Recently I traveled to Ljubljana, Slovenia, in search of the religious architecture of the celebrated (but largely unknown in the U.S.) Slovenian architect Jože Plečnik (1872–1957). I write a lot about the architecture of spirituality, and I was curious about Plečnik’s churches and chapels—what the architect’s idiosyncratic form of classicism said about faith in a Modern age. What I didn’t expect to find was the universal nature of Plečnik’s work as an urbanist: a re-maker of the Slovenian capital that holds lessons for us today.
Human Scale: The Latest Architecture and News
Kuwait Pavilion at La Biennale di Venezia Explores Consequences of Modernist Urban Planning on Historic Built Environment
The Kuwait Pavilion, titled 'Rethinking Rethinking Kuwait,' at the 18th International Architecture Exhibition — La Biennale di Venezia, delves into innovative architectural and urban design methods arising from space and time. The project is an ongoing exploration addressing the consequences of modernist urban planning, which erased much of Kuwait's historic built environment.
Scale is a term that has dominated the architectural profession for as long as built structures have existed. In the literal sense, scale defines the measurable standards that we have come to know and accept —the widths of door frames, a car turn radius, and of course, a means of producing measurable drawings. In a more abstract and figurative representation, scale describes a feeling of individual experiences when comparing themselves or a familiar object to something unfamiliar.
What kind of city is a people-oriented city? This is a difficult question to answer because humanistic cities evaluate the city by "people”, and people are extremely diverse, producing individual different evaluation standards. For example, a city that is friendly to car drivers, may not be so friendly to pedestrians.
Nonetheless, there is a general perception that some cities seem to be more friendly to people than others. Why is this the situation?
Children's furniture is all furniture –fixed or mobile– that is designed according to the ergonomic guidelines and anatomical dimensions of children specifically. Following this definition, we can identify two types of furniture: (1) those that facilitate a relationship between the caregiver and the child, and (2) those that allow the child to use them independently.
The big difference between these two types is that the first has dimensions that mainly adapt to the ergonomics of the adult, while the second is designed to meet the ergonomic needs of the child at each stage of their development. Since the growth of children occurs relatively quickly, it is common for the furniture of this second group to be multifunctional or even extendable.
The human scale can best be described as the relationship between a body and its surroundings and a body is nothing if not the undeniable connection between our sensorial experience within the material world and how we perceive it within our own minds.
During the latest Design Indaba Festival, we have the chance to interview Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu, from Neri&Hu Design and Research Office, a Shanghai-based inter-disciplinary architectural design practice, about their work and way of thinking about architecture.
Rendered floor plans and sections are a kind of translation of technical construction drawings into a language more accessible to people who are not familiar with architectural design. In other words, they are responsible for introducing the human scale to the project, not only through the human figure but also by displaying furniture, textures, and other aspects of architecture that are more realistic and humanizing, making the representation more understandable.
In architecture, professionals must constantly deal with the challenge of representing a project clearly and understandably before it is built, making the space somehow more perceptible to people who are often not specialized in the field. Rendering is one of the most popular methods of three-dimensional representation among architects because it portrays the project more realistically. Reality, however, implies the presence of people and their ways of inhabiting spaces, which can be depicted through human figures, that must be coherent with the intended picture and interpretation of the architecture, the place it is located in, and the way it is inhabited.
Design and the City is a podcast by reSITE, raising questions and proposing solutions for the city of the future. In the first episode, Thomas Heatherwick founder of Heatherwick Studios discusses the notion of Designing on a Human Scale, describes his conceptual approach and introduces his latest venture in the heart of historic Prague. Joining the interview is ArchDaily editor, Christele Harrouk.
The human figure is fundamental in order to understand scale in illustrations, hyper-realistic renders, collages and three-dimensional representations. However, it often seems to be one of the last elements to be incorporated, when it should be a thoughtful decision, intrinsically related to the project. What do human figures transmit beyond the scale of a project?
Put away the Neufert manual and pixelated Internet searches, because scaling people just got a whole lot easier. The Chicago-based design consultancy IA Collaborative has launched a Kickstarter campaign for the reissue of Humanscale – a set of ergonomic design templates that contain over 60,000 measurements adjusted to humans of all ages, sizes and, yes, even situations.
Even with the evolution of technology and the popularization of advanced computer programs, most architecture projects still begin with a blank sheet of paper and the casual strokes of a pen. Rather than simply representing a project, the sketch allows us to examine the project, understand the landscape or topography, or communicate an idea to another team member or even the client. Its main purpose, however, is to stimulate the creative process and overcome the fear of blank paper. Sketches are usually made with imprecise, overlapping, ambiguous strokes, accompanied by annotations, arrows, and lack great technical accuracy and graphic refinement.