This dark-cladded mountain house, designed by Miurashin Architect + Associates, is camouflaged between trees on a sloping terrain in Karuizawa, Japan. A pavilion reached via a metal bridge welcomes family and guests to the warm and contemporary interiors, dressed in wood via a top floor pavilion. Living and entertaining spaces are sheltered by the middle floor, while the lower ground is occupied by the private spaces. Imposing with its mysterious presence and mirroring the surrounding forest in its windows, the mountain residence is anchored to the slope in three places. Its architecture appeals to the owner’s need for connecting to the surroundings in a very personal way – this led to creating a sloping staircase-resembling rooftop used for contemplating the forest views. Vertical windows and cladding strive to imitate the tall trees around, better integrating the architecture with nature. Is this type of dark, modern architecture your cup of tea?
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
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