Flawed One World Trade Center Is a Cautionary Tale

Flawed 1 World Trade Center Is a Cautionary Tale

New York Times architecture critic Michael Kimmelman takes the design and concept of the new World Trade Center building to task, disappointed by the lack of vision for such an important New York building/monument.

Instead, the building, built as if on a dare to be the tallest, required unprecedented fortifications at astronomical costs, on an immensely difficult site. Mr. Childs faced a nearly impossible task: devising a tower at once somber and soaring, open and unassailable, dignified but not dull. He envisioned an elaborate antenna and a tapered base. Both ideas were vetoed, among much else. The building didn’t end up exactly as the architect pictured it. Few buildings do. I’m not sure that the differences are what tipped the scale.

Uninspired and more like a bank vault than a space for culture to thrive. As Kimmelman rightly points out, this “idea was brushed aside by the political ambitions of former Gov. George E. Pataki of New York, a Republican, and the commercial interests of Larry Silverstein, the developer with a controlling stake at the site, among other forces pressing for a mid-20th-century complex of glass towers surrounding a plaza.” Missed opportunity.

Bobby Solomon

December 1, 2014 / By

Is this Simple But Elegant Home the Perfect Lake-Side Retreat?

2by4 Architects - Island Home

Almost 20% of the total area of the Netherlands is water, with many parts of the county reclaimed from the sea through an extensive system of dykes that date back as far as medieval times. For this reason, the Dutch have always had a fairly special relationship with water. You can see this in so many aspects of what they do, from amazing bridges to beautiful public ponds, their unique appreciation for lakes, rivers and the sea has always lead to interesting work.

I recently came across this wonderful recreational island home by 2by4 Architects and quickly feel for its simplistic charms. Completed in 2011, the home offers an ideal rural getaway that boasts large glass walls and a slide-away wall that opens up directly onto the water. It looks like the perfect place for an outdoor retreat.

2by4 Architects - Island Home

2by4 Architects - Island Home

Found on a man-made island on the Dutch lake of Loosdrechtse Plas, the home is designed to be completely customized depending on the owners needs. On warm days the northern facade opens towards the water, turning the wooden floor of the living room into a jetty. On winter days the home looks just as good, offering a freestanding fire to snuggle up to as you look out over the countryside.

2by4 Architects - Island Home

While only 100 meters in size, the home still looks quite spacious and comfortable with a shower, toilet, kitchen, closets, storage and other functions are all integrated into a double wall. It all looks perfect!

2by4 Architects - Island Home

Hat tip to Dwell for the discovery. You can see more images of the home on 2by4 Architects’ website.

Philip Kennedy

November 14, 2014 / By

A Great Looking Flat Pack Swedish Cabin

Minihouse by Jonas Wagell

If you think of Sweden I’m sure you can think of a lot of great things. Maybe it’s their fantastic contribution to the world of pop music; maybe you prefer their existential cinema or perhaps you’re simply salivating at thought of their delicious meatballs? Either way, as a country, Sweden has done pretty well for itself. For me, I like to think of two things: flat pack furniture and summer houses. For too long these icons of Swedishness have stood apart, but they’ve finally been combined thanks to this ingenues project by Jonas Wagell and Sommarnöjen.

Minihouse by Jonas Wagell

Dubbed the Mini House 2.0, the project is a prefabricated cabin concept that can be delivered flat-packed and typically takes only two days to construct. A collaboration between the Swedish manufacture Sommarnöjen and the designer and architect Jonas Wagell, the modules comes in various layouts and can be configured to include a kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and living space.

Minihouse by Jonas Wagell

Minihouse by Jonas Wagell

Developed in a range of sizes, the first two models are 15 square meters in width and length. As I said, they come with a range of interior solutions and are constructed with high quality wood. Each cabin is fully insulated and includes electricity and interior and exterior painting.

Minihouse by Jonas Wagell

Minihouse by Jonas Wagell

Not only are they a great idea but they also look great. You can see more from this project on its website.

Philip Kennedy

November 3, 2014 / By

A Client’s Desire for Lake Views and Privacy Lead to a Striking Japanese Home

Scape House by Kouichi Kimura Architects

Located in the beautiful surroundings of Japan’s Kansai region, Scape House sits on a hillside overlooking Biwa-ko, the country’s largest lake. With so many houses nearby it was important that this building could make the most of its view without opening itself up too greatly to the neighboring homes. Designed by Kouichi Kimura Architects, this recently completed home aims to incorporate as much light and scenery as possible through versatile living spaces and windows while still allowing its homeowners a sense of privacy.

Scape House by Kouichi Kimura Architects

Scape House by Kouichi Kimura Architects

Scape House by Kouichi Kimura Architects

While it seems that the focus of this project was very much based around creating a home that was comfortable, private and rich with versatile spaces, I have to say that I find the building’s sober exterior to be particularly striking. It’s slender, almost Tetris-like, shapes form a distinct look and its combination of different greys add variety and texture to a bold exterior.

Scape House by Kouichi Kimura Architects

You can view more images from inside Kouichi Kimura’s Scape House here.

Philip Kennedy

October 22, 2014 / By

A (Farm) House in the Hamptons

Barn House by D’apostrophe Design

Barn House by D’apostrophe Design

Located in the quite hamlet of Remsenburg near New York’s Westhampton, Barn House is a beautiful home renovated from a faux barn that was originally built in the 1980s. Today it stands as the weekend home of Le Pain Quotidien CEO Vincent Herbert and his family.

Barn House by D’apostrophe Design

Designed by Herbert’s close friend – the interior architect Francis D’Haene of D’Apostrophe Design – the project seems to have been a real passion project for the client and designer, with D’Haene mixing old and new to excellent effect.

Barn House by D’apostrophe Design

I love the rustic charm on the outside of the home. D’Haene seems to have really wanted to maintain this and even added wood salvaged from a 200-year-old Canadian barn to add to the personality of the outside. Inside is a different story all-together. Almost nothing from the original interior was. Low-ceilings and dated surfaces were quickly scrapped and replaced with an interior which pares everything back to the bare essentials. It makes for a great interior and I would certainly love to spend a couple of long-weekends in this wonderfully minimalist retreat.

Barn House by D’apostrophe Design

Philip Kennedy

September 25, 2014 / By

Is This Relaxing? A Brutal Looking Sauna Made of Concrete and Steel

One Man Sauna by Modulorbeat

Modulorbeat’s One Man Sauna is a wonderfully strange construction found near the German city of Bochum. The work forms part of a research lab project called Borderlands which the architects have been working on since 2012. Borderlands examines the border and transit spaces of the city and attempts to see what role architecture can play in the development of these spaces.

One Man Sauna by Modulorbeat

One Man Sauna by Modulorbeat

This One Man Sauna is located on the site of an old abandoned factory and stands at nearly 25 feet. Built from old building shafts, the sauna consists primarily of three stacked pre-cast concrete parts. These form three different unique layers on the inside: a plunge pool at the bottom, a sauna on the middle level and a relaxation room and viewing area at the top.

One Man Sauna by Modulorbeat

One Man Sauna by Modulorbeat

One Man Sauna by Modulorbeat

Go check out Modulorbeat’s website for more exciting work.

Philip Kennedy

September 8, 2014 / By

Elizabeth II, A Beautiful Home in Amagansett by Bates + Masi Architects

Elizabeth II by Bates Masi Architects

Architectural firm Bates Masi + Architects LCC have had roots in New York City and the East End of Long Island for over 50 years. Recently they completed this stunning family home in Amagansett, New York. If anyone knows the area, they’ll know that it’s a popular destination with tourists and features a bustling resort town as well as a number of celebrity homes.

Elizabeth II by Bates Masi Architects

One of the key considerations for this property was to shelter it from the noises of the near-by village. The architects say that their interest in the building’s acoustics was what drove the form, materials and detail of the house. From the outside, it initially looks windowless, with large concrete walls that are nearly 20″ thick. These provide excellent insulation as well as great protection from the sounds of the village.

Elizabeth II by Bates Masi Architects

Inside the home looks bright and spacious with a particularly beautiful living-and-dining space. Its use of different woods makes this area feel relaxing and comforting and its large window opens up to the rear of the property to reveal a garden and pool.

Elizabeth II by Bates Masi Architects

“The research of sound and how it affects our perception of space informed the details, materials, and form of the project” say the architects. “This approach to the design led to a richer and more meaningful home for the family.” I think the finished house looks beautiful, and I’d happily except an invite to come stay-over from whoever its new residents are!

Elizabeth II by Bates Masi Architects

More work from Bates + Masi Architects can be seen on their website.

Philip Kennedy

August 27, 2014 / By

Summer Escape: The Perfect Holiday Apartment in Barcelona

Colombo and Serboli Architecture - Rocha Apartment, Barcelona

Colombo and Serboli Architecture - Rocha Apartment, Barcelona

It’s August and people are on holiday all around the world. Unless you’re like me, working in the U.S., and the idea of holiday is a foreign concept and you can only dream of getting away for a month. To be specific, I’ve been dreaming of this holiday apartment in Barcelona which was rebbed by CaSA, an architecture firm run by Matteo Colombo and Andrea Serboli.

The brief was to transform this neglected, very badly distributed apartment into an attractive holiday home. The property is located in an extremely central street, right between Plaza Catalunya y Plaza Universitat, on the sixth floor of an art nouveau building. Nonetheless, this last floor was built in the ’60 and lacked of the charm of the rest of the building. In order to meet the brief, spaces had to be re-thought completely and all existing partition had to be demolished. The budget was tight and clever solutions were required to complete the needs providing an attractive, contemporary holiday atmosphere.

Colombo and Serboli Architecture - Rocha Apartment, Barcelona

Colombo and Serboli Architecture - Rocha Apartment, Barcelona

The biggest success of the space to me is the relationship between inside and outside. The terrace originally had been extremely closed off. The architects came and opened it up with a number of interseting window spaces that allow the air to circulate through the space. They’ve also brought the wood elements from the outside into an indoor relaxing area.

Colombo and Serboli Architecture - Rocha Apartment, Barcelona

Colombo and Serboli Architecture - Rocha Apartment, Barcelona

Colombo and Serboli Architecture - Rocha Apartment, Barcelona

Colombo and Serboli Architecture - Rocha Apartment, Barcelona

Colombo and Serboli Architecture - Rocha Apartment, Barcelona

Overall the space is neutral until you reach the hallway, which is a wonderfully rich shade of blue. The hallway leads to three bedrooms which are quite similar, the main difference between them are their brightly colored, tiled bathrooms. The contrast between punches of color and neutrailty is quite nice and lends to a tranquil environement.

View more images and behind the scenes information about the project by clicking here.

Colombo and Serboli Architecture - Rocha Apartment, Barcelona

Colombo and Serboli Architecture - Rocha Apartment, Barcelona

Colombo and Serboli Architecture - Rocha Apartment, Barcelona

Colombo and Serboli Architecture - Rocha Apartment, Barcelona

Bobby Solomon

August 18, 2014 / By

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