Aomori Nebuta House

Seeing these lovely winter images of Aomori Nebuta House, I could not help but miss the snow - need to get to the mountains stat - and this building's absence (or something similar) from Vancouver's architectural landscape. This lovely project was designed by Vancouver's own Molo Design - known here more so for their less permanent works such as Softwall and Cloud light. 

After winning an international competition nearly a decade ago to design Nebuta House, they have been duly acknowledged internationally for their architecture this year as the building finally opened to visitors. Among the awards are International Architecture Award for Best New Global Design 2011, Perspective Excellence Award 2011, Design Vanguard 2010, and highly commended by venerable Architectural Review for Emerging Architecture 2011. 

Aomori's Nebuta Festival is one of Japan's largest and is quite spectacular consisting of a procession of large and incredible lantern floats representing many spirits, gods, and heroes. Nebuta House exhibits five best from each year. 

Although Molo Design winning competition entry was for a somewhat different program, the design was adjusted to its current intent. An external skin of twisted metal ribbons encloses a perimeter breezeway - not unlike traditional engawa. Besides giving the building its visual identity, it also mediates the sense of enclosure and filters the light. Where the external screen  The light and shadow play give way to darkness within, recreating the nighttime condition that sets off the Nebuta Lanterns to their full advantage. The designers have handled the shadows so skillfully as a strategy. 

It is a wonderful building - now can we have one like that in Vancouver? Architecture wanted....

design renderings

skin model

All images are by Iwan Baan and Molo Design.


Photo Post - Waterfront House by Nick Milkovich

What luck! Recently I got a chance to tour a house designed by Nick Milkovich, which is in the final stages of construction. The house is very grand and the detailing is such a treat! Here are the pictures:


Staples Residence by Arthur Erickson

This house is currently for sale  - Vancouver Lights did a wonderful post on it with more detail. Listing is here. The house needs tonnes of love, but it is, oh, so gorgeous, and is well worth it!


RUF Project on Salt Spring

Ah, Salt Spring, how did you become a home to most splendid recent architecture in BC? What is your secret?

On the heels of the Linear House profile last week (see post below), comes another linear house on Salt Spring - this one designed by young studio RUF project, previously posted about here. They first presented this house design at Pecha Kucha Vancouver this summer.

Panoramic views from the site are a cue for the linear orientation of the main space. Heroic gluelam beams at the windows free the facade of structural supports, allowing the entire water side of the volume to be glazed. The whole volume is also like a bridge between the two wings, there is a great lightness in that section of the span.

It harks back to Smith House 2 by Erickson - perhaps, a tribute? They were inspired by Erickson one way or another:
Luckily, RUF was working with “ideal clients,” whose design brief of rustic Canadian cabin meets modern villa allowed them relatively free rein. Inspired by West Coast mid-century modernists – especially Arthur Erickson – the house is a contemporary take on the longhouse that pushes the concept of post and beam to its limits.
For a much better description of the project, I would defer to a pro - Hidani Ditmar has recently profiled  RUF Project and this house in Globe and Mail.

all images by Ivan Hunter; drawings by RUF Project