- By Tudor
A theme we were drawn to this year was one of contrast versus context. Our favourite projects have either embodied extreme sensitivity to their environment and intended use or have stood in stark contrast by embracing differing styles. We want to wrap up 2014 with a look back at some of the projects that caught our eye in the past year. Click on any photo to enlarge.
Sleuk Rith Institute – Cambodia
Zaha Hadid is no stranger to criticism and controversy. While her work doesn’t always strike us as the most contextually sensitive, this proposal is a welcome departure from her iconic work. The institute will house records and documents relating to the cruel regime of Pol Pot in the late 1970s. Zaha Hadid Architects have moved away from the stern concrete that normally characterizes their work to a structure that’s built primarily from timber. Read more here.
Her Majesty’s Pleasure – Canada
Eclectic interiors and decor were a huge trend in 2014 and will likely continue to remain so through 2015. There’s a certain refined carelessness that’s key to pulling off such a style. For an establishment that’s part cafe, beauty and hair salon, bar and shop, an eclectic look was all but demanded. Toronto firm +tongtong proved they were equal to the task. The interior combines art deco influences, rustic elements, bold brass accents and clean modern lines. It’s chaotic and perfect. Read more here.
Bombay Sapphire Distillery – United Kingdom
Thomas Heatherwick‘s revitalized headquarters for gin-maker Bombay Sapphire sits on a property with almost 300 years of history. The focal points of this project are two glasshouses that create two different climates to grow plants necessary for gin-making. Stainless steel framing allowed the glasshouses to take on curvy, sinuous forms that stand in contrast to the older buildings on the property. Read more here.
Mont-Tremblant National Park Discovery Centre – Canada
Designed to be harmonious with nature and its surroundings, the Discovery Centre features a mirrored facade that reflects the wilderness around. The use of timber in its construction also helps to reinforce its natural setting. The building is also able to facilitate technologies such as passive ventilation and heating from solar gain. Read more here.
Seinäjoki City Library – Finland
The new library was designed to be added to a site of existing buildings dating back to 1965 and designed by Alvar Aalto. The new building, designed by JKMM Architects, is modern and expressive and clad in copper panels that evoke leaves. A subterranean tunnel connects the library to other buildings in the civic centre. Read more here.
Hofsos Swimming Pool – Iceland
Yes, a swimming pool. Iceland is well-known for its barren beauty and this pool’s site incorporates both mountain and ocean views. It’s minimal approach gives swimmers the impression that they’re swimming to a neighbouring island across the channel. Designed by BASALT Architects, the pool’s facilities are integrated directly into the landscape and feature an unfussy industrial aesthetic. Read more here.
Hotel Fontevraud – France
Originally an abbey built in the 12th century, the resting place of King Richard the Lionheart has been reimagined as a modern hotel. The hotel’s design references various aspects of the building’s former purpose such as furniture built from rough wood, tones of monks’ robes and wrought-iron lighting pieces. Vaulted ceilings and original masonry provides striking contrast with the hotel’s modern amenities. Read more here.
Abedian School of Architecture – Australia
The new building for Bond University’s architecture faculty was designed to feature informal learning spaces envisioned as caves. CRAB Studio sought to create a facility that would support a variety of activities. This translated into an interior of corners, alcoves and sheltered areas that could respond to the needs of the school’s students and staff. Read more here.
Mont de Marsan Mediatheque – France
This library caught our eye for its dedication to creating a healthy environment for its patrons. Extensive glazing allows ample sunlight to reach its interior. An amoeba-like internal courtyard does double duty as an enormous light well. Located in a military barracks, the building pays respect to surrounding buildings by literally reflecting its environment. Read more here.
Pocinho Centre for High Performance Rowing – Portugal
Inserted into a tiered hillside, most of this facility is hidden underground. The variations in structural elements hint at their intended uses, with some volumes projecting out from the ground, and others snaking across the hillside. Its white form contrasts with earth tones and skylights allow sunlight to enter its underground spaces. Read more here.