A Trip Around the World: Architectural Inspiration

It is that time of the year again: where the nights are too short, our tempers even shorter and the year just way too long!

At JNA, we strive to find new drive and motivation in the inspiring work from our counterparts on a global level. So, pour yourself a cup of coffee, put your phone on silent and drink in some new-found energy with these amazing architectural wonders…let’s take a trip around the world!

MA House – Mexico



Hola Mexico! 60km from Mexico City, between the gorgeous mountains of Tepoztlán, you will find a 300m² masterpiece designed by Cadaval & Solá-Morales.




The main construction material for the home was stone, even though it is hard and uncomfortable to work with; the accessibility and low cost-per-square-meters makes it the obvious choice and contributes to the rough and earthy element of this residence.



The house consists of three pavilions unified by a unique roof, generating two patios. With the mountains on both sides and neighbors in opposite directions, the layout is of such sort that all living spaces are open to the view of the mountains.




It is a sequence of spacious and ever-changing relations with nature. At the end of the day, the way in which the surroundings, natural elements and design is combined; often determines the power of the architecture.


Apple Store - Chicago



From Mexico to Chicago and more specifically, the Apple Store in Michigan Avenue. Architects Foster and Partners were responsible for the design of this 20 000m² office space that is absolutely breathtaking.




The building cascades down to the river’s edge, creating a new connection between the city and the river. The wide public stair creates an active space for people to interact and connect.




An impossibly thin carbon fiber roof, pure glass walls and large seating area, contributes to the feel of innovation, creativity and inspiration. This is the type of “apple” a day that will keep the November fatigue away!


Koi Café - Vietnam


Xin Cháo Vietnam! In a narrow alley somewhere in Vietnam, you will find a picturesque, 88m² space called the Koi Café Spa 646. This restaurant and spa have Koi Carps in order to run their very own aquaponics ecosystem.

Fish dung is collected and stored in clay soil tanks where the waste is converted to nutrients for plants, with the water filtering through their homegrown vegetable plants, in return serving as water for the fish.







The design of the café resembles the scales of the koi (decorative brick wall) and the wood that is used, are recycled pallets.




Whether the fish are nibbling on your toes or you are sipping on some organic juice, the space created is definitely serene.


The Royal Arena - Denmark



37 000m². 16 000 people. Four sold out Metallica shows as an opening. A highly flexible multi-purpose space…

This is what you will find when visiting The Royal Arena in Copenhagen, Denmark. When discussing this project, 3XN Architects mentioned that the first challenge was location.




Traditionally, arenas built for concerts or international sporting events tend to be situated on the outskirts of town, but not the Royal Arena - it is right in the middle of a neighborhood!




The main aim was thus to create a space that can serve and enhance the residents’ quality of life. 3XN Architects’ focus was to ensure that the Royal Arena will become a so-to-speak “good neighbor”.




The podium offers various public areas for social meetings or daily activities and the warm timber facade creates a welcoming feel. Divided into a plinth and a top, the latter being semi-transparent with wooden fin waves on the building; it definitely demands attention and attraction!


Zeits Mocca – South Africa



Lastly, LOCAL IS LEKKER! So, howzit Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa?!

Heatherwick worked in collaboration with van der Merwe Miszewski Architects, Jacobs Parkers Architects and Rick Brown & Associates in order to create something us South Africans (especially Capetonians) can be very proud of!

The grain silo was used to store and grade maize from all over the country, but with the advent of containerized shipping, the massive piece of concrete infrastructure was left decommissioned and without purpose. And so, it was decided to open Africa’s very first International museum dedicated to contemporary African Art.




Originally there were two main elements to the building: the grading tower and the block of 42 tightly-packed silos. Instead of demolishing it all, the team accepted the challenge of converting these tubes into functional and gorgeous spaces, whilst retaining the industrial feel.




The solution was to carve out a large central space from the cellular concrete structure to form a big social area that reveals the original geometries in an unexpected manner. The perimeter tubes were also cut back to convert it into five floors of galleries for both permanent and temporary exhibitions.




The finished carved tubes above the atrium space allow daylight in, through the thick layers of laminated glass serving as a roof covering. Concrete walls were cut away to create new three-dimensionally-shaped windows that reflects a kaleidoscope of textures and colors, continuously changing throughout the day.




Truly a representation of the talent and capability of our country.

And just like that: inspiration injection given. The JNA Group wishes you the best of luck with the last bite of 2018. Let us never get too drained to miss the little pieces of inspiration and motivation that is all around us.
Photo Credits: www.amazingarchitecture.com (Mexico, Royal Arena)
www.archdaily.com (Apple, KOI Café and Zeitz Moccaa)



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