According to the Chinese believes, the sky and the earth are in perfect harmony and they represent the two powerful coordinates that dictate the supreme manifestation of the universal dialectic. The Chinese Coin House in Santa Cruz, Bolivia is definitely one of those unusual and inciting homes, with a wonderful story behind them. Inspired by the popular Chinese coins that bring luck and prosperity to people (square and stable in the middle and round and harmonic as you approach the margins), the house is envisioned as a magnet for happiness and prosperity. The architect responsible with this fascinating and creative project is Juan Carlos Menacho Durán.
Rounded, like the Milky Way and respecting a simple design line (based on the Phi principle), the Chinese Coin House is neat, sophisticated and very stylish. By respecting the principles of harmony, the architect aimed to offer a shelter that improves the lifestyle of its inhabitants. “When building a house today, it’s no longer possible to ignore these factors. Some examples are determining a location site according to the earth’s electromagnetic lines irradiating low intensity gamma rays; distributing interior spaces in a house, considering location of the four cardinal points, or using the golden number or ratio phi to establish the proportions of longitude, depth and volume (this measurement is needed to recreate spaces, giving its inhabitants stability and harmony).”
What is new and exciting now can quickly begin to look tired and out of fashion, so the best buildings don’t just consider what will be interesting to look at now, but also how it might look to people in five, fifty or even a hundred years’ time. 2013’s hotly contested RIBA Stirling Prize went to Witherford Watson Mann Architects for their work on Astley Castle, Warwickshire. In what RIBA Past President Stephen Hodder has described as an extreme retrofit, the project essentially saw a new building inserted subtly into the heart of the old, with a new, two storey residence now hidden within the sandstone walls of the ruins of this medieval castle, to be used as a holiday home for up to eight guests
The best architects can create designs which will give clients and the public things they didn’t even realise they wanted, and this is especially important when architects are given the difficult brief of creating structures in much-loved, iconic areas.