“Apelle is a wooden one family house located in Karjaa, Finland. The building rests in a natural harbor like a boat in a sheltering pocket surrounded by bed rocks and trees. The interior space of Apelle is a continuous tube that grows gradually along the house and through the main opening and terrace into the forest. Along this axis the collective and private actions are tuned according to the times, functions and needs of the day and night. The same space is used for everything from sleeping to eating and from socializing to work as a studio space or a gym. This kind of multi-functional space of “tupa” or “pirtti” is common in traditional Finnish architecture. A free standing cube serves for water with a sleeping loft on top…
Archive for the ‘landscaping’ Category
Tower of Babel, 1563 by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. Bruegel painted a series of three pictures of the Tower of Babel; one, on ivory, is lost.
‘Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves; otherwise we shall be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.’ (Genesis 11:4).
“The workers in the painting have built the arches perpendicular to the slanted ground, thereby making them unstable and a few arches can already be seen crumbling. The foundation and bottom layers of the tower had not been completed before the higher layers were constructed.”
“Bruegel’s depiction of the architecture of the tower, with its numerous arches and other examples of Roman engineering, is deliberately reminiscent of the Roman Colosseum, which Christians of the time saw as both a symbol of hubris and persecution…
“The parallel of Rome and Babylon had a particular significance for Bruegel’s contemporaries: Rome was the Eternal City, intended by the Caesars to last for ever, and its decay and ruin were taken to symbolize the vanity and transience of earthly efforts.“
“It is a fact that the story of the Tower of Babel was interpreted as an example of pride punished, and that is no doubt what Bruegel intended his painting to illustrate. Moreover, the hectic activity of the engineers, masons and workmen points to a second moral—the futility of much human endeavour… Bruegel’s knowledge of building procedures and techniques is considerable and correct in detail.”
See also The End of the Age of Tall Buildings.
A small selection of architectural photographs by Vancouver photographer Krista Jahnke. Trained as an architect at Carleton University, Jahnke also has a BFA in photography from Vancouver’s Emily Carr University of Art and Design. She’s taken some of the best shots of the Eames House I’ve seen. There are many photographs of that iconic house out there in the world, but Jahnke’s photos somehow situate the house in its environment in a different way.
See Jahnke’s site for some Vancouver architectural masterpieces and landmarks, both public buildings and private houses such as the Merrick House, and other sites abroad. She is also an award-winning designer. See here (P. 66)
Above, Vancouver’s Robson Square from above, showing the “Pop Rocks” white bean bag public seating installation by Matthew Soules and AFJD Studio; Jahnke was involved in the project as official photographer.
Above: Farm house in Keldur, Iceland. These are “earth sheltered” houses, an ancient form of passive solar, sustainable architecture. It’s the practice of “packing earth against building walls for external thermal mass, to reduce heat loss and maintain steady indoor temperature.”
From Wikipedia: “A sod roof or turf roof is a traditional Scandinavian type of green roof covered with sod on top of several layers of birch bark on gently sloping wooden roof boards. Until the late 19th century, it was the most common roof on rural log houses in large parts of Scandinavia. Its distribution roughly corresponds to the distribution of the log building technique in the vernacular architecture of Finland and the Scandinavian peninsula.” Apparently the birch bark was an effective waterproofing layer.
In my neighbourhood, applications to build green rooves have recently been rejected by City Hall, despite the current civic administration’s green agenda. We may be seeing a case of two agendas at odds: the heritage agenda for the oldest neighbourhood in Vancouver, with its housing stock of imported Victorian/Edwardian styles, and City Hall’s green agenda. The latter apparently doesn’t trump the former, though there may also be engineering concerns at play. Anyway, I came up against this when I became interested in building a carport/garage with a green roof.
Clearly this is a historic method, even in damp, dark places. These houses are examples of a very, very old building practice. In the case of the earth sheltered houses above I’d be curious to know if the interiors were damp, but I expect the houses with sod rooves were probably pretty comfortable.
The most beloved local example of a grass roof is in Coombs, B.C. where a popular stop on Vancouver Island is a small restaurant whose roof is covered in small grazing goats. Very popular with B.C. children and tourists. Our new convention centre in BC also has a notable green roof. But I’ll be interested to see if this method makes it to the local housing level in Vancouver, whose code is one of the strictest in N. America. A code so strict that it inhibits the building of any interesting architecture, and in fact precludes the building of house styles actually indigenous or vernacular to this region.
Four houses directly below are via Inhabitat.
Below, sod roof with goats at Coombs, B.C.
Below, the new Vancouver Convention Centre with its green roof