British architect David Chipperfield recently gave an interview with Crane.tv discussing his architectural philosophy and affinity for the German culture. He expands on his approach to architecture and touches on his work for the completed reconstruction of the Neues Museum in Berlin. Be sure to check out some of his other recent works including; The Hepworth Wakefield art gallery in Wakefield, England, Turner Contemporary – a visual arts venue in Margate, England, America’s Cup Building in Valencia, Spain, and the Central Public Library in Des Moines, Iowa.
During the housing boom in Phoenix and the surrounding suburbs, enormous swaths of land were graded and prepared for endless subdivisions as far as the eye could see. Following the burst of the housing market and prolonged recession, these unfinished construction sites have sat vacant – remnants of unbridled optimism in the Valley of the Sun. A recent article on NPR.org discusses some of the alternative visions for re-appropriating these phantom lots that propagate the greater Phoenix area. Various methods of breathing new life into these chasms left behind include rezoning the numerous residential lots for mixed-use, or tearing up the infrastructure and letting nature take back control. For those unfamiliar with the rapid pace of development that was taking place prior to the recession, Maricopa, a small town just south of Phoenix was approving over 600 residential home permits per month. With an inventory of over 16,000 dedicated to residential homes, the measures that are required to remediate the impact of such an ambitious plan need to be ingenious.
While the Southwest has suffered from the housing bust significantly more than many other states, it will undoubtedly always remain a destination for its unequaled sunny days, warm weather and amazing desert landscape.
See this article on similar circumstances in the Rust Belt region.
The psychology behind what we consider or value to be our homes presents some interesting concepts. While it is easy to answer the question “Where are you from?” when someone is asked “Where is home for you?” the resulting answer may be influenced by a variety of perceptions of what home really is. A recent article entitled The Psychology of Home: Why Where You Live Means So Much discusses such implications. Read more after the break.
The Mine Plug proposal, by recent Louisiana Tech graduate Brandon Mosley, explores an innovative technique for appropriating a now defunct mine shaft in the once thriving city of Picher, Oklahoma. The city which peaked at a population of almost 20,000 during the mining boom of the 1900’s, has since suffered the inevitable after effects of such environmentally destructive activities. Designated as a superfund site in 1981 by the EPA, the state of Oklahoma began offering buyouts for residents to relocate in 2005. The remnants from years of lead and zinc mining have left mountains of waste called “chat” on the peripheries of the town, as well as contaminated water and over 14,000 underground voids that threaten the stability of the town above. Read more after the break.
Haiko Cornelissen Architecten recently unveiled their picNYC table with a live grass table top. Inspired by wave of urban farming initiatives, the picNYC takes this concept into the house at a micro level. A folded lightweight aluminum table top and legs provide the necessary structure to support the stone drainage bed, soil and grass. With the grass option, spilling water while dining no longer becomes an issue, but rather a necessity. However, should one require a finely groomed lawn on top, the grass will need to be cut by hand. Other options suitable for the picNYC include an endless opportunity for planting with a wide range of greenery ranging from flowers, to fruits and vegetables.
In the recent months we have been covering numerous topics relating to augmented reality. As this concept and form of language continues to develop, we are continually updating our library. Recently, we received a link to Harvard GSD student Greg Tran, whose thesis explored “architecture’s ability to mediate spatial and perceptual experience.” His exploration into techniques that engage and allow for an immersive experience for architects to design with presents an interesting proposal for the future of our profession. The technology, in its current state is largely unexploited and employed as a standalone object, rather than a holistic experience and progressive tool. See his video and proposal for an enlightening take on how we can use this technology for the advancement of architecture. Greg Tran is the recent Thesis Prize Winner – Harvard Graduate School of Design 2011. Be sure to check out the extended video here, and the presentation script here.
Architect Michael Graves, recipient of the 2012 Richard H. Driehaus Prize, recently gave a talk at TEDMED 2011 about his experience with a debilitating illness and his inspiration for designing improved healthcare designs that are much more suitable for individuals with limited mobility. His observations illustrated the need for a much more sensitive approach, “they didn’t make big mistakes…they just made the most frustrating mistakes you could ever imagine and made your cure more difficult. Your room should make it easier for the doctors and the aides and the patient. But instead it does just the opposite.” Armed with sketches of improved designs for furniture, rooms, and buildings, Graves collaborated with hospital furnishing company Stryker to release improved products for hospital rooms. Check out an introduction to his talk in the video above.
The AIA recently awarded CultureNOW and Rice Design Alliance the 2012 Institute Honors for Collaborative Achievement. The award, which recognizes and encourages distinguished achievements of allied professionals, clients, organizations, architect teams, knowledge communities, and others who have had a positive impact on or advanced the profession, will be presented at the 2012 AIA National Convention and Design Exposition in Washington, D.C. More details after the break.
Gwynne Pugh Urban Design Studio, in conjunction with garcia architecture + design, was recently selected from a pool of sixteen firms to design the new CAPSLO Homeless Services Center located in San Luis Obispo, California. Since 1997, there have been two shelters providing services to the homeless community. However, when the county offered a site, it was determined that a consolidated center would be able to operate much more efficiently, 24 hours a day. More details after the break.
The THiNK 2011 festival recently held in Goa, India brought together some of the most innovative minds from around the world ranging from technology, arts, literature, medicine, economics, human rights, politics and more from the US, UK, India, Afghanistan, Israel, China and Pakistan. The emphasis of the festival is to share ideas and provide inspiration. Thomas Pritzker had a chance to talk in depth with Frank Gehry about everything ranging from his design philosophy, past and current works, his opinion on the current status of the architectural environment with respect to students and architects, and project delivery and implementation.
A recent article discussing the disconnect between the decades old Intern Development Program and its effective reality in the current environment brings to light shortcomings that are in dire need of redevelopment. NCARB recently announced an upcoming significant overhaul of the IDP program, which in its current state requires 5,600 hours of various logged tasks in addition to the seven exams for licensure.
Openarch recently unleashed their prototype of a completely digitized smart house to the public. Designed to adapt to its inhabitants, all components of the house are connected to the internet creating a parallel home on the web. Real time data feeds continuously to provide information and the ability to control any aspect of the digital house through a gestural interface – parting from the traditional mouse and keyboard.
One of the most interesting aspects of the smart house is the integrated video mapping system that incorporates sensors and cameras to display information ranging from exterior weather conditions to Twitter followers onto any surface in the home. They have even invented their own operating system called D. OS (domestic operating system) which facilitates the exchange of the tremendous amount of information flowing through the various spaces. The smart house is conceived as the catalyst for a much larger vision of a smart city, where the exchange and interaction of information flow seamlessly.
Nona Yehia and Jefferson Ellinger of Ellinger/Yehia Design LLC recently gave a TEDx presentation discussing their investigations into the natural phenomenon and how it can influence and inspire intelligent systems of design within the architectural realm. Why does architecture look the same in all cities? Why can’t the built environment engage the same kinds of dynamic principles that drive the natural world? These are just some of the questions this young firm based out of Jackson Hole, Wyoming poses. Take a look at the video for more details on their firm, philosophy and current projects.
In the latest bid to solidify territorial claims within the Arctic Circle, Russia has unveiled plans to build a city for 5,000 year round residents 1,000 miles from the North Pole on the remote island Kotelniy in the Novosibirsk archipelago. Part of a strategic plan to assert its claim over the vast reserves of natural resources underneath the polar ice cap, the planned development will cost several billion dollars.
Continue reading after the break.
Architect: Line and Space, LLC
Location: Xiamen, China
Project Team: Les Wallach, FAIA (Lead Designer), Bob Clements, AIA, LEED AP (Project Architect), Henry Tom, AIA, NCARB (Project Manager), Mike Anglin, RA, LEED AP, John McColgin, Ray Jin LEED AP, Emily Starace RA, LEED AP
Project Area: 11,400 sqf
Project Year: August 2011
Photographs: Yang Chaoying, Line and Space, LLC
We recently came across a photo expose chronicling numerous projects by Peter Zumthor. It features an extensive gallery covering models, drawings, and photos of his projects in various states from construction to completion. Be sure to check the site out here, and catch a glimpse into the inner workings of Zumthor.
Livability.com recently released a compilation of the 10 best downtowns in the USA. Based on a rubric analyzing entertainment, planning, architecture, and green spaces they have come up with a list atypical of the cities typically found at the top of similar lists. Each of the cities on the list has a distinct and unique aura. Starting with Franklin, Tennessee, and topping out with Indianapolis, Indiana at number one, the descriptions of each city are sure to provide ample insight into the inimitable characteristics that warranted their listing within the top 10 downtowns. Be sure to check out projects from the cities on the list here:
David Baker of DB+P Architects recently produced a short video on the benefits of urban density and the repercussions of the current suburban sprawl trend in the US. It provides an insightful look into the resources required to maintain current cities and why density, if properly planned can provide the healthy atmosphere that great cities are known for. One of the most interesting points brought up is how population density is inversely related to carbon footprint – one example illustrates how Oklahoma City with a population density of 872 per square mile produces almost double the carbon that New York does with a population density of 70,595 per square mile. With land still relatively inexpensive, especially in the heartland of the US, the question becomes how to convey the benefits of urban living to those that cherish suburbia.
PLANT Architecture has recently been recognized with an Honorable Mention in the City of Toronto’s Urban Design Awards. Held every other year, the awards acknowledge the contributions design has on the local milieu. PLANT’s revitalization of the Nathan Phillips Podium Square (part of Toronto’s iconic City Hall by Viljo Revell) introduces a greenscape to the podium previously occupied solely with a vast hardscaped plaza.
An increasing trend towards sustainable construction within the building industry has resulted in a steady stream of “green” products into the marketplace. It is not uncommon to see products labeled with numerous claims that are certified by previously unheard of governing bodies. Industry leaders recently gathered in Toronto at Greenbuild to focus on avenues to increase the transparency of such claims made in the marketplace, and develop an integrated information source to reduce confusion and increase reliability.
Some of the players that are beginning to influence the conversation include the US Green Building Council and the US Forest Service, both of whom are advocates for increased regulation and standardization of Environmental Product Declarations. Architecture 2030 has also introduced a new initiative aimed at the reduction of dependency of fossil fuels in the building life cycle, reductions in greenhouse gas embodies products, and an overall reduction in energy consumption to carbon-neutral by 2030. With the latest update to the AIA 2030 Commitment, these new initiatives mark an increasing awareness of the overall building life cycle costs and their impact on our environments.