Courageously Handling Crumbling Architecture

Handling rightly the disintegrating remnants of history can be tricky. Pastiche is rarely as impactive as juxtaposing the old and the new. Once grand ruins provide an intriguing opportunity to insert, bolt or cover with striking steel, cool concrete or elegant glass. Here are few structures that, thanks to brave architects, are turning heads once again.

Filling in the gaps of history. Blencowe Hall in Cumbria, England, uses glass and wood to ‘fill in’ the cracks in this beautiful building.

Old ruins with modern glass at Blencowe Hall

Dovecote studio was literally lifted in to this ruin. I love the rusted exterior complementing the remnants of red bricks.

Studio built inside a brick ruin

This Spanish building incorporated ancient arches with angular stone. Keeping the tone consistent makes this marriage of old and new a restful one to behold.

Old meets new in this stone building with beautiful arches

Oh this is nice. Such a dramatic location, very brooding. The strong boxy structure inside this shell of a lead smelt mill fits perfectly.

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I didn’t spot this on my previous visits to Prague, but isn’t it wonderful? So elegant and harmonious. Corso I now houses office buildings, but as you can see this structure once had very industrial roots.

Glass structure inside elegant old building

Old industrail building in Prague, now a beautifully elegant glass structure inside

Astley Castle in Warwickshire, England, is a bold renovation full of confidence but handled with understanding.

inside Astley Castle in Warwickshire

Astley Castle in Warwickshire

Smart use of environment here. The life-worn brick walls are simply filled with panelled glass and steel allowing this office to feel a connection with its urban surrounds.

Glass extension between crumbling brick walls

Glass and steel office fits between characterful brick walls

Glass and steel office slotted into aged brick walls

A Scottish cottage gets more than a renovation, it pretty much doubles in size! Quite an idyllic island retreat that seamlessly blends in to its rocky landscape.

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This steel and glass structure doesn’t detract from the gorgeous original design. The German castle has been made into a striking museum.

Modern architecture inside old crumbling building

With these once grand old buildings, beauty really can come from within. Whether a seamless narrative captured in colour and material, or more like a ‘an alien has landed’ approach I think this form of old meets new helps secure the importance of these spaces for the future. I wonder where the next few hundreds years will take them!

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My Kind of Architectural Box

If pinned down I would say my favourite architecture type would be Georgian. Houses from this period just have so much scope, and the ‘bones’ are so good. However when it comes to modern design I find myself enjoying most the minimal box.

The simple relationship between glass and wood are what make me happy, framing vistas effortlessly. Giant behemoths of buildings elegantly protruding from the landscape. I have chosen these few architectural boxes, not just for their beauty but for the calm they bring. Who would have thought something so big, bold and striking can leave me feeling relaxed – just by looking at them! See what you think…

Here we are literally enjoying a view framed by a building. Simple clean lines enhance  rather than distract.

Architectural box with a stunning view

I love the mottled cement coating on this luxurious home.

Almost camouflaged white concrete house

Nestled in amongst the trees this stilted home feels to me like a child between the legs of its parents!

Modern home in the woods on stilts

This is a visitor centre, and I have to say I’d move in today! I just adore how the warm wood frames the concrete and glass box. Balance of elements, in my opinion, is perfectly achieved.

Perfectly framed wood, glass and concrete box

Lastly we have an almost invisible house. The slender design adds to the already stunning landscape.

architectual masterpiece - a glass box that dissapears into its context

 

Barmy About Barns

What is it about barn conversions that I like? Well I recon you can’t go wrong with acres of wood, glass and light. They can of course turn out very wrong. When you try to squeeze a normal house-like space into a barn it doesn’t work. But for those who are prepared to re-think ‘house’ and indeed, space, they can be magnificent. Here are a few I like.

Wow, what a confident space. I love how it stares you straight in the face! The slit windows and giant door look more like a fort. The curved grey roof is a worthy feature.

Grey brcik and galvanised arched roof barn conversion

I love a beam, provided I am not going to hit my head (unlikely, 5ft 2 and 3/4s), or if they are ‘lets pretend’. These wooden wonders look just perfect against the crisp white walls and exposed brick.

Two chairs facing a wood burning stove

The oak frame here is happily highlighted by the sage green walls.

wooden interior with fresh county colours

Located in rural Switzerland, this home makes good use of contrasting textures and horizontal lines.

Lovely wooden vertical lines on this barn conversion

Another view inside another beautiful home. The infinite tiles and bricks are the perfect backdrop for some hugable topiary.

Beautiful converted barn with green formal landscaping

I like how open this space is, and the combination of wood, brick and black metal. An enviable island too!

Modern kitchen with wooden beams and exposed brick

Sometimes it is nice to retreat into a dark interior, I love the cut-out window of this bedroom up in the eaves.

Dark wooden interior with giant angled window

Moments of joy in architecture – this barn-shaped wooden frame links the two floors with striking grace.

Moments of joy in architecture

A bespoke kitchen that brings a balance of curves into an olde worlde space.

Wooden beams, range and bespoke kitchen

We end on a more rustic note, calming symmetry, and a view that goes on and on!

Rustic barn conversion

Over-Arching

Today I was looking at curves, the ever pleasing arches that appear in architecture. Like the arc of the rainbow, the arch always feels hopeful, pleasing to the eye and like an encouragement to step forward. Our eyes follow the line up and then happily down, back into the room. In stark Modernist concrete or centuries old white render, the arch will never go away – in style and sturdiness. These are a few that I am enjoying today…

TEd’A Architects produced this design in Spain. The stark white arches are really quite impressive. Simple in black, white and grey.

Spanish arched architecture

How much do you want to walk through that door! Its positively calling me.

A doorway you want to walk through

What I like here is the views these arches create. Environment and structure working in harmony.

CAD of arches creating shade

This arch makes the room. Beautiful chunky wood in a New York office, oh how I wish it was mine.

Loft style apartment with huge wooden arched windows

This perfectly formed arch is not a Hobbit house, but the entrance to Masía Freixa (1907-1910), the Modernist residence designed by Catalan architect Lluís Muncunill i Parellada.

Narrow and tall arched door

Minoru Yamasaki’s tall arched building in Minneapolis dwarfs the trees and borrows its form from nature’s elegance.

Tall concrete arched building

Form is celebrated here! The ceiling mirrors the arched doorway creating satisfying light and shade.

Crisp white curved doorway and ceiling

I adore these white washed narrow bricks. This is Valentino’s flagship store in Rome.

White interior with white wash brick arch minimalist store

Lets leave the Minimalism for a moment and settle our eyes in this Baltimore door – it makes quite an entrance! Black glossy wood surrounds pillar-box-red doors and a yellow domed ceiling. Curves every where you look.

Red door, yellow ceiling and black rimmed arch entrance

So much about this room is just lovely, the bare bones of the space are white washed shapes creating depth. Then we have this steep split staircase and a distressed door. The arch is off-set and seems to be there purely for the joy of it. I love design like that.

Distressed door in a white room with two staircases and an arched recess

An architectural drawing for a restaurant that uses arches in different textures and materials. It almost feels like this structure dances over ahead.

Architectural drawing of arch ceiling and windows

Such elegant arches! Black framed windows echo the shape, the rhythm, decreasing in size – its all very relaxing.

Black rimmed arch windows and white arches down a long corridor

This door is from a gorgeous villa in Majorca, embracing the old and adding in the crisp lines of the new (the stair rail is lovely, take a peak).

Majorcan house with arched door

This picture is of the San Cristobal Fortress in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Such simple detail, honest lines. I love the point above the arch completely unnecessary in a fortress but lovely none the less.

Elegant arches in white plaster

I hope you enjoyed this simple offering, happy Friday.

I Am Seeing Triangles

Everywhere I look triangles are apparent. From textiles to skirts, windows to playing blocks. So I thought I would compile a few triangular structures that celebrate this fashionable shape in all its beauty. Even a humble shed is elevated when a triangle is involved (quite literally actually). See what you think..

I love how the brutality of nature has created something quite unique. This house is in an exposed spot, and as such this tree has flourished behind the shelter of a pink pointy house. A verdant green triangle can be seen in season!

Triangle tree grows sheltered by a pink house

This roof is so pleasing, the angles stretch and reach for shelter. A welcome shade beneath a clearing in the canopy of trees.

Modernist triangle roof

There is an adorable quality topiary. Part of me feels anti such order in nature, I love the wild and whimsical English country garden. However, there is something captivating and strokable about geometric shapes brought into the garden by clipped hedges. I love the contrast in colours here too.

Cone shaped topiary in a formal English garden

This cottage has charm in abundance. The large thatched roof hugs the white washed home. It cuts an engaging shape and sits happily in its environment.

Thatched and white washed cob house

In quite a different landscape, and conjuring images of Seventies cocktails as apposed to home brew, is this Palm Springs home. The shape works wonderfully with the rugged mountains behind.

1970s home with a shape that echoes the mountains

Talk about rickety, this diddy, triangular cabin comes straight from a fairytale.

Triangular cabin in the woods

Well this is just plain awesome. The bamboo construction looks like a giant wigwam, I would just love to spend some time in this space.

Amazing woodland structure made with bamboo

This mountain lodge is really rather smart, the Norwegian architects have designed the sloping roof so you can ski over it!

This angular building nestled in the snow has been designed to have people ski on the roof

Simple is often best. This little escape would be ideal to delve into a novel and leave the world behind.

Black wooden triangular cabin ideal summer house or reading nook

For your urban triangle fix, this Italian hotel embraces the shape in repetition. The orange wood is all the more striking against the tiny grey tile.

Triangle windows in a hotel roof.

I cant’t even get my head around these triangles, they are quite arresting, certainly intriguing. Built in Copenhagen, the jutting out triangles are actually balconies.

Copenhagen flats with jutting out triangluar balconies

If the triangles above are a little over-baring, then the below triangles are harmonious. A graceful structure that feels like it is growing before our eyes.

Triangles wrap around old building

Such elegance and beautiful – shadow patterns with rounded triangles one after the other.

Black and white triangular tunel photographed

Can this be considered a triangle? Perhaps not, but what a window! I don’t know how you would keep the cobwebs at bay, but seriously wow.

Giant window in a triangle shape in a woodland retreat

No doubt I’ll need to add to this post at some point in the future, triangles are so captivating. With corners expanding our minds, I think we feel quite at home amongst these geometric shapes.

Grass Roofs

Grass roofs – I’m not necessarily thinking hobbit houses – contemporary sleek lines are being softened by a green glow of grass. This is of course nothing new but I have collected together a few examples which wear it well.

The attraction for me is the idea of sunbathing on a grassy summit and taking in the elevated view. Going up on a roof always seems a little naughty and exciting – or maybe thats just me.

Green roofs are truly ‘green’, great for controlling water run-off, they reduce sound reflection and transmission, and lower heating costs – and good for the local wildlife!

Some of these grass roofs help the buildings merge into the backgrounds – but other building are just made to stand out.

 

I love how this summerhouse becomes part of the hill side.

Glass, wood and stone grass roofed home

Just like the hills behind, the grass engulfs these traditional buildings. Contrasted with the dark wood and white windows these look like happy homes from middle-earth.

Hidden houses with grass roofs

Bellow is a giant building that is the San Francisco science museum and I think it looks quite stroke-able with its living roof and walls. The massive glass panels reflect the trees and provide a glimpse of a reflected sky.

Living walls and roof on this modern building

A grass roof works just as well on a tiny garden hideaway. Perfectly blended into its scenery, this green roof is a happy edition to the glass and wooden garden room.

Beautifully camouflaged grass topped hut

From the urban environment to the isolated wilds – these hidden huts are totally at one with their surroundings, and what surroundings!

Grass roof houses in idyllic location

This curved roof covered in grass looks so inviting – I want to run up it!

Curved grass roof like a ramp

Of course if you want the neat green glow you need to mow your roof – quite a sight I can imagine. But I like this wilder roof with speckles of blue blowing in the breeze. I think I would plant something sweet smelling so in the warmer evenings the aroma would linger.

Long grass roofed building

This is a building of two sides – view it from one and it looks open and welcoming, from the other – all huddled, green and enclosed.  Eco friendly and very, very green.

 

 

Grass wrapped housegrass covered structure

I love how drenched in grass this home is. It looks so laden with vegetation that the house might sink under its weight! A calming sea of green.

Courtyard house covered in grass

Would you consider a grass roofed house? I think our wooden graphic design studio would look rather fetching topped off in green!

Art Nouveau Architecture

I recently returned from a jaunt to Prague and was wooed by the beautiful architecture. A city that is full of stunning buildings in ice cream colours with ornate Art Nouveau flourishes, and so many faces! You feel like you are being watched by angels that have been captured in stone.

I have always loved the Art Nouveau style and I thought I would show you some really great examples of the buildings and details that herald this remarkable movement.

The Central Hotel, Prague.

Art Nouveau. Hotel Central. Prague

Prague really is a city that enchants, what a magical door!

Art Nouveau door

Its not just Prague that embraced Art Nouveau, the movement was prominent in Europe and the USA from about 1890 until the First World War. When I was 17 and studying Photography I went on a trip to Barcelona – what an eye opener! Architect Antoni Gaudi’s work was prominent as we strolled the streets. I think his style maybe a step too far for me aesthetically but amazing none the less! Reminiscent of Disneyland, but on a sugar rush, and maybe slightly like the movie Alien, Gaudi’s buildings swirl and twirl in candy shades taking adornment to the extreme.

Barcelona Art Nouveau building

This Catalonian building can be summed up in one word to me, ‘joy’. I love it! A contemporary of Gaudi, Jenori Granell’s work has been restored beautifully.

Jenori Granell Barcelona building

Back to doors – why are doors so boring today! I have seen some amazing doors in my travels. A visit to the old town in Kiev years ago was marked by beautiful doors in verdigris. Prague was littered with wonderful entries and even my fair England has lovely carved offerings. This elegant entrance can be found in Barcelona.

turquoise Art Nouveau door

This doorway from Prague is more like a sculpture than a facade. The ladies are thinly veiled and beautifully draped.

Prague decorative door

Art Nouveau is not just about decadent doors, just look at this window in France. Such swirls and curves, not a straight line in sight.

Art Nouveau window in France

And finally Havana’s Art Nouveau was evidently a riot of colour.

Blue and green Art Nouveau facade

There is so so much more I could show you!  I hope you have been inspired by the embellishment and beauty of these bricks and mortar examples of Art Nouveau. Thank you for visiting!