Arch Studio adds foldaway walls to Beijing art gallery

Walls based on traditional Chinese screens can be moved to create exhibition spaces within this Beijing art gallery by local firm Arch Studio (+ slideshow).

Arch Studio was asked to update the Rongbaozhai Western Art Gallery in city's Liulichang district. The area is one of Beijing's oldest quarters, and features a series of traditional two-storey stone dwellings that sell various craft pieces, artworks and antiques.

"The purpose of the design is to create a space full of the elements of orient, zen, nature and simplicity, as well as maximise the interior space under the limit of the existing grid," said the architects.

The architects added walls in the form of foldable screens to the ground and first floors, allowing the rooms to remain flexible and open.

"Folding screens have long been a part of traditional Chinese decoration," said the firm. "They deliver the beauty of serenity and harmony by separating and embellishing a room as a member of traditional Chinese furniture."

Related story: Sou Fujimoto uses seashells and thatching for village-inspired arts complex in rural ChinaOn the first storey, the screens create an exhibition hall that is secluded from the rest of the room. Wooden cupboards line the left-hand wall, while a glass-enclosed staircase is on the right.

"The first floor is designed to be an up-and-down transparent exhibition hall enclosed with fixed folding screens, which delivers an intense impression at the first sight," said the architects.
When the walls are folded back, the top floor of the building becomes a open-plan room that can be configured to create artwork displays.

While the upper levels are largely used as exhibition spaces, the basement houses a manager's office, store room and restroom.
Arch Studio previously installed curved glass walls that enclose bamboo-planted courtyards in a tea house situated in one of Beijing's ancient neighbourhoods.

Recently, Kengo Kuma created a sprawling village of folk-art galleries for China Academy of Arts and Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto used locally sourced materials to create a countryside arts venue at a former farm.
Photography is by Wang Ning.
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Ström Architects applies superyacht concept to luxury housing with Superhouse

Swedish architect Magnus Ström wants to help the super rich commission a bespoke home the same way they buy a luxury yacht using his Superhouse brand (+ 360-degree render).

Superhouse seeks to apply the tailor-made service clients experience when commissioning a luxury "superyacht" to house design. Every element of each house it designs can be specified to the smallest detail, with the brand aiming to provide all services up until completion.
The company was set up to provide a "truly bespoke and unique service in this market segment, rather than just a nice house designed by an architect's practice," said Ström, who estimates project costs will start at around £2.5 million.

"The Superhouse brand exists to create the most beautiful, contemporary, bespoke, luxury private houses. That's it. Nothing else," said Ström."No commercial buildings, no art galleries, no housing schemes. Nothing but the most exceptional houses."

"Wherever you choose to make your dream house a reality, you can be assured that there won't be another house like it. Anywhere. Ever," he added.

Superhouse will operate separately from Ström's Hampshire-based firm Ström Architects, but be located alongside it on the south cost of England.

Related story: Carey House by Henry Goss: "Visualisation played a vital role in design decisions"To entice clients, the brand has released visuals of the first in a series of 30 conceptual Superhouses that will be "much like a limited-edition series of art or watches."

Created by The Boundary, the hyper-realistic renderings of the first home, named S/001, show a sleek linear block mounted on two timber podiums. Depicted in a 360-degree panoramic visual, the seaside house is fronted by a swimming pool, and features an outdoor fireplace and private moorings for a luxury yacht.

Ström, who has used the renderings studio to create visuals for several of his previous projects including a timber-clad house in Suffolk, has previously said that good architecture CGIs are "more effective than advertising."

Initially, engineering, interiors and lighting will be subcontracted out to other companies, but Ström hopes that as the Superhouse brand grows it will start to offer these services in-house to create a "one-stop shop" for house design.

Superhouses is working with superyacht designers Dubois Naval Architects – a Hampshire-based studio Ström says was his initial inspiration for the brand.
"The extreme quality of detail and finishing are what we will emulate in every way," he said. "Dubois yachts are works of architecture on the water."

The first Superhouse has yet to be commissioned, but Ström suggests locations could include secluded retreats in the Balearic Islands and the UK, a New York penthouse or homes on the top of a ski slope or on a private island.
Each Superhouse will be assigned an individual serial number, which will be engraved on its facade.

"To design and own a Superhouse – something that is utterly yours – will be a dream that only a select few will realise," said the architect. "Your Superhouse will represent you, your lifestyle, your family, how you work and how you play."
"I see a lot of really high-end luxury contemporary homes, but to me, they most of the time lack architectural integrity," he added. "It's an ambitious statement, but we want to design Superhouses all around the world."
Renderings are by The Boundary.
Project credits:
Architecture: SuperhouseCollaborators: Dubois Naval Architects, Staffan Tollgard Design, Panoramah Glazing, B&B ltalia
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“Academics need to break out of their loop and get back into the real world”

Opinion: dominated by old boys who think their view is the only one that matters, architecture academia in the US has become insular and out of touch, says Reinier de Graaf, who finds a perfect illustration in a recent debate at the Chicago Architecture Biennial.
"Can I see some hands raised? Who in the audience think of Frank Gehry's Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park as contextual?" (No hands raised.) "Who think of it as not?" (No hands raised.) "Since apparently none of you know, let me tell you!"
What follows is a lengthy exposé about what, according to the person asking the question, is a highly contextual piece of architecture. Speaking is Jeffrey Kipnis, theorist, designer, filmmaker, curator, educator, founding director of the Architectural Association's Graduate Design Program and professor at Knowlton School of Architecture, Ohio State University.
The exchange (if one can call it that) takes place during one of the parallel sessions at the biennial. Apart from Kipnis, the session includes Patrik Schumacher, design director at Zaha Hadid Architects; Peter Eisenman, principal of Eisenman Architects and a pivotal figure in American academia (present and past positions too many to list); Theodore Spyropoulos, founder of architecture studio Minimaforms; and me, a partner at the Office for Metropolitan Architecture. The panel has been assembled to express its views on a potential agenda for 21st-century architecture.
All the panelists are from a part of the world to which the 21st century will not belongThe composition of the panel seems odd: most of the panelists' formative lives have been lived in the 20th century, and all the panelists are from a part of the world to which – unless all current indicators are completely misgiven – the 21st century will not belong.
The venue is The Gold Room in the Congress Plaza Hotel. Tickets have sold at $50 and, while that ticket price suggests the event is in high demand, the room is only half full, making its grandeur perfectly inappropriate for the occasion. One of African architecture's rising stars speaking at a venue next door appears to have drawn a larger crowd. Still, the modest turnout hardly fazes the panelists. The epicenter of American academia thrives even in the absence of an audience.
Schumacher's opening salvo is a proclamation of the end of pluralism (delivered with an impeccable German accent) and of the imminent global dominance of a single remaining master-style – his own. Eisenman, who is next, suggests a change of format: "Only Patrik should present, while the rest of us put up a collective resistance." His request is denied and Eisenman has to content himself with "agreeing to disagree". His presentation calls for "heroes instead of stars in architecture". Not something anyone could agree to disagree with, although Spyropoulos tries. But here, in the context of an all-male, all-white stage, his call leaves a somewhat dubious taste.

Related story: "Architecture is finally moving beyond a homogeneous status quo"After Eisenman, it is open season, not just for each of the panelists' individual obsessions (in order of appearance: parametricism, Alberti, Gehry, Piketty and robots), but also for the audience. Someone, who introduces himself as humble teacher at a humble university, asks why there are no women on the stage. With almost Trumpian bravado, Kipnis replies that he LOVES women, but is dumbfounded by the stupidity of such a question, which he then views as a logical explanation for the career progress (or lack thereof) of the questioner. In an attempt to rescue the situation, Eisenman murmurs that women have become so popular these days that they have become unaffordable. We simply have to assume he means as panelists.
It is Kipnis' turn. His idea of offering the audience value for money is to subject it to a kind of intellectual waterboarding. His positions are invariably introduced via the same discursive formula: "Did you know…? You did not…? You should! Since you don't, let me tell you…" It is unclear to what extent – if at all – he is seeking a discussion. Kipnis tempts the audience with long pauses, invariably followed by "let me finish!" when someone interjects.
The main topic of his presentation is the Guggenheim Helsinki museum competition, a competition that to this day has not produced a realised building and doesn't look like it's going to any time soon.
As the evening progresses, the event turns into a painful X-ray of the current state of American academiaHe presents the many entries to the competition as a repository of contemporary design intelligence, showing a meticulously categorised inventory of apparently simultaneously emerging families of design solutions to particular problems. Akin to the prolific genres in contemporary music, certain "design waves" are identified and tagged with a name. Any link to the individual authors is discarded. Trends take priority over signatures. Originality is no longer a paradigmatic feature. The myth of individual genius is dismantled in favor of architects as a virtual, yet largely unaware collective.
His argument takes a bizarre turn when he digresses into a strange and unexpected endorsement of Frank Gehry, who in many ways personifies the exact opposite. Unlike the struggling souls of the Helsinki competition, Gehry is the ultimate signature architect. His approach to architecture is his and his alone, it permits no following other than through imitation. In bringing up Gehry, Kipnis turns his own suggestion of architecture as a form of collective progress into scorched earth even before it has landed.
Kipnis seems blissfully unaware of the contradiction. He proceeds to explain Gehry's design intentions as if he were the oracle of Zeus. The silence that ensues at his question about the contextual nature of the Pritzker Pavilion is not so much a sign of the audience's ignorance as it is of its bewilderment. Don't all Gehry's buildings look the same?
The western architectural ivory tower has become a theatre of the absurdIt is clear to everyone in the room (at least to those who have built a building) that whatever the magnitude of the intentions that go into a design, it must ultimately subside to the prevailing perception – however unfair – of its physical presence, at which point the only correct answer to Kipnis' question is that it is irrelevant. If legacy is ultimately a question of numbers, what constitutes the more significant intellectual fact: one person's supposed insight into Frank Gehry's design intentions, or the vast majority's willful ignorance of them? Who holds the key, Kipnis or the Simpsons?
As the evening progresses, the event turns into a painful X-ray of the current state of American academia: a strangely insular world with its own autonomous codes, dominated by some antiquated pecking order with an estranged value system and no hope of a correction from within. The often grandiose character of the debate stands in stark contrast to the marginal nature of that which is being debated.
The western architectural ivory tower has become a theatre of the absurd, blind to its decline into irrelevance. Self-referencing and obsessed by minutiae unrelated to the built environment, our academics need to break out of their closed information loop and get back into the real world.
Any notion that architecture might be shaped by a larger political context does not seem to registerKipnis' definition of context doesn't go beyond the immediate physical surroundings of the architectural object. Any notion that architecture might be shaped by a larger political, societal or economic context does not seem to register on his radar. It is as though America's architectural establishment is preoccupied with studying footnotes under a microscope hoping they will turn into a novel.
Those who attend the dinner afterwards are cautious with their alcohol intake. Even with the debate officially concluded, one has to remain alert. Dinners serve as extra time for the settling of undecided intellectual battles – a last chance to turn defeat into victory. When all other subjects appear to have been exhausted, for some unidentifiable reason the table conversation turns to the brain and the question whether it ought to be discussed as an organ or as a muscle.
Just when the vision of a brain without a skull is about to make me lose my appetite, Kipnis turns to a young woman at the table. He asks her to guess his favorite organ. When she looks at him in shock – she must be less than half his age – he smiles: "Rest assured, my favorite organ is my mouth." Eisenman points out that the mouth is in fact not an organ. For the first time that evening, Kipnis looks genuinely unsettled, prompting Eisenman to ask the question of the day: "Jeff, have you been drinking?"
Reinier de Graaf is a partner in the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) where he directs the work of AMO, the research and design studio established as a counterpart to OMA's architectural practice.
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World Architecture Festival awards 2015 day one winners announced

World Architecture Festival 2015: a bamboo community centre in Vietnam, a concrete music school in Tokyo and a "vertical village" of apartment blocks in Singapore are among today's category winners at the World Architecture Festival.
The second batch of category winners will be revealed tomorrow. Completed buildings will go on to compete for the World Building of the Year prize on Friday, while unrealised projects will be pitched against one another for the Future Project of the Year award.
Dezeen is media partner for the World Architecture Festival (WAF), which is taking place at the Moshe Safdie-designed Marina Bay Sands hotel and conference centre in Singapore until 6 November. The Inside Festival takes place alongside WAF, and the first category winners of the Inside Festival awards were announced earlier today.
Read on for the list of today's WAF category winners:
House: Saigon House, Hochiminh, Vietnam, by a21studio
Saigon House, Hochiminh, Vietnam, by a21studioOccupying a space just three metres wide, Saigon House was designed by a21studio, the winner of World Building of the Year 2014. It was built from recycled materials, including bricks, doors and windows.
Civic and community: Cam Thanh Community House, Hoi An, Vietnam, by 1+1>2 International Architecture
Cam Thanh Community House, Hoi An, Vietnam, by 1+1>2 International ArchitectureThis Vietnam community centre features bamboo roofs thatched with coconut leaves, which pitch inwards to direct rainwater towards a series of planted courtyards. It was designed by 1+1>2 to provide a hub for the local neighbourhood, but it is hoped that in future it will also serve as an information centre for tourists.
Mixed use: Casba, Australia, by Billard Leece and SJB Architects
Casba, Australia, by Billard Leece and SJB ArchitectsArranged around a courtyard, the curving blocks of this mixed-use development in Sydney negotiate a significant change in ground level and a risk of flooding. Offices and shops occupy the lower levels, while apartment are located on the floors above.
Higher education and research: Toho Gakuen School of Music, Tokyo, Japan, by Nikken Sekkei
Toho Gakuen School of Music, Tokyo, Japan, by Nikken SekkeiJapanese firm Nikken Sekkei describes the layout of rooms at this Tokyo music college as being "aligned along a central corridor in a jail-like manner". It comprises a series of concrete volumes, lined internally with oak to create appropriate acoustics.
Office: Box Office, Melbourne, Australia, by Cox Architecture
Box Office, Melbourne, Australia, by Cox ArchitectureAn "open box" forms the centre of Cox Architecture's own office in Melbourne, creating a tiered events space used for presentations, meetings and social events. Two work zones are located at the rear, and staff can pick and choose where they want to sit.
Housing: The Interlace, Singapore, by Buro Ole Scheeren
The Interlace, Singapore, by Buro Ole ScheerenHorizontal buildings are stacked diagonally across one another to frame terraces, gardens and plazas at The Interlace in Singapore, designed by architect Ole Scheeren before he left Dutch firm OMA. Conceived as a "vertical village", it is made up of 31 apartment buildings that create a honeycomb plan.
Shopping: Sino-Ocean Taikoo Li Chengdu, Chengdu, China, by The Oval Partnership
Sino-Ocean Taikoo Li Chengdu, Chengdu, China, by The Oval PartnershipThe Oval Partnership planned this shopping centre around an ancient temple in Chengdu. As well as retail units, it includes teahouses and gardens, divided up by narrow lanes and streets reminiscent of China's traditional hutongs.
Display: Brazilian Pavilion at Expo Milan 2015, Milan, Italy by Studio Arthur Casas and Atelier Marko Brajovićs
Brazilian Pavilion at Expo Milan 2015, Milan, Italy by Studio Arthur Casas and Atelier Marko BrajovićsClimbing frame met bouncy castle inside Brazil's Expo pavilion, where Studio Arthur Casas and Atelier Marko Brajović suspended a huge rope canopy over a garden. Visitors were invited to clamber over the expansive temporary landscape, and it gently flexed under the weight of footsteps.
Future Projects:
» Infrastructure: Cukurova Regional Airport Complex, Adana, Turkey, by Emre Arolat Architects» Masterplanning: Development Concept for the Historic Centre of Kalingrad, Russia, by Studio 44 Architects» House: Issa Grotto/Hill House, Vis, Croatia, by Proarh» Office: Reservoir, Rajasthan, India, by Sanjay Puri Architects» Health: Al Maha Centre for Children and Young Adults, Doha, Qatar, by HDR Rice Daubney» Leisure-led development: London Olympic Stadium Transformation, London, United Kingdom, by Populous» Culture: Museum of Painting and Sculpture, Istanbul, Turkey, by Emre Arolat Architects
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Inside Festival interior design awards 2015 day one winners announced

Inside Festival 2015: a converted stable home featuring a treehouse-like bedroom and a hotel featuring a sculptural timber entrance are among the first category winners at this year's Inside Festival awards (+ slideshow).
Revealed today as part of the Inside World Festival of Interiors in Singapore, the winners also include a Bangkok restaurant and a Singapore lifestyle store. Five more winners will be revealed tomorrow, and each category winner will be put forward for the title World Interior of the Year, which will be selected on Friday.
Dezeen is media partner for the Inside Festival 2015. The event continues at the Marina Bay Sands hotel and conference centre in Singapore until 6 November, coinciding with the World Architecture Festival.
Here are the details of today's four winning interior projects:
Hotels: Hotel Hotel Ground Floor Interior, Canberra, Australia, by March Studio

Australian office March Studio used thousands of pieces of recycled wood to create a sculptural entrance for Canberra's Hotel Hotel, which is part of a mixed-used development in the city's arts and culture precinct. Supported by steel rods that run from floor to ceiling, the timber creates irregular patterns through the space.
Bars and restaurants: Vivarium, Bangkok, Thailand, by Hypothesis

An converted warehouse is the setting for this Asian-fusion restaurant by Thai studio Hypothesis. The architects reused elements from around the site, including iron doors, steel pipes, and tree roots. They combined these with new red-painted elements, designed to reference the colouring of the masala spice, and hanging plants.
Residential: Tree House, Rome, Italy, by MdAA Architetti Associati

MdAA Architetti Associati transformed what was left of an old stable to create this home for a pair of fashion designers in Rome. To give the couple a private bedroom without compromising the open-plan nature of the space, the architects created a treehouse-like room floating above the ground floor, featuring a stained-glass window facing up to the sky.
Retail: KKi Sweets and the Little Drom Store, Singapore, by Produce Workshop

Located inside Singapore's School of the Arts, this project involved creating two shops – one selling art and design products, and one offering a mix of sweet treats and homeware. Produce Workshop's design involved creating a porous trellis, which integrates tables and shelves.
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Peter Cook pans “awful” redevelopment of King’s Cross

World Architecture Festival 2015: architect Peter Cook has attacked the redevelopment of King's Cross in London, describing the huge regeneration scheme as "boring, unbelievable, really dour".
Speaking on the first day of the World Architecture Festival in Singapore, Cook told the audience he was "embarrassed" by the 67-acre redevelopment. "It's awful, boring, boring stuff," he said.
After his lecture, he told Dezeen that he found the new architecture at King's Cross "literally embarrassing" and said the buildings resembled "old biscuits".
The campus for Central Saint Martins by Stanton Williams is one of the main anchors for the King's Cross development"I can't believe it," he said. "It’s so dull, it’s like old biscuits lined up. Terrible. It’s so boring, unbelievable, really dour. It’s so worthy, like somebody wearing a sensible Harris Tweed suit but not a very stylish one. It’s awful."
Cook said the project presented a poor impression of London to visitors arriving in London on Eurostar train services, which pass through the site.
"This is London!" Cook exclaimed. "This is f*cking London. You come in from Paris and that’s the first thing you see."
Maccreanor Lavington's Roseberry Mansions apartment block is one of a number of brick buildings springing up around the King's Cross siteThe King's Cross redevelopment involves transforming former railway lands north of the King's Cross and St Pancras stations into a new urban quarter.
The project will involve the construction of 50 new buildings, 20 new streets, 10 new parks and squares and 2,00o homes by 2016, according to the website.

Related story: "London's new typology: the tasteful modernist non-dom investment"Developer Argent appointed architects Allies and Morrison and Porphyrios Associates to draw up a masterplan for the site, which won planning permission in 2006.
Buildings completed on the site so far include the new campus for Central St Martins art and design school designed by Stanton Williams, apartment blocks by David Chipperfield and Maccreanor Lavington, an office building by Allies and Morrison, student housing by Glenn Howells, social housing by PRP and a freshwater bathing pond.
Thomas Heatherwick recently revealed a design to turn the Victorian coal yards at King's Cross into a shopping centreThomas Heatherwick also recently revealed an image of his design for a shopping centre to be built in a former Victorian coal yard, and is also working on plans for a new headquarters for Google nearby. King's Cross rail and underground station was recently revamped by John McAslan, and St Pancras.
Cook was speaking on the first day of this year's WAF, which is taking place this week at the Marina Bay Sands convention centre in Singapore.
Moshe Safdie's Marina Bay Sands development in Singapore was among the projects praised as "heroic" by Peter Cook in his lectureIn his lecture, Cook praised recent architecture in Singapore and described landmark buildings including Moshe Safdie's Marina Bay Sands hotel and Wilkinson Eyre's conservatories at Gardens by the Bay as "heroic".
"Audiences such as us have got bored with the word 'iconic'," he said. "So I’m using 'heroic'."
Cook said that King's Cross didn't need to feature similar "high-jinks" architecture but said: "It seems to be set on being grey and grim. It could be elegant architecture."
The School of Architecture at Bond University, Australia, by Peter Cook's firm CRAB studioCook, 79, was a member of influential 1960s architecture group Archigram and is now co-director of Crab Studio, which he founded with Gavin Robotham in 2006. He won the RIBA Gold Medal in 2004 and was knighted for services to architecture in 2007.
Crab Studio projects include the Abedian School of Architecture at Bond University in Queensland, Australia. The building won the Health and Education category at last year's Inside Festival, which was held in Singapore alongside WAF 2014.
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Neri&Hu installs continuous clothing rail through Comme Moi flagship store

Chinese studio Neri&Hu has designed the interior of fashion brand Comme Moi's first flagship store, installing custom-made metal rails and cage-like cabinets (+ slideshow).

Located in Shanghai's Donghu Hotel, an Art Deco building completed in 1925, the store is laid out as a series of four sequential chambers, linked through continuous design elements.

"The retail space is integrated with a continuous rail that threads through the individual rooms while forming the armature for custom designed hanging cabinets," said the architects.

A grey-coloured terrazzo floor was also installed to unify the store's four sections, and occasionally extrudes upwards to form seating areas and a reception counter.

Since its completion in the early 20th century, the building has undergone multiple renovations and changes in use – something the architects wished to highlight.

Related story: Linehouse installs diagonal partitions and mirrored panels in a Shanghai boutiqueMirrors and metal-mesh cabinets hanging from gold-coloured railings were added to contrast with the existing architectural materials.

Custom-made display tables in the centre of the store are made from the same material as the storage cupboards, with wooden shelves.

"These showcase cabinets stand out within the historic architectural surroundings to present the fashion pieces in a striking new light," said the studio.

Fitting rooms are hidden away behind white linen curtains and scalloped-glass doors, and open out onto a runway-like corridor with a glass wall.

The terrazzo flooring continues outside the store, where the architects have added a glass display case to house a mannequin.

Earlier this year, Neri&Hu added bamboo-lined booths and green glass lampshades to a Shanghai bar and installed its vision for the home of the future at the imm Cologne trade fair.

The Chinese studio, founded by architects Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu, also designed a wooden cabinet with seven objects to represent the seven deadly sins that was shown during Milan design week 2015.
Photography is by Dirk Weiblen.

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Concrete home by Takuro Yamamoto Architects overlooks an allotment and woods near Tokyo

A bright orange wall screens a staircase that leads to a bathroom on top of this concrete house in Tokyo by Takuro Yamamoto Architects (+ slideshow).

The family house, named H-Orange, sits on a narrow plot between another home and the perimeter wall of a small field filled with allotments.
To provide a degree of privacy for the residents, the Tokyo firm directed a windowless wall towards the neighbouring building and arranged openings primarily along its western side.

Glazed living spaces are positioned on the first floor of the building to benefit from views over the top of the brick perimeter wall to the allotments and woods beyond.

Like the firm's Little House Big Terrace, H-Orange features a large patio that supplies the family with private outdoor space on the first floor. This takes the form of an L-shaped terrace that wraps around the exposed-concrete lounge and dining area.

"To emphasise the scene of the woods and big blue sky above the field, the west side of the first floor is widely opened with horizontal windows, and a large open-air terrace," explained the studio.

Related story: White Cave House by Takuro Yamamoto Architects"But the view of the field itself is not really beautiful because it was insensitively walled by bricks and these walls seemed to give closed feeling of the place."

The solution was to add a 12-metre-long tilted beam along the front of the terrace, blocking views of the offending wall below and also increasing the privacy of the house.

The beam tilts outwards, with a long narrow gap along the base to maximise the amount of natural light that reaches the terrace.

"An ordinary vertical low wall is enough for these purposes, but such kind of wall would make the open-air terrace dark and harm the spacious feeling," said the architects. "The "tilt beam" is lifted slightly above the floor to form a slit of light and tilted outwards to make the surface of the beam brighter with sunshine."

"The height of the 'tilt beam' was carefully decided to cut off the lower half of the scene from inside, and so the views from the terrace and the living room consist only of pure blue sky and green woods, and the open-air feeling of the house is emphasised."

A timber staircase that links the ground floor garage and bedrooms with the lounge and bathroom above is hidden behind a slab of orange-painted concrete.

The stairs rise through an atrium above the lounge to the bathroom, which is located on a small second storey. Here, picture windows and skylights are positioned to take advantage of the views.
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Jump Studios completes Google co-working space in former Madrid battery factory

London firm Jump Studios has renovated a 19th-century battery factory in Madrid to create the sixth Google Campus – a co-working space for entrepreneurs and start-up companies.
Jump Studios designed the first Google Campus London in 2012, and were asked to create a similar space in the Spanish capital city that would support 7,000 members and 50 resident start-up companies.

"The consideration Google has for its Campus members needed to be mirrored in an environment that enables and fosters effective communication with clients and co-workers in both physical and virtual formats," said Jump Studios associate Michelle Nicholls. "No two start-ups are the same and this is acknowledged in our design by the creation of a variety of formal and informal spaces."

The studio was asked to completely overhaul an industrial brick building, which originally served as a battery factory. The first commercially-viable batteries were invented and refined during the first half of the 19th century, and were the main source of electricity until the arrival of the electrical grid allowed for more efficient distribution of power.

The studio installed a new entrance on the south side of the five-storey building to increase circulation space and allow access to an outdoor public plaza.

Visitors enter the building through the campus café, where lounge seating and black-tiled booths are set over two floors. Lights encased within a red steel cage hang above a seven-metre-long meeting table.

Related story: Robots will be used to construct BIG and Heatherwick's Google HQA triple-height auditorium situated on the north side of the campus has the capacity to seat 200 people for large presentations. A curtain can be drawn across the length of the room to create a smaller space for more intimate meetings.

Large west-facing windows allow natural light to flood the space, and original steel ceiling beams have been left in place to give a nod to the building's previous industrial purpose.

"Our design delivers a juxtaposition between the old and the new," said Nicholls. "History merges with a contemporary style to present a unique environment for Google's members."

Meeting rooms across the the second and third floors of Campus Madrid have each been decorated in a colour palette inspired by famous Spanish painters including Picasso and Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida.

Campus Madrid is the sixth addition to Google's community hubs initiative that aims to bring together startup companies and entrepreneurs.

Jump Studios previously worked with Google to design the interior of their Madrid offices, tucking colour-coded meeting rooms and private workspaces behind wooden arches.

Before merging with architecture and design practice Populous in June 2015, the London-based firm designed the interior for a Soho juice bar and created an office space for communications group Engine.
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It Met uses modular panels to create flexible workspace for Buenos Aires ad agency

Argentinian studio It Met used corrugated plastic and sheets of wood to partition the workspaces of this advertising agency in Buenos Aires.

Located within a three-storey building that has open-plan floors, the space is the headquarters of international design and advertising agency Circus, which also has offices in Madrid, Mexico and Los Angeles.

The It Met team wanted to adapt the building to better suit the nature of the company, and decided to create versatile spaces through the use of translucent, opaque and soundproof panels.

"We wanted to create a system that responds to different space needs," architect Maxi Ciovich told Dezeen. "We believe in the concept of modular architecture that takes shape through the union of different parts."

Related story: KAMP Arhitektid creates tree-filled office within former Soviet-era factoryTen types of panel in different materials and coatings were used to designate meeting rooms, desk spaces and recreational areas. Guatambu – a yellow-toned maple-like wood – was used to form the structural frame between each enclosure.

"There are 10 different kinds of panels, and all of them were designed under the same concept," said Ciovich. "There is a rack made from Guatambu wood that gives the panel its structural integrity, and different coatings define the panel's use."
The soundproof panels were arranged to form quiet meeting rooms, while the other areas are designed to be multi-functional.

The studio created pieces of self-assembly furniture to compliment the partitions through similar use of materials. These included laminate-topped desks with metal trestle legs and deckchair-like wooden seats.

"We are are an architecture and design studio, so the furniture pieces that we develop are always directed to solve or to complement our architecture spaces," said Ciovich. "In this case, we designed a set of furniture that relates to the architecture project by using the same materials and assembly concept. Every piece is a do-it-yourself assembly piece of furniture."

Architects are increasingly designing unconventional offices spaces, including KAMP Arhitektid's angular wooden volume within a former factory in Estonia, and a trio of boxy timber meeting spaces that can be exited down a pale blue slide inside a Parisian office block.

Other recently-completed projects in Buenos Aires include a cafe with wooden swings instead of seats, and a pair of houses with a robust concrete facade designed to protect them from noise.
Photography is by Javier Agustín Rojas.
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