Unless otherwise noted, all photographs by Shigeo Ogawa.
Normally a cemetery wouldn’t be on our list of recommended sites to see, but the Makomanai Cemetery is one of the most awe-inspiring places we’ve ever been. Located in the outskirts of Sapporo, a large stone Buddha occupies the sprawling landscape. All 1,500 tons of it has sat alone there for 15 years. But when the cemetery decided they wanted to do something to increase visitor’s appreciations for the Buddha, they enlisted architect Tadao Ando, who had a grand and bold idea: hide the statue.
Photo by Hiroo Namiki.
“Our idea was to cover the Buddha below the head with a hill of lavender plants,” said Ando. Indeed, as you approach “Hill of Buddha” the subject is largely concealed by a hill planted with 150,000 lavenders. Only the top of the statue’s head pokes out from the rotunda, creating a visual connection between the lavender plants and the ringlets of hair on the Buddha statue’s head.
Upon entering, visitors are forced to turn left or right and walk around a rectangular lake of water before entering the 131-ft (40-meter) long approach tunnel. The journey is a constant reminder of the weather, the breeze and the light, and is works in tandem to heighten anticipation of the statue, which is only visible once you reach the end of the tunnel.
Any time of the year, visitors will have a different experience. The 150,000 lavenders “turn fresh green in spring, pale purple in summer and silky white with snow in winter.” It really is a miraculous work of environmental art. (Syndicated from Spoon & Tamago)
Hamburg-based photographer Lars Stieger travels around Europe to photograph architectural structures, but instead of capturing a building in its entirety he opts to isolate only the most unusual aspects, recasting each as a figment of science fiction. For his new series titled Spaceships he pushes this concept to the extreme by applying an otherwordly color scheme that places these real-life buildings onto alien worlds or sends them hurtling through space. You can see more from the series on Behance.
An important element of Ottoman architecture in Turkey was the addition of birdhouses affixed to the outer walls of significant city structures, a safe space for regular avian guests to nest outside of mosques, inns, bridges, libraries, schools, and fountains. The birdhouses were not simple concrete structures, but rather elaborate feats of miniature architecture that ranged from one-story homes to multiple-story bird mansions. Each was designed with a similar design aesthetic to the country’s larger buildings, simultaneously providing shelter to sparrows, swallows, and pigeons while preventing bird droppings from corroding the walls of the surrounding architecture.
In addition to providing shelter, the birdhouses fulfilled a religious vision. They were thought to grant good deeds to those that built the tiny homes. Through their abundance and care, the structures encouraged a love of animals in the Turkish public, citizens who adopted several nicknames for the homes over the years including “kuş köşkü” (bird pavilions), “güvercinlik” (dovecots) and “serçe saray” (sparrow palace).
Only some of these bird mansions remain today, however their place is firmly rooted in Turkish history. Nearly every city in the country contains examples of the bird homes, the oldest example, a 16th-century house attached to the Büyükçekmece Bridge, still surviving in Istanbul. (via Jeroen Apers)
Situated inside the garden of the Georgian mansion at the National Trust’s historic Berrington Hall is Studio Morison's newest structure Look! Look! Look!, a pineapple-shaped pavilion with angles akin to a folded work of origami. The pavilion is dusty pink, with an open rooftop and four openings that surround the structure’s sides, and was built with the support of Trust New Art and the Arts Council England.
Heather and Ivan Morison, the two artists behind Studio Morison, spent more than a year researching the garden’s history before they arrived at the design of this sculpture as a way to bridge historical Georgian life with its present use, encouraging visitors to relax or picnic within. The pink color was pulled from a traditionally Georgian palette, hues of which are found inside the hall itself.
The shape of the pavilion is based on a piece of origami created by the two artists. With the help of structural engineers the timber work was brought to life. A metal frame sits at its core, while the outside is covered with a pink fabric that can withstand all weather conditions. In addition to designing the temporary outdoor pavilion, the artists also created several sculptural pieces of furniture that exist inside, small geometric stools that reflect the shape of the sculpture which they are inclosed.
Look! Look! Look! is open to the public at Berrington Hall through December 2019. During its run visitors can attend a series of events and activities hosted inside the shelter. (via NOTCOT, urdesign)
A cluster of three hollow wooden owls peer out from the end of a dock in Bordeaux, France, connected from within to form a two-story cabin. The Watchers was designed and built by Zebra3, a local contemporary art production company. The design was inspired by the small owls that nest on the ground in the surrounding marsh, with shingles to match their feathery heads.
“The idea of birds came to me very quickly,” said Candice Petrillo, Zebra3’s key designer on the project. “After the last extension of the commercial zone, I saw migrants swirling around in the sky, looking for the old dried wetland. The nod of animal eye and the curve of the object are a tribute to the sculptors François Pompon and François-Xavier Lalanne.”
Okuda San Miguel’s (previously) recently transformed 19th-century castle in Château, France is perhaps my favorite work by the artist to date. The intervention, titled Skull in the Mirror, covers the gigantic home’s facade in a mix of colorful polka dots, and is flanked on either side by two three-story skulls. Three dormer windows at the top of the castle are lined in bright red, blue, and orange, while the second story windows serve as openings for the prismatic skull’s four combined eyes.
After stints as a school and holiday center for children, the castle was abandoned for nearly 30 years.