architecture

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Design

Clusters of Candy-Colored Domes Designed for Communal Living Populate Iran's Hormuz Island

December 8, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © ZAV Architects, by Tahmineh Monzavi

Along the beaches of Hormuz Island in the Persian Gulf lies a series of gumdrop-esque abodes. The multipurpose project, titled “Presence in Hormuz,” features earthen structures that dot the sandy landscape in a textured cluster of peaks and bulbs.

To build the candy-colored domes, ZAV Architects utilized the SuperAdobe process of renowned Iranian architect Nader Khalili, which involves stacking coils of wet earth, and trained local craftsman in the technique. “A carpet is woven with granular knots inspired by the particles that make up the ecotone of the island,” the Tehran-based firm says in a conversation with designboom, noting that the area’s topography inspired much of the architecture. “The sandbags that create the spatial particles (aka domes) are filled with the dredging sand of the Hormuz Dock as if the earth has swollen to produce space for accommodation.”

Most of the bulbous structures hold living accommodations with communal dining, laundry, and prayer areas woven throughout. The vibrant venues were designed as part of an initiative to remedy local economic struggles and bring together tourists and the community in a shared cultural space. ZAV expands on the intention of the project:

In a country where the state struggles with political disputes outside its borders, every architectural project becomes a proposal for internal governing alternatives, asking basic questions: What are the limits of architecture and how can it suggest a political alternative for communal life? How can it attain social agency?

“Presence in Hormuz” follows an earthen cultural center ZAV embedded in the island. You can see minimal renderings of the firm’s projects and upcoming plans on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

Vertical Cities Soar Into the Sky in Otherworldly Digital Paintings by Artist Raphael Vanhomwegen

November 6, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Raphael Vanhomwegen, shared with permission

Raphael Vanhomwegen describes his process as “visual brainstorming,” a technique that involves rendering his digital paintings quickly “to keep a spontaneous going-with-the-flow feeling.” The Belgium-based artist depicts vertically built cities with houses, shops, and stairwells that spring up from a hillside or body of water. Whether in technicolor, neutral shades, or moody grays, the soaring architecture is otherworldly and even foreboding as it appears to peek through surrounding fog. In many works, a few figures are perched on the balcony or a swarm of birds flies overhead.

When painting, Vanhomwegen focuses on his internal thoughts and allows himself to move comfortably through the practice of adding a new walkway or leafy vine. “You need to at least be obsessed with one particular subject that you will explore way too much than necessary,” he shares with Colossal, noting that his favorites are tiny houses and moody scenes. Similarly, he strives to imbue each artwork with volume and energy, an idea he expands on:

Every brushstroke should have a meaning in order to be visually interesting. This is idealistic, of course. I am also one of those people who think nothing is more beautiful than a sketch. I almost never saw a finished drawing look better than a very good sketch. That’s why I almost never finish my drawings. It feels like adding more notes to a perfect musical piece. It’s just not worth it.

To keep up with Vanhomwegen’s unearthly architectural paintings, head to Instagram. (via Jeroen Apers)

 

 

 



Design

Check Out Copenhill, the Snow-Free Ski Hill and Climbing Wall Atop a Copenhagen Power Plant

November 2, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Hufton + Crow, shared with permission

A year since its opening, the snow-free ski hill and entertainment hub that sits above a waste-to-energy power plant in Copenhagen is fully open to outdoor enthusiasts. New aerial photographs from Hufton+Crow capture the rooftop complex Copenhill (previously) through a blanket of fog, revealing the now lush landscaping that lines hiking trails and visitors as they peer out over the surrounding water. The multi-use site, which is located at the Amager Resource Centre, even has the world’s tallest climbing wall, an 80-meter-high rock structure that scales the entirety of the building.

Copenhill is the project of Danish architectural firm BIG and is the highest outlook in the capital city. The new complex also boasts multi-faceted energy reuse, with the indoor plant converting waste into heat for residents’ homes, while the biodiverse hill outside absorbs heat, filters the air, and minimizes water runoff.

 

 

 



Animation Design History

Watch the 14th-Century Construction Process of Prague's Charles Bridge Unfold in a Meticulous Animation

October 30, 2020

Grace Ebert

Up until the mid-19th century, the only way to cross the Vltava River in Prague was to head over the gothic stone arches of the Charles Bridge. The project of King Charles IV, construction of the now iconic structure began in 1357 after a flood damaged the existing walkway. A short animation by Engineering and Architecture peers back into history to chronicle the centuries-old building process as it shows wooden trusses framing the structure and bricks seemingly sprinkling into place. While the video collapses decades of work into less than a minute, the Charles Bridge wasn’t complete until the early 15th century.

Find more of Engineering and Architecture’s construction studies on Instagram and YouTube. (via Laughing Squid)

 

 

 



Design History

A Glass Floor in a New Dublin Grocery Opens a Window to Medieval Viking History

October 23, 2020

Grace Ebert

Embedded in the architecture of a new Lidl store in Dublin is a glass floor that allows shoppers to peer down into medieval history. During the supermarket’s construction, archaeologists discovered a 1,000-year-old home of Hiberno-Norse Dubliners, who were ancestors to the Vikings, in addition to a 13th-century wine jug and the below-stage trap of the former Aungier Street Theatre. Rather than excavate the items and build on top of the site, covering the ruins, the store installed glass flooring that provides shoppers with a literal window into local history. (via Twisted Sifter)

 

 

 



Design Photography

A New Book Compiles Photos of Idiosyncratic, Quirky Destinations that Look Just Like Wes Anderson Films

October 21, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Wally Koval, shared with permission

Devotees of Wes Anderson’s films can spot the pastel architecture and simple signage synonymous with the American director’s aesthetic anywhere, a notion that’s proven in a newly released book by Wally Koval. Buoyed by an Instagram account with more than 1,200 images from all seven continents, Accidentally Wes Anderson showcases international destinations with the likeness of the Grand Budapest Hotel or the heavily wallpapered train cars of The Darjeeling Limited. The 368-page edition is teeming with charm, quirky compositions, and picturesque settings and even includes a foreword written by the famed director himself, who previously had no ties to the endeavor.

Based in Brooklyn, Koval began collecting photographs in 2017 and has since amassed an incredible archive, which he’s categorized by location, theme, and color palette on his site. Further explore the idiosyncratic locales by picking up a copy of Accidentally Wes Anderson on Bookshop. (via Fast Company)