Located on the shores of a Patagonian lake in Rio Negro, Argentina, this summer house by NE-AR is a redesign of an existing dwelling on the site. According to the architects, the interior space was characterized by “a deep dark dinning- living area with limited relation to the outside with a deficient connection between the kitchen and the private and public rooms. At the same time, the small size bedrooms were inefficient to cope with the actual family growth.” The solution was a new extension, which clearly separates the public and private areas.
The layout was planned as follows: “While the existing house will host two large bedrooms, the main bathroom in the ground floor and a secondary bedroom in the first level, all public areas will be linearly organized within the extension volume: open kitchen, dining place and the lounge area; all these spaces will share a wide open wooden terrace deck facing and open to the lake shore.” Reinforced concrete was the main material employed for the new addition; the highlights of the design are four inverted beams which converge in the only load bearing vertical element of the house, a spectacular column integrating a fireplace. [Photography: Mike Mercau]
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
Energy during the construction process was saved by using FSC-certified glulam timber instead of steel to create the building’s distinctive wavy roof, while the store’s external walls use hemclad, a highly innovative insulator made from hemp, which, like all plants, absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere as it grows. An 80,000 litre water tank below ground provides water for the store’s toilets and waters the site’s green wall’, which provides natural insulation, acts as an all-natural pollution filter near the car park, and helps to encourage biodiversity. The result is a building that uses a fraction of the energy of structures of a similar size, and is still very popular with local shoppers.