Reflecting on new ideas

Tuesday 13 Mar 2012

Danish-American architects MLRP transform existing playground structure into a reflective pavilion

Forty percent of the energy consumption in the Western World is used by buildings - ninety nine percent from existing buildings, and only one percent from new buildings. It is therefore necessary to focus on transforming older, existing buildings into more sustainable structures by upgrading insulation values, sun shading, heating, ventilation and lighting systems.

Sustainability renovates and transforms, instead of demolishing which requires energy and creates waste. It becomes a responsible alternative to contructing a new building.

Mirror House is an example of a successful transformation project for limited funds. The playground pavilion was run down by years of neglect and vandalism, but the masonry structure, roof and foundations were in good condition allowing the building's life to be extended. Slight modifications were made to the internal layout of the space. The building was thereafter upgraded with focus on effective installations, insulation and design.

The roof slope was increased to conceal the new roof mounted installations and the existing roof membrane and downspouts, under the new building shell, continue their function. Finally it was clad with sustainable certified wood, Thermo Wood. Thermo Wood is heat modified, which toughens the wood increasing the wood's longevity, making it a good alternative to tropical or impregnated wood. The heating treatment reduces movement in the wood, which means less maintenance.

Funhouse mirrors of polished stainless steel are mounted on the gabled ends, as well as behind the shutter doors. This engages a play with perspective, reflection and tranformation. Instead of a typical closed gabled facade, the mirrored gables creates a sympathetic transition between built and landscape and reflects the surrounding park, playground and activity.

With simple means it has succeeded to transform a sad and anonymous building to a unique and respectful installation in the newly renovated park.

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Civic Buildings

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