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November Blog Articles
November 30th, 2007
Japan for Sustainability
Balaton Group in WorldChanging: Tools, Models and Ideas for Building a Bright Green Future
By Junko Edahiro With the ultimate aim of helping to create a sustainable society, I lecture and write in Japan, and I also translate into Japanese the latest information as well key messages from around the world. I have been honored to have had the opportunity to bring to Japan the words and writings of the environmental academic Lester Brown, Dennis Meadows, for example, and also to translate Mr. Al Gore's book, "An Inconvenient Truth." ....
MNP Reviews: Opportunistic Architecture
Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis: Opportunistic Architecture, by Paul Lewis, Marc
Tsurumaki + David J. Lewis . Opportunistic Architecture admits in
it’s opening sentence that the term ‘opportunistic’ typically has
negative connotations - ‘referring to the seizing of any circumstances
regardless of principles or ethics’. But how is one opportunistic when
designing a building? LTL [Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis] argue that their
particular approach to design - utilizing all the limits, constraints
and restrictions typically associated with architectural projects
[budget, site conditions, code/zongin, etc] as a positive driving force
in their work - is an example of ‘opportunistic architecture’ at work.
Living Lightly Among the Trees in Australia
Ali in Inhabitat
Australia-based architects Steven Isaacs and Lisa Saville have turned a challenging building site into an environmentally sensitive sanctuary among the trees. Located just outside Sydney, the couple’s stunning abode is a lofty duplex built around the existing nature with an ultra-light footprint - an example of how thoughtful design can translate into stylish, sustainable living.
BIG: Danish Maritime Museum
An MNP favorite, BIG [the Bjarke Ingels Group], has recently won a competition [by unanimous decision, even though they apparently didn’t adhere to the design brief - ninjas in true form] to design the Danish Maritime Museum in Helsingør, DK. While searching for an appropriate site for the proposed project, the firm discovered an abandoned 150m long, 25m wide, and 9m deep concrete dry dock within eyesight of Kronborg Castle [setting of Shakespeare’s Hamlet], as shown in the diagram below.
PREFAB FRIDAY: Loq Kit Sustainable Housing System
Ali in Inhabitat
Modular design shines in Loq•kit - an innovative, interchangeable idea of home from architect Patrick Freet. This proposed building system utilizes snap-lock components to create walls, infill, and envelope that are adaptable and affordable. Intended for easy assembly that can be customized and changed, Loq•kit technology makes building and remodeling a snap, literally!
November 29th, 2007
Treasure Island: A Regenerative Urban Ecology
Brendan in Where
Next Monday, once my NaNoWriMo adventure is over, regular posting will resume at Where. I'm excited to offer a little preview, today, of what's coming. I recently had the opportunity to interview Craig W. Hartmann, FAIA, Design Partner at Skidmore Owings and Merill's San Francisco office, about the firm's plan for the redevelopment of Treasure Island (which Where covered this past summer). Today's post is a preface to that interview...a teaser, if you will.
the aalto house, aino and alvar aalto
Justin in materialicious
The Aalto House, Helsinki, Finland. Built: 1935-36. This was the home of Hugo Alvar Henrik Aalto and his wife, Aino Marsio-Aalto. Mrs. Aalto played a significant role in the design of this house, and contributed to many other projects as well. We wanted to make the best use in a private house of natural lighting, the orientation of the terraces and the different rooms, shelters from the wind and so on, so because of our climate, we were obliged to adopt a complex solution with a lot of external walls. This required more thorough investigation of the insulating properties of the external walls…
Literary Dose #20
John in A Daily Dose of Architecture
"It is here [Baja California], in the Bay of Loreto, where developers are building a 5,000-unit resort designed by Andreas Duany, who is selling it to the world as 'the first ecologically friendly subdivision.' In a typical New Urbanist appeal, this mega development (PDF link) is customized by an authentic Mexican Village, completing the invasion of Loreto Bay by no only mono culture of upper-middle-class North American land owners who can afford this island of pleasure, but by 'Seaside' and 'Celebration' type of planning, making this the official arrival of New Urbanism in grand scale to the Mexican West Coast. ...
PICTURING GLOBAL WARMING: Greenpeace’s Photoclima
Abigail in Inhabitat
Photoclima, a new photography book project produced by Greenpeace Spain, is a call to action for countries globally to examine and address the impact of global warming and climate change both locally and internationally. Photoclima features the eye-opening photographs of Pedro Armestre and Mario Gómez as a means to highlight the varied topography and rich landscape of Spain’s agricultural, coastal resort, and national park ecosystems. The beauty of the book’s images is subverted by a series of before and after photomontage shots of regions that might be impacted by catastrophic environmental alterations...
November 28th, 2007
Dubai. What can I even say - the place is crazy. I can recall a time not too long ago, when I was still in school, where insane ‘object’ buildings were mostly designed by the ’starchitects’ and were typically institutional [museums, concert halls, etc] projects. No more. Dubai is an architecture student’s dream-come-true. There are no rules, just design something crazy and those ninjas will probably build it, so long as its different enough. Don’t worry about context, as there is no more vernacular architecture [well, there is actually - individualism and elaborate form-making are the vernacular]. Just one-up the other guy, and your project can get built...
Bryan Finoki in Subtopia
One of the most intriguing facets of Dionisio Gonzalez's photographic constructions is that they immediately question the viewer's knowledge of what a "slum" actually looks like and what are the political forces that shape slums. To that end, he asks us if "slum" is even an appropriate term at all. Viewers less familiar with these spaces may not detect the careful nuances of his work and instead simply digest these as neither appropriate nor inappropriate images of global poverty, but rather as ones that are simply real. In my opinion, what is most important about any work of art is the actual effect it will have on culture and public perception. In this case, we are forced to ask what messages about squatter communities are being transmitted through these images? ...
The Wright Way to Build a Gingerbread House
Yesterday, 2:15 PM
Frank Lloyd Wright experimented with many materials for his Usonian houses, created to be well-designed, low-cost dwellings that the average...
earthbag building: the sun house in haiti
Justin in materialicious
I am an avid reader of Kelly Hart’s blog, Green Home Building and Sustainable Architecture, and recently he started a separate site called Earthbag Building which I am hugely interested in (as some of you may have noticed already ). I just ran across a recent project, The Sun House ( Kay Sole in Creole), built in Haiti, which appeals to me for several reasons: 1. The walls are fabricated from poly bags which carried bulk diet staples such as wheat, rice and barley, and rather than being disposed of, filled with earth become free building materials. 2. Haiti is desperate for safe and sound housing, and given that Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, why not utilize a free commodity?...
PSU Student Reviews on Display
Brian Libby in Portland Architecture
Beginning today at the Unitus Building (2121 SW Fourth Avenue) and continuing through December 5, Portland State University's Department of Architecture will begin public displays and final reviews of student design studio work from the fall 2007 term. First up at 5:30 today is professor Garrett Martin's class, "Edge and Flow". Isn't that the movie about the pimp-turned-rapper? (Just kidding; that's Hustle and Flow) Incidentally, many of these classes seem to have somewhat abstract names. Tomorrow brings professor John Froning's class, "Residual Understanding". (Maybe it has to do with GOP politics.) Friday is professor Jeff Schnabel's class, "Anonymous Remains" (what I'd like the Ducks to make out of the Beavers this weekend). Also on Friday is Matt Janssen's class, "Housing the Masses". This one will be held at the offices of Ankrom Moisan Associated Architects, which, considering the class title, seems appropriate.
Designing with computer science.
Young in Architecture
It was during my school time that a professor came to our school and demonstrated architectural design through computer science. And each of his book's front page has different design. We are getting nearer to a technology science dependant world. Hopefully I can cope up with the development later in life. "Evolutionary algorithms are computational techniques widely used to solve difficult optimization problems. Evolutionary algorithms search for the best solutions by starting with a random population of solutions and iteratively subjecting that population to selection pressures that cause it to evolve. Solutions that fit better with the selection pressures live and breed, while solutions that fit poorly are eliminated from the population. After a number of evolution cycles, the population converges, revealing the best, most fit solutions. "
The Origins of Pattern Theory, the Future of the Theory And The Generation of a Living World
Young in Architecture
"(A) Pattern Theory. I'm going to talk first of all about patterns and pattern languages, what I did about that, a few little points about problems we encountered, why we did it, how we did it, and so forth. That is a historical survey referring back to the late 60s and early 70s.
(B) The Nature of Order. Then, I'm going to summarize the theoretical framework which has evolved out of the pattern work: a framework which is about to be published in a series of four books collectively called The Nature Of Order, four books that will be put out by Oxford University Press in the year 2000....
A Suburban Future?
John in A Daily Dose of Architecture
Much of my time over the Thanksgiving break was spent helping my parents pack their belongings to move out of the home in which they raised me and my sister. Located about 20 miles north of Chicago, the house is in what could be called an old suburb, with a gridded street pattern, small lots, and walking distance to shops, library, and a train station to Chicago. Regardless of this condition, the McMansion phenomenon is still to be found in the area, though more likely on the large blocks of adjacent streets with larger lots than this street and its smaller lots, where new houses -- between the size of the old ranches or colonials and the trendy McMansions -- crowd their lots and leave very little yard space. Well, looking out the back of my parent's house I noticed one possible scenario for achieving large houses on small lots...
Eye Candy: Alexandre Farto
This week’s eye candy comes to you from Alexandre Farto, AKA Vhils, an artist that I unfortunately know nothing about - other than he’s ill. I don’t know the names of the individual works shown, but all are part of his Building3Steps project, and the images below are all photos of one installation [a photo of each side of the installation space, and a detail]. In particular I’m really feelin’ the whole ‘the city has roots’ thing, and the color contrast between above/below ground. Pretty siiick. Check out his website for more....
Amazon's Kindle: Scoble Offers...um...Design Critiques?
Now that we're a week out, there's not been much love being shown toward Amazon's Kindle. LAist just put...
Star Wars-Inspired Marine Research Facility
Evelyn in Inhabitat
Star Wars inspiration and biomimicry combine for the design of the Facility at Sea, a sustainable marine research platform and feat of offshore building engineering. The concept came together in an architecture studio at the University of Texas, which evaluated potential applications of the soaring structural designs of Star Wars for a marine research facility. Designer Jason Mellard took further inspiration from the engineering acumen of Santiago Calatrava and present-day offshore oil platforms.