All posts by Vesi Massaro

Charles Perkins Centre, Sydney/FJMT

This iconic building, named after Charles Perkins who was a graduate aboriginal from the University of Sydney, is now the primary medical research center for diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity in the area. The building was sponsored by the federal government and assigned to Fransis-Jones Morehen Thorp (FJMT) with a budget of $385 million.

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The construction of the building started in 2012 and it was finished in 2014 which is extremely fast for how complex it is. The inside has a very clean and bright interior with six stories of curved marble balconies and sweeping stairs, giving room for more than 1500 students and researchers.

An interesting fact about the building is that it was planned and designed to fit and match with the surrounding spaces. The northern exterior is primarily in sandstone to reflect the gothic style of St. Jones Collage nearby, where the southern facade of the building is mainly in glass and aluminum facing the Centenary Institute.

 

Bankstown Library and Knowledge Centre/FJMT

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Again, designed by FJMT, this space is even more attractive and welcoming than any other public library design I have seen on the Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp webpage. I love the colors on the exterior design of the building as well as the interior. The technique that the FJMT uses in a lot of their architectural planning to create both working and calming environments is using tilted windows which are beautiful.

Working with natural and fluorescent light creates unique color combinations and different patterns looking at it from inside and out and from various angles. The space inside is extensive and organized so people can sit and enjoy their readings on each floors` library. The building also contains a theatre with three hundred seats, conference rooms, community information walls and even a children’s play room.

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The interesting fact is that this building was deconstructed and innovated from the existing one, implementing some of the materials from the deconstruction. The plan for this is not only creative and efficient, but suitable for the need and use of the public.

Craigieburn Library / Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp

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A new and innovative way of thinking. The Hume Global Learning Center in Craigieburn, Australia is a public library center that provides and serves the community with its new, modern atmosphere. Designed by Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp, the  building has warm, earthy colors and the balance of light gathers the public to visit the cafe, gallery, computer center, meeting space and childcare center. Very simple, but well planned architectural design with just the right amount of natural light striking into the building and more specifically the primary reading room.

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The shading areas on the verandas give a sunlight break and an outdoor cool feel as well. Besides the big glass windows, the main material is local sourced earth which also benefits from the friendliness and sustainability of the environment.

Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki / FJMT + Archimedia

 

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The Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki design won the international prize for best building of the year in 2013. The building was designed by Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp in association with Archimedia which includes restoration and extenuation of the heritage place. The architectural development for this project was designed to enhance the openness of the public space and the use of organic natural forms reflecting the Abert Park in the background.

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There gallery consists of an extensive international exhibit and the new, dynamic space attracts and expands the art audience. The diversity of the place also speaks though the materials used that combine and unite all shapes and form into one unique refurbished gallery. There are fine tree like canopies in the entry gallery space and the openness of the space inside overlaps with the natural patterns from the Abert Park residing on the backside of the building.

 

Tyree Energy Technologies Building / FJMT

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The Tyree Energy Technologies Building at the University of New South Wales, Australia was another design competition project for FJMT in the year of 2012. Although, the exterior of the building looks amazing, I think the architectural design of the interior does not match or fit the overall outside look. It almost has the look of a factory because of the heavy metal blocks crossing all sides and the box like walls and ceiling. This very futuristic, overlapping plan scheme might seem appropriate for an educational facility like the research and laboratory workspaces, but it does not feel very welcoming for people who spend significant amounts of time there.

The outside design though combines interesting shapes and forms from all sort of materials which makes it very appealing visually. For example, the overhead shaped roof provides shading and cooling to the front mall area with its interesting cloud shape design which is seen in other urban design projects built by Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp. I think more people would be willing to spend time outside on the patio closer to the park than inside the building.

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FJMT + Archimedia / Business School and Teaching Complex

FJMT- Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp in association with Archimedia are the architects who designed this modern complex campus building in Auckland, New Zealand. The plan for this building was developed around the cultural and collaborative exchange of knowledge and learning but also in compliment with the side landscape valley surrounding the area. The shapes are mostly organic, two ribbon forms created through layers of stainless steel and glass, incorporating a suspended external and glazed shade-panel of titanium inter-layers.

It is very important for an educational environment like this one to be not only open and friendly, but to have as much natural light as possible. As I mentioned already, the building is composed by large pieces of glass which connect and shape into beautiful, shade panel facades for working or resting. As we heard from the developers of the Devon Energy Towers in Oklahoma city; Klay Kimker and Shannon Fetz, higher productivity is based on a healthy working environment, which is mostly related to open space, more natural light and an area for communication and collaboration. The Business School and Teaching Complex perfectly exhibits this ideal situation.

Michael`s Eco Bar Bulgaria

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This cocktail bar was built in coalescence of natural rock formations in the ancient city of Plovdiv. The place has an incredible natural light and open space where everything is shaped around the stone columns. When I first visited the bar, I had no idea, looking at it from the outside, that a place like that could exist. Instead of a door, there was an archway. For chairs and tables, they used pieces of wood placed on flat rocks. Although that might not sound very comfortable or even attractive, it is unique and built based of consumer`s experience and needs.  You would think that the design is very simple, but it involves working with the space, how people interact with that space and move though it. In an open space like that, the architect even included nooks in every corner, where people can also find seclusion. I am sure there are a lot more places like that in the world, but something about this architectural piece makes it special. Being able to have the experience to relax and have a coffee or a drink in an environment like that makes it
worth visiting.

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Revival Old Houses, Plovdiv – Bulgaria

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These are photographs of the revival houses in a part of the oldest city in Europe, Plovdiv. This was a period started in the eighteen century when big economic, cultural and political upswing developed trade and craftsman in the big cities causing the start of a new era for architecture still intact today. This richness of variety not only of materials: stone, wood, and clay all in one place, but also the region they were built in. Their structures was often made with reinforced walls, rickety staircases and symmetric and asymmetric architectural pieces. The streets, like in some parts of France and Italy are narrow and steep which makes the architecture even more interesting and unique. These bourgeois homes are very heavily decorated and colourful, bringing interest from tourist all over the world. Plovdiv is not only a great ancient city, but the cultural capital of Europe in 2019 .

 

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Rila Monastery, Bulgaria

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The first and largest monastery in Bulgaria was built in tenth century and is one of the foremost masterpieces of Bulgarian National Revival architecture. The monastery was named after Ivan of Rila (876 – 946 AD), and is now the home of approximately 60 monks. The whole complex occupies an area of 8,800 m² and is rectangular in form. It contains a main church, a residential part and a museum. This historical complex is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list since 1983. This spectacular place for me brings a lot of traditions and powerful history. Every time I visit the Rila Monastery (usually once a year) it leaves the same unique feeling; proud to be Bulgarian!

 

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Galeries Lafayette

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The best “luxury bazaar” in Paris, France is the upmarket Galeries Lafayette department store. It is all about modern, but at the same time classical decor with rich ornaments and arched balconies in typical French Art Deco Style. It is more than just a mall, what we call these shopping centers nowadays. It has access to a beautiful panoramic view on the roof, a tea room, a reading room and a smoking room, and ninety-six merchandised departments, a place where you can spend your entire day and socialize with others. Seeing this beautiful “gold” settings around Christmas Holidays just adds to the richness of this enormous luxury palace. The forty-three meter high dome is another unique feature of the incredible architectural work of the Galeries Lafayette. Paris is just one of the best places for art in any form and shape and for that reason every piece of it is very memorable and recognisable.

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