A noise in the forest: The Ring House by Takei-Nabeshima-Architects (TNA)

perspective of house


The latest in a series of posts featuring small, architect-designed Japanese houses continues with the Ring House designed by Takei-Nabeshima-Architects (TNA) . Completed around 2005, it sits in a forest just outside Tokyo making a sublime country retreat.

The idea of making a tower in the forest can be found in several indigenous cultures from as far afield as New Zealand and North America. Usually these are totems such as carved tree trunks and are usually about making a cultural noise in the forest.

Creating a multi-storey house in the forest is an entirely different matter. The archetype is normally reserved for the city where space is a premium. Here however, the tower is used to create a sense of intimacy with the forest providing an opportunity to appreciate the trees, and in particular the canopy, in a way less commonly experienced. Read more

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Adult in education: The Lucie Aubrac School, Paris by Dietmar Feichtinger Architects

street precence

Photos: David Boureau

There appears to be a belief in many quarters that concern themselves with matters educational, that new schools must be brightly, even outlandishly coloured, as a prerequisite to being suitable for children.

I suspect that bright colour is sometimes used to mask the lack of architecture, budget and possibly even teaching. It seems to say that children must immediately like their school environment otherwise they might not want to learn, irrespective of the teaching. Gaudiness, as a substitute for architectural rigour, seems like a subliminal softening-up of expectations for the quality the public domain in adulthood.

But with the Lucie Aubrac School in Paris, lessons in architecture, are interesting, rigorous and serious.

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Our house! Set design for Buckingham Palace Jubilee celebrations, by Mark Fisher.

Council flats

Photo BBC

It always looked like being an equally miserable weekend for believers in republicanism, and contemporary design in the UK. For everybody else there has been a fantastic and lavish three day party celebrating the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

In the end the anti-monarchists went home wet, with their tail between their legs, but design fanatics, who kept faith to the bitter end, eventually basked in the fabulous glow emanating from Buckingham Palace, curtsey of the creative genius of Mark Fisher, the celebrated stage set designer. Read more

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The Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2012 by Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei

Concept images

Images: Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei

The Serpentine Gallery Pavilion has, in the last eleven years, become one of architecture’s hot dates in London. This year, four years after their collaboration on the Bird’s Nest stadium for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei again collaborate marking London’s hosting of the games. The syrupy poignancy of the timing is what it is, but what of the pavilion?

Such is the stature of the previous designers of the pavilion that the show has inevitably become something of a muscle act. The culmination of this approach, abdominals, pectorals, and all, was arguably the 2008 pavilion by Frank Gehry. The year after, Sejima & Ryue Nishizawa of SANAA, and again in 2011 Peter Zumthor, kicked back against the creation of loud, powerful, architectural objects with something more subtle entirely. This year’s pavilion continues in the vein of this critique with a rummage through the bowels of pavilions past. Read more

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Flying the flags: Puma stores by Plajer & Franz

changing room sign

Amsterdam. Photos Manuel Schl├╝ter

Three new flagship stores in Amsterdam, London and Munich designed by Plajer & Franz take a studio theme with mid grey walls and flashes of red, and add a dash of wit with a touch of cheek, to create stores that are both amusing and entertaining to design eyes, but with sufficient edge and irreverence to put them out there for the young adults who adore the products being sold. Read more

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