This post was originally published in The Architectural Review as “Size Doesn’t Matter: Big Ideas for Small Buildings.“
Taschen’s latest volume draws together the architectural underdogs that, despite their minute, whimsical forms, are setting bold new trends for design.
When economies falter and construction halts, what happens to architecture? Rather than indulgent, personal projects, the need for small and perfectly formed spaces is becoming an economic necessity, pushing designers to go further with less. In their new volume Small: Architecture Now!, Taschen have drawn together the teahouses, cabins, saunas and dollhouses that set the trends for the small, sensitive and sustainable, with designers ranging from Pritzker Laureate Shigeru Ban to emerging young practices.
Where do you receive inspiration? Nalina Moses asked the question to nine contemporary residential architects, asking each to choose one residence that had left an impression on them. The following answers were first published on the AIA’s website in the article “Homing Instinct.”
When nine accomplished residential architects were asked to pick a house—any house—that has left the greatest impression on them as designers, most of their choices ran succinctly along the canon of American or European Modern architecture. Two—Alvar Aalto’s Villa Mairea and Pierre Chareau’s La Maison de Verre—were even tapped twice.
If the houses these designers chose weren’t surprising, the reasons they chose them were. Rather than groundbreaking style or technologies, what they cited were the moments of comfort, excitement, and refinement they offered: the restful proportions of a bedroom, the feel of a crafted wood handrail, an ocean view unfolding beyond an outdoor stair.
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and its Committee on the Environment (COTE) have selected the top ten examples of sustainable architecture and green design solutions. Now in its 16th year, the COTE Top Ten Green Projects program is one of the profession’s best known recognition program for sustainable design excellence.
The highlighted projects are the result of a thoroughly integrated approach to architecture, natural systems and technology. They have made a positive contribution to their communities, improved comfort for building occupants and reduced environmental impacts through strategies such as reuse of existing structures, connection to transit systems, low-impact and regenerative site development, energy and water conservation, use of sustainable or renewable construction materials, and design that improves indoor air quality.
All the projects will be honored at the AIA 2012 National Convention and Design Exposition, next month in Washington, D.C. Continue after the break to review the top ten green projects.
The eight winners of the 2011 Small Project Awards were recently announced by the AIA. In its eighth year the program focuses on highlighting good design at any scale. The jurors for this year included: Deborah Pierce, Obie G. Bowman, Randy Brown, Lance Hosey, and Wendy Evans Joseph.
A complete list of winners following the break.