Beautiful London Architecture

Open House London has officially released the list of over 800 buildings open to the public this fall. This year, a range of exciting architecture is featured, including the new US Embassy by KieranTimberlake, Maggie’s Barts by Steven Holl Architects, and Bloomberg European Headquarters by Foster + Partners, the world’s most sustainable office building. Here is a must-see list of buildings to discover.

MaggiesMAGGIE BARTS
Maggie’s Centers are unique, welcoming and uplifting places with qualified staff on hand to provide free practical, emotional and social support for people with cancer, their families and friends. Maggie’s Centers are designed to feel more like a home than a hospital, with no reception desk, no signs on the wall, no name badges and a big kitchen table at their heart. This approach supports the informal relationships between staff and visitors, and is an important part of the unique support they offer.

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U.S. EMBASSY
The new U.S. Embassy, by KieranTimberlake, in Nine Elms reflects the best of modern design, incorporates the latest in energy-efficient building techniques, and celebrates the values of freedom and democracy. The Nine Elms district, a South Bank industrial zone under intense redevelopment, is a unique setting for the new Embassy. The Embassy stands at the center of this burgeoning area of London, with a public park containing a pond, walkways, seating, and landscape along its edges. Curving walkways continue into the interior of the building with gardens on each floor that extend the spiraling movement upward.

Kieran TimberlakeKieran TimberlakeKieran Timberlake has completed work on the US Embassy in London, a glass cube swathed in shimmering sails of plastic that is set on a plinth and surrounded by a moat-like pond on the edge of the River Thames.

The building, which replaces the previous Eero Saarinen-designed address in Mayfair, has been engineered to balance impenetrable security standards with a visual language of openness. The 12-story cube has a facade of laminated glazing enveloped on two sides with a transparent film of ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE), the same type of plastic use for the bio-domes in the UK’s Eden Project.

american-embassy--timberlake-col_16american-embassy-imberlake-hero_b-1704x959The “transparent crystalline cube” is intended to symbolize “transparency, openness, and equality”. The unusual form of the building’s facade is designed to minimize solar gain and glare while still allowing natural light in. The reflective facade shifts in color according to the weather and the position of the sun.

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ROYAL ACADEMY OF MUSIC – THEATER AND RECITAL HALL
The Royal Academy of Music’s Theatre and new Recital Hall project has created two distinct, outstanding performance spaces for Britain’s oldest conservatory. Designed for both opera and musical theatre productions, The Susie Sainsbury Theater sits at the heart of the Academy. Inspired by the curved shapes of string instruments, the 309-seat cherry-lined Theater has been acoustically refined to deliver excellent sound qualities. Within the old concrete walls, the Theater incorporates 40% more seating than previously through the addition of a balcony, as well as a larger orchestra pit, a stage wing and a fly tower. All seats have unimpeded views of the stage, while the larger orchestra pit allows for an expanded repertoire choice, from early to modern opera and musical theatre.

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BLOOMBERG EUROPEAN HEADQUARTERS
Bloomberg’s European Headquarters is the world’s most sustainable office building. Home to the financial technology and information company’s 4,000 London-based employees, its unique design promotes collaboration and innovation. In its form, massing and materials, the building’s exterior is respectful of its historic setting – a natural extension of the City that will endure and improve the surrounding public realm. Inside, its dynamic, contemporary interior is a highly specific response to the global financial information and technology company’s needs and embodies the organizations core values of transparency, openness and collaboration. Above all, the building sets a new standard in sustainable office design, with a BREEAM Outstanding rating of 98.5% – the highest design-stage score ever achieved by any major office development. The development uses 70% less water and 35% less energy than a typical office building.

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Beautiful Snarkitecture

10 Years of Snarkitecture
SNARKITECTURE PROJECT IS ABOUT OPENING UP THE POSSIBILITY, LEAVING THINGS AS OPEN QUESTIONS FOR PEOPLE THAT ARE COMING TO VISIT IT. THERE’S NOT NECESSARILY ANY PRESCRIBED MEANING — TO SAY IT’S ABOUT THIS OR ABOUT THAT — BUT HOPEFULLY, IT ALLOWS YOU TO WONDER.

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Perched on a quartz topped column, beneath the crumbling, paint peeled dome of an 18th Century palazzo in Milan, Alex Mustonen is thinking about his legacy. Or rather, the legacy of his design firm, Snarkitecture, whose 2018 has been a banner year. They’ve celebrated their 10 year anniversary, published their first monograph with Phaidon, and have plans to mount a career spanning retrospective at Washington DC’s National Building Museum, opening this Fourth of July.

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The moody Italian palace doesn’t just serve as a dramatic backdrop for ponderous self reflection. The trio, Mustonen, Daniel Arsham, and Benjamin Porto, have just installed their latest Salone del Mobile project there, a collaboration with quartz manufacturer Caesarstone, that explores water in its various states. It takes the shape of an ethereal amphitheater circling a terraced fountain of quartz. On top, planetary spheres of ice drift and creak, melting into the running water only to rise again as steam. It’s the latest in a sprawling roster of projects — 75 of which are detailed in the book — that Snarkitecture have dreamed into life during their decade-long tenure. They’ve morphed museums into massive, giggling ball pits (The Beach, ongoing), choreographed a ballet of over sized balloons during a gala at the New Museum, and filled the Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York entirely with pure white styrofoam, which they then invited viewers to watch as they excavated it with chisels and icepicks

 

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It’s often said the core genius of Snarkitecture’s projects are their simplicity. For a union that formed in the cerebral confines of New York’s Cooper Union (Mustonen, in architecture and Arsham, art, attended at the same time, while Porto joined the firm later on), their installations and interiors strike straight to the heart of what brings us the purest kinds of joy. There’s an unabashedly innocent jubilation involved in doing a cannonball into a ball pit, marvelling at pirouetting balloons, or digging an endless hole to nowhere. In conceiving their much celebrated work, Snarkitecture are like children, having been gifted with the most expensive and high-tech of toys, instead choosing to make a fort from the box. Or, in their case, the packing foam.

Cereal sat down with partner Alex Mustonen to talk about the past ten years, plans for the future, and what’s inspiring them now.

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From Cereal

Beautiful Stahl House

Stahl House, completed in 13 months and costing $37,500, further demonstrated Pierre Koenig’s flair for working with industrial materials, particularly steel, glass and concrete.

Stahl-Landscape1-The image is instantly familiar; the house, all dramatic angles, concrete, steel and glass, perched indelibly above Los Angeles, with Hollywood’s lights resembling a circuit board below it. Inside, two women sit, stylish and relaxed, talking casually behind the monumental floor to ceiling glass walls. One of the world’s most iconic photographs, Julius Schulman’s Case Study 22 beautifully captures the optimism of 1950s Los Angeles, and the striking beauty of architect Pierre Koenig’s masterpiece, Stahl House. The classic L shaped pavilion, cantilevered above Hollywood on Woods Drive, was built in 1959 after being adopted into the Case Study Program, an experimental residential design initiative that commissioned architects to create model homes in the wake of the 1950s housing boom. Stahl House, also known as No. 22, was the wild one, conjured up by the man who purchased the plot of land at 1635 Woods Drive in 1954 for $13,500 and sealed the deal with a handshake. C H ‘Buck’ Stahl was a dreamer, who, along with his wife Carlotta, set about finding the right person to bring his vision for an innovative and thoroughly modern home to life.

Stahl-portrait1-chairstahl_portrait2-pool.jpgBuck was a former professional footballer who worked as a graphic designer and sign painter. He spent his first few years as a landowner hauling broken blocks of concrete to the site in attempt to improve its precarious foundation. He and Carlotta ferried their finds, load by load, back to Woods Drive in the back of Buck’s Cadillac, hopeful the reinforcements would prevent the land from sliding. Buck’s dreams for the house began to take shape over the following two years, and eventually, he made a model of the future Stahl House. His grand designs, however, were promptly rejected by several notable architects.

Stahl-Landscape2-view.jpgCarlotta recalled Buck continually telling prospective architects “I don’t care how you do it, there’s not going to be any walls in this wing.” Until they hired Pierre Koenig in 1957, an ambitious young architect determined to build on a site nobody would touch, it seemed unlikely the house would ever exist. Pierre described the process of building Stahl House as “trying to solve a problem – the client had champagne tastes and a beer budget.” He was interested in working with steel, and despite being warned away from it by his architecture instructors, possessed great aptitude for it. He’d experimented with a number of exposed glass and steel homes before he created Case Study 21, or The Bailey House in 1958 and 1959, and his skill for designing functional spaces with simplicity of form, abundant natural light, and elegant lines would eventually make him a master of modernism. Stahl House, completed in 13 months and costing 37,500 USD, further demonstrated Pierre’s flair for working with industrial materials, particularly steel, glass, and concrete. The project put him on the map as an architect with an incredible eye for balance, symmetry, and restraint. The 2,040 m² house was, as Buck insisted, built without walls in the main wing to allow for sweeping 270º views. Three sides of the building were made of plate glass, unheard of in the late 1950s, and deemed dangerous by engineers and architects. This design feature required Pierre to source the largest pieces of glass available for residential use at the time. With two bedrooms, two bathrooms, polished concrete floors, and a very famous swimming pool (a fixture in countless films and fashion editorials) Stahl House was an immediate mid century icon.

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Although there has been some dispute over Buck’s influence on the design in the years since he died in 2005 and Pierre Koenig’s death in 2004, some experts who have seen Buck’s original model agree that his concept informed the direction the Stahl House would finally take.

“I dismissed it as typical owner hubris at the time,” architect and writer Joseph Giovannini told the Los Angeles Times in 2009. “The gesture of the house cantilevering over the side of the hill into the distant view is clearly here in this model. But it is Pierre’s skill that elevated the idea into a masterpiece. This is one of the rare cases it seems that there is a shared authorship.”

Today, Stahl House is still owned by the Stahl family. Though it remains a magnet for film crews and photographers the world over, for Bruce Stahl, Buck and Carlotta’s son, who grew up there with his siblings, it was simply part of a typical, happy childhood. “We were a blue collar family living in a white collar house,” he said. “Nobody famous ever lived here.”

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Credits: Lucy Brook
Photos: Rick Poon

Beautiful Villa Savoye

As a monument to modernism, the building possesses a poetry and sensitivity full of idealism. The careful composition of living space and intention to harness natural light, not to mention the building’s iconic aesthetic, still define modern architecture.

villasavoye_landscapeThe Villa Savoye, built in 1929 in Poissy, a rural area outside Paris, was Le Corbusier’s answer to a French country house. Given relatively few constraints by the Savoye family, Le Corbusier designed a building to embody the architectural theory he had evolved in practice and in his book, Towards an Architecture 1923. He was inspired by both the classical forms of ancient Greek architecture and the modern technologies that were shaping the world such as automobiles, airplanes and ocean liners.

villasavoye_landscape2.jpgThis project was the last in a series of private homes known as the ‘white villas’ built by Le Corbusier and his cousin and partner Pierre Jeanneret, which introduced a new form of luxury in which space itself, and its capacity for leisure, were the valuable commodities.

Of these, The Villa Savoye perhaps best embodies Le Corbusier’s architectural manifesto, the five points of architecture. The first, pilotis – slender pillars which raise the building off the ground, opening up more space for gardens and cars, made possible the second, a façade free of its usual load bearing function. Walls were no longer supporting structures but ‘membranes.’ This allowed the unimpaired design of the third, an open plan interior, and the fourth, ribbon windows to flood the interior with maximum light and to illuminate it evenly. A sliding window system patented by Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret was intended to offer superior ventilation, as well as give access to the fifth, a flat roof which could serve as a terrace. A curved solarium crowns the structure, the brightest increment in the layered design. This symbiotic relationship of these five features gives some insight into what could otherwise be a somewhat alienating notion of Le Corbusier’s, the famous concept of a house as ‘a machine for living.’

villasavoye_landscape3-outdoor.jpgUnfortunately the Villa Savoye presented its residents with its own host of problems, despite its pioneering design. Each autumn, as the windows ushered in a warm vista of seasonal colour, the family would write repeatedly to Le Courbusier, begging him to make ‘habitable,’ what proved to be a damp and chilly building. They complained of ‘raining’ in the hall, on the ramp and in the bathroom. The loud drumming of rain on the bathroom skylight kept them awake at night, heat escaped through the long stretches of glazing and the heating system was both insufficient and a further cause of flooding.

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Much of this was perhaps due to the fact that the technology involved was not fully developed at the time. As a monument to Modernism, the building possesses a poetry and sensitivity full of idealism. The careful composition of living space and intention to harness natural light, not to mention the building’s iconic aesthetic, still define modern architecture. Nonetheless, the discomforts they had suffered ultimately led the Savoye family to decide against restoring the property after the 2nd World War, when it was seized by German forces. About to be demolished by the local authorities to make way for a school, the building was rescued by architects and academics including Le Corbusier himself. Now a museum, restored closely to its original state, Villa Savoye is one of 17 of Le Corbusier’s buildings declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Credit: readcereal.com/

Beautiful Amazing Kindergarten

Today, I present one of those projects that takes your breath away. It is designed by Emmanuelle Moreaux and it’s a beautiful kindergarten full of color, a stimulating environment where kids can let their imagination run free. Every child should be so lucky to go to school to attend a learning environment like this.

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I love the use of color, a common feature that runs throughout the space. The school, Creche Ropponmatsu, is located in a residential area in Fukuoka, Japan. Emmanuele Moreaux designed this crazy, whimsical project – color is common theme throughout many of her projects. The result is amazing. Emmanuelle designed the architecture, interior space, logos and graphical signage, with a vision to open a new kindergarten where children can grow up freely in mind and body. Running behind the colorful grove, this kindergarten gives opportunity for children to raise rich sensibility by feeling many colors wherever they are.

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THREE-DIMENSIONAL COLORS AND ELEMENTS
Color is apparent in every corner of the space. 22 colors were used in the 63m height trees on the façade. The branches appear to wrap the entire building, protecting it, perhaps, from the less colorful world outside. Collections of color jump out at one glance. On the facade, there are 22 colors used in 63 multi-colored trees of 4 m in height extend the branches rhythmically and wrap the building. While giving full-sized glass with a feeling of openness, by wrapping it with colorful trees, gives a sense of distance to the outside. Inside, 200 colorful boxes in 25 colors are lined up on the wall, where each one of them belongs to every child to stock their personal goods. Every time children use their own tools or get changed, they find and pick up the box of their color.

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The stairs which connect the 4 floors is also full of colors, 18 different tones in fact. This creates an environment where kids are surrounded by diversity inside, outside and in common zones. Stimulation with colors and shapes is crucial for kids at this age – experts claim that color helps kids to develop their sensitivity and individuality.

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DETAILS IN THE LOGO
Colorful trees on the façade have been also included in the logo, a perfect representation.

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Learn more about her colorful projects here 

Beautiful Googie Architecture

Union 76 Gas Station

The dramatic upward-curving roof is one of the most iconic examples
of Googie architecture that still stands today.

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What looks like a flying carpet anchored to the ground with pillars at
the intersection of Crescent Drive and Little Santa Monica Boulevard in
Los Angeles is actually a functional gas station. It’s also one of the most
iconic examples of Googie architecture in the world.

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The dramatic upward-curved canopy decorated with red square tiles was
originally designed in the 1960s by architect Gin Wong to be a part of the
city’s airport, but when that plan was changed, it ended up as a Union 76
gas station. When the fluorescent lights that follow the curve are turned on,
Jack Colker’s 76 station, as it is commonly known, goes from flying carpet
to embellished spaceship.

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It was completed in 1965, right around the time when the eye-catching
Googie style was extremely popular in California. Inspired by the SpaceAge,
fast cars, and jets, Googie style buildings contain steel, plastic, and neon,
twisted into crazy shapes and designs. Several of these whimsical creations
were demolished in the decades that followed but there are still handful of
them scattered around the Golden State.

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Atlas Obscura

Beautiful Old World Movie House

The Wonder Theatres were five giant, lavish movie palaces that opened around
New York City in 1929 and 1930. While cinemas were plentiful at the time,
the Wonder Theatres were a cut above the rest. Built as Loew’s flagship theatres,
the opulent venues were designed with all the fabulousness of the Jazz Age, and
went on to provide an escape into the fantasy of Hollywood and luxury
throughout the Great Depression and Second World War.

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The last of the Wonder Theatres to open was the Loew’s 175th Street Theatre,
today known as the United Palace Theater. It debuted on February 22, 1930, with showings of the films Their Own Desireand Pearls and vaudeville performances
starring Al Shaw and Sam Lee. The theater is a sight to behold. The lavish interior,
much of which is filigreed, features authentic Louis XV and XVI furnishings and
ornate chandeliers, while the blocky exterior is reminiscent of Mayan architecture.
Its eclectic architectural style, designed by Thomas W. Lamb, was described by
The New York Times as “Byzantine-Romanesque-Indo-Hindu-Sino-Moorish-Persian-Eclectic-Rococo-Deco” and a “kitchen sink masterpiece.” With more than
3,000 seats, it is still the fourth largest venue of its kind in Manhattan.

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Movie palaces eventually fell out of vogue, however, and the grand
Wonder Theatres fell into decline and abandon in the late 60s and
through the 70s. Today, two of the theaters (the Jersey Theatre in
Jersey City and Kings Theatre in Brooklyn) still serve as cinemas
and performance venues. Another two (the Paradise Theatre in the
Bronx and Valencia Theatre in Queens) became churches.
The United Palace Theater, located in upper Manhattan’s
Washington Heights, found a second life as a unique mix of both.

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The former Wonder Theatre still functions as a church, as well as a movie
house with a 50-foot screen, and a performance venue that has brought in
acts as diverse as Adele, Bob Dylan, Iggy Pop, and the Berlin Philharmonic.
It also serves as a cultural and community arts center, opened by Reverend
Ike’s son Xavier Eikerenkoetter, who now oversees operations of the
historic venue.

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Atlas Obscura