Cosmoform

I love a good architectural zine and Cosmoform from Phibsboro press is the latest I have. It is a short essay about the building Met Éireann by Liam McCormick in Dublin.

I found out about it by listening to the podcast What do Builidngs Do All Day? Episode 6 Cosmoform an Architectural Podcast by Emmett Scanlon in which he was talking to the creators of the Zine Cormac Murray and Eamonn Hall.

The Building

Met Éireann (photograph by William Murphy)

The Building is Irelands’ Met Office HQ. Finished in 1979 it brought together the different Meteorological departments under one roof for the first time. The most striking thing about it is that it’s a truncated pyramid. Like a modern ziggurat it sits along a leafy brick Victorian suburb in Dublin.

Read more

The WeeGee building by Aarno Ruusuvuori

A factory from the sixties, a constructivist classic converted with care in 2006 into and art and museum center.

WeeGee Art Gallery after restoration (Photo: Lewis Martin)

Details

  • Completed: 1st stage 1964, second stage 1966, third phase 1974
    as WeeGee art Center in 2006
  • Address: Ahertajantie 5, 02100 Espoo, Finland
  • Size: 23,000 sqm
  • Architect: Aarno Ruusuvuori

Read more

The Monkey Castle: Kone and Silta Workers Housing

The Monkey Castle

I have been interested recently in early examples of social housing projects. There are some famous ones that have been well covered like Karl-Marx-Hof in Vienna, but Helsinki has a good many which are little known outside of the country.

I went to visit one such small gem in the Vallila area of Helsinki it is the Kone and Silta Workers Housing Block nicknamed Apinalinna or Monkey Castle which is a great example of early social housing in Helsinki. It shows how a good design that is well loved can resonate with its inhabitants down the generations.

Read more

De Rotterdam by OMA

De Rotterdam (Photo © Ossip van Duivenbode from OMA site)

Key Information

  • Name: De Rotterdam
  • Location: Rotterdam
  • Architect: OMA
  • Year: 2009-20113
  • Cost: approx €340 million Euros
  • Program: Mixed use

Introduction

Rem Koolhaas is The Netherlands most influential Architect and he built a Skyscraper in Rotterdam, the biggest building in the nation. It’s a compelling matchup of Architect, program and city.

Read more

E.1027: What Happens in E.1027 Stays in E.1027

Introduction

E.1027 is small modernist house on the French Riviera that after many years of neglect has been restored and opened to the public. Two things make this building special, first it is a wonderful and early example of a modernist house and secondly its story illustrates the tension between integrity and reputation and what this can lead to.

Read more

Serpentine Sackler Gallery Extension and Zaha Hadid

My Introduction to Zaha Hadid

One of the first really exciting moments in my Architectural eduction was when I went to the Architecture Winter School of 1990 in Edinburgh around the New Year where lots of Architecture students from all over the UK had gathered to do workshops and hear lectures from the great and the good. I had only been an Architecture student for a couple of months and it was a formative experience.

Read more

Tij Observatory: Eco Egg

The Tij observatory (2019) sits in the Haringvilet Dam, part of the Sceelhoek Nature reserve in The Netherlands which was opened in 2018 to help improve the biodiversity of the water and coastline there. Tij is Dutch for tide which is apt as the building sits just on the shore overlooking the water.

The reserve is a nesting area for Sandwich terns and the building is inspired by the shape of their eggs. You enter the building via a tunnel so as not to disturb the birds nesting by the shore.

Read more

The Pompidou Center Paris: Simulating Space

The Centre National d’Arts et de Culture George Pompidou or The Beauborg opened in 1977 designed by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers with Ove Arup Engineers. Located in the center of Paris within 1km of the Louvre and Notre Dame Cathedral, it lies on the edge of the historic Marais quarter.

Introduction

It Neighbours Les Halles one of the old Parisian indoor markets now demolished and replaced by the shopping center Forum des Halles itself partially demolished and rebuilt in 2018. Les Halles was previously one of the locations of the May ’68 uprisings. The authorities wanted to provide much needed cultural services and bring these as close to the people as possible. They also wanted to reinstitute a cultural relevance and importance for Paris in the fine arts that they felt had been lost to New York.

It was to embody the new pluralist cultural policies of the French state after Georges Pompidou became President. An Academic, he took over from General de Gaulle and took the project under his wing. It is a litmus test, therefore, for the way Architecture relates to culture as it is a building dedicated to bringing that culture to the people of Paris and it’s visitors.

Read more

The Van Nelle Factory from the Front

The Van Nelle Factory: A Modernist Architectural Classic

  • The Van Nelle Factory
  • Constructed 1925-1931
  • Architects: Leendert van der Vlugt of Brinkman & Van der Vlugt
  • Address: Van Nelleweg 1, Rotterdam, Netherlands

Introduction

At 220m long, 8 stories high and 60,000m² in size the Van Nelle Factory in Rotterdam rises up against the flat landscape surrounding it even if it doesn’t tower above the other buildings like it once did when it was finished in 1931.

Designed and built in the 1920’s on the banks of a canal in an industrial zone on the then outskirts of Rotterdam it was a pioneer of a new form of Construction that the Dutch called literally New Building or ‘Nieuwe Bouwen’. This was a modern factory building made just at the birth of Modernism and incorporating the latest technology plus techniques developed on site by the constructors it became one of the buildings that would go on to define the style of modernism itself. A modernist classic from the day it opened.

Now a UNESCO heritage site it still maybe is not as well known as it should be being both a great influence in early modernism and an beautiful piece of frozen social history that is often overlooked.

Read more