Canoes Landscape by Julio Barreno, Zahara de la Sierra, Spain

Awesome project by Spanish architect Julio Barreno. He designed a storage building for canoes next to a big reservoir in a small village in the south of Spain.

Zahara de la sierra is a small village in the south of Spain. It is situated on the top of a hill as a dense liquid falling down along the slope. At the bottom, there is a reservoir constructed with a concrete dam.

The town council plans construct a recreation area in the lower site of the hill which is next to the water reservoir. As we can see, the landscape in this area is formed by small white pieces of housing derived from the small size of the plots and the properties in this area define the green and white pixels of an aerial view of this landscape. This building for storing canoes is built as another white point in the landscape.

Three lines decide the exact situation in the site: – The narrow road going from the secondary one to the water level, the electrical aerial line (electrical installation) crossing above the site and the water level of a sudden increase (when it rains a lot, the rivers can grow up quickly and when this rain arrives into the reservoir, it can create waves making the water level grow up to this maximum level of the water).

These conditions along with others like the bad soil for foundations decide what the building becomes. With these conditions it was difficult to design something based on a perpendicular geometry, a regular volume.

So, it started to deform, it became a deformed geometry volume, that sums up the answers to the conditions that the site imposed. On the other hand, the building is a BY-PASS connecting the parking site, at the beginning of the secondary road, with the jetty, on the water level, the proposal designs a path between these two points; people get in through a pedestrian access with their everyday clothes, and go out through the other extreme exit with the canoe and sports clothes on their way to the water in the reservoir.

In this sense, the building becomes an INTERCHANGER, as a stop, a halt in the path. For the construction of this element we used the current materials of this area; the white colour as the main ingredient and inclined black tiled roof with some white disseminated skylights. These characteristics give the building a certain landscape character. It could be called a BUILDING-LANDSCAPE, a CANOES´S LANDSCAPE.

In this way the building emerges as another white element in the traditional landscape in this region. We developed the program with only one floor; the main one is a big space for storing the canoes, and another server spaces concentrated in a small red piece including showers, toilets and changing rooms.

Via PLusmood


The Termite Pavilion at Pestival, London


The Termite Pavilion is an art and science collaboration between Softroom Architects, Freeform Engineering, Atelier One, sound recording specialist Chris Watson and designers Haberdasherylondon.

The pavilion opened at the Royal Festival Hall today and is open for visitors until Sunday, September 6. More information click here.


Here’s some more information from Pestival:

The Termite Pavilion is a six square metre walk-in structure inspired by the inside of a Namibian termite mound, and will allow Pestival goers a unique insight into these extraordinary organic forms.


The piece is in part based on the pioneering work of Dr Rupert Soar and the TERMES project, a team of international experts based in Namibia who have created the first ever 3D scans of termite mounds. Their findings have been a embraced by entomologists and architects alike, and have featured in Sir David Attenborough’s ‘Life in the Undergrowth’ series.

For the Termite Pavilion, a team of architects and engineers selected a central section a termite mound scan and scaled it up to a size which would allow humans to move through it. The structure will arrive in kit form, to be put together on site. It is made of cross laminated timber, sourced from Austrain spruce, for reasons of sutainability, durability and cost.

The Termite Pavilion is an art and science collaboration between Softroom Architects, Freeform Engineering, Atelier One, Chris Watson, Haberdasherylondon, KLH and Pestival.




Photographs are by Joseph Burns.


CR Land Guanganmen Green Technology Showroom by Vector Architects, Beijing, China


Vector Architects design the showroom off CR Land Guanganmen in Bejing, Japan last year. The construction is a temporary showroom for 3 years.  The idea is to develop the concept of “Temporary” from a meaningful perspective, to design a piece of floating “installation” in the garden, which could be built, demolished, and recycled through an easy and straightforward way with the least impact to the planned site.



Here’s some text from the architects:

Site Selection

We are involved into the project at early stage when client tried to specify the building footprint within the residential compound. The location was finalized at the central lawn, where we believe in that:

1. the minimal impact of the designed landscape construction
2. the minimal impact of planned pedestrian circulation
3. Easy Demolition and Site recovery after use


Structure System Selection

We used the steel structure as the main structural system of the building, therefore,

1. The structural member can be reused after building is eventually taken down.
2. Overlap the structural member factory fabrication time with the site excavation, thus minimizing the construction schedule.
3. The building is elevated, greatly reducing the excavation and foundation work, thus allowing easy demolition and site recovery after use.


Building Envelope: Vertical Grass Wall Paneling system and Green Roof

We apply the vertical grass panel system and green roof onto the building envelop,

1. Reduce the heat gain and loss and enhance the thermal efficiency.
2. The grass panels will reduce storm water runoff.
3. Although the central lawn is taken away to make room for this building, but we effectively tripled the original planting area by using the grass panels on the roof and two facades.
4. Grass wall panel is planned to be relocated onto the partial fence of the residential compound after demolition.
5. Visually harmonize the temporary structure with the existing garden and the so called “Classic Spanish” Style



Via Archdaily

VISIT VECTOR ARCHITECTS via worldarchitects

Opening Toronto Waterfront by WEST8, Canada


In June 2006, West 8 and DTAH received the prestigious recognition in winning the Toronto Central Waterfront Innovative Design competition. The basic and focal points of the plan are the connectivity between the vitality of the city and the lake and a continuous, publicly accessible waterfront.


Waterfront Toronto, together with the Government of Canada, Province of Ontario and City of Toronto, officially opened the Simcoe WaveDeck, the second and most dramatic urban dock, designed by West 8+DTAH, being built along Toronto’s central waterfront.



The Simcoe WaveDeck, one of four uniquely Canadian wavedecks planned for the area, is as artistic as it is functional. Located just west of Simcoe Street at the water’s edge, the wooden wavedeck features an informal public amphitheatre-style space with impressive curves that soar as high as 2.6 metres above the lake.



02Built in less than eight months, the Simcoe WaveDeck joins the Spadina WaveDeck which opened last year in creating more public space along one of the most heavily used parts of the Toronto shoreline. Construction of the third wavedeck at Rees Street is well underway and will open in August.



The wavedecks are just one part of Waterfront Toronto’s award-winning design for the central waterfront. The plan designed by West 8+DTAH also includes a continuous water’s edge promenade and boardwalk; a series of pedestrian footbridges connecting major attractions on the waterfront, and the transformation of Queens Quay into a pedestrian-friendly, grand boulevard.

Here’s a short video with designed and architect Adriaan Geuze from West8

Copyright- Pictures and info from West 8 urban design & landscape architecture


House in Nagoya2 by Suppose Design office, Japan


Japanese architects Suppose Architects have completed a residence house in Nagoya, Japan. The house, featuring a room that is dedicated to plants is accommodates the client’s desire for a vibrant garden bordering the main living space down stairs.



This home is built on a small, narrow plot surrounded by other houses, making the location less than ideal. Responding to the client’s desire to have a vibrant garden we suggested a design featuring a room for plants, a “garden room” in other words.

Essentially, in this home the garden, which usually exists in the so-called exterior, is incorporated into the interior as landscaping to surround the tenant’s living space.




It was our intention to treat rooms and gardens as equivalent, and make the relationship between inside and out closer, by creating a design featuring this garden-like room so that things normally decorating a room such as art, books, and furnishings would in a way almost be thrust into an exterior space.



Rather than a design that begins to grow stale as soon as it is completed, through this design featuring the constantly changing and vibrant “garden room” we hope that the tenants daily lives will be richer than before.


12Using this design as a starting point, we hope that words such as garden and landscape that had only been used for exteriors can begin to take on new and varied meanings, bringing vibrant and beautiful scenery into the interior of homes as well, and make architectural aesthetics more and more diverse.







3XN showcase pavilion ’Learning from Nature’, Denmark


’Learning from Nature’

Self-cleaning surfaces, phase changing materials and built-in sensors that generate energy from the footsteps of the visitors. The 3XN pavilion ‘Learning from Nature’ unites the most advanced technologies and intelligent materials in a preview of the innovative architectural design of tomorrow

The Louisiana Museum of Modern Art invited the Danish architecture firm 3XN to design a pavilion demonstrating cutting edge possibilities within sustainable and intelligent materials. The result is a pavilion that is built of bio composites with integrated intelligence that creates a dynamic interaction with its physical surroundings and its users.



Sustainability does not equal architectural compromise

The pavilion is called ‘Learning from Nature’ and everything about the pavilion is literally inspired by nature itself: The biological cycle of nature is the fundamental basis for the shape, the materials and the dynamic energy generation. The pavilion is shaped as a Moebius band to symbolize the biological cycle; and the properties of the construction are very like those of nature – for example, the pavilion has a coating of nanoparticles that helps clean the surfaces and clean the air. Additionally, the pavilion is built of biodegradable materials; and as for energy, the pavilion is 100 percent self-sufficient.


Kim Herforth Nielsen, Principal of 3XN, comments on the project:

– The Pavilion has given us the opportunity to showcase the possibilities which exist in building with sustainable and intelligent materials. Our objective has been to show that Green Architecture can be dynamic and active.  We often think that we need to minimize use of resources at all costs. Instead of focusing on consuming the least amount of energy, we need to focus on producing and using energy and materials in a more intelligent way than is the case today.


The development of the pavilion is a natural continuation of 3XNs extensive focus on new technologies and materials; a focus that led to the establishment of a unique in-house Research & Development unit in 2007. Since then, 3XN has built an international reputation as one of the most visionary and ambitious architecture firms in the field.

’Learning from Nature’ is unveiled today and can be seen at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark, until October.

Special Thanks to Lise Roland Johansen


Bostoren by SeaRCH Architects, Netherland


In a forest in the east of the Netherlands, one of the best architecture offices in the Netherlands designed a lookout tower. The structure is part of a small park in the vicinity of the village Putten. The concept that the architect, SeARCH, has put forward works like this: take a circular piece of the forest and put it 36 meters up in the sky. From this elevated ground there is a 360 degree view over the forest, in which cities like Amersfoort appear at the horizon.



Some text from the architect’s office:

The Schovenhorst Estate is known for its unique variety of trees. Beginning in 1848, the founder of the Estate collected seads from across the world to experiment with which species could grow on the heathland near Putten. This resulted in four collections of species present in the area; the small and the large Pinetum, the Arboretum and the Three Continents forest. 


The Forest Tower is an additional element to the Estate, a look-out tower on which surrounding trees can be viewed. The tower is designed as a condensed path, rather than a vertical ascension, with each facet of the promenade looking out over the forest. The branches of the tower accommodate several perspectives along the route. Sometimes a view of heaven, then again only branches, the ground or a panorama. 30 Meters above ground you can climb over a net and then, a bit higher, attend a performance within a small theatre. The conclusion of the ascent is not so much an expected look-out platform, but a new piece of the forest. This elevated platform provides ground for experimentation with conifer growth, but also an opportunity for the visitor to rise to a higher place. 


On the platform, with a diameter of 17 meters and a weight of 480 tons, trees are planted. These trees have been specially selected for this location and were planted at the Estate three years ago in preparation for their unique tour into the sky.

During special occasions an Indian ‘tipi’ can be folded around the tower’s core. 
Looking up from below, the bottom of the platform is visible; a mirroring rvs copperplate, resulting in a reflection of the surrounding woods. Through this feature, the Forest Tower is further absorbed by its environment. This adds to the counterplay between tower and forest.  



Photos by Michiel van Raaij
Via Eikongraphia


Kastrup Sea Bath by White arkitekter AB, Denmark


Reaching out into the Øresund from Kastrup Strandpark in Kastrup, Kastrup Sea Bath forms a living and integral part of the new sea front.

The project consists of the main building on the water, the new beach and an ajoining service building with lavatories and a handicap changing room. 


Some info from the architect:

A sculpture to walk on. And dive from. The architect responsible, Fredrik Pettersson, has produced a creation standing on discreet legs one metre above the surface of the sea, a hundred metres out from the shore.

The visitor crosses a long bridge to reach a circular installation that gradually rises up out of the sea. It is topped off with a trampoline at a height of five metres – which the inventor has yet to try…

“My idea was to achieve a sculptural, dynamic form that can be seen from the land, from the sea and from the air,” says Fredrik Pettersson. “The silhouette changes as the spectator moves around it.”


The aim was to use the shape to build in functions such as changing, sunbathing and bathing areas in a simple design that compares favourably with the wide expanse of the sea. A clear concept that is also faces the beach in a welcoming manner. This is nothing private or exclusive, rather a facility open to everyone, regardless of age, physical mobility or needs. Bathing is not compulsory, even thought it looks inviting.



More info, click here

Architects: White arkitekter AB
Location:Kastrup, Denmark
Landscape:White arkitekter AB
Construction year: 2004


Bruder Klaus Chapel in Mechernich by Peter Zumthor, Germany


The Bruder Klaus Chapel in Mechernich is a small concrete chapel on the edge of a field built by local farmers. The chapel is designed by the Swiss architect Peter Zumthor. 

The structure on the inside was cast in concrete around a cluster of 120 tree trunks, cut from a local forest, which were then slowly smoked away. The meticulous arrangement of the trees into a tear or leaf shape created the oculus that provides the only light for the small dark space.


The chapel was built to honor Nicholas von Flüe, the patron saint of Switzerland also known as Bruder Klaus.




Pictures from Danda Gallery

More pictures of Peter Zumthor’s Bruder Klaus Field Chapel in Thomas Mayer’s archive.!!

Yellow treehouse by Pacific Environment Architects PART 2


It’s not often that a commission to design a treehouse is offered, so when Colenso BBDO – on behalf of Yellow Pages briefed Pacific Environments Architects for a ‘reality’ TV advert for an off-the-wall functioning restaurant, Pacific Environments jumped at the opportunity. Working alongside Tracey Collins and her team , the idea was to source all products and services through Yellow Pages listings (the book, online and mobile). It has paid us to be in Yellow – that’s how we were chosen and we are getting a great profile as a result.


PEL assisted project managers The Building Intelligence Group, Colenso BBDO and Yellow in the selection of the enormous Redwood tree on which the treehouse is to be built which is over 40m high and 1.7m diameter at the base, on a site north of Auckland.

The concept proved challenging and encompassed a range of consultants to get both Resource Consent, Building Consent and construction underway in a very limited time. We’ve never been involved in a project quite like this before!




Architectural Concept

The concept is driven by the ‘enchanted’ site which is raised above an open meadow and meandering stream on the edge of the woods.

The tree-house concept is reminiscent of childhood dreams and playtime, fairy stories of enchantment and imagination .
It’s inspired through many forms found in nature -the chrysalis/cocoon protecting the emerging butterfly/moth, perhaps an onion/garlic clove form hung out to dry. It is also seen as a lantern, a beacon at night that simply glows yet during the day it might be a semi camouflaged growth, or a tree fort that provides an outlook and that offers refuge.The plan form also has loose similarities to a sea shell with the open ends spiralling to the centre .


It’s the treehouse we all dreamed of as children but could only do as an adult fantasy.

Access is via a 60m tree-top ‘accessible’ walkway -an adventure in itself.The selected site and tree had to meet a myriad of functional requirements -18 seated people and waiting staff in relative comfort complete with a bar; gaining correct camera angles with associated light qualities for filming the adverts, web cam and stills, have unobstructed views into the valley and entrance to the site and structural soundness . The final selected tree is one of the larger trees on the site and sits above a steep part of the site which accentuates the tree’s height. Kitchen/catering facilities and toilets are at ground level.


Architects: Pacific Environments
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Project year: 2008-2009
Photographs: Lucy Gauntlett

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