Perkins+Will‘s VanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre in Vancouver, BC is designed to meet the Living Building Challenge, the most rigorous set of requirements of sustainability. Formally and functionally, it encompasses the goals of environmentally and socially conscious design. The building is an undulating landscape of interior and exterior spaces rising from ground to roof level and providing a vast surface area on which vegetation could grow, thus reoccupying the land on which the building sits with the landscape. The building also features numerous passive and active systems that reuse the site’s renewable resources and the building’s own waste.
More photos after the break, including a video about the project!
During the 2011 AIA Arkansas Convention I had the chance to meet one of the most influential architects in the state: Marlon Blackwell.
A Distinguished Professor and Department Head in the School of Architecture at the University of Arkansas, Marlon Blackwell, FAIA runs the internationally recognized practice Marlon Blackwell Architect in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Blackwell’s portfolio consists of pristine architecture inspired by the vernaculars, seeking to transgress conventional boundaries of architecture. This design strategy has attracted national and international recognition, numerous AIA design awards and significant publications in prestigious books, architectural journals and magazines.
I was also very impressed by how he inspires young architects, many of whom once worked at his studio, to succeed with their own independent practices.
Published by Princeton Architectural Press in 2005, the monograph of his work entitled, “An Architecture of the Ozarks: The Works of Marlon Blackwell” is a testament to the significant contributions Blackwell has provided the profession. Blackwell was also selected by The International Design Magazine, in 2006, as one of the ID Forty: Undersung Heroes and as an “Emerging Voice” in 1998 by the Architectural League of New York.
He has co-taught design studios with Peter Eisenman (1997 & 1998), Christopher Risher (2000) and Julie Snow (2003) at the University of Arkansas. Most recently, Blackwell served as Elliel Saarinen Visiting Professor at the University of Michigan. His resume includes a growing list of visiting professorships, including the Ivan Smith Distinguished Professor at the University of Florida (Spring 2009), the Paul Rudolph Visiting Professor at Auburn University (Spring 2008), the Cameron Visiting Professor at Middlebury College (Fall 2007), the Ruth and Norman Moore Visiting Professor at Washington University in St. Louis (Spring 2003), visiting professor at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts (Spring, 2001 and 2002) and Syracuse University (1991-92).
In 1994, he co-founded the University of Arkansas Mexico Summer Urban Studio, and has coordinated and taught in the program at the Casa Luis Barragan in Mexico City since 1996.
He received his undergraduate degree from Auburn University in 1980 and a M. Arch II degree from Syracuse University in Florence in 1991.
Marlon Blackwell Architect projects at ArchDaily:
- St Nicholas Church
- The Ruth Lilly Visitors Pavilion (construction video)
- L-Stack House
- Gentry Public Library
- Fulbright Building Addition
- Srygley Office Building
- Porchdog House
- Arkansas House
- Blessings Golf House and Guard House
Video edited by JP Barrera F.
Get Fit. Lose Weight. Be a Better YOU.
Slogans like these constantly inundate us across media sources, and the premise is always the same: a healthy body is sexy, desirable, better. The opposite is similarly true: if you’re fat or obese, you aren’t just unhealthy, you’re sick. You need to be ‘cured.’
This moralization of “healthy” is symptomatic of a greater obsession and anxiety over our health in general, an obsession that has led to what Giovanni Borasi and Mirko Zardini, editors of Imperfect Health, call “medicalization; a process in which ordinary problems are defined in medical terms and understood through a medical framework” (15). The book has been published by the Canadian Center for Architecture with Lars Müller Publishers, and it is part of an exhibit accompanied by an online TV channel.
This process has similarly formed a concept that design and architecture are tools for healthiness and well-being; hence the proliferation of Green built environments that supposedly (1) recuperate nature from dastardly human deeds and (2) “craft a body that is ideal or at least in good health, apparently re-naturalized or better yet, embedded in nature” (19). Just think of the NYC High Line‘s recuperation of land left “damaged” by technology, a vastly popular project that motivates the human body to walk, run, and play in nature rather than sit sedentarily (unhealthily) in a toxin-emitting vehicle.
But is this idea itself a healthy way to conceptualize of Architecture? Is this goal of “healthiness” even possible to attain?
More on Imperfect Health after the break.
I know It’s only been 2 weeks since my Architectural world tour, but, I was still emptying my suitcases this morning. Sorry, I got caught up in the pressure at the office and just had not gotten around to unpacking. Mainly, because I’m awesome. And,wouldn’t you know it?, right in the bottom of the suitcase, were 6 more postcards that I totally forgot to mail. No wonder Herzog was so pissed at me…
Anyway, I’ve scanned them here for you to enjoy… (here’s the one’s I did mail, in case you missed those - HERE )
More Postcards from Coffee with an Architect after the break:
Grey Brick Galleries, Red Brick Galleries, Three Shadows Photographic Centre by Ai Weiwei at Cao Chang Di, Beijing
Beijing urban expansion _
The fast and enormous urban development of Beijing has transformed the city into a metropolis made of suburban residential compounds, abandoned industrial plants, community housing blocks from the 70s-80s and popular self-grown villages. A mix of high rise residential areas, business districts, impressive infrastructures enclosing spontaneous house areas surviving the demolition and renovation dictated by the construction market. The population has grown from 1 to 18 millions in 60 years, and the size of the city has reached 5 times the ancient capital within the walls – the 2nd Ring Road.
The urban expansion, mostly based on imported urban models and low quality constructions, has been exploding in the past 30 years, and it is rooted with political and economical decisions, as well as local culture and history. Briefly, Beijing is a stunning showcase of urban consequences happening in the world’s first growing economy, during an explosive industrial revolution.
Architect: Marlon Blackwell Architect
Project Location: Springdale, Arkansas, USA
Owner/Client: Saint Nicholas Eastern Orthodox Church
Project Team: Marlon Blackwell, FAIA [principal] Jon Boelkins Bradford Payne Gail Shepherd Meryati Johari Blackwell Stephen Reyenga
Photographs: Timothy Hursley, Don Lourie, Marlon Blackwell Architect
With less than 70 days until soma’s grand opening of their “One Ocean” Thematic Pavilion, we are anxiously anticipating the final result of the firm’s biomorphic creation. Unlike most pavilions, this building will become a permanent part of the grounds after serving as the central point of the EXPO 2012 in Yeosu, South Korea. As we reported earlier, soma’s pavilion focuses on creating an experiential journey as visitors enjoy introductory exhibitions on the Expo’s theme, “The Living Ocean and Coast”.
More about the pavilion, including more construction photos, after the break.
Francesco Piffari… shared with us the design proposal for the Amsterdam Pedestrian Bridge. To design a new iconic bridge, it is essential to reflect on the concept of bridge; what a bridge is in the collective imagination. Considering the bridge
From March 20 – May 11, the “American City: St. Louis Architecture: Three Centuries of Classic Design” exhibition will be up at the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) in downtown Chicago. The show consists of 83 large prints of…
The first prize winning proposal for the Museum Nasional Indonesia by Aboday aims to bring back this massive institution to its original role as a public facility. Their design addresses the question of urban context by inserting a new corridor between the existing museum building (A) and building (B) that will maintain an openness to the pedestrian and city park on the Eastern part of the complex. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Winners of the National Exhibition of Migrating Landscapes have been announced! This nation-wide, open ideas competition is the main process for creating Canada’s official entry to the 2012 Venice Biennale in Architecture, entitled Migrating Landscapes. Themed around migration and cultural identity, entrants comprised of young Canadian architects and designers, ages 45 and under, where invited to reflect on their migration experiences and cultural memories, and design dwellings onto a new landscape that would be showcased through a series of seven regional exhibitions across the country. Together with the Winnipeg-based Migrating Landscapes Organizer (MLO), the jury has selected 18 winners out of 26 finalists to represent ‘Team Canada”. Continue after the break to review the winning competitors.