Thursday, January 5, 2012

A new way for contemporary placemaking in the tropics influenced by indigenous and traditional cultures

The design concept for the Cairns Institute grew from its mission statement ‘enhancing life in the tropics’, and is strongly centred on the belief of placemaking, rather than building-making. As a result, the proposal is sensitively located in the landscape and where a sense of the landscape is embedded in the experience of the place. The main entry aligns with the natural forms of the mountain range to the west, and integrates landscape experiences in the surrounding and courtyard gardens.

Developed by BVN Architecture and MMP Architects, the signature gesture for the design is an undulating roof form using a conventional timber gridshell structural system which unifies the concepts of organic form. The construction of this roof in sustainable timber has many levels of experience; from the powerful and exciting address it provides on approach, to the sense of anticipation in the semi-protected space of the rainforest courtyard at entry and as part of the continuing experience to the interiors.

The design is responsive and empathetic to the idea of community; in this instance a community of researchers. Traditional approaches to placemaking engage this community through the arrangement of research hubs and other spaces around a central courtyard. This heightens awareness and visibility, while promoting both purposeful and incidental interaction. The concept enhances the Institute’s culture and allows its research to develop in a healthy, positive and collaborative manner.

The concept of placemaking is further enhanced and reinforced by a proposal to adopt colours, patterns and finishes from traditional cultural activities, particularly those from communities of the tropical Far North Queensland region. For example, the external perforated sunscreen to the lower floors of the offices and research areas is derived from traditional fibre work and weaving patterns. Colours are derived from paintings and other artworks of indigenous artists from tropical regions of the world.

MIII architecten designs two satellite pavilions for 'The Mothership' in Baarn

This project concerns two new additions to the existing Pavilion P1 - built in 2000 - to inform professional customers about the specialisms and other educational matters regarding the arboriculture. The brief was to create two new pavilions as 'satellites' related to the 'mothership', that would be part of the scenery in a very natural way, but still recognisable as organic structures to fit the profile of the company and the existing Pavilion.
Both the volumes evolve from a strictly mathematical grid from various reference points in the area, such as visibility axes in the exhibition garden and historical agricultural scenery.
Also the orientation to the sun was a very important issue, both for philosophical matters like being part of the sources of life, as well as for practical matters like daylight and warmth to the inner-climate. The almost self-evident integration in the natural environment, achieved by this 3-D mathematical extrapolation of the surrounding’s analysis, lead to the creation of clear, constructive structures.
The clarity of the construction-plans remains completely visible by using glass façade panels as transparent physical separation segments. The acquired plastic effect can be seen as the result of the dialogue between the wooden construction frames and the glass fragments of the highly transparent skin.
The glue-laminated wood constructions are evidently an up-dated version of methods that have their roots in the 500 year old Dutch way of wood construction-systems. Together with the very modern glazing and cladding techniques used, the overall result is considered by ZNA as a step forward into the office’s inquiry for the edges beyond conventional perceptive enclosure of space, together with a realistic use of today’s applicable building techniques.