In the world of architecture, libraries are among the very special buildings because they require the architect to design not only for humans but also for BOOKS! and their very special requirements in terms of natural light and the overall building conditions (acoustics, temperatures, humidity, etc). There is something so beautiful about the combination of books, natural light and human occupied space that creates a spirit to every library ( libraries with great design off course) . Now my love for library designs is combined with my admiration for Dutch designers MVRDV. This group of designers are without doubt one of the current pioneers in architecture with their SIMPLE design for efficient functionality. Their latest work “The Book Mountain” is a great example of my point about this firm. First of all, I think for the first time, I see a library that has centralized the stack of books and arranged everything else around it. The decision of the architects for this arrangement is definitely based on the context of the building. The adjacent buildings of the library are mainly the traditional brick buildings with pitched roofs and the architects have taken advantage of these rigid and bold buildings by literally taking their silhouettes and turn them into a new typology. This has resulted in a building with solid brick base topped by a glass pyramid which has a “mountain” of books in its heart. The transparency through the pyramid into the books creates a very tempting feeling to every passerby inviting them for a visit to the library. I think the response to the context, and attention to the arrangement of different functions in the building is a genius act and must be admired. Please do not hesitate to read more about further details on the project here.
You cannot be an architect not knowing the legendary Modern architect LE CORBUSIER. He is one of the masterminds behind a movement in architecture that changed not only architecture as a profession but also architecture and its responsibility to humanity (MODERNISM).In simple words what LE CORBUSIER and his fellow Modern architects did was to bring architectural design to our houses so that we can also enjoy benefits of a well designed space.Before the Modern movement, architecture belonged to the higher classes of society and only super rich people could afford architectural design while people like CORBUSIER introduced or invented “simplicity” in architecture that was functional and beautiful beside being affordable by the middle class. Sometimes the Modernist architects are criticized for their philosophy of “simplicity” and “form following function” but I really believe the contribution they had to humanity is one of a kind and can never be criticized. Their “vision of architecture for all” is the biggest lesson I learnt from them as an architect and I would be posting more about this vision hopefully in near future. For now, I want to commemorate LE CORBUSIER by displaying some of his work as well as his rare photos in color (we have always seen LE CORBUSIER as the man in black and white).
I love the design of the Nolitan hotel by New York based architects Grywinsky + Pons. Located on a corner site, the architecture emphasizes the dynamics of the site by the solid/void relationship on the facade. The dynamics and simplicity of the exterior continues to the interior that are full of life and energy. I think the attention to detail and the connection of the exterior/interior makes this project very successful.
I was really amazed when I came across Wendy; a temporary urban installment at Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1 in New York. The incredibly talented young designers of the project, HWKN (Hollwich-Kushner) aim to push the boundries of architecture by introducing a structure that is ecologically and socially friendly. Wendy is setup inside a scaffolding with streched arms made of a “fabric treated with a ground breaking titania nanofilm to neutralize airborne pollutants”. During summer 2012 Wnedy would clean” the air to an equivalent of taking 260 cars off the road.” Beside cleaning air, the arms of Wendy would shoot out cool air, water and music while creating shade for the visitors during the summer.
Structures like this truly define what architecture should be in our time; beside the typical functions, architecture should address ecological and social needs of the modern communities. Another great characteristic is being temporary; a structure that responds to needs of the user during a specific season and after that it could be easily removed and replaced by another structure that functions according to the needs of the users. Such structures would bring a great deal of energy and life to the urban areas with their visual aesthetics as well; something that changes seasonally and renews the face of the city every time.
This project is really special to me because it is very similar to my fifth year final project. Like Wendy, my project also explored the possibility of installing temporary urban structures suspended inside scaffoldings. My project aimed to link existing buildings while offering temporary activities to the users. You can read more about my own project here (http://www.behance.net/gallery/Bani-Yas-Scaf-uilding/1416777)
I have been planning to post about Al Hamra Tower in Kuwait, for so long because it is THE ONE SKYSCRAPER I truly appreciate for its design. The 412m tower was designed by SOM (www.som.com) to be an icon of architecture for Kuwait city. The form is created by cutting out pieces of floor plates from the south wall as the tower rises; the negative space aims to maximize the views on the south façade while minimizing sun exposure and heat gain. The south façade covered in stone features pattern of small scale cut-outs (windows), typical of the traditional Islamic architecture. For me the color of the stone and the pattern of the windows on the south is the IDENTITY of this tower connecting so amazingly to its context.This beautiful symbol of the traditional middle eastern architecture, is wrapped by a contemporary glass facade from the north, exhibiting the clash of the present and the past. There has been a serious competition among the Arab countries of the Persian Gulf over the construction of elegant towers as icons of the cities. Most of the projects are glass towers which scream out their irrelevance to context. However I think SOM has done a fantastic job defining the very sublime connection of a tower with the cities of the desert. I have posted some samples of traditional middle eastern architecture in order to show the connection.