Architecture Archive

  1. List

    Having only once covered the work of Californian architect Michael Jantzen on the site, it seems about time we provided a little more context to his work and showed off one of his seminal pieces. The M-House is a portable modular system through which multiple iterations of a structure can be made. It consists of a series of rectangular panels, attached by hinges to a gridded frame, that can be moved and manipulated to serve a variety of functions, both structural and decorative. Each new structure can be built to unique specifications so that no M-House needs to look the same. Michael’s intention was that these buildings could serve as a holiday home or as an impressive complex of modular retreats in a single resort. So why hasn’t anyone built this resort yet? Better than Butlins.

  2. List-klmairbnb_02

    Being on a plane overnight can have its merits. Watching a tonne of terrible films, wearing strange towelling socks, having your dinner brought over by someone who’s paid to be lovely to you and wear lots of blusher. It can also have its oft-bemoaned downsides, unhappy and vocal children, being one; lack of sleep being another. However, a night on a plane has taken on something of a different dynamic thanks to a project that’s seen one KLM plane masquerading as a loft apartment, with interior designs by Dutch design consultancy TANK that belie its origins in favour of a very much homely approach.

  3. List

    In recent years the 2012 Olympic Torch, the UK government website and the Plumen lightbulb have scooped the Design Museum’s prestigious Designs of the Year title; last night Zaha Hadid’s Azerbajani cultural centre joined the illustrious list.

  4. Tagas_01-2

    Seeing as the new Soft-Hard Zinc House by Terunobu Fujimori has just opened near Tokyo, we decided that it would be a great idea to put together a list of our favourite Terunobu homes from the past few years. The teetering structures are packed with environmentally sensitive messages, and are the perfect breeding grounds for creative inspiration.

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    For centuries we have been fascinated by the architecture of power; indeed many of the world’s most visited tourist sites are structures from where religious, political and social power was once exercised. But what about the places which provide the backdrops to the decision-makers of today? Swiss photographer Luca Zanier’s ongoing project Corridors of Power takes us inside the very rooms where the contemporary power-brokers play, many of which seem straight out of central casting.

  6. List

    Step aside all ye pretenders of yore; it’s time to show you my new favourite website. English Heritage – the body charged with protecting, maintaining and promoting the UK’s historic buildings – has launched a new Tumblr on which they treat us to images from their incredible photographic archives. With more than seven million to choose from, the Tumblr takes a thematic approach to curation, showcasing several examples of the same thing each day (today is gravestones, yesterday was railway signal boxes).

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    Architect and designer Ana Varela was born and raised in Madrid, Spain, where she graduated from the Superior School of Architecture with a bachelors degree in 2007. Since then she’s led an impressive professional and academic career, directing Spanish design magazine Pasajes Diseño and pursuing a masters in Design for Luxury and Craftsmanship at ECAL in Lausanne. Now she teaches at ECAL and maintains a professional practice as an interior and product designer in Lausanne.

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    We’ve featured Brinkworth’s beautifully designed skate parks on the site before when they launched Nike’s BaySixty6, a community project under London’s Westway that invited people of all ages to pick up a deck and try their hand on the ramps. The initiative was such a success that Brinkworth have become something of an authority on skate park construction and have since been invited to create a temporary set-up at the Old Selfridges Hotel, located inside Selfridges department store.

  9. Terrazzo-list

    “Terrazzo is a composite material produced from layers of cement interspersed with chips of glass, marble, quartz, granite and other appropriate material. The invention of terrazzo can be traced to the 15th Century when Venetian artisans started to exploit construction residues to make highly resistant, low-cost surfaces principally used in flooring." Interested? Probably not. But the Terrazzo Project wants to change that.

  10. List

    It’s fair to say that we’re drawn to the weirder end of the architecture spectrum (giraffes sticking out of buildings and the like) so when I came across this installation in the grounds of the Portuguese presidential museum, my boat was well and truly floated. Super serious architecture, maybe not, but these red arches look for all the world like Microsoft Paint squiggles over photographs and that for me can only be a plus.

  11. List

    Even if you’ve royally had enough of looking at photographs of patterns – patterns on clothing, on walls, on anything – I’d hazard a guess that you’ll be sucked in by these from Alexandre Jacques. The architecture buff has created a series of stunning images of the façades of buildings, where the patterns they bear make them seem to be fading hazily into the distance, and then painstakingly documented all of them in fascinating detail on his brilliantly concise website, Architectural Pattern.

  12. List

    There’s a natural compunction to measure creatives by the choices they make in the exact fields in which they work. Where do chefs eat? What do authors read? And now where do architects live, which is the subject of a show planned for this year’s Milan Salone.

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    Japanese/Milanese design studio Nendo have been creating challenging products, buildings and experiential environments since 2003, led by the creative vision of Oki Sato. Their approach to design is always one of new and progressive thinking, taking products that we see as everyday due to their ubiquity and reevaluating our whole experience of using them. As a result these guys are highly sought-after; everyone wants of piece of their design philosophy.

  14. Main

    Architectural drawings aren’t especially beautiful as a rule, but those that Ness Lafoy created during her degree are simply too interesting for us to pass up. She’s just graduated with a BSc in Architecture from the Bartlett UCL, and these images were created as part of a project for which she designed a conceptual master plan entitled Helsinki Archipelago Town Hall.

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    Last year was the 200th anniversary of the first publication of the Brothers Grimm fairytales and to mark the occasion FleaFolly Architects decided to do something very special. They ran a five week summer workshop on the outskirts of The Black Forest in Germany (archetypal Grimm territory) where a group of architects and designers envisaged a cityscape inspired by the iconic tales the brothers popularised. Grimm City is an astonishing combination of technical skill and fertile imagination – from churches to music halls, factories to The Golden Compound the joy of exploring this world is infinite.

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    Now for a collection of children’s toys to blow your snakes and ladders sets out of the water. 20 architects have been asked to create dolls’ houses, each including one feature which might make life easier for a child with a disability, and funnily enough, with architects from Zaha Hadid to Wayne Hemingway on the list, these aren’t the miniature two-up two-downs you might find in your average toybox.

  17. List

    Sometimes I come across work that I imagine started life as an impossible idea thrown into a brainstorming session which was in danger of grinding to an awkward halt. That’s how I feel about Swiss firm’s ROK’s work for the MRQT boutique in Stuttgart which features 22,000 unique wooden sticks arrayed on the wall.

  18. List

    London-based design studio Plaid are in the business of creating environments; immersive environments specifically – exhibition and event spaces to be incredibly exact. The duo comprises Lauren Scully and Brian Studak, two creatives with a wealth of experience working in product, interior and architectural design, and now devoting their time to creating environments for brands. This particular piece of exhibition design was produced for The British Library in a show that examined the artistic legacy of the Mughal Empire in India, succinctly chronicling 400 years of history in an exhibit of 200 objects and bringing the architecture of the Mughal to bear on the exhibition space itself.

  19. List

    Anybody who has even flicked through a guidebook of Barcelona will be able to tell you just how impressive the Sagrada Familia is; even in its unfinished state Antoni Gaudí’s basilica is mind-blowing in its detail, drawing on Gothic and curvilinear Art Nouveau styles to create something which is nothing short of miraculous. It has, however, taken a while to progress – building work having commenced in 1882 (a mere 131 years ago) it only crossed the midpoint in 2010, and in spite of its current size and beauty it still stands a long way from Gaudí’s final vision.

  20. List

    This year’s London Design Festival drew to a close over the weekend and although I left it late I eventually made it down to Tate Modern to check out the landmark project for 2013 – Endless Stair. Created by dRMM Architects and engineering firm Arup, the piece consisted of 15 interlocking tulipwood staircases that came together to lead nowhere, inspired by the paintings of M.C. Escher.

  21. List

    I used to work in Mayfair for a while, a period of my life I chiefly remember for prohibitively high lunch costs and an introduction to what plastic surgery actually looks like in real life. But its combination of high fashion, history and wealth throws up its fair share of interesting buildings and the new Paul Smith shop designed in conjunction with 6a architects is sure to join that roster.

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    I never pass up an opportunity to praise the great city of Birmingham and see myself engaged in a crusade to protect it against the unfair barbs so casually and caustically lobbed at it. My job becomes even easier when the Venice of the Midlands (you heard!) unveils superb new buildings like the new Library of Birmingham designed by wonderfully-named Dutch firm Mecanoo Architects.

  23. List

    Back in April we sent out a call for all you creative types to start sending your beautifully designed envelopes to the new Paul Smith store at 46 Beak Street, and send them you did, in droves! As of today, you’ll be pleased to hear, Beak Street’s door are officially open and not only do the envelopes take pride of place on a wall for customers to examine at their leisure, but we were honoured to be invited to co-host the opening party last night.

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    Despite its fluorescent pink colour and fancy typography, new architecture magazine TREMORS snuck through the doors and onto the shelves of art gallery shops at the start of the year without us noticing. And it has certainly made an impact, impressing us not only with its concept and rather wonderful use of building analogies in its manifesto (that sees its writers travelling “beyond bricks and mortar” in their search of ways to re-think urban space) but also because the quality of its content punches a pretty impressive thwack.

  25. Snark-list

    An oldie but a goodie here from US-based architects and installation designers Snarkitecture. Tasked with creating an entrance pavilion for Design Miami 2012, Alex and Daniel produced an array of giant inflatable cylinders, grouped together in an undulating pattern to produce a unique topographical landscape above the viewer’s head. The cylinders fill in the entire courtyard space and are then lifted to create a clean, white cave with natural light leaking through the apertures between each form. There’s also giant grey worms to recline on in the middle providing a perfect breathing space among the chaos of the main fair.

  26. List

    Well there is literally nothing about this not to love. In 1889 the city of Paris unveiled the Eiffel Tower, and in the true spirit of historical (and sometimes petty) intercity rivalry, London was not going to stand idly by. A public design competition was launched to come up with the British version of the landmark, The Great Tower For London and in the end 68 suggestions made the cut for this showcase catalogue. Now the Public Domain Review has made it available online and it will tickle those with a penchant for old books and/or some truly bizarre architecture.

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    If you were starting to find yourself disillusioned by the narrow-mindedness of projects finding their way to crowdfunding platforms, and seemingly half-hearted attempts by the public to do something to counteract our rapid consumption of environmental resources, then this is the project to change your mind. Dong, Archie and Jeff are three New York-based chaps who are looking to build a floating swimming pool in the East River. The walls of the proposed pool are composed a of layered filtration system which removes contaminants and bacteria, so that the pool will filter the very river which it sits in, allowing New Yorkers to swim in clean river water for the first time in 100 years. It would clean an estimated half a million gallons of river water every single day, “kind of like a giant Brita filter for the East River.”

  28. List

    Barcelona-based designer Sandra Tarruella is on a one-woman mission to provide us with interesting, quirky, great-looking spaces in which we can fill our faces. Whether it’s a trendy ice-cream parlour reappropriating the idea of the barbershop pole to a Valladolid sushi restaurant complete with a shoal of giant paper fish swimming across the window, Sandra and her team combine amazing idea generation with flawless execution. And that paper puffer fish is in equal measure beautiful and terrifying.

  29. List

    The rise and rise of Apartamento magazine proves a fundamental human truth – we are as a species inherently nosey. The urge to snoop around other people’s spaces is compulsive; new ways to feed my habit are always welcome. This excellent blog curated by designer Stefi Orazi celebrates some of London’s most interesting modernist architecture, but crucially it does so not merely from an outside-looking-in perspective. Stefi features these idiosyncratic estates as places where people live which adds so much more than simply appreciating aesthetically interesting exteriors. Her latest feature with Chrissie MacDonald and Andrew Rae of our pals the Peepshow Collective sums up perfectly the brilliance of Stefi’s bog. There’s also posts about places to buy in these estates and the odd bit of miscellany as well. Consider yourself bookmarked.

  30. List

    Guys, I am going to level with you, I don’t really know what “architectural opera” means. If that means we’re through, then ok, let’s go our separate ways (don’t, I need this). What I can tell you is that it fuses “architecture, music and performance,” so “the stage becomes the lead actor.” I know this because Ada, a London-based architecture practice, educational and events project recently worked with composer Adam Doen to stage Europa for the Bloomsbury Fete and that’s how they described it. The pictures look amazing; colourful and playful but clearly carefully-thought-out to help bring the performance to life. A romp through their previous work suggests Ada are well worth keeping an eye on too.

  31. Serpentine-list

    The Serpentine Gallery’s annual Pavilion has become something of a landmark in London’s art and design calendar. In its 13 years it’s seen some of the most prominent figures in global architecture showcasing the breadth of their skills in a fast-paced, experimental environment that allows them to produce a structure that best demonstrates their architectural philosophy – a kind of temporary calling card for the world to enjoy. Frank Gehry, Peter Zumthor, Zaha Hadid and the late Oscar Niemeyer have all produced pavilions in the past decade or so, and it’s safe to say they’re all household names now, though some were not before their pavilions took shape.

  32. List

    From our island perch here in the corner, the European Union can all be a bit baffling. On the one hand it gives the impression of a solid, homogenous whole (from which we in the UK are excluded/bombastically exclude ourselves) but on the other it’s a seething set of proud and individualistic nations in a constant jostle for position and influence.

  33. List-lka

    Have you ever popped out to pick up a pint of milk and inadvertently found yourself captivated by the neo-classical detail on the lamp-post outside the corner shop? Have you actually?

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    Following up the success of The Small Coal Man’s Tiny Travelling Theatre which parked up at Clerkenwell Design Week last year, Aberrant Architecture’s latest offering takes the form of a roaming market mobile structure. Inspired by London’s rich street market-orientated culture, the moveable stall essentially plays the part of a spectacularly elaborate signpost, acting principally as an information point for passers-by. This is not its only function however; its built in chessboard, covered seating area and pop-up stage all ensure the multi-functionality characteristic of Aberrant Architecture’s design approach.

  35. List

    The first time I heard of the Four Freedoms Park in New York was when it was shortlisted in the architecture category at this year’s Design Museum’s Designs of The Year – in fact in a fit of overexcitement I tipped it to win. But last week I was lucky enough to visit the park which sits just off the Manhattan shoreline on Roosevelt Island, and you know what I don’t take it back, because this is a really stunning project.

  36. Kinoko-list

    Londoners who spend their time pedalling about the city will long have been familiar with the excellent work of Tokyo Fixed, a Soho store which does much more with bikes than the name would suggest. The guys there specialise in finding the very best products available for riders, from handmade steel frames from Japan to bombproof rucksacks and panniers as well as clothing that means you don’t have to wear lycra on your bike 100% of the time (though some of us still choose to). But having established themselves as a firm favourite in the city, Tokyo Fixed has undergone something of a transformation.

  37. Free-list

    We all know that Nike are pretty capable when it comes to creating show-stopping retail spaces. Their past work with Brinkworth in the UK has always been exceptional and they’re clearly determined to maintain that standard right across the globe. Witness their latest collaboration with Studio-at-Large for their Nike Free retail space in Beijing. The Track, as it’s been dubbed, features numerous iterations and colour ways of the Free trainer suspended as if in motion around an LED-lit running track construction, designed to highlight the shoe’s game-changing sleek silhouette. Anyway, that’s more than enough from me. Best to let these stunning images do the talking…

  38. List

    London’s South Bank is a favourite among filmmakers looking to add some Brit-glam to their movies, but the day-to-day reality is more prosaic. A big stretch of this area is dominated by concrete, brutalist structures which even their most ardent admirers must admit can lend it an aura of gloom. But The Shed, a new temporary auditorium for the National Theatre is changing that for a few months, adding a much-needed splash of colour to this corner of the capital. Architects Haworth Tompkins covered the structure in rough-sawn timber cladding with they then had painted a brilliant, vivid red creating a wonderful juxtaposition with the muted modernist surroundings.

  39. List

    “Everyone’s a winner baby” sang Hot Chocolate and in a way they were right, but in another, more accurate way they were wrong. Of course all the work which gets nominated for the Design Museum’s prestigious Designs of the Year is brilliant, but we’ve just this minute received word which projects scooped the top prize in each of the seven categories.

  40. Main

    Some people say beauty is all about colours. WRONG. Everyone knows black and white makes everything look better, from your Uncle Pete to a Frank LLoyd Wright house, something about monochrome just works. It’s the photographic equivalent of MSG. Nicholas Alan Cope is wise to this, and spends his time photographing things in the highest contrast black and white you can get without the subject becoming too abstract. The results of his monochromatic efforts are staggering, and blow almost all other architectural photography out the water.