ACCORDING TO CLUTCH: MOST INTERESTING PROJECTS IN CONTEMPORARY ARCHITECTURE
This month we are celebrating the most interesting projects in contemporary architecture … according to Clutch. The topic is subjective for obvious reasons. But also: What is architecture? What is contemporary?
We’ll address the latter two with this caveat: We used very loose definitions for both. A myriad of influences seep into and emerge from the field of architecture. That’s part of what makes it so interesting. Think: landscape architecture, urban planning, art, materials, research, technology, psychology, impact studies, the list goes on. It’s a treasure trove of inspiration and we’re forever neck-deep in ideas.
So, without further adieu, here are our top picks for October 2019.
“Crystal Houses stands out as an amazing integration into the existing historic fabric while utilizing cutting edge fabrication and materials to mimic historic materials in a new and imaginative way.” — Mark Bourne, Principal/Architect AIA
Located on Amsterdam’s PC Hooftstraat, a luxury shopping district previously zoned residential, Crystal Houses by MVRDV architects is a feat of engineering and craftsmanship that emulates the vernacular of historical structures while pushing the envelope of design. The primarily glass facade features individually cast glass bricks that stretch two-floors high before yielding to traditional terracotta brick for the apartments above.
“The design hopes to provide a solution to the loss of local character in shopping areas around the world. The increased globalization of retail has led to the homogenization of high-end shopping streets. Crystal Houses offer the store a window surface that contemporary stores need, whilst maintaining architectural character and individuality, resulting in a flagship store that hopes to stand out amongst the rest.” —MVRDV
The dramatic glass structure originally housed Chanel is now home to Hermés. Its transparent exterior performs better than concrete on strength tests and is 100% recyclable. Each brick can be melted down and reused.
“CJ Hendry is a contemporary artist whose colored pencil hand drawings capture twisted, crumpled and liquefied objects with mind-bending realism. Her latest work explores Andy Warhol photographs: drawn, crumpled and then redrawn. It’s pretty amazing.” — Kristen Tonsager, Head of Interior Design, NCIDQ
CJ Hendry is an architecture student turned artist whose hyper-realist drawings have earned her a fast following on Instagram and made her a bit of an anomaly in the art community.
Alisha Haridasani Gupta of the New York Times writes, “You won’t find her collection in a gallery. Instead, she hosts her own solo exhibitions, and regularly sells out her works, which have price tags as high as $250,000. It’s an example of how an artist can survive — prosper — outside the established art world, thanks to social media.” Click here for the story.
A quick scroll through Hendry’s Instagram feed delivers larger-than-life, photo-realistic drawings—boxing gloves, a disco ball, dollops of paint, a used cigarette—as well as behind-the-scenes process images, immersive installations and a healthy dose of play.
MAISON À BORDEAUX
“Rem Koolhaas’ Maison à Bordeaux project remains an engineering marvel, and the most poetic synthesis of narrative, client and architectural form I have ever seen.” — Christopher Campbell, Principal/Architect AIA, NCARB, LEED AP BD + C
Completed in 1998, this three-story private residence gently perches on a grassy hilltop overlooking Bordeaux, France. At the base, Maison à Bordeaux tucks into the sloped landscape, while the glass-wrapped indoor and outdoor living space above offers sweeping city views. At the peak, a long, cantilevered volume stretches out over the landscape—the rusted steel facade provides privacy for bedroom areas. The center of the home houses a large, elevator platform that ascends and descends through the three floors, functioning as office, living space, and transit depending on its location.
Maison à Bordeaux was designed to optimize function, views and wheelchair movement for a partially paralyzed owner and his family. According to numerous reports, he requested a complex space, ‘because the house will define my world’.
“Neri Oxman is a revolutionary thinker whose work challenges basic assumptions of architecture and the built environment—proposing that structures might be grown rather than built.” — Matt Robertson, President/Architect AIA
Neri Oxman is the founder and director of Media Matter research group at MIT Media Lab, and the mother of Material Ecology—a term she coined and field she pioneered which “considers computation, fabrication, and the material itself as inseparable dimensions of design. In this approach, products and buildings are biologically informed and digitally engineered by, with and for, Nature.”
What does that mean? A silkworm grown pavilion, photosynthetic wearables, mechanically woven tubes. Oxman’s work defies the boundaries of precedent, pairing art, research, biology, computation, materials engineering, architecture, biomimicry … the list goes on … to explore what might be possible when great minds come together to think differently.