Few buildings evoke the universal response ‘how on earth does it stand up?’ but the Aluminium Centrum in Houten, the Netherlands, is one of them. A flat simple slab of a building (although not as simple as it first looks) is supported on the slenderest possible of supports coming up out of the water. On a day when the light is right, with reflections in the still water, the effect is of the tentacles of a jellyfish – not the most structurally rigid of concepts.
Architect Abbink X De Haas architectures (Micha de Haas) Location Houten - The Netherlands Company involved 3A Composites Website http://www.3acomposites.com
Heydar Aliyev Centre
When it opens its doors to the public later this year, the Heydar Aliyev Centre is expected to play an integral role in the intellectual life of Azerbaijan’s capital city Baku, and a pivotal one in a country eager to re-establish an independent cultural identity.
Architect Zaha Hadid Architects Location Baku - Azerbaijan Company involved ThyssenKrupp Steel Website http://www.thyssenkrupp-steel-europe.com
Two Housing Blocks
The housing designed by Dubosc & Associes in Montargis, France, is certainly uncompromising. Clad entirely in metal, it eschews any of the conventional domestic touches but it does so in a manner that is refreshing and bright. The only punctuation to the neutral metallic colour comes from the front doors in a cheerful red, with large painted numbers, and sensibly generous vision panels. There is no chance here of forgetting where you live, and the sloping external staircases are both inviting and, argues Eric Dubosc, important places of social interaction. ‘People never talk on internal staircases,’ he says. ‘Here they are out of doors, so they talk and their children play together.’
Architect Dubosc & Associes Location Montargis - France