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Modular

How Could Modern Self-Build Communities Challenge the Role of the Architect?

09:30 - 7 July, 2018
How Could Modern Self-Build Communities Challenge the Role of the Architect?, via Graven Hill Village Development Company
via Graven Hill Village Development Company

Self-build”: no mention of an architect, or anyone else for that matter. Maybe it’s a prehistoric urge that makes this idea so enticing; our earliest ancestors constructed their primitive huts to suit their unique needs and reflect their status or style. “Self-build” promises to physically re-connect people to the homes they live in.

However, the romantic notion of "self-build" housing is rarely compatible with the modern reality we live in. Building has become increasingly clouded by the difficulty of procuring land, excessive governmental red-tape, and an increase in building complexity. While self-build remains the purest form of this dream, there are now a series of nuanced processes that can help us achieve similar results. As a new generation of communities that encourage this dream emerges, we must look at the role the architect plays within them.

via Graven Hill Village Development Company via Graven Hill Village Development Company via Graven Hill Village Development Company via Graven Hill Village Development Company + 9

London's Landmark Brutalist "Space House" Is Captured in a Different Light in this Photo Essay

09:30 - 13 May, 2018
© Ste Murray
© Ste Murray

Appreciated within the industry but often maligned by the general public, brutalism came to define post-war architecture in the UK, as well as many countries around the world. In his 1955 article The New Brutalism, Reyner Banham states it must have “1, Formal legibility of plan; 2, clear exhibition of structure, and 3, valuation of materials for their inherent qualities as found.”

One Kemble Street, a 16-story cylindrical office block originally named "Space House" and designed by George Marsh and Richard Seifert, clearly exhibits all of these characteristics, creating a landmark in the heart of London that remains as striking today as it was upon its completion in 1968. Photographing the Grade-II listed building throughout the day, photographer Ste Murray manages to beautifully capture the building’s essence, celebrating its 50 year anniversary while also highlighting the intrigue of its form in a way that suggests parallels to contrasting ideologies.

© Ste Murray © Ste Murray © Ste Murray © Ste Murray + 23

"Pixel Facade" System Combines a Love for Nature With Next-Generation Workspaces

08:00 - 7 May, 2018
"Pixel Facade" System Combines a Love for Nature With Next-Generation Workspaces , © Mengyi Fan
© Mengyi Fan

Recently shortlisted for the 2018 Design Challenge "Design the Next-Generation Facade" by Metals in Construction Magazine, this "Pixel Facade" system is an adaptive, scalable and repeatable building system that can be applied to various building typologies. The system draws inspiration from our innate desire for nature, also known as "biophilia." The "Pixel Facade" system merges a contemporary office environment with biophilic environments to create the next generation of office design.

Adjaye Associates Among Team of Britain's Top Designers Commissioned by Startup to Help Solve the UK's Housing Crisis

06:00 - 7 May, 2018
Adjaye Associates Among Team of Britain's Top Designers Commissioned by Startup to Help Solve the UK's Housing Crisis, Design by Carl Turner Architects. Image © Edit.rs
Design by Carl Turner Architects. Image © Edit.rs

A new property startup named Cube Haus is looking to alter the existing housing market, offering high-value homes at reasonable prices "that can be configured to fit small and awkward urban sites." To do this, Cube Haus is commissioning a team of Britain's top architects and designers: Adjaye Associates, Faye Toogood, Carl Turner Architects and Skene Catling de la Peña. The team will create a series of customizable modular homes with a focus on outstanding design.

Design by Adjaye Associates. Image © Edit.rs Design by Faye Toogood. Image © Edit.rs Design by Faye Toogood. Image © Edit.rs Design by Skene Catling de la Peña. Image © Edit.rs + 13

Modular Eco-Housing Pushing Boundaries With Cardboard

07:00 - 19 February, 2018
Modular Eco-Housing Pushing Boundaries With Cardboard, Under Construction. Photo Courtesy of Yvonne Witte
Under Construction. Photo Courtesy of Yvonne Witte

Designed and developed by Fiction Factory, a company of creative makers from Amsterdam, Wikkelhouse loosely translates to ‘wrapped house.' This sustainable modular house is uniquely created with cardboard as its main building material and is customizable in its size and function.

Wikkelhouse Dordrech. Photo Courtesy of Yvonne Witte Close-up Construction. Photo Courtesy of Yvonne Witte Layers of Cardboard. Photo Courtesy of Yvonne Witte Wikkelhouse Interior. Photo Courtesy of Yvonne Witte + 12

4 Tiny Houses Selected as Winners in the Ryterna modul Architectural Challenge 2018

08:00 - 13 February, 2018
4 Tiny Houses Selected as Winners in the Ryterna modul Architectural Challenge 2018, Winning Proposals from the Architectural Challenge 2018: Tiny House. Image Courtesy of Ryterna modul 
Winning Proposals from the Architectural Challenge 2018: Tiny House. Image Courtesy of Ryterna modul 

European modular container and building producer Ryterna modul has announced the winners of their fourth International competition: Architectural Challenge 2018 Tiny House. The competition asked for the design of a home for two people no larger than 25 square meters that integrated a kitchen, bathroom, living room, and sleeping area into a cohesive environment. With 150 projects from 88 countries, the three winning solutions and one honorable mention turn micro dwelling into a luxury.

See all the winning entries below.

Architects Create Affordable "Exoskeleton" Pavilion With Modular Woods, Tie Straps and Sliding Joints

08:00 - 10 February, 2018
Architects Create Affordable "Exoskeleton" Pavilion With Modular Woods, Tie Straps and Sliding Joints, Courtesy of Jeroen Christiaen & Saskia De Mol
Courtesy of Jeroen Christiaen & Saskia De Mol

"Exoskeleton" is a pavilion that shows how Computer Aided Manufacturing can create rapid prototypes. This manufacturing process allows for real-scale construction and experimentation with limited resources. 

In this project, a system of modules, designed with different dimensions, is put together with simple joints without nails or screws. This allows for different surfaces to be formed and for the pieces to be rotated and assembled at various angles and heights.

Courtesy of Jeroen Christiaen & Saskia De Mol Courtesy of Jeroen Christiaen & Saskia De Mol Courtesy of Jeroen Christiaen & Saskia De Mol Courtesy of Jeroen Christiaen & Saskia De Mol + 46

Greenspace Takes Over London with WATG's 'Green Block' Proposal

06:00 - 25 October, 2017

London Mayor Sadiq Khan proposed the challenge -- how does London become a designated National Park City-- and WATG, London-based landscape team, headed by Demet Karaoglu, accepted the challenge. In addressing the Mayor’s challenge, the team worked with Daniel Raven-Ellison, Guerrilla Geographer and Creative Explorer leading London’s campaign to become the world’s first National Park City.

Greenspace Takes Over London with WATG's 'Green Block' Proposal Greenspace Takes Over London with WATG's 'Green Block' Proposal Greenspace Takes Over London with WATG's 'Green Block' Proposal Greenspace Takes Over London with WATG's 'Green Block' Proposal + 5

Open Source Plan for a Modular Urban Gardening Structure Offers a Flexible Design for Locally Grown Food

08:00 - 26 September, 2017
Open Source Plan for a Modular Urban Gardening Structure Offers a Flexible Design for Locally Grown Food, © Daniel Ruiz
© Daniel Ruiz

As a response to the fast-paced city life, GrowMore is an urban gardening modular design with endless configurations to suit even the most unexpected of spaces. Designed by Sine Lindholm and Mads-Ulrik Husum, the modular building kit provides an opportunity for social interaction and locally grown vegetation, reminding people to pause and connect with nature.

© Daniel Ruiz © Daniel Ruiz © Daniel Ruiz © Daniel Ruiz + 13

A Modular Wooden Bench Forms the Backbone of this Awesome Undulating Walkway

14:00 - 10 September, 2017
A Modular Wooden Bench Forms the Backbone of this Awesome Undulating Walkway, © Zeenah Mohammed Ali
© Zeenah Mohammed Ali

This modular design developed by the students of the Department of Architecture Sciences at Ryerson University proposes a public space to sit and relax that works as an extension of the walkway, appropriating and giving a new meaning to the parking spaces in the streets of Toronto.

The project, with a natural wave form, is built by a series of Accoya wood modules, which allow easy storage, reuse, and reconfiguration.

© Zeenah Mohammed Ali © Zeenah Mohammed Ali © Zeenah Mohammed Ali © Zeenah Mohammed Ali + 35

The Driverless Future Challenge's Winning Entry Uses Plug-and-Play System to Reclaim Public Space for Pedestrians

12:00 - 22 July, 2017

Of the four finalists selected for Blank Space’s “Driverless Future Challenge”, which was announced last month, “Public Square” has emerged as the winning entry, with a plug-and-play scheme to transform New York’s public realm for its streets and pedestrians. Designed by FXFOWLE and Sam Schwartz Engineering, the proposal was selected by a panel of New York City commissioners, for its response to the competition brief with a flexible system that accommodates a variety of public space typologies, while creating a harmonious coexistence between pedestrians, cyclists, and vehicles.

Courtesy of Blank Space Courtesy of Blank Space Courtesy of Blank Space Courtesy of Blank Space + 17

Cornell University's Intuitive Push/Pull Furniture Series Blends Asian Sensibility with New York Flavor

16:00 - 23 June, 2017
Cornell University's Intuitive Push/Pull Furniture Series Blends Asian Sensibility with New York Flavor, © NirutBenjabanpot, Garrett Rowland
© NirutBenjabanpot, Garrett Rowland

Cornell University's College of Architecture, Art and Planning has unveiled a 12-piece versatile furniture series designed for the school's New York City space in Manhattan's financial district. Created by Hong Kong-based architecture office CL3 and interdisciplinary design studio Lim + Lu (founding partners of which are Cornell alumni), each piece has been inspired both by their New York context and intuitive operation by a global user.

© NirutBenjabanpot, Garrett Rowland © NirutBenjabanpot, Garrett Rowland © NirutBenjabanpot, Garrett Rowland © NirutBenjabanpot, Garrett Rowland + 22

MASA Studio’s Competition-Winning Hostels Combine Modularity and Tradition for Cancer Patients

16:00 - 3 June, 2017
MASA Studio’s Competition-Winning Hostels Combine Modularity and Tradition for Cancer Patients, via MASA Studio
via MASA Studio

With a modular composition inspired by traditional sub-Saharan African building typologies, MASA Studio’s safe lodging proposal for Tanzanian cancer victims has been selected as the winner of the Hostels for Hope competition, which called for solutions to issues of health and safety in regards to the rehabilitation of cancer victims away from home in rural Africa. Organized by Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon, an international foundation combatting women’s cancers, the competition responds to the unfortunate decision that thousands of Tanzanian women have to make every year – to travel great lengths for unaffordable treatment and lodging, or to remain at home unable to fight the disease.

via MASA Studio via MASA Studio via MASA Studio via MASA Studio + 10

Industrialized Ceramic Elements That Create a Variety of Urban Furnishings

08:00 - 7 May, 2017
Industrialized Ceramic Elements That Create a Variety of Urban Furnishings, © Javier de Paz García
© Javier de Paz García

In 1855 the German machinery manufacturer Carl Schlickeysen issued the patent he had recently created, the "Universal Patent Brickmaking machine", the first machine created to manufacture bricks by extrusión as an industrial process.

SCHLICKEYSEN is a modular furniture system based on two types of modular metal supports and standard-sized ceramic curved vaults. All kinds of settings can be configured from the combination of these three elements; picnic tables, continuous benches, grandstands, topographies, and many more typologies can be achieved by just stacking the metal supports and using the ceramic vaults as a horizontal supporting surface. 

© Javier de Paz García © Javier de Paz García © Javier de Paz García © Javier de Paz García + 22

Bee Breeders Reveal New York Affordable Housing Challenge Winners

06:00 - 5 April, 2017
Bee Breeders Reveal New York Affordable Housing Challenge Winners, First Prize: The Table Top / Lap Chi Kwong, Alison Von Glinow . Image Courtesy of Bee Breeders
First Prize: The Table Top / Lap Chi Kwong, Alison Von Glinow . Image Courtesy of Bee Breeders

Bee Breeders have selected the winners of the New York Affordable Housing Challenge, inspired by barriers faced by the global population in our contemporary culture of housing scarcity and economic deprivation. The submissions provide various multifaceted architectural responses to scattered sites of various scales around New York City, “redefining the culture, economy, and experience of urban domesticity by means of space, material, morphology, or structure.”

Below are the winners of the New York Affordable Housing Challenge:

First Prize: The Table Top / Lap Chi Kwong, Alison Von Glinow . Image Courtesy of Bee Breeders Second Prize:  Out-Of-Site / Peter Wong, Christopher Jarrett, Nazinin Modaresahmadi, Robert Stubbs. Image Courtesy of Bee Breeders Third Prize:  New York Affordable Housing Challenge / Liyang Chen, Yao Zheng. Image Courtesy of Bee Breeders NYB Green Award: Forging the Upward Frontier / Ryan Ball. Image Courtesy of Bee Breeders + 85

Mecanoo and Gispen Design Modular Furniture Collection for Flexible Learning Environments

14:00 - 1 April, 2017
Mecanoo and Gispen Design Modular Furniture Collection for Flexible Learning Environments, Courtesy of Mecanoo
Courtesy of Mecanoo

Dutch firm Mecanoo has partnered with furniture manufacturer Gispen to create a new collection of modular and customizable furniture geared specifically towards creating variable working and learning environments. HUBB has been designed to adapt to a range of working requirements and scenarios, seamlessly accommodating different collaborative activities and individual work preferences.

Courtesy of Mecanoo Courtesy of Mecanoo Courtesy of Mecanoo Courtesy of Mecanoo + 10

The Story of the 1960s Mass-Produced Modular Design That Actually Went into Production

07:00 - 1 March, 2017
The Story of the 1960s Mass-Produced Modular Design That Actually Went into Production, Slovenian designer Saša J. Mächtig conceived the concept for the Kiosk K67 project half a century ago, but its ideas of indeterminacy and open-endedness remain relevant. Image Courtesy of Museum of Architecture & Design, Ljubljana
Slovenian designer Saša J. Mächtig conceived the concept for the Kiosk K67 project half a century ago, but its ideas of indeterminacy and open-endedness remain relevant. Image Courtesy of Museum of Architecture & Design, Ljubljana

This article was originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "The Enduring Lives of Saša Machtig's Modular Creations."

Even in relative old age, the Kiosk K67—a shape-shifting system of modular fiberglass structures—keeps active. A kiosk in Kromberk, Slovenia, in the former Yugoslavia has become a beehive. Another, used by a Bosnia and Herzegovina food vendor, has received a masonry addition. In Ljubljana, a kiosk that formerly sheltered parking lot attendants now supports an automated ticket machine.

These may not have been adaptations the Slovenian designer Saša J. Mächtig had in mind when he first conceived the K67 50 years ago. But accounting for all of them would have been impossible. In theory, the system permitted unlimited configurations and variations. By the time production stopped in 1999, around 7,500 units of the K67 had been manufactured. While most remained in Yugoslavia, some were exported abroad—among other places, to Poland, Japan, New Zealand, Kenya, Iraq, the former Soviet Union, and the United States. Around the world, they were adapted to uses ranging from border patrol stations and ski lift ticket booths to retail and fast-food stands. No one is really sure how many are still in use today, or what other kinds of folksy, improvised alterations have been made to them, but among the greatest pleasures of the kiosks is their endless capacity to surprise. The K67, a recent retrospective of Mächtig’s work at the Museum of Architecture and Design in Ljubljana managed to restore its original brilliance. And it did so without suppressing the deviations. As the show’s curator Maja Vardjan writes in her catalogue essay, what distinguishes the K67 is “its position between architecture and industrial design, embeddedness in the framework of a modern city and society, the rituals of daily life, and, last but not least, its persistent capacity to reinvent itself.” While the visionary architectural schemes of the 1960s and 1970s may inspire wistful longing (What could have been!), the K67 kiosks, even as they disappear from view, provoke a question: Why have they persisted for so long?

Project Poseidon: Gensler's Radical Proposal for a Temporary (Floating) UK Parliament

04:15 - 17 October, 2016
Project Poseidon: Gensler's Radical Proposal for a Temporary (Floating) UK Parliament, Gensler have proposed a temporary UK Parliament structure. Image © Gensler
Gensler have proposed a temporary UK Parliament structure. Image © Gensler

The British government have come to the realisation that the Palace of Westminster—the iconic UK Houses of Parliament designed by Charles Barry and Augustus Pugin—is in desperate need of full-scale restoration and renovation. The decision to move ahead with the plans will be costly and inconvenient; aside from the need to repair the structure, the UK government is bracing itself for eye-watering "relocation" fees. In response to this, Gensler have proposed a temporary parliament on the banks of the River Thames.