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Magazine 1+2/2013

Transparent and Translucent

Transparent and Translucent

Photo: Shinkenchiku-sha, J-Tokyo

“We delight in the mere sight of the delicate glow of fading rays clinging to the surface of a dusky wall, there to live out what little life remains to them. We never tire of the sight, for to us this pale glow and these dim shadows far surpass any ornament.” This is how Tanizaki Jun’ichir? – in his essay “In Praise of Shadows” – describes the effect that comes about when, in a traditional Japanese house, light filtered by the rice paper windows is cast on the ochre walls. This fractured transparency that the diaphanous surfaces – which allow no view inward or outward – bestow, has a long tradition in Japan. So it comes as no surprise that this nation in the Far East continues to put forth unconventional, translucent architectural solutions. Kengo Kuma, for example, developed a double-skin exterior envelope made of translucent membranes – between which air circulates – for an experimental house on Hokkaido. A residence in Hiroshima, on the other hand, has a wall of glass block – threaded on stainless steel rods – to shield it from the busy boulevard. The wall makes possible a fascinating play of light and shadow, even including variegated colours. A small office building in the Spanish city of León wears its curved expanded metal shell like an item of clothing that not only protects, but also cloaks it. Thanks to the superimpositions, differing degrees of transparency are achieved. Aside from functioning as sun shading, the metal skin also incorporates an enlarged version of the firm’s logo. These three examples – and the five others – in this edition demonstrate how translucence can be attained using a large palette of materials or measures, but also, that the transition from “seeing through” to “shining through” is often seamless. Corresponding to its theme “Transparent und Translucent” this edition contains projects such as the Poetry Foundation in Chicago, which attains its distinctive character above all through the use of expansive glazing. In our Technology section, Frank Kaltenbach and Roland Pawlitschko report on the products that currently supply the greatest possible transparency and the most increments of translucence. They also provide a survey of current research projects.

Transparent and Translucent

Photo: Michael Heinrich, D–Munich

Transparent and Translucent

Photo: Steve Hall/Hedrich Blessing, USA–Chicago

DETAIL 1+2/2013 - Transparent and Translucent

Contents (PDF)

03.01.2013
Translations of issue 1/2013
French (328,87 KB)
Italian (230,37 KB)
Inspirations from issue 1/2013

Discussion: Translucent Gems for India - An Interview with Markus Heinsdorff

The events celebrating the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between India and Germany were brought to a close in January ...

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SO-IL's Kukje Gallery in Seoul

Since its establishment 30 years ago, Kukje Gallery has become one of Seoul’s most important art venues. In April 2012, ...

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Extension of a Residential Home in Munich

Depending on the type and angle of light present, as well as the position of the louvers, this gabled facade ...

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DETAIL Readers' Prize 2012 - Platform of Arts and Creativity Guimarães, Portugal

Pitágoras Architectos designed the new Platform of Arts and Creativity for its hometown north of Porto. Guimarães was European Capital ...

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Même Experimental House in Taiki

Même, a prototype with a surface area of about 80 m2, is located on the grounds of a research institute ...

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Research and Development Centre in Dogern

For decades the furniture manufacturer Sedus Stoll has sought to concentrate its operations in Degern. In 2003 a high-bay warehouse ...

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Bank Building in Copenhagen

From the onset, the design team called this project Crystal, and the name has stayed with the building. This solitaire, ...

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Restaurant Extension in Olot

RCR is based in Olot, a small city in northeast Catalonia. It is here that, years ago, their working relationship ...

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Residence in Hiroshima

Hiroshima’s centre straddles the delta of the Ōta River, and this three-storey townhouse is located near one of its many ...

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Pharmaceutical Plant in Léon

Simple means were employed to great effect to give this building for a Spanish bio-pharmaceutical company street presence. The five ...

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Poetry Foundation in Chicago

The Poetry Foundation is one of the world’s largest independent, non-profit literary organisations. Its new home is a build­ing in ...

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Mixed-use Hall in Munich

This new commercial building situated on a narrow strip between a busy thoroughfare and the train tracks connecting Munich to ...

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Technology: Transparency, Translucence - Developments in Construction Materials

To this day, traditional Japanese sliding partitions made of rice paper have retained their enigmatic charm. In Western cultures, since ...

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Topics from issue 1/2013
Architecture

Vitalising Ensemble: Cultural Centre in Guimarães

S. 20

The nomination of Guimarães, situated north of Porto in the province of Braga, as European Capital of Culture 2012 prompted ...

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Architecture

Monolithic Transparency: Research and Development Centre in Dogern

S. 32

The primary design feature of the new research centre of the office furniture manufacturer Sedus Stoll is a textile skin ...

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Architecture

Like music: Interview with the Portuguese architects' office Pitágoras

S. 20

Regional speciality: Awarded the DETAIL Reader Prize, the "Platform of Arts and Creativity" in Guimarães, Portugal, owes its character and ...

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