the blog posts

simplicity trumps grandeur

It is truly fascinating to see how other countries develop whatever it is they develop: hotels, residences, parks, warehouses, breweries, and so on. It is particularly intriguing when the architect achieves the total package for the owner  but in a fairly compact space. It seems to me that in Bermuda we lean towards a grandeur that, perhaps, is not always necessary.

all images - lucia degonda

I was reminded of this when viewing the Ustria Steila, a restaurant and hotel development in Siat, Switzerland. It is a three storey building with a 'tasting room' (pantry?) in the basement, restaurant and kitchen on the ground floor and three bed chambers on the top floor (OK, so, a very small hotel). 

Designed by Swiss architect Gion A. Caminada, it fits snugly on the hillside in Siat, overlooking Ilanz, the first city on the Rhine River. It is reflective of the architectural style of the village, in terms of height, scale and siting.  The retaining walls you usually see in Bermuda are not so much in evidence here. At least, where a wall is necessary, it serves the dual purpose of providing an outdoor dining terrace for the restaurant as well. Caminada's objective is to ensure this new building fits into the village community, and it seems a success to me.

Now clearly Swiss style is not Bermuda style, however, there is a simplicity here to which we might give more consideration.

Learn about Caminada's design philosophy in the 2014 Dezeen article, "New exhibition showcases the work of Swiss architect Gion A Caminada".

the colours of bermuda

Every now and then a photographic essay of exotic destinations showcases the wonderful colours to be experienced in those locales. Bermuda is a bit gipped, really, since the island is not featured. Even without the obligatory photo of a beach with sparkling turquoise water, Bermuda fair screams colour! This corner of Bermuda proves it. Joyful treasures in the Town of St. George to be appreciated even through these amateur photos.

starchitecture - love it or hate it?

The New York Times recently asked readers to respond a Letter to the Editor regarding 'starchitecture' by architect Peggy Dreamer. She contends architectural practitioners have been "backed into a corner of aesthetic elitism". She is dismayed at the image of architects who are portrayed by the media as insensitive and "socially tone-deaf" and is of the opinion the public is fed up of this.

It is an intriguing and timely discussion. On the one hand, it seems to me, it is starchitecture that tends to create interest in the profession, which is a good thing. On the other hand, one can't help feel, on occasion, that, to architects, the aesthetic is everything and function is the sorry second cousin. Is it just me, or are Frank Gehry's more recent designs beginning to blend together? Do Zaha Hadid's edifices work as well on the inside as they look on the outside? 

The responses to Dreamer's letter vary. Enjoy her letter, readers' views and her response in The 'Starchitect' Image. It is a worthy read.

Starchitecture isn't an issue in Bermuda. Not yet, anyway. Is that good or bad?

image - tim enthoven, courtesy of new york times