Concrete can wear many faces. In the wrong hands it goes cold and clinical, the stuff of a thousand Brutalist eyesores. But when made with skill, it becomes something else entirely, imbued with a tactile allure that’s well suited for residential projects. This allure is largely responsible for the quiet, contemplative power of Phoenix House. In a seaside town some 25 miles north of San Diego, architect Sebastian Mariscal formed a structure of richly textured concrete that employs adroit massing, a carefully considered floor plan, and a diverse collection of outdoor spaces in a design that eschews grandiosity for intimacy.
In the heart of Johannesburg, there is probably no building more notorious than Ponte City. The cylindrical tower with a hollow core was built in the 1970s as luxury apartments only for whites. In the ensuing decades, as whites decamped to the suburbs, Ponte became a symbol of urban decay, overrun by drug dealers and gangs and dubbed “suicide central” because of the number of people who chose to end their lives by hurling themselves off the tower.
Today, Ponte is undergoing a renaissance. The building has been renovated over the years and middle class families and young professionals have moved in. A few whites have too, mostly occupying the upper floors. In a nod to its location in what is still one of the most dangerous parts of town, the new Ponte has been turned into something of a fortress. Security is extremely tight and there are severe restrictions on visitors.
Vocativ recently went inside the infamous tower, which is the tallest residential building in Africa.
The Dutch design studio LUST has created a new interactive installation for the exhibition ‘Type/Dynamics’ at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. ‘Type/Dynamics’ interacts with and comments on the work of graphic designer Jurriaan Schrofer (1926–1990) in an effort to revitalize recent design history. The installation visualizes information that continuously surrounds us and is always accessible. By searching for real-time locations currently in the news, like “Ground Zero”, “Reichstag”, or “Tiananmen square”, the installation can locate the panorama images from Google Streetview, abstract them into grids and fill the grids with new information.
As a visitor to the space, you are literally ‘transported’ to that location and surrounded by all the news associated with that specific location. Instead of a photographic representation, the place is represented purely typographically with a host of new items currently being talked about at that location. Nothing in the gallery space stands still; all information continuously moves.
Spanish practice Mestura Arquitectes’ CEIP primary school near Barcelona is fronted by a double skin of ceramic components forming a lattice, supplied by veteran ceramicist Toni Cumella.Tweet
The eight-room, 420-square-foot studio apartment
Four hundred and twenty square feet isn’t a ton of space, so the notion that an apartment that size could be any more than a one-bedroom seems a little far fetched. Well, guess what? New York entrepreneur Graham Hill found a way to pack eight rooms into that small an area by designing his Soho studio as a transforming space.
“The living room and office become the bedroom with a tug of a bookshelf,” explains a post on Gizmodo.com. “Open one of the closets and you’ll find 10 stackable chairs that go around a telescopic dining table for large dinner parties. An entire guest room with bunk-beds and a closet is revealed behind a wall that slides out on tracks. And of course, a well-equipped kitchen and bathroom await.”
Take the tiny tour of Hill’s ultra-efficient home above.