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These are the articles and blogs that we selected in April.
April 30th, 2008
A Narratorium Forum
Brian Libby in Portland Architecture
Portland lacks a proper contemporary art museum. There is also an argument to be made for a design museum. But professor Clive Knights and his Portland State University architecture students have something different in mind. Continuing their explorations of the relationship between urban environments and storytelling, these Vikings are forging onward with discussions of an institution built around verbal storytelling: the Narratorium. Knights and his department are hosting an upcoming event to take the idea forward: You are invited to participate in an open public discussion to consider the viability of a new form of civic institution for Portland dedicated to the art of storytelling and the traditions of oral history: The Narratorium. Sixteen architecture students proposed many different versions of such an institution this recent Winter term and this work will act as a prompt for conversation and strategizing.
Verb Police: To Architect or Not to Architect?
Yesterday we were intrigued and slightly befuddled to read on our sister mediabistro.com blog FishbowlNY of Backpacker magazine editor-in-chief Jonathan Dorn's description of recent work on the magazine's website: "Since last September, we have been architecting what our readers said they wanted: more multimedia content, GPS-enabled hikes, current gear reviews, and loads of interactive trip tools." While "GPS-enabled hikes" sound like something we'd like to try, we had trouble getting past Dorn's use of the verb "to architect" when describing web design. To get a better handle on the verb, we looked to that dictionary of dictionaries, that settler of many a lexical cage match, the Oxford English Dictionary. Here's what it had to say under architect, v. To design (a building). Also transf. and fig. Hence architected ppl. a., designed by an architect; architecting vbl. n. and ppl. a.
Like a forest of wire
Eric in MoCo Loco
I had the chance to meet South-Korean designer Kwangho Lee right before the recent opening of a solo-exhibition of his recent work at Montreal's Mile-End Commissaires. The design boutique/gallery is showcasing Lee's series of light installations, lamps made and shaped by knitted and purposefully tangled electric wire. Lee has been making these lamps for two years now. His initial idea was simple, to turn the lamp inside-out, getting rid of the lamp shade and body, keeping only the essentials, thus exposing the customary hidden wires. He studied wire weaving, exploring traditional techniques and the subtleties of electric wiring for his final grad project in design school. Combining that knowledge to the lamp sculpting came instinctively, treasuring fond memories of his mother knitting sweaters or gloves, he tackled and tweaked the traditional techniques to suit his craft.
The Architecture of Ascent
Geoff Manaugh in BLDGBLOG
In what would merely have been an article about camping equipment in almost any other situation, revamped Italian architecture magazine Abitare recently took a fascinating look at portable mountain climbing shelters. Viewed architecturally, these examples of high-tech camping gear – capable of housing small groups of people on the vertical sides of cliffs, as if bolted into the sky – begin to look like something dreamed up by Archigram: nomadic, modular, and easy to assemble even in wildly non-urban circumstances. This is tactical gear for the spatial expansion of private leisure.
There are about a million implications here – including, at the very least, the question of whether or not architects should be involved in designing tents for North Face or for REI. If Zaha Hadid can design desk lamps and Frank Gehry, jewelry – and Michael Graves, teapots – then why can't, say, Jean Nouvel design a new series of outdoor recreational equipment, including tents, portaledges, platforms, and hammocks?
Rat Pack Aficionados Take Note
New development has the caught the ire of preservationists and architects intent on keeping the original, modern look of Palm Springs, Calif., according to the latest issue of Preservation Magazine. One of those architects is Donald Wexler, 82, and Elizabeth Edwards Harris owner of the famed Kaufmann house in Palm Springs.
"Our cultural identity is tied to some of these places," says Harris, also vice president of the board of trustees of the California Preservation Foundation and owner of the Kaufmann House. "You can only go so far before you diminish your visual identity to the point where people say Palm Springs isn't modernist anymore."
Wilson and Hill Architects | Garden Road House
Mohammad Fahmi Tri Wahyudi,ST in Best House Design
This is another project on residential architecture work for private clients of Wilson and Hill Architects. They believe that high quality design results from the continuity of the design process and the intensive dialogue with the client, consultants, contractors and end users.
This Residence was built on an established site and designed to ...
Deconstruction Grows in Popularity, Spawns New Businesses
Preston D K in Jetson Green
In her Teardown Diary, Wall Street Journal columnist Nancy Keates forgoes the common practice of demolition and instead opts for "unbuilding." Usually referred to as deconstruction, unbuilding is when you disassemble an old structure piece by piece and salvage the usable parts. Ms. Keates found that the deconstruction of her home will cost about $4,000 more than straight demolition, but costs can vary project to project. Ms. Keates references the tax consequences associated with her deconstruction. You can donate the salvagable parts and take an income tax deduction, or if available, let the local fire department burn down the house as practice and take a deduction on the whole value of the house (probably not the greenest thing you could do!).
NATURAL RETREATS Luxury Eco-Getaways in the UK
Bridgette Steffen in Inhabitat
Combining the highest levels of luxury and sustainable development with beautiful locations, Natural Retreats offer a chance to explore beautiful national parks, bask in luxury, and feel confident that your holiday has a low environmental impact. Built with sustainability in mind, these eco-getaways can be found within four of the UK national parks, with plans to acquire sites in, or alongside, ten more. At current, green-minded travelers can escape to Yorkshire Dales, Snowdonia, Lake District, and North York Moors - all beautiful landscapes and perfect settings for an eco-friendly nature retreat.
UN Studio in NYC
John in A Daily Dose of Architecture
Today UN Studio unveiled its design for Five Franklin Place, the latest celebrity-architect-designed Manhattan condo. Potential buyers will need to shell out between $2 million and $16 million for one of the 55 residences, comprised of apartments, duplex lofts, or duplex townhouses.
April 29th, 2008
The Next Street Art
Brendan in Where
Say there was a place that had some special meaning to you. It could be the alcove where you had your first kiss, the alley where you were mugged, the square where you participated in an important rally, or the location of an historic uprising. Good or bad, we all infuse places with our memories. This is what makes physical places so powerful, and why peoples' opinions and experiences of the same place can be vastly different. Places are what people make of them. Now, technology could be making it easier for tech-savvy street artists to etch their own experiences and opinions onto physical places, communicating the artists' own sense of a place to others who pass through it.
Virgina Plat House - a quick update
lavardera in LamiDesign Modern House Plan Blog
At the Virginia Plat House everything has been trimmed and is ready for the siding to go on. HVAC, plumbing, and electrical work should be under way as well. The color stain on the trim looks like a nice natural cedar. The owner told me that the siding boards were pre stained to make the finishing go a bit faster. You can also observe the steel brackets for the overhang in the photos of the back side. One thing that is different in this build is the owner has opted for shingle roofing - obviously more affordable than the metal roofing shown in the illustrations. For that they had to extend the plywood deck out to the end of the overhand, and I am guessing they did this with a double layer to build up strength and some bite for the roofing nails. The underside of the plywood deck is exposed at the overhangs. I'm not sure what their plan is for this. They may put up soffit boards, or go with the ply face which is cool too.
Emmons Architects' Deschutes Brewery and the Magic of Chainsaw Art
Brian Libby in Portland Architecture
Last week at architect Stuart Emmons' invitation I visited the new Deschutes Brewery brew pub on Southwest 11th Avenue near the Brewery Blocks. The building was a familiar one: the former Jim Stevens Auto Body building, where my car was repaired a few years ago after being hit by a Tri-Met bus. I was very happy with the body work, but I think most people will get more out of this building now that Deschutes is here. The pub is right next door to Portland Center Stage's Gerding Theater at the Armory, so this would make an ideal pre- or post-theater stop. (As would, admittedly, any number of other nearby outlets from Sushiland to Henry's Tavern to Pizza Schmizza.)
Green Roof - A Case Study
Who wouldn’t want a green roof? Nice to look at, fun to hang out on [in the case of roof gardens], they probably smell great [must be better than rubber+tar] - and oh yeah, they’re super for the environment. They reduce urban heat island effect, reduce water runoff/contamination, protect the existing roof from harmful UV rays, encourage [supposedly] the return of some indigenous species [birds, insects, etc.], and they clean the air. Super - if only there were a book released in late 2007 from PA Press that both gave a history of green roofing, an explanation of how they work, and provided an in-depth example of an existing roof that was converted to a green roof…
Book Review: Construction Site
John in A Daily Dose of Architecture
Construction Site: Metamorphoses in the City (2008) edited by Marie Antoinette Glaser
Lars Müller Publishers
Hardcover, 144 pages. One of the paradoxes of growth is construction. A city without the din and inconveniences of building could be said to be a dead city. A city filled with the sounds, smells, and impasses created by demolition and construction are likewise the most alive. It's as if the city is working towards some sort of ideal, an unattainable Utopia where one building begets the next, or where the death of one building begets a replacement. But given the undeniable presence of construction sites in thriving cities, surprisingly little literature is given to the subject.
Green from the Ground Up Review and Giveaway
Preston D K in [jetson.green]
I've just received an excellent new book, and as is the tradition here at JG, I'll be giving the book away to one random commenter.* Published by The Taunton Press, Green from the Ground Up is incredibly thorough and more helpful than I ever imagined it would be (to be entirely frank about it). I really shouldn't have been surprised, though, because one of the authors, David Johnston, has another book out on green remodeling that's very popular. So I expect Green from the Ground Up to be just as successful. It has over 300 pages and 300 color images that provide a way for the reader to see that (1) green building actually works and (2) green buildings don't have to be ugly.
The Wrigley Company is Dead! Long Live the Wrigley Building!
Lynn Becker in ArchitectureChicago PLUS
Contrasting local presences: Left, Global Headquarters, William Wrigley Jr. Company, Michigan Avenue; Right, Metra Station serving Mars candy plant, west side of Chicago [Metra photo]
It may shock some people to learn that the 1921 Wrigley Building, arguably one of Chicago's half-dozen most recognizable buildings, has never been afforded official landmark protection. The argument has always been made that the Wrigley family, throughout the decades, has been a responsible steward for a structure that, like Marina City, has become a symbol for Chicago throughout the world. And they have. Just as, for over a century, the William Wrigley Jr. Company has been a bedrock component of Chicago's economy and culture. But in today's hyper-volatile, hyper-scaled, aggressively globalized world, all that can change in a snap of the fingers.