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alos is a practice for architecture and design led by Lydia Xynogala in New York.


engaging with material and cultural narratives the practice produces work at various scales and formats:
buildings, interiors, environments, objects and texts.


• 253 West 76 Street, #7
  New York, NY 10023 
• inquiries: info@alos.nyc


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Mark

House in Achladies



Situated on a sloping triangular site facing the sea, the house is conceived as a series of parallel adjoining rooms. They are created by retaining walls, a common feature in the surrounding Mediterranean landscape.







Each room sits at a different elevation following the topography and contains a dedicated program.  A stair makes the slope flow into the house; the first interior experience is that of a viewing apparatus onto the sea.
Each space is focused on a large opening to the south, contemplating the sea and complemented by a smaller northern one towards the slope. These openings also provide efficient cross ventilation for each room.



Volumes are in shear, a condition that ensures that each outdoor terrace has privacy even if the volumes are adjoining.












The concept of “aggregate” was a generator of form and selection of materials. Aggregation of volumes, aggregate in the raw concrete walls, in the terrazzo floor, roofs filled with gravel and plants.








Sliding doors through the double walls mark the passage from one space to the next. The notion of a “cut” through the solid concrete walls is emphasized by the grey marble of the thresholds. Facing the road, the east and west facades have no openings; this further protects the interior from the sun. A barely visible configuration of spaces conveys privacy with maximum views towards the sea. Desks, storage spaces, bathroom sinks, dressers, artwork cases: built-in furniture are custom designed and arranged along the centerline of the plan creating a dynamic sequence. Materials were used that are very familiar in older Greek residential interiors such as terrazzo floors, marble and plaster render; they are used in spaces, forms and combinations not so familiar.


Location          
Skiathos Island, Greece
Completion
2016
Area
200 sqm
Photography 

Yiorgis Yerolymbos


Mark

Ennismore Gardens House



A listed Victorian house in Knightsbridge faces a large communal enclosed garden. The renovation brings into focus the relationship with these gardens and lits the previously dark interiors, stripped from all their artificial finishes.




Guest room screen




The Wardian case was an early type of sealed protective container for plants. It found great use in the 19th century in protecting foreign plants imported to Europe from overseas and was invented by Dr. Nathaniel Bagshaw Ward of London, in 1829.

To create a visual continuity with the gardens outside, a “phytothèque” or plant wall was conceived: a series of geometric volumes interlocked. They function as planters, display for art, shelves and seating, inspired by Wardian cases. A gradual transition from the garden (plants) to the domestic (objects) is achieved in this sequence. 







Color in the living area is used to bring into focus historic details while the floor is stripped to reveal original wood planks. In the private areas, bedroom, dressing and bathroom, more subtle colors create a play of texture and depth.

Scope
Renovation, Interior Design, Custom Furniture
Completion
2016
Location
Knightsbridge, London, England
Photography
Nicholas Worley

Edgware Road Lobby




A commision to design a ceiling mounted installation for a new residential development in London’s Edgware Road.





Scope
Interior Design / Art Installation
Status
2018 - in Progress
Location
London, England
Team

ALOS / Lydia Xynogala in Collaboration with Candida Wigan, Tex-Tile





Three Guesthouses



Three existing and partially completed buildings were left unfinished in their concrete frame for years. Local building regulations did not allow for any alterations in their volume; surface and texture is where the architectural intervention operates.



 

A subtle/playful differentiation is made between the three buildings through the use of materials and colors. Ground floors are clad in local field stone similar to the dry stack stone walls in the surrounding landscape.







The façade of the upper parts has been insulated and painted. Each façade has a slightly different hue responding to its orientation. New window openings have been cut and framed in grey marble.
Wooden shutters shield the rooms from the sun. In closed state they form a geometric paintings on the walls. Low cost and durable finishes were selected to withstand heavy use, paired with custom details and furniture.

Scope
Exterior Conversion, Interior Design, Landscape
Completion 
2016
Location
Sporades, Greece
Photography

Yiorgis Yerolymbos




Mark

Recess Art Gallery



Recess is a non-profit Art Space. Their programs reimagine traditional studio, exhibition, and classroom platforms, offering artists, audiences, and program participants flexible frameworks in which to generate new works and ideas.








For their new headquarters in the Brooklyn Navy yards, we produced custom furniture designed space layouts for the public spaces and private offices. Low-budget, great flexibility and ease to replicate, were the design objectives. Common construction materials are the components for all the furniture. A steel element, the Recess Leg, adds a detail to an otherwise standardized material assembly.
A square peg in a round hole. It is installed in different heights to create desks, benches, sofas. This array of furniture forming components allows Recess to compose various configurations for both work and public viewing.  As Recess grows and expands, these furniture can be easily reproduced and rearranged to fit new needs.





Scope
Interior Design, Custom Furniture
Status
Completed
Year          
2018
Location
Brooklyn, New York
Photography
Nick Johnson


Mark

Return of La Belle Jardinière
(Homage to Women)



Part landscape, part female body and part architecture, these objects are cast from sand, concrete, pigment, and metallic powders. They are an homage to Max Ernst’s The Return of La Belle Jardinière (1967).   The Green Life, Group Show participation, LMAK Gallery
New York
March 27, 2019 - June 9, 2019.












Inconspicuously situated between landscape and architecture is the jardinière or planter; it is an overlooked typology, yet it is a ubiquitous form throughout art and architecture imagery.
A crossover between landscape, interior furniture and small pavilion, in the 19th century la jardinière expresses the anxiety to “annihilate space” as the historian Siegfried Gideon points out. For Gideon jardinieres are a “gentle unreal play of dream elements that the eye delights to follow- as irrational as the sphinxes tails, curling into arabesques that sprout a thin stem balancing a vase.”

Throughout the history of art, garden imagery has alluded to the female gardener, the “jardinière”. She is often depicted as Madonna in the iconographical tradition of the Virgin as a fertile, enclosed garden and associated with certain flowers. This idea of the jardinière is also objectified in a vessel carrying plants.
The jardinieres in these series  allude to architectures, landscapes and female body parts: knees, thighs, fortifications, breasts, grottos, caves, elbows, roofs, buttocks, mountains, glutes, domes, ruins...Just as a traditional jardiniere they can stand for themselves as objects and be utilized as vessels for plants.

They are planted with Mother of Thousands, a succulent that produces vegetatively in large numbers by creating small off springs on her leaves. The babies start growing roots and photosynthesizing before they reach the earth. Because of this she has the ability to behave as a weed  dominating and crowding out other species that have less efficient means of propagation. 



Plant Life by Simone Frazier, an artist and horticulturalist, founder of Open Source Landscape


Storefront Souvenir:
Exploded Fortress of Solitude



Object commisioned by the Storefront for Art and Architecture for the exhibition

Souvenirs: New York Icons Sept. 16-Dec. 9, 2017









Exhibition Text:

“First Stop South Bronx. These buildings do bear an amazing resemblance to the buttes of Utah. And it is wonderful how things have sped up. When the condemned structures are dynamited, I can see in a few minutes the erosion that in nature would take countless eons. The sight is indeed awe-inspiring.”
    —Mike Kelley

Approaching the long narrow strait of the south Bronx a solitary fortress emerges in the horizon. Attracting visitors from Manhattan or coming from the nearby Randall’s island Art Fair, passing boats in the waters of Bronx Kills dock momentarily to admire the magnificent view. In Port Morris, the resident artist community enjoys this new dramatic scenery. There, it is, the large printing facility of New York Post where it once constructed stories, myths and other facts. Years of misinformation have formed thick layers over the surface of actual events.

12,000 tons of waste were routed to the South Bronx, at a rate of 2-3 trucks per minute to be dispersed in the numerous recycling facilities nearby. Construction debris, concrete, dirt, brick, rocks, asphalt. One day they started to slowly pile up on top of the Post. Soon, other local waste followed. Nearby oil refineries joined in and even the brewery. The press stopped printing. Fermentation and molding ensued. This fortress is now in a state of erosion. Crushed slabs, sand and stone and even demolished monuments.

Developer plans for the waterfront and renaming the area the Piano District are scrapped. The nearby film studio is shooting new Westerns. As floods increase the mount becomes a refuge. While everyone is lamenting the loss of the Village Voice, this new composite taking over the Post is sparking joy throughout the City.

Team: Lydia Xynogala, Clara Dykstra


À Rebours Bed




Custom bed headboard in contrasting plywood grains, custom sizes with ledge.




Stationary Stationery




A collection of concrete objects for desks, too heavy for anything else, they remain stationary.



Majestic Cabinet



Custom cabinetry for the entry of an Art collector’s apartment at the Majestic Building on Central Park West. The cabinet accommodates different everyday functions and houses a specific artwork.






Work In Progress

Mendeleev’s Maps



Research, ongoing.
Paper delivered at the History of Science Society Annual Meeting, Chicago, 2014. Panel: Science that Materially Changed the World

First draft of the Periodic Table of Elements by Dmitri Mendeleev

This essay provides a close reading of the previously untranslated book and connects Mendeleev’s intellectual pursuits and how they affected the growth of the steel industry and the urbanization of Magnitogorsk during the later Soviet Era. By examining the Measures and Maps that Mendeleev produced for the book, I argue that the book and work of Mendeleev as scientific artifacts contributed to Stalin’s urban and industrial vision thirty years later.




Future Fossils



Forthcoming publication




Originally presented at the Society of Architectural Historians Annual Meeting, Detroit, 2012
Panel: Architectural Ecologies.
This photo essay examines rocky landscapes of the Americas that engage with architectural typologies of environmental hazard. The writing takes a fictional tour on two rocky sites: The Yucca mountain, the controversial potential site for deep storage of all US nuclear waste and Carlsbad, New Mexico, known locally as WIPP (Waste Isolation Pilot Plant) one of largest nuclear waste storage facilities with a license of 10,000 years.


Dark Ecology of Magnitogorsk



This research explores an alternative landscape and architecture for the post-industrial wasteland, a territorial concept that typically conveys the unwanted, exhausted and useless.




Mining and industrial production have degraded eleven percent of the earth’s soil. This project aims to rethink emerging ecologic strategies in remediation, the act of cleaning,and often the attempt (and anxiety) to erase the material traces of production. As a project it relies on the terrain of ambiguity; natural/manmade, clean/dirty, unwanted/desired are rejected polarities. This “messy whole” and its material, chemical and “natural” manifestations is embraced, revealing surprising architectural,urban and landscape potentials.




The testing ground is Magnitogorsk, City of Iron in the Russian Federation; The project engages the extremity of environmental degradation juxtaposed with the architectural promise of this city in the industrial age. Architecture and infrastructure are explored as time-based and chemically-induced operations. The design methodology recognizes potential and programmatic possibilities for cleaning but at the same time it engages with the material by-products as a new way of building.


For orders: info@alos.nyc
Also available at:

More information at the Princeton School of Architecture website

Published by: The Center for Architecture, Urbanism, Infrastructure, Princeton University, 2012.  Distributed by: Island Press. Series Editor: Mario Gandelsonas.

On Sulfur:
Building, Material, Program



Paper presented at the 2013 Annual Meeting of the Chemical Heritage Foundation Museum in Philadelphia, PA, October 6–8.



Research that explores case studies of buildings characterized by a direct material and formal response to the chemical processes that take place within them.


In 1911, the architect Hans Poelzig wrote an essay on industrial buildings in which he explained the significant connections between production process, architectural form and environment:

“Already now, we have the possibility to distribute electricity through far distances. This gives flexibility in the distribution and organization of processes and the architectural whole of the facilities becomes harmonious.”




Poelzig refers here to his recently completed factory where he devised a unique approach to the architecture and planning of the facility: On the larger planning scale he worked with site and programmatic components, strategically employing residential, road, water, infrastructure and energy networks. In the scale of the building wall thicknesses, spatial arrangements and material choices were based on the chemical properties of the product. The processes and network variants of Poelzig’s industrial architecture are unique for their time.




11 Versions of a Constructivist City


Text published in Pidgin Magazine, Issue 12, Fall 2011



Magnitogorsk is a city that incorporates the mythology of a place, the geology of a landscape, the founding of an industry, the history of a regime, and the aspirations of an artistic movement. As individual moments in place and time, these aspects exist as individual cities, some of which are physically present in Magnitogorsk today, while others only remain in the imagination. Together they create a powerful canon of urbanistic ideas that shed light onto the accomplishments and failures of architectural thought in the Soviet era, and in general onto the city in the industrial age.



City of Myths
City of Steel
City of Erasures
City of Drawings
City of Ribbons
City of Socialism
City of Maschinemonument
City of Prouns
City of Faktura
City of Tektonika