Architecture

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Estonian studio Salto Architects have completed a temporary summer theatre in Tallinn made of black spray-painted straw bales. The Straw Theatre is built on top of the former Skoone bastion. At the beginning of the 20th century, the bastion worked as a public garden, and during the Soviet era it was more or less restricted recreational area for the Soviet navy with a wooden summer theatre and a park on top. With the summer theatre having burnt down and the Soviet troops gone, for the last 20 years the bastion has remained a closed and neglected spot in the centre of town. In such a context, the Straw Theatre is an attempt to acknowledge and temporarily reactivate the location, doing all this with equally due respect to all historical layers of the site. The Straw Theatre is a unique occasion where straw has been used for a large public building and adjusted to a refined architectural form. For reinforcement purposes, the straw walls have been secured with trusses, which is a type of construction previously unused. As the building is temporary, it has not been insulated as normal straw construction would require but has been kept open to experience the raw tactile qualities of the material and accentuate the symbolic level of the life cycle of this sustainable material. (source).

 

Architecture studio Kilo has pitched a traditional Moroccan camel and goat wool tent in front of Jean Nouvel‘s Institut du Monde Arabe building in Paris. The studio covered the large rectangular tent with over 650 square metres of camel and goat wool, woven into long strips by members of a female cooperative in the Sahara Desert. The texture and curving form contrasts against the smooth facade, which is patterned with geometric designs typically used in Arabic architecture and on tiles. Beneath the woollen ceiling, the museum has attempted to recreate a souk-like atmosphere where works by Moroccan designers and craftspeople are displayed and sold.

“The rhythm and scale of the tent’s silhouette renders a topographic dimension to the structure, which pays homage to the nomadic traditions of southern Morocco,” said the architects. (source).

 

According to Slow Food, Herzog & de Meuron offer an alternative to the “pompous and unsustainable structures that would only distract visitors from the real purpose of the event”. The designers’ Slow Food Pavilion comprises three simple wooden sheds, all of which offer shelter but due to their open sides are also exposed to the elements. These frame a triangular courtyard furnished with large planting boxes, each containing rows of vegetables and herbs.

The first contains an exhibition inviting visitors to learn about different foods, and the second contains tasting counters. The third is a space for talks and seminars. According to Herzog & de Meuron, the long and narrow structures were inspired by the traditional farmhouses of Italy’s historic Lombardy region. Once the Expo is over, they will be disassembled and transported to a selection of Italian schools, where they will be rebuilt and used as garden sheds. (source).

 

 

The Vlotwateringbrug by NEXT Architects spans the Vlotwatering river in Monster, a town in the Dutch province of South Holland. Three specific elements of the bridge were designed for the bats – on the north side, an abutment accommodates winter roosting, while the deck and the brick balustrade include openings to facilitate summer roosting. The architects hope that a large colony of various species will be encouraged to grow around the bridge.

The bridge forms part of a 21-hectare waterway project called the Poelzone that aims to turn the banks of the river between ‘s-Gravenzande, Naaldwijk and Monster into a public recreation zone as well as create new habitats for indigenous wildlife. (source).

 

This beach house by Ruhl Walker Architects is raised above the landscape, helping it to have a minimal impact on the fragile coastal ecosystem. Encompassing 2,800 square feet (260 square metres), the House of Shifting Sands sits on a sloped waterfront site in the small Massachusetts town of Wellfleet, located in the hook-shaped peninsula known as Cape Cod. The home is surrounded by miles of undeveloped land and scrub pines. Ruhl Walker Architects was charged with creating a building that honoured environmental concerns expressed by the client, the town’s conservation commission and the US National Park Service. This prompted the team to plan a building that “appears to float out of and above its shifting, sandy site”. The house was designed to be provide all of its own energy. Power is supplied via solar panel arrays located on the roofs of the main house and studio. There are also high-efficiency air-to-air heat exchangers and energy-recovery ventilators. (source).