The Indicator: The Next Architecture, Part 5

Abandoned building, Cincinnati, via zfein.com

Compensation is, let’s be blunt, a controversial and touchy subject in the architecture profession. It’s taboo to even bring it up. If you are working in architecture there’s a good chance you don’t even want to tell people how little you make because it’s just embarrassing. If you are an employer you don’t want to admit how little you pay your people because it looks bad and is equally embarrassing. So, let’s all be embarrassed together, employees and employers alike. After all, we are all in this together and we all depend on one another.

“What sort of salary range are you seeking?” This was an email a former colleague shared with me. After he sent them his resume and portfolio this is all they asked in reply. What is one supposed to do with a question like that? It used to be that firms would tell prospective employees what they were paying for certain positions. Now, they want you to tell them what you expect. They are banking on you telling them some ridiculously low amount, something way below what you might have been making before the recession.

More after the break. (more…)

Network Reset: Rethinking the Chicago Emerald Necklace Competition Winners

Courtesy of Kees Lokman, Fadi Masoud and Conor O’Shea

Network Reset: Rethinking the Chicago Emerald Necklace is an international competition organized by MAS Studio & Architectural Club that seeks to provide ideas and actions that can reactivate the Boulevard System of and rethink its potential role in the city.

Read on for winners and more on the competition. (more…)

‘Six Architects’ posters by Andrea Gallo

Mies van der Rohe / © Andrea Gallo

We saw this incredible set of posters from iconic architects created by artist Andrea Gallo and felt the need to share them with you. They will be available for sale soon, so we look forward to buy one and decorate our office! Which one would you get? Check the posters of , Le Corbusier, , Alvar Aalto and Walter Gropius after the break. (more…)

SmartPlayhouse

Kyoto

Inspired by contemporary architecture the SmartPlayhouse is architect David Lamolla Kristiansen’s answer to providing a modern, comfortable and safe play space for his daughter. The four playhouse versions, Kyoto, Casaforum, Hobikken, Illinois, are unique spaces that encourage creativity.

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The Indicator: The Next Architecture, Part 4

Leadership is important in determining the course of a firm’s success. Leadership style determines a firm’s overall culture, how it positions itself in the world, how it will face down difficulties. In addition, the true, long-term ramifications of leadership style become evident during periods like the last two years, when the economy is racked by recession.

The challenges presented by the recession reveal the essence of a firm’s leadership by laying bare all the dormant weaknesses that were most likely put in place when times were good. What are these weaknesses? They are primarily related to the culture of a firm’s day-to-day operation, how its personnel are managed, classified, and compensated.

Keep reading after the break. (more…)

Scaffoldage

Courtesy of Scaffoldage

Scaffoldage is a collection of scaffolding photographs highlighting construction throughout the world. Maintained by Shaun Usher, each image links to its corresponding project, location and photographer.

Video: Norman Foster Recreates Buckminster Fuller’s Dymaxion Car

“I was privileged to collaborate with Bucky for the last 12 years of his life and this had a profound influence on my own work and thinking. Inevitably, I also gained an insight into his philosophy and achievements,” shared Lord .

Recreating the legendary futuristic Dymaxion Car, Foster’s No. 4 version was a lengthy and expensive two year project, but was obviously a labor of love. ’s futuristic three wheeled car was brief, with a mere three actually built. Incredibly efficient the streamlined body with long tail-fin averaged 35 miles to the gallon and could achieve 120 mph. The Zeppelin inspired design with a V8 Ford engine was intended to fly as well, Fuller’s vision of revolutionizing how people traveled.

More following the break.

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Designing Tomorrow: America’s World’s Fairs of the 1930s

Exploring modern design and a technological future, the 1930s World Fair’s held in , San Diego, Cleveland, Dallas, and New York featured architects and industrial designers such as Raymond Loewy, Norman Bel Geddes, Henry Dreyfuss, and Walter Dorwin Teague.  A modern, technological tomorrow unlike anything seen before, the World Fair’s presented visions of the future including designs for the cities and houses of tomorrow with a lifestyle of modern furnishings which were viewed by tens of million of visitors.

Designing Tomorrow: America’s World’s Fairs of the 1930s exhibition is currently on display at the National Building Museum in thru July 10, 2011. Building models, architectural remnants, drawings, paintings, prints, furniture, along with period film footage are all included within the exhibit.

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Balloon House Takes Flight

Courtesy of National Geographic Channel

Inspired by Up from Disney/Pixar, National Geographic’s “How Hard Can It Be?” television series transformed fiction into reality when they constructed and flew a 16×16 ft house with 300 balloons.

Taking two weeks from initial assignment to actual flight a team of scientist, engineers, and balloon pilots flew the small house with people on board for one hour at 10,000 feet.

A video and more photographs following the break.

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Artificial Island / Alexander Krasinski

Courtesy of

Architect Alexander Krasinski shared with us his idea for an artificial island in the Persian Gulf, . More images and architect’s description after the break. (more…)

Thomas Heatherwick’s Thoughts on the Building Boom in China and More

© Daniele Mattioli

Designer of UK Pavilion for the Shanghai World Expo, Thomas Heatherwick was one of the speakers featured at the recent 2011 TED conference. Heatherwick and his design team won the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) commission to create the Pavilion following a competition that attracted a shortlist of ambitious architectural proposals. Exploring the relationship between nature and cities sought an approach that would engage meaningfully with Shanghai Expo’s theme, Better City, Better Life, and stand out from the anticipated trend for technology driven pavilions, filled with audio-visual content on screens, projections and speakers.

The Huffington Post sat down with Thomas Heatherwick following his TED talk. Discussing ’s building boom and his creative process the full interview is featured following the break.

Courtesy of TED talk

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The Indicator: The Next Architecture, Part 3

“Architecture is too insular.” How many times have I heard this? Too many times to count. I’ve heard it from architects and non-architects, alike. It is not necessarily insular in the strict sense. It is more the case that it appears insular because it is self-referencing and self-validating. OK, so on second thought maybe it is just insular no matter how you define it. But my definition has more to do with the inward gaze of the profession that makes it a world unto itself. Like all worlds it has a need for celebrities.

More after the break. (more…)

Bankside Bikeshed / James Khamsi

Courtesy of

The Bankside Bikeshed proposal is a prototype for a lightweight bicycle storage shelter that can be installed through ’s South Bank. The project is by James Khamsi, whose goal was to design a new “MICRON” for London, a ubiquitous and interwoven aspect of the city.

More on this project after the break. (more…)

A Wonderful World from Washington University in St. Louis

Prototype: Conflict Resolver on the Green Line, Beirut, by Andrew Buck

In the Spring 2010 academic semester, Wiel Arets and Robert McCarter co-taught “A Wonderful World,” an advanced architectural design studio at Washington University in St. Louis. The students were asked to consider the following:

To understand the world we are living in at this moment, we have to redefine the “Map of the World,” a mental construct which at least since 1492 has undergone many reinterpretations. We could read the world anno 2020 as a collective living space for all of us, in which all the continents are in reach within 288 minutes, and the maximum travel distance at each continent will be 72 minutes, the time in which every city on each continent will be able to be reached. During the studio research, the world will be our territory, the continents are our daily living space, and the metropolitan three-dimensional city our home, surrounded by an untouched green/blue environment. The basic question we should put forward is: How will the city develop within our extremely exciting, complex, but “shrinking” world?

Washington University in St. Louis shared with us work from the studio. Follow the break for a description and drawings.

Students Featured: Andrew Buck, Shaun Dodson, Stephen Kim, Meredith Klein, Wai Yu Man, James Morgan, Aaron Plewke
Images: Courtesy of Washington University in St. Louis

We also suggest you look at how students responded to the same questions proposed by Wiel Arets at the Berlage Institute Postgraduate Research Laboratory “A Wonderful World” class.

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The Indicator: The Next Architecture, Part 2

Integration of Keynesian Relationships. Courtesy, The New School.

We in the profession all understand architecture can mean many different things, both types of knowledge, and ways of thinking. But to the general public, architecture means expensive, “designer” buildings. The qualifier “expensive” must be added because this is how the non-architectural population perceives it. From that narrow perspective, it requires the mobilization of equal amounts of three elements to have a building designed and built capital, a willingness to assume risk, and a generous measure of psychological instability. Maybe the latter comes after the project is complete.

More after the break. (more…)

The Indicator: The Next Architecture, Part 1

Monopoly Man, by Alec.

This article was written entirely by hand in the margins of a book I’ve been trying to review for the last few months. The book is entitled Aftershock: The Next Economy and America’s Future, by Robert B. Reich, former Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton. Remember those days? Probably not.

Currently he is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at Cal Berkeley. My guess is that he is not well-known among architects—his books are comprised of dense fields of text and the only images are graphs and charts with numbers. Given the current challenges the profession is facing, I thought now would be an appropriate time to introduce him. Actually, it’s a pity his ideas—which by the way are not merely his alone—are circulating now when they could have been instrumental in preventing the current recession.

More after the break. (more…)

Los Leones Stables / Pablo Lamarca & Tomás Swett

© Courtesy of Pablo Lamarca & Tomás Swett

Architects: Pablo Lamarca & Tomás Swett
Location: Fundo Los Leones, ,
Structural Engineering: Alex Popp
Project Area: 455 sqm
Project Year: 2008-2009
Photographs: Courtesy of Pablo Lamarca & Tomás Swett

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The Indicator: Atelier Atelier

’s Apartment-atelier (1931-1934) on 24 rue Nungesser-et-Coli, Paris

New architecture firm names are getting out of hand. It’s as if they are trying to sound like Indie bands. Barring that, they often fall back on “Atelier such and such.” One trendy use of atelier has been the “Atelier insert-your-name-here” variation. This has been way overdone. There is also the “Atelier theoretical buzz word” version.

Since a name is how you present your firm to the world, it’s worth giving it some serious consideration. It’s more important to be apt and appropriate rather than too creative with names. Save the creativity for your designs.

More after the break. (more…)