Ronald McDonald Haus, St. Augustin by GRAFT

The McDonald’s Children’s Aid runs 20 Ronald McDonald houses throughout Germany, like the recently opened house in Sankt Augustin, which provide a place of shelter for families while their children are being treated at nearby children’s hospitals. The futuristic building was designed by the GRAFT group of architects. The seemingly curved structural shell with its convincingly pleasant lightness nestles into its surroundings and has found its balance. The heart of the house is the open plan kitchen on the ground floor with a long table which invites guests to eat and talk together.

This is also where a »ramp« starts, off which further areas for communal use are to be found. The hallway with its three sweeping axes called for a precise coordination of lighting to the dynamic succession of rooms. For the basic lighting recessed and surface-mounted versions of Occhio’s Più spotlight series were chosen, the maximum mobility of which follows the different ceiling inclinations optimally and balances these excellently. To give the center of the family house a calming, familiar and private atmosphere LED lights in warm light colors and with best color rendering properties (a CRI of 95) were purposefully coordinated with the different zones. All rooms were equipped with Occhio luminaires and spotlights.

Year of realisation: 2014
Client: McDonald’s Kinderhilfe Stiftung, Munich
Architecture: GRAFT Gesellschaft von Architekten, Berlin
Realisation/building construction: Ed. Züblin AG
Lighting design: GRAFT Gesellschaft von Architekten, Berlin + Occhio projects / Helen Neumann
Architect consulting: Occhio projects / Markus Olesch
Lighting: Più piano, Più alto, Più alto 3d, io, Divo
Photography: Robert Sprang, Munich

CCD by AT 103 Julio Amezcua + Francisco Pardo

The Digital Culture Center is located in the basement of the Estela de Luz, on Paseo de la Reforma. The center has an area of 3000 sqm divided into two levels.

Under the request of CONACULTA, we sketched a center where all citizens could have access to new technologies and artistic expressions derived from the digital world.

The program includes a movie theater for 120 people-being an extension of the National Film-, a multipurpose area for performing arts, a digital showroom with an interactive LED screen, a memorial room, bar, cafeteria, offices and services area.

CONACULTA’s motto made us work within a short schedule and reduced cost, thus working with a design strategy that wouldn’t infringe the existing anatomy of the place.

At the first level the program is ordered by uses, contained by a constructive line that exerts the hierarchy level of privacy and space through the interplay of different materials and their opacity, glass to wood, and then into a digital LED display of 15 meters long by 2.20m high. At the second level, the constructive line begins to blur, but not before containing part of the program and emphasizing the multipurpose area for performing arts.

Thus the Estela de Luz, the classic anthropomorphic monument dedicated to contemplation becomes a living monument for the recreational use of families, children, youth and adults, breaking the traditional mold of no interaction between the idea of monument and livability.

In the CCD, the space emphasizes a vision for the future, contextualizing and understanding the current landscape of the city, integrating new emerging technologies, creating a space full of interactive systems that meet the changing needs of the individual and social developmental demands.

Project: Centro de Cultura Digital CCD
Architect: AT 103 Julio Amezcua + Francisco Pardo
Design team: Karen Burkard, Alan Orozco
Production team: Jose Luis Fajardo, Luis Guisar, Gabriela Terán, Tommy Tonatiuh, Aaron Rivera
Location: Ciudad de México
Year: 2012
M2: 2,400
Photography: Adam Wiseman


Courthouse Saint-Malo by LAN Architecture

The court house in Saint Malo, France has become a part of the city rennovation process, in which the centre is being moved from the port to a new location, where the Avenue Aristide Briand forms the central axis. The architects of the French atelier LAN Architecture wanted to create a clean and structured space serving both the public and its proprietors. The simple object of the courthouse with a rectangle ground plan boasts a central space with a large atrium that lightens up the structure and creates a pleasant atmosphere.

The visitors are guided from the outer spaces through interior public areas through a space gradually that loses contact with the outside. The walls are made of thin sheets of onyx that allow the light to flow in during the day and shine out during the night. The interior features three main materials – wood, stone, and glass.


Braided – Parco delle mura by Andrea Vattovani Architecture

In 1527 Pope Clement ordered the construction of IIV “fortified walls”, the fortified walls still defines the contours of the historical city, making Piacenza one of the few walled towns (in Emilia Romagna only Piacenza and Ferrara). The walls have an undisputed artistic charm and can be considered true masterpieces of military architecture. Precisely because of this peculiarity, the city should make the most out of this extraordinary historical and artistic value. The city of Piacenza and the “Parco delle Mura” have always had an ambiguous and unresolved.

With this project we want first of all to give life back to the “Walls”. An intervention needed to preserve, redevelop and enhance the walls of the city, especially to improve the lives quality of Piacenza. Nowadays, it is no longer required its protective function and barrier, the walls should now fully integrate the park and the city. The project want to enhance the city walls, as a monumental and landscape distinctive identity and recognition of the city, in order to revitalize the city and create a modern and functional park so you do not have only the historical walls, but also a reason to go near them and finally enjoy them.

The main concept of the idea comes from historical research. The Walls “Farnesiane” were and are still surrounded by a moat filled with water but in the past for protection against invaders. We wanted to reinterpret this natural element, creating a historical connection to the Park. The water goes back to the actual function of the walls and as a symbol of rebirth. Life, as far as we know it, it is possible only in the presence of water and in the Eastern doctrine, Wu Xing is represented by the symbol ? – Shu?, that means that from the black abyss of water is emerging life. It means adaptability, change, life change and symbolic the rebirth.

The water is also the energy balance of the energy exchange between the inside and outside of the body-mind, it is essential to calm, soothe, soften, wrap . The water has a precise shape to which we were inspired by, the waves and the movement of them, because the movement is fundamental for us. We gave a shape to our park inspired by nature by the Braided Rivers, a special kind of river morphology, from which comes our “twisted form”. The the fountains are designed to collect water in order to provide for the irrigation of the park.

The operation involves the modernization of the buildings along approximately 1 km and a half, the thought is moving towards the future by learning from the past. The outer part of the park is inspired by the braided rivers, but without losing the sinuosity and the complicity between the two parts inside and outside, however the interior of the park is inspired by stone materials typical of all Italian cities. The inside is designed reassessment and reorganization of routes in a simple, modern but effective. The flooring and the green area is inspired by the diamond shape that is formed in the plots of our paths in the park, but this time, reinterpreted becoming so unique flooring.

The resettlement pathways involves the creation of a pedestrian and bike path next to the wall, and then continue to a limited traffic zone. The flooring is designed not to encourage too high a speed, creating areas with limited traffic. The park is designed as a simple network of paths that weave become an element of recognition of the city, hard not to admire. The vegetation of the park is designed in order to stop this infinite length which made it very welcoming. For this purpose we adopt the tall trees that form the “small forest” can shelter from the sun and to feel enveloped and protected citizens. These “small forest” are illuminated in the evening, giving the park a romantic atmosphere.

The vegetation Piacentina is integrated into these project such as: various species of willow shrubs, arborescent willow, white willow, the black alder, black poplar, white poplar, shrubs, oak, hornbeam, hardwood, oak associated, linden, elm , hornbeam which are alternated between the different areas. Also introduced are two trees in a green park can not be missed: the Chusan palm, to give the feeling of being on vacation by the sea and its resistance to low temperatures (resistant up to -15 °), and the Mediterranean cypress, for its elegance. The park offers more features such as leisure and sports, but also the infrastructure are organized for events of all types. That’s why they developed three main points that offer different situations suitable to host the needs of all target groups of different ages.

The meeting points are: the “Farnesia”, the “Borghetto” and the “Arena”.Our “Parco delle Mura” has the primary goal of being an Ecological Park, with very little environmental impact, using technological inventions where could be used without causing damage to the Earth, such as putting even the streetlights with solar panels. Also thinking of the needs of today’s youth by creating benches and areas where you can charge your own laptops and mobile phones through solar energy at no cost. The whole Park is also with WIFI access for browsing or studying outdoors. Living the Park will provide an experience of deep exchange between man and nature, but also a sense of connection with the identity of the place and its roots.


Jinan High-Tech Science and Technology Culture Center

The city of Jinan has a strategic location supported with a good transportation hub (Yaoqiang International Airport, Beijing-Shanghai and Jinan-Qindao high-speed train lines, several important highways and an important transport artery that passes through the city).
By having this strategic location supported with good transportation hub, Jinan has lots of potential advantages and opportunities for development.

Jinan is one of the most important birthplaces of Chinese civilization. It has deep roots of culture and art and is the capital state of Qi Lu, the famous historical and cultural city. Jinan is the intersection of Ji culture and Lu culture; it brings together the charm of Qi and Lu, and integrates the essence of Ocean and Mountains. It is the center of Qilu culture.
The rich cultural resources provide Jinan with a solid culture industry base and a huge development potential.

The High-tech science and technology cultural center is located in the hi-tech zone in front of the international conference and exhibition center, near the cross between Industrial South Road and Northwest Exhibition Road.

We use the latest technology to create the shape of the 3D model; we believe that these buildings need to reflect the cultural flavor of Jinan in eastern and local specialties; this is a place of modern and Technology and the software language used is able to describe the soul of the location. So we made a unique exclusive design, showing all its modern character.
The result is a strong contrast between the organic approach in the genesis of the soften edges of the new buildings and hardness of the surrounding buildings.

Two dancing stones in Jinan city.
The project is constituted by two buildings and a square. Both buildings are independent but connected.
The two buildings, like dancing stones are placed in an urban stage that is the square.
The organization of the parts is symmetric; the dancing stones are located in each side of an axis. Like the city of Jinan, that has the east part and the west part linked by the center of the city which is the most cultural part of it. The square symbolizes the city; the two buildings represent the two sides: the east and the west, both parts linked by the square and in balance thanks to the “culture” which gives life to both of them and to the entire site.

The square was renewed in order to emphasize its role as an urban stage and regenerator.
All stairs were removed except the one in the north-center, where the stairs work as a stage box.
The rest of the circulation of the square works by using ramps; ramps that allow a free movement without obstacles. The ramps generate topography that along with the green areas reminds the mountains were these stones were picked…
The water is the river, the river that shaped the black stones. In the square the water is still and also comes out from inside the earth as a spring.

The north part of the plaza has the function of exhibition space and the south one holds the two buildings.

Steel reinforced concrete structure.
Due to Jinan special seasons, building materials need to support high inertia (such as concrete, stone or ceramic).
Jinan lies between a humid subtropical and humid continental climate with four well-defined seasons. The city is dry and nearly rainless in spring, hot and rainy in summer, crisp in autumn and dry and cold in winter.
Skin: black ceramic.

Total land area: 17.000 m2
Total building area: 21.655 m2
Meeting theater 4.725 m2
Multifunction Hall theater 2.795 m2
Commercial 6.633 m2
Parking 7.502 m2
Location: Shandong Province, China

Completion Date: 2012 project
Landscape Design: Santiago Parramón, RTA-Office
Architecture Design: Santiago Parramón, RTA-Office
Team: Miguel Vilacha, Arseni i Shiianov, Margherita Filpi, Lorena Trinidad, Isabel Granell , Zhang Feifei, Kelly Sadikin, Mariana Rapela
Photography: All images courtesy of RTA-Office
Client: Private


Gymnastics building by Heams et Michel

The building of the gym in Tourrette Levens is part of a plot where is erected a secondary school, and a gymnasium. This new building reserved for students and associations is intended for gymnastics and circus. The program simplicity led us to reflect on the plastic side of the project. In fact, the area of study of the circus, put out the physical and moral development, includes a cultural, artistic, and social. The transience of the circus that is assembled and disassembled in cities remains in the collective unconscious. Our project is an allegory of the circus tent.

The idea is simple “a concrete box that was covered with a cloth”. Concealment becomes mystery, and make us perceive differently what was commonplace before. We wanted to create a sculptural object concealed and packed in a skin of
concrete, corrugated as a wavy stage curtain. The yellow ocher color gives the blind walls an expression of lightness heightened by the fact that the stamped concrete does not touch the ground. Because of this, the object, which could have been a simple gym, takes an artistic dimension.

The volume chosen is voluntary simple: a rectangular parallelepiped of 14 meters wide and 8 meters in height in continuity of the existing gymnasium and detached from it by the volume of the entrance hall and deposits, which is less high. By its presence, the project aims to complete the overall design of the existing sports facilities, by standing as a new south gable.

A single material wraps all the facades of the object. It walls are made of a stamped and painted concrete called “draped concrete” with a texture reminiscent of stage curtains. The texture of the drapery is obtained by using two alternating matrices of slightly different patterns, but the same height as the concrete shells, specially designed for the project. Those walls have been casted all the way up, and the self-placing concrete has been poured in a single process so as not to reveal a horizontal joint. The vertical ones disappear in the pattern of the drapery.

Inside the room, a natural light is achieved by the presence of two major openings, not noticeable from the outside, a glass square on the roof, centered on the room, and a horizontal window in the north facade. In this volume, the human scale is found by the calpinage at the bottom (2m50), a bounding of impact resistant OSB panels. And at the top we used acoustic wood wool insulation panels. The ceiling is made of raw concrete. A direct connection to the existing gymnasium was constructed to promote exchanges between the various sports.

By this project, the idea of a building disappears in favor of an object carved in relation to its context and program. The rationale for the staging of such an object lies in the definition of the close relationship between sports, circus, entertainment, art, and social.

Project name: Gymnastics building
Programme: Sport
Location: City: Tourrette Levens; Country: France
Architects: Heams et Michel
Engineer: GL Ingénierie
Client: Conseil Général des Alpes Maritimes
Project area: 240 m² SHON
Project year: 2011
Dévoiement réseaux: La Nouvelle SIROLAISE
Gros OEuvre: TRIMARCO Construction
Etanchéité : GALINELLI
Menuiseries métalliques – Serrurerie: SARL DEGIVRY
Sols Sportifs: MS DECO
Équipements sportifs: ENTRE PRISES
Electricité: EUROPELEC
Plomberie – Chauffage – Ventilation: AQUALIA
Photos: Serge Demailly and Heams&Michel

source: Heams et Michel

XMS Media Gallery by Moxie Design

Moxie Design is a group of designers with various specializations but one common goal – to remodel in an innovative way an old building in the centre of Taipei, Taiwan. This structure, surrounded by various stores and shops, directly communicates with a busy street and sees few hundreds people passing by daily. Authors intended to create a contemporary space by combining several techniques. Originally, the four-storey residential house was meant to be demolished and rebuilt. Its reconstruction, although visibly more modern than the adjoining houses, does not contrast the surroundings. Quite the contrary – it pleasantly complements the space in which it is situated.

The facade is created by two levels. The first is dominated by windows in a stereotypical layout. The second level consists of flexible black fence nets partitions, which are aligned in a way that livens up the whole facade. These nets also serve as a durable barrier, protecting from wind, rain and interior overheating and at the same time add an aesthetical value. After the reconstruction, the interior was appropriately remodeled in order to house office spaces.


ZAP’ADOS Skatepark by Bang Architectes

A former industrial hall, located in Calais, France has been converted by the architects of french atelier Bang Architectes. The project expands a vast urbanistic renovation initiated by the Moatti&Rivière Architects. The project aims to turn an abandoned hall into a dominant object, that would attract potential young and curious users. The west gable is clearly visible and is, after the renovation, supposed to project a strong signal into the public space.

The original building had a bland, conventional industrial look with a concrete framework filled with precast concrete panels and a roof of cement sheets and its primary use was processing of roasted peanuts. The first step in the conversion was to open up the dark hall, by removing the panels from the eastern and western facades. Consequently additional volumes were installed into the hall, turning it into a youth centre and a skatepark.


Music Hall and House in Algueña by Cor & Asociados

Spanish architects Cor & Asociados completed a pearlescent concert hall in the village Algueña, near Alicante, Spain. Multi-purpose auditorium with a capacity for 230 people is clad in shimmering porcelain facing and connected to a former civil guard headquarters, which now serves as a music centre. The two-storey U-shaped historical building contains rehearsal rooms for musicians. The annex encloses central atrium and thus creates an open air concert venue. The two buildings are connected by glass boxes with a central staircase.


UNESCO World Heritage Centre by Najjar & Najjar Architects

Najjar & Najjar Architects are the authors of a new UNESCO World Heritage Centre with an adjoined shipping pier. The complex is built on a riverfront near Krems, in the northeast Austria. This architectonic studio, based in Vienna was founded in 1999 by the brothers Karim and Rames Najjar. In the 12 years of existence they have completed multiple projects featuring a high level of sophistication of shapes and forms, elegance, energy and a true sense of dynamics. The centre and the pier are connected by a bent-wing-resembling roof structure, which also creates a gate to the landscape of the “Wachau”. The area is represented by six illuminated screens telling its story. The roof is the central element of the whole complex, mainly for its dramatic expression. It creates a structure, that shelters a space for a variety of culturural, culinary or interpersonal encounters.

photos: – manfred seidl

Institutional Winery La Grajera

A project by Virai Arquitectos finds a balance between the nature of Spanish countryside and a modern winery, by its fusion with the landscape. Individual volumes follow the changes in terrain and are interrupted by the line of a nearby forest – respecting the local vegetation. The largest of the building has a semi-basement foundation in sandstone and shelters the winery production spaces. It grows and bends, defining the shape of the complex, while blending in the terrain itself.

Except for this massive construction, there is an administrative building with a light, amplified body in glass and dark ceramic, designed by the authors of the project in a collaboration with Spanish Favetón company. A third volume, a small tower housing offices and residential spaces completes and closes the complex while setting apart a space for a square, that enables access to all of the winery buildings. A visitor can enjoy views of the forest, the landscape and the panorama of spanish villages while walking across the public space.


Mies van der Rohe gas station conversion by les architectes FABG

The Canadian atelier Les Architestes FABG is responsible for reconstruction of an old gas station. Even though all of its components were retained and renovated, the building serves now a different purpose. The building on the Nun’s Island lost its use in 2008, so the architects decided to pay a tribute to the original author Mies van der Rohe and keep the original structure. Instead of a gas station, a store and a car repair workshop it now houses a youth and senior activity center.

Due to the flexible nature of the programming, the big volumes were left with an open layout with a modular and foldable furniture. The seniors use the larger space – the white room, while the youth occupies the smaller black room. Two opposing ends are connected by a subtle steel cantilevered roof. ‘The project is not about the faithful restoration of a monument. It is an interpretation trying to touch and communicate the essence of an artistic vision formulated by someone else in response to a world that is no longer the same. Musicians do this every day.’ – Les Architectes FABG.


Exit 45 by Chiasmus partners

Architectonic studio Chiasmus partners, based both in New York and Soul, created a nearly sculptural annex to an existing building. The building is located in Danwon-gu, Ansan, South Korea and is easily identified by its two massive towers. And right between these two towers, the Chiasmus Partners with an artistic cooperation of Sang Cho created a new object – Exit 45. It resembles a tree-house, a living mass growing out of the stereotypic orthogonal environment.

Striking out with its eye-catching bright red color, it is obvious that the authors wanted to step out, break the mold and attract attention. The outer facade intentionally filters out the natural light and the bustle of the exterior and creates a calm and harmonic retreat-like interior.


Incubadora Social ITESM-BANCOMER by Shine Architecture

León de los Aldama is the sixth most populated city of Mexico. In its centre, the architects from SHINE Architecture finished a reconstruction of a house of social services. This building is supposed to serve as a base for talented students from low-income families and for people, who would like to improve their business skills. Patrons of the project are Tecnológico de Monterrey – one of the best higher-education institution in Mexico and Bancomer – one of the biggest banks in the country.

Architects wanted to bring a positive change with the face of the building to the area. The facade is made of wooden lattices, arranged in a functional, yet aesthetic way. Several parametric studies were concluded in order to achieve complex responsive morphology. For authors, it was important to include passive energy sources, in order for the building to be sustainable. They implemented mainly passive ventilation and sun shades.


Norway’s Seljord Lookout Point

Finns Sami Rintala and Dagur Eggertsson created the Oslo-based architectonic studio Rintala Eggertson Architects in 2007. Later in 2008 they were commissioned by the municipality of Seljord to create series of lookout points around its famous lake, which is said to be inhabited by a mythical sea-monster Selma. The lookouts are meant to provide tourists and locals alike with enrichment in the experience of the lake and offer them a different perspective and appeal.

The most dominant of the towers is the southeastern one, located closest to the lake. Aside from impressive views of the landscape, it offers exhibition area on the ground floor. The structure is entirely made of wood and provides visitors with exciting experience in the night as well thanks to its lighting.


Roadside Reststop kkarvikodden by Manthey Kula architects


Strolling along the walkways of the norwegian archipelago Lofoten you can encounter ‘Roadside Reststop Akkarvikodden’ – public toilets by Oslo based atelier Manthey Kula Architects. In synergy with various gazebos, interesting touristic areas and resting places this structure creates a hybrid conjuncture of nature and design. After being damaged during a forceful storm the previous toilet building was replaced with a 10mm thick cortene structure based on concrete foundations and reinforced with steel plating.

Top floor offers a compelling view of mountains through 12-20mm thick glass, while the door is made of 5mm thick stainless steel plate. Glass panels which cover the interior, are meant to protect the visitors (and their clothing) from rust. Internal infrastructure is made of metallic pipes, which eliminate the need of isolation since the building is open only during summer months.


Youth Centre in Lille by JDS Architects

Over the past twenty years Lille has become a European hub; a destination for business and congress, a great place to study and live and also a tourist destination. It is a city with a turbulent history of conquest and reconquest, a heritage as an important medieval city and later on enjoyed and sometimes suffered the title of Northern France industrial capital.

Our project emerges from the idea of creating an urban catalyst, accommodating three distinct programmes on a triangular site. By placing a program in each point of the triangle we offer maximum privacy while allowing them a closeness and continuity of space, organized around a garden, like a cloister of calm in the center of the city.

The lifting of the mass of the programme at the corners illuminates and activates the adjacent public spaces and creates a continuity from outside to inside of the building.

PROJECT youth hostel, kindergarten, office
BUDGET 12.150.000 EUR
TYPE Invited Competition
SIZE 6.980 m2
STATUS 1st Prize 2011
LOCATION Lille, France
TEAM JDS, EGIS, Agence Franck Boutté Consultants, SL2EC


Porreres Medical Center by MACA estudio de arquitectura

The new Porreres Health Center starting point is a restrictive urban regulation that forces to build three floors to host the functional program of the center in the small part of the plot that is available.

In this way a public square is released to the front of the building and street access, and a private parking area is placed at the back of the plot.

The resulting volume is almost a cube, which is modulated by dividing the width into five equal parts and the depth into three parts.

The medical practices are placed to the interior of the plot, looking northeast to avoid excessive sun exposure.
The auxiliary program is distributed in the main elevation, facing southwest with sun protection for the windows.

Special attention is paid to the design of the public spaces: waiting areas and circulation, the central space of the building, providing them with big openings to the south that are marked on the main façade by steel boxes that endow views and natural light while generating the recognizable image of the building.
The building´s economic restrictions have led to propose a simple construction that allows the execution of the work in a short time, with reduced costs but at the same time, without compromising quality or functional space.

PROJECT: Porreres Medical Center
TEAM: Christian Álvarez, Jorge Garrudo, Noelia Álvarez
LOCATION: Porreres, Mallorca, Spain.
DATE: competition (2009) Construction (2010-2011)
SIZE: 900 M2
TYPE: Competition. First Prize
BUDGET: 1.200.000€
CLIENT: Servei Salut de Illes Balears