Mirror, mirror, on the wall…

The mirror is a wonderful thing. In nature, only the surface of calm water allows people to see their reflections, but few things invented by humans have the function of reflection. I remember enjoying coffee in Paris one time, in a cafe that had several oversized mirrors hanging on the wall. Although my seat at the table was positioned sitting facing the wall, I was able to see not only the person opposite me, but also what was behind me. The reflection in the mirror let me observe the dynamics of others – a very interesting experience. Interior design sometimes uses mirrors to enlarge and extend a small room, resulting in a rich sense of space. A mirror can also change the light in a space. This makes me think of the mirror hall of the Palace of Versailles, where mirrors were used to reflect candlelight and to increase the brightness of the hall.

Mirror, mirror, on the wall…

French architect Jean Nouvel is a designer who uses light to express and complement architecture. He was born in 1945 and fell in love with painting and art at the age of 16, but his parents, as teachers, wanted a stable future for him, so they persuaded him to study architecture. He began working in an architectural firm during his studies, and in 1972 he completed his architectural professional education at the École des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux. After that, he established a partnership architectural firm and gradually established his brilliance in the architectural world. One of his early masterpieces, the Arab World Institute, completed in 1987, has always had a place in my heart. He uses the principle of camera aperture plus computer control to adjust the light in the room depending on the light outside.

interesting reflections

Nouvel is a representative of contemporary architecture in France. Based on modernist minimalist architectural frameworks, he uses glass, metal and other modern building materials to create an architectural space full of interest and atmosphere. In recent years, his architectural design has tended to refer to high-tech styles, but his architectural image is not to show off the technology and structure, but to make the building look completely different from the traditional, by being floating, light and transparent. So his design method is very varied, making good use of light. He uses modern structural materials and architectural techniques to give buildings a profound metaphorical meaning, and his reference to the rules of classical architecture is also abstract, with a strong appeal. This always gives his works a strong ideological character, and he is regarded as an architect with a unique design style in contemporary architecture. In 2008, Nouvel received the Pritzker Prize, the highest honour in the architectural world.

Reflections can be seen at every angle, challenging my vision.

There are four huge old gas storage tanks in the 11th district of Vienna, each with a capacity of 90,000 cubic meters. These four gasometers were built between 1896 and 1899 and used a large amount of masonry; they were the largest in Europe at the time. In 1981 they were listed as a protected-grade monument, and in 1984 they were taken out of service, leaving only the masonry exterior wall. As I started to study architecture in 1995, the city of Vienna held an architectural competition inviting architects to plan how to re-use this space. The project was completed in 2001, with the tanks being converted into residential and commercial facilities.

A large amount of masonry had been used for building Gasometer.
Map of Gasometer

Nouvel designed the housing structure of Building A, a ring of nine separate buildings, close to the old masonry walls, which are protected monuments. The residential area has eight floors, but it starts from a height of 25 metres. There are about 120 apartments, and every two apartments form one unit. Between the nine separate sections is a gap of approximately the width of an apartment, where the high openings of old masonry can be seen. The floor-to-ceiling design of the glass and the mirrored walls optimises the use of sunlight. Even if it is cloudy, it will not feel very dark. Reflections can be seen at every angle, challenging my vision. When the sun comes out, it suddenly bursts into the air.

Below the apartments there are three office floors, three commercial floors containing a shopping centre, and an underground car park. In front of Building A is a subway station. In addition, there are offices on the second to fourth floors, which were previously owned by CEE Immobilien Development AG.

I had a chat with a gentleman who lives there. He is very satisfied with the infrastructure, and his wife likes the mirrored wall design. It is much more interesting and less monotonous.

The charm of the French-style mirror is fully demonstrated here. The play of light and shade continues.

Every two apartments form one unit. Between the nine separate sections is a gap of approximately the width of an apartment.

魔鏡啊, 魔鏡…

鏡子真是很奇妙的東西。在大自然中只有水面可以讓人看到自己的倒影, 很少有人類發明的東西會有反射的功能。還記在巴黎時有一次在咖啡廳享受咖啡, 發現牆上掛著好幾個超大的鏡子。雖然我坐在面對牆壁的位置, 只能看到我對面的人, 卻因為鏡子反射我可以看到我背後的景觀, 可以觀察別人的動態, 相當有趣的體驗。室內設計有時會用到鏡子, 可以將一個很小的空間加大延長, 造成豐富的空間感。鏡子反射的功能也可以改變一個空間的光線。讓我想到凡爾賽宮的鏡廳, 就是利用鏡子反射讓當時使用蠟燭水晶燈的大廳光度增加。

法國建築師讓・ 努維爾 (Jean Nouvel) 是一個很會用光線來表現及搭配建築的設計師。他1945年出生, 16歲時候愛上了畫畫和藝術, 但是身為教師的父母希望他有未來穩定性的發展, 所以他們說服努維爾去念建築。1972年他在法國國家高等藝術學院完成建築專業教育, 在學習階段他就開始在建築事務所工作。之後成立合夥建築事務所, 漸漸在建築界大放異彩。1987年落成的阿拉伯世界研究所一直是我心中他早期的代表作, 他使用照相機光圈的原理加上電腦控制, 可以因外面的光線情況調節室內的光線。

努維爾是法國當代建築的代表, 他以現代主義簡約的建築框架, 用玻璃還有金屬等現代建築材料為基礎, 創造出一種富於情趣和內涵的建築空間。近幾年來他的建築設計傾向於對高科技風格的引用, 但他設計的建築形象並不是在炫耀技術和結構, 而是使建築呈現出與傳統性質完全不同的飄浮、 輕盈和通透感。所以他的設計手法是十分多變, 善用光線。他借助於現代結構材料及建築技術賦予建築的深刻隱喻意義, 同時他對古典建築規則的引用也是抽象化, 而且帶有強烈的感染力。這讓他的作品總帶有較強的思想性, 算是當代建築界一位設計風格較為獨特的建築師。2008年努維爾得了建築界最高榮譽的普利兹克獎。

The floor-to-ceiling design of the glass and the mirrored walls optimises the use of sunlight.

在維也納11區有四個巨大舊瓦斯儲氣槽, 容量各有9萬立方米。這四個瓦斯儲氣槽建於1896年至1899年,使用大量的磚石, 其規模在當時的歐洲是最大級別。1984年這些儲氣槽停止使用,只保留了磚石外牆。1981年列入保護級古蹟, 1995年我開始念建築時維也納市公開競圖讓建築師們規劃如何重新開發使用這個空間。2001年時完工, 改建為住宅和商業設施。

In 1981 Gasometer was listed as a protected-grade monument.

法國建築師讓·努維爾(Jean Nouvel)設計了A棟的住房結構,這個建築物是9個獨立建築中的環形,緊靠古蹟保護的舊磚石牆壁。住宅樓層有八層,但從25米的高度才開始是住宅,大約有120套公寓,每2個公寓分成1個單位。在9個單獨的建築物之間是大約一個公寓的寬度的間隙,這裡可以看到舊磚石的高窗戶。完全都是玻璃的落地窗設計以及鏡面的牆壁創造了對陽光的高利用率。就算是陰天也不會覺得很暗。每個角度都可以看到反射, 對我的視覺挑戰。太陽出來時,突然 豔光四射。

Even if it is cloudy, it will not feel very dark.

公寓下面有3個辦公樓層,3個商業樓層的購物中心和一個地下停車場。A棟前面就是地鐵站。此外,二樓至四樓設有辦事處,這些辦公室以前由CEE Immobilien Development AG擁有。

和一位住在那的先生聊了一下, 他很滿意這裡的生活機能。他老婆最喜歡鏡面的牆面設計, 和單調的顏色比起來有趣多了。


The play of light and shade continues.