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Tag Archives: renovation

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.

A renovation project from Kyoto, Japan. Located in a tiny Kiya-machi Dori street, in the most narrow spot between of two rivers: small, but fast flowing Takasegawa canal and main river for Kyoto Yatsuyanagicho. It is the only place that you can see the both rivers from the street  (not visible in pictures though).

Originally the building was from 60’s (a guess by looking at older photographs) and it was renovated in 2010. It stands out due to an unusual burnt wood façade and a huge tree in front of it.

This building combines both worlds: the contemporary and the traditional one.

Kyoto Kiya-machi Dori shrine black house3

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I like this area of Kyoto a lot, in fact I just love it! In April 2012 I had participated in an architectural/urban planning competition of Takasegawa river (or canal) and it’s surroundings. So to keep long story short, during my last visit to Japan I decided to stop by Kyoto just to have a stroll in the area I spent so many hours working on,  all from a huge distance. And the walk was definitely worth the stop: I walked on foot the whole stretch of Takesagawa river (about 4 km) and the atmosphere was just magical. This little black building was a pleasant discovery as the particular spot is not covered by the google street-view (to prepare myself for the competition I virtually walked a lot in this area).

Kyoto Kiya-machi Dori shrine black house2

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This particular spot has a has a long history and plenty of stories to be told about. From 8th century it used to be an imperial garden with a mansion in this area. Nothing remains of the palace, but this tree, named Enoki is the only remain of the huge forest that once stood here. Enoki is revered as the sacred tree and it was selected as the “tree of pride for residents,” the city of Kyoto in 2000. That is reflected in the torii Daimyojin Enoki is enshrined in the back.

The tree is full of life: tiny green (and loud) parakeets were dashing in and out of the canopy, some huge mushrooms grow on it. Here, it feels as if the time has stopped.

Kyoto Kiya-machi Dori shrine black house4

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Kyoto Kiya-machi Dori shrine black house

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This building is not only a shrine, but also an atellier apartment/artist residence. I had a quick glance at the interior: hight ceilings, exposed structure, contemporary lighting.

Kyoto Kiya-machi Dori shrine black house1

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This is the only perspective that pitched roof is visible. Approaching the house from the south it looks completely like a contemporary box (in contrast to very traditional or 80’s buildings in this area).

One more library, this time form Oslo, Norway. Built in 1913, architect Holger
Sinding-Larsen and renovated in 2005, Longva arkitekter AS and Østengen
og Bergo Landskapsarkitekter AS.

It adds to my personal collection of visited public libraries and renovated public buildings. This building definitely has a special charm, the period when it was originally designed is when the most notable Norwegian architecture was born.  Lighting design from Olso is especially charming and National library is no exception.

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M Museum by Stéphane Beel Architecten, Leuven, Belgium. M – Museum Leuven is the successor to the Vander Kelen-Mertens Municipal Museum. Current structure integrates two new and two old buildings.

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I can see a poetic architect’s approach: reflective windows “frame” views of medieval surroundings on the exterior of the museum.

Museum stands out  from regular Leuven streets as it is unusually bright in colour (pale sandstone colour) and homogeneous vs traditional Leuven red (much darker in shade) brick detailed and intricate façades.

Extension and renovation building in Rue de Belgrade, Brussels.

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Some more contemporary architecture from Brussels, well hidden, as usual. Street façade and street view.

The building is located not very far from MIdi train station and it is just next to the tram depot – that is the massive brick building on the left of the street view.

Renovation and extension of former industrial building. at Zennestraat/Rue de la Senne, current function: apartments. Designed by Vanhaerents and Lhoas & Lhoas Architectes.

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The sign on the corner is a poetic reminder  that the street once was a river (Zenne street is named after the river that once used to flow here, but has long been running underground). This building asks “Cry Me A River” and New York New Museum of Contemporary Art responds: “Hell, Yes!“.

Colourful balconies give nice reflections to the buildings across the street on a sunny day. This project became one of the first revival signs of the still rather run-down neighbourhood.

Extension and renovation building in Rue du Peuplier, Brussels.

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This was photographed during unusually sunny summer of 2011, hopefully this snow white building looks as good against more common grey sky too.
I did not succeed to find who designed the building nor any other photos of the project on the Internet. If you happen to know the architect’s name I would be more than happy to add this information.

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