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Wall / Dress

Dressing a building and cladding your wife is not a way to get rid of her. It is, however, bad for your city.

What’s interesting, instead, is that the German language – the vocabulary of which is richly structured around correlation and families of meaning – has a word that applies to both architecture and fashion. A correlation that’s resurfacing in contemporary architecture.

Bekleidung refers to both the act of protecting the human body with clothes and the act of covering a building in cladding.

Similarly, the words for “Wall” and “Dress” belong to the same family.

  • Wall = Wand ; Dress = Gewand

This is not only true in German:

  • Italian: Abitare / Abito
  • French: Habiter / Habiller

But how do the relate?

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Philharmonic Hall in Szczecin | Memory in glass

Neo-gothic ornaments and Classicist volumes melt together, creating an outstanding object shaped by its context.

Designed by the spanish studio Barozzi Veiga, the Philharmonic Hall in Szczecin was awarded the Mies van der Rohe Award 2015.

Philharmonic Hall Szczecin | Estudio Barozzi Veiga | Photo Hufton and Crow 25

Perfectly integrated in the city, the Philharmonic hall is also able to emerge as a new addition.

That’s because of the glass: the transparent and translucent cladding transform its mass and its volume in a light, evanescent structure… a sort of ice palace. Moreover, glowing at night, the ribbed-glass somehow softens the building’s strict geometry.

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Superkilen, Copenhagen | TOPOTEK + BIG + SUPERFLEX

An architectural collage of cultural identity

Architects bring multiculturalism to a socially challenged neighborhood.

Superkilen is a half a mile long urban space wedging through Nørrebro, one of the most ethnically diverse and socially challenged neighborhoods in Copenhagen.

Being so multicultural this district is highly dynamic, but it has seen its share of violence and is known for its riots and street crimes.

The architectural competition asked for an urban park to address the underlying social issues of Nørrebro.

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Antinori Winery by Archea Associati | Design by subtraction

A silent and respectful gesture in a precious and uncontaminated land.

Cantina Antinori hides its gigantic footprint in the land and melts its curves with the surroundings. Visitors are welcomed, then captured, by this magic building wrapped in soil.

Concealing the building beneath the earth, Archea Associati are both able to preserve the beauty of the landscape and to design the ideal spaces to let man and wine work together.

Antinori Winery_Archea Associati_Photo Pietro Savorelli

Man, nature and wine

Cantina Antinori is a wine cellar located in one of the most famous wine areas of Italy, between Florence and Siena. From production to distribution, wine is the hero of the building: following an upwards path, visitors are invited to learn and to discover its cellars and vineyards.

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Richard Serra | The space between art, site and viewer.

(VERY) SHORT BIO  |  Richard Serra (San Francisco, 1939) is the second of three brothers: his father was Spanish, native of Mallorca, while his mother was a Russian Jewish immigrant from Odessa. He is both sculptor and video artist, well known for large scale artworks, usually made of sheet metal. Richard Serra was also involved in the Process Art Movement. 

Steel memories

He studied English literature firstly at the University of California Berkeley that in Santa Barbara, where he graduated with a B.A in 1961.

> To support himself and his studies, he worked in steel mills.

This experience, along with the memories of the shipyard where his father worked as a pipe-fitter, extremely influenced his later work as artist.

“All the raw material that I needed is contained in the reserve of this memory which has become a reoccurring dream.”

(Richard Serra)

To Lift (1967)

To Lift (1967)

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WHITE CUBE | An idea of gallery space

Art gallery interiors that create intimacy between you and art .

“The ideal form of the gallery as a white cube is inseparable from the artworks exhibited inside it.

[Brian O’Doherty – Inside the white cube]

Today, we are all familiar with the “white cube”. If you’ve ever been into a contemporary art museum, you’ve definitely experienced it: plain white walls, polished floors, basic furniture, artworks evenly lit from above (with the quiet help of artificial lighting).

This aesthetic, first experimented in the United States in the 50s, has come to define our idea of space in an art gallery. Its concept focuses on the intense relationship between space and visitor.

Alfred Barr - cubism-and-abstract-art exhibition-

Alfred Barr’s “Cubism and abstract art” exhibition in 1936 – MOMA, New York. First example of the revolutionary “white cube” display method.

     > The interior

Total white abolishes any perceptive connection with reality, emphasizing a quasi-religious atmosphere in which time and social space are excluded. This neutrality makes the viewer concentrate on individual masterpieces, with nothing interfering with the experience. In this way Art frees itself from the idea of the exhibition as “introduction of a piece into a room”.

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WATERFRONTS | Opportunities of urban renovation

During the last decades the attention of many European cities has shifted to waterfronts.

They are rather complicated areas of the city as they combine two different realities and their respective actors and dynamics: the harbor and water.

> The Harbor

Traditionally, it is a chaotic place where fishermen drive their bargains, where ferries and ships continuously leave and arrive, with their never-ending streams of people. The fascinating and folkloristic aspect often give in to the bad reputation of the harbor, especially in big cities: a poor and fairly dangerous district.

Trieste _ Italy

Trieste _ Italy

> Water

Wheather it’s the beach of a hyper-touristic destination or the riverfront of a historical city center, water will always be an extremely attractive urban element, both for tourists and residents.


Amsterdam _ Netherlands

Waterfronts are a city’s business card and maybe its most important postcard.

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Am Kupfergraben 10 Gallery | David Chipperfield

White cube

This unexpected white cube contains the powerful world of art and perfectly relates it to the cultural heart of the city.

The gallery, which was founded in 1992, commissioned Chipperfield Architects with the interior design of the exhibition space. The interior is defined by daylight and pure lines, with solid materials characterizing the exterior. Spaces are organized in 5.5 meters-high rooms, while the simple floor plan varies depending on the placement of the windows. The idea is to create a neutral and well proportioned space for working and showing art, our absolute protagonist.

Furniture clearly follows the same idea: worktables are striking in their dimension, while the light grey linoleum of the tabletops plays off the light magnesium grey of the floors. All details are thought in order to chip in this sense of simple linearity.

As many works of art and installations need specific lights and atmosphere, spaces are smartly adaptable. The rooms are side-lit from different directions and daylight is controlled by adjustable panels, while artificial lights run unnoticed on the ceiling.

Don’t replicate the past, incorporate

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The art of sketches | Renzo Piano

“When designing a building you start from a general philosophy and you come down, and you start from detail and come up. Only the theoretical architect believes that you can make the concept and then sometime somebody will come to build it” 

A holistic vision of architecture

The sketch is the right solution to gather volumes and structure, to put together context and details. His drawings, mostly sections,  always include some natural elements like trees (relation with nature, sustainability, …) or the sun (solar exposure, shadows, …). Colors can help define different materials, while the thickness of lines shows the structure.

Some sketches focus on a particular detail, some offer a complete vision of the project, some others explain the concept. But they are all impressively communicative.

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