Atelier Bardill: an elliptical skyline

An old barn provides a place for music creation. Is there something more poetic and inspirational than that? Atelier Bardill by Valerio Olgiati occupies the site of a former barn in the protected historical villagescape of Scharans, Switzerland.

Built on a land´s plot at the old center of the Swiss village, the form of a small volume (only 240 sq. m.) engages in dialogue with pre-existing construction, sheltering a studio for a musician in a single space that opens onto a large courtyard. Continue reading


Outpost: Desert Residence

The client of this residence is an artist and apparently not a struggling one. The building stands somewhere in the desert landscape of Central Idaho, has the size of 3,686 sq. ft. and is meant not only for living, but also as a working studio and for exhibiting artworks.

Looking at these pictures, at least one thing is clear: the artist will definitely have the opportunity to work undisturbed, not bothered by the street noise (I can’t even see the access road!). Continue reading


Wooden Hut: a cube-shaped shelter

Somewhere in Kunamoto, Japan, nestled among lavish green landscapes was born the ultimate statement of wooden architecture. Sou Fujimoto is the creator of a masterpiece: the Wooden Hut.

In this 15, 13 sq.m. cube-shaped mountain shelter, cedar wood timbers establish the only rule that fulfills all the following functions: exterior and interior walls, ceiling and floor, furnishing and stairs, even window frames. In fact, this unique mountain cabin is basically conceived by stacks of 350mm square timbers, joined together. Continue reading


House Tokyo: City Casper

Located in Tokyo, this small house is extremely white, almost ghostly, but also sweet and cute, just like the cartoonist figure of Casper – the friendly ghost. And as an old good Casper animation film does, this building arouses nice, joyful emotions. As the song goes “All you need is love”; in architecture and design, it can be put this way: “All you need is joy and surprise”. That’s why I’m in love with this house. It brings joy and surprise, to me at least. Continue reading


The Black Teahouse: a place to gather

Of all five senses, architecture often can´t capture one in particular: flavor. The Black Teahouse by a1 architects is a fine example of how to honour or even approach such an impossible task. Sitting beside a lake surrounded by woodland near the city of Ceska Lipa, Czech Republic, this ‘temple for tea’ has only 13, 50 sq. m. and is composed by an interior room that extends outside into a large veranda built with larch planks. Continue reading


Chucaknut Drive Residence: Architecture As a Way To Observe Nature

When I took the first look at the Chucaknut Drive Residence, situated on the coastline of Washington State overlooking the San Juan Islands, I thought to myself: “We’ve seen it long before! Is this going to be called the new architecture? But that’s just like the 30’s with their window divisions, large glass areas, and simplistic facades… Beautiful? Yes, but nothing catchy.”

However, something made me take a second look at this lovely coastal home. Perhaps it was the charming peaceful nature the house resides in and therefore has to confront it. But is ‘confronting nature’ the right expression for this project? Looking at the large quadrate-divided window facades of this 1,400 sq. ft 2-storey home, and the wooden structure of its roof, I suddenly felt I should look out of the window from the inside of the house and… that was it! I got the idea of the architects! Take a look yourself… Continue reading


Sydney Shed: a Cherry Merry Attitude

This small brick house, dated from the second half of the 19th century, was in a deteriorated state when it was bought by the current owners. The building had hosted different functions during its existence, like coach-building workshop or an artists’ studio. Frankly speaking, I’m not sure if I would buy such a thing (not really valuable from the historic point of view) and in such a technical state, but the new owners had a strong vision and succeeded in turning the structure into an interesting place with its own distinct style. Continue reading


Residence Eastman: a certain shade of green

In the middle of a vertical rhythm of tree trunks, an orange metal line draws a roof. Located near the Mount-Orford, Quebec, Residence Eastman surprises for its unusual volume shape. By the look of it, it is clear that the architects’ notion of the ideal house is fundamentally different from conventional ideas. Continue reading


House Kempeneers: a modern fortress

This project is situated in the rural area of Eastern Belgium. The ground floor takes a vast area of 350 m2, but it enclosures open outdoor spaces within its walls. The entire planning of the Kempeneers house is orientated from the outside envelope towards the interior spaces. The house is not exposed to its surroundings, quite the opposite – it looks like a modern fortress. Continue reading


The Rake Showroom: Re-Usage of windows

I live in a city which has hundreds of historical buildings, many of them are under state protection as monuments of architecture, and the whole center of the city stands under the UNESCO protection. Yet, almost once a month I bump into the original wooden windows (because they are so old and “bad-looking” and need professional restoring) being thrown away and new ones (often plastic ones) are put in.

The problem lies in many aspects, but let me focus on the idea where the windows are taken out of their native place. At best, a professional carpenter-restorer has the opportunity to take the original handles and knobs and re-use them in other projects. Unfortunately, in most cases the original substance goes to waste.

I’m not sure if the designers of the Rake project have analyzed the problem in such a way, but what they did create is fresh, cool and intriguing. They collected the windows from the nearby building that was being demolished and reused them in the new-made cube pavilion in Trondheim, Norway. Windows of different sizes and looks were gathered to form the facades, whereas doors form the ceiling. Continue reading