The Shell Building by J.J.P.Oud was a building that was both ahead and behind the times when it was built. A building that irrevocably damaged the reputation of its designer for the crime of adding ornamentation but has perhaps unfairly not been reappraised since it was finished.
It’s not often that a new Aalto building appears, and still less often one of his house projects. But in the small Finnish town of Tamisaari (Ekenäs in Swedish), a house designed by Aalto for one of his friends is open for the public after having been restored at the end of 2020.
For a great example of how expressive Brutalist Architecture can be look no further than The Central Animal Labs or Mäusebunker ‘Mouse Bunker’ which was built for the Freie Universität in Berlin as an animal laboratory.
This partly explains why it took so long to complete due to opposition by locals and animal right activists. It was designed between 1967–1970, and built with interruptions in two phases between 1971–1975 and 1978–1980. It allegedly could host up to 45,000 mice, 20,000 rats, and a number of frogs, sheep, chickens, and pigs.
The Kotilo or Seashell house by Olavi Koponen is a true outlier. A fairly modest house is terms of size and budget but with a concept reimagined according to a couple of core ideas.
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 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.
A factory from the sixties, a constructivist classic converted with care in 2006 into and art and museum center.
- 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
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.
- Name: De Rotterdam
- Location: Rotterdam
- Architect: OMA
- Year: 2009-20113
- Cost: approx €340 million Euros
- Program: Mixed use
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.
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.
The Markthal in Rotterdam stands as a iconic building set in Rotterdam the city that has iconic buildings strewn across it. Trumpeted as a new kind of hybrid typology, apartment block and market hall together it’s actually one of the latest and more interesting attempts at the type.