May 1, 2011

'Pedro Gadanho', MARK #31, Apr/May 2011

Mark Magazine
Publisher: Frame PublishersAmsterdam
ISSN: 1574-6453



‘A trip down the rabbit hole’ is one way to describe Pedro Gadanho's GMG House, sited just north of Lisbon in the city of Torres Vedras. This private residence packs more pop-culture references within its walls than first meet the eye, including nods to Claes Oldenburg, Damien Hirst and Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. The renovation of the 19th-century structure includes a number of habitable interventions, best exemplified by an oversized ‘pill’–a bathroom extension–that echoes both Oldenburg’s enlarged objects and Hirst’s capsules, while mirroring Alice's sometimes-shrunken, sometimes-expanded journey through the strange universe depicted in Carroll's classic novel of 1865.

‘I think it’s important to have cultural references in the home that come from outside the world of architecture,’ says Gadanho, adding that such references lend a sense of significance to the dwelling ‘that escapes the confined discourse of architecture’. Here in Torres Vedras, he’s made a multipurpose mix of the ground floor. The first floor combines living room, library, kitchen, bathroom extension, patio and pool. The second accommodates a bedroom, a bath and a studio, which are linked and framed by a seemingly endless hallway lined in sliding doors, distantly recalling the enfilades of French chateaux erected centuries ago.

‘I prefer to see architecture as pleasure–sensual or intellectual–rather than as an imposed constraint,’ says Gadanho. The realization of this preference is often a strange universe of historical, fictional and narrative connections. Only in this way, he says, can ‘architecture fulfill its cultural role and trigger ideas, recollections or even playful daydreaming’. Daydreaming, as Alice would do.

Pedro Gadanho

'Benoy', MARK #31, Aprl/May 2011

Mark Magazine
Publisher: Frame PublishersAmsterdam
ISSN: 1574-6453



Abu Dhabi, the UAE's second largest city, constantly attempts to outshine the building spree of the country's more famous capital, this time with Benoy's Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, a humongous, 1.4-km-wide amusement park occupying yet another of the country’s artificial islands, each of which houses private collections of architecturally immaculate conceptions. Many continue to gape at Abu Dhabi and Dubai in amazement, as the cities dream up and realize one impressive feat of architectural engineering after another. Highlighting the most recent of these dreams, Ferrari World–‘the world’s largest indoor theme park’–is (as we go to press) the world's fastest roller coaster. Integrated into the surroundings of the complex are the Yas Marina Circuit, home to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix; the Yas Hotel, the breathtaking work of New York-based Asympote; and the yet-to-be-built Warner Brothers Movie World.

In terms of engineering and scale, the most impressive element of Ferrari World is its sculptural roof, a structure composed of over 200,000 m2 of coloured panels in the company's iconic red. A central ‘eye’, or funnel, made of roughly 10,000 m2 of glass–much of it screen-printed–draws enough natural light into the complex to illuminate the entire park during the day, while helping to keep the indoor space a uniformly comfortable 25ÂșC. The recent grand opening of Ferrari World recalled the fanfare that accompanied the opening of Coop Himmelb(l)au's BMW World in 2007. But bringing the Ferrari brand to life in this remarkable way surely surpasses anything BMW World has to offer, if only through the venue’s enormity, simplicity and pervasive sense of Arabian intrigue. Rather than scoring with the speed and sportiness of Ferrari's designs, Benoy makes mouths drop in disbelief through sheer size.

Benoy