Come and grow – the spoga+gafa blog » Articles by: Leif Hallerbach

Wetland Park: Apartments by David Chipperfield

Xixi is a national wetland park located on the outskirts of Hangzhou in China, which is thousand years old. David Chipperfield Architects have taken the wetland´s special athmosphere and intergrated it into new and modern apartment buidlings.

Xixi is a built landscape and an area of nature, which has been shaped by man for over a thousand years. The omnipresent relationship between landscape, architecture, and water is key to the atmosphere in Xixi, since it ist he only wetland park combining urban life, farming and architecture. This special atmosphere has now been integrated into a new development of apartment buildings by David Chipperfield Architects.

The apartment buildings are surrounded by a water garden, which, as a reference to the wetland park, is a mostly wild landscape. In contrast to these green surroundings, the buildings appear as dark stone volumes embedded in the water garden. They are, as is typical for villages in Xixi, placed on a stone plinth that sits in the water. This plinth forms the base of a village group with various levels, walls, and balustrades creating a sequence of exterior spaces, which enable access to the buildings. The interiors are characterised by floating spaces. Room height windows allow for natural light and views over the water garden.

Urban Garden: Residential Block in Aarhus

In the second largest city of Denmark, Schmidt Hammer Lassen plan to turn the city into an oasis of nature: The urban residential block is called “Valdemars Have” and will lie within a public garden in the center of Aarhus.

“Valdemars Have” is an urban residential block nestled amongst the cultural and green heart of Aarhus. It’s a vision for how to create good living conditions for people who want to be part of the city and want the city to be part of their lives. Resting on a sloping terrain in a tranquil location within walking distance of Aarhus’ major cultural attractions, the architects want the project to become a prime location in the city. The idea is to create an oasis of calm within the bustling city.

The project is a modern version of the old red brick townhouses and comprises of 106 apartments of varying size, from 2-bedroom flats to large penthouses with private roof terraces. It adapts to the city’s character and soul exploiting the site’s exceptional values and creating a unique public urban garden. The publicly accessible outdoor areas will maintain a garden-like character with a variety of plants and flowers, which helps to achieve biodiversity and a microclimate ensuring residents have an experience of nature within the city as well as peaceful common outdoor areas. The green façade gives the project a unique look and enhances the experience of a building “planted” within a garden, where the landscape and the green elements give character and identity to the building.

Exhibition: The New American Garden

Until May 2016, the National Building Museum in Washington will show a revolution in landscape architecture: “The New American Garden“ chronicles the careers and influence of important landscape architects Wolfgang Oehme and James van Sweden.

The two practitioners revolutionized the field of landscape architecture with their “New American Garden” typology, one centered on the use of broad and lush sweeps of grasses and perennials, and rich contrasts of textures, rather than the neatly clipped lawn-based landscapes that characterized post war American design. Significant public examples in Washington, D.C. include e.g. the German-American Friendship Garden.

The exhibition includes 52 contemporary and newly commissioned photographs of important residential, civic, and commercial projects. To supplement, the exhibition will include art that inspired the firm’s work, original plans and drawings, furniture designed by van Sweden and selections from a 2009 video oral history with van Sweden. The traveling photographic exhibition is organized by and presented in collaboration with The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF).

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Weishäupl: Laid-back seating

Weishäupl is ready for the warm summer months. For the coming 2016 summer season, the manufacturer is offering, amongst others, a fresh interpretation of the director’s chair. The new lounge furniture from this long-established manufacturer is also distinctly casual.

“Casual furniture” is how Weishäupl refers to their new products for 2016 – laid-back furniture for relaxation, inside and out. The new Ahoi chair, for example, was developed to furnish a yacht, street café or home terrace. This reinterpretation of the classic director’s chair is collapsible and combines a frame made of aluminium and stainless steel components with a fabric cover. Alongside the standard colours of light grey and beige, individual designs are also available for the seat cover. The design of the matching tables continues the maritime look of the chair. Two collapsible models are available with HPL or teak tops. In line with the type of use to which it is likely to be put, the furniture in this series is easy to clean and weather-resistant.

The chairs, armchairs and lounge armchairs of the Slope range of furniture appear fragile whilst in fact being extremely stable. The elegantly formed seating is suitable for private as well as commercial use. A latticework of durable polypropylene cords in taupe or black ensures laid-back seating comfort. Frames of glass-blasted stainless steel lend the stackable seating the required stability. Various versions of table can be combined with the chairs. Their weather-resistant tops are available in a choice of either HPL or solid teak.


Modern casual also describes the new Joint collection from the Fast by Weishäupl range. The lounge range of different upholstery elements offers a variety of different combinations. The seat backs and armrests are padded with flexible polyurethane foam, which makes sitting very comfortable. As with the other new products, Joint is suitable for use in a variety of indoor and outdoor spaces.

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