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Articles: The Latest Architecture and News

The Evolution of the Japanese Tea House

© Kenta Mabuchi
© Kenta Mabuchi

Tea ceremonies have evolved a great deal since they first got their start in the ninth century, and as the ceremonies have grown and shifted in purpose, so have the tea houses that hold them.

Initially tea was seen as a medicine used to cultivate the mind, body and spirit; tea was seen as good for monks because it helped them to stay awake for long periods of meditation. For this reason, the military class sponsored the construction of large zen temples for monks to drink tea in. As tea began to grow in popularity beyond the temple, tea ceremonies became a source of entertainment for members of the upper class who could afford to gamble, read poetry and attend tea parties in extravagant pavilions. More information after the break.

(RE) Configured-Ecologies: Recycled Shipping Container Structures to Revive Long Beach

Courtesy of  WE-designs and XP& Architecture
Courtesy of WE-designs and XP& Architecture

The city of Long Beach, California recently asked firms WE-designs and XP& Architecture to design a landmark project to revitalize its downtown area using a low budget. The initial ideas are represented here as a series of re-configured old shipping containers, truncated and placed upright. The futuristic cluster of low rise buildings, called (RE) Configured-Ecologies, may eventually become multi-use space with an open playground feel. It will comprise of an education center, a café, retail space and 13 work/live loft spaces as well as an open roof terrace. Through proposing three types of innovatively reconstructed modular shipping containers, the overall construct leads to open courtyards, interlocking units, and playfully generated programs that introduce a new innovative topological creation that regenerates and reconnects the community.

More images after the break!

Aesthetic Fillup: Gas Stations

Brandon Baunach
Brandon Baunach

The design of gas stations is mostly stripped down to that required for bare function. The inextricable relationship of the aesthetics of modernism to that of the automobile begs a different approach, one that fulfills the traditional function of a gas station but also reflects shifting movements within design. Just like the cars that have driven up to utilize them, these gas stations represent design principles contemporary to the time in which they were constructed.

Vernacular Architecture and the 21st Century

Photo by Flickr user: seier + seier. Used under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/'>Creative Commons</a>
Photo by Flickr user: seier + seier. Used under Creative Commons

Vernacular architecture, the simplest form of addressing human needs, is seemingly forgotten in modern architecture. However, due to recent rises in energy costs, the trend has sensibly swung the other way. Architects are embracing regionalism and cultural building traditions, given that these structures have proven to be energy efficient and altogether sustainable. In this time of rapid technological advancement and urbanization, there is still much to be learned from the traditional knowledge of vernacular construction. These low-tech methods of creating housing which is perfectly adapted to its locale are brilliant, for the reason that these are the principles which are more often ignored by prevailing architects.

More on vernacular architecture after the break.

Oriole Park at Camden Yards: A Watershed Moment for Sports Stadiums

© Shoshanah / <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/'>Wikimedia</a> Commons
© Shoshanah / Wikimedia Commons

The most influential decision in sports in the last twenty-five years was not made by a general manager, coach, or athlete. In fact, it wasn’t even made on a field, pitch, court, or rink. Instead, this decision originated in the office and on the drafting tables of the architecture firm HOK. The architects and engineers decided, going against three decades of stadium designs, some of which were their very own, to not create another generic multi-sport indoor arena for the next Baltimore Oriole park. Rather, they designed a stadium that was considerate of its context, integrated beautifully within the city, and invited the citizens of Baltimore to enjoy watching their Orioles play. More on stadium design and Oriole Park after the break.

Isabella Stewart Gardner Expansion / Renzo Piano Building Workshop

Opening in 2012, the $118 million steel, glass, and copper-clad expansion to Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum by Renzo Piano Building Workshop will more than double the size of the current facility. Included in the project are a new entrance, music hall, gallery space, and other amenities for an institution that has remained largely unaltered since opening in 1903.

Recycling+Building Materials

© Paula Bailey - http://www.flickr.com/photos/auntiep/. Used under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/'>Creative Commons</a>
© Paula Bailey - http://www.flickr.com/photos/auntiep/. Used under Creative Commons

In today’s world “going green” has become a top priority in our society, and sustainable buildings and design are at the forefront of this green revolution. While many designers are focusing on passive and active energy systems, the reuse of recycled materials is beginning to stand out as an innovative, highly effective, and artistic expression of sustainable design. Reusing materials from existing on site and nearby site elements such as trees, structures, and paving is becoming a trend in the built environment, however more unorthodox materials such as soda cans and tires are being discovered as recyclable building materials. Materials and projects featured after the break.

Library Of The Present: Communal Information In Physical Space

© Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan

The Internet is now the library of the past. Where the public library has historically served as the primary source of information gathering and dissemination, we now look to this new virtual, infinitely large library that can be accessed anywhere at any time as the Library of the present.

As a result, the primary roles of today’s physical libraries have shifted. Libraries of the past focused primarily on individualized information consumption. Communal aspects of interaction and information dissemination now represent the core mission of the library when information is more easily accessible. The silent grand beaux-arts reading rooms of New York or Boston have of the past been transformed into flexible communal “living rooms” in Seattle.

Shanghai’s Pudong District on the Rise

Photo by Shreyans Bhansali - http://www.flickr.com/photos/thebigdurian/. Used under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/'>Creative Commons</a>
Photo by Shreyans Bhansali - http://www.flickr.com/photos/thebigdurian/. Used under Creative Commons

With nearly 23 million people, Shanghai is China’s biggest and most populous city. It is the financial and commercial capital of the country and a leading cultural center in Asia. Throughout the 1990′s and 2000′s the city underwent immense growth and redevelopment, thriving on international business. The futuristic and ambitious skyline of Pudong is the heart of Shanghai’s business district, and is growing swiftly with towering skyscrapers and an advanced urban environment. More pictures and information after the break.

The Indicator: Living Sustainability

Courtesy of Mark English
Courtesy of Mark English

Sustainability can be associated with wildly expensive technological advances. Which not coincidentally can immediately turn off clients.

So how do we define it? What does it mean, from a resource-conservation standpoint, as well as from a business one? For one viewpoint, we turn to Mark English, AIA. He has promoted sustainability efforts on several different levels for years. That means that not only does he incorporate sustainable strategies in his designs, he also helps other firms implement them in their work. He has been involved in programs including the California Solar Initiative, Green-point Rating, and he is also a Director on San Francisco’s AIA Board. He also edits two online publications including “Green Compliance Plus” where articles explore such topics as Passive Houses and the debate on Green Certification, and which also assists other professionals in meeting energy-efficient goals. Another publication, “The Architect’s Take,” presents news from an architectural standpoint. In fact one of those articles provided the basis for some of this author’s work.

How much do architects earn per hour?

I was asking myself this question a few minutes ago, so went online to do some quick research and Googled “How much do architects earn per hour?”.

Dear Other Architects

Charles Holland, director at UK based firm FAT Architecture (see their public bathroom proposal for London) runs Fantastic Journal, an interesting blog on which he recently published the following open letter to us, the other architects:

Fictional Architects in Movies

Via mirage.studio.7 we ran into this list of fictional architects in movies. There are some classic ones, like Henry Fonda. Some new ones like Adam Sandler. And there’s even an actual architect who made it to The Simpsons.

Which one do you like the most? The least? Is there anyone missing in this list? Some actor/actress you would really like as an architect in a movie? Tell us what you think. Full list after the break.

Update: Images and sources were taken from mirage.studio.7. They did this article with different sources like DanStewart, Ajolote Boletin, Archinect, ArchitExploitation, and more.