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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Half Dose #48: Small Projects

The web page and office of Malaysian architect Kevin Mark Low goes by the name Small Projects, both an accurate description of his work and a sort of design philosophy where nothing is too small to be designed. Browsing the numerous small projects on Low's site -- projects that range from a mailbox to an office building -- one is impressed by the consistency of the quality and the aesthetic, a Modern one that is minimal and finely crafted. Below are five projects that illustrate these and other qualities.

HD48a.jpg
[dishrack | image source]
This stainless steel and wood dishrack is suspended over the kitchen sink, a common sense strategy that drips water directly into the sink, but one that is all too often eschewed in favor of inefficient countertop or in-sink types. The stainless steel is used to hang the rack, while wood is used for the rails, chosen so no damage is done to the plates and other tableware.

HD48b.jpg
[pittsburgh desk | image source]
This multi-tasking worktop for an architecture office creates a sizable plenum between the low and high table tops for storage of drawings and other materials. The name refers to the steel produced in Pittsburgh last century, something Low seems to embrace in a lot of his small projects. Admirably,the corners exhibit the way the piece was made, rather than providing an even finish that would otherwise cover up the process.

HD48c.jpg
[folded stair | image source]
Like many of the smallest of Low's small projects tend to be parts of larger commissions, typically houses; the folded stair is part of the aviary house, a rowhouse renovation. The perforated steel stair brings light to the space below the stair, all the while appearing to float between the brick walls. Steel pins anchored into the walls support the folded stair, an almost invisible detail that belies the structural integrity of the stair's construction.

HD48d.jpg
[gardengate | image source]
Likewise, the gardengate is part of another larger project, the loftoffice. A black steel mesh cage, functioning like a trapdoor, is suspended above cantilevered concrete steps leading to the garden below. What at first glance appears to be a frivolous design element, the trapdoor works in tandem with a pivoted security door above, and, when open, the trapdoor acts as a guardrail of sorts for those ascending or descending the otherwise open steps.

HD48e.jpg
[louvrebox house | image source]
Lastly is one of Low's houses, the appropriately named louvrebox. Sited on a small, narrow lot the house illustrates the architect's responses to site, something that extends to even the kitchen sink (above) but is most clear in the residential projects where the Malaysian climate must be contended with. This 3-story house includes two floors wrapped in aluminum louvers that "strike [a] balance between view out and privacy in and blocking the heat of the afternoon sun." In the humid climate of Malaysia, overhangs are rampant, and the porosity of inside and outside is controllable to take advantage of breezes.

Links:
:: Kevin Mark Low - Small Projects
:: Five Foot Way Magazine, Interview with Kevin Mark Low

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