The Monthly European Architectural Newsletter - April 2012
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The challenges of the individual house

Commonplace since decades the single-family houses are culturally associated to the creation of suburban zones, practically everywhere in the world. However, time moving along, they have been deeply changed. Better building materials choice, governmental incentives, technology and higher standards of living have played a significant role in their evolution. To own one’s house was considered as a key element of the “American dream”. But the economic crisis has struck meanwhile. From now on, isn’t the “American dream” the desire to live a decent life with a sufficient income? Henceforth many raise their voices to criticize the high costs of domestic maintenance and energy consumption, and to fight against the always rising number of cars. The future requires to strongly cut back on spending to create new reasonable ecological models. Presently the house is already showing a new aspect. It is the skill to find solutions for the private demand for ecological houses, solutions for small plots of land and the use of high tech materials. In practical terms, in this specific sector, architects are free to express their ideas and to test new concepts. But this option means many challenges. To create a house requires necessarily to rethink the daily life and the home’s functions. The environmental concerns, nowadays essential in the sustainable structures construction have considerably changed the deal. Notably regarding research. Example: the Stuttgart University demonstrates the connection potential of energy flows between the electro-mobility and the built environment. Mastering the distribution between surfaces with opaque and glazed coatings, this innovating concept illustrates the feasibility of sustainable and recyclable single-family houses generating an important energy excess, enough to feed the electric cars of their householders. To be continued…

The ArchiWorld® team

Portrait of the month

1) Glenn Murcutt

2) Magney House

3) Simpson-Lee House Exterior

4) Marika-Alderton House

5) Arthur & Yvonne Boyd Art Centre

6) Murcutt-Lewin House and Studio

7) Walsh House

Glenn Murcutt
Architecture for place

After Vienna and before Brussels, Ljubljana will be the city welcoming the moving exhibition devoted to the Australian architect. A way to learn more about the 2002 Pritzker prize-winner, far from the “star system” but praised for his simple approach and his respect for environment.

Born in London in 1936, Glenn Murcutt spent his early childhood in New Guinea, then in Sydney where he studied at the Technical College (presently the New South Wales University). Graduated in 1961, he opens in 1969 a studio in Sydney. This architect works alone, without any computer. Because he likes silence, time to think, appreciates travelling and transmitting his ideas to his students. Furthermore, many projects involving numerous customers enable him to increase his experimentation stimulation. « Architecture is a marvelous expression of the process of discovery. As a scientist who doesn’t know the answer, I am there for the joy of discovering. »

Glenn Murcutt acknowledges the influence of Alvar Aalto and Mies van der Rohe, but he rapidly develops his own style. If he follows the geometric rigor of his masters, he will however prefer using simple materials, not luxurious, and manufactured locally. He chooses them light with low thermal mass (like corrugated sheets, traditional material in Australia) and erects his constructions higher to respect the coastal environment or, on the other hand, structures them with a high thermal mass concrete foundation slab to store heat in winter or freshness in summer, or even berries them almost entirely to use the ground’s thermal mass as an asset.

To comply with the environmental and climatic conditions is essential to him. With his small-scale projects in Australia, Glenn Murcutt relentlessly weaves links between the building, its site and the nature. The site analysis and the living habits of the future householders determine the layout of the house, which, anyhow, will use a maximum of natural light and keep its heat or its freshness. The roofing shapes, covered with vegetation or not, the shading systems being an integral part of architecture, contribute to the energy consumption reduction. Giving great attention to the ventilation or to the rainwater recuperation tanks, the buildings are meticulously constructed to catch the winter sun and exclude the unwanted summer sun.

Glenn Murcutt has designed and completed more than 500 buildings in this way over the past 40 years, following an architecture rooted in the Aboriginal culture (all these buildings-almost exclusively housing- are indeed in Australia); His specific position in contemporary architecture is characterized by a strong relation with traditional building techniques associated with the use of local materials. The form adopted by the buildings is optimized architecturally and for the climate, and completed with intelligent details. The houses look almost prefabricated; individual construction elements are joined so that they can be dismantled for reuse in the future.

Since 40 years, his real challenge is to generate a minimal impact on the environment. With this concentration on a responsible handling of the environment, his buildings have always been ahead of today’s international trend towards sustainability in contemporary architecture. It is probably his childhood spent in Papuasia New Guinea that made him realize the importance of environmental matters and also a strict father, ahead of his time (he builds for himself unusual houses) that have determined this extraordinary frugality and this predisposition for technical exploits.

* An Architecture Foundation Australia exhibition

1) Glenn Murcutt
© Anthony Browell

2) Magney House, Bingie Point, New South Wales, 1982-1984 and 1999
© Anthony Browell

3) Simpson-Lee House Exterior, Mount Wilson, New South Wales, 1988-1993
© Anthony Browel

4) Marika-Alderton House, Eastern Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, 1991-1994
© Glenn Murcutt

5) Arthur & Yvonne Boyd Art Centre, West Cambewarra, New South Wales, 1996-1999
© Anthony Browell

6) Murcutt-Lewin House and Studio, Mosman, Sydney, New South Wales, 2000-2003
© Anthony Browell

7) Walsh House, Kangaroo Valley, New South Wales, 2001-2005
© Anthony Browell

Project of the month

Dreer House

Architects : Felix Bembé & Sebastian Dellinger (design Karl Dreer)

Perfectly reflecting a desire for minimalism and serenity, this aesthetic reduced house is a real exploit thanks to the use of acrylic stone.

This special housing has an unobstructed view on the green forests of Upper Bavaria. Borrowing from the Bauhaus style, the geometry here speaks a clear formal language. The structure, a plain rectangle, in a timeless modern style is augmented by two cubes placed on top of it. A peace and wellness haven as per Karl Deer’s wish (the owner of a carpenter’s workshop). The flat roof construction-cubic towers and plain forms-opens on 1200 square meters of vast interior spaces on two levels.

The monochromatic aspect increases the feeling of boundless space. In addition to the importance given to design, a decisive selection of materials has allowed a high degree of healthy living in conjunction with an optimal energy balance to be realized. The complete shell structure is made from so-called cross laminated timber. This certified wood is made from pine boards stacked crosswise on top of each other and glued together. Delivered by truck, the tailor-made individual components were assembled only in a few days.

The ecological orientation continues with a natural external bonded insulation Inthermo. The finest clear white mineral plaster provides the final finish to the exterior. The highlight is the Hi-Macs® an innovative mineral material which is present almost in the whole house, from the entrance to the bathroom passing by the terrace. The oversized entrance door is flanked by two window frames with fixed lamellae. After entering the house, you are greeted by the bright, light-flooded atmosphere of this large house with an open kitchen and a generous lounge with a gas fireplace. The 250 kilogram dining room table consisting of multiple HI-MACS® elements would appear as a large, seamless whole and a futuristic object.

The temperature, lighting and shading are all controlled via a BUS system – central, but individual. The operation and visualization of all details takes place via touch panels which are installed in every room. Planning with a love for detail the house exists without fossil fuels and sets standards for environmental protection and efficiency.

© Dirk Wilhelmy

Product of the month

The new Epson Stylus Pro 4900 has been designed with architects in mind

When selecting a printer, architects and CAD specialists have often had to choose quality over speed and vice versa, or take a risk and make a significant investment in a high-end printer to achieve both. Well, not any more, architects can have everything they need in one affordable package. Epson has had the precise requirements of architects and CAD users firmly in its sights for some time and the new 17-inch Epson Stylus Pro 4900 ticks all the boxes for colour quality, accuracy, speed and reliability. Additionally it represents a cost-effective answer to these needs.

click here for more information

Competitions in the spotlight
The first worldwide architecture contest for students in architecture Archi-World® Academy Award (AWA) 2011/2013: "Energy-saving projects and ideas for the future of architecture and urbanism".

Click here to see the Archi-World® Academy Trailer

Click here to register!
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The Piscine 2012 international exhibition is launching Pool Vision 2012, an international architecture and interior design competition, in collaboration with Archi-Europe.

Pool Vision 2012 is open to all qualified architects, interior designers, pool designers from any country.

Click here to register!
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BolognaFiereand Archi-Europe jointly organize a special contest "SAIESelection" in order to select 18 projects and concepts (9 for young architects and 9 for students) on the theme “The built environment renewal. Regenerate and improve – Highly innovative and sustainable solutions".

Click here to register!
Event in the spotlight

Lebanon's Leading Construction Exhibition

Project Lebanon 2012, the 17th edition of the International Construction Trade Exhibition for Lebanon & the Middle East is the premier event of its kind in the region bringing together industry leaders from around the world.

With over 800 leading regional and international exhibitors from around the world, it provides a unique platform to view the latest equipment and services from the construction industry, develop international relationships and generate new business opportunities.

ome and visit Archi-Europe at Project Lebanon

Click here for more information
Click here to visit project Lebanon

(13 – 15/06/2012) Munich (DE)
(19 – 22/04/2012) Brussels (BE)
(27/04 – 8/05/2012) Paris (FR)
(8 – 11/05/2012) Madrid (ES)
Designs of the Year 2012
(8/02 – 15/07/2012) London (UK)
Design City 2012
(13/04 – 3/06/2012) Luxembourg (LU)
>> read more
Poolvision 2012
Deadline: 31/05/2012
Instant Temporary Housing
Deadline: 04/06/2012
Archi-World® Academy Awards 2011-2013
Deadline: 30/10/2012
>> read more

Belgium New Architecture 5

288 pages
€ 49.50
Prisme Editions
French - Dutch - English
ISBN 978-2930451091
>> read more
AutoCAD 2012
Jean-Pierre Couwenbergh

808 pages -€ 39.90
Editions Eyrolles
ISBN: 978-2212133233
>> read more
100 contemporary houses
Philip Jodidio

688 pages - € 38.00
English - German - French
ISBN 978-3836523301
>> read more

© 2012 ArchiWorld
Responsible Editor: Jacques Allard
Chief Editor: Marie-Claire Regniers

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