JUL

Getting through it: Driving test centre Gennevilliers, France by A+Samueldelmas.

Ambulatory space.

Photos: Julian Lanoo.

I am not sure I have come across an archetype quite like this before. I think the building is a driving test and administration centre, but some of the functions seem to be about more general road safety education and test driving. It could just be that it is normal to mix these in Gennevilliers, France where the building is located. In my experience driving test and education centres are seldom purpose built, so when they are, what sort of architectural expression might be appropriate?

One key to understanding this might well be to remember how nervous you were when sitting for your driving test. It seems that the architect A+Samueldelmas remembered the experience and used it for their inspiration. Read more

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JUL

Cartoon creations. By Nathan Yong.

Front elevation.

Photos: Nathan Yong.

I wonder how many of us would recognize the name Bob Clampett and Fritz Freleng? I think most of us however have seen and been delighted with their work. Clampet, a cartoonist, created the character in 1942 that Freleng would develop into “Tweety” in 1947. The cartoon also starring Sylvester the Cat that won Warner Brothers its first Academy Award for the Best Short Subject (Cartoons).

Have you got the connection yet? Read more

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JUL

Industrial strength: ceramics by Gentle Giants.

Vases of industrial architectureThe appropriation of iconic building images to make novelty gifts goes back a surprisingly long time. But these vases are about something entirely different. They aim to explore the beauty of industrial architecture as a comment on the cultures that created it, and as a celebration of the architectural qualities of the structures in their own right. Read more

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JUL

2012 Stirling Prize short-list announced.

The Olympic Stadium, London by Populous

The RIBA has announced the 2012 Stirling Prize Shortlist. It is the most prestigious British Architecture prize and has helped to move architecture higher in the public’s consciousness in the same way that the Turner Prize did for contemporary British Art.

The shortlist has some interesting projects but there is a whiff of politics when the stadium is the only Olympic building to be featured. Architects of other Olympic projects will no doubt wait until the legacy stage has been completed before submitting their entries. Read more

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JUL

In nature it trusts: Adviata Way, Queensland, Australia by Paul Robertson.

A view of the courtyard.

Photos: Scott Burrows.

The Australian love of their landscapes is well known, and for good reason. So it should come as no surprise that Paul Robertson’s brief, for the house he was about to design, specified it must compliment the landscape and be sustainable. In principle, the house is an inner glass box, modulated and protected to respond to site views and climate, and an outer insect screen that is essential in helping to achieve cross ventilation without sacrificing its inhabitants to insect infestation.

The architecture makes no attempt vanish in to the landscape. The building is strategically placed on a small hill, producing substantial cantilevers as the slope falls away. There is no doubt however that the building belongs to its site. The choice of cladding, a rough-sawn, untreated locally sourced hardwood known as “Ironbark” ensures that in colour, tone and texture its presence harmonizes with its surroundings. Read more

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