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Our Favourite buildings that break boundaries

We might not be heading to this year’s London Festival of Architecture, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take inspiration from this year’s theme: ‘boundaries’.

Image: London Festival of Architecture

And given the current climate, it feels like an appropriate theme.

Image: ArchDaily
Bergisel Ski Jump, Innsbruck – Zaha Hadid Architects
Whilst not always a Zaha fan; this ski jump makes so much of Zaha’s dynamic form making and it seems wholly appropriate in this context. Her proposals were never things that could be pigeonholed and, for this reason, I think she is boundary-breaking. I also love the fact that both the Architecture practice and the structural engineer, Jane Wernick Associates, are female-led. Very much boundary-breaking for 1999. [Paul]

Image: Fraher & Findlay

The Etch House, London – Fraher & Findlay
This project has completely re-imagined the typical terrace house. Rather than retaining the existing dark, narrow staircase the architects removed all of the internal walls and inserted a new stair right at the heart of the plan. This minimises circulation space and maximises the light and flow of the house. I also really like the reduction in floor heights which is something that has inspired designs for my own house extension. [Alan]

Image: ArchDaily

The Antivilla, Germany – Brandlhuber+Emde, Burlon 
There are many reasons I love Anti-Villa. There’s the way it cleverly negotiates strict regulations surrounding existing buildings from the former GDR and even the fact that it is heavily introduced by a 1970’s French Art House film. However, my absolute fave is how they got students to hammer great big holes into its walls! Talk about breaking a boundary…” [Liam]

Image: Architects’ Journal

Grenfell United – campaigning for safe homes, justice and change

High-rises like this push boundaries, but for all the wrong reasons. The second anniversary of the Grenfell Tower block has just taken place and people living in high-rises around the country don’t feel safe. To quote Natasha Elcock, chair of Grenfell United: ‘After the fire, we were promised that blocks would be made safe. Two years later we cannot wait any longer, we need action now so everyone is safe in their homes.’ [Fera]

Image: Claire Taylor

The WISE (Wales Institute for Sustainable Education) building at the Centre for Alternative Technology,  Machynlleth – Pat Borer & David Lea

CAT is where I studied for my diploma. Built on a former slate quarry halfway up a large and not particularly accessible hill, the design is notable for its consideration of external views and flow through spaces. There’s a central courtyard where Wales meets Japanese design, and the incorporation of an impressive 7.2m tall circular rammed earth lecture theatre in a typically rainy climate. Whilst no one material is radical by itself, the combination of low-energy materials creates a palette and series of spaces that at times can feel almost monastic. [Claire]