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Magazine 5/2013

Simple and Complex

Simple and Complex

Photo: Hisao Suzuki, E–Barcelona

They appear to merge with the landscape and the sky, perhaps nothing more than a figment of the imagination: the five softly shimmering prisms at the new branch of the Louvre in Lens, a city in northern France. Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of SANAA have created museum structures of incredible delicacy, yet free of sculptural indulgences. At first glance it is very simple architecture, all visible details are restrained. But arriving at such loftiness requires intricate tectonics, and, above all, a complex planning process. The transparent glass hall is stabilized by the two corners of the adjacent pavilions; there is no horizontal bracing within the entrance hall itself.

Li Xiaodong’s library in the Chinese town ­Liyuan also strikes us as refined and ­multi-faceted. Its skin of twigs and the accompanying play of light and shadow transform the interior into a sensual setting well suited to reading. The different levels, projections and landings create a spatial variety that seems complex.

These two ­examples are representative of how closely ­entwined the terms ‘simple’ and ‘complex’ are in all of the projects in this issue. Because a ­simple entity may make a very complex impression – and vice versa.

Simple and Complex

Photo: Javier Callejas Sevilla, E–Granada

Simple and Complex

Photo: Li Xiaodong, CHN–Beijing

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DETAIL 5/2013 - Simple and Complex

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01.05.2013
Translations of issue 5/2013
Italian (348,80 KB)
French (412,62 KB)
Inspirations from issue 5/2013

Discussion: Complexity in Simplicity Structure of the artistic image

We tend to think of simplicity and complexity as polar and exclusive opposites. When speaking of logical or mathematical phenomena, ...

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Discussion: Learning from Native American Architecture

During his brief London exile, Gottfried Semper had a commission to work on the Canadian contribution to the Great Exhibition ...

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Reports: Festival Hall Erl

The Inn Valley is one of the most important routes connecting northern and southern Europe. But recently completed projects are ...

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Library in Liyuan

This small, serene village in Huairou province is two hours by car from Beijing. By locating the building in a ...

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Louvre Lens

These shimmering boxes have been the centre of attention in Lens, an unadorned city in northern France, for the past few ...

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Government Building in Zamora

A glass box is contained within the one-metre-thick walls that follow the contours of a former cloister garden and are ...

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Architecture Firm’s Office and ­Exhibition Space in Shanghai

For their office, the architects selected a warehouse than had originally been used to store fabric. The compound – which ...

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Cabin in Helsinki

The Mökki, a small wooden house usually constructed of logs, is a mainstay of the Finnish summer. Painted in different ...

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Holiday Village near Castellbell i el Vilar

The camp, which accommodates ninety guests, belongs to a non-profit organisation and is located about 40 kilometres northwest of Barcelona. ...

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House in Warsaw

With a width ranging from only 72 to 132 cm, this inhabitable artwork is an homage to the Israeli novelist ...

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House in Hiroshima

Surrounded by nature, this residence is aptly named nest. Although the components are subject to temperatures as low as 2 ...

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Residence in Collonges-sous-Salève

The design for a single-family home located south of Geneva in a small French village is based on a simple ...

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Technology: The Catalan Vault – A Historical ­Structural Principle with a Bright Future

Constructing vaults in brick was mastered by the Romans, but it evolved as time passed. The Catalan vaulting technique in ...

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Technology: A Lightweight Structure and Delicate Facades for the Louvre in Lens

An international competition was held in 2005 for the new branch of the Louvre in Lens. At that very early ...

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Topics from issue 5/2013
Architecture

Fibre Cement Tangram Puzzle: Festival Hall by Delugan Meissl

S. 480

Like a wilful rock formation, the new Festspielhaus Erl by Delugan Meissl fits snugly into the Tyrolean landscape.

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Architecture

Integrative Transparency: Louvre-Lens by SANAA

S. 492

After the Centre Pompidou in Metz, the most frequently visited museum in the world has also opted for expansion in ...

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