May 08 - Blog Articles Print
Monday, 31 March 2008 19:00

These are the articles and blogs that we selected in May.

 

 

May 30th, 2008

Recycling Ideas
John in A Daily Dose of Architecture
Back in 2000, then New York Gov. George E. Pataki "proposed building one of the first museums in the country to be devoted to women's history." The following year's competition for the Battery Park City site was won by Smith-Miller Hawkinson, but what interests me here is Weiss/Manfredi's runner-up design. Coming across the design in an issue of future devoted to New York City competitions, I was immediately reminded of this week's dose, Weiss/Manfredi's competition-winning design for the Barnard College Nexus now under construction.

How to Get Off Coal
WorldChanging Team in WorldChanging
by Jim Hansen (1) Urgency of coal moratorium. A successful strategy to avoid climate calamity must start with a moratorium, and eventual phaseout, of coal-fired power plants that do not capture CO2. Other actions are needed, including a carbon price that encourages transition to fuels of the future, discourages scrounging for every last drop of oil, and stymies budding efforts to squeeze oil from the dirtiest fossil deposits (tar shale and its ilk). Also improved agricultural and forestry practices will be needed to draw atmospheric CO2 down.

Green House in Melbourne by Zen Architects
Bridgette Steffen in Inhabitat
It’s easy to see how this very centered home got the nickname “Zen House.” Officially known as the North Carlton Green House, the design offers an oasis of green living in the urban desert of Melbourne, Australia. The owners’ desire to connect to nature through landscaping, architectural form and sustainable design practices has created a beautiful abode. Easily flowing between the boundaries of built and natural environments, indoors and outside, the Zen House stays perfectly balanced with a tiny ecological footprint.

No Ordinary Boathouse: Mulvanny G2 Unveils Waterfront Portland City Storage
Brian Libby in Portland Architecture
It was over a year ago that developer Derek Hanna announced plans for a unique dry boat-storage structure shaped like a long cylindrical tower overlooking the Willamette from a riverside spot just south of OMSI on the east bank. The single-tower was a mere rendering based on a German auto storage tower by the Palis company. Now, Hanna's architects at Mulvanny G2 in Portland have revealed the real design. It's not a single tower anymore, but Portland City Storage has the opportunity to occupy a very prominent if not iconic position along the waterfront. Meeting yesterday with lead designer Eric Cugnart of MG2 (lead designer of the Adidas Village and One Waterfront Place for BOORA before switching firms) as well as principals John Flynn and Gary Larson, I learned the design has gone through five or six iterations. "We sort of discovered the program as we went," Flynn told me. The project now consists of two towers, with the front of each tower set back at the front corner.

Green House in Melbourne by Zen Architects
Bridgette Steffen in Inhabitat
It’s easy to see how this very centered home got the nickname “Zen House.” Officially known as the North Carlton Green House, the design offers an oasis of green living in the urban desert of Melbourne, Australia. The owners’ desire to connect to nature through landscaping, architectural form and sustainable design practices has created a beautiful abode. Easily flowing between the boundaries of built and natural environments, indoors and outside, the Zen House stays perfectly balanced with a tiny ecological footprint.

Richard Meier to Wield Sharpie at Book Signings in Soho, Basel
mediabistro.com: UnBeige
Architect, collagist, and budding knitwear designer Richard Meier will be at the Taschen store in New York City on Tuesday evening (6-8 p.m.) to sign copies of the shimmering 568-page Meier monograph published earlier this month by Taschen. Then he'll cap his Sharpie, but not for long. On Friday afternoon, Meier is scheduled to sign up a storm at Art Basel in Switzerland. Richard Meier & Partners, Complete Works 1963-2008 was a collaborative effort among Meier, author Philip Jodidio, and graphic designer Massimo Vignelli.

PREFAB FRIDAY: The Evolving Énóvo House
Mike Chino in Inhabitat
We just caught wind of a beautiful new prefab that takes an innovative approach towards its own structural life-cycle. The Canada based Énóvo House features a sleek modular assembly that’s designed to evolve as the needs of its inhabitants change. Its elegant, angular structure makes excellent use of materials to maximize square footage, and its versatile design is able to adapt to any type of terrain and any climate condition.

The Whole Deal on Nouvel's New Signal Tower
mediabistro.com: UnBeige
After our quickie post yesterday about Norman Foster losing to Jean Nouvel on a contract to build the second tallest building in Paris, the Signal Tower, we heard from our friends over at Building Design, who let us know that they have loads and loads on material on the new building and that we should come and check it out. Well, we did, and now we pass along all the goodness to you. It's brief, but there's some great photos, some good quotes by the judging panel who selected the winner, and even a downloadable copy of the entire PowerPoint presentation all about the plans for the Tower. So go forth and gobble it all up. Then book a flight to Paris and hang out when they start breaking ground on the project. Then you can brag to every random passerby, "I know what that's going to look like!" Except, you know, in French.

Austin and Pihlak's Entire Presentation on the Flight 93 Memorial's 'Idea-Drift'
mediabistro.com: UnBeige
For the past little while, you might recall that we've been reporting on both fronts of the issues surrounding the Flight 93 Memorial in Pennsylvania, with Alec Rawls and his people trying to get a complete redesign, saying that the whole thing looks too similar to an Islamic symbol, to the other debate over whether or not Paul Murdoch borrowed some of his ideas from other designers who were submitting concepts during the initial stages (you'll recall that this has just recently been making some headlines again). Two of the people involved with the later issue, Lisa Austin and Madis Pihlak, were kind enough to write in to us and offer us a transcript of their recent presentation at a National Parks Service-sponsored conference about park planning and design, held at the University of Virginia.

Leonardo Glass Cube, by 3deluxe
architect studio in architect studio
3deluxe created this distinctive corporate architecture for the brand Leonardo. The integrative design concept combines architecture, interior design and landscape design into a complex aesthetic entity. One of the design features is the multi-layerd composition of the building: The silhouette-like genetics overlay with the graphic design of the glass facade and elements on the inside.

Vader Garage Rehab Will Take Your Breath Away!
Preston D K in Jetson Green
My man over at 100k House ran into a guy in Philly that just finished this green garage rehab and has it for sale on Craigslist.  Long and short, three University of Pennsylvania Master of Architecture majors agreed to forgo the traditional route of finding summer internships and decided to buy, design, and rehab a house in Philly.  The result is this stylish renovation with undeniable appeal.  My two favorite aspects of the design are (1) the Cor-Ten facade that provides both privacy from the outside and visibility from the inside, and (2) the courtyard area that separates the living room / kitchen and office / bedroom area (it's nice to have a buffer between the noisy tv room and sleeping areas).  

Home Ground
Chris in Brand Avenue
An insightful recent essay by Natalia Ilyin in Metropolis explores ideas of home and mobility, identity and belonging: I have moved from state to state and country to country 12 times in my life, with many a change of apartment or house in-between. Like most Americans, I have never stood on the ground where my great-grandparents once stood. And as the years go by, I find myself asking, What does it feel like to stand on that ground? What does it feel like to come from somewhere? Where’s home? Is home a place? Can it be more than one place? Is it a sensibility, an emotion? Is it sets of things unique to individuals and groups? Is home other people? Is it music? Language? Time? Image?

May 29th, 2008

Garage Door Irony.
Christoph in anArchitecture
Vallo Sadovsky architects, housing project in Bratislava, Slovakia What is this, irony? The fulfillment of the settlers dream? Parking gets more and more a serious issue in architectural design – think of great solutions like the Roof Road NT by NL Architects or the Mountain Dwellings by BIG and JDS architects. A street side façade of garage doors, however, rather looks like a nightmare. I am sorry, but Vallo Sadovsky architects have missed the mark on this one (another garage door posting, click here).

In Progress: Mountain Dwellings / BIG
David Basulto in Arch Daily
Right next to their VM Housing project, BIG is currently finishing their new project: Mountain Dwellings. But this time, the client asked for a specific program with 2/3 parking and 1/3 living. Rather than doing 2 separate buildings, BIG decided to combine the splendours of the suburban backyard with the social intensity of urban density, resulting on a terraced housing over the parking area.

Artemide 2008
Jesper in MoCo Loco
Besides the main fair ground and the ever so popular Zona Tortona area, a lot of the events during Milan Design Week were spread out all over town in different stores, showrooms and venues. One of them was Artemide showing their first ever collaboration with Ross Lovegrove resulting in the Hydro / Aqua series inspired by the hydrodynamics of water. Also on display were works by Karim Rashid, Adrien Gardere, Ernesto Gismondi, Herzog & de Meuron, Michele De Lucchi & Alberto Nason and a lighting installation called "La stanza del Maestro".

The Whole Woodstock (Museum) Experience
mediabistro.com: UnBeige
Heading back to rural New York again and to the soon-to-open Museum at Bethel Woods (or "The Woodstock Museum"). Jeremy Gerard over at Bloomberg wound up getting the whole story behind the creation of the museum, from buying the land to the fallout from the government trying to hand it some money to its opening this weekend and the problems they're already having with the place (see: they held the original, 1969 festival out in the middle of nowhere for a reason -- there's nothing around for miles). It's a fun piece, full of all the colorful characters who can't keep from wanting to relive their glorious, rebellious, mud-encrusted, odorous youths, as well as some critiquing of the new building and its various exhibits: The hardwood structures feel tersely corporate; above one interior archway there's even the U.S. Marine Corps insignia -- a tribute to Gerry [the writer's tour guide]'s service but strikingly out of place here.

Ordos 100
Merten Nefs in Projetos Urbanos
This month in Ordos, inner Mongolia, starts the construction of 100 villas, on 100 sites of 1000 square meters, by 100 international architects. The group of architects that will design this new “Weissenhof Siedlung” is chosen by Herzog & de Meuron, under supervision of chinese artist Ai Wei Wei (Beijing). The group contains 22 offices in the US, 14 from Switzerland (mostly in Basel, hometown of Herzog). The selection has caused discussions among national architectural organizations, especially in countries that are not so well-represented, for example in the UK (1 national representative). The idea is to build the houses in 100 days.

Meier Goes to Israel, While Foster Gets Beaten By Nouvel in Paris
mediabistro.com: UnBeige
Some quickie bits of architecture all together, so we don't have to feel quite so bad inundating you with all this slew of building stuff this week (what can we say, sometimes it just pours architecture stories). First up comes an interview with Richard Meier by the International Herlad Tribune about his flashy new Meier on Rothschild building in Tel Aviv. It's interesting, if just for watching the startchitect starting to get really into green building....

Turkish Constructivism
owen hatherley in sit down man, you're a bloody tragedy
Unless you count AA students ripping off their ideas 50 years later, Constructivist architecture never quite became a trans-national style, give or take exhibition structures by Lissitzky or Melnikov. Khan-Magomedov's Pioneers of Soviet Architecture lists the Soviet embassy in Ankara as an exception, designed in the mid-20s in severe Constructivist manner. Apparently there was more where this came from, presumably via the mutual admiration between statist attempts at 'modernising' peasant economies...One such is the Sumerbank Textile Factory in Kayseri, designed by Ivan Nikolaev, member of the remarkable OSA group and planner of Communal Houses in late 20s Moscow. Apparently it's now up for demolition, which would be an act of ahistorical barbarism: more info and petition here.

Nursery School Santa Isabel / Carroquino Finner Architects
Nico Saieh in Arch Daily
The nursery school Sta. Isabel in Zaragoza (Spain) is one piece in a major public building operation. Together with the nursery schools in the districts Oliver, La Paz and Actur (all redacted by C|F) Sta. Isabel completes the educational core of that program. We approached every project conscious of the fact that the main occupants will be infants. Therefore we tried to give special sensibility to the needs of the very young boys and girls. The concerted results are austere spaces, luminous and fluid. Comfortable and protective at the same time.

James Law’s High Tech ‘Cybertecture Egg’ for Mumbai
Ali Kriscenski in Inhabitat
James Law Cybertecture International brings high-tech solutions to large scale structures through innovative ideas for intelligent living. The latest future forward design from this firm is the Cybertecture Egg, commissioned by Vijay Associate (Wadhwa Developers) for Mumbai, India. The 32,000 sq m egg-shaped building will combine “iconic architecture, environmental design, intelligent systems, and new engineering to create an awe-inspiring landmark in the city.”

The Spirit of a Mytthic Metropolis
jimmy in Life Without Buildings
A lone figure, dressed in trenchcoat and fedora, sprints recklessly across the rooftops of a crumbling yet timeless city. After just a one-minute teaser trailer, I’m already looking forward to the film adaptation of The Spirit. Not only because I’m a huge fan of Will Eisner’s seminal comic series about a detective who ostensibly returns from [...]

ARE - Materials and Methods
Michelle Linden in Atelier A+D
I've suddenly realized that I never finished writing up my experiences from the ARE... How can I talk about the 9 tests if I only write about 8? Although at this point its probably a waste of time - has the ARE moved to the 7 test format?- since I can barely remember my experience. Still... since I'm a bit of an obsessive compulsive, I wanted to at least share what I could remember. I started studying for the materials and methods exam after the mechanical and electrical building systems test. I was very nervous about this test, mainly because I didn't want to screw up the last one, so I postponed taking the test much longer than I needed.


May 28th, 2008

Fabric Architecture
Design Build Network
The future of design and construction demands greater use of renewable materials and reducing carbon emissions. Fabric Architecture specialise in tensile fabric structures and fabric roof systems for use in exterior and interior applications. Fabric canopies can be used for tensile covered walkways and as shade structures. Interior fabric ceilings can be designed to create impact and to provide valuable shade. A tensile fabric structure can significantly reduce the volume of materials required in construction, therefore reducing the carbon footprint of the project.

Bluewater Torture
owen hatherley in sit down man, you're a bloody tragedy
I usually resist the temptation to link to anything by Michael Collins. He writes about many of the same things I do (oh, the new acceptability of classism, council housing, etc), although as a rent-an-ex-prole making endless apologias along the lines of 'well, you think we're racist, thick and nostalgic - well guess what, we are, and we love it.' He's also better at this than a dilettante like Baggini, his writing having a trenchancy that almost takes you along with it until you remind yourself that the working class is an economic group united by common interest, not a fucking tribe. This is as a preamble to linking this piece on Ebbsfleet, suburb of Bluewater - satisfaction of true working class desires, as opposed to all those guilty bien pensant lefty attempts at urban social reform (which were all subterfuges of their real aim: to keep us from consuming, obviously). Eric Kuhne provides what the Smithsons or Ebenezer Howard wouldn't.

San Francisco’s Transbay Terminal gets the green light
Mike Chino in Inhabitat
San Franciscans rejoice! The Transbay Joint Powers Authority just approved a stunning green design for the new Transbay Transit Center to be constructed in downtown SF. Planned by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, the project consists of a graceful glass tower paired with an elegantly sweeping transit center topped with a five-and-a-half acre public park. Both structures will showcase a stellar set of sustainable features and will fulfill the project’s aim of centralizing the region’s transportation network while providing the SOMA neighborhood with a valuable community space.

Huntington Art Gallery Reopens after $20M Renovation
mediabistro.com: UnBeige
Today left coasters can get their first glimpses of the Huntington Art Gallery after its $20 million renovation begun in January of 2006. The San Marino villa-cum-Beaux-Arts mansion, once home to railroad and real estate magnate Henry Huntington and his wife, was designed by Pasadena architects Myron Hunt and Elmer Grey in 1910 and opened to the public in 1928, a year after Huntington's death. The gallery's collection of European art spans the 15th to the 20th centuries, although many visitors go straight for the portrait gallery (added in 1934) to ogle Thomas Gainsborough's "Blue Boy" (ca. 1770), Thomas Lawrence's "Pinkie" (1794), and Sir Joshua Reynolds' "Sarah Siddons as the Tragic Muse" (1793-84).

Platinum Will Be a Yawner”, And Other Notes from Friday’s Green Building Forum
Brian Libby in Portland Architecture
Last Friday at the Gerding Theater I attended the panel discussion about green building in Portland moderated by Metropolis editor Susan Szanasy as part of PNCA’s “Idea Studios”. My notes aren’t comprehensive, but hint at the 90-minute long conversation. The panel was first asked to put Portland in the national context when it comes to green building. “Portland is definitely out near the front if not in the front,” Scott Lewis of Brightworks said. “I think there’s a danger of resting on our laurels. But I get kids applying for jobs because they want to move to Portland, because they think it’s the greenest city in the country.” Bob Baldwin of Zimmer Gunsul Frasca added, “We’re in a place where it’s relatively easy to do well. If there’s something that troubles me…we don’t necessarily put the pieces together. It’s building by building.”

The Stunning Green Design of a Smart Box
Preston D K in Jetson Green
Thanks in part to the recent launch of FreeGreen, I think I've found the green house of my dreams.  The home rendered above and below is called the Smart Box and it's a stunner.  Designed by FreeGreen, Smart Box is the newest free home plan that's going to be available from the website in the next couple weeks.  Smart Box was designed for practically any climate and can range in size from 1000 - 2200 sf.  In addition, the plans will identify do-it-yourself type opportunities so that you can find ways to do more on a tighter budget. FreeGreen launched with the mission to "encourage progressive building practices by making green home designs free for everyone." 

Saving Paul Rudolph at Yale
mediabistro.com: UnBeige
Interesting story from the Tribune about saving Paul Rudolph's Art and Architecture building on Yale's campus. Rudolph, as you might know or remember us talking about at times, is one of the most tragic figures in modernist architecture, given how many of his buildings having been destroyed or are set for demolition. Luckily, Yale has stepped up and decided to save the building, at a cost of near $130 million dollars, clearly helped by having Robert A.M. Stern running the university's architecture program. It's a great piece, explaining both the tragedy of the extermination of Rudolph's work and why, if you're going to save something, this Art and Architecture building has to be it.

when architects design
mad architect in architechnophilia
"A chair is a very difficult object. A skyscraper is almost easier. That is why Chippendale is famous." Mies van der Rohe, Time magazine, 18 February, 1957 The perception of architects are that we are most challenged by big projects, the bigger they are the greater the challenge. Ahh alas but the smaller projects can cause as much if not greater grief. Here is a visual taste of architects' attempt at furniture design.

Urbanus
Young in Architecture
"URBANUS Under the leadership of partners Xiaodu Liu, Yan Meng and Hui Wang, Urbanus is a think tank providing strategies for urbanism and architecture in the new millennium.
The name of "Urbanus" derives from the Latin word of "urban", and strongly reflects the office's design approach: reading architectural program from the viewpoint of the urban environment in general, and the everchanging urban situations in specific. Urbanus is committed to the Modernist believe that architecture is a pivotal force for a better life, and hence architects should push the boundary of their traditional role and be a progressive force in the society. Urbanus theorizes its idea and ideal through a unique practice. The core concern of this practice is design excellence.

Doors Open: St. Lawrence Hall, Commerce Court North, and the TD Centre
Matthew Hague in Spacing Toronto • understanding the urban landscape
Although I don’t often go there myself, except to pass through on my way to Union Station or to meet my dad after work at his office, the central business district of Toronto has significantly shaped my perception of the city. The business towers that line the streets of King, Bay, and Adelaide, amongst others, dominate the city’s southern skyline, and attest to the city’s ambitions as a world economic leader. So for this year’s Doors Open, I decided to visit a few of the monumental buildings that have contributed to the rise of Toronto’s downtown.

Arup
Dan Hill in cityofsound
Yesterday, 9:09 AM
Another bit of admin. After a couple of weeks of rapid-fire consultancy directly post-Monocle, I joined Arup as a senior consultant in their urban planning business across the Australasian region. A month in, and I'm enjoying it hugely. I'm particularly proud to be working for Arup, a company I've long admired for both their work and their approach to work. For those that don't know, Arup are one of the world's largest multidisciplinary design firms: 10,000 strong across nearly 90 offices worldwide, comprising designers, engineers, planners, business consultants etc. Multidisciplinary working is at the heart of the firm, and the strong philosophical foundations are derived originally from the founder, Danish engineer and philosopher Ove Arup.

Spending a Day with Libeskind in His New Contemporary Jewish Museum
mediabistro.com: UnBeige
For some reason in reporting, it seems that rare is the day that we hear from an architect, a designer, or some other creative type, exploring their own creation and picking up on its goods and bads. Everyone surely does this in person, or to their colleagues, or in books they decide to write when they're eighty, looking back on their careers. But not so much right as the thing's being unveiled. Such is not the case with this great piece in the SF Gate, who asked Daniel Libeskind to wander around his new, much-anticipated Contemporary Jewish Museum in that city, and tell them what he thinks.

Seattle to Become Testbed for Green Prefab Apartments?
Preston D K in Jetson Green
Last October we blogged about the Inhabit prefab prototype built in Washington and designed by Mithun and Hybrid.  Since then, there hasn't been much news about the prototype, except that the initial two units are for sale right now.  Now comes news, however, based on an article in The Seattle Times, that Unico Properties is planning to bring Inhabit to market in a legit, 62-unit apartment complex that includes a few live/work spaces.  The development is planned for a site on Dexter Avenue North above Lake Union.  Unico has been quiet about the project because the land is still under contract and the permitting process has just begun. 

Willits, CA: A Relocalization Inspiration
Ariel Schwartz in Green Options
Like this post? Subscribe to our RSS feed and stay up to date. A few summers ago, I had the pleasure of spending some time in Willits, CA. This small, progressive town in Mendocino County harbors one of the best relocalization efforts in the United States, if not the world. “Relocalization” is the idea that communities should [...]

Studio 80: Shigeru Uchida
Michelle Linden in Atelier A+D
Since we are working on the house, we've got all of my architecture books packed away... I just stumbled across Studio 80's website, and I realized that I actually have one of Shigeru Uchida's books in my collection. All of his work is nice, but the tea houses and furniture are particularly spectacular.

May 27th, 2008

Young Architects 9: Proof
ArchitectureMNP
“Proof calls for creativity at a conceptual level, but also demands innovation in the ways we activate and employ our concepts”. Assembled as a mini-monograph of collected works from the 6 emerging architecture practices, the Architectural League of New York’s Young Architects 9: Proof is an insightful look at some of the [US] architecture scene’s newest movers & shakers (and 2 of them are from the Bean - act like you know!). The 6 featured firms - Aranda/Lasch, Jinhee Park, ludens, PARA, PRODUCTORA, and Uni Architecture - were the winners of the 2008 Young Architects competition held by the Architectural League of New York.

House for architects and artists / AFGH
Nico Saieh in Arch Daily
The task was to create reasonably-priced residential space with high standards of living comfort for four differently sized parties. In the processs, each party was to profit as much as possible on the one hand from the 3,000 m2 south-facing environs, and on the other from the north-facing view of the city. This determined an unconventional and complex internal organisation of the building. All four apartments are accessible via a two-storey entrance hall, each of them having their own internal staircase of one or two floors. In principle the double-storey apartments and the two roof apartments are encapsulated in each other so that the quality of the four-sided building is fully exploited. Common place and unrefined materials such as concrete, timber, wood and glvanised steel were chosen, which animated each other when combined.

Sustainable Eucalyptus Flooring by Duro Design
Sarah Roe in Jetson Green
Duro Design is offering a beautiful collection of eco-friendly Eucalyptus flooring.  The wood is grown in managed forests in Europe and is available in 12 colors ranging from gray to natural to a warm apricot color.  Premium German and Swiss pigments give the flooring its wonderful tints and depth of color. It is treated with 6 coats of MP765 low-VOC Urethane giving it incredibly durability.  This particular Urethane allows you to refinish the floor without sanding or stripping, which is an incredible advantage.  The flooring comes with a 25 year structural warranty as well as a five year finish warranty.  The tongue and groove boards may be glued down or nailed, as conventional wood floors.

pj house for $3.1 mil
ArchitectureMNP
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/25/fashion/25house.html?_r=1&oref=slogin
Who wouldn’t want to live in New Canaan in a house designed  by Philip Johnson? I’ve been looking for something to do with all this extra $$ I’ve got laying around anyways…[click the title of this post to read the full article, from the NYT]

Morgan Lovell's Green Office Demonstrates Blueprint for the Future
Design Build Network
The doors were opened to one of the country's top 'green' offices at a special event to show how a typical 1960s London block has been turned into a sustainable workplace of the future. Over two days, 160 facilities and property professionals - as well as business leaders - toured Morgan Lovell's headquarters in a series of seminars to see how they can build sustainability into their interior office design projects. Morgan Lovell's pioneering transformation of its Soho site has seen the company ranked in the 2008 Sunday Times Green List - a record of the 50 top sustainable organisations in the UK.

Olympic Choreography
Geoff Manaugh in BLDGBLOG
The visually underwhelming London Olympics stadium, designed by HOK Sport, might actually be broken down into its constituent parts once the 2012 Summer Games are over and shipped off to Chicago – where it will be partially reassembled.
Perhaps this act will open the door to a new choreography of reused, plug-and-play architectural structures, with fragments of existing buildings being FedEx'd around the world to fit one into the other in a delirium of improvised building space. Cathedral pods and office modules meet in a haze of stadium seating and hobby lobbies on the outskirts of San Francisco. New rooms are trucked in from somewhere east of Reno.

rectangle of light, jun igarashi architects
Justin in materialicious
House in Hokkaido, Japan. An exercise in introversion: while shutting out the landscape entirely, the house was designed in such a way as to capture sunlight and let it permeate inside the domestic space. This light box casts a very white, diffused light over every corner of the house, making it seem a spontaneous emission, an intrinsic presence in the space.

New York - Robert Moses Freeway Express: Queens, BQE, Coney Island (Part III)
Shawn Micallef in Spacing Toronto • understanding the urban landscape
BQE to Flushing Meadows. We drove an old blue tank of a Volvo on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway to Flushing Meadows park in Queens to see the Queens Museum of Art. The BQE is a crazy, crazy road. Narrow, fast, elevated, old and in New York City — it’s horrific and awesome at once. The lanes seem too narrow, not up to interstate standards. Similarly, the concrete median looks temporary. It’s a kind of anarchy, Live Free or Die style. Like being on the subway, it took us a while to get to Queens from central Brooklyn, “driving” home, again, the size of this city. The Queens Museum is on the site of the 1939 and 1964 World’s Fairs, both personal Robert Moses projects. Like walking around Jean Drapeau Park in Montreal, site of Expo ‘67, there are very few reminders left that this was a site of intense focus for a brief period. It’s like the future has gone back to seed — or lawn — and only a handful of structures are left, as well as the elaborate pathways between them.

The Mysterious Disappearance of Zaha Hadid (and the Replacement Appearance of Norman Foster)
mediabistro.com: UnBeige
One of those bits of news to read into and make up your own conspiracy theories or supposed conflicts. Story goes, as learned by the wonderful 1+1=3, is that Foster+Partners has been put in place to build a multi-billion office and housing project in Melbourne, Australia. Nothing too new or exciting there, sure, as Norman Foster and his pals are always landing these sorts of huge gigs. But the interesting part is learning that, up until recently, Zaha Hadid was running the project. Then, all of the sudden, she went away and no one is saying why. So now you get to make up your own story, as to why she'd walk away under mysterious circumstances. See the sorts of fun we provide for you around here?

Architectural Veil Swarovski
Frame Magazine
Design studio Regina Dahmen-Ingenhoven designed a transparent veil to embrace the Swarovski factory in Austria. The semi-transparent veil was the winning entry in the competition to design an object for the entrance at the Swarovski factory. Situated in Wattens, the veil embraces the factory and also functions as a gate.


Radical approach to cities rethinks the urban myths
Young in Architecture
 Some interesting studies from AA for your browsing pleasure.
"But in some ways its radicalism in design is becoming mannered and predictable. A high percentage of the work here seems locked into a narcissistic logic that cannot stop producing the same architectural bling of distorted nets, abstract grids and curvy blobs. Although this is all drawn and modelled to an incredibly high standard, it is reiterative. But the work on cities is strong, inspiring, and authentically radical."

May 26th, 2008

Palmer House Facade Looking Good - interior, not so much.
Lynn Becker in ArchitectureChicago PLUS
A photoessay on upgrades, restorations and misfires at Chicago's classic 1920's hotel

Beijing Airport / Foster + Partners
David Basulto in Arch Daily
After 4 years the Beijing Airport -currently the biggest one in the world- is finished, just in time for the 2008 Olympics. The airport, designed by Foster + Partners, turned out to be a very efficient building in terms of in terms of operational efficiency, passenger comfort, sustainability and access to natural light. As an interpretation of traditional chinese culture the roof of the airport has a dragon-like form. According to Norman Foster [...] this is a building borne of its context. It communicates a uniquely Chinese sense of place and will be a true gateway to the nation. This is expressed in its dragon-like form and the drama  of the soaring roof that is a blaze of ‘traditional’ Chinese colours – imperial reds merge into golden yellows. As you proceed along the central axis, view of the red columns stretching ahead into the far distance evokes images of a Chinese temple.

Does Toronto need an Urban Centre?
Shawn Micallef in Spacing Toronto • understanding the urban landscape
On Saturday in the Toronto Star’s Ideas section I wrote an article proposing an “Urban Centre” be established here in Toronto. “Does Toronto need an Urban Centre?” is the theme of tomorrow night’s Toronto the Good party in the Distillery District. ERA Architects, our co-hosts of the party, are the prime movers behind this idea, and we hope the party will generate excitement around this idea and begin to form a constituency for an Urban Centre in our city. Below is an expanded version of the article, with more examples of Urban Centres in other cities.

Cristina Ross Back on the Philip Johnson 'Demolition!' War Path
mediabistro.com: UnBeige
Well here's a good way to start getting even more nasty looks around the neighborhood. First: buy Philip Johnson's "other Glass House," the one just down the street that he built for people to actually be able to live in, called The Alice Ball House. Then, start thinking about demolishing it because you'd like to build something new and the town won't let you, nor have you had any luck selling it. Lastly, talk enough about it and make threats for months so that you eventually get a story printed about it in the New York Times. Such is the case with architect Cristina Ross, who owns the $3+ million dollar house and desperately wants out. We have sympathies for her, as we do with anyone in these days of housing woes, but she and her people sure continue to come very well in the article: "It's basically an option," said Ms. Ross, who has the demolition permit to prove it. "Investment in property is only worth what you can get out of it."

Calgary’s new green skyscraper by Foster + Partners
Evelyn Lee in Inhabitat
What does one of the largest independently owned oil and gas companies do to turn over a more sustainable leaf? Well, in this case, EnCana hired green-tech architecture firm du jour Foster + Partners to design their new, environmentally sustainable headquarters in Calgary, Canada. Dubbed The Bow, the new tower’s namesake comes from its overall shape, as well as the breathtaking views it offers inhabitants of the Bow River. As expected from a Foster + Partners design, the form of this sustainable skyscraper follows some very green function.

Georgio Cazzaniga Scent bed
Derrick Stembridge in Lost At E Minor: Music, illustration, art, photography and more
There are three elements in the Scent bed: the light and low wooden base, from which a space for magazines has been built; the upholstered headboard, available in all the fabrics of the Porro sample collection, which colors and softens the formal rigour of the base; and the mattress, proposed in two alternatives, both attentive to the ergonomics of sleep. (more…)

Book Review: Two Books on Sustainability
John in A Daily Dose of Architecture
Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution (2000) by Paul Hawken, Amory Lovins, & L. Hunter Lovins. Back Bay Books Paperback, 416 pages
Ten Shades of Green: Architecture and the Natural World (2005) by Peter Buchanan W. W. Norton Paperback, 128 pages
One look at magazines, newspaper or television, or a listen to the radio and it's clear that sustainability has taken hold of most aspects of life, from architecture and automobiles to light bulbs and other consumer choices. After Al Gore's film on climate change, the growing acknowledgment of the phenomenon, and rising oil and gas prices, the acceptance of sustainability as a potential means of reversing the negative impacts of widespread modernization has made it the buzz word all over the country, if not beyond its borders....

Siamese Towers / Alejandro Aravena
Nico Saieh in Arch Daily
YWe were asked to build a glass tower to host everything that had to do with computers in the university.
We saw three problems in this: the computers, the glass and the tower. The university asked us to question the type of architecture required for teaching now that everything depends on digital technology. Should architecture change now that we have computers? Does the notion of room (be it for work or for attend a class) still make sense? Our answer was, of course, Yes and No.

In Progress: Elephant House / Foster + Partners
David Basulto in Arch Daily
If house design is a challenge, imagine designing a house for elephants. Foster + Partners took the challenge and is currently finishing the Elaphant House at the Copenhagen Zoo, for a group of Indian elephants. The Elephant House is covered with lightweight, glazed domes that enclosure spaces with a strong visual connection with the sky and changing patterns of daylight.


May 23rd, 2008

Event Guide: Concrete Toronto Music
Shawn Micallef in Spacing Toronto • understanding the urban landscape
The good Toronto boosters at the Music Gallery have two special shows inspired by the Concrete Toronto book. On Sunday May 25 & Sunday June 1 Toronto musicians will come together to make music about some of Toronto concrete buildings. Not since the Talking Heads put out “More songs about buildings and food” has architecture been so sonically sexy. The Music Gallery and zoilus.com present CONCRETE TORONTO MUSIC As part of the soundaXis Festival

Portland Spaces Magazine Announces 'Root Awards'
Brian Libby in Portland Architecture
Portland Spaces magazine has announced a new set of design and architecture awards, called the "Root Awards: Portland Design from the Ground Up." Awards will be given out in more than 20 categories, including single family homes, individual rooms, commercial offices and restaurant interiors. The winners will be featured in the magazine's November/December issue this fall. Winners will be decided by a four-person jury: Karrie Jacobs, founder of Dwell magazine and architecture/urban planning critic for New York magazine, the New York Times, and Metropolis; Katherine Lambert - leading advocate of ecological design, founding principal of Metropolitan Architectural Practice, and chair of interior design and professor of visual studies at the California College of the Arts; and Iris Harrell - president and founder of Harrell Remodeling in San Francisco.

House V / 3LHD
David Basulto in Arch Daily
House “V” was designed in order to satisfy the needs of a family. Applying communication between the common and individual rooms, the facilities and functions of the space have been connected into a single unit that creates a comfortable living area for a family.

flats by onion flats collective, philadelphia
lavardera in materialicious
E Flats are an infill town house development in Philadelphia - one of the great townhouse cities of america. These consist of 4 units divided between the two buildings, and incorporate characteristics that are typical of many Philadelphia row homes - the gated passage to the rear gardens being one of the most peculiar local conditions that you can see they have followed in this contemporary structure.

Cliffside Shipping Container Home in New Zealand
Mike Chino in Inhabitat
We’re always excited to see architects reuse industrial materials, and in the prefab world there’s no match for the simplicity, low cost, and customization capabilities of the stalwart shipping container. We’ve covered several ways that architects have up-cycled the durable containers into industrial-chic living spaces, and this incredible home in Wellington, New Zealand, is the latest container redux to catch our eye. Composed of three slate grey containers stacked up like blocks beside a hilltop, it strikes the perfect balance between ruggedly engineered construction and clean modern form.

ARCHITECTURE FETISH: Bungalow Cool
Thomas Wicks in Spacing Toronto • understanding the urban landscape
Toronto is a city of bungalows. Though we’d fancy ourselves as a city of tall and thin Victorians, tightly packed together on narrow streets, Toronto spreads low and humbly. Once you leave the older parts of the city and drive through the sprawling post-war neighbourhoods of Etobicoke, North York and Scarborough, more likely than not all you’ll see are neatly spaced bungalows row after row (with groupings of apartment towers thrown in).

Frexport Headquarters / CC Arquitectos
Nico Saieh in Arch Daily
This project integrates 4 vital members, the first and most important, our client; who originated the concept and idea. Having the architectonic program, we attempted to give form to the rhetoric of the promenades in the countryside, idea that had to be implicit in the building. The gardens therefore became the soul of the project introducing the third member, the landscaper. The green palette of vegetation and the force of natural stone were the elements that marked the design of this landscape, leaving in its steps all the crops that constitute the company’s line of production.

Endangered Nabes
John in A Daily Dose of Architecture
National Trust for Historic Preservation's 2008 11 Most Endangered Places -- aimed at increasing exposure to particular areas and preservation in general -- includes the usual variety of buildings, "natural" features, and neighborhoods. Of the last, one each are in my current and previous homes, New York and Chicago. The Lower East Side is characterized as New York City's "first home for waves of immigrants since the 18th century...[as] new hotels and condominium towers are being erected across the area, looming large over the original tenement streetscape."

PREFAB FRIDAY: Focus House in London by BERE Architects
Cate Trotter in Inhabitat
Added to an end-of-terrace house in North London, Focus House is a delightful prefabricated eco-home for a family of five. Bere Architects, the firm behind the design, used PassivHaus principles to inform their process. The world’s leading energy efficiency standard, Passivhaus recognizes buildings that are so energy efficient all they need is a small electric heater. Focus House is a unique design that embodies the prefab principles of waste reduction and efficiency, and raises the bar on energy-efficient building design.

Innovative Abōd Takes Small Project Award
Preston D K in Jetson Green
The fulcrum of the green building revolution, I think, is conservation and living happily with less.  It'll be interesting to see how we get there, to see if we can live lighter.  In the meantime, I like to monitor small projects to see what piques the interest of crowds.  Lately Abōd® has been getting some quality attention.  Abōd was honored by the AIA this year with a Small Project Award.  The AIA explained the concept: "The design goal was to develop a breakthrough in value-engineered lowest cost housing with an extensive array of add-on options to personalize each home. The resulting design incorporating the Catenary arch is simple and structurally sound but also aesthetically pleasing and can be built by 4 people in just one day with only a screwdriver and an awl."

May 22nd, 2008

Seamless
Michelle Linden in Atelier A+D
These projects by Blasen Landscape Architecture are amazing examples of a seamless blend of architecture and landscape. I'm really in love with the clean lines, simple use of materials, and plant selection (I'm not really into flowery designs).

Will Bruder Beaming Over Wright Exhibit at His Nevada Museum of Art
mediabistro.com: UnBeige
Possibly just of interest to us, but we enjoyed Scott Sonner's story about Will Bruder beaming about the traveling "Frank Lloyd Wright and the House Beautiful" exhibit coming to the Nevada Museum of Art, a museum he designed after being an uber-Wright fan all his life. He even claims that when he was commissioned to build the host museum in Reno years ago, he designed it to work with a lot of Wright-esque principles, namely working to blend everything inside and outside the museum into one seamless entity.

House in Gerês / Graça Correia y Roberto Ragazzi
Nico Saieh in Arch Daily
The project of this house foresees both to reconstruct and augment a ruin into a weekend retreat at a plot with extraordinary morphological characteristics, within Cavado River and its tributary. The plot, of 4.060m2, is located in a protected natural area and has for conditions a concrete construction and the preservation of all trees. The constructive capacity was given by the existing ruin. Since the first visit of the site it was clear we were dealing with a delicate project. The project placement on the plot was essential given that the surroundings were the main reference for the construction. Having practiced water-ski for 20 years, the river grounds the weekend house for the clients. For them, the exceptional outlook one enjoys should be an element of the house; for us, architects, should be an evident inside space value, but also, the opposite concern was relevant - the house could only act as a significant element on the landscape.

Design Transitivity and Planning Reconstruction
Preston D K in Jetson Green
I was blown away by Alberto Mozó's simple and clean design for the Edificio BIP Computers building in Santiago de Chile.  It's an unassuming three-story structure built on a lot that's zoned to allow a larger structure of up to twelve stories in height.  Knowing that the building may not last very long (due to the favorable location and zoning), the design makes use of standard-sized, laminated timber beams that can be dismounted and used to reconstruct the entire building somewhere else.  Mozo calls the idea "transitivity" -- designing structures that can be easily broken down and reconstructed elsewhere.

New York City is the place where . . . (Part I)
Shawn Micallef in Spacing Toronto • understanding the urban landscape
Five days in New York City after a four year absence is like an urban elixir full of steroids that make hours and miles of exploration seem inconsequential. Keep going, there is more on the next block. And more, and more. It’s easy to forget how big the city is, but it’s really, really big. And solid, and heavy, and thick, and old. Toronto is all those things to a degree, but coming back home, the initial feeling is that this great city seems almost light in comparison. American steel and concrete seem thicker and heavier than it ought to be, but it is. There are so many great buildings in New York that magnificent ones, like the building above, become nondescript.

Bjarke Ingels presents The BIG CPH Experiment
admin in mirage.studio.7
On occasion of the London Festival of Architecture 2008 (www.lfa2008.org), Storefront will be opening its first temporary outpost in Europe on Exhibition Road, London. The opening party will be held on June 20 and the exhibition will remain open until July 27. The BIG CPH Experiment, an exhibition that inaugurated at Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York in October 2007, presents a series of recent design projects and large-scale models by the Copenhagen-based architecture practice BIG/Bjarke Ingels Group. The centerpiece of the exhibition is a model of the LEGO Towers made out of 250,000 LEGO bricks.

May 21st, 2008

DvG Architecten
Michelle Linden in Atelier A+D
This project, the Nederlands Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia by Dick van Gameren, was one of the most recent winners of the Aga Khan award... its a pretty interesting project. While the red concrete structure clearly has roots in the African dirt, its design and form is Dutch in every way. his apartment complex is some serious adaptive reuse... the complex spreads across an Amsterdam site previously occupied by a sewage treatment plant, to the extent that it even pierces an old concrete sediment drum. I'm not sure if I could get over the idea of living in a sediment drum... but if someone can, more power to them!

Today's archidose #213
John in A Daily Dose of Architecture
Medieval and Modern, originally uploaded by richardr. View of Selfridges in Birmingham, England by Future Systems (2003), with St. Martin's in the distance. Reminds me of a book cover...

Lucien's Hanging Chads
Lynn Becker in ArchitectureChicago PLUS
The Elysian Chicago is architect Lucien Lagrange's latest and greatest let's-all-crawl-back-into-the-womb extravaganza, a 60 story, 686 foot-tall French Second Empire meets condo gulch confection. The ultra high-end project (two residences per floor) comes complete with its own quarter-block sized carriage court, empowering residents' fantasies of being aristocrats in the time of Napoleon the Third. (Don't trip over the Commune.) The rendering here is cribbed from skyscraperpage.com's coverage of the project, which includes extended (38 pages and counting), impassioned discussion of its merits. For a brief period of time you can see, as pictured here, the intriguing structural frame that will support the courtyard's mansard roof, in one of project's rare fleeting displays of architectural honesty.

Old Golf Course Park?
Josh Hume in Spacing Toronto • understanding the urban landscape
A new public park is planned as part of the Toronto Community Housing Corporation’s residential development that will soon rise on the land directly east of Fort York. Construction is slated to begin in June, 2009, and though the park component will not be completed until at least 2011, planners, developers and heritage groups have already started to discuss potential names for the park. Most of the names being considered point to the historical significance of the site, as only in its most recent incarnation was this a fallow and undistinguished tract of land, (aside from its brief tenure as a nine-hole golf course). Originally, it was part of Toronto’s shoreline, and the very spot where Garrison Creek met Lake Ontario. It was the location of the original Fort York structures burned down by American forces in 1813 and later the site of the recently unearthed Queen’s Wharf as well as numerous early railway structures.

Seifert House / Bau Kultur
Nico Saieh in Arch Daily
Mrs. Seifert, sixty-three years old and curator of an art gallery, commissioned this house after her previous home, an approximately 150 years old building, burned down. For her new home she demanded a particular requirement - namely, the new house (contrary to her previous one) should fuse with nature in order to give her an immanent feeling of the change of seasons.

Jamison Square Reconsidered
Brian Libby in Portland Architecture
When I wrote last week about Randy Gragg’s interview with Brad Cloepfil, the one issue that seemed controversial, or that readers really seemed to disagree with Brad on, was his position on Jamison Square Park in the Pearl District. “It’s a theme park,” Brad said of Jamison “It’s an urban artifice. You could have done something so much more elegant.” He told Randy that the Peter Walker design tried too hard to program a particular type of setting: one of children, families and dogs frolicking near the fountain. Cloepfil lives in the Pearl District near Jamison, but he said he completely avoids the park. However, an overwhelming majority of people whom I’ve talked to and commented here seem to like this Peter Walker-designed landscape a lot. “I like Cloepfil but he is wide off the mark on Jamison Square,” one commenter said. “Jamison Square is an extremely succesful urban space. In my mind it is incredible how well it functions.”

Virgina Plat House - exterior complete
lavardera in LamiDesign Modern House Plan Blog
A few new photos from the owner of the Virginia Plat House today. The siding is all done and the exterior more or less finished. The interior work is beginning now. Here is the master bedroom side of the house. I liked this photo because it gives you a good look at the side overhang rafters. They did a good job with this detail which is always gratifying to see. You can also catch a glimpse of the creek in the distance - what a great setting for this house. There are three new photos of the house posted at the flickr set for this project. Also remember to look at the LamiDesign Flickr photo pool to see all the photos from customers documenting the house designs under construction. Our thanks go out to them for sharing their projects with us.

Sustainable Wood Light Sculptures by Nori Morimoto
Ali Kriscenski in Inhabitat
Nori Morimoto’s light sculptures were on display at ICFF in a stunning booth that showcased this master craftsman’s attention to delicate details. Crafted from local, sustainably harvested wood from around his Vermont wood working studio, Morimoto’s work was a truly refreshing sustainable design find at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair this past weekend.

LTLArchitects
Young in Architecture
"Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis (LTL) is an innovative, award-winning architecture partnership founded in 1997 by Paul Lewis, Marc Tsurumaki and David J. Lewis, located in New York City. LTL actively pursues a diverse range of work, from large scale academic and cultural buildings to interior architecture to competitions. LTL's approach is to realize inventive solutions that turn the very constraints of each project into the design trajectory, exploring overlaps between space, program, form, budget and materials. The firm's work has been extensively published and exhibited internationally. LTL Architects received the 2007 National Design Award for Interior Architecture from the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum and was selected as one of six American architectural firms featured in the U.S. Pavilion at the 2004 Venice Architecture Biennale. In addition, LTL was included in the 2000 National Design Triennial at the Cooper-Hewitt and was selected in December 2000 by Architectural Record as one of ten firms representing a Vanguard in Contemporary Architecture.

Pop Pergola
Snell in Lost At E Minor: Music, illustration, art, photography and more
Designed by landscape architects Claude Cormier, Pergola is a pop art piece comprised of 90,000 plastic balls arranged in the form of a wisteria bloom at Le Havre City Hall. A tribute to Monet, much of whose work featured wisteria, the piece works with an existing vine, creating an interesting juxtaposition between the artificial and the natural.

Forget the bulb: world’s first illuminating glass
Cate Trotter in Inhabitat
Eco-friendly lightbulbs are an energy efficient step in the right direction, but it could be that the bulb’s days are numbered. First we had light-emitting wallpaper, and now Saazs’ light-emitting glass plates. Using planilum technology, these plates are the world’s first active light-emitting glass. Incorporated into shelves and tables, the technology provides beautiful, understated lighting for homes and offices.

First Off-Grid Building in San Francisco Coming Soon!
Preston D K in Jetson Green
Last month, Lorax Development broke ground on a building that's being billed as the first off-grid building in San Francisco.  At 1400 sf, The Eco Center is certainly an example of the future of green buildings -- buildings that are off-grid and sustainable.  The Eco Center is a $1.5 million environmental education center that will be located in McLaren Park.  Designed by Toby Long Design for the non-profit Literacy for Environmental Justice (LEJ), when it opens in the fall, it will be the first building in San Francisco, purportedly, to recycle its own wastewater.  Additionally, the off-grid center will have solar panels and an extensive green roof.

AmCork, Affordable and Beautiful Cork Flooring Option
Sarah Roe in Jetson Green
Amcork, a Texas based company, offers an incredible variety of cork flooring and wall covering options.  Their flooring is available in floating floor planks (12"x36") and glue-down parquet tiles (12"x12").  Wall tiles are 12"x24" size.  There are two things that set this company apart from others that I have found: price and style.  Amcork has 21 colors of wall tiles and 25 colors of flooring available. The colors and textures range from almost solids, such as "blue snow", to "bark", a natural cork color with large waves and chunks of patterns that really do resemble the bark of a tree.  Pricing starts at $2.50 psf and ranges up to about $5.50.


May 20th, 2008


Berlin Philharmonic Hall on fire
David Basulto in Arch Daily
Another fire on a remarkable building. Today, the Berlin Philharmonic Hall by Hans Schauron caught fire. Firemen were able to control it, but its outer metal skin collapsed. Structural damage is unknown at the time, but it was seriously damaged by fire and water. This building, finished in 1963, was an icon for the Expressionist movement, with a great acoustic work achieved trough it´s inner spaciality which conditioned its external appearance.

Philippe de Montebello Headed to NYU
mediabistro.com: UnBeige
Where do you go after a storied, 31-year tenure at the helm of the Metropolitan Museum of Art? Just a few blocks, actually, to New York University's Institute of Fine Arts, where departing Metropolitan Museum director Philippe de Montebello will be the first professor to teach the history and culture of museums, The New York Times reported today. The move will be officially announced tonight at a NYU dinner. Mr. de Montebello, who turned 72 on Friday, said he planned to teach full time. But rather than lecturing on what might seem most obvious — how to run a museum, for example, or the history of 15th- and 16th-century French and Netherlandish painting, his scholarly area of expertise — he said he would cover the history of collecting and connoisseurship and the evolution of museums, including the central issue of how the museum's mission can be defined in today's world.

Five Green Ideas for Your Kitchen Renovation
Preston D K in Jetson Green
Gwendolyn Bounds invested about 16 months and $83k in her posh, green kitchen remodel.  The process was slightly more difficult than she imagined, but nonetheless, as you can see from the below video: the result is quite nice.  David Johnston, green building and renovation expert, unofficially inspected the work and gave her high marks for the eco renovation.  Her remodel included Energy Star appliances, locally made fly ash concrete countertops, Plyboo and Arreis cabinets, no-VOC paints, FSC-certified wood floors, Nu-Wool recycled newspaper insulation, LED lights, and double-paned efficient windows.

carl maston architect, residence
lavardera in materialicious
MidCentArc has posted a group of photos of a spectacular mid-century house in Los Angeles. It appears that it was(is?) the personal residence of architect Carl Maston, built in 1947. It’s a fantastic mid-century example, and fans, be forewarned of extreme longing and envy ahead.

Hotel Kirkenes / Sami Rintala
Nico Saieh in Arch Daily
Kirkenes is a city of 6000 inhabitants (ca. 9500 in the larger area) in North East Norway next to Russia. Far enough from the political and economical centers, such as capitals, bigger cities, giant business headquarter and cultural institutions, this Barents city has created its own way of international and dynamic interactivity on a grass root level in necessary everyday survival activity like fishing, constructing and tourism. Here meet the Sami, Russian, Norwegian and Finnish Kven human endeavor, divided only, unnecessarily enough, by artificial boundaries.

George Miller Brings the AIA Presidency Back to New York
mediabistro.com: UnBeige
'Tis a good week for New York City this week (and not just because the two of us are here right now). It's been announced that, for the first time in more than thirty years, there will be a New York-based president of the American Institute of Architects. And that person is George H. Miller, who will hold his current title of vice-president for another two years, then assume the presidency in 2010. He's the first NY-based president since 1971, back when Max Urbahn was in the role. Here's a bit: His platform as AIA president includes an aggressive push toward sustainable design, energy conservation, and carbon reduction, as well as a focus on affordable housing, comprehensive regional planning, and public transportation.

Latest Designs On Portland Discussion: "The Ever Growing City" With Urban Designer Arun Jain
Brian Libby in Portland Architecture
 What will Portland look like as it continues to grow in population? How do we maintain our reputation as a model for sustainable development, craft the right balance between a host of different competing interests and values, and add thousands of new residents without sacrificing what makes our city successful? How many questions will be in this paragraph? For the third installment of the bi-monthly discussion series "Designs On Portland" at Design Within Reach in the Pearl, I will be discussing these ideas with Arun Jain, Chief Urban Designer for the City of Portland. Jain didn't lay out the street grid or make Portland a bike and green-friendly city, but with his help we can keep it that way. Maybe we can even improve a thing or two (he said half facetiously).

May 19th, 2008

the awesome architecture of sigurd lewerentz
lavardera in materialicious
I just came across some great photos by p2an on flickr that he has taken of a few fantastic projects by one of my favorite architects, Sigurd Lewerentz from Sweden. This first little structure is the flower kiosk at the Malmö cemetery. It is a small concrete structure where visitors to the cemetery can buy flowers. It was one of his last projects, done in a brutally simply minimalism that just resounds with me.

0751 Suburban House - fourth scheme
lavardera in LamiDesign Modern House Plan Blog
Today we will look at the next scheme from the suburban house project. This scheme came later in the process and so the sketches are more fully developed than the other schemes we have looked at. In this scheme we returned to the idea of the gathering of spaces around the living room, with the secondary spaces seeking a physical connection back to the center of the house. We also struggled to find a way to make a positive solution to the need to elevate the plumbing in the house above the septic system without lifting the entire house out of the ground and compromising the connection to the landscape or bringing in large amounts of fill. What we arrived at was a rather complex interior space arrangement which followed a multi level path through the house, but existed within a simple massing under a simple roof.

Casey Becomes First LEED Platinum Condo
Brian Libby in Portland Architecture
 The Casey Condominiums in the Pearl District have been certified by the US Green Building Council at the top 'platinum' level of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). That makes the Gerding Edlen-developed, GBD Architects designed building the first high-rise condominium residence in the country to reach this highest standard of green building. This is Gerding and GBD's third LEED platinum project, following the Gerding Theater (the nation’s first platinum historic renovation and performing arts center), and Oregon Health Science University’s Center for Health & Healing (the nation’s first and largest LEED platinum medical office building). Gerding Edlen also has 38 LEED projects in its portfolio, more than any other developer in the country.

Deep-water city-states
Geoff Manaugh in BLDGBLOG
Wired reports on "a small team of Silicon Valley millionaires" who hope to develop "a new option for global citizenship: A permanent, quasi-sovereign nation floating in international waters."
They call this practice seasteading.
The seasteaders want to build their first prototype for a few million dollars, by scaling down and modifying an existing off-shore oil rig design known as a "spar platform." In essence, the seastead would consist of a reinforced concrete tube with external ballasts at the bottom that could be filled with air or water to raise or lower the living platform on top. The spar design helps offshore platforms better withstand the onslaught of powerful ocean waves by minimizing the amount of structure that is exposed to their energy.

John Todd wins Buckminster Challenge Award
Jorge Chapa in Inhabitat
The Buckminster Fuller Challenge honors visionary thinking that seeks to “solve humanity’s most pressing problems in the shortest possible time while enhancing the Earth’s ecological integrity.” Starting this year, a $100,000 prize will be awarded in support of development and implementation of solutions that have the potential to transform the world. Setting a high precedent for the future, Dr. John Todd has won the First Annual Buckminster Fuller Challenge for his proposal Comprehensive Design for a Carbon Neutral World: The Challenge of Appalachia, which lays out a strategy for transforming one and a half million acres of strip-mined lands in Appalachia into a harmonious self-sustaining community.

Intent Shapes Environment, Environment Shapes Life
WorldChanging Team in WorldChanging
By Claude Lewenz
Sometimes we talk about the environment without considering what it is. There are two: the natural environment (made by Nature and adversely impacted by man), and the physical environment; the local environment that surrounds each of us in our day-to-day life – our room, our home, our streets and parks. When we talk about saving the environment, we tend to focus on the natural environment and the depredations done by man. The Environment Movement tends to include high-minded people who do not profit by that depredation calling for restraints on other people who do profit by it. Sadly, when high-minded people realise they will be adversely affected by those restraints (such as living in a suburb and being told the price of fuel is about to quadruple), many tend to back off a bit…

Kuwait's First LEED Tower To Be Crowned with Wind
Preston D K in Jetson Green
KEO International Consultants has received word from the USGBC that its design for Sabah Al Ahmed International Finance Center (ICF) has been precertified at the Gold level under the LEED-CS green building rating system.  The 1.2 million sf, 40-story tower is the first building in Kuwait to be registered or precertified by the USGBC.  As you can partially tell from the renderings, the design includes four stacked courtyard atriums ranging from 8-13 floors each.  Three of the atriums serve the office portion of the building, while the fourth atrium serves the 200 key, 4-star business class hotel.  The tower generates part of its energy from a PV system, as well as from roof-mounted wind turbines.  You may be able to see the lattice-work of wind turbines at the crown of the building; I think they're the vertical axis, helical-type, but it's hard to tell with this one image.  We'll make sure to keep you posted ...

McModern Update
John in A Daily Dose of Architecture
Last summer I passed along a cover story in AM New York about a "McMansion under construction in the historic Broadway-Flushing/Murray Hill neighborhood of Queens [that] pitted neighbors versus John Hsu," who was building a house in a style at odds with his neighbors. An article in this week's New York Magazine recounts how "the local homeowners’ association picketed his site [and] The Department of Buildings audited his plans twice, delaying construction eight months." Last summer all we could see was a concrete frame. Now we see that Hsu, with architects Grzywinski+Pons built just what he wanted: a tasteful Modern house that responds to its context but doesn't imitate it.

Element house / Sami Rintala
Nico Saieh in Arch Daily
I received an interesting invitation last May. In the Seoul metropolitan area there is a satellite city called Anyang, a small, in Korean context, suburban town with 700.000 inhabitants.
The city had decided to invite several international architects and artists to participate the design of a new park. The project, called Anyang Public Art Park, relates to the concept of art and architecture parks in Japan, the largest of which is Echigo Tsumari Art Triennial area in Niigata.

Willis Headquarters at Lime Street / Foster + Partners
David Basulto in Arch Daily
Foster + Partners just informed us that the new Willis headquarters at Lime Street in London is complete. As usual, the firm lead by Sir Norman Foster developed a urban piece that integrates with the city at street level and features environmental strategies to reduce its energy consumption and carbon footprint. This two buildings are developed as a series of overlapping curved shells while its section is arranged in three steps. The roof terraces overlooking the plaza on the lower two steps are directly accessible from the office spaces. Both buildings have a central core to provide open floor plates and maximum flexibility in use. The entire development is visually unified by its highly reflective façade. The pressed form of the panels and their mica finish give them depth and texture. A dynamic effect is established through the interplay of solid and glazed panels arranged in a saw-tooth pattern, the fins also increase insulation while reducing glare and solar gain.

Orquideorama / Plan B Architects + JPRCR Architects
Nico Saieh in Arch Daily
Architects: Plan B - Felipe Mesa, Alejandro Bernal + JPRCR - Camilo Restrepo, J. Paul Restrepo
Collaborators: Viviana Peña, Catalina Patiño, Carolina Gutiérrez, Lina Gil, Jorge Buitrago ...a. Architecture and organisms The Construction of a Orchideorama should come up of the relation between architecture and the living organisms. It should not make any distinction between natural and artificial, on the contrary, it should accept them as a unity that allows architecture to be conceived as a material, spatial, environmental organization that is deeply related to the processes of life.


May 16th, 2008

Using Disasters for Systemic Change
Matthew Waxman in WorldChanging
After reading Justus Stewart’s recent article about a BIM collaboration I immediately thought of the Earthquake in China, the Cyclone in Myanmar, Hurricane Katrina and the SE Asian Tsunami, and last year’s mini-disaster in the San Francisco Bay Area where I live, the collapse of the “MacArthur Maze” Interstate 580 connector ramp. All of these disasters could benefit from a process to redesign the destroyed urban environment and its infrastructural systems and to not just re-create what was there before. What if we could accompany a collaborative design process with some sort of policy framework tying together disaster-response to designing for systemic change? What if we could plan to use the future's inevitable disasters as opportunities for change and innovation?

The Risks and Rewards of Hotel Redesigns
mediabistro.com: UnBeige
An interesting piece that serves as a nice follow-up to a post we put up a while back about Motel 6 redesigning their room interiors: BusinessWeek's "Hotel Rooms by Design." The focus is on a local stop, Chicago's The James hotel, which has pulled out all the stops in making their rooms, and the entire building interiors itself, swanky and modern, in the hopes of capturing that higher-end market willing to spend $400 a night for a well-designed room (as opposed to the inexpensive $350-a-night rooms at the Chicago Best Western, we guess). But the larger reach of the story is whether or not all of this new trend of redesigning and uniqueness in the hotel industry is a good idea or if it's going to lead to a world of hurt as the economy struggles. It's an interesting piece, from all angles.

Canühome Shows Smart Sustainability at Home
Preston D K in Jetson Green
Canühome is an impressive 850 square foot home with a smart design that includes a kitchen, bathroom, living room, dining room and bedroom.   Designed by Institute Without Boundaries, canühome is a healthy, sustainable, and affordable home.   Perhaps, it is best suited for young couples, seniors, singles, and/or small families as either a “starter” or “finisher” house, but the possibilities are truly infinite.  The home pictured above and below is the display prototype used at the Green Living Show in Toronto.  Bloggers Mariela Campo of Green Design Girl and Lloyd Alter of Treehugger both had pretty interesting things to say of the Toronto exhibit.

How to Preserve Saarinen's Bell Labs HQ?
mediabistro.com: UnBeige
We love a good postwar corporate campus, and in our dictionary, under "postwar corporate campus" is a picture of the 472-acre swath of Holmdel, New Jersey that was once home to Bell Labs. At the core of the campus is an 1.9-million-square-foot building designed by Eero Saarinen, who also designed the site's transistor-shaped water tower. In 2006, the property was sold to a developer who intended to raze the building and replace it with corporate offices, but ultimately scrapped the plan in the face of public outcry calling for the preservation of the original six-story Saarinen structure, built between 1959-1962 and later expanded.

reinke shakes, a corrugated metal shingle
lavardera in materialicious
This is just one of those only in america stories. Small manufacturer, family run business, in Nebraska that makes a head-scratching range of different things, including precast concrete for mausoleums, cnc services, racing trailers, an odd mix. Well they also make these unique corrugated shingles. The owner Bob Reinke’s father started making them, and now he continues. Its one of these products that you would have expected to disappear long ago, or to have been overtaken by similar products from large manufacturers. But it hasn’t. I don’t know of any other metal shingle with this small corrugation pattern. And I have to say that I think it looks cool as hell. They make them of prepainted aluminum, they’ll do copper too. I think zinc, or galvalume would be awesome.

FAB FRIDAY: Method Homes’ Modular Cabin
Mike Chino in Inhabitat
This month we’re welcoming a brand new builder to the prefab scene as Method Homes launches its first house! The wood clad wonder is currently nearing completion in Seattle, Washington and boasts an array of customizable features backed by a steadfast commitment to sustainable materials and building practices. The “down to earth” prefab’s sleek modern lines and LEED gold aspirations make it the latest modular cabin to catch our eye.

miniLOO, Saving Water With Small Style
Preston D K in Jetson Green
I know it's just a toilet, but this miniLOO is quite the attractive alternative when it comes to taking care of your primary and secondary business.  MiniLOO utilizes a water-efficient, dual flush, in-wall tank with either a .8 or 1.6 gallon flush.  The compact off-floor mounting allows easy cleaning and accessibility in either the residential or commercial setting.  It's perfect for a smaller space and available in a variety of finishes, including recycled stainless steel and white powdercoat.

May 15th, 2008

Preservation Chicago's New President Not Fine
Lynn Becker in ArchitectureChicago PLUS
On May 6th, the grass roots activists group Preservation Chicago became a bit more rooted when it named Bill Neuendorf, 40, an engineer whose work includes the preservation of historic structures, as their new President. Neuendorf takes over from long-time president Jonathan Fine, who co-founded the organization with ongoing VP Mike Moran in 2001, with Fine now assuming the title of Executive Director. The final sentence of the press release gave us a bit of pause. "Previously an all-volunteer organization, this new leadership team is ready to propel Preservation Chicago into the next chapter of its professional life.

TU-Delft: Arch School Endures Major Fire
Bradley in east coast Architecture review
The architecture program at TU-Delft in the Netherlands suffered a serious loss on Tuesday the 13th of May when the eight story Faculty Building was engulfed by flames. The pictures below tell the story and illustrate the partial collapse of the structure. We first learned of this tragedy from our neighbors at SPAN and it was later reported by Archinect. The TU-Delft website reports that classes will resume on the 19th of May in makeshift tents set up on campus. No word on the cause at this time.

Wrightstyle Goes Back to School in Groundbreaking Project
Design Build Network
One of the country's leading technology colleges has reopened following a £28.5 million project that utilised specialist glazing systems to create a stunning new approach to the school environment. Leigh Technology Academy in Dartford, Kent, which first opened in 1990, is rated academically as one of highest-achieving schools in England and Wales, with a school roll of over 1200 pupils - a flagship establishment that is pioneering new ways of learning in business, sport and science. Underlying that difference in teaching approach, glass and glazing systems from leading supplier Wrightstyle were used within the building to form transparent linkages between classrooms and common areas, and between exterior and interior spaces.

Peter Eisenman Talks Tough to Get Architecture Back on Track
mediabistro.com: UnBeige
Perhaps in the face of the struggling architecture industry, Peter Eisenman offered up some thoughts at the recent Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland event (RIAS 2008) and Building Design was there to catch the whole thing, offering up a complete transcript of the six points he made to help get architecture back on track. It's an interesting list, which does everything from say that computers have made architects lazy, schools are letting students become passive and how we're at the end of a style of architecture, so we'd better prep for what's to come and start approaching the coming change now, so that our current work doesn't look so passe in the near future. It's a really terrific, very frank read from a really interesting architect, so well worth your

Theatre Maurice Mentjens
Frame Magazine
Situated in the southern part of the Netherlands, Maurice Mentjens designed the ground floor of the NWE theatre in Tilburg.

On the Ground with Renzo Piano at the Broad Museum Opening
mediabistro.com: UnBeige
Dropping in on the recent start-studded opening of the LACMA's new Broad Contemporary Art Museum in LA was The Independent's Karen Wright who was more interested in telling the tale of Renzo Piano and his newest creation than rubbing elbows with the likes of Tom Cruise, Cindy Sherman and Jeff Koons. Wright is clearly not a student of James S. Russell, as she oohs and ahhs over all the specifics of the architect's latest flashy museum. And without any of that hostility or worry that Piano has lost his edge, the piece provides a nice tour of the new building, which should be valuable until you get a chance to check it out for yourself. Plus, if anything, it's always fun to hear Piano talk: The building was completed in a speedy three years. One triumph during construction was the closure of a street and removal of a garage, which was replaced underground. As Piano said, "In LA, to take away a street is a miracle, to take away a garage is like destroying the Colosseum in Rome!".

My Jeddah talk on megaprojects
David Sucher in City Comforts, the blog
A while ago I wrote that I'd post the talk I prepared for the 2008 Jeddah Economic Forum. So here it is as a PDF: Why & How to civilize the mega-project. It's a good talk but only if you are interested in the subject. Now that I know more of the development taking place in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and have even seen some of it, I believe that the suggestions in the talk are all the more on point. Probably the key one — and one of the most difficult to implement because of the close relationship everywhere in the world between local politicians and large developers — is as Massengale in the immediately prior post suggests: break-up the megaproject site into streets and blocks and sell off lots and not to many to one entity.

May 14th, 2008

Stevens Lawson Architects on Hobson Bay House
Mohammad Fahmi Tri Wahyudi,ST in Best House Design
This is an amazing Stevens Lawson Architects project called Hobson Bay House. This Hobson Bay House was awarded as the Winner of NZIA New Zealand Award for Architecture in 2004. This award-winning house sits majestically on a north sloping section with a dramatic outlook to Hobson Bay, in Auckland, New Zealand, adjacent to an enclave of iconic New Zealand modern houses. 

Morgan Lovell
Design Build Network
Located in London, Birmingham and the Thames Valley, Morgan Lovell is the UK's best known office design, fit out and refurbishment specialist. With our own teams of project managers, designers, surveyors and construction experts, we can design, manage and deliver your entire project, with only one point of contact. Morgan Lovell&squo;s services feature: Refurbishment of an existing office or interior fit out of a new one One point of contact to check every detail Guaranteed on-time and on-budget delivery A design and build approach which is 40% faster and costs up to 15% less Whether our clients are relocating or refurbishing their offices, we manage the whole process - from the initial planning stages all the way through to the move-in day ‐ all in accordance to fixed timescales and costs agreed with the client. OFFICE DESIGN Most businesses want an office that makes a statement. When a client steps through an office door, it should tell them everything they need to know about a company&squo;s culture and ethos. An office space should also inspire, not hinder, an employees&squo; work.

The Solar-Shade
ArchitectureMNP
At first glance these ‘Solar-Shades’ look pretty cool - but after thinking about it for a little while I’ve decided that I’m not convinced they’re not a part of some clever plot by Cobra Commander to take over our power grids… Melbourne-based Büro North has teamed up with the Victorian Eco-Innovation Lab [VEIL] to design the ‘Solar-Shade - “a future possibility for the integration of solar-energy harvesting technologies into a form that is pragmatic (providing shade & energy), evocative and educational”. The project is intended to engage students - making an exhibit out of the PV technology being used.

The Last of Koolhaas' Las Vegas Guggenheims Set to Close This Weekend
mediabistro.com: UnBeige
In a move that's of no real surprise to anyone, the final Venetian Hotel-based Guggenheim museum ("The Hermitage") will be closing in Las Vegas this Sunday. Following the two others closed in 2003 after abysmal attendance, this will be the final nail in the coffin for the Rem Koolhaas-designed museums in that steamy city of debauchery. But, like we said, we can't imagine that this is coming as a shock to anyone -- building a genuine museum in Las Vegas, not one built upon a strong foundation of irony, is like building a learning annex right next to a water park and a free candy store.

Six Reasons Why the Chicago Children's Museum doesn't belong at Daley Bicentennial Plaza in Grant Park
Lynn Becker in ArchitectureChicago PLUS
As the Chicago Plan Commission's consideration of the Chicago Children's Museum proposed move to Grant Park grows near, we offer an extended summary argument on why putting it there would be a very bad thing. Read it all

Cloepfil Plays Jimmy Mak's
Brian Libby in Portland Architecture
 With a book on Allied Works being published next winter, Brad Cloepfil told Randy Gragg during their interview Monday evening at Jimmy Mak's jazz club that he’s been looking back on the firm’s early career. “The last thing we need is more buildings, but we certainly need more architecture,” he said. The essential question for Allied Works, he added, has been, “What can the work heighten or reveal…that we wouldn’t otherwise be able to see?”
Following are some notes I took over a Stella Artois. Talking about Allied’s Museum of Art & Design at 2 Columbus Circle in New York, currently finishing up construction (and looking quite dazzling, I think), he said the design approach working with the decades-empty but architecturally significant Edward Durrell Stone original building was “removing structure as a way of creating experience.

Book Review: Building London & Paris 2000+
John in A Daily Dose of Architecture
Building London: The Making of a Modern Metropolis (2008) by Bruce Marshall Universe Hardcover, 304 pages
Paris 2000+: New Architecture (2007) by Sam LubellMonacelli Press Hardcover, 240 pages
These two image-drenched coffee table books focus on what can be seen as Europe's two most cosmopolitan cities, using photographs to tell the story of London and Paris, each in its own way.


May 13th, 2008

Green Container Condos in Early Planning for Detroit
Preston D K in Jetson Green
A Detroit-based group has a container project in mind for a blighted chunk of land near Wayne State University.  News of the project hit the press this morning and local citizens didn't quite know what to expect (see comments).  The project is currently being called "Exceptional Green Living on Rosa Parks" and would feature containers stacked four high with windows and doors cut out into various places.  In total, the 17-unit condo project would have units ranging in size from 960 - 1,920 and price from $100k - $190k.  Not bad really for a modern, green pad. The architect, Steven Flum, designed the condos to be large and open inside. 

Antonio Citterio’s Architectural Lace
Cate Trotter in Inhabitat
One of the subtler but more beautiful designs that we saw at the Milan 2008 Greenenergy Design show was Antonio Citterio’s ‘Lace’: tiled architectural cladding that’s designed for user wellbeing and ecological preservation. A standardised product that produces an intricate and intriguing pattern when multiplied, the design keeps the user in touch the world outside. The tiles themselves were also more sustainable, using a special resin that is free of solvents and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

where truces and cease fires grow on trees…
Bryan Finoki in Subtopia
While the "inner German border” that once divided East and West Germany decades ago, stretching 879 miles from the Baltic Sea to the Czech Republic, was a tangled jungle of barbed wire, landmines, booby traps and soldier patrols, it was also, much like the Korean DMZ, a kind of sanctuary for considerable wildlife.
When the Berlin Wall fell German environmentalists fought to protect the long line of no-man’s-land as a Green Belt, connecting it with Europe’s larger green belt that has followed the path of the Iron Curtain from the north of Finland south to the Adriatic Sea.

Compact Living and Small Spaces
admin in mirage.studio.7
Australia, a country where land is abundant as oppose to less fortunate ‘Kiasu‘ Singaporean (I dislike my ‘Singaporean’ lecturer, a fresh graduate with zero working experience, he said it is alright to show human, furniture, cars and plants in the working drawing set - little did he knows that he is what we describe as “the empty vessel makes the loudest sound.”), anyway not all Singaporean acts in such manner, right Arron Kong?. Where was I? Yeah, compact living… compact living is simply not a doable thesis topic in the land of kangaroos, not to mention the Australian way of living doesn’t accommodate the whole idea of living in a house without a backyard.

top five auction houses, from details magazine
Justin in materialicious
Snipped from the article by Monica Khemsurov for DETAILS Magazine: Top Design: The new breed of auction houses serve novices hunting for a mid-century lamp or a minimalist couch—not ascot-wearing collectors looking for a fusty heirloom. You don’t have to be an obsessive collector or an Antiques Roadshow addict to buy at auction anymore. Over the past 15 years, a handful of boutique houses have emerged that specialize in design both modern (like George Nelson) and postmodern (like Ettore Sottsass). The result is a micro-universe of new places to get sought-after furniture—minus the intimidation factor of Sotheby’s and Christie’s.

A coherent account of the Housing Boom/Bust
lavardera in LamiDesign Modern House Plan Blog
This is tangental to my blog, no doubt, but the state of the housing industry is relevant to our interest in the resurgence of modernism as a housing product. If you have money to build or are able to borrow in this credit climate, its actually a good time to build. And that's an opportunity for modernist to get a foot in the door, for developers flat out of luck its a market that still has demand. So read up, or listen up as the case may be, and learn what actually went down in the credit bust. This radio program "This American Life" just did a review of the recent history of the ongoing credit crisis, and the housing crisis it spawned, and the overall stinky economy following on its heels. This is the best plain language, easily understandable account of what has transpired that I have heard to date.

LED Constellation Chandelier by Kenzan Tsutakawa-Chinn
Mike Chino in Inhabitat
This stunning LED chandelier lit up this year’s BKLYN Designs with a stellar low-energy lighting solution for light emitting diodes. Recent Pratt graduate Kenzan Tsutakawa-Chinn wowed attendees at the BKLYN Designs show with his constellation chandelier, which takes the form of a gorgeous starburst, breaking LEDs free from their circuit-mounted domain.

In Boston for the AIA Convention?
ArchitectureMNP
If you’re in the Bean this week/weekend for the AIA Convention don’t miss Parti Wall, Hanging Green, an installation in the South End by a collection of young Boston Architects. The project - a prototype green wall installation for the 2008 AIA convention that will be in Boston in May - aims to transform a blank brick wall into ‘a lush green environment’, both bringing attention to underutilized sites in Boston and providing a green solution to improve public space in the city. “The wall will be both a changing urban artwork and a public demonstration of the possibilities for greening a city like Boston,” stated Anthony Piermarini, a principal of Studio Luz. “Our urban center has hundreds of exposed brick party walls that face onto lifeless parking lots. We think of this project as a chance to transform those parking lots into hanging gardens.” [quoted from our earlier post on the project]

Combating Climate Change by Tackling Sprawl
Jeff Stephens in Jetson Green
 There's a lot of talk here on Jetson Green about the (adverse) impact that architecture and materials choice can have on the environment.  So it's nice to know that housing can actually be an essential factor in combating climate change according to a new study from Smart Growth America. While attending the recent EcoCity World Summit in San Francisco, I heard panelist Reid Ewing, research professor at the National Center for Smart Growth, discuss urban development and its (negative and positive) effect on climate change.  The study, published by the Urban Land Institute, documents how key changes in land development patterns could help reduce vehicle greenhouse gas emissions.

Drop in Billings Means Architecture Continues to Struggle in '08
mediabistro.com: UnBeige
Well, we never make promises around here for always keeping things sunshine and rainbows, so here's another downer of a post. Architectural Record has just put up information on a just released AIA report saying that, along with the art market, the architecture world is also getting hit really hard; some are saying the billings are down to a low point at the same extent as financial crises from previous decades, if not well beyond. Here's a bit: The Architectural Billings Index (ABI), a key measure of the market for architectural services compiled by the American Institute of Architects (AIA), opened the year with a three-month skid, ending the first quarter at the lowest point in its 13-year history. March's anemic ABI score of 39.7 -- a number over 50 indicates an increase in billing activity and below 50, a decrease -- marks a 15-point drop from December's 55.

May 12th, 2008

Chicago Children's Museum - Spaghetti Bowl East?
Lynn Becker in ArchitectureChicago PLUS
This is the underside of the "Spaghetti Bowl", a/k/a the Circle Interchange of highway ramps along Congress between Halsted Street and the old Main Post Office:
. . . and this is a just released rendering of the design the Chicago Children's Museum is seeking to clout into Grant Park. (You can see three new renderings released by the museum Monday on Chicago Tribune architectural critic Blair Kamin's The Skyline blog, here.)
Kind of reminds you of an updated version of the covered walkways at the University of Illinois, Chicago campus that ultimately proved so unpopular they were demolished in the 1990's.

Any Thoughts on Quick Crete's Greener Concrete Mix?
Preston D K in Jetson Green
 After extensive R&D, Quick Crete was able to come up with a house blend of greener concrete called Ecocast.  Ecocast is made of 70% post-consumer and industrial waste.  The blend may help contribute towards LEED credits for your project and contains recycled aggregates and other materials such as pozzolans.  The new formula produces an average compressive strength of 5000 P.S.I. in 28 days and comes in four colors: strata, geo, erosion, and stone.  Ecocast can be used in standard and custom designs, so check it out to see if it's better than what you're currently using.  Anyone have any experience using Ecocast?

Grand Time to Be Had at Boston's New Design Mecca
mediabistro.com: UnBeige
What do you get when you put three design-minded Bostonians into an 118-year-old former movie theater that is also now home to an environmental design studio and an architectural firm? Something grand -- more specifically, a store called Grand nestled in Somerville's historic Union Square neighborhood. Opened in January by Jonathan O'Toole (CEO and operations manager), Wendy Friedman (chief merchandiser), and Adam Larson (creative director), Grand brings to the Boston area a unique combination of art, commerce, and style. ...

architecture foundation australia, murcutt masterclass
lavardera in materialicious
There is a class for practicing architects held in Australia each summer taught by Glenn Murcutt, Richard Leplastrier, Peter Stutchbury, Brit Andresen, and Lindsay Johnston. Known as the Murcutt MasterClass it’s held at a beautiful arts center called Riversdale. The architects stay at this facility and work on design projects with the Tutors, and also travel to visit exemplary samples of local work. Its an intensive design experience by which they “walk, talk, eat, drink, and sleep architecture” for the entire time.

A walk through Downtown Brampton
Sean Marshall in Spacing Toronto • understanding the urban landscape
Downtown Brampton, with the 1880s Dominion Building and the Rose Theatre behind. I grew up in the suburban city of Brampton, just north-west of Toronto. Today, it is one of the most interesting suburban cities in Canada, experiencing rapid population growth and demographic change. I hope to make this one of several tours of my hometown over the summer here at Spacing Toronto. I may have left, wanting something closer to downtown Toronto, but it being so close, I pass through Brampton and can remark on some of the changes over the past few years. A few days ago, I attended a local meeting and took the opportunity to walk around after getting off the GO Train.

SOLAR LILY PADS Proposed for Glasgow’s Clyde River
Jill Fehrenbacher in Inhabitat
In a stunning example of biomimicry, Scottish architecture firm ZM Architecture have come up with a brilliant scheme to provide solar power to the city of Glasgow - and do so in a way that is provocative, creative, and aesthetically appealing. The proposal? To design Solar Lily Pads which will float in Glasgow’s River Clyde and soak up the sun’s rays, sending electricity to Glasgow’s grid while also stimulating urban riverfront activity.


Healthy Cities Awards 2008
Ali Kriscenski in Inhabitat
California Academy of Sciences green roof Green Roofs for Healthy Cities has just announced the Awards for Excellence 2008 honoring projects that exemplify the aesthetic and environmental benefits of green roofs and living walls. The winning installations are a showcase of innovation and awareness-raising ideas that standout among the growing field of building integrated green space. Honorees were recognized for several important aspects including design, research and policy development in seven award categories. The distinguished designs among this year’s winners are engaging examples that successfully deploy economic, ecological, aesthetic and functional considerations in gorgeous green form.

Green Roofs for Healthy Cities Awards 2008
Ali Kriscenski in Inhabitat
California Academy of Sciences green roof. Green Roofs for Healthy Cities has just announced the Awards for Excellence 2008 honoring projects that exemplify the aesthetic and environmental benefits of green roofs and living walls. The winning installations are a showcase of innovation and awareness-raising ideas that standout among the growing field of building integrated green space. Honorees were recognized for several important aspects including design, research and policy development in seven award categories. The distinguished designs among this year’s winners are engaging examples that successfully deploy economic, ecological, aesthetic and functional considerations in gorgeous green form.

The Genius of Harry Weese
Lee Bey: The Urban Observer
I was walking out of the Daley Bicentennial Plaza parking garage on Randolph Street when I noticed Harry Weese's shiny and perfect Swissotel, visible in the gap just east of the Blue Cross/Blue Shield Building. The Swissotel is 20 years old, but it looks as fresh and vital as the new buildings popping up around it. And it reminded me, once again, of what a brilliant architect and civic presense Weese was. In addition to designing works such as the Time Life Building; the Seventeenth Church of Christ, Scientist; the Washington Metro, Metropolitan Correctional Center and scores of iconic buildings, Weese also led the charge to save Auditorium Theater and helped create Printers Row.

 Cloepfil-Gragg Discussion, and A Visit To Allied Works' Macleay View House
Brian Libby in Portland Architecture
On Monday night, in the second installment of Portland Spaces magazine's Bright Lights Discussion Series, editor Randy Gragg will be interviewing architect Brad Cloepfil of Allied Works. Not only has Cloepfil's firm finally going to be working on a major Portland project again with PNCA's 511 Broadway building renovation, as well as a more modest rehab of the school's existing Pearl District space, but Allied Works also saw completion of a West Hills home with another on the way. Then there's the projects Allied has going in Denver, Dallas, New York and beyond.

Enóvo House, Modular and At One With Nature
Preston D K in Jetson Green
I pulled out the April issue of Dwell this weekend and noticed an ad for the Énóvo House.  My interest was piqued by reading the copy, so I went online to research more.  There's a website for the Énóvo House, which is currently being built just north of Montreal.  But from my research, the Énóvo name seems to represent something bigger -- the idea that a green, modular home can evolve with the needs of the owner.  According to the website, Énóvo can be adapted to most any terrain, and because it's configured by modules, the design can morph according to the various particularities an owner's life and needs. The minimalist design here is clean and features an abundance of glass in the right places.

Wouldn't it be easier to build it on a mountain?
Michelle Linden in Atelier A+D
Admittedly, I don't know anything about skiing, much less about ski jumps... but it just seems like Christensen Arkitekter would have had an easier time designing the ski jump if it was actually on the side of a mountain... Then again, it didn't stop Zaha.


May 10th and 11th, 2008

0751 Suburban House - third scheme
lavardera in LamiDesign Modern House Plan Blog
Time to look at another schematic scheme from the suburban house project. This scheme was centered around an interesting idea about how to organize the house, but also departed from the previous schemes because of this. Here the living+dining+kitchen space is imagined as a glazed rectangular volume set atop a plinth containing the rest of the functions of the house. This may be a little bit harder to imagine because the schematic model really does not give a good representation of how this would be integrated into the landscape. The plinth would be masonry, sunk into the earth, the stairs at the front looking like a bit of a ruin, emerging out of the landscape (which with fill needed for the site would not be as long as shown in the illustrations). The bar atop is lighter, framed, with many windows, cantilevering off the base on both sides.

Shane de Blacam to lecture on his recent work in New York
Archiseek IRELAND Architecture News
Following the success of Shane O Toole’s lecture Import+Export and Anchor and Animation by Grafton Architects, Shane de Blacam’s lecture, Recent Buildings by de Blacam and Meagher will take place on Tuesday the 27th of May in the American Irish Historical Society. Shane de Blacam who worked exclusively on the Mellon Centre in Yale and a former protégé of celebrated American architect Louis Kahn, will give a lecture on the Recent Buildings by de Blacam and Meagher. This lecture will be introduced by Nathaniel Kahn, Academy nominated filmmaker and son of Louis Kahn.

Literary Dose #27
John in A Daily Dose of Architecture
"I think designers today are responding to several really significant shifts or pressures. There may be more, but the two that stand out are the redefinition or dissolution of what's public and private; that becomes very interesting for thinking through issues of program, spatial effects, and the tension between landscape and architecture. The other is ecology. We have an obligation to think through in novel ways as designers, not to be glib or presume that if you simply introduce recycled buildings into a building you will be more ecological. What's really interesting about ecological concerns is that they demand thinking in terms of process and the interrelationship of different processes. That sense of process has entered into a lot of what we and our contemporaries are trying to reconcile spatially as designers -- how to think about ecological concerns inventively and freshly."

From Manure to Books
John in A Daily Dose of Architecture
On today's CBS Sunday Morning, reporter Bill Geist visited a farm in Wisconsin where a husband and wife have turned 12 farm buildings into depositories for approximately one million books; a very atypical bookstore, to say the least. The main shop is housed in an old manure tank, a large cylindrical structure that was removed of its former contents (thankfully), covered in a roof framed of wood trusses, and clad to resemble a castle. This last piece is not my cup of tea, but the interior is rather well done, with a central column, perimeter balcony, and detailed ceiling, all of wood. And, of course, lots and lots of books.

Lighting Installation Cannes
Frame Magazine
Design crew Architecture Lumière threw colourful light upon the renowed boulevard in Cannes.


May 9th, 2008

art Home: Green + Wired Debuts at MSI
Preston D K in Jetson Green
Architect Michelle Kaufmann has made a big splash in Chicago this week during the opening of her Smart Home: Green + Wired exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry. The PrairieMod crew and myself were fortunate enough to be able to spend the past two days previewing the home and are excited to share some details with you. If you're interested, feel free to check out our podcast interview with Michelle where she explains how the project came to be and the 5 eco-principles utilized by her firm. The showcase "Smart Home" is Kaufmann's mkSolaire plan, which is designed for a city lot and has a loft-like feeling to it. Its goal is to address the space challenges found with infill lots and standard row home configurations. The brilliant thing about this exhibit is that it is fully functional, not just a shadow of what the design could be. And in case you're wondering, the house will be dismantled after the exhibit closes in January 2009.

Interview with Mark Anielski
Hassan Masum in WorldChanging
Yesterday, 2:56 PM
....Hassan Masum: In your book, you have this great quote from Robert Kennedy about GNP, which I was amazed to read because it was back from 1968 or so - 40 years ago. It seems like we've had some progress, but not a whole lot of progress since then. Could you give us some framing thoughts as to why better measures of progress are so important, and why if they are so important they have taken so long to get popular?
Mark Anielski: Robert Kennedy's challenge was to economists and politicians to begin to measure the things which make life worthwhile, and not things like oil spills and car crashes and treating cancer as somehow genuine progress. So his challenge in '68 wasn't really responded to seriously until the mid-1970's by some economists, and then in 1995 by Redefining Progress out of San Francisco where they created the Genuine Progress Indicator....

Botanist Blank Canvas Project Fuses Style + Sustainability
Preston D K in Jetson Green
Anyone going to be at ICFF 2008?  I received an email about Orange22's launch of the Botanist Blank Canvas Project at ICFF and it looks pretty interesting.  Orange22 enlisted the help of eight iconic designers to place their fingerprint on the popular Botanist line of indoor/outdoor furniture.  The designers include Yves Behar, Margo Chase, Milton Glaser, Kahi Lee, Karim Rashid, Joe Ricchio, Massimo + Lella Vignelli, and Claude Zellweger.  Pieces come in a variety of designs and can be used as end tables, benches, cocktail tables, or anything else you can think of. An interesting aspect of the Blank Canvas Project is that Orange22 is committed to matching each designer's royalty by giving the same amount to the designer's social cause of choice.  It's consumerism with a social twist, but we all buy stuff here and there ... might as well do some good in the process.

Malcolm Wells: unsung green architect
lavardera in materialicious
This is a story of a little known architect who is from the same area where I practice today - in the New Jersey suburbs of Philadelphia. Not exactly the hot-bed of the first generation environmental movement - remember they called it Ecology way back when. Above: Can you spot the building in this photo? Wells’ underground office.

Serpentine Gallery Art Marathon
Neri Oxman in MATERIALECOLOGY: Neri Oxman
Neri Oxman will be participating in the Reykjavik Art Marathon. The event will take place from the 16th to the 18th of May as part of a large exhibition that is Reykjavik Art Museums’s contribution to the Reykjavik art Festival in 2008. The project is a collaboration between RAM and the Serpentine Gallery in London and is a continuation of two previous Marathons created at Serpentine Gallery. The curators are Hans Ulrich Obrist, from the Serpentine Gallery in London and the artist Ólafur Elíasson. The overall focus of the project is experimentation, for which the RAM will become a laboratory in which leading artists, architects, film-makers, academics and scientists will create an environment of invention through a series of installations, screenings, performances and experimental films.

May 8th, 2008

Talks! Piano crosses President! Seducer Stalks Millennium Park!
Lynn Becker in ArchitectureChicago PLUS
Hot on the heels of the opening of a smash revival of South Pacific on Broadway, 2007 Pritzker Prize-winning architect Richard Rogers will be coming to Chicago for a May 15th lecture at the Art Institute. Rogers gained fame with the Pompidou Centre in Paris, co-designed with Renzo Piano. His 71-story Three World Trade Center, currently under construction at the WTC site, is expected to achieve Gold LEED status. The lecture begins at 6:00 P.M. Tickets are $5.00 for students, $10.00 for members of the Architecture and Design Society of the Art Institute of Chicago, and $15.00 for the general public.

Portland and the COTE Top 10 Green List
Brian Libby in Portland Architecture
A couple weeks ago the American Institute of Architects' Committee on the Environment released its annual Top Ten Green Projects list. As described by the AIA, the program "celebrates projects that are the result of a thoroughly integrated approach to architecture, natural systems and technology. They make a positive contribution to their communities, improve comfort for building occupants and reduce environmental impacts through strategies such as reuse of existing structures, connection to transit systems, low-impact and regenerative site development, energy and water conservation, use of sustainable or renewable construction materials, and design that improves indoor air quality." Considering that Portland has often been called the nation's greenest city, and at various times we've had the most LEED-rated projects in the nation, you'd think we'd be all over this list, either the new one or past lists of the top 10 green projects. Actually, though, that's not the case at all.

Projects Recognized for Green Roofs, Living Walls
Preston D K in Jetson Green
Recently, several green roof/wall projects were honored by Green Roofs for Healthy Cities. Green Roofs for Healthy Cities established the Green Roof Awards of Excellence in 2003 with an aim to increase general awareness of green roofs and walls and spread awareness of their benefits. This year, seven projects in various categories received Green Roof Awards of Excellence

Interior design isn't a ditzy discipline
Danny McFadden in Guardian Unlimited: Arts blog - art
Shows like Changing Rooms have given it a bad reputation, but 'architecture from the inside' can make all the difference to an architect's dreams. 

Revolving Door: Rowan Moore Leaves the Architecture Foundation
mediabistro.com: UnBeige
What happens when your plans to have Zaha Hadid build your new headquarters falls through and everyone is left disappointed and angry. Well, all pure speculation here, but if you're Rowan Moore, Director of the Architecture Foundation in the UK, you resign shortly thereafter, which is exactly what has just happened. You'll likely remember when the years-in-making Hadid plans fell through and it makes sense that, of all the dozens of people involved in the project, everybody would be looking for a scapegoat.

Making Green Living Easier Than Ever
Deb Hiett in Green Options
Like this post? Subscribe to our RSS feed and stay up to date.There’s a great new book on the shelves by award-winning author Renée Loux: Easy Green Living. Loux, who penned Living Cuisine and the Gourmand Award-winning The Balanced Plate, is a celebrated raw foods chef and host of the TV show “Easy Being Green.” In [...]

The Reuse People: Salvaging Building “Waste”
Cassie Walker in Green Options
Every now and again, something really cool crosses my desk, and I think, “Wow, that’s really cool!” Just such an occasion happened this week, when a friend who works in PR sent over some information from The Reuse People of America, or TRP. Based in Oakland, TRP is a nonprofit organization that works to reduce the [...]


 

May 7th, 2008

Strolling through history
Christopher DeWolf in Spacing Montreal
It isn’t a blog that is updated very often, but when it is, Histoire du Plateau Mont-Royal is definitely worth reading. Its latest post, an historical walking tour of Mount Royal Avenue, from Park Avenue in the west to d’Iberville in the east, is a particularly good example.

Winning Portobello extension combines sleekness and humanity
Archiseek IRELAND Architecture News
Remodelling and extending a single-storey cottage in Portobello, Dublin 8, won A2 Architects - run by Peter Carroll and Caomhan Murphy - one of the AAI's top awards. It is a protected structure and so all new additions crouch behind the late 1800s Victorian façade: all that is left of the original, internally, is the hallway and front room: the deep new extension takes its lead from that square sittingroom. The architects listened to their client - which has resulted in a person-friendly house - and also to their own hearts, so there are borrowings from the house in St Mary's Lane, Ballsbridge, that Robin Walker designed in 1964, which the architects have admired since their student days; internal courtyards, exposed concrete and ply are just some of the references.

nsmaterial 2, blaine brownell
Justin in materialicious
How could not I not include this amazing book here? Do yourself a favor - if you love learning about cool materials as much as I do, get this book: Transmaterial 2 From the publisher:
As the speed of technological progress continues to accelerate, innovation threatens to outpace architects’ and designers’ working knowledge of materials, thereby limiting their applicability. In order to stay at the cutting edge of design, a knowledge of the uses, properties, and sources of new materials is essential. A sequel to the critically acclaimed and best-selling book Transmaterial, Transmaterial 2 is a clear, concise, accessible, and carefully edited resource that provides information about the latest and most intriguing materials commercially available

IKEA decorates subway interior
Matthew Blackett in Spacing Toronto • understanding the urban landscape
In the weeks leading up to the mid-April opening of an Ikea store in Kobe, Japan, the Swedish furniture design giant has “redecorated” one of the city’s subway trains (the campaign ended today). It is the most blatant form of “ad creep” I’ve seen in ages, but maybe because it’s soooo over-the-top — and executed really well — that I can swallow it. Or maybe its because I own too much Ikea crap so I’m comfortable seeing my couch used as a subway seat.

Gulf Islands House Blends Minimalism and Green
Preston D K in Jetson Green
This clever little house caught my eye the other day.  Designed by architect Matthew Woodruff, The Gulf Islands House was completed a couple years ago in what seems to be quite the serene location.  It’s a cozy second home that was built as an escape of sorts for Woodruff’s family.  I’m not sure the owners were trying to set any green building records with the home, but the two-bedroom pad has some green features we can all appreciate, such as its solar orientation and design, small footprint, and use of locally harvested materials.  The minimalist design seems to create just the right space for congregating with the family, too.

engineers without borders want to bring tech to villages without power
Justin in materialicious
Volunteers from the humanitarian group Engineers Without Borders have developed a small wind turbine design (cost: under $100) that will bring much needed power to remote villages in Guatemala and provide an alternative to the dangerous kerosene used for lighting.

PSU's Portlable Classroom On Alberta
Brian Libby in Portland Architecture
Portland State University architecture professor Matthew Bietz is teaching the first phase of an architecture studio that will be designing and fabricating a portable classroom on NE Alberta Street at 15th Avenue, on a vacant property Bietz purchased next door to his home. The classroom will be not for Bietz’s students, but for fellow PSU professor Harrell Fletcher’s Social Practice students going for their masters of fine arts. The Social Practices program emphasizes community engagement through non-studio creative activities executed in the field. “I heard that Harrell was looking to collaborate with the Architecture department at PSU," Bietz explains, "and that his new Social Practice class has no studio space on campus.

St-Michel Smart Center goes to Public Consultation
Alanah Heffez in Spacing Montreal
The pattern is increasingly familiar: undeveloped urban land is a beacon for commercial developers, developers who inevitably demand changes in the urban plan to accommodate suburban-style, plunk-’em-down-anywhere malls. Fortunately, the development of a SmartCenter shopping mall in St-Michel’s abandoned quarry has gone to the Office de Consultation Publique de Montréal, a democratic step that has been skirted by the city in other recent developments. The proposed SmartCenter would require changes to the urban plan’s density, zoning, building height and parking regulations.

New Book Out: Bright
Frame Magazine
Frame Publishers has launched a new book: Bright – Architectural Illumination and Light Installations.  Read more…

Next Gene20 Project: Cutting-edge Architecture in Taiwan
Mike Chino in Inhabitat
We have a passion for following future-forward architecture that pushes the envelope of environmental design. Imagine our excitement when we saw these recently released photos of Taiwan’s Next Gene 20! The project challenges 20 acclaimed architects to design 20 villas along the north-east coast of Taiwan. The selected architects include big international names such as MVRDV, Graft, Kengo Kuma, and Julien De Smedt as well as 10 up and coming Taiwanese architects.

Buy Our Museum or (and?) We'll Bury This Child
Lynn Becker in ArchitectureChicago PLUS
When you listen to Mayor Richard M. Daley's increasingly desperate attempts to vilify opponents of his effort to force the Chicago Children's Museum into Grant Park, you hear the voice of the suave European exile who appears at the beginning of the film Casablanca, cautioning a middle-aged tourist . . .
I beg of you, Monsieur, watch yourself. Be on guard. This place is full of vultures, vultures everywhere, everywhere.
As he delivers this warning and departs, the suave European places a friendly hand on the shoulder of the tourist, who will soon discover that his wallet is missing.


May 6th, 2008

An Architecture School Bathroom Wall
jimmy in Life Without Buildings
A Tulane School of Architecture student voices a popular opinion above the men's room urinal. The note on the anti-graffiti device (i.e. legal pad) reads "Reed Kroloff left us as bastard children of his curriculum." The writing, as they say, is on the wall. For those not in the know, Kroloff took over at Cranbrook after frequently seeing his name published as a supporter of post-storm New Orleans and becoming the public face of the School of Architecture. And yeah...some people are still a bit...

New York, Paris, London...Vegas?
Brendan in Where
Fast-forward a bit. Let's say that it's 2050, since that seems to be a popular year for speculation these days. You're living in a stylish downtown penthouse a few blocks from a gleaming transit station servicing three different high-speed lines. You work in an office building as a Chief Innovation Officer -- not a light title to carry, by any means -- for a major technology firm. One day after work, you take a train a few miles west of the bustling commercial hub where you work to a rapidly-gentrifying neighborhood to meet a friend at a sunny sidewalk cafe on a dense street filled with shops and new condos. You are living the American Dream, with a beautiful home and a fantastic job in the heart of a dynamic urban center with its finger pressed firmly against the pulse of globalized culture. You are a proud resident of one of the world's Great Cities, capital letters required.

Architects - John's House
Mohammad Fahmi Tri Wahyudi,ST in Best House Design
A new home in a bush setting, designed by Walker Architects, this house has has been planned to immerse in the spectacular bush scenery with views across rural land beyond, within the strict owner criteria.
A balanced mix of modern, low maintenance materials has helped to create a relaxed, comfortable living environment.
The kitchen is 'the centre of the home' 

Blackwater bubbling under the border skin...
Bryan Finoki in Subtopia
Well, just when you thought Blackwater USA had pulled up stakes in SoCal, news breaks that the private military contracting firm is allegedly setting up a very private little shop just three blocks away from the US-Mexican border, this time in Otay Mesa. Yes, sir. Real sneaky-like, too.
Amy Goodman ran an enlightening interview with Raymond Lutz (responsible for stopblackwater.net and Citizens Oversight, and an important voice in heading off the Potrero shooting range), and California’s Rep. Bob Filner.

New Condos In Multnomah Village
Brian Libby in Portland Architecture
 If you drive around close-in Portland neighborhoods these days it’s easy to find a new condo or apartment project going up, even in the increasingly gloomy economy. A case in point is the new Vanguard condos at SW 45th and Multnomah. I’ve always been more a fan of the east side, downtown and the Pearl than the winding sidewalk-less streets of Southwest. But Multnomah Village is a wonderful little neighborhood that feels like the old town center it used to be when one of the state’s first railroad stops was built here a century ago. I particularly enjoy the Fat City Café for its hash browns and Annie Bloom’s books. And now, the Vanguard is increasing the density of this area, and doing so with a modestly handsome look.

bwall
sabine7 in MoCo Loco
The latest in bricks is a blob, by Greg Lynn FORM, Machinous and Panelite who have created an interlocking tri-lobed shape through rotational moulding. The colourful plastic blob is made of a low-density, recyclable, impact-resistant polymer, and is meant to be an alternative to the traditional brick. The blobs will be available in stock shapes in about 10 different colours, and can also be customized. After the Blobwall Pavilion installation opens in the SCI-Arc Gallery, it will travel to Venice to be part of the Architecture Biennale.

Leaving Atlanta at the Exact Wrong Time
mediabistro.com: UnBeige
Apologies for the sudden disappearance by this writer. While we'd like to claim it was due to some kind of mysterious circumstances, filled to the brim with excitement, danger and in no short supply of massive explosions, the truth is actually quite bland. He was moving into a new house on Monday and Tuesday and then he was off to Atlanta for general visiting and a wedding. But such things don't always have to be non-design-y. Case in point, we visited Richard Meier's High Museum of Art, which, no offense to the good people of Atlanta, nor the fine curators who live in that city, is much more worth visiting for its architecture than the artifacts therein.

Maison EvolutiV Exudes Green Prefab Simplicity
Preston D K in Jetson Green
I've noticed the Maison EvolutiV of late and it's quite the interesting home.  Designed by Olgga Architects as a show house for the Salon Europeen du Bois, this energy-efficient home presents a compelling view of what can be done with only two modules.  The ground module is flush with the outdoors and features a skin made of chestnut stakes of various sizes.  The second module juts out over the first and provides a nice little spot for a green roof area.  In addition, the home features a rainwater recovery system, wool wood insulation coupled with cellulose, solar panels, and a low-energy passive house design.

OptiSolar Planning Largest PV Solar Farm in World!
Preston D K in Jetson Green
 This is big news for the green building revolution, because a solar farm like this could power roughly 190k homes in California.  Referred to as the Topaz Solar Farm, this $1 billion, 550-megawatt plant would cover roughly 9.5 square miles, and if constructed, would be the world's largest photovoltaic solar farm.  Hayward-based OptiSolar is developing plans for the project as we speak.  According to their current time line, OptiSolar will apply for a conditional use permit in May 2008 and begin construction in 2010.  Topaz Solar Farm would then be completed over three years. OptiSolar manufactures the thin-film PV technology that would be used in Topaz Solar Farm.  The solar panels are mounted on ballasts in the ground with the tops at less than five feet off the ground.

Angela Fritsch
Michelle Linden in Atelier A+D
Angela Fritsch Architekten has got some really fabulous designs. Something about the colors and lines of the forms is subtly feminine without being overtly female. I've always like projects with a sharp edge quality... of which I think all three of these apply. While there are many projects with more organic qualities that I like and appreciate, I just really love embracing the man-made qualities of architecture, and I think Angela Fritsch does a great job with that.


May 5th, 2008


Everybody Loves Architecture. Festivals and Biennale.
Christoph in anArchitecture
Architecture has become an industry. Interestingly not for building but for the perception. It's a flood of books, magazines, newspaper articles, documentaries and now even of architectural festivals. It seems as if these events are mostly self-supporting– students, starlets and wan bees, theorists, architectural journalists, etc - architects for architects. But where are the clients?
2008 festival guide: I haven't got a clue about all these festivals – but they have one thing in common: passion for architecture. Summertime is festival time and here is the uncompleted list: Architekturtage, architektur erleben, Austria, May 16th to 17th "Experiencing Architecture is the motto under which all the provinces of Austria will present a wide-ranging programme, providing you an exciting overview of the most varied aspects of architecture."

San Francisco’s The Hundreds
Andy in Lost At E Minor: Music, illustration, art, photography and more
Dubbed as a ‘lifestyle project’ drawing influences from Californian street culture, the store recently opened by LA-based The Hundreds in San Francisco has, hands down, the coolest fit-out I’ve ever seen. (more…)

Unclogging the Water and Sanitation Crisis
Robert Katz in WorldChanging
Safe tap water is a luxury that many people in the world do not enjoy. In many developing countries, it is not safe to drink or use the tap water. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention posts health information about every country in the world, and it’s interesting to see how many countries fall under the following advice: "Drink only bottled or boiled water, or carbonated (bubbly) drinks in cans or bottles." Bottled water is expensive, of course, and people living at the base of the pyramid (BoP) often cannot afford it. World Resources Institute’s research in The Next 4 Billion: Market Size and Business Strategy at the Base of the Pyramid shows that low-income customers pay anywhere from eight to sixteen times more for bottled or trucked water than they would for a local, public utility (page 58). If this isn’t a BoP penalty, then I don’t know what is.

SCI-Arc’s Blobwall
ArchitectureMNP
These ninjas over at SCI-Arc are not to be trifled with when it comes to their installations, as we’ve shown before. This time, however, they’ve stepped up their game and gotten Greg Lynn involved - designing a new installation that will open on May 30th entitled Blobwall Pavilion. The project is a collaboration between Greg Lynn FORM, Machinous [who manufactured the ‘bricks’] and Panelite [who supplied the material] - it aims to redefine the brick as a building unit, transforming it into a lightweight object made of colorful plastic and reinterpreted into modular elements’.

Great Selection, Quality from Elmwood Reclaimed Timber
Sarah Roe in Jetson Green
Elmwood Reclaimed Timber is a Missouri based company that reclaims old wood to give it a brand new life.  They offer products ranging from stair treads and cabinetry lumber to flooring and beams.  They have an incredible range of wood species offered including oak, elm, pine, walnut, redwood and their own special mixes such as "Vermont Moonlight Medley" (shown above).  They also offer end-grain flooring, which looks like an Italian tiled floor (shown below), only with added beauty of wood grain.  It is very unique look. You can also get antique stone and tin from Elmwood.  The pricing on wood flooring is incredibly reasonable for a green, historic material, with prices starting at $4/square foot.  These woods could work beautifully with almost any interior -- modern, rustic, or traditional -- and would be a subtle showpiece in your home.

Chicago gains a Louis Sullivan-designed Church?
Lee Bey: The Urban Observer
A few months after the 2006 loss of the Adler & Sullivan-designed Pilgrim Baptist Church, Willow Creek Chicago, an offshoot of the massive Willow Creek Church in South Barrington, began holding services in the Auditorium Theater at Congress and Michigan. I visited Sunday and it's something every fan of architecture--let alone Louis Sullivan and Dankmar Adler--should experience. The theater looks great, first of all. Sullivan's stunning, organic interior and graceful sightlines coupled with Adler's engineering and accoustics create an ideal space for worship and contemplation. I sat in a box seat--kind of felt like one of those two old men on the Muppet Show--where I could listen and gawk unabated.

METROPOLIS NEXT GENERATION 2008 Winner Announced!
Mike Chino in Inhabitat
The 2008 Metropolis Magazine Next Generation design competition challenged young architects and designers to create a sustainable solution to make the world better, and safer, with ideas related to the theme of ‘water.’ We are thrilled to announce that this year’s $10,000 prize was awarded to San Francisco based architect and CCA professor Eric Olsen! Olsen’s winning design is a Solar Water Disinfecting Tarpaulin, a revolutionary design that promises to provide portable and potable water anywhere that it is needed.

House on martha’s vineyard, architecture research office
Justin in materialicious
“Inspired by the sea and surrounding scrub oak forest Architecture Research Office has designed this modern beach house that updates New England’s rich traditions with glass, zinc, and an original clapboard siding scheme.” See the post at Below The Clouds for more photos and drawings of the gorgeous house.

Berwyn Spindle gets Folded and Mutilated
Lee Bey: The Urban Observer
I've been on the fence for the past several months as the preservation battle brewed over the preservation of that stack of shish-kabobbed cars-as-artwork at Berwyn's Cermak Plaza shopping center. To me. the plan to replace a stack of rusted American cars on a spike with a Walgreen's is, like six in one hand, half-a-dozen in the other. Neverless, the sculpture reached the end of the road over the weekend and the Chicago Sun-Times has video of it.

Deep in the basement of an ancient tenement on Second Avenue in the heart of midtown New York City, I was fishing
Geoff Manaugh in BLDGBLOG
Last summer, on the extremely short-lived blog Urbablurb – which only managed five posts before dying, yet still remains interesting today – we read about the little-known phenomenon of people fishing in the basements of Manhattan. Urbablurb quotes from The New York Times: We had a lantern to pierce the cellar darkness and fifteen feet below I clearly saw the stream bubbling and pushing about, five feet wide and upon its either side, dark green mossed rocks. This lively riverlet was revealed to us exactly as it must have appeared to a Manhattan Indian many years ago.

White Studio
Snell in Lost At E Minor: Music, illustration, art, photography and more
The young architect Junya Ishigami is pushing the boundaries of the weightless aesthetic stream of architecture. (more…)

"Air conditioned" bike path in Qatar
David Sucher in City Comforts, the blog
It's not a mega-project but a way to humanize them. What struck me about Dubai when I was there was how ideal it would be for cycling, at least some part of the year, because it is basically dead-flat. Plus they could really use an alternative way of getting around because of the horrible auto traffic. The problem? The heat (and humidity) of course. The obvious solution is shaded bike paths, some combination of trees and awnings. And if you... 

Luma Takes LEED Gold for Contemporary Condos [S2]
Preston D K in Jetson Green
The South Group recently announced that Luma, their newly completed residential project, received LEED Gold certification.  The 19-story high-rise joins its sister building, Elleven, and becomes only the second condo in the state to receive the Gold level designation.  Located in the South Park neighborhood of LA and with a total of 236 residences, LUMA saves 30% more energy over Title 24 2001 standards and consumes roughly 751,000 gallons less water annually than a comparable tower.  The posh, green tower was built with low-VOC everything, and as you would expect, recycled and locally-sourced materials.

Apartment Therapy Presents: Hundreds of Design Solutions
Harry in MoCo Loco
If you follow design blogs you may know that Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan, the blogger behind the Apartment Therapy network of sites, is now the author of a second book on design; Apartment Therapy Presents: Real Homes, Real People, Hundreds of Design Solutions. A natural progression from his first book The Eight-Step Home Cure, a guide to de-cluttering your home and life, Design Solutions shows how real people have found solutions for their homes.


May 2nd, 2008


Renzo Piano Art Institute Bridge Begins to Take Flight
Lynn Becker in ArchitectureChicago PLUS
Courtesy of Bob Johnson, we offer you these photos of the current state of the work on the Nichols Bridgeway, the Renzo Piano designed, 615-long incline designed to suck visitors from Millennium Park up into the Art Institute of Chicago's new Modern Wing, scheduled to open, along with the bridge, early next year. Piano may have missed a prime opportunity. Judging from these pictures, his structure, bent to the west, would have made a great water slide, depositing delighted passengers directly on the shallow sea of Jaume Plensa's Crown Fountain.

Looptopia, Great Chicago Places, Goldberger, Dongtan and Darwin - It's the May Calendar of Architectural Events
Lynn Becker in ArchitectureChicago PLUS
OK, there better not be any complaints now. What with Friday's allnighter Looptopia scattering theatre, music, art and spectacle all throughout the Loop, and this year's Great Chicago Places and Spaces in mid-month, there are literally hundreds of architectural events to choose from this May. Paul Golberger. Lee Bey. Leon Depres. Anthony Alofsin (Saturday night at Unity Temple). David Bahlman. Pearl River Tower. Asymptote's Lise Anne Couture. Design in the Age of Darwinism. Archeworks annual gala. The History of 'L'. The history of the Parking Garage. Restoring the world's largest Tiffany Dome. Garfield Park Conservatory. Presentations for SEOIA's excellence in engineering award. Cher.

Bringing Green Design to the Masses!
Jason Sahler in Inhabitat
2005’s Solar Decathlon blew us away, but we were particularly fascinated by a stunning Solar House from Cornell University. This team brought a beautiful zero-energy home to the mall in Washington, D.C., and had just launched ZeroEnergy Design, a home design firm focused on zero-energy design. Continuing their momentum as green home design gurus, two of the Cornell Solar Decathlon team members have just launched a new endeavor aimed at bringing custom green design to the masses through an innovative business model called FreeGreen. Started by David Wax and his partner Ben Uyeda, FreeGreen is making green home designs free to everyone!

ARX : Cascais Music Conservatory
ArchitectureMNP
Opening just a few weeks ago, the new home of the Cascais Music Conservatory is within a remodeled single-family residence from the early 20th century. Designed by the Portuguese architecture firm ARX, the conservatory’s classes will take place in new spaces built within the existing house - smaller rooms for teaching + practice, which also allowed the design to ‘respond to the decisive acoustic constraints’. For performances, ARX have created an addition on the back-side of the building. The new space is an extension of the stone foundation of the original building, pushing outwards towards an open palm-tree field out back. The geometry of this new space - the roof of which serves as a balcony overlooking the garden - responds to the site, creating visual connections and ‘framing’ the surrounding environment - creating what ARX describes as an ‘intense relation’ with the garden.

Rolling Gates by Edouard François.
Christoph in anArchitecture
Usually car ports are an eyesore in the city centre. The doorways banalize the street space and replace shops and pedestrian-level facades with rolling gates. Additionally, parking garage often increase inner city's traffic. A guaranteed parking-lot makes driving more attractive, doesn’t it?
But at least there are variations to the ordinary rolling gates: at the luxury Hôtel Fouquet's Barrière by architect Edouard François.

Denver_Modern - a Simple, Efficient Modern Home
Preston D K in Jetson Green
If you're like me, you like to follow what others are doing to build modern, energy efficient homes.  One such home I've been following is at Denver Modern.   Angelo, a local Denver designer, and his family are building their home on a narrow lot and have been blogging the progress since September 2006.  As you can tell from some of the images in this post, it's cool pad with a small footprint.  The Haida cedar siding is distinct and deep in character -- a modern touch I really like.  I can't wait to see the interior take shape with all the materials they've been planning.

Greenworks and Ankrom Moisan-Led Team Among Metro Integrating Habitats Competition Winners
Brian Libby in Portland Architecture
Last month Metro held its Integrating Habitats competition, and although I’m late in writing about it, wanted to touch upon at least one of the winners. The purpose of Integrating Habitats was to generate designs that integrate built and natural environments. According to metro, winners would “redefine the current language and standards of environmental sustainability by fostering balance between conservation and development, maximizing biodiversity and safeguarding water quality for this generation and those to come."

Chamber Orchestra of Cascais
Michelle Linden in Atelier A+D
I posted about a previous project by ARX... so I'm not surprised that I really like this recent project by the Lisbon based firm. The design is the result of Cascais competition and has recently opened to the public. If you've been to this site before, then you know that I've got a real appreciation for modern additions to older structures. This project is quite sensitive to the original building, just barely engaging it physically while keeping a similar palette of colors and textures. By doing this, instead of flagrantly disregarding the original intent, ARX manages to celebrate both the new and the old.

May 1st, 2008


Green Opportunity Knocks in Los Angeles
mediabistro.com: UnBeige
Last year's Opportunity Green Sustainable Business Conference at UCLA featured presentations on everything from Live Earth and Ethos Water to sustainable branding and chair design, and so it's never too early to start thinking about this year's event (November 7-8). That's part of the idea behind Room 367, a "networking group for young, green-minded professionals" that launches with an Opportunity Green-hosted party next Tuesday evening at L.A.'s Architecture and Design Museum. Addressing the organic hors d'oeuvre-munching crowd will be Michael Danenberg, COO of GOOD Magazine; Maria Giudice, CEO of Hot Design Studio; and Scott Mattoon, Western U.S. Chief Architect for Sun Microsystems.

Persian Eco Home Building
Jennifer Lance in Green Options
These homes in the ancient city of Maymand, Shahr-e Babak, Kerman-Iran were carved into living rocks 12,000 years ago, representing the peaceful coexistence of man and nature.  The underground homes protect inhabitants from extreme cold or heat in the desert. See more photos:  Fars News Agency

-Edge Cardboard Interior in Greece
Mike Chino in Inhabitat
We love this beautifully sculpted cardboard mille-feuille that lines the walls of Yiorgos Eleftheriades‘ Yeshop in Athens. Dubbed “Papercut”, the project was a collaboration between the fashion designer and dARCH Studio. It takes a multidisciplinary approach to interior design, synthesizing elements of fashion and architecture into a streamlined, self-illuminated, biomorphic installation that was handmade using all eco-friendly materials.

The Storefront is getting a little 'military urbanism' makeover
Bryan Finoki in Subtopia
I’ve always loved how the Storefront for Art and Architecture looks like a subtle inner-city bunker right there in Soho, and how transformative it is by both day and night when it all zips up and innocuously reabsorbs itself into the veneer of the sidewalk corner space again. My dream home functions like this, too!
An upcoming installation at the gallery instantly makes me realize how intensely I miss New York City (in fact, I’m dying – dying – to get back there), namely because the only real time I spent there thus far was for Postopolis! where Joseph put me under a wicked spell that I hope never releases me from its urban grip. All I can say now is – I sure do miss that city, the Storefront, and just hanging out with everyone there. Man! It’s ridiculous I have not been out there since. It’s hellish, actually.

 Asks "What To Do With A Shrinking City?"
ASLA.org - The Dirt
Here's a fascinating problem for the urban design crowd: Youngstown, Ohio, has lost nearly 100,000 of its citizens since the 1970s. The current city is plagued with an excess of infrastructure and does not have the tax base to pay for its upkeep. Now the city has pinned its hopes on "Youngstown 2010" a "comprehensive plan to reduce nonessential infrastructure, attract new businesses, and rehab deteriorated and abandoned spaces." Metropolis magazine covered the plan in late 2006 in "The Incredible Shrinking City." Anyone been to Youngstown recently and want to report on how the town is doing? Sound off in the comments!

Smog Eating Eco House in Cyprus
Mike Chino in Inhabitat
This striking modern structure cuts a profile every bit as sleek as it is streamlined for efficiency. It is composed of four single family units joined by a flowing fusion of glass and “smog-eating” photo-catalytic concrete, creating a series of separate yet structurally connected spaces. Italian architects Iosa Ghini Associati designed the residence to integrate seamlessly into its sweeping Mediterranean landscape, and its airy day-lit interiors benefit from a slick set of green features including adjustable solar panels, rainwater recycling, and a heat storage system.

Piel.Skin
Harry in MoCo Loco
We often get books by mail at MoCo Loco, but today we got one via email, the "First Paperless Architecture Book EVER: Piel". Piel.Skin is the culmination of two years of architectural research into dynamic facades, ventilated, high-tech or traditional composites with new features. "This book shows that currently new skins not only act as an isolating element, besides interact with the environment, optimizing energy exchange with the outside. From Germany to Australia or Korea to Colombia, there are many examples that readers can visit with this publication.". Most of the architecture is public or commercial but there are three notable residential projects including Blank Studio's Xeros Residence in Phoenix (above). Aimed at architecture students, the book is a virtual tour for google-earth travelers; "By means of clicking on the coordinates of each project begins a journey where you can jump directly to each site and visualize the project within its environment.". All of the texts are in English and Spanish.

Proximity Hotel Assumes Role as One of the Greenest Hotels in Country
Preston D K in Jetson Green
Proximity Hotel seems to have found a way to deliver a comfortable, luxury-type experience and still be one of the greenest hotels in the country.  It was built to use roughly 36% less energy and 30% less water than a comparable hotel.  Proximity Hotel also heats over half the building's water with roughly 4,000 sf of solar thermal panels on the roof.  In the video embedded below, Dennis Quaintance, Chief Design Officer of Proximity Hotel, mentions that the savings from the solar thermal investment is about $20k per year. He also talks about the hotel's innovative elevator, which is the first Regenerative Drive Otis Gen2 elevator in North America -- it captures energy while going down and uses it while going up. Like most buildings built to a high level of certification pursuant to the LEED Rating System, Proximity incorporates several green design elements JG readers are familiar with:  fly ash concrete, low-VOC paints and finishes, locally sourced furniture, post consumer recycled content steel, recycled construction waste, Plyboo tabletops, etc.  In addition, Proximity Hotel is also planning on adding a green roof this year to reduce urban heat island effect and keep the building cooler overall.

SEAWEED LAMPS! Julia Lohmann’s Kelp Constructs
Antonia Halse in Inhabitat
We are enchanted by Kelp Constructs, the new work from UK-based designer Julia Lohmann who has been experimenting with kelp, and exploring its potential as a sustainable material. Following an artistic residency at S-AIR in Sapporo Japan, Lohmann was in Milan this year conducting the Kelp Constructs workshop at the Nilufar Gallery. The final products, a collection of wonderfully tactile lighting designs, were on display during the Salone Internazionale del Mobile, bringing this rapidly renewable material into a new design realm.


 


 

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 August 2008 02:03