Timber treehouse hangs inside Oily Cart theatre headquarters by Hawkins\Brown

A wooden treehouse with circular perforations is suspended from the ceiling inside this space for a south London theatre company for disabled children, echoing round patterns on its facade (+ slideshow).

Oily Cart Theatre by Hawkins/Brown

Designed by London firm Hawkins\Brown, the Oily Cart theatre company headquarters sits in the Grade II listed annexe of Smallwood primary school in Wandsworth.

Oily Cart Theatre by Hawkins/Brown

The theatre was created to give children who have disabilities and learning difficulties a place to express themselves artistically.

Oily Cart Theatre by Hawkins/Brown

“Oily Cart works with children who have multiple and complex learning difficulties, helping to bring theatre to audiences who might not otherwise have the chance to experience it,” architect David Bickle told Dezeen.

Oily Cart Theatre by Hawkins/Brown

The exterior of the building features an original soot-coated brick facade and an existing Victorian staircase, which leads up to the studio.

Oily Cart Theatre by Hawkins/Brown

“We were very careful to retain as much of the original structure as possible and wanted to incorporate the same energy into the building as the theatre puts into its productions,” Bickle said.

Oily Cart Theatre by Hawkins/Brown

The architect also installed a bright yellow aluminium lift dotted with black and white spots, which connects the playground outside to the theatre and provides access for disabled children.

Oily Cart Theatre by Hawkins/Brown

“The golden lift, which rises up to the theatre, creates a link between the ordinary outdoors and the extraordinary world of the theatre inside,” Bickle added.

Oily Cart Theatre by Hawkins/Brown

The top of the lift shaft was inspired by the traditional Dutch gables that line the roof of the primary school and is designed to mirror the original Victorian architecture.

Oily Cart Theatre by Hawkins/Brown

On exiting the lift, the first floor lobby leads into an office and admin area with a mezzanine level above. The architects were given permission to remove a dividing wall and create a multipurpose timber treehouse punctured with circles, which hangs over the space.

Oily Cart Theatre by Hawkins/Brown

“The circular theme that runs throughout the build was inspired by the scented bubbles the theatre use to get in touch with their audience,” Bickle explained. “The circular motif that runs across the facade and treehouse are designed to be effervescent like the bubbles themselves.”

Oily Cart Theatre by Hawkins/Brown

Spotlights built into the underside of the wooden cube are designed as an extension to the circular pattern and illuminate a table in the centre of the office.

Oily Cart Theatre by Hawkins/Brown

Upstairs, the timber meeting room extends into the roof and features skylights that fill the box with natural light.

Oily Cart Theatre by Hawkins/Brown
Site plan – click for larger image

The firm also improved existing studio and storage areas to create a workshop for building original props on the ground floor. The addition of a costume wardrobe, furnished with sewing machines and work benches, allows for every element of the theatre’s productions to be managed on site.

The architects used a bold colour scheme throughout the structure, coating interior walls with primary colours to differentiate between the spaces.

Oily Cart Theatre by Hawkins/Brown
Ground floor plan – click for larger image

A white-walled group room with suspended strip lighting offers space for the children to take part in drama workshops, while a combined lounge and kitchen provides a place for the children to relax in between rehearsals.

Oily Cart theatre was recently nominated for a Royal Institute of British Architects London Award.

Oily Cart Theatre by Hawkins/Brown
First floor plan – click for larger image

Photography is by Tim Crocker.

Here’s some more text from Hawkins\Brown:


Oily Cart Theatre, Wandsworth, London

Located in the annexe of the Victorian Grade II listed Smallwood Primary School based in Tooting, Wandsworth, Oily Cart theatre works entirely with children, many of whom have complex disabilities and often attend special needs schools. The theatre group aims to provide cultural stimulation for these often under-serviced audiences.

Oily Cart Theatre by Hawkins/Brown
Section – click for larger image

Stirling Prize nominated architects, Hawkins\Brown, worked with the Oily Cart theatre to create an inspiring and playful scheme in keeping with the theatre’s ethos. The complete development of Oily Cart productions is housed in the annexe, from inception and management through to prop building, costume design and rehearsals. The scheme dramatically improves workshop, rehearsal and storage facilities for the theatre and reconfiguration of spaces as well as improving working conditions within office spaces.

Oily Cart Theatre by Hawkins/Brown
West elevation – click for larger image

The original theatre had poor accessibility for its occupants and one of Hawkins\Brown major interventions was the addition of an external lift with patterned anodised aluminium panels to access the first floor of the theatre, formerly only accessible via an external staircase.

Oily Cart Theatre by Hawkins/Brown
South elevation – click for larger image

Bold colours were used throughout the theatre to aid with orientation around the spaces and a new mezzanine level insert was added to the building that acts as a flexible meeting room, as well as clean and dirty workshops to make all of the necessary props, sets and costumes for the theatre.

Oily Cart Theatre by Hawkins/Brown
East elevation – click for larger image

The resulting building creates an inspiring, bright and tactile space for children to lean and play, as well as reusing and recycling materials and found objects from the site.

Oily Cart Theatre by Hawkins/Brown
North elevation – click for larger image

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Towering copper memorial by Borheh honours an Iranian philosopher

Eight intersecting arches give a towering symmetry to this copper-coated mausoleum erected in the English countryside for a revered Iranian philosopher (photography by Edmund Sumner).

Towering copper memorial by Borheh honours philosopher Javad Nurbakhsh

Designed by emerging London studio Borheh, the structure was built as a memorial to Javad Nurbakhsh – a master within the branch of Islam known as Sufism, which is thought by some to be a philosophy of existence that pre-dates religion.

Towering copper memorial by Borheh honours philosopher Javad Nurbakhsh

The structure is located within a dense thicket of woodland in Oxfordshire, on a site chosen by Nurbakhsh, who spent the latter years of his life in England.

Towering copper memorial by Borheh honours philosopher Javad Nurbakhsh

Raised off the forest floor on a tiered plinth, it comprises a ring of copper-coated steel triangles. These are expected to change colour as they gradually oxidise, allowing the tower to show its age.

Towering copper memorial by Borheh honours philosopher Javad Nurbakhsh

“The mausoleum’s blend of striking design and organic materials presents a refreshingly modern take on mysticism without detracting from its timeless spiritual ideals,” said the architect in a statement.

Towering copper memorial by Borheh honours philosopher Javad Nurbakhsh

The arched forms chosen reference some of the characteristic motifs of Persian architecture, creating a tower intended to demonstrate “geometrical perfection and simplicity”.

Towering copper memorial by Borheh honours philosopher Javad Nurbakhsh

“The mausoleum combines traditional Persian architecture with contemporary materials local to Iran, resulting in a construction that reflects the Iranian heritage of Dr Nurbakhsh, while remaining in keeping with the English landscape,” said the architect.

Towering copper memorial by Borheh honours philosopher Javad Nurbakhsh

The structure was built as a series of modules using local artisanal techniques in Iran. These were then shipped across to the UK and erected onsite.

Photography is by Edmund Sumner.

Here’s a project description from Borheh:


Contemporary Sufi memorial brings Iranian mysticism to the heart of the English countryside

A mausoleum dedicated to the memory of a prominent Iranian Sufi master, Dr Javad Nurbakhsh (10th December 1926 – 10th October 2008), has recently completed construction. The mausoleum’s blend of striking design and organic materials presents a refreshingly modern take on mysticism without detracting from its timeless spiritual ideals.

London based multidisciplinary creative studio, Borheh, have unveiled the completed mausoleum which adds a unique spiritual presence to the Oxfordshire countryside. Located near Banbury, England, the mausoleum stands on a beautiful natural location chosen by Dr Nurbakhsh himself during his lifetime. It is nestled amongst a dense wooded grove, named “the Forest”, which was planted by Dr Nurbakhsh in the 1990s.

Towering copper memorial by Borheh honours philosopher Javad Nurbakhsh

The mausoleum combines traditional Persian architecture with contemporary materials local to Iran, resulting in a construction that reflects the Iranian heritage of Dr Nurbakhsh, while remaining in keeping with the English landscape. The structure is created from copper-coated steel which will naturally change colour over time as it is exposed to the elements, allowing it to evolve and adapt organically within the forest.

Using traditional Persian architectural motifs, the mausoleum evokes the principles of Sufi mysticism with a unified display of geometrical perfection and simplicity. Eight overlapping triangular arches converge together in a form known as karbandy, maintaining a balance of strength and elegance across every point. The geometrical perfection of the form is manifested through its interaction with the sun, as the natural path of sunlight creates a unique pattern of shadows through the passing of the day.

Towering copper memorial by Borheh honours philosopher Javad Nurbakhsh

For minimum impact to the natural landscape, Borheh utilised an innovative approach to construction by following a modular method. Each part of the mausoleum was constructed separately in Iran, using local artisanal techniques. It was then transported to the UK and reassembled on site. While this was by no means an easy endeavour, the process ensured both the protection of the natural woodland that would be home to the mausoleum and remained faithful to the mausoleum’s cultural heritage.

The project represents a combination of traditional artistic principles and cutting edge technologies – the ideal monument to the life and work of a modern mystic.

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Coop Himmelb(l)au’s House of Music invites orchestras to Aalborg

Austrian firm Coop Himmelb(l)au has completed a major new concert venue and music school in the Danish city of Aalborg, which claims to be “one of the quietest spaces for symphonic music in Europe” (+ slideshow).

Coop Himmelb(l)au's House of Music concert hall in Aalborg, Denmark

Located on the edge of the Limfjord – the body of water that bounds the city – the House of Music was designed by Coop Himmelb(l)au as a cultural hub that accommodates both a 1300-seat performance venue and a music college.

Coop Himmelb(l)au's House of Music concert hall in Aalborg, Denmark

The architect worked closely with an acoustic consultant to develop a curvaceous auditorium that will offer exemplary acoustics. This is encased within a U-shaped volume that contains the classrooms and rehearsal areas of the school.

Coop Himmelb(l)au's House of Music concert hall in Aalborg, Denmark

“The idea behind the building can already be read from the outer shape. The school embraces the concert hall,” said Coop Himmelb(l)au principal Wolf D. Prix.

Coop Himmelb(l)au's House of Music concert hall in Aalborg, Denmark

Externally, the building’s facade is a composition of boxy volumes, undulating roof canopies, circular windows and latticed walls of glazing.

Coop Himmelb(l)au's House of Music concert hall in Aalborg, Denmark

According to Prix the design is intended to represent the unity between music and architecture: “Music is the art of striking a chord in people directly. Like the body of musical instruments this architecture serves as a resonance body for the creativity in the House of Music.”

Coop Himmelb(l)au's House of Music concert hall in Aalborg, Denmark

Visitors enter through a five-storey-high atrium with a concrete staircase winding up through its centre. This provides access to different levels of the auditorium, but also leads to an observation area facing out over the fjord.

Coop Himmelb(l)au's House of Music concert hall in Aalborg, Denmark

Windows within the interior offer glimpsed views into the auditorium from the surrounding spaces. There are also three smaller performance spaces located underneath the foyer.

Coop Himmelb(l)au's House of Music concert hall in Aalborg, Denmark

Water-filled pipes run through the concrete floor slab to provide heating in winter and help keep the building cool in summer. This will be controlled as part of an intelligent building management system.

Coop Himmelb(l)au's House of Music concert hall in Aalborg, Denmark

The House of Music opened with a thirteen-day extravaganza of concerts, performances, film and fireworks.

Coop Himmelb(l)au's House of Music concert hall in Aalborg, Denmark

Scroll down for the project description from Coop Himmelb(l)au:


House of Music as a creative centre for Aalborg

After four years of construction, the “House of Music” in Aalborg, Denmark was ceremoniously opened on March 29, 2014 by the Danish Queen Margrethe II.

This cultural centre was designed by the Viennese architectural studio Coop Himmelb(l)au as a combined school and concert hall: its open structure promotes the exchange between the audience and artists, and the students and teachers.

Coop Himmelb(l)au's House of Music concert hall in Aalborg, Denmark

U-shaped rehearsal and training rooms are arranged around the core of the ensemble, a concert hall for about 1,300 visitors. A generous foyer connects these spaces and opens out with a multi-storey window area onto an adjacent cultural space and a fjord. Under the foyer, three more rooms of various sizes complement the space: the intimate hall, the rhythmic hall, and the classic hall. Through multiple observation windows, students and visitors can look into the concert hall from the foyer and the practice rooms and experience the musical events, including concerts and rehearsals.

Coop Himmelb(l)au's House of Music concert hall in Aalborg, Denmark

The concert hall

The flowing shapes and curves of the auditorium inside stand in contrast to the strict, cubic outer shape. The seats in the orchestra and curved balconies are arranged in such a way that offers the best possible acoustics and views of the stage. The highly complex acoustic concept was developed in collaboration with Tateo Nakajima at Arup. The design of the amorphous plaster structures on the walls and the height-adjustable ceiling suspensions, based on the exact calculations of the specialist in acoustics, ensures for the optimal listening experience. The concert hall will be one of the quietest spaces for symphonic music in Europe, with a noise-level reduction of NR10 (GK10). Thanks to its architectural and acoustic quality, the concert hall is already well-booked: there will be concerts featuring the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra with violin soloist Arabella Steinbacher and the Danish National Radio Orchestra with soprano Mojca Erdmann in April.

Site plan of Coop Himmelblaus House of Music invites orchestras to Aalborg
Site plan – click for larger image

The foyer

The foyer serves as a meeting place for students, artists, teachers, and visitors. Five stories high with stairs, observation balconies, and large windows with views of the fjord, it is a lively, dynamic space that can be used for a wide variety of activities.

Ground floor plan of Coop Himmelblaus House of Music invites orchestras to Aalborg
Ground floor plan – click for larger image

The energy concept

Instead of fans, the foyer uses the natural thermal buoyancy in the large vertical space for ventilation. Water-filled hypocaust pipes in the concrete floor slab are used for cooling in summer and heating in winter. The concrete walls around the concert hall act as an additional storage capacity for thermal energy. The fjord is also used for cost-free cooling.

First floor plan of Coop Himmelblaus House of Music invites orchestras to Aalborg
First floor plan – click for larger image

The piping and air vents are equipped with highly efficient rotating heat exchangers. Very efficient ventilation systems with low air velocities are attached under the seats in the concert hall. Air is extracted through a ceiling grid above the lighting system so that any heat produced does not cause a rise in the temperature in the room.

Second floor plan of Coop Himmelblaus House of Music invites orchestras to Aalborg
Second floor plan – click for larger image

The building is equipped with a building management program that controls the equipment in the building and ensures that no system is active when there is no need for it. In this way, energy consumption is minimised.

Third floor plan of Coop Himmelblaus House of Music invites orchestras to Aalborg
Third floor plan – click for larger image

Planning: Coop Himmelb(l)au, Wolf D. Prix & Partner ZT GmbH
Design Principal/ CEO: Wolf D. Prix
Project Partner: Michael Volk
Design Architect: Luzie Giencke
Project Architect: Marcelo Bernardi, Pete Rose
Design Architect Interior: Eva Wolf

Fourth floor plan of Coop Himmelblaus House of Music invites orchestras to Aalborg
Fourth floor plan – click for larger image

Local Architects: Friis & Moltke, Aalborg, Denmark
Acoustics, Audio-Visual & Theatre Design and Planning Consultant: Arup, New York, USA
Landscape Architect: Jeppe Aagaard Andersen, Helsingør, Denmark
Structural Engineering: Rambøll, Aalborg, Denmark;
B+G Ingenieure, Bollinger und Grohmann GmbH, Frankfurt, Germany
Mechanical, Electrical and Fire Engineering: Nirás, Aalborg, Denmark
Cost consultant: Davis Langdon LLP, London, UK
Lighting Design Consultant: Har Hollands, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Interior Design Consultant: Eichinger Offices, Vienna, Austria

Section of Coop Himmelblaus House of Music invites orchestras to Aalborg
Section – click for larger image

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David Chipperfield triumphs in Nobel Center competition

News: “An architecture challenge doesn’t come much better than this,” says David Chipperfield, who has been named winner in the competition to design a new home for the Nobel Prize in Stockholm (+ slideshow).

David Chipperfield triumphs in Nobel Center competition

David Chipperfield Architects saw off competition from Swedish studios Wingårdh and Johan Celsing Arkitektkontor to land the prestigious commission to create the Nobel Center – an exhibition centre and events venue for the award that recognises advances in science and culture.

David Chipperfield triumphs in Nobel Center competition

“I think all projects are important but this project has enormous meaning, not just for the city of Stockholm but internationally. An architecture challenge doesn’t come much better than this,” said Chipperfield.

David Chipperfield triumphs in Nobel Center competition

The architect’s vision is for a shimmering brass-clad building on the waterfront. It will be fully glazed on the ground floor, opening out to a new city park on the sunny south-eastern side of the site.

David Chipperfield triumphs in Nobel Center competition

“The jury finds the lightness and openness of the building very appealing and consistent with the Nobel Foundation’s explicit ambition to create an open and welcoming centre for the general public,” said Nobel Foundation executive director Lars Heikensten, who was a member of the judging panel.

David Chipperfield triumphs in Nobel Center competition

“We view the winning proposal as a concrete interpretation of the Nobel Prize as Sweden’s most important symbol in the world. Stockholm will gain a building – magnificent but without pomp, powerful yet graceful – with qualities like those the City Hall gave the capital a century ago.”

David Chipperfield triumphs in Nobel Center competition

Fellow jury member Per Wästberg added: “We view the winning proposal as a concrete interpretation of the Nobel Prize as Sweden’s most important symbol in the world. Stockholm will gain a building – magnificent but without pomp, powerful yet graceful – with qualities like those the City Hall gave the capital a century ago.”

David Chipperfield triumphs in Nobel Center competition

As well as hosting the annual award ceremony each December, the building will provide a public centre for exhibitions, educational activities, events and meetings.

David Chipperfield triumphs in Nobel Center competition
Proposed site plan

“It can be spectacular on its greatest night, but also it can be very useful and functional and working the rest of the year,” said Chipperfield.

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Community library in China turns a roof into a playground

Children can clamber onto the curved roof of this community library in China, which architects John Lin and Olivier Ottevaere designed for an earthquake-damaged village in Yunnan Province (+ slideshow)

THE PINCH by John Lin

Ottevaere and Lin led a team from the University of Hong Kong to design The Pinch, a library and community centre built as part of a government reconstruction following the 2012 Yunnan earthquakes.

THE PINCH by John Lin

Situated in the mountain village of Shuanghe in south-west China, the library and surrounding plaza offers a meeting place for local residents, as well as a space where children can play and read.

THE PINCH by John Lin

“Villages in China often prioritise building houses over community spaces and community programs, even though it is an important aspect of village life,” Lin told Dezeen.

THE PINCH by John Lin

“Although the government provided an open plaza for the reconstruction, we wanted to help introduce a program which would activate the site. By adding the library, we have created an important public and communal facility in the village,” he explained.

THE PINCH by John Lin

The library features a twisted shape that bends out to meet an elevated stretch of pavement, allowing visitors to walk over the roof and look out towards a new basketball court.

THE PINCH by John Lin

Inside, rows of books sit on shelves made from interlocking timber frames, which are suspended from the ceiling and hover just above the floor.

THE PINCH by John Lin

Simple school benches offer flexible seating, while polycarbonate plastic doors and windows front the building.

THE PINCH by John Lin

The project was part-funded by the University of Hong Kong. Forming part of a knowledge exchange project, the design team worked with a local timber company to learn about native wood and regional construction techniques.

THE PINCH by John Lin

Here’s a project description from the design team:


The Pinch: library and community centre

The Pinch is a library and community centre in Shuanghe Village, Yunnan Province, China. The project is part of a government-led reconstruction effort after an earthquake in Sept 2012. The majority of village houses were destroyed, leaving the residents living in tents for up to one year. After the earthquake the government has sponsored new concrete and brick houses and a large central plaza. During the first site visit, the houses remained incomplete and the plaza was a large empty site.

THE PINCH by John Lin

The University of Hong Kong decided to sponsor the design and implementation of a new library building. Located in the new but empty public plaza, it would serve to activate the community and provide a physical memorial for the event. The site of the library is against a 4 meter high retaining wall. The design spans across this level difference and acts as a bridge between the rebuilt village and the new memorial plaza. Emphasising its location in a remote mountain valley, the design responds visually to the space of the valley, offering stunning views across a dramatic double curved roof. The structure itself rises to a peak, a monument to the earthquake and rebuilding effort.

THE PINCH by John Lin

As a Knowledge Exchange Project, the construction involves collaboration with a local timber manufacturing factory. The process resulted in the development of a surprisingly diverse form through simple means. A series of trusses is anchored between the upper road level and lower plaza level.

THE PINCH by John Lin

The form of each truss changes to create both a gradual incline (to bring people down) and then a sharp upward pitch (to elevate the roof). The trusses were covered in an aluminium waterproofing layer and timber decking. On the interior, the trusses extend downward to support a floating bookshelf. Simple traditional school benches are used as chairs. The polycarbonate doors can open to create a completely open space extending out to the plaza.

THE PINCH by John Lin

Rather than submitting to the abandonment of wood construction (as with the houses after the earthquake), the project reasserts the ability to build contemporary timber structures in remote areas of China.

THE PINCH by John Lin
Construction diagram

Location: Shuanghe Village, Yunnan Province, China
Design: Olivier Ottevaere and John Lin / The University of Hong Kong
Construction: Kunming Dianmuju Shangmao Company
Funding: Supported by the Knowledge Exchange Impact Award, HKU
Project Team: Crystal Kwan (Project Manager), Ashley Hinchcliffe, Connie Cheng, Johnny Cullinan, Jacky Huang
Size: 80 sqm
Cost: 130,000 rmb
Unit Cost: 1600 rmb/sqm

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Schneider+Schumacher’s church based on motorway signage looks like Batman

A motorway sign symbol of a church was translated directly into the structure of this roadside chapel on the outskirts of Wilnsdorf, Germany, by Frankfurt architects Schneider+Schumacher (+ slideshow).

Church by Schneider+Schumacher based on motorway signage looks like Batman
Photograph by Helen Schiffer

The design for Siegerland Motorway Church was Schneider+Schumacher‘s winning entry to a competition seeking proposals for a chapel to be built on a site overlooking a busy motorway and surrounded by a hotel, petrol station and fast-food restaurant.

Church by Schneider+Schumacher based on motorway signage looks like Batman

The building’s form draws on the visual language of its environs – particularly the standard icon used to depict a church on Germany’s road signs.

Church by Schneider+Schumacher based on motorway signage looks like Batman

This stylised image is visible on two facades on either side of a square nave, which transitions into a long sloping walkway leading to the entrance.

Church by Schneider+Schumacher based on motorway signage looks like Batman

“Whether approached from afar from the Dortmund direction, or from the motorway service area, the church represents a built version of the motorway church signage,” explained architect Michael Schumacher. “Even though its exterior form is abstract, it still signals in an immediate and direct way, ‘I am a church!'”

Church by Schneider+Schumacher based on motorway signage looks like Batman

In a video describing the design process, Schumacher claims the abstract form also suggests other shapes, such as the folded paper of Japanese origami or the pointed ears worn by comic-book character Batman.

Church by Schneider+Schumacher based on motorway signage looks like Batman

The timber structure of the outer walls was assembled from elements produced off site and incorporates laminated timber sections providing extra strength to the roof and towers.

Church by Schneider+Schumacher based on motorway signage looks like Batman
Photography by Helen Schiffer

Following assembly, the whole of the church and the entrance passage were sprayed with a white polyurethane damp-proofing material that unifies the faceted surfaces.

Church by Schneider+Schumacher based on motorway signage looks like Batman
Photograph by Helen Schiffer

Windows on one side of the pointed spire-like towers draw natural light into a nave that features an organic cave-like structure, contrasting with the building’s geometric outer shell.

Church by Schneider+Schumacher based on motorway signage looks like Batman
Photograph by Helen Schiffer

“The interior was meant to come as a surprise, contrary to the expectations raised by the exterior,” said Schumacher. “The exterior is abstract; the interior is warm, friendly, magical and sacred, transporting you to a different world.”

Church by Schneider+Schumacher based on motorway signage looks like Batman
Photograph by Helen Schiffer

A structure made from 66 wooden ribs, developed using parametric computer modelling software, opens up from the entrance to create a high-vaulted dome above the altar.

Church by Schneider+Schumacher based on motorway signage looks like Batman
Photograph by Helen Schiffer

The individual parts required to build the framework were optimally positioned on sheets of chipboard to minimise waste during the cutting process.

Church by Schneider+Schumacher based on motorway signage looks like Batman

The wooden shapes slot together to create a rigid and self-supporting structure, which conceals the sacristy and storage spaces in gaps around its curved edges.

Church by Schneider+Schumacher based on motorway signage looks like Batman

Oriented strand board – a type of engineered chipboard – was used for interior furnishings including simple boxy stools, a lectern and a candle stand.

Church by Schneider+Schumacher based on motorway signage looks like Batman

Daylight from the windows is focused on the altar, podium and cross, which are painted white to give them an ethereal appearance.

Church by Schneider+Schumacher based on motorway signage looks like Batman
Photograph by Helen Schiffer

Artificial lighting is hidden behind the latticed wooden structure and is designed to illuminate the space in the same way as the natural light that filters through the structure.

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Portuguese arts centre by Louise Braverman pays tribute to local painter Nadir Afonso

New York architect Louise Braverman has completed an arts centre in the Portuguese town of Botica dedicated to the work of abstract artist Nadir Afonso, who grew up nearby (+ slideshow).

The Centro de Artes Nadir Afonso by Louise Braverman

The Centro de Artes Nadir Afonso was designed by Louise Braverman to reflect its location on the boundary between Botica and the surrounding countryside. Situated next to a major new motorway intersection on the outskirts of the town, the building is separated into two parts, with cultural facilities facing the road and exhibition spaces at the rear.

The Centro de Artes Nadir Afonso by Louise Braverman

Glazed walls enclose the corner of the ground floor facing the busy road, offering a welcoming glimpse of an interior that features a photomural of the artist.

The Centro de Artes Nadir Afonso by Louise Braverman

A cantilevered roof juts out above the entrance and shelters this corner of the centre, while a rectangular box projecting from the upper section of the facade frames a view through the building.

The Centro de Artes Nadir Afonso by Louise Braverman

The ground floor space is filled with colourful furniture that complements enlarged versions of the artist’s sketches, arranged in a continuous band above the glass walls of the reception.

The Centro de Artes Nadir Afonso by Louise Braverman

From the lobby, visitors can access a library, a cafeteria, a multi-purpose events room and ground floor exhibition halls at the rear of the building.

The Centro de Artes Nadir Afonso by Louise Braverman

The ceiling above the library curves down to accommodate the banked seats of an auditorium above, which can be accessed via a staircase leading up to a balcony.

The Centro de Artes Nadir Afonso by Louise Braverman

The portion of the centre containing the galleries is partly embedded in a steeply sloping hillside and is covered in a turfed roof featuring paving arranged to reflect the geometric patterns prevalent in Afonso’s art.

The Centro de Artes Nadir Afonso by Louise Braverman

A short flight of steps provides access to the upper storey of centre from the roof garden, while a long staircase along one side of the building enables those passing to catch a glimpse of the art.

The Centro de Artes Nadir Afonso by Louise Braverman

This staircase is flanked by a retaining wall constructed using stone salvaged during the site excavation, which can be seen from inside the galleries. These large chunks of stone were laid without mortar using a technique called cyclopean masonry.

The Centro de Artes Nadir Afonso by Louise Braverman

“Since the exhibition walls are shorter than the exterior walls, visitors can view the art against a background of the surface of the rustic stone of the recycled cyclopean retaining walls, creating a unique feeling of viewing art within a lavish grotto,” said the architect.

The Centro de Artes Nadir Afonso by Louise Braverman

The space between the exhibition halls and the retaining wall enables daylight to reach the interior, but minimises direct sunlight that could damage the artworks.

The Centro de Artes Nadir Afonso by Louise Braverman

A gap between the two parts of the building at the base of the staircase can be used as an outdoor dining space for the cafeteria.

The Centro de Artes Nadir Afonso by Louise Braverman

Photography is by Fernando Guerra.

Here’s some more information from the architects:


Louise Braverman Architect designs Centro de Artes Nadir Afonso, An Art Museum That Links an Emerging Urban Center with its Pastoral Environs

Merging architecture and landscape, the recently completed Centro de Artes Nadir Afonso links an emerging urban centre with its pastoral environs. The 20,000-square-foot single artist museum fuses a light, lucid contemporaneity with the rich materiality and sustainability of Portuguese design to honour one of Portugal’s most beloved native sons, the artist Nadir Afonso (1920-2013).

The Centro de Artes Nadir Afonso by Louise Braverman

As well as paying homage to the artist, who formerly practiced architecture with Le Corbusier and Oscar Niemeyer, the Centro, along with the artist’s foundation in nearby Chaves, will serve as an engine driving economic, cultural, and community development in the region. Sliced into a steep hillside, the new museum is divided into two distinct, but connected, parts: a light-filled cultural center looking out upon the intersection of a national highway and City Hall; and, nestled in the back, a vast, below-grade exhibition space topped by a green-roof park.

The Centro de Artes Nadir Afonso by Louise Braverman

The Urban Face

In the double-height Entry Hall, a photomural of the artist and a continuous band of his sketches provide punches of bright colour visible from the street. From here, the exhibition hall, outdoor café, children’s library and stairway to the auditorium beckon, as does the exterior auditorium that is designed to encourage informal civic engagement.

The Centro de Artes Nadir Afonso by Louise Braverman

The Pastoral Side

Embedded in the hillside below a sustainably planted green roof, the exhibition hall is the heart of the museum. Since the exhibition walls are shorter than the exterior walls, visitors can view the art against a background of the surface of the rustic stone of the recycled cyclopean retaining walls, creating a unique feeling of viewing art within a lavish grotto. While encouraging the perception of an indoor/outdoor layering of space, the proximity of the walls to the interior both blocks degrading direct sunlight and allows indirect daylight to reduce the museum’s carbon footprint. The green roof park, designed in the spirit of Nadir Alonso’s geometric patterns and the tradition of Roberto Burle Marx, also naturally modulates internal temperature while offering aesthetic delight to the community.

The Centro de Artes Nadir Afonso by Louise Braverman

Architects: Louise Braverman, Architect
Location: Rua Gomes Monteiro, Boticas, Portugal
Architect in charge: Louise Braverman
Design team: Artur Afonso, John Gillham, Yugi Hsiao, Jing Liu, Snow Liu, Medha Singh
Area: 1858 sqm

The Centro de Artes Nadir Afonso by Louise Braverman

Local architect: Paulo Pereira Almeida, Arq.
Consulting architect: Artur Afonso, Arq.
Landscape architect: Maria João Ferreira, Arq.
Structural & plumbing engineer: JP Engenharia, Lda.
Electrical and mechanical engineer: M &M Engenharia, Lda.
Fire safety engineer: Palhas Lourenço, Eng.

Ground floor plan of The Centro de Artes Nadir Afonso by Louise Braverman
Ground floor plan – click for larger image
First floor plan of The Centro de Artes Nadir Afonso by Louise Braverman
First floor plan – click for larger image
Sectional perspective of The Centro de Artes Nadir Afonso by Louise Braverman
Roof park and entry hall – click for larger image
Section one of The Centro de Artes Nadir Afonso by Louise Braverman
Section one – click for larger image
Section two of The Centro de Artes Nadir Afonso by Louise Braverman
Section two – click for larger image
Section three of The Centro de Artes Nadir Afonso by Louise Braverman
Section three – click for larger image
Diagram showing sustainable design practices of The Centro de Artes Nadir Afonso by Louise Braverman
Sustainability diagram – click for larger image
Diagram showing public participation with art of The Centro de Artes Nadir Afonso by Louise Braverman
Concept diagram – click for larger image

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pays tribute to local painter Nadir Afonso
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Haworth Tompkins’ Liverpool Everyman Theatre built with old and new bricks

Behind the brickwork exterior of the new Everyman Theatre in Liverpool, England, architecture studio Haworth Tompkins designed a curved auditorium built from 25,000 reclaimed bricks (+ slideshow).

Everyman Theatre in Liverpool by Haworth Tompkins

Haworth Tompkins was tasked with designing a new home for the popular theatre, previously housed in an nineteenth-century chapel, to make room for an expanding programme. Working on the same site, the architects tried to retain some features of the original building.

Everyman Theatre in Liverpool by Haworth Tompkins

“The biggest challenge was to win over those who were worried the character of the Everyman would be lost in a new building,” project architect Will Mesher told Dezeen.

Everyman Theatre in Liverpool by Haworth Tompkins

“The original Everyman had an informal character, described as somewhere you didn’t have to dress up to go to, but could wear a ball gown if you felt like it,” he said. “We tried to retain this spirit in the new spaces.”

Everyman Theatre in Liverpool by Haworth Tompkins

The walls of the old building had to be carefully dismantled so that the bricks could be reused within the new theatre. These now form the main wall between the 400-seat auditorium and its surrounding foyer.

Everyman Theatre in Liverpool by Haworth Tompkins
Photograph by the architects

Another distinctive feature of the new building is an animated facade where over 100 sunshades are etched with the portraits of some of Liverpool’s residents, taken by local photographer Dan Kenyon.

Everyman Theatre in Liverpool by Haworth Tompkins

A glowing red sign in front references the original signage, while a row of large ventilation chimneys give the building a distinctive silhouette. The rest of the exterior is built from a typical local brick stock.

Everyman Theatre in Liverpool by Haworth Tompkins

“It is a common material in the area, both in the nearby Georgian terraces and in the industrial and warehouse buildings to the rear, so brick serves to tie the theatre in with the surrounding streets,” said Mesher.

Everyman Theatre in Liverpool by Haworth Tompkins

The building’s interior is laid out over split levels to negotiate a slope across the site. This means public spaces such as the bar and foyer are arranged over several storeys, creating a tiered route from the street to the auditorium.

Everyman Theatre in Liverpool by Haworth Tompkins

A concrete structure is left exposed throughout these spaces and sits alongside a palette that includes black steel, oak and recycled iroko wood. “We looked for materials that would be robust and age well,” said the architect.

Everyman Theatre in Liverpool by Haworth Tompkins

As well as the main auditorium, which features a thrust stage, the building accommodates a smaller performance space, a large rehearsal room, exhibition spaces and a writers’ room.

Everyman Theatre in Liverpool by Haworth Tompkins

Photography is by Philip Vile, apart from where otherwise indicated.

Here’s a project description from Haworth Tompkins:


Everyman Theatre, Liverpool

The Liverpool Everyman is a new theatre, won in open European competition, for an internationally regarded producing company. The scope of work includes a 400 seat adaptable auditorium, a smaller performance and development space, a large rehearsal room, public foyers, exhibition spaces, catering and bar facilities, along with supporting offices, workshops and ancillary spaces. The entire facade is a large, collaborative work of public art. The design combines thermally massive construction with a series of natural ventilation systems and low energy technical infrastructures to achieve a BREEAM Excellent rating for this complex and densely inhabited urban building.

Everyman Theatre in Liverpool by Haworth Tompkins

The Everyman holds an important place in Liverpool culture. The original theatre, converted from the 19th century Hope Hall chapel, had served the city well as a centre of creativity, conviviality and dissent (often centred in its subterranean Bistro) but by the new millennium the building was in need of complete replacement to serve a rapidly expanding production and participation programme. Haworth Tompkins’ brief was to design a technically advanced and highly adaptable new theatre that would retain the friendly, demotic accessibility of the old building, project the organisation’s values of cultural inclusion, community engagement and local creativity, and encapsulate the collective identity of the people of Liverpool. The new building occupies the same sensitive, historic city centre site in Hope Street, immediately adjacent to Liverpool’s Catholic cathedral and surrounded by 18th and 19th century listed buildings, so a balance of sensitivity and announcement in the external public realm was a significant design criterion. Another central aspect of the brief was to design an urban public building with exceptional energy efficiency both in construction and in use.

Everyman Theatre in Liverpool by Haworth Tompkins

The building makes use of the complex and constrained site geometry by arranging the public spaces around a series of half levels, establishing a continuous winding promenade from street to auditorium. Foyers and catering spaces are arranged on three levels including a new Bistro, culminating in a long piano nobile foyer overlooking the street. The auditorium is an adaptable thrust stage space of 400 seats, constructed from the reclaimed bricks of Hope Hall and manifesting itself as the internal walls of the foyers. The building incorporates numerous creative workspaces, with a rehearsal room, workshops, a sound studio, a Writers’ Room overlooking the foyer, and EV1 – a special studio dedicated to the Young Everyman Playhouse education and community groups. A diverse disability group has monitored the design from the outset.

Everyman Theatre in Liverpool by Haworth Tompkins

Externally, local red brick was selected for the walls and four large ventilation stacks, giving the building a distinct silhouette and meshing it into the surrounding architecture. The main west-facing facade of the building is as a large-scale public work of art consisting of 105 moveable metal sunshades, each one carrying a life-sized, water-cut portrait of a contemporary Liverpool resident. Working with Liverpool photographer Dan Kenyon, the project engaged every section of the city’s community in a series of public events, so that the completed building can be read as a collective family snapshot of the population in all its diversity. Typographer and artist Jake Tilson created a special font for a new version of the iconic red ‘Everyman’ sign, whilst regular collaborating visual artist Antoni Malinowski made a large painted ceiling piece for the foyer, to complement an internal palette of brickwork, black steel, oak, reclaimed Iroko, deeply coloured plywood and pale in situ concrete.

Everyman Theatre in Liverpool by Haworth Tompkins
Section one – click for larger image

The Everyman has been conceived from the outset as an exemplar of sustainable good practice. An earlier feasibility study had recommended a much larger and more expensive building on a new site, but Haworth Tompkins argued for the importance of continuity and compactness on the original site. Carefully dismantling the existing structure, all the nineteenth century bricks were salvaged for reuse as the shell of the new auditorium and recycled the timbers of the roof structure. By making efficient use of the site footprint Haworth Tompkins avoided the need to acquire a bigger site and demolish more adjoining buildings. Together with the client team they distilled the space brief into its densest and most adaptable form.

Everyman Theatre in Liverpool by Haworth Tompkins
Section two – click for larger image

Having minimised the space and material requirement of the project, the fabric was designed to achieve a BREEAM Excellent rating, unusual for an urban theatre building. Natural ventilation for the main performance and workspaces is achieved via large roof vents and underfloor intake plenums, using thermal mass for pre-cooling, and the foyers are vented via opening screens and a large lightwell. The fully exposed concrete structure (with a high percentage of cement replacement) and reclaimed brickwork walls provide excellent thermal mass, while the orientation and fenestration design optimise solar response – the entire west facade is designed as a large screen of moveable sunshades. Offices and ancillary spaces are ventilated via opening windows.

The building has taken almost a decade of intensive teamwork to conceive, achieve consensus, fundraise, design and build, and the design will ensure a long future life of enjoyment by a diverse population of artists, audiences and staff.

Everyman Theatre in Liverpool by Haworth Tompkins
Site plan – click for larger image

Architect: Haworth Tompkins
Interiors and Furniture Design: Haworth Tompkins with Katy Marks at citizens design bureau
Client: Liverpool and Merseyside Theatres Trust
Contractor: Gilbert-Ash
Project Manager: GVA Acuity
Quantity Surveyor: Gardiner & Theobald
Theatre Consultant: Charcoalblue
Structural Engineer: Alan Baxter & Associates
Service Engineer: Watermans Building Services
CDM Coordinator: Turner and Townsend
Acoustic Engineer: Gillieron Scott Acoustic Design
Catering Consultant: Keith Winton Design
Access Consultant: Earnscliffe Davies Associates
Collaborating Artist: Antoni Malinowski
Typographer: Jake Tilson
Portrait Photographer: Dan Kenyon

Everyman Theatre in Liverpool by Haworth Tompkins
Basement floor plan – click for larger image
Everyman Theatre in Liverpool by Haworth Tompkins
Plenum floor plan – click for larger image
Everyman Theatre in Liverpool by Haworth Tompkins
Ground floor plan – click for larger image
Everyman Theatre in Liverpool by Haworth Tompkins
First floor plan – click for larger image
Everyman Theatre in Liverpool by Haworth Tompkins
Second floor plan – click for larger image
Everyman Theatre in Liverpool by Haworth Tompkins
Second floor mezzanine plan – click for larger image
Everyman Theatre in Liverpool by Haworth Tompkins
Third floor plan – click for larger image
Everyman Theatre by Haworth Tompkins_dezeen_28
Fourth floor plan – click for larger image
Everyman Theatre in Liverpool by Haworth Tompkins
Roof plan – click for larger image

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built with old and new bricks
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Architectural model demonstrates Shigeru Ban’s new Aspen Art Museum

Shigeru Ban‘s design for an art gallery opening this summer in Aspen, Colorado, has been demonstrated by a new architectural model, following news that the Japanese architect will receive this year’s Pritzker Prize (+ slideshow).

Aspen Art Museum by Shigeru Ban

Set to open on 9 August, the new Aspen Art Museum will be a four-storey building containing six separate galleries, more than tripling the amount of exhibition space in the museum’s current facility.

Aspen Art Museum by Shigeru Ban

Shigeru Ban designed the 3000 square-metre building for a site at the corner of East Hyman Avenue in downtown Aspen. Its primary feature will be a basket-weave cladding that wraps around two elevations.

Aspen Art Museum by Shigeru Ban

A grand staircase will be slotted between this woven exterior and the interior structure. There will also be a glass elevator dubbed the “moving room” that will connect galleries at the northeast corner.

Aspen Art Museum by Shigeru Ban

Glass floors will allow visitors to see between storeys, while a sculpture garden located on the roof will offer views towards Ajax Mountain.

Aspen Art Museum by Shigeru Ban

The inaugural exhibition will feature the work of artists Yves Klein and David Hammons, but the museum also plans to host an exhibition dedicated to Shigeru Ban’s humanitarian housing projects.

Here’s some more information about the gallery from Aspen Art Museum:


The New Aspen Art Museum

Located on the corner of South Spring Street and East Hyman Avenue in Aspen’s downtown core a few blocks from Aspen’s main skiing/snowboarding mountain, Ajax Mountain, the new AAM is Shigeru Ban’s first U.S. museum. Of its design, Ban states: “Designing the Aspen Art Museum presented a very exciting opportunity to create a harmony between architecture and Aspen’s surrounding beauty while also responding to the need for the dialogue between artwork, audience, and the space itself.”

Aspen Art Museum by Shigeru Ban
Proposed view from Hyman Street

Ban’s vision for the new AAM is based on transparency and open view planes—inviting those outside to engage with the building’s interior, and providing those within the opportunity to see their exterior surroundings as part of a uniquely Aspen Art Museum experience. The new Museum features 12,500 square feet of flexible exhibition space in six primary gallery spaces spread over the museum’s four levels – more than tripling the amount of exhibition space in the museum’s current facility. The galleries have a ceiling height of fourteen feet, most infused with natural light.

Aspen Art Museum by Shigeru Ban
Visitor entrance

Visitors will enter the new AAM through a main public entry on the north side of the building along East Hyman Avenue, which allows access to the main reception area, as well as the new AAM’s two ground floor galleries. From there, visitors may choose their path through museum spaces -ascending to upper levels either via Ban’s “moving room” glass elevator in the northeast corner of the new facility, or the grand staircase on the east side of the facility perpendicular to South Spring Street. The grand staircase – an interstitial three-level passageway situated between the building’s woven composite exterior grid and interior structure – is intersected by a glass wall dividing the stairway into a ten-foot-wide exterior space, and a six-foot-wide interior space. The unique passage allows for the natural blending of outdoor and indoor spaces and will feature mobile pedestals where art will be exhibited.

Aspen Art Museum by Shigeru Ban
Grand staircase

After climbing the grand staircase to the roof deck sculpture garden, visitors will enjoy unparalleled, sweeping vistas of Aspen’s internationally recognised environment. This will be the only unobstructed public rooftop view anywhere in town of the iconic Ajax Mountain. The roof deck will also be an activated exhibition and event space, with a café and bar and outdoor screening space. Shigeru Ban envisioned that visitors would navigate the new AAM the way a mountain is navigated when skiing or snowboarding – by proceeding to the very top of the building and descending from floor to floor.

Aspen Art Museum by Shigeru Ban
Entrance lobby

Other features of the museum’s architecture include: “walkable” skylights that will assist in illuminating the single main gallery on the second level; two galleries, an education space, bookstore/museum shop and on-site artist apartment on the ground floor; and, on the new AAM’s lower level, three galleries, art storage, and art preparation spaces.

The post Architectural model demonstrates
Shigeru Ban’s new Aspen Art Museum
appeared first on Dezeen.

Architectural model demonstrates Shigeru Ban’s new Aspen Art Museum

Shigeru Ban‘s design for an art gallery opening this summer in Aspen, Colorado, has been demonstrated by a new architectural model, following news that the Japanese architect will receive this year’s Pritzker Prize (+ slideshow).

Aspen Art Museum by Shigeru Ban

Set to open on 9 August, the new Aspen Art Museum will be a four-storey building containing six separate galleries, more than tripling the amount of exhibition space in the museum’s current facility.

Aspen Art Museum by Shigeru Ban

Shigeru Ban designed the 3000 square-metre building for a site at the corner of East Hyman Avenue in downtown Aspen. Its primary feature will be a basket-weave cladding that wraps around two elevations.

Aspen Art Museum by Shigeru Ban

A grand staircase will be slotted between this woven exterior and the interior structure. There will also be a glass elevator dubbed the “moving room” that will connect galleries at the northeast corner.

Aspen Art Museum by Shigeru Ban

Glass floors will allow visitors to see between storeys, while a sculpture garden located on the roof will offer views towards Ajax Mountain.

Aspen Art Museum by Shigeru Ban

The inaugural exhibition will feature the work of artists Yves Klein and David Hammons, but the museum also plans to host an exhibition dedicated to Shigeru Ban’s humanitarian housing projects.

Here’s some more information about the gallery from Aspen Art Museum:


The New Aspen Art Museum

Located on the corner of South Spring Street and East Hyman Avenue in Aspen’s downtown core a few blocks from Aspen’s main skiing/snowboarding mountain, Ajax Mountain, the new AAM is Shigeru Ban’s first U.S. museum. Of its design, Ban states: “Designing the Aspen Art Museum presented a very exciting opportunity to create a harmony between architecture and Aspen’s surrounding beauty while also responding to the need for the dialogue between artwork, audience, and the space itself.”

Aspen Art Museum by Shigeru Ban
Proposed view from Hyman Street

Ban’s vision for the new AAM is based on transparency and open view planes—inviting those outside to engage with the building’s interior, and providing those within the opportunity to see their exterior surroundings as part of a uniquely Aspen Art Museum experience. The new Museum features 12,500 square feet of flexible exhibition space in six primary gallery spaces spread over the museum’s four levels – more than tripling the amount of exhibition space in the museum’s current facility. The galleries have a ceiling height of fourteen feet, most infused with natural light.

Aspen Art Museum by Shigeru Ban
Visitor entrance

Visitors will enter the new AAM through a main public entry on the north side of the building along East Hyman Avenue, which allows access to the main reception area, as well as the new AAM’s two ground floor galleries. From there, visitors may choose their path through museum spaces -ascending to upper levels either via Ban’s “moving room” glass elevator in the northeast corner of the new facility, or the grand staircase on the east side of the facility perpendicular to South Spring Street. The grand staircase – an interstitial three-level passageway situated between the building’s woven composite exterior grid and interior structure – is intersected by a glass wall dividing the stairway into a ten-foot-wide exterior space, and a six-foot-wide interior space. The unique passage allows for the natural blending of outdoor and indoor spaces and will feature mobile pedestals where art will be exhibited.

Aspen Art Museum by Shigeru Ban
Grand staircase

After climbing the grand staircase to the roof deck sculpture garden, visitors will enjoy unparalleled, sweeping vistas of Aspen’s internationally recognised environment. This will be the only unobstructed public rooftop view anywhere in town of the iconic Ajax Mountain. The roof deck will also be an activated exhibition and event space, with a café and bar and outdoor screening space. Shigeru Ban envisioned that visitors would navigate the new AAM the way a mountain is navigated when skiing or snowboarding – by proceeding to the very top of the building and descending from floor to floor.

Aspen Art Museum by Shigeru Ban
Entrance lobby

Other features of the museum’s architecture include: “walkable” skylights that will assist in illuminating the single main gallery on the second level; two galleries, an education space, bookstore/museum shop and on-site artist apartment on the ground floor; and, on the new AAM’s lower level, three galleries, art storage, and art preparation spaces.

The post Architectural model demonstrates
Shigeru Ban’s new Aspen Art Museum
appeared first on Dezeen.