Yashihiro Yahomoto Architect Atelier has defined in the contrasting city of Nara, Japan, a modern residential project for a young couple. Niu House breaks the boundaries of traditional design and becomes a point of attraction for the passers-by. Between loads of prefabricated homes and sharp Japanese houses, the house’s volumetric division is a visual bless. In fact, it implies another type of segmentation: the white structure is dedicated to the “social gatherings” while the black section is more private. Accommodating a bathroom, a bedroom, a utility room and a soundproof studio, the black structure is an intimate retreat for the couple. A small wooden deck completes the picture, serving as a relaxation spot for evenings seasoned with tea and conversations.
The house spreads over 220,36 square meters and is entirely made of wood. Compact, cosy and comfortable, the house is spacious enough to accommodate even a small courtyard between the two volumes.The air and the light pass through to the kitchen, creating the optimum environment for cooking and chatting. Wood is the element of design that embraces the Japanese simplistic style. From the furnishing, to the staircase, everything is wrapped with its elegance. The house is the size of an apartment but the architects proved that good segmentation can solve space problems. Perfect for the young, Niu House is a good example that sometimes, simplicity can work as well as a rich detail oriented design.
An example of a huge success is Heneghan Peng Architects’ Giant’s Causeway Visitors’ Centre in Antrim, Northern Ireland. Using the large difference in level across the site, the architects created two folds in the landscape. Bold, but not conflicting with the rather bleak natural environment, these folds draw all the man-made areas together and create one fitting man-made break in the natural landscape. In the words of the architects themselves, There is no longer a building and a landscape, but building becomes landscape and the landscape itself remains spectacular and iconic
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