT HALL ,

2 drop off
3 platform pits L OS A NGELES , USA
5 plant
6 future restaurant G EHRY P ARTNERS
7 Philharmonic store
8 concert hall
9 lobby 6
10 choral hall Each landing or corridor is
11 pre-concert intended to be a viewing terrace,
12 founders’ room like the ones in Scharoun’s
13 dressing rooms Philharmonie.
14 offices
15 gardens
16 open-air stage
17 east atrium
18 west atrium

gallery level +50ft (15.45m)

60 | 3 garden level +34ft (10.51m) 6 61 | 10

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In essence, Gehry sheathes a timber box in stainless steel. Dancing about distributed symmetrically, mostly across a raked orchestra area in front of C ONCERT HALL ,
this protected auditorium, the steel peels away to create entrances and the stage or on a pincer-shaped balcony above. Yet a significant number L OS A NGELES , USA
windows. It also bubbles upward to shelter two extraordinary satellite occupy bow-fronted stalls to either side of the stage; skinny concave ARCHITECT
rooms: a bar with curving timber sides (a hip descendant of Aalto’s 1939 balconies projecting from three levels above; or tiered terraces behind the G EHRY P ARTNERS
New York Pavilion?) and the dramatic Founders’ Room, where gigantic stage that part to either side of a 6125-pipe organ. With pipes stylized by
petals of plaster are sucked upwards into a vortex of glass and steel far Gehry to appear like rods on the verge of fission, this organ may well be a 7, 8
above. In 1988, Gehry had envisaged the auditorium as a stacked stone contemporary counterpart to some Baroque monstrance or mural of The great timber box, with its
dramatic views of the sky.
ziggurat. Intervening years and budgets entailed the switch to metal, but ascending angels.
the Founders’ Room – part stupa, part air sock – retains a formal This Baroque sensibility is not merely emotional or ‘artistic’. The
independence through its unique shape and through the selection of a building lies directly across First Street from the Dorothy Chandler
shinier external steel panel. Pavilion (completed by Welton Becket and Associates in 1964) whose
The new building spills out and mutates into various intriguing shapes convex if imperious sides set up a curvilinear momentum in the immediate
onto Grand Avenue, within easy strolling distance of Arata Isozaki’s context. In Gehry’s foyer areas, visitors seem naturally to navigate about
Museum of Contemporary Art. To the west, the city streets dip down to the timbered hull of the auditorium, and towards natural light as it filters
expose largely impenetrable walls, save for the REDCAT corner entrance, past sections of ceiling and the swoosh of balustrades – both plastered
to the parking structure (these immediate streets function primarily as white to read as comparatively subsidiary elements. Columns are also
feeder arteries to the LA freeway system). Above, however, Gehry has theatrical, timber-clad like the auditorium, but bursting apart into gigantic
created a whimsical public garden, terraces with eccentric planting and stems or branches that house uplights.
paving and a small, hooded amphitheatre that take advantage (like Rafael The organic theme continues inside where all seats are upholstered in a
Moneo’s parvis to his cathedral a few blocks to the north, AR March 2003) vividly patterned and coloured fabric, a floral abstraction that Gehry
of LA’s surprising topological richness. designed in tribute to the late Lillian Disney, widow of Walt Disney and
At intermission or just before a performance, the audience can happily donor of the initial $50 million gift to a then-hypothetical project in 1987.
colonize both these raised gardens and the concatenation of lift shafts, Surprisingly decorative or Pop, these seats must perform to the same
open staircases, and stacked decks threaded through the residual spaces acoustic standards whether occupied or not. Working with acoustician
located between auditorium and outermost shell. In principle, each landing Yasuhisa Toyota, the Gehry team constructed tenth-scale models of the
or access corridor becomes a viewing terrace, augmenting the excitement hall to test sound performance. Above audience and performers alike, an
of a special evening out. These entrails reveal Gehry’s empirical ability, or inner ceiling droops downwards in sail-like sleeves that both help disperse
perhaps his seemingly casual Californian stance, in the resolution of sound and secrete necessary technical apparatus. The timber sheathing of
complex practical and spatial issues. Nevertheless, during inauguration the interior – stage floor, balustrades, perimeter walls, billowing soffit –
festivities, some first-time visitors to the Concert Hall had difficulty contributes greatly to the remarkable intimacy of the Walt Disney
orientating themselves through these interstitial zones. auditorium. The LA Philharmonic knows it must attract a new and younger
As at Hans Scharoun’s Berlin Philharmonie, this flow of circulation following; and Gehry’s architecture, or the building achieved by Gehry’s
towards the primary performance space is deliberately a performance in team, deliberately eschews the formal, hierarchical ethos of most previous
itself: exposed, mobile, and interactive. Gehry’s original intention for many buildings of the type.
balconies fanning out from the stage, again kin to Scharoun’s metaphor of Behind the musicians, when they assume their orthodox semi-circular
vineyard terraces at the Philharmonie, has been curtailed as acoustic and formation, light seeps in to either side of the organ and the ceiling clearly
other realities have been integrated into his design. The auditorium, as floats free of rear internal walls. During the splendid inaugural concert, as a
built, is closer to the rectilinear box of Vienna’s historic Musikverein or lone trumpeter performed Charles Ives’s The Unanswered Question from
Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw. Its flanks are essentially twin flat surfaces, the centre of the uppermost terrace farthest away from conductor and
but surfaces with projections and perforated to allow access in many orchestra, a screen or blind ascended behind to allow views out (through
different locations. another crystalline window) to the blue night sky, connecting music lovers
The interior is lined or draped in timber, mostly Douglas fir, evoking in the belly of the auditorium with the cosmos outside. This is Los Angeles,
further allusions or similes: ambitions for the auditorium to feel like a after all, the city in which dream and reality are most conspicuously mixed.
nautical vessel and be like a musical instrument itself. The 2265 seats are RAYMUND RYAN

Gehry Partners, Los Angeles
Principal project team
Frank Gehry, James Glymph, Craig Webb, Terry Bell,
David Pakshong, William Childers, David Hardie,
Kristin Woehl
Structural engineer
John A. Martin & Associates
Electrical engineer
Frederick Russell Brown
Mechanical engineer
Levine/Seegel Associates
Acoustic consultant
Nagata Acoustics
Lighting design
L’observatoire International
Landscape design
Lawrence Reed Moline; Melinda Taylor Landscape Design
Theatre consultants
Theatre Projects
John E. Linden/Arcaid except
62 | 3 7 and 8 by Hufton + Crow/VIEW 7 8
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The Genzyme Center brings transforming imagination to US
office design, adding environmental and human dimensions.

Externally, the Genzyme Center
conforms to a rigorous masterplan and
does not seem revolutionary.
Glazed curtain walls have tracts of
openable windows and deep cavities
with various blinds and curtains. 59 | 4
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Seen in passing, the Genzyme Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts stairs linking particular floors to encourage formation of vertical as
does not seem particularly revolutionary. It looks very much like well as horizontal forms of local office communities. The architects’
another glass-clad corporate headquarters, even if its profile and aim is to create vertical urbanity, with public and private spaces,
massing are slightly unusual, and its cladding is strangely varied. conference rooms, a cafeteria, and library and internal gardens to
On the edge of the city near Longfellow Bridge and Broad Canal, it clean and oxygenate the air. It is too early yet to see whether all
forms part of a new development on an abandoned industrial site. these measures will work, and particularly whether they will work
Genzyme is one of the first of seven new buildings being built to a together. But early evidence is promising. In its optimism, the space is
masterplan by Urban Strategies of Toronto that determined overall highly reminiscent of Hertzberger’s Centraal Beheer when it first
envelope and massing. opened as a brilliant and radical experiment in organizing offices that
Behnisch, Behnisch & Partner of Stuttgart, and of Venice, California respect individuals and small groups as well as the organization.
are the architects of the Genzyme Center. Their proposal was As far as possible, all workplaces receive daylight, either from the
selected in competition, yet the development of the USA’s first large perimeter or from the atrium. On clear days, the void is filled with
environmentally aware office block was created in intimate daylight that is transmitted down through the ceiling prism elements.
collaboration with the developer client, Lyme Properties LLC and A system designed by the Austrian firm Bartenbach Lichtlabor involves
tenants, the Genzyme Corporation. Dan Winny of Lyme explains seven solar-tracking mirrors on the roof at the north side of the
that, at competition stage, they did not select the Behnisch practice atrium that reflect light to fixed mirrors on the south side, from where
because the developers wanted to make a green building, but because the sun’s rays are deflected downwards to the pools at entrance level,
they were attracted to ‘the quality and freshness of the European whence they shimmer upwards. (The system is not dissimilar to the
design work’. During the competition, in which the by then probable one used by Foster in the Hong Kong Bank, AR April 1986). On the
tenants Genzyme were involved on the jury, it became clear that the way down, sunlight is intercepted and deflected by the multiple
Behnisch proposal was what Winny calls ‘a concept for a radically moving prism plates of roof-hung chandeliers. According to the angle
different type of innovative building based on principles of at which sunlight hits them, the plates reflect or transmit, distributing
responsible energy use … maximizing the environmental quality of sunshine into surrounding office spaces. The devices, with their ever-
the workplace’. In other words, the Center was to be built to changing patterns of sunlight, are one of the reasons why the space is
principles now commonly accepted in the German-speaking lands and so breathtaking when you first see it. Its luminosity is further
Scandinavia. enhanced by reflective balustrades and a lamellar wall on the south
But the Behnisch building is far more than a conventional transfer side of the atrium: the vertical lamellae are moved to change the wall’s
of European values across the Atlantic. Its central atrium is literally reflectivity according to the angle of the sun and the nature of the sky.
breathtaking, a joyous paean of luminous space, with which the office Artificial and natural lighting are related by sensor systems that
floors engage in terraces, balconies and platforms. The complex slowly dim overhead lights when the atrium’s total luminosity is
social life of the office is revealed as you look up, with open-plan appropriate. All workplaces have low-energy task-lights, which both
offices (American style but involving low cubicles) mingled with allow people to control their immediate environments and add to the
private (though usually transparently walled) individual rooms, open feeling that the building is a congregation of individual places.



Foyer with Behnisch trademark grand stair.
Light enters from top and sides and is
reflected by chandeliers and pools.

60 | 4 site plan section through entrance 3 61 | 10

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Every effort is taken to increase
daylight penetration of office areas
with prismatic squares of chandeliers,
ceiling reflectors and reflective

principles of day- and sunlight penetration to atrium and offices

first floor 11th floor

62 | 4 ground floor (scale approx 1:900) 4th floor 4 63 | 10

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that automatically opens them on cool summer nights to reduce the

temperature of the building. Over 30 per cent of the external
envelope is a ventilated double facade with a 4ft (1.22m) interstitial
space that acts as climate buffer. In winter, the voids capture solar
gains and re-radiate them to the interior. In summer, various shading
devices including adjustable sun protecting blinds and coloured
curtains reduce insolation. As the opening of windows and the
adjustment of the blinds are controlled by individuals, the building’s
appearance constantly changes in detail.
This external indication that users are valued and have some
control over their individual working conditions is echoed in sensitive
detailed handling of interior finishes and choice of furniture. The bits
you can touch are welcoming – cloth or wood, rather than plastic.
Cubicle walls are capable of much flexibility, not just for management
re-arrangements, but so that individuals can make their own work
5 spaces particular.
The Genzyme Center is a truly brave building. Its realization of the
As well as being a great light-chute, the atrium is the central element inspiring belief that North American offices can be made more decent
in the building’s climate control system. It forms a huge waste-air to work in than the usual dreary deep indoor prairies needed great
chimney. Fresh air reaches occupied areas from ceiling grilles, or and unusual trust and vision between developer, tenant, architect and
through the openable parts of the perimeter walls. Pressure all consultants. So did the notion that an environmentally friendly
differentiation drives used air to the atrium, where it ascends to be building that costs more initially than its conventional equivalent will
expelled at roof level. Energy for the heating and cooling system is eventually provide handsome paybacks for its developers, tenants and
provided by steam from a small local power station two blocks away occupants alike. It is an inspiring shift in the evolution of the office
from the site. In summer, the steam drives absorption chillers; in building type, more inventive and integrated than almost anything yet
winter, its heat is exchanged into heating for the building. Buro built, even in Europe. Every aspect of its performance should be
Happold, who designed the climate control system, claim that there measured, and luckily there are lots of local academics just up the
are no distribution losses in this energy system, and that its emissions road who are capable of doing the job.
are reduced by filters at the power plant. Energy-saving The Genzyme Center is almost the complete opposite of normal
considerations go even as far as rainwater handling: some of it is used US office block produced by core-and-shell development, where
to supplement supplies to the cooling towers (saving city supplies) architectural efforts are so often perforce confined to decorating
and some feeds the landscaped roof. exteriors. Here, an immense amount of creative energy has been
Curtain walls wrap the perimeter (designed in conjunction with poured into the interior. Externally, the building is constrained by a
Happold’s and Bartenbach Lichtlabor). Over all 12 floors, they have rather dumb masterplan. What could the Behnisch team have done
openable windows that are linked to the building management system with it had they been given a freer hand? P. D.


Behnisch, Behnisch & Partner
Project team
ARCHITECT Stefan Behnisch, Christof Jantzen,
B EHNISCH , B EHNISCH & P ARTNER Günther Schaller, Martin Werminghausen,
Maik Neumann
Executive architects
House & Robertson, Los Angeles: Douglas
Robertson, Nick Gillock, Patricia Schneider
Next Phase Studios, Boston: Richard Ames,
Scott Payette
Ken Greenberg
Environmental consultancy, structural
and M/E/P/engineers
Buro Happold
Green building consultant
Natural Logic: Bill Reid
Planting interior gardens
Log ID
Natural and artificial lighting
Bartenbach Lichtlabor
Workspace design
DEGW: Frank Duffy
Roland Halbe

5, 6
Trays and terraces of office
accommodation linked by open stairs
are intended to foster feelings of a
64 | 4 principles of interior climate control community of small groups. 6
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the ideas behind the design of this church’. It 1

In a nondescript suburb of Rome, the
is a wonderful gift to the whole community church is a glowing beacon composed
of overlapping, shell-like forms.
of more than 25 000 people. 2
The fan-shaped site is approached directly Main east entrance. The concrete
shells are anchored by a spine wall.
from the east across a travertine paved
entrance piazza (sagrato), which extends as a
base to the church on the south and west of
the precinct. The entrance is marked by
several external features including a silver
cross, and a campanile with exposed bells –
the tower marking out both the church to
the south and the community centre to the
north. The generous entrance hall, defined
by a travertine screen wall, is partly enclosed
within by a raised organ loft. Once in the
nave, the main altar is immediately visible at
the west end. Although unconventional, this
position is a logical result of the frontal
eastern entrance.
Plan-form and section are extremely clear.
Three circles of equal radius create three
concrete shells to the south and together
with a thick spine wall to the north, the main
1 space of the church nave is contained. In a
contrasting, plain L plan around a sunken
Richard Meier’s Rome church is one event entirely successful in architecture of courtyard, is the community centre, on four
originally planned to mark the celebrations outstanding optimism. levels. The centre is separated from the main
of the Jubilee of AD 2000. This was initiated The church, named Dio Padre church by a linear top-lit atrium.
by the Pope in 1994 when he called for a Misericordioso (God our Merciful Father) by The plan of the church is essentially
Special Consistory to prepare for the Great Pope John Paul II, was consecrated and traditional with nave, altar, side chapel and
Jubilee at the starting point of the third inaugurated on 26 October 2003 by Cardinal confessional booths. Introduction of the
millennium involving the Catholic world as a Camillo Ruini in a four-hour service of three shells transforms the project and
whole. Meier’s project is the 50th church to celebration, music and ritual. This was implies the Holy Trinity. Natural light is the
be inaugurated in the Vatican’s Millennium attended by a huge congregation both within major theme, with skylights between each
Project. Each church has a community centre the church itself and externally on the shell and over the main space, creating ever
and they are built in various parish districts church piazza. changing patterns within. Meier has referred
throughout Rome. The church is in an ordinary 1970s to this as ‘… a luminous spatial experience
The Jubilee Church commission was the 10-storey housing quarter at Tor Tre Teste, … the rays of sunlight serve as a mystic
result of an international competition, and a suburb at some distance from the centre of metaphor of the presence of God’.
the Vatican’s shortlist included Meier, Gehry, the city. Taken together, church and Curving in both plan and in section, the
Behnisch, Calatrava, Eisenman and Ando. community centre form a spectacular new three shell wall planes are the real tour de
The award of the project to Meier was focus in an otherwise low-key suburban force in the whole project. They are
controversial from the outset, in that Meier environment, and define both a religious sweeping vertical cantilevers formed with
as a Jew would be working with the foremost precinct and a heartening sense of place. panels of beautiful white concrete with a
Catholic client – the Vatican itself. However, Meier has said that ‘… expression of finish so fine that it resembles marble.
the relationship and the resultant complex aspiration, hope and belief, as well as Meier’s description of the engineering
are a triumph of this collaboration, and openness and transparency are all aspects of effort involved in erecting the shells as

Richard Meier’s long awaited church in Rome is
a beautifully honed giver and receiver of light.


48 | 4 R ICHARD M EIER site plan 2 49 | 4
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cross section longitudinal section

1 meeting room
2 courtyard
3 community centre
4 main (east) entrance
5 campanile
6 nave
ground floor plan (scale approx 1:500) 7 altar second floor
8 side chapel
9 confessionals
10 organ loft
11 priest’s offices
12 pastoral residence
13 kitchen
14 bedrooms

The calm, luminous interior. The
limited palette of materials (white
concrete, travertine and timber) and
studied absence of ornamentation
50 | 4 basement first floor enhances the air of serenity. 3 51 | 4
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‘Herculean’, underlines the task involved through the central linear atrium. Secondary
in the achievement of the cantilevers. entrances are provided from two courtyards.
(They are prefabricated post-tensioned The basement holds the major meeting hall
concrete panels.) (Sale di Riunione) adjacent to the sunken
The three shells, or arcs, form a massive courtyard. Both courts are intended for
instrument of light – the most monumental staging community events associated with
gesture of Meier’s whole repertoire – and the church.
embody the sacred space at the heart of the Upper levels include the parish priest’s
church. In contemplating the design, Meier offices and catechism rooms. The second
has referred to both Le Corbusier at floor houses the pastor’s residence and the
Ronchamp and especially to Aalto and the kitchen. The residence incorporates a
Church of the Three Crosses in Finland. splendid living room with a raised ceiling and
Aalto’s church at Riola, near Bologna, came top light, and includes a brick hearth and
to mind in visiting the Jubilee Church. fireplace. It has fine views of the parish:
The interior space and materiality of the housing and the community at large.
main nave and side-chapel are serene and The western half of the site includes
beautifully crafted. The limited range of discreetly placed parking and a landscaped
materials – travertine, white concrete and area, within rising walled ground, planted
light wood – predominates and there is with olive trees. The whole of the secular
currently an absence of any decoration. The precinct and the community centre is in
white concrete shells contrast with the white stucco, with the north elevation
travertine and slatted wood of the spine wall; enlivened by balconies. The minimal nature
otherwise the nave is occupied only by the of the centre is an appropriate contrast to Detail of organ loft.
simple ranges of wooden pews. The white the exuberance of the main church. 5
Both literally and metaphorically,
stucco organ loft with its silver clusters of Although this is Meier’s first church, the the church is a giver and receiver
pipes, and the sculpted white altar, form parti of the plan and section are unique of light.

counterpoints at the two ends. within his work, and the beautiful white
The altar plinths and furniture are all precast concrete walls of the shells a
formed in the same travertine as the nave resounding success in the use of materials
floor. Each element of the furniture is and structure. This church is truly part of the
exemplary, and some items such as the twenty-first century – a new landmark and
casket for communion wafers (a gold box in place of pilgrimage for the faithful.
the side chapel) are quite exquisite. The only IVOR RICHARDS
concession to tradition is a nineteenth-
century cross above the main altar. Architect
At night, the whole church is a giver of Richard Meier & Partners, New York
Structural engineers
light to the outer world and again the three Ove Arup and Partners, Italcementi
shells, and the transparent ends of the Mechanical engineers
church, give a spectacular signal of a sacred Ove Arup and Partners, Luigi Dell’Aquila
Lighting consultants
entity within the community. FMRS, Erco
The community centre has its main Photographs
approach from the eastern church sagrato Edmund Sumner/VIEW



52 | 4 origin of plan geometry axonometric projection 5 53 | 4


This library enlivens both the campus and civic realm of
a former industrial centre striving to reinvent itself.

Cottbus, a banal industrial Located near the main entrance to 1

The sinuous volume of
city near the Polish border, is Brandenburg Technical University, the library is wrapped
worth a fast hour’s drive on the an institution founded in 1991 in a double layer of
glass silk screened
autobahn from Berlin for its to help reinvigorate the decrepit with letters that form
quirky Jugendstil theatre, and as shell of this workers’ paradise, a visual babble.
an incentive to continue on to the new library serves as a bridge Like a monumental
Wroclaw (the former Breslau), between town and gown. It is Aalto vase, the library
commands its campus
a repository of classic modern also a symbol of transparency site, formerly a
university sports field.
buildings. Head south, and you and free expression, in a way that 3
can stay overnight at Lobau in the uniform campus buildings Main entrance and
detail of shimmering,
Hans Scharoun’s 1933 Haus are not. By day, it shimmers on a alphabetic cladding.
Schminke. Herzog & de Meuron’s grassy knoll (a former sports field)
new university library deserves just off Karl-Marx Strasse, the
its place in this pantheon, as undulating folds of screen-printed
an example of how the Swiss glass reflecting every passing cloud;
partnership fuse rigorous analysis at night, it’s a beacon. The organic
with poetic beauty. form narrows and swells as you


64 | 4 HERZOG & DE M EURON 65 | 4
4 5 6 7

move around it, and the curved of amoeba-like shapes that were on top of one another, here the coruscating hues are picked up on both sides with words in 4
Entrance hall and
bays flow into the landscape, determined, as the architects insist, floors are cut away to provide in the cylindrical lift, and a 6m- different tongues and alphabets, main reception. Pink
creating a strong sense of place. by ‘a purposeful configuration of a diversity of spaces, each with diameter spiral stair that drills superimposed to become a predominates.
It also has scale and substance, in many different flows of movement a distinct character, and each a through the building like a giant meta language. The two layers Typical double-
height reading area,
contrast to the same architects’ … and their ability to reorganise part of a single interior volume. corkscrew. When viewed from of silk-screened dots achieve penetrated by the pink
Allianz Stadium in Munich (AR and restructure urban space’. Some reading areas are two below it becomes a pink and green a moiré effect that softens the and green corkscrew
June 2005) which resembles a The shape generates a sensuous or three stories high and are hallucinogenic vortex, but is also, expanses of glass, blocks glare, and 6
huge balloon that might deflate if presence in a relentlessly bathed in natural light from the more prosaically, a vertical street screens out distractions. Night- Coruscating hues
animate the interior.
punctured by some hooligan. orthogonal frame, while sides and above, while others on which students and staff can time illumination is provided by 7
As Herzog & de Meuron maximising the exposure of the have intentionally low ceilings to linger to chat. corkscrew chandeliers supporting The vortex becomes a
place of interaction.
demonstrated in the recent interior to natural light and views. provide intimacy and enclosure. Patterned skins are a Herzog & corkscrew bulbs which transforms
exhibition of their work at the That spirit of joy and A sober palette of white de Meuron signature, and there’s the building into a glowing
Schaulager in Basel and later at the exuberance is sustained and grey fosters concentration, a fascinating contrast between organism, enticing the studious
Tate Modern (AR July 2005), every throughout the seven-storey but the circulation areas at the the figurative facades of etched into its depths. MICHAEL WEBB
project begins with study models, building. In contrast to most centre are an explosion of colour. glass and concrete in their library
and a consideration of materials. libraries, in which reading areas Floors are painted in ultra vibrant at Eberswalde, an hour north Architect
Herzog & de Meuron, Basel
The library plan morphed from a are ranged around a core of stripes that are reflected in the of Berlin, and the abstraction of Photographs
circular disc of acrylic into a series books and stacked repetitively cross section metal ceilings and shelves. These Cottbus. Its glazed shell is printed Monika Nikolic

1 main entrance
2 entrance hall
8 3 café
4 4 reading rooms
8 5 book stacks
7 4 6 offices
4 5 7 study carrels
8 void

5 5
4 8
2 6 4

location plan 1

66 | 4 HERZOG & DE MEURON lower ground floor ground floor plan (scale approx 1:1250) first floor second floor 67 | 4
Since 1901, department store between a busy shopping district outcrop that has quickly become a
chain Peek & Cloppenburg has and a raucous arterial road, new Cologne landmark.
been a fixture in the lives of the site, near the city’s famous In some ways, it is simply
German shoppers, beginning life cathedral, was not auspiciously a glorified, superscale shop
as a gentleman’s outfitter in Berlin favoured. Neighbours consisted window, but it also has wider
and thence expanding into ladies’ largely of glum concrete refugees urban ambitions. The sleek,
wear and city centres across from the 1970s, their civic serpentine flank defines the edge
Germany. Fortunes foundered monotony briefly enlivened by the of a new pedestrianised public
following the Second World War, presence of St Antoniterkirche, a square in front of the church and
when not a single P & C store late Gothic church. provides a modicum of dignity
survived unscathed, but the firm Such circumstances called for to the entrance to a motorway
doggedly rebuilt and reestablished some kind of bold yet generous underpass that cuts underneath
itself. Now it has over 65 stores in gesture that could rise above the site. Moreover, as a feat of
Germany and nurtures wider pan its surroundings. Piano exceeds construction, it embodies Piano’s
European ambitions, with outlets expectations with a swelling characteristic inventiveness,
in Belgium, the Netherlands and glazed protuberance, five riffing on technologies of timber
Austria, as well as the emerging storeys high, that slinks around and glass that first found more
eastern markets of Poland, a more conventional orthogonal modest expression with the IBM
Slovakia and Russia. block, enfolding it in a sinuous, Travelling Pavilion (AR November
Acutely aware of the power shimmering embrace. Resembling 1984). Here, towering arched
of image to help shift goods, a monumental orangery, albeit glulam ribs made from lamella of
Peek & Cloppenburg’s forays into with its proportions fashionably Siberian larch lock into a gently
imaginative architectural patronage warped and morphed, the 130m curved steel spinal ridge girder.
have included buildings by long vitreous volume surges fluidly The timber ribs are tied back to
Kleihues, Meier, Gottfried Böhm along Schildergasse, dipping in the building’s concrete frame by
and most recently, Renzo Piano, deference to St Antoniterkirche, a secondary steel structure and
whose new store in Cologne was before gathering and climaxing lateral bracing is provided by a
finally completed last year. Wedged in an almost obscenely bulbous cat’s cradle of tensile wires.

This new department store is a monumental
shop window with wider urban ambitions.

The bulbous
prow of the new
store has quickly
become a new
Cologne landmark.
God and Mammon
– the store lies
opposite the late
Gothic church of
DEPARTMENT STORE , St Antoniterkirche.
COLOGNE , G ERMANY The great glass
ARCHITECT frontage surges
and swells around a
RENZO PIANO BUILDING more conventional
60 | 4 WORKSHOP 1 orthogonal block. 3 61 | 4
The sweep of the glass
wall defines a new square
in front of the church.
Soaring timber ribs are
anchored by a secondary
steel structure.
Inside the bulbous prow.
Cologne’s historic
cathedral seen from its
new temple of commerce. 6

The undulating form dictated civic presence as vindicating DEPARTMENT STORE ,

that nearly all of the facade’s its policy of bold architectural COLOGNE , G ERMANY
7000 glazing panels are unique patronage, yet it was not an ARCHITECT
components, yet such apparently entirely straightforward ride, with RENZO PIANO BUILDING
unrealisable complexity was a standoff between client and WORKSHOP
made possible by the now contractor conspiring to delay
humdrum miracle of CNC the project by around two years.
controlled glass cutting. Though Finally, however, Cologne’s glass
the aim was to wrap the building whale has beached and the city
in a transparent veil and funnel can boast a new cathedral, this 5 7
daylight into the shopping time dedicated to the demanding
floors, a system of integral deities of commerce. C. S.
blinds provides shading when
required. Heat rises through the Architect
Renzo Piano Building Workshop, Genoa
stack effect and is dissipated Structural engineer
by openable louvres. Most of Knippers & Helbig
the great sweep of glazing faces Facade
Büro Mosbacher
north-east, so solar gain is not Photographs
considered to be a major issue. Michel Denancé
Not unexpectedly, Peek &
Cloppenburg professes to be
delighted with its latest flagship,
seeing such a conspicuous new

62 | 4 site plan typical floor plan (scale approx 1:1000) cross section through main store cross section through glazed end 63 | 4
Dwelling From urban housing to rural houses, residential projects are a source of experimentation.

84 | 4 DENMARK
Won in competition in 2003 and due for completion in 2009, Erick van Egeraat’s Krøyers Plads housing is located on a waterfront site in
Copenhagen’s harbour district. Here, close to the sea, the scale changes and horizons widen. The competition design was inspired by the rich,
almost fairytale-like atmosphere of the Danish capital, with its narrow intimate streets, cobbled squares, dark roofs, traditional materials and
intense colours conspiring to suggest that anything (and everything) could happen.
Van Egeraat’s starting point for the 16 000sqm housing complex was the contextual Danish tradition of simple, pitch-roofed buildings. Yet
in his provocative way, he gives tradition a sharp and timely twist. New and exaggeratedly angular forms are created by stretching, morphing
and distorting in three dimensions. To maximise views towards the sea and the harbour, towers are rotated and apartments fully glazed, but
the glazing is wrapped in a protective cladding system of louvres and grilles that provides both sun protection and visual privacy. Materials and
colours allude to the earth: copper red, terracotta and natural slate are set against more lightweight stainless steel and glass. With a random
pattern of open and closed surfaces, the ensemble of blocks creates an intriguing contrast between the infinite expanse of the water and the
more closed, hermetic and intimate volumes of the housing complex.
To give them more prominence when seen from the water, blocks are arranged on a tilted concrete platform. Beneath the undulating
platform are parades of shops, adding an element of civic animation to the surroundings. The small bay to the south-east of the site may also
be incorporated as a marina for the waterfront residents. Though van Egeraat’s whimsical warpings of form are far removed from the more
reticent and sober traditions of Danish architecture, this promises to be an intriguing urban set-piece. C. S. 85 | 4
site plan


The question of what to do with Park Hill, Sheffield’s notorious

monument to the social and architectural ambitions of the 1960s,
has taxed the imagination of politicians, planners and architects for
some decades now. Looming over the city on a windswept outcrop,
its Brutalist deck access blocks have a grim Alphaville appeal, but even
though such architecture has swung back into fashion, to the point
of achieving listing status, the estate suffers the familiar problems of
social and physical decline.
The latest attempt to tackle Park Hill has fallen to Hawkins
Brown working with landscape architects Grant Associates and über
developers Urban Splash. Together they are currently formulating
proposals to regenerate the estate’s 1000 homes and 16 000sqm
of commercial and ancillary accommodation. The aim is to achieve
a sustainable mix of different sorts of housing, both market and
affordable, some of it structured on the apartment-hotel model.
Residential uses will be supported by dedicated social facilities
such as a nursery school, community hub and health centre, backed
up by new local shops, bars and restaurants. The existing swathe
of parkland will be remodelled as a series of landscaped courts
providing spaces for play, recreation and reflection. The playful
graphics suggest an Archigram-style technicolour future, but being
86 | 4 Park Hill, one suspects the reality may be more prosaic. C. S.

Flowing along the topographic contours of the arid rock-strewn

landscape above Reno, Will Bruder’s latest desert residence is a syn-
thesis of fluid form and movement that celebrates personal privacy
and the nuances of perception. Along the soft, serpentine lines of the
house, plan and sectional geometry mediate functional needs with
episodic courtyards and planted spaces inspired by Japanese gardens
and the local landscape. Within the main pavilion, living, dining, and
library functions are unified under the gentle curve of a warped shed
roof. The house’s materiality of weathered steel plate grounds it in
the landscape as a mysterious dark shadow by day and as a luminous
glowing aperture at night. C. S. ground floor plan

0 1 5 10M



Sean Godsell’s new weekend

house for a family is a long,
elevated bar in the landscape,
which, though pleasant in
summer, is riven by fierce gales
in winter. Living spaces are
compactly contained in a box
hoisted aloft on columns, with
storage and parking underneath.
The box is wrapped in a rough
skin of perforated oxidised steel
panels which hinge open to form
protective brise-soleil shutters.
Living and sleeping spaces are
accessed from an external
promenade deck, a strategy
requested by the client as an
essential re-humanising reminder
of the nature and power of the
main living and sleeping level plan elements. C. S. 87 | 4

This family summer house in the

Catskills occupies a sloping site
with spectacular 360 degree views.
The site is the starting point for
the house’s radical programmatic
and spatial organisation. A single
box-like volume is bifurcated
into two separate entities: one
seamlessly follows the slope, the
other rises above it to create a
covered parking area and set up
a split-level internal organisation.
The volumetric transition is
generated by five parallel walls
that rotate along a horizontal
axis from vertical to horizontal,
so walls become floors and
vice versa. This new house is
clearly informed by UN Studio’s
ongoing formal and conceptual
experiments with Möbius strips
that spawned the eponymous
Möbius House in the Netherlands
(AR September 1999). C. S.


In designing a house on this coastal site in San Francisco, Tadao Ando

attempts to introduce a sense of the powerful, rugged landscape
directly into the living space. Ando’s initial image was of overlapping
horizontal planes that echo the surface of the sea. The controlled
geometrical composition allows light, shadows and views of the land-
scape to flicker vividly in the interior. Three horizontal planes on dif-
ferent levels are layered over the natural topography, with cuts made
along diagonals. The carved voids are displaced vertically but overlap,
reaching into the depths of the building to introduce air, light, nature
and views so that the house becomes one with the landscape. C. S.

88 | 4

Ofis are a young Slovenian practice who were premiated in last year’s Emerging Architecture Awards for their imaginative addition to
Ljubljana’s City Museum (AR December 2004). Formerly part of Yugoslavia, Slovenia managed to stay out of the toxic disintegration of the
Balkans and is now part of the EU. As exposure to external influences grows, Slovenian architectural culture is becoming increasingly lively
and sophisticated, looking northwards across the Alps to Austria and Germany for sources of inspiration.
Ofis are currently working on a number of housing projects, including this one in Izola, a town on the Slovenian coast. The brief is for a
block of 30 affordable apartments aimed at young couples and families, so budget and space standards are far from generous. Despite these
constraints and a site on the industrial edge of town, Ofis manage to create a lively and eye-catching block, its facades
animated by a series of angular, pod-like loggias. Sun and privacy shading is provided by textile screens which
add to the general gaiety and variety of the composition. Now on site, the project is due to be
completed later this year. C. S.

89 | 4






1970: Leslie Martin and David Owers

1980: Leslie Martin and Robert Weighton
1984: Leslie Martin and Ivor Richards
1994: Bland, Brown & Cole

Kettle’s Yard is one of Cambridge’s most popular cultural venues. Established by Jim Ede in 1957, its collection displays
an extensive range of modern art. Likewise its buildings are an eclectic mix of old and new, with Leslie Martin’s
celebrated extensions. This year Jamie Fobert has been appointed as the architect for the next phase. 73 | 5
Kettle’s Yard was once four tumbledown cottages in Cambridge. Soon after accepting the stewardship of Kettle’s Yard, a successful
Today it is one of the City’s most treasured cultural venues. In a city appeal for funds allowed the university to build a new extension
surrounded by the formal grandeur of collegiate and ecclesiastical designed by Leslie Martin and David Owers; a significant phase of
architecture, this curious collection of buildings holds its own as expansion (two phases rolled into one through the generous support
a must see destination. As a place it has become as diverse and of the Arts Council) that provided an additional 390sqm of display
idiosyncratic as the collection it contains; modest, yet sophisticated, space. As featured in The Architectural Review in February 1971,
and central to the cultural activities of the local community. the designer’s preoccupation focused on how the space and light
Not simply an art gallery, Kettle’s Yard is many things. Established of the new could add to the progression through Ede’s original
by Jim Ede in 1957, it has had a long and varied life. As the one- home, maintaining the ambience of the original 150sqm house
time home of the former Tate curator, the converted cottages were throughout a new 540sqm venue. Through careful planning and
always open to students and casual visitors, who could meet with exploiting interconnected levels, the extension links new with old
Ede in a place that he described as ‘a nursery to the visual arts and at an upper level, continuing the subtle sequence spaces through
an introduction to the formal art gallery like Tate or Fitzwilliam’. a series of descending levels and increasing volumes. Daylighting
Keen to share his internationally renowned private collection, also progresses with the domestic windows of the old, leading to the
Ede eventually presented it as a gift to the university in 1967, baffled top light of the long apertures that run the full length of the
who very keenly took on his legacy. Since then four subsequent extension’s rough plaster ceilings. With this language of incremental
phases of expansion have seen home become collection, gallery expansion, Martin’s scheme continued to migrate across the gently
become theatre, and art space become classroom; a process that falling site with two lower terraced spaces in 1980 and 1984,
many feared would destroy its charm, but throughout which, Ede’s completed by Bland, Brown and Cole’s arcaded extension along
sensibilities have been maintained. Castle Street in 1994.

sectional perspective of Leslie Martin and David Owers’ 1970 extension

74 | 5 site plan showing 1970 extension new links with old with a series of descending levels and increasing volumes
Main image: the 1970
extension looking
away from the
existing house.
Below: the upper
level looking towards
the existing house.
Bottom: the entrance
courtyard following
Bland, Brown
and Cole’s 1994







part plan of Bland, Brown and Cole’s 1994 extension 75 | 5

The search for an architect for the next phase of development began When discussing the nature and form
of internal spaces, Jamie Fobert returns
in January this year when Michael Harrison, Kettle’s Yard director to Morandi and Hammershoi for his
since 1992, was advised by management committee member Eric inspiration.
Parry to run an RIBA design competition. New education facilities Opposite (clockwise from top left):
were required to provide space for the annual programme of 375 the new extension as roofscape; views
through the new education suite; section
education sessions currently accommodated in a rather cramped through first floor level café; a new stair
education room at the centre of the plan that could only hold half will open-up views to the church (plan
a class at a time. Having reprocessed the two remaining shop fronts
from tenants, sufficient space was made available to also include
a new environmentally stable archive for its painting collection
(that in the spirit of Ede is still offered on long loans to University
students to take home), a café (to attract new visitors and give
regulars a place to inhabit), and a more formal seminar space (for
life long learning, lectures and so on).
Having invited 16 or so practices to submit examples of their work,
Jamie Fobert was chosen from a high calibre shortlist that included
De Rijke Marsh Morgan, Caruso St John, Stanton Williams, Ushida
Findlay and 5th Studio. (A success that was shortly followed by his
appointment to design the new extension at Tate St Ives.) Having
spent nine years with David Chipperfield before establishing
his own practice nine years ago, Jamie Fobert is emerging as an
architect of distinction. By focusing on the essence of architectural
space and the practicality of process led detailing, he avoids the
superfluous gestures that distract so many others. As demonstrated
in the Anderson House (AR April 2004), and as qualified by his
admiration for the work of Morandi and Hammershoi, Fobert’s work
returns our attention to the potency of simple forms and volumes,
and when shaping interior spaces reminds us of the importance
of making decent rooms. As such, Harrison recalls how Fobert,
without making any detailed proposals, had particularly impressed
the jury with his reading of Kettle’s Yard, its art and the evolution
of its architecture. In displaying and sharing its collection, daylight
is the keynote of Kettle’s Yard – a place of physical and spiritual

76 | 5
77 | 5
Fobert’s new extension provides four
new levels of accommodation behind
two existing Victorian shop fronts.

1 basement archive
2 accessible lavatory
3 new stair
4 education room
5 store
3 6 café 5
7 multi-purpose seminar room

78 | 5 basement level plan ground floor level plan


first floor level plan second floor level plan 79 | 5

By extending Bland, Brown and
Cole’s sandstone fenestration,
Fobert’s intervention will
significantly improve the quality of
the Kettle’s Yard street frontage.

illumination – and Fobert’s understanding of this subtlety was key objects for many years, he is adjusting and adding to a place that
to his success. It was also important that his intervention was not already exists. His intervention will simply be a new composition
an extension that melded anonymously into the existing. Having of the same place; a project that has been evolving over a number
chosen Fobert, Harrison wanted to develop a proposal that was of decades.
distinct from the previous phases and as ‘of its time’ as the original So, forty years on it is time once again to seek funds for the next
extension by Martin. Since being chosen, Fobert has developed a phase. Kettle’s Yard has been well supported over the years by
scheme that achieves these aspirations, working with large-scale many friends and organisations such as the Arts Council England,
models and free-hand sketches, to resolve a tight cluster of internal the Arts and Humanities Research Board, and the Henry Moore
and external forms that will sit quietly behind the retained Castle Foundation. With Fobert’s new vision for the site, it is hoped that
Street Victorian facade. A detailed and costed proposal that will fundraising will be as successful as it was in the 1960s. Today, £2.2
help secure the sustainable future of this wonderful place. For million is needed to help write the next chapter; a chapter that will
Fobert this is not a project to design a new building, but rather in sustain Jim Ede’s original vision that Kettle’s Yard would somehow
the same way that Morandi and Hammershoi focused on the same represent, a continuing way of life. ROB GREGORY

80 | 5 long section from Leslie Martin to Jamie Fobert

ar MAY 04 Bucholz REV NEW 2 24/5/04 12:53 pm Page 58

C IVIC OFFICES , With the construction of new local authority

D OORADOYLE , I RELAND buildings all over the country, Ireland is
ARCHITECT undergoing something of a municipal
B UCHOLZ M C E VOY renaissance. Encouragingly, rather than opt for
A RCHITECTS lowest common denominator methods of
commissioning and design, the Irish authorities
have put the majority out to competition, thus
raising architectural standards and presenting a
younger generation of designers with a chance
to tackle sizeable projects. Briefs emphasize
openness, transparency and environmental
responsibility, with reduced energy use in
construction and operation. The outcome is a
lively new coterie of civic buildings that
confound and transcend the more familiar
notions of municipal drabness.
Completed at the end of last year, Bucholz
McEvoy’s county hall and offices in Dooradoyle,
County Limerick personifies this new Celtic
wave. An earlier municipal building in Fingal (AR
February 2001) represented an audacious
coming of age for the Dublin-based partnership
of Merrit Bucholz and Karen McEvoy,
manifesting skill and style beyond their years
(both not yet 40). And though this latest project
is, as some critics have noted, the equivalent of 3
that difficult second album, happily there seems
to be no loss of energy or ingenuity in its
conception and execution. Despite being the political centre of the county, impersonal civic context. An earth ramp leads
The site was unpromising: a typical Limerick’s local authority is an eclectic and up to the main entrance, with visitors passing
nondescript, suburban edge condition where evolving organization, with nine different under the long, rectangular box of the
sprawling retail development marks the departments. These were originally housed in secondary block which is propped up on slim
boundary between town and countryside. The the city centre, but had no clear sense of pilotis. The feeling of compression generated by
new building’s nearest neighbour is a huge, community or civic identity. Bucholz McEvoy’s this approach is spectacularly dispelled by the
introverted shopping centre, but the presence new building is a decisive riposte to bureaucratic generous proportions of the building’s set-piece
of a new county library suggests an attempt to anonymity. Glimpsed from the road, the squat space, a soaring, quadruple-height atrium that
establish a decentralized node of civic functions terracotta tiled drum of the council chamber set runs along
that might extend beyond shopping. Rather than against a delicate carapace of timber trusses, like the entire length of the main block. Overlooking
present an object marooned in a sea of parking, the bleached skeleton of a prehistoric beast, this civic forum are stacked floors of open plan
Bucholz McEvoy set their building 70m back powerfully proclaim the presence of something and cellular offices. Light percolates through the
from the road, taking advantage of a 2m drop in modern, different and self-assured. timber exoskeleton that shades the angled glass
level across the site. Long earth berms conceal The cylinder of the council chamber forms membrane on the west side of the atrium,
cars and animate the pancake flatness of the part of a secondary three-storey block that casting a shimmering pattern of striated
suburban topography. Over time, the banks of protrudes at right angles into the bermed car shadows around the tall nave-like space.
vegetation will mature to form a green edge park from the main five-storey body of the Designed in collaboration with engineers RFR,
along the road and connect with the open building. Isolating the chamber in this way the eye-catching brise-soleil ingeniously
spaces to the east of the site. restores a sense of human scale within the more integrates structure and solar control.

A huge timber brise-soleil is the dramatic
formal and functional signature of Limerick’s
new civic offices.
The council chamber is contained in a
terracotta tiled drum.
The building is set back from the road with
parking concealed among a topography of
earth berms, which will eventually mature into
green mounds.

Part of a programme of imaginative municipal
building in Ireland, these new offices inventively address
1 concerns of form, site and environment.
58 | 410 59 | 5
ar MAY 04 Bucholz REV NEW 2 24/5/04 12:53 pm Page 60

second floor cross section

first floor cross section showing night-time cooling 7

1 council chamber
2 meeting room
3 offices 4
4 public gallery
5 main entrance
6 reception 5
7 atrium
8 kitchen
9 servery
10 staff restaurant

ground floor plan (scale approx 1:1250) cross section showing daytime heat gain

The timber lattice is made up of
trusses suspended between horizontal
transfer beam and steel roof structure.
Office spaces overlook the long atrium.
Projecting light shelves on the more
hermetic east elevation bring daylight
into the interior.
Angled truss members optimize
60 | 5 lower ground floor location plan shading without moving parts. 61 | 5
ar MAY 04 Bucholz REV NEW 2 24/5/04 12:54 pm Page 62

beyond the building line to form light shelves

that reflect illumination back into the heart of
the building. The thermal mass of the exposed
concrete soffits also plays a key part in a strategy
of passive environmental control.
The building is entirely naturally ventilated, with
fabric, structure and skin tuned to control the
internal environment. The atrium is the engine
of ventilation acting as a thermal chimney, taking
air from the offices and exhausting it at the top.
Narrow floor plates (17m wide) are easily cross
ventilated from east to west or from offices to
the atrium. Vertical louvres incorporated into
the east facade allow for ventilation in the damp
local climate.
Taking extensive soundings from the
prospective occupants through questionnaires
and discussion, Bucholz McEvoy evolved a set of
guidelines for the formal and experiential
character of the office interiors. Physical
openness, which was considered essential for
good staff communication and the building’s
environmental strategy, was balanced against
the need for visual and acoustic privacy, and the
need for individuals to have a sense of control
over their immediate surroundings. The
outcome is far removed from the monotony of
Structurally, it acts like a giant ribcage consisting generic open-plan prairies, with soft lighting,
of 25 vertically spanning timber trusses. Each large sycamore desks and linen-clad partitions
15m long truss is made up of glulam Scots pine equipped with individual glare control screens
members anchored to a vertical steel tube. made from fabric panels on moveable arms.
Support is provided at the bottom by a Against the background of an evolving
horizontal transfer beam resting on sculpted workplace that must also act as totem of civic
concrete columns and at the top by steel dignity and efficiency, Bucholz McEvoy’s new
members tied back to the main concrete frame. building succeeds in intelligently resolving
Together, the 25 trusses act as a composite concerns of form, site, construction and
structure 75m long, transferring horizontal environmental control. The partnership’s
loads from the glass facade. Vertical loads are difficult second album proved not such a
carried by the steel roof structure. The angled stumbling block after all. CATHERINE SLESSOR
members of the individual trusses help to
optimize shading for both south and west sun Architect
angles without the maintenance bother of Bucholz McEvoy Architects, Dublin
Project team
moving parts. Merrit Bucholz, Karen McEvoy, Graham Petrie,
This sophisticated pleasure in the way things Sabine Klingner, Rebecca Egan, Mary Louise Kelly,
are made and put together is also reflected in Jim Luke, Peter Crowley, Jana Scheibel
9 Structural engineer
the gently contoured underbelly of the office Michael Punch & Partners
floors, created using special fibreglass moulds Services engineer
C IVIC OFFICES , D OORADOYLE , from a boat builder. (Prototypes for these Buro Happold
Facade engineer
I RELAND featured in the Irish entry to the last Venice
ARCHITECT Biennale, AR October 2002.) On the more Photographs
B UCHOLZ M C E VOY A RCHITECTS hermetic east facade, the concrete slabs project Michael Moran

Light, airy interiors are simply but
handsomely detailed.
Typical office space.
Council chamber is contained in the
semi-detached drum.
The soaring nave-like atrium forms the
62 | 5 building’s set-piece space. 11
ar may 04 koolhaas done 24/5/04 12:46 pm Page 44

The new Dutch Embassy, the latest
addition to Berlin’s rapidly evolving
skyline, occupies a site on the edge of
the river Spree.
After dark, the snaking trajectory
around the building is revealed.

Gently subverting Berlin’s urban matrix, the new Dutch Embassy is
an Expressionist labyrinth with a surprisingly informal interior realm.

44 | 5 OMA site plan 2 45 | 5
ar may 04 koolhaas done 24/5/04 12:46 pm Page 46


The new Dutch Embassy in Berlin is a classic Koolhaas building. It

reveals traces of some of his best known works and concepts, such as
the external metaphoric materialism of the Rotterdam Kunsthal and the
internal structural and functional mazes of the Jussieu library in Paris.
Yet compared with other current OMA mega-projects such as Seattle
Library or the headquarters for Central Chinese Television, the Dutch
Embassy is actually a relatively modest building.
Perhaps it was the choice of site in former East Berlin, now officially 3
known as Mitte (literally ‘middle’), that incited such a highly controlled
and introspective urban and architectural solution. Contrary to
expectations, the central location does not exude the hustle and bustle
of nearby Potsdamer Platz. Instead, Klosterstrasse (Monastery Street)
runs quietly off the busy Stralauerstrasse and ends on the quayside of
the river Spree where the water flows slowly and darkly into a lock. Few
tourists find their way here unless on a river cruise. Development of the
prominent corner site, which had been vacant since the war, had to
conform to Berlin building regulations. These were precisely defined by
the city’s former chief planner Hans Stimmann and any new building had
to occupy all four corners of the site.
Being well versed in overcoming the inhibitions of planning laws,
Koolhaas managed to avoid a preconceived standard solution. Instead of
proposing the customary atrium or inner courtyard, he created a free-
standing monolithic 27 x 27m cube enclosed by slim L-shaped wings, so 4
achieving a narrow but totally open courtyard while still fulfilling the
requirement to build on all four corners. Call it Dutch irony, but the
urban solution is both perplexing and intriguing.
In functional terms, the two spatially interlocked volumes are divided
between offices located in the cube and apartments in the one-room
deep L-shaped wings, along with plant rooms (the building is fully
mechanically ventilated). Linked by five vertically stacked bridges, both
volumes stand on a raised platform which serves as the underground car
park for only 28 vehicles, despite staff numbers of 70. Underneath, a
tarmac ramp leads up from the street level into the courtyard where the
main entrance is located. From there a continuous 200m strip, or what

Slim wings are linked to the main cube
by stacked bridges.
Entrance to the embassy compound.
Inside the cantilevered volume of the
conference room.
The adjacent wings meet the local
planning requirement to build on all
four corners of the site …
… but the main focus of attention is the
cube, an impressively object building,
but modest in scale when compared
46 | 5 6 with other current Koolhaas projects. 7
ar may 04 koolhaas done 24/5/04 12:46 pm Page 48

5 9



first level fourth level seventh level cross section

1 car park
2 offices
3 reception
4 multipurpose hall 8
5 maintenance
6 press and culture
7 foreign office
8 transportation
3 4 9 apartment 13
10 agriculture
11 post
12 archive
13 ambassador
14 politics
15 economics
16 fitness suite
17 cafe

ground floor plan (scale approx 1:500) third level sixth level ninth level


11 15

7 16


48 | 5 lower ground floor second level fifth level eighth level 49 | 5

ar may 04 koolhaas done 24/5/04 12:46 pm Page 50


Koolhaas calls a ‘trajectory’ (in effect, a succession of staircases, ramps and

corridors), snakes its way up through the building. At some points it
emerges on or even through the facade (in the case of the cantilevering glass
corridor above Klosterstrasse), changing direction of ascent and gradient
until it reaches the restaurant and roof terrace. Floors, ceilings and walls of
this architect-styled ‘stairway to heaven’ are clad in aluminium and
sometimes even in plain or coloured glass.
Typical of Koolhaas, there is an honest, almost brutally direct,
confrontation with materials. Surfaces jump out at you, not only because of
their vivid hues, but also because of their harsh and relentless objectivity.
Over time, the trajectory’s cantilevered green glass ramp in will bear visible
marks of wear and tear, just like the sheet aluminium on the floors and
staircases. You slightly fear that the building, otherwise not so immaculately
detailed and designed, might gradually begin to resemble a tatty old Dutch
space station.
Due to the restricted floorplate size (700 sq m), the interior is dominated
by the trajectory. This often generates curious configurations as the
architect and his technical consultants had to squeeze, fold and contort the
available space. As Koolhaas does not deal in conventional floors and
storeys, it is difficult to arrive at an accurate number of floors. (Discussing
the notion of a mini high-rise, he once mentioned 20 storeys.) In reality,
there are only 10 levels of varying height in this 26m-high building.
Structurally, the embassy is a tour de force. Each floorplate rotates and
cantilevers over the one below and no single internal column runs through
the entire structure (only four walls project through from top to bottom).
With its oblique corridors, passages, ramps, steps, views through coloured The fashionably glum interior is
glass, monstrously thick rotating doors and dead ends, Koolhaas’ ingenious dominated by the presence of
the trajectory.
maze is reminiscent of the set for the iconic German expressionist film 9
The Cabinet of Dr Caligari. At times, columns and heavy transfer beams Ramps, stairs and corridors wind
around the building, connecting the
appear in the most baffling positions. One particular example is the very principal spaces.









50 | 5 plan of ‘unravelled’ trajectory (scale approx 1:250) 51 | 5

ar may 04 koolhaas done 24/5/04 12:46 pm Page 52


low ceiling in the trajectory on level five, which compels tall visitors,
such as Koolhaas, to instinctively lower their heads.
Because of the deliberate spatial complexity, there is little
coordination between interior and exterior. Here, Koolhaas pays the
price for his structural manoeuvring, as he is obliged to rely on a
loadbearing double facade. Where the internal zigzagging of the
trajectory feigns freedom or even anarchy, the straight steel columns
that run down the full height of the building indicate a necessary and 10
more simplistic rigour. Despite the spectacular feat of one conference
room cantilevering 5m out from the facade and the trajectory’s handful
of timidly projecting features, the external envelope is actually a
dreaded Cartesian cage. Evidently the spectacular cost (35 million
euros) and extraordinary planning and construction time (five years)
could not assuage this fundamental stylistic defect. Did the regimented
marching order of Berlin’s facades finally catch up with the master
of the informal?
Still, Koolhaas’ embassy is undoubtedly a cunning retort to dogmatic
planning laws as well as being another free gift to the city of Berlin. It
even frames the outlandish Alexanderplatz television tower, a symbolic
relic from the era of perceived Communist superiority over the West.
From the core of the embassy cube there is an unobstructed view
(through a gigantic opening in the apartment wing) of the tower’s
Sputnik-like top. It is a powerful (yet also possibly partly ironic) gesture
of reverence from Koolhaas to a city that once upon a time publicly
denounced him and his views on modern architecture.


OMA, Rotterdam
12 Structural engineers
Royal Haskoning, Arup Berlin
Services engineers
Huygen Elwako, Arup Berlin
Christian Richters

The staircase is articulated on the
facade as a diagonal slash of glazing.
Green glass panels unexpectedly
dematerialise the floor plane.
A typical office on the upper floors.
A meeting room adorned with
contemporary art.
52 | 5 13 The multipurpose hall on the first floor. 14 53 | 5
product review

Circle is an innovative new seating system
by Ben van Berkel of UN Studio for Walter Knoll.
Inspired by the design of the new Mercedes-Benz Museum
in Stuttgart, the basic circular form can be broken down
and reconfigured to create a range of seating options.
Stool One, an angular
Enquiry 500
bar stool in aluminium by
Konstantin Grcic for Magis.
BELLA MILANO Enquiry 501 www.arplus.

This year’s Milan Furniture Fair was the last to be held on the familiar Fiera
site before it decamps to a superscale new trade fair complex designed by
Massimiliano Fuksas. Furniture design, like fashion, thrives on a sense of
gratuitous novelty, but among the plethora of stands and showrooms, here
are some of the things that caught Catherine Slessor’s eye.


Mademoiselle chair
by Philippe Starck
for Kartell. The clear
polyurethane frame is
upholstered in fabrics
designed by Rosita
Missoni for the Casa
Missoni collection.
Enquiry 502 www.

Supernatural stackable chair, with solid or
perforated back, by Ross Lovegrove for Moroso.
Enquiry 503


Crystall chair by Zaha Hadid for Sawaya & Moroni, displaying a talent
for futuristic furniture to match her futuristic architecture.
Enquiry 504


Sleek, spare and Scandinavian:

Elica folding chair by Gudmundur
Ludvik for La Palma.
Enquiry 505

90 | 5
MT3 rocking armchair by Ron Arad in
rotational moulded polyethylene and
a choice of groovy colourways – white
and orange, red and black, blue
and light blue. Enquiry 506 www.
arplus. com/enq.html

Dutch wunderkind
Tord Boontje presents
Oval, a table with an
elaborately patterned
top, inspired by the
cascades and whirls of
vegetation and nature.
Enquiry 507 www.


Bella Rifatta stackable chair in opalescent acrylic,
by William Sawaya for Sawaya & Moroni.
▲ CASSINA Enquiry 509
Aspen seating by Jean Marie Massaud for Cassina.
Enquiry 508

Metal side tables made of
varnished sheet metal by Ronan
& Erwan Bouroullec for Vitra.
Enquiry 510

Cute CU coffee table by
Monica Graffeo for Kristalia.
Enquiry 511 91 | 5
product review

The crazy Campana brothers are at it again – Fernando and Humberto present
Jenette, an injection moulded polyurethane seat with a brush-like backrest made
from around 1000 long, thin stalks of flexible PVC. Available in a range of searing
primary colours, Jenette marries the Brazilian brothers’ quirkiness and flair with
modern techniques of mass-production.
Enquiry 513


Imprint chair made from Cellupress, a new pressed wood fibre material specially Shelf X bookcase in white
developed by Danish designers Johannes Foersom and Peter Hiort-Lorenzen. By Corian by Naoto Fukasawa
using waste products and applying sustainable criteria to production and life cycle, for B & B Italia.
the aim is to create a range of ecologically enlightened furniture. Enquiry 514 www.arplus.
Enquiry 512 com/enq.html

Vitra have reissued the Standard chair, originally designed in 1934 by Jean
Prouvé. Combining a metal frame with a moulded plywood seat, the Standard
inventively exploited early techniques of prefabrication. An expanded colour
palette brings this robust design classic up to date.
Enquiry 515 ▼ VALDICHIENTI
Trilounge armchair
(with integral pouf) by
American designer Todd
KÄLLEMO Bracher for Valdichienti.

Origami stacking Enquiry 517 www.arplus.

chair by Sigurdur com/enq.html
Gustafsson for
Källemo. A crisply
elegant natural or
lacquered birch
seat is supported
by a thin chromed
steel frame.
Enquiry 516 www.
92 | 5
EMBASSY , A DDIS A BABA , E THIOPIA In their recent programme of embassy building in Third World
ARCHITECT countries, the Dutch are acquiring a reputation for promoting
DICK VAN GAMEREN AND architecture that responds imaginatively to local culture, climate and
BJARNE MASTENBROEK sensitivities. Collaboration with local architects is also mandatory. This
new Dutch diplomatic compound in Ethiopia by the Amsterdam-based
partnership of Dick van Gameren and Bjarne Mastenbroek follows
on from Claus en Kaan’s embassy in Maputo (AR November 2004),
the civil war-torn capital of Mozambique now slowly rebuilding. The
Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa is also not immune to political unrest,
with demonstrations taking place last year in protest at the then newly
elected government. Such unpredictable civil unease only serves to
deepen the frisson of security consciousness already in play post 9/11,
and adds to the challenge of trying to create a dignified and genuinely
open diplomatic presence.
New embassies are often an opportunity for bombastic displays of
national identity, but this new building treads discreetly, mining and
refining the richness of local nuance to produce an architecture that
resonates with context.Van Gameren and Mastenbroek are part of the
generation of Dutch architects that includes MVRDV, UN Studio and
Neutelings Riedijk, and while they share the same quixotic approach to
formal and technological enquiry, their projects manifest a quieter, less
demonstrative disposition.
The site for the new diplomatic compound lies on the southern
outskirts of Addis Ababa where a thickly wooded eucalyptus grove slopes
into a valley. In a strategy of consolidation and addition, an existing villa
on the edge of the site was enlarged and four new elements added: the
chancellery and ambassador’s residence; dwellings for staff members;
a small school building and a new entrance gatehouse. Linked by a
circuitous access road, these form a self-contained micro campus among
the luxuriant eucalyptus. From the busy main drag, diplomatic presence
is signposted by the gatehouse decked out in the bright colours of the

A new embassy complex in Addis Ababa is an
imaginative response to local conditions.

The long, low bar
of the chancellery
emerges from the
forested landscape.
Dutch tricolor, a playful Pop Art twist on flagwaving expressions of
national identity. At the western end of the site, the extended villa now
houses the deputy ambassador and his family, with a new school and
trio of staff dwellings placed along the northern perimeter. In scale and
organisation, these subsidiary service elements clearly defer to the main
architectural event of the chancellery, a horizontal volume 140m long
which cuts commandingly across the compound on an east-west axis.
Built out of roughly textured concrete pigmented the same intense red
ochre as the Ethiopian earth, the elongated, monolithic structure of the
chancellery seems to have been carved out of the ground, in the manner 3
of the country’s extraordinary Coptic rock churches (AR June 2003).
Utterly uniform in colour and texture, its geological gravitas confronts
you head on, suggesting archaic solidity, stillness and mystery. Like a lost A gatehouse in the
temple or abandoned monument, the building is partially engulfed by colours of the Dutch flag
signposts the embassy
the landscape, a move that reinforces its already powerful topographic complex off a busy main
road on the southern
quality. About a third of the way along its length, the ground rises to allow outskirts of Addis Ababa.
the approach road to pass through the embassy at first floor level. This 3
Ethiopia’s remarkable
also effectively divides the building into two parts, separating the smaller Coptic churches, which
head of the ambassador’s quarters (west end) from the main body of are literally hewn from
rock, were a powerful
chancellery functions (east end). source of inspiration.
Though divided by the road, the two parts are reunited by the span of 4, 5 4 5
The long roof overshoots
an immense flat roof, its surface raked by an organic network of channels to mark the main public
entrance, at the building’s
like a dried-up river bed. From mid June to mid September Ethiopia east end.
experiences its rainy season, so the roof is periodically transformed into 6
The ambassador’s private
a shallow reflecting pool, a reminder of the life-giving cycle of nature. residence is housed in the
The sculptural rivulets also allude to the Dutch knack of managing west end.
water and the Netherlands polder landscape. Steps lead up to the
roof/pool from the chancellery and a series of slightly elevated paths
provide opportunities for rooftop/poolside contemplation. At its eastern
extremity, the roof overshoots to form a beetle-browed canopy marking
the main public point of arrival and entry.

A gatehouse
B approach road
C chancellery
D deputy ambassador’s residence
E staff houses
F school building


56 | 5 BJARNE MASTENBROEK site plan 6 57 | 5

1 main entrance
2 central hall
7 3 spinal corridor
Walls of deep ochre pigmented 4 reception
concrete retain the marks and 5 library
scores of their making. 6 ambassador’s offices
8 7 administration
The roof is carved with shallow 8 patio
channels to catch water. 9 technical/storage
9 10 approach road
The pattern of the channels 11 salon
evokes Dutch wetlands. 12 ambassador’s private quarters

roof plan

first floor

58 | 5 7 ground floor plan (scale approx 1:750) 59 | 5

Internal organisation is admirably economical, with cellular offices 10
A grandly-scaled
double-banked off a spinal corridor that rises gently through the building staircase leads up to
from the entrance hall, following the gradient of the site. The two-storey the roof.
ambassador’s residence has private quarters at lower level with more The spinal corridor
gently rises through the
formal reception spaces above. These connect with a secondary entrance building.
and the approach road that penetrates the building. A trio of concealed 12
The ambassador’s
staircases (for the ambassador, his family and staff) link the two floors. private quarters give on
Cleft-like patios are cut at intervals into the long volume to capture to a terrace.
and funnel dramatic shafts of light. The ochre concrete is largely left Dividable salon for
exposed (floors are of the same material but polished), so the general formal entertaining.
effect is like being in a system of caves. This could be romantically Patios cut into building
interpreted as a return to primeval arcadia, but the bullet-proof glass in bring light into the
cave-like interior.
some windows is an indicator of more pressing contemporary concerns.
Cast in horizontal formwork using local materials and labour, the
pigmented concrete has an unselfconscious roughness entirely suited to
its context. The striated texture catches the light and vigorously animates
the building surface. Clearly this is all worlds away from the obsessive
perfection of Japan or Wolfsburg (which in any case would be out of
place here and well beyond Ethiopian resources), but as Van Gameren
and Mastenbroek persuasively demonstrate, limited means and skills need
not necessarily result in limited architecture. CATHERINE SLESSOR

long section 11 12

13 14

long section

Dick van Gameren and Bjarne
Mastenbroek, Amsterdam
Associate architects
Abba Architects, Addis Ababa
Structural engineers
Ove Arup & Partners,
Messele Haile Engineering
Christian Richters except nos 3 & 9


60 | 5 BJARNE MASTENBROEK 10 61 | 5

Box with
a view. An
saves on


This prototype for an easily transportable and
economical house shows that small can be beautiful. HAACK + HÖPFNER 79 | 5
First the tiny, tiddly Smart car (AR to four people and is divided in university is keen to test new 2
The ultra compact
January 1999), now an ultra sets of zones that fit together accommodation solutions as it design is inspired by
compact house which touts an with the fiendish precision of a currently has 90 000 students and the elegant economy
of aviation and
equally impressive economy of Chinese puzzle box. A central only 10 000 flats. Previous automobile design.
space and resources. The axis of entrance and circulation experiments included housing Living/dining
challenge, from Munich’s Student provides access to seating in a students in redundant shipping quarters, with
sleeping bunk above.
Housing Authority, was to create lower dining area. An upper bunk containers, but at half the size of a The sunken area
an economical, lightweight, can be folded out of the way, container, the micro house needs can also be used as
an extra sleeping
transportable, low-energy while the sunken dining space also much less space. While not space. Large areas of
dwelling prototype. The concept doubles as an additional sleeping envisaged as a permanent, long glazing help to dispel
was developed over four years by area. A compact zone of wet term dwelling, it has obvious
British architect Richard Horden, services contains the lavatory, potential for the student, business
professor at the Technical shower and kitchen. traveller and holiday home
University of Munich, and German The penchant for Oriental markets. Or it could simply help
practice Haack + Höpfner. As the rigour also extends to the housing authorities respond to
design team observes, ‘We are external treatment. Highly general accommodation
used to spending time in compact insulated panels of aluminium and shortages. If successful after a year
spaces – in our cars or when we glass are mounted on a timber of testing, the micro-compact
travel by air. The micro-compact and galvanised aluminium frame. home will be marketed in Europe
home is informed by both of The structure sits slightly elevated with a guide price of €50 000
these in its incorporation of above the ground to cut out the (£34 500), around the cost of a
advanced technology and design. time and expense of foundations mid range executive saloon.
Living in it means focusing on the and to minimise the impact on its Ingenious in both concept and
essential – less is more’. surroundings. Groups of units can execution, it gives new meaning to
Inspired by the scale and order also be arranged vertically and that well-worn estate agent
of the traditional Japanese tea horizontally around circulation soubriquet ‘compact but bijou’.
house and the technological cores in order to form larger, CATHERINE SLESSOR
sleekness of the aviation and extended communities.
automotive industries, the Occupants of the first seven Architects
Horden Cherry Lee, London;
prototypical dwelling is inventively prototypes will be students from
Haack + Höpfner, Munich
compacted in a 2.65m (9ft) cube. Munich’s Technical University and Photographs
Each house can accommodate up architect Richard Horden. The Sascha Kletzsch


1 deck
2 entrance
3 galley kitchen
4 dining/living area with
sleeping bunk above
5 wc/bathroom


80 | 5 2 scale approx 1:100 cross section through kitchen and bathroom cross section through kitchen and living space 81 | 5
COMMUNITY CENTRE , 1 reception
3 2 games room
LOS A NGELES , USA 13 15 17 3 offices
ARCHITECT 4 lounge
5 computer games room
3 6 sports library
7 wc
16 8 loading dock
9 kitchen
10 dance studio
11 exercise studio
12 boxing & weightlifting
13 men’s locker room
11 14 women’s locker room
12 15 accounting
16 void
17 storage

first floor

5 3 3 3

7 7

3 3

8 2

3 3 3

ground floor plan (scale approx 1:500) cross section


COLOUR FIELD El Centro del Pueblo in the Echo

Park district of Los Angeles is the
kind of building block that every
City of Industry. More recently,
he designed a Constructivist
bicycle station of tubular metal
with the environmental graphics
firm of Sussman/Prezja, which
devised the hot, festive palette
rear of the building. These are
treated as village streets, with grey
linoleum in place of asphalt, and
and dance. There’s a computer
lab-library, a classroom, café,
and lounge. Every space is fully
A former warehouse is boldly inner-city community needs: a non- in Long Beach. His home in the for the LA Olympics of 1984 (AR angled planes that enclose activity used, and plans are being made
profit institution, run by dedicated oceanfront community of Venice August 1984), before opening his rooms and offices. These planes to expand into the adjoining
revitalised to provide a community
professionals and volunteers, is a laboratory for games of own office and taking on projects animate the corridors, shifting property. To the south is a garden
and urban focus. which weans youths away from perspective and he’s applied those in Japan. perspectives and alternately with a court for basketball and
drugs and gangs by infusing lessons here. A few smart moves transformed concealing and revealing glass volleyball. This is as impeccably
them with a sense of hope and The Anglo establishment in Los the generic, windowless, white entry doors. To suggest a row of maintained as any neighbourhood
self-esteem. Thanks to generous Angeles tends to be as timid with stucco box. To pull in natural light house fronts, they are painted in park on the affluent Westside,
grants from the S. Mark Taper colour as it is with coffee, turning while shielding the interior from sizzling yellows and oranges below, and there is no graffiti on the
Foundation and other donors, it everything into a bland latte, the street,Vazquez pushed out and cooler blues and greens building – a sure sign that it
has recently acquired a new home, and rearing like a startled horse a ground-floor bay with a strip above. The colours draw you into has won local respect. Vazquez,
a 1000sqm warehouse inventively whenever a neighbour defies the of glass at the side, and opened the building and lift your spirits. working with Ena Dubnoff of
remodelled by Fernando Vazquez, norm. Most Latinos revel in bright up a big window at the upper Skylights in the corridors ONE Company Architecture, has
a Uruguayan-born architect who is hues and black brews, and they level. Bold accents of magenta and studios bring natural light created a disciplined exterior and 4
constantly bringing high drama to will soon constitute a majority in and orange on the facade provide to every space. Materials were a liberating interior: a metaphor
simple projects in his adopted city. southern California. For Vazquez, a sense of place, and create a chosen for their economy and for the youths and mentors who
Drawing on the Latino heritage who grew up in the Modernist new abstract geometry that durability: gypsum-board walls use this rejuvenated community The building’s revitalised
of vibrant street architecture, white city of Montevideo, and plays off the exuberant mural on and ceilings, linoleum floors, focus. MICHAEL WEBB and searingly colourful
facade proclaims its mission
he created a dynamic shopping went to school in Argentina, the neighbouring property. The and exposed insulation in the of social improvement.
centre behind the facade of The colour was something to discover second floor is cut away in front studios. These are tested to Architects
The original warehouse.
Fernando Vazquez
Citadel (a former 1920s tyre on trips through Central America to form a double-height lobby, and the full every day. Activities on 3, 4
Ena Dubnoff Skylights and clerestories
factory resembling an Assyrian and in the barrios of east Los allow natural light to penetrate offer include boxing and weights, Photographs bring daylight into the deep
66 | 5 2 fortress) in the aptly named Angeles and midtown. He worked the corridors that extend to the aerobics, gymnastics, martial arts, Benny Chan industrial plan. 67 | 5
ar june 04 Arcitektengruppedone 20/7/04 12:14 pm Page 54

A museum The Rhineland Regional Museum started as long ago as the 1820s, and
B museum square has accumulated a distinguished collection ranging from the 40 000
C workshops
D administration year old skeleton of Neanderthal man to contemporary artworks. The
E sculpture court
original purpose-made museum building was set up in the 1890s on a
site stretching north-south between two streets just south of the main
railway station. An extension was added in 1909.
During the Second World War, the main building was bombed, leaving
the 1909 extension at the north end intact, and a boxy new museum
building in sub-Mies vocabulary was made to replace it in 1967. By the
late 1990s, this had become technically unsatisfactory, submitting its
valuable contents to unacceptable variations in temperature and
humidity, quite apart from the sheer unattractiveness of the uninspired
site plan and ageing fabric. At first, the museum authorities intended to rework
and update the thirty year old structure, but this promised to be an
expensive task, hardly less than renewing the whole. Having just lost the
status of capital, Bonn was being handed generous cultural money, so a
R HINELAND R EGIONAL M USEUM , new building to the highest technical standards was possible. A
B ONN , G ERMANY competition was held and won by Architektengruppe Stuttgart, who
ARCHITECT decided to make a new block to the south, its main entrance fronting a
A RCHITEKTENGRUPPE S TUTTGART shallow square, while preserving and internally converting the 1909

The layered facade ...
The Rhineland Regional Museum in Bonn is a model ... which, on the south side, contains a
café and some exhibits in the transition
of its kind in both urban and cultural terms. space.

54 | 6 2 55 | 6
ar june 04 Arcitektengruppedone 20/7/04 12:14 pm Page 56

R HINELAND R EGIONAL M USEUM , extension to the north. Rather than working directly with the exhibits,
B ONN , G ERMANY the architects were asked to produce a range of exhibition rooms
ARCHITECT flexible in character, allowing for changes of interpretation. The
A RCHITEKTENGRUPPE S TUTTGART exhibition design was placed in other hands as a separate operation.
Most remarkable in the new museum is the layered treatment of the
south facade, which flips between transparent and reflective as your
viewpoint changes. A single-glazed outer screen-wall serving as
rainscreen and climatic buffer stands some 4m forward of the timber
inner facade surmounted by a completely glazed roof. This glass case is
not just an empty symbol for a museum, but also a transition space. It
provides a protected outdoor area for the café enjoying the afternoon
sun, and it also houses a couple of exhibits which belong outside but
require protection from frost and acid rain: a Roman arcade and a
Gothic cross. The naked wooden inner facade behind is presented in
contrast like a series of display cases or open drawers shallowly angled
to project from the facade plane. The twist in its components makes
the facade more three-dimensional, brings down the scale, and
exaggerates the degree of openness. In fact it is largely solid, though
third floor
there are narrow windows between the boxes framing views to south-
east. The timber treatment continues inside, its texture enhanced by
the sidelight, so the visitor easily makes the connection.
The organization of the new museum is commendably clear and 3 4
makes a virtue of the marriage of the buildings, for nowhere does it
seem a strain. The ground floor central entrance introduces the main
axis along which the complex is deployed. It leads on through a glass
wall to a visually open but fully controlled layer housing ticket hall and
café, and near-central stairs in a large well lead down to cloakrooms.
Entrance to the museum involves passage through another glass wall
which brings one to a well with stairs to one side and numerous other
flights and ramps passing overhead. This atrium is the heart of the
building, mediating between the shallower floor heights of the new part
and the more generous old ones in the 1909 part. It is a clear reference
point for reorientation and is spatially the most interesting volume, but
so little daylight is admitted by the clerestories of the rooflight that it
second floor

3, 4
‘Like a display case or open drawers.’
The atrium, which is the heart of the
building, relating the disparate floor
heights of old and new elements.

1 entrance
2 lobby
3 restaurant
4 shop
5 atrium
6 school lunch
7 classrooms
8 reading room
first floor 9 library
10 administration
11 void
12 temporary exhibition
13 plant

56 | 6 ground floor (scale approx 1:1225) long section 5

ar june 04 Arcitektengruppedone 20/7/04 12:14 pm Page 58

feels completely internal, dominated by electric illumination. From the

well you can move into exhibition rooms in either direction. The new
building offers a wide central hall, a narrower room on each side, then
a yet narrower one, a linear gallery with daylight only at the ends. But if
you continue instead on axis into the old building, you discover a suite
of taller rooms: a single central hall with six columns and gallery, and
traditional side-lit rooms at each level on each flank. Set under an
updated version of the original glass lantern with an inner translucent
ceiling in barrel-vaulted form, the central hall is bathed in daylight,
bringing the whole museum to an appropriate climax. Somewhat
church-like, this space has appropriately been used to accommodate
religious and monumental objects of stone, such as Roman funerary
inscriptions and Romanesque capitals from lost churches.
In presenting the collection, the curators decided against a
traditional chronological progression, reorganizing the material around
nine themes including Periods, Power, From wilderness to city, From
gods to God, Secrets of discovery, and Rhineland and the World. It is
like the themed arrangement of Tate Modern in London, and has
similarly brought both praise and criticism. It seemed to me to work
well, and has at least the advantage of demonstrating that classification
is neither fixed nor neutral, and it also gives the curators a more visibly
active role. That it may all be reorganized by fresh curators with a new
world-view seems no bad thing, and is a good argument for the kind of
general-purpose loose-fit attitude taken by the architects. The
exhibition designers have added a certain amount of deliberate scene-
setting, but the building takes it quite well. Fortunately, the whole
treatment is more sober than most recent museums, and the signage
relatively restrained. It evokes some atmosphere of reverence and one
can enjoy the objects without the intervention of the shouting 6
gimmicks and interactive gameshows that spoil many recent museums
in the UK. Reconstruction models are generally helpful, and a
computer simulation of the changing local landscape over millennia is encouraged the architects to provide regular views out, but the phobia
really engaging. The decision to commission life-size wooden against daylight has for the most part won the day, for even key viewing
sculptures of local heroes from Agrippina – after whom the Romans windows are toned down by screens, and side-lighting in old rooms is
named their first settlement Cologne, (Colonia Agrippina) – to Max filtered by solid if translucent blinds. Strong light can of course damage
Ernst shaping one of his sculptures, has also paid off. many kinds of materials, and museum objects are meant to last for
Since the initial reason for changing the building was technical, the ever, so the caution of curators is understandable. At the same time,
new one is environmentally well controlled, with a high thermal mass exhibition designers most easily achieve control by applying artificial
due to its concrete construction, temperature control through heat lamps of their own, and have made this their automatic habit. But many
exchange using pipes embedded in floors and walls, and humidity of us prefer to see objects by daylight if at all possible, and its variability
control through air-conditioning kept at a moderate level. It was one of – the very thing that puts curators and exhibition designers off – is also
the architects’ stated aims to avoid showing off the technical apparatus, its virtue. It changes at different times of day and year, and helps locate
and the construction too is rendered rather basic and pure, with us in time. It is possible to calculate an object’s speed of destruction in
deceptively simple detailing that could even be called overprecise. My variable light and put it in darkness when it is not being seen. It is also
greatest disappointment was the general gloom inside the building and possible to filter and control daylight and sunlight so that they are not
the suppression of relations with the outside world. excessive. But this requires close collaboration between architects,
The curators felt that history does not stop but goes on around us, designers and curators rather than the assumption that exhibition
so they actively wanted visitors to be aware of the city beyond. They areas are essentially black boxes. PETER BLUNDELL JONES


Climax of museum: central hall bathed
B ONN , G ERMANY in daylight from translucent ceiling.

Architektengruppe Stuttgart
Knut Lohrer, Uli Pfeil, Dieter Herrmann,
Gerhard Bosch, Dieter K. Keck
Job architects
Cathrin Dietz, Verena Wortelkamp
Ulrich Hanselmann, Achim Buhse, Karin
Koschmieder, Monika Krönke, Bernd Remili,
Nicola Sibiller, Walter Ulrich, Jörg Wenzel,
Andrea Wiedmaier
58 | 6 All by Roland Halbe except no 6 by author 7
arJune04chipperfield 20/7/04 12:37 pm Page 65

Shed or studio? With its rendered
facade, Gormley’s new studio is
robust and maintenance-free.

ARCHITECT David Chipperfield’s studio for
D AVID C HIPPERFIELD sculptor Antony Gormley. 65 | 6
arJune04chipperfield 20/7/04 12:37 pm Page 66


It didn’t take Gormley and and safety and quality control. Gormley has long admired
Chipperfield long to establish that a Gormley needed a functional, Chipperfield’s work, discovering it
modified industrial shed would be a maintenance-free, robust building, for himself while diligently
woefully inadequate solution for with more space to work, and searching through RIBA files for a
the 1994 Turner Prize-winning significantly, more space to think. suitable architect to convert his
sculptor’s new studio. Having Understanding Gormley’s own home in 1989. Noting a
outgrown his gritty Peckham working methods, Chipperfield’s strength that surpasses the ‘up-
studio – a former laundry team knew that this building would yours brutalism’ of the ’60s and
converted by Eric Parry in 1988 – be tested to destruction. With ’70s, and an ability to make
Gormley’s need to move was more forklift trucks, welding gear and established forms of Modernism
than a notch up in scale and beam cranes, Gormley would work more logical, Chipperfield’s
location (building three and a half this structure hard, and unlike manipulation of materials, light and
times more space within easier many clients, he impressed the form had clearly impressed him. location plan

reach of his north London home). architects with his intuitive For Gormley, therefore, whose
The need to find a site, commission understanding of forces, mass, and work is fundamentally based on the
an architect and collaborate on the material. ‘What are the engineer’s human figure, aside from setting
design of a purpose-built studio safety factors?’ he would ask while finite performance targets, the
reflected the fact that, like it or scrutinizing working drawings, spatial demands of scale and
not, for artists like Gormley, art setting stringent performance proportion were of equal 2
has increasingly become a specifications for suspension significance. As a place in which to Gormley’s principal studio space is
lofty and spacious with bright,
professional practice. Servicing, capacity, impact resistance and contemplate the form of his work, generous rooflights ...
deliveries, storage, stocktaking and point loads across the entire site the volumes had to be right. 3
... providing space in which to work,
databases are now all part of the (including the external yard and While Gormley stresses that this with access to workshop and storage
66 | 5 2 process, as are dare I say, health cantilevered stair landing). is a factory, not a trophy building, areas beyond. 67 | 6
arJune04chipperfield 20/7/04 12:37 pm Page 68

the design has to transcend down, enforcing pace, ritual, and the building, fabricated from thick
utilitarianism, and the team were contemplation. While the ground plywood and reassuringly weighty
keen to engage in a philosophical floor is given over to production – 3mm gauge galvanized steel.
exploration of a building that with photography studio, storage Gormley concluded with a
would be part gallery and part and delivery spaces, the principal reflective question: would his work
shed. Reconsidering industrial studio, workshop, studio be affected by his new studio?
typologies, they investigated how manager’s office and changing Work that he has based on
to blur conceptual boundaries, and rooms – the first floor provides architectural illusions: body-as-
after six or seven prototype places for private and shared space and space-as-mass. Perhaps,
designs (including a Marfa-esque reflection, with two private studios he speculates, Chipperfield’s
barrel-vaulted option), the (one each for Gormley and his articulation of volume has
repeated-bay pitched-roof scheme wife, the painter Vicken Parsons), a influenced his emerging work with
emerged. Mimicking the resources/meeting room, an office variable block sculptures. But,
proportion of his former studio, and a generous common room. certainly on a practical level,
but increasing its dimensions and The purpose-built studio has improved daylighting has facilitated 4
replicating it seven times, Gormley afforded Gormley several ‘very more intricate work, and the
was comfortable with the scale practical luxuries’, such as staff luxury of space has allowed him to
that he associates with a Georgian changing rooms, and a designated experiment with mock-ups, such as
house. Reworking the Victorian plaster room where he can create that produced for his latest work
roof typology minimizes distracting his own body templates without ‘Clearing’ – a wild metallic
views, while providing excellent contaminating the studio spaces tumbleweed formed by a 10km
daylighting and flexible hanging beyond. The yard is also of critical length of square section aluminium, 4
space throughout. The seven bays importance, fully serviced to allow currently tracing a sinuous Transfuser suspended beneath
are broken down into double- and outside work, and having capacity trajectory in London’s White Cube 5
single-height volumes centred on for two articulated lorries. Gallery. ROB GREGORY Gormley’s workshop, with views
through to principal studio beyond.
the principal three-bay studio. Pure in form, Chipperfield’s 6
Functions are then carefully tectonic control is seen View from office, through principal
Architects studio, to Gormley’s study beyond.
disposed, with private studios throughout, with seamless walls David Chipperfield Architects: Kevin Carmody, 7
intentionally remote, separated and soffits set against the exposed David Chipperfield, Paul Crosby, Andy Resources/meeting room.
Groarke, Victoria Jessen-Pike, Kaori Ohsugi 8
from shared spaces by two roof structure, while in detail, Vicken Parson’s studio.
Photographs 9
external staircases; graceful, modest joinery, metal doors and All photographs by Richard Bryant/Arcaid View from studio office with
sculptural objects that slow you bespoke ironmongery add mass to apart from 4 and 5 which are by Pete Moss common room beyond.


long section 6 8
7 9

5 14 15
3 4
12 13
1 main studio
6 7 1 2 workshop 8 9
3 studio manager’s office
2 4 plaster room
11 10
5 changing rooms
6 photography studio
7 deliveries/storage
8 private studio 1
9 private studio II
10 common room
11 office
12 resources/meeting
13 dark room
14 storage
15 lavatories
16 courtyard

68 | 6 ground floor plan (scale approx. 1:660) first floor plan

arjun04pianodone 20/7/04 11:59 am Page 46

TUNED INSTRUMENT Combining a gallery and walled garden, both displaying works in its
collection, the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas joins Tadao Ando’s
recent Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth (AR August 2003) in
Since the 1960s, real-estate developer Raymond Nasher and his late
wife, Patsy, amassed an outstanding collection of modern art,
concentrated mainly on sculpture. Now totalling some 350 works,
further consolidating the neighbouring cities as a major art these were displayed in their house and garden – and some, so the
Piano’s arts museum in Dallas rivals Kahn’s in neighbouring
destination within the US. The Nasher is also the latest of a family of public might encounter and enjoy them, in Nasher’s North Park
Fort Worth in lucidity and the subtle use of limpid light. museums the Renzo Piano Building Workshop has built so that the shopping centre. The sculpture centre now allows the public to view
public might enjoy exceptional private collections of modern art. Like these works displayed on a rotating basis, which, along with visiting
the Menil Collection (AR March 1987) and Beyeler Museum (AR exhibitions and other events, should encourage regular revisits in a
December 1997), its galleries are lit through an all-glass roof, contemplative verdant oasis on the edge of the city centre. Nasher,
although here all sun-control devices are above the glass that is also having met Renzo Piano at the Beyeler opening, entrusted design of
the gallery ceilings. Also, while the Menil’s external walls are the same the museum to him and the garden to Peter Walker.
grey clapboard as the surrounding bungalows, and the Beyeler’s are The 2.4-acre city-block site is in Dallas’ Arts District, across the
clad in a stone resembling the streaky red sandstone of Basle, the street from the Dallas Museum of Art and a block away from
Nasher does not adopt a material found in its immediate locality. I. M. Pei’s Meyerson Symphony Center, between the sleek, sky-
Instead it is clad inside and out in travertine, as is Louis Kahn’s striving towers of downtown and a sunken motorway. The design
Kimbell Museum of Art in Fort Worth (AR November 1978). This, challenge was to create a modestly scaled building that could belong
and the top-lit vaulted galleries, suggest a deliberate dialogue with to such a site, bereft of history and consistent contextual cues,
what many deem the last unarguably great American work of overlooked by behemoths and edged by massive metropolitan-scaled
architecture, a dialogue set up by a new building that, despite evoking infrastructure. Piano’s initial instinctual response, poetic rather than
a mythic past, is as light and contemporary in feel as the Kimbell is rational, was to neither compete with nor conform to this context.
heavy and archaic. Instead the new gallery is quiet and low, and subtly emphasizes the

The whole is ordered by the rhythmic
R ENZO P IANO stone-faced walls, from which the roofs
B UILDING W ORKSHOP are suspended. 47 | 6
arjun04pianodone 20/7/04 11:59 am Page 48



relative newness of the surrounding structures, which thus need not be

deferred to, by suggesting his building springs from archaeological
remnants that predate them. These remnants of earlier construction,
between and around which the sculptures have seemingly been
rediscovered, are the parallel tall stone walls dominating the gallery’s
plan, exterior and interior. (There is an irony here: Kahn advocated
architecture that would make great ruins; but the stones of these ‘ruins’
are flimsy claddings that would soon fall away to reveal a complex mass
of steel structure, ductwork and pipes.) Though few would recognize 2

(and none be fooled by) the fantasy that sparked the design, the result is
a building that nestles into place. The walls assert a footprint of the scale
of the surrounding buildings, yet despite these prominent walls the
building has a recessive and delicate grace that contrasts refreshingly
with the muscularly chunky buildings that characterize Dallas.
Beyeler’s design also grew from the generating gesture of parallel
stone walls, although these are capped by an oversailing glass roof and
faced internally in white plasterboard. Ranged parallel to the street,
the main volume of galleries they define is entered from the lobby,
side-on (as at the Kimbell) bringing some cross-axial stability to these
elongated spaces. But the Nasher’s stone-faced walls reach high above
the vaulted roofs, providing anchorage for the tension ties supporting
the midpoint of the roofs’ curved steel beams. The walls are also
perpendicular to the street, offering views from it, through the fully
glazed ends of the bays they define, into the garden; and entrance is 3

directly and end-on into one of these bays. Two of the other bays are
galleries; the last bay at one end contains a shop, directors’ offices and
boardroom; the last bay at the other end a café and security centre. 2, 3
The entrance bay also gives access to the garden and, via a staircase, Peter Walker did the magnificent
garden, which resonates gently and
to the basement. Like the Beyeler, the building is much bigger than it quietly with Piano’s building.
first appears. In the basement are a further gallery (for works 4
Bay ends are all glazed, easier in a
vulnerable to the bright light above), offices, kitchen and an gallery devoted to sculpture than one
auditorium that can extend through a sliding glass wall to stepped that shows mainly paintings.
5, 6
seating outdoors. Ringing this basement, and extending beyond the Beautifully cut Travertine limestone,
edge of the building above, is an extensive service area for mechanical the material from which Classical
Rome was built, adds solidity to the
plant and storage. myth of the mass. 4
5 6

48 | 6 site plan cross section of typical bay showing construction and lighting 49 | 6
arjun04pianodone 20/7/04 11:59 am Page 50



Outside and inside, the pale neutrally coloured natural materials of

the travertine walls and white oak floors predominate, enlivened by
the contrast with the white steel roof structure and sun-shading
panels, which are clearly visible through the super-white glass roof,
and the charcoal grey frames of the fully glazed walls. The travertine
is used unconventionally: instead of showing the usual vertically sliced
faces of horizontal beds of stone separated by holes, it has been sliced 7
horizontally, along rather than across the beds, and pressure hosed
to expose a rough and varied pitted surface. The stone slabs (30mm
outside and 20mm inside, where the pitting has been filled) have then
been so skilfully matched and mitred as to give the impression of
thick solid blocks.
The main street facade is low key; the eye is caught mainly by the
contrast between the tall, substantial stone piers and the graceful
slightness of the slender steel beams that spring and are suspended
between them. (The tension ties justify the height of the walls and
reveal these to be curved beams rather than arches. Yet they are the
one element of the building that will probably look passé with time:
they are too High-Tech and nothing dates as fast as the futuristic.)
The relationship between the street and the galleries inside is not as
intrusively immediate as is suggested by the open-ended,
perpendicular orientation. Planting and porches distance the sidewalk
from the glass walls – and the piers stepping forward further relieve 8

any abruptness, not least by introducing a slot of space parallel to the

pavement. This interruption enhances the separation and makes
more intricate the flow of space. It is easy to imagine Kahn describing 7
these piers as breaking away from the walls to begin their evolution Being the lowest part of its
surroundings, the Nasher …
into properly articulate columns that create distance and dignifying 8
decorum; some sense of this is in fact subliminally suggested. … drinks in light from the sky through
a most carefully gradated and
Even the main entrance lacks emphasis, revealed only by the orientated system of filters.
omission of planting in front of it. Once in and past the ticket desk, a 9
Lightness and transparency are
cross-axial enfilade of openings slicing right through the building, and Piano’s driving intentions.

26 26
1 main entrance
2 entrance vestibule
27 26 3 entrance hall
28 4 art gallery
26 8 10 26 5 café
7 10
6 multipurpose space
5 9 8 6
26 7 secondary entrance
22 24 25 8 security
9 servery
north-west/south-east section 10 goods lift
21 20 19 11 gift shop 4
12 boardroom
13 passenger lift
14 cloakroom
26 18 26 15 offices
16 classroom 4
17 auditorium
18 open-plan offices
19 general store
16 4 20 art store 3 2 1
21 conservation store
22 workshop
13 23 stage area 13 14
29 17 24 kitchen
12 15 11
25 staff break
26 mechanical
27 loading
26 28 truck lift
29 terraced garden

50 | 6 cross sections ground floor plan (scale approx 1:1000) lower ground floor plan 51 | 6
arjun04pianodone 20/7/04 11:59 am Page 52

the generous stairs downward, suddenly reveal the extent of the

whole building, as if offering itself in a gesture of welcome. The
immediate impression in the entrance hall and galleries is of the twin
touchstones Piano is apt to repeat mantra-like, ‘lightness and
transparency’, here revealed in the weightless roof and the bright
light that floods through it as well as in the pervasive presence of sky
and garden visible through the roof and end walls. All this, together
with the stone walls, recalls a Victorian conservatory or orangery
rather than a conventional museum, and is only possible because
most sculpture, unlike paintings, is not vulnerable to light.
Piano’s preferred solution of lighting the whole gallery evenly,
rather than reflecting light primarily onto the walls where paintings
would stand out when seen from the more softly lit centre of the
room, is particularly apt for showing sculpture that may be placed at
any point between the walls. Direct sun from above is excluded and
diffused by cast aluminium panels that rather resemble egg-crates, 10
with openings shaped and angled to admit only north skylight directly.
Because Dallas’s street grid is angled 45 degrees from north, so too
are the openings in the sunshades which reveal differing amounts of
sky and create differing patterns as you move around. The sunshade
panels span between flanges propped up above the glass from the
slender curved beams, which have spotlight tracks along their lower
edges. The ends of these beams sit in brackets that swoop down
slightly to connect (beneath concealed gutters) with the steel
columns within the walls, and so also seemingly sit on the head of the
The character of the spaces is given not only by the lightness and
transparency, as enlivened by the pared and repetitive structural
elements and detail, but also by the sure judgement of proportion and
dimension. The cross-section of the bays is based on a double square,
32ft (9.75m) between the walls and 16ft (4.87m) to the springing of
the curved beams, which rise only another foot at mid-span. This
breadth gives a feeling of great generosity and the relatively low
ceiling, with only the shallowest curve, gives a contrasting feeling of
intimacy. The galleries suit sculpture (and the occasional painting)
very well but viewing paintings would be distracted by the views out
and movement of space through the galleries.
Outside, the garden is set down a few broad steps from a plinth
that extends out from the building. Integrating museum and garden
are lines of trees that extend outward from the parallel walls,
between which stand various sculptures. Terminating the garden, a
planted berm acts as an acoustic barrier to the noise of the sunken
motorway, which is further screened by the splashing of a row of
fountains that stand out enticingly against the planted backdrop. From inside, it is difficult to
The Nasher is a building of great understatement and restraint, and comprehend ...
also of the richness that comes from precision: precision in ... the elaborate egg-crate
judgement of dimensions and proportions; and precision of construction of the north-seeking
aluminium castings on the roof.
engineering, craftsmanship and detail. Designed to show off another 12
‘A building that offers itself in a
art form, it is an architectural instrument so finely tuned as to sing its gesture of welcome.’
own song softly in the background, a song so serene that some find it
spiritual. (An equally apt metaphor, mechanical rather than musical,
that keeps coming to mind is of a purring, highly-tuned machine.)
Although it may also seem a slight building, almost as much like a Architect
garden centre as a museum, it is so well done, its artfulness raised to Renzo Piano Building Workshop, Genoa
the extreme of seeming artlessness, that it enhances and even Project team
R. Piano, E. Baglietto, B.Terpeluk, S. Ishida,
elevates the contemplation of sculpture. PETER BUCHANAN B. Bauer, L. Pelleriti, S. Scarabicchi,
A. Symietz, E. Trezzani, G. Langasco,
Y. Kashiwagi, F. Cappellini, S. Rossi
Associate architects
Beck Architecture, Dallas;
Interloop A/D, Houston
Structural engineer
Ove Arup & Partners
Landscape consultant
T EXAS , USA Peter Walker and Partners
A RCHITECT Photographs
52 | 6 R ENZO P IANO B UILDING W ORKSHOP John E. Linden 12

1 2

BMW’s sales and events centre in Munich reflects an increasing urge for spectacle.

The hyper competitive world years, many of Europe’s leading car In Munich, at the site where BMW will be shown here; there
of the European car industry is manufacturers have succumbed the first BMW engines were will be no vehicles from other
forcing manufacturing companies to the lure of buildings designed assembled in 1917, the famous BMW owned companies such as
to devise ever more elaborate by superstar architects. The list Bavarian motor company is Mini or even Rolls-Royce.
events, spectacles and locations includes Norman Foster for currently building a huge, multi- In autumn 2001, 27 short-
in order to sell their products. McLaren; Nicholas Grimshaw, functional car sales and event listed architects submitted
Next to Formula One racing, Rolls-Royce; UN Studio for centre, appropriately entitled their designs for the 73 000sqm
architecture has become a Mercedes-Benz (p74); Ron Arad, BMW Welt (BMW World). building. Joint first prize winners
favourite means of promoting Maserati, and Zaha Hadid for VW Cultivating an air of exclusivity, were Coop Himmelb(l)au from
the right image. Over the last few and BMW (p50). only cars and motorcycles by Vienna and Sauerbruch Hutton

70 | 6 3
(Berlin), but in the end, the According to BMW, the centre enveloped by a huge steel roof 1
The new building in its Munich context
Viennese duo impressed the jury marks a new generation of that resembles a billowing cloud. with the existing BMW headquarters
the most with their bold design. communication buildings for the The Double Cone is a flexible bottom left.
2, 3
Lying opposite the Munich twenty-first century, and Coop event space; Premiere houses Different elements are united by a
Olympic Park, the new building Himmelb(l)au’s design lives VIP lounges, administration, great cloud-like glass roof that billows
upwards from a double cone structure.
will occupy a site next to the up to the client’s extravagant shops and restaurants; Forum
famous ‘quadruple cylinders’ expectations. The six-storey is a 600 seat theatre; and the
BMW company headquarters structure (with three storeys Hall functions as a lobby and
designed by Karl Schwanzer in below ground for car storage) shopping mall for visitors and
the early 1970s. contains four separate buildings car owners who will come here

71 | 6

4 to collect their new vehicles. Each building site now that the new
Interior of model.
5 day a maximum of 250 customers Allianz Arena by Herzog & de
A new Munich landmark. will have the opportunity to Meuron for the 2006 World
watch their new car being Cup is finally finished. (BMW
delivered into BMW World. World is scheduled to open
A range of distractions, next summer.) To cope with
from restaurants, shops and the complex site conditions
VIP lounges, to driver briefing and detailed design, Coop
and training and special events, Himmelb(l)au are working with
aims to keep prospective car Munich-based engineers Schmitt
owners in the building for Stumpf Frühauf & Partner
between six and eight hours. and local architect Manfred
Around 850 000 visitors are Rudolf, who are supervising
expected annually. Yet the visitor the building’s progress. As the
experience is only half the story. building evolves, it is passed by
Below ground, in the caverns of thousands of motorists every
the three-storey ‘underworld’, day, heralding the prospect of
cars are lovingly conditioned another major addition to the
for their big appearance. Up to Munich scene.
250 cars can be stored in a fully CHRISTIAN BRENSING
automated rack system. Prior to
delivery, they undergo technical Architect
Coop Himmelb(l)au, Vienna
checks and finally are washed Structural engineers
and spruced up for their new Bollinger & Grohmann,
owners waiting upstairs. Schmitt Stumpf Frühauf & Partner with
architect Manfred Rudolf
BMW World has been on
site since August 2003 and 1, 2, 5, ISOCHROM; 3, Gerald Zugmann;
72 | 6 5 is currently Munich’s biggest 4, Marcel Weber
long section

1 Hall
2 Forum
3 VIP car delivery
4 briefing centre ��������������
5 bistro
6 exhibition space
7 BMW Individual
8 shops
9 Double Cone
(event space) �����
10 Premiere
(car delivery) �����������������
11 children’s area
12 lounge
13 restaurant ���������������������


third floor




exploded axonometric

first floor

ground floor plan (scale 1:2000) location plan 73 | 6

J. Pierpont Morgan was a ruthless financial wizard with superb A three-storey pavilion to
the west provides a new
taste, whose monument – the library designed by McKim, Mead & centralised point of entry
White in 1906 – was a surprisingly restrained product of America’s from Madison Avenue ...
first gilded age. Still more astonishing in that country’s latest era ... which leads visitors into
of obscene excess, the Morgan has been doubled in size without the heart of the precinct;
a lofty and bright internal
losing its distinctive personality. The Renzo Piano Building Workshop piazza.
has wrought its customary magic in weaving together old and new,
strengthening the sense of place, and opening up the new central
court to views of the street on three sides. Visitors walking into this
serene, light-filled atrium, or looking down from two upper-level
balconies can savour the sensation of floating within a transparent
bubble at the heart of the metropolis.
Nearly all museums have a compulsion to expand, to display
more of their holdings and find room for new acquisitions, but also
to accommodate ever-greater crowds and boost revenue. A happy 1
few, like the Frick, stay small and are cherished for doing so. In
contrast, the Museum of Modern Art abandoned its early role as a
tightly focused shrine of the avant garde, and turned itself into an
overpoweringly vast emporium with all the appeal of a convention
centre. By choosing Piano, who cares as much for the sacred REQUIRED READING
(contemplating art) as the profane (socialising, shopping and eating)
and manages to keep the two kinds of space distinct, the Morgan With extensive new accommodation, above
avoided that fate.
and below ground, Renzo Piano brings unity
The institution badly needed more gallery and storage space for
its 350 000-item collection of rare books, master drawings, and and order to the Morgan Library.
manuscripts that range from priceless medieval miniatures to musical
scores and correspondence from Ernest Hemingway, plus a better
performance space for its renowned concerts. It also wanted to
appear less intimidating (Morgan’s library was a hermetic strong-box,
designed to exclude the hoi polloi and natural light) and to develop its
role as an art museum.
For the architects, the challenge was to find a footprint on which
to build. The library, the 1850s Morgan family brownstone to the
north, and the Classical-style annex that J. P.’s son added in 1928
were all listed properties, and the spaces between were cluttered
with later additions. The Landmarks Commission would have
opposed a tower. The solution was to clear the additions and to go
down, blasting out the Manhattan schist to a depth of 18 metres
to accommodate three levels of storage vaults, and a steeply raked
auditorium. More than 50 per cent of the 13 800sqm complex is
now located below ground. Three new pavilions have been inserted
between the existing buildings: offices on 37th Street to the north,
a 6m cube called the Thaw Gallery to the south, and a three-storey
entry pavilion on Madison Avenue that, in its transparency, offers a
symbolic welcome mat. New and old structures frame the 15m, glass-
roofed courtyard, evoking an Italian piazzetta. Contd on p54



Looking north toward
the new office suite ...
... east toward garden
and annex ...
... and south toward the
new Thaw Gallery, the
piazza is an excellent
point of lateral
The 15m high glazed
volume also rationalises
48 | 6 4 vertical circulation. 6 49 | 6
6 5 5

6 4

1 2 3


13 12

8 10 9

ground floor entrance level (scale approx 1: 600) 8 9

1 information and tickets

3 piazza NEW Y ORK , USA
4 dining room
15 6 conference 18 18 RENZO PIANO
7 Thaw Gallery
9 East Gallery 18
10 central hall
11 West Room
12 East Room
13 rotunda
14 North Room
15 auditorium
16 archive
17 plant
18 offices
19 reading room


The Madison Avenue
view, before Piano’s
8, 9
In contrast with the
ornate detail of the
existing buildings, the
Thaw Gallery has a
restrained and stripped
back level of articulation,
50 | 6 basement level one inside and out. third floor plan 51 | 6

The Thaw Gallery
and atrium from 36th
Street to the south.

east/west section looking north

north/south section looking east

north/south section looking west (staggered through Thaw Gallery and auditorium)
52 | 6 10 53 | 6
The lucidity of this plan, which grew organically from Piano’s concept Architect
Renzo Piano Building Workshop, Genoa
sketch, is matched by the lightness and precision of the architecture,
Executive architect
and the strength and honesty of the materials. The steel panels and Beyer Blinder Belle
thin mouldings are painted white with an almost imperceptible rose Structural engineer
Robert Silman Associates
tone that picks up on the Tennessee pink marble of the library and
Services engineer
annex. Piano likens the high-transparency, low-iron glass to crystal. As Cosentini Associates
in all his buildings, natural light is filtered by louvres that are oriented Thermal and electrical engineer
to the north, motorised blinds, and white scrim in the Thaw Gallery, Ove Arup & Partners
Landscape architect
whose proportions were inspired by those of a Renaissance studiolo. H. M. White
The hierarchy and interpenetration of spaces, plus the glimpses of Photographs
traffic and greenery (a public park to the south, a bamboo screen to Paul Raftery/VIEW

block an apartment tower to the east) distil the energy and richness
of New York. Each of the new structures is separated by glass
11, 12, 13
from the old buildings, which have been meticulously restored. The The library’s three
generations, with the original
planar roof of the atrium is linked to the cornice of the library by a central hall, the opulent
neoprene seal. As project architect Giorgio Bianchi notes, ‘they kiss galleried annex, and the
calm restraint of Piano’s new
but don’t disturb’. reading room.
A glazed lift and open stairwell pull natural light from above into 14
Seen from within the
the service areas and subterranean theatre lobby. The steeply-raked original library, the new
280-seat auditorium is panelled in cherry, with curved baffles above atrium provides a bright and
airy place for circulation,
and on either side to achieve optimum acoustics for chamber music, orientation, and quiet
though the hall will also host lectures and movies. The old entrance contemplation.

and reading room on 36th Street have been reconfigured to serve

as a suite of three intimate galleries, with drawings and manuscripts
flanking the former lobby, where Middle Eastern cylinder seals up
to 5500 years old are displayed to brilliant effect. There’s a new,
third-level reading room and four new galleries. The café occupies a
side of the courtyard, and a new restaurant and museum store are
comfortably accommodated on the ground floor of the brownstone.
The contrast in style between the period furnishings of the library
and Morgan’s study, with their scarlet brocade, velvet drapes, and
softly glowing Renaissance paintings, and the cool white volumes
beyond, is as bracing as a leap from a sauna into an icy lake. In its
harmony of scale and refinement of detail, the new respects the old
without mimicry. Each strengthens your appreciation of the other – a
lesson that is badly needed in New York, where a former neglect of
heritage has now given way to an obsessive protectionism.
Robert Stern, the Quinlan Terry of American architecture,
predictably found the Morgan plan too radical. Forty blocks up 11
Madison, neighbours of the Whitney Museum successfully fought to
save the skin of an unremarkable brownstone house with nothing
behind it, preferring this Potemkin gesture to the elegant new
entrance proposed by Piano as part of his recent remodelling scheme.
There was a prolonged and anguished appeal to save Edward Durrell
Stone’s dysfunctional and abandoned museum at Columbus Circle,
with its Venetian wallpaper facade, though reason finally triumphed
and the building is now being transformed by Allied Works. Even
as other major architects, including Frank Gehry, Norman Foster,
Kazuyo Sejima, Jean Nouvel and Enrique Norten, are adding to the
city’s legacy after a long drought, the retro spirit is strong. As an
Italian, Piano is a veteran of these wars, and a master at finding an
appropriate balance of history and invention. MICHAEL WEBB 12


This new library is the second
major civic building in Ílhavo by
the filial partnership of José and
The site lies on the edge of
Ílhavo, in surroundings typical of
incoherent, dislocated peripheries
Nuno Mateus who founded the
ARX Portugal collective in the
everywhere. Both the nature
of the site and the presence of HISTORY
early ’90s. Their first, an intelligent an original structure gave rise
remodelling and expansion of to a more nuanced strategy of This new library in a provincial
the town’s maritime museum restatement and consolidation, as Portuguese town makes resonant
(AR July 2004) celebrated the opposed to simply introducing a connections with history.
particular, while also touching on gestural, object building.
more elemental themes. It also When the Mateus brothers
required pragmatism in dealing won a competition for the job
with a somewhat undistinguished in 2001, not much remained of
existing structure, which, in order the mansion house. Yet since
to secure EC funding, had to be it constituted a rare example
integrated within the new work. of enduring heritage in a
Coincidentally, the library project coastal town more noted for
also involves an existing element, its industry than history, the
but one of rather greater historic preservation and integration of
merit; in this case the remains of what had survived became the
the Manor Visconde de Almeida, an starting point for the project.
aristocratic mansion house dating From the original house, only
from the seventeenth century. the main facade running along


The library’s crisp, white
rendered volumes are
contemporary abstractions of
Iberian vernacular.
Main entrance signposted by
a shimmering wall of glass.
The elemental simplicity and
abstraction recall the work
80 | 6 of Siza. 2 3 81 | 6
the south-west edge of the A rigorous palette of white 1 entrance hall
2 multi-purpose room
site and the small family chapel walls and creamy stone floors 3 reception
remained. Both were in ruins, but unifies the interior, with the odd 4 storage
5 wc
are now immaculately restored, calculated touch such as the 6 children’s section
forming anchoring points for designer light fitting that hovers 7 storytelling
8 bar
ARX’s additions and interventions. precipitously over the entrance 9 technical spaces
10 auditorium
Executed with a taste for the hall like a clutch of suspended 11 archive
reductive that clearly owes a debt pick-up-sticks. Though stripped of 12 loading dock
13 staff room
to Siza, the new parts lock into the its decorative elements over time, 14 chapel
old, their white rendered volumes the little chapel has been tactfully 15 patio garden
16 meeting room
an abstract, contemporary play restored to its original function, 17 adult reading room
on Iberian vernacular. The main adding another dimension to 18 administration offices

entrance on the north-east side the civic nature of the complex;

is marked by a triangular canopy however in a conspicuously
which shelters a shimmering Catholic country, its presence
wall of full-height glazing, a does not seem out of place.
rare interlude of lightness and Throughout the project there
permeability in a predominantly is a fertile reciprocity between
hermetic composition. old and new with the new parts
The library forms the social unequivocally of their time
and organisational fulcrum of the and characterised by a formal
plan, docking into the historic boldness.Yet this is tempered by 18
parts, now functioning as offices a subtle sensuality – the handling 16
and technical spaces. The main of materials, the play of light – and
reading room is suspended over an enlightened awareness of place,
the entrance foyer and capped by history and how good architecture
a modern version of a sawtooth can resonate with and reinvigorate 17
roof. On the south side, the foyer the wider community. C. S.
13 9
and reading room enclose a secret
courtyard garden, a modern
ARX Portugal, Lisbon
version of the cooling, verdant Photographs
Iberian patio. Fernando Guerra 5
first floor



13 7

10 1
cross section through chapel and mansion house looking south-west 3

9 5


The former family chapel
ground floor plan (scale approx 1:1000) and the remains of the
cross section through foyer and adult reading room looking south-west
old mansion house are
integrated in the complex.
Main adult reading room, lit
by clerestory glazing.
Patio adjoining the
entrance hall, overlooked
by a protruding window
treated as an element of
Entrance hall with staircase
leading up to the main
82 | 6 cross section through chapel and mansion house looking north-east long section through children’s library and chapel looking south 6 reading room. 83 | 6
Nestling in a spectacular
mountain site on the edge of the
HOUSE , K ETCHUM , town of Ketchum, this house by
IDAHO , USA Marwan Al-Sayed is a highly
ARCHITECT perceptive engagement with
MARWAN A L-SAYED topography, light and the local
vernacular. Though clearly
contemporary – built for a
sportif couple with a young child
who enjoy running, skiing and
biking – the project attempts to
connect with deeper,
immemorial resonances between
man and nature. Baghdad-born
and Columbia educated, Al-
Sayed, who worked for Tod
Williams and Billie Tsien, is now

Private Idaho
based in Phoenix. His work taps
into the uninhibited wellspring
of the Southwest school as
channelled by Will Bruder, Rick
Joy and Wendell Burnette, all
This house in the Idaho wilderness is a sophisticated modern architectural
frontiersmen tackling nature
modern take on the traditional American log cabin.
head on.
In this case the geography
shifts north to Idaho, but the
concerns of how to set
architecture in stupendous
landscape are similar. Idaho
straddles the Rocky Mountains
and is a popular destination for
skiing and hiking, yet laissez-faire
land use policies encouraging
piecemeal development often
conspire to take the edge off
that wilderness moment.
Commanding ravishing views of
the bleached, high desert
landscape, the steeply sloping
site is cradled and defined by a
pair of mountain peaks.
Al-Sayed’s response to this
challenging topography is to
partially embed the house in the
hillside, so that the upper level
seems to float free from its
earthly, concrete moorings.
Riffing on an updated notion of
the log cabin, this L-shaped
volume is clad in a skin of
extremely thin horizontal strips
of white Atlantic cedar,
perforated by large picture
windows. For nearly half the
year the site is blanketed in
snow, and the silvery wood,

milkily translucent glass and light

grey concrete merge house with

Commanding ravishing
views, the house locks into
84 | 6 its steeply sloping site. 85 | 6
upper level

site plan


intermediate level
The lowest level contains the and activities in an otherwise
active, business end of things – a precipitous terrain. At the
garage, recreation area, study house’s north end, the master
and ski waxing room, buttressed bedroom is aligned with the
by a muscular retaining wall. Kinderhorn mountain peak
Above are the living, dining and giving this intimate domestic
sleeping areas conceived as space an especially privileged
generous promenade decks from view of the changing
which to survey the choreography of the seasons,
surroundings. Spaces flow fluidly from snow and sky in winter, to
into one another, divided by mountain wildflowers and
movable screens to provide greenery in spring. C. S.
privacy or communality where
required. As the house twists Marwan Al-Sayed Architects, Phoenix
and folds up the slope, the Photographs
change in levels and a subtle Bill Timmerman
3 5
shift in alignment creates a large
triangular courtyard, a precious
flat spot for al fresco gatherings lower level plan (scale approx 1:500)

2, 4
The patio at the heart of
the house – a rare flat spot
in the hilly terrain.
The house in context. An
L-shaped volume containing
living spaces is anchored by
a concrete base.
Room with a view.
6, 7
Interiors have a finesse that
86 | 6 cross section belies the rustic locale. 4 6 7 87 | 6
ar house
Double Bass
This coastal retreat on the Bass Strait poetically responds to climate and views.

Architecture’s endless quest for important than universal views, is the array of angled elements
‘transparent’ buildings can simply and this coastal retreat, a house deriving from the twisting of
mean excessive use of glass. This and studio pavilion at Cape the box tube in section. This
then requires ingenious design Schanck by Denton Corker leads to raked cladding, cranked
to solve problems created by Marshall, keeps glazing to an lower windows, and a chimney
the designer. In many parts of appropriately low level. That said, which emerges from the wall
the world, sunlight, far from the house (which is located on at a faintly alarming angle. The
being the essential ingredient of a steep site in the middle of a desired impression was of a
a health and efficiency type of golf course) is designed so it can building which has rotated on its
architecture, is the key problem enjoy ocean views, but does so axis as the box lands on the site.
which has to be overcome. in the context of a ‘black box’ Not just one box, but two:
Nor do extreme daytime steel structure clad in cement one sitting atop the other and
temperatures imply a clement sheet, with a concrete ground peeking out through the native
night-time environment. slab and suspended floor. ti-trees, entered via a glass-
The Bass Strait in Australia, It is not the black box enclosed (but shaded) concrete
south of Melbourne, is a case in approach which makes the house stair beneath its belly. The top
point. Climate comfort is more interesting, however; rather, it deck contains the living area

The project comprises a two-level
house, courtyard and pavilion.

with a long narrow window Glass ends in the house provide and/or aesthetic advantage, has 2
The rectangular structures of house
that frames the view along the vistas to the landscape, and to the resulted in a piece of architecture and studio twist in section, producing a
western elevation, and cruciform new studio across the north- where client delight and climatic roofline that follows the land to meet
local planning requirements.
columns of hot dipped galvanised facing courtyard separating the considerations have been 3, 4, 5
steel set into the box’s volume. two buildings. The studio entrance successfully reconciled. Interior views of living space, show
internal timber cubes.
Living, eating and sleeping zones is via glass sliding doors at either PAUL FINCH 6
are located in free-standing end of the box, with the interior From studio looking back to house.

maple timber veneer cubes space marked by an aluminium Architects

within the body of the house, cube containing storage, Denton Corker Marshall, Melbourne
Structural engineer
with the master bedroom and kitchenette and bathroom.
Burns Hamilton + Partners
its bathroom separated by a In all, a variety of materials, Photographs
concealed sliding door. deployed to environmental Shannon McGrath

1 master bedroom
2 ensuite bathroom
3 kitchen
4 dining room
5 living room
6 courtyard
7 studio
8 bedroom
9 laundry
ground floor plan (scale approx 1:1000) lower ground floor

0 1 2 3

0 1 2 3 5M


86 | 6 cross section: one house ‘box’ sits on another DENTON C ORKER MARSHALL
4 6


This tourist resort in Mozambique aims to minimise its impact on the local ecology.

Tourism is now the world’s paradisiacal landscape and were somewhat different to this
biggest industry and one of climate still lure more intrepid latest project.
the most rapacious in terms of travellers. The trick is to make Set on a picture perfect
development, particularly along tourism a catalyst for sustainable tropical coastline of palm-fringed
coastlines. For many of the world’s development and provide models beaches, Guludo eco-resort lies
poorer coastal areas, tourism that can be fruitfully emulated as in the Quirimbas National Park, a
represents a crucial impulse the country slowly recovers its maritime and wildlife conservation
for economic development, economic and social equilibrium. area run as a collaborative project
but often at immense cost In the northern province of Cabo between the World Wildlife Fund
to the environment and local Delgado, British architects Hugh and the Mozambican government.
communities. If we really cared Cullum and Richard Nightingale The project aims to promote the
about the planet we wouldn’t go have just completed a new tourist area’s sustainable development and
anywhere, but in our First World resort which attempts to minimise involved extensive consultations
hunger for new experiences, few its impact on the local ecology with the community. Development 1, 2
places are off limits. and have sustainable, long-term is encouraged in various ways, Timber-framed communal buildings
touch the ground lightly.
As one of the world’s poorest benefits for the local community. initially through employing local 3
countries and still recovering Cullum and Nightingale have labour for the construction of Vernacular archetypes are sensitively
from a devastating civil war, worked in Africa before, but the the resort buildings and the use 4
Lavatory unit.
Mozambique is not an obvious challenges of designing the British of locally sourced materials. Local 5, 6
tourist destination. But its Embassy in Nairobi (AR July 1997) people will be trained to help run Construction details.



3 5

4 6
75 | 7

A beach E
B guest bandas D
C dining area
D diving centre J
E reception K
F tower
G amenity building
H stores
J entrance courtyard L
K staff area
L staff bandas

1 bedroom
2 mosquito net around bed
3 cupboard
4 desk
5 verandah
6 seat
7 courtyard
8 lathe screen 6
9 compost lavatory
10 shower

9 3 4

location and site plan typical banda plan (scale approx 1:200)

the resort and part of its profits sea, with washing facilities in an shading, thermal mass, stack effect
will be reinvested in community enclosed courtyard to the rear. ventilation and prevailing winds.
development projects. The resort Staff are housed in a secondary Solar energy is used to generate
has a commitment to buy locally cluster of bandas set back from electricity through photovoltaic
grown produce and promote the beachfront. arrays, and to heat water by direct
small-scale craft enterprises. Drawing extensively on local radiation. Human waste is recycled
Cullum and Nightingale materials and construction in waterless lavatory units to
reinterpret local vernacular techniques, building structures are provide dry compost for fertiliser.
traditions by developing modest, generally timber framed with infill With its array of sheltering
low energy, low maintenance panels of mud, masonry or woven thatched roofs, the little colony
structures that touch the ground matting. Roofs are thatched with evokes archetypes of the primitive
lightly. The resort is conceived as grass or makuti, coconut palm hut or desert island shelter (albeit
small-scale buildings strung out thatching panels. Non-ferrous reinterpreted for the modern
along a path in the manner of jointing methods include simple tourist), but the buildings have
a traditional village. At its heart timber pegs and cord or rope a scale, dignity and materiality
is a central hub with facilities bindings. Imported components appropriate to their setting. If only
for eating, cooking, lounging and are kept to a minimum and everything built for tourists could
teaching loosely arranged round wherever possible are long life be so physically and culturally
a courtyard. Guests are housed and locally maintainable. Energy tactful. CATHERINE SLESSOR
in 12 independent bandas facing use is carefully considered, with
the beach. Each banda consists of fossil fuels minimised. The form of
Cullum and Nightingale Architects, London
a double room opening onto a the architecture exploits passive Photographs
shaded verandah overlooking the methods of cooling through Richard Nightingale

The young French partnership of Florence Lipsky and Pascal Rollet has
a reputation for formally sparse but technically and materially inventive
buildings that make the most of limited programmes and budgets. Though
the pair favour the aesthetic edginess and functional economy of raw or
Veiled in a polycarbonate skin, this
industrial materials, they generally play it straight with modular Miesian
structures and disciplined spatial arrangements. Their latest building is a science library exploits site, light
science library for the University of Orleans. Founded in 1961 and now and materials in the quiet pursuit of
with some 5000 students, the university occupies a peripheral campus passive environmental control.
sward at some remove from the city centre, linked by a tram line that
runs on a north-south axis across town. The site for the library is next to
the tram line, in front of one of the four stations that serves the campus.
Emerging from a boskily pastoral setting, the building is a strong, almost
graphic presence in the landscape. The taut orthogonality of its form, a
long, three-storey box terminated by a full-height colonnade, suggests
a scientific triumph of the rational over the romantic, but it has a more
quixotic side in its appropriation of materials, handling of light and
approach to energy use and environmental control.
The tall concrete colonnade, like a scaled down version of Foster’s 1
Carré d’Art museum, Nîmes (AR July 1993), is a welcoming gesture that The translucent volume of the new
library emerges from its wooded
celebrates and civilises arrival, while emphasising a route to the lake. A campus setting.
small glass box, which also acts as an informal exhibition space, forms 2
A tall colonnade creates a space for
a decompression zone between the blare of the outside world and the social interaction.


64 | 7
2 65 | 7
site plan

cross section
The colonnade marks the entrance.
The site lies next to a tram line linking
the campus with Orleans city centre.
Windows puncture the translucent
polycarbonate skin; glare control is
provided by vertical brise soleil.


long section

1 colonnade
2 entrance hall
3 exhibition space
4 reception
5 reading room
6 book box
first floor 7 study zones roof plan
8 offices
9 group work spaces
10 multimedia workshop
11 computer room
12 kitchen
13 research room

66 | 7 ground floor plan (scale approx 1:1000) second floor


5 6 67 | 7
silent inner sanctum of the reading room. Areas of clear glazing are
punched apparently at random into the translucent polycarbonate skin
frame and define views of the landscape from inside at study table height,
so students can drift off in contemplative reveries.
In operational terms, the modern university library is less concerned
with the inducement of reverie and more with the efficient storage and
retrieval of information, in both paper and digital formats.Yet the process
of information withdrawal, consultation and return continues to underpin
and structure the library as a building type. Lipksy + Rollet articulate this
process through a central ‘book box’, a dense core of books surrounded
by more fluid study zones arranged round the periphery. The main
reading room is a dramatic triple-height space, overlooked and surveyed
by perimeter study zones on the floor above, so users can inhabit a more
intimate enclave, yet be aware of wider goings on.
The monumental book box is clad in Fincof panels (more commonly
employed for concrete formwork), a type of Finnish birch plywood
stained with dark phenolic resin. The panels evoke the warm leather of
traditional bookbinding and study armchairs but this is faux luxury. The
budget necessitated an imaginatively frugal approach to materials, as
manifest by the double skin of polycarbonate used to clad the building
which combines good insulation levels with light diffusing qualities, so
the reading room seems wrapped in a rice paper screen, with readers
silhouetted against its translucent walls. South and east facades have
vertical, manually operable white polycarbonate louvres to provide
additional glare control. Depending on the sun angle and building users,
the vertical brise soleil create a changing pattern on the facades.
Though France is not as advanced as Germany in legislating for
efficient energy use, the need to keep capital and running costs down
proved an important incentive, giving rise to an integrated system of low
key, passive environmental control techniques that minimise mechanical
systems. The building is naturally ventilated, with fresh air warming and
rising up through the main reading room through the stack effect and
expelled through vents in the roof. In winter, the main gas-fired heating
system of water pipes in the ground floor slab is supplemented by a
network of local radiators for smaller cellular spaces. All this is achieved
in an undemonstrative yet thoughtful way that chimes with the wider
architectural intentions. Without succumbing entirely to the lure of
scientific rationalism, Lipsky + Rollet manage to make complex things
look elegantly simple and obvious. This is science with soul. C. S.

Study zones on the perimeter.
The monumental book box at the heart
of the library clad in plywood panels
stained with phenolic resin.
Light diffuses softly through the
polycarbonate skin while panels of clear
glazing frame external views at study
table height.

Lipksy + Rollet, Paris
68 | 7 Paul Raftery/VIEW
8 69 | 7
This is perhaps the ultimate
boutique hotel, an individual
concrete tube set in lush green
surroundings, running water not
included. Aimed principally at the
young and hardy, Dasparkhotel
makes a virtue of economy,
streamlining both architectural
form and the management/
booking process. Weary of the
tents and hostels that are the
usual preserve of the budget-
conscious traveller, Austrian
architect Andreas Strauss wanted
to develop a more contemporary
notion of cheap, no-frills
accommodation. His solution
is a trio of chunky concrete
cylinders each just large enough
to accommodate a basic sleeping
platform. Once anchored on site,
the tubes are perfectly stable
and secure, and the thermal
mass of the concrete keeps
occupants cool in hot weather
(Dasparkhotel is a seasonal
summer gig). Internal surfaces
are simply sealed with clear
varnish and rear walls enlivened
by artist Thomas Latzel-Ochoa’s
paintings. A circular timber door
is accessed by a number code regional cultural organisation for There are no set rates; instead attracted all sorts of clientele,
lock, so eliminating the fuss of Upper Austria, but the project guests leave what they feel is from bashful teenagers to elderly
keys and concierges. gained momentum through the appropriate in a pay-box inside Dutch cyclists. Expect to see the
Supplied by Austrian firm generosity of suppliers, doubtless each cylinder, the proceeds compact, concrete compound
C. Bergmann, the concrete tickled by Strauss’s off-the-wall of which cover cleaning and featuring in the next volume of
cylinders are standard off- vision of an encampment of maintenance costs for a season. Hip Hotels. C.S.
the-peg industrial grade, each temporary, tubular troglodytes. This summer the tubes will be Architect
weighing 9.5 tons. The cost of Visitors book online and are at Ottensheim, a village outside Andreas Strauss, Ottensheim
buying, fitting and transporting mailed back an access code, Linz, with plans to further Project team
Andreas Strauss, Gunda Wiesner,
the three cylinders was around together with details of the expand the concept at Maribor
Claudia Kogler, Nicki Diemannsberger
€5000. Initial funding came nearest and most congenial in Slovenia. Though aimed at the Photographs
from KUPF-Innovationstopf, a showers, WCs and cafés. youth market, the tubes have Dietmar Tollerian

The concrete
tubes are
equipped with a
sleeping platform.
Guests pay
Off-the-peg industrial grade concrete cylinders are what they think
is appropriate
appropriated to create the ultimate budget hotel. and use nearby
washing and dining
The tubular trio.
Cylinders are
standard industrial
grade; the concrete
keeps the interior
cool in summer.
Happy campers.

66 | 7 ANDREAS STRAUSS 3 67 | 7
Solar umbrella
Lawrence Scarpa’s own family house in Venice Beach is an imaginative
and ecologically aware response to the balmy Californian climate.

84 | 7 ar house 1
Frugality and sustainability are
the hallmarks of Pugh + Scarpa’s
practice, and Lawrence Scarpa’s
family house is an imaginative
manifestation of those principles.
Despite its imposing facade, it is
an addition: a spacious living area
grafted onto the rear of a vintage
60sqm bungalow, and an upstairs
master suite cantilevered back
without touching the roof of
the old building, so avoiding the
need to bring the old structure
up to code. A tilt-up concrete
shear wall braces a wood-frame
structure, and a steel frame
supports the cantilever. All the
other materials are recycled:
rusted cold-rolled steel for the (warmed by its purple acrylic where it is miserably hot and
front fence and surface cladding, lining) and doubling as a heat humid, and you get sweaty walking
cherry wood and chipboard, chimney when the skylight is from your house to the car. The
homosote (pulped newsprint) opened. Pocketing glass sliders ocean breezes in Venice make this
and a translucent screen of plastic open the living room to the front, the best climate on the planet, and
pellets used to clean up oil spills. and the master bedroom opens to it’s a crime not to take advantage
Ninety solar panels wrap a terrace, bringing the outdoors in. of it. Green architecture is an
the south side and canopy the The notion of indoor-outdoor easy, commonsense thing to do
bedroom terrace, blocking the living in southern California – we have an in-house electrical/
sun and generating an energy was pioneered by immigrants mechanical engineer and typically
credit. The house is cooled by from cold climates, such as the make our buildings 50 per cent
FAMILY HOUSE , V ENICE , cross ventilation, and all rainwater Greene brothers of Cincinnati more energy efficient than more
CALIFORNIA , USA is retained on site. A narrow, and Schindler and Neutra from conventional solutions.’
ARCHITECT wedge-shaped lantern rises above Vienna. Scarpa had the opposite Like many architects, Scarpa
PUGH + SCARPA the kitchen, pulling in natural light experience: ‘I grew up in Florida, launched his practice with


Partly wrapped in a skin of photovoltaic
panels, the house reads as series of

floating planes.
The suburban Californian context. The
AVENUE BOCCACCIO AVENUE new house is built to the rear of an
existing vintage bungalow.
Indoor outdoor living is ideally suited
to the Californian climate, though it
was originally pioneered by immigrants
from colder latitudes.


site plan
NN 20 N

85 | 7
cross section


4 14

PUGH + SCARPA roof plan

kitchen remodels and residential everything in this inventive house


additions and, when he and his does double duty. The entry to a
wife moved into a run-down 1923 guest bathroom and lavatory is 13
cottage on a through lot, they concealed behind a hinged section
did an inexpensive remodel for of the bookcase that lines one wall. DN

themselves. The long back yard Concrete steps with a cantilevered

prompted thoughts of expansion handrail lead to a springy mesh 12 11

and the arrival of their first child, staircase supported on a steel tube
five years ago, made that dream of the same rusted steel, which
a necessity. The 130sqm addition runs up the inner wall, hovering
first floor plan
was done on a tight budget within over a massive built-in sofa. The
a restrictive zoning envelope. It interior is a collage of textures
was important not to overwhelm and tones, from the patinated
the cottages on either side, so the steel panels around the hearth UP

steel fence reduces the impact of to the soft suede finish of the

5 UP

the two-storey structure. homosote. A storage wall of grey- 6
From the front you can look green mdf is a backdrop for the
through the house to the street on parents’ bed, which opens onto an 2

the far side, and glimpse treetops unenclosed bathing area. Though UP

through the glass in the bedroom. very different from its neighbours, UP
UP 8
Openness and transparency the house has a strong sense of

dematerialise the gritty steel place.Venice, conceived a century DN

and concrete, and a brise-soleil of ago as a picturesque pastiche of

bristles filters the light. Scarpa calls La Serenissima, became a tough, ground floor plan (scale approx 1:500)
it the world’s largest scrubbing blue collar neighbourhood, known UP

brush. The original facade (now the more for oil, bikers, and the Beats, DN

rear) has been abstracted. A steel- than for its few surviving canals. 1 living room
2 dining
framed glass box pushes forward Crime and gentrification co-exist 3 kitchen
beneath an open steel canopy, and in one of the few districts of West 4 bedroom
5 study
the same material is employed for LA that has not succumbed to the 6 bathroom
7 closet
the car port and entry door. suffocating quest for respectability, 8 pond
Leaves from a eucalyptus, and vigilante committees intent on 9 bamboo planter
10 laundry
planted by the architect five years imposing a sterile conformity of 11 master bedroom
before and sacrificed for the taste.Venice is getting pricey but 12 master bathroom 4
13 terrace Master bedroom.
addition, were laid in the concrete it retains its edge, and Scarpa has 14 skylight 5
forms and pattern the surface made an important contribution to 15 photovoltaic roof panels Dining area. Interiors are characterised
16 roof by spatial fluidity and an animated
of the wall beside the entry. A its diversity. MICHAEL WEBB collage of textures and tones.
low wall that surrounds the Living room.
plunge pool serves as a bench for Architect 7
Pugh + Scarpa, Santa Monica Vertiginous steel mesh staircase.
entertaining, as does the edge of Photographs 8
86 | 7 the sunken living room. Almost Marvin Rand Roof terrace.
5 6
7 8

87 | 7



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34 | 7 35 | 7

Trudging at midnight along Gatwick’s deserted corridors to board a To this woefully short list can now be added Richard Rogers’ new A car park building
B terminal building
six hour late flight to Madrid, it struck me that Gatwick epitomises all terminal at Barajas airport in Madrid. In terms of physical size and C satellite building
that is worst about the modern airport experience. The queuing, the political ambition, the new terminal is a very heavy hitter designed to D service tunnel
E existing runways
disorientation, the anomie, the slog of physical distances, the lack of increase Barajas’ current annual capacity of 25 million passengers to F new runways
daylight and the endless shopping malls as a substitute for any kind of 70 million. This will make it Europe’s second busiest airport and also, G existing terminals

interior life. Doubtless Gatwick’s designers and mood managers thought crucially, one capable of accommodating the new A380 Airbus, the
that a gaudily coloured carpet would alleviate the route march to the next generation of 800 seat super jumbos. Madrid is a natural locus of B
departure gate, but the effect was like putting lipstick on a baboon. exchange between Europe and Latin America and this latest tranche
In common with its bigger and more unmanageable sister Heathrow, of airport development, which includes two new runways, aims to
Gatwick favours the Belly of the Beast model of passenger processing. strengthen the historic umbilicus between Old and New Worlds. After A
Inside the Beast’s Belly you could literally be anywhere. Dallas, Dacca, years of playing second fiddle to Barcelona, Madrid is feeling expansive
Dresden, Darwin; guess where you are from the carpet in the corridors. again, with a revitalised Barajas seen as a key aspect of civic and economic
Truly, the airport is everywhere yet nowhere. image making. D
These are familiar protestations but worth restating. Fuelled by the Such a highly charged agenda has helped to give an almost unbelievable
phenomenal growth of air travel the airport has become a necessary impetus to an exceedingly large and complex project. Construction
contemporary evil, but any building type defined by such unforgiving drawings, for instance, were completed in a mere five months.
parameters (passenger flows, aircraft regulations, security paranoia, Comparisons with Heathrow’s Terminal 5, Rogers’ other major airport G E

rampant commercialism and uninhibited bigness) would struggle to be a project, are sadly instructive. Even at twice the size of T5 and begun C
thing of inspiration.Yet within its short lifespan (it is only 70 years since eight years after it, Barajas is now complete, and its development (unlike
Gatwick was a shed in a field) the airport has also suffered from a kind of T5’s which was mired in a planning and bureaucratic morass), seems
hideously accelerated development. There are no archetypes to inspire or like a model of clarity and vision. From the first enlightened move of F
refer to, only a parade of rapidly obsolescing mutations. While most cities hiring a British architect (this is Rogers’ first Iberian job but his project
can muster a memorable church, city hall or museum, the memorable team worked closely with local firm Estudio Lamela), Barajas has been
airport is far more elusive. A quick roll call of notables might include underpinned by political will, a responsive client in AENA, the Spanish
Piano’s Kansai, Foster’s Chek Lap Kok, SOM’s Haj Terminal in Mecca, airports authority, plus the room and the resources1 to build. 2
The rippling roof
Saarinen at JFK, and Charles de Gaulle in Paris. And, of course, Stansted Circumstances were in place for Rogers to deliver and he and project unifies the volumes
(AR May 1991), Foster’s romantic vision of a sleek techno-shed in a field, director Ivan Harbour have done so resoundingly. Barajas civilises the of concourse and
boarding pier. Car
still maintaining its dignity no matter how many branches of Accessorize numbing experience of air travel, humanising the flows and processes of drop off is on the
far right. site plan
36 | 7 it is obliged to accommodate. airport life and using them to configure a building of power and presence. 37 | 7
Progress from check-in to departure gate is marked and measured by
the rise and fall of the roof and rhythm of its structure. The basic unit of
support is a Y-shaped assemblage of tapering steel members anchored
by concrete moorings. Painted signature Roger egg-yolk yellow, the
steel members form the angular branches of the arboreal structure
with the more massive concrete trunks extending down through the
building. Organised around a 18 x 9m modular grid, Barajas is actually
just a huge3 and potentially extendible kit of parts, with consequent
economies of scale in materials, detailing and construction time. Certain
elements that were specially designed for the project, such as the vaguely
anthropomorphic floor mounted air-handling units and wok-like light
fittings, have since gone into general commercial production.
Tempering this High-Tech rationale is a fair dollop of spatial and
3 experiential romance. The hypnotic swell of the roof creates different
sorts of spaces – grandly lofty halls for check-in at its peaks, and more
Though the design was first begun in 1997 as a competition proposal, intimate areas for waiting, eating and circulation at its troughs. The
it still seems fresh and retains a spirit of dynamism and assurance. The obvious conceptual model is the market roof amiably sheltering teeming
most obvious formal move is the undulating roof, suggesting a kinship humanity and a diversity of activities. Some critics have also suggested
with T5, but Barajas also adopts the organisational model of Kansai (AR that it also alludes to the rhythmic vaults of the famous Cordoba
November 1994). As at Osaka, a wavy roofed concourse building is mosque. Clad in thin laminated strips of Chinese bamboo (astonishingly,
incised by multistorey canyons and linked to a single, immensely long pier each strip was individually fixed by hand), the roof has a seductive, tactile
that contains the boarding gates. This arrangement has the advantages quality, like being inside a giant musical instrument. Even more lyrically,
of directional clarity (you are always moving in a linear progression project architect Simon Smithson likens the heaving geometry to being
either to or from your gate) and allows natural light and even views to underwater and seeing the surface of the sea softly rising and falling
trespass delightfully into what is usually a hermetic interior. And whether above you, with shafts of sunlight percolating down into the depths.
conscious or not, there is also a sense of Rogers picking up where Chracterised by tactful and imaginative handling of light and views,
Piano left off, taking Kansai’s generative concept of a ‘soft machine’ that Barajas has managed to break free from the dead hand of airport anomie.
persuasively fuses the biological with the mechanical, on to the next level. Glazed walls offer a redemptive connection with the exterior, and the
Arriving by car2 gives the best first view of the architectural harsh Madrid light is filtered and channelled around the interior through
achievement. As you swing round to the north-west of the existing a series of oculi in the rippling roof. Light catches the creamy floor of
Barajas complex, the new terminal appears as a vigorous wiggle in Spanish limestone, turning it to a gleaming horizontal plane that brightens
the bleached altiplano landscape, like a back-of-the-envelope sketch the cavernous spaces. Most dramatically of all, light sears down into the
made flesh. The shrug of the roof seems to mimic the heave and roll of canyons, three parallel voids carved into the length of the building. As
distant hills and there is a brief rainbow flash of colour. Cars dropping an obvious means of funnelling daylight to the arrivals hall below, these 5
off passengers glide under the roof’s gull wing embrace, sweeping past multistorey clefts also signpost the various stages of departure, from
a vast parking structure for 9000 vehicles. The roof of the car park is check-in to aircraft boarding. At intervals, the canyons are spanned by
landscaped and its walls shrouded in gauzy metal mesh, softening the bridges, so departing and arriving passengers are periodically aware
impact of bulk. Six access silos boldly coded by superscale graphics add a of each other, helping to mitigate feelings of disorientation. While
slightly surreal touch. the intermediate canyon provides contemplative views down into the
continued p56

The landscaped roof of the
parking structure minimises
its bulk.
4 cross section through main terminal building showing departures in red, arrivals in blue
Welcome to Madrid. Vehicle
drop off and pick up under the
ultimate porte cochère.
Check-in hall. The roof plane
is liberated from the clutter
of service; sculptural free-
standing funnels, for instance,
are used for air handling.

cross section through satellite building
38 | 7 PARTNERSHIP 39 | 7
RICHARD ROGERS 1 public space airside
2 public space landside
PARTNERSHIP 3 horizontal and vertical circulation
4 retail
5 airport services
6 baggage transport system
level 2

level 2

level 1

level 1

ground level

ground level

level -2

level -2 6
The great nave of the boarding
pier, with its kaleidoscopic
columns. Arriving passengers cross
40 | 7 main terminal satellite building by bridges to the upper level. 6 41 | 7

Baggage reclaim hall with
distinctive ‘wok’ light fittings.
Canyon in baggage reclaim hall.
Departing passengers cross over
bridges at upper level. Light is
filtered down into the depths
through fixed louvres in the oculi.

42 | 7 cut-away isometric of roof and canyon PARTNERSHIP 8 43 | 7


baggage reclaim hall, the canyons at land and airside are filled with
the panoply of vertical circulation. Long banks of escalators and stairs
bestride the chasms, and curious glass lifts that might have sprung from
the imagination of Heath Robinson scuttle busily up and down. The
airside canyon is also filled with the inevitable monstrous regiment of
shops, but by setting clear protocols for fit-outs, Rogers has tried to
contain the dismaying effects of commercial intrusion.
The 38 boarding gates are contained in a soaring treble-height pier, 10
with a further 26 docked on to the satellite building (a sort of ‘mini-
me’ version of the terminal), which is linked to the main complex by
underground shuttle. At three quarters of a mile long, the pier seems
infinite, an elegantly elongated nave articulated by the repetitive march
of its arboreal structure. Along its length, the signature Rogers yellow
is amplified by the full range of the colour spectrum. This apparently
whimsical touch is partly an aesthetic decision, but it also assists with
orientation, the colour coding of the structure matching the signage for
boarding gates. As departing passengers head for the red, orange, blue
or green columns, this is the end of the line; beyond are the planes, the
runway and the sky. Arriving travellers make the journey in reverse,
docking into and across the boarding pier nave, communing with the
baggage reclaim floor at lower level and finally emerging into the
brilliance and bustle of the landside canyon. The new terminal is devoted 9
to Iberia, British Airways and their smaller commercial partners, with Waiting and shopping – boarding
gates with retail units. Rogers
budget airlines kept at some remove in the existing terminals. has attempted to minimise the
The romance of Barajas belies the technical feat of its realisation. It impact of commerce.
might all look effortless, but below stairs and behind the scenes is a Airside canyon for arrivals,
seething netherworld of operational spaces such as the vast subterranean animated by the panoply of
vertical circulation.
baggage-handling facility. Nothing stands still in this building for long, 11
Connection with the exterior
and the continuous, relentless choreography of people, planes and stuff makes passengers feel as though
shapes and animates the architecture. That there can also be scope in they are somewhere.
this huge, impersonal machine to create humanely scaled, dignified and
even sensuous experiences is the building’s remarkable trump card. With Architect
Barajas, the airport as a type finally seems to have reached an important Richard Rogers Partnership, London
Associate architect
benchmark in its short and unsatisfactory evolution, the grubby Estudio Lamela
caterpillar finally transformed into a butterfly. Is it too much to hope that Structural & services engineers
the civilising mission of Rogers’ Spanish soft machine can help set the INITEC Tarmac Professional
agenda for the next generation of airports? CATHERINE SLESSOR
Structural design
Anthony Hunt Associates
The budget for the main terminal, satellite and car park was €1238 million. The total Barajas Facade design
development budget was €6000 million. ARUP Facades
The proposed train link from the new terminal to central Madrid is still under construction; it should be Lighting consultant
completed next year. Jonathan Speirs
Total built area, including parking and access roads, is approx 1 100 000sqm. The main terminal is Photographs
44 | 7 470 000sqm and the satellite 290 000sqm. Duccio Malagamba 11 45 | 7

The architect for this project, element of the project, which for living/dining is reached via a
Niall McLaughlin, was given adds to the conversion of a glazed cloister, the whole based
the challenge of producing boathouse and the coastguard’s round a quiet courtyard. The
a building that would match cottage, produces a built shard experience of each element of
the striking beauty of its site, of its own, distinctive but the design, from arrival to sitting
at Clonakilty, County Cork, responsive to the geological at the dining table, is a journey
on the west coast of Ireland. forms in which it sits. in miniature, with vistas of sea
In their project description, The conversion elements and coast powerful, but not
the practice makes reference of the project are simple and ubiquitous, and complemented
to the ‘beautiful shards of effective, providing a master by domestic interior views.
metamorphic rock that finger bedroom and bathroom in the The temptation to provide
out to the sea from the base of cottage, and guest rooms in the maximum views from all points
the small cliffs’; the new building boathouse. The new extension at all times has been wisely

View point
Niall McLaughlin’s house conversion and addition
respect and enrich their coastal environment.

Long elevation borders a
courtyard space.
The wind protected site.
82 | 8 Light was a key design prompt.
83 | 8
ar house
As the architect puts it, ‘We 4
View sharing dining space.
have designed the extension to 5
capture the last scraps of sun The cottage contains master
bedroom and bathroom.
as it declines behind the hill 6
in the early evening’. The new Cottage interior.
extension more than makes up The area looking back to the kitchen.
for this, producing a totality Separation of function avoids a
in which comfort, aspect, light picture window cliché.
and geographical drama are
synthesised to great effect.
This is an architectural
project where success has
been achieved by treating
each potential difficulty as
a constructive opportunity.
Rather than a series of tactical
responses, which end up
compromising the diagram of
framed views and calculated
routes, the building has a
4 feeling of serenity and
completeness that belie the
resisted, and the cliché of the to the courtyard. Responding design effort required to achieve
big picture window in the to light has been a successful such an outcome. PAUL FINCH
extension has also been avoided, driver for the project, given that Architect
in favour of a pair of separated the relatively sheltered location Niall McLaughlin
Structural engineer
framed views, one from the of the existing buildings, on
Packman Lucas
living area and one from the a south-east facing site, has Photographs
dining area immediately next resulted in a lack of sunlight. Niall McLaughlin and Nicholas Kane 6

5 4 2

1 3


6 7 C


ARCHITECT 0 5m 10m

geometry responds to topography
1 entrance
2 living room
3 dining
4 kitchen
5 lavatory
6 master bedroom
7 ensuite
8 guest bedroom
9 guest bathroom
10 slipway

0 5m 10m

0 5m 10m

84 | 8 section showing converted boathouse (left) and cottage the addition frames the space

85 | 8

The rollercoaster profile of
the arched steel members
forms the defining image of
A new museum dedicated to Paul Klee swells seductively into the Swiss landscape. the new museum.
The arcaded streets of the old town of Berne, a UNESCO World of spaces that are linked at the front by a 150m long glazed concourse 3
A serpentine path
Heritage Site, have acquired a counterpart in the pedestrian concourse containing the café, ticketing, shop, and reference area. Extended opening leads up to the main
that links the three volumes of the Zentrum Paul Klee, Renzo Piano’s hours encourage visitors to come early or linger in this protected piazza. entrance.

latest showcase for art. An undulating steel structure emerges from A changing selection from the permanent collection is displayed in the
three hills to the east of the city, facing over the ringroad and surrounded central pavilion, with a temporary exhibition gallery below. To the north,
by fields. It’s a monument that celebrates the work of a brilliant meeting and restoration areas lead out of the concourse, with a creative
miniaturist; a fusion of architecture and landscape, warmth and precision, workshop for children below, and a subterranean auditorium behind. The
structural daring and welcoming interiors. It captures the unique spirit of south pavilion contains the administrative offices, archives, and seminar
a native son who made his reputation in Germany, fled Nazi persecution rooms, all on the main level.
to return home for a final burst of creativity, and is buried close by. The 4.2km of steel girders were cut and shaped by computer-
Klee was astonishingly prolific, meticulously recording the 10 000 controlled machines but then, because each section has a different
works he created in his thirty-year career. ‘Not a day without a sketch,’ configuration, the 40km of seams were hand-welded. The arches are
he noted in his journal, even as he neared his death in 1940. Members slightly inclined at different angles, braced by compression struts, and
of the artist’s family and the Klee Foundation promised to donate their tied to the roof plate and floor slabs. In contrast to this assembly of
astounding hoard of 4000 paintings and drawings if Berne would provide unique parts, the concrete floors were constructed as a single structure,
a dedicated space to show them. The chief sponsors were Professor without settlement joints. The glass facade is divided into upper and
Maurice Müller, a surgeon who invented the artificial hip, and his wife, lower sections, which are joined at the 4m roof level of the concourse,
Martha, who selected the location and the architect, and insisted that the and are suspended from girders to avert stress from thermal expansion
building be a centre for all the arts and for people of all ages. Piano has in the steel roof. The glass is shaded by exterior mesh blinds that extend
created a museum that reaches out to embrace the visitors who stream automatically in response to the intensity of the light, and the high level
in from footpaths, city bus, and motorway. of insulation minimizes energy consumption.
Like so many of his buildings, the Zentrum has a strong, simple diagram All of these measures pay off in the galleries and archives, where
that belies the complexity of its design and construction. Piano shifted temperature and humidity must be maintained at constant levels, even
the site from the one that had first been chosen to address the sunken though they are seamlessly linked to the busy public concourse. The
motorway, mirroring its gentle curve in the glass facade and even in the permanent collection is displayed beneath the curved vault in a 1700sqm
lines of vents cut into the floors of the galleries. That gives the building room that is divided by suspended flats into a benign labyrinth of
a symbolic link to the contemporary world, and to the city that lies interconnecting spaces. Each white screen hovers a couple of centimetres
beyond, concealed within its river valley. The undulating topography of the above the oak floor as do the peripheral walls. To achieve the low lighting
adjoining hills inspired the profile of the steel beams, which swoop and level required by these sensitive works, illumination is indirect and
soar like a rollercoaster, rising from the earth at the rear to form a trio filtered. Spots cast their beams on the white-boarded ceiling vault, and
of imposing arches in front. Each rounded vault encloses a discrete set this glow is diffused by suspended square scrims.



The trio of 4
topographic bumps To the rear, the vaults merge
mimics the gentle into the ground. Planting
undulations of will gradually be established
the surrounding between the ridges to make the
landscape. transition more seamless.
32 | 8 4

The tapering profile of the vaults.
Detail of main facade and inclined
steel arches.

site plan

cross section

34 | 8 long section through north pavilion (concourse, cinema, auditorium) long section through middle pavilion (concourse, galleries) 6
Café and information area in the
soaring public concourse that
unites that trio of vaults and
runs along the main facade.



10 10

8 15
6 4
13 5

ground floor plan (scale approx 1:750)

ART MUSEUM , B ERNE , S WITZERLAND 1 north pavilion

ARCHITECT 2 central pavilion
3 south pavilion
RENZO PIANO 4 main entrance
5 concourse
6 information
7 café
8 servery
9 cinema
10 AV rooms
11 restoration workshops
12 permanent collection
13 shop
14 reference section
15 offices and administration
16 temporary galleries
17 auditorium
18 children’s workshop




lower ground floor

36 | 8 7
It’s easy to see in the open geometry of the plan a reference to some
of Klee’s compositions, and the skein of slender cables supporting walls,
lights, and scrims evokes his spidery penmanship. Piano’s greatest feat is
to give these tiny, intense works the space they need to breathe. Such a
concentration of invention could easily overwhelm the viewer; here, each
work seems to float in its own white void, bathed in a cloud of soft light,
achieving an emotional as well as a formal resonance. Works are grouped,
not chronologically, but by affinity, so that you can explore the infinite
variety of ways in which this master employed line, colour, figurative and
abstract imagery; always enigmatic and never repetitive. Toplit stairs and
a piston-operated lift that is a work of art in itself carry you down to
a room of similar size that presently houses the 366 sketches Klee did
in his last fertile year. Here, the works are arranged on a peripheral and
inner wall that trace the rectangle defined by slender structural columns.
Scattered around both galleries on oak plinths are 40 hand puppets
that Klee made around 1920 to amuse his family. Fabricated from the
commonplace materials and crudely painted, they have a compelling
talismanic quality, revealing the inner child in the artist and in all who 8

connect with his work.

That spirit carries over into the children’s museum, aptly named
Creaviva for its emphasis on creative play in a succession of workshops
that are open to all ages. The steeply-raked 300-seat auditorium that
burrows into the ground behind is a black box lined with curved
sound baffles in the same orange hue as the Venetian plaster walls of
the outer lobby. Regular performances of chamber music (Klee was an
accomplished violinist), dance, and theatre will be interspersed with
lectures and readings. All will reflect the versatility of the artist and his
friends over four turbulent decades and their enduring legacy.




Renzo Piano Building Workshop, Genoa
Associate architect
ARB Architects, Berne
Structural engineers
Ove Arup & Partners, B + S Ingenieure
Services engineers
Ove Arup & Partners, Luco, Enerconom, Bering
Paul Raftery/VIEW

The curve of the arch runs through
the glazed link between volumes.
Main gallery for the permanent
Klee collection.
Main gallery is an airy labyrinth
of suspended flat panels that
subdivide the space. In places, light
is diffused by horizontal scrims.
38 | 8 Part of the children’s workshop at 11
clad in copper, and the lookout tower in Helsinki
by Ville Hara composed of a strong but light
meshed shell structure of timber strips (AR
December 2003). There are also several villas in
coastal or lakefront settings, and an annex for the
University of Oulu Department of Architecture
by Claudia Auer and Niklas Sandås.
Among the larger projects are the Finnish
Forest Research Institute in Joensuu, which
is the biggest office building in Finland, and
the Sibelius Concert Hall in Lahti by Kimmo
Lintula and Hannu Tikka, both of which have
loadbearing timber structures. Timber is an
excellent material for long-span structures:
the tensile strength of birch compared to its
mass is higher than that of ordinary steel and
far superior to concrete.
Appropriately, one of Finland’s best-
known wooden buildings is on show in the
next room. The exhibition Returning Home
– Sibelius’s Ainola (with the same exhibition
dates) features Ainola, an artist’s villa built
Shingle church in Kärsämäki by Anssi Lassila: a log-built core encased by a black, tarred shingle clad cloak. for the composer Jean Sibelius in 1904 by his
friend Lars Sonck, who, like Sibelius, played
a leading role in the development of Finnish
more of an issue, builders are increasingly National Romanticism. JULIA DAWSON
encouraged to build more ecologically. Wood,
From Wood to Architecture until 4 September 2005, Museum
a renewable and natural material, has an of Finnish Architecture, Helsinki, Finland.
important role to play with respect to climate
change policy and programmes, since its use Photographs (clockwise from top left): Jussi Tiainen, Jussi
Tiainen, Matti Sanaksenaho and Kimmo Räisänen.
helps reduce greenhouse gases: the carbon
stored in wooden buildings is kept out of the
atmosphere. A well designed, well kept timber
building lasts hundreds of years and if it
needs to be demolished the wood components
can be recycled and reused.
Although its use as a structural and
cladding material in Finnish construction
has declined considerably over the last forty
years, wood is now experiencing a revival,
with new opportunities for structural use and
surface treatment. This is reflected in the From
Wood to Architecture exhibition in Helsinki. The
buildings featured employ wood in a variety
of ways, traditional and innovative, painted
Interior restoration of St Olaf ’s Church,Tyrvää by Ulla
and natural, from glued timber and laminates The sharply curved stair in a house in Espoo by Jyrki
Rahola replaces the wooden interior lost in a fire in 1997. to solid logwork, but always with inherent Tasa: a three-storey work of art of steel and timber.
elegance and clean lines.
GOOD WOOD From Wood to Architecture is housed in one
large room moderated by a dividing curtain
The exhibition From Wood to Architecture of hanging planks of wood that you can
at The Museum of Finnish Architecture touch and smell (and, if so inclined, swing)
presents 17 recent buildings in Finland, as you work your way round the numerous
many by young Finnish architects unknown large-scale photographs, explanatory texts
in the international architectural arena. and models. The buildings exhibited include
Heikkinen & Komonen’s cultural centre in
Wood is the oldest building material known Kuhmo which has an asymmetrically sloping
to man – the earliest known wooden artefacts turf roof growing heather and lingonberry,
date back some 14 000 years. As two thirds the Kärsämäki shingle church by Anssi
of Finland is covered by forests, it is hardly Lassila, built using eighteenth-century
surprising that timber is the national building methods, a luminous chapel in Turku by Chapel, Turku by Matti Sanaksenaho, the copper-clad
material. And as climate change becomes Matti Sanaksenaho with a timber structure structure will form a green patina to blend with trees. 103 | 8
This latest in a series of elegant, force winds. The bar-like volume made from oxidised steel, a tough,
minimal, object houses by Sean of the building is hoisted up on cheap industrial product creatively
Godsell is a further speculation steel pilotis, adding to the sense appropriated for the project. In
on the potential of an Australian of elevation and transforming the places the gridded metal sheets
vernacular that relates more house into a vantage point from hinge open to form brises soleil.
explicitly to Asian regionalism which to survey its surroundings. Organisation is admirably
than European historicism. Spare The undercroft is deployed as a economical. Rooms are simply
of form and clad in gridded skin car port and storage area. Lifted butted together in a long line and
of industrial grating, it has clear clear of the dense vegetation, linked by a looping promenade
echoes of previous Godsell the elongated box appears to deck. A communal living, dining The long bar-like volume
projects, such as the Kew House, hover lightly above the ground, and kitchen space is placed at of the house bar appears
to float in the landscape.
the Carter Tucker House (AR Dec its mass further softened by a the prow of the block, with 2
2000) and the Peninsula House skin of rusted metal mesh that three bedrooms and a study Rough, oxidised metal
mesh cladding envelops
(AR Dec 2002), in which simple enfolds the two long sides like a to the rear. Depending on the the long flanks in a light
and heat diffottusing veil.
Miesian volumes are wrapped in rough veil. More prosaically, the time of year, sliding glass doors 3
a light and heat diffusing layer of cladding is actually floor grating connect individual rooms with the The undercroft.
slatted timber or metal.
Here, the brief is for a
weekend house on a beachfront
site, which might suggest a
sybaritic vision of lotus-eating
excess and a commensurately
indulgent architectural response.
However, the clients, a couple
with children, wanted a simpler,
heartier experience that re-
connected them with nature and
the elements beyond the climate
controlled confines of office and
home life in the city.
Set on St Andrew’s Beach on
Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula,
the site is immediately privileged,
being one of the few locations
in Australia where construction
is permitted directly on the
foreshore. The elevated site
commands ocean views and
though hot in summer, the winter
climate is often harsh, with gale

This beach house explores traditional
vernacular means of tempering climate.


60 | 8 1 61 | 8



promenade deck or seal them off and protects the occupants

from it, but to move around the while enhancing the fluidity of
house always involves traversing the loosely defined spaces. The
this interstitial space, which subtly external environment is filtered
blurs the boundary between and modulated through a series of north elevation
interior and exterior realms. layers so while harsh extremes are
The house updates and tempered, occupants are always
reinterprets traditional Australian aware of the elemental dynamics
responses to climate moderation. of light, climate and nature. C. S.
Elements of the outback
homestead – the sunroom, Architect
Sean Godsell Architects, Melbourne
the breezeway and the sleep-
Photographs roof plan
out – are re-organised into an All photographs by Earl Carter apart from
abstract verandah which shelters nos 3 & 7 which are by Hayley Franklin

1 car port 5 4 6 7 7 7 3
9 9 7
2 store 1
3 deck
4 kitchen
5 living
6 study first floor
7 bedroom 4
8 bathroom/laundry Rooms are linked by a
9 bathroom promenade deck.
Main living/dining space.
3 2 2 1 Sliding glass doors enclose
the inner realm, but
moving around the house
always involves negotiating
this interstitial space.
62 | 8 site plan ground floor plan (scale approx1:750) 6 Room with a view. 63 | 8
ar_aug_2004 _ROJO_REVISED 20/9/04 12:34 pm Page 58

Spain, like Italy, maintains a most speaks through light, space and horizontally on top of each other
distinguished tradition of tomb- materials. It is made of slate and with slightly ragged edges that,
building, but in many places it is glass with a big wooden door, and externally, give the glass a texture
becoming eroded by what Manuel is fronted by a simple rusted steel that relates to the surrounding
Clavel Rojo calls a ‘kitch-esque cross. Built on a slope, the tomb is slate blocks. Looking up from the
style’, with a language composed of designed to enhance the vertical doorway, an image of the metal
PVC door and window frames and dimension of the entrance cross is discernible through the
bathroom tiles ornamented by sequence that rises from a massive translucent plane, while its shadow
plastic flowers and musical angels. slate base that emerges from the is thrown on the thick glass when
So when he was asked to make a hillside in rather the way that Peter the sun is in the right direction.
family mausoleum in the little La Zumthor’s thermal bath protrudes Rojo calls the platform on top of
Alberca cemetery in a pine forest geologically from its Alpine incline the slate block ‘an altar where
on the edge of Murcia in south-east at Vals (AR August 1997). burial occurs’. It is of travertine,
Spain, Rojo was determined to The tomb chamber is entered at penetrated by two slots. One is for
return dignity and simplicity to the the lower level through a narrow, the internment ritual, in which the
rites of burial and mourning. Yet he 3.6m high door of solid wenge coffin is lowered down into the
did not want to fall into what he wood which, once opened, reveals tomb-chamber, while the actual
considers to be the trap of wistful a shaft of luminance falling from the insertion of the remains into their
Classicism like Loos and Aalto with tall translucent panel that rises niche is hidden from above. This
their broken column grave stones. vertically in the upper part of the opening is closed by a solid slab of 1
Tomb speaks through light, space
The Murcia tomb is orthogonal, entrance sequence. The panel is Pakistani onyx, which can be slid in and materials. In foreground is onyx
with no references to history; it made of thick sheets of glass laid and out of position. slab covering coffin entrance.

Imaginative understanding of materials makes this tomb a fitting set for rites of passage.

ar_aug_2004 _ROJO_REVISED 20/9/04 12:35 pm Page 60

A shallow pool with a glass base is

formed in the other slot in the
travertine. Here, water is
continuously in motion, gently
pouring from a smooth slot. So the
light that passes through the pool
to the underground chamber
flickers, in contrast to the more
constant luminance from the onyx
slab and the translucent vertical
glass panel. In daytime, the space is
filled with constantly changing light,
a reminder of the evanescent
nature of life in the constant, calm
presence of death. E. M.
Manuel Clavel Rojo
Project team
Luis Clavel, José Estrada, Jose Domingo Egea,
Antonio Victoria, Jose Antonio Abad,
Marmoles Santa Catalina, Cristaleria Acriper
All photographs by Juan de la Cruz Megías,
apart from no 4 which is by David Frutos Ruiz

Visitors’ entrance is at lower level
with huge translucent panel above.
Travertine podium is an altar for
burial rites. In foreground coffin
entrance, beyond pool slot.
Chamber with light from onyx slab.
2 Cross with pool behind. 3

4 5

1 niches
2 coffin entrance above
3 pool above

3 2

plan of chamber (scale approx 1:100)

60 | 8 M ANUEL C LAVEL R OJO axonometric section 61 | 7
ar_aug_04_tezuka_done 20/9/04 12:09 pm Page 40


The Niigata Prefecture is to the east of Japan’s big island Honshu, and
runs from the sea to the high central backbone of the country. In the
mountains, up to five and a half metres of winter snow can settle,
literally submerging buildings and the even young trees of the
magnificent, scented evergreen forests. To allow the public to
interpret and investigate the natural world, the Matsunoyama
Natural History Museum has been set up on the edge of the forest
overlooking mountains and meadow.
Takaharu & Yui Tezuka have made a building that wriggles, snake-like
east-west through the landscape in a brown, almost smooth rusted
steel skin. Entered from the south, the snake encloses an exhibition
N gallery showing natural and artificial worlds, a reception hall,
administration, a lecture theatre and, as the snake’s head twists round
from east to west, a posh cafeteria called ‘the culinary arts experience’.
site plan
A rusted steel observation tower terminates the tail to the east, and is
climbed by energetic visitors to obtain magnificent views over forests
to the mountains. At key moments in the plan, notably where the snake
changes direction, great transparent panels are inserted in the skin,

SNOW BOUND offering marvellous views into the forests surrounding the site. The
mullionless transparent expanses are so big that they cannot possibly
be called windows; they are almost invisible thresholds between
In the high backbone of Japan, rusted steel super- interior and the outside. They reinforce a feeling of heightened reality,
strong skin resists winter loads and thermal stresses. enhanced by the strange perspective tricks of the route.

1, 2
Like a deserted industrial site or a
strange animal, the museum snakes
through its clearing between forest
1 and rice field. 41 | 8
ar_aug_04_tezuka_done 20/9/04 12:09 pm Page 42

c Tadashi Kawamata’s paths and deck
relate interior and nature …
... as do the huge thick acrylic panels.



b 80
a 75mm acrylic sheet
b plasterboard
c site welded Cor-ten steel backed
by 70mm urethane foam
d precast concrete with dust-proof paint
eaves detail e galvanized grating


k{Å Ç


d e d



320 30

foot detail section showing principles of heating and ventilation

1 entrance porch
2 hall
3 reception
4 exhibition
5 special (butterfly) gallery
6 office
7 lavatories
8 laboratory 6
9 store
10 Kyororo hall 12 7
11 culinary arts 9
12 stair to offices and staff rest


5 11

42 | 8 ground floor (scale approx 1:450) 43 | 7

ar_aug_04_tezuka_done 20/9/04 12:09 pm Page 44


In winter, the temperature difference between inside and exterior is

often very great. And pressure from deep snow can be extraordinary
(depending on the nature of the snow, how it fell, and how long it has
settled and so on). So the ‘thermally stable’ plates of rusted steel that
form the outer skin are 6mm thick, and are supported on a skeleton 5

of steel I beams. Skin and skeleton are designed to withstand

pressures of 1500kg/m2; the equally pressure resistant acrylic panels
are 75mm thick. All steel elements are thoroughly insulated. Inside,
there is a skin of plasterboard supported by a lightweight inner steel
skeleton. This white skin is separated from the main structure by a
generous cavity that acts as part of the ventilation and heating system.
Warm air is injected along grilles in the polished concrete floors and
stale air is extracted through slots in the plasterboard at eaves level.
Heat is radiated to the interior through floor, walls and ceiling. In
summer, the system can be used to circulate cooling fresh air.
In winter, the museum projects through the snow with its tapering
tower acting as a landmark and sign of civilization; it groans with
snow stresses. People look out into the surrounding banks of snow in
which a surprising amount of life flourishes below the surface. In
summer, the long brown snake slips along the contours of its semi- 6

wild habitat, which is enhanced and intensified by timber paths and a

deck by Tadashi Kawamata. From some points of view, the museum 8

seems like a picturesque long-abandoned industrial building, a mine 9

perhaps, in the middle of the countryside. Other aspects in different

seasons reveal a cave, a shelter amid the snow, a lighthouse, a
welcoming hut in the forest. And of course always an animal: snake or
even fox. The museum’s complexity of possible readings and spatial
events enhance those of the natural world it sets out to interpret.

Tezuka Architects:
Takaharu Tezuka + Yui Tezuka
Associate architect
Masahiro Ikeda/MIAS
Project team
Takaharu Tezuka, Yui Tezuka, Miyoko Fujita,
Masafumi Harada, Masahiro Ikeda,
Ryuya Maio, Mayumi Miura, Taro Suwa,
Takahiro Nakano, Toshio Nishi,
Hirofumi Ono, Tomohiro Sato,
Makoto Takei, Hiroshi Tomikawa
Mechanical engineer
Eiji Sato, Kisakatsu Hemmi/ES Associates
Shunsuke Hirose/Fudo Keisei Jimusho
Katsuhisa Kida

Special collection.
Museum is intended to interpret
local ecology.
Snow building up.
8, 9
Cranked plan causes perspectival
illusions of exploding and shrinking
44 | 8 7 space. 45 | 10
ar_august_2004_endo_done 20/9/04 12:44 pm Page 77

ar house
In the last few years, Shuhei metal could suddenly become an are pinned and connected by a
Endo’s experiments with impressive substance, adopting long axial route that runs
galvanized corrugated steel have new and dramatic forms that can westward from the main entrance
become world-renowned. He enclose flowing silvery spaces. and garage through the double-
realized that the very cheap The new house and studio in a height space, past a comparatively
material, commonly used only in suburb of Biwa-cho in the Shiga conventional terrace (which is
industrial and agricultural Prefecture takes the development defined to the west by the glazed
buildings, could have many more rather further than earlier wall of the poolside kitchen/dining
applications when its stiffness is experiments. It is fundamentally a room) and ending with the
increased by bending and curving single continuous strip of bedroom in the south-west
it at right angles to the corrugated metal bent to enclose corner of the site.
corrugations. Buildings like the all the internal spaces of the The metal ribbon is not pierced,
bicycle sheds at Sakai railway building, and some of the external so all daylight comes from glazing
station (AR April 1997) and the ones too. The wide metal ribbon on the east and west flanks. By
little building in the park in Hyogo slides and writhes sideways, east setting the entrance back from the
Prefecture (AR October 1998) to west, in flattened coils starting access road on the east side of the
resulted, showing how corrugated with the garage, then defining a site behind the garage and the
partly covered outside platform, metal terrace, the house is
A TELIER AND HOUSE , B IWA - thereafter soaring up to make a ensured a good deal of privacy,
CHO , S HIGA P REFECTURE , double-height gallery, descending which is enhanced by the
J APAN to kiss a pool and finally returning imperforate metal walls that
A RCHITECT to the ground to define the prevent overlooking from close
S HUHEI E NDO bedroom. The spaces it defines neighbours on the tight suburban site plan

Curvaceous corrugated
Endo continues his exploration of bent corrugated metal in a domestic application.

From pool with kitchen/dining room in
foreground. Endo manages to achieve a
wide variety of space in a tight site. 1 77 | 10
ar_august_2004_endo_done 20/9/04 12:44 pm Page 78

North terrace.
Compressed kitchen/dining room.
Garage and entrance with metal
terrace left. Colour and texture of
galvanized steel relate to traditional
grey tiles on neighbouring houses.
Junctions of flowing steel and more
orthodox elements are not always
2 easy.



sites to north and south.

Ingenuity of composition and
construction is undoubted, but section A-A 4

the adaptation of what Endo calls 5

1 entrance
‘Springtecture’ to domestic 2 garage
architecture involves several 3 metal terrace
4 gallery
problems: thermal and acoustic 5 north terrace
ones are obvious. And there are 6 rest room
7 bedroom
also difficulties in relating the 8 bath
basically orthogonal geometry of 9 kitchen/dining
10 pool
rooms to the writhings of the 11 lawn
steel. Partitions are made in
orthodox brick, and in glass
framed in steel and timber.
Particularly acute problems occur 11
where walls meet the roof curves
and special pieces have to be made
to achieve the junctions.
Yet such difficulties have proved
soluble, if at a price. Springtecture
is clearly coiling itself for further 9 2

Shuhei Endo 1
Yoshiharu Matsumura
8 4

6 3

78 | 8 3 ground floor (scale 1:200) 79 | 10

There is a tendency among remained key considerations, bringing new interest to this area
HOUSE , T OKYO European architects to it was the search for form that of specialism, with architects
ARCHITECT experiment with varying prevailed as the main concern, such as Yoshiharu Tsukamoto
JUN A OKI silhouettes. In the UK one and with a pulled vector here, carrying out extensive research
thinks of the emerging work of an elongated ridge there, into the rhetoric and spatial
Caruso St John and Sergison exaggerated forms emerged. composition of postwar housing.
Bates, while more widely across Strangely familiar, yet dramatically In this field, Jun Aoki is also a
continental Europe buildings by new, a form of abstract post- serious contributor, shown here
Studio Granda (AR July 1992), modernism brought a new play with G House, a contemporary
Gigon + Guyer (AR June 2004), on architectural simile – ‘it’s like abstraction of a traditional
and Herzog & de Meuron (AR a barn, an oast house, but with a timber-framed pitched-roof
August 2003) have derived new, twist’. In Japan, a similar tendency detached house. Situated in a
distinctive and highly specific is emerging. residential district of central
forms that have avoided the lure With earthquake regulations Tokyo, G House is a rendered
of bling and blob. Since the mid enforcing a minimum 500mm house set on top of a reinforced-
1990s, in opposition to High Tech gap between adjacent concrete podium. With internal
and POMO, traditional pitch roof properties, densely packed spaces conforming to this
forms and restrained Swiss boxes urban neighbourhoods have formal division, living, dining and
began to morph in response to made the detached home one of entertaining spaces are contained
site and programme. Articulated the country’s most widespread within the concrete podium, with
in detail with intricate tectonics, architectural types, considered attic bedrooms above. With no
and through formal distortion by many architects to be one of distinction between wall and
– torsion and twists, architectural Japan’s cultural treasures. So it roof, the distorted attic form
nip and tuck – typologies slowly is no surprise that an emerging could certainly be described as
evolved. While space and material generation of architects is a contrived, compelling object, location plan (scale 1:600)

Through the careful distortion
of familiar forms, Jun Aoki’s
latest Tokyo house makes the
ordinary extraordinary.

Jun Aoki’s G House comprises a
timber-framed attic set above a
concrete plinth.
Internally the attic has a complex
arrangement of interlocking
spaces, lit by an irregular
1 arrangement of skylights. 2 63 | 9

The central atrium
7 connects living
rooms with the
mezzanine study, bath
from where the
uppermost loft-
like bedroom is
accessed via stair.
5 Direct and reflected
light plays on the
attic’s angular

west elevation (street entrance) east elevation (rear)

long section

south elevation
1 parking
2 kitchen
3 living/dining north elevation
4 child’s bedroom
5 study
6 bedroom
short section 7 bath
8 cellar

closetcloset closet closet

bath bath bath bath
4 5

64 | 9 ground floor plan (scale approx 1:140) plan through horizontal void first floor plan second floor plan 3
The uppermost
bedroom sits at
the apex of the HOUSE , T OKYO
Where timber JUN A OKI
meets concrete,
an interstitial
void is expressed
as a continuous
Oblique views
from the
mezzanine study
connect spaces
via the atrium
With the
atrium and
adjacent to one
another, the full
height of the
lofty attic form
is exploited to
maximum effect.

4 5

(see Peter Buchanan, AR August increases the form’s sculptural ornamentation (most overtly
2005), not dissimilar in form significance. The resultant form expressed in his work for Louis
to Prada’s angular prism (AR is bold and distinctive and is Vuitton, AR November 2004) is
August 2003). Here, however, further modelled by a re-entrant also evident, demonstrating some
justification for the derivation of corner cutout, set directly above of his more quirky influences.
form is attributed to traditional the sunken entrance court. These include the use of silk
formal types and to specific Internally the passage of light and lace in bedroom curtains,
site constraints, with the subtle has been carefully orchestrated traditionally used to make
inflections in plan reflecting the with the attic form serving as kimonos, and flock wallpaper, as
tapering plot, and a recognition an enormous skylight for the featured in George Cukor’s 1964
of adjacent building heights podium beneath. Two voids help film My Fair Lady; the wallpaper
producing dramatic distortions achieve this; a central double- being applied with restraint to
in elevation. Furthermore, height atrium that serves as the feature walls in the living room,
adhering to good old-fashioned focus of the house connecting easily changeable, he explains, as
Modernist truth-to-form, the living spaces with a mezzanine tastes change. 6
internal volume reflects the work study, and more curiously a Built to a high specification, the
external form, with lofty voids, horizontal void, 770mm high, that budget of this house represented
passageways and bedrooms articulates the structural division an equal split between land and
creating a complex series of between concrete basement and construction, with the relatively
interlocking spaces. The spatial timber frame; a continuously high construction costs funding
complexity resonates externally, expressed interstitial datum the big concrete basement, which
with an apparently random that lies coincident with the has a large cellar and fine finishes
arrangement of timber sash re-entrant cutout. Light fills throughout. ROB GREGORY
windows that sit proud of the the spaces, and set against Site area 106.75sqm Floor area 154.98sqm
rendered surface, creating the cool interiors that are
a pattern that subverts any dominated by white walls, timber
Jun Aoki (Tokyo?)
recognition of floor levels, shifts soffits and concrete structure, Photographs
66 | 9 our perception of scale, and Aoki’s interest in decorative Edmund Sumner/VIEW 7
ar house

1 5
2 3

Living on the edge

Walter & Cohen’s house: a threshold between suburbia and the South Pacific.

Sydney’s Bondi Beach is, rightly, readily last as an exposed glass panels 250mm wide. The
one of the world’s more famous building material in such a double-height hall beyond is an
crescents of sand, but its natural weather-beaten location but atrium between seaward and
beauty is not matched by the geo-technical surveys indicate landward pavilions of the
architecture fronting it and that it provides a solid footing to building. Its wedge shape
sprawling over its cliff-top the concrete structure – along culminates in a deep internal
flanks. No single carbuncle but this section of the cliffs at least. lightwell fronted by a 4.5m x
a plague of minor boils; a rash A walled entrance court 2.5m frameless glass panel.
of postwar brick and clay-tile deliberately conceals the Uplights are set into the
houses that owe everything to spectacular views, which are polished concrete floors to
the worst of English suburbia and only revealed to the casual avoid the need for lights within
nothing to the might of the South visitor after reaching the the soffit high above; none of
Pacific Ocean. L-shaped first-floor living area the first floor’s ceilings are
Contemporary architects are wrapped on two sides with interrupted by light fixings.
gradually making inroads with glazing. Views outwards allow A flight of timber treads is
more climatically responsive whale watching, views cantilevered off the wall,
1 houses that are replacing the downwards can reveal shoals of supported by an internal edge
80m above the South Pacific …
2 tacky brick boxes. London-based fish 80m below, and those beam of welded steel angles,
… surrounded by Sydney’s Walters & Cohen has replaced upwards give advance warning some of which return vertically
suburban brick boxes …
3 one such bungalow on the very of any approaching electrical to form the framework for the
… Walters & Cohen’s new house edge of the sandstone cliffs to the storms that can buffet the house. glass balustrade. Upstairs, the
is entered through a walled
courtyard. north with a house made up of a In an exercise in deferred panorama awaits.
H OUSE , S YDNEY , Once inside, breathtaking views
pair of pavilions in white render gratification, you enter through Concealed at entrance level
A USTRALIA are revealed from within the and glass that cling vertiginously a solid timber door set in a blade on the seaward side is a suite of
clerestoried living room …
ARCHITECT 5 80m above the surf. Porous of masonry some 7.5m high and rooms with ocean views, two
88 | 9 W ALTERS & C OHEN … and across the rooftop pool. Sydney sandstone does not flanked by equally tall etched bedrooms and a woodworking 89 | 9
studio for the client. Steel- old wharf from the port of created between the floors but of jarrah shelves and cupboards
framed sliding doors and Fremantle in Western Australia. the combination of under-floor that runs 7m from the return of
windows allow uninterrupted The oriel serves another heating for the winter months the staircase balustrade, then
views, even from the bathrooms double-height space on the and the cooling breezes pushing folds around the study zone and
that have bluestone-clad (from landward side reached from a over the lip of the cliff suggests makes a backdrop to a sunken
neighbouring Victoria) baths half-landing and incorporating that mechanical climate control TV area. Here the glazing forms
pushed against the glass. Handles a mezzanine bedspace – itself will not be necessary. a frameless box reflecting the
are everywhere minimized or accessed by a beautifully built Although some blinds may sea and the cliffs by day and the
absent. Full-height doors at this formed-concrete staircase. need to be installed against moon by night. The nose of this
level pivot shut to 10mm-wide A small square window gives strong morning light, the rest of box, seen from the entrance
aluminium returns set in the wall. glimpses back west across the cantilevered upper floor, courtyard, is a subtle indicator
This minimal detailing prescribed the peninsula and Sydney kitchen, living, dining, study and of the axis of splendour to come.
by Walters & Cohen and a Harbour to the distant Central TV areas, make the most of the ROBERT BEVAN
neatnik client has been clarified Business District. uninterrupted gull’s back views.
and executed throughout by This room, like the whole of Most of the glass doors open, Architect
Walters & Cohen
local practice Collins and Turner the upper floor in both pavilions, with only a glass cliff-edge Executive architect
(both former Foster and Partners is surmounted by a clerestory set balustrade (on a curve with a Collins and Turner
employees). above two steel channels back- setting-out point some 200m out Landscape architect
Barbara Schaffer
All the timber used, including to-back to conceal perimeter to sea) between you and the Engineer
the matchstick screens of the lighting. The steels act as a ring- drop, but opposite the dining Murtagh Bond
garage and the double-height beam for each pavilion and steel area incorporation of structure Photographs
Richard Glover
oriel above, is recycled jarrah – uprights carry the steel roof with into a masonry panel creates a
a tough Australian hardwood its deep-shading eaves. An air- framed view. This living area is
– some of it sourced from an conditioning zone has been backed by a waist-high insertion Master bedroom suite.



section AA through pool

1 paved forecourt
2 double garage
3 rear entrance
3 4 5 4 laundry 13
5 pool plant room/garden store 11 14
2 6 dressing room 10
1 7 external courtyard
8 internal circulation area 12
9 main entrance
10 bedroom 15
7 7
9 11 bathroom 8
12 guest wc
13 kitchen 19
14 upper garden
11 16 18
15 bridge link
11 10 16 study 20
10 11 17 informal living area
18 formal living area
19 upper deck area 17
20 pool

90 | 9 ground floor plan (scale approx 1:325) first floor plan

The only non-Japanese architect in and the minimum lifestyle. Seduced A long low wall flanking an HOUSE , T OKYO
this issue, John Pawson cultivates by his architecture, especially his adjacent site draws you in to the ARCHITECT
a formal and material refinement own house in London’s Notting entrance at the south-west JOHN PAWSON
that has obvious Oriental affinities, Hill (AR May 2000), they simply corner. Though currently vacant,
so this commission for a house cold called the office and asked if the neighbouring site is due to be
in Tokyo is especially intriguing. he could design something for developed, and Pawson’s response
Having lived in Japan, Pawson has them. The outcome is an elegantly to this uncertainty is to turn the
some understanding of its culture, impassive two-storey box that house in on itself. A secluded
and has designed a couple of retail though it turns its back on its internal courtyard planted with a
schemes. This, however, is his first surroundings, conceals a tranquil, solitary Japanese maple forms the
residential project and presented sensuous inner realm. dwelling’s focus and fulcrum. The
a different sort of challenge in Made of concrete which is then main living quarters face on to
its intimate scale, awkward site lightly rendered and painted, the this courtyard as does a tea
conditions and the integration of box has a weighty, casket-like ceremony room, with traditional
traditional and modern aspects of quality, its sides pierced by the tatami mat floor, that also
Japanese domestic life. barest handful of glazed incisions. functions as a guest bedroom.
The clients are a middle-aged Internal organisation aims both to Boundaries between external and
couple with no children who had structure and celebrate domestic internal spaces are consciously
acquired a small piece of land in life while editing out extraneous blurred through familiar Pawson
Setagaya, a suburban district to the distractions. Spaces for cooking, optical illusions – diaphanous
south-east of the sprawling Tokyo dining and relaxing are arranged in planes of full-height glazing appear
metropolis. The couple are keen distinct yet fluid zones at ground to dissolve walls and a stone
cooks and had eagerly devoured level, with sleeping, washing and workbench seamlessly extends
Living and Eating, Pawson’s dressing quarters above, linked by the length of the house into the
evangelical paean to good food a single flight of stairs. courtyard. site plan

Site Plan400

A glacial exterior conceals a tranquil inner realm

of minimal materiality animated by light.

The plot of land in
front of the house will
eventually be built on,
so Pawson’s approach
is one of tactical
The pristine box poised
in typically dissolute
86 | 9 1 urban surroundings. 2
1 entrance
2 kitchen
3 dining
4 living
5 tea ceremony room ARCHITECT
6 courtyard
7 bedroom JOHN PAWSON
8 dressing area
9 terrace
10 bathroom

long section through stairwell and tea ceremony room


Section C 200

3 5
A single flight of stairs Characteristic domestic
links the two floors. asceticism from Pawson.
4 6
The living area dissolves Bathroom overlooking the B B

into the courtyard. focal courtyard. long section through living area and courtyard

In scale the courtyard is perhaps building regulations generate an

more Mediterranean than elaborate gavotte of compromise
Japanese, but nonetheless its and deference (both to neighbours Section B 1:200
double height helps to filter out and wider authority) that often
7 4
nondescript surroundings and the serves to discourage creative
idea of perceiving nature through thinking. Clearly inflected by the
the meticulous framing of more profound nuances of
individual elements – an expanse Japanese tradition, Pawson’s spirit 8
of sky, the branches of a tree – is of sensuous rationalism meets 10

very particular to Japan. Windows such pragmatic challenges head on.

set up and define views, but those The house has a glacial
on the long south side, which will composure and otherworldly
be hemmed in by as yet unbuilt beauty that recalls (if not too first floor

new houses, are infilled with much of an Oriental cliché) the

translucent glass to preserve poise and grace of a classical
privacy. As with all Pawson’s geisha carefully settling herself
architecture, the subtle play of down between a couple of slightly
light and a limited palette of dissolute salarymen for an
materials – plaster, concrete, evening’s chaste entertainment. 3
4 6
limestone, timber and glass – Though these enigmatic creatures
tempers the formal rigour. may draw stares, they are never 2
The challenges of building on returned; so it is with this house.
such a constricted site aptly CATHERINE SLESSOR
illustrate the architectural and 5
Site area 195.23sqm Built area 97.50sqm 1
economic dynamics of the
Floor area 181.17sqm
Japanese urban condition. 8: Dressing
Astronomical land values (in this 9: Bedroom
John Pawson, London 10: Terrace
case the site cost twice as much Photographs 11: Bathroom
88 | 9 as the house) and demanding Edmund Sumner/VIEW ground floor plan (scale approx 1:200) 5 12: Sky Shower 6
HOUSE , C HITA , A ICHI In the somewhat culturally dramatically opening out into house that is curiously buoyant
ARCHITECT starved region of Nagoya City an expansive living room that with no visible means of support.
POWER UNIT STUDIO – the venue for this year’s World follows the site’s topographical This visual precariousness
Expo (AR June 2005) – a young slope. A steep concrete floor is further heightened by the
couple’s anti-suburban house leads directly to the back of the kitchen hovering on one side,
from maverick designers Power house, before cantilevering out the bathroom floating off on the
Unit Studio battles against into the garden, overlooking other, and the studio hanging
lazily packaged homogeneous the forest beyond. Privacy is over the living room. A large
architecture. maximised, curtains and blinds glass screen in the studio offers
Unconventionality does not are put away, and occupants a vantage point for observing
have to lead to brashness, exist in their own world behind the comings and goings below,
however. Suprisingly modest, gravity-defying concrete blinkers adding a curious contour to
the house reveals little from the that screen unsightly views. As the house. It is no surprise that
street. It is not until you enter thin as they are, the angular children have been discovered
that its full force is deployed, screens give the impression of a playing war games in the forest,

Blue sky thinking: The Y House,
where the imagination can take
off, and the only real question is,
why not?

Standing defiantly on a suburban
hilltop, the Y House declares
war on conventionality.

basement level plan 1 entrance

2 living/dining
3 kitchen
4 study/bedroom 2
5 bathroom
6 lavatory
7 bedroom 1 B2 Plan S=1:100
3m 0m 2

lower ground floor plan (scale approx 1:250)

B1 Plan S=1:100
section through entrance, living room and basement bedroom
3m 0m

Section1 S=1:100
3m 0m

upper ground floor plan (entrance) section through studio, bathroom and basement bedroom

GF Plan S=1:100
3m 0m

using the house as their enemy strategically inserted in the although the imperfections and
headquarters. You don’t need study to bring light to the idiosyncrasies ultimately give Section2 S=1:100
3m 0m

childish make-believe, however, basement area below. With a the house more character. This
to see the space as something 10 metre drop, enough to make is not a place to interrogate
other than a house, be it an cautious adults weak at the each and every detail; it is
army HQ, astronomical research knees, it is hoped that children instead a place in which to
laboratory, or aircraft carrier. growing up in this house will be lose yourself, and to let your 2
Defying convention and gravity,
Whatever it is, as the architect smarter and more agile. imagination take off, sitting on behind the modest street facade,
explains, it was always intended In concept both daring and the balcony edge gazing into the forms become more expressive.
for a family, with the studio playful, the couple engaged forest beyond. The main living space is at the
reserved for children. fully with the architect and his centre of the spatial composition.
Site area 324.73sqm Built area 124.47sqm 4
Despite the intention, construction team during the Floor area 136.29sqm Concrete blinkers provide privacy.
less child-friendly features fabrication of the house, all The entrance level studio/bed-
proliferate, not least the balcony responding well to a difficult room overlooks the living space
Power Unit Studio, Tokyo to the left, the garden to the right,
edge and sharp corners, but job. Minor defects in the floor Photographs and gives (assisted) access to an
70 | 9 also a large rectangular hole required some making good, Edmund Sumner/VIEW upper terrace. 4 5

Urban constellations – the earth from space at night. Image by Craig Mayhew and Robert Simmon, NASA.

This issue of the AR focuses on the 16 cities that feature Looking beyond North America and Europe, we identify other areas of
in the main display of the 10th International Architecture intense urban dynamism. From the sky, the entire Japanese archipelago
Exhibition at the Arsenale in Venice. Cities have been – a relatively older urban system that shares many commonalities with
selected to ensure a degree of consistency in size – they are North America and Europe – looks almost like an urban continuum. This
all above 3.5 million people – and geographical distribution reflects the fact that Tokyo’s capital region can be accessed from anywhere
across the globe. Above all, though, they have been chosen in the country in a few hours’ time via a sophisticated high-speed rail
because each city is undergoing a period of significant change network. In Tokyo, nearly 80 per cent of the population use public
that has a direct impact on its urban form, city policy and transport to get to work (in Los Angeles, by contrast, 80 per cent use
future development. The following 32-page section provides private cars), which provides a model for efficient growth for what is today
an overview of each city, comprising a short personal the world’s largest metropolitan area with over 30 million people. After a
account of everyday life and a complementary analysis of period of relative economic stagnation, Tokyo is beginning to once again
social and spatial attributes, developed by the team at the explore its unique characteristics; its architects and planners engaging with
London School of Economics. Together they provide a unique issues of public space and particularly the relationship to water within this
perspective on global urban change. dense and fragmented mega-city.
The world map clearly indicates the extensive city-regions that are
Imagine that we could see the entire earth from space at night-time. rapidly forming in southern Asia and coastal China, areas expected to
The enormous patches and cordons of light closely mirror the world concentrate close to half of the world’s urban population within a couple
maps of urban extents and the wider human footprints associated with of decades. According to the United Nations, Mumbai – India’s dynamic
them. If we think of the concentrations of consumption of electricity powerhouse – is set to overtake Tokyo as the world’s largest city by 2050,
as representations of human settlements, then large-scale patterns of but nowhere is the dizzying velocity of this transformation as tangible as
urban development begin to take shape before our eyes. From this we see in the largest Chinese conurbations. Shanghai is now one of the world’s
that most of Europe is criss-crossed by urban development and that a fastest growing cities while Beijing is hurriedly transforming itself in
dense band of urbanisation is consolidating at the core of this continent, anticipation of the 2008 Olympic Games. As Shanghai grapples with the
stretching from southern England to northern Italy. In North America, social challenges of integrating a ‘floating population’ of rural in-migrants
vast parts of the United States, except perhaps its deserts, are covered by numbering perhaps five million people – the population of greater Milan
an almost geometric grid that also links sections of Canada and Mexico. – it continues to grow at a breathtaking rate in both height and breadth,
These spatial continuities illustrate the high degree of integration that has with nearly 3000 buildings over ten storeys high in a city that had less than
developed between cities and their respective regions. 300 only ten years ago. 3 35 | 9
Cities with populations Cities with populations
over 1 million in 1950. over 1 million in 2000.

But rapid urbanisation is not always paralleled by the exponential with small-scale projects around transport hubs (or ‘taxi ranks’) that are Around the world, urban leadership is acquiring a growing momentum, they are to harness their economic potential and at the same time become
economic growth and comprehensive infrastructure investments of designed to re-humanise the public realm of the city otherwise hidden from metropolitan coalitions for smart growth and growth with equity more socially-equitable and ecologically sound.
the Asia Pacific region. In central and coastal Africa, what may appear behind security fences and inside gated communities. in the United States, to the big-city governments in China whose We could simplify our understanding of the situation by arguing that the
as dim clusters of light during the night are actually massive urban There is a growing awareness that the urban agenda is a global social reforms may allow for less segregated urban settlements and basic task at hand is how to accommodate the masses of newcomers in
agglomerations sheltering millions of residents with, as indicated by the agenda. The environmental impacts of cities are enormous, due both more integrated labour markets. Some of the most innovative urban dense conditions and with constrained resources. Yet this straightforward
scanty reach of their electrical grids, only the most basic and deficient to their increasing demographic weight and to the amount of natural interventions of the past twenty years have in fact come from Latin phrasing would mask the complex intersection of economic, social
infrastructure. Demographic pressures are bound to continue – by 2015 resources that they consume. Every aspect of urban living has significant America, a region otherwise mired in macroeconomic problems and and environmental dimensions that must be tackled and the range of
with each passing hour, Lagos will add 67 new residents, Kinshasa 34 implications for the planet – from the billions of people driving cars widening social inequalities. Following the exemplary case of Curitiba in mutually-reinforcing interventions that need to be devised. Providing
– leading to a disproportionate concentration of young people in the along metropolitan highways to the energy required to either heat or Brazil, Bogotá today stands out as a perhaps unexpected best practice case affordable and dignified shelter in areas well-connected with their
southern hemisphere that coincides with a global imbalance of social cool buildings and to bring in food, often from the opposite corner of egalitarian urban transformation. The effect of a series of coordinated surrounding urban fabric; creating safe, beautiful and well-designed
indicators such as literacy and income levels. In Egypt, one child is born of the world. In the developed economies, it is estimated that over actions by successive mayors has turned a once violent, car-dominated city public spaces conducive to social integration; generating employment
every 20 seconds and many people move to Cairo within the space of one 50 per cent of energy is consumed by buildings and 25 per cent by facing dramatic levels of in-migration from its rural hinterlands, into a with liveable wages and sound workplace conditions that stimulate
generation. In this city, over 60 per cent of the population lives in informal transport. So, a slight change to this energy equation in cities will have calm and well-managed city that still exudes the passions and experiences creativity, virtuous circles of skills generation and synergetic team work;
settlements with buildings up to 14 storeys high in a city with only 1 a massive impact on the global stage. It has been argued that the degree of its syncretic Latin American culture. securing cheap, fast and reliable mobility for all of the city’s residents with
square metre of open space per person (each Londoner, by contrast, has of dispersion of urban forms can be related to consumption of non- From this partial and selective survey of the state of the world’s cities, integrated public transport networks; in sum, designing the constituent
access to 50 times that amount). renewable resources and emissions. we see that our current urban age is problematic, and rife with urgent pieces of a contemporary, sustainable city. These are some of the elements
Even Johannesburg, that economic and cultural engine of southern A generation of urban leaders is rising to meet these challenges. In challenges, yet also promising, in that it offers the potential to re-think of our global urban era which demand multidisciplinary analysis and
Africa, is challenged to maintain its current levels of infrastructure Europe, for example, many big-city mayors are implementing important the meanings, functions, capabilities and virtues of different city forms intervention. Rather than proclaim a one-size-fits-all manifesto, we intend
provision in the face of a growth scenario whereby its population may urban reforms that will enable their cities to be more competitive in the and urban strategies. This is where architects and the design professions that the comparative social and spatial data, marshalled for the purposes
double in a matter of decades. In this post-apartheid city that is struggling global economy and smarter producers of knowledge and culture. These can and must contribute to the construction of an environmentally and of the 10th International Architecture Exhibition but also with wider
with crime, fear, segregation and AIDS, there are attempts to bring cities are responding to contemporary social challenges, in some cases socially sustainable world. Although each city faces its own particular and scope, will reach architects as a call-to-action for the creation of innovative
people back to the abandoned downtown, from which in the last decade accommodating the large-scale influx of new residents and in others complex set of challenges, there is a growing consensus on some broad morphological practices, honed to suit the unique challenges and assets of
many businesses fled to anonymous corporate areas on the urban fringes, managing demographic decline without imploding irreversibly. issues which cities in virtually every region of the world must address if each city system, and above all, its citizens. RICHARD BURDETT

Cities with populations over

1 million in 2015. All maps from
Cities with populations World Urbanisation Prospects,
36 | 9 over 1 million in 1975. United Nations, 2003. 37 | 9
1. Architecture:
Lincoln Cathedral, as
featured in Pevsner’s
The Buildings of
England, Lincolnshire,
2. Building: An iconic
bikeshed? Design by
Chun Yeug Cheng and
Ka Fai Lee, University
of Hong Kong.


(See more at www.


This year’s Venice Biennale addresses cities. Here, Charles Jencks argues
that what he describes as the ‘convulsive beauty’ of the iconic building will
continue to be significant in their future.
1 2

Monuments have lost their power to enshrine permanent memories, borrowed handily from Luxor and, underlining the point of the images point, developers and mayors could see the economic logic of the politics as a sport, and dedicate themselves to shopping, then why
but society has scarcely lost its appetite for grand structures. Quite and hieroglyphs carved into its surface, pronounced the great lesson for sculptural gesture (with its many enigmatic signifiers), and the same can’t Prada become the icon of the moment? Clothes are worshipped,
the opposite: the self-important building characterises our time, France: ‘It would not recall a single political event’. Fantastique! method was applied to any and every building type. This presented a scanty-clad celebrities are emulated today almost like saints, and money
partly because the size of commissions becomes ever larger under Here is the first icon of calculated ambiguity, call it an ‘icon without semantic problem, inverting notions of appropriateness and decorum. is the only universal in which a global culture believes.
late-capitalism and partly because architects and their commercial a clear iconography’, or as I term it, an ‘enigmatic signifier’.Ever since ‘Lincoln Cathedral’, Nikolaus Pevsner had famously pronounced, The iconic buildings that have arisen recently in Asia, Africa and
products must compete for attention. So a strange mood has developed, Louis-Philippe, artists, architects and now the general public have ‘is architecture, while a bicycle shed is building.’ Architecture versus the Muslim world often underscore these general points. They appear
something of a double-bind, where the architect and society both have learned to enjoy, or suffer, their perplexing situation. The monument mere building, everyone carries around this historical distinction to have little faith in the iconography and symbolism they sport. Like
misgivings about the iconic building but cannot help producing it, in has been toppled as much by commercial society as by revolutions, by and it tells them when to ornament the building, or make it a whole slogans they hang around, with embarrassment, in the air. In this sense,
ever greater numbers and in ever weirder forms. This is a cause for branding as by conscious iconoclasm. It’s true the World Trade Center sculptural ornament. So, what happens when this difference is eroded, failed iconic architecture is a very good symbol of failed belief, which is
considerable irony, and a little analysis. was destroyed as a symbol of American hegemony, as an icon of a or even reversed; when a bicycle shed becomes not only architecture, why some people hate the genre. Icons without a supporting iconography
foreign policy that was hated; but it is untrue to think that Americans ever but an icon? are like spots on the skin that signify measles, an unintended betrayal of
Monumental change liked the building very much, or thought of it as a venerable monument That is the question raised today in an age when anything can be meaning, a symptom waiting for the doctor’s analysis, often a denial of
Consider the decline of the monument, something that sets in with the worth worshipping. That is, until it was brought down, repeatedly, on believed. Consider some of the more famous recent iconic buildings, the very meaning they hope to assert. In such cases, the genre should
rise of modernisation and the constant upheavals of the marketplace. TV. At that point, the media gave the ruins and the previous image the ones that receive media saturation from New York to Beijing. be re-christened Ironic Iconic for it sends self-cancelling messages.
When whole areas of the city, as Marx described them, ‘melt into air’ an enduring religious presence. An icon always has a trace of sanctity The Prada headquarters buildings in New York and Tokyo by Rem Graham Morrison, an English architect and critic of the movement,
because of development, when the names of squares and districts about it; it is an object to be worshipped, however fitfully. Koolhaas and Herzog and De Meuron; the LVMH Tower in New York speaks of the River Thames transformation into the Costa del Icon.
change overnight, what is the meaning of a monument? It can signify by Christian de Portzamparc (AR May 2000); Philip Johnson’s AT&T Like Mrs Malaprop putting on airs and confusing words, the failure of
anything, and often today that might be an embarrassing change in Spiritual inflation Building; Toyo Ito’s TOD building in Tokyo, for shoes; or convention iconography can be funny, as long is it is happening to other people.
sentiment. This can be seen clearly in places of revolutionary change And this leads to the second reason that the iconic building has replaced centres by Peter Eisenman and Santiago Calatrava; and, perhaps most
or military conflict. Vietnam and Iraq have witnessed the constant the monument. In our time in the West, as Chesterton’s adage has it, symbolically, Future Systems’ building for Selfridges in Birmingham Overdetermined and here to stay
toppling of monuments and renaming of squares. But the shift was when men stop believing in God, they don’t believe in nothing, they (AR October 2003). I have selected only commercial exemplars to The problem, of course, is that it is happening to us and the trend
already apparent in eighteenth-century France. believe in anything. This epigram nicely states the problem for society bring out the fact that relatively banal building tasks have usurped the will not go away simply because architects and critics don’t like it.
In the space of about fifty years, the major public square in Paris and the architect. Today, anything can be an icon. The philosopher, expressive role of more elevated ones – demonstrating the relativity The iconic building is an over-determined genre, it has many deep
next to the Tuilleries was re-named and restyled five times. First, in its Arthur Danto, has drawn the same conclusion in the post-Warhol of post-modernism. But the poignant truth about the last mentioned causes that find support in the economy and society. The two I have
creation, what was christened the Place Louis XV had a facelift and world of the marketplace: ‘Anything can be a work of art’. A Brillo box structure is that it has appropriated the position of the church, both mentioned, the decline in belief and the eclipse of the monument are
a new monumental setting for the new monument to the King, an was Warhol’s contribution to this truth, a ridiculously banal object, as literally and metaphorically. Here, an all-over skin of glistening discs powerful enough, but consider the other forces. Politicians, such as John
equestrian statue based on that of Marcus Aurelius in Rome. Then, unimportant as he could find. Yet with his nomination of the throw- bumps and grinds its way to the edges of a big site, sprawling like a Prescott in Britain (until recently) and mayors such as Bloomberg in
like Saddam Hussein’s statues, this was toppled in a revolution, and the away package, one supported by Leo Castelli and then the larger art garrulous matron at a cocktail party, determined to strut her stuff New York, demand the ‘wow factor’ in new building, explicitly ask for
square was named after the event, in 1789. Then, after the guillotine world, this ephemeral box became expensive art. Marcel Duchamp, while all the time, squashed low in the background, are the darkened the ‘Bilbao Effect’, which brought in millions of dollars to that rust-belt
had done its work on Danton, Robespierre, Mme Roland, and countless originator of the ready-made fifty years earlier, was piqued; at least bones of an unloved church – dirty, miserable and in the shade. As city. Developers have always had one eye on this factor. It is nothing
others, the Place de la Revolution was re-styled as the Place de la his objets-trouvés had a sculptural and industrial presence, a surreal in Thurber’s world, the woman’s bloom brings on the man’s cringe. new for skyscrapers or the recent spate of competitive tall buildings that
Concorde – for twenty years. Predictably, with the restoration it was re- charge, a convulsive beauty. Yet Duchamp’s ire had no more effect than Selfridges, as its architects grant, is meant to be sexy and remind one of Mayor Livingstone is promoting in London.
christened ‘Place Louis XV’ and then, on schedule at the appropriate other attacks on Pop Art. Along with many other contemporary art a Paco Rabanne dress, body-hugging clothes, sparkling sequins, tits and Beyond the competitive drives of a global society and a celebrity
moment, ‘Place Louis XVI’. Finally, because of an overwhelming movements, the politics of the counter culture ushered in the period of bums and, on the inside, yet more intimate parts. culture, both of which insist on the mediation of architecture by the
desire to please the people, King Louis-Philippe re-minted the old coin pluralism and relativity, the era of post-modernism. Why not? This emporium markets the body image, so why can’t mass media, there is the public’s growing taste for iconic building. When
for the area, calling it the Place de la Concorde. More honestly it might The implications were not terribly pressing in the conservative the whole building be an icon to taking off and putting on clothes, done well, by Gehry at Bilbao or with his Disney Hall in Los Angeles,
have been Discorde. What was the monumental strategy of Louis- world of architecture, at least for thirty years. Then Frank Gehry’s to narcissism? If sexuality pervades the media and the arts, why can’t it finds a popular response parallel to that in the art world. While few
30 | 9 Philippe? Where the guillotine was, he erected a large, granite obelisk, Guggenheim and the so-named ‘Bilbao Effect’ did their work. At that architecture reflect it too? If people no longer go to church, only follow modernists, such as Picasso, became celebrities, it is now a well-travelled 31 | 9
5 6. Marilyn Monroe’s
fluttering skirts and
legs are actually
Gehry’s real Disney
Hall, Los Angeles,
2003, collaged
without distortion in
Photoshop (Madelon
Vriesendorp, back
cover of The Iconic
Building – The Power
of Enigma, 2005).

7. Rem Koolhaas’ Casa da Musica, Porto, 2005, opaque ‘milky quartz’,

a seven-sided polygon, made in cream-white concrete.The interior
3. Norman Foster’s Swiss Re skyscraper (AR May 2004) ... spatial dynamics are a consequence of wrapping the exterior planes
4. ... mapped onto codes that are iconic to it; drawing by across shifted volumes – as Philip Johnson called it, architecture as the
Madelon Vriesedorp. 5. Frank Gehry’s Disney Concert Hall, high art of waste space. Here it is entirely convincing.
Los Angeles, 2004 (AR March 2004) 8. Metaphors drawings by Madelon Vriesendorp. 8
3 4 6

route to the top in Brit Art and for their American counterparts. Peter sublimate iconography to technique and abstraction. They don’t ask to unusual codes. These will be affective, and some of the excitement Casa da Musica in Porto, Portugal (AR August 2005). They also lend
Eisenman has said no architect can hope to place a building in The what deeper symbols a building should provide, nor in what style will come from the convulsive interaction of the meanings. In the support to the theory. The three are obvious icons meant to put their
New York Times without a press agent, indeed only one of the best should it be, because these questions are thought to be dangerous case of Norman Foster’s Swiss Re skyscraper in London, the codes are city on the map, glorify their interior functions and canoodle the public
agents, because these column-inches are the rarest commodity. When and meaningless. Instead, they take the pragmatic route of deferring fairly obvious (missile, screw, bullet, penis, finger, pinecone, cigar) and with their rhetoric. The three adopt unusual, sometimes awkward
artists and architects see their branding departments as essential to to St Paul’s; and again not because they are Christians, or sudden also somewhat far-fetched (brain and Russian doll. The sketches that geometries, to package their overall volumes, none of which is directly
their work (and Damien Hirst has said it is the most important thing converts to Prince Charles’ contextualism. Rather, it is the easy way Madelon Vriesendorp and I have made to bring out these analogies iconic of a single meaning but all of which allude to nature.
for an artist) the information world has finally exacted its revenge. to get planning permission. ‘Being in keeping’ means ‘get the job, usually map an outline or silhouette, and obviously there are many The Welsh Performing Arts Centre suggests a geological metaphor
However, one should not therefore underestimate the desire of the and keep it’. Wilde’s definition of the cynic was right. more than the ones we show, particularly visual metaphors in the of banded courses as if it were a sedimentary stack of different
public for good iconic buildings. They still make people leave home. details, materials and interior spaces. All these similarities make up slates laid down over millennia – in layers of purple, grey, blue and
Calculated outrage the compound experience of relating the new and unusual shape to green stone. The Egyptian library sinks a circular disc partly in the
The erosion of deference and hierarchy In this light, it is easier to understand the negative logic of the the old and familiar code. That relating is what the eye and brain do, ground and raises a larger section towards the heavens, an allusion
The critics of the iconic building often assume we are living in a outrageous iconic building, the way it seeks to provoke a paranoid when confronted by a shockingly different building. They map new to solar symbolism and solar gain, and with the angled gesture of
Christian or Modern or socialist culture, that is, one with some reaction, especially among journalists. Since the scarce resource of onto old visual codes. This instant and largely unconscious process cosmic observatory. The third example, a more sophisticated work of
coherence. Or, perhaps, they hope we will soon recapture such a a celebrity culture is column inches, these structures have to grab produces the metaphor – in Foster’s skyscraper the tabloid one, ‘it architecture, was originally perceived in the local Portuguese press as
condition. For instance, in The Last Icons, Miles Glendinning argues attention with an unusual image that annoys just as it inspires. This looks like a gherkin’ – and the public and journalistic excitement. And ‘the diamond that fell from the sky’, because the crystalline facets were
for a return to a ‘hierarchy of decorum’, in effect a new social ironic message can be carefully double-coded. With one gesture that reaction creates the iconic building, the architecture in the shape transparent in the competition model. As built opaque it is now known
contract going back to the eighteenth century and its hierarchy of it says ‘who wants to defer to the outmoded symbols of St Paul’s, of something uncanny, fascinating, horrible, lovely. as ‘the meteorite from heaven’, a white-cream polygon made from
the genres and the arts (with historical painting at the top and genre especially in an age of celebrity?’ Here it follows the logic of the art If multiple enigmatic signifiers overcome the bane of the one-liner, rectangles plus oblique triangles. Because of its seven-sided geometry
scenes at the bottom); he ends up supporting social housing and the world, one adopted by the successful exhibits Sensation and Apocalypse they also have another potential virtue. They can allude to nature and repetitive rhomboids, it is more like milky quartz than a meteor or
Cumbernauld New Town, as antidotes to the iconic disease. at the Royal Academy: shock and awe against symbols of conformity. and the cosmos. At the end of my treatise I summarise many of the diamond, but the point of such metaphors is not, primarily, denotation.
Of course one must curse and lampoon follies, and try to prevent If an iconic building isn’t hated enough, as the Eiffel Tower was key signifiers and argue that, if you scratch an iconic building hard It is the overall, natural connotations that matter, ones that are fresh
them, although demanding better icons by better architects might at its inception, it will never inspire enough negative energy to be enough, it bleeds such meanings: overtones of the sun and water; fish here, slightly hostile and severe as nature can be and, importantly, ones
be a better policy. In any case, the strategy of deference to a past noticed, and then go on to be debated and defended. and animals; crystals and our body parts; rhythmical growth forms of that are transformed throughout the building.
hierarchy is at best a stopgap and at worst a craven posture. Consider Here we touch one of the deep and complicated truths of the plants and galaxies. These patterns of nature are the not-so-hidden I am not arguing that the cosmic references in such buildings act as
Graham Morrison’s solution to iconitis, the building that doesn’t genre. How does the successful iconic building inspire paranoia, fear, code of the iconic building, and perhaps they are so for want of precisely as the Christian iconography in a medieval cathedral. The
know its social station. He puts forward Richard Rogers’ London even initial loathing, and then go on to win over a more permanent anything more pressing, faute de mieux. If the architect is going to spend point of the enigmatic signifier in an agnostic age is to be carefully
skyscraper on Leadenhall Street as a positive icon. Why? Because it is response? How does the architect steer between the Scylla of the an excess of time and money on an unusual image, one that does suggestive, a distinct trace rather than a conventional denotation, an
‘in keeping with [its] surrounding without compromising architectural one-liner and the Charybdis of mere provocation? The Costa del not have the sanction of religion or ideology, then in the age of the allusion rather than a clear sign. But I stick to my hypothesis that this
integrity’ and, in particular, because it ‘brilliantly’ defers to St Paul’s Icon is a real cautionary tale; horrors outnumber Cinderellas. ecological crisis it will be an image that relates us to the cosmos. Not trace is usual and, to a degree, inevitable in the emergent genre. If one
Cathedral’. Whether this tall structure is in keeping and doffs its Obviously there is no simple strategy of design and, as in all things everyone agreed. Several critics have said this conclusion was sadly is going to spend a fortune on a prominent and uncanny landmark, it is
cap to St Paul’s is as likely as global cooling; the real question is the creative, risk and failure stalk every move. Yet there are several basic predictable, a special pleading which they disliked. They didn’t want likely to have some iconography with cosmic overtones because these
more difficult one for a pluralist culture, facing up to the unpopular guidelines, if not rules, for dealing with the iconic building. icons to the cosmos. As Woody Allen opined, ‘What has the universe remain basic patterns and affecting images.
assumptions behind deference. ever done for me?’ In effect, they would prefer the return of God. Whether the successful iconic buildings, in a decadent age, make up
The unpleasant truth of the current fashion-celebrity syndrome Cosmic and multiple In His absence, however, it is possible I was right: cosmogenesis, the for the many failures is a matter of opinion, but the attempt to quash
is that it substitutes fame and notoriety for traditional value. It In my recent book The Iconic Building – The Power of Enigma, 2005, I process of the universe unfolding, will become the ultimate referent of them with building codes and committees will not be fruitful. Creativity
knows the price of everything, in Oscar Wilde’s definition of the argue that architects, through their recent practice, have shown a few this expression. We will have to wait another ten years to find out, but and pluralism are too strong for the architectural police. Rather, the
cynic, and the value of nothing. Today, social hierarchies are suspect successful strategies of design. If an iconic building must have a new already there is some evidence. Consider three iconic buildings not in policy might be to demand more thought on the iconography behind
and are perceived to rely only on power and class. The value and and provocative image, but cannot directly call on the iconography the book, because they were incomplete, or I hadn’t yet seen them: the the buildings, more coherence in the use of metaphors, and the careful
symbolism that used to justify an integrated culture are no longer that underlay traditional or religious architecture (because that is no new Library of Alexandria in Egypt (AR September 2001); the Wales interweaving of many codes to neutralise those embarrassing mistakes
32 | 9 currency. That is why Modern architects, especially commercial ones, longer believed), then it must produce enigmatic signifiers that allude Millennium Centre in Cardiff (AR April 2000), and Rem Koolhaas’ that come with any high-risk venture. CHARLES JENCKS 33 | 9
1 1
Shock of the
The cramped
corner site.
Cor-ten panels
are only 4mm
The new block
thrives on

Clad in a coarse carapace of
rusted steel, this housing block
is a startling urban presence.

Ever since John Winter and parking lots to OMA’s Las between Avenue de la Reine and HOUSING, BRUSSELS, BELGIUM
audaciously clad his seminal Vegas Guggenheim (June 2002). Place Liedts. Cars and trams surge ARCHITECT
Highgate house in a skin of Yet it never quite loses its quality past the prow-like site which MARIO GARZANITI
weathering steel back in 1969, of otherness, as demonstrated is anchored between a couple
Cor-ten’s quasi industrial aesthetic by its use in this recent Brussels of existing muscular apartment
of shipyard and factory floor apartment block. Here the blocks. To the spirit, if not the
has become globally ubiquitous. ‘instant’ patina of age and distress letter, architect Mario Garzaniti
According to Neil Jackson, in his still provides a bracing shock follows the familiar template of
entertaining study of the genre in of the new and unusual amid the continental walk-up tenement,
The Modern Steel House, it took wedding cake historicism. though the proportions and
seven years for Winter’s little The building lies in Schaerbeek, internal arrangements are more
building to slowly acquire the to the north-east of Brussels city generous and imaginative than
coveted purplish-brown patina centre, a district populated by might normally be expected. Two
of worn-out boiler plating. Now many Turkish immigrant families. duplex apartments are stacked
pre-weathered Cor-ten clads It occupies a compact, chunky above a shop at ground level,
the world, from police stations wedge that turns a corner the floors linked by a narrow

70 | 10 3 4 71 | 10
communal staircase inserted into
an intermediate slot between
the new and old buildings.
Despite being logements sociaux,
the duplexes are quite inventive
spatially, making the most of the
awkward, wedge-shaped plot. The
top floor flat even has a modish
sleeping loft overlooking the living
space below.
But the most striking aspect
of the project is the rusting
metal carapace that envelops the
building in a coarse caress, as if
the hull of an ageing supertanker
had somehow careered into
the block. Yet the monolithic
appearance is slightly deceptive;
the Cor-ten panels are only a thin
outer skin (a mere 4mm thick)
5 riveted to stainless-steel omega
profiles attached to the concrete
walls. Flexible bands prevent the
HOUSING , B RUSSELS , B ELGIUM risk of galvanic coupling (where
ARCHITECT one type of metal encourages
MARIO GARZANITI cross section looking north-west cross section looking north-east the rapid corrosion of another)
that can occur when Cor-ten and
stainless steel come into contact.
Slight disparities in the
2 ochre tones of the panels add
a sense of patchwork variety
1 and animation to the overall
composition. Cor-ten shutters
are incorporated into the facade,
filtering light through vertical
9 10
slits in the manner of a modern
mashrabiya. When closed, the
shutters lie flush with the panels,
9 giving the block an unsettlingly
seamless, hermetic quality.
1 street entrance Clearly this is a building that
2 communal staircase
3 shop
thrives on contrast (modern Cor- 6

4 flat entrance ten and traditional wedding cake)

5 living
6 dining enhanced by the jolting surprise
7 kitchen of seeing so visually and culturally
8 internal staircase
ground floor plan (scale approx 1:200) 9 bedroom second floor fourth floor
challenging a material employed
10 sleeping loft on such an ambitious scale. Yet it
is more than just a skin, attested
by the generous proportions of
the apartments and the way in
which light animates the interiors.
The gritty boiler plating conceals
4 4 a sensitive soul. C. S.
5 7 5 7
Mario Garzaniti, Liege
6 6 Alain Janssens

Facade detail.
8 8
Light filters through the
perforated shutters.
Duplex apartments are quite
generously proportioned.
72 | 10 site plan first floor third floor Sleeping loft. 7 8 73 | 10
Trinity Road in south London is
a typical leafy Victorian suburb. HOUSE EXTENSION ,
Stolid brick houses with bay LONDON
windows and big gardens exude an ARCHITECT
air of decorousness and prosperity. ALISON B ROOKS
Yet even in a sleepy conservation ASSOCIATES
area the urge to remodel is quite
common. Here, however, Alison
Brooks attempts something
rather different. Commissioned
to extend a Victorian house as
part of a larger remodelling, she
saw it as a chance to experiment,
both with form and materials.
More specifically, it intensifies her
investigations into the use of metal
that began when she worked with
Ron Arad in the early ’90s, and the
idea of continuity – manipulating
a single architectural material to
perform a multitude of functions,
so that spaces are ‘wrapped’ and
tend to de-materialise.
The extension opens up the
house to rear, consolidating its
relationship with the large garden.

Brass origami
imaginative extension to a house in south London.
Delicate planes of patinated brass fold around this
Brooks was adamant that the new
architecture should not compete
with the robust character of the
existing Victoriana, so her tactic is
to make the addition as intangible
and ethereal as possible. But the
outcome is not the stereotypical
glass box. Instead, lightness is
expressed through a single planar
skin of patinated brass that is
apparently cut and folded to form
walls, roof, columns and benches.
The exquisitely thin brass planes
enclose a new kitchen, dining
room and external terrace, as well
as framing and filtering views to
the garden beyond.
Though the crisp, orthogonal
geometry was derived from simply
folding a piece of cardboard, the
actual construction was inevitably
more complex and crafted. The
richly patinated brass panels are,
in fact, supported by a slim steel
structure. Cor-ten was initially
considered for the cladding, but
it tends to bleed and stain before
the coating of rust finally stabilises.
By contrast, the patination of brass
is gentler and its effects can be
more closely controlled. Though
not commonly used as a cladding
material, brass is also harder
(stiffer) than its closest relative
copper, and more economical. 1
The new glass and
Brooks likens the construction patinated brass
process to the fabrication of a
ar house
pavilion tactfully
extends an existing
large-scale piece of jewellery. The Victorian house.
94 | 10 3mm thin sheets of raw brass
The pavilion is conceived as a
series of thin folded planes.
Pared down architectural
language does not attempt to
compete with original house.
Views through to garden are
framed and defined.
Mounted on a slim steel sub-
structure, the brass planes are
only 60mm thick.

were cut and folded in a specialist Thinness is another crucial in Cambridge and plans to
metal fabrication workshop and aspect of this language of elegant incorporate off-the-peg brass
temporarily assembled on site. abstraction. The brass panel cladding panels (developed by
The panels were then dismantled constructions are only 60mm thick copper specialists KME) in a six-
and removed to be patinated by and, as the pavilion is seen from storey apartment block. In an era
hand.Varying the effects of acid the upper storeys of the house, besotted by conspicuous gestures,
and heat generates different hues, its roof is also a rigorously pared it is especially pleasing to see
from pale blue to deep turquoise, down structure, with an upstand humble or disregarded materials
but the patina also responds to reduced to 50mm from the more used imaginatively. Brooks’
the daily effects of the weather, usual 150mm. architecture has always reflected a
so the panels have a genuinely Though the pavilion is a concern for making and materials,
chameleon-like quality. Finally, the meticulously crafted one- and her latest project consolidates
patinated pieces were carefully off, Brooks sees it as a useful this lineage. CATHERINE SLESSOR
reassembled. Full-height glazing prototype which feeds Architect diagram of folding process
adds to the sense of lightness and into an ongoing process of Alison Brooks Associates, London
Metal fabrication
seamlessness and the composition experimentation and discovery.
John Desmond
is anchored by charcoal grey The practice is working on a Photographs
porcelain floor tiles. major housing development Dennis Gilbert/VIEW

1 entrance
2 hall
3 wc
4 dining room 3
5 living room
6 kitchen
7 dining pavilion
8 terrace
9 magnolia tree

cross section long section

1 6
2 7

site plan


96 | 10 ALISON BROOKS A SSOCIATES ground floor plan (scale approx 1:200) 4 5
ar_oct_04_lett-smith_done 6/10/04 11:49 am Page 62



A sensitive addition, carefully knitted to a distinguished theatre, provides
new facilities and civilized spaces for staff and public alike.

Niagara-on-the-Lake is a picturesque town at extension doubles the area of the Festival

the point where the Niagara River flows into Theatre.
Lake Ontario. Set in the spectacular scenery A major concern was how to expand the
of the Great Lakes near Niagara Falls, the building’s facilities, yet minimize the apparent
town is the focus of the region’s burgeoning scale of any addition in this sensitive setting.
wine industry and the home of the It was also important to maintain the
internationally distinguished Shaw Festival. intimate feeling of the Festival Theatre and
The combination of historic architecture the views from its foyers and terraces.
(dating from the 1790s when the settlement Operationally, the obvious place to build the
was briefly the capital of the colony of Upper extension would have been at the north end
Canada) with nature and culture makes the of the site, where the existing stage and
town both a popular bolt-hole from nearby backstage areas are located. However, the 2

Toronto and a destination for visitors from only available land was the space used for
around the world. coach parking to the south and adjacent to
The Shaw Festival, started in the late 1950s the theatre’s entrance and foyers. In section,
as a summer event to stage the works of because the stage and dressing rooms of the
George Bernard Shaw, now embraces a theatre are one level below ground, the
catholic range of theatrical tastes during its logical connection to the new production
eight-month season from April through facilities was at this level.
November. Productions are presented at the Above ground, the new production centre
small historic Court House and Royal reads as a separate pavilion that makes a new
George Theatres in the centre of town, and courtyard with the existing theatre. Both
at the 860-seat Festival Theatre, designed by buildings are entered from a new forecourt
Ron Thom and built in the 1970s at the east and parking area on the west side of the site.
edge of town looking over the Commons and The theatre entrance has been rebuilt to
federal parklands beyond. As the Festival house an expanded box office and shop
grew over the years, so backstage facilities together with a small library, a space for pre-
became increasingly inadequate, a problem performance talks, and a new meeting room
that has been addressed by the new planned in a glassy corner bay. This area has
production centre which serves all three also been excavated to incorporate the
theatres. Designed by Lett/Smith Architects critical basement level link to the new
and recently completed, the 4000m2 building. A more modest entrance to the

Upper foyer looks over pool and
court towards old building.
New entrance, left, with box of big
rehearsal hall behind.
Looking from court towards upper
foyer with rehearsal hall behind.

1 3 63 | 10
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Large rehearsal hall can be made
PRODUCTION CENTRE , light-tight with adjustable fabric
N IAGARA - ON - THE -L AKE , baffles between columns.
C ANADA New staff restaurant and green-
room is much less daunting in use.
L ETT /S MITH A RCHITECTS Upper level of foyer, from which …
… light pours down to lower level.

1 4

12 2
8 5 4


1 existing Festival
19 Theatre 5
2 upper rehearsal hall
3 lower rehearsal halls
4 green-room
17 5 lower lobby
6 recording suite 6
8 1 11 7 box office call centre production centre alongside opens into a
8 office
18 9 dressing room separate foyer, which serves the large new
18 10 10 sunken courtyard rehearsal/multi-purpose room at ground
11 south terrace
2 level. Within this foyer, a skylit well with a
12 patrons’ lounge/
12 upper lobby
13 receiving
glass stair provides daylight, access and a
14 library/multimedia visual connection to the lower level at the
16 15
15 new theatre entrance
point where the theatre’s existing backstage
16 Shaw shop corridor meets the new building. At this
17 wardrobe cutting
8 8 and fitting junction, a large new green-room and staff
8 13 18 set/lighting design restaurant opens out to a south-facing
19 lobby extension
sunken garden terrace and, adjacent to this
ground floor plan social hub, staff offices also look into the
sunken court. On the east side of the new
building, a sound studio and two smaller
rehearsal rooms – one daylit from the
sunken garden and the other dark – extend
out under a newly created lawn.
The glassy large rehearsal hall provides a
working area equal to the stage of the
Festival Theatre. Columns are pulled inboard
to create a circulation zone around the
perimeter, and adjustable fabric baffles at the
column line enable the room to be blacked
8 8
1 8 8 out, acoustically dampened, and planned to
8 6 8
8 simulate different stage layouts. The space
8 10 has a lighting grid and control room at high
level as well as access for scenery and props
from a new loading bay.
Much of the warmth and intimacy of the
9 Festival Theatre was created by its red brick
8 7
walls, brick pavers, cedar shingled roofs and
8 wood pergolas. This principle of using
untreated natural materials without applied
finishes both inside and out – which makes the
64 | 10 lower level plan (scale approx 1:1000) Theatre resonate strongly with the work of
ar_oct_04_lett-smith_done 6/10/04 11:49 am Page 66

Aalto and other Scandinavian Modernists – seemingly carved into deep, chamfered S HAW F ESTIVAL T HEATRE
has been continued in the new production copper-clad reveals, both to emphasize the PRODUCTION CENTRE ,
centre. Externally, the rehearsal room is clad solidity of the brick volumes and to frame N IAGARA - ON - THE -L AKE ,
with copper to distinguish it from the theatre, the courtyard threshold. C ANADA
while the entrance lobby provides a The thoughtful relationship between the ARCHITECT
transitional piece between new and old. A two buildings is a seemingly effortless L ETT /S MITH A RCHITECTS
new expressed concrete structure is resolution of complex operational
integrated with brick walls and pavers that are requirements. This is a scheme in which
detailed to match the original theatre. The voids – courtyard, lightwell and sunken Lett/Smith Architects, Toronto
double-height stairwell wall is clad with rift- garden terrace – are as important as the Project team
cut oak veneered panels with the grain programme spaces. They not only bring Peter Smith, Bill Lett Jr, Chris Lyons
Structural engineer
running horizontally. Partially wrapped by a daylight generously into areas below ground
Chris Turner Associates
reflecting pool and pergola, the lobby is fully level, but also ingeniously connect back-of- Mechanical engineer
glazed on the north and east, with views out house with front-of-house, and old with new. TMP Niagara
to the theatre and the Commons respectively. The simple strategy of designing circulation
Janet Rosenberg + Associates
Used by company and staff, this space also so that one is always walking toward views of Acoustics
serves as a members’ bar for theatre patrons landscape – both natural and designed – Aercoustics Engineering
and as a venue for special events. humanizes the typically dark, maze-like Theatre
Theater Consulting Group
The courtyard between the existing and backstage spaces of the theatre. Combining Photographs
new buildings provides the theatre with an the green-room and restaurant provides Ben Rahn
elegant outdoor room and new gardens to company and staff with a much-needed place
complement the mature wisteria on the to meet, talk and socialize informally. Unlike
pergolas of the theatre. The threshold to the the many recent buildings that call for
space on the west facade of the buildings is attention, the new production centre is quiet
marked by a covered outdoor walkway and and understated, allowing the Festival
the pavement lights that illuminate the lower Theatre to continue to play the starring role, Looking back at new building from
level corridor. Small windows to the box while at the same time providing fine new old at dusk. Walkway is illuminated
by light from corridor below shining
office and the new building’s lobby are facilities for staff and public alike. up through glass blocks.

66 | 10
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Building follows existing path
between maple forest (left) and
ARCHITECTS spruce (right).