As development progresses at a rapid rate in Hanoi, the city’s heritage buildings are fighting demolition. The juxtaposition between old and new is not always successful, but in this example, the glass box neighbour to the heritage facade is complimentary.
Have you been wondering why the news page of our website has not been updated in a while? Well, our Instagram feed has been keeping me busy along with a recent trip to mystical Bhutan. Takstang is Bhutan’s most famous temple and simply breathtaking (physically and spiritually). To see more photos of my amazing trip, please follow KOANDCOARCHITECTURE on Instagram by clicking the logo at bottom of the page.
One Central Park is one of the most inspiring multi-residential developments in Australia in present times. Sydney’s SEPP65 which dictates design quality of residential flats has allowed French Starchitect Jean Nouvel to convince developers to erect a heliostat on the southern side of the building to reflect sunlight onto the lower levels of the building. Skeptics may wonder whether it actually works or not, but after almost 12 months, the Patrick Blanc designed vertical gardens are flourishing and the building is truly amazing.
American Starchitect Frank Gehry has “graced” Australia with his presence with the new business school at the University of Sydney. Reminiscent of Gehry’s Fred and Ginger building in Prague, the building blends surprisingly well into the surrounding brick streetscape of Ultimo. In fact, if it was not for the custom shaped bricks made by Austral bricks for the project to achieve the sinuous curves, the building might have been somewhat underwhelming. The devil is really in the detail.
Yesterday I was viewing a friend’s photographs of a house he recently completed and one of his details reminded me of the creative genius that is Carlo Scarpa. Scarpa’s meticulous yet elegant details, his use of materials and his discipline in execution is incomparable and a constant source of inspiration to many. I conceived the idea for the Hill House staircase after a visit to the Olivetti Showroom in Venice. Whenever possible, I strive to achieve his elegance in my work. This photo is courtesy of my dear friend Nadia Watson, who saved the day when my camera battery went flat!
In keeping with the theme of exquisite quality of light, Sanctuario Dom Bosco by Carlos Alberto Naves is a less visited, but equally inspiring church in Brasilia. The modernist (almost brutalist) concrete exterior is a complete contrast to the delicate sensation of the interior. Made from 7,400 pieces of Murano glass set into lead, the windows are a tapestry of colour and in some areas, openable as louvres.
Brasilia’s poster child, Niemeyer’s Catedral Metropolitana was as elegant as I had expected, but smaller than I anticipated. Nicknamed the “lamb rack roast” by my patient, non architect husband, the quality of light inside the cathedral was exquisite and the double glazing provides much needed respite from the heat of the Brasilia sun shine. Like many of Niemeyer’s public buildings, the main occupied space within the building is actually located underground, allowing the roof structure to become the landmark.
The phrase “it can’t be done” were clearly never uttered to Oscar Niemeyer, or perhaps he chose to ignore those skeptics. Located in the main hall of Palacio Itamaraty, this staircase is one of the most spectacular pieces of engineering and craftsmanship I have ever seen. I am truly inspired to reach to the heavens.