Buildings Of The Social Housing Paradigm

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Housing for the Fishermen of Tyre by Hashim Sarkis Studios, Abbasiyeh, Lebanon

Publicly subsidized housing provides shelter for some of the most vulnerable members of society, giving them a chance at security. Overarching problems such as inequality and poverty aren’t directly addressed, but having suitable, comfortable living spaces adds “bandwidth” to people’s cognitive abilities, allowing them energy to pursue night classes or pay bills on time.

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Les Arcades du Lac by Ricardo Bofill Taller de Arquitectura, Saint Quentin-en-Yvelines, France

Social housing also plays a large role in the general population’s imagination. The narrative of Jay Z—growing up in the Marcy Projects in Brooklyn and rising to the level of celebrity, CEO, and part owner/cheerleader of the Barclay Center—is the 21st century’s answer to Horatio Alger. His “escape” from public housing is the triumph of the story, the buildings of Marcy a physical representation of what was holding him back from reaching his full potential.

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Alegria by Agence Bernard Buhler, Bayonne, France

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Architectural Spaces For Jumpstarting Joy And Child’s Play

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Outdoors Indoors by BE-FUN Design, Shinagawa, Japan

Having the freedom and space for play is an important element of childhood development. During play, children explore and learn about themselves and their world and the first inklings of autonomy are reinforced. Considering that even simple objects such as an empty cardboard box can yield endless possibilities and hours of fun, imagine what can happen when architects design secure, stimulating spaces specifically for children.

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Eva’s Bed by h2o architectes, Paris, France

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Tepoztlán Lounge by Cadaval & Solà-Morales, Tepoztlán, Mexico

The Rustic Refinement Of Renovated Barns

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La Concha by MOOARC, Guernsey

The advent of agriculture heralded the development of an architecture devoted to the activities of farming; structures to safely store animals, tools, and crops were needed for seasonal cultivation to be successful. These constructions are what became know as barns, and for thousands of years, their typology has stayed essentially the same.

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Redevelopment of a Barn in SoglioRuinelli Associati Architetti, Soglio, Switzerland

In America, barns were brought over by many European settlers, including English, Dutch, and German, but the architecture of each group varied only slightly. In the early days of agriculture, the factor with the largest influence over barn style and structure was actually the surrounding geography and climate.

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Villa Nannestad by Askim/Lantto Arkitekter AS, Oslo, Norway

The Surprising Architectural Qualities Of Zinc

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Hunter House by Darren Carnell Architects, Australia

Zinc has a long history of use in interior spaces; restaurants and bars of 19th century often used it in their countertops. The naturally antimicrobial, mildew- and mold-resistant properties of the metal made it ideal for kitchens, aiding the eating of oysters and the quaffing of absinthe.

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Lakeside House by Resolution: 4 Architecture, Kent, New York

But zinc has also proved extremely beneficial for use as cladding for contemporary architecture.

One form this use can take is through galvanization, a process that coats other metals such as aluminum, steel, or iron with an external layer of zinc. The element easily forms bonds with oxygen, carbon dioxide, and water molecules creating a chemical compound, zinc carbonate. This compound gives the metal its dull grey color and forms an extremely tough, resistant outer layer, which layer protects metals underneath it from corrosion. It can be used for applications from exterior cladding to hardware such as nails and screws.

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Capel Manor House Guest Pavilion by Ewan Cameron Architects, Horsmonden

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The Shed by Richard Peters Associates, Sydney, Australia

Design For A Pleasing Commute

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Wolkon by feld72 architekten zt gmbh, Mistelbach-Paasdorf, Austria

Designing bus stops and stations doesn’t have the cache of revolutionizing mass transportation (à la the Hyperloop). Even riding the bus seems to be a lower form of public transportation when compared with a subway or train. Some urban planners such as Robert Moses designed highways and roads with bridge overpasses so low a bus couldn’t fit under.

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Busstop Park+Ride Citybus Groningen by Lysbeth de Groot, Hoogkerk, Netherlands

The truth is buses are the workhorses of regional transport. They ease urban congestion and provide a green solution to commuting. And they—and their stations and stops—comprise a vital part of the metro area’s infrastructure and character, seen and used by many more people throughout its lifespan than the average home.

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Bus Station Osijek by Rechner Architects, Osijek, Croatia

Collaborative Creative Product Design For Architectural Projects

Architects, artists, and designers have a long history of collaborating with manufacturers to mass-produce designs. The technological advances of the Industrial Revolution made it possible for aesthetically pleasing, utilitarian pieces of furniture and home goods to be available to everyone, leveling the consumption playing field. The idea was that better design would lead to better quality of life for all.

These collaborations continue today, the combination of technical and aesthetic expertise resulting in the best of both worlds. Here are examples of a few partnerships that have successfully combined the aesthetic and the utilitarian.

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IN-EI, Issey Miyake for Artemide. Image via.

Miyake is known in the fashion world for his innovative use of fabrics and materials, and his foray into lighting design does not disappoint. “[The] project revolves around a fabric derived from entirely recyclable materials, diffusing light in extremely interesting ways,” Miyake explains. “It is a retreated fibre made using PET bottles.” The unique fabric provides a modern update to traditional Japanese lighting design.

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Jonathan Adler Colors, Jonathan Adler for Kohler Co.

Interior and home décor designer Jonathan Adler is known for his bold use of color, and this series of sinks brings that love to one of the most utilitarian household objects.

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Recycled Stripes, 2X4 for Maharam Digital Collections. Images via.

Maharam, a family-run business specializing in textiles, has released a “Digital Projects” line that features collaborations with both established and up-and-coming artists, designers, and architects. One result is this wall covering, a one-of-a-kind design that is durable and washable.

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The Gesamtkunstwerk Of Contemporary Art Galleries

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Kukje Gallery by Solid Objectives – Idenburg Liu, Seoul, South Korea

Most modern art galleries have a uniform design known as “the white cube.” Brian O’Doherty describes the design in a group of essays published by Artforum in the ’70s, writing, “[a] gallery is constructed along laws as rigorous as those for building a medieval church… Walls are painted white… The wooden floor is polished… the art is free, as the saying used to go, ‘to take on its own life.'” These rules leave little room for distinction, and apart from the art itself, the architecture of the building becomes the sole means of expression.

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Art Warehouse in Boeotia by A31 ARCHITECTURE, Dilesi, Greece

Like museums, galleries have begun to invest in their architecture in an attempt to separate themselves from the crowd and become an “icon.” Good architecture can turn galleries into gesamtkunstwerk, or total works of art. The following galleries from the Architizer database are examples of the contemporary impulse to emphasize both the art on display inside a gallery and the building that houses it, creating a holistic experience for the gallery visitor.

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Sperone WestwaterFoster + Partners, New York, New York