Janelle Zara
Architecture & Design News

OBJECT LESSONS: Architecture & Design News

How a Former Priory Went From Divine to Divinely Relaxing

Designers Patrick Jouin and Sanjit Manku of Paris-based Agence Jouin Manku have given a former priory in northwestern France, in the Loire Valley, an altogether otherworldly makeover. The the industrial design team refurbished the landmark-designated interior of the Saint-Lazare priory at the Fontevraud Abbey, turning the former monastery into a high-end hotel and restaurant complex as part of a larger redevelopment scheme aimed at modernizing Fontevraud and surrounding monasteries that all date to the Middle Ages. By employing a palette of wood, metal and fabric to complement the original stone building, the designers were able to preserve the calm and quiet of the original priory while updating the space to fit the needs of a modern traveler. The renovation process took more than two years and involved rebuilding buttresses and a tower on two sides of the building, rearranging the spaces to accommodate bedrooms and removing flagstone floors to install underfloor heating, all without damaging the original fabric of the priory.

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Moscow City Hall Landmarks the Shukhov Tower

Finally, good news from Russia.

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Akihiro Mizuuchi Designs Edible Chocolate LEGO

Remember playing with your food as a kid? Akihiro Mizuuchi is encouraging adults to do much the same. The Japanese designer has created functional LEGO pieces fabricated out of milk chocolate, reports Dezeen. The resulting product is such a precise replica that it even features the Danish toy company’s logo on top of each brick, just like actual pieces of LEGO.

Food for fun, not thought. Continue Reading

Calatrava Completes Florida University Campus

Santiago Calatrava has finished a brand-new building for Florida Polytechnic University in Lakeland, just ahead of the beginning of the institution’s inaugural school year. He designed both the 68-hectare master plan and the Innovation, Science, and Technology building for the institution, reports Dezeen. The Valencia-born architect makes an especially apt designer for the project — the new institution focuses on the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, all of which are unified in the parabolic curves that Calatrava created for its central structure.

The most notable feature of the 61,000-square-foot structure, which sits on the northern edge of a campus lake, is its latticed aluminum trellis, which, according to Dezeen, is designed to reduce the building’s solar gain by around 30 percent. The interior, where a large first-floor meeting area known as “the Commons” sits directly beneath a vaulted skylight, includes classrooms, offices, and additional meeting spaces. [Dezeen]

— Anna Kats (@fortunaviriliis)

Image courtesy of Santiago Calatrava and Florida Polytechnic University.

FAT Finishes What They Started: A House for Essex Unveiled

Postmodern design triumvirate FAT, which stands for Fashion Architecture Taste, has completed construction of the firm’s final built project, dubbed A House for Essex. Continue Reading

Amale Andraos Appointed Dean of Columbia Architecture School

Amale Andraos has been appointed the new dean of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, the school’s Buell Center announced on Twitter. A principal at New York-based Work Architecture Company and an Associate Professor at GSAPP since 2011, Andraos replaces outgoing dean Mark Wigley. Having helmed GSAPP for nine years, Wigley revealed in September 2013 that he would retire at the end of the 2013-14 school year. Columbia president Lee Bollinger announced today that Andraos’s promotion would be effective September 1, in a press release published shortly after the Buell Center broke the news. In her new capacity, Andraos joins Sarah Whiting, dean of the Rice University School of Architecture, as one of the most prominent female figures in architectural education. Continue Reading

Calatrava Charged in Spanish Court Case

Santiago Calatrava is no stranger to legal troubles. In 2013, he was sued by Spanish winemaker Domecq Wines for constructing a leaky roof, then failing to repair it; late that year, his native city of Valencia sued him for building it a white elephant of a performing arts center, where Christmas performances had to be cancelled when visitor safety was threatened by tiles that fell from the structure’s facade. And he was fined $4.5 million by a court last year for faulty construction at a conference center in the northern Spanish city of Oviedo.

Yet while they were deeply problematic, none of his previous offenses actually broke Spanish law. Now, Calatrava faces charges in a court case regarding the awarding of construction contracts in Spain, reports Reuters. Continue Reading

Dwell on Design Plans to Debut New York Edition in October

Dwell Media, publisher of the namesake magazine devote to being “at home in the modern world” (read: modernist-style residences) is launching its annual design fair in New York City. Typically held in Los Angeles in June, the magazine’s flagship event will debut in New York on October 9 at 82MERCER, running through October 11. As with the L.A. iteration, the East Coast edition will gather prominent figures from across the design industry to debate pressing issues with Dwell Editor-in-Chief Amanda Dameron. Continue Reading

NYC Luxury Condo Will Have a Separate Entrance for Low-Income Residents

When developer Extell’s latest luxury condo building opens at 40 Riverside Drive on the Upper West Side, only wealthy residents will be allowed to enter through the front door. New York City’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development has officially approved plans for a separate entrance that will divert lower-income residents to enter through a side entrance, reports the Huffington Post. The “poor door,” as the New York Post calls it, will prevent owners of the building’s lavishly appointed full-price units from sharing public spaces with residents of low-income apartments mandated by the city. Entrances and elevators will be separated in the building according to income status, prompting incredulity among critics. When the plan was first announced last August, Assemblywoman Linda B. Rosenthal drew comparisons to the ‘separate but equal’ rhetoric of segregation in the West Side Rag. “A mandatory affordable housing plan is not license to segregate lower-income tenants from those who are well-off,” she said at the time. Continue Reading

See Inside Zaha Hadid’s Luxe High Line Condo

The first interior renderings of Zaha Hadid’s forthcoming luxury condo along the High Line have been released and — surprise, surprise — they’re full of swoops and curves. Previously unreleased renderings of her designs for kitchen and bathroom at West 28th St. have been published by Curbed, and the results are to be expected, at best. Utterly banal is more like it.

— Anna Kats (@fortunaviriliis)

Image courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects.