Expo Zaragoza 2008

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Eamonn Canniffe has been invited to contribute photographs of Italian villas to the interactive exhibition which will feature in the Italian National Pavilion at the 2008 Zaragoza Expo. The theme of the Expo ‘Water and Sustainable Development’ will be represented in the pavilion, sponsored by the Italian Foreign Ministry, in a display which features

‘our common historical past: from the marvellous achievements of the Roman Empire to the Middle Ages and Renaissance water mains and Leonardo da Vinci’s hydraulics systems. An interactive map – running around the walls with plasma screens waiting to be “interrogated” by the visitors and equipped with holograms – is both the packaging and the leitmotif of all the material on display, alternating between examples of state-of-the-art technology and brilliant solutions designed by geniuses of the past.’

The gardens featured include Villa Lante at Bagnaia, Villa Barbarigo Dona delle Rosa at Valsanzibio, and the Villa Barbaro at Maser, all of which are illustrated on guttae

The site for the Expo and for the Italian Pavilion.

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Torpedo Hall

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We have been corresponding with an architect member of the the design team for this project at Danish practice Tegnestuen Vandkunsten. The scheme involved stripping back the existing building, a hangar for the maintenance of torpedo boats, and inserting apartments and car parking.

Jens Kristian Seier writes: This is the first project I worked on at Tegnestuen Vandkunsten. It is the reuse of a 1953 navy shipyard structure as housing. It is in the old naval area, Holmen, in central Copenhagen, full of canals and old trees – one of the canals going right into this house. The concrete columns, steel trusses and the canal are kept from the original structure. The old columns and trusses support the new roof and all exterior steel: stairs, bridges, and balconies. The new flats basically support themselves inside the perimeter of the old building.At first we were anxious that this was a bad balance between the old the the new but gradually, as the neighbouring projects tore down all signs of the local industrial heritage and supplanted them with suburban housing, we began to feel we had made the right choice. Suburban it is not. The 32×160 metre industrial frame now contains a density of flats you only find in historic town centres. The municipal pathway that everybody walks along on sundays cross right through the building and past the canal.

There is a general description, more photographs and drawings of the Torpedo Hall Apartments here.

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Pictures by Seier+Seier+Seier including construction photographs.

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Pilar and Joan Miró Foundation

The designer can create small valuable elements within a much larger composition that can affect the quality of a much larger space. Within the hot climate of Mallorca, Rafael Moneo has used the natural qualities of light and water to create an atmosphere of coolness and character.moneo.jpgThe architect delicately placed the foundation building between the almond grove that spreads out over the slope below the building and the artist’s studio, which occupied the space immediately next to the road. The building is composed of a star-like volume to hold the collection and a linear element, which contains the service areas, the entrance and the schoolrooms. There is a very tense relationship between these two contrasting elements. The long thin building is placed on slightly higher ground than the splintered building; stairs within the foyer offer access to the lower gallery areas. This slight disconnection is emphasised by the pools of water, one of which is actually placed upon the roof of the lower building. The landscaping also reinforces this difference, the upper level is organised in an orthogonal manner, while the lower gardens are as dynamic as the star-like building. The upper rectangular building has integrated into it, a south-facing colonnade and from here the visitor has a magnificent view over the top of the gallery, across the island to the sea. This arcade also acts to help cool the building. This slender out-side space shades the enclosed rooms, therefore reducing solar gain. The narrow shape encourages air movement, thus creating a slight wind, which again aids cooling. This is supported by the louvers within the top half of the façade, they also stimulate air movement by encouraging the hot air to speed up as it rises through them. The pool of water directly below this area provides cooler air to replace this, and thus a small isolated stack effect is created. The movement of the water enhances the quality of the atmosphere, as it ripples, it is reflected onto the underside of the colonnade and into the interior space. A small detail that creates a beautiful and effective environment.Name: Pilar and Joan Miró FoundationLocation: Palma de MallorcaDate: 1993Designer: Rafael Moneo

Curve and countercurve: Zaha Hadid in Rome

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The continuity of the urban grid of northern Rome is relieved by an infrequent series of curved structures, Pier Luigi Nervi’s Palazzetto dello Sport, Renzo Piano’s Auditorium di Roma and Zaha Hadid’s MAXXI , due for completion in 2009. The first two exploit the circular and elliptical geometries typical of the Roman tradition, whereas the latest addition to the area employs a series of curved fragments in the traditional material of concrete. The composite photograph shows the elevation to Via Guido Reni where the new concrete linear galleries intersect with the retained former barracks buildings typical of a quarter of the city which still has many military establishments. The compositional sensibility which has always characterised Hadid’s work is here evident in the balancing of the two concrete forms at either end of the banal existing structure with its conventional fenestration pattern.

We have to wait and see if the cranked linear forms of the galleries which stretch back into the block will overwhelm the work to be exhibited within.

The construction of the project is fully documented HERE and there are a series of podcasts available under the multimedia link.