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.

a revitalized riverfront park

Cali, Columbia is working towards revitalizing its riverfront, creating the new Rio Cali Park. A collaboration between the design team of West 8 and the Municipality of Cali, the aim is to link the people of Cali with the river in a safe environment, which prioritises pedestrians and cyclists.

rendering by west 8

rendering by west 8

Cali is the third largest city in Columbia and it has been torn by violence and suffered stagnation for decades. The River Cali Revitalisation Project faces challenging odds as it seeks to kick start urban renewal and regeneration. The idea is to prioritise public space and connect people to the river in a safe way. To this end, a roadway is being re-purposed to provide bike lanes and safe pedestrian routes that join the city centre with the new river park. As outlined by designboom, Cali will have a peaceful public realm, with plazas for events, where residents and meet and relax. The emphasis is placed on fostering a safe urban area where a density of people can begin to engage with each other constructively.

This is striking to me - not least because funding for Phase 1 is actually approved!  Cali faces struggles of a kind that Hamilton's waterfront in Bermuda does not and will not face, and yet progress is made. This is a properly considered plan and we could learn a thing or two.