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House 3 / Pablo Senmartin

5 hours 58 min ago
© Gonzalo Viramonte
  • Architects: Pablo Senmartin
  • Location: Córdoba, Argentina
  • Design Team: Celi Barioglio, Lauret Ana Laura, Abril Molla
  • Area: 200.0 m2
  • Project Year: 2018
  • Photographs: Gonzalo Viramonte
  • Construction: Pablo Senmartin
  • Structure: Alberto Haulet
© Gonzalo Viramonte

"Categorical / right angle of the character, / of the spirit, of the heart. / I looked at that character / and I found myself "
The house is located in the western area of​​the city of Córdoba, in an urban neighborhood that has large green areas, such as La Costanera del Río Suquía, the Botanical Garden, the Arroyo El Infiernillo, and several ravines. In a minimum plot of 12.5m x 21m in front of Infiernillo, a 200m2 house was built for a family of young professionals.

© Gonzalo Viramonte Lower Floor Plan

The land had a natural slope of one meter ten (1.10m) descending towards the corner, given this characteristic it was decided to work on two levels, one yard (plus 1.50mts) and another access (plus 0.10mts). To give the projected level, the patio was filled with the material extracted from the excavation of the foundations. The house offers a sober image towards the corner, it is a reinforced concrete box, with openings in horizontal slits that in turn are protected by a curtain of poplars that prevents the direct arrival of the sun's rays.

© Gonzalo Viramonte First Level Plan

An independent structure of reinforced concrete was used to obtain free plants, 6x10mts by cassette reinforced concrete slabs that are visible in the ground floor. There are two accesses, one pedestrian and one vehicular, each located on different sides of the house. The ground floor offers to the corner, a homogeneous image with a metallic grid that acts as a visual filter, as a security element and as a base, which separates and frees the ground floor of the two upper levels, decreasing the visual impact of the triple height, contains the services and accesses.

© Gonzalo Viramonte

The austere and impermeable exterior image gives rise, when entering, to large transparent sliding surfaces that link the garage - barbecue area - games room with the patio, by means of a stairway. Towards the patio the house opens completely. The first floor contains the integrated kitchen and dining room areas. On the second floor there are two bedrooms and a desk, which can be transformed into a third bedroom, the divisions are made with light partitions to allow changes.

Section A

All levels are linked with a metal staircase of two sections that also leads to the accessible terrace All rooms have cross ventilation and the possibility of entering sunlight at different times of the day. A rotisserie on the ground floor and a home on the first floor, work as heating in winter through ducts that run through the house. The exit to the roof terrace works as a chimney that extracts the hot air in summer.

© Gonzalo Viramonte

Through a game of contrasts, the house becomes, therefore, an urban antihero, where the rough exterior and the fluid and changing interior coexist, with the challenge of reclaiming the urban neighborhood as a facilitator of the development of a contemporary architecture that in turn reinforce the identity of a characteristic area of ​​the city, and of solution to the problems of living that condition us todayThe project 4 corners establishes an exercise of reflection and action of value on the block and the urban corner of a neighborhood located in the periphery of the city of Córdoba, with contemporary problems such as insecurity and diverse architectural expressions.

© Gonzalo Viramonte

Snøhetta Selected to Design El Paso Children's Museum

6 hours 58 min ago
El Paso Children's Museum. Image Courtesy of Snøhetta

Snøhetta has been selected to design the El Paso Children’s Museum in the city’s Downtown Arts District. The team proposed a vaulted museum lifted of the ground, a design made to preserve public space and an interactive garden below. Snøhetta was one of three finalists alongside Koning Eizenberg Architecture and TEN Arquitectos, each invited to submit concepts for the museum. The Children’s Museum aims to welcome and engage children and families from El Paso, Ciudad Juarez, the American southwest, and the Mexican states of Chihuahua and Sonora.

El Paso Children's Museum. Image Courtesy of Snøhetta

The museum and El Paso Community Foundation were part of the selection process which included community engagement meetings, presentations, and a public vote with the three firms. The design will support the museum’s mission to celebrate the city’s multi-cultural community and create an enriching environment for collaboration, STEAM education cooperation, and critical thinking. Elaine Molinar, Partner and Managing Director of Snøhetta, said that, "We are thrilled to be the designers of the new children’s museum, to become part of the rich architectural legacy of downtown El Paso, and to contribute to its thriving future. As a native El Pasoan, the opportunity to create something of lasting impact for the city I grew up in is extremely rewarding.”

The El Paso Children’s Museum will be located at 201 W. Main between the El Paso Museum of History and the El Paso Museum of Art within the Downtown Arts District, an area that attracts more than 1.5 million local, national, and international visitors per year. The Arts District is home to the El Paso Museum of Art, the Museum of History, the only bilingual Holocaust museum in the country, artist lofts, award-winning performing arts venues, a MiLB ballpark, a convention center, public art, festivals, green spaces, and more.

El Paso Children's Museum. Image Courtesy of Snøhetta

“We are thrilled to be working with Snøhetta, and their exciting concept was the unanimous choice of the public vote, our architectural panel and the board of directors of the El Paso Children’s Museum,” said Dr. Paul Kortenaar, Founding Director of the El Paso Children’s Museum. “We recognize that the concept Snøhetta produced best embodied the innovation and cooperation that the El Paso Children’s Museum hopes to inspire.”

To manage this project, the City approved the creation of a Local Government Corporation. In 2018, City Council approved additional funds to construct a world-class museum in response to private-sector stakeholders pledging to double their contribution to $20 million. City Council will serve as the board for the corporation and manage the construction of the museum. 

The 60 million dollar project is currently under development with construction expected to be completed in late 2021.

Alcázar de Toledo / Sordo Madaleno Arquitectos

7 hours 58 min ago
© Jaime Navarro
  • Architects: Sordo Madaleno Arquitectos
  • Location: Palacio Versalles 237, Lomas de Reforma, 11930 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
  • Architectural Project: Sordo Madaleno Arquitectos
  • President: Javier Sordo Madaleno Bringas
  • Architecture Director: Javier Sordo Madaleno de Haro
  • Project Director: Fernando Sordo Madaleno de Haro
  • Design Manager: Alejandro Espejel
  • Design Team: Miguel Baranda Estrada, Iovany Fuentes Guerrero, David Pazos Tesorero
  • Area: 5471.0 m2
  • Project Year: 2018
  • Photographs: Jaime Navarro, HH Fotografía
  • Engineering Coordination: Ing. Marcos Hernández
  • Engineering Team: Ing. Héctor Ruiz Hernández
  • Construction Coordination: Renan Villareal Moguel
  • Media And Marketing: Rosalba Rojas, Daniela Cruz, Daniela Rosas
  • Interior Design: Sordo Madaleno Arquitectos
  • Interior Design Director: Nadia Borrás
  • Interior Design Team: Pilar Ocejo
  • Structural Engineering: Jaime Palacios
  • Electric Engineering: Cien Acres
  • Engineering A/C: IP Diseños
  • Systems Engineering And Special Installations: Innovative Designs
  • Hydrosanitary Engineering: IHS Instalaciones Hidráulicas y Sanitarias
  • Lighting Consultant: Vicente Laso
  • Audio & Video Consultant: Innovative Designs
  • Landscape Consultant: Gabayet Paisajistas
  • Security Consultant: Innovative Designs
  • Construction: Terraforma
  • Program: Residencial
  • Built Area: 5,471 m2
  • Site Area: 4,430 m2
© HH Fotografía

Text description provided by the architects. This luxury residential project enjoys a privileged location in Mexico City and peerless natural surroundings. The site has a very rugged topography so it was decided to integrate as far as possible the architecture to these natural formations, with the aim of respecting the environment and exploiting the extraordinary panoramic views of the city that can be seen between the vegetation.

The architectural concept is based on a linear element which folds itself over the topography in a right-angled zigzag shape. Each fold responds to different needs and contains the spaces for the five departments, with large terraces, amenities and parking. 

© Jaime Navarro

This resulting piece of four levels, as it adapts to the ground, is transformed into a structure element (like a wall or slab) or an open plaza or terrace. A solution that creates an elegant and subtle shape with a clear horizontality between the native vegetation of the context.

© HH Fotografía

The natural slope of the terrain made it necessary to develop the entrance and sequence of the building in a descending fashion. The vehicular access is located at the highest point, with a ramp that descends comfortably 5 meters to a reception area, visually rounded off by a large wooded area. This area is delimited by a large pool of water with fountains, and incorporates 10 parking spaces for visitors and the access ramp to the residents’ parking. The lobby is  sited at the center of this plaza in a transparent glass box with access to the vertical circulation nucleus for distribution to the various departments on the four levels below.

© Jaime Navarro © Jaime Navarro

Level -1 houses residents’ parking, with 29 parking spaces. On level -2 are departments 1 and 2, each measuring 500 m2. Level -3 contains the amenities, with pool, spa, gym, terrace, dressing rooms and bathrooms. Department 3 is on the same level, with a built area of 700 m2. On level -4, departments 4 and 5, also 500 m2 each, are located.

© Jaime Navarro

The distribution and requirements of each department  are different. The interior program of departments 1, 2 and 5 features: access hallway, living room, dining room, kitchen, guest bathroom, family room, three bedrooms with dressing room and bathroom, laundry room, maid’s quarters with bathroom, and spacious garden terraces with water features and wooden deck. Given its size, department 3 has additional spaces including a fourth bedroom with bathroom, a library, and wine cellar. Department 4 has only two bedrooms, but also features a wine cellar, playroom, and study.

© Jaime Navarro Sections © Jaime Navarro

The project design provides  for high ceilings, open- plan common areas  and large picture windows that offer spectacular panoramic views and provide natural ventilation and illumination for most spaces. The gardened spaces provide shade while capturing rainwater for storage, treatment and reuse in irrigation. The storage cistern is  located below level -4, taking advantage of a redundant space between the terrain and the structure of the building.

© Jaime Navarro

Microsoft is Looking for Architects to Partner With for the Future of Smart Cities

8 hours 58 min ago

Toronto-based WZMH Architects has been recruited into Microsoft’s global Internet of Things (IoT) Insiders Labs, a program aimed at “transforming how people, devices, and data interact in every sphere of life.” The firm’s Intelligent Structural Panel (ISP) offers a “plug and play infrastructure” allowing a wide range of spaces and devices to be adapted, remotely-controlled, and optimized.

WZMH is the first architecture firm to be accepted into the program, which takes applications from organizations developing IoT and/or AI solutions.

Intelligent Structural Panel. Image via WZMH via Canadian Architect

The Insider Labs program seeks out start-up and established firms to work alongside Microsoft experts from three bases in Redmond USA, Shenzhen China, and Munich Germany. Products are developed, prototyped, and tested for market commercialization, steering the course of how citizens will use future urban environments.

WZMH Architects, the firm behind Toronto’s CN Tower, have worked in collaboration with Quasar Consulting Group, Stephenson Engineering, and C3PoE in the development of the Intelligent Structural Panel. The installation of the panels throughout a building allows occupants to interact with sensors triggered by touch, sound, or other devices.

Data collected from the panels can be used by building operators to control lighting, heating, ventilation, elevators, shading, smoke alarms, security systems etc. For commercial viability, the team is developing the panel to be prefabricated, modular, cost-effective, and sustainable.

The Intelligent Structural Panel© technology reimagines the traditional approach to the design and build process, taking a critical look at how buildings are built from the inside out. Bringing smart technology directly into the fabric of the structure instead of applying it as an after thought will improve the quality of the building’s performance.
-Zenon Radewych, Principal, WZMH 

More information about the Microsoft Internet of Things Insiders Labs, including details on how to apply for the program, can be found here.

News via: Canadian Architect

Clear Rock Ranch / Lemmo Architecture and Design

9 hours 58 min ago
© Casey Dunn
  • Architects: Lemmo Architecture and Design
  • Location: Johnson City, Texas 78636, United States
  • Architects In Charge: Ryan Lemmo, AIA and Stephanie Lemmo, Assoc. AIA.
  • Contractor: Ron Reue Construction
  • Steel Fabrication: Longhorn Welding
  • Structural Engineers: Arch Consulting Engineers
  • Area: 450.0 ft2
  • Project Year: 2016
  • Photographs: Casey Dunn
© Casey Dunn

Text description provided by the architects. Clear Rock Lookout is a raw steel hunting blind, writing studio, and observation deck that celebrates the stunning landscape and wildlife views. The 450sf building is nestled below a limestone cliff edge, and has to be “discovered” when approached from the top of the mesa. This gradual reveal of the building strengthens the unfolding landscape panorama made possible from the unique vantage provided by the structure.

© Casey Dunn Plans © Casey Dunn

The site was specifically chosen for its views by the owner after years of slowly traversing and mapping the wooded cliff edge. The modern form contrasts with the Hill Country vernacular used on the rest of the 1,000 acre West Texas ranch. Naturally weathering steel was chosen to age with the surroundings and to pay homage to the owner’s youth spent welding oil tanks.

© Casey Dunn

Large sheets of glass, a variety of warm woods, and a highly detailed assembly complete the “jewelbox in the landscape” expression of the lookout.

Clear Rock Ranch received a local AIA Austin award in 2017.

Wall Sections

This Week in Architecture: More than Visual

10 hours 28 min ago
© Beat Widmer. ImageCourtesy of Diller, Scofidio + Renfro

Architecture is a profession deeply dependent on the visual. It’s imagined, sold, critiqued and consumed almost entirely on the strength (or lack thereof) of drawings. We pick and prod at images presented at angles we’ll never be able see, admiring the architectonic qualities of elements we’ll never actually experience.

And yet, when it comes to the experience of architecture (which, lest we forget, is what it’s all about) the visual plays only a small part. What stays with us is how a building facilitates its purpose and affects our quality of life. Is it easy to navigate? Is the floor always slippery after it rains? Does light reach into the deepest layer of offices? Are the materials responsible for the headache that simply won’t go away?

Architecture is about more than just the visual. But perhaps the visual can also be elevated to meet architecture. This week’s stories touched on issues of branding, drawing, and the sense.

Eyes off Design

© 2008 Estate of Madeline Gins, Reproduced with permission of the estate of Madeline Gins. ImageCourtesy of Metropolis Magazine

The term “sensory design” is, more often than not, wielded to contextualise things a bit wacky: a conspicuously unusable fork, a light that adapts to “mood”, a chair that makes you sit up a bit straighter. But it can, of course, be so much more - Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s Blur Building or Philippe Rahm’s Taichung Central Park, for example. In her article originally published on Metropolis, Alice Bucknell walks us through the history design, from the funky early days to the tech-drive approach of today. We may not be able to overthrow the “tyranny of vision”, but we can certainly think about it differently.

Taichung Central Park / Philippe Rahm. Image Courtesy of Philippe Rahm

To the Drawing Board

© Li Han, via World Architecture Festival

But that’s not to say that visuals can’t be elevated to something more than the two dimensions on which it’s presented . This year’s winner of the World Architecture Drawing Prize, organised in collaboration with Make Architects and Sir John Soane’s Museum, illustrated a city changing over time, compressing dramatically different phases of development in a single image. Said jury member Narinder Sagoo of the work by Li Han, " tells hundreds of stories over nine years in which architecture, cities and people's lives change. It's important for all architects to consider the life of buildings over the course of time... It's a modern day Archigram drawing but also a step into the future..."

Kaohsiung Performing Arts Center / Mecanoo. Image © Iwan Baan

The future seemed to step a bit closer this week with the completion of Mecanoo’s Kaohsiung Performing Arts Center. The building, reported to be the world’s largest performing arts center under one roof, welcomed thousands of visitors in its opening day alone - an auspicious sign for the future.

One for the Weekend

Frida Escobedo's 2018 Serpentine Pavilion. Image © Laurian Ghintoiu

Summer is over and the Serpentine pavilion is gone - but not gone forever. Frida Escobedo’s 2018 pavilion was recently bought by spa operator Therme Group, prompting Therme Vals 2.0 visions for architects around the world. Nearly all of the pavilions have gone on to new lives after their time in the park, including new uses as party venues, concert halls, and coworking spaces. It's proof that it's never too late for a career change.

Henning Larsen's French International School is a "Vibrant Green Oasis" for Hong Kong

10 hours 58 min ago
© Henning Larsen

Henning Larsen has completed their new campus for the French International School in Hong Kong, offering a “vibrant green oasis in the dense city.” The 1100-capacity school sits behind a kaleidoscopic façade laid across a grid of 727 multicolored tiles, offering a “vibrant sustainable environment supporting a world-class multicultural education.”

Located in the city’s Tseung Kwan O district, the 19,600-square-meter scheme comprises a series of large open plan spaces called Villas, each with 125 pupils in the same age group. The spaces are arranged around a central Agora, facilitating group activities and collaboration.

© Henning Larsen

The scheme’s multi-colored, ceramic tiled façade offers a “material representation of the environment within.” The vibrant patterns symbolize the forward-thinking, international outlook of the school, which offers five languages to a student body representing 40 nationalities. 

© Henning Larsen

The building form and façade respond to the local climate and conditions, with North or South facing classrooms avoiding the low sun from East and West, while deep brise soleils shading prevents direct sunlight from entering the spaces.

© Henning Larsen

The redesigned campus also includes the planting of 42 trees, multi-story hanging gardens, and a 550-square-meter botanical garden. The vegetation improves air quality in the dense urban setting while fostering a hands-on environment for students to gain experience in the value of the natural world.

© Henning Larsen

Outside of school hours, the campus transforms into a quiet, green oasis for a city of scarce natural space. The gymnasium, exhibition areas, canteen, and playground can be opened to the public, allowing the school to operate as a “beacon of French culture.”

© Henning Larsen

We dissolved the traditional classrooms, and we pushed boundaries on how learning spaces can allow teachers and classes to work together in a more collaborative open space […] With its wide array of sustainable measures, ranging from the choice of materials, to the many passive designs to economize energy and ensure great daylight, to the way the school is able to share spaces with the surrounding community, the new campus of FIS offers lessons in sustainable architecture for pupils and local builders.
- Claude Godefroy, Design Director and Partner, Henning Larsen Hong Kong

© Henning Larsen

The French International School was completed in September 2018.

News via: Henning Larsen

Casatru / Gonzalo Mardones V Arquitectos

11 hours 58 min ago
© Nico Saieh
  • Architects: Gonzalo Mardones V Arquitectos
  • Location: Cachagua, Chile
  • Architect In Charge: Gonzalo Mardones Viviani
  • Associates: Gonzalo Mardones F., María Jesús Mardones F
  • Area: 414.5 m2
  • Project Year: 2017
  • Photographs: Nico Saieh
  • Construction: Constructora Lagosal
  • Structural Calculation: Ruiz y Saavedra
  • Lightning: Paulina Sir
© Nico Saieh

Text description provided by the architects. The CASATRU is located on a steep slope facing the sea of Chile in a in Beranda, Zapallar.

© Nico Saieh

The access to the house is from above in order to bury the level of children's bedrooms, allowing to leave all the enclosures of the house with sea views.

© Nico Saieh

The house is a rectangle rotated so as to open to the north and west, protecting the expansion areas of the cold winds from the south.

© Nico Saieh

As usual in our work was chosen as main material exposed concrete, This was use in all its facades with incorporation of titanium dioxide. This fulfills the dual purpose of whitening the concrete and absorbing part of the ultraviolet radiation. As well as photosynthesis, transforming carbon dioxide into pure oxygen, thanks to sunlight and chlorophyll, photocatalysis is a chemical process that neutralizes toxic compounds.

© Nico Saieh

The house inside is entirely white, in order to enhance the natural lighting achieved through the use of vertical, horizontal and diagonal light.

The doors and windows are made of cedar wood.

© Nico Saieh Section © Nico Saieh

Reigate Grammar School / Walters & Cohen Architects

13 hours 58 min ago
© Dennis Gilbert/VIEW © Dennis Gilbert/VIEW

Text description provided by the architects. A new, competition winning building at Reigate Grammar School, designed by London-based firm, Walters & Cohen Architects, has been opened.

© Dennis Gilbert/VIEW

With the generous benefaction and support of the Peter Harrison Foundation, the ‘Harrison Centre’ (a library and sixth form centre) at Reigate Grammar School in Surrey will provide new facilities for the co-ed independent school of about 900 pupils.

© Dennis Gilbert/VIEW

Following their competition win in 2013, Walters & Cohen first undertook a masterplan and space audit of the school’s existing facilities, which were spread across two sites. At that time, the small parcel of land between them became available and was the ideal site for the new 1,620m2 library and sixth form centre, funded by the Peter Harrison Foundation.

Ground floor plan First floor plan Second floor plan

The new sixth form centre provides a link between the school’s two main areas whilst also serving as the first stage of the broader masterplan, laying the groundwork for future developments.

© Dennis Gilbert/VIEW

The red-brick building reflects the materials, massing and pitched-roof typology of the attractive Victorian school estate. Inside, the library has a wonderfully calm atmosphere. Light filters in from the rooflights at the peak of the building, while bookshelves frame large windows that look out across the peaceful old churchyard. The acoustic treatment means that independent learning and small group work can take place side by side without fuss. Comfortable furniture and traditional work spaces on both floors give pupils more choice of how they would like to study.

© Dennis Gilbert/VIEW

Provision of flexible, column-free spaces with natural ventilation was a driving principle of the overall design, and so a hybrid solution of concrete and steel was proposed. The use of RC slabs and concrete-encased steel beams has produced an efficient structure to accommodate the large spans desired by the client, whilst allowing the thermal mass of the in-situ concrete to be utilised in providing natural cooling during the day.

© Dennis Gilbert/VIEW

The sturdy exposed trusses and sense of openness continue throughout the building, connecting the library with the classrooms and offices either side. On the ground floor, the sixth form centre is a generous, mature space for study, socialising and lunch. Pupils and staff love the building, which has been described as ‘the knot in the bow tie of the school’.

Section A

10 Brazilian Apartments Under 65 Square Meters

14 hours 58 min ago
Apartamento Viadutos / Vão © Rafaela Netto

Due to the rising demand for housing, apartments around the world are becoming smaller and smaller. In addition, these plans for housing units do not always provide functional and comfortable living arrangements for its residents, challenging architects to think of ways to turn this situation into something desirable. Below, we've selected ten Brazilian projects that find creative solutions for small-scale housing. 

AP 1211 / Alan Chu

© Djan Chu Planta (Nível Inferior) - AP 1211 / Alan Chu

Bossa Nova Apartment / David Guerra

© Jomar Bragança Planta - Apartamento Bossa Nova / David Guerra

Celso Ramos Apartment / MARCOZERO Estudio

© Pedro Napolitano Prata Planta e Elevações - Apartamento Celso Ramos / MARCOZERO Estudio

Jabaquara Apartment / Studio dLux

© Mariana Orsi Plantas (Antes e Depois) - Apartamento Jabaquara / Studio dLux

Viadutos Apartment / Vão

© Rafaela Netto Planta - Apartamento Viadutos / Vão

Roosevelt Apartment / INÁ Arquitetura

© Maíra Acayaba Planta - Apartamento Roosevelt / INÁ Arquitetura

JAP Apartment / Metamoorfose Studio

© Maíra Acayaba Planta - Apartamento JAP / Metamoorfose Studio

LVM Apartment / Felipe Rodrigues Arquiteto

© Pedro Vannucchi Planta - Apartamento LVM / Felipe Rodrigues Arquiteto

Apartment with Partitions / Casa100 Arquitetura

© Gui Morelli Planta - Apartamento com partições / Casa100 Arquitetura

Santana Apartment / Atelier Aberto Arquitetura

© Marcelo Donadussi Planta - Apartamento Santana / Atelier Aberto Arquitetura

The Go-To Guide for Bamboo Construction

15 hours 58 min ago
© Lucila Aguilar

Bamboo is an ancient building material that has been used in a variety of countries and building types. A sustainable material with a unique aesthetic, it is arguably one of the greatest architectural trends of the moment.

This material's structural and sustainable qualities demonstrate that bamboo can be three times more resistant than steel and grow about 4 feet (1.22 meter) in just one day.

© Lucila Aguilar

The Mexican firm led by Lucila Aguilar has developed a manual with the intention of documenting the construction process used while building a bamboo structure designed for UMMBAL.

© Lucila Aguilar

This manual, in addition to serving as a reference guide for future projects and disseminating knowledge, is the result of a collaborative work by authors who have written and researched the material. Jörg Stamm, German master-builder, served as an advisor for the manual as well.

© Lucila Aguilar

Understanding the nature of bamboo, its characteristics, and behavior, are necessary to make proper use of the material. Lucila Aguilar has initiated several projects that document the benefits of this material. In four chapters, she discusses the advantages, specific parts and uses of bamboo, procedures for preparation, equipment, tools, criteria and general details that reveal the different aspects defined by their species and gender. 

© Lucila Aguilar

We seek to convey a message in the region, industrial buildings can have another language, natural materials such as earth and bamboo can converge with other materials commonly used in attractive and functional design. These materials are another tool to design the landscape of states such as Chiapas, Veracruz, and Tabasco; bamboo is a very versatile and sustainable material that has allowed us to build in a practical way, reducing labor costs and creating a frame of reference to build a Mexico with social conscience, ecological and balance and harmony with the earth.
- Lucila Aguilar Arquitectos

© Lucila Aguilar

In this document, you will find details on the proper use of each part of the bamboo, the necessary maturity to work with the material, and proper cutting methods to ensure resistance and longevity.

For more information, download the 'Manual of Bamboo Construction' by Lucila Aguilar Arquitectos here (Spanish).

Timber School in Kuhmo / ALT Architects + Architecture Office Karsikas

16 hours 58 min ago
© Ville-Pekka Ikola
  • Structural Engineer: Suunnittelu Laukka / Heikki Ainasoja
  • Hvac: Sitowise / Mikko Mäkelä
  • Electrical Engineer: Engineer office Varpiola / Sami Itkonen
  • Acoustics: Helimäki Akustikot / Erno Huttunen
  • Fire Consultant: Markku Kauriala
  • Av Design: AV-Kolmio / Teemu Karsikas
  • Construction Company: Rakennusliike Kuoma
  • Head Of Construction: Mauri Pulkkinen
  • Client's Coordinator: Markku Pääkkönen

Text description provided by the architects. Tuupala elementary school and daycare center is the first CLT school building in Finland. Right around the time the design process started, Finland's first CLT factory was kicking off it's production. The factory is located in Kuhmo, thus making CLT a natural choice for the school's construction material.

The building is located between a large junior high school built in the 50's, and a small-scale museum area with historical timber buildings. The new elementary school's program is divided into three blocks of timber. With canopies and outdoor storage rooms the building connects different scales surrounding the building and creates small scaled, child-sized outdoor spaces.

© Ville-Pekka Ikola

Exterior architecture is amicable, straightforward and mundane – in a good sense of the word. Even though the basic quality of the architecture is modest, the aim was to create high-end architecture by means of detailing, materiality and coherent language of architecture throughout the building.

© Ville-Pekka Ikola

The most notable feature of the building is the load-bearing CLT-structure that reflects to the facade of the building as well: where there is CLT-panel, there is solid spruce siding on the facade. Naturally anodised sheets of aluminium and windows create the rythm of the composition filling the spaces between solid wood. Material palette is scanty, natural and honest both inside and out. Entrances are highlighted with colors.

© Ville-Pekka Ikola

The school is arranged in a village-like composition, and this theme continues in the interior architecture as well, although the expression of this idea is a bit different inside. The classrooms and other strictly divided spaces are located at the perimeter of the blocks, forming a ”public plaza” between them. Plazas, though deep inside the building mass, get natural light from the roof lights. The ambiance is almost sacral. This is a result of our design philosophy in school buildings: the frame of the education needs to be quiet so that the kids and the activities of the school have room to bring it alive, without the excessive visual chaos it tends to become.

Ground floor plan © Mikko Auerniitty 1st floor plan © Ville-Pekka Ikola

Although divided into three parts, the building is not extravagant in terms of energy consumption. There are no actual corridors in the building – all the passages are functional, furnished spaces for informal studying.

© Ville-Pekka Ikola

The most exceptional functional feature of the building is the sports hall which transforms to a chamber music venue. Kuhmo is internationally famous for it's Chamber Music Festival, and the sports hall was designed to serve as one of the venues. In terms of acoustics, these functions are somewhat contradictory: chamber music needs the echo, but when used for sports, there should be very little. The hall was designed acoustically to serve both. The concert acoustics was achieved by tilted ceiling and walls with sound reflection. For sports, the walls are covered by dampening textile blinds.

© Ville-Pekka Ikola

Wood is the main material of the building both in construction and visible surfaces, often being the same. All of the wood used in CLT and facade panels are cut from the rapidly renewing forests nearby, making the building truly local. The fine, solid spruce CLT surfaces are left untreated and visible. The gluelam beams of the floors are visible in the lobbies. The slanted surfaces of the high lobbies are made of perforated birch plywood, and other ceilings of natural wood wool panels. Most of the fixtures and furniture is made of wood as well.


Being a massive wood construction, the building removes over 2700 tons of carbon off the athmosphere, equivalent to driving a car for 21 million kilometers. Ecology, sustainability and locality were key ideas in designing Tuupala Elementary School.

© Ville-Pekka Ikola

AHMM Designs 'Earthy and Autumnal' Block for City of London Campus

17 hours 28 min ago
1-2 Broadgate. Image Courtesy of AHMM

Allford Hall Monaghan Morris Architects have released plans for a mixed-use shopping and office block to replace 1-2 Broadgate on the City of London campus. The multi-colored block design will include 74,000 square meters of commercial space as part of the revitalization of the iconic 1980s office complex. Linked to Liverpool Street station, the new development would include retail and leisure as part of the new shopping center.

1-2 Broadgate. Image Courtesy of AHMM

AHMM's colorful development will include a 14-story block of stacked boxes and terraces. Drawing from the "earthy and autumnal colors of the buildings in the surrounding area," the project will include a series of colored metal fins that give the facade definition. The building envelope is developed around a kit of parts that are applied in response to building uses, floor level, orientation and envelope performance requirements. As AHMM have stated, "the building is conceived as a series of stacked volumes. These volumes cascade informally down from the west, where the constraints allow the building to reach its maximum height, to the east, where the height is limited by overshadowing and other constraints."

1-2 Broadgate. Image Courtesy of AHMM 1-2 Broadgate. Image Courtesy of AHMM

After the government announced it would turn down a statutory protection for the building, British Land’s application for a Certificate of Immunity was granted by the culture minister. It will be part of the developer’s plan to include the Broadgate site in a larger 1.5 billion dollar regeneration plan. 

AHMM’s 1-2 Broadgate scheme aims for completion by 2024.

Thames Lido / Marshall and Kendon Architects

17 hours 58 min ago
© Jon Reid – Arch.Photos
  • Architects: Marshall and Kendon Architects
  • Location: Thames Lido, Kings Meadow, Napier Rd, Reading, RG1 8FR, United Kingdom
  • Lead Architects: Marshall and Kendon Architects
  • Engineer: Structural Solutions
  • Project Managers: Arne Ringer - Glassboat
  • Contractors: Charlie Quinn & Marcos dos Santos - Design Workshop Bristol
  • Area: 1500.0 m2
  • Project Year: 2017
  • Photographs: Jon Reid – Arch.Photos
© Jon Reid – Arch.Photos

Text description provided by the architects. Thames Lido, formerly King's Meadow Baths, was built in 1902 as a Ladies only swimming pool beside the Thames in King's Meadow, Reading. By the time work started in 2014 the building had been unused for forty years and was a particularly sorry state. The team that successfully brought Bristol's Clifton Lido back from a similar state of decay were invited to do a similar resurrection. Three years later the small site team had completed a meticulous renovation, inserted a dozen new rooms for a Spa, enclosed a new restaurant and added a new ‘west wing’ containing kitchens and a function room. From the outset the aim had been to keep as much of the original building as possible.

© Jon Reid – Arch.Photos Ground Floor Plan © Jon Reid – Arch.Photos

The original building was an octagonal oblong of mostly blank brick walls giving suitable privacy for Edwardian lady bathers, but by the early 21st century a more open character was wanted and there are now numerous glimpses into the interior, from the riverside and through the Spa and Restaurant entrances. Most of the open poolside space was enclosed with double height glazing, in order to provide suitable spaces for the Spa and restaurants proposed. Along the south side of the pool new timber cladding and bay windows are carefully inserted, at first floor level, in among the elaborate columns and trusses. All the roofs were replaced, while the existing elaborate timber detailing was carefully repaired and reinstated, ensuring the richness of Edwardian detail has survived the building's renovation. On the north side a new service corridor was added, along the rear, brining multiple operational benefits. The Octagon previously hidden, has become a celebrated focal point. Traditional changing cubicles are provided poolside. The pool itself, sits inside the larger and deeper original, the water level is raised 400 mm above the surrounds giving a more enjoyable relationship between swimmers and diners and making pool access easier for the less able.

© Jon Reid – Arch.Photos

In general new work, such as the double height glazing and the new west wing, is deliberately differentiated from the old, but in the Spa whose rooms are intimately entwined with the historic fabric, the palette of robust timber frame and boarded panelling is applied to the new as well as the repaired. Each Spa room has a dormer, providing pool and sky views, which is picked out in brilliant contrasting colours; meticulous restoration can be a little dull, but not here! The care and craftsmanship in the restoration is also applied to the new work and extension, from large steelwork assemblies for the glazing, in situ fair-faced concrete and new brickwork blending reused and new Imperial size bricks, to the new timber stairs and the timber-lined Function Room. The rich detail of the original is echoed, though not copied, in the new. The old King's Meadow Baths have waited a long time for a new lease of life, and finally, this handsome Edwardian pavilion is back in action.

© Jon Reid – Arch.Photos

Ozgol Apartment / Hooba Design Group

18 hours 58 min ago
© Deed studio © Parham Taghioff

Text description provided by the architects. The new urban development of Tehran in the recent decades has imposed alterations to the ratio of open and semi-open spaces to the closed spaces in residential units. These changes has enormously affected the lifestyle of Tehranians in the recent years to such and extend that smaller apartment units have minimum access to open or semi-open spaces. The research focus of this project was to explore the urgent need for new residential models in Tehran.

© Parham Taghioff

Located in the Ozgol neighborhood of Tehran, the site of the project was a 10*22m plot, next to an unbuildable piece of land. Therefore, the building could have facades on three sides (North, South, and East). Consisting of a duplex (2nd and 3rd floors) and a guest unit (1st floor), the three storey residential building was designed for a single family.

© Deed studio Section BB © Parham Taghioff

The aim of the project was to transform the common “Infill” residential typology by extending open and semi-open spaces into the building. Providing natural ventilation and lighting as well as maximizing the engagement of green spaces with different functions of the house were all considered during the design process.

© Deed studio

The narrow width of the site imposed restrictions on the interior planning. These restrictions motivated the design team to rethink the typology of the vertical circulation through the building and to rearrange it into a longitudinal semi-open staircase along one side of the building. This staircase connects the backyard to the open-to-sky void on the front side of the building, providing fresh air circulation in every floor. This space acts as a corridor, providing visual connection between the backyard, the sky, and the city.

© Deed studio

Another important design element was to provide functional flexibility to the main balcony in relation to the exterior and the interior. This was achieved by creating a space that could be transformed to open, semi open, and closed spaces in different weather conditions.

© Parham Taghioff

During the winter, this space becomes a part of the enclosed interior. During the summer, on the other hand, it could become a semi open balcony. This space is covered by an automated operable roof on top and is separated from the exterior and the interior of the building through operable glass openings.

© Parham Taghioff

Spatial Organization:
The width of the building was divided into 3 sections, organizing the interior spaces. The semi open balcony is located in the middle division in both plan and section, and all the vertical circulations are placed in one division to optimize space utilization throughout the building.

Open and close diagram

Material Palette:
Traditional Brick was used both as the base and as the finishing of the exterior facades, the circulation corridors, as well as the voids throughout the building. Rotated brick blocks were implemented on some parts of the façade to allow sunlight penetration and view to the exterior, while minimizing overlook to the building. Sunlight variations during the day creates a variety of light and shadow patterns. The intention here was to emphasize on the importance of sunlight variations during different seasons of the year.

© Parham Taghioff

The Fuzhou Strait Culture and Art Centre / PES-Architects

19 hours 58 min ago
Birdseye. Image © Marc Goodwin
  • Architects: PES-Architects
  • Location: Mawei New Town, Fuzhou, China
  • Lead Architects: Pekka Salminen (chief designer), Martin Lukasczyk (project architect), Samuel Hsuan-yu Shih (ceramic artist), Lai Linli (project manager)
  • Design Team: Wei Li(project coordinator), Xiaojing Guang(project manager), Yizhou Zhao, Masahide Nakane, Matti Kankkunen, Anna Blomqvist, Clara Juan, Uros Kostic, Antonio Barquinha, Martin Genet, Jian Dou
  • Area: 153000.0 m2
  • Project Year: 2018
  • Photographs: Marc Goodwin, Yong Zhang, Martin Lukasczyk
River portrait. Image © Marc Goodwin

Text description provided by the architects. Helsinki and Shanghai based studio, PES-Architects, have completed their seventh project in China: the Fuzhou Strait Culture and Art Centre. Fuzhou is the capital and one of the largest cities in Fujian Province. It has been ranked one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the world. In 2013, the Fuzhou Government hosted an international invited competition for the Strait Culture and Art Centre with the goal of strengthening the cultural image of the city and the Mawei New Town development area.

Five jasmine petals. Image © Yong Zhang site plan roof level Facade closeup. Image © Marc Goodwin

PES-Architects’ winning proposal takes inspiration from the petals of a jasmine blossom, the city flower of Fuzhou. The flower is manifested in the formal language and colour of the architecture takes inspiration from the petals of a jasmine blossom, the city flower of Fuzhou.

ceramic facades. Image © Marc Goodwin

The five jasmine petal venues — opera house (1600 seats), concert hall (1000 seats), multi-functional theatre, art exhibition hall and cinema centre — are linked by a Cultural Concourse and a large roof terrace. The roof terrace is accessible via two ramps from the Jasmine Gardens as well as from the Central Jasmine Plaza, providing a seamless connection from the complex to the riverfront of the Minjiang River. On the underground level, a promenade-like route along the Liangcuo flood river connects the landscape to the interiors, as well as providing a connection between the metro station and the Centre.

Spiral ramp. Image © Marc Goodwin

Pekka Salminen, Founder of PES-Architects describes the scheme, “Dividing the large complex into smaller units gives the Centre a more human scale and makes it easy for users to navigate both indoors and outdoors. Each building has a core area — a semi-public, curved gallery that follows the curvature of the main façade — that integrates the public interior space with the landscape of the Jasmine Gardens around the building and further with the Mahangzhou island natural reserve in front of the Centre.”

concourse lobby. Image © Marc Goodwin

Ceramic is used as the project’s main material due to its significance in the historical context of the maritime Silk Road trade connection between China and the rest of the world. PES-Architects worked with Taiwanese ceramic artist Samuel Hsuan-yu Shih to design the artistic ceramic interior for two main auditoriums according to acoustical demands, using the legendary “China White” material and new technology. All façades are clad with white ceramic tiles and louvres, while both the opera hall and concert hall showcase this cultural material in innovative and creative ways in the acoustic wall surface. 

curved gallery venue entrance. Image © Marc Goodwin curved gallery and stair. Image © Yong Zhang venue foyer stairs. Image © Yong Zhang

The interior surfaces of the opera hall and concert hall are clad with topographical ceramic panels. Based on extensive studies carried out with the acousticians, two types of acoustic panels were developed: an engraved panel and a mosaic tile panel. Both panels are adaptable to the topographical surfaces that are required to achieve high quality acoustics, as well as the visual language of the design.

opera hall. Image © Marc Goodwin section opera hall opera hall balcony. Image © Marc Goodwin

House in Sakura / Naoyuki Tokuda / tokudaction

20 hours 58 min ago
© Masaki Komatsu © Masaki Komatsu © Masaki Komatsu

Text description provided by the architects. This project consisted in the renovation of an old Japanese house in Sakura city, Chiba prefecture, Japan. The very low genkan (entrance porch) leads into a double-height living room flanked by wide engawa (side porches) protected by wide glazed openings. With celling heights that range from 1.8m to 5m, we wanted to create a variety of interior scales, and a place beyond the framework of the ‘housing’ architectural genre.

© Masaki Komatsu

One of the main concerns was to ensure that, while every room is distinct, the spatial experience is that of a continuous whole. This is mainly pursued through the careful use of materials, textiles and lighting fixtures, whereby every room can share a common identity despite the differences in scale.

© Masaki Komatsu Floor plans © Masaki Komatsu

Since this is the place where the client grew up, we wanted to preserve some of her personal experience within the space and materials themselves. Therefore, we left the original souji (Japanese paper-covered sliding door) in place, and also kept several small elements of the house in their original condition, with only minimum repair. We like to think of these forgotten memories as ‘footprints’, waiting to be re-discovered in architecture and enrich the life of the people living there.

© Masaki Komatsu

A renovation project like this is a rare opportunity, and a unique chance to treat memory and material equally, as design components.

© Masaki Komatsu

AD Classics: Vitra Design Museum / Gehry Partners

Thu, 10/18/2018 - 23:00
© Liao Yusheng

This article was originally published on April 27, 2017. To read the stories behind other celebrated architecture projects, visit our AD Classics section.

Even at the Vitra Campus in Weil-am-Rhein—a collection of furniture factories, offices, showrooms, and galleries, many of which are the products of iconic architects—the Vitra Design Museum stands out as exceptional. With its sculptural form composed of interconnected curving volumes, the museum is the unmistakable work of Frank Gehry – an architect who has built a legacy for himself upon such structures. What may not be immediately apparent is the crossroads that this serene white building represents: it was in this project at the southwestern corner of Germany (close to the Swiss border) that Gehry first realized a structure in the vein of his now signature style.

© Liao Yusheng

As with a number of great works of architecture, the Vitra Design Museum’s story began with a fire. One night in 1981, a single bolt of lightning struck the Vitra Campus setting off an inferno which reduced half of the campus to smoldering ruins by morning. In the wake of the devastation, Vitra would commission a number of notable architects from around the world—including Tadao Ando, Alvaro Siza, and Zaha Hadid—to contribute designs for buildings to replace those lost in the blaze, curating a sequence of projects by some of the late 20th Century’s most celebrated designers.[1]

Gehry’s contribution to the campus came in the late 1980s. Over its (then) three decades in business, Vitra had accumulated a sizable collection of chairs and other pieces of domestic furniture. The company initially planned to house these articles in a simple shed-like structure, providing both public exhibition and storage facilities. During the design process, however, this simple mandate grew more ambitious; what had been envisioned as a display space for a private collection evolved into the Vitra Design Museum, an independent organization dedicated to the research, dissemination and popularization of design.[2]

© Liao Yusheng

By the 1980s, the Canadian-American Gehry had already made a name for himself as a “Deconstructivist” architect. His body of work by the time rejected the cold monumentality of Modernism, instead seeking integrity with its surroundings and creating spaces that related more clearly to human scale. This philosophy was perhaps best exemplified by his own home in Venice, California, with its jagged, oblique protrusions of chain link and glass. In fact, his early work was almost exclusively composed of straight lines and angles, a far cry from the undulating, sculptural style he has since adopted. It was only with the Vitra Design Museum, his first realized building in Europe, that Gehry’s now signature style began to emerge.[3,4]

Designed in collaboration with German architect Günter Pfeifer, the Design Museum is a clear transition between Gehry’s smaller-scale Deconstructivist projects and the grander, sleeker aesthetic for which he is better known. It is neither fully angular nor fully curved but a mixture, with volumes of either nature intersecting at shallow angles throughout the structure. The sloping curves, finished in white plaster, are likely a reference to Le Corbusier’s Notre Dame du Haut, located nearby across the French border. The zinc alloy plating which covers the roof and some wall planes, meanwhile, not only references a nearby factory building by Nicholas Grimshaw, but calls forward to Gehry’s later works, which would be sheathed entirely in polished metals.[5]

© Liao Yusheng © Liao Yusheng

The interior of the building comprises four main display galleries, production areas, a test laboratory, cafeteria, multi-purpose room, and offices. It is the functional requirements of these spaces that helped to dictate the size of the volumetric towers, bridges, and cubes that compose the form of the building, but their arrangement was evidently dictated by a desire to create a sense of spatial intrigue.[6] The inclusion of curves, beyond referencing Notre Dame du Haut, may also be inspired by the nearby Vitra factory: the focal elements being gentle, sweeping curves. This, perhaps, was meant to imply the feeling of a collective movement, fitting for a place of industrial manufacturing.[7]

Despite its 8,000 square feet (743 square meters) of exhibition space being relatively modest for a museum, the Vitra Design Museum is nonetheless one of the world’s leading institutions dedicated to design. The display areas occupy two floors of the building, consisting of a series of exhibition halls (two of which connected by a dramatic spiral stairway). A large cross is cut into the roof above, bathing the exhibition spaces in light. The main furniture collection, originally consisting solely of Vitra CEO Rolf Fehlbaum’s approximately 200 Modern and contemporary chairs, has since grown to over 6,000 objects including chairs, cutlery, consumer electronics, and architectural prototypes.[8,9,10]

© Liao Yusheng

The Vitra Design Museum opened its doors to the public in 1989 and has enjoyed widespread acclaim in the almost three decades since. Its fluid, dynamic composition of interconnected volumes made an instant and lasting impression; architectural writer and critic Paul Heyer lauded the building, describing it as “a continuous changing swirl of white forms on the exterior, each seemingly without apparent relationship to the other, with its interiors a dynamically powerful interplay, in turn directly expressive of the exterior convolutions. As a totality it resolves itself into an entwined coherent display.”[11] For Gehry himself, the Vitra Design Museum represented a life-altering epiphany: “I love the shaping I can do when I’m sketching and it never occurred to me that I would do it in a building. The first thing I built of anything like that is Vitra in Germany.”[12] Whatever stance one takes on Gehry’s unique architectural style, it cannot be denied that it has become a global sensation – a sensation which was born in a modestly-sized museum in a factory campus in a discreet corner of Germany.


[1] Fiederer, Luke. "AD Classics: Vitra Fire Station / Zaha Hadid." ArchDaily. April 21, 2016. [access].
[2] "Campus Architektur - Vitra Design Museum." Vitra. Accessed March 19, 2017. [access].
[3] "Frank Gehry." Encyclopædia Britannica. November 23, 2016. [access].
[4] "Vitra International Manufacturing Facility and Design Museum." Guggenheim Museum. Accessed March 18, 2017. [access].
[5] Parvin, Nami. "Vitra Design Museum and Factory | Frank Gehry." Arch2O. February 20, 2017. [access].
[6] Parvin.
[7] “Vitra International Manufacturing Facility and Design Museum.”
[8] "About Us." The Vitra Design Museum. Accessed March 18, 2017. [access].
[9] “Vitra International Manufacturing Facility and Design Museum.”
[10] Santana, Saida. "Vitra Design Museum: A Vital Space for Design and Architecture." Azureazure. Accessed March 19, 2017. [access].
[11] Parvin.

Casa de Montana / Studio Lawang

Thu, 10/18/2018 - 22:00
© Mario Wibowo
  • Architects: Studio Lawang
  • Location: Babakan Madang, Indonesia
  • Lead Architect: Patrisius Marvin Dalimartha
  • Team: Pamela Jouwena, Anna Silalahi
  • Area: 500.0 m2
  • Project Year: 2017
  • Photographs: Mario Wibowo
  • Arch Const Documentation: Studio Resta
  • Structural Engineers: Grand Optima Design
  • Lighting Design: Studio Lawang
© Mario Wibowo

Text description provided by the architects. Located on a corner site, at the foot of Mount Pancar, the site faces directly to one of the rivers that originate from the mountain. Being on a corner site gives the house two advantages: unobstructed views and also maximum natural sunlight. Since the beginning of the design exploration, the architect strives to respond to the trapezoid shape site and the two different axes: one that is parallel to the neighbor and one that is parallel to the street.

© Mario Wibowo First Level Plan © Mario Wibowo

Every room in this house maximizes natural sunlight, hence saving the energy bill. Having the inner court at the center of the house allows more rooms to benefit from it. The inner court permits the natural sunlight to enter more rooms and the cross ventilation to work throughout the house.

© Mario Wibowo

One of the challenges is that the longest facade of the house is exposed to the western sunlight. This challenge is solved by roof overhang and deep wall. The large void in the main living area ensures air flow, allowing sunlight to bounce freely, filling up the space and communication between the occupants.

© Mario Wibowo

Luoyuan Anglican Church / INUCE • Dirk U. Moench

Thu, 10/18/2018 - 21:00
Service hall nearly completed. Image © Shikai, Dengxie Xiang, INUCE
  • Architects: INUCE·Dirk U. Moench
  • Location: Luoyuan, China
  • Architect In Charge: Dirk U. Moench
  • Design Team: Joshua Cubero, Yuanquan Gao, Shenming Lü, Jason Chen
  • Structure & Engineering: CCBA DI
  • Area: 5950.0 m2
  • Project Year: 2011
  • Photographs: Shikai, Dengxie Xiang, INUCE
North view from creek. Image © Shikai, Dengxie Xiang, INUCE

At the Battlezone Between City and Countryside
Luoyuan is a county-town in Fujian, a province famous for tea terraces, its Hakka-minority and their distinct ring-shaped architecture, the so-called “Tulou”. Currently, the town is expanding quickly, replacing the vernacular settlements and with factories and residential districts. Since 2011 the Anglican Congregation of Luoyuan is devoting its resources to building a church in one of these districts.

Floor plan

A Little Community and Its Mission
Anticipating many young couples with children to live in the future residential neighbourhoods, the new church distinctly addresses young believers’ need of a safe and nurturing environment for their children. Its differentiated program includes not only individual service venues for parents and children, but also activity rooms for all age groups, admin as well as a library and a tea house. The particular challenge of this project lies in overcoming two dichotomies: On one hand, to integrate the complex and mundane requirements of such a mixed-use building with the dignified presence of a place of worship. On the other, to retain a sense of tradition and local authenticity in this increasingly anonymous environment, while making an iconic and future-oriented statement for the fast-growing number of Christians in Fujian’s countryside.

Tulou courtyard. Image © Shikai, Dengxie Xiang, INUCE

Transcending the Desolation through both Company and Solitude
Placed in the midst of such desolation, the new sanctuary must become a refuge from the torments of a changing world, a place where those in need can find the peace to heal. The realized design therefore emulates characteristics that local believers are familiar with: Typological elements of the vernacular Tulou, such as its concentric organization around a courtyard with pavilion or features of the adjacent countryside such as tea terraces surrounding the church. In this manner the church embodies the traditional community-based lifestyle – retaining a glimpse of the place ‘s fading rural identity - and creates an environment where believers can feel in communion with their Christian family while their children learn and play safely within a protected environment.


Conversely, the service hall represents a space of meditative seclusion composed of two facades with a total of 107 707 individual pieces of traditional stained glass. The depicted artwork “De Profundis” was designed by the architect in union with the space; it exudes an atmosphere of profound blue, carrying believers away to a metaphorical place deep down at the bottom of the ocean, in which daunting darkness is dispersed by an aura of divine light. In the future the void between inner and outer facades will be used to artificially light up the glass, thus transforming the church at night into a beacon shining inwards and outwards. With 1412 sqm of surface area, it constitutes the largest stained-glass façade in China and one of the largest of its kind in the world. After more than seven years of construction the church is now nearly completed and will be consecrated by Spring 2019.

Main Facade under construction. Image © Shikai, Dengxie Xiang, INUCE Diagram_stained glass Stained glass facade. Image © Shikai, Dengxie Xiang, INUCE