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Posts tagged “architecture

Actress Courtney Cox Malibu Residence | Celebrity Houses

 

According to Elle Décor, Courteney Cox wanted to be an architect before becoming an actress. She mainly chose this location in Malibu, California due to its privacy especially that her previous home, which she loved so much, was located at the same level of a public pool.

With this house she decided she wanted to go for a design totally different from the previous residence, she wanted it to look like a modern barn. Notice the open spaces, the bright ambience, the use of modern materials and others that are so natural that they take the house to a more timeless feel.

Cox hired architect Michael Kovac for the job alongside Trip Haenisch for the interior design.

“There was a good balance between Michael and Trip,” says Cox. “Michael is definitely more modern; Trip tried to make the house look like it had been here forever.” The result, she says, is “very simple, with bronzed-steel trim, white walls, and wood floors. Nothing too cluttered and not a lot of fancy details.”

 

 

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Bringing Nature Inside: Loft 24-7 São Paulo| Residential Design

This is a beautiful attempt at creating outdoor moods indoor. In this 250 sq. m loft, São Paulo-based architect Fernanda Marques was able to come up with an earthy and very natural ambiance within the residence’s interior, by using logs, limestone, rough stone, and the likes. Very simple, the use of the right materials and the right combination gave this loft the exquisite look.

 

For more information on the designer, you can check her website, hope you can read Portuguese though.


Minimal Sustainable Design in Australia | Residential Design

 

This project is an example of how a minimal and modern space design can be achieved to respect sustainability and eco standards. Crone Partners are the architects who designed this house located in Victoria, Melbourne, Australia.

Embracing the challenge of a relatively tight inner suburban location, and restrictive building envelope, the designers worked closely with the client to rationalize their “wish list” into a concise and deliverable brief. Little was lost in this process and even less in the translation to a finished home for the builder / client and their young family.

The house’s finely detailed bold rectilinear form is set back from the street amidst a carpet of natural ground cover. Entrance down the side of the house is made via a subtle path formed from old railway sleepers embedded into the ground. Whilst sitting comfortably in its street context proportionally, and with setbacks respectful of its neighboring properties, the view from the street confirms immediately that this house is quite different to those around it. The project is realized through a series of simple intersecting and overlapping rectangular forms. Each “box” represents a distinct portion of the overall program. A sleeping / study zone, a living zone, a garage / workshop, and cantilevered above all of this, a parents retreat, complete with its own living area and secluded outdoor terrace.

 

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The Park Hotel Hyderabad by SOM | Hotel Design

Skidmore Owings & Merrill designed the new flagship hotel for The Park Hotel Group: The Park Hotel Hyderabad. The project is 531,550-square-feet, with 270 rooms hotel with a modern, sustainable design yet respecting the local craft traditions.

The hotel is  well serviced with spas and restaurants, with space designs including materials reflecting Indian materials and crafts combined with the latest technologies to provide the best services for their clientele.

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The Alphabet Building | Architecture

This is a new project scheduled to be completed by 2012. This office building has its windows in the form of carved out alphabets. The project is designed by  Dutch architects MVRDV. Their description and details are listed below.

 

 

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Villa in Bryanston South Africa | Residential Design

This 4000 m2 property is located in Bryanston, South Africa , the beautiful villa is  designed by Nico Van Der Meulen. The splendor lies in its magnificent scale yet light impression, the transparency and horizontal span of its structure helps with that. This has to be one of the most residential villas with open spaces and amazing views surrounding it from every angle.

Upon entering through the gatehouse you look down the sloping driveway with several large cantilevers protruding from the building, some in rust, other areas clad with unfilled travertine, and an atrium behind a mentis grating screen.

Next to the front door a large reflective koi pond flows over a retaining wall next to the drive way, with an illuminated glass staircase behind a two story curtain wall in the background.  The lift shaft forms a strong vertical element finished in rust behind the pond. All of this is framed by a cantilevered concrete beam. The staircase behind the koi pond is a double glass construction, with lights between the two layers of glass. Above the lower garage a huge cantilevered structure hangs out, suspended by beams built into its roof.

The house was designed around three massive trees, one at the tennis court, and the other two on the east side of the house. The view from the hall towards the east is into one of these trees, framed by a large sliding window in the kitchen.

 

The kitchen, breakfast room and family room leads seamlessly through  wall to wall frameless sliding doors onto the patio, with the dining room situated behind the family room, sharing a fireplace with the family room.  When the doors are open, the family room, breakfast room, open and covered patio and kitchen becomes one large area. Parts of the dining room floor is glass, with a view down into the koi pond, and two huge lights from M Square are suspended over the dining room table.

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Luxury Villa in South Africa | Residential Design

Designed by South African firm Design Partnership, this beautiful villa is located in Johannesburg, South Africa.I am particularly interested in the interior of this project, the colors, furnishing and beautiful spaces. The staircase as you will see is a sculpture in its own. Its obvious grey tones are the trend now, after being exclusive to showrooms and shops, people are choosing grey as the main color for their residences.

 

 

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BIG to Design Mosque & Islamic Center in Albania

These breathtaking images are of a mosque, cultural center, and museum to be built in Tirana, Albania. The competition was won by Danish architects Bjarke Ingels Group in collaboration with Martha Schwartz Landscape, Buro Happold , Speirs & Major, Lutzenberger & Lutzenberger, and Global Cultural Asset Management.

I know it feels a bit ironic that a Danish firm wins the competition especially with some Muslims  boycotting them for the 2009 incident.

This specific area in Albania has been going through a restoration phase where all three major faiths that co-exist are getting new buildings, an idea I personally believe is wonderful. The images of this mosque give the impression of holiness just at the sight, the details, the fluidity of the buildings, the translucent nature of the buildings are just amazing.

The mosque will accommodate 1000 worshipers for daily prayers, with the ability to open up to the courtyards and plaza and accommodate up to 10,000 people on special ceremonies and holidays.

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Leaning Tower of Pisa Now 50cm Straighter

 

The Leaning Tower of Pisa was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site back in 1987, serious efforts to stabilize the monument were taken. The tower was originally constructed over a period of 199 years (1173-1372) and since then was tilting 1mm for every year. The project of restoring the Pisa Tower has been ongoing for the past 20 years, and now it is open to the public scaffolding-free.

The project cost around €27m  and has lessened the tilt by 50cm, making it straighter, yet still with its famous lean. It now stands at 56meters tall at its highest point.

WAN


Open Box House : An Architectural Marvel by A-Cero

 

Architectural icon after the other, A-Cero never refrain from keeping us in awe with the amazing sculptural designs they present. I am really impressed recently with Spanish designers and their works.

The design impact of this Open Box House, as they named it, can not be missed, the open spaces, the minimal use of colors yet strong volumes are what characterized it.  The residence is located on the outskirts of Madrid, Spain and the design is inspired by Spanish sculptor Jorge Oteiza.

The interior spaces are overlapping and overlooking each other. A large mirrored partition serves as a background for a long fireplace, a glass bridge hangs over the living area and is adjacent to a large bookcase.

Natural light is plenty, tiles used are large grey ceramic tiles, furniture used is mainly from Fendi Casa. In the photo above you can see the Elisa chairs by Fendi Casa and the Canova console in black lacquer finish. The sofa is called Domino, also by Fendi Casa.

 

 

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Oporto Vodafone Office Building Portugal |Architecture

Photo credits: Paulo Lima

The Oporto Vodafone Office Building project in Porto, Portugal, is not a new project. Completed in 2009, this Building  has recently been awarded first prize in design blog Arch Daily’s 2010 Building of the Year Awards. The boldness in its façade design can not be missed, the fluidity and irregularity makes it a memorable building.

Photo credits: Paulo Lima

Four years after the conclusion of Vodafone Lisbon headquarter, Vodafone decided to build in Porto, a new building, which allows concentrate in only one place, their workers. In  July of 2006, Vodafone launched a competition, inviting fifty Portuguese architects’ teams, being the proposal submitted by Barbosa & Guimarães the winning one.

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Nadim Ghazale Villa in Lebanon| Residential Design

This project in particular has sentimental value to me. The Ghazale Residence is three-story villa which is a collaborative work between architect Gilbert Zarka and myself, Sahar Ghazale.

Located in Chtoura, in the beautiful Bekaa Valley in Lebanon, this residence stands out in terms of design. It is the only such architecture in the area, as opposed to the traditional designs surrounding it.

 

On the exterior facades, we used Basalt stone in both white and grey, and Béton brut (architectural concrete). You will notice several volumetric elements such as concrete pergolas, a 13m high chimney and high glass structures allowing as much light as possible into the house. One of the main features of the garden is the shallow pool with fountains and teak wood pergolas.

 

 

In more than one area there are double height voids and skylights. Even the basement enjoys natural sunlight through a garden continuing from the exterior to the interior. The main entrance boasts a long runway of stamped concrete in two different grey tones with contracting white sea stones flanking from both sides leading to  a 3meter high solid walnut main  door.

 

 

The owner is a person who loves his garden and cherishes every single plant, thus requested numerous water features and a beautiful olive tree he raised on a separate hill. Palm trees which are usually synonymous with humid and hot areas such as the gulf, composed a large portion of the plantation in the garden of this villa, something which is unusual for this specific location.

 

 

The interior design is a continuation of the exterior. The basalt stone continues to the inside on numerous walls. A red wall supports the main staircase. Apart from that all finishes are in neutral tones indicating luxury and simplicity. Wood used on the ground level is Palisander which contrasts beautifully with the dark tinted walnut doors. All doors were in the form of panels reaching ceiling height.

Most of the furniture used was from Roche Bobois, which is the owner’s favorite brand. Ceiling design is very simple. Lighting is mainly in the form of indirect lighting, halogen spotlights highlighted certain areas for warmer color effect. In future posts I will be introducing more interior photos of the different rooms on the upper floors.

For further information you can contact me directly on my contact page or email.


New UAE Parliament Building Complex | Architecture

Ehrlich Architects have won first prize in the international design competition for the Federal National Council’s ‘New Parliament Building Complex’ in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The entry beat out a number of internationally recognized firms including Foster + Partners, Massimiliano Fuksas architects, and Zaha Hadid Architects.

The New Parliament embodies the unique identity of the United Arab Emirates:  a modern society moving boldly into the future while retaining a strong connection to its history and traditions. “The New Parliament Building Complex will balance Islamic Heritage with U.A.E.’s global contemporary aspirations, where modernity and tradition are in harmonious balance,” explains Ehrlich Architects’ Design Principal, Steven Ehrlich, FAIA, RIBA. “The architecture for the FNC’s new home will communicate its increasingly vital role in the lives of all United Arab Emirates citizens.”

The winning entry for the new Parliament building melds familiar Arabic design language with contemporary form and the latest technological advances, creating meaning, maximum functionality and environmental sustainability. The design is anchored by a striking 100-meter-diameter dome structure, a soaring “flower-of-the-desert” which will create a shaded micro-environment while casting Islamic patterns of dappled light onto the white marble Assembly Hall.

The flanking Parliamentary buildings that house the majority of the offices, meeting halls, and visitors’ program, abstract the colors and textures of desert sand; the exterior expression of these structures is indebted to local historic buildings. In total, the complex will be a proud landmark for public gatherings as well as a model for conservation of the region’s precious resources.The site of the new Parliament conveys its significance as a public institution. It is located on Abu Dhabi Corniche, one of the grand processional boulevards in the country’s capital, where important civic events and celebrations take place. Facing the Arabian Gulf, the body of water shared by six of the seven Emirates, the new FNC complex will establish a governmental face at the seafront. Its dome will be visible for miles across the water and will glow dramatically at night.

Source: designboom & Ehrlich Architects

Project info via designboom

Client: Federal National Council, United Arab Emirates
Design team: Steven Ehrlich, Patricia Rhee, Noah Marble, Guelsah Kuecuek, Laura Hudson, Jackie Park, Won Jin Park, Yimon Lim, Zhong Huang, Jules Hartzell, Ann-Christine Pineiro (graphic design)
Local architect: Godwin Austen Johnson
GAJ design team: Jason Burnside, Brain Johnson, Isabel Pintado, Branka Saric, Christina Morgan, Tzumei Steward, Cormac Lynch, Iain Stewart, Angelita Alves, Aandrew barley, Alberto Bolonos, Simon chambers, Pallavi Dean, Bharani Dharan, Graeme Fisher, Ian Jorolan, Hallam Lowmass, Mehrnaz Mohamadloo, Shounak Patne, Jacinda Raniolo, Vic Raymond Tanedo, Vinodh Vellapan, Jason Ward
Landscape architect: Valleycrest Design Group, Michael Braden
Structural engineer: Gifford
MEP engineer: Scott Wilson Group
Quantity survey: Baker Wilkins & Smith
Renderings: Biolinia
Model: The Model Shop


Villa Kian in Iran | Minimalist Residence Design

Those who know me as a designer know how much I appreciate traditional design, yet the style I am passionate about is the minimal modern. To see such a structure in Iran, a country known for and rich in culture and history is magnificent!

Villa Kiani is located in Mohammad Shahr region, near Karaj city, Iran. The 500sq.m residence has a 4000 sq.m garden and was designed by Makan Rahmanian and Kamran Heirati. The volumes of this villa along with the beautiful planes of the garden complement the high ceilings and high glass facades. Everything is minimal, yet luxurious through the use of the finishes and the sleek architectural lines.

 

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Stair-Scraper Wins Abu Dhabi Housing Competition

Barcelona-based ‘Nabito Architects proposal ‘a desert green’, has won the total housing competition in Abu Dhabi. The stairscraper is a superposition of individual singular garden houses with the same characteristic of  horizontal sprawl, but liberating the land and concentrating the uses and the energy. It is a social collective of individualities.

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Zayed National Museum Abu Dhabi | Architecture

Foster + Partners has released new images of its designs for the Zayed National Museum in Abu Dhabi, after they were officially unveiled by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain.

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Beirut Exhibition Center for Contemporary Art

Beirut Exhibition Center (BEC), is the first structure dedicated to contemporary art in the new waterfront development area. Designed by L.E.FT, the BEC responds to its location, a constantly shifting context, and contributes to a new skyline for the city. Simultaneously the interior is in constant motion with the shifting of exhibitions and as L.E.FT described, “the architecture is trapped in a dynamic state of limbo.”

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The Yas Hotel Abu Dhabi | Hotel Design

Now synonymous with the Ferrari race track, there’s nothing quiet about Yas. This 6,000-acre island right off the coast of Abu Dhabi buzzes with a 143-berth marina and yacht club, a 3.4-mile Formula One racetrack, and now the new nine-story, nearly one-million-square-foot Yas Hotel, which opened in November, just in time for the first-annual Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. To keep pace with the island’s vibe, the hotel’s designers positioned its two buildings half on land, half on water, with the racetrack cutting through. Here, a look at the details, inside and out with plenty of photos.

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Zaha Hadid Designs Grand Rabat Theater| Architecture

Following a recent ceremony in Rabat, Morroco, Agence pour l’Aménagement de la Vallée du Bouregreg (The Bouregreg Valley Development Agency) verified that architectural designs will be provided by Zaha Hadid Architects.  The program will include three theater spaces, indoor spaces consisting of 2,050-seat and a 520-seat, and a fully-equipped outdoor amphitheater holding up to 7,000 people.   The theaters will share back of house facilities, efficiently reducing the size of the building services needed.  Creative studios will also be incorporated into this cultural venue. Estimated cost is at 120 Million Euros for the Rabat Grand Theater.

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Amazing Concept for the Olympic Tower of 2016

“This vertical structure will be placed in Cotonduba Island. It will be both an observation Tower, and a welcome sign for the visitors arriving by air and by Sea at Rio de Janeiro, where the Olympic Games 2016 will take place.”

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Skylines and Icons: The Controversy

Almost every city has its icon building or skyscraper making it the symbol of the city if not the entire country. Kuwait has its “Kuwait Towers” but now this might change, a new iconic tower is emerging. Like everything so big, controversy arises, many people are against it due to the high cost and its “alien” character in a city where no proper city planning has been done, others however are thrilled to have such a monument that would draw international attention. The AlHamra tower is 412m high, one of the 10 highest towers in the world, however this is not the main special characteristic of this tower, its pride resides in it being the tallest “sculpted” tower. It is about time we appreciate design and form over just height. This tower captures it all.

Its southern wall acts as the backbone of the skyscraper, yet it is designed to decrease solar radiation. In a country as hot as Kuwait, creating such an aspect that protects the building against harsh environmental conditions is essential.

It’s a pity how the area around it is very primitive with old 1 and 2 story structures that are an eyesore for everyone passing through the city. In addition to the unfortunate surrounding, the angle at which the tower is situated does not allow much ability for passers by to view the entire monument, it can only be seen fully from a distant angle.

Instead of criticizing the AlHamra tower for being among these buildings, instead, I think its a step to find a solution for everything that should NOT be there.

Below are images taken from AlHamra website, the video from Discovery’s “Build it Bigger” , and the last one from my phone’s camera couple of days ago to show the tower’s recent status.

For details, floor plans, and images please refer to the tower’s web site.

sculptural maquette of tower

Kuwait's New Skyline

Stage of completion of Al Hamra Tower now

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Ground Zero Mosque to be the First LEED certified Mosque in the U.S.

 

The “Ground Zero Mosque” and community center has been one of the hottest topics lately to the extent of taking over the devastating news of the floods in Pakistan. This is a clear indication of the rise of hate and fear that has conquered over many Americans in particular after the propaganda against Islamists in the past few years. Putting this topic out of political context , the latest news is that the project developers are planning to go green and achieve LEED certification. This is remarkable news in many ways. For those not familiar with the term LEED, it is "Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design", according to Wikipedia it is " an internationally recognized green building certification system, providing third-party verification that a building or community was designed and built using strategies intended to improve performance in metrics such as energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts."

A report on the dailybeast.com by Ibrahim Abdul-Matin author of Green Deen: What Islam Teaches About Protecting the Planet, indicates that the developers of Park51 , the Islamic cultural and community center, are serious about going green and achieving the LEED certification. An architectural bureau has not been assigned for the mission yet, but if they abide by what they promise, this will be the first LEED certified mosque in the U.S.


The World’s new Clock: The Mecca Royal Clock

 

For over a century Big Ben has been the symbol of world time, but now funded by the government, Saudis seek to divert the attention and set their own time.

It is an amazing idea since our local and arabic channels use Mecca time as the standard time, but why should they copy the West yet always taller and bigger? Shouldn’t the Arab and Islamic World have architectural icons instead of replicating the Big Ben and Empire state building? Even the engineers are Swiss and German.

 

The concept is already being realized with impressive specifications that in a way meet the aura of the place.

The complex housing the clock (601meters high) will be the world’s second tallest building after  Burj Khalifa, (828meters high)  the recently inaugurated skyscraper of Dubai. The clock is 40m in diameter and is made with 98 million pieces of glass mosaics, its faces are lit with 2 million LED’s.

Built by a government-controlled fund, the complex has seven huge towers . Six are between 42 and 48 stories, and in the middle is the clock tower, appearing nearly twice as tall as the others.

The entire complex will have 3,000 hotel rooms and apartments, a  shopping center and prayer and conference halls, and a  four-story astronomical observatory and Islamic museum all taking up around 1.5 million square meters  of floor space.

At the peak of the hajj the complex should accommodate around 65,000 people.

About 21,000 white and green coloured lights ,probably indicating the Saudi flag colors ,will flash to as far as 30 kilometers  five-times a day signaling prayer times.

Sources: Fox News, The Telegraph