Tag Archives: architecture

Chateau la Coste – art & architecture &…wine

As summer is kicking in (finally) it makes me think of the beautiful places we went the last couple of summers…and makes me want to go back since some are only a stone’s throw away, like le Chateau la Coste.



Every year my parents spend a couple of weeks in the south of France, in La Ciotat, a little seaport not far from Marseille. Besides the time at the beach we always do some trips in the close area around and one of my favorite places we’ve visited lately  was probably Chateau la Coste which we discovered two years ago thanks to my love. (Since Jean Nouvel happens to be the architect who designed the wine cuverie he knows the place and it’s owner quite well.)

La Coste is a little bijou in the Provence, close to Aix-en-Provence. It’s a wonderful mix of unique art and architecture set in this beautiful provencian landscape surrounded by good wine.

Some ten years ago the irish property developer and art collector Patrick McKillen has decided to transform his vineyard by completing it with a contemporary art center sculpture park.
He has invited numerous world-famous artists and architects and let them, inspired by this beautiful place, let their creativity run wild.
The result is a stunning encounter of Richard SERRA,  Andy GOLDSWORTHY, Louise BOURGEOIS, Tom SHANNON.. Tadao ANDO, Frank O. GEHRY and Jean NOUVEL .. to name only a few.

You start your visit at the art center designed by Tadao Ando..

la-coste ando

and then you continue your walk through the hills and fields of wine.. passing by a little chapel designed by Tadao Ando..


.. a pavilion by Frank Gehry..

la coste-

…or a piece by Tom Shannon, which reflects the surrounding landscape ..


….the wine cuverie by Jean Nouvel..

la coste ajn

..and so on and so on… The accumulation and density of artistic treasures is really impressive – just like their setting.

…in the end you can rest and have a bite and a drink at the café at Tadao’s art center building with a great few of the surrounding area and more art..


..like one of the spiders by Louise Bourgeoise

la-coste louise

It’s really an amazing and unique place. Go and have a look if you’re en Provence. It’s evolving all the time since new pieces of art arrive every now and then.  I’m quite impatient to go back this summer.

…and we’ll probably look like this again – which was two years ago .. 🙂


La coste_


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Madame l’Architecte

This one is a  special for all architects among you, my fellow sufferers, and those who know this business.  After a really sh…y day  at the office, having a look at  this tumblr really helps to relativize, put things into perspective .. and see things with some humour and less gravity.
Some of my french friends may already know it: Madame l’Architecte. Two women architects who narrate in pictures and with a lot of humour the daily routine of their work! It’s just hilarious!

Here are some of my favorites .)

(For the non frenchies among you, I tried some translation)

Quand le maitre d’ouvrage te demande si l’estimation des travaux inclut les options.
When the client asks you if the estimate of costs includes options.


Quand tu demandes conseil à ton boss au sujet d’un courrier recommandé destiné à une entreprise –
When you ask your boss for advice about a registered mail for a contractor


Quand tes collègues te demandent comment s’est passée ta réunion de chantier et que tu leur résumes en quelques mots.
When your colleagues ask you how was your site-meeting and you recap in a few words


Quand le charpentier t’explique que les poteaux n’auront pas exactement la même section que celle que tu as dessinée.
When you carpenter explains to you that the pillars will not be exactly the same section that you have drawn.


Quand l’entrepreneur t’explique qu’il ne lit jamais ses marchés avant de les signer, car cela demanderait au moins une semaine avec deux avocats, et que de toutes façons il a un accord cadre avec le client… “alors bon, les pièces contractuelles… Mme l’Architecte…”


Quand tu gagnes un concours face à un Jean Nouvel (Oh yes,  sorry my dear – it happens to the best  of us .)
If you win a competition against Jean Nouvel (for the non-architects, it’s like winning a tennis match against Roger Federer)


…and so on…

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This week is Maxou’s first week at the crêche (french for daycare facility for children). And as a mother and an architect I’m quite interested in the facility itself from a personal and an architectural point of view, of course.
So when I started to apply for a place in the crêches in our neighborhood I passed by every crêche in order to have at least a glimpse at it from the outside. Having grown up in a little town in the country of German you can only be disappointed though. Most of the facilities in Paris are setup on the first floor of general apartment or office buildings. An inner court is quite a luxe (I’m not even talking about a real garden) and even daylight can be quite meager as the buildings around are high and the streets narrow. So I was quite happy when we got a place at a crêche that is an independent building with a little inner court where the children can play when ever they want. (And which is only 5 minutes walk from ourplace!) I still can’t believe it.
And though I feel very grateful I still couldn’t help but feel kind of envious when I saw this architectural report about children facilities around the world. So I wanted to share.

This is a kindergarten in Tokyo by the architects duo Tezuka Architects.



I love the fact that you can walkon the roof!

The following is also a project by Tezuka Architects  in Tokyo and is called “Around a tree“.  It’s definitely my favorite.  The whole building has been designed around an old twisted zelkova tree.  Some rooms are high and some are just a small as a little child, some closed and some are completely open. There seems to be no boundary between the internal and the external.





Photos: Katsuhisa Kida

This one called Traumbaum is a project in Berlin by the architects Baupiloten.




Photos: Jan Bitter

… and this is Tukusi Nursery School in Hiroshima by UID Architects, a peanut-shaped building with large curved walls and large windows and a beautiful garden.




Photos: Hiroshi Ueda

Who wouldn’t be jealous? They’re great, right?!

Photo above: Doisneau

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London’s ‘Walkie Talkie’ skyscraper is putting the street on fire

London Walkie Talkie building melts car

You might already have heard of it, as I have read about it several times today already. The new skyscraper in London (still under construction) nicknamed ‘walkie talkie’ or now ‘walkie scorchie’ .) is literally putting the street on fire. His glass facade is reflecting the sunlight and bouncing heat from the sun on to buildings and everything else that is on the street across. A reporter measured 92 degrees celsius in a spot of the street! Can you imagine? Apparently it’s melting parts of cars, causing tiles to smash and paintwork to blister and makes it possible to fry eggs in the street! Hot!

see for yourself here


picture above from theguardian

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Dreamplaces – Stars building for stars


Tom Ford got himself built a ranch by nobody less than our famous, beloved Tandao Ando and it looks just beautiful – so clean and pure, so Tandao Ando.

I’m not a fashionista and I don’t know much about Tom Ford but what I do know about him I really like. Très sympatique – as the french would say. At least he seems so. He’s this good-looking (so handsome!), successful (cause hardworking), smart, self-confident but not arrogant ..fashion designer, film producer…  and did you know that he has a diploma in architecture which he got in Paris?  What gained him even more points  than he already got from me (not that he would care) with his movie A single man – beautiful movie.
Of course he’s not on the market, Ford is  in a relationship with the same partner since more than 20 years, with dogs and a baby as of late.
And the fact that he has chosen japanese architect Tandao Ando as architect for his home in Texas… This man has taste and culture.  I don’t know of many from the fashion business who have shown an interest in..  architecture, I mean really architecture, you know what I mean. Do you?

I’m aware that as an architect I should write probably more about Tandao Ando and not Tom Ford – but the woman in me was stronger than the architect .) Though I know that men- like mine- do like him as well – to boot.


Photos Guido Mocafico

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Of palm-shaped windows and other…

The other weekend we went to Barcelona to visit friends of ours and for the inauguration of the new Renaissance Barcelona Fira Hotel by Jean Nouvel (AJN). Em collaborated on it – which is mainly why we went. And it was great!

The hotel is amazing, even though the position is not very fabulous, it’s practical though since it’s close to the airport.
Just staying in the hotel was already like a journey apart. It’s all about palm trees in all its shapes, colours, shadows, light effects..

The windows have the shape of a palm tree



the lights in the rooms cast motives of palm leaves and the corridors and stairways are a big jungle.
The hotel is actually composed two towers with a huge vertical atrium-garden in the middle with plants and palms on every floor


– definitely not something for people with fear of heights as you feel the hight as soon as you leave your room, when you take one of the panoramic elevators or even just and especially when you take the stairs. But the views are definitely worth it!
There is a great restaurant in the middle where you sit surrounded by palm trees ad enjoy the view . The best view though you enjoy of course on the top, on the roof terrace with its nice pool,  sipping a yummy cocktail 😉


One of my favorites is probably the fact that as soon as you leave your room you’re outside – you’re not in a dark or narrow corridor but see the sun, the sky, feel the air – and all the plants make it really seem like being in a vertical garden. And for a little more you take the suite with a nice little private terrace with palm trees and a jacuzzi 🙂


It is quite tempting, right? I definitely recommend it for those who like it a bit different!

And then, sunny Barcelona, you’re always worth a visit!

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This house is absolutely breathtaking! What a beauty.
Villa Överby by Swedish architect John Robert Nilsson sits atop a rocky headland in the wilds of the Stockholm archipelago, Sweden.

The exterior is finished only in matte black (private spaces) and glass walls (common space) providing those breathtaking views out towards the sea.
The limestone-covered concrete plinth is continuous floor inside and outside of the house and opens out into a terrace with the Infinity pool, overlooking the nordic tundra and calmness.
Everything seems so calm and quite, so seamless and smooth, peaceful and so far, far away -almost unreal.
And the view,..and the view..
Who wouldn’t want to live here?




via designlines

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