Blurring the line between the interior and exterior, Vo Trong Nghia Architects designed and built a three-level residential home in Ho Chi Minh City that is overflowing from within with fiddle leaf fig plants, various palms, and winding vines. Going beyond arrangements of potted house plants, the architects integrated the flora into the physical structure. Corridors, staircases, and rooms are lined with natural dividers that add color, block sunlight, and ventilate the space.
The latest project in the firm’s “House for Trees” series, the Stepping Park House is a commentary on environmental issues in Vietnam caused by a lack of green spaces. Views of the exterior show that the driveway, balconies, and perimeter fence have also sprouted leaves. The top floor of the building has an open slatted design with spaces that are filled with even more greenery, which further connects the home with the surrounding environment, and in particular to the rare park nearby. (via Jeroen Apers)
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At Under, a new restaurant completed by architecture and design firm Snøhetta (previously), splashes of aquamarine light dance across tabletops and dishes. This greenish blue hue is emitted from a portal at the front of the space that, as its name suggests, peers underwater and into the depths of the North Sea. The half-sunken restaurant is located at the southernmost tip of Norway, with one side of the structure built into the coastline, and the other resting against the seabed.
Snøhetta Founder and Architect, Kjetil Trædal Thorsen explains that the new building “challenges what determines a person’s physical placement in their environment.” In this building,” he continues, “you may find yourself under water, over the seabed, between land and sea. This will offer you new perspectives and ways of seeing the world, both beyond and beneath the waterline.”
In addition to serving as a restaurant, the submerged building also functions as a marine research center. Interdisciplinary research teams will be invited to study the surrounding the biodiversity found along the southern coast, with the goal of building a machine learning tool that will monitor and track the species at regular intervals. Under’s design was also planned with these populations in mind. The building was built to function as an artificial coral reef, and will become integrated into the sea as limpets, kelp, and other underwater life begin to grow from its concrete shell.
The underwater restaurant opens for its first service today, and will seat 35-40 guests nightly. You can see more images from the new restaurant and learn about its menu on their website. (via Dezeen)
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Thomas Heatherwick’s new copper-colored structure at New York City’s Hudson Yards exists somewhere between a building and a pavilion, yet is classified by neither title. The open-air structure, which is temporarily nicknamed as “Vessel,” is a maze of 154 crossing stairwells and 80 landings that combine to form a honeycomb-like shape. Although the towering design appears like a sculptural work, the architects behind the project view it more as a piece of furniture than piece of architecture.
“People often ask us, what is this for? Is it a viewing platform? Where are you looking to?” Heatherwick Studio group leader and partner Stuart Wood explains in Dezeen. “It’s not a building, it’s not a sculpture, it’s not an artwork, and yet it has scale and relevance to all of those typologies… In a way, we’re thinking of this as a piece of furniture. Its ongoing use will evolve, quite naturally.”
The structure is narrow at the bottom to avoid a large footprint, and expands to a width of 150 feet wide at the top. It opened yesterday alongside a plaza and gardens and phase one of the surrounding complex’s retail and entertainment. You can reserve free timed tickets to climb the structure on Hudson Yard’s website starting today. (via Dezeen)
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As a part of a larger project inside of a unique bookstore in Suzhou, China, architectural designers WUtopia Lab framed a reading room with a colorful structure referred to as the “Xanadu of Rainbows.” Made of one-centimenter thick aluminum sheets that have been perforated and cut into swooping shapes, the metal rainbow is created in a gradient that shifts through almost every shade in the ROYGBIV spectrum.
The word Xanadu is used to describe an idyllic space or place, which is what the architects sought to create with the vibrant, flowing design. The curved panels are installed along the ceiling and down the walls of the bookstore’s reading room and sections of the structure drip down like chromatic stalactites. In addition to creating an eye-catching aesthetic, the panels also functionally divide the open space into sections. To see more of WUtopia Lab’s interior and exterior work, check them out on Instagram. (via ArchDaily)
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The Highest City in the World Celebrates Its Indigenous Culture with Freddy Mamani’s Neo-Andean Architecture
The city of El Alto isn’t just distinguished by its impressive altitude of over 13,000 feet above sea level or its self-governing status. This Bolivian municipality also sets itself apart with the distinctive architecture of Freddy Mamani Silvestre. The architect, who goes by Freddy Mamani professionally, got his start as a bricklayer and studied civil engineering in college. He completed his first building in this style in 2005 and has since created dozens more designs that incorporate circular windows, sharply angled rooflines and vibrant pink, green, and orange facades.
The massive buildings seem to tower above their architectural neighbors, but they aren’t private mansions. Many of Mamani’s constructions are multi-use structures, filled with ground-floor rental stalls for vendors, a second floor party venue, and apartments on top. His buildings are nicknamed cholets, a portmaneau of chalet (a Swiss mountain house) and cholo (derogatory slang for indigenous person).
Though many westerners draw comparisons to Las Vegas, Mamani clarifies that the shapes, colors, and patterns he uses are drawn from Bolivia’s pre-Columbian history. In particular, the aguayo, a bright woven cloth of the Aymara, an indigenous group that Mamani is a part of, inspires the architect’s designs. Mamani shared in an interview with The Guardian, “My designs are a modern expression of our culture,” he adds. “Since Evo Morales [the country’s first indigenous president] became president, things have changed a lot. We feel proud of being Aymaran.”
Last fall, Mamani built a ballroom in Paris as the opening work in the Cartier Foundation‘s exhibition on Latin American art and architecture. You can get to know the architect in the Great Big Story video below. Photographer Peter Granser also published a book in 2016 about Mamani’s builds, which is available on the Edition Taube website. (via Quartz)
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Mirage: Doug Aitken’s Mirrored House Creates a Kaleidoscopic View of the Surrounding Swiss Mountains
For this year’s Elevation 1049, a series of site-specific installations dotting the mountain town of Gstaad, Switzerland, the chosen theme is “Frequencies.” In response, Los Angeles-based artist Doug Aitken (previously) installed a house-shaped structure made almost entirely of mirrored surfaces that reflect the mountains, skies, and trees. Aptly named Mirage Gstaad after the region and its optical effect, the ranch-style structure echoes the snow-covered landscape while also disappearing into the surrounding environment. The structure’s angled walls and ceiling easily bounce light, which creates a kaleidoscopic view of the area’s mountain peaks when seen from within.
The materials for the structure were sourced locally and transported by truck to the site back in November before the snow season began. Aitken and his team tell Colossal that the location and materials were chosen in collaboration with local authorities to “be conscious of environmental issues, such as the fritting (the aluminium stripes) that were added to the reflective surface for the safety of birds.”
Having launched alongside the program at the beginning of February 2019, Aitken’s structure will continue to reflect the changing landscape of Gstaad for the next two years. Admission to the mirage and other Elevation 1049 installations is free. For locations and directions head to the project website, and for more of Doug Aitken’s work, follow his studio on Instagram. (via designboom)
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Self-taught artist Carl Lavia, who goes by the nickname “Sketch,” has been drawing intricate cities and architecturally-minded illustrations since he was the age of five. Although his early works were imaginative renderings of fictionalized cities, his practice has grown into immensely detailed depictions of large cities from an aerial point of view. Lavia uses ink and archival paper to produce each drawing, which appear like maps from a distance, but have a loose, almost Impressionist style when viewed up close.
In 2016 Lavia paired with photographer Lorna Le Bredonchel to form the project “#69Cities,” which aims to create a portrait of the whole United Kingdom through large-scale drawings of its 69 cities. It takes approximately 2-4 months for Lavia to create each drawing in the expansive project, with Le Bredonchel documenting the entire process from his wall-sized sketches to their time exploring each city by foot.
So far the duo has traveled to Birmingham and Manchester, England as well as Edinburgh, Dundee, Stirling, and Perth, Scotland. The completed Perth drawing will be on display at the Perth Museum and Art Gallery at the end of his month, and be on view through January 2020. When completed, Lavia and Le Bredonchel hope to develop an app that will allow visitors to explore each drawing in an immersive 3D landscape. You can follow along with the pair’s upcoming travels and future drawings on their website, Instagram, and Twitter.
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