OLAFUR ELIASSON’S FIRST BUILDING IS A CASTLE-LIKE OFFICE IN A DANISH FJORD
Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson has completed his first building – a fortress-like office in the Vejle Fjord in Denmark, called Fjordenhus.
Fjordenhus is the headquarters of Kirk Kapital, which is the holding and investment company for three brothers who are direct descendent of the founder of Lego. But it also features a publicly accessible ground floor.
It is the first building entirely designed by Studio Olafur Eliasson, which has previously collaborated on architectural projects including the Harpa concert hall in Reykjavík and the Serpentine Pavilion 2007 in London, and built smaller structures including the Cirkelbroen bridge in Copenhagen.
The building rises from the water in the harbour of the city of Vejle. It is accessed across a footbridge, with a subterranean passage also connecting the building’s basement to the dockside.
The footbridge leads into the building’s public ground floor, which offers views out across the harbour and is decorated with site-specific artworks created by Eliasson. Above this double-height space, there are three storeys of offices for Kirk Kapital.
Fjordenhus’ unique form was created to reference the environment of the Vejle Fjord.
“[The clients said] we would like to build a working environment for the foundation that we have, we would like to emphasise the qualities that are important to us: nature, light, the weather, the seasons and the Vejle Fjord,” Eliasson told Dezeen.
“We actually asked the client whether we could build in the water and take on an ephemeral language, an organic language, that might be a starting point for the design,” continued Eliasson.
“We spent a lot of time talking to the client, to convince the client to take the step, and say ‘let’s jump from the island into the water, into the industrial harbour, lets celebrate the wind the light, the quality of the water, and let’s celebrate the atmospheric qualities of Vejle that define the quality of life’.”
Part of the wider development plan for the Vejle harbour, the building stands next to a piece of reclaimed land that is also being developed by Kirk Kapital. Along with several housing blocks, this development contains a plaza and jetty designed by landscape architect Günther Vogt.
“They has been quite some effort over the years, as in many cities, to revitalise the harbour, turning the city’s main face from the city square to draw attention to the harbour,” said Eliasson.
It is envisioned that the building, and plaza will become the destination on a public promenade from the centre of the city to the fjord.
“The brothers said we would also like to give something back to the city,” explained Eliasson. “I hope the residents of Vejle will embrace Fjordenhus and identify with it as a new landmark for the harbour and their city.”
The building’s geometric form is made of four intersecting circles. Each of these cylinders has voids carved out of them, which are circular at one end and elliptical at the other. Partially glazed, arch-shaped openings are also cut from these volumes.
Built around a concrete structure, the building’s inner and outer walls are built from 970,000 bricks. The artist chose 15 different hues of unglazed brick, along with blue, green and silver glazed bricks.
Each of the external facades has a different combination of bricks depending on the light that it will receive, with the glazed blue bricks used more frequently near the base and blue bricks more often at the top of the building.
The internal spaces also have combinations of bricks specific to the room’s uses. For example, only grey and silver bricks are used in the stairwells.
Hollow ventilation bricks are incorporated into the internal facades to regulate sound and temperature.
The placement of each visible brick was digitally chosen by the Studio Olafur Eliasson to create what the artist referred to as “mini-artistic compositions”.
Fjordenhus contains office space for all three Kirk Kapital directors and their staff. There are also meeting rooms, a board room, a dining room and a roof terrace.
All the tables and office furniture, apart from the chairs, are also designed by Eliasson.
KINDERGARTEN PROJECT IN VIETNAM
The Chuon Chuon Kim 2 Kindergarten project was introduced to Ho Chi Minh City’s District 2 as an educational environment that captivates and stimulates meaningful cross interactions amongst the children and the adult. Installed within the school is an openness with a spark of curiosity that allows people of all ages to venture and explore the space in a relaxing and calming atmosphere.
As we have engaged in numerous educational projects, we recognize that these experiences are equally as important as the responsibility of nurturing the kids. It invokes a sense of pride, and interests within the teacher and the staffs. It inspires and embraces them, for they have chosen to dedicate their lives to the education and the well-being of the children on a daily basis.
Like a giant Lego building, the kindergarten is constructed entirely in bare brick forming patterns and openings that is playful to the eyes, conveying a unique aesthetic value and promoting natural ventilation. Classrooms and utility rooms are organized around a playful core. Each floor is arranged in an alternating pattern to enhance vertical interaction, encourage children to be more receptive to their surroundings, and stimulate their inner creativity.
Juxtapose to the calming atmosphere of the classrooms, the core is ample and full of movement. From the garden on the ground floor, the spaces form an aperture that frames a continuous perspective that is visible from outside in and inside out. Continually upward, the interior spaces connect to an open rooftop garden, waiting to be discovered with a rewarding experience of the infinite vista of the Saigon river.
The journey of discovery in the kindergarten is a very liberating one because of the continuous changes, and the endless experiences that are tailored personally to each space. Conclusively, Chuon Chuon Kim 2 Kindergarten is a place of surprises that will never cease to tickle the curious souls, children and adult alike.
TRIANGULAR HOUSE PROVIDES SWEEPING ROCKY MOUNTAIN VIEWS
Portland studio Skylab Architecture designed the triangular floor plan of this Colorado retreat to allow optimum views of the region’s mountainous landscape.
Owl Creek Residence is located near the town of Snowmass, a popular destination for winter sports. The 4,200-square-foot (390-square-metre) home was built as a place for the client’s family and friends to gather.
“The Owl Creek Residence was built on the idea that a physical place can deepen the connections between friends, families and the natural world,” said Skylab Architecture.
An entry court leads through a foyer to the lounge – an area with stepped seating that follows the natural slope of the site. “Terracing theatre seating maximises space within the stairwell working with the topography,” Skylab said.
The lower level contains the home’s five bedrooms, which are laid out along a corridor that follows the V-shaped outline of the plan. This storey also includes amenities such as a steam room and hot tub.
“Compact and efficient private sleeping wings open up to expansive outdoor views at the lower level,” said the studio.
“Exterior spaces open interior activity to the outdoors, including a triangular spa with an elevated deck and an expansive outdoor terrace right off of the kitchen.”
A short flight of stairs provides access to the home’s communal spaces, which are enclosed by two floor-to-ceiling glass walls that form the tip of the triangular plan.
The structure frames powerful views through two principal façades, maximising the visual connection to the landscape at every angle,” Skylab said.
The spaces on the upper level are meant for entertaining, and include an open-concept living and dining room, a den, and kitchen.
An expansive faceted roof extends out to the south of the home, next to the kitchen, and forms a sheltered outdoor seating area. Here, residents and their guests can grill food or gather around the exterior fireplace.
The home’s intricate steel structure was left exposed, and the architects complemented its material palette with wood, stone, and weathering steel. “Finishes and interior relationships were carefully crafted to draw the scenic landscape inward and extending the outdoor deck living experience,” said. Skylab.
The mountainous state of Colorado has recently seen several projects completed for winter sports enthusiasts. Others include a pair of rustic-looking cabins designed by Renée del Gaudio and a low-slung retreat by CCY Architects built of wood and glass.
1970s RESIDENCE OVERLOOKING SAN FRANCISCO BAY
American studio Feldman Architecture has overhauled parts of a hillside home in the town of Sausalito for a retired couple with an extensive collection of albums, books and soda bottles.
The project, Sausalito Outlook, takes its name from the Bay Area town where it is located. The project entailed renovating part of a 1970s home so that it suited the “eclectic tastes” of a couple relocating to the US from Asia.
“It was on a quick stopover going from Hong Kong to South America that this newly retired couple decided on a whim to lay roots in Sausalito, California, after a decades-long residence in Taiwan,” said Feldman Architecture, a studio based in nearby San Francisco.
While the four-storey home offered panoramic views of San Francisco Bay, it “lacked the unique charm and character” that the clients desired. The architects were charged with creating a space that could accommodate a collection of vinyl records, design books and vintage Coca-Cola bottles, while also capitalising on the picturesque scenery just outside the window.
The home is embedded in a hillside, with the entrance located on the top floor. The major modifications were made on the second storey.
A spare bedroom was removed and replaced with an open-plan library and sitting room. The refurbished space is defined by floor-to-ceiling shelving, with asymmetrical compartments that house objects of different sizes. Sliding white panels can conceal elements as needed.
Tucked in one corner of the room is a nook dedicated to music storage, along with a small bar with a fridge. The room features wooden flooring, tan rugs and bean-bag style chairs.
Vast expanses of glass provide sweeping views of the bay, while sliding doors open onto a wooden terrace with glass railings and a fireplace. On the same level, the team also converted a second bedroom into a gym.
Up on the top storey, a living room was kept intact. Bordered on both sides by patios, the living room features contemporary decor that is oriented around a picture window offering expansive views of the water. A large floor lamp with a woven shade arches over the room.
TIMBER STAIRCASE SPIRALS THROUGH THE CENTRE OF LONDON RESTAURANT
Atmos Studio has completed a flowing staircase made from laminated oak that is the centrepiece of a recently opened restaurant in Mayfair, London.
StairStalk is the centrepiece of the Oliver Dabbous’s recently opened HIDE restaurant, where it ascends from a basement bar to the dining areas on the ground floor and upper mezzanine.
The multidisciplinary practice is known for its organically inspired designs and was chosen to create a statement staircase that appears to grow out of the shadows of the basement level towards the daylight above.
The overall concept for the restaurant’s interior was already developed by interior designer Rose Murray, director of These White Walls, before Atmos Studio was brought on board to create the showpiece staircase. The restaurant was realised by architectural consultancy Lusted Green.
Murray’s scheme focused on a theme of “dwelling” and a re-imagining of familiar elements. This was the starting point for the design of the staircase, which was developed to grow from and interact with the existing spaces.
The base of the stair features tendril-like lines that appear to flow out from niches in the wall, junctions between the wall and floor, bar footrails and even the surface of the basement bar.
The various lines converge at the lowest point of the staircase, forming a handrail and a stringer that extends upwards gradually before flattening out into a half landing. The stair then continues smoothly to the upper mezzanine.
“The entire stair curls and cantilevers out from a sculptural helical inner stringer – a carefully carved and highly articulated bundle of nature-like fibres which continuously curve and wind upwards through the void, their strands individually unfurling into each upper branch and inner tread,” claimed Atmos Studio.
The staircase is built around a concealed steel and plywood core that was required to enable it to float freely away from the walls. Additional support for the cantilevered treads is provided by steel plates embedded in the wood.
Polish fabricator Trabczynski and GD Staircases were tasked with managing the complex construction. It was created using a specialised method of bentwood construction, which involves laminating hundreds of layers of veneer to make contoured forms that retain the illusion of solid wood.
The staircase’s timber treads feature scalloped profiles that flow out from the stringer and balustrade like leaves from a stalk.
“It twists upwards, spiralling energetically like a corkscrew, steps unfurling seamlessly from the structural stem like leaves, while further branches similarly delaminate to form a delicate wavy balustrade guiding the guests carefully upwards,” the studio added.
The lowest step has a slightly concave form that gradually inverts and forms an increasingly protruding curve. This lip is intended to denote a speedier central ridge that offers a quicker route than the narrower edges.
As the structure ascends from basement to the mezzanine, each tread lightens slightly to reflect the different tonal properties applied to the interiors of the three interior spaces.
PARADISE ART WONDERLAND
A new style of socially orientated community design brings an open plaza to the people of Hefei by the team at ASPECT Studios Shanghai.
Wantou & Vanke Paradise Art Wonderland is located in the core area of the Xin Zhan District’s southwestern zone, with Shao Quan Lake and the civic green belt nearby. The vibrant and developing district is popular with millennials that have an appreciation for design and a unique pursuit for a high end modern living environment.
The landscape design vision was forged on the principle of providing residents with the diverse and dynamic experience of modern urban living within a singular location, offering a reflection of different urban environments such as urban plazas and civic parks, pocket parks, play and sports recreation all spaces are programmed to provide a range of experiences and offer a diverse range of facilities and activities for all ages, all structured to encourage social and community connectivity, as places to come together.
The overarching design reflects elements of the local community and culture, with the flower of the city – the Pomegranate – providing a strong source of inspiration to the design of the community social space, guiding the form, color and composition to create an energetic colorful, and bold experience. Combined with a dynamic socially orientated landscape program to meet the needs of the community and its people while encouraging interaction, connection and communication.
The initial phase consists of three main programmatic zones, urban pocket park, children’s play and community park, within each area creating different experiences as places where children, adults and the elderly can come together to enjoy the fun of play, the diversity of lifestyle, and the vibrancy and energy of the urban environment.
Standing as the centerpiece of the urban pocket park is the Pomegranate Flower, a light sculpture inspired by the stamens of the pomegranate flower, reaching high to create both a landmark and identity within the surrounding urban context. On the surface, rhythmic paving represents the wind and the shape of bespoke planters represent the petals blowing in the breeze with the active seating edges providing calm and comfortable clusters for people to rest, stay and connect. The compacted and layered arrangement of the pomegranate fruits provide reference for the shade shelters, creating an interesting shadow play on the ground whilst providing a backdrop to the entire space; allowing visitors and residents to rest in comfort during the hot summer months.
The children’s play space offers a diverse play and learning experience. Mountain-shaped play mounds with layered tonal change imitate the gradual changes and layers of the rock strata, while raising from a blue and green carpet represents the river and forest. Integrated within the spaces are the opportunities for children to come together and build essential social and physical skills: areas of free play and fixed play are all designed to encourage social interaction, sports, activity, challenges and development.
Community gatherings and public events all take place in the grand community park. The open public park is complimented by a collection of spaces for people to come together in smaller social groups. Within the spatial compositions there are large open multi-functional lawn, pergolas and feature seating to create a semi-enclosed space while small plazas, with tree clusters, form a multi-functional shaded space for group gathering.
ZAHA HADID’S ONLY HOUSE FINALLY COMPLETES IN RUSSIAN FOREST
New photographs and a movie reveal Zaha Hadid’s only completed private residence – a house in the Barvikha Forest near Moscow, for a man she called the “Russian James Bond”.
The late Iraqi-British architect designed Capital Hill Residence for businessman and philanthropist Vladislav Doronin, who runs property companies Capital Group and OKO Group, and is also the owner of luxury hotel and resort brand Aman.
The house’s defining feature is a master suite set atop a slender concrete stalk that raises it high above the tree canopy.
Set 22 metres above the ground, this element of the design offers Doronin complete seclusion. Glazed walls, tucked back from the edge of the floor to create two balconies, afford views out over the tree tops.
A stripe of gridded glazing runs the length of the suite’s supporting column, which houses a glass lift and staircase that allows Doronin to enjoy the view on his ascent and descent.
“I told her: ‘I want to wake up in the morning and I want to just see blue sky. I don’t want to see any neighbors and I want to feel free,” recalls Doronin in a new video discussing the project.
“She told me: ‘Do you realise you have to be above the trees?’ and she just took a napkin and drew the sketch. I looked and I said I liked [it] and this is how we started [the] Capital Hill project.”
Three generous floors partially embedded in the sloping terrain below feature angled glass facades facing into the forest. Broad roofs with irregularly stepped edges overhang the glass walls of each floor.
The lowest level contains leisure facilities, while a lounge, living room and kitchen are set alongside entertaining spaces and a swimming pool on the ground floor. The entrance, guest and children’s bedrooms, and a library are set across the first floor.
The concept for the project was first conceived over a decade ago, when the pair met in London and Hadid sketched a design out on a napkin.
Visuals of the project were first unveiled in 2008 and initial photographs of the project emerged in 2011, well ahead of Hadid’s death. But these images mark the full completion of the residence.
“For me she is an architect of a different league,” says Doronin.
“It was very interesting to talk to her, she didn’t talk too much but she was very sharp. She was always to the point, she was very sarcastic, she was very intellectual, smart and sharp woman,” he continues. “It was very tragic what happened, we lost one of the greatest architects of this century.”
Hadid’s former business partner Patrik Schumacher, who took over the helm of the company following her death in 2016, describes the project as a dream commission.
“It’s a dream house. No architect would refuse such a commission,” he says in the video. “Zaha knew Vladislav – a very stylish man – she always compared him to the Russian James Bond who had taste, wealth to create something extraordinary.”
“This project is an absolute testament to Zaha’s genius – Vladislav’s genius if you like – of somebody who develops new levels of enjoying life on this planet,” he continues.
“This is a masterpiece. It has Zaha’s signature features of organic intricacy, complexity of spatial arrangement, a lot of surprises, and a lot of craftiness and beauty.”
British architect Norman Foster praised the “extraordinary” project in a Dezeen movie paying tribute to Hadid.
Foster recalls Doronin proudly showing photographs of his completed home at a dinner party, and feeling “tremendous disappointment” that he would never be able to share the compliment with Hadid.