National Architecture Week continues! Today I thought I’d share some images of some of my favorite projects, all having one important this in common: material juxtaposition.

The architecture school that I attended (Tulane School of Architecture in New Orleans) emphasized the study of phenomenology. In very basic terms: How materials in or on spaces makes you FEEL. I spent (probably) too long on many of my student design projects selecting a palatte of materials that would balance out to create just enough interest to feel just right. I think the combination of textures as well as mass can really make a project interesting without having to get crazy over the form or add a lot of architectural bling. This is something that Northern Europeans and the Japanese do very well.

As long as you have well thought out spaces that function well for the building, if you give some good thought to your material choices and detailing you have a successful project. Keep it simple!

Much of what I’m drawn to is the juxtaposition between wood and concrete, but there are other lovely combinations too. I think wood and concrete is just especially cool because you NEED wood to make the formwork for concrete, so I like that the natural element remains in the project somewhere. Plus, it warms up the otherwise cool vibe of the concrete.

Retirement home in Zurich by Bob Gysin


 School in Paspals by Valerio Olgiati. Link via Subtilitas since Olgiati’s website seems to be as minimal as humanly possible. 


Atlantic Center for the Arts by Charles Rose Architects

Lux, Park on the site of an old steel mill by AllesWirdGut

Look Up Agency HQ by Anin Jeromin Fitilidis & Partner

Shoreham Street by Project Orange

Park Modern by Build LLC


Hydrothermal Baths in Pamplona by Otxotorena Arquitectos

 Whats your opinion on mixing materials? Too distracting, or do you like the mix of the old with the new?


Facebook Twitter Email Pinterest

2 thoughts on “Juxtaposition

  1. There is probably a fancy architectural term for it but I love both the tension of combining wood and concrete as well as seeing the structure of the building. Kind of mies van de rohe – ish. Not clad in something to hide the materials and structure. The simple statement of the building.

  2. thank you for reminding me why exactly it is that i don’t fit in with the others at grad school … no one here gives a hoot about phenomenology! design build projects are using zip ties or caution tape! ackkk!!!

    miss you!

Leave a Reply