Tips Arts OY Helsinki's Curated Store. Fri, 14 Dec 2018 18:40:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Architect builds his own studio at the end of Toronto garden Tue, 26 Sep 2017 14:51:03 +0000 The Brooklyn trend for backyard studios has extended all the way to Toronto, where the founder of architecture firm Six Four Five A has constructed a tiny timber workspace for himself at the end of the garden.

The Garden Studio was designed by Oliver Dang at his family home in the Canadian city, where property prices are rising sharply.

“Having started a small business and working from home while helping raise a young child, the clients were quickly running out of space,” said Six Four Five A’s project statement.

“But with record housing prices in Toronto, the clients could not afford to move to a larger home and did not want to move outside of the city.”

Similarly to many homeowners in Brooklyn, Dang had a generous amount of space at the rear of the house, so decided to make the most of it by building a hut at the end of the yard.

The studio provides a private workspace away from the main house, but leaves room for the one-year-old to play outside.

The area is enclosed by high fencing, positioned between old trees close to the lot. The same cedar wood is also used for decking, and cladding for the 100-square-foot-high (9.3-square-metre) building.

On the front facade, the timber strips are arranged vertically up to the asymmetric pitched roof. A white-framed door and large window are set into this wall.

“A modern take on a Saltbox Shed, the form of the studio is designed to highlight the profile of the maple tree behind but also to match the angle of the southern sun for maximum sunlight through the vaulted ceiling,” said the firm, which Dang founded after eight years working for other practices.

Inside, the team needed to use every inch of available space. Vertical studs are exposed and act as supports for shelves, and anchors for larger horizontal surfaces made from birch plywood.

The drawing board is positioned under the front window for maximum natural light, while a standing desk for computer work runs along one side.

A slab of white Carrera marble – salvaged from a skyscraper in the city – forms a durable threshold.

“The resulting design is a bright, lofty and functional office space that is also visually and spatially connected to the house and yard,” Six Four Five A said.

“As the clients made it a priority to spend as much time together as a family, the studio allows work to get done in a private space, but also allows opportunities for impromptu picnics and play dates.”

Baitasi House of the Future features moving walls controlled by a smart TV Tue, 26 Sep 2017 14:47:57 +0000 Chinese studio Dot Architects has completed a futuristic home in a traditional Beijing hutong, featuring moveable furniture modules and an extension constructed using the WikiHouse open-source architecture platform.

Dot Architects developed the Baitasi House of the Future for tech company Whaley, which focuses on smart homes and asked the studio to develop a building suited to the changing lifestyles of future customers.

“The boundary between home and society is blurred by the rise of the sharing economy, nomad workers and technology,” said the studio.

“Our lives are fragmented and cannot be accommodated by a fixed layout. The house of the future should represent such a lifestyle of young people, who can fluidly shift between work and home.”

The house is located in Beijing’s Baitasi hutong – a historically significant neighbourhood full of narrow alleys lined with traditional courtyard houses.

Baitasi is one of the core areas during the annual Beijing Design Week, and is the site of co-living space inserted into a typical hutong courtyard as part of the Micro Hutong Renewal project led by architect Zhang Ke.

The site contained an existing 30-square-metre house and an 80-square-metre yard occupied by various illegal structures that were demolished to make way for the new addition and a usable terrace.

A decaying roof and partitions inside the timber-framed house were removed to reveal the original structure and allow for the introduction of a revamped flexible interior.

A pair of moveable furniture modules and another fixed module that each accommodate fold-down beds allow the interior to be reconfigured for various scenarios and activities.

The house can sleep three people in individual rooms, or the beds can be folded away and the units moved back against the walls to create an open area suited to use as a small office.

The mobile units are set on tracks and controlled by a smart TV that can also be used to adjust the lighting, curtains, security system and other home appliances.

“Technology should serve people, not the other way around,” said the studio. “Although the House of the Future is equipped with many smart devices, we would like the house to be warm and cosy, with all the tech hidden behind.”

The house’s location in a historic and busy neighbourhood necessitated the use of clean and lightweight construction methods that minimised disruption during building work.

For this reason, the architects utilised the open-source WikiHouse system to erect an extension that is positioned perpendicular to the existing house and contains a kitchen and toilet.

Wikihouse provides online templates that can be downloaded and used to create buildings made from wooden components that slot together and can be cut on any computer-controlled milling machine.

“Based on the strategy of minimal intervention, we used the WikiHouse system for the only new-built structure on site,” said the architects.

“It is lightweight and digitally fabricated. This faster and cleaner construction process suits the crowded and noise-sensitive neighbourhood very well.”

The process for assembling a WikiHouse structure was demonstrated during Milan Design Week in 2012, when a small wooden house was erected inside a department store.

A wooden doorway set into a slender metal frame subtly marks the entrance to the house from the alleyway. A brick-paved path leads between other buildings to the secluded courtyard.

A solid main door and a pair of glass doors set into the building’s new timber facade can be opened to connect the interior with the courtyard, which offers an additional living or working space.

The fitted-furniture modules incorporate shelving and storage, including space for folding chairs and tables that can be easily assembled to transform the layout of the main room.

“Compared to many futuristic designs, this tiny house is nothing close to futuristic at first look,” Dot Architects concluded. “But its humble appearance and user-adaptive interior may reflect something about the future in the ancient capital.”

The studio was also behind the design of a mobile home that resembles a quilted cube attached to the back of a tricycle, which it developed for a visual art exhibition in 2012.

Ancient monastery wall slices through Utrecht house extension Tue, 26 Sep 2017 14:43:09 +0000 Utrecht-based architecture studio Richèl Lubbers Architecten has added an angular extension to a residence that sits on the site of an old monastery.

Located in a leafy neighborhood of the city, the owners wanted to create an extension to their home that could be used as guest quarters with the possibility of turning it into a self-contained retirement annex in the future.

The solution included refurbishing the existing property and adding a single-storey timber-clad pavilion with a mezzanine level and sloping roof that sweeps out into the garden. The project began in spring 2016 and was completed by the autumn.

Accessed via a glass window-lined corridor that houses a pantry, the extension comprises a garden room, bathroom and sauna on the ground floor and a bedroom on the mezanine.

The interior is sparsely finished with plywood walls and polished concrete floors. Wooden batons that line the walls reach up to exposed ceiling beams. The exterior is clad in a specially treated sustainable timber called Platowood.

To create the angular extension, Richèl Lubbers Architecten took advantage of the Netherlands’ new rules on license-free construction that were introduced on in November 2014. The law allows a homeowner to build an extension behind their house without the need of a building permit.

However the extension’s roof must be no more than 25 centimetres above the level of the first floor of the original building, unless it is more than four metres behind the original property, in which case you can build a sloping roof up to 5 metres tall. The rules also stipulate that the sloped roof must have at least two sloped parts.

“As the plot is behind the gardens of other neighbours, we chose to position the two sloping roofs so that they slope upwards away from the neighbour’s property and the street,” Richèl Lubbers told Dezeen

“This leads to a different solution than a ‘regular sloped roof’, and creates an interesting facade towards the garden.”

Hidden from the street and blended into its green surroundings, the extension is intersected by an cloister wall from an old monastery that was previously hidden between two barns that used to stand on the site.

The wall runs through the property’s garden, straight through the extension and out the other side. Inside, the architects removed a section of the wall to insert a small stair that provides access to the garden room.

The architects also completed an internal renovation of the existing house. The house’s main entrance was relocated to the new extension, slightly to the left of its original position, so that upon entering the new extension sits to the left and the existing house to the right.

The old hallway and staircase situated in the old house were also repositioned to create a more spacious kitchen.

“During our project our client made some principle decisions, investing in quality rather than quantity,” said the architects. “Not necessarily a large kitchen, but rather a special stove with attention to a wood-fired oven.”

Residual heat from the wood-fired oven is used to heat the shower water and underfloor heating.

In addition a state-of-the-art boiler is fed from different heat sources that include the sun and residual heat from the oven. The roofs, walls and floors of the existing house were insulated and solar panels and solar collectors were added.

Grey peristyle supports Guadalajara residence by Santoscreativos Tue, 26 Sep 2017 14:38:55 +0000 Rows of columns surround flexible spaces on the ground floor of this house in Guadalajara by Mexican firm Santoscreatives, and support boxy volumes above.

Santoscreativos collaborated with local architecture firm V Taller to design Puerta Lomas House.

The residence is constructed from poured concrete that is painted a dusty brown, and has a series of rear pillars to support a second floor and roof deck.

The three-storey structure also has an underground garage, which can fit up to five vehicles, as well as a mudroom and laundry area.

Totalling 5,425 square feet (504 square metres), the house has barely any walls on the ground floor, with more private sleeping quarters located above.

The layout of the lower storey is consciously undefined, allowing residents to decide where to arrange the living and dining rooms.

“The only fixed program on the main floor is the kitchen and the patio,” said Santoscreativos. “These spaces help articulate all the other flexible areas.”

An island is placed in the middle of the kitchen, with glazed walls overlooking the garden. The rest of the spacious interior is designed to be flexible, with enough room for a 10-person dining table.

A glazed wall wraps around nearly the entire ground floor, opening views to the partially-covered patio space.

Dividing the home at the end is patio, where a single tree is potted a large wooden planter in the centre. Pebbles cover the garden, attributing to the residence’s arid aesthetic.

The tree grows up through a gap in the upper floor, which almost splits the storey in half.

The upstairs houses three large bedrooms, each with a walk-in closet and private bathrooms.Smaller windows on this level are covered in vertical wood slats to help regulate sunlight and heat.

Guadalajara is emerging as Mexico’s architecture hotspot, with young architecture firms forgoing the capital for better chances to test new projects.

Examples of other homes in the city include an all-white house with a tree inside by Abraham Cota Paredes and a brick house with cantilever roof and patio by Delfino Lozano. The city could soon be linked with the capital and other urban areas in the region by a high-speed Hyperloop corridor, designed by Fernando Romero’s studio FR-EE.

Alvar Aalto inspires orange blockwork fireplace in Notan Office’s Brussels roof extension Tue, 26 Sep 2017 14:35:10 +0000 This extension to the roof of a Brussels apartment block by local studio Notan Office features a fireplace that takes its cues from the work of modernist architect and designer Alvar Aalto.

The project titled Lincoln is a 140-square-metre extension of a penthouse apartment in an residential area of Brussels. Set back from the main building, the extra level is almost invisible from street level.

Two new living areas with floor-to-ceiling windows and terraces that run the length of the front and rear facade flank a central stairwell. The existing top floor has been converted into a private bedroom.

Architect Frédéric Karam worked around the circulation core and two ventilation shafts that were already in situ. Rather than see the existing voids as a hindrance, he embraced them as three of the primary ‘cores’ or areas of the building.

“In order to keep a certain level of rationality, the biggest challenge was the constraint of the lower plan, structurally, constructively, and spatially,” Karam told Dezeen.

“It is actually the existing shafts throughout the building that dictated the idea of working with functional cores.”

A fireplace wraps one corner of the block containing the stairwell. Formed from concrete and ceramic construction blocks, it lends the apartment an industrial, urban appearance that is tempered by the palette of warm orange and cool greys.

Karam was inspired by the chimneys of Finnish modernist architect and designer Alvar Aalto.

“A fireplace is a kind of artifactual element in a house. I wanted to express a sense of organic and rough feeling for such a function,” he said.

“Using construction blocks and concrete are rough and honest materials for a basic element such as a fire place,” added Karam.

“Rough materials are also full of textures, mistakes and imperfections. An artisanal feeling without the possibility of controlling the final result was important.”

A corridor surrounds this central block, linking the four rooms that each occupy a corner of the plan and allowing for easy movement between each space.

The kitchen and dining areas are set against the street-facing facade, with a secondary living space and loggia at the rear. The bathrooms and utility spaces are discretely tucked in either side.

“The project is a fluid addition of spaces; each with particularities, surprises and unexpected relation to one another,” explained Karam.

“What I think that really works is the constant discovery and different spatial relations on different scales. Sometimes you can see through a core, sometimes through the ceiling.”

A section of the roof above the circulation area tilts upwards to accommodate a window that allows morning light to reach the front facade.

Full height glazing on the facades give uninterrupted views out over the roofs of the city and allows daylight to filter through. Doors slide open at the front, giving access from the kitchen to a terrace that runs the length of the apartment.

A second outdoor space takes the form of a covered balcony set into the loggia to the rear. This layout allows for uninterrupted views all the way through the building.

The main areas are all painted white, with a different texture used to delineate each specific zone. Plywood is the main material used for the kitchen, in the floor to ceiling unit with built-in bar, and for the floating work surface.

The loggia and the front terrace are realised in matching wooden planks and steel fibre-cement cladding, tying the outdoor spaces together. The bathrooms are decorated in a composite marble.

Currently Karam’s favourite space in the Lincoln apartment is the kitchen, “but it might change next month,” he said.

“Within the system of the plan it remains a contradiction. It’s a core that you have to cross. In addition to having a very clear function, it also has the ability to connect the dining space with the living space.”

There are a number of space-saving storage solutions integrated in the design. Shelves are set into the circulation core and above the entrance to the loggia.

The two units that make up the kitchen core are packed with storage. The main unit conceals the fridge, oven and dishwasher along with plenty of storage. The floating countertop has a stove and drawers set into it.

Notam Office is an architectural and urban design practice formed of temporary partnerships between Frédéric Karam and other architects, artists, urban planners and technical advisors. It is currently active in Switzerland, Belgium, France and Lebanon.

Muji to sell tiny blackened timber prefab huts for £21,000 Tue, 26 Sep 2017 14:29:46 +0000 Japanese brand Muji has unveiled its design for a compact nine-square-metre prefabricated house, which will go on sale later this year.

The Muji Hut will be available for purchase in Japan for ¥3,000,000 (£20,989) from August 2017. The minimalist retailer intends the simple cabin to suit a wide variety of locations, describing it as somewhere between a permanent residence and a holiday home.

It follows a series of housing models unveiled by the brand, including a trio of ready-constructed holiday cabins designed by Naoto Fukasawa, Konstantin Grcic and Jasper Morrison.

“It’s not as dramatic as owning a house or a vacation home, but it’s not as basic as going on a trip,” said the brand.

“Put it in the mountains, near the ocean, or in a garden, and it immediately blends in with the surroundings, inviting you to a whole new life.”

Made entirely of Japanese wood, the mono-pitched hut includes a nine-square-metre interior and a covered patio, measuring three square metres.

Sliding glass doors, originally designed for a shop, open to the outdoor space. A smaller window is placed on the rear wall to bring in natural light and aid ventilation.

The exterior is clad in wood charred black using the Japanese technique called shou sugi ban, which prolongs the life of the timber, and makes it more resistant to fire, insects and decay.

The house is built on a concrete foundation to protect against ground moisture, ensuring that the structure lasts a long time.

Inside, untreated Japanese cypress plywood lines the walls, and the floor is covered in mortar, offering a simple finish for owners to add their own touches.

“Even in dirt-prone environments, the floor can be used freely like an earthen floor,” they said. “Since the floor surface is nice and smooth, cleaning is easy, and flooring or rugs can be laid anywhere to suit your taste.”

The Muji Hut’s price tag will cover all the materials needed for the construction as well as the costs of the project’s contractor. The brand is yet to release a date for sale outside of Japan.

At the end of last year, Muji revealed the prototype for its latest prefab house, which it is testing by having a competition winner live in it rent-free.

Concrete dovecote transformed into children’s playhouse by AZO Sequeira Tue, 26 Sep 2017 14:26:33 +0000 A small concrete structure once used as a house for doves has been transformed by Portuguese studio AZO Sequeira Arquitectos Associados into a garden playroom.

The former dovecote had sat derelict in the back garden of the clients’ Braga home, so they asked the AZO Sequeira team to make it into a space that they could use.

The architects’ response was to create a playroom in the elevated space that the doves previously used, while the hollow area underneath now contains a bathroom serving the family’s swimming pool.

“We decided to propose a playhouse for the children and a balneary to serve the pool. The whole family loved the idea,” said the designers.

“We wanted a play room inspired by magic, fantasy and also by childhood dreams and memories,” they continued. “We transformed the old dovecote into a minimal concrete ‘tree house’ that represents these memories and fantasies.”

The house itself is a bare concrete, bunker-like structure with a gabled roof and timber-textured walls.

It is raised up over rugged stone walls, to create the impression that it floats. But it is actually supported by a central concrete wall that is barely visible from the exterior.

“We looked for a way to make it seem like the main volume is levitating, like a tree house, but simultaneously it had to be balanced and pure,” said the architects.

Some original details remain, like the triangular holes that the doves would have used to enter.

But new elements have also been added, including a silver-toned wooden door and window shutters, and a boxy metal entrance portal.

Details inside are kept as minimal as possible, but parquet flooring and lighting have been installed.

“The idea was that the interior was absent of superfluous elements and would be gradually decorated by the works and toys of the children,” added the team.

The Dovecote shares its name with a similar project in the UK – back in 2010, London studio Haworth Tompkins inserted a Corten steel artist’s studio into a ruined Victorian dovecote.

Flat-packed cabin concept allows tiny houses to be assembled like IKEA furniture Tue, 26 Sep 2017 14:22:41 +0000 A Vancouver-based startup’s conceptual design for flat-packed recreational cabins would allow users to build for themselves, making the wilderness more readily accessible.

The Backcountry Hut Company is an offshoot of interdisciplinary design firm Leckie Studio. Its goal is to facilitate the process of building cabins for a variety of uses.

“The hut prototype was created for the benefit of the outdoor enthusiast, outdoor clubs, alpine associations, and backcountry lodge operators,” said the studio’s founder Michael Leckie.

“The Backcountry Hut Company is inspired by the idea of IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad of providing affordable well-designed products for all,” he added.

Similarly to the Swedish company’s furniture, the huts are provided in pieces that can be efficiently packed flat and assembled on site. Rather than being built by professional craftspeople, the cabins can be put together by a small group working together.

The simple geometrical cabins encompass two floors. The ground level contains public areas that vary according to individual preferences. Sleeping quarters are located above, and are accessed using a ladder.

“The assembly involves minimal site work, and the design is modular and scalable,” the studio explained. This flexibility allows the design to be used in different ways.

Many typologies of cabins can be configured within the same envelope, which acts as a frame for a variety of uses. “Backcountry” cabins are intended for locations that are inaccessible by roads, and are designed for more rugged applications.

“Front-country” cabins are for less remote areas that are accessible to cars. They feature a higher degree of comfort and more amenities.

“The system affords the opportunity to furnish the modular prefabricated shell with an interior that supports full time residential occupation,” the studio explained.

The metal-clad huts are part of a larger trend towards building small, modular dwellings. “The cabin works as a small structure that can be understood as part of the Tiny House Movement,” according to the company.

Similar ideas for compact holiday homes include a service launched by a group of Harvard graduates that allows urbanites to rent tiny cabins away from the city for a short period of time, and a home by Estonian collective Kodasema that can be taken down and reassembled elsewhere in less than a day.