Newsletter 06.2010

Dear Readers

Why not take a break from all this World Cup football madness and kick back with the latest issue of the Architonic Newsletter?

This month, we examine a trend in architecture for subterranean buildings, whose intimate relationship with the physical landscape makes them not only fascinating projects from a technical point of view, but also highly relevant to the ongoing environmental debate.

We also survey the remarkable creative legacy of Finnish designer Tapio Wirkkala, a number of whose designs have recently been reissued by Scandinavian über-brand Artek.

And we ask who's really paying the price for South Africa's incredible new World Cup stadia? (OK. We couldn't resist at least one World Cup-related feature.)

As ever, we also offer you a selection of the latest projects from 'Architecture & Design', each of which has received the Architonic seal of approval. 

Let yourself be inspired!

Your Architonic Team
Zurich | Milan | Berlin | Barcelona | Copenhagen | London | Miami
 
 
Camouflage Architecture: underground buildings
    Camouflage Architecture: underground buildings  
Skylights in the roof of Renzo Piano Building Workshop's Californian Academy of Sciences; photographer: Justine Lee © Rpbw, Renzo Piano Building Workshop
If you're familiar with the Wombles, then you probably encountered underground architecture at any early age.
The Wombles' home was located in the London suburb of Wimbledon, close to the underground station, and embodied every child's dream: subterranean and cave-like, it was made from stuff that society had thrown away. It was an early example of sustainability and the use of recycled building materials.
It's unlikely that the following projects were inspired by the Wombles, but that doesn't mean they're any less successful in terms of their functionality and singularity.
   
Villa Vals, Vals, Switzerland; architecture: SeARCH / Bjarne Mastenbroek i.c.w. CMA; photographer: Iwan Baan
In the Swiss town of Vals, known for its thermal baths, it's not a meteor strike that's created a inverted-dome-shaped hole in the ground: it's a holiday home.
Astonished by the relaxed planning regulations in the vicinity of the baths - an architectural masterpiece by Peter Zumthor - the owner of the house decided on a minimal approach, so as not to obstruct views of the spa complex.The building embeds itself fully into the landscape, yet offers sufficient natural light and views out onto the picturesque countryside.
   
Villa Vals, Vals, Switzerland; architecture: SeARCH / Bjarne Mastenbroek i.c.w. CMA; photographer: Iwan Baan
Architects Christian Müller and Bjarne Mastenbroeck achieved this by arranging the windows at angles around a circular courtyard. The entrance is perfectly concealed: you arrive across a 'Maiensäss', a typical wooden alpine cabin, and then go through an underground tunnel. This idea is reminiscent of the 'Fake Chalets' exhibition at the Design Museum in Zurich, which featured photographs of observation bunkers disguised as barns.
 
 
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From Start to Finnish: Architonic surveys Scandinavian design hero Tapio Wirkkala's remarkable oeuvre
    From Start to Finnish: Architonic surveys Scandinavian design hero Tapio Wirkkala's remarkable oeuvre  
'Bolle' bottles by Tapio Wirkkala, the product of a collaboration with Murano-based glassworks Venini, 1966-67; image courtesy of Venini
With leading Finnish design brand Artek reissuing two of its fellow countryman Tapio Wirkkala's striking designs from the late 1960s and early 70s, as well as first-time-round, 'vintage' pieces of his being shown at international design fairs such as Design Miami Basel, now is the time to look back at the work of this highly productive designer, whose contribution to postwar Scandinavian design was as major as it was diverse.
 
 
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Own Goal: Who's really paying the price for South Africa's shiny new 2010 World Cup stadia?
    Own Goal: Who's really paying the price for South Africa's shiny new 2010 World Cup stadia?  
The Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban, one of the many stadia designed and built especially for South Africa's hosting of the 2010 World Cup; photo Marcus Bredt
All sporting eyes are on South Africa as the World Cup kicks off. But what kind of architectural legacy will the event leave behind and, perhaps more importantly, what will be its economic one?
 
 
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Slovenian Design
    Slovenian Design  
Pobi battery charger by Iskra, designer Marijan Gnamuš, 1973
The "ISKRA: NON-ALIGNED DESIGN 1946-1990" exhibition held at the Architecture Museum Ljubljana (AML) museum of architecture came to an end in February. The exhibition provided an insight into the golden age of Slovenian product design, which lasted from the 1960s to the 1990s.
After the turbulence caused by the breakup of Yugoslavia and the economic hardships suffered by the new democratic republic of Slovenia, a new generation of young Slovenian designers is now creating a stir. After a short look back at the history of Slovenian design, we will devote our attention to their work.
 
 
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New Projects from 'Architecture & Design'
 
Productora
   
House in Chihuahua, photo by Iwan Baan
VMB Arkitekter
   
New chapel in Ringkøbing
Bassam El-Okeily Architecte
   
The Narrow House, photo by Tim Van de Velde
Axelrod Design
   
eHouse, photo by Amit Geron
Brückner & Brückner Architekten
   
Extension of a power station, photo by Constantin Meyer, Cologne
Shun Hirayama Architecture
   
Les Aventuriers, photo by Daici Ano
 
 
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