Recently renewed by Loucas Zahos Architects, the Taringa House, located in a tranquil suburb of Brisbane, Australia boasts a wonderful interior characterised by transparence and brightness. Originally, Taringa House functioned as a worker’s cottage. After the “intervention”, only a few of the original elements were kept. One of the elements was the street façade (the client’s wish was to keep it “untainted” and let it follow the neighbourhood’s traditional design line).
This “old vs new” division generated a clear contrast between the building’s forms. “The ‘old’ cottage functions as an entrance from street level, also accommodating a guest bedroom, bathroom and overflow living space. The ‘new’ addition is the core of everyday living in the house. It contains the kitchen, main living area, dining and bedrooms.”
The living room opens up to the terrace and the courtyard. What’s really interesting is that all the glass work makes a Jacaranda tree (one of the old elements kept “alive”) visible from almost any room. The family lives in the new structure while the old part has been transformed into a guesthouse.
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