exterior view /// photo © Toshiyuki Yano (Nacasa&Partners Inc.)
exterior view /// photo © Toshiyuki Yano (Nacasa&Partners Inc.)
“When I always create, I think that I want to find the charm of the plan,” claims 35 year old talented architect Makoto Tanijiri, chief architect of Suppose Design Office. In the nine year existence of Suppose Design Office they have built more than 50 works of architecture, almost all single-family homes, among other projects. The impressive number of works completed topped up in 2007 with the modern pit dwelling in Saijo, Hiroshima. In Saijo, a town known for it sake, a jet black pyramid unexpectedly stands out; when first seen it seems as if it’s a house from the future. On the contrast, it’s actually inspired by the earliest house in Japanese architecture; the pit dwelling or the “tateana jukyo”. Constructed during the Yayoi era (200 B.C. – 250 A.D.), pit dwellings were built by digging a circular pit (or rectangular one with rounded edges) fifty or sixty centimeters deep and five to seven meters in diameter, then covering it with a steep thatched roof. Not very different from talented young architects Makoto Tanijiri’s modern day pit dwelling! Read more…
Champagne reception instead of beer smell: On the premises of the former Bavaria brewery in St. Pauli the 19-storey Astraturm with about 13,000 sqm office area was completed at the beginning of 2008. The new building designed by KSP Jürgen Engel Architects is, along with the Atlantic house by architect Thomas Herzog and the Empire Riverside luxury hotel by David Chipperfield, the new „Hafen-Krone“ skyline, now towering above the gangway and the fish market.
A characteristic feature of the new building is the elegantly structured glass façade with its round edges and the ribbon façade made of bronze-shimmering ceramic elements running all round the building. Along with the centrally located opening core the French windows guarantee for bright and light-flooded office areas with a wide panoramic view across the city.
With its red tower it nearly looks like a light-tower – matching the new Rheinauhafen. The eleven floors belong to the building Kap am Südkai, for which the architectural bureau KSP Engel und Zimmermann from Frankfurt was responsible for from design documentation and investment planning down to using it for their own purposes.
From the outside it is pretty plainly structured, since it falls neatly in line with the neighboring “Siebengebirge“. However, taking a closer look pays off, since the peculiarities can be spotted in the details: Already when entering the building it becomes clear that the architects had many ideas concerning details. On nearly 12,000 square meters the building cores of contrasting color meet on the roof area to form the building’s spine. Including a generous roof terrace granting a wide view.
However, this is not accessible to anybody like the first floor, which is open to interested visitors and can also be used as a showroom for exhibitors. If you wish to get from the first floor to the roof terrace you will have to pass the openly arranged offices of the upper floors. Arranged around the building’s colored cores one can already guess the view across the river Rhine provided by their glass fronts, a view one can enjoy unhindered from the roof terrace. “Room for working people, their guests and the public“ the Rheinauhafen intended to create with the Kap am Südkai according to its marketing slogan. And the concept seems to work.
The in-house “KAP Forum“ offers unusual meals such as “Salade Niçoise“ or potatoe almond balls in a mediterranean setting to employees and guests alike. And some think while getting treated by the creations of chef Steffen Kimmig, that there might be even more details hidden inside the Kap am Südkai. The extra weight gained there or inside the nearby chocolate museum can then be lost again while taking a walk along the Rhine shores. Read more…
The Borneo Sporenburg development lies in one of Amsterdam‘s former working harbors. The city and West 8 Urban Design & Landscape Architecture planned an urban development with a density of 40 dwellings per acre (100 dwellings per hectare).
The block is 79 feet (24 meters) deep and unites the two extreme edges of the site. One side looks out across the water, while the other is part of an intimate, urban texture of narrow streets. The back-to-back dwellings are built above an internal street — a parking solution that enabled use of the ground-floor level for residential functions, which results in lively neighbor relations. The units also have patios and roof terraces, which are used as private outdoor spaces.
Dwellings on the north side are oriented toward the water. With two-story glazed lower facades, they take advantage of the natural light and view. The south-facing dwellings are oriented toward the inner street. Their elevations have a more closed design to ensure privacy. They also have a roof terrace facing an alleyway, which accounts for the staggered frontage.
A key question when discussing narrow houses is — what is considered narrow? The answer is based on historic precedents, which have been influenced by site conditions, cultural traditions, and technology.
On Amsterdam’s Singel Street, for example, there is a habitable unit whose front measures 3.3 feet (one meter). This, of course, is an extremely narrow space, probably a leftover gap between two structures.
Analyzing a room’s dimensions to ensure its proper functioning is one process for determining the best width of a dwelling. Highway-transit regulations could also be a consideration. When prefabricated, a unit with a width ranging from 14 to 16 feet (4.3 to 4.9 meters) can be shipped from a plant to a construction site without a front- or rear-car escort. A wider structure would be more expensive to deliver.
The minimum width of a dwelling also depends on the creativity of the designer. Past designs show that a 12-foot (3.7-meter) structure built on one to three levels can contain basic amenities.
It can accommodate a living room and kitchen on the ground floor, two fair-sized bedrooms on the second, and two more rooms in the basement or attic. The wider the design, the easier it is to fit functions within it. For my purposes here, dwellings up to 25 feet wide (7.6 meters) qualify as narrow.
Narrow houses can be detached, semidetached (attached on one side), or attached on both sides to form a row. When constructed in rows, they are commonly planned as part of a multistory, multifamily, high-density project.
Since their introduction centuries ago, and even more so today, their attraction has remained their groundedness. Whether used by one or several occupants, the design offers easy access to a back or front yard. Unlike apartment living, where a number of occupants share the main door, parking garage, outdoor spaces, and hallways, narrow townhouses offer independence and privacy.
The trade-offs include the narrow width, which can restrict interior flexibility, and reduced natural light to middle units. Front and rear yards also tend to be smaller compared to those of detached dwellings.
When cost-effectiveness is sought, choosing a suitable type of dwelling is a high priority. With a cottage, for example, the cost is lowered by building two stories on a single foundation, reducing land and infrastructure expenses. Another option, known as the “stuck townhouse,” offers further savings by placing two-story dwellings on top of one another. The savings, however, depend on the size of the overall footprint. Choosing a narrow design for these building types would lead to further cost reductions.
An alternative to a narrow single-family building is a multifamily layout with independent dwelling units. This type is known as a duplex when split in two, and a triplex when used by three households. By combining the design attributes of the single-family with “the plex,” additional housing types emerge, such as the fourplex, which is essentially two attached duplexes.
The first floor, built at the street level, contains the laundry area which cannot be seen due to the span that forms the garage. Above the garage one can find the living area and the guest’s bedroom. The big wood brise indicates the stairway that leads to the house. On the third floor, you will find the bedrooms which face a vast terrace.
The access to the bedrooms is through a long corridor, brightly illuminated by glass sealed slabs on the ceiling and walls. Light is this project’s main property. It is free, rich, abundant and generous.
MoederscheimMoonen Architects recently delivered a new sports-pavilion for two soccer clubs in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. The project is part of the development of Park 16Hoven; a large new suburban neighborhood close to the city center and the airport.
Within the open space between the airport and newly developed houses in the park, the aim for the design was to create a transparent and ‘lightweight’ pavilion for various uses.