Thursday Feature: Hiroshi Sambuichi [a new generation of japanese architects]


The Hiroshima-based architect Hiroshi Sambuichi – like his Tokyo contemporaries Fujimoto and Ishigami – contemplates the confluence between nature and architecture. However, the actual articulation of his architecture is markedly different. Born in 1968, Sambuichi conceives of architecture like the “details of the earth”. His rigorous design process entails extensive (read: approximately a year-long) climate and topographical surveys of each site before embarking on the design proper. This culminates in buildings that meld into the landscape and draw on natural energy sources. His is essentially an indigenous and sustainable architecture, where the beauty of its poetics and performance are derived from the “circulating system of nature and local landscape”.

A selection of his best works:

Rokko Shidare Observatory | Kobe, Japan | 2010

Perched on the top of Mount Rokko, the observatory is constructed almost entirely from hinoki wood and is powered by solar and wind energy. The structure is composed of hexagonal frames that are imprinted with images of leaves. The frames are designed to attract frost in winter. In summer, air is drawn in and goes into an ice room that cools the air down.

                                                                                                                                                          Images: akix626 @ Flickr
                                                                                    http://www.flickr.com/photos/14301763@N03/sets/72157625731833172/

Base Valley House | Japan | 2009

The spectacular site of the house – perched at the edge of an expansive river valley plain – brought with it a harsh climate of strong winds. Instead of trying to fight or hide from the less-than-ideal conditions, Sambuichi sought to actually harness the winds while protecting the inhabitants.

He created a “wind street” through the building volume along the north-south axis, thus funnelling the air into the interior spaces. The bedrooms and a sunroom are placed beneath ground, where the natural warmth of the earth regulates the temperature. The living and dining spaces are on ground level, covered with a sloped glazed roof.

The architecture addresses as well as takes advantage of the seasonal climate changes to result in a naturally ventilated environment. In summer, the underground sun room collects the valley wind to cool the bedrooms; in winter, the glazed roof stores solar heat for warmth. But Sambuichi’s masterstroke is in showing how such an energy efficient architectural “machine” can be expressed so naturally and poetically.

                                                                                                                                                  Images: http://www.wallpaper.com

Inujima Art Project | Inujima, Japan | 2008

Inujima is a small, isolated island in Japan’s Seto Inland Sea. Characterised by the raw imagery of the smokestacks and ruins of a copper refinery abandoned since 1919, it was purchased by the tycoon Soichiro Fukutake. His intention was to rehabilitate the site into a museum that would have minimal environmental impact. Sambuichi was commissioned to design the building; the artist Yukinori Yanagi was tasked to create its permanent installations.

Sambuichi perceived the new museum to be part of the natural environment and understanding the earth’s natural cycles. To him, the locally available materials and existing structures were the regenerative resources with which to create the museum. Thus he built within the refinery’s ruins, between the tallest smokestack and the remains of the brick wall structure that spread outwards to the sea. Visually, the striking smokestack became the marker of the partially-subterranean building.

Environmentally, the old structure could nevertheless still generate a chimney effect – drawing air in through an opening at the bottom and releasing it at the top – and thus forms part of the natural mechanism that modulates the interior temperature. The cool of the earth chills the 80m long steel-encased subterranean Earth Gallery; the sun heats up the glazed Sun Gallery. This is gradually filtered in the Energy Hall that serves as a semi-permeable buffer space between the two “climates” and thus controls the airflow.

Essentially this first phase of the project is a prolific exploration into regenerating places through a sensitive interpretation of site, heritage, architecture, art and ecology. We look forward to future phases of this Inujima project, where apparently there are plans to work with the Pritzer laureate Kazuyo Sejima.


                                                                                                                                                 Images: http://www.wallpaper.com

References: Japan Architect, Wallpaper, Spoon and Tamago, Architecture of Consequence.

Advertisements

Vanke Experience Center by Urbanus


 Image: http://www.chinese-architects.com

The Vanke Experience Center by Urbanus is located in Shenzhen, China. It is the research facility of Vanke China, the largest real estate developer in the country.

 Image: http://www.chinese-architects.com

The experience center is located within an existing 1500 square meter rectangular exhibition hall that is four storeys high. With heavy, concrete supports and a regular floor plan, the old structure was sterile and uninspiring.

 Image: http://www.chinese-architects.com

In order to create a stimulating and imaginative environment, Urbanus inserted a light and transparent free form structure within the existing exhibition hall.

 Image: http://www.chinese-architects.com

The interior of the building is also an experiment in the design of convertible spaces. Multifunctional in nature, they showcase the possibilities of space.

Image: http://www.zhulong.com

Image: http://www.zhulong.com

Image: http://www.zhulong.com

Image: http://www.zhulong.com

Image: http://www.chinese-architects.com

Image: http://www.chinese-architects.com

Urbanus is a architecture and urban design practice with offices in Shenzhen and Beijing. The firm’s works have been featured in publications such as Abitare, a+u, and Domus.

References: Zhulong, HomeWorld, BuildHR, Chinese-Architects

Art Museum of Yue Minjun by Studio Pei-Zhu


 Image: http://www.zhulong.com

The Art Museum of Yue Minjun, designed by Studio Pei-Zhu, is located near the Qingcheng Mountains, adjacent to the Shimeng River in Sichuan, China.

Image: http://www.zhulong.com

Yue is one of the most successful contemporary artist in China today, and is well known for his paintings that depict large, smiling figures.

Image: http://www.zhulong.com

The museum will house the works of Yue, and include an artist’s studio in addition to the exhibition space.

Image: http://www.zhulong.com

The form of the building was inspired by a river rock that principal architect Pei Zhu picked up from the site.

Image: http://www.zhulong.com

The exterior walls of the building are to be cladded in polished zinc, a material that endows the building with a futuristic appearance. At the same time, by mirroring its surroundings, the reflective surface also integrates the building into the natural environment.

Image: http://www.zhulong.com

Image: http://www.zhulong.com

Image: http://www.zhulong.com

Image: http://www.zhulong.com

Image: http://www.zhulong.com

Studio Pei-Zhu is a Beijing-based architecture firm headed by principal architect Pei Zhu. The firm is behind the design of the Digital Beijing Building for the Summer Olympics 2008.

Reference: Zhulong

Dafen Art Gallery by Urbanus


 Image: http://www.zhulong.com

Dafen Art Gallery by Urbanus is located at the Dafen Oil Painting Village in Shenzhen, China.

 Image: http://www.zhulong.com

The Dafen Art Gallery is built in the most unlikely of places, within a commercial and residential part of the city. The objective of the gallery is to combine culture and commerce with everyday life.

 Image: http://www.zhulong.com

The Gallery was commissioned by the state in recognition of the commercial value of cultural production. The Dafen Artist Village, famous for its small galleries that produce replicas of oil paintings, generates billions in revenue a year through the export of its products internationally.

 Image: http://www.zhulong.com

The Gallery is to tap onto the synergy of the village and to become a new cultural centre that allows for the co-existence of high and low art, where exhibition and trade occur simultaneously.

In order to achieve this, the connection of the Gallery to its surroundings is of utmost importance. Different pathways at different levels were designed to channel people into the site.

 Image: http://www.zhulong.com

Plaza spaces were also created in front of the gallery for vendors of oil painting replicas to exhibit and sell their artworks.

 Image: http://www.zhulong.com

Besides exhibition spaces, there are also studios spaces for rent within the gallery complex.

 Image: http://www.zhulong.com

 Image: http://www.zhulong.com

 Image: http://www.zhulong.com

 Image: http://www.zhulong.com

 Image: http://www.zhulong.com

Urbanus is a architecture and urban design practice with offices in Shenzhen and Beijing. The firm’s works have been featured in publications such as Abitare, a+u, and Domus.

References: Zhulong, Baidu Library, CAMA

Blur Hotel by Studio Pei-Zhu


Image: studiopeizhu.com

Blur Hotel by Studio Pei-Zhu is an additions and alterations project located in Beijing, China.

Image: studiopeizhu.com

The existing building, a government office described as a “backward looking pastische”, is located next to the Western Gate of the Forbidden City.

Image: http://www.chinese-architects.com

In order to integrate the building into the historic fabric of the area, a continuous and semi-transparent façade was wrapped around the government office.

Image: http://www.chinese-architects.com

Made in the image of a Chinese lantern, the building lights up at night to reveal the activities taking place within.

Image: studiopeizhu.com

Other strategies employed in the refurbishment include the integration of the building with its surrounding architectural typology of the courtyard house. This is achieved through the creation of alternating vertical courtyards by carving into the concrete slab floors of the existing.

In addition, the ground floor is also opened up by assigning to it public-oriented programs.

Image: studiopeizhu.comImage: studiopeizhu.com
Image: http://www.chinese-architects.com

Image: studiopeizhu.com

Image: studiopeizhu.com

Image: studiopeizhu.com

Image: studiopeizhu.com

Studio Pei-Zhu is a Beijing-based architectural firm headed by Pei-Zhu. Its designs have been featured on Domus and Architectural Record.

References: Chinese-Architects, Studio Pei-Zhu

Ordos Art Gallery by DnA


 Image: http://www.zhulong.com

Ordos Art Museum is located at the cultural centre of Ordos, a city founded in 2001 in Inner Mongolia. Designed by DnA, the museum houses a public exhibition space and a private research institution.

Image: http://www.chinese-architects.com

In the design of the gallery, much attention was given to integrate the building with the prairie landscape of Ordos.

Image: http://www.chinese-architects.com

In the design process, a continuous, linear route traced on the landscape constituted the basis of the eventual building form.

Image: http://www.zhulong.com

From the entrance, the visitor proceeds up the natural terrain of the dune’s slope, before descending back onto the ground floor. The end of the route also marks the conclusion of the public exhibition space, and the beginning of the private research institution.

Image: http://www.chinese-architects.com

The interior spaces vary in height, width and length according to the terrain.

Image: http://www.zhulong.com

Full height glazing brings the landscape into the interior spaces, while semi-enclosed courtyard spaces

Image: http://www.zhulong.com

Image: http://www.zhulong.com

Image: http://www.zhulong.com

Image: http://www.zhulong.com

Image: http://www.zhulong.com

Image: http://www.zhulong.com

Image: http://www.zhulong.com

DnA_Design and Architecture is a Beijing-based architecture firm headed by Xu Tiantian. 

Reference: Zhulong

 

 

 

 

Thursday Feature: Sou Fujimoto [a new generation of japanese architects]


Sou Fujimoto is amongst the frontrunners of the emerging new generation of Japanese architects. Born in 1971, his works have come to international attention in recent years. The intrigue of his works stem from their questioning of the fundamental essence and meaning of architecture – what is architecture? what is the relation between architecture and nature? He delves into the primordial condition of architecture, one that is raw and unconstrained – exemplified by the notion of the cave – where people have the freedom to explore and use the spaces creatively.

Fujimoto’s approach is an optimistic one, where he sees architecture’s role as to “continuously re-imagine enriching places for people”. While his works appear highly minimalistic and abstracted on the surface, they are far removed from merely seeking the reductive beauty of the 20th century Miesian aesthetic. Rather, his architectural experiments seek to create spatial experiences that prompt various degrees of human interactions and also restore the primitive relationship between people and nature. Thus both his conceptual models and actual projects implode spatial conventions, piquing one’s imagination and senses to pursue the possibilities of the architecture.

A selection of Fujimoto’s works for your exploration…

House N | Oita, Japan | 2006 – 2008 

                                                                                                                                                   Images: http://www.archdaily.com

Group Home in Noboribetsu | Hokkaido, Japan | 2006

                                                                                                                                                   Images: http://www.archdaily.com

Tokyo Apartment | Tokyo, Japan | 2006 – 2010 

                                                                                                                                                       Image: http://www.dezeen.com

Final Wooden House | Kumamoto, Japan | 2006 – 2010

                                                                                                                                                   Images: http://www.archdaily.com

Musashino Art University – Museum and Library | Tokyo, Japan | 2007 – 2010

                                                                                                                                                   Image: http://www.archdaily.com

                                                                                                                                                   Image: http://www.archdaily.com

                                                                                                                                                   Image: http://www.andifitsreal.com

                                                                                                                                                   Image: http://www.archdaily.com

Minus-K House by KUU


Satoko Saeki and Kok-Meng Tan of the Shanghai based firm KUU designed a duplex composed of a normal dwelling for the family of a worker combined with a weekend house for the owner of a slipper factory in the compound of the firm’s warehouse. The designers based their layout on 19 squares, each three by three meters, to form an irregular grid.

A shared table forms the centre of the duplex. Two kitchen squares and two courtyards are placed diagonally at each corner of the table, enabling the residents to face each other while cooking through an opening in the central cross of the walls.

The relationship between public and private recalls the experience normal Chinese people had until recently with shared kitchen, bathroom or communal courtyards and semi public collective neighbourhood streets.

 

With six double high units and five courts, the open and the closed cubes create a playful interaction between inside and outside, between vertical and horizontal.

The functional arrangement and the rigidity of the basic layout creates a structure that can be used by each resident in a very personal way, but offers at the same time opportunities for communication or retreat by very simple means.

To blur the notion of inside and outside, the walls are unplastered and have the same rough look in both locations. The red bricks and the ceiling made of concrete are simply painted white. A part of the floors and the furniture are made of wood, carefully designed, to fit into the space arrangement.

In contrast to the formal expressions usually found in the design of a private house, this duplex is created with local handcraft and is rooted in the need of the resident.

This building was awarded the 27th Shinkenchiku Award in 2011.

Reference: http://www.chinese-architects.com

Suquan Court by TM Studio


 Image: http://www.zhulong.com

Built as a flexible space to accommodate a variety of commercial functions, Suquan Court by TM Studio is located in Suzhou, China.

Image: http://www.zhulong.com

In order to accommodate future events and functions which were not known during the design stage, it was designed as a free plan.

Image: http://www.zhulong.com

One of the most distinctive elements of the building is its façade. Featuring a hexagonal pattern, the long vertical windows of the lobby area can be opened or closed according to functional requirements.

Image: http://www.zhulong.com

Through the juxtaposition of patterns and materials, the interior space becomes a play of light and shadow.

Image: http://www.zhulong.com

In the execution of the design, one of the challenges was the narrow nature of the site, which measured only 6 meters in width.

Image: http://www.zhulong.com

By keeping the space simple and free of structural elements, functional flexibility is achieved.

Image: http://www.zhulong.com

Image: http://www.zhulong.com

TM Studio an architectural office based in Shanghai, China headed by principal architect Tong Ming.

Reference: Zhulong

Changxin Radio and Television Broadcasting Station by Integrated Architecture Studio, IA


 Image: http://www.zhulong.com

The Changxin Radio and Television Broadcasting Station by Integrated Architecture Studio, IA, is located in Zhejiang, China.

 Image: http://www.zhulong.com

Located in Meishan Park, the objective of the design was to ensure continuity between the building and its surrounding.

 Image: http://www.zhulong.com

One of the strategies adopted to connect the building to the park was the conception a strip of public garden that spirals up from the ground level to the roof level.

 Image: http://www.zhulong.com

A plaza in front of the building also functions as an outdoor amphitheatre where performances can take place. Steps leading to the building serves as the spectator stand.

 Image: http://www.zhulong.com

 Image: http://www.zhulong.com

 Image: http://www.zhulong.com

 Image: http://www.zhulong.com

 Image: http://www.zhulong.com

Integrated Architecture Studio, IA, is headed by architect Fu Xiao. Based in Nanjing, China, it works in collaboration with the architecture design and research institute of Nanjing University.

 

References: Zhulong