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A view into our world at Suzanne Lovell, Inc. and the ideas that inspire us daily. 

Catalan architects Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Villa were recently awarded the 2017 Pritzker Prize. Together since 1998, RCR (Rafael, Carme and Ramon) continues to remodernize one modern building after another. The gammet of building types is wide.... from a kindergarten to winery... and all have been privy to RCR's magical touch. 

This is the first time in the Prizker Prize's 39 years of existence that the prize has been awarded to a trio. It's the collaborative spirit and creative process that made the choice an easy one this year. The jury said, of it's selection: "We live in a globalised world where we must rely on international influences, trade, discussion, transactions, etc. But more and more people fear that, because of this international influence, we will lose our local values, our local art, and our local customs. They are concerned and sometimes frightened."

Look at some of our favorite designs below and we think you'll agree that this was a prize well-deserved!

In Olot, Spain, RCR's office space.

Image courtesy of; Arch Daily

From 2014, the Soulage Museum in Rodez, France. The building beautifully portrays the relationship between the space and the paintings inside.

Image courtesy of: Hisao Suzuki

From 2007, the Bell-Lloc Winery in Palamos, Girona, Spain is a beautiful, angular building. The descending pathway guides visitors to the winery's entrance by means of angled steel sides. The vaulted ceiling over the wine production machinery and barrel storage areas is lit by slithers of light which come from the roof's gaps.

Image courtesy of: Dezeen

At Les Cols Pavellons, you can dine at the restaurant, have drinks in the pavilion, or picnic in the scenic gardens. So cool!

Image courtesy of: Les Cols Pavellions

Posted in: Architecture

Recently opened, the new Shanghai Natural History Museum is an architectural feat. Perkins + Will spent 9 years on perfecting the design, development and construction after winning an international design competition. Drawing upon traditional Chinese cultural references was important; thus, the building beautifully represents the harmony between humans and nature. Taking inspiration from the ancient Chinese tradition of mountain water gardens, China's natural landscape was stunningly "minimized".

The circular design allows for easy movement within, and the interior organization is made easier by the nautilus shell design which, in nature, is one of the truest geometric forms... perfect for a natural history museum.

More than 10,000 artifacts (representing all seven continents) are displayed in the bright, light-filled building. The 30-meter atrium is welcoming and the adjacent glass wall mimics the cell-structure of both plants and animals. 

And finally, the design is environmentally friendly... the building is bioclimatic by maximizing the sun's output for solar power; nearby, the courtyard pond provides evaporative cooling. The interior temperature is regulated via geothermal and rain water is collected from the vegetated roof, stored in the oval pond and recycled.

Perhaps most importantly, with an additional 20 exhibition spaces, this space won't soon get outgrown!

At almost 500,000 square-feet, there are plenty of places for you to explore the natural world.

Image courtesy of: Design Museum

This central wall mimics the cell structure of plants and animals. Doing double-duty, the light which filters in through the panes brightens the entire atrium 30-foot atrium.

Image courtesy of: Design Museum

The lobby is representative of the interior's elegant beauty. Set within the Jing'an District, the museum is centrally located and close to the famous Jing'an Sculpture Park.

Image courtesy of: Archilovers, photographed by: James and Connor Steinkamp

It would be difficult to call this enormous building completely sustainable; but, it does boast some major "green" features. Kudos to that!

Image courtesy of: New Atlas, photographed by: James and Connor Steinkamp

Posted in: Architecture

Building 104 was part of a 160-hectare area that the Swedish army used to protect the Faro Strait back in 1937. The territory, called Bungenas, was unauthorized to the general public until just 10 years ago. It took a local entrepreneur, Joachim Kuylenstierna, who was fascinated with the area's history, to buy the entire former army site and start this arduous process to repurpose it.

Kuylenstierna's father was part of the military unit based at the site, so naturally, he felt a connection to the land. The process was made more difficult because the entrances had to be excavated, as they had been filled to the very top with gravel and water. It was meant to dissuade anyone from EVER entering the facility. Swedish Fortifications Agency's old drawings indicated an open three-level underground structure existed beyond the rubble. Fascinated with the building, it was very important not to cover up any "clues" signaling to the bunker's original use.

Using bunkers along the Normandy coast as inspiration, the architect, Eric Gardell, didn't add any extensions to go against the integrity of the bunker's original use. No roofs protrude from the ground and no chimneys blow smoke into the air. Further adding to the bunker's interior beauty are the furniture and light fixtures that the architects specifically designed for the home. Stunning... who would have imagined this when purchasing the property sight unseen?

A modern drainage system was installed during excavation (left photo). House 2, which is intended for guests, is surrounded by the trench-inspired courtyard.

Image courtesy of: Wallpaper

Inside, the dining room table and chandelier were designed by the architecture firm, Skalso Arkitekter. The fabric which directs light onto the table is also pivotal in improving acoustics.

Image courtesy of: Wallpaper

Constructed from Swedish marble, the recessed jacuzzi is visually stunning.

Image courtesy of: Wallpaper

Building 8 is another underground bunker located in Gotland, Sweden.

Image courtesy of: Archilovers, photographed by: Anna Sundstrom

Posted in: Architecture

The Salvador Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida was designed by Yann Weymouth of HOK (who helped create the Louvre’s glass pyramid with I.M. Pei). This $36 million structure (2011) houses the largest collection of Dali’s work outside of Spain, more than 2,000 pieces including 96 paintings.

Image courtesy of Phaidon

The shell of the structure is built to withstand a Category 5 hurricane, works with numerous green system including a solar hot water powered de-humidification system, high efficiency HVAC and ventilation.

Said Yann, "We wanted to avoid the kitsch of melting clocks and “themed” surrealism, but sought, in a frank and abstract way, to make a reference to that contrast between Cartesian geometry and organic shape. Dali and Buckminster Fuller were longtime friends, both fascinated by the intrinsic geometries of nature; it seemed natural to make a strong contrast between the stark raw concrete box that protects and shelters the collection and the almost liquid, transparent and facetted form of the glass enigma".

This impressive and thoughtfully-designed building is an must-see when in Florida!

Image courtesy of Phaidon

Image courtesy of Phaidon

Interior image courtesy of Inhabitat

BIM (Building information modelling) was used in the construction of the museum. 

Image courtesy of Inhabitat

Image courtesy of the Dali Museum Instagram page

Now through April 17, 2017 is Frida Kahlo at the Dali.

Kahlo and Dali each created artistic autobiographies and their personalities loom behind their paintings, generating a presence that both shapes and overshadows their works of art. While Kahlo largely rejected the term ‘Surrealism’ and felt that her works were as real as her life, Andre Breton, known as the founder of Surrealism, took great interest in her work and described her painting as a bomb wrapped in a ribbon. 

Posted in: Architecture
Tagged: FRIDA KAHLO St. Petersburg, Florida Yann Weymouth Salvador Dali The Louvre Buckminster Fuller Green Design

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