ELLIE FOX              ARCHIVE, STUDIO
SEPTEMBER, 2015

HABITAT 67 000




Habitat 67 is built on a peninsula which sits on the edge of the Old Port of Montreal, Canada. When designing the concept for Habitat 67, Moshe Safdie applied one of the truest symbols of stability – the cube – to his basis. Made up of 354 cubes of brilliant greyish beige concrete, Habitat 67 forms 146 residencies almost floating, garishly in the sky.

It is this garishness that finitely adds to the character of Habitat 67, also known as Habitat, along with its futuristic interiors, pedestrian streets, suspended terraces, aerial spaces and huge elevator pillars.

Moshe Safdie wanted to offer a “fragment of paradise to everyone”.



“Habitat ‘67 is really two ideas in one. One is about prefabrication, and the other is about rethinking apartment-building design in the new paradigm.”

– Moshe Safdie





NOVEMBER, 2014

BLURRED LINES 000




Adjusting the camera’s lens to what Sugimoto calls ‘Twice Infinity’ – he presents architecture as blurred forms, softening the concrete walls and harsh angles of Modernism. His images break down the façades and show time and detail together, muted in harmony.

These photos are evocative of the images or shapes that are left behind in your eyelids after looking at something meaningful for a long time and it’s almost as if you have seen the buildings up, close and personal. One of the most important images he has produced, in my opinion, is that of the World Trade Centre – two towers – iconic for their disappearance but most of all their feat of engineering.
“A finished building is a product of negotiation; I used an out-of-focus technique in an effort to regain a sense of the architect’s core idealist vision for the building.”

– Hiroshi Sugimoto

 

 




NOVEMBER, 2014

ISSEY MIYAKE 3D 000




Innovation has always been at the forefront of Issey Miyake’s philosophy, so it’s no wonder that the label’s Creative Director of Womenswear, Yoshiyuki Miyamae, has developed a new technique for folding material into origami-like patterns, thanks to the creation of a new type of fabric that contracts into rigid structures when exposed to steam, called 3D Stretch Seam.

The video is a brilliant depiction of the abstraction which comes before the 3D structures form. I think it’s inspiring that an in-house creative has been allowed to embrace innovation with free rein and in such a pioneering way – so often technological developments and projects such as this are outsourced to external companies.  “Technology has been hugely influential on the fashion industry all across the world,” said Yoshiyuki Miyamae.
“We’re thinking about the possibilities of applying it into interior design, or products or architecture.”

– Yoshiyuki Miyamae



3D Steam Stretch fabric was used for garments in Issey Miyake’s Spring/Summer 2015 womenswear collection shown during Paris Fashion Week. It’s a huge leap from the linear patterns created using the same technology that took three years to develop. “This technology could also be used in other industries,” Miyamae said.




NOVEMBER, 2014
Russell Square, London

THE BRUNSWICK 000




New Brutalism started out as an efficient style for post-war Britain – honest with its expression of materials, practical, cheap but futuristic. Unfortunately it didn’t transform Britain into a modernist paradise but instead, new brutalism became the house style for welfare architecture.

For Hodgkinson the The Brunswick had no such affiliation, “I didn’t hold with new brutalism, myself. I just prayed for the day we would be able to paint it.”

The Brunswick Centre has always fascinated me, but I’ve never actually made the effort to go and search for it in London. It just so happens that I came across it the other day after wandering through Holborn and I was seriously taken aback by the sheer size of it, I had always thought it was quite a shallow structure, but it actually towers over the central shopping area.  It’s safe to say the area has come a long way from what it was in the 60’s and 70’s, but one of the most remarkable things about the revival of the Brunswick was how straightforward it turned out to be.

Patrick Hodgkinson had to create a building which was essentially two tower blocks condensed into buildings which didn’t exceed the height limit set by London County Council, his solution was to put it into two rows, leaving a shopping street in the middle. He conceived it as a modern day London village, with family homes, a cinema (The Renoir) and shops.

Its raw concrete and articulated structure put it firmly in the new brutalist school, alongside the ambitious Trellick Tower but did it ever reach the standard that Hodgkinson wanted before the revival?




NOVEMBER, 2014
Lake Lugano, Switzerland

CASA FONTANA 000




After thorough research and analysis of King’s Cross and its’ residential twin, Somers Town, on my course, I came across something which surprised me quite a lot. It turns out that Stanton Williams, who built and renovated Central St Martins and some of the surrounding environments, actually built one of my favourite ever private residential properties.

Casa Fontana sits on a typical, picturesque alpine mountainside in Lugano, Switzerland. It is a sophisticated depiction of modern day life, through its Modernist style and Bauhaus-esque window frames. Utilitarian and beautiful, efficient but exuberant, functional yet meticulous.

The house is set into the mountain like a jigsaw puzzle, not flowing but not ugly. The views are controlled with large panoramas in communal areas and smaller openings in more intimate rooms. The lighting throughout the house adds an air of warm atmosphere for those cold nights overlooking Lake Lugano.

Traditional materials such as travertino stone, white oak and teak weather over time, allowing the house to blend into the landscape. The weathering is accelerated by a layer of patina that forms over copper, stone, bronze and similar metals.

I guess my favourite characteristic of this build is the beautiful pool outside, flanked by white stone walls and exotic greenery. All in all, I need to live here one day.