One word to describe the Berrima House in Singapore: zen! Borrowing many elements from the Asian culture, the Berrima House completed by Park + Associates, is a space dedicated to body, mind and spirit. The house promotes social interaction and glorifies the need of spending time engaging the family members in different types of activities. Therefore, building Berrima House was rather a way of focusing on different areas serving for different activities. The house has a volumetric structure, showcasing a green oasis in the very heart of it (a beautiful interior courtyard divided the ground floor and creates a breezy atmosphere).
Zen fountains embrace the house’s decks, while (almost) everything is wrapped in precious marble. The bright atmosphere is one of the focus points. As a consequence, the structure itself keeps a very fluid look: the rooms have no solid walls, but framed glass and there are few doors and many hallways. From the kitchen you can access the interior garden and why not, even dine there, in the intimacy of your own peaceful green retreat.
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
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