“Architecture continually informs and is informed by its modes of representation and construction, perhaps never more so than now, when digital media and emerging technologies are rapidly expanding what we conceive to be formally, spatially, and materially possible”
- Lisa Iwamoto
During 2009 I had the chance to visit Iwamoto Scott in San Francisco, a practice lead by Lisa Iwamoto and Craig Scott. At their office I could see first hand the study models for some of the projects the firm has been involved, such as a mockup for their P.S.1 proposal, Coral Reef, or the lightweight wooden pieces that structure the massive Voussoir Cloud installation at SCI Arc. These small pieces had a lot to tell, not only about the specific project they were part of, but also their iterations.
The firm has a recognized expertise in digital fabrication, presented by Lisa Iwamoto at the AIA Convention 2009 during the Emerging Voices forum, and also on her book “Digital Fabrication” edited by Princeton Architectural Press under their Architecture Brief series.
The book presents in a clear way (with very good examples) the methods behind digital fabrication: sectioning, tessellating, folding, contouring, and forming. For most of us these words are pretty much obvious and we often use them as design principles of our projects. But to get the full scope of what they really mean, or for those that want to start understanding -and using- them, this is a recommended reading.
With its final height kept as a secret until the last minute, we witnessed the incredible opening of the tallest building in the world.
The Burj Dubai, an engineering masterpiece designed by Skidmore Owings & Merrill (SOM), was finally renamed Burj Khalifa in honor to Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the ruling sheik of Abu Dhabi who helped Dubai during the financial crisis with over US $25 billion.
The 828m tall structure established quite a distance from the Taipei 101, which used to hold the title for the tallest building in the world with 509m, that’s almost an extra 320m… almost like putting another skyscraper on top of the Taipei 101. This will secure its title for at least a few years.
For more on how the tallest building in the world is structured, you can read this interview with Bill Baker, engineer at SOM.
The title “Expanded Practice” comes from how Höweler + Yoon Architecture / My Studio have named their design methodology. And in this book it’s not just a title, as the book is really a guide on how this young firm conceives their projects rather than a mere catalog of works.
Their works can’t be grouped in types of buildings, instead their works are grouped in envelopes, natures, formats, interactions and media, as they range from a Möbius strip dress, to a responsive park.
What caught me while reading this book is the effective use of technology developed by this practice, not just mere eye candy as we are used to. It clearly shows how the architects’ experimentation with small electronic components could be derived into interactive spaces through a methodological work. And I have to repeat “metholodogy” as it is the most important part of this book, which makes it a learning tool instead of a construction catalog as we are used to on typical monographs.
More information about this book after the break.
The tallest building in the world will be opened in just a few more days. This 2.3 gigapixel photo, composed of 381 images taken with a Canon 5D Mk II with a 400mm lens by bristolg, who posted a video to show the high level of detail of the image.
Update: Chas left a comment with a link to the actual photo so you can see the detail by yourself.
During this last few months we have presented you several works by the japanese office Tezuka Architects. The houses have very strong concepts, tied to different ways of inhabiting these projects designed specifically for each client.
Now we present you Woods of Net, a permanent pavilion for japanese net artist Toshiko Horiuchi Macadam, in collaboration with structural engineers TIS & PARTNERS.
The pavilion is located at the Hakone Open-Air Museum, a unique open museum located in one of the most visited tourist spots in Japan. Woods of Net was added to the collection of art works as part of their 40th anniversary.
After the break, the architects description of the pavilion with photos by Abel Erazo.
wHY Architecture has shown us their expertise on cultural projects at different scales: the Grand Rapids Art Museum (the first LEED Gold certified museum) on the large scale in one side and the Royal/T Gallery on a smaller scale, among other cultural projects shown on their website.
And now they share with us a cultural project on the infrastructure scale that I had the chance to see when I visited their office early this year, which got green light and enters construction phase in 2010: the Art Bridge.
The project is located over the Los Angeles river and it’s very related to it, as most of its structure will be built from trash salvaged from the river itself. This project will achieve what many have been looking for, and that is to reconnect with the river that crosses LA. And I think that it will make it.
You can also watch our interview with Yo-ichiro Hakomori from whY Architecture, filmed at Postopolis! LA earlier this year.
Project description and more images after the break:
Architects: Langarita Navarro Arquitectos – María Langarita, Víctor Navarro
Location: Medialab Prado, Madrid, Spain
Collaborators: María Langarita, Víctor Navarro, Juan Palencia, Roberto Gonzalez
Client: Area de las Artes, Ayuntamiento de Madrid
General Contractor: Pecsa Teconsa U.T.E.
Lighting Consultant: Ca2l
Project Area: 144 sqm
Project Year: 2008
Construction Year: 2008-2009
Photographs: Miguel de Guzman
Danish firm BIG, in collaboration with Fuglark, Lemming & Eriksson, Sámal Johannesen, Martin E. Leo and KJ Elrad, was awarded with 1st prize on a competition for a new Education Centre in Torshavn, at the Faroe Islands.
The Faroe Islands are an autonomous province of Denmark, and this is the largest educational project in the country’s history, and will house the Faroe Islands Gymnasium, the Torshavns Technical
College and the Business College of Faroe Islands.
The schools are stacked and twisted, generating a central patio which will be the main gathering space of the center. Each of this programatic stripes is then open to the landscape, getting the most out of its location on a hillside with views over the sea, mountains and the harbor. A very simple scheme, which I like a lot as it doesn´t fragment the public space.
But apart from being a whole when seen from the common areas, each school escapes on its own, through the cantilevered volumes that generate a wide array of different views, giving character to each one of the programatic units. I find this reunite/desegregate scheme very good to get a sense of individuality at the center, and have an intense social life at the same time.
More information after the break, and take a special look at the structural diagram.
The iconic building is located in the north of the Han River, which crosses the city, and will dominate the skyline becoming a important icon for Seoul… which is what you will expect if you commission a tower this tall.
Architect: Christensen & Co Arkitekter
Client: Danish University and Property Agency
Users: Faculty of Science (30 staff / 50 daily users)
Area: 950 m² (site 3000m²)
Project: May 2008
Construction: October 2008
Completion: November 2009
Hellerup Byg (contractors)
CCO staff MC, MC, TN, MS, TB, AM
Misc Partners behind project: Danish University and Property Agency, Copenhagen University, Municipality of Copenhagen, Velux, Velfac
Last weekend I had the chance to spend the afternoon with a group of entrepreneurs and Chris Anderson, editor for Wired magazine and author of The Long Tail and Free, two books that define the new economies of the Internet (highly recommended if you haven´t read them yet, specially Free)
Chris did a little speech on his new research, which immediately made sense to me from an architect’s point of view. At this point, it is more than clear that the bit revolution turned our world in 360º, and thanks to the connected world it seems that the technology development curve is more steep than ever. And now, many rules of the online world are being adopted by the physical world, and according to Anderson “atoms are the new bits”.
First, it was the media revolution. Information became democratic, collaborative, the tools became free, and everyone is part of it. But how do we take this to the World (World 2.0?)? Actually… it´s happening and very close to our profession:
Libraries are something that has been revolving my head ever since I read some writings by Kahn on the Exeter Academy Library. Part of my graduate studies focused on how this typology has evolved during this last few years, moving between the silent sanctuary of books we find at Exeter and new public spaces like OMA’s Seattle Library.
As the publishing/reading platforms are changing at an unprecedented speed (Web 2.0, eReaders and the Kindle, an upcoming “Hulu for Magazines”), physical libraries have the challenge to be a place for research, gathering, socializing… being built today, to house activities in the future that we don´t even know yet.
A good example is the ongoing “Urban Mediaspace”, a project by danish practice Schmidt / Hammer / Lassen Architects which will be completed by 2014. The project is part of a large scale urban renewal project to regenerate the docks area in Aarhus, Denmark.
A big covered public space offers the flexibility needed for this kind of program, enclosed by a transparent skin that connects the outside public space with the new interior public space.
Project description and more images after the break. Thanks to Trine from SHL for sharing this project with us:
While world leaders get together in Copenhagen for COP15, the United Nations Climate Change Conference, our friends from Various Architects share with us a very interesting project, that is also a statement addressing sustainability in office buildings.
Skagen ØKOntor is currently the most sustainable office building currently planned in Norway.
Developed together with engineers from Ramboll UK in Bristol and Pollen Architecture in Austin, TX, the project is also a showcase of concepts that can be applied elsewhere in the Nordic countries as you will see on the diagrams and project description below.
I´m very happy to see architects speaking through their projects, reacting to what is currently being debated these days and that has a lot to do with our profession.
Various Architects and Ramboll believe that the ØKOntor project demonstrates that architects, engineers, and developers of new office buildings should push harder to develop highly energy efficient buildings with a zero net-carbon construction. We should not accept the minimum reductions required by law as standards, but should see them as a challenge to do better. Good luck to the COP15 representatives.
Project description and images after the break: