I tend not to be the biggest fan of blatantly branded architecture projects, but there are times when I’m willing to pretend the logo on the wall is just a portrait of someone’s favorite shapes. Besides, architecture is almost inherently a branding tool used by cities, museums, universities, corporations, et cetera. Why not a company that makes vacuum cleaners? Such is the preface for telling you about this Electrolux pop-up restaurant. One thing I particular like about the project is the project’s contrast to the older structures it will perch ontop of as it migrates around Europe like an aluminum pterodactyl. Initially in Brussels, the project will land somewhere in Italy, Switzerland, Sweeden and Russia before it goes extinct.
I’ve had this video bookmarked forever so I’m excited to finally be writing it up. Last year Troika – the experimental art collective made of Eva Rucki, Conny Freyer and Sebastien Noel – created this giant school of fish, made up of 467 iridescent, shimmering bodies that spin and move in a seemingly chaotic yet orchestrated manner. The space they reside in is nearly 165 feet long so walking underneath this immense shoal would be absolutely beautiful. If you’re in Toronto be sure to stop by the Corus building located at Toronto’s Waterfront, Queens Quay East.
Last night Bobby wrote a piece about high-end vodkas and it got me thinking about a terrific construction by Alexander Brodsky. Brodsky is a Russian artist and avant-garde architect who builds wonderful structures out of old and local materials in the hope of creating something free of modern ideology. For him, they stand as a reaction against the unregulated and often corrupt building industry which has been transforming Moscow since the mid-90′s. The spaces that he creates are often unique in their style and their function and quite often become a way for him to aestheticize the informal.
Take for example his terrifically titled Pavilion for Vodka Ceremonies which was built at the Klyazminskoye Reservoir Resort in 2004. It is a space designed solely for a single use, a place where the act of drinking becomes almost zen-like. Here, vodka drinking gains a reverence similar to that of the Japanese tea ceremony. Inside, everything is kept to the bare essentials – there is little more then a small table, a pair of tin mugs on chains and a large basin of vodka. Brodsky has created a unique space and a new type of ceremony. For him, it is a simple and material metaphor for the Russian ‘art de vivre’; a space and ceremony for the Russian way of life. Say what you will about vodka itself, but for me this structure is wonderfully charming as well as being an interesting take on the function of a structure and a questioning of the relevance of ceremony in contemporary life. You can see more of his work and read an insightful interview over on the dAP website.
I wouldn’t consider myself a big sports fan, though I do occasionally enjoy going to watch a basketball game, which is a part of the reason why I like this gymnasium extension by WE_Architecture. Their goal was to create an improved gym facility as well as creating a larger assembly hall. But most gymnasiums are massive structures (see the Birds Nest) so in order to save space they’ve implanted the gym halfway underground and put a giant skylight on the top of it, making the space look beautiful in the process. By submerging the gym it becomes level with the surrounding buildings instead of dominating them.
I also like that they’ve rethought the idea of what a gym could be, especially when it comes to seating. Instead of having descending rows of seating they’ve created a curvy observation area which would allow for people to roam around an be social during the game rather than feeling stuck in a crowd. Really wonderful job.
For a split second, I though the top image was a rendering and not a photograph. But it is a photograph, taken by Stéphane Chalmeau, of The Grand Large District in Dunkirk, France. At first impression, the gabled buildings that sit along the waterfront look like houses from a video-game to me. They have recognizable massing “oh those are some houses” with unusual windows “that fenestration doesn’t look real.” Fenestration being the word for windows that you learn in architecture school. The fenestration here is real.
The development was designed by A/NM/A, headed by Nicholas Michelin. The larger development is sustainable and attempts to refocus attention to the town’s docks. They’ve been refocusing and building since 1991 and “transformation of the urban centre has already been broadly achieved.” As they start to complete building in the second phase, sustainability is now the major goal.