June 08 - Blog Articles - Page 7 Print E-mail
Monday, 31 March 2008 19:00
 

8-14th of June

Ambition
Chris in Brand Avenue
As a follow-up to the previous post, another fascinating essay , this time by Paul Graham on his website , explores the messages cities "send" to their inhabitants, transmitted through you-name-it: culture, form, and economics, for starters. Sweeping generalizations here, but interesting reading for anyone who cares about jurisdictional advantage : Great cities attract ambitious people. You can sense it when you walk around one. In a hundred subtle ways, the city sends you a message: you could do more; you should try harder.... How much does it matter what message a city sends? Empirically, the answer seems to be: a lot. You might think that if you had enough strength of mind to do great things, you'd be able to transcend your environment. Where you live should make at most a couple percent difference. But if you look at the historical evidence, it seems to matter more than that. Most people who did great things were clumped together in a few places where that sort of thing was done at the time.

Luxury single family home in Las Vegas, Nevada
Mohammad Fahmi Tri Wahyudi,ST in Best House Design
A Luxury single family home located in the prestigious Spanish Hills Las Vegas, Nevada. This 11 room mansion is a breathtaking oasis of the Las Vegas, Nevada desert and includes a mix of sumptuous private suites and magical entertaining area in the Mediterranean style. Stone and travertine grace the grand entry and beautiful gallery. This estate is enhanced with the finest

Santa Barbara Green Prefab on Display this Saturday!
Preston D K in Jetson Green
Starting at 10:00 am this Saturday, June 14, a custom-made Sunset Breezehouse designed by MKD will be open to the public in Santa Barbara, California.  The open house will happen in conjunction with the Built Green Santa Barbara Expo, Conference, & Tour, but if you're not able to attend, Michelle Kaufmann has been posting photos and details of the home for the past couple weeks.  The home, in addition to having all the various green materials and products typically used in MKD homes, has a PV solar array and sustainable landscape design that fits the home just perfectly.

Dead Parking Garages Tell No Tales - Until Now
Lynn Becker in ArchitectureChicago PLUS
To combat increasing congestion, the City of Chicago, beginning in the 1950's, entered into an ambitious program to build a series of ten massive municipal parking garages throughout the center city. Only one survives. Most of these garages did not age well, fading into the urban landscape as the plug-ugly branch of the infrastructure family. Now, however, a wonderful piece written by Serhii Chrucky for the indispensable Forgotten Chicago website documents Municipal Parking Garages, their optimistic beginnings and unheralded deaths. (Seeing some of the garages gave me a start, as I realized I had never really noticed they weren't there anymore.) Just as every child is beautiful to its own mother, even a parking garage is beautiful to its architects, and in the idealistic original renderings, before the long decades of neglect

Activism, Art and Future Civic Media
Ethan Zuckerman in WorldChanging
Chris Csikszentmihalyi is an artist and provocateur as well as a programmer, inventor and professor. The projects he's most excited about within MIT's Center for Future Civic Media focus on the interface between political action, art, journalism and technology. He offers the observation that "all technology is politics," and suggests that one of the best ways to do art, as in journalism, is to follow the money. His framing talk invokes Manuel Castells, suggesting that people live within two spaces: the space of flows and the space of places. People think of themselves as living in places, but they're affected by the flows of powerful forces. The architecture of flows, Chris suggests, can be visualized like a rhizome - a plant that shares a root structure, but where the visible manifestations pop up all over the place.

Las Palmas de Leyda Spa / Cristobal Valenzuela
Nico Saieh in Arch Daily
We asked ourselves, in which way could we design an interior space, that remains completely open to the exterior that surrounds it, visually. Opening some views that the main country house didn’t seized. Mainly that the project atmosphere, was to be inside and outside at the same time. Based on these idea, we were interested in the way, that the “ramadas” (structure built for independence feasts), used eucalyptus branches, creating a skin, which constantly registers daylight, changing the perception from the interior space. Used in the project, this skin, at the same time filters daylight and gives some privacy to the project that is covered mostly by glass, as this wooden skin doesn’t let the interior to be seen from the out side, but permits full visibility from the inside to the exterior space. At the same time we took the circulation system concept from old Chilean country houses. An open corridor, that in this case connects the program in a perimetral way. Other materials, like steel for the structure, and reinforced concrete for the barbecue and fireplace, where used too.

Pandemonium
Geoff Manaugh in BLDGBLOG
Some of the coolest photographs I've seen recently are these long exposure shots of crowds in St. Petersburg, Russia. They were taken by Alexey Titarenko for a project called "City of Shadows."
What I think is so interesting about this is that an otherwise unremarkable technique – the long exposure – has the effect of transforming these assemblies of people into demonic blurs, black masses moving through the city. These look more like scenes from Jacob's Ladder or Silent Hill.
In the photograph below, for instance, the repeating glimpse of a hand pulling itself up the banister seems strangely unnerving –

ONE JACKSON SQUARE: New LEED Living in Greenwich Village
Ali Kriscenski in Inhabitat
A new project in Greenwich Village is bringing a mix of modern luxury and green building to the historic West Village district. Architect William Pederson, with international real estate firm Hines, recently announced the design for One Jackson Square. With an eye-catching glass façade and a host of environmentally sound features, the new development will be Greenwich Village’s first LEED-certified multi-unit luxury condominium.

Schadenfreude Corner
owen hatherley in sit down man, you're a bloody tragedy
Nice to know that 'creating mixed communities' has worked the other way, at least once. From yesterday's Metro, a story entitled 'Britain's Best Council Flats?' that has been doing the rounds of the rightist rags: 'They've got stunning views, en suite bathrooms and decked balconies - and they could be yours for £75 a week. These plush harbourside apartments are thought to be the most luxurious council flats in Britain. However, the properties - which sell for up to £525,000 - are causing a stink among owners say it is unfair that single parents and the unemployed can rent them. One third of the 340 homes in the development in Poole harbour, Dorset, are social housing. Karla Whiffen, 23, who lives in one with daughter Millie, said 'I pay £75 a week using my housing benefit,

ECO-BRIDGE: Chicago’s New Harborside Green Space

Bridgette Steffen in Inhabitat
Chicago’s full throttle sustainability initiatives have given us plenty of reason to think that the “Windy City” may soon upgrade its nickname to the “Greenest City.” Citywide moves like an unprecedented green roof program and a green alley project had already brought much deserved kudos to the lakeside metropolis. Now, Chicago is moving towards their new moniker with another sustainable initiative, the Eco-Bridge, adding yet one more reason for other urban leaders to follow in its lighter footsteps. The proposed Eco-Bridge will serve as a breakwater in the Monroe Harbor and create recreational space for residents and visitors.

Checking Out the 99k House Competition
Preston D K in Jetson Green
Back in September 2007, Rice Design Alliance and the Houston Chapter of the AIA announced the 99k House Competition.  The general goal of the competition was to create an innovative design for a small house that is affordable, sustainable, and energy efficient.  More specifically, the competition called for a single family house with up to 1,400 sf of space, including 3 bedrooms, 1.5-2 bathrooms, on a 50' x 100' site in a historic neighborhood of Houston.  The construction budget for each home had to be under $99,000, too.

Rafael Viñoly, Architecture's Piano Man
mediabistro.com: UnBeige
Starchitect Rafael Viñoly excels at designing performance spaces (e.g., Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts), but we had no idea that he brings a musician's eye to such projects. According to Robert Hilferty's piece in today's New York Sun, when not overseeing his firm's 250 employees (scattered among offices in New York, London, Los Angeles, and soon, Dubai), Viñoly can be found playing the piano, collecting pianos (around ten at last count), and listening to others play, preferably in Carnegie Hall. But ix-nay on the obby-hay! "I never thought this was a hobby," he told the Sun. "It's not an entertainment. It's a rare combination of pleasure and suffering." For Viñoly, the "piano pavilion" that he built on his property in Water Mill, New York, is "better than a swimming pool, better than a tennis court."

Hiding Cables
Michelle Linden in Atelier A+D
Its a reality in the modern design world that we have to deal with an ever increasing amount of cables and wires... that is, until they come up with wireless electricity! The big problem with a lot of new technological advances, is that they are changing so fast, that we don't really know exactly what we'll need in the future. For this reason, it can be difficult to plan ahead with wire placement... if you locate all the wiring behind the finishes, you'll have to cut it out if you ever need to change it. But, on the other hand, if you leave them exposed, you've got a big mess. C and I are having this exact problem right now with our remodel. We've got a projector whose cables we'd like to hide...

Nobody’s Really Going Green – Most Companies Just Pay Lip Service
MC Milker in Green Options
A new report from Arthur D. Little, Sustainable Performance shatters my perception that companies are whole heartedly going green. An analysis of the report at Greenbiz.com notes this conclusion. “Sustainable Performance” from Arthur D. Little argues that regulatory and consumer pressures have not pushed corporations toward sustainability beyond superficial measures. It’s not surprising that the report concluded that, in general, companies only take steps toward going green when it impacts the bottom line. Driven by shareholder concerns companies frequently implement those green solutions that maximize short terms gain.....

modern houses, modern lives: austin mod house
lavardera in materialicious
One thing I love about reading the blogs of people building their own modern house is just getting a good taste of just how regular the whole thing is. The struggle to build, the pitfalls, the joys. People that want a modern house are not some kind of freaky weirdos. They just want a different kind of house than the marketplace is willing to serve up. One of my favorites has been the Austin Mod House blog. Their house is more or less done, but like every custom build on a budget they are still pouring sweat into it to finish. And along the way they serve up a heaping helping of regular old life. And in among the photos of their life you catch these glimpses of this great modern house, just living a regular life, just as you would expect an ordinary house to do. These are not people in white and black turtle-necks with pristine white interiors. These are people with kids, friends, dogs, messes. Just like you and me. People like that can have modern houses too!

Blackwater's Border Bypass
Bryan Finoki in Subtopia
Last month Blackwater sued city officials in Otay Mesa after they refused to issue final occupancy papers without a vote by the planning commission, even though building inspectors had already rubber-stamped the necessary permits. As you may have read, lawyers for the city said the company deceived inspectors by applying for various permits under different names of affiliated contractors instead of filing a single comprehensive application to open a counterterrorism training facility practically yards from the border. Just last Wednesday, a District Court Judge ruled in favor of Blackwater saying the company was not required to seek any sort of special approval since the neighborhood is already zoned for appropriate vocational school use....

Envisioning Solar Trees as Future Energy Stations?
Preston D K in Jetson Green
As you can see above and below, Envision Solar plans to make parking lots into beautiful power plants with their Solar Groves and Solar Trees.  Envision Solar takes the hassle out of designing structures for solar with their turn-key solutions.  Although the company is working on a next generation design for the Solar Tree, the current iteration includes 64 Kyocera solar modules laid out in total measuring 30' x 40'.  The panels sit at a five degree angle and provide shading for six vehicles, too.  Envision Solar has found success installing these parking canopies near commercial buildings and retail parking lots because the energy can be sold to businesses through power purchase agreements.

Elsewhere in Paul Rudolph Restorationville: Back to Yale
mediabistro.com: UnBeige
Speaking of Paul Rudolph, Robert A.M. Stern, and Sarasota, Florida, as we were yesterday, we now offer up a two-fer. First comes a quickie, looking back at the Herald Tribune, which helps to explain just what the "Sarasota School of Architecture" is and why followers of such school would care so much about saving Paul Rudolph's Riverview High School. And second comes an interesting update from Art Daily about the ongoing restoration of Yale's Art & Architecture Building, also designed by Rudolph, and the pet project of A.M. Stern, who is doing all he can to preserve the building and make it all nice and new again. Here's a bit about what exactly they'll be doing to the building...



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