The Montreuil Conservatory, by Claude Le Goas, 1976. Each of the metal pods on the façade is an acoustically separated practice room. It is an exceptionally advanced building, featuring an irrigated steel structure which has beams filled with water to slow their disintegration in the case of a fire.
Pablo Bronstein’s full scale Pavilion for the Monuments exhibition at Lismore Castle, Ireland, tests out the language of his drawings. It’s a thin printed graphic held up by scaffolding at the front and rear. The story goes that the design originally only had scaffolding behind the image, but when builders who were installing the graphic sent work in progress photos, Bronstein asked them to keep the “real” scaffolding up. It looks fantastic set in the topiary of the castle, but it feels very much like a drawing, rather than a 3D work. It is more akin to Matthew Darbyshire’s recent work The T Rooms, which is interesting as both artists are represented by Herald Street Gallery.
The EcoHat isn’t a beanie made of hemp, it is Richard Rogers’ contemporary chimney.
“Were “EcoHat” to come up in passing, you would most likely think of something chunky, organic, and woolen–—perhaps a beanie with earflaps to keep you toasty while chained to a logger’s truck. But in fact, the EcoHat is an innovative environmental housing feature created by British architects Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners (the new name for Richard Rogers Partnership) for the wonderfully un-British Oxley Woods development. The colorful set of detached homes is situated on the edge of the much-maligned planned community of Milton Keynes, about 50 miles northwest of London.
Designed in response to a government competition to create a £60,000 ($121,000) eco-friendly home, the panelized Oxley Woods houses are manufactured off-site, transported, filled with recycled-paper insulation, and erected in about seven days. To minimize costs, service areas such as kitchens, bathrooms, and heat controls are standard on all homes, though the buildings vary in size from 700 to 1,615 square feet.
Another standardized feature is the EcoHat. Perched atop the roofs of each of the 145 houses, this is a powerhouse of energy efficiency in a small aluminum box, delivering a neatly packaged system that combines solar power with a home’s circulatory system. Within the EcoHat, solar power heats air as it enters through the roof. This warm air then passes through filters into the living space, or can be used to heat water by means of a heat-transfer coil.
“Inside the EcoHat is a tried-and-tested system called Sunwarm,” explains Andrew Partridge, an associate at Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners. “What we did was manufacture housing that allows us to fit the Sunwarm to all of the properties. In it is a dry solar panel collector, which air is passed over.”
The EcoHat is as typical of the Oxley Woods design as an old-fashioned chimney. The unit is easily accessible from inside the home, allowing for repairs and updates to technology without the need for a cherry picker.
The EcoHat’s casing conceals its unsightly gadgetry, while still allowing the solar panels to be angled for maximum efficiency. “Sometimes in environmental housing you have to orientate the houses quite vigorously,” says Partridge. “This allows for the house to be orientated in any direction, while the EcoHat always points in the appropriate direction for solar efficiency.” To that end, the architects claim that the Ecohat-wearing home can offer up to 50 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.
Time will tell whether the EcoHat will be the feature that marks a new generation of British homes, but if it becomes half as ubiquitous as the top hat or the bowler once was, then this piece of rooftop millinery will undoubtedly be declared a resounding success.”
Niagara Galleries by Edmond & Corrigan in Richmond, Victoria, from 2001.
The client wished to add a store room and private display space to his existing art gallery. All to be done cheaply. The private display space was linked to the existing gallery space at the upper level. A large open deck adjacent to the private display space is inserted behind the existing tiled roof. This resulted from planning code requirements. Building code requirements necessitated a disabled toilet facility and this was positioned beside the rear entrance. The rear entrance has now become the identity enriched front entry. Signage provisions on Punt Road are restrictive and a new billboard is positioned at the new front (rear) entry.
RMIT building 8 by Edmond & Corrigan, 1993, a building that thinks it’s a city.
Building 8 is a multi level education exchange. It is a fragment of the University that nonetheless stands for the whole. It contains the University Library, an enlarged Student Union, the Faculty of the Constructed Environment (the Schools of Architecture, Interior Design, Landscape, Building, Planning & Policy, and a Centre for Design) and the Departments of Fashion and Mathematics.
The aim was to break down the dominant and seamless wall that RMIT presented on Swanston Street. The building’s front, side and rear elevations create a whole from fragments and a collage of design ‘ideas’. It presents itself to the city on its own terms.
The building engages the idea of uniting opposites. It demurs to Melbourne’s built past: memories of Walter Burley Griffin, the Manchester Unity, the Block Arcade, the Shrine et alia are fleetingly seen in its aesthetic.
It was described by a national architectural commentator as a building that `thinks it’s a city’. The building is widely recognised nationally as being distinctively Melbourne in character and idea. This strong sense of regional identity and pride is no small achievement in this ‘international’ era.