Located in Romania’s capital – Bucharest – the Vultureni House exhibits a powerful modern architecture style that challenges owners to live up to their full potential surrounded by fascinating contemporary design lines. Romanian architecture studio TECON Architects saw the long and narrow site as an opportunity to create a “private meets public” residence, where the spaces are divided into a public front courtyard and a private backyard. Accessible via an elegant collection of asymmetric steps embedded in the gently sloping terrain accompanied by rounded windows piercing the pure white facade, the interiors showcase a bright, welcoming arrangement focusing on the idea of transparency.
Skylights and rounded windows, glass walls alongside glass staircase railings – they all participate in creating a spacious naturally lit atmosphere: “Once inside the volume, is a total paradigm shift. To the simplicity, the austerity, the introverted character of the outer volume, it is opposed a fluid interior space, continuous, with strong visual connections between all interior spaces. The surrounding visual connections between spaces controlled by cuts in the outer skin of the volume, together with different areas of the two courtyards increase the feeling of the internal volume.” Displaying carefully designed details both inside and outside, the Vultureni House is a great example of urban residential architecture mapping Romania’s emerging modern architecture.
Value for money is not, and never was, the same as being cheap. Value for money means making the most of whatever budget is available. A good example of this is Hayes Primary School in London, by Hayhurst and Co. Having to contend with a tightly controlled 3 million local authority budget, they worked with the existing structure of the primary school to give it a much needed update. A striking polished stainless steel brise-soleil facade installed at the school’s entrance, gives the school’s many different buildings a sense of identity, while new classrooms have been created in a range of shapes and sizes, and are often flooded with natural light
What is new and exciting now can quickly begin to look tired and out of fashion, so the best buildings don’t just consider what will be interesting to look at now, but also how it might look to people in five, fifty or even a hundred years’ time. 2013’s hotly contested RIBA Stirling Prize went to Witherford Watson Mann Architects for their work on Astley Castle, Warwickshire. In what RIBA Past President Stephen Hodder has described as an extreme retrofit, the project essentially saw a new building inserted subtly into the heart of the old, with a new, two storey residence now hidden within the sandstone walls of the ruins of this medieval castle, to be used as a holiday home for up to eight guests