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1.8M WIDTH HOUSE

The 1.8M Width House identity and the core is the fluidity of its interior space, which molds together all the rooms and grants the freedom to reinvent each part of the house on a daily base, defying the conventional divisions of living spaces.

The first challenge we had to face with the design of the 1.8M Width House was the juxtaposition of the size of the plot and the spatial and psychological openness the clients’ wished for. At a mere 2.5 by 11m, the site is a typical “eels’ bed”, where you can, with your arms extended, touch both external walls of the building. To avoid a cramped interior, we focused on keeping as much free space as possible between the walls and on the creation of a fluid, playful space.

To design a small but ever-changing house, we considered the house as an aggregation of small “places” and designed an environment in which such “places” expand on various levels. The floating floors in the long and narrow space generate a spatial expanse, while light and fresh air flow in from the façade and the roof, through the slender shelves that further enhance the peculiarities of the space. Daily household goods fit naturally into the atmosphere, blending in with the interior design and the inhabitants.

The structure was developed by fully considering the singularity of the building shape. Columns and beams were limited to maximize the interior space. Steel-frame construction was found to be the most adequate to the narrow frontage imposed by the site, while an EZ stake system was adopted for the concrete foundation. Furthermore, the chosen exterior materials do not require scaffolding and an open piping route that can be easily maintained was installed to match the uniqueness of the site. Natural ventilation was carefully studied to minimize the use of air conditioning system. Natural wind and air flow circulator provide a comfortable space for the habitants.

The 1.8M Width House is located on a shopping street in a central area of Tokyo. As many other parts of the city, it’s crowded with people and buildings alike. The multitude of often minute constructions we see now was born over time due to the dual action of rising land costs and demand. As a matter of fact, it isn’t uncommon for landowners to partition the original plot in order to sell it and this phenomenon is behind the appearance of the “Eels’ beds”: sites of a width close to the legal minimum of 2m.

Working with these situations is a challenge but also a possibility to increase the available built space in the city while preventing its expansion. Moreover, along with other solutions, this strategy allows a variety of clients to access otherwise expensive neighborhoods and to carry on the city’s characteristic fast-paced evolution.

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FORMER MILITARY LOOKOUT IN TRANSFORMED INTO GLAZED VIEWPOINT

Arc Designs has created a cantilevered viewing platform, and walkway with a glazed floor, perched on one of the highest points of the Rock of Gibraltar.

Named Skywalk, the viewing platform is built above an existing WWII military platform in the Upper Rock Nature Reserve that once served as a base for anti-aircraft Bofors guns.

Arc Designs wrapped the existing stone platform with a 2.5-metre-wide glazed walkway and balustrade, which cantilever over the steeply dropping terrain.

Steel stairs lead from the walkway up to the top of the original military platform, where the old octagonal concrete gun-base now serves as a seat for visitors to rest and gaze out towards the horizon.

Located just a little further north of O’Hara’s Battery – the highest point on the Rock – the platform provides visitors with panoramic views both eastwards and westwards, with Europe and Africa, the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean all in sight.

“The design aspiration of this project was to afford the visitor with new and unrivalled views in all directions including over the rocky cliff-face below,” said Arc Designs, “while at the same time ensuring a subtle intervention, which did not detract from the natural and historic nature of this unique setting.”

The structure is anchored to the ground with numerous rock anchors, which each support a tensile load of 15 tonnes.

The anchors ensure that the structure can withstand not just the imposed load of visitors above but also the considerable wind speeds of over 93 miles per hour that are generated over the ridge of the rock.

The Skywalk can be accessed from the road via a panoramic lift, which anchors the overall cantilevered structure back to the terrain.

“Because vehicular access to this area is limited to very narrow and winding roads, the entire walkway structure had to be fabricated in smaller sections which could be transported and assembled together in-situ,” explained the architects.

“This was a considerable challenge in an area with rapidly changing weather conditions and given the steeply dropping cliff-face below,” continued the architects.

“The assembly was further constrained by the crane size that could be utilised, as this needed to be sized on the basis of the old military platform on which it was positioned.”

The Skywalk’s main steel structure comprises 18 separate pieces, weighing a combined total of over 30,000 kilograms, while the glazing modules, which include 750-square-metres of glass panels, are roughly the equivalent area of four tennis courts with the largest component weighing approximately 650 kilograms.

The structure was built on behalf of HM Government of Gibraltar and forms part of a wider programme of improvements to the area.

Other developments include the construction of a 70-metre long suspended bridge, the restoration of numerous former military batteries and installations and introduction of interpretative and directional signage along newly established walking trails.

In Holland Dutch firm MVRDV recently won a contest to create a wave-like viewpoint on the coast of Holland, which is designed to rock like a seesaw with the changing of the tides, while a helium balloon tethered to a cantilevered track was among the winners in a competition to design a conceptual observation deck for a volcano’s crater in eastern Turkey.

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LANDSCAPE FENCE

The architecture office heri&salli from Vienna conceived a steel structure similar to a cocoon round a swimming pool in the garden of a private builder-owner in Austria. With mounted panels and interior constructions which are more or less depending on their function the parametric organized spatial element describes possibilities of a usable and experienceable surface.

Proceeding from the task to redefine an existing garden property with view of the lake, and simultaneously create provisions on views and a demarcation in direction of the surrounding properties an neighbors the theme of the classic rustic fence was taken up. In the simplest case a fence functions as protection or demarcation, a visualization of a line that wasn’t visible before. In the further contest it serves as esthetic element or a representative sign and separates as a 2-dimensional element different areas. We formulate the fence based on different requirements as a 3-dimensional description of an existing garden.


The fence itself becomes- proceeding from a diagonal constructional arrangement- therefore a possibility of space. With this in mind it doesn’t demarcate the space, but creates it and renders it experienceable, the function as a demarcation slides into the background and is only a byproduct. The objective of the opening element similar to a cocoon is to create different spatial qualities and experience space. Partly covered, withdrawn and protected, then opening and finally in the middle or in the end in the water of the pool where you can swim out of it. The curves convey a feeling of vastness- make the space bigger than it is-and create in the inside of the house an optimal resonant behavior. Different integrated constructions like stairs, seats, lying areas or a table with backrest and pool covering are in its definition in a geometrical relation with the original construction; they emerge only to become part of the structure again.

The integrated panels follow a dynamic course from the orthogonal edge into the described space, to develop in the central parts in relation to the steel structure from the inside to the outside or to dissolve more and more along the vertical. In this case architecture is an accumulation of possibilities in a described space and creates only the edges for a vast land in between.

The construction of the supporting structure can be described as an overhanging free concave form that is designed as frame construction with diagonally running circular tube profiles for outcrossing and plate attachment. The frames consist of solid welded flat steel profiles. The not entirely closed shell is constructed with diamond shaped plates which are fixed by tabs on the diagonals and in case can be turned around their axis. (Bollinger-Grohmann-Schneider/Wien)

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LABYRINTH AND REFLECTIVE POOL UNVEILED AT RUNNYMEDE

A labyrinth and reflective pool, called Writ in Water, has opened on the site near where the Magna Carta was signed, in Runnymede, England.

Set in a meadow near the River Thames, the building has been designed by artist Mark Wallinger and architects Studio Octopi.

Visitors enter through a doorway and can turn either left or right to walk around a labyrinth leading to a central space where a circular pool sits below a skylight.

London-based Studio Octopi planned the building using cubits, an ancient unit of measurement, and built it from rammed earth made from locally quarried gravel mixed with cement.

Described as a piece of “architectural artwork”, Writ in Water is designed to be a place for visitors to contemplate the principles of common law and justice.

A reversed and inverted inscription running around the interior of the pool spells out Clause 39 of the Magna Carta in the still reflection of the water.

The ring of lettering mirrors that of the seal of the historic charter, which was signed at at Runnymede in 1215 as feudal barons sought to curtail the powers of an absolute monarchy.

 


Clause 39 stated that: “No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions… except by the lawful judgment of his equals or by the law of the land.”

As the UK has no formal constitution, this document is seen to mark the first move towards democracy and enshrining of human rights in the country.

The still pool recalls the fonts of a church, although the binding document was an attempt to curtail the divine right of kings.

“In Writ in Water, the use of reflection to make the text legible plays against the idea of a law written in stone. Magna Carta curtailed this divine right and issued the first secular writ,” said Turner Prize-winning artist Mark Wallinger.

The title of the work is taken from the inscription on English Romantic poet John Keats’ headstone: “Here lies one whose name was writ in water.”

“Keats, though despairing of his legacy, was to become one of the immortals and his words live anew when learnt and repeated by every succeeding generation,” added Wallinger.

“Similarly, although Magna Carta established the law and the nascent principles of human rights, the UK has no written constitution,” he continued.

“What seems like a birthright has to be learned over and over and made sense of. Whether the words are ephemeral or everlasting is up to us.”

The project was commissioned by the National Trust’s contemporary art programme, Trust New Art.

The conservation organisation owns the land where it has been built, with the piece intended to open for the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta, although it has opened three years late.

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THE SERPENTINE PAVILION WAS UNVEILED AND THE WORLD CUP KICKED OFF

This week, Mexican architect Frida Escobedo’s unveiled her latticed Serpentine Pavilion and the FIFA World Cup began in Russia, with Dezeen providing stadium and kit guides.

Designed by Frida Escobedo, the youngest architect commisioned in the history of the project, this year’s Serpentine Pavilion features a secluded courtyard framed by walls of concrete roofing tiles, in reference to Mexican residential architecture.

“We wanted to have a fresh idea for the pavilion, but [one] that would also speak about we do at the office on an everyday basis,” Escobedo told Dezeen in an exclusive movie filmed at the pavilion.


The 21st FIFA World Cup kicked off in Russia this week, with Dezeen offering a detailed roundup of all 12 stadiums that will be hosting games during the tournament, including the country’s recently renovated national stadium.

With eye-catching designs featuring feathers, waves and an eagle, we also released a guide to all 32 national team shirts on display at the tournament.

In London, the mayor Sadiq Khan condemned Westminster Council after they blocked a proposal to pedestrianise Oxford Street. Khan claimed the decision would be “seen as a betrayal of the millions of Londoners and visitors to our city.”

Former mayor Boris Johnson was also in the headlines this week, as he lent his support to a post-Brexit bridge project proposed to link Scotland and Northern Ireland, which would cost an estimated £15 billion.

In tall building news, the Morpheus hotel in China designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, which is the “world’s first free-form high-rise exoskeleton”, opened its doors.

In New York, British architecture firm Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners completed Three World Trade Center, which is now the city’s fifth-tallest building.

In architecture news, New York-based Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and Australian firm Woods Bagot, won a competition to design Adelaide Contemporary, a major new art gallery in the Australian city. The winning design includes “sky galleries” and a “performance lab”

Also, Sydney-based architect Alec Tzannes was recognised with the 2018 Australian Institute of Architects’ Gold Medal – Australia’s most prestigious award for architecture.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

www.archdaily.com

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