Dezeen

28 Jan. 2023
chopin apartment sao paolo

A large variety of art and collectible design pieces populate this penthouse apartment in São Paulo, designed by local studio Tria Arquitetura, which also includes a sculptural staircase.

The renovation of the 960-square-metre Frederic Chopin Apartment was led by architect Marina Cardoso de Almeida of Tria Arquitetura, who reconfigured the layout to make the most of the high ceilings and views.

Staircase viewed beyond slatted timber wall
A sculptural staircase snakes between the levels of the duplex apartment

The apartment is split over two floors and is home to an art-loving couple.

Previously the owners of a large house, the clients chose to move to an apartment for convenience and security, but still wanted their space to feel open and expansive.

Green sofa among neutral decor
Green furniture and rugs are highlighted against mostly neutral-toned materials

The primary suite was moved to the upper floor, where the bed could be aligned with a floor-to-ceiling window that overlooks the cityscape.

An intimate library was also created on this level, so that the whole floor is dedicated entirely to private space, apart from the patio and pool terrace, where the clients entertain guests.

Dining room with bold artwork
The couple's contemporary art collection draws attention throughout the apartment

Two employees' suites were shifted to the lower floor, and a guest suite and home theatre were added in place of the closet.

Connecting the two levels is a staircase with travertine treads and solid white bannisters, which snakes up a double-height space to appear like a piece of sculpture.

Dining room with green armchair
Slatted wooden panels wrap the elevator block, the fireplace and the wall dividing the main living room from the guest area

This sets the tone for the rest of the contemporary artworks and materials used throughout the penthouse.

"The main concept in the choice of finishes and architectural solutions was to bring comfort but still leave a big void so that the works could dress the house," said Tria Arquitetura.

Kitchen
Stainless steel in the kitchen matches a wrapped column in the living area

In the open living and dining area, colourful paintings adorn the walls, and furniture and rugs in shades of green and orange stand out against the otherwise neutral palette.

"In the living room there were three large main volumes that should be highlighted to bring texture and more cosiness," Tria Arquitetura said.

Staircase viewed from above
The staircase features solid white bannisters and travertine treads

These include the elevator block, the fireplace and the wall dividing the main room from the guest area, which are covered in thin vertical slats of veneered natural wood.

Another column is wrapped in stainless steel to offer a cool, sharp-edged contrast to the wood and other warm tones in the living room.

Bedroom decorated with bright wrt
The primary bedroom was moved upstairs to face the best view

Upstairs in the library, wide-planked wood flooring is continued up the walls to make the room feel cosy, and provide a backdrop for a series of framed vintage maps.

"It was only in the library that the architect chose to cover all the walls with the same wood as the floor to give more seriousness and highlight the environment from the others," the studio said.

Updates were also made to the outdoor area, where the pool was reduced in size and re-edged to better integrate it with the landscaping.

A pair of imitation classical pillars were also demolished, and a wood and glass pergola was added to cover the patio.

Library panelled with wide planks
Walls of an intimate library are panelled with the same wood as the floor

Throughout the apartment, fully automated systems controlling the air conditioning, lighting, landscaping irrigation, and curtains and blinds were added during the renovation.

The project took over two years to complete due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Terrace and swimming pool
The project also involved adding a pergola and reducing the pool size on the terrace

Apartment living is commonplace in densely populated São Paulo, where architects and designers have used their creativity to add character to previously uninspiring spaces.

Other recently completed examples include a residence by Studio MK27 that features furry upholstery, lace curtains and tactile rugs, and a renovation by Memola Estudio that exposed the building's concrete structure.

The photography is by Fran Parente.


Project credits:

Lead architect: Marina Cardoso de Almeida
Creative team: Marina Cardoso de Almeida, Sarah Bonanno, Barbara Castro, Barbara Silva, Virginia Caldas
Engineering: Steel Construções
Landscaping: Alex Hanazaki
Light technician: Carlos Fortes
Automation: Taag
Air conditioning: Dealtec

The post Tria Arquitetura renovates São Paulo penthouse with sculptural staircase appeared first on Dezeen.

28 Jan. 2023
Exterior of Villa BW by Mecanoo

Glossy ceramic tiles in shades of green and blue cover the twisting form of Villa BW, a house in the Dutch village of Schoorl designed by architecture studio Mecanoo.

Delft-based Mecanoo, which is best known for its large-scale cultural projects, created the three-storey home to sit among a cluster of more traditional dwellings.

Aerial view of tiled house in Schoorl
Mecanoo has created a tile-covered house named Villa BW

Villa BW has a distinctive double-curved roof and tile cladding, designed to allow the 308-square-metre house to be "absorbed" by the surrounding landscape of dunes, woodland and polder.

Treated with a pearlescent glaze, the bespoke tiles that cover the exterior are coloured in grey, blue and green tones that appear to shift with the changing sunlight during the day.

Aerial view of houses in the village of Schoorl
It sits within a cluster of traditional houses

"Where the rolling dune landscape flows into the lower-lying polder terrain of the hinterland, the naturally sloping landscape embraces Villa BW," said Mecanoo.

"Colour use is consistent with the shades of the environment, ensuring that the villa is absorbed in the changing terrain," it continued. "The dune and polder landscape in various seasons is mirrored in the design's colour spectrum consisting of five shades of grey, green and blue."

Curved roof of Villa BW by Mecanoo
It has a distinctive double-curved roof

Two vertical elements organise the interiors of the home – a glazed void facing a garden to the southeast and the wood-lined core containing the staircase, storage, and sanitaryware.

The glazed void ensures that ample daylight reaches the home's two basement levels, which contain an office and lounge area, and open out onto the garden.

On the ground floor is a large living, dining and kitchen space oriented towards the garden. Here, glass doors lead out to a stepped wooden terrace that wraps the northern end of the home.

At either gable end of the house, large windows in projecting wood and metal frames. These provide light and views for the main bedroom on the first floor, which sits under the gently twisting ceiling finished with wooden planks.

Blue-tiled elevation of Villa BW in the Netherlands
The tiles are coloured in grey, blue and green tones

Finishing touches to Villa BW include wooden panels and storage units that line the interiors and conceal sliding doors.

Terrazzo floors and counters in the bathroom and kitchen areas are complemented by tiled splashbacks that match the exterior cladding.

Wood-lined interior of Villa BW by Mecanoo
Wooden panels line the interior of the home

Architecture studio Mecanoo was founded in the Netherlands in 1984 by the Dutch architect Francine Houben.

Previous homes by the studio include a house and cooking school in the Netherlands linked by subterranean corridors and a home in the Cotswolds that is partially submerged in a lake.

The photography is by Ossip Architectuurfotografie.

The post Mecanoo cloaks Dutch house in pearlescent ceramic tiles appeared first on Dezeen.

28 Jan. 2023
Living room at Enough House, Canada, by Brian MacKay-Lyons

From Norway to New Zealand, this lookbook explores rural cabins with cosy living areas that are animated by natural materials and views out over wild landscapes.

Cabins are a popular building typology with architects all around the world. Typically built from wood, the little shelters are ideally suited as peaceful retreats in remote locations.

Their small size and the use of organic materials such as wood helps these structures to blend in with natural surroundings, while also creating warm and calming living spaces for inhabitants.

As demonstrated by this roundup, little else is needed to make a cabin cosy, and keeping their interiors pared-back retains focus on the main event – the views out to nature.

This is the latest in our lookbooks series, which provides visual inspiration from Dezeen's archive. For more inspiration see previous lookbooks featuring interiors with statement carpets, earthy bedrooms with natural colours and hotel interiors enriched by jewel tones.


Living space of Enough House by Brian MacKay-Lyons
Photo is by James Brittain

Enough House, Canada, by Brian MacKay-Lyons

Dark-stained floorboards complement the light and exposed timber beams and columns of this cabin on a farmstead in Nova Scotia.

Its living room has large windows for looking out over the rustic landscape but retains a sheltered feel with low ceilings, a soft rug and comfy leather furniture such as the 2 Fauteuil Grand Confort armchair by Le Corbusier.

Find out more about Enough House ›


L-shaped sofa and armchair inside cabin living space
Photo is by Tom Bird

Looking Glass Lodge, UK, by Michael Kendrick Architects

A black fireplace is suspended from the ceiling of this sitting area, located in the Looking Glass Lodge in East Sussex.

The room has a pared-back design filled with woven furnishings and wooden surfaces, helping to ensure the focus stays on the floor-to-ceiling glazing.

According to its designer Michael Kendrick Architects, the studio's aim was to give the cabin "a sense of transparency and belonging within its setting".

Find out more about Looking Glass Lodge ›


Sitting and dining area of The Hat House in Sweden
Photo is by Jim Stephenson

The Hat House, Sweden, by Tina Bergman

Despite its tall ceilings, The Hat House's living-dining space has been made to feel snug with its warm material palette dominated by different woods.

These include spruce panels on the walls and end-grain spruce blocks for the floor. A cushioned window seat allows the owner to immerse themself in the view.

Find out more about The Hat House ›


Living room of Bruny Island Cabin by Maguire + Devin
Photo is by Rob Maver

Bruny Island Cabin, Australia, by Maguire + Devin

Baltic pine lines almost every surface of this off-grid cabin in Tasmania, designed by Maguire + Devin with references to traditional Japanese houses.

Nearly every piece of furniture forms a part of the building's frame, creating a minimalist and uncluttered interior. This includes a raised seating area, positioned beside a pane of glass and finished with a low-lying table and rugs for sitting.

Find out more about Bruny Island Cabin ›


Living space of Biv Punakaiki cabin
Photo is by Stephen Goodenough

Biv Punakaiki, New Zealand, by Fabric Architecture

Hidden within the rainforest in the coastal village of Punakaiki, this holiday cabin has large spans of glazing that aim to immerse occupants in the landscape.

Furnishings are few and far between to prevent distracting from the view, but a homely feel is created through the warm and exposed timber structure and mid-20th-century furnishings including a leather butterfly chair.

Find out more about Biv Punakaiki ›


Mobile forest cabin at Het bos roept campsite by The Way We Build
Photo is by Jordi Huisman

Forest Cabin, Netherlands, by The Way We Build

Arches made of poplar give a chapel-like character to this tiny mobile cabin, located on a campsite in the Robbenoordbos forest in the Netherlands.

Its compact living area is deliberately simple, furnished with just a writing desk and a wood burner for warmth and offering visitors a meditative space to "rejuvenate close to nature".

Find out more about Forest Cabin ›


Living room of Iragüen Viñuela Arquitectos ski cabin
Photo is by Marcos Zegers

House by the Cautín River, Chile, by Iragüen Viñuela Arquitecto

Iragüen Viñuela Arquitectos opted for dark-stained wood for the interior lining of this ski cabin in Chile, creating a moody yet cosy living area where the outside views take centre stage.

"The interior of the house, completely covered in black wood, allows a great contrast with the white winter and green summer landscape, and offers an atmosphere of introspection and calm according to the vocation of shelter," said the studio.

Find out more about House by the Cautín River ›


Living space in Cabin Nordmarka by Rever & Drage Architects
Photo is by Tom Auger

Cabin Nordmarka, Norway, Rever & Drage

An angular corner window animates the unadorned living room of Cabin Nordmarka that Rever & Drage recently completed in Norway.

The green and blue tones of the forested surroundings form a colourful backdrop to the elevated space, which is characterised by light timber planks and matching furniture.

Find out more about Cabin Nordmarka ›


Interior of The Author's House in Denmark by Sleth
Photo is by Rasmus Hjortshøj, Coast

The Author's House, Denmark, by Sleth

Landscape studio Sleth designed this writer's cabin to blend in with its natural setting on the outskirts of Aarhus.

Douglas fir planks line the living room, creating a cosy retreat for the owner while echoing the surrounding trees. Bookshelves at the base of its gabled profile help reduce the height of the room, making it feel even more snug.

Find out more about The Author's House ›


Treetop cabin at Bergaliv Landscape Hotel, Sweden, by Hanna Michelson

Bergaliv Landscape Hotel, Sweden, by Hanna Michelson

This compact wooden cabin nestled in the treetops of a Swedish mountain is one of four designed for the Bergaliv Landscape Hotel.

Like many other cabins on the list, the interior is simply finished. This draws attention to a wooden L-shaped bench and window seat, designed for visitors to get lost in the views out over the landscape.

Find out more about Bergaliv Landscape Hotel ›

This is the latest in our lookbooks series, which provides visual inspiration from Dezeen's archive. For more inspiration see previous lookbooks featuring interiors with statement carpets, earthy bedrooms with natural colours and hotel interiors enriched by jewel tones.

The post Ten cabins with cosy interiors that frame views of nature appeared first on Dezeen.

28 Jan. 2023
Architects Brexit: Powered by People RIBA report

This week on Dezeen, we published a survey showing that three years on from leaving the EU, 84 per cent of UK architecture studios want to reverse the Brexit "catastrophe" and rejoin the union.

Dezeen's features editor Nat Barker spoke to 50 architecture studios about their experience of conducting business post-Brexit, discovering that nine in 10 firms believe that leaving the EU has hindered their practice.

Studios with a global presence including Foster + Partners and BDP took part in the survey, as well as smaller offices with 15 or fewer employees. We also reported on the plans of Somerset-based Invisible Studio to move out of the UK in direct response to Brexit.

Wall insulation install
Architects spoke to Dezeen about carrying out insulation-led retrofits on their homes

Another study that gained traction this week came from the University of Cambridge and found that energy savings obtained by insulating UK homes appear to be cancelled out within four years due to an increase in energy use.

To combat this "rebound effect" and ensure energy savings continue in the long term, the researchers concluded that installing insulation has to be accompanied by financial incentives and regulations to change people's behaviour.

At the same time, a series of British architects talked to Dezeen about the challenges of completing energy-led retrofits on their own homes in light of the UK's ageing housing stock.

Dezeen In Depth newsletter
We launched our Dezeen In Depth newsletter

Also this week, we launched Dezeen In Depth – our latest newsletter that is released on the last Friday of every month and takes a deep dive into the biggest stories defining architecture and design.

The first edition includes an exclusive interview with architect Norman Foster and an opinion piece by historian Holly Nielsen, which explores tech companies' ownership of the metaverse.

Indore low-cost housing by Balkrishna Doshi
Aranya is among ten projects by the late Balkrishna Doshi featured in our roundup

Following the death of Balkrishna Doshi at age 95, we rounded up ten of the architect's most memorable projects including the Aranya Low-Cost Housing development in Indore (above), which was built in 1989.

Over his lifetime, Doshi received a RIBA Royal Gold Medal as well as being the first Indian architect to win the Pritzker Architecture Prize.

Schiaparelli faux taxidermy lion head on black dress
Schiaparelli crafted a black gown embellished with a faux lion head

In design news, French fashion house Schiaparelli kicked off Paris Couture Week with its latest fashion show, which included three controversial gowns adorned with faux lion, wolf and leopard heads.

Also in Paris, Dutch brand Viktor & Rolf showed rotated ballgowns that were positioned at unconventional angles. Meanwhile in Milan, Italian brand Fendi transformed its headquarters into a "roller disco pinball machine" to create a runway for its Autumn Winter 2023 menswear show.

Exterior of The Courtyard Residence by FGR Architects
The Courtyard Residence is a concrete home in Melbourne

Popular projects on Dezeen this week ranged from a house in Melbourne by FGR Architects that is concealed behind concrete walls to Hebra Arquitectos' elevated timber cabin in Chile and a Venice Beach bungalow by architecture studio Design, Bitches.

Our latest lookbooks collected bedrooms with earthy colour palettes and interiors that make use of statement carpets.

This week on Dezeen

This week on Dezeen is our regular roundup of the week's top news stories. Subscribe to our newsletters to be sure you don't miss anything.

The post This week we revealed Brexit's impact on UK architecture studios appeared first on Dezeen.

27 Jan. 2023
Camera House by Leckie Studio

Leckie Studio has completed Camera House in the mountains of British Columbia with dramatic windows and skylights that are meant to frame the surrounding landscape like a camera lens.

The single-storey house is clad in dark timber boards, which the studio said helps it blend into its lush forest setting.

The building's steep roofline is strategically oriented for skylights that frame different views of the surrounding mountains.

Wood and concrete-lined interiors of remote Canadian cottage
Leckie Studio designed the remote getaway in Canada's Pemberton Valley

The remote structure is located in the Pemberton Valley, roughly three hours away from Vancouver. The area is near Whistler, a popular ski resort in the Canadian Rocky Mountains.

Leckie Studio, an architecture and interior studio based in Vancouver, was commissioned by a young family to create a secondary home away from the city.

"The program called for two bedrooms and a flex room, with the understanding that the family will be spending long periods of time living at the house during the summer months," Leckie Studio explained.

Blackened timber cladding on rectilinear Canadian house by Leckie Studio
The single-storey dwelling is clad in dark timber

"The views through the clerestories alternate between being specific (Owl Ridge) and abstract (treetops/sky)," Leckie Studio explained.

"The interior spaces have been sculpted with sloping ceilings to channel both light and view lines."

Open-plan kitchen illuminated by skylights, which opens onto a terrace with a long swimming pool
The kitchen and the dining room are located together

The home is separated into public and private rooms by a long, central corridor.

"The program is organized linearly along the fall line of the slope across two levels, with private spaces situated against the densely forested high side of the slope and public spaces running parallel below," said Leckie Studio.

Skylights placed in white roof of rectilinear
Strategically oriented skylights frame views of the surrounding mountains

The communal areas, including the kitchen and dining room, are accessed via a short flight of steps. A monolithic concrete fireplace separates these spaces from the living room.

At the end of the kitchen, full-height sliding glass doors open onto a terrace and swimming pool.

Swimming pool at timber-clad Camera House by Leckie Studio
Glass doors open onto a terrace with a swimming pool

Three bedrooms are laid out along the corridor in the elevated part of the home. In addition to the primary suite and two children's bedrooms, there is a flex space that can accommodate houseguests.

Leckie Studio chose a bright palette for the interiors, with polished concrete floors playing up the abundant natural light coming in from the home's skylights and clerestory windows.

The same material is found in other accents such as the textured fireplace and a long bench in the kitchen. This contrasts with the darker exterior material.

"The majority of the project is clad in a flat sawn and brushed Western Red Cedar finished with a dark stain," said Leckie Studio.

"The dark tone of the cladding allows the architecture to recede into the landscape."

Rectilinear black house with views of the Canadian Rockies
Camera House was designed to frame views of the Canadian Rockies

Leckie studio was founded by Michael Leckie in 2015. It has completed several residential projects in Vancouver and the surrounding areas, including a courtyard house that was clad in pale wood siding, and a penthouse apartment in BIG's Vancouver skyscraper.

The photography is by Ema Peter.

The post Leckie Studio creates timber-clad house to frame views of Canadian Rockies appeared first on Dezeen.

27 Jan. 2023
MVRDV sea level catalogue

Dutch architecture studio MVRDV has released a study that aims to offer possible solutions to urban planning in the face of rising sea levels by reimagining the Vancouver waterfront.

Called the Sea Level Rise Catalogue, the project looks at methods for adapting to rising sea levels, which according to the IPCC could rise as much as two metres by 2100, posing many problems for the large population centres along the coasts.

"As sea level rise is gradual, there is time to develop and implement this change if we start now," said MVRDV in the report.

"Cities need to leverage this urgency to develop and test adaptation solutions and share knowledge globally to accelerate a prosperous, adaptive, sustainable future of our coastal communities."

MVRDV Vancouver sea level plan rendering
MVRDV reimagined Vancouver's waterfront in 2100

The study proposes that dykes and walls blocking the water level will no longer be viable options for our cities and that other approaches must be taken.

It also challenges the language traditionally used around infrastructure in the face of changing climates, asking readers to use "reciprocal" language such as "protect", "host", and "restore" as opposed to "nature-detached" perspectives like "resist", "accommodate", and "retreat".

Solutions for the problem range from adapting preexisting structures using stilts, changing building programs, making evacuation routes and upgrading utilities like pumps as well as more intensive solutions such as tearing down buildings and constructing others on top of the water.

Cities are important organisms

"It's always about the transect of the city to the water and how the water systems will change over time," MVRDV associate architect Kristina Knauf told Dezeen. "It will be a good combination of retreat, protect and adapt."

"We realize that the existing cities are important organisms for us. It's not as simple to just say 'let's move away'," she said.

"Sometimes you actually move towards the water because there are certain urban functions that you need to allocate to these places."

MVRDV water level plan for Vancouver
The pilot projects are meant to be immediately deployable

Taking Vancouver as a test case for what the studio believes is a universal problem, the catalogue reimagined the waterfront along False Creek, an inlet that cuts through the city.

They stipulated that the call for resilient architecture should include principals of "rewilding" and worked closely with the city to implement a vision for the next 100 years of the creek.

Indigenous people learned how to live with the water

By using the data gathered about the urban makeup of the waterfront, MVRDV developed a series of pilot structures that utilise the principles of the catalogue.

Community inclusion was a significant aspect of these proposals, and the studio consulted local groups, especially advisors from the local First Nations in order to imagine a different relationship between the city and the waterfront.

"Indigenous people learned how to live with the water much better than us," Knauf said. "There is a cultural shift you have to make not just a technical one."

The pilot projects deal mostly in the subtidal zone, or the portion of the waterfront that is constantly underwater.

Projects were selected based on the ability to be immediately implemented, part of MVRDV's suggestion that first steps need to be taken immediately in order to ensure manageable adjustments to the changing climate.

Measures part of larger framework

The projects include a specific transect from the water that begins with a floating island that would be a refuge for animals.

From here, towards the shore, there would be a floating hotel that would be accessible via kayak and hold a water-monitoring station and provide access via bridges to the city.

MVRDV sea level rising catalogue
Indigenous communities were consulted on the designs

In the tidal area, which would be submerged part of the time, there would be a pavilion that would act as a community and cultural centre. Between the pavilion and the existing infrastructure, the studio proposed putting a forested area as a buffer.

The studio also proposed building a series of walkways on top of the water that would help to maintain connections between the existing infrastructure.

"The proposed measures are not independent, but are part of a larger framework," said the studio. "The catalogue elements should be combined to form a system of buildings, landscapes, networks, ecologies, and communities, that are specific to its context."

The catalogue was developed as part of Vancouver's Sea2City initiative, which brought together MVRDV and architecture studio Mithun+One to work alongside the local community and government groups.

Projects developed through the initiative are "not be built immediately," according to the city.

Worldwide, architects have been considering resiliency in the face of climate change. Last year, we rounded up a series of resilient homes built to withstand natural disasters like fire, floods and strong winds.

The post MVRDV envisions Vancouver in 2100 with predicted sea level rise appeared first on Dezeen.

27 Jan. 2023
Apple Campus by Foster + Partners

The first edition of our new monthly Dezeen In Depth newsletter features an exclusive interview with Norman Foster, in which he defends concrete buildings against "dangerous myths". Subscribe to Dezeen Debate now.

The British architect explains his studio's approach towards sustainability – "we have to have a more holistic, wider view" – and his views on concrete, timber and aviation in this exclusive interview.

Foster argues that over the past 55 years, Foster + Partners has been designing buildings with an environmental focus that "seek to challenge the status quo" by "reducing energy and encouraging contact with the natural world".

He cites the HSBC tower in Hong KongApple campus in California and Bloomberg HQ in London as examples. Read the full interview

A view from inside Foster + Partners' Apple Campus in Cupertino, California

This month's newsletter also features an opinion piece in which Holly Nielsen pours doubt on the value of the metaverse and we publish the results of an exclusive Dezeen survey exploring how Brexit is impacting UK architecture studios three years on.

The lead image is by Nigel Young courtesy of the Norman Foster Foundation.

Dezeen In Depth

Dezeen In Depth is sent on the last Friday of every month and delves deeper into the major stories shaping architecture and design. Each edition includes an original feature article on a key topic or trend, an interview with a prominent industry figure and an opinion piece from a leading critic. Read the latest edition of Dezeen In Depth or subscribe here.

You can also subscribe to our other newsletters; Dezeen Agenda is sent every Tuesday containing a selection of the most important news highlights from the week, Dezeen Debate is sent every Thursday featuring a selection of the best reader comments and most talked-about stories and Dezeen Daily is our daily bulletin that contains every story published in the preceding 24 hours on Dezeen.

The post First edition of Dezeen In Depth features exclusive interview with Norman Foster appeared first on Dezeen.

27 Jan. 2023
Photograph of white architectural model on black backdrop

Dezeen School Shows: we've picked eight student projects that feature in Dezeen School Shows that use 3D models to display design solutions.

These undergraduate and postgraduate architecture students have created models from materials such as wood, plastic, clay and fabric using techniques including laser cutting, 3D printing and construction by hand.

Physical modelmaking has been used by architects and designers throughout history to represent building concepts throughout the design process, from initial ideation stages to final scale models.

Hand-making architectural models is an activity that is being gradually replaced by the use of digital CAD visualisations and renderings.

Models featured in this roundup include a demonstration that represents a proposed barrier against desertification, a conceptual model for a pavilion created by fabric tension, and a sectional model that illustrates the design of a subterranean greenhouse.

These models come from students enrolled on architecture courses at international institutions including UCLA, University of Hong Kong, City College of New York, SCI-Arc, Washington University in St Louis, California Baptist University and the University at Buffalo.


Photo of a wooden frame and plans

Boattega Veneta and The Current by Mariella Hirschoff

Designed by student Mariella Hirschoff, this project is a cultural centre informed by Native American Bull boats – small circular vessels made from buffalo hide stretched over a wooden frame.

The model illustrates the construction of the building's skeletal frame and canvas skin, which is fastened to the timber using a variety of securing connective methods.

"The boat's ribbed frame and organic material, as well as the flow of water, are incorporated into [my] final project, The Current, which features an undulating roof that shifts in height according to the programs within," said Hirschoff.

"Integrated with the Erie Canal shoreline, The Current houses a cafe, gift shop, main gallery, learning centre, conservation workshop and an enclosed wet dock, with public docks, a bridge, outdoor terrace and publicly accessible green spaces."

Student: Mariella Hirschoff
School: University at Buffalo
Course: Bachelor of Science in Architecture

View the full school show ›


Photograph of a plywood model in front of black backdrop

Nests and Thresholds by Jacob Dunsmore

Jacob Dunsmore chose to examine the increasingly common concept of creating dual uses for buildings, and the way in which the line blurs between one use and the other.

The model he created to illustrate this investigation represents two interconnected buildings nestled within each other, and is made out of plywood.

"By imagining two buildings nested one inside the other, the studio and project interrogate not only the threshold between the building and the world, but within the many thresholds that reside within the architectural object itself," said Dunsmore.

"The current indeterminacy between living and working, brought about both by crisis and our increasingly 'seamless' and 'interconnected' work-anywhere and live-everywhere model, has radically altered our understanding of boundaries."

"Binary distinctions between living and working, inside and outside, private and public, individual and collective, have become difficult to pin down."

Student: Jacob Dunsmore
School: UCLA
Course: House to Housing

View the full school show ›


Photograph of a tabletop model with sand blowing against a structure on the right hand side, in front of a dark backdrop

Resonate Structure by Chan Shu Man

Chan Shu Man's postgraduate thesis centres on the use of structures to help quell the desertification of inner Mongolia, which is accelerating as a result of mining and other human interference.

The theory was tested by using a model combined with sand to demonstrate how the bank of sand builds against the curved structure when blown against it by the wind.

"The thesis speculates the potential of resonance structure responsive to the dire desertification of inner Mongolia, where deforestation, widespread mining of oil, coal, and other human activities are constantly turning the once fertile lands into sandy plains," said Chan Shu Man.

"By adopting the prevalence of sand material and natural wind forces, a built structure proposal is tested to heighten the intimate relationship with the immediate desert environment."

Student: Chan Shu Man
School: University of Hong Kong
Course: Master of Architecture Thesis

View the full school show ›


Collage of images including photograph of clay model

Gravitational Tectonic by Amy Ho, Aakanksha Maharjan and Florim Zharku

Architecture students Amy Ho, Aakanksha Maharjan and Florim Zharku centred their project around the application of traditional building materials to modern construction methods.

Gravitational Tectonic sees robotics and 3D printing merged with clay to produce intricate lattice-like structures.

"This studio engages with a current movement in architecture and design that seeks alternative methods for fabricating architectural systems to promote the principles of ecology, sustainability, upcycling and circularity," they said.

"The project explores novel approaches to sustainable and ecological design in architecture that promote biodiversity through natural materials, artificial systems and living organisms."

Students: Amy Ho, Aakanksha Maharjan and Florim Zharku
School: City College of New York
Course: Bachelor of Architecture Studio: Robotic Ecologies

View the full school show ›


Handmade section model of a timber structure with sloped roof

Flora Conservancy Community Centre by Cody Heller

Cody Heller's Flora Conservancy Community Centre draws on South American Walipini – a type of greenhouse that consists of a roof covering a below-ground pit.

The model uses multiple materials including plywood and plastic to show a sectional view that illustrates the submerged elements of the design.

"Centralised by the surrounding garden beds with a lantern-like object embedded within the earth, the greenhouse presents itself as a hub for the Flora Conversancy's social and economic ambitions," said Heller.

"The project aims to curate public experiences across the site through moments of view-making, attempting to isolate the visitor in a green that verges on utopian paradise."

Student: Cody Heller
School: Washington University in St Louis
Course: 317 Core Studio, Master of Architecture

View the full school show ›


Collage of photographs of large-scale plywood prototypes

Figure to Fibre by Tyler Beerse, Ollie He, Jamie Jones, Bhalendu Guatam, Marissa Hayden, Josh Barzideh, Tom Cleary, Sam Goembel, Lovepreet Kaur, Nick Hills, Camilo Copete and Ben Starr

A group of students from the University at Buffalo experimented with the bending of plywood to control the way the material warps.

The three large-scale prototypes were built from three-millimetre-thick plywood sheets to demonstrate the potential of warped plywood when applied to larger architectural and design contexts.

"Since the seams between parts never align between layers, bending can occur naturally without an awkward accumulation of thickness," they said.

"The natural wood grain is strategically oriented to the structure's geometry, allowing tighter bending radii and increased stiffness where necessary."

Students: Tyler Beerse, Ollie He, Jamie Jones, Bhalendu Guatam, Marissa Hayden, Josh Barzideh, Tom Cleary, Sam Goembel, Lovepreet Kaur, Nick Hills, Camilo Copete and Ben Starr
School: University at Buffalo
Course: Graduate and undergraduate programmes

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Four images of a white tensile fabric model on a black background

Transcendence Analysis in Structure by Trinity Shizumi Kam Yuk Shiroma

Architecture student Trinity Shizumi Kam Yuk Shiroma explored the structural and aesthetic qualities of using solid elements combined with fabric in structures.

The model has a 3D-printed base with vertical uprights, which is overlaid with a fabric sheet anchored to the base and drawn upwards by wires.

"[I] explored the topic of transcendence through structural-volumetric considerations," said the student.

"The tension of the fabric creates arched volumes and thresholds between each ground anchor."

Student: Trinity Shizumi Kam Yuk Shiroma
School: California Baptist University
Course: FA21 ARC410

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Sectional model of a large building made from beige and brown materials

Inflected by Mengyao "Cooper" Liu

Mengyao "Cooper" Liu's thesis proposes a design for the National Cultural Museum in South Korea, which has a fragmented structure that houses a myriad of different spaces in contrast with traditional museum design.

This sectional, mixed-material model aims to demonstrate this faceted layout while showing how each is interconnected.

"One of the most inescapable realities of realising buildings is the assembly of parts," said Liu.

"By using the logic of exploded axonometric drawings, pulling, sliding and shifting are used in this thesis to show inflexion moments in the process of designing buildings caused by the unstable part-to-whole relationship."

Student: Mengyao "Cooper" Liu
School: SCI-Arc
Course: Graduate Thesis

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These projects are presented in school shows from institutions that partner with Dezeen. Find out more about Dezeen partnership content here.

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27 Jan. 2023
Orange Rühe sofa seat by Allseating

Dezeen Showroom: Canadian furniture company Allseating and industrial designer Mike Shields have collaborated to create a seating collection that adds a "home-like" feel to workplace and corporate settings.

Rühe – named after the German word for rest – is a seating range that contains different sizes of chairs and sofas for use across public interiors.

Each piece was designed to have enhanced ergonomic and hygienic properties.

Orange Rühe sofa seat by Allseating
Rühe seating was designed to be easy to clean

The chairs and sofas in the collection are made from slim, lightweight steel frames that feature gently curved armrests.

"Thoughtfully crafted to evoke a home-like feel that is calming and comforting, Rühe's carefully selected design elements promote health, wellness, and cleanability, all while offering superior durability and support for all users," said Allseating.

"The shape of Rühe's arms was designed to mimic the gesture of welcoming arms that humans make in social situations and acts as a warm invitation for users to relax and take a seat."

Orange Rühe seating by Allseating
The furniture pieces have gently curved armrests

Available in a range of frame finishes and upholstery, the seats have channels between cushions that allow users to remove debris easily.

The collection also includes tables and optional power modules for AC or USB charging.

Product: Rühe
Designer: Mike Shields
Brand: Allseating
Contact: customerservice@allseating.com

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27 Jan. 2023

French practice Régis Roudil used adobe and timber to construct this nursery in the grounds of the historic Palais de l'Alma in Paris.

Occupying the garden to the rear of the 19th-century national palace, formerly the stables of Napoleon III and now presidential offices, the 24-child nursery opens out onto a quiet urban garden surrounded by historic frontages.

The Nursery by Régis Roudil
The nursery was designed by Régis Roudil

"Previously housed in an older, ill-adapted building on the rue de l'Elysée, [the nursery's] new position provides it with a genuine place of serenity," explained the studio.

"One of the challenges of this project was to carefully integrate [the nursery] into this exceptional urban fabric in a way that respected the existing built heritage."

Exterior photo of the Nursery by Régis Roudil
It was constructed using timber and adobe

The narrow, single-storey building extends the width of the garden, anchored by two solid adobe forms at either end that were connected by an exposed timber structure.

Inside, the central space contains a large, open classroom organised around a central bathroom block and bookended by two crib areas, illuminated by skylights in a raised, gently sweeping section of the metal roof.

Beneath the timber beams of the roof structure, the nursery is fitted with bespoke timber furniture, allowing the space to be flexible and easily reconfigured if necessary.

At either end, the more private adobe structures contain an office and storage, separated from the central classroom by entrance spaces containing lockers and seating.

Photo of The Nursery by Régis Roudil
It is located on the grounds of the Palais de l'Alm

Framed by timber columns, a series of large, sliding glass doors in the classroom open out onto a play and seating area, separated from the palace gardens by a low fence of freestanding wooden planks.

"The notion of courtyard and introverted space is evoked..on the north side, the children's garden is placed in direct contact with the garden of the Palais to offer users the enjoyment of a visual escape towards nature," explained the studio.

"As this place is sensitive, owing to its purpose and its function, it has no direct views onto or from the public space...the garden appears as a bucolic. green lung in this stone context."

Photo of the interior of the building
It has a wooden interior

On the opposite side of the building, a pathway has been created between the palace walls and the nursery's southern elevation, creating a route all the way around the building overlooked by windows.

Other nursery projects recently featured on Dezeen include the MS Kindergarten in Japan by Hibinosekkei, designed to help children feel closer to nature, and a minimal, timber extension to a kindergarten in Austria by Bernado Bader Architekten.

The photography is by Florent Michel.

The post Régis Roudil creates adobe nursery in grounds of Parisian palace appeared first on Dezeen.

27 Jan. 2023
The interiors of Andrés Reisinger office

Spanish architecture and interior design studio Isern Serra kept to a material palette of concrete, quartz and stainless steel to create this pared-back office for Reisinger Studio

Located in the Poblenou neighbourhood in Barcelona, digital artist Andrés Reisinger's studio is surrounded by several other creative's offices and is designed to reflect the artist's minimalist, dreamlike style.

The ground floor of Andrés Reisinger's office
The Studio Reisinger office is designed to reflect the artist's minimalist aesthetic

"The concept behind the interiors of my studio was to create a space that complements and doesn't compete with the uplifting spirit of my work," Reisinger told Dezeen.

"I wanted the studio to be like a canvas, with a kind of identity that I could play with," he added. "The space is inspired by my work's aesthetic, with seemingly surreal details amidst the light and bright studio."

An office by Isern Serra
Isern Serra left its raw concrete pillars intact

Purchased as an empty shell, the Barcelona-based team decided to leave parts of the original space intact such as the concrete pillars while the ceiling was left exposed.

Natural tones and textures were introduced through paint and flooring to create an airy and monochromatic yet soothing feel.

A kitchen by Isern Serra
A stainless steel kitchen is on the ground floor

"First the colour and texture of the walls were chosen," Isern Serra told Dezeen. "They are finished with a quartz-based paint in the form of a paste," he added.

"A natural finishing of micro-cement for the flooring was chosen to have the same tone and textured effect," Serra said.

A dining table inside Andrés Reisinger's office
A concrete table can be used for dining and working

The team then went about filling the space with office equipment and furnishings, paying close attention to sourcing locally made items that reflect the sculptural work of Reisinger Studio.

A large concrete table, which functions as a workspace and dining table was made on-site and stands in the middle of the studio.

It was produced in a hue that sits between millennial pink and beige – a colour that has become synonymous with Reisinger's work. A similar shade can be seen throughtout Reisinger and architect Alba de la Fuente's virtual residence Winter House.

Around the table is a set of chrome metal stools custom-made by designer Julia Esque that complement the stainless steel staircase which curls up the floor above.

Also in the area below the mezzanine, is a kitchen made entirely of stainless steel that features an integrated hydraulic push-to-open storage system.

An office interior by Isern Serra
A millennial pink colour palette was used throughout

On the upper floor, which is fronted by glass, Andrés Reisinger has a private office with a wooden desk for meetings. Plush pink seating here adds a touch of warmth. A separate shower and toilet are also situated on this floor.

"The goal was to create a space that would inspire, rather than distract, from the work being produced," explained Reisinger.

"I imagined the studio as a blank canvas, a place where my team and I could come to experiment, evolve and grow our ideas and projects."

The interior of an office by Isern Serra
The office has a separate meeting room

Argentinian designer Andrés Reisinger founded Reisinger Studio in 2018. The artist is best known for the Hortensia chair, a bulbous pink armchair made with CGI that went viral on Instagram.

He also made headlines for his collection of "impossible" virtual furniture, which sold for $450,000 at auction.

The photos are courtesy of Reisinger Studio.

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27 Jan. 2023
Kitchen inside Low Energy House designed by Architecture for London

The UK's ageing houses must be insulated against uncontrolled heat loss, but this will require accepting changes to their appearance, according to a series of British architects who have recently carried out their own energy-led retrofits.

"The majority of homes in the UK were built before we understood about climate change," explained Sarah Wigglesworth, an architect who recently retrofitted her own home in London.

"If we do not insulate our homes and offices we are burning fuel just to throw it away into the atmosphere," she told Dezeen.

UK housing oldest and most poorly insulated in Europe

Housing in the UK is among the most poorly insulated in Europe, according to research by German technology company Tado. As Wigglesworth implied, this is largely due to its age.

The Building Research Establishment (BRE) found that the UK has the oldest housing stock in Europe, with 38 per cent of the homes built before 1946, which compares to 29 per cent in France and 20 per cent in Italy. Additionally, 78 per cent of UK residents keep warm using gas central heating, the UK Department for Business Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has found.

This means that most UK homes, which continue to rely heavily on burning fossil fuels for space heating, are losing warmth through their inadequately insulated envelopes.

Interior of Straw Bale House in London
Sarah Wigglesworth recently improved the energy efficiency of her Straw Bale House in London

Architecture for London founder Ben Ridley said that improving the energy inefficiency of the UK's ageing homes is essential if it is to meet its target of net-zero emissions by 2050.

"Historically, fuel has been relatively cheap so insulating homes was seen as a low priority until the second half of the 20th century," said Ridley, who also recently retrofitted his home with his studio Architecture for London.

"The vast majority of our traditional housing stock in the UK was therefore built with uninsulated solid masonry walls and single glazing," he continued.

"Ultimately we are going to have to accept some changes in the appearance of our traditional homes."

Key steps are to "insulate, make airtight and ventilate"

The energy inefficiency of UK housing has been in the spotlight recently not only because of its impact on the environment, which has influenced protests by Insulate Britain, but also due to the spiralling energy costs, exacerbated by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

In response to this, the UK government is capping the cost of energy to support people with paying their bills. However, according to architects, retrofitting at a national scale to cut heat loss from houses is a more effective long-term solution and should be the focus instead.

"In the short term helping people pay for their fuel bills helps, but it does not solve the long-term issue that we can't continue to burn fossil fuels as we once did," said Wigglesworth. "Only insulating our buildings will help this."

Kitchen inside Low Energy House designed by Architecture for London
Architecture for London's founder recently retrofitted his Edwardian home in Muswell Hill

Retrofit is the process of upgrading the energy efficiency of buildings. Robert Prewett of Prewett Bizley Architects summarised the main ways to do this as to "insulate, make airtight and ventilate".

"Most homes need insulating and fitting with higher performance windows," said Prewett, who recently carried out a retrofit of a London home that was shortlisted for RIBA House of the Year.

"As we do that we should also reduce air leakage, which can significantly undermine the impact of the insulation," he continued.

"At the same time, we must always ensure that air quality is maintained or improved. This is likely to mean continuous silent extract ventilation possibly with heat recovery."

Typically, insulation is first added to a roof, followed by floors and external walls – the latter of which can result in changes to a building's exterior, particularly when windows are also upgraded.

Preserving heritage obstacle to retrofit of traditional homes

This can be an obstacle when retrofitting homes that are heritage-listed or located in conservation areas, as it threatens to impact the character of a building.

"Everything comes at a cost, and sometimes the external appearance will change, especially windows and walls," said Wigglesworth.

Wigglesworth suggested internal insulation as a way to overcome this, as it allows a more sensitive retrofit that ensures a property retains its character.

"If retaining the external appearance is of paramount importance, then internal wall insulation is the answer," she explained.

"It is costlier because it is much more fiddly to install, needs careful calculation to ensure no condensation occurs and you have to redo all the internal moulding, cornices, architraves and so forth that are part of the heritage feature."

Construction worker applying external insulation to a house
Applying external insulation can improve the energy efficiency of existing houses. Photo is by U J Alexander via Shutterstock

However, in Ridley's opinion, external insulation is the most effective way to retrofit and he believes guidelines for conservation buildings should be made less stringent.

"There are certainly conservation issues with listed buildings and those in conservation areas," Ridley said.

"I believe that these need to be relaxed, particularly in relation to the side and rear facades of heritage buildings which are usually of little architectural interest or importance."

Architect and Passivhaus advocate Paul Testa said that there must sometimes be a "compromise between performance and heritage", and suggested working with a heritage expert when navigating these barriers.

Upgrading windows "the biggest challenge"

He highlighted that this could be particularly useful when upgrading windows of homes in historic or conservation contexts, which he described as "the biggest challenge" of retrofit.

"It's difficult to make high-performance glazing look like an authentic original window," explained Testa, who is director of Sheffield studio Hem Architects.

Testa added that one of the best solutions for this is to introduce a secondary glazing system, which offers an alternative to replacing windows.

"In some sensitive locations it may be necessary to use a high-performance secondary glazing system with the original windows sensitively repaired or replicated," he said.

Another major challenge facing retrofit is "the lack of consistent government strategy", Testa said.

Many of the worst-performing homes are owned by occupants who cannot afford to retrofit and he believes that government backing is key to facilitating vital upgrades.

"This is where the government strategy and funding becomes critical," Testa explained. "Without this, there will always be a huge proportion of the country that will never have the funds to affect the necessary change."

Benefits of retrofit go beyond the environment

Testa said that the benefits of the government supporting retrofit go beyond the environment, as it could also help boost public health over winter months.

"We will see a rise in respiratory issues with under-heated, under-ventilated homes over the next few months as people struggle to cope with rising costs," he explained.

"A building that has been retrofitted will likely have a better build quality, better thermal comfort and air quality, and hugely reduced risks of damp and mould."

He added that "there is an estimated 42p saving to the NHS (National Health Service) for every £1 spent on the retrofit of fuel-poor homes", referring to a study on fuel poverty by the non-governmental organisation Save the Children.

For him, the government's first step should be to rid of value-added tax (VAT), which applies to renovations of existing buildings but not to new builds, meaning many people are priced out of retrofit projects.

Thermal image of heat loss from house
The UK's housing is among the most poorly insulated in Europe

"The biggest step that could be made to improve retrofit take-up is to remove VAT from retrofit work," said Testa.

"Currently we have the crazy situation that new-build homes are Vat free, but retrofitting existing stock carries full 20 per cent VAT."

Ridley agreed that a lack of political strategy and will is "a major issue currently" facing retrofit.

In his view, the government should "offer all homeowners and landlords low-interest loans to pay for retrofit works".

"The interest on the loan could be repaid out of the future reduction in energy bills, therefore possibly have no net cost to the owner," he suggested.

"Home insulation alone is not a magic bullet"

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is also calling on the government for more support in the retrofit of houses in the UK.

In a report named Home for Heroes, the RIBA demands a national programme involving the insulation of 3.3 million houses built in England's interwar suburbs between 1919 and 1939.

It claims that by doing so, England's total carbon emissions could be cut by four per cent per year, which is the "same amount as completely decarbonising [England's] waste and recycling sector".

However, according to a recent study by the University of Cambridge, adding insulation to UK homes does not guarantee long-term energy savings as much as hoped.

After analysing the gas-use patterns of more than 55,000 homes across England and Wales, researchers found that the fall in gas consumption achieved by retrofitting with wall insulation was cancelled out within four years by an increase in energy use.

The causes of this are still unknown, but the study speculates that it could be the result of the simultaneous construction of home extensions or if a home has a conservatory.

"There are very real benefits to households from good insulation, not least in terms of health and comfort," said the report's co-author Laura Diaz Anadon.

"However, home insulation alone is not a magic bullet," she added. "In the long term, simply funding more of the same insulation roll-out to meet the UK's carbon reduction and energy security targets may not move the dial as much as is hoped."

The main photo is by Erik Mclean via Unsplash.

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27 Jan. 2023
Site of Indonesia's new capital Nusantara

Indonesia has announced plans to begin the construction of 184 apartment blocks that will mark the first stage of development of its new capital Nusantara.

The housing will be the first element to be built in the new city, which is being created on the east coast of the island of Borneo to replace the current Indonesian capital Jakarta.

City designed for initial population of 500,000

Designed by Indonesian studio URBAN+, the city will contain the state palace, the house of representatives, government offices and housing for civil servants. It is being designed with the aim of having an initial population of 500,000 people.

Nusantara will be located between North Penajam Paser and Kutai Kartanegara on the Indonesian part of Borneo, 870 miles away from the current capital.

Indonesia to replace sinking Jakarta with new capital city
Top: president Joko Widodo visits the site of Indonesia's new city. Photo by BPMI President's Secretariat/Muchlis. Above: it will replace Jakarta as Indonesia's capital. Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Nusantara National Capital Authority (NNCA) head Bambang Susantono recently announced that the first phase of the capital's construction will begin in the second quarter of this year, reported Reuters.

In a presentation at the World Economic Forum, he explained that the apartment blocks would be built to house 14,500 civil servants, military and police.

Susantono announced that NNCA was in negotiations with three private developers from China, South Korea and Indonesia to undertake the work.

According to the NNCA, construction on the state palace will also begin this year and will be completed in 2024.

Nusantara will replace current capital Jakarta

First announced in 2019, Nusantara is a flagship project of Indonesian president Joko Widodo, who wants to move the capital away from Jakarta on the island of Java.

Home to around 10 million people, Jakarta has reported extreme land subsidence for decades and is at risk from rising sea levels as two-fifths of the city is below sea level.

Widodo believes that the relocation could ease pressure on Jakarta, which also suffers from intense congestion and extremely high pollution levels.

Indonesia is not the only country relocating its capital. Egypt is currently building its new capital on the outskirts of Cairo.

Other countries to relocate capitals include Brazil, which created the Oscar Niemeyer-designed Brasilia in 1961, while Myanmar moved its capital from Yangon to Naypyidaw in 2005.

The post Indonesia set to begin construction on new capital this year appeared first on Dezeen.

27 Jan. 2023
The Pink Villa by Luca Nichetto

Luca Nichetto has converted a 1940s villa in Stockholm into a studio to display his designs in a domestic setting and provide a comfortable working environment for his team.

The Italian designer's studio was previously based out of an apartment in the city's Midsommarkransen neighbourhood. But when the landlord wanted to raise the rent, Nichetto decided to relocate to a larger property in a nearby suburb.

The Pink Villa by Luca Nichetto
Luca Nichetto has turned a 1940s villa into his own studio

"I didn't really need to look for another space in the city centre because it's not that important for us as we work globally," Nichetto explained.

"A week after beginning to search, I saw on the real estate market what is now the Pink Villa. It was simply perfect and I made the offer."

Interior image of The Pink Villa
A blush-pink staircase leads up to the first floor

The Pink Villa is a typical 1940s wooden house with a gabled roof and a large garden. Nichetto bought the property in 2021 and began adapting the interior to make it suitable for use as a studio.

"I didn't want a conventional studio space but rather a space that could be a studio, a showroom and a domestic property to be used on the weekends by my family and during the week by my team," the designer told Dezeen.

Photo of the interior of The Pink Villa
Nichetto's Banah sofa for Arflex sits in the living area

The villa takes its name from its distinctive pink exterior, which was given a fresh coat of bubblegum-pink paint to maintain its characterful presence on the street.

The property's existing three bedrooms were transformed into a private office for Nichetto on the first floor and a meeting room and tailor's workshop on the ground floor, which his wife uses on the weekends.

Interior image of the The Pink Villa
La Manufacture's Soufflé mirror helps to bring character to the space

A corridor leads from the entrance to a bright living room that looks onto the garden. An opening beyond the stairs up to the first floor connects with the simple custom-built kitchen.

Along with Nichetto's office, the upper floor contains a second bathroom and a large open workspace that facilitates flexible use rather than incorporating dedicated workstations.

Interior image of a kitchen at The Pink Villa
Bright and bold colours were used throughout the interior

The interior features a pared-back palette of materials and colours that provide a neutral backdrop for a selection of products and furniture designed by Nichetto for brands including Offecct, Cassina, Arflex and Bernhardt Design.

"I wanted to give a touch of warmth and I did that using colour and volumes," the designer said. "I particularly chose materials culturally connected with the south of Europe and very deliberately mixed them with Scandinavian features."

In the living area, pale-pink walls and white-painted floors contribute to the light and airy feel. Nichetto's Banah sofa for Arflex and Soufflé mirror for La Manufacture are among the playful designs that bring character to this space.

Upstairs, the main office spaces feature furniture such as Nichetto's Torei low table for Cassina and Nico armchair for Bernhardt Design. His office contains the Railway table for De Padova and Robo chairs by Offecct.

The Pink Villa by Luca Nichetto
Walls in the living area were painted a light pink

One of the key qualities that attracted Nichetto to the property is the spacious garden, which includes a terrace furnished with his Esedra table and Pluvia chairs for Ethimo.

The basement garage was converted into a self-contained guest suite called the Chalet, which includes a living room, bedroom and bathroom with a Swedish sauna.

Interior image of a workspace
The house also has a self-contained guest suite

Since the renovation was completed in April 2022, the Chalet has hosted international visitors including art directors, photographers and designers.

The property's location close to a park and to the water was another reason it appealed to Nichetto, who said he enjoys the proximity to nature and the good relationship he has established with his neighbours.

interior image of the office
Ceramic tiles provide a pop of colour

A housekeeper was hired to look after the studio and to prepare meals for the team, adding to the sense of it hybrid space that is both domestic and designed for work.

"It's like being in a family: we all have lunch together and there are no fixed workstations to work," he explained. "Moreover, whoever comes to visit us, if he wants, can stay and sleep. The idea is to create a sense of community."

Photo of the terrace
Ethimo's Esedra table and Pluvia chairs decorate the terrace

Luca Nichetto established his multidisciplinary practice in Venice, Italy, in 2006 and continues to run a studio there alongside his main office in Stockholm. Nichetto Studio specialises in industrial and product design as well as art direction for design brands.

Nichetto's recent work includes a series of home fragrances for Ginori 1735 and his first foray into fashion accessories in the form of the apple-leather Malala handbag.

The photography is by Max Rommel.

The post Luca Nichetto transforms Swedish villa into his own studio and showroom appeared first on Dezeen.

27 Jan. 2023
Stone walls of new bedroom wing at São Cosme House by Carlos Castanheira

Portuguese architect Carlos Castanheira has transformed an ageing stone cottage into a modern upside-down house.

Located on a farm in Famalicão, in Portugal's Braga region, the previously abandoned caretaker's cottage is now São Cosme House, a two-storey family home.

Stone walls of new bedroom wing at São Cosme House by Carlos Castanheira
The house occupies a former caretaker's cottage that had been abandoned

Castanheira's renovation uncovers the original timber roof structure, adds a bedroom wing and gives the building an entirely new interior layout.

This upside-down layout places bedrooms and bathroom downstairs, freeing the upper level for an open-plan living and dining space with elevated views of the surrounding countryside.

Corner and stone walls of São Cosme House by Carlos Castanheira
The building is located on a steep slope

"The brief was relatively simple, but with a degree of complexity nonetheless," explained Castanheira.

"This complexity was a result of the steep slope and because the various existing buildings were spread over different terraces."

Exterior of São Cosme House by Carlos Castanheira
Existing stone walls were in good condition

Castanheira chose to make many of the design decisions for São Cosme House on site rather than at the planning stage, so that he could adapt his ideas to fit the existing conditions of the building.

"That's how I like it to be and what makes it fun," he said.

Upper level of São Cosme House by Carlos Castanheira
The timber roof structure was uncovered

The decision to reveal the roof structure came after the old ceiling was removed and the eucalyptus wood beams were found to be in relatively good condition underneath.

Similarly, when the building's foundations were found to be insufficient, the team realised they could lower the floor level with minimal extra work required.

"We took the opportunity to go slightly lower, in order to increase the room height," said Castanheira.

Staircase in São Cosme House by Carlos Castanheira
The house has an upside-down layout with bedrooms downstairs

Existing windows were retained and new openings were also made, to allow glazed doors to be installed on the northeast and southeast walls.

"There were traces of previous openings and their later closing up. Possible corrections or adaptations," said Castanheira. "We cleared away what we thought excessive and we opened up a lot."

Lower level in São Cosme House by Carlos Castanheira
The lower level has a quadrangle layout with rooms in the corners

In its renovated form, the layout of the lower floor forms a quadrangle with rooms in the corners and a connecting hallway in the middle.

The main bedroom is located in an extension on the northeast side of the building. The roof of this block serves as a balcony terrace for the floor above.

Another new block was also added at a lower level, which serves as a service entrance. It provides sheltered car parking, a laundry room and a workshop.

Wood was the preferred material for most of the new additions, although some steel was required to provide additional support for the repaired roof.

Bedroom in São Cosme House by Carlos Castanheira
A new wing houses the main bedroom

Castanheira believes that the hands-on approach has resulted in a building where it is hard to pick out which parts are old and which parts are new.

"When we go back there, it's as if it has been this way for ages," he said. "But a substantial transformation has taken place, for the better. This is the way architecture should be."

Aerial view of São Cosme House by Carlos Castanheira
São Cosme House is located on a farm in Famalicão

Castanheira is based in Porto and is perhaps best known as a long-time collaborator of Pritzker Prize-winning architect Álvaro Siza.

The pair worked together on numerous projects including the Mimesis Museum in South Korea and the International Design Museum of China.

São Cosme House by Carlos Castanheira
Most of the new structure was built from wood

São Cosme House was completed for a client that Castanheira had previously worked with on other projects. The architect is currently exploring options to build another house on the same land, atop a large granite outcrop.

The photography is by Fernando Guerra.


Project credits

Architect: Carlos Castanheira Architects
Project team: Carlos Castanheira, Rita Ferreira, Mariana Mendes, Sofia Conceição, Maria Arez
Structural engineering: HDP Construction and Engineering Projects
Carpentry: Carpincunha Madeiras
Metalwork: Obvicerto Unipessoal
Zinc: ASA - A. Sousa Alves, Revestimentos de Zinco e Cobre
Construction: CMCunha Construções Unipessoal

The post Carlos Castanheira brings order to abandonded caretaker's cottage in Braga appeared first on Dezeen.

26 Jan. 2023
Exterior of Quilanto House in a forest by Hebra Arquitectos

Chilean studio Hebra Arquitectos has completed an elevated, wood-and-glass cabin that is designed to have a small footprint and accommodate a person in a wheelchair.

The Quilanto House is located in southern Chile's Los Rios region, near Ranco Lake.

Tucked into a wooded site, it serves as a nature retreat for a mother and her adult daughter, who has reduced mobility. It was built in just eight months.

Exterior of Quilanto House in a forest by Hebra Arquitectos
The house is elevated above the forest floor

Key design goals for Santiago's Hebra Arquitectos included minimising disruption to the site and ensuring the forest was the focal point. The cabin also needed to be accessible for a person using a wheelchair.

In turn, the studio designed a single-storey dwelling that feels immersed in the forest and sits gently upon the earth.

The rectangular home is lifted above the ground by steel pilotis and is topped with a gabled, metal-covered roof.

Exterior of Quilanto House in a forest by Hebra Arquitectos
The exterior is covered in cypress cladding

Exterior walls consist of cypress cladding and large stretches of glass.

A ramp leads to the front door. The long sides of the house have wooden decks that were built around existing trees.

Outfoor deckin at the Quilanto House by Hebra Arquitectos
The home is wheelchair-accessible

"The cabin was thought of as an elementary volume that tries to maintain the forest as much as possible, keeping all the grown trees and allowing them to grow across the deck," the team said.

Inside, it has a simple and fluid layout, and the spaces are wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair.

The central portion – which opens onto the decks through sliding doors – encompasses a kitchen, dining area and living room.

The roof rises to 4.5 metres in this area, helping create an open and lofty atmosphere. Floor-to-ceiling glass provides a strong connection to the natural landscape.

Interior living space and large sliding doors at Quilanto House by Hebra Arquitectos
Large sliding doors open onto the outdoor deck

Flanking the central volume are the sleeping areas – a primary bedroom on one side, and a pair of smaller bedrooms on the other.

Separating the two smaller rooms is a partition wall with a sliding door. The door can be opened up to create a single space.

Interior living space at Quilanto House by Hebra Arquitectos
The cabin has a polished concrete floor

Finishes were kept simple due to a limited budget, the team said.

Exposed steel trusses stretch overhead, and plywood walls and ceilings were left visible.

"With the same logic of keeping costs down, the floor was defined as polished concrete," the team said.

Interior living space at Quilanto House by Hebra Arquitectos
Plywood walls and steel trusses in the interior were left exposed

The kitchen features painted plywood cabinetry, a tile backsplash and a quartz island.

A black, wood-burning stove warms the house during cool months. Furnishings were selected by the client.

Hebra Arquitectos was started in 2018 by architects Simón Pérez, Vicente Cubillos and Esteban Cubillos. Its other projects include a wood-clad, T-shaped home in Los Rios that takes cues from barn architecture.

The photography is by Marcos Zegers.

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26 Jan. 2023
19th-century gothic home extension

The latest edition of our weekly Dezeen Debate newsletter features a refurbished 19th-century gothic revival home in Oxford, UK. Subscribe to Dezeen Debate now.

Architecture studio Hyde + Hyde added a rear extension with a series of glazed living spaces, which feature the quatrefoil motif. This gave the project its name, Quatrefoil house.

Some commenters were inspired by the project, with one applauding its "gorgeous design elements, exquisite materials and breathtaking rooms", while another thought it was "over the top".

"Inspired by the Gothic revival style and language of the existing 1870s townhouse, the new contemporary intervention is an exploration and celebration of ornament," explained Hyde + Hyde.

Beaverbrook Art Gallery extension by KPMB Architects
KPMB completes pavilion for New Brunswick's public art collection

Other stories in this week's newsletter include KPMB Architects' completed pavilion for a Canadian art gallery, a contemporary residence with a garden terrace in Miami by Strang Design and a study by the University of Cambridge on energy efficiency in UK homes.

Dezeen Debate

Dezeen Debate is sent every Thursday and features a selection of the best reader comments and most talked-about stories. Read the latest edition of Dezeen Debate or subscribe here.

You can also subscribe to our other newsletters; Dezeen Agenda is sent every Tuesday containing a selection of the most important news highlights from the week, Dezeen Daily is our daily bulletin that contains every story published in the preceding 24 hours and Dezeen In Depth is sent on the last Friday of every month and delves deeper into the major stories shaping architecture and design.

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26 Jan. 2023
Stacks of Plantd material panels

North Carolina firm Plantd Materials has developed a material consisting of processed perennial grasses that it says will be lighter and stronger than traditional timber boards while capturing more carbon.

Called Plantd, the material is a "blend of fast-growing perennial grasses" that the company aims to produce as a replacement for a traditional oriented strand board (OSB), a plywood-like material used for sheathing walls and floors.

Plantd Materials created a set of machinery that uses heat and pressure to press shredded grass into panels. It allows the creation of standard four-by-eight-foot (1.2 by 2.4 metre) panels that use about 50 pounds (22.6 kilograms) of grass.

Stacks of Plantd material panels
The material can be used to cover walls and floors

"During the pandemic, quality was going down, prices were going up, supply was obviously constrained and I really started thinking a lot more about sustainable materials as an opportunity," said Plantd co-founder Josh Dorfman.

"We had this frame in mind to aspire to gigaton scale carbon capture, to be able to lock something away for 100 years," he told Dezeen, adding that he was inspired to create the product by Xprize's Carbon Removal initiative.

Dorfman, who founded the company with former SpaceX engineers Huade Tan and Nathan Silvernail, believes that the material has the potential to "solve some real problems for builders" in the residential market.

Plantd material panel in a warehouse
Fast-growing perennial grasses are processed to make the material

According to the company, one positive impact will be land usage. Plantd Materials uses perennial grass which grows faster than timber.

Dorfman said that manufacturers need 140 to 150,000 acres of managed timberland to feed a medium-size OSB mill, while mills that use perennial grass will be able to function on 15 to 20,000 acres.

"So it creates an opportunity to capture more carbon using less land, and because it regrows on the same land year after year to be able to do it much faster."

"On a per acre for a perennial grass, you will get a yield that can be roughly seven to eight times more per acre than with managed timberland," Dorfman told Dezeen.

Plantd warehouse
Plantd Materials created machinery to process shredded grass into panels

Plantd Materials claims that not only is the material lighter and stronger than timber-based OSB, but also that its production will emit less carbon.

It said that its custom machines will be more energy efficient and will run on 100 per cent electricity.

"Twenty-five per cent of a tree is burned in the mill along with natural gas to dry out the remainer of the tree," said Dorfman.

"We bypass that process in the way that we produce. And so by moving to 100 per cent electric, it enables us to really get these tremendous gains in terms of carbon efficiency."

Plantd warehouse
The company claims that its machinery will have low emissions

According to Dorfman, the panels will be treated with flame retardant through a similar process as is standard in energy, and Plantd Materials has received preliminary approval for use as roof panels.

He also noted that the machines the company is producing could potentially be used for more intensive engineered wood products such as cross-laminated timber.

Plantd Materials has recently received a round of funding and the company said it hopes to start working on prototype structures using the material in the next year.

Other innovative building materials include bricks that use municipal waste products and MIT and Harvard's re-discovery of the Roman method for producing self-healing concrete.

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26 Jan. 2023
Tulle dress in Viktor & Rolf's Spring Summer 23 couture show

Dutch fashion house Viktor & Rolf presented "surreal" tulle ballgowns that feature striking sideways and upside-down silhouettes for its latest collection at Paris Couture Week.

The Haute Couture Spring Summer 2023 show took place yesterday afternoon in an opulent room within Paris' Intercontinental Le Grand hotel – a historic city landmark that opened in 1862.

Slanted dress with tulle skirt positioned at a dramatic angle on a model
The show took place yesterday at Paris' Intercontinental Le Grand hotel

Called Late Stage Capitalism Waltz, Viktor & Rolf created a collection of 18 ballgowns crafted predominantly from tulle, which intend to recall the "golden days" of mid-20th-century haute couture, according to the brand.

While the show began with a series of familiar evening looks, as the presentation went on, the models displayed gowns that had been flipped in various directions to create unconventional silhouettes.

Lilac Viktor & Rolf gown arranged at an angle on model's body
A lilac gown was arranged at an angle

Traditional garments including a pale yellow dress topped with a Swarovski crystal-clad bodice gave way to a coral-belted lilac gown with a mille-feuille skirt, which was tilted dramatically at a lopsided angle across the model's body.

The structures were 3D-printed in collaboration with mannequin manufacturer Hands Boodt Mannequins.

Upside-down Cinderella-style couture ballgown by Viktor & Rolf
The "upside-down dress" conceals its wearer's face entirely

Another look displayed a powder-blue "upside-down dress" characterised by an upright tulle skirt that appeared to defy gravity and concealed the model's head and upper body, revealing only a structured corset that finished at the top of their thighs.

"A singular and narrowly defined 'fashion ideal' is presented and artistically manipulated to put itself into question," said Viktor & Rolf of the inverted ballgowns.

"The dress, while retaining its idealised shape, antagonises, alienates and frees itself from the body in a surreal way."

3D-printed dress positioned alongside its wearer on the catwalk
On the catwalk, one creation looked as if it was floating alongside the model

Other unconventional gowns in the collection include a pastel-hued floor-length dress cinched at the waist with a silk bow.

Only subtly attached to the neutral corset on the model's body, the gown was designed to give the impression that it was floating alongside the model.

Viktor & Rolf lilac tulle dress with large hole in its centre
Another horizontal dress was designed to give the impression of a dress viewed from above

"The body, while retaining the 'dessous' that sculpts its silhouette – traditionally an integrated part of the structure of a couture dress – moves away from the garment," explained the brand.

"The familiar becomes strange, as the mundane transforms into the absurd and vice versa. This collection visualises the sense of alienation the collection title refers to."

Viktor & Rolf took cues from the work of 18th-century French painters François Boucher and Antoine Watteau for the dresses' overarching pastel colour scheme, while the Swarovski crystals that adorn many of the gowns intend to echo the evening looks of the mid-20th century.

To complete their outfits, models wore mesh and satin-encrusted Christian Louboutin stilettos.

"With its delicate atmosphere, the collection appears to set the tone for an almost stereotypical vision of haute couture as an anachronistic dream of soft femininity," concluded Viktor & Rolf.

Inverted white ballgown worn horizontally on the catwalk
The collection inverted traditional ballgowns

Collections launched at Paris Couture Week have been causing a stir. On Monday, French fashion house Schiaparelli presented a catwalk of models wearing gowns adorned with faux taxidermied lion, wolf and leopard heads.

In previous years, Viktor & Rolf emblazoned delicate dresses with bold, kitsch slogans while the brand's Autumn Winter 2020 collection channelled coronavirus with "unapproachable" coats defined by spikes and tubes.

The images are courtesy of Viktor & Rolf. 

The post Viktor & Rolf creates rotated ballgowns for Paris Couture Week appeared first on Dezeen.

26 Jan. 2023
Exterior of The Courtyard Residence by FGR Architects

Austere concrete walls create labyrinthine paths and pockets of greenery around this home in Melbourne, Australia, which was designed by local practice FGR Architects.

Named The Courtyard Residence after the large garden space and swimming pool at its centre, FGR Architects organised the five-bedroom home as a "layering" of spaces, creating a buffer between the street and the interior's calm, minimal living areas.

Exterior of The Courtyard Residence by FGR Architects
Concrete walls wrap around the exterior of the house

"The Courtyard Residence resembles a rectangular origami of concrete and glass. The project's ambition is a design of calm expression, heightened experience and seamless function," explained the practice.

"Concrete geometry and bespoke glass apertures deliver privacy and prismatic delight, [and] an understated street elevation with implied, layered volumes realises a heightened sense of intrigue and wonder."

Outdoor courtyard pool at The Courtyard House by FGR Architects
The home's courtyard features an outdoor pool

The high, monolithic concrete walls create a narrow entrance path at the front of the home, alongside a ramp that leads down to a basement parking space.

The long, narrow plan is organised with an open living, dining and kitchen area at its centre, flanked on either side by bedrooms, bathrooms and a small snug area at the front of the home that overlooks the street through a large window.

Exterior entrance of The Courtyard Residence by FGR Architects
The concrete walls form a narrow entrance path

Full-height sliding glass doors allow the central living areas to be completely opened onto the external courtyard, where a paved terrace with an outdoor cooking area is sheltered by a large concrete canopy.

"Despite its heroic elements, the house transcends its gallery-like scale and functions as a series of beautifully proportioned living spaces," described the practice.

"Flexible options for opening and closing interiors with sliding glass walls makes for an immersive connection with the pool, courtyard and sunlight."

"Equally, the house can be closed down as required to mediate harsh weather and optimise thermal performance," the practice continued.

Exterior of The Courtyard Residence by FGR Archietcts
The series of exterior walls creates a buffer between the street and the interior

The exposed concrete used for the home's structure has been burnished both inside and out, and has also been left exposed in large sections of the interior walls to create a feeling of continuity.

This rougher finish is complemented by wooden panels and large wooden storage areas in the living spaces and a marble island in the kitchen.

Interior of The Courtyard Residence by FGR Architects
Exposed concrete in the interior spaces features alongside wooden panels

"Reflection and delight are contrasted by the monumental energy of matte and polished concrete," described the practice.

"Muted surfaces celebrate a sophisticated rawness throughout, supported by the evolving dance of light, shadow and reflection."

Interior of The Courtyard Residence by FGR Architects
Sliding doors in the central living spaces open out to the courtyard

Melbourne-based FGR Architects was founded by Feras Raffoul in 2003 and works across architecture and interior projects.

Other homes recently completed in Melbourne include a dwelling organised around a lush green courtyard by BKK Architects, and the transformation of a brick terrace into a contemporary family home by Angelucci Architects.

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26 Jan. 2023
Brexit graffiti on railway

Nine in 10 UK architecture studios feel Brexit has had a negative impact on them, exclusive Dezeen research has found.

Three years on from the UK's departure from the European Union (EU) on 31 January 2020, Dezeen conducted a survey of 50 architecture studios asking about their experiences of working post-Brexit.

Respondents ranged from small studios with 15 or fewer people to larger practices with a hundred or more employees and mega-firms with a global presence, such as Foster + Partners and BDP.

The responses were overwhelmingly downbeat, pointing to higher construction costs, difficulties attracting European talent and additional administrative burdens.

Given the choice, 84 per cent of studios said they would rejoin the EU if the option was available. Only one studio (two per cent) said it would not, with the remaining 14 per cent indicating they were unsure or do not have a position.

Findings "little surprise"

"It comes as little surprise that the UK's architects find little if nothing to commend Brexit and its aftermath," said Eddie Miles, CEO of large international firm Hyphen of the survey results.

"It may take a generational shift, but we are pretty sure that closer cultural, political and commercial relationships with our European neighbours are inevitable, including hopefully applying for re-admission to the EU."

Overall, 90 per cent of studios surveyed by Dezeen said Brexit has negatively impacted them, with 66 per cent feeling the impact has been "somewhat negative" and 24 per cent saying "very negative".

The remaining 10 per cent felt there has been no discernible impact, meaning none of the respondents believe Brexit has had a positive impact on their practice.

Studios were able to share comments about their experiences of life outside the EU at various points in the survey.

"Brexit has been a catastrophe," said Piers Taylor's Somerset-based firm Invisible Studio. "The barriers are obvious but it it is the cultural loss that is even greater. Architecture depends on cross-cultural exchange of ideas and benefits from free movement. It is staggering how diminished the UK scene has become post-Brexit."

The studio revealed it is now actively planning for a future outside the UK.

"We feel little interest in working in the UK, and feel limited interests in engaging with the UK as an idea or a social and cultural landscape and [this] has led us to refocus on working outside the UK," the studio added. "Post-Brexit, we'd be happy never to work in the UK again."

"Outside any ideological position on Brexit, from a purely business and commercial perspective, Brexit has been negative, making everything harder, adding to the costs and burdens of working in the EU," said major London studio RSHP.

"To date, it appears that there have been no benefits that anyone can list or point to," it added. "We'd be happier if there were."

"We could go on and on about how much of a disaster Brexit is for the UK as a whole, and what's more worrying is that we're yet to see the worst of the ramifications," remarked small London studio Surman Weston.

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) said Dezeen's findings closely mirror what it has been hearing from the sector.

"The feedback the RIBA receives closely aligns with the results of the Dezeen survey," RIBA head of economic research and analysis Adrian Malleson told Dezeen.

"The EU is a vital market for UK architects and construction industry. RIBA members were clear that our new relationship with Europe needed to ensure low trade friction and high building standards. The former has failed so far, and the latter is under some threat."

Struggles recruiting and keeping EU staff

Losses of EU staff since Brexit and difficulty recruiting from countries in the bloc emerged as clear trends in the data.

More than half of respondents to the survey – 56 per cent – said their studios have experienced a loss of EU staff.

Asked if Brexit has made it harder to recruit people from EU nations, 70 per cent responded "definitely", while a further 10 per cent said "only slightly". Just one studio, a large London-based firm, indicated it had made no difference, and none felt it has become easier.

Several studios highlighted issues with staffing as a key concern.

"Recruitment of architectural staff has been made more difficult as EU staff have vanished and there are not enough UK-trained architects with relevant skills seeking work," said Sarah Wigglesworth Architects. "Salaries have risen. It is even harder for small firms to compete on salaries."

"One thing that is very clear is that our access to Europe's talent pool has shrunk drastically and so recruitment is a significant problem, and that affects resourcing of projects," echoed Hyphen.

The picture regarding recruitment from non-EU countries was less clear, with 22 per cent indicating that attracting talent from the rest of the world has been harder since Brexit but 42 per cent saying there had been no change and 34 per cent unsure.

Only one studio, a London-based firm, felt that recruiting from non-EU countries has become easier.

Rising material and labour costs

Just under half of respondents – 48 per cent – felt that Brexit has had an impact on their ongoing projects. Of the rest, 20 per cent felt it had not and 32 per cent were unsure.

In particular, many studios cited increasing material costs and slower supply chains, with much of the UK's construction materials produced in EU countries.

Another recurring theme was a shortage of skilled construction workers that is reportedly compromising build quality and driving up labour costs.

Combined, these issues are restricting budgets, with a small number of respondents mentioning cases where projects have been cancelled altogether over viability concerns.

"Pretty much every project has been impacted by rising material costs and availability of materials and longer lead times, a direct result of Brexit," said south-coast studio RX Architects. "Our contractors quite often mention that skilled labour is in shorter supply, which leads to less quality on site and higher prices for labour."

Among other problems highlighted were increased difficulty in winning competitions for projects in the EU, with London studio Waugh Thistleton Architects saying clients are "nervous" about hiring UK architecture firms and Michael Pawlyn's firm Exploration Architecture mentioning struggles obtaining professional indemnity insurance at an affordable rate.

However, there was not a clear trend showing that studios working overseas felt Brexit has led to a reduction in projects abroad. Of the 34 relevant respondents, 30 per cent said there had been no change and 44 per cent were unable to say.

Only 18 per cent of these 34 studios said there had been a reduction. Just one felt the number of overseas projects has increased – global firm Atkins, which said it deliberately sought out "more global opportunities" in an attempt to reduce the potential impacts of Brexit on its business.

Positives of Brexit

Respondents were specifically asked to describe any positive impacts of Brexit on their studio. Most that answered this question said there were none, and one Scottish studio simply responded: "Lol."

A handful mentioned that Brexit had encouraged them to expand abroad or that, due to their already-established presence in the EU, they have been able to out-compete smaller UK firms.

Aside from that, few benefits were mentioned, though one studio suggested that Brexit could make it easier to remove VAT on construction projects involving existing buildings as this rule was initially tied to EU legislation.

"One positive I have seen is that there has been renewed talk of equalising VAT on new builds and work to existing buildings," the respondent said. "If that change comes to pass, that would be great (and the right thing in terms of the climate crisis), although I suspect it's not likely while the government has such a big budget deficit."

There is evidence that UK studios are attempting to maintain ties in Europe despite Brexit-related difficulties, with a significant proportion of those surveyed putting resources into having a greater presence in the EU.

Responding to a question about investing in having a greater EU presence post-Brexit, 42 per cent of studios said they are already doing so.

Another 14 per cent said they are considering it and a further 12 per cent said they would if they had the resources.

Some studios shared examples of work they are doing to stay connected to the EU. For example, mid-sized London studio Henley Halebrown mentioned its Dialogues series of talks, which proactively invites architects, writers and curators as speakers.

"We feel that these grassroots cultural exchanges are more important than ever," said the studio.

The UK officially left the EU on 31 January 2020 following the Brexit vote in June 2016, with a one-year transition period meaning no changes kicked in until 1 January 2021.

Leaders across several industries have been increasingly vocal about the alleged negative impacts of Brexit in recent months, with IKEA, Asda, Siemens and the Bank of England among those to speak out.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development expects the UK's economic performance over the next two years to be worse than any other advanced economy, apart from Russia.

"The government continues to take full advantage of the benefits of Brexit, restoring the UK's status as a sovereign, independent country that can determine its own future," a UK government spokesperson told Dezeen.

The full list of respondents to the Dezeen survey is below.


6a Architects

AHMM

AHR

Alison Brooks Architects

Allies and Morrison

Assemble

Atkins

BDP

Brisac Gonzalez

Broadway Malyan

Coffey Architects

CRAB Studio

Crawshaw Architects

De Matos Ryan

Denizen Works

Donald Insall Associates

Dow Jones Architects

DSDHA

Exploration Architecture

Fletcher Priest Architecture

Foster + Partners

Hawkins\Brown

Henley Halebrown

Holloway Li

Hyphen

Invisible Studio

Jonathan Tuckey Design

Konishi Gaffney

Loader Monteith Architects

Make

Mikhail Riches

Mole Architects

New Practice

Niall McLaughlin Architects

PRP

Purcell

RSHP

RX Architects

Sarah Wigglesworth Architects

Scott Brownrigg

Scott Whitby Studio

Sheppard Robson

Stride Treglown

Surman Weston

Technique

TP Bennett

Waugh Thistleton

White Arkitekter

WilkinsonEyre

Will Gamble Architects

The top photo is by John Crozier via Unsplash.

The post Dezeen survey finds 84 per cent of UK architecture studios want to reverse Brexit "catastrophe" appeared first on Dezeen.

26 Jan. 2023
Piers Taylor in his kitchen

Somerset-founded architecture practice Invisible Studio is moving its operations outside of the UK as a response to Brexit, Dezeen has learned.

The studio, which was founded by British architect and television presenter Piers Taylor, told Dezeen it is "actively investing in a future outside of the UK".

"We feel little interest in working in the UK, and feel limited interest in engaging with the UK as an idea or a social and cultural landscape and [this] has led us to refocus on working outside the UK," the studio said.

"We'd be happy never to work in the UK again"

"Post-Brexit, we'd be happy never to work in the UK again," it added.

It made the revelation in responses to a Dezeen survey exploring the impact on architecture studios of the UK's departure from the European Union (EU) three years ago.

The survey found that nine in 10 UK architecture studios feel they have been negatively affected by Brexit, while 84 per cent would rejoin the EU if the option was available.

Building with rammed-earth walls
Above: Invisible Studio is known for experimental projects deploying natural materials. Top: Piers Taylor in his self-designed home

"Brexit has been a catastrophe," Invisible Studio said in comments on the survey. "The barriers are obvious but it it is the cultural loss that is even greater."

"Architecture depends on cross-cultural exchange of ideas and benefits from free movement. It is staggering how diminished the UK scene has become post-Brexit," it continued.

Asked directly if the studio has actively started to work away from the UK since Brexit and is no longer working on new UK projects, Taylor told Dezeen: "Yes, we are actively investing in a future outside of the UK feeling that in my lifetime, the UK is unlikely to represent the type of political landscape we feel good about contributing to."

Invisible Studio has always resisted having a geographic identity, with no address on its website, but Taylor confirmed the practice now has an office base in continental Europe.

Studio doesn't "want to be associated with" UK

"We are still working on projects in the UK for organisations or people that we feel share our values, but for the most part the UK has come to embody the type of regime most right-minded organisations would not want to be associated with," Taylor added.

"We're far happier working in continental Europe and the rest of the world, but as we look at the havoc Brexit has unleashed, if we never worked in the UK again we wouldn't mind one bit."

The studio said it has lost EU staff and suffered impacts on existing projects as a result of Brexit.

In particular, it cited the limit on the amount of time UK residents can spend in EU countries per 180 days, difficulty obtaining professional indemnity insurance, barriers to bidding for EU contracts, problems importing materials and "cultural embarrassment".

Founded in 2010, Invisible Studio is known for its small, experimental projects that work with natural materials. It was shortlisted for emerging architecture studio of the year at the 2022 Dezeen Awards.

The UK officially left the EU on 31 January 2020 following the Brexit vote in June 2016, with a one-year transition period meaning no changes kicked in until 1 January 2021.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development expects the UK's economic performance over the next two years to be worse than any other advanced economy, apart from Russia.

"The government continues to take full advantage of the benefits of Brexit, restoring the UK's status as a sovereign, independent country that can determine its own future," a UK government spokesperson told Dezeen.

The photography is by Jim Stephenson.

The post Piers Taylor's Invisible Studio moving out of UK over Brexit "havoc" appeared first on Dezeen.

26 Jan. 2023
Exterior of the Fendi factory by Piuarch

Italian architecture studio Piuarch has completed a production factory for fashion brand Fendi in Florence, which features a green roof to "look like a raised garden".

Located in the municipality of Bagno a Ripoli, Piuarch collaborated with landscape architect Antonio Perazzi to design a factory that would resemble its surroundings.

Exterior of the Fendi factory by Piuarch
The green roof was designed to blend into the landscape. Photo courtesy of Fendi

"The Fendi production building looks like a raised garden, conceived to mend a long-standing rift in the terrain and recreate the hillside of the site in which it is located," said Piuarch partner and co-founder Gino Garbellini.

"The architecture thus establishes an open dialogue with its natural surroundings," he told Dezeen. "The building, apparently underground owing to the landscaping choice of creating a continuous and extensive green roof, becomes an integrated ecological system that recreates the contours of the land to restore the shape of the original hillside."

Bird's eye view of the Fendi factory green roof
A courtyard at the centre of the building lets light into the interior. Photo courtesy of Fendi

According to Piuarch, the 14,000-square-metre building was designed to be energy efficient and is predicted to achieve LEED Platinum certification this year.

The factory's outer walls were constructed from a mix of earth and cement, which was chosen to reference earthy colours found in the Tuscan hills.

The interior walls were covered in terracotta cladding designed by Fendi. Large spans of glazing give views of a central courtyard and the outdoor landscape.

Interior office space in the Fendi factory by Piuarch
Office spaces have views to outdoor planting

"The green roof offers the advantage of effectively counteracting the so-called heat island effect induced by a new construction with such a large surface area," said Garbellini.

"The massiveness of the roof is contrasted by the use of large glass surfaces and patios that allow natural light to be exploited."

Piuarch organised the layout of the factory across one floor, informed by the factory's production process.

As well as the production warehouse, the building accommodates office spaces, a restaurant, workshops and a school for luxury leather goods.

Courtyard at the Fendi factory by Piuarch
The main factory spaces are on one floor

The workspaces and circulation spaces were broken up with courtyards and planted patios that let natural light into the interior spaces.

"The concept is based on the idea that the project can find its ideal form through the best functional arrangement of all its parts," said Garbellini.

Interior of the Fendi factory by Piuarch
The interior walls were clad in terracotta

"The first step was therefore to understand the functioning of each activity, studying flows and routes, with the aim of designing an efficient functional distribution," the architect continued.

"Then we addressed the issue of context, of respecting the landscape in which the intervention is located. This led to the idea of organising the workspaces only on one floor, the ground floor."

Interior workspace at the Fendi factory by Piuarch
The building includes a school for luxury leather goods

A basement contains car parking and on the upper floor level is the restaurant, which looks onto the green roof.

Other factories that have recently been completed with consideration of the environment include a factory in Veitnam with plant-covered facades and a mass-timber Passivhaus factory in Norway designed by architecture firm BIG.

The photography is by Andrea Ferrari unless stated.

The post Piuarch tops Fendi factory with green roof to blend into Tuscan landscape appeared first on Dezeen.

26 Jan. 2023
Brazil National Congress by Oscar Neimeyer

The bemusement of the rioters who made their way into Brasília's National Congress this month pointed to an increasing disaffection with architectural symbols of power, writes Will Wiles.


On 8 January, supporters of defeated Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro swarmed the heart of the nation's capital, Brasília, in a mass protest that turned into a rampage of vandalism. On first impression, it looked like an uncanny replay of almost exactly two years earlier, when supporters of defeated American president Donald Trump overran the United States Capitol.

There were important differences between these events, most significantly the fact that Brazil had already inaugurated its new president when its parliament buildings were overrun, and its lawmakers were elsewhere. The potential for mischief, violence, or even a serious threat to the transfer of power, was thus greatly diminished. But the comparison was irresistible; patterns are pretty, and the contrast between the settings of the events – the neoclassical grandeur of Capitol Hill against the modernist grandeur of Three Powers Square – only served to heighten the temptation.

The drama of the moment was emphasised by the sculptural power of the spaces

After 6 January 2021, I wrote in the art magazine Apollo that the surreal scenes produced by the Trumpist insurrection – shamans in the Senate chamber and so on – served to reveal the United States Capitol Building. They pierced the fog of familiarity and mystique around it, letting us look with fresh eyes.

In North America and Europe, the Brazilian capital is much less familiar – unless of course you are at all interested in architecture, as Lucio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer's Brasília is one of the 20th century's greatest works of architecture. As pictures emerged of a river of people ascending the ramp of the National Congress palace, the drama of the moment was emphasised by the sculptural power of the spaces, and in the architecture circles of the Global North, there was a bit of a tendency towards an "I know her!" reaction. Recognition of the setting got in the way of an appraisal of what was happening.

Once this reaction filtered through to headlines on architecture sites such as "Three Niemeyer buildings ransacked by protestors supporting former Brazilian president Bolsonaro", the foregrounding of the background came across as name-droppy and faintly ridiculous. As the architecture writer and critic Tim Abrahams pointed out on Twitter, it would be absurd to cover other stories that way: "Knife attacker downed by French police in Jacques Ignace Hittorff-designed railway station".

This is quite right, of course. But it's hard to move on from the thought that, on some level or other, the architecture does matter in the storming of the National Congress, that it's not simply a mute container for events.

Obviously if you want to protest lawmakers – or even to threaten or usurp them – then the place where they gather is the place you go. And those places often generate self-reinforcing loops of metonymy and symbolism, built with reference to symbols and then becoming a symbol in their own right. Indian commentators, for instance, sometimes use "Lutyens" – in reference to the architect of New Delhi – as shorthand for a particular kind of political in-group, the same way Americans might say "Beltway".

Brasília, Washington DC and New Delhi are planned capitals, and in planned capitals these symbolic systems take on extra weight, as they are written into the landscape itself. Kenneth Frampton used the word "geomantic" to describe Costa's Brasília plan, meaning "divination using the earth", a nation writing its own destiny into the ground. And in a sense this is true of all planned capitals, regardless of their architectural garb.

To occupy those spaces, to visibly possess them, is a gesture that has potent symbolic power in itself

Pierre L'Enfant and Thomas Ustick Walter reached for classical precedents in Washington; Costa and Niemeyer for the more primal authority of axial symmetry and pure geometry. Either way, the aim is to imprint authority, and what simpler way to do that than orient a plan so that the centre of authority is literally at the focus. Brasília is more or less a constitutional org chart that can be seen from space: Three Powers Square is in fact an equilateral triangle, giving equal relations to the congress, supreme court and presidency, with the congress at its head.

To occupy those spaces, to visibly possess them, is a gesture that has potent symbolic power in itself, even when that gesture is a futile and self-defeating outburst of political disappointment, as appears to have been the case in Brasília.

Both events responded to election defeats, and both were inspired by right-wing leaders with an ambiguous attitude towards democratic legitimacy: the people are paramount, but only their people; democracy exists to legitimise them, and if it fails then it is not democracy. Such thought processes are not exclusive to the right, but it is the right that has so far produced these mass expressions of rejection or repudiation, straying beyond marching and into invading.

For those on the winning sides of the elections – and, more generally, for those who care about respecting election results and the peaceful transfer of power, and even for neutral observers – these symbolic violations have a way of reinforcing the symbolic power of the architecture.

But for the perpetrators, any satisfaction to be obtained was short-lived. The architecture was a kind of bait-and-switch. The box that promised to contain vital machinery proved to be empty. The princess is in another castle.

This may explain a feature the two January riots had in common: the strange air of bewilderment that seemed to come over the perpetrators once their objective was achieved and the symbolic locus of power was occupied. In the US Capitol there was a frightening core that apparently intended hostage-taking or even murder, but the mass of invaders just wandered about in stupefied triumph. The same bafflement could be seen in Brasília, where the mob channelled its frustrations into vandalism and shuffled off into mass arrests.

There is a spreading perception that systems no longer fully make sense

It's natural to deplore these events and fear what they might portend in the future. But that bewilderment is, I think, something that can be recognised far beyond those right-wing movements, and is increasingly colouring politics of all kinds: a kind of uncontrolled skid, a sudden loss of traction. There is a spreading perception that systems no longer fully make sense. The levers are not hooked up. The symbol is empty.

Of course, this is no more than a perception, and it depends on where you stand: for many, the restoration of order in Brasília and the change of government that preceded it will have shown the durability of Brazilian democracy, and the difference made by ordinary voters. The rioters obviously no longer had that feeling – their perception, fermented elsewhere, was that power no longer resides at the locus of the diagram, at the head of the axis, at the centre of the radial lines.

In this respect, an important component of modern democracy has seeped away from the geometry of constitutional order and into the network's hall of mirrors. An urgent question, at least partly architectural, is what can be done to bring it back.

Will Wiles is a design writer and the author of four novels, most recently The Last Blade Priest.

The photography is by Andrew Prokos.

The post "The architecture does matter in the storming of the National Congress" appeared first on Dezeen.

26 Jan. 2023
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