People generally go for walks in the woods to enjoy the peacefulness of nature. How wonderful it would be if the fine sounds of the forest could be heard loud and clear.
This is an experience that can now be had at Pähni Nature Centre in Estonia, where art academy students have developed and set up huge wooden megaphones to make the never-ceasing but scarcely noticeable calls and movements of forest inhabitants completely audible. The student Birgit Õigus designed the funnel-shaped megaphones for a project in the "Outdoor" auditorium at theacademy. Hannes Praks, Head of the Interior Architecture Departments, explains, "Being three metres in diameter at their widest point, the megaphones create a bandstand for the sounds that the forest produces." Visitors can settle down comfortably inside the megaphones to enjoy the surreal backdrop of sounds. The installation was completed in mid-September and as time passes by will go the way of all things, rotting away slowly but surely until completely absorbed into the forest floor.
concrete pavilion designed by Gianni Botsford Architects stands in a
private yard in Zurich. Despite its materiality, it does not seem either
massive or monolithic thanks to a special manufacturing method for
translucent concrete. This means that it is possible to experience the
natural environment while enjoying a smoke.
Architect: Gianni Botsford Architects, London Location: private Home, Zurich, Switzerland
Special effects in the pavilion: an unusual interplay of light both day and night.
Photos: James Morris
pavilion is meant to protect its users from the weather. What makes the
sleek, restrained design by Gianni Botsford Architects unique may not
be perceptible at first glance. This quiet space stands out from other
pavilions because the material used has a particular effect. The shell
may seem closed in, but users do not feel cut off from their
surroundings. On the contrary, from the inside of the shelter, they can
perceive both garden and sunlight thanks to the material, known as
translucent concrete or light-transmitting concrete.
The pavilion opens to the garden.
this project, the architects wanted to offset the diversity of the
garden with a particular accent. Although the pavilion may not provide a
visual complement to the surrounding greenery, its relationship with
nature can nevertheless be understood as symbiotic. The garden gives
life to the interior of the pavilion, making the concrete space appear
to live as though it were a natural organism in itself.
translucent concrete pavilion is based on a sophisticated concept and
complex precision work. What looks simple and sleek is the result of
innovative, state-of-the-art technology. Translucent concrete is made of
fine-grained concrete and glass-fibre mats poured alternately in
layers. The more dense the fibres, the more translucent the final
product. There can be no question that this material was perfect for the
architects, who developed a system in cooperation with GBA, Tall
Engineers, Litracon and Hammerlein. The shelter space is made of five
plates of translucent concrete, creating the floor, three walls and
roof. These plates are 80 mm thick and gain stability from dowel
connections and exactly placed stainless-steel reinforcements, meaning
that no secondary structure was required.
Axonometry: Gianni Botsford Architects
material, known as Litracon or Light-Transmitting Concrete, was
patented in 2001 by Áron Losonczi. Here it provides the pavilion with a
delicate feel. The simplicity of structure and form stand in direct
opposition to the complexity of the material. The concrete box rests
serenely in the owner’s garden and allows the lake and surrounding
mountains to take centre stage.
Site map: Gianni Botsford Architects
Elevation: Gianni Botsford Architects
to the light alter the effects on the surface of the concrete, creating
a spectrum ranging from heavy to light, from dense to permeable, from
monochrome to colourful. It is these ever-changing effects created by
the material, light and shadows that make the concrete pavilion appear
to breathe alongside the plants and animals in the garden.
Client: private Completion: 2013 Costs: £65.000 Usable space: 8.3 m² Landscape architecture: Todd Longstaffe-Gowan In co-operation with: TALL Engineers, London & Hammerlein Ingenieurbau GmbH, HTB Ingenieure + Planer AG Translucent concrete: Litracon Bt., Ungarn Award: Wallpaper Design Award 2015
a prominent place between High Line Park and the Hudson River, Renzo
Piano has created the generously-dimensioned Whitney Museum in
Manhattan. His structure is crowned by a series of staggered terraces
that serve not only as sunny places for passing time but also as
open-air extensions to the indoor gallery space.
Architect: Renzo Piano Building Workshop, New York, in co-operation with Cooper Robertson, New York Location: 99 Gansevoort Street, New York, NY 10014, USA
Photo: Nic Lehoux
Whitney Museum has been founded in 1931 in Greenwich Village, moved to
54th street in 1954, to Madison Avenue in 1966, and now found its new
home in the Meatpacking District. In more recent times its art
collections have seen a substantial growth in size, creating the need
for an extension. The large new building that has now been created
offers enough space for over 19,000 pieces of modern and contemporary
Photo: Timothy Schenck
Photo: Timothy Schenck
by Renzo Piano, the new museum building is asymmetric in form and is
completely clad in vertical grey steel panels. Projections and returns
articulate the elevation overlooking the Hudson River, while the rear of
the building is characterised by a series of staggered terraces used as
outdoor exhibition areas where sculptures are put on show.
Photos: Nic Lehoux
entrance area on the south side is located below a dramatic
cantilevered canopy and leads into a lobby that serves not only as a
buffer zone between the bustling street and the museum but also as a
freely accessible exhibition space. The galleries are spread out between
the fifth and eight storeys on an area of 4,650 square metres, whereby a
large column-free gallery is used to accommodate large
three-dimensional works of art. The room programme also includes
offices, reading rooms and a café along with a multi-use theatre space
for various types of performances.
Ground floor plan: RPBW
Floor plan level 8: RPBW
extension building by Renzo Piano fits in between the Hudson River und
High Line Park like a piece in a jigsaw puzzle. The impressions that
visitors gain of this part of the museum need not be restricted to its
interior but can also extend to the outside, as the staggered terraces
at the rear of the building provide nearly every floor with an outdoor
gallery, thus forming attractive open areas that also encourage visitors
to stop a while and pass the time in the fresh air. Projecting exterior
stairs present differing views of the surroundings and engage the
extension building with its urban setting.
Photo: Karin Jobst
Photo: Timothy Schenck
Client: Whitney Museum of American Art Team:
M.Carroll und E.Trezzani mit K.Schorn, T.Stewart, S.Ishida,
A.Garritano, F.Giacobello, I.Guzman, G.Melinotov, L. Priano, L.Stuart
and C. Chabaud, J.Jones, G.Fanara, M.Fleming, D.Piano, J.Pejkovic;
M.Ottonello (CAD) F.Cappellini, F.Terranova, I.Corsaro (Modelle) Structure: Robert Silman Associates Fire protection: Jaros, Baum & Bolles (MEP, fire prevention); Lighting: Arup Engineering (Façade): Heintges & Associates Civil engineering: Phillip Habib & Associates Theatre equipment: Theatre Projects Acoustics: Cerami & Associates Landscape architecture: Piet Oudolf with Mathews Nielson Construction management: Turner Construction
Blooming glory instead of exhaust-belching traffic: an unused stretch
of highway in Seoul is now to be transformed into an attractive
This project, brainchild of the Dutch architecture studio MVRDV,
represents a particular form of upcycling. Instead of tearing down the
highway on stilts in order to build something new, the creative
architects want to rededicate the unused road as a park for city
A bit of nature 17 metres off the ground, with 254 types of trees,
bushes and flowers, all organized according to the Korean alphabet, will
allow passers-by to discover new plants and interact with the green
world. Cafés, flower shops, markets, bookshops and greenhouses will give
the promenade its finishing touches.
The project is called Seoul Skygarden and has won MVRDV the
international transformation contest. The highway was built in the 1970s
and declared unsafe for motor traffic in 2006.
"Seoul Skygarden will improve daily life for many citizens of Seoul," says Winy Maas of MVRDV. "It will offer a lovely shortcut through a
green oasis, right there among all the traffic and concrete of the
a new building designed by Fluor Architectes, the Provençal city of
Arles is honouring the painter who indelibly engraved it – and himself –
on the memory of mankind. Natural light, the medium that stood at the
heart of van Gogh's work, plays a leading role in the new gallery.
Architect: Fluor Architecture Location:35 Ter Rue du Docteur Fanton, 13200 Arles, France
Entrance with sliding gate. Photos: Fluor Architecture
is known, the inhabitants of Arles never really warmed to the eccentric
Dutchman Vincent van Gogh while he was alive. Nevertheless, the 15
months he spent in the South of France were his most prolific, with some
300 paintings and drawings coming about during his stay in the
Almost 125 years after his death, van Gogh's
paintings are finally finding a suitable home in Arles. The
11-million-euro project is the work of Fondation van Gogh, founded in
1983 at the instigation of Swiss pharmaceutical manufacturer Luc
Hoffmann. Beforehand, the Fondation was located next to the city's Roman
amphitheatre, in an old building equipped with neither the security nor
the climate control for showing van Gogh's masterpieces.
Shop in the museum.
Fondation's new home is a rehabilitated and enlarged 500-year-old
mansion situated in the old quarter, not far from the banks of the
Rhône. The Hôtel Léautaud de Donines was built towards the end of the
15th century by the merchant Jacques Grilho and underwent alterations
later on, before finally being transformed by Fluor Architectes into a
museum building that fulfils contemporary standards.
The inner court and the new elevator in the mansion house. Photo: Hervé Hôte
enter the museum grounds from the north and continue to the forecourt,
where the artist Bertrand Lavier has placed van Gogh's characteristic
"Vincent" signature on sliding gates over two metres high. The entrance
facade is two storeys in height and completely glazed. The ground floor
offers merely the cashier's desk, the toilets and secondary rooms, with
the large exhibit hall being located on the first floor along with the
museum shop with its glass front oriented to the forecourt. The reason
for this particular spatial arrangement is simple: the natural slope of
the site places the ground floor of the old merchant's house a storey
higher than its entrance court to the north.
Longitudinal section: Fluor Architecture
Exhibition room. Photos: Fluor Architecture
Sawtooth roof of the great exhibition hall.
»Impressionistic« play of coloured light The glass roof of the museum shop features an artwork custom-designed by the Swiss artist Raphael Hefti.
Although practically invisible from the inside, the effects created by
his sculpture are not to be overseen: during the course of the day, 78
dichroic coated glass fins projecting from the roof at differing heights
and in irregular formations cast wandering specks of light onto the
shop's limestone walls, varying in colour according to the position of
Dichroic glass sculpture by Raphael Hefti.
Specks of reflected light on the limestone walls.
architects did not stint on natural light in the remaining rooms
either. The large hall has been provided an irregularly formed sawtooth
roof, surrounded by a wood decked roof terrace that visitors can walk
on. The windows in the old part of the building are unusually large for a
museum, but are shaded at the reveals by textile screens. The inner
court, now provided a glass roof, acts as a further source of daylight
for the old merchant's house, in which steel walkways and a new elevator
have been installed to connect the exhibition levels.
Roof terrace surrounding the sawtooth roof of the large exhibit hall. Photo: Hervé Hôte
Photos: Fluor Architecture
coordination with the monument authority, the architects preserved
interior fixtures and furnishings wherever possible, bringing about a
fascinating dialogue – one sought for in vain in most contemporary
museum buildings – between the residential architecture of past
centuries and the masterpieces placed on show. Naturally a new and
highly-efficient ventilation system does its work behind the scenes, and
LED luminaires provide artificial lighting. Wherever acceptable from a
conservation-related point of view, the thermal insulation and the
sealing of the building shell have been adapted to modern standards. To
prevent unnecessary heat introduction into the exhibit rooms, the glass
roofs and skylights are made of low-emissivity glass.
Exhibition room in the old part of the building, complete with preserved fireplace.