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Indoor Playground (Doubling as Lecture Hall)

Practicality meets whimsy at the Indoor Playground — which doubles as a lecture hall — of the Yueyang County No. 3 Middle School. The building’s sawtooth roof evokes the peaks and valleys of the Hunan mountains, and if you look closely at the brick patterns on the podium, you’ll see the constellations of the Zodiac. The 980-square-metre facility, made of aluminum and prefabricated steel, rests on a curvy red-brick base atop its stepped courtyard, which evens out the site’s sloped terrain. The interiors are awash in natural light that streams in from overheard windows, each outfitted with louvres to reduce solar gain during the hottest months of the year.

Project Indoor Playground (Doubling as Lecture Hall) Location Yueyang, China Firms SUP Atelier (China) with THAD (China) Team Yehao Song and Xiaojuan Chen with Dan Xie, Jingfen Sun, Surtoo Bai, Yingnan Chu, Dongchen Han and Haowei Yu Photos Zhi Xia

Lasvit courtyard view, with both the Glass House and Black House visible
Lasvit Headquarters

A design company specializing in awe-inspiring light installations, Lasvit makes resolutely modern creations. Yet its new headquarters, which incorporates two restored 18th-century timber houses, shows equal regard for new and old — and in a manner that exalts its preferred medium: glass. The material is the mainstay of Nový Bor, a town in the North Bohemia region of the Czech Republic, where the craft of glassmaking has been practised for 600 years. (During restoration, the architects discovered a forgotten well that dates just as far back — a relic they embraced and preserved.) Fittingly, the centrepiece of this complex is the Glass House, a resplendent building clad entirely in, you guessed it, glass panels — 1,400 of them, each custom made with a paper mould. Through its luminosity and simplicity, Glass House counterbalances the ornate heritage structures that flank it, as well as the black cement–tiled “Black House” installed as its mysterious counterpoint.

Project Lasvit Headquarters Location Nový Bor, Czech Republic Firms Lasvit (Czech Republic)with OV-A (Czech Republic) Team Maxim Velčovský, Štěp.n Valouch and Jiř. Opočenský

AZ Awards 2020: Awards of Merit in Buildings < 1,000 SqM

Hurray for a colourful middle-school playground in China and a glass-clad headquarters in the Czech Republic.

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