Daily Dose: Seoul Earth House

Add to TwitterBCHO Architects’ new Earth House in Seoul, Korea honors the life and works of celebrated Korean poet, Yoon Dong-joo. It’s built completely underground, yet two large courtyards open to the sky. These courtyards have earth walls and floors and connect to each room through the rest of the house. The resulting intimacy between nature and humans is what serves as a tribute to Yoon’s beloved poetry.

Earth House; Image ©Wooseop Hwang

Earth House doors; Image ©Wooseop Hwang

Earth House also inspires self-awareness by leading the occupant to accommodate the structure (doors opening from the courtyards to the adjacent interior rooms are small; people must change the shape and alignment of their bodies to pass through). With contemporary spaces designed to suit our every need (and whim), this is a concept requiring a mental, as well as physical, shift. Though homes are created to “serve” their residents, not every desire need be fulfilled – we can make concessions, too.

My favorite detail of the Earth House is the wood from a pine tree on site that has been cast into the concrete walls of the courtyards. BCHO says that “as [the wood] decays, it will host small plants and new life will arise with time.” BCHO also used minimal cement and lime for the walls so that they, too, can eventually return to the earth.

Earth House floor; Image ©Wooseop Hwang

I’ll leave you with a quote from BCHO Architects regarding their aspirations for the design of this home:

As Yoon’s poetry expresses hope for the future from times of great peril, which he tried to achieve through self-restraint and self-reflection, our hope is that this Earth House would be a house where we can reflect on ‘ourselves’ while living in the present era.

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Daily Dose: Office Egg

Add to TwitterAre you looking for an alternative to your windowless, cramped office cubicle? Perhaps you should look into the “Blob VB3,” an egg-shaped design by Belgian architecture firm dmvA. Okay, okay, it doesn’t really help with the windowless situation (although it does have a handy little pop-out skylight), but it’s got some pretty interesting design elements that could make it a fun place to spend your working hours.

The Blob; Image ©dmvA

The Blob Interior; Image ©dmvA

The amount of shelving and storage alone makes this a fabulous office interior. It also features a bathroom, kitchen and sleeping area (which, admittedly, is just one of the shelves. Still.) Lots of interior lighting and white walls keep the space bright and cheery, and if your possessions are as colorful as the ones in the photos you’ll have quite the photogenic workplace! If at some point you want a change of scenery, you’re in luck – the “Blob” is made primarily of a light polyester material and is thus very mobile.

Bed shelf in the Blob; Image ©dmvA

What do you think? Could you work from someplace like the “Blob?”

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Daily Dose: World Cup in Cape Town

Add to TwitterCape Town’s new Greenpoint stadium is the site of the 2010 World Cup semi-finals. Its understated visual presence in the face of breathtaking natural scenery was a well-thought-out design strategy by architects gmp and Louis Karol and Point Architects and Urban Designers; they did not want to detract from the already stunning surroundings. The silvery-gray, reflective building will remain a permanent presence in Cape Town after the World Cup, hosting rugby and football games as well as concerts and major community events.

Greenpoint Stadium; Image ©Bruce Sutherland

Inside Greenpoint Stadium; Image ©Marcus Bredt

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Daily Dose: Seattle Living

Add to TwitterToday’s Daily Dose is short and sweet. The image below is of a building that contains a health food store and apartments in downtown Seattle, Washington. Do you suppose tenants hang their drying laundry from those spirals? I’d probably find some use for them if that was my apartment… would you like to live in a building with such a unique façade? Let us know in the comments below!

Seattle Building; Image ©Wonderlane

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Daily Dose: Napkin Sketch Contest

Add to TwitterFor all the fancy-schmancy design software in use today, there’s apparently still some nostalgia for simplicity and spontaneity. At least, that’s the read I get from Architectural Record’s cocktail napkin sketch contest. If you’re a practicing architect in the United States you’re eligible to enter this quick and fun competition!

Napkin Sketch; Image courtesy of archrecord.com

The rules are pretty straightforward – send in up to six original architectural ink/pen sketches on individual 5″ x 5″ white cocktail napkins and you’re good to go! The winning entry will be published in Architectural Record’s August 2010 issue as well as on their website. A box of napkins printed with the chosen sketch will also be sent to the winner. Entries must be postmarked by June 21, 2010 (that’s Monday!) so it looks like you’ll be going out tonight… for the sake of the napkin, of course.

For complete entry information and submission address, visit http://archrecord.com (it’s on the home page). While you’re at it, post links to your entries here so we can all revel in your talents!

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Daily Dose: Shipping Container Studio

Add to TwitterAs an artist, I am particularly interested in the airy, clean-cut studio space created by Maziar Behrooz of MB Architecture. The two-storey, double-wide construction offers two studios, storage and a gallery – all with superb natural lighting throughout the interior. Two shipping containers sit above ground, their floors mostly removed to reveal the foundation below. While it may not sound like the most elegant of spaces, take a look at the photos below and see how clean lines and stark walls can add a touch of class to even the most banal of beginnings.

Shipping Container Studio; Image courtesy of gbnyc.com

Studio Interior; Image ©Maziar Behrooz

Lower Interior Studio; Image ©Maziar Behrooz

Sign me up! Next time a find a spare $60,000 (the budget Maziar Behrooz had to work with), I’ll know where to invest it… for now I’ll just look and sigh a little.

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Daily Dose: Peak Series

Add to TwitterVisiondivision is revolutionizing the design of vacation homes. The pre-fabricated structures are visually simple, but nevertheless offer functional environments for recreational life in a variety of locations. So far, Visiondivision has imaged these homes as cabins, vessels and ski slopes, to name a few.

Visiondivision peak series home; Image courtesy of archdaily.com

As you can see from the above photograph, the “peak series” homes have climbable exteriors with hatches opening at different levels. Each individual hatch leads to a sleeping area on the interior mezzanine second storey. Guests can truly come and go as they please – finding their footholds to the ground below or taking a dive from their windows in the case of the floating homes.

Visiondivison Peak Series Vessel; Images courtesy of archdaily.com

Visiondivison peak series interior; Image courtesy of archdaily.com

The first floor is a more open “social” area while the uppermost level houses the master bedroom and bathroom facilities. As of now, the homes are available in Scandinavia in two sizes. The smaller has a single master bedroom and accommodations for six guests; the larger can house twice as many individuals.

Depending on how mobile these vacation homes are, you could have a great unit for a variety of destinations… I know I could find a few places I’d like to set these up!

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