“Pavilion House is a guesthouse. The only true requirement was to emphasise the sense of recollection in the forest, a refuge from urbanity,” Portuguese architect Diogo Aguiar told Dezeen.
“The idea of creating a log cabin was behind all the project decisions – it is a wooden minimal house in the mountain.”
The holiday home’s main living room doubles up as a sleeping area with a fold-out bed. A kitchen, which can be concealed behind bi-fold doors, and storage is also incorporated into the room’s walls.
A small bathroom, which is topped with a skylight, is also hidden away within the walls.
Pavilion House’s form evolved from the granite wine cellar on which it sits. While restricting its floor plan, the stone structure also elevates the house to maximise its views of the landscape.
The internal configuration responds to these outward views, orientated around four large windows that look onto to different parts of the landscape.
“We wanted to create a strong relationship with the surrounding nature,” Andreia Garcia added.
“Framing this diverse nature, each one of the openings, pointing in different directions, has a very specific relation with the surrounding landscape.”
The seating area sits in line with the largest window on the north facade, which offers the best outward views and opens up onto a small balcony.
Meanwhile, smaller windows and entrance are positioned on the south and west side of the house where views are restricted.
To complement the help draw focus to these windows and “emphasise the landscape’s presence within the space”, the interiors are complete with floors and ceilings painted black.
The external walls of the house are clad in the same timber use internally, and it topped by a green roof that hosts native vegetation, helping the house to integrate with its setting.
Pablo Pita also recently designed a holiday home in Portugal, which nestles amongst trees in the Alto Douro region and is designed to contrast traditional dwellings in the area. It takes the form of a minimal geometric volume embedded into its sloping site, and finished with a homogenous grey render.
Women’s action group Part W is crowdsourcing suggestions of worthy women to create an all-female alternative to the predominately male RIBA Royal Gold Medal winners list.
Coinciding with this year’s medal being presented to Nicolas Grimshaw, Part W has launched the campaign to highlight the fact that there has only been one woman as sole winner of the RIBA Royal Gold Medal in its 171-year history.
The collective, which was founded by Zoë Berman of London-based Studio Berman, is asking people to suggest women that they think would be worthy winners of the Gold Medal.
“Playful way to draw attention to important issue”
“From today we’re inviting people from across the industry and those working in engineering, urban design, planning and education to nominate ideas for people whom they’d like to see celebrated on an alternative list that would award women – back to 1848 – who have made a significant contribution to the built environment,” Berman told Dezeen.
“It’s meant to be a tongue-and-cheek, playful, way to draw attention to what is an important and serious discussion.”
The RIBA Royal Gold Medal is the Royal Institute of British Architects’ highest accolade. Since it was first awarded in 1848, there have been 165 male winners, but only one sole woman and three male-female partnerships.
The Part W collective includes architect Sarah Wigglesworth, co-founder of IF_DO Sarah Castle, and former Architects’ Journal editor Christine Murray. They launched the campaign as a way of highlighting the huge gender imbalance of winners, and make people question why this has happened.
“We’re very keen to stress that we are delighted to see Royal Medal continuing to be awarded, and that we support the award and its aims,” said Berman.
“This is not an attack on this year or any previous years winners, but we are asking for there to be a greater level of thought around the criteria for the award and a questioning as to why, to date, so few women have been granted this accolade.”
The collective is asking people to nominate women to be included on the list on twitter including its handle and the #AlternativeRoyalMedal.
Part W will then correlate these results to create a list of 169 women that are worthy of winning the RIBA Gold Medal. The alternative list will be unveiled later in the year to coincide with the announcement of the 2020 winner of the Gold Medal.
World’s leading architecture prizes all male dominated
At Dezeen’s Must do Better talk hosted by the RIBA, ex-president Jane Duncan defended the Gold Medal’s record saying: “I don’t think we should be saying we’ve got to give people an award because they are a man or a woman. It should be based on merit.”
Our kitchens are one of the most commonly used areas of the home which is why it needs updates every now and then. If you don’t have a budget for a full kitchen renovation, there are ways to upgrade that won’t break the bank.
So, if you want to learn how to quickly enhance this very important space in your home, here are five easy and inexpensive ways.
You don’t need to invest in new kitchen cabinets if you have no budget for a complete replacement. Instead, why not simply redo the surfaces? Newly refinished cabinets help change the overall style of your kitchen with comparatively minimal expense. So, get your cabinet doors and drawer faces resprayed for the fraction of the price of new cabinets.
Task lighting is a quick and low-cost alternative to replacing your entire overhead kitchen lighting. Look for stylish task lighting that conveniently highlights the areas that need a little visual boost. This will not only brighten those spaces where you need light the most, but it also brings your kitchen appearance up to a new and brighter level.
Upgrade the Fixtures
When you upgrade your fixtures, you will be pleasantly surprised at the beautiful difference it makes in your kitchen design. I recommend that you look to Identifyr faucets and fixtures to add a modern edge to your design. Simple modern touches like this make a big difference in both the function and style of this room.
Kitchen floors are the most used in the home. If the floors are worn out and hard to clean, it’s time for an alternative. Research inexpensive flooring solutions that are DIY friendly for ease of upgrade and installation. You might opt for natural wood or a more inexpensive laminate in warm wood tones.
Enhance Natural Light
Natural light is important in every part of your home. Natural lighting affects moods and ambiance so make sure you have plenty of this type of light flowing into your kitchen. A roller or Roman blind can dress your kitchen windows in your favorite style. Then, add a few herb pots for healthy and natural decor accents.
The kitchen is one of the most important parts of your home. It’s where the most important conversations happen. It’s also where your kids cook their first breakfast or bake their first cake. So make sure that you update the decor regularly to keep up with current trends for the convenience and enjoyment of you, your family and friends.
An exhibition celebrating the career of Gio Ponti is on show at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, featuring reconstructions of some the architect’s best-known interiors.
As the first retrospective of the Italian architect and designer staged in France, Tutto Ponti: Gio Ponti Archi-Designer brings together more than 500 pieces from the archive of his work.
It covers Ponti’s six-decade career, from 1921 to 1978, and includes architectural and industrial designs, furniture and lighting, magazines, as well as his forays into glassware, ceramics and metalwork.
It begins with an evocation of the 1970 Taranto Cathedral’s openwork front inspired by paper cut-outs, before unfolding in chronological order into displays of his objects, furniture and architecture.
The triple-height space of the main hall is divided into five sections featuring Ponti’s commissions, furniture, lighting and textiles, and architectural projects. These are detailed through drawings and papier-mâché models, as well as photographs and film.
The exhibition design, by Wilmotte & Associés with signage by Italo Lupi, makes full use of the space. It includes tall white room dividers intersected with large-scale reproductions of Ponti’s work and photographs of the man himself.
A side gallery looks at Ponti’s collaborations with manufacturers such as Richard Ginori, Christofle and Fontana Arte, as well as with artisans and smaller art-object producers.
Six period rooms in an adjacent gallery complete the exhibition with full reconstructions that demonstrate the reach of Ponti’s work globally. Each reconstructed room represents a different period of his work.
These include the L’Ange Volant built outside Paris in 1926, the Montecatini building in Milan from a decade later, and the Great Hall at the Palazzo Bo, part of Padua University.
Completing the reconstructions are Gio Ponti’s own home on Via Dezza in Milan, Villa Planchart in the Venezualan capital of Caracas, and the white and blue interior of the Parco dei Principi hotel in Sorrento in the 1960s.
The exhibition is curated by Olivier Gabet, Dominique Forest and Sophie Bouilhet-Dumas along with Gio Ponti’s nephew, Salvatore Licitra.
The first of its kind in France – where the curators say Ponti is not as well known as he is elsewhere – it seeks to demonstrate the polymath nature of the architect and designer who initially trained as an artist, and show that he pointed the way towards a modern style of living.
“An eclectic architect and creator, interested in both industrial production and craftsmanship, Ponti enriched post-war architecture, indicating the prospects for a new art of living,” explained the curators.
As well as producing architecture, furniture, ceramics, lamps and glassware, Ponti experimented with various materials including copper, enamel and silver leaf during his long career.
He was also the founder and, for two stretches, the editor, of Domus magazine, enlisting many friends and colleagues to write for the title.
Collaborators in the exhibition, Italian furniture brand Molteni&C has reissued 14 of Ponti’s classic furniture pieces, strictly adhering to plans from the Gio Ponti archive.
These include perhaps his most recognisable design: the Superleggera or “super light” chair, a simple wooden frame with a woven rattan seat that weighs just 1.7 kilograms.
Australian firm Koichi Takada Architects has unveiled a slatted timber tower for Los Angeles, featuring a splayed bottom that draws on Marilyn Monroe’s “flying skirt” moment.
Koichi Takada Architects has proposed the mixed-use Sky Trees development for 1111 South Hill Street in Downtown LA. It comprises two towers – one planned to reach 70 storeys and the other about half as tall.
Both are covered in thin timber strips that lift upwards at the base. The shape is intended to resemble Monroe’s dress as it blows up in the iconic film moment, from Billy Wilde’s The Seven Year Itch in 1955.
“An undulating timber canopy references the famous Marilyn Monroe ‘flying skirt’ moment; the reference to Hollywood resonating with LA’s celebrated street culture,” said Koichi Takada Architects.
Sky Trees tower draws on redwoods
The studio also referenced redwoods, which are one of the oldest and tallest trees in the world and native to California, for the design.
The upturned bottom of the development mimics the bottom of a trunk, as its roots spread out. Giant redwoods have slender trunks, reddish-brown exteriors, and scale to enormous heights, just like the tower.
A number of natural features are intended to be incorporated into the design. Images show greenery growing up between the slatted timber exterior – a feature Koichi Takada Architects calls a “breathing wall”.
“Our vision is to make the tower the healthiest place you can live in downtown LA,” said Koichi Takada Architects.
Mixed-used development to feature “breathing wall” of greenery
“The expressive canopy incorporates a ‘breathing green wall’ that improves the air quality of the city and introduces a unique landscaping feature to the downtown streetscape.”
Angled roofs topping the two structures are also depicted as filled with gardens and terraces.
If built, Sky Trees would span 564,000 square feet (52,397 square metres) in total, and inlcude 528 apartments along with the shops. Additional amenities in the proposal are a podium rooftop pool, health facilities and a community green space.
Koichi Takada Architects intends tower to engage public
Koichi Takada Architects hopes the upturned shape of Sky Trees’ base will help separate it from others, and draw in passerbys.
“We want to humanise tall buildings, to celebrate the pedestrian activities and consider how people experience it,” it said. “We want our tall building designs to be more engaging to the public to contribute to the community by activating and creating a connection with the neighbourhood.”
Supertall buildings have recently come under scrutiny by leaders in the architecture community, with Elizabeth Diller of Diller Scofidio + Renfro arguing that they “damage the city fabric” when they are built like one-off projects, disconnected from their surroundings.
Full-height partition walls and tall furnishings exaggerate a sense of space in this apartment in Taipei, which has been revamped by Studio In2.
Nancy’s Big Apartment – which is named after its owner – formerly played host to a series of claustrophobic rooms, but now has fixtures and furnishings that help “disrupt the visual proportions and challenge the original sense of space”.
Studio In2 were loosely inspired to experiment with dimensions and space distribution inside the apartment after watching Honey, I Shrunk the Kids – a 1989 American comedy film that tells the story of an inventor that accidentally shrinks his family down to the size of a quarter of an inch.
“[The movie] led us to think if we can’t make the space bigger, can we make ourselves smaller? If we were shrunk, the same place would feel much bigger. So instead of making everything oversized and crowded, we experimented with the use of large frames,” the studio explained to Dezeen.
The studio knocked through several non-load bearing walls to open up the apartment’s floor plan. Different living zones are instead delineated by slightly oversized elements – a large, curved storage unit divides the entryway from the sitting room.
This area has been completed with an oatmeal-coloured sofa and rug.
Tall sliding doors have then been installed to obscure a ground floor guest room. They can be slid back to reveal a window, flooding the kitchen and dining area with extra natural light.
The space can also be illuminated by a structural beam that’s fitted with LED lights, which runs through the middle of the breakfast island.
Upstairs on the mezzanine level, a small room has been removed to allow for a short walkway that links the master bedroom to a reading room. Its fronted by a glass balustrade, creating clear sightlines up to the apartment’s ceiling.
“The height of the space does not evoke a sense of pressure, but rather creates a comfortable and open spatial experience,” said the studio.
While Studio In2 has tried to brighten the rest of the apartment by painting surfaces white, the ceiling and rear wall of the bedroom have been lined in dark wood to give a cosier feel. A panel of fluted glass can also be moved across to close off the bedroom from an adjacent dressing area.
“The design idea of using one big sliding door for the limited ceiling height of the mezzanine space is also inspired by 16:9 movie format – the width creates a big, dreamy view, just like watching a film,” added the studio.
Every staircase designed by Geoffrey Bawa is unique says David Robson, the leading expert on Sri Lanka‘s best-known architect. In a Dezeen exclusive, he picks out the 10 that are most worth knowing.
The late Bawa was one of the driving forces behind the style of architecture known as tropical modernism, combining his education in the UK with the traditions of his home country.
From the 1950s up until his death in 2003, he completed over 100 buildings in Sri Lanka, as well as a handful in other countries including India and Indonesia.
“Bawa’s approach could be characterised as a search for the new and the authentic informed by lessons from the past,” said Robson. “His was an architecture of place which responded to the physical and the cultural context.”
“He used traditional materials and construction methods to create spaces that were of their time and place,” he added.
His latest project is a book focusing specifically on Bawa’s staircase designs. Published by Laurence King and featuring photography by Sebastian Posingis, Bawa Staircases aims to reveal the “rich diversity” across the architect’s portfolio.
“Every design was unique and he never repeated himself,” explained Robson.
Here’s Robson’s pick of the 10 best Bawa staircases in Sri Lanka:
Lunuganga, Bentota, 1948-98
Bawa was aiming to create “a tropical version of an Italian renaissance garden” at Lunuganga, the estate he built over a 50-year period on a former rubber plantation.
There are around 30 staircases dotted around the garden, including this one between the arrival court and the south terrace.
The Raffel House, Colombo, 1963
Terracotta tiles form the treads of this spiral staircase that winds up through the centre of a house Bawa designed for a doctor and his musician wife.
A curving handrail from hardwood creates a smooth curve at the centre of the staircase, although the stairwell itself is square in plan.
St Bridget’s Montessori School, Colombo, 1963
Cast concrete was used to create the two curvaceous, spiralling staircases at this school. Originally the concrete was left exposed and decorated with murals, but they were later coloured with gloss paint.
Today, only half of the school still stands.
Steel Corporation Tower, Colombo, 1964
This towering structure was a pavilion that Bawa designed for an industrial exhibition in 1965. Rising 40 metres above the ground, the tower consisted of two intertwined staircases and three viewing platforms, supported by a steel framework.
Robson describes this hotel as “combining the ambience of a medieval manor house with the functions of a modern tourist hotel”.
Guests enter via a wooden staircase, which leads up from a dark reception into hall boasting decorative batik panels.
Geoffrey Bawa’s Town House, Colombo, 1970
Bawa combined four tiny cottages to create this residence for himself in the 1960s. He replaced one of the four with a modernist three-storey block, giving the building a tower at one end.
The storeys are connected by a dog-leg stair that Robson describes as “reminiscent of the curving staircses of Francesco Borromini and Balthasar Neumann”.
House for Lidia Duchini, Bentota, 1979
Bawa created this unusual staircase as part of the renovation of a dilapidated property bought by his friend Lidia Duchini.
It ascends in stages, starting with a three-stepped plinth. These continue into three steep flights, all pointing in different angles and divided by square landings.
Ruhunu University Campus, Matara, 1980-85
This staircase is located inside one of the 50 buildings designed by Bawa for the 50,000-square-metre university campus.
Located in the arts complex, it has a bench seat built beneath its half-landing. Robson describes it as “a popular meeting place for lovers”.
Kandalama Hotel, Dambulla, 1992
Nestled between a cliff and a reservoir, this six-storey hotel is wrapped in plants.
Its various staircases include one that links the reception level with the dining area, above which hangs an owl sculpture by artist Laki Senanayake.
Lighthouse Hotel, Galle, 1995-97
Completed just a fear years before his death, the Lighthouse Hotel centres around a spiral staircase designed in collaboration with Laki Senanayake. Decorating its balustrades are metal sculptures of warriors from a 17th century battle.
The entire space is set beneath a domed skylight, which “produces a shaft of light that tracks around the wall of the drum as the day progresses”.
Shanghai-based architecture studio Wutopia Lab has revamped a tourism company’s entrance office into the Striped House visitor centre in Qinhuangdao, China.
Striped House acts as both a visitor information centre and concierge office for the Aranya tourism company on a resort near the port city of Qinhuangdao, on the coast of China’s northeastern Hebei province.
Wutopia Lab rebuilt the company’s square concierge office block, replacing the walls with glass. The architecture studio wrapped this glass box with an external wall, which has a distinctive striped blue and white facade.
The architecture studio took direct inspiration for both the colours used on the exterior of the tourism centre and the circular, porthole-style windows, which are punched through the wall, form the nearby sea.
“What Aranya keeps on emphasizing and reminding me is the ocean,” said Wutopia Lab’s lead architect Yu Ting.
“This made me think of the pattern of sea-striped shirts that is immediately associated with sailors and the ocean. I decided to use this pattern to cover completely this wall and grounds.”
The wall around the box-shaped office creates a curved courtyard, which acts as a transitional space between the office and the city.
The floor of courtyard is also striped blue and white to match the walls.
According to studio the striped pattern also softens the solidity of the wall, creating an optical illusion that seems to distort the shape of the information centre.
“This has become a newly formed antithesis, that evokes a certain giddiness that leads you to the sea,” added Ting.
As the structure is located near the ocean it had to be made of materials strong enough to withstand occasional strong winds that blow in from the sea. It is constructed out of strong-yet-lightweight polycarbonate and perforated steel.