Sunday, September 20, 2009

New Work: Villa Zwei, Berlin

Villa Zwei is a proposed design for a residence for a single family in the Alt Moabit neighborhood of Berlin. It contains 200 sq meters of living area including  3 bedrooms, a Great Room with 12 meters of floor to ceiling book and display cases, an attached parking garage and a Wintergarten for year-long cultivation of veggies and flowers.

The design is a transitional step between geometric and organic Modernism.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

New Work: Villa Einz, Berlin

Villa Einz

Kirchstrasse, Berlin
200 sq meters

This is a Villa for a single family located on a plot of land near the Spree river in Alt Moabit, Berlin. The Villa contains four bedrooms, a home office, family room and a sauna. The roof level is an open air terrace.

The exterior of the house is horizontal wood siding, storefront glass,and aluminum awnings. The large canopy roof is ideal for solar panels. The internal stair tower is concrete which supports passive solar cooling and heating. Heating is contained in the floor slabs and requires no forced air for distribution.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Work In Progress: City Center Lofts

This is a projects still very much in the design phase. City Center Lofts is located in the city of Woodland, just north of Sacramento, California. It covers two city blocks and is made up of 120 residential flats in 4 stories over 30,000 SF of ground floor commercial space. A second phase of similar volume is in design next door.

The project lies at the end of an historic Main Street which contains many picturesque buildings constructed between the 1880's and 1930's. Rather than mimic the various styles of the existing streetscape we felt that an equally lively cotemporary design would be the best approach. Hopefully the two will compliment and invigorate each other. The final design will contain street trees and a landscaped parkway at the street sides, and a large lushly planted garden plaza with a fountain on the alley side of the builing.

Much of the detailing and the selection of colors and materials has yet to be done. Since the use of poor quality stucco has been the general bane of architecture in California since the second world war, we are contemplating the use of prefinished metal siding, or rain screen panels for the exterior, and a color pallate derived form the Craftsman tradition.

Budget allowing we hope the design of the project will be complete by the end of 2009.

Reima Pietila

Reima Pietila (1923-1993) was one of Finlands most influential architects. Together with Alvar Aalto (1898-1976) he established a strong school of organic design in Finland, especially in the field of architecture.

During much of his life Modern architecture was dominated by the school of thought which held that buildings should be constructed out of "pure" forms which held no relation to where they were constructed, or what functions they housed.

Pietila believed that architecture should be created out of a strong sense for the Spirit of Place (Genius Loci), and that the forms of buildings can and should express the unique activities which they shelter and support.

Although he often encounterd a lot of opposition to his approach to design, resulting in several periods of unemployment, during his lifetime Pietila was able to design a series of remarkably beautiful buildings, such as the Finnish Embassy in India, the Residence of the President of Finland in Mantyniemi, several large churches, a library and various residential buildings.

Although the buildings which he designed have universal appeal, they also express something uniquely Finnish in their design and details. One can sense the living presense of the Spirit of Finland in his work.

I hope to return to Finland soon to visit all these beautiful places in person.


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