Friday, November 7, 2008

Sustainable Barn House in Belgium


Recycling is among the simplest of eco-friendly actions, but when architect Rita Huys of the firm Buro II took on this modest approach to modern house design, the result is something quite spectacular by way of sustainable housing. Dubbed the Barn House for obvious reasons, this reclaimed Belgian barn boasts a traditional frame set in a contemporary glass and fully functional shutter facade, allowing for large, naturally lit, naturally ventilated interiors. Buro II.


Artist Wim Delvoye decorated the interiors with his artwork. The interior includes living, dining and resting areas, but also a library and a small mezzanine hosting the en suite bedrooms. The architect created large openings at the two ends of the barn’s long rectangular shape from where the owners can enjoy wide and relaxing views of the countryside.


The dense shutters enveloping the structure create a sense of mystery, leaving the passer-by wondering what hides within, also protecting the occupants from harsh weather conditions - but parts can open wide on a warm sunny day, creating a welcoming atmosphere.


The architect’s respectful approach resulted in a warm, cosy house, which will urge the occupant to open up towards nature and embrace the surrounding green fields, rather than just withdraw in it. ‘After all,’ says Huys, ‘the house’s best room is, in a way, the outdoors.’


The farm was the main place where people lived alongside nature, seeing it both as force and as threat,’ says the architect, who took into account the weather conditions and the surrounding nature, when working on the Barn House’s design. Seeing the barn re-interpretation as a way of developing and managing the landscape, the architect added a new, residential dimension to a structure once only connected to working the land.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Higueritas Sport Center designed by GBGV Arquitectos

Designed by GBGV Arquitectos - Federico García Barba y Cristina González Vázquez de Parga on 2003 for their client Excmo. Ayuntamiento de La Laguna, Programa Urban de La Cuesta y Taco and located on a dense metropolitan area between the Santa Cruz and La Laguna districts, this building incorporates sports facilities to fill the lack of equipment.

The required program is quite complex, in order to organize services to practice several sports, mostly the usual sports for covered courts such as basketball, volleyball, handball, tennis and a space for gymnasium and fitness. Also, training and therapeutic pools were required.

The proposed building allocates the required spaces on several levels, making use of the height differences on the site. The pools and locker room are located on the semi basement level. The gymnasiums and workout areas are placed on an intermediate level. Finally, the upper level holds the multiuse courts and seats for 300 people.

The goal was to make a compact building, in order to lower costs and achieve high energy efficiency, while allowing for good ventilation and lighting. Special care was put to fit this new infrastructure on the site, after studying the heights, so you could access every space from street level. This strategy involved an interior elevator that connects the 4 levels.

The formal language pretends to simplify the global form while defining a new urban landmark for the neighborhood, as should be for a quality urban equipment. Simple and easy to install materials were used to achieve rich spaces with good illumination.

Blue tinted translucent polycarbonate panels were used to enclose the pool area in order to achieve a nice atmosphere.