architecture

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Design History

The Ornate Bird Palaces of Ottoman-Era Turkey

July 28, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

Several photos courtesy of Caner Cangül

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)

 

 



Design

An Origami Pineapple Pavilion Opens Inside Berrington Hall’s 18th-Century Garden

July 13, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

images © Ivan Morison and Marsha Arnold

All images © Ivan Morison and Marsha Arnold

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)

 

 



Design

An Owl-Shaped Cabin Invites You to Sleep off the Grid in Bordeaux, France

July 7, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

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.”

The structure is a part of a series of unique buildings scattered throughout the region, cabins that invite guests to spend the night for free in order to encourage hiking and exploration. The project, Les Refuges Périurbains is a collaboration between Zebra3 and Bruit du Frigo. You can see more of the area’s cabins on Les Refuges Périurbains’ website, including this lakeside home shaped like a cloud. (via Inhabitant)

 

 



Art

Twin Skulls Transform the Facade of this 19th Century French Castle

July 7, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

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.

Five years ago it was acquired by the local Town Hall. Recently it became a site for Urban Art Paris' LaBel Valette Festival, which hosted Okuda the last weekend in June. You can see a short video of the project, created by @chopemdownfilms, below.

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Art History

A Replica of the Parthenon in Germany Constructed from 100,000 Banned Books

July 5, 2017

Christopher Jobson

The Parthenon of Books, 2017.
 Steel, books, and plastic sheeting.
 19.5 × 29.5 × 65.5 m. Commissioned by documenta 14, with support from the Ministry of Media and Culture of Argentina.

South American conceptual artist Marta Minujín has just installed a towering new architectural installation in Germany called The Parthenon of Books, a scaffold replica of the famous Greek temple clad in 100,000 copies of banned books. The piece is currently on view in Kassel, Germany as part of a 100-day art exhibition called Documenta 14.

Minujín worked with students from Kassel University to identify 170 titles that have been historically banned worldwide by various institutions, and then sought help from the public to obtain donated copies. The books were then wrapped in a protective plastic coating to shield them from the elements while allowing visitors to easily identify each title.

An earlier version of The Parthenon of Books was first installed in 1983, referencing an event in Minujín’s native Argentina where books where confiscated and locked up as part of a military junta. This new iteration rests on a site where Nazis burned books by Jewish and Marxist writers in 1933 as part of a broad campaign of censorship.

The Parthenon of Books will be on view through mid-September and you can see more photos at the Instagram hashtag #parthenonofbooks. (thnx, Alice!)

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Design

Gaudí’s First Built House Opens to the Public for the First Time in its 130-Year-Old History

June 9, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

© Casa Vicens, Barcelona 2017. All images by Pol Viladoms.

Built between 1883 and 1885, Casa Vicens is the very first home designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí. During most of the Barcelona home’s 130-year-old history it served as a private residence, but thanks to a 2014 purchase by MoraBanc and a massive two-year renovation, the 19th-century building will be repurposed as a cultural center opening this October.

Casa Vicens was originally commissioned by the tile manufacturer Manuel Vicens i Montaner as a summer home, but sold in 1899 to the Jover family who owned the house for more than a century. The restoration of Casa Vicens began in April 2015, led by architects José Antonio Martínez Lapeña and Elías Torres, of Martínez Lapeña-Torres Arquitectes, and David García of Daw Office. The new museum will display many of Gaudís original designs while hosting both permanent and rotating exhibitions within its grand interior.

The building itself stands as an early example of the architect’s Neo-Mudéjar architecture, and is one of eight UNESCO World Human Heritage Site in Barcelona. Casa Vicens completes the Gaudí Route, a series of more than a dozen buildings designed by the architect including the breathtaking La Sagrada Familia. (via Dezeen and Hyperallergic)

 

 



Design History Photography

A Look Inside Europe’s Most Enchanting Libraries by Photographer Thibaud Poirier

June 8, 2017

Christopher Jobson

Trinity College Library, Dublin, 1732

Over the last year, photographer Thibaud Poirier has traveled across Europe to photograph some of the world’s most incredible libraries. The series includes both historic and contemporary libraries with a special emphasis on the varied designs employed by architects. Poirier captured each image when the buildings were closed and empty of people to focus entirely on structure and layout. From his statement about the project:

Like fingerprints, each architect crafted his vision for a new space for this sacred self-exploration. These seemingly minute details are everywhere, from the balance of natural and artificial light to optimise reading yet preserve ancient texts to the selective use of studying tables to either foster community or encourage lonely reflection. The selection of these libraries that span space, time, style and cultures were carefully selected for each one’s unique ambiance and architectural contribution.

So far Poirier has photographed 25 libraries and says he intends to add to the series as time permits. If you liked this, also check out his Berlin Interiors series.

Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève, Paris, 1850

Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Salle Labrouste, Paris, 1868

Bibliothèque de l’Hotel de Ville de Paris, Paris, 1890

Grimm Zentrum Library, Berlin, 2009

Stadtbibliothek, Stuttgart, 2011

Bibliothèque de la Sorbonne, Salle Jacqueline de Romilly, Paris, 1897

Biblioteca Joanina, Coimbra, 1728