While many people are familiar with UCLA as a university, because it is so large, it’s difficult to track all the different important studies conducted there. Yet many of these can directly improve the lives of people right now. Take for example the HEED, or Home Energy Efficient Design program, developed at UCLA’s Department of Architecture and Urban Design. Begun back in 2002, it was created to help literally everyone improve the energy efficiency of their homes. For free.
What is it? Basically, HEED provides a set of tools that help anyone and everyone re-design housing to be more energy efficient. Even better, it can be applied to both new and existing structures. And while it was initially developed for California homeowners—they were identified by their utility providers—the software has since been reconfigured so that professionals in the building industry can also use them. The software now can be used by architects, contractors, engineers, and of course, individual homeowners. This free, downloadable software incorporates several advanced features that allow both individual DIY-ers and professionals to restructure and redesign the efficiency of new and existing structures.
Log 24 is a compilation of architecture criticism that exemplifies the range of criticism today. Encountering buildings, exhibitions, films, and books, twenty authors disentangle the challenges and problems the work poses to the critic and the architect, as well as render an incisive portrait of contemporary architecture.
Pulitzer Prize Winning Author, Ray Bradbury, died yesterday at the age of 91, leaving behind a legacy of best-selling Science Fiction Novels, including Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles, that transcended genre and spoke to our very real human experiences.
However, you are probably not aware of his passion for rethinking and reviving the American City. In 1993, Bradbury wrote a book of essays, “Yestermorrow: Obvious Answers to Impossible Futures,” including a chapter on Urban Planning, and later wrote an article titled “The Aesthetics of Lostness,” praising European cities you can get lost in. Bradbury has been quoted as saying: “When I deal with urban problems I ask: What is a city? What is the mystery of the city? What is fun about a really good city?”
Read More about the late Ray Bradbury and his views on Architecture, after the break…
Mid-March brought the destruction of an important 1970s building that symbolized the experimental nature of industrialized housing that became popular after World War II as an effort to meet the economic demands of reconstruction. Known as the “experimental building of SIRH”, the eight storey abandoned structure was created by sixty prefabricated modules that served as a prototype for the SIRH Process – a construction process that experimented with the idea of prefabricating flexible standard living cells that could be easily assembled on site in a unlimited amount of configurations to provide for affordable individual or collective dwellings. This process was designed by French architect Claude Prouvé – son of the illustrious French architect, designer and metal worker Jean Prouvé, who is widely known for successfully and beautifully transferring manufacturing technology from industry to architecture.
The experimental building of SIRH, along with many other 1960s and 1970s structures, remains largely under-explored. Due to a spontaneous mobilization of architects, students and researchers in January 2012, the SIRH building has been documented and photographed in detail before it was demolished in March. Starting Thursday, June 7th, the Maison de l’architecture Lorraine will be hosting a fascinating exhibition that will display this documentation and explore the innovative process and prototypes of Claude Prouvé.
Continue reading after the break to learn more!
Henning Larsen Architects has won the competition for developing a 150,000 sqm area in the second-largest city in the Faroe Islands, Klaksvík. The area will comprise a cultural house, a museum, residences, offices and shops. 154 competition proposals were submitted in the open, international competition. More images and architect’s description after the break.
A Lesson in Dedicated Collaboration: Hunts Point Landing on the South Bronx Greenway / Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects
In the past decade New York City’s government, along with numerous organizations and design teams, have taken the initiative to revive the city’s public spaces and reclaim underutilized areas that have long been associated with the city’s manufacturing past. We’re all familiar with the High Line, a project that takes over the elevated rail lines of Chelsea and Meat Packing District that until several years ago stood as a desolate and eroding piece of infrastructure, which was beautiful in its own way but largely underutilized. Then there is the Brooklyn Navy Yard, which has become a mecca for designers, fabricators and research companies and has recently acquired a museum to celebrate its history. And of course, there are the city’s waterways, which, since New York City’s early history, have served its manufacturing and trade economy, have become parks along the waterfront as part of the Hudson River Greenway and the FDR Drive. Manufacturing has long been replaced by Wall Street, but there are parts of the city that still retain the industrial past along the historic waterfront and continue to operate some of the most important facilities that allow the city to function. Now it is time to reintroduce a public use among these industrial zones.
More after the break!
‘What is proposed is like a monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much loved and elegant friend.”
It’s easy to see why British Architects get their hackles raised when it comes to Prince Charles. The oft-quoted gem above, said in reference to a proposed extension to the National Gallery in 1984, is one of hundreds of such Architectural criticisms Prince Charles has made over the years. Which wouldn’t matter of course, if, like any average Architectural layman’s opinions, his words didn’t have much weight.
His do. They’ve resulted in the intervention, squelching, and/or redesign of at least 5 major plans over the last twenty years. But let’s not write off Charles just yet.
With the Queen’s Jubilee ceremoniously having finished yesterday, the conversation analyzing her legacy has begun. And while London’s towering, cutting-edge high rises (a la Norman Foster, Richard Rogers, and Zaha Hadid), will be the shining examples of Elizabeth’s reign – I’d like to suggest something, and raise a few hackles, myself…
Curious for more? Keep reading about Prince Charles’ unlikely influence on Architecture, after the break…
Cannon Design, a leading international architectural, engineering and planning firm, recently announced that it has joined forces with Peter Ellis New Cities, expanding the firm’s urban planning and city design practice. Currently, they have been working on a master plan for the new Sports City in India, a comprehensive city plan for 1,000,000 inhabitants on 5,000 acres. Ellis and his New Delhi staff will be an integral part of Cannon Design’s planned expansion in India while his U.S. based team has joined the firm’s office in Chicago. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Recently, we visited the Meulensteen gallery to hear an update on Steven Holl’s latest project in Virginia - the Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University. Slated for completion in 2015, the project was presented in a series of Holl’s trademark watercolors and models, complete with a slideshow given by project architect Dimitra Tsachrelia who previously worked on the Glasgow School of Art for the firm. As we shared earlier, the project’s formal gestures are a reaction to its site context along the busy intersection of Richmond at Broad and Belvidere, with the intention to create an open gateway with a building that forks in the X-Y direction to illustrate the “non-linear” path of art, and torques in the Z direction to shape a dynamic volume of circulation. Although the weather was quite unforgiving, those who packed into the gallery enjoyed Tsachrelia’s friendly demeanor as she walked us through the process and progress of the project.
More about the event after the break.
This year’s Daylight Award, a prestigious prize awarded by the Living Daylights Foundation that honors projects that reach an optimum result in combining daylight, artificial light and design, has been given to the Kaap Skil, Maritime and Beachcombers’ Museum on the Dutch island of Texl. Designed by Mecanoo Architecten, one can almost feel the weather because of the transparency of the building, according to the jury. “Sun, clouds, thunder and rain: outdoors comes inside as perception and emotion and this is a core quality for a building with the Wadden Sea at your doorstep.” More images and architects’ description after the break.
Architect: Carazo Architects – Rodrigo Carazo
Location: Poas Alajuela, Costa Rica
Design team: Erick Solis, Erick Calderón, Bryan Vidal, Fanny Erfling
Interior design: Arq. Rodrigo Carazo, Beba Lobo
Construction: CPS Construccion
Project year: 2010
Project area: 800 sqm
Photographs: Kurt Aumair, Felipe Sanabria