Individual villas have played a particular role in the history of domesticity. They are inevitably the set for the rich and dramatic play of family life whether in fiction or reality. In that sense all villas belong to a very same lineage : a stage for the domestic drama: love, passion, adultery, brotherhood ; the ups and down of family and love stories. Regardless of whether the scenario comes with a happy ending or not, similarities appear in all domestic environments.
Bellevue Avenue, a three and a half kilometre long street in Los Angeles which hits on one end the eternal Sunset Boulevard, another street closely tied to the history of Hollywood as well as the title of a famous Billy Wilder movie. The villa inside which the action takes place, in a certain Hollywood tradition, works as a claustrophobic set displaying the strained and decadent life of Norma Desmond. The entire world of Norma shrivels up in the nostalgia which can be found in every millimetre of the interior space of the villa. The entire décor
reveals a past grandeur and the sadness of her actual life.
On the other side of the world, in Geneva, a young family settles down in another villa in another Bellevue. The home life setting is designed for an opposite scenario, for a life that expands, opens to the exterior and avoids claustrophobia. Spaces are now constantly connected with each other and the whole house fights against the darkness of “Norma’s life”, who was trapped in a static feeling of fake comfort. Here everything is white or clear, and could predestined the family to another scenario with a happy ending – or actually no ending at all, leaving the family free to write their own home life. However, a tiny sign speaks out about the fragility of every designed interior as well as the vulnerability of every family.
The light bulbs of the library remind us of something, recalling a glimpse of a backstage make-up mirror. They say, like Jake Lamotta does in another seminal movie, that at the end “it’s all entertainment”.
The victory in a design competition for a children’s hospital in Zürich, Switzerland belongs to architects of a Basilei based office Herzog & de Meuron. The project is based on a three storey object of the hospital with a wooden facing that offers flexible and comfortable atmosphere for children, and a six storey research and training centre, which will become a part of the premises. Two objects with differences in typology and programs are connected with the use of forms and simple geometry. The main building of the hospital will be used for diagnostics and treatment of children and youth patients, while the research and training facility will serve scientific purposes. The hospital building will be arranged around inner atriums, where the patients are allowed to move freely. Three storeys are a result of a goal to create a place for children that does not intimidate them with its size and scale. The utilized material contributes to the more pleasant appeal of this hospital, which differentiates it from the more traditional medical facilities.
The buildings of Rapperswil-Jona Stadtmuseum complex have been around for more than 700 years. The small castle complex from the end of the 13th century, nestled in a picturesque area above the lake Zurich, consists of a guardtower, a residential area and adjacent farm buildings along the city walls. The museum building has recently undergone a large scale reconstruction, introducing a design by the Swiss studio mlzd. As the winners of a 2007 competition, mlzd in cooperation with the municipality helped to restore the national significance of the museum. The aim of the project was to transcend the city boundaries and to reach out to new culture-lovers and present the museum and the city as an attractive tourist destination.
The new building was carefully integrated into the existing organism of the old town. The facade and the roof are designed to not cover the existing windows and doors of the original buildings. The north side of the building reflects the character of urban landscape, therefore it remained unchanged. In the winding streets and alleys, the new structure tries not to interrupt the characteristic image of this beautiful area by its presence. Simultaneously, its majestic bronze facade made of TECU Bond, creating the main access point of the modern complex, contributes to a specific new tone of the area.
Swiss architecture studio dB_dubail begert Architects has recently finished an extension of a residential house in Le Noirmont, Switzerland. The most interesting element of this house is a staircase specially designed to open the interior space. The surrounding walls of the stairway are made of polycarbonate shell which allow one to see movements inside as well as outside.
The stairway itself is made of metal and reflects coloured light highlighting toned glass panels which change colors from to floor to the ceiling. Construction of the stairway creates large space in a building with small apartments from 1907. The architects worked with space, shape, light of various colors and transparency.
Fovea Architects from Switzerland have designed a unique house constructed from prefabricates called as Crooked house. As for the inspiration, the authors got inspired by the eaves typical for local houses; their appearance and functions. The interior space consists of two storeys. The upper level is built in an angle of 40 degrees to the ground-floor what provides a roofing for a terrace on the first floor. A number of large windows provide enough of light and privacy.
The house is south oriented. The first floor is very simple with shapes and rectangular ground plan. Its space was extended by already mentioned outside terrace. Windows are concentrated mainly on the southern facade because architects were taking into account the planned development in the area and wanted to preserve the privacy of the owners. Even though the geometry of windows is rhythmical and harmonic. The exterior wall covering is made from pine planks put in different directions.
Recently a new Albert Reichmuth wine store has been opened in Zurich, Switzerland. The interior was designed by Swiss design company OOS. This well-known mark of wine has opened for the first time its showroom accessible to the public on Feldestrasse 62 in Zurich. “La galerie du vin” is not only shop but a place where customer can taste wine or attend a lecture. Its aim is to attract not only existing customers but new passing by customers as well.
Design by OOS reminds of traditional storage spaces with wine while the product is still the predominating element. The concept is based on a presentation of different types of wine as one can see in a museum or gallery. Wooden crates become architectural piece and a piece of furniture as well. They are put in a crosshatch layout that serves as a platform for more than 570 wines and books about wine of course and provides a sitting space and show-cases. The reception desk is situated right in the middle of the interior. Colour in purple it contrasts with wooden interior. On the other side of the front section a living room with a kitchenette is situated where lectures for up to 15 persons are organized.