Obscura Digital HQ + BookCaseScreenWall / IwamotoScott Architecture

Obscura Digital HQ © IwamotoScott Architecture

-based IwamotoScott Architecture has just shared their latest project with us – a renavoted 1940s warehouse that holds media company Obscura Digital as well as the architects’ new office space.  Upgrading from an unorganized and dimly lit timber warehouse, Obscura looked to Lisa Iwamoto and Craig Scott to outfit the 36,000 sqf building in Dogpatch to suite their needs, while extending the invitation for the firm to set up its practice in the building, as well.   “It wasn’t a formalized agreement but a pretty casual thing,” Iwamoto told Lydia Lee for Metropolis. “Obscura by nature is collaborative. The hope is that by sharing space, we’ll have the advantage of seeing their process and what can be done with digital media, and they’ll get an idea of the architectural possibilities.”

In addition to this great refurbishment, we are fascinated by the architects’ dividing wall entitled BookCaseScreenWall, an amazing hybrid of surface projection technologies with a “traditional” bookcase which sits between their office space and Obscura Digital’s.

Be sure to view our comprehensive photo set of construction photos, finished work, and of course, the BookCaseScreenWall after the break.

Paschke Danskin Double Loft / 3six0 Architecture

© John Homer Photography

Architect: 3six0 Architecture
Location: Providence,
Principals: Kyna Leski and Christopher Bardt, AIA
Associate & Project Architect: Olga Mesa, LEED AP
Team: Aaron Brode, Avi Forman, and Kelly Ennis
General Contractor: Case Construction Company
Project Year: 2009
Photographs: John Horner Photography

Eleva / BABELstudio


BABELstudio‘s recent project, Eleva, has been selected for the second phase of the international competition for station entrances of the future San Sebastian underground. Also in the second phase, well-known offices as Snohetta, Morphosis and Richard Rogers are active participants. Follow after the break for further images and a brief narrative from the architects.

Apple Reveals Plans for Fifth Avenue Cube

Rendering of the new cube © Apple

When the iconic Apple glass cube on Fifth Avenue was shroud in barriers in preparation for renovation in June, the future of the flagship Apple store was unclear.  It was only revealed that Apple would be removing the glass cube and working on drainage, pavers, and bollards on the plaza, but just what changes were to be made to the cube itself remained elusive.

Courtesy of MacRumors

Apple has now revealed that the glass panels as we have known them will be replaced with larger panels to create a seamless appearance.  A sign now states, “We’re simplifying the Fifth Avenue cube. By using larger, seamless pieces of glass, we’re using just 15 panes instead of 90.”  There will be three panels per side of the cube, running the full length.  During the day the store is faintly recognizable as a glass encasing for an underground world; at night the store glows from the inside out.  With this new structural detailing, the building will likely appear even more subtle during the day and more brilliant at night.

This original design is an innovation by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson and structural engineers Eckersley O’Callahan.  The glass cube and subterranean glass staircase were trademarked in 2010, associating the vision of the architecture with Apple’s own innovations.

We recently reported that according to documents released by the city of Cupertino, Foster + Partners will be the architects of the new Apple Campus in Cupertino, . Steve Jobs shared the following, “We’ve used our experience making retail buildings all over the world now, and we know how to make the biggest pieces of glass in the world for architectural use.”

SCI-Arc Fall 2011 Lectures & Exhibitions

(L to R): Thom Mayne/Morphosis, Jesse Reiser/RUR Architecture, Odile Decq/Odile Decq Benoît Cornette

The Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) is pleased to announce its Fall 2011 schedule of public lectures, discussions and exhibitions. The school welcomes award-winning architects, urban historians, writers, designers, and artists for programs that span from innovative theory to contemporary art to technical practice. Events and exhibitions at SCI-Arc are always free to the public.

Urban Reserve 22 / Vincent Snyder Architects

© Chuck Smith Photography

Architects: Vincent Snyder Architects
Location: Dallas, Texas,
Project Team: Vincent Snyder, Jon Geib
Structural Engineer: Lobsinger & Potts Structural Engineer Inc.
Contractor: Urban Edge Developers
Project Year: 2007
Project Area: 3900 sqf
Photographs: Chuck Smith Photography

Ulcinj Montenegro Hotel / Ital design & Arco projekt


Architects Ital design & Arco projekt recently won second prize with their competition entry for the Ulcinj Hotel. Additional images and lengthy description of their project follows after the jump.

Heisdorf Residence for the Elderly / Hermann & Valentiny and Partners

Courtesy of HVP

Architects: Hermann & Valentiny and Partners (HVP)
Location: Heisdorf,
Client: Maredoc a.s.b.l.
Project Year: 2007
Project Area: 6,040 sqm
Photographs: Courtesy of HVP

AD Classics: Torre Velasca / BBPR

Photo by David Orban - http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidorban/

Mixed in with the Gothic Cathedrals, buildings, sculptures and domes of , the Torre Velasca stands out as one of the few modern buildings in the city’s ancient center. The Torre Velasca, planned to loom over its surrounding structures at a height of nearly 1,000 meters, was to be an important addition to ’s skyline. For this reason, it was crucial that the architects, , find ways to blend the design of the Torre Velasca, completed in 1958, with that of the classic architectural beauties of historic Milan. More on the design of the Torre Velasca after the break.

AIA Consensus Construction Forecast Predicts Continued Decline, Followed by Modest Recovery

The Consensus Construction Forecast predicts that spending for nonresidential and commercial construction will continue to decline before a modest recovery in 2012. The reason for the continued decline, of course, is due to the overall uneven economic recovery. The hesistency on the part of lenders to finance construction projects, the weak financial position of governments at all levels, and rising costs of key building material commodities all restrain the nonresidential and commercial construction sectors.

Overall, many sectors of the building industry are seeing a decline this year followed by a slight rebound. The nonresidential sector is projected to decline 5.6 percent this year and recover at 6.4 percent in 2012. The commercial sector will see a 6.5 percent decline this year and rebound approximately 12 percent next year. Manufacturing facilities will see a steep decline at almost 16 percent, with a rebound of 8 percent. While the stable institutional sector will see the least amount of decline at 3 percent and rebound at 4 percent.

With such a week recovery, most businesses and institutions are refraining from building new facilities. However, spending on renovations of existing facilities has remained strong. Unstable home prices, unusually severe weather conditions, rising energy costs, concern over growing debt, and the rising national unemployment rate (up from 8.8 percent in March to 9.2 percent in June) have made consumers extremely nervous. This also threatens international markets that have seen rapid growth in recent years.

For a more thorough breakdown of the AIA Consensus Construction Forecast refer to this chart by following this link: http://info.aia.org/aiarchitect/2011/charts/consensus-survey/july/july.html

[via AIA]

SYPartners / A+I Design Corp

© Magda Biernat

Architects: A+I Design Corp
Location: , New York,
Project Year: 2011
Photographs: Magda Biernat

London Tube Map Sparks Debate: “Design” and the Multi-screen World

© Mark Noad

Soon after Mark Noad’s vision of the London Tube Map was viewed, debate ensued about whether the integrity of the original diagram was misused to create a hybrid between the original information as a concept of the underground train system and its pathways and the concept of a geographically accurate map.   With a slightly more condensed font style, the map is intended to be more legible, especially on mobile devices.  Eminent typographer and designer Erik Spiekermann headed the debate stating that Harry Beck original depiction of the Tube was not a map at all, “it’s a diagram. Not meant to show geographic relationships, but connections.”

Therein lies the schism between the concept of depiction and illustration.  Fastco Design writer John Pavlus discusses the value of the designer’s intent – to produce something of use – rather than the initial concept of the first drawing.  Most users of the train system diagram are likely to call it a map.  The visual information implies that it will be used to guide travelers to particular destinations, thereby making it useful as a map.  The initial intent of the information becomes irrelevant when its use and usefulness comes into play.  Did Mark Noad achieve the clarification that the Beck’s original diagram was lacking by adding elements of a geographical map into it?

The question that Pavlus concludes with is how does the designer extend his or her role beyond solving problems; how does a designed artifact continue to evolve with each iteration, engage the public and continue to develop new and better uses?

(via Fastco Design)

Luminous Passage / Predock Frane Architects

© Ian Thomas

Hadrian Predock + John Frane’s project for the 2010 GLOW festival in Santa Monica titled “Luminous Passage” links the City to the Ocean as a porous and luminous land bridge. Connecting the existing Bay Street boardwalk to the ocean’s edge, the passage makes visible the connection across the sand to the edge of the Pacific. This is a physical tensile structure that supports light and connects the urban landscape of Santa Monica to the edge of the water, but also forms a conceptual leap that transitions from the “logics” that define the city to the those of the ocean. Taking the vertical nature of the city and merging it with the horizontal impulses of the pacific, a visceral and intense space twists and emerges. Composed of luminous lines of color (Electroluminescent wire – EL wire), the ambitious scale of the project is a relatively simple construction with only six fixed paper struts as primary support.

Architect: Predock Frane Architects
Location: Santa Monica, ,
Project Year: Fall 2010
Photographs: Ian Thomas

Texas Society of Architects’ 25-Year Award Presented to I. M. Pei & Partners’ Fountain Place

© Andreas Praefcke / Wikimedia Commons

Each year the Texas Society of Architects recognizes a building that was completed 25-50 years ago which they believe has “stood the test of time by retaining its central form, character, and overall architectural integrity”.  This year, the prestigious honor is awarded to Fountain Place, designed by of I. M. Pei & Partners and completed back in 1986 in , Texas.

Multi-Family Housing in Sevilla / Studio Af6

© Javier Orive


Architect: Studio Af6 / Miguel Hernández, Esther López, Ángel González
Location: Sevilla,
Project Year: 2010
Photographs: Javier Orive

Kindergarten Competition Proposal / ARHIS


The aim of ARHIS for the kindergarten competition proposal in , Latvia is to create a new type of kindergarten, where children can easily learn to incorporate with each other, the urban environment, and with society. The project solution is a public building with a three-dimensional park integrated in the urban structure and to become a part of the city public space and greenery system, which is a part of the development plan. More images and architects’ description after the break.

School of Nursing and Student Community Center at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston / Lake|Flato Architects and BNIM Architects

© Hester + Hardaway

Architect: BNIM Architects, Lake|Flato Architects
Location: Houston, Texas,
Project Team: Steve McDowell, FAIA; Kimberly Hickson, AIA; Chris Koon, AIA; David Immenschuh; David Lake, FAIA; Greg Papay, AIA; Kenny Brown
Consultants:  BNIM Architects, Jaster Quintanilla & Associates, Carter Burgess, Inc., Ferguson Consulting, Inc., Supersymmetry, Clanton Associates, Epsilon Engineering, Walter P. Moore, Coleman & Associates, Apex Busby, Rolf Jenson & Associates, Philo & Wilke Architects, Arup, Pelton Marsh Kinsella, Worrell Design Group, Lerch Bates & Associates, Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems, Rocky Mountain Institute, Elements
Contractor: Jacobs/VaughnGreg Papay, FAIA
Project Area: 18,023 sqm
Project Year:  2004
Photographs: Hester + Hardaway


XXS LABS POGGENHAGEN Competition Proposal / Studio BANG

Courtesy of

Each year the Kultur Gut Foundation opens up a competition for young architects to design temporary low-cost dwellings for artists. The aim of Studio Bang’s design is an optimal cost-benefit ratio reached by well selected, qualified materials and a simple multifunctional form. More images and brief description after the break.