For interior designers and architects, the term ‘outside the box’ can come as a double-edged sword when unusual designs are brought into the built arena. While designing in innovative ways can bring a cutting edge uniqueness that reaps acclaim and spurs on new design trends, it can also lead into unknown territory, and that unknown design territory can sometimes fail to score with the masses.
All in all, designing ‘outside the box’ can carry strong risks.
An up-and-coming architecture team, however, are throwing caution to the wind. Design firm 4568796 Architecture is turning heads with its three-storey Bloc_10 condo development. In a literal inversion of outside-the-box design, the architects have created a residential building that is so avant-garde it pushes the boundaries between concept design and what is really possible to deliver. This notion plays a key role in all of the firm’s undertakings, says 4568796 architect Colin Neufeld.
“Architects that want to push the edge a little usually start with theoretical work and publications – but we’ve been doing it in the built world,” Neufeld says.
The team’s risk has paid off, with the firm achieving one of the most prestigious Canadian design awards, the Governor-General’s Medal for Architecture.
However, while the award is architecture-focused, it is the combination of interior design and architecture on the site that exposes the building’s true uniqueness, with the exterior square form offering few clues as to the intincities inside. Fellow firm architect Ken Borton describes the overall design vision.
“We said, let’s take a box and make something interesting on the inside,” he says. “It quickly took on this Chinese puzzle aspect.”
Bloc_10′s 10 residential units are slotted into the cubic exterior with each boasting a different size and form. Each unit has a two-storey layout, north and south facing windows and exterior front doors, but this is where the similarities end.
The apartments are all uniquely configured and slot into one another like a giant jigsaw. This means the units each feature their own layout and interior architectural system, allowing for an individual sense of ownership for each of the separate apartments.
However, in order to foster a sense of fluidity in the building, a central ‘spine’ of staircases runs through the building, acting as a link between the different levels.
The interiors are ambitious to say the least, and offer a uniquely modern update to traditional walk-up condo design.
Innovation is key in a thriving industry like Canada’s, and it is imperative in order for a building to stand out from the masses. In looking inside of the box, 4568796 Architecture has created an exemplary building that is gaining the recognition that successful innovation always garners.