This time I will leave all the lovely mid-century buildings aside for a little while and tell you a story about a contemporary office building in Vilnius, Lithuania which has been built in 2012. Designed by Hackel-Kaape architekten office Hamburg-Vilnius with mainly Lithuanians on the team. This project also includes restoration of 1913 secession style merchant’s house originally designed by an architect M. Prozorov. New glass addition plays a contrast role in overall composition.
View to the new addition to the “Merchants’ club” from Lukiškių square
This building is just next to the most important Gedimino boulevard in the center of Vilnius. Due to the importance of location choosing the right project was by the means of a closed competition, what was held in 2008. Other competition entries can be seen here.
The sunny weather photos are taken in summer 2012, and in the beginning of this year I came back for more. The building looks much more cheerful in a sunny weather conditions, than in the middle of winter. In the competition entry of the architects the building was presented as a bit more pale, whiter glass would be used, however in reality it is even brownish. Even thought the construction is claimed to be finished in 2012, the office spaces are still not rented out – exactly the same add half a year latter is still there on the front window. I also assume, that within the deeper side of the building the construction is not over yet, as the courtyard is still not accessible for anyone and the construction fence is still there instead of a gate.
Designed byJun Mitsui & Associates Inc. Architects in 2008, the Glass Cubes shopping center is one of the most architecturally exiting shopping centers I’ve seen.
Apparently the client (the H&M) desired the building to be open, but the architects chose colder and more “classic” look, a building with certain attitude in an ever-changing fashion district of Harajuku.
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Event thought it is not extremely hight building (by definition mid-rise only), in my opinion it is shaped as a perfect skyscraper. I see it as something from the early visions of Metropolis, very urbane, cold, but fresh and clean at the same time. Well (pardon the pun), it is cool.
The Ice Cubes does stand out with its seemingly feather light enamelled glass façade. The fritted or enamelled glass façade also prevents overheating, making the building more environment friendly (it’s even labelled as eco-building).
Also the solution applied to the façade is not very common: to avoid greenish looks of the glass the enamel pattern was used on the exterior of the glass.
I do believe it is one of the better designs(and implementations) to be seen around in the area.
This building is well known and probably seen before many times, but here I present my personal experiences and the building is indeed great!
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In 2004 the Oslo city government held a competition and Snøhetta architects won and executed the building.
Latter, in 2008 it was awarded in World Architecture Festival as a category winner.
Not only that I came into the Opera House several times (as well as walked around it), I also took a guided tour inside the building to see the areas what are normally closed for the visitors. Sadly no photos allowed in the backstage and other areas. During the tour it was very interesting to find out that there is a hidden inner courtyard with pretty landscaped garden in the middle. Around the courtyard rehearsal rooms and offices circle around.
Another amazing thing about this building is that it’s appearance changes with the weather. As you can see in the photos, the building blends in the surroundings completely: when it is grey and gloomy, it looks like just another ice lump; during colourful sunset, the buildings sparkles in the evening sun. It would be nice to see how it looks and feels during warm summer months.
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Interior is designed by several designers.
The exterior of the building possesses power and elegance, while the interior is softer.
One more cantilever building, this time form Belgium, small university town Leuven. It is situated next to Martelarenplein , what is on the left hand side from the main railway station.
Architects of the building are Crépain Binst architecture and ARCHI + 1.
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This local branch bank insurance building is rather impossible to miss due to it’s amazing cantilever. The structure is well hidden so that the building looks close to impossible to be built.
The cantilever in this case even works as a public shelter, it is neat new and protects you against rain. As you can see in the photos-people do hang around it.
And again, as I have mentioned in my previous post, this building in reality looks much better than in presentation drawings of an architect: good architecture is not about renders!