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Architecture impacts our daily life, and thus the challenge for architects is to produce a cohesive design, and eventually result in buildings that impact our life in a positive way. Hence studying other buildings and designs so that one learn from mistakes and improve on new and innovative ideas is a must. Architecture has moved in leaps and bounds in the past century, party fuelled by the enormous social and economic change during the past century and partly because of the new techniques, materials which are now available to architects. Thus the 'exploitation' of the new materials which offer new possibilities coupled with past knowledge of buildings and their use should produce magnificent buildings. In this essay I have tackled four buildings by very different architects. In these four buildings I looked at different aspects of each structure and essentially learnt what makes these buildings work.
1The Pod Pavillion designed by Nicoletti Associati
Nicoletti Manfredi is a prolific Italian architect, who graduated in 1954 and went to MIT to gain his Master's degree in 1955. Over the years he collaborated with various architects and now has buildings all over the world such as the Kazakhastan Concert Hall and others. One striking design is the Pod Pavilion, which is a small part of a massive urban development, in Petaling Jaya, west of Kuala Lumpur (PETRONAS Towers is another architecture landmark which is found quite near the Pod Pavilion) and it serves as a small example of the future buildings which would eventually surround it. Thus this iconic building had to be striking in its design but also functional since the developer wanted to house his offices, and sales showroom in the very same pavilion.  The structure is inspired from water droplets, however that being said others have made other connections to  The Segmented Form of the Pod Pavillion
earth worms, due to its segmented form and the elliptical form that the structure has.  The structural part of the building is made from large tubular steel members. This type of construction is necessary because of the elliptical design of the structure and since the structure had to be built in a relatively short period of time since it had to serve as retail space,  The structure of the pod
conventional concrete formwork would have taken too much time, to set up and cast. The structure is tied to a concrete base and thus forms the structural part of the pavilion. The exterior of the building is clad with reflective aluminium panels. These relatively thin panels easily shape to the building's radical shape. Additionally these reflect sunlight away from the building, and change colour according the sunlight and the various weather patterns and wind paths around the site. The interior of the pavilion is divided into two main parts and this idea is reflected outside. This is because one section of building is surrounded by a small lake, while the other section of the building is connected directly to a small hill thus the building. The lake serves as a mirror like surface which reflects the interesting colours that are produced by the different shades of light reflect off the aluminium panels. Furthermore the 'slashing' of the building gives a sense of scale since the different radii create different heights which the viewer can connect to, similar to the triangles which point inwards in the Hearst Tower in New York. The different radii also serve the purpose of being windows in some segments, thus allowing natural light to filter inside the building hence minimizing the use of artificial lighting sources. The slashing is also continued on the inside, and is the main architectural feature, since the interior of the pavilion is devoid of any eye catching piece apart from the architectural models of the different developments. The interior is white so as to provide a nice clean surface, so that the colourful renders of the  The interior of the Pod Pavilion
proposed apartments pop that much more. Even though the building is separated in two different section, these are connected to form one seamless real estate sales area. The Pod Pavillion has a striking design which attracts attention right now to potential investors, however when the its use has ended, it continues to be a aesthetical feature to attract attention in the surrounding open green areas.
Another architectural project by Nicoletti Manfredi is the Arezzo Court House in Italy. Located inside a historic park just minutes away 400 year old Medici Fort. The design of the new court houses incorporates an already existing structure. The neoclassical structure used to be a hospital, but in the future it will be restored so that it serves as an archive space for the law courts. It is connected to the new block of the Court House via a glass bridge which cut across the landscape. The Arezzo Court House is inspired from the natural forms of nature such as leaves and the medieval architecture that surrounds the area. In plan view the law court is elliptical in form, with the section being a inverted cone with an inclined vertex. The structure is surrounded be an exterior skeleton of large tubular stainless pipes, to which large flat pieces of stainless steel or connected to. This large structure is distanced away from the building which forms a complex geometric pattern. This pattern is created by rectilinear piece of stainless steel of a elliptical form which is very interesting to observe. This structure is also very important to shade the building since its large flat stainless steel piece shade the court house from the land harsh summer sun, but they are engineered in a manner that allows the low angled sunlight to pass through the screen and heat and provide sunlight to in those much needed winter months. The entrance to the law courts is situated between the overlap of two different radii of the stainless steel structure. The north side of the new wing is a single curved wall of black granite. The surface is flamed so that it provides a interesting texture. The interior of law courts gives a sense of space and lightness due to the large amount of natural light that comes in the court house. The court rooms themselves are large double height rooms that give a sense of grandeur to the structure. Furthermore the common areas, the ground is clad in black polished granite. The servers a dual purpose, the mirror like surface reflects light inside the building and also the unbroken surface gives a large sense of scale to the building. Additionally a large spiral staircase, intertwined with a white cylinder which provides contrast to the black casing of the staircase. This project incorporates the respect for architectural past and respect for nature, since the design of the building is such that it nestles itself into the surrounding without destroying its surroundings. Furthermore the design of the structure is to maximise the use of nature itself to heat and light up the building rather than rely on more conventional methods. In essence the structure was design to provide an incredible experience to those people who use it.
Rob Krier an architect who came through the international scene of architecture in 1979 after publishing a book called Stratdum later translated into English called Urban Space. This book mainly tackles the concepts of large urban planning exploring ancient cities and how we could learn from the past. Many of Krier's projects are massive developments concerning large areas and how buildings interrelate to each other and to their surroundings.
One large urban design is called the De Resident in the Hague, in which Rob Krier designed the overall structure and a particular building; Muzentoren. Winner of the DIFA Award in 2004 and FIABCI Award in 2003 the purpose of the main purpose of this building is commercial. The building sits in front of a horse shoe shaped piazza which funnels the pedestrians towards the building. Muzentoren is a 17,800 square meters of office space, distributed over 17 levels connected directly to an underground car park. An underground tramway line surfaces from an adjacent building, (Orion building). Thus this commercial tower has enough parking spaces for all the workers accessing the building and clients entering De Resident. To create a distinctive shape or tower in the middle of this urban area, without building a huge monster of a building what the architect did was experiment with the shape and the selection of materials. The base is octagonal in base, but there are several set backs which form partial curves and thus create an interesting pattern. Furthermore the windows are placed symmetrical to each so as to divide a space equally. De Resident roof is a dome, clad in copper, to form a sort of monumental building. Furthermore the copper roof is an important part to decrease the energy load of the building on the environment. This is because it heats up during the day trapping heat energy which is than later used either as a passive system to create convection current in the building and in the winter times to heat up the building. Meanwhile the entire building is clad with bricks a common building material used in cities, with some a designed pattern made from coloured concrete blocks so as to create or define the different spaces in the building. De Resident is a massive development in which special attention has been given to needs of the modern city, with cheap and reliable mass transport going exactly through the centre to deliver people at the doorstep of business and commercial buildings. Furthermore the shapes of the surrounding buildings create a a leading path to the commercial areas.
Another massive residential and commercial project by Rob Krier is a housing project in Amsterdam. The Meander is a massive development consisting of over 200 apartments. Hence the challenge in such a massive residential zone, is how to allocate the apartments in such way that each one overlooks an open space or in the case of De Meander overlooks the river. Thus the overall design was not how much apartments one can fit, but how to strategically place all the buildings overlooking the river. The building design takes it structure from its name, hence the circular structure with flowing lines maximises the view for each of the apartments. Each corner which connects to a circular tower, and there are total of three and each of the three towers has a different design so as to create a mini landmark for residents to relate to their small part in this large residential zone. Additionally these towers are larger than the adjacent building thus being the dominant part of the building. Furthermore since the area is a pedestranized zone, it became one of Amsterdam's first gated communities. The difference between the different sections is created with the placement of the different bricks and plastered walls to create different patterns. Thus the six story building is covered with different levels to create different patterns. The wandering pattern creates a pleasant design to a large number of families packed in a relatively small area. Yet, the design creates a sense of community and thus creates a sense of belonging to the resident living in the De Meander.
Research takes a large amount of time, which does not necessarily correlate to a substantial amount of work being produced, however the learning process is something which is extremely important. When researching these architects, I was initially sceptical due to the limited amount of information I found. However digging deeper not only did I find more information and endless new things that I could research and learn more about, but I actually learnt to move from the de facto international architects such as Lord Norman Foster, Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid and the likes. Quality architecture is being produced by architect's world wide and even though not all blossom in the light of world wide recognition one can still learn from and appreciate the designs. Each of the buildings I've chosen, where chosen because they had certain specific criteria. Each had to be visually interesting such as the Arezzo Law Court. Furthermore functionality is a must architecture and the buildings of Rob Krier are the essence of functionality and design. These case studies have been a huge learning curve which will help me along my studies and eventually as an architect.