The first thing you need to know about this weekend house is that is has an interesting location – right behind the client’s main residence. The owner lives in a small village called Nosice, but works in Bratislava, so a weekend commute to a remote retreat would imply more fuss than relaxation for him and the family. After taking into account all options, the architects of Bratislava-based studio Pokorny Architekti came to an agreement with their client to build the structure in this beautiful location overlooking the Javorniky Mountains. Basing the design on the owner’s vague request for a “Slovak traditional wooden house somewhere in the mountains of Central Slovakia”, the architects finished constructing the two story weekend retreat last year, in 2011, and the result is fabulous.
Spreading over 1,400 square feet, the warm wooden interiors compliment the surroundings. A central double height living zone featuring a stove with a tile backsplash acts as the core of the house, allowing the client to see the gathered family from the main bedroom and the staircase. Right next to this social space, an open floor plan allowed the dining space to be part of the downstairs entertaining area. The structure’s asymmetric shape looks amazing adorned with a roofed atrium and the use of layered and insulated wood panels – pine on the outside and larch slabs on the inside – makes the weekend house very much part of the surroundings. And, as no retreats should be without, a sauna and hot tub keeps the owners happy and relaxed, while the outdoor grill emphasizes the entertaining and cooking activities.
A good building should make you want to look at it. Even if not always liked by passers-by, it should always make them feel something. Manchester Metropolitan’s University’s business school is a building that effortlessly fits this criteria. Indeed for many, the building by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios is their first taste of the architecture of Manchester as they travel along the arterial road, Mancunian Way. With its distinct ski-slope roof, and glittering mirrored appearance, it provides a flash of silver, and a dazzling break from the dull greys of the motorway, greeting motorists in a slightly space-age way as they enter the city
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