Danish architects inaugurate visionary science centre

Inspiria Science Centre (Norway), being the most innovative scientific centers of Northern Europe aims to make knowledge its crucial asset, has the trifold form and unites environment, energy and health in the communication platform.

It houses 70 interactive exhibitions, workshops and state-of-the-art planetarium. As it is expected the number of visitors will exceed 100,000 people annually including school children, families and tourists.

The communication platform
The Inspiria Science Centre interweaves communication and architecture into a single platform to promote the idea of harmony between humans and environment through learning. The Inspiria Science Centre building is a passive house with circular atrium and all-glass wings as a focal centre.

Inspiria Science Centre in its trifold form renders the idea of cyclic recurrence of nature and the helix that expresses universal power cycle. Architects tried to make a fascinating building with distinctive identity that would integrate all the activities of the Centre into a single whole.


Inspiria Science Centre can be the example of an extraordinary fund raising because the total project cost was €28.5million, the government subvention constituted €5 million and the business community subvention was €7 million, while the dominant subvention was made by the public sector driven by the desire to make young people more interested in science. As it was reported the project raised much more money than any other construction project.

Project: Science Centre in Graalum, Norway
Architect: AART architects A/S
Address: Bjørnstadveien 16, 1712 Grålum
Year: 2007 – 2011
Area: 6,500m2
Cost: €28.5 million

Photographer: Adam Mørk

Fishers Island House by Thomas Phifer

Architect Thomas Phifer designed in USA, in the state of New York a unique house fully incorporated in the nature. The delicately transparent pavilion is made out of glass panes, only the centre is not transparent. The glass which creates a border between the exterior and interior connects these two parts and weaves them into the surrounding landscape. Meandering gardens full of flowers flank the house.

The slender aluminum rods of this transparent pavilion extend the roof plane and so create something in the style of classical Japanese architecture. Of course, the roof is transparent as well. It conveys a sense of lightness and airiness. Just like a piece of art.

photos: architectslist.com

Playground Building in Utrecht by Van Rooijen Architecten

Dutch architectural practice Van Rooijen Architecten completed the new playground building in Utrecht, Netherlands. It is situated in an inner courtyard close to the city center of Utrecht for the children of the neighborhood. The old existing building on the playground was unsound and so was replaced by a new one. The construction is modest, simple and durable.

The safety criterion was the dominant criterion of the design. The building has separate spaces but by means of a movable partition the spaces can be interlinked to provide space for different activities and multiple uses. One part is dedicated to kindergarten. Within a very tight budget a colorful light-hearted object with specific openings and windows was designed. A large covered canopy for sheltered play features the front of the building.

photos: artlettyear1architecture.blogspot.com

Parking in grass by Cheungvogl

Japanese architect Cheungvogl came up with a new concept of city parking garages. Tokyo is one of the biggest cities and the problem with a shortage of parking slots is crucial. Living in the middle of a concrete jungle people are seeking out peace in public gardens, a little piece of natural environment. These public gardens have a huge problem with parking. The concept of Shinjuku Gardens covers the whole parking house with green.

Grass serves as a construction material of the one storey parking with roof that also provides a garden park space. This way the parking house fits together with the features of the nearby park and is functional as well and makes it even more accessible for people arriving from great distances by car. The space on the inner walls was offered to young artists to show their creativity and create an unique character of the place. The decorations of the interior are completed with various neon lighting.

photos: grasscrete.com

Center of Technical services of La Grande Motte by NB Architects

Center of Technical services in La Grande Motte, France is one of the last projects of the french architectonic office NB Architects that includes architects Elodie Nourrigat and Jacques Brion. The city is located at the Mediterranean sea taking advantage of mild weather. This landscape and architectural project represents a harmony of different elements that the location proposes. Designers gave special attention to the placing of the building within the parcel in order to take advantage of the exploitable environmental qualities. The line of landscape was not disturbed, because architects used a flat roof. The building is made from wood only. Proposed interventions allow to restore coherence. This project is a part of the group of the new land-use planning and allows to develop existing companies in the area. The complex houses new office spaces of the technical services of the city.

photos: via design-milk.com

Orange Memorial Park by Marcy Wong Donn Logan Architects

Orange Memorial Park on the north of San Francisco is a new recreational center for inhabitants of this area. This complex comprises, beside the new recreational building, a football field, picnic space, basketball ground, children playground and other sport facilities. Whole object was designed by Marcy Wong Donn Logan Architects and serves as place for cultural, festive or educational events. The main pavilion is located in the center, surrounded by playgrounds. The big advantage of the building is that it can host a number of events at the same time.

The project combines two elements -the airy outside area and solid stone building that houses a kitchen, office space, bathrooms and a storeroom. Cedar timbers form roof joists, it is on the roof where we find a series of skylights providing the interior with a maximum of natural daylight. As regards the sustainable development, the house was built in an appropriate distance from a rare magnolia garden and its orientation was adapted in order to utilize the natural sunlight. During the summer months, the building keep cold thanks to the overhanging roof with a cool coating reducing heat gains and sun shades that provide enough of natural light.

photos: homedesign-ideas.com

“The Cabin” at the international airport in Hong Kong

“The Cabin” is the newest part of a lounge at the international airport Cathay Pacific in Hong Kong. A combination of materials of the highest quality and a new type of seating system created by a well-known architects from Foster Partners have created a space where passengers can spend time waiting on their flights as comfortable as possible. The space is designated for relaxing, refreshment and as an IT zone. The design of a cabin accentuates the atmosphere of an airport. As for the material, designers have combined marble, red leather furniture, bamboo and a reflective ceiling. Whole interior, as well as the furniture and Cathay Solus Chair, have been made in Italy. The seating system has soft leather cushioning from the inside and glazy wooden covering from the outside. One seating on this chair has a feel of privacy, which is so needed at the space as an airport bar.

photos: cathaypacific.com

Public Sauna by Mjölk Architects

Czech architecture studio Mjölk Architects has been working on a project that aims to come with alternative functions of a public city area. After their appearance at an event called Pecha Kucha Night Prague, Mjölk Architects built a public sauna in the middle of a damn in their residence city of Liberec. The sauna was built on an existing platform near by a popular public beach and promenade. They did not have a building permit, the construction works were kept in secret till the end.

Any public institution was informed about what was going to happen. Mjölk Architects have presented the public sauna to the city representatives at an opening ceremony. The sauna is open to the public for free. A near by coffee shop is taking care of the visitors, provides a boat shuttle to the sauna, wood and keys. Mjölk Architects have proved that there are no boundaries limiting the possibilities of cultivation of the public space, even a simple idea can change its functions.

photos: en.mjolk.cz

Centrum Muziek XXI

Dutch group of architects Klaas van der Molen, Martijn van den Ban, Judith Dorlandt called Architecten van Mourik has created in the city of Utrecht, Netherlands Centrum Muziek XXI – a music center. This center houses a number of music studios and was constructed from recycled plastic tablets. The building is located on a small parcel and has a triangular layout. The main entrance is leading to the main hall where one can go to one of the music studios and rooms on three floors.

A very good sound insulation was achieved by using double-skin, complemented by toned shaded windows they provide privacy and are protected from the heat. This small music building is a part of the city plan renovation. The motto of the project is: “The unity lies in the diversity.” that should be achieved by a combination of smaller diversified buildings. The main themes are transparency, closed volumes and open space. The building of the Centrum Muziek XXI represents the closed volumes reconnected to form a bigger complex.

photos: muziek21.nl

Faustino Wine-cellars by Foster&Partners

A well-known architecture studio from England Foster&Partners has recently finished their project of wine-cellars Faustino in the city of Castilla y Leon, Spain. The city that is located about 159km north from Madrid, in the Ribere del Duero region, is one of the best wine regions in Spain. They started to work on the project in 2007, since then a long period of designing and constructing have been in progress. The final design reflects the natural topography of the parcel and energy-saving construction, as well as its visual appearance matching with surrounding nature. The entire concrete construction is covered by Corten.

The triangle layout is obvious at first sight, it connects three long parts, while in each of them a different production process takes place: fermentation in steel barrels, mellow process in oak barrels and maturing in bottles. The form conforms to the function, which in this case means that the complex processes were rationalized and optimal conditions for the wine production have been created. The building has been designed to take advantage of the steep parcel and its gravity force that helps the raisins to move, to achieve maximal effectiveness and minimal amount of damages. The production capacity of Faustino Wine-cellars is up to 1 million bottles per year produced on a surface of 12 500 square meters.

photos: fosterandpartners.com

Center for social services

The Center for social services has been designed by architect Antonio Blanco Montero and it is located in a Spanish city of Sevilla. The project is based on an idea that a space can heal. This Center for social services should become a place where questions and answers meet, people share their problems and find solutions.

The building has a wide range of different functions, starting from administrative parts to psychological consulting. Very unique is an inner atrium – heart of the building taking in two floors. The range of used materials is very interesting and well done. Architects used materials as wood, concrete, stone or glass. The exterior facade catch the eye at first sight, it accentuates the horizontal line of the building, while the interior elements are characterized by vertical manufacturing.

photos: newsodrome.com

Aquarium of San Sebastian

Aquarium of San Sebastian was situated on the top of Mount Urgli for hundred years, in a popular area of La Concha Bay. The old existing building was suitable not for an aquarium anymore. In the last years a number of new building were created on both sides. While the existing exhibition building was in intensive contact with the sea Hoz Fontan Arquitectos have come with a wise solution. They have linked all existing buildings, so that visitors can pass from one part to another without noticing it.

The concept is taking advantage of peripheral components in order to optimize the internal functioning. The complex houses a restaurant that became a heart of the building. These individual buildings have a terrace shape so it communicates with a near-by square where people love to sit down, relax and chat. Architects chose materials that are more conservative. The predominating color of the interior is white, some elements are made from wood but the most of them by glass.

photos: aquariumss.com

Dover Esplanade

Two million pounds that is the planned budged for 3500 meters long esplanade connecting eastern and western docks in the harbour city of Dover as well as coast with a central square. The esplanade would become the welcoming place for all visitors coming to UK by boat as for “islanders”. The concept is composed of three individual projects each of them based on their own social and environmental context.

The esplanade has been opened to the public on the 4th of November 2010, its predominant element is a wave. Waves are present in shapes of the lighting or sitting benches. This unique design has been chosen as the winning project of a competition organized in cooperation of Landscape Institute on behalf of Dover Harbour Board, Dover and Kent District Councils, SEEDA and English Heritage. The project was cofinanced by Sea Change and DCMS support program led by CABE (Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment) supporting any creative reconstruction of UK`s coastline holiday areas.

photos: freshome.com


Architecture studio dpavilion architects residing in Surabaya, Indonesia has created an unusual building. It was built in Batu, in Western Java, Indonesia. Batu is rather new city that still keeps its agricultural tradition and roots. Atmoshpere of this place is something between a city and a village. Nowadays the village transforms to city, so it is time to built new buildings.

Contertainer is the name of a new poly-functional building housing a clinic and a free-to-public library. The name is composed by two words – a container and an entertainer, words that come to mind to everyone. Even the project had a limited budget, the result is great. The house looks different from every side. Each part – each container was painted by different colour, yellow, red, blue or green.

photos: contemporist.com

Metropol Parasol

Metropol Parasol is the world’s largest wooden structure. It is located at Plaza de la Encarnacion in the centre of Seville, a Spanish city with unique medieval spirit. The wooden structure rises from concrete bases and reminds us of interlocked honeycomb undulating over the city protecting its historical treasures. The actual site was originally slated to become a parking garage, but after excavations revealed archeological findings the city revaluated its plans. They decided to make the site a museum and community center. It now also houses the local farmers market and a restaurant. Long stairways lead to the elevated rooftop promenades which offer visitors amazing views of the Seville silhouette. Jurgen Mayer H. Architects goal was to bring an innovative project to the city`s landscape. This gigantic construction functions as a roller blind and also protection against adverse weather. It was built in a neutral tone to harmonize the strong contrast of ultra modern structure with the historical city.

photos: inhabitat.com.

Bergen Fire Station

This fire station built according to the design of the architects from Stein Halvorsen Sivilarkitekter is located in Bergen, Norway. The project considered three important factors: location, traffic and future urban development of the area. The architects made use of the conditions to their benefit and designed a building in the shape of a curve so that all negative impact could be at least minimized if not completely eliminated. Architects` effort for sustainable design became true thanks to different technological innovations. The building is solid with its shape and material also protecting it from the motorway. On the contrary, the façade facing the nature is almost entirely transparent.

The curved shape itself creates privacy with a view of the lake but also reflects the dynamism of the traffic. The complex consists of four parts: the base, the screen, the tower and the bridge while each of them is devoted to a concrete function. The individual parts can be distinguished not only according to their function but also according to the different material and structures used. The base is characteristic with its dramatic shape towards the south, it is built from concrete and there are garages for fireman cars and technical rooms. The screen opens towards the lake and consists of a plate, a wall and a roof. The tower is a vertical element which defines the fire station from distance while the bridge is the main entrance only two meters above the ground.

photos: abduzeedo.com

Porte Cochère

Porte Cochère is a new pavilion built by FTL Design for an UN campus in New York. Its futuristic structure contrasts with near-by historical UN buildings where general assemblies take place. This temporary pavilion serves as a first entrance that ensures safety of delegates present at general assemblies. The object is only temporary while the original historical building is being renovated. The renovation is planned for 5 years. Architects designed an aesthetic, economical and ecological building. The number of used materials was little in order to create an elegant piece that would be simple to move. Considering the temporary function of the pavilion there is the future of this interesting design to be questioned.

photos: inhabitat.com

Lookout in Aurland

Todd Saunders and Tommie Wilhelmsen, two architects residing in Norway, designed a 33 meters high lookout that reminds of a ski jump. The lookout project was part of the national program for reconstruction of touristic roads in the area of Aurland fiord. The perfection of the surrounding nature should not be disturbed by the new building. The lookout stands right above a small city of Sogn og Fjordane situated three hours away from the second biggest city of Norway, Bergen. The architects won the competition of the lookout project and in cooperation with a construction firm Node Engineers they finished the building at the end of 2005. The lookout opened up to the public in the summer of 2006. The project is interesting for its simplicity and elegance, as levitating above the beautiful scenery. The structure 4 meters large and 300m long rears up to 9 meters. The final design did not intervene the peaceful atmosphere of the place. All pines that surrounded the parcel were preserved and nowadays they create an interaction between the construction and the wild.

photos: plusmood.com