This beautiful restoration project in, Porto, Portugal was designed by Barbosa & Guimaräes Architects. When the area needed modernization due to a number of the buildings sinking, this one was saved, where others were demolished. The granite exterior was cleaned up and used as a shell for the modern fit out and extension that was installed.
The relationship between old and new must have been difficult to get right. Similar materials have been used to link the differing elements and I think the new additions are extremely honest. The housing element of the project sits across three floors, following the staircase up through the building and separated from a commercial unit and an office space.
I particularly like the mixture of uses in this project. It looks like it would be an incredible place to shop, live and work. I particularly like the sky lights, shown in the image above (via archdaily). As frameless as possible, the finishing has clearly been done to an extremely high level and the result is spectacular.
More images and information about the project is available on the archdaily website.
Above are a few of the images I took at the Kunsthaus, Berlin. The huge, old building has been taken over by artists and has become an alternative centre for art in Berlin. The building, once grand and elegant has become something rather different. Walking up to the street towards the building, visitors are greeted by the sight of a huge wall covered in graffiti, this is the first signal that you are approaching something different from your usual gallery.
You enter the building, into the base of a long set of stairs that wind there way up through the building. The entrance, is unmanned, open to the elements and an unpleasant smell of urine and alcohol hangs in the air. At this point feeling slightly hung over, thanks to the previous night I did wonder what I was getting myself into but I am so glad I stuck it out!
Climbing the stairs, the beautiful original banister still remaining, every inch of the walls have been covered in graffiti. Built up over the years the space is somewhat of a legal graffiti gallery. Off the landings are corridors leading to artists studios. We had the chance to explore, some had been converted to galleries or contained stalls selling handcrafted objects. It was clear some of the artists were not only working in these spaces but living there too. Living in this building must impose a fairly interesting lifestyle.
Behind the building is what at first glance looks like a junk yard. This outdoor space certainly has its junk, collected objects not yet ready to become art but it also has a bar, workshop spaces and many sculptures and pieces of art. This is clearly the outdoor social hub of the community, music banging, weed being smoked and art coming to life while friends and visitors look on.
I would certainly advise visiting the Kunsthaus Tacheles. Intimidating as I initially found it, everybody I came across was friendly and in its graffiti covered depths are a few extremely talented artists.
I am absolutely loving the conversion of this vintage American Airstream trailer in to a modern, living and working space. The trailer was originally built in the 1970’s and was in dire need of repair when it was bought off craigslist by architect Matthew Hofmann. The project cost less than $20k and was a very hands on, intensive process.
When the time came for Hofmann to move house he felt like all his accumulated possessions were somewhat of a ball and chain. The answer to this problem was buying the trailer, giving him freedom, mobility and a clutter free life.
When questioned about his design approach to the trailer Hofmanns response was extremely interesting. “How much does one remove? How much does one keep? Perfection isn’t when there is nothing more to be added, perfection is when nothing left can be taken away.” (Interview with Freshome) The outcome is definitely less is more. Every space has a use, in fact if a space didn’t have a number of uses it was considered a waste! The trailer was to be used as both a living and working space. Despite the cramped conditions, Hofmann gives the comfort level of the trailer an 18/20. Not a bad score, considering its multiple functions.
All the pictures here are direct from Hofmann’s website and more information is also available on the IAMTIBO blog.
This townhouse in Venice, California by Dennis Gibbons Architects is part retail space and part private family residence. Really this isn’t a new idea. Traditionally shop keepers would live above their shop but in more recent times there has been a total separation of retail and residential. I am glad that these mixed use projects are returning. I can name many UK high streets that have a second storey that is completely unused and would be viable for residential conversions.
It is not just the project that has a mixture of uses. The street it sits on is also fairly varied. The road contains a number of uses including, small family homes, boutiques, independent stores and artists who live, work and display in the same building. For me this is fantastic, it is the complete isolation of high streets in the UK that can in part cause there failure. By mingling uses and creating a wealth of unique shops and galleries there is a direct local population of customers as well as a pull to the area for outsiders.
It also helps that the shop and living space is so beautiful! More information and images can be found on Dennis Gibbens Architects Website or on the Contemporist blog.