Projects that inspire us

Mar 31, 2017

This month each of us at Level shared a few projects that inspire us. Not surprisingly, this process revealed several common interests.  Many of the projects exploit the unique qualities and textures of materials (like the weathering steel in Desert Nomad House and the glass block in the Maison de Verre).  Others focus on detailing, where parts and pieces of the building are beautifully assembled (as in the Olivetti Showroom and La Lira Theater Public Open Space). We enjoy these projects and hope you will as well.   

Project: 6353 Sweetwater, Desert Nomad House by Rick Joy Architects

From Greg: I wish they could all be this simple. Prioritize THE view by limiting fenestration in adjacent walls.

Project: Olivetti Showroom by Carlo Scarpa, photo by Marco Introini

From Greg:  Small functional assemblies are thoughtfully detailed like works of art. Simple materials carefully crafted. 

Project: La Lira Theater Public Open Space by RCR Arquitectes and J. Puigcorbé, photo by Hisao Suzuki

From Amelia: Congratulations to the 2017 Pritzker Prize winners. Two views, into the city and out to the mountains, are emphasized by material contrast and form, while the bridge directs pedestrians' approach to the space.

Project: Seashore Library by Vector Architects, photo by Su Shengliang

From Greg: This project reminds me of Le Corbusier at Chandigarh as a grand gesture community building. Fenestration is essential to the composition, reflects the program, and focuses and prioritizes views.

Project: British Pavilion Expo 1992 by Grimshaw Architects, photo by Jo Reid & John Peck, Richard Bryant

From Greg: Early in my architectural studies, I was inspired by this because the assembly IS the aesthetic, structure is simplified into small members resulting in lightness, and each facade responds uniquely to its environmental orientation.  In general I have always been impressed with the clarity of Grimshaw's project's structure, space, and skin.

Project: Weekend House by OFFICE Kersten Geers David Van Severen, photo by Bas Princen

From Amelia: I'm obsessed with the idea of different 'worlds' contained in one building and the experience of moving through and exploring them. This project is a modern enfilade, contrasting materials, textures, indoor/outdoor throughout. So simple in plan, but each space has it's own atmosphere.

Project: Maison de Verre by Pierre Chareau and Bernard Bijvoet, photo by Yukio Futagawa

From Michael: I was lucky enough to gain access to the MDV in Paris during the summer of 1988 for one of the most amazing architectural experiences of my life. Designed in 1928 as a home and office for a physician, every space, detail, and piece of furniture was considered.

Project: Maison de Verre by Pierre Chareau and Bernard Bijvoet, photo by Yukio Futagawa

From Michael: The two-story living room on the second floor, bathed in diffused natural light through a glass block wall is one of the most incredible and comfortable spaces I have ever experienced.

Project: Castelgrande in Bellinzona, Switzerland, restoration and interventions by Aurelio Galfetti

From Amelia: Visiting this project made me realize how weird and wonderful castles and fortresses can be, with layered history, unusual forms and spaces, and large enough to explore for hours. Galfetti added a modern brutalism to some of the spaces in this castle.  

Project: Castelgrande in Bellinzona, Switzerland, restoration and interventions by Aurelio Galfetti.

From Amelia: The entrance is particularly stunning. You enter this narrow, smoothed surfaced cut in the bottom of the rocky hill and experience an intense shift from light to dark and from openness to compression.