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  • Writer's pictureKathryn Van Dinh

Bucket List - Part 3

Updated: Apr 21, 2022

It has been a while since we last did a building bucket list. In this segment, the MEL/ARCH team talks about some of the few amazing buildings they have on their bucket lists. There are so many buildings to pick from and everyone has different favorites. Read on to hear from our team members and get the chance to hear from some of our new additions to the team! With summer around the corner, we hope you get the opportunity for an architectural visit or tour during your summer vacation. Better start planning now!

The Seattle Central Library - Rem Koolhaas & Joshua Prince-Ramus, 2004, Seattle, Washington, US

Kathryn’s Pick

I am a book nerd through and through, and my building bucket list definitely shows it. The Seattle Central Library is a massive glass and steel building that changes the idea of what a library could be. Libraries, in general, have fascinating building programs. You have to juggle the needs of the public (like community spaces, computers, services, work areas) with the functional needs of the library (administration offices, hundreds of bookshelves, parking). The Seattle Central Library layout is dynamic, breaking the stereotypes of a stuffy, old, quiet local library.

Bag End ( The Shire )- Hobbiton, Matamata, New Zealand

Jocelyn’s Pick

I’ve always enjoyed fun and whimsical designs, especially when it’s in relation to The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. The Bag End is a Hobbit-hole home built into the iconic rollings hills of Matamata, New Zealand. It is surrounded by lush green pastures, and picturesque views. There is such intricate craftsmanship in the interior woodwork with lots of arches and circular openings. Middle-earth (fictional setting for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit) is a pre-industrial society, so everything had to appear handmade and unique, making it one of most ideal places to live in the world—warm, inviting, simple, but breathtaking.

Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library - Yale University, New Haven, CT

Rocio’s Pick

I’ve selected a building that will be appreciated by book nerds, as Kathryn likes to call them, and architects alike. Found within the campus of Yale University, the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript library is striking from exterior to interior. The design, developed by Gordon Bunshaft of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, contrasts the gothic architecture found within Yale’s campus. The collection, begun in 1701, contains more than one million books, many millions of manuscript pages, and tens of thousands of papyri, photographs, maps, posters, paintings, and art objects.

The exterior is composed of six stories of “windows” made of 1 1/4” thick Vermont marble panels, whose translucent nature subtly introduces light while protecting the contents of the building. The organization of the facade incorporates the Golden Ratio, with a 3:2:1 ratio between the number of panels in width, height, and depth, calling back to the proportion of the early books and manuscripts found in the collection. In the interior, within the protection of the marble facade, a monumental glass tower holds a large portion of the collection, 180,000 rare books, while the remaining contents of the collection are housed within the two additional floors of the building. I imagine a visit to this building would be made up of a multitude of emotions, guided by the procession from the regimented exterior to the ethereal interior. One thing I do hope is that my future visit is held on a sunny day to truly experience the translucent quality of the marble facade.

Juvet Landscape Hotel (first phase)- Jensen & Skodvin, 2007, Valldal, Norway

Marty’s Pick

As someone who’s always had a strong love for nature, Juvet landscape hotel has been on my architectural bucket list for ages. Designed by the acclaimed Norwegian firm Jensen & Skodvin, this landscape hotel aims to completely immerse its guests in the raw beauty of this pristine Norwegian landscape while also minimizing each building’s impact on the undisturbed wilderness.

Instead of clustering the rooms into one building, the hotel scatters them throughout the landscape as individual, private houses. Acting as a sort of architectural camera, each of the seven houses features a glass wall that frames a unique view of the beautiful landscape and acts as the focal point for the spaces within. The dark color scheme of the interiors minimizes the reflections on the inner surface of the glass wall and maximizes the guests’ immersion into the landscape. Furthermore, each house delicately rests on thin steel piers to minimize its footprint on the forrest, and the vertical pine paneling that clads the exterior blends each house with the surroundings, preserving the pristine, undisturbed character of the landscape. The hotel also features a sauna that hovers over a nearby river and several hiking trails that permeate the surrounding wilderness.

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