ArchiWEB Explorer: Architecture

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Health Careless: 12 Decrepit Abandoned Nursing Homes

[ By Steve in Abandoned Places & Architecture. ]

These abandoned nursing homes illustrate the contrast between the rising need for senior care facilities and the costs of keeping older nursing homes open.

The Horner Memorial Nurses’ Home sits cheek-by-jowl to the similarly abandoned Brownsville General Hospital in tiny Brownsville, PA, located 40 miles south of Pittsburgh. The Nurses’ Home opened in 1928 and housed – you guessed it – nurses who worked in the hospital next door.

It’s On Like Donkey Kong at Berlin’s Mount Mitte Urban Climbing Park

[ By SA Rogers in Drawing & Digital. ]

In the words of venerable modern philosopher Ice Cube, ‘it’s on like Donkey Kong’ – literally – at Berlin’s Mount Center climbing park, which features elevated platforms that look an awful lot like those seen in the classic video game. Located in Mitte, the city’s hip central borough, the park offers a massive parkour course that takes visitors higher and higher up into the sky, amidst suspended vehicles and other recycled objects.

Storage Worse: 10 Abandoned Self-Storage Facilities

[ By Steve in Abandoned Places & Architecture. ]

Abandoned self-storage locker units (and those who bid for them) have spawned a popular TV series but what happens when entire facilities go belly-up?

This nameless former self-storage facility located just off the Great Northern Road in Derby, a mid-sized city in the English East Midlands, has certainly seen better days. Then again, the same can be said for the squatters and junkies – often one and the same – who hang out there nowadays (and nowanights).

Urban Miniatures: Graffiti-Tagged Architectural Model Features Gritty Detail

[ By WebUrbanist in Art & Sculpture & Craft. ]

In a world of pristine and perfect model architecture, this replica of a locksmith in Taiwan boasts dirt, grime, graffiti and rickety structural details.

Crafted by Joshua Smith (images by Ben Neal), this 1:18 scale micro-structure lights up at night and takes on a particularly compelling realism in the relative dark.

Ballpoint pen plastic is worked in to flickering lighting fixtures while tagged walls and a rusty motorbike give it a sense of character and scale.

Religious Conversion: Modern Office Inserted Into a Historic Belgium Chapel

[ By SA Rogers in Architecture & Offices & Commercial. ]

A cubic white volume juts out of the exterior wall of a historic church in Belgium, looking a bit like it a dramatic incident of some sort landed it there. But the parasitic appearance of this outer volume belies a larger transformation inside the aging building, in which a series of private offices occupy the space without damaging the original structure. Belgian architecture firm Klaarchitectuur calls this project ‘The Waterdog,’ creating the offices for their own use.

Rectilinear white volumes are stacked atop one another like massive cake boxes, closing off several different individual offices while preserving interaction with the building at large. The clean, glossy surfaces of the additions contrast sharply with the crumbling plaster and brick; the architects wanted to leave the materiality of the church intact.

Not Just Science Fiction: Incredible Futuristic Tianjin Binhai Library by MVRDV

[ By SA Rogers in Architecture & Public & Institutional. ]

Looking like something out of a Kubrick film, the new Tianjin Binhai Library by MVRDV and local firm TUPDI features cascading floor-to-ceiling bookshelves that double as benches centered around a luminous sphere. From outside, the library has the appearance of a mysterious eye, with the layered interior elements acting as louvres for the facade. Gaze up at the walls from ground level and it seems like the books just keep going and going, all the way to the ceiling. The library contains an incredible 1.2 million books.

Designed and built in just three years, the Tianjin Binhai Library is located in the cultural center of Binhai district in the coastal city of Tianjin, outside of Beijing, China. It’s part of a complex of cultural buildings by prominent international architects, which are all connected by a glass canopy. The building has already become known locally as ‘The Eye.’

Repurposed Pub: Scrappy Upcycled Micro-Brewery in Japan’s ‘Zero Waste’ Town

[ By WebUrbanist in Architecture & Offices & Commercial. ]

A new pub and brewery building has been constructed from recycled materials in Kamikatsu, a Japanese town famous for its advanced recycling program that sorts waste in 34 categories for optimal reuse.

Designed by Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP, the structure embodies the waste-reducing principles of the community, which manages to remarkable 80% recycling rate.

Prominently, one facade is constructed from windows taken from abandoned houses and doubled up to trap air and improve insulation. This community-facing elevation brings in light but also acts as an icon of sustainability for the town but also a beacon to outsiders highlighting the area’s eco-friendly endeavors.

Today's archidose #986: PJ Edition

Today is the #saveatt protest over Snøhetta's plans to disfigure Philip Johnson's iconic AT&T Building. Before heading there to observe and maybe partake, I raided my Flickr pool (as well as photos of people I follow and my own photos) to collect images of other Philip Johnson buildings. So here's a smattering of 18 buildings presented in chronological order. Mouseover or click photos for information on the photographers.

Johnson House, Cambridge, MA, 1943:

Glass House and Brick House, New Canaan, CT, 1949:
Dots Obsession

Disfiguring a PoMo Icon

On Monday Snøhetta released renderings of their proposed renovation of 550 Madison Avenue, better known as the AT&T Building, designed by Philip Johnson and John Burgee and completed in 1984. The main rendering reveals that a section of the pink-granite base facing Madison would be removed in favor of a wavy glass wall exposing the innards of the lower floors, including diagonal steel bracing located just behind the facade.

[Rendering: DBOX, courtesy of Snøhetta]

The main argument for what is effectively a disfigurement of a Postmodern icon is, in the words of Snøhetta, that "the recognizable top of the tower will remain a fixture of the New York City skyline." Even though the oft-called Chippendale top of the AT&T Building is its most recognizable feature, it is not a separate entity from the base. Base and top are two parts of a total composition, one that emphasized weight and aperture at a time when glass and skin were the norm.

Terraced Balconies & Double Helix Bridges: Spotlight on Penda Architecture

[ By SA Rogers in Architecture & Public & Institutional. ]

Kinetic architecture, verdant cascading balconies, timber-frame skyscrapers and double-helix bridges: Beijing- and Salzburg-based multidisciplinary firm Penda brings all sorts of refreshing ideas to the worlds of architecture, landscape and interior design. Founded by Chris Precht and Dayong Sun, the youthful firm subverts norms and commands attention with its surprising solutions, and we’ll likely see a lot more stunning projects from them materializing in the future.

Tel Aviv Arcades