À La Izba and Faux Stone: Moscow's Age of Wooden Architecture

04:00 - 5 April, 2016
À La Izba and Faux Stone: Moscow's Age of Wooden Architecture, Pogodin’s Izba, Moscow. Image © Gleb Leonov
Pogodin’s Izba, Moscow. Image © Gleb Leonov

A total of 150 eighteenth and nineteenth century listed wooden buildings remain under protection in Moscow today. Modern city dwellers see only remnants of pre-revolution Moscow, which stayed almost entirely wooden until the early seventeenth century. This is one of the reasons why the Museum of Architecture and Kuchkovo Pole publishing house have joined forces to release a two volume set named Wooden Russia: A Glance Back From the 21st Century.

The first volume contains stories of expeditions and research projects studying the early period of Russian architecture, reports from open-air museums and articles on religious and traditional architecture practices. The second book focuses on neo-Russian architectural style, club architecture, Soviet intelligentsia dachas, and modern park buildings. Shchusev State Museum of Architecture researchers Zoya Zolotnitskaya and Lyudmila Saigina—experts on eighteenth, nineteenth and early twentieth century architecture—agreed to share the stories of ten wooden buildings which managed to survive in the centre of Moscow to this day.

© Gleb Leonov © Gleb Leonov © Gleb Leonov © Gleb Leonov +23

Buy Land for a Dollar! Converting Chicago’s 15,000 Vacant Lots Into Booming Public Space

08:00 - 4 April, 2016
Buy Land for a Dollar! Converting Chicago’s 15,000 Vacant Lots Into Booming Public Space, The Available City exhibition at the Chicago Architecture Biennial. Courtesy David Schalliol
The Available City exhibition at the Chicago Architecture Biennial. Courtesy David Schalliol

At the Chicago Architecture Biennale, David Brown’s project “The Available City” addressed the fact that Chicago currently owns 15,000 vacant lots, many of which have become “havens for illegal dumping, weeds, rodents and street crime.” In this article, originally published on Autodesk’s Line//Shape//Space publication, Jeff Link takes a look at Brown’s project, examining its unique approach to developing the empty lots and converting them into public space. 

David Brown’s Chicago Architecture Biennial project, The Available City, responds to a striking fact: Chicago, in an exodus story echoed across the rust belt, owns 15,000 vacant lots.

The parcels, many of them on the South and West Sides, don’t generate tax revenue, but the city is obliged to maintain them. Outside the watch of homeowners, many are havens for illegal dumping, weeds, rodents, and street crime.

Chicago hasn’t exactly turned a blind eye, says Brown, associate director of the University of Illinois at Chicago’s School of Architecture and the author of Noise Orders: Jazz, Improvisation, and Architecture. Through the Large Lot Program—a pilot that began in Chicago’s Englewood, East Garfield Park, and Austin neighborhoods—individuals and nonprofits that live on the same block as a city-owned vacant residential lot can buy select pieces of land for a dollar.

It’s a compelling idea, and through it and the related Adjacent Neighbors Land Acquisition Program, about 1,000 lots have been purchased in the past five years. But Brown says the city can do more; he suggests thinking of architecture and urban planning like jazz: a formal compositional structure inside of which experimentation can take place.

10 Projects by Alvar Aalto Which Highlight the Breadth of His Built Work

09:30 - 3 April, 2016

Alvar Aalto was born in Alajärvi in central Finland and raised in Jyväskylä. Following the completion of his architectural studies at the Helsinki University of Technology he founded his own practice in 1923, based in Jyväskylä, and naming it Alvar Aalto, Architect and Monumental Artist. Although many of his early projects are characteristic examples of 'Nordic Classicism' the output of his practice would, following his marriage to fellow Architect Aino Marsio-Aalto (née Marsio), take on a Modernist aesthetic. From civic buildings to culture houses, university centers to churches, and one-off villas to student dormitories, the ten projects compiled here—spanning 1935 to 1978—celebrate the breadth of Aalto's œuvre.

Comic Break: "Annoying Revit Commands"

08:00 - 2 April, 2016
Comic Break: "Annoying Revit Commands", © Architexts
© Architexts

There is an ongoing battle between architects and our tools of the trade. Whether you use a 2D drafting program like AutoCAD, or a BIM program like Revit, you have experienced a full spectrum of frustration. Like many architectural firms, the office of Franklin + Newbury Architects, depicted in our webcomic Architexts, has been trying to transition to BIM for years, and that transition has translated into blood, sweat, tears, and expletives. Software woes and transitioning from 2D to BIM are just a couple of the many topics found in our body of comics.

Herman Miller's 12 Rules To Design By

09:30 - 1 April, 2016
Herman Miller's 12 Rules To Design By, Courtesy of Herman Miller
Courtesy of Herman Miller

In this post originally published on Metropolis, former ArchDaily Managing Editor Vanessa Quirk explores a client's expectations, and how Nicholas Grimshaw treated them--in both built and book form. 

It is not often a client states that their aim is “to build the indeterminate building.” But so Max De Pree, the son of Herman Miller founder D.J. De Pree, expressed his hope for his company’s new manufacturing facility in 1975. Following the ideas of designers such as Charles and Ray Eames and Alexander Girard, De Pree compiled a long list of philosophical guidelines for the project, which he summed up under the laconic heading, “A Statement of Expectations.”

The young architect Nicholas Grimshaw, who had been hand-picked by De Pree for the project, was immensely inspired by the Statement, particularly its emphasis on the longevity and flexibility of the facility, its integration into context (the city of Bath, England), and the necessity for the building to empower its workers. In Grimshaw’s response to the brief, he noted: “Many of the views expressed about the well-being of the users, flexibility, and non-monumentality agree very closely with the approach we have built up since the founding of our practice ten years ago. We feel particularly that any new building should not impose itself on the occupiers, but that it should be a tool in their hands.”

A Virtual Look Into Don Draper’s Mad Men Apartment

09:30 - 31 March, 2016
A Virtual Look Into Don Draper’s Mad Men Apartment, Courtesy of Archilogic
Courtesy of Archilogic

In the 5th season of Mad Men, it’s June 1966, and Draper moves into his love nest with his young wife, Megan. The set was designed by Claudette Didul and the Mad Men team, and it’s a psychogram of a man who is about to fall apart at the seams.

Everything about the space is designed to be perfectly of its time. It has a white carpeted conversation pit for a living room, and a modernist kitchen with clashing colours. The masculine elements include a leather armchair, and a drum-shaped ice bucket. The design is inspired by the 1965 book “Decoration USA,” by Jose Wilson and Arthur Leaman, and the bestselling books of Betty Pepis. This is pop design, no high modernist masterpiece, it’s about pretending you are happy, rather than about civilization. A small indicator of depravity: the living room is over twice the size of the dining room. Who cares about table manners when your wife is half your age?

Fritted Glass: Staple or Trend?

08:00 - 30 March, 2016
Fritted Glass: Staple or Trend?, © flickr user swisscan, Licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
© flickr user swisscan, Licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Discovered by archaeologists in civilizations as old as ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, fritted glass is hardly a new technology. Yet thanks to its energy-saving abilities and the smooth, gradient aesthetic it produces, fritted glass has seen a rebirth in contemporary architecture.

Frit itself is a ceramic component that can be laid out into an assortment of patterns, most typically consisting of dots or lines. These patterns can then be silk-screened onto annealed glass using frit paint. Then, the glass is fired in a tempering furnace, which strengthens and improves the safety of the glass under thermal stress. The resulting product is glass of determined transparency that, when used in building facades, can reduce solar heat gain and even make buildings more visible and less deadly for birds.

How to Foster Civic Engagement in the Age of Twitter

09:30 - 29 March, 2016
How to Foster Civic Engagement in the Age of Twitter, For a project in Maine, the author lived in the neighborhood and held charettes, presentations, and workshops in his cottage. Illustration: Adapted by Stoltze Design from a drawing by Russell Preston. Image
For a project in Maine, the author lived in the neighborhood and held charettes, presentations, and workshops in his cottage. Illustration: Adapted by Stoltze Design from a drawing by Russell Preston. Image

Too often community engagement can be seen as an afterthought, carried out in a dull and unengaging way. But does it always have to be this way? In this article from ArchitectureBoston’s Spring 2016 Issue, originally titled “Bring on the joy: Civic engagement strategies in the age of Twitter,” Russell Preston makes a case for more dynamic public engagement, citing several examples where “engagement is actually the process” rather than just a “required step to a planning process.

In New England, changing zoning is more difficult than sending someone to the moon. In the spring of 2015, Dan Bacon, planning director for Scarborough, Maine, asked for help implementing a better zoning code for Higgins Beach, a picturesque community of largely seasonal residents. Outdated regulations were putting its historic character in jeopardy. Different tactics were needed to successfully change the zoning before the next season of construction.

The hard task was helping the residents understand that they controlled future development with their own regulations. Change like this takes trust, and my team did not have months to build that trust. The best tactic? Become locals. We decided to live in the neighborhood, and in June of 2015, we rented a cottage with a large living room to host a multiday planning charette. Every meeting, presentation, and workshop was held in that cottage.

7 Futuristic Fabrications Leading Us Towards a Newer Architecture

12:00 - 26 March, 2016
7 Futuristic Fabrications Leading Us Towards a Newer Architecture

Swept up in an age of digitization and computing, architecture has been deeply affected in the past decade by what some critics are calling “The Third Industrial Revolution.” With questions of craft and ethics being heavily present in the current architectural discourse, projects taking advantage of these new technologies are often criticized for their frivolous or indulgent nature. On the other hand, there has been an emergence of work that exemplifies the most optimistic of this “Third Industrial Revolution” – an architecture that appropriates new technology and computation for the collective good of our cities and people.

We’ve collected 7 of these projects, ranging from exemplars of engineering to craft and artistry; projects that 80 years after Le Corbusier’s modernist handbook hint at a further horizon – towards a newer architecture.

8 Creative Ways to Integrate Parking into Residential Design

16:00 - 25 March, 2016
8 Creative Ways to Integrate Parking into Residential Design, House NA / Sou Fujimoto Architects © Iwan Baan
House NA / Sou Fujimoto Architects © Iwan Baan

Most residential projects must include parking spaces, but only few cases are notably innovative. Your vehicle's resting place can be more than just a required space; it may even become the backbone of the design itself. 

The integration of parking, interior spaces and facades can deliver extremely intriguing and unique results.

Here we present 8 cases in which the humble parking space has assumed a main role in the design, while integrating new functions such as exhibition spaces, or structural features and versatile technology.

Will Your Building Withstand the Onslaught of the Technium?

09:30 - 25 March, 2016
Will Your Building Withstand the Onslaught of the Technium?, Spain and Portugal seen from space. Image © Flickr user NASA Goddard Space Flight Center licensed under CC BY 2.0
Spain and Portugal seen from space. Image © Flickr user NASA Goddard Space Flight Center licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Technium is the sphere of visible technology and intangible organizations that form what we think of as modern culture.
—Kevin Kelly, What Technology Wants

The Technium is ubiquitous; like air it could be invisible. Fortunately, raging torrents that affect every person on earth are hard to ignore. Let’s look into one of the hearts of the Technium, that organ we call architecture.

You Are in the Technium Now

An ecosystem is a system of inter-dependent organisms and conditions. Ecosystems evolve. The current system can only exist because of past systems, each a stepping stone for new levels of action, each creating new sets of conditions, niches for life in its many forms.

But of course that’s what architecture does: it creates new conditions for life and culture, as does science, education, art and technology. Our culture and technology is evolving, enabled and built upon current and past developments. Kevin Kelly uses the word Technium to describe this complex stratum of evolving interdependencies and capacities. The Technium is evolving and growing fast. Our buildings must also evolve if they are to nurture our current and future cultures.

Introducing Volume #47: The System*

04:00 - 24 March, 2016
Introducing Volume #47: The System*, Volume #47: The System*. Image © Volume
Volume #47: The System*. Image © Volume

Volume is an "agenda-setting" quarterly magazine, published by the Archis Foundation (The Netherlands). Founded in 2005 as a research mechanism by Ole Bouman (Archis), Rem Koolhaas (OMA*AMO), and Mark Wigley (Columbia University Laboratory for Architecture/C-Lab), the project "reaches out for global views on designing environments, advocates broader attitudes to social structures, and reclaims the cultural and political significance of architecture."

Over the next six weeks Volume will share a curated selection of essays from The System* on ArchDaily. This represents the start of a new partnership between two platforms with global agendas: in the case of ArchDaily to provide inspiration, knowledge and tools to architects across the world and, in the case of Volume, "to voice architecture any way, anywhere, anytime [by] represent[ing] the expansion of architectural territories and the new mandate for design."

SPARC Wins 2016 Curry Stone Design Prize

12:00 - 23 March, 2016

The Curry Stone Foundation has announced The Society for the Promotion of Area Resource Centers (SPARC) as the winner of the 2016 Curry Stone Design Prize Vision Award. For over 30 years, SPARC has supported, represented and implemented improvements for Indian citizens living in slum communities throughout the country. Through its alliance with the National Slum Dwellers Federation (NSDF) and Mahila Milan (Women Together), SPARC is now active in over 70 cities throughout India, lobbying for physical, social and legal advancement, as well as facilitating the construction of housing for more than 8,500 families and community toilets for over 500,000 seats in slums with no existing facilities.

“SPARC with the National Slum Dwellers Federation and Mahila Milan are driving change by using the knowledge and capacity of the urban poor,” said Emiliano Gandolfi, the Director of the Curry Stone Design Prize. “With their work they designed the social framework that enables underrepresented populations to have a voice in the decision processes that determine their quality of life.”

Why a Career in UX Design is Perfect for Dissatisfied Architects

09:30 - 23 March, 2016
Why a Career in UX Design is Perfect for Dissatisfied Architects, © Sentavio via Shutterstock
© Sentavio via Shutterstock

This article by Gavin Johns was originally published on Medium as "Architects, stop everything and pursue a career in UX."

As an architect turned user experience (UX) designer I have many strong opinions about both my former and my current profession. But in short, I am now enjoying greener pastures, getting the fulfillment I expected while studying architecture but the profession didn’t provide.

Many like-minded architects ask me when and why I decided to transition into software. This puts me in the unusual position of praising the initial skill-set achieved by studying architecture, while promoting departure from it. That said, I have a very abstract definition of architecture, and believe if you have the interest to pursue any other design discipline, you’ll be successful. This guide is intended for those driven and curious architects who are looking for a change.

Infographic: 6 Exemplary Water Conservation Projects

08:00 - 22 March, 2016
Infographic: 6 Exemplary Water Conservation Projects, Courtesy of The Water Filter Men
Courtesy of The Water Filter Men

Today is World Water Day, established by the UN in 1993 to focus attention on global usage of freshwater and promote conservation of freshwater sources. To celebrate, check out this infographic created by The Water Filter Men. The infographic highlights everyday practices to conserve water and gives examples of architectural projects that have made water conservation a key imperative, including William McDonough's NASA Sustainability Base2011 ArchDaily Building of the Year winner Bilbao Arena by ACXT, and Renzo Piano's California Academy of Sciences, among others. Read on to see the infographic in full.

5 Ways to Be More Productive and Achieve Your Goals

09:30 - 21 March, 2016
5 Ways to Be More Productive and Achieve Your Goals, © Monkey Business Images via Shutterstock
© Monkey Business Images via Shutterstock

In this post originally published on ArchSmarter as "5 Ways to Work Smarter This Year," Michael Kilkelly follows up on his hugely successful article 21 Ways Architects Can Work Smarter, Not Harder with a refresher of things you can do to improve productivity and meet your goals.

We’re almost three full months into 2016. I don’t know about you but that optimistic rush from from the New Year is starting to peter out. I always begin the year with fire in my belly to get big things done. I’ve got a to-do list as long as my arm. I want to launch a bunch of new courses. I want to write a book. I want to design great projects for great clients.

The problem is that the real world has a way of interfering with those goals. There are deadlines to finish and bills to pay. All that time I thought I’d have is taken up with things I didn’t anticipate like snow days, sick kids, and unexpected out-of-town trips. How about you? Feeling the same way?

It’s that time of the year when you need to look at how you’re working and make adjustments so you can crush those goals. With that in mind, here are 5 ways you can pull yourself out of the winter doldrums and work smarter this year.

Spotlight: Albert Kahn

08:00 - 21 March, 2016
Spotlight: Albert Kahn, Ford Motor Plant, Cleveland. Image © Historic American Building Survey
Ford Motor Plant, Cleveland. Image © Historic American Building Survey

Known as “the architect of Detroit,” Albert Kahn (March 21, 1869 – December 8, 1942) was one of the most prolific architects in US history, with over 60 buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In a career spanning 50 years, Kahn’s body of work contained building types ranging from housing complexes to office buildings to aquariums and styles encompassing Beaux Arts, Georgian and Art Deco. Kahn’s factories for Ford and Packard Motors helped to establish the industrial aesthetic of Detroit and stood in contrast to the similarly inspired Bauhaus movement taking place in Germany.

Cloud Urbanism: Towards a Redistribution of Spatial Value

04:00 - 21 March, 2016
Cloud Urbanism: Towards a Redistribution of Spatial Value, A billboard advertisement for Manhattan Mini-Storage. The green background and mention of “the cloud” is a direct reference to MakeSpace. Image via Business Insider, MakeSpace
A billboard advertisement for Manhattan Mini-Storage. The green background and mention of “the cloud” is a direct reference to MakeSpace. Image via Business Insider, MakeSpace

The following article was first published by Volume Magazine in advance of their 47th issue, The System*.

Two recent trends have recently emerged from the United States’ real estate market that pick up on societal transformations in the way architecture and the city is inhabited. If synchronized, they stand to alter the principles under-riding contemporary logics of urban development. They do so by embodying an alternative system of values, framing its spatial articulation as a critical design project. The purpose of this short text is to present the two trends next to one another, evaluate the prospects of their synchronization, and speculate toward the future they potentiate in unison.