Glen Iris House

Steffen Welsch Architects, Underground Rain Water Collecting Pool

Combining art with technology and social responsibility, the Australian frim of Steffen Welsch Architects uses sustainable materials like hemp and rammed earth while embodying the ideals of Bauhaus architecture to staggering results. This is their underground pool created by harvesting rainwater. In addition to rammed-earth houses that generate their own energy and capture their own water, they also build modern abodes like the Glen Iris House, a two storey modern Californian-style house in suburban Melbourne. .

Thomas Heatherwick

Thomas Heatherwick, The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, Cape Town, South Africa

British architectual designer Thomas Heatherwick created Sout Africa’s biggest art museum by holllowing out the inside of a historic grain silo building. Zeitz MOCAA opened on September 22 of 2017 and is located at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront.

The museum is housed in 9,500 sq metres of custom designed space, spread over nine floors, carved out of the monumental structure of the historic Grain Silo Complex. The silo, disused since 1990, stands as a monument to the industrial past of Cape Town,  at one time the tallest building in South Africa.

The galleries and the atrium space at the centre of the museum have been carved from the silos’ dense cellular structure of forty-two tubes that pack the building. The development includes 6,000 sq metres of exhibition space in 80 gallery spaces, a rooftop sculpture garden, state of the art storage and conservation areas, a bookshop, a restaurant, bar, and reading rooms.

The museum will also house Centres for a Costume Institute, Photography, Curatorial Excellence, the Moving Image, Performative Practice and Art Education.

Luis Barragán

The Architecture of Luis Barragán

Luis Barragán was born in Guadalajara, Mexico. His professional training was in engineering, resulting in a degree at the age of twenty-three. His architectural skills were self-taught. In the 1920s, Barragán traveled extensively in France and Spain and, in 1931, lived in Paris for a time, attending Le Corbusier’s lectures. His time in Europe, and subsequently in Morroco, stimulated an interest in the native architecture of North Africa and the Mediterranean, which he related to construction in his own country.

In the late 1920s, Barragán was associated with a movement known as the Escuela Tapatía or Guadalajara School, which espoused a theory of architecture dedicated to the vigorous adherence to regional traditions. His architectural practice was based in Guadalajara from 1927 until 1936 when he moved to Mexico City and remained until his death. Barragán’s work has been called minimalist, but it is nonetheless sumptuous in color and texture. Pure planes, be they walls of stucco, adobe, timber, or even water, are his compositional elements, all interacting with Nature.

Barragán has had a profound influence not only on three generations of Mexican architects, but many more throughout the world. In his acceptance of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, he said, “It is impossible to understand Art and the glory of its history without avowing religious spirituality and the mythical roots that lead us to the very reason of being of the artistic phenomenon. Without the one or the other there would be no Egyptian pyramids, nor those of ancient Mexico.”

Machado Silvetti

Machado Silvetti, “Asian Art Study Center”, 2016, Terra-Cotta Facade, Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, Florida,

The Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida, is famed for its ornate Venetian-Gothic mansion named “Cà d’Zan”, meaning “House of John” referring to John Ringling, one of the famed owners of the Ringling Brothers Circus, who resided in the mansion with his wife. Construction started in 1924 on the mansion that was designed by New York architect Dwight James Baum. Baum’s design embodied the palazzos that line the Venice canals, emulating the Italian decor that the Ringlings fell in love with on their many trips to the Mediterranean.

The Boston firm Machado Silvetti used the showpiece structure of the mansion as a precedent for their design for the museum’s extension of the Asian Art Study Center. This new project included the conversion of approximately 18,000 square feet of preexisting gallery space from a temporary exhibition area to permanent galleries. Catering to the museum’s developing Asian collection, the scheme also included a gut renovation of the west-wing galleries, located to the southwest.

The most visually striking aspect of the project is the shimmering terra-cotta facade of the new addition. Asked for a monumental entrance to museum, Machado Silvetti created something unique to the site. More than three thousand jade-colored tiles clad the elevated extension, the color a nod to the  natural surroundings but in opposition to the original pink Italian buildings. The facade with the tiles’ large mass helps combat heat gain while also acting as a barrier wrapping the extension from the elements.

Studio Libeskind

Studio Libeskind, “Vanke Pavilion”, 2015 Milan Expo

The Vanke Pavilion is an exhibition hall and event space, designed by Daniel Libeskind’s architectural studio,  that was built for 2015 Milan Expo. Its design, based on the theme of the event, “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life,” draws inspiration from ancient Chinese dragons which, legend has it, wielded power over weather and agriculture in early China.

The twisting exterior is clad in over 4,000 faceted porcelain tiles, resembling the scales of a gargantuan reptile. Each is embossed with a geometric motif and treated with a custom metallic glaze. This reflective coating causes the pavilion take on a fiery glow that shifts from red to gold depending on the angle of the sun. Ingeniously, the glaze also contains titanium dioxide which, when exposed to direct sunlight, breaks down organic deposits in the atmosphere, purifying the air around the pavilion.

Archea Associati

Archea Associati, Liling World Ceramic Art City, China

The Italian architectural firm Archea Associati designed a new architecture wonderland in Changsha, China, in collaboration with the Human Architectual Design Institute. Liling is a county-level city, known for its traditional porcelain and firework industries, in the Hunan province of China.

Liling Ceramic Art City is a new city section entirely devoted to ceramic art. It is a city, where the relationship between architecture, urban space, the material made by the company and industrial tradition merge into one.  The concept for the Liling design was inspired by the client, a leading producer of ceramic materials, who wanted to site a museum and a hotel in this industrial ceramics processing area. The designed buildings seek to spotlight its features and varied colors and production styles.

The entrance gate leads to the project’s core, an open square which is surrounded by a hotel, restaurants and three museums: two about calligraphy and one about ceramics. Residences and commercial services are located in the north-east area. All the buildings are connected via walkways below street level.