Visiting architectural masterpieces by the greats can often feel like a pilgrimage of sorts, especially when they are far away and hard to find. Not everyone takes the time to visit these buildings when traveling, which makes getting there all the more special. With weird opening hours, hard-to-reach locations and elusive tours we thought we’d show a selection from our archives of masterpieces (modernist to contemporary) and what it takes to make it through their doors. Don’t forget your camera!
NB: All Hours are general hours, make sure to check the country’s national and bank holidays when planning your visit!
How to Visit: From the town of Mechernich, the chapel is either a 12 min drive, 35 min bus ride (take the 867 bus from Mechernich Bf station) or if you fancy a walk it should be an approximately 1h30 trek (7.5km) through the scenic countryside.
How to Visit: From nearest neighbouring cities Padua and Venice, Scarpa’s Tomb is about an hours drive, if not the nearest bus station is San Vito D’altivole Via Asolana, which can be reached by train and bus from each city (though it takes about 2 hours travel) – the tomb is a short 8 min walk from the station.
Hours: October 17th 2016 to April 2nd 2017: 10AM – 5PM and April 3th to October 15th 2017: 9AM to 7PM – open every day except Jan 1.
How to Visit: Located on a hill, the church is a 30-min walk from the station Gare de Ronchamp (1.8 km). The station itself is a 30-min drive from nearest city Belfort (France) where trains and bus connections are 1 hours’ journey each way.
Hours: Tuesday-Sundays 10:30AM-6:00PM (James Turrell Exhibit open 11AM-5:30PM).
How to Visit: From Seoul, the car journey is: East Seoul toll Gate > Hobeop JC > Moonmak IC > Oak Valley > SAN Museum; by bus, the route from Seoul is via the Oak Valley Shuttle bus from the Wonju Express Bus Terminal.
How to Visit: From Vienna Central Station, you’ll need to take a U-Bahn followed by a bus to Wien Breitenfurter Straße (outskirts), then an approx. 20-min walk towards the church, which is located at the top of a hill in a quiet suburb.
Hours: Open April — November with tours Tuesdays through Fridays – 10:00AM, 12:00PM, and 2:00PM or Saturdays and Sundays – On the hour from 10:00AM to 3:00PM (Closed Mondays). Closed Easter Sunday and July 4.
How to Visit: To get to Plano, allow for a 2h drive from Chicago, or public transport either to Plano (Amtrak train) or Aurora (Metra rail) – then take a cab from the nearest station to the house. Guided Tour Cost: $20 (plus $2.50 convenience fee online, $5 convenience fee if the ticket is purchased on site if available). Tickets can be purchased online and by phone, and visitors are strongly encouraged to book in advance.
Hours: A variety of tour dates and times are available on the site’s calendar.
How to Visit: Because Fallingwater is located in a rural area, no public transport is available nearby – you need to get there by car. Tickets must be bought in advance for all tours in Fallingwater and Duncan House, either online or by phone. When tours are full, a limited number of grounds passes are available forFallingwater. Detailed information can be found on their website.
How to visit: This one is last for a reason – the maison de verre is insanely hard to visit despite its central location in Paris. In order to even be eligible, you must be a student or professional working in an architecture or related field. According to Untapped Cities, tours are by appointment only and are scheduled on Thursdays at 2PM and 3:30PM. If you plan on visiting the Maison by yourself, you must reserve a tour 3 to 4 months in advance. If you’re visiting as part of a group, you’ll need reserve your tour 5-6 months in advance with a cap of 10 people (!!!). If you’re eligible, send a letter describing your interest and your qualifications firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a tour.
Eight minutes. That is the length of time UK-based company Ten Fold Engineering’s self-deploying structures can transform itself from a portable rectangular container into a fully habitable space that can be used for either the residential or service sector. Transported by truck, the company offers a shelter that is energy efficient, eliminates labor costs, and is highly customizable in an effort to revolutionize the possibilities of prefabrication and construction.
With the only requirement for installation being a stable ground, the options for Ten Fold’s structures are expansive, including the ability to stack units for more space. The standard structure, the TF-64, includes 729 square feet of clear space when open and 112 square feet of storage space when closed. Doors, windows, and partition panels act as modular components, that can be arranged in a number of ways. The structure accommodates plumbing for showers, bathrooms, and kitchens to be fixed inside the unit or in adjoining modules. Aesthetic finishes such as the material and color of the walls are also adjustable.
The structures have the ability to be equipped with clean energy technologies such as solar power, batteries, water storage and water treatment in the units or via bolt-on power system pods. With this capability, the structures can go off-grid, which is beneficial for remote and extreme climates. The long-lasting steel design is constructed to meet BREEAM and LEED standards according to Ten Fold.
Not only does the portable structure represent a rethinking of residential design, but also an easily implemented solution to help communities in need. The shelters have the potential to provide services such as mobile clinics or grocery stores.
A majority of the videos on the website are CGI renderings to show the versatility of the technology, but the company also employed six physical prototypes to understand the theoretical mechanics of the structure. In addition, a full-scale prototype was built to help the public and potential customers understand its practical use.
The price of the units will depend on their size and complexity, and also could vary based on manufacturer or country according to Ten Fold. A list of prices for standard units will be released in late July 2017.
The project still has steps to complete before wide-spread distribution, such as converting the drawings to American Building Codes, but Ten Fold anticipates that delivery of the units will be guaranteed for most areas by the end of 2018.
The UK’s postals service company, the Royal Mail, has launched a new special stamp series celebrating 10 buildings “that represent the renaissance of contemporary architecture in the UK of recent years,” including Zaha Hadid Architects’ London Aquatics Center, Herzog & de Meuron’s Switch House addition to the Tate Modern and Mecanoo’s Birmingham Library.
“The past two decades has seen a surge in the construction of new public buildings in the UK,” explain the Royal Mail in a press release. “A great many of these adventurous and innovative structures, serving culture, sport, government and business, have since become popular and integral parts of their local landscapes, often playing a part in regeneration.”
Philip Parker, Stamp Strategy Manager, Royal Mail, added: “These new stamps celebrate visionary buildings which combine stunning architecture with great engineering.”
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), in collaboration with landscape architects Grant Associates, has been selected as the unanimous winner of the International Urban Design Ideas Competition for the Financial District and Marina District of the Port City Colombo, Sri Lanka. An extension of the existingColombo Central Business District (CBD), the new Port City district will comprise a whopping 269 hectares of development, transforming the area into a hub for commerce, tourism, and culture.
Recognized by the jury for its exceptional ecological and cultural sensitivity, SOM’s master plan consists of a series of urban elements – squares, canals, gardens, a park and harbor – that draw from Sri Lanka’s unique geography and ecology. A central civic plaza features shaded promenades inspired by hanging gardens, which extend around the perimeter of the new marina.
“The locally resonant design approach is also apparent along the canal edge promenade, where inlets of varying character reference the lagoons of Sri Lanka’s rich and articulated coastline,” the architects explain.
A waterfront cultural venue located adjacent to the CBD of Port City Colombo will also draw people toward to marina, as well as serve as an iconic backdrop for gathering and events. The various towers designed for the plan will come together to create a “striking, legible” skyline that presents itself toward several key points throughout the city.
The master plan has been developed within a sustainable development framework that will allow the the district to grow and adapt to future concerns. A timeline for construction estimates the project to complete by 2041.
The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has announced the shortlist of six projects competing for the 2017 Stirling Prize, the UK’s most prestigious award for architecture, given to the building “that has made the biggest contribution to the evolution of architecture in a given year.” Selected from the list of national award winners, the finalist buildings range from an elegantly detailed photographer’s studio in west London, to an immense new campus for the City of Glasgow College.
“This year’s shortlisted schemes show exceptionally creative, beautifully considered and carefully detailed buildings that have made every single penny count,” said RIBA President Jane Duncan. “Commissioned at the end of the recession, they are an accolade to a creative profession at the top of its game. Each of these outstanding projects has transformed their local area and delights those who are lucky enough to visit, live, study or work in them.
“This year’s shortlist typifies everything that is special about UK architecture: this is not just a collection of exceptionally well designed buildings but spaces and places of pure beauty, surprise and delight.”
The judges said: “Barrett’s Grove is a characterful building in a disjointed urban street. Its adjacency to a primary school is a fitting location for a house built with the fairy-tale materials of brick, wood and straw. Inside, the building holds a series of generously proportioned, well-lit apartments; each with a wicker basket balcony that sticks out proud and far, like a salute to passers-by.
The staggered hit-and-miss brick skin of the façade makes a larger-than-usual pattern, which fits the tallness of the overall building. Wrapping the skin up and over the roof, emphasizes the simplicity of the building’s form.
Inside, the feeling is of a large house split into many homes; a refreshing change from the cheap finishes and convoluted corridors of many apartment blocks. The apartments are double aspect and each room is a good proportion. Space is used wisely and left over space is exploited, for example a strip of workspace overlooks the living room in the top maisonette making a small strip of space a delight to inhabit.”
British Museum World Conservation and Exhibitions Centre / Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners
The judges said: “The WCEC building is located on the north-west corner of the British Museum site in Bloomsbury. It consists of five vertically linked pavilions (one of which is located entirely underground),and houses a new exhibition gallery, laboratories and conservation studios, storage, and facilities to support the Museum’ logistical requirements and loans programme.
This building is the realisation of an extremely complicated brief in terms of spatial challenges, technical requirements, and engineering technologies. Its achievement derives from the elegant and simple way these challenges are met, while maintaining a clear and coherent diagram and a refined and rational building enclosure.
The spaces provided for exhibition allow objects of a size and height which would not be possible to exhibit elsewhere in the museum. Objects can be delivered at street level in lorries which are then taken to lower floors by a platform lift that sinks into the ground without disturbing the landscape.
The jury felt that the substantial accommodation for curation activities, with demanding constraints on direct light, thermal control and pest prevention, are seamlessly threaded into the overriding diagram and structure, with an admirable rigour and clarity.
Grander public spaces are accommodated in the main museum, while the new extension provides simple circulation through glass lifts, bridges and glazed lobbies, making the journey through the building clean and enjoyable.
A system of fritted glazed horizontal panels allow controlled light into the building while insuringprotection for the exhibits either on display or within the workshops. This allows curation of preciousartefacts to occur in an environment that maintains access to natural light.
The jury appreciated the way the architects had overcome planning and heritage concerns in relation to the building for new offices which are sunk below ground but grouped around an attractive glass-roofed central space.
Generally the jury admired the skill and control the architects had demonstrated in realising the client’s enormously complicated and demanding brief while maintaining a rigorous and disciplined plan and an elegant external cladding system.”
Command of the Oceans / Baynes and Mitchell Architects
The judges said: “This project is a champion for progressive conservation, inventive re-use and adaptation of existing fabric. The importance of the historic fabric has been clearly understood, which has allowed freedom in other areas to change the circulation and the reading of the buildings to give the whole complex of buildings a new lease of life.
The striking new visitor entrance, clad in black zinc, knits together the historic fabric to either side. The decision to use black cladding rather than a white structure which would match existing, and the decision not to mimic the pitch of the existing roofs, was a bold move in conservation terms and very successful. The modest entrance is immediately obvious to the visitor on arrival in the large car park, which sits above the old mast pond; and yet in certain lights it seems to disappear and becomes very much subservient to the adjacent listed structures. This inventive solution to create a raised entrance with associated ramp won Baynes and Mitchell the architectural competition, and unlocks the whole plan.
The cathedral-like quality of the entrance hall, with its focus on the end view over the dockyard, is very successful. The museum element of the scheme which tells the history of the dockyard is designed around a route which ultimately leads to the hidden timbers of the unknown ship beneath the floorboards. This sense of discovery and the decision to leave the timbers in situ is a very powerful move.
The project is academically rigorous in terms of repairs, reversibility and selection of new materials and is a delightful new addition to the historic dockyard. The project exhibits careful and critical use of appropriate repairs. Successful engagement with specialist craftsmen and sensitive repairs, such as the scarfing of the main timbers in the mast house, adds to the beauty of the refurbished spaces.
Internally, the existing buildings were assessed in terms of their significance and this informed the hierarchy and extent of the new interventions. Baynes and Mitchell have also fully engaged with the impact of the proposals in terms of the archaeology of the site and an appropriate means of responding to the concept of ‘as found’ presentation.
The palette of black metal, blue limestone, board-marked concrete and composite timber has been carefully chosen in response to the strong, industrial language of the historic buildings and landscape.
This project has benefited greatly from an enlightened client who is committed to making the story of the dockyard accessible to the visitor. This deep understanding of the historical significance of this group of buildings has been fully understood by the architect and interpreted in a way to reveal significant features of the historic landscape. This is a Heritage Lottery Funded project and Historic England was closely involved in a very collaborative way.”
City of Glasgow College – City Campus / Reiach & Hall Architects and Michael Laird Architects
The judges said: “The merger of Glasgow’s central, metropolitan and nautical colleges created a super college bringing together facilities and teaching previously housed in 11 separate buildings across the city within two new central campuses. City Campus, more than 60,000m2 in size, is the second of these large new buildings. It brings together six major faculties in 300 high-tech classrooms, multi-purpose lecture theatres and specialist teaching facilities.
While the initial impression of this building is as something of immense scale which also signals its presence as an important place of learning, its internal spaces are designed to encourage both the formal teaching processes which it contains and informal, more chance encounters. The materials palette and form of the building are deliberately restrained to generate something of skill, clarity and elegance, on the grandest scale.
There is an astonishing scale and complexity to the brief for this project and considerable architectural skill is demonstrated in its realisation; not just in resolving the brief, but in the contribution to the city – in massing, composition and the generosity of the public route through the grand stepped atrium space. This architectural skill extends beyond the cityscape through to the detailed care taken in theorganisation of student spaces, encouraging social interaction across disciplines, to the considered approach to materials and detailing.”
The judges said: “It has taken a seven-year heroic collaboration to turn a smouldering pier in disrepair and decline into a vibrant public space with a palpable sense of ownership. This collaboration has been between the community, the Council, the engineers and the architect and it is the architect’s vision which has been vital throughout to steer the process. After extensive stakeholder consultation, it was clear to dRMM that the pier would be expected to host many different populist scenarios.
Predictably enough, it transpired that it had to be everything to everybody, with an absent owner not responding to the increasingly Dangerous Structure repair requirements, and no rebuild budget available in a run-down seaside town. Lateral thinking was required to make a structurally and socially sustainable project actually happen. The architects had to write the brief and help raise the budget before redesigning the pier.
Their ‘master-move’ and response to this brief was to design a strong, community led/owned serviced platform which could accommodate a whole host of uses, from music concerts, to international markets. ‘In homage to conceptualist Cedric Price, users bring their own architecture to plug in and play.’ This concept is really working in practice and should be commended.
The decision not to place any building at the end of the pier, which is possibly the obvious position to site a building, is an extremely powerful move. The large open space provides a sense of calmness and delight, with a strong connection to the sea and the seafront. The experience of free space and ‘walking on water’ is heightened by the optics of a very beautiful, louvred balustrade design and quality timber deck.
The new visitor centre replacing the weakest section of the damaged pier is a relatively simple CLT structure clad in reclaimed timber which was salvaged from the original fire-damaged pier. This helps to create a strong feeling of place and belonging. It boosts an elevated, rooftop belvedere where locals go for a coffee or cup of soup. It offers adaptable space for events, exhibitions and education. Reclaimed timber deck furniture was designed by dRMM and Hastings & Bexhill Wood Recycling as part of a local employment initiative.
The new pier is not a lonely pier: rather, it is extremely welcoming in its design, with free, open entry to the public. It offers flexibility, material and functional sustainability, and an uninterrupted vista of the natural and built surroundings. This is a Heritage Lottery Funded project and it has become a catalyst for urban regeneration.
From a conservation perspective, this project has reinvigorated a fire-damaged historic structure and facilitated a contemporary and appropriate new 21st century use. The project has been mindful to integrate material from the original pier in the new design, and the process of restoration was used to help train a new generation of craft specialists.”
Photography Studio for Juergen Teller / 6a architects
The judges said: “The project comprises a series of three buildings and gardens to form a new studio,offices and archive for celebrated photographer Juergen Teller. The brief was for a light-filled, flexible, informal and welcoming set of spaces; with a natural flow and sociability.
The project expertly exploits a typically London condition. Constrained by a long and narrow industrial plot at the rougher edge of Ladbroke Grove; its only face nestles between cheap developer housing, an industrial estate and the hinterland of the Westway.
With few views possible out of the linear site, daylight is introduced through three courtyard gardens designed by Dan Pearson, and a grid of exquisitely thin concrete beams which march the length of the 60m site. These support north facing roof lights which fill the space with an extraordinary filtered light.
Board-marked poured concrete registers the rhythm of the existing brick built party walls. Two raked concrete stairs brace the studio space, the only interruptions in an open landscape, which runs the length of the site.
Detailing throughout is exquisite; from the in-situ concrete of the finely formed stairs, to the seamless brass balustrades. Large but delicately beaded timber window frames, add refinement to an otherwise minimal material palette. The building is an exemplar of fabric first and low energy design. The integration of services is expertly handled.
The project is a mature and confident statement of orderliness and precision, whilst also being relaxed and playful. It forms a refined, yet flexible workplace, which is already beginning to act as a setting to prompt and influence on the work of its client.
The building is sublime and the whole team should be highly commended.”
Renderings for a new office building in the Playa Vista neighborhood of Los Angeles designed by Gehry Partners have been revealed in documents released by the LA Department of City Planning. Called New Beatrice West, the eight-story development consists of a series of terraced glass boxes, capped with abundant vegetation aimed at contributing passive energy-efficiency to the complex. The new building will integrate an existing adjacent office building that currently houses the offices of Gehry Partners.
Located on a site at the corner of Jandy Place and Beatrice Street, the building would consist of five floors of office space above three floors of public space containing restaurants and retail stores.
Two levels of underground parking will join three levels of above ground spaces, allowing the complex to accommodate up to 845 vehicles, while long- and short-term bike parking spaces, locker rooms and showers will encourage employees to use a more environmentally sustainable means of commuting.
The building will employ sustainable strategies throughout, including low-flow water fixtures and energy-efficient lighting. During the day, a majority of spaces will be able to be naturally lit. New courtyards, pathways and landscaping will be added to the site, contributing to the overall aesthetic of green walls and roofs.
Early estimates indicate construction will take approximately 22 months.
As the photos display, the building is formed through three separate cantilevering volumes, which sit atop a plinth overlooking the waterfront. An exterior corner staircase leads to a number of publicly accessible rooftop terraces, inviting the public to engage with the building at various levels. Finishing touches are being added to the construction with the envelope already complete, while interior spaces and the site landscaping are still undergoing further polish and are yet to be fully resolved. Check out all the photographs of the building below, which will be occupied by Design Society upon completion.