edgeland house °AUSTIN

 

 

 

 

 

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developed by american berry chen architecture studio, the ‘edgeland residence in austin, texas ‘is located on a rehabilitated
brownfield site, re-interpreted as of one of the oldest housing typologies in north america – the native american pit house.
typically sunken, the building takes advantage of the earth’s mass to maintain thermal comfort throughout the year.
the residential home’s relationship to the landscape both in terms of approach as well as building performance involves
an insulating green roof and a seven‐foot excavation ‐  raising awareness about a diminishing natural landscape and its finite
resources by creating a balance between the surrounding industrial zone and the natural river residing on opposite side of the site.

both visually and functionally, edgeland residence touches on architecture as site‐specific installation art and as an extension
of the landscape. the program is broken up into two separate pavilions, for the living and sleeping quarters, and requires
direct contact with the outside elements to pass from one to the other.

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 by bercy chen studio

Haus B | Germany

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In a heritage listed environment at the foot of the vineyards on the Rotenberg, this new home for a young family has been created. The historic building law with cultural heritage constraints and the difficult dimensions of the building grounds were initially quite an obstacle and did restrict the wishes of the building owners. Within these narrow constraints a pure home is created, a home with frugal details and apt quotes of past building traditions.

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The shell of the home is all white. It is intended to trace the historical setting demanded by preservation of historical monuments and to illuminate it in it´s new glace. A single format for the windows with clean shutter elements opens up the facade and acts as frame for the desired vistas of the vineyards. Narrow frame profiles and flush windows give the home`s shell a skinlike apearance. The shutters` design contains historic ornaments, creating a connection to the building`s predecessor.

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Final Wooden House – Japan

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I wanted to create an ultimate wooden architecture. I thought through this bungalow, which can be considered as a small and primitive house, it was possible to do a primitive and simultaneously new architecture. 350mm square profile cedar is piled endlessly. At the end of the process appears a prototypical place before architecture became architecture.

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Wood is amazingly versatile. Due to its versatility, wood is used in a conventional wooden architecture by intentional differentiation in various places. Not only in structures, such as columns and beams, but it can also be used in everything else from foundation, exterior wall, interior wall, ceiling, flooring, insulation, furniture, stairs to window frames. I posit that if wood is indeed multifaceted, then conversely it should be possible to create architecture that fulfills all functions by one process, and by one way of using woods. It is an inversion of versatility. From that originates, new architecture that maintains an undifferentiated condition of the harmonized whole before function and role underwent mitosis.

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350mm square profile cedar has an amazing impact. It transcends what we usually call “wood” and becomes “an existence” of an entirely different material. While the dimensions adequately display its materiality as wood, 350mm squared is simultaneously the dimensionality directly corresponding to human body. Thus, three-dimensional space is created out of 350mm increments. This stepped space was a long fascination of mine for couple of years as its defining characteristics are the generation of a sort of spatial relativity and a new sense of various distances unachievable by coplanar floors.

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There are no categorization of floors, walls, and ceilings here. A locality that was thought as a floor transforms into chairs, ceilings, and walls from different perspectives. Floor levels are relative and people reinterpret the spatiality according to where they are. People are three-dimensionally distributed in space and will experience new sensations of depths. Spaces are not divided but is rather produced as a chance occurrence within fusing elements. Inhabitants discover various functions within those undulations. It is a place akin to nebulous landscape. This resonates with the undifferentiated condition of above-mentioned architectonic elements. Both as a constructional methodology and experiential space, this architecture is synthesized by the fusion of various undifferentiated elements. Here, conventional rules of architecture is nullified. There is neither a plan nor a stabilizing point. This is possible purely because the wood is that versatile. Perhaps it is only possible with wood to be simultaneously the insulation and the structure, the finish and also the furniture. By being composed of the wooden blocks instead of slabs, the method of creating the undifferentiated condition was made clear.

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Squish Studio – CANADA

Tilting, Fogo Island, Newfoundland

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The Squish Studio is located just outside the small town of Tilting on the eastern end of Fogo Island. First settled in the mid-18th century, Tilting is known for its strong Irish culture and its recent designation by Parks Canada as a National Cul- tural Landscape District of Canada.

The Squish Studio’s white angular form, sited on a rocky strip of coastline, that could rival Italy’s western coast, offers sharp contrast to the traditional vernacular architecture of the nearby picturesque community of Tilting. As its architect, Todd Saunders, has commented on the studio’s siting, “…it is out of sight, but close.” The approach to the front entry of the studio is dramatic, as the most southern end of the studio rises twenty feet above the ground, in sharp contrast to its most northern tip that measures only half that dimension. The compact, trapezi- um-shaped plan of the studio is augmented by the extension of the east and west exterior walls to create a sheltered, triangulated south entry deck and a north terrace that overlooks the ocean. From a distant view, the streamlined form of the Squish Studio becomes apparent with its high back and low (squished) front designed, in part, to deflect the winds from the stormy North Atlantic.

As we approach the entry of the studio we are greeted by Silke Otto-Knapp, a London-based artist and the first occupant of the Squish Studio. As Silke brings us through the studio, the spatial compression of the tall and narrow entry area gives way to the horizontal expanse of the main room. The downward angled roof leads the eye to the full height oblong glass window focused on a splendid view of Round Head. The vertical white planks that line the interior walls are interrupted by a playful series of narrow windows integrated with an expanse of built-in cabi- netry.

Silke’s quick figurative studies on paper are posted on the walls, as well as, several large scale canvasses. She is delighted to work in such an architecturally inspired space, especially when it is stormy and she can experience the imme- diacy of the sea and, on some days, observe the dramatic shift of the island’s weather.

The Squish Studio, like most of its other counterparts, is equipped with a compost toilet, a small kitchenette and wood-burning stove. Power is supplied by stand- alone solar panels, mounted on an adjacent hilltop. Both the interior and exterior of the studio, including the roof, is clad with spruce planks that are painted white. At night, the studio, illuminated by the soft glow of its solar-powered lighting, appears as a lantern or a lighthouse placed strategically on a rocky cliff to over- look the North Atlantic. In its isolation, one can also imagine a sole occupant, vulnerable but protected from the elements – inspired to work late into the night, occasionally distracted by the crash of the waves, or perhaps, fully immersed in the work at hand, the first glimpse of the sunrise through the Squish Studio’s slot windows that face the north-eastern horizon.

How we made – Graham Coxon and Stephen Street on Parklife by Blur

Graham Coxon, guitarist

Modern Life Is Rubbish [Blur’s second album] was overlooked because of the rise of grunge, but we were halfway to somewhere, and with Parklife we arrived. The album was the convergence of a lot of influences: Alex [James, bassist] wanted to be in Duran Duran, I wanted to be in Wire, and Damon [Albarn] wanted to be … I don’t know. There were songs on the album we were excited about, but I was surprised it got so many awards. One or two would have been all right.

A lot of people thought it was a celebration of Englishness, but it was actually very sarcastic. The Parklife single wasn’t about the working class, it was about the park class: dustbin men, pigeons, joggers – things we saw every day on the way to the studio [Maison Rouge in Fulham]. It epitomises what Blur were about – having fun and doing exactly what you want to do.

But Damon wasn’t comfortable doing the verses – he just couldn’t get into character. He thought it would be better to get in a celebrity, so I suggested the actor Phil Daniels because we were big fans from Quadrophenia. At the line “There was a piece of my heart”, Phil said, “Should I drop the ‘h’? If I pronounce it, it’ll sound more adorable.” We didn’t want to use a forced mockney accent, so he pronounced the “h”.

I play a bit of the German national anthem on saxophone in the “vorsprung durch technik” line. It’s a very comedic song, a knees-up. Oasis were accused of being Chas’n’Dave, but we weren’t far away ourselves.

Stephen Street, producer

Modern Life hadn’t been a commercial success, but the band were still drawing a big touring crowd so the fear of being dropped had gone. We went into the studio to do Parklife soon after.

Damon was directing his attention to a very English kind of inspiration: great records made by the Kinks, and also imaginary characters like Tracy Jacks[Albarn’s civil servant in the throes of a midlife crisis]. The album was made piecemeal: we did a few songs, then they were on the road again, then back in the studio. There were no arguments.

The style of [first single] Girls & Boys was unlike anything Blur had done before, but I thought it would be Top 5 – it was so downright basic. I felt the way I had when I produced the Smiths: that as long as Morrissey was singing on it, it would be the Smiths. It was the same with Blur: they could put their hands to anything, and it would still sound like Blur.

Each song had its own sound and direction: End of a Century is completely different from Girls & Boys, and different again from Bank Holiday. I knew [the song] Parklife would connect with people, and I still often hear it played at Loftus Road [Queens Park Rangers’ ground]. In fact, a lot of football teams play it.

Phil Daniels was first approached to recite a poem over a song called The Debt Collector, but in the end it became an instrumental because Damon couldn’t come up with a poem he liked. So we decided Phil should have a go at Parklife instead. The band and I were already pretty sick of that song, but he invigorated it and we were interested again – although personally, it’s still not one of my favourites.

Interviews by Caroline Sullivan. guardian.co.uk