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Design

A Minimal Window-Laden Facade in Paris Sprouts a Luxuriant Vertical Garden

May 10, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Yann Monel and Michael Denancé, courtesy of Triptyque Architecture

Hidden under a lush canopy of vegetation on Paris’s Left Bank is a minimal, mesh-like structure housing a healthcare center, restaurant, and hotel. The project of the French-Brazilian Triptyque Architecture in collaboration with the Coloco landscaping studio, “Villa M” is a mixed-used building cloaked in a vertical garden that ascends from the sidewalk to the rooftop bar. Foliage and vines trail down from the hotel room balconies and sprout from planters embedded in the facade, establishing a verdant environment spanning 8,000 square meters in the middle of the busy Montparnasse.

In addition to the urban ecosystem, dozens of windows allow for natural lighting throughout the space. “We have explored all of the available surfaces to potentialise the greenery and to avoid energy and carbon waste,” architect Guillaume Sibaud told Plain Magazine. “Villa M” was also named the Building of the Year 2022 by ArchDaily.

For more of Triptyque’s environmentally conscious designs, visit its site and Instagram.

 

 

 



Photography

Foliage and Moss Renew Abandoned Sites Around the Globe with Verdant Signs of Life

April 21, 2022

Grace Ebert

A train repair workshop in Hungary. All images © Jonk, shared with permission

Spanning an open-air Taiwanese warehouse to a Cuban theater teeming with vibrant leaves, the sites that Jonathan Jimenez visits are relics of the industries and cultural institutions of the past. The French photographer, who works as Jonk (previously), has cultivated a practice centered on documenting abandoned structures around the globe, many of which have been cloaked in mosses, lush foliage, and even jungle-like vegetation.

In his most recent collection, Jonk visits 35 locations in 25 countries and captures the crumbling roofs, peeling facades, and rusted trains in their midst. He compiles the series in his seventh book titled Urbex Monde, which pairs the largely architectural photos with notes, histories of the sites, and anecdotes from his encounters in a consideration of nature’s enduring ability to reclaim what humans have left behind.

The new volume is available from Arthaud—note that the text is written in French—and you can follow Jonk’s future travels on Instagram.

 

A theater in Abkhazia

A house in Montserrat

A car graveyard in Sweden

A theater in Cuba

A warehouse in Taiwan

An asylum in Italy

A car graveyard in Sweden

A house in Namibia

 

 



Design

42,000 Bamboo Shoots Construct an Illuminated, Latticed Welcome Center in Vietnam

March 29, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images by Hiroyuki Oki, courtesy of Vo Trong Nghia Architects

A glowing welcome center of interlaced bamboo stands at the entrance of the resort Grand World Phu Quoc in Vietnam. One of many designs by Vo Trong Nghia Architects that utilizes the ubiquitous material, the facility is comprised of arches, domes, and angular grids built from 42,000 culms, or hollow shoots. The open facade and embedded skylights allow light to stream through the building, helping to illuminate a 1,460-square-meter footprint, with visitors entering through an interior shaped like a lotus and bronze drum. “The light comes in beautifully and, along with the natural colour of bamboo, creates a warm and intimate atmosphere, even though the structure is very open in terms of airflow,” the studio shared with dezeen.

For more of Vo Trong Nghia’s architectural projects, visit the studio’s site and Instagram.

 

 

 



Photography

The Remains of 100 Abandoned Italian Churches Peek Through Rubble and Foliage in Roman Robroek’s Photos

March 29, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Roman Robroek, shared with permission

Whether cloaked in thick moss and debris or almost entirely preserved, the abandoned churches photographed by Roman Robroek document the effects of a changing landscape. At least 1,000 of the religious spaces are left unoccupied in both small towns and cities throughout Italy and stand in varying degrees of disrepair. In visiting approximately 100 chapels for his series CHIESA, Robroek witnessed how the once-sacred structures have been left behind. “If a church, once the most important haven in the community, can become a pile of ruins, what does that say about what we hold certain today?” he asks in an essay.

Robroek’s photos, which will be accompanied by drone footage by Sven van der Wal slated for release later this year, capture the beauty of disrepair: foliage grows from the rubble of a collapsed ceiling, a heavy layer of dust covers humble, wooden pews, and gilded trim and elaborately designed altars remain in pristine condition. The Netherlands-based photographer has broadly considered why a growing number of Italy’s churches, of which there are at least 20,000 throughout the country, are deserted. His reasonings include natural disasters, the long-standing effects of war, and cultural shifts. “Admittedly, it might seem incredible that such stunning, artful churches are in this state of decay, but it all connects to the same issues…the lack of community and the economic desolation of an area that has long past its prime,” he says.

Next month, Robroek will be traveling to Thailand to photograph abandoned structures, and you can follow his findings on Instagram. Until then, pick up a print in his shop, and check out his book Oblivian, which catalogs ten years of his practice and is available on Bookshop. (via Peta Pixel)

 

 

 



Illustration

Architectural Drawings Detail the Spatial Dimensions and Unique Amenities of Japanese Hotel Rooms

March 25, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Kei Endo, shared with permission

In preparing for her own design projects, Tokyo-based architect Kei Endo sketches elaborate diagrams of hotel rooms. The watercolor works depict overhead views of floor layouts, color schemes, lighting, and the details of special amenities from hairdryers to soap bottles paired with precise dimensions. While focused on the uniform details of spaces like Hotel Siro in Toshima-ku or The Okura Tokyo, the drawings reveal how the designer’s attention to space, comfort, and lodgers’ needs inform every inch of the room.

In addition to her travel-based works, Endo also deconstructs desserts with similar measurements, and you can find more of her renderings on her site and Instagram. (via Spoon & Tamago)

 

 

 



Design Documentary History

A Massive Chainmail Shelter Prevents a Renowned Scottish Mansion from Dissolving in the Rain

February 7, 2022

Grace Ebert

The coastal town of Helensburgh is located in one of the wettest regions of Scotland, averaging more than 190 days and 63 inches of rainfall each year, and it’s also the site of an architectural masterpiece by famed designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Built in 1904, “Hill House” is a modern construction with a focus on light and texture, and its facade is made of gray Portland cement rather than a more traditional and hardier substance like lime.

While the material was innovative at the time, it hasn’t endured the wet conditions of its surroundings and has started to deteriorate and crumble as it soaks up moisture from the air and ground—the National Trust of Scotland, which manages the home, describes it as “dissolving like an aspirin in a glass of water.” To dry out the facade and hopefully preserve it for generations to come, the trust commissioned a giant, greenhouse-like box to sit over top.

English YouTuber and educator Tom Scott visits the porous covering, which at 32.4 million steel rings is the largest sheet of chainmail in the world, in a short documentary that reveals how the uniquely designed mesh structure has become a landmark of sustainability and innovative conservation in its own right. He discusses the unusual reasons for a permeable wall, the ways the chainmail offers the proper amount of ventilation without sacrificing protection, and how the multi-story walkways allow for otherwise impossible views of the “Hill House” roof and upper floors. Join Scott on his tour above to see the enclosure up-close, and in case you missed it, make sure to watch his trip to this mountain of mannequins.