Like US diplomatic buildings worldwide, this facility currently under construction in Beirut is subject to increased fortification, following two bombings of the previous embassy
The new embassy complex turns is back to the street, begging the question of what buildings of this type owe to the context in which they sit
Completed in 2017, the double-occupancy of the embassy shared between France and Germany in Dhaka is expressed in the very fabric of the building
The patterns of Lisbon’s Egyptian embassy deal with an expression of its home country’s architectural heritage, without becoming a replica of a traditional building, alien to its new, foreign context
Redolent of the geopolitical climate, embassy design has shifted to create symbols of protection as well as power
Beginning with the simple table from which they take their name, banks developed into one of the most splendid urban building types as they sought to reassure depositors. Today they are on the verge of disappearing altogether
Big houses for feudal rulers advertised the right to power of those within, while protecting them from the people they exploited to build them – today, the tradition continues in the hands of oligarchs
Remodelling of St Pete Pier in St Petersburg, USA, by ASD Architects and Rogers Partners Subscription
The pedestrianisation of the pier creates a new kind of seafront, that re-envisages and reinvigorates the traditional archetype
Aarhus’s new baths extend the public realm into the water, revitalising a former industrial area
Pier 2, Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture in San Francisco, USA, by Leddy Maytum Stacy ArchitectsSubscription
The remodelling of the former military port for San Francisco Art Institute combines drama and intimacy, lending itself surprisingly well to its new role
Zaha Hadid’s cruise terminal reframes the role of the pier as indeterminate terrain, mediating between land, sea and sky
Devised by pleasure-seeking Victorians but now undermined by social change and physical neglect, does the building that defined the seaside have a future?
Gasholders in London, UK, by Wilkinson EyreSubscription
Is the solution to obsolescent gasholders demolition, building housing developments within them or, perhaps best yet, parks?
Parasitic orchids of zinc mesh shroud the cooling towers of this brewery conversion in central Sydney
Inventive reuse of a German Second World War bunker provides energy, and public space and amenities, in Hamburg
The sloping ‘hill’ design of this waste-to-energy plant, naturally, features a ski slope and requires more waste than the city produces to run at profit
Typology: Power stationSubscription
Faced with planetary catastrophe, does the future of energy generation lie in a return to its historical origins?
Market in Niigata, Japan, by Takuya HosokaiSubscription
This woodland pavilion in blackened timber provides a collection of amenities for the local community and its visitors, bundled together in three distinct but linked volumes
Staggered cubic volumes in white-painted concrete link two streets that are separated by a steep incline
This new market hall joins an imposing 19th-century hall in iron and glass – in use as an abattoir until the 1990s – and a large open-air market
The Modernist motif of the floating roof, whether cantilevered or supported on impossibly spindly legs, found its ideal functions in the factory and the market
Typology: Market hallSubscription
The market hall shelters a cornucopia of delights, but the traffic and mess it generates presents a challenge to planners
This extraordinary looming monolith on the Piazzale Roma provides offices and a grandly scaled public entrance for the Venetian law courts
Kununurra Couthouse, Kununurra, Australia, by TAG Architects + Iredale Pederson Hook ArchitectsSubscription
An undulating grey roof shelters the courthouse, announcing the building’s presence without admonishment
The courtrooms occupy the upper storey up to the roofline, giving these spaces impressive volume
The building takes the form of a blob erupting from a rectangular podium, and, with its somewhat 1970s orange and brown colour scheme, is wilfully ungainly
Typology: Law CourtSubscription
From Kafkaesque labyrinths of columns and arches to the abstraction of Modernist towers: the representation of justice in a world ruled by its absence is an intractable task
This jail is currently under construction outside Nuuk, in one of the world’s most dramatic locations for such a facility
Mas d’Enric Penitentiary in Tarragona, Spain, by AiB estudi d’arquitectes and Estudi PSP ArquitecturaSubscription
The undulating green roof echoes the canopy of the surrounding woodland bridging an otherwise insuperable divide between inside and out
The recurring prison cell extrusions connect the inmates to the surrounding landscape while isolating them from one another
To confine, secure, rehabilitate or punish: the prison has several, sometimes contradictory aims, but however humane its approach, penal architecture is essentially cruel
Buildings for elephants necessarily curtail the inhabitants’ freedom, as they usually roam around six miles a day across the savannah. However, these animals are also accustomed to a certain degree of warmth and dryness, and so when transplanted to colder climes they need a roof over their heads. This problem was addressed by Virgilio Cestari, who created a fantastic Hindu temple for the elephants at Buenos Aires Zoo in 1904, and more recently by Hugh Casson, who completed the corduroy ...
Equestrian Centre in Melbourne, Australia by Seth Stein Architects and Watson Architecture + DesignSubscription
The horse is a noble beast, and as such has sometimes been treated to luxurious quarters, for example by architects as distinguished as Jules Hardouin-Mansart and Johann Fischer von Erlach. (Sometimes, but not always, as those who have seen the film Maîtresse, with its scene set in a horse abattoir, can attest.) Seth Stein and Watson Architecture + Design’s Equestrian Centre Merricks on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula is an impressive addition to this tradition, with its elegantly curved ...
Typology: Buildings for animalsSubscription
Designing buildings for animals has prompted an extraordinary range of responses, from palace to cat flap, which say more about humans than the residents
Constructed in the Jura hills of Switzerland, the timber beams traditionally used in local barns are employed here to create an unusually complex roof form
Thanks to human-caused climate change, many scientists argue that the world is entering the sixth mass extinction in its history. Bats are among the species under threat. Over a million have died in the USA, where they have succumbed to a fungal infection, and in the UK, bats are vanishing as they lose their habitats and food supply thanks to non-porous buildings, pollution and pesticides, despite being protected by law. One way to mitigate these problems is to provide roosts that compensate ...
Mikve Rajel, with subdued lighting and expanses of wood and marble lining the communal areas, gives the ritual bath a setting not unlike a modern spa
The folded wooden envelope provides a place for locals to meet, creating a transitional social zone between the intimate spaces of the interior and the urban space of the waterfront
Crossing Parallel(s) by Studio MRDO and Studio LaM, Korean Demilitarised Zone, Korea, unbuiltSubscription
Prodded by President Trump, the cold war between North and South Korea – which never formally declared a truce – threatens to return to boiling point, with potentially world-ending consequences. What solutions can architecture offer to the crisis? This is of course a ludicrous question; nevertheless, architectural research group Arch Out Loud recently held an open competition to design an underground bathhouse in the demilitarised zone, with the aim of emphasising the shared culture ...
Since time immemorial, and from continent to continent, saunas or bathhouses have played a community role, stripping their users of social distinctions and affording a rich seam for architects
The incorporation of a toilet into the memorial for a beloved public figure is a delicate matter, and one that fully justifies a revival of the otherwise tediously prudish British tradition of the subterranean lav. Here, however, the monument takes the form of a children’s playground inspired by Peter Pan, incorporating wigwams and a pirate ship, and the toilets are accordingly anything but po-faced. Rising from the landscaping (designed by Land Use Consultants), a grassy mound covers ...
Typology: Public toiletSubscription
From the pissoir to the sanisette, from the communal to the stand-alone pod, from male to female provision, a rich seam of history runs through toilets
Women’s Toilet in Thane, India by Rohan ChavanSubscription
Secure places to relieve oneself are important for women in India – not only to raise awareness about endemic abuse – but do they work as sites of social interaction?
The project is a triumph of the provision of facilities in a sensitive spot, enhancing the place rather than hiding it coyly beneath an architectural fig leaf
The symbolic or signifying functions of the public toilet are usually secondary, at the most speaking of civic generosity, or, more accidentally, of meanness and neglect. But why shouldn’t the smallest room commune with the cosmos, as in this public lavatory on the Japanese island of Ibukijima? Taking its cue from the sliced spaces of Daniel Libeskind, the structure – which appears similar to other local houses from the outside – is divided by imaginary lines stretching out beyond the ...
Sacred lair of the commodity, its mysteries veiled by plate glass: who can resist the lure of the shop?
Crystal Houses in Amsterdam by MVRDVSubscription
‘Over an old Flemish house there stands the mystical inscription: “there is more within me”.’ So wrote Georg Simmel in 1904, referring to the way that fashion allows us to simultaneously express and mask our individuality. He incidentally makes a connection between fashion and the facade, one which, though suppressed in architectural discourse, always lies very close to the surface, as Mark Wigley has shown. The facade hides the interior, but also expresses something about the building. ...
Glass does not have a monopoly on transparency. Using the ancient and fiendishly complex Japanese joinery technique of jigoku-gumi, which literally means ‘interlocking hell’, Kengo Kuma enveloped this Tokyo bakery in a hectic cloud of wooden struts. The interior is not visible from the street, making display of the wares on sale impossible, but the building is instantly recognisable –from a distance, it is reminiscent of a wasp nest – making it a striking advertisement for the business. And ...
Fondaco dei Tedeschi in Venice by OMASubscription
Remodelling an ancient institution at the foot of the Rialto Bridge