This is the Yarra House designed by Leeton Pointon Architects and Susan Pointon Architects in Melbourne, Australia. It uses a very restrained collection of finish materials (concrete, stone, hardwood and drywall) to maximum effect. For more images, click on the photographs.

This beach house was designed by architect Marcio Kogan for a waterfront site near Paraty, just outside Rio de Janeiro. It immediately evokes the work of fellow Brazilian Oscar Niemeyer and modernist Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, the strong horizontality a form recently put to good use for the Warapuru Resort and residences at Itacaré, in Brazil’s Bahia region.

Lastly, this little gem is a wooden extension to an existing brick home just outside Gent in Belgium. The work of Wim Goes Architectuur, it brings to mind the traditional covered bridge.

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Came across this great article about Robert Fung in BC Business from a few months back.  Having worked with him quite closely over the summer, I can certainly affirm that he is not lacking in passion, vision and commitment.  It shows in each and every project!

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Rearranging the Blocks

Apparently there are some things we just never outgrow. Moshe Safdie did it brilliantly four decades ago with Habitat 67 in Montreal:

Herzog & de Meuron are taking it to new heights at 56 Leonard in New York:

Ateliereen Architecten have turned the idea on end with their viewing tower in the Netherlands.

Perhaps it appeals to the child in all of us, but there can be something very refreshing about architecture that isn’t all lined up.

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One of the projects we evaluated for Orient-Express last year was the redevelopment of the legendary ’21′ Club. MOMA is immediately north of the site, across West 53rd Street, and Hines Interests had purchased the site next door to develop a mixed-use “seven star” hotel and residential condo tower in addition to expanding the MOMA exhibition spaces. Representing perhaps the pinnacle of the ‘star-chitect’ fever gripping New York at the time, architect Jean Nouvel proposed one of the most vertiginous, jaw-dropping designs I’ve come across:

The exterior bracing may invite comparison to the John Hancock Center in Chicago, but that’s where the similarity ends.  While the John Hancock Center is a 100 story tower of 1.2 Million plus square feet of imposing bulk, 53 West 53rd is to be a slender 75 story tower with a tiny foot print (think size zero) that will make it exceedingly difficult and costly to build.  A complete set of renderings can be viewed at http://www.dezeen.com/2007/11/16/53-west-53rd-street-by-jean-nouvel/ and the project website it located at http://www.53w53.com/ if you want to sign up for the developer’s updates.  The design is currently making the rounds of the New York City Planning Commission.

Making the rounds of the design-sphere today is an “alternate” design for this tower proposed by John Beckmann’s architecture firm Axis Mundi.  The “Vertical Neighborhood” is Beckmann’s call for “a more diverse, complex, heterogeneous, and environmentally-minded city [that] need no longer be represented by one-note architecture that makes a singular visual image and little else.”

While certainly diverse and heterogeneous, it elevates the favela to new heights.

I look forward to the day when green design stops being synonymous with “ugly”.

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