Sunday, September 30, 2007

Print Journals

Sidebar update: I've added a category to the architectural links, publications on architecture, design, landscape, and urbanism that have web content. Here's the list as of today, though feel free to comment if you know of one I've missed.
:: Abitare
:: a+t
:: Archis
:: Architectural Record
:: Architectural Review
:: Architect Magazine
:: Architecture and Culture
:: Architecture Australia
:: ark
:: art 4D
:: A10
:: Azure
:: Building Design
:: Domus
:: Dwell Magazine
:: El Croquis
:: Frame Magazine
:: Harvard Design Magazine
:: Icon Magazine
:: Japan Architect/A+U
:: MARK Magazine
:: Metropolis Magazine
:: Monu
:: The Plan Magazine
:: The Next American City
:: Quaderns
:: RIBA Journal
:: 32BNY
:: Topos
:: Ume Magazine
:: Via Arquitectura
:: Wallpaper*

Today's archidose #139

Limerick County Council HQ in Limerick, Ireland by Bucholz McEvoy Architects, 2004.

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Saturday, September 29, 2007

Book of the Moment

While looking around one of my favorite bookstores I came across Virginia McLeod's Detail In Contemporary Residential Architecture, an "analysis of both the technical and the aesthetic importance of details in the development of contemporary domestic architecture from 2000 to 2005."


What impresses the most is the quality of the projects and the clear and consistent layout, making the presentation of details that much stronger. Many other detail-oriented books presenting projects side by side tend to have drawings that vary in quality and content, making some projects more helpful to the reader than others, or just more interesting to look at.


The extra effort required to create consistent drawings pays off in the form of having a solid reference, rather than just a hurried and inexpensive collection of what's cool now.

"Virignia McLeod studied architecture in Australia and has worked for a number of private practices in London. She was the editor of The Phaidon Atlas of Contemporary World Architecture and currently works as a freelance writer and editor." [source]

Friday, September 28, 2007

Today's archidose #138

School of Music triptych, originally uploaded by numstead.

The Earl V. Moore Building by Eero Saarinen (1964), home of the Music Department, on the campus of The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Worst Buildings of NYC

For WNYC's Leonard Lopate show, writer Christopher Gray, author of New York Streetscapes and a regular column for the New York Times, asked listeners to submit pictures of what they think are the worst buildings in New York City. Yesterday he discussed what makes a building bad, unveiling his choices for the worst buildings.

Here's a slideshow of listener submissions:

(via Archinect)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

West Side Gets Crowded

First came Gehry, then plans for a Selldorf (minus Johnson) and a Nouvel. And now there's Shigeru Ban's Metal Shutter Houses on West 19th Street, a stretch from the Highline to the West Side Highway that's quickly becoming some sort of Starchitect District.


Ban's addition, revealed at Curbed, is named for the large operable shutters on the facade that open and close to bring outside inside, or vice-versa. It's an interesting idea that seems more suited to the west-facing site of the IAC HQ, rather than the north-facing lot it occupies. Regardless, these large shutters will give the building its character, particularly the combination of open and closed and in-between from the different tenants. I'm guessing the closed view of the rendering -- and image that makes the building like a solid block with some subtle relief -- will be a rarity.

(via Archinect)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Literary Dose #15

"Thinking about daylight and artificial light I have to admit that daylight, the light on things, is so moving to me that I feel it almost as a spiritual quality. When the sun comes up in the morning -- which I always find so marvelous, absolutely fantastic the way it comes back every morning -- and casts its light on things, it doesn't feel as if it quite belongs in this world. I don't understand light. It gives me the feeling there's something beyond me, something beyond all understanding. And I am very glad, very grateful that there is such a thing. And I have that feeling here too; I'll have it later when we go outside. For an architect that light is a thousand times better than artificial light."
- Peter Zumthor, from Atmospheres (2006). The book is a transcript of a lecture Zumthor gave at Wendlinghausen Castle in East-Westphalia-Lippe, Germany in 2003.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Royal Netherlands Embassy

Royal Netherlands Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia by Dick van Gameren and Bjarne Mastenbroek

The following text and images are courtesy the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, for the award-winning design of the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Ethiopia by Dick van Gameren and Bjarne Mastenbroek.

The Royal Netherlands Embassy complex lies amidst the urban sprawl on the southern outskirts of Addis Ababa, enclosed within a dense eucalyptus grove. The architects’ guiding principle was to preserve and respect the topography of the surrounding landscape while addressing the functional requirements of a working embassy. They took care to maintain existing contour lines and leave the vegetation and wildlife undisturbed.

The main building, an elongated horizontal volume, cuts across the sloping terrain on an east– west axis. Walls, floors and ceilings are pigmented the same red-ochre as the Ethiopian earth and are uniformly composed of concrete, creating the effect of a cave-like space, reminiscent of the rock-hewn architecture of Ethiopia. By contrast, the roof garden with its network of shallow pools alludes to a Dutch water landscape.

An unashamedly contemporary and simple organization of spaces, the Dutch Embassy in Addis Ababa overcomes the complexities of security and surveillance normally associated with the design of embassy compounds, intersecting with the landscape to create new and unexpected relationships with the host site -- a walled eucalyptus grove in the city. The massif architecture, at once archaic and modern, belongs as much to the Muslims, Christians and the indigenous tribes of Ethiopia as it does to its Dutch homeland.

In its conception and daily operation, the building responds to its social and physical context with inventive design and poetic sensibility. This is an architecture that works with its environment, reducing the use of mechanical services and relying instead on natural ventilation and high insulation. The project’s sensitivity to process has left its mark in the raw character of its formation -- another delicate reminder of how buildings, as formations of material culture, can register and enhance spaces of encounter.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Seen Better Days

Came across this photo on Flickr and couldn't help agree with thegoatisbad's assertion that Zaha Hadid's Landesgartenschau (aka LFone) in Weil Am Rhein, Germany looks pretty crappy for a building less than ten years old.

Compare with a couple (unfortunately) lo-res images from when I featured the building on my weekly page back in '99 to see the difference.


Today's archidose #137

exploded wine barrel, originally uploaded by jiathwee.

The National Wine Centre of Australia by the Grieve Gillette and Cox Architects. This building was featured on my weekly page in 2002.

To contribute your Flickr images for consideration, just:

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Mr. Green in the ...

Have a good weekend!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Today's archidose #136

High Court_3, originally uploaded by *chiara!.

The high court of Punjab, in Chandigarh, India by Le Corbusier, 1955.

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

After you left, they tore it apart

Chris Mottalini is a New York-based photographer who has documented vacant homes designed by Paul Rudolph, photographed just prior to demolition.

Westport, CT 1972-2007

Rudolph's building seems to be falling these days at a rate faster than even the busiest architect can throw them up. The house above in Westport received a fair amount of press earlier in the year when a last-minute attempt to save it failed.

Westerly, RI, 1956-2007

The Cerritto House in Rhode Island was spared the fate of other Rudolph creations, as its new owners moved it to Catskill, NY. Like other houses, this one depended a great deal on its site for its meaning, though I'm guessing the move is seen as a win over the apparently popular alternative these days.

Sarasota, FL, 1941-2007

Rudolph is known for many things, such as popularizing the short-lived brutalist Modernism of his Yale Art and Architecture building. He was also one of the major architects of the Sarasota School of Architecture, "a regional style of post-war architecture that emerged on Florida's Central West Coast." The Riverview High School is the latest building threatened in that state, in addition to houses like above.

While Mottalini's photos in the "after you left, they tore it apart" series strike a similar appeal as other images of ruins and the like, they serve a dual purpose of bringing attention to not only the state of these buildings shortly before their fate is sealed, but also raising the question of why such unique buildings are threatened to begin with.

(Thanks to Chris for the head's up!)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Today's archidose #135

Kunsthal*, originally uploaded by fdo h.

The Kunsthal in Rotterdam, Netherlands by Rem Koolhaas and OMA, 1992. Note the portrait of the architect at the end of the stepped corridor.

To contribute your Flickr images for consideration, just:

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Literary Dose #14

"Digital or not, today's notion of 'sustainability' mostly refers to, and derives from, a strategy of survival: a legitimate ambition for sure, even in posthistorical times. But an ambition without drive, without impetus, and ultimately -- by definition -- without much of a future. Perhaps this is something akin to what the founding fathers of postmodernism had in mind when they foretold the 'fragmentation of master narratives.' No matter how vocal, the maintenance of the status quo cannot contend with the master narratives that preceded it. By itself, reducing energy waste is unlikely to become an exciting architectural agenda. Sustainability is already an indispensable part of any building program, its technical and economic rationale self-evident and proven. The diverse ideologies underpinning it may thrive within the general compass of a postmodern environment, but today's single-minded pursuit of a 'sustainable' development is not a postmodern vision of social responsibility. It is postmodernism run out of gas."
- Mario Carpo, in "Sustainable?" from Log 10 (2007).

Monday, September 17, 2007

A Psychic Vacuum

No, this isn't the cover of a techno album, it's the web site of an art installation at the Old Essex Street Market at 117 Delancey (@ Essex) in New York's Lower East Side. In A Psychic Vacuum, artist Mike Nelson "[takes] audiences on an unexpected journey through reconstructed rooms, passageways, and meticulously assembled environments." It looks awesome.


Flickr member f.trainer wonderfully documented the various spaces a couple days after the opening. The images clearly show how the artist used "materials gleaned from local salvage yards and debris from the market's heyday," which would probably have been between the market's opening in 1940 and its eventual decline in the 1970s when supermarkets began to take hold.

117 Delancey by f.trainer
Photo by f.trainer

The line between art and environment is blurred to the extent that the former appears to be non-existent (minus the room with 80 tons of sand), as if the spaces were found in their current condition, after being inaccessible to the public since the city gained control in 1995 and closed portions of the market. To this day the market still operates, though not on the scale of its heyday.

117 Delancey by f.trainer
Photo by f.trainer

Of course, I can't say too much more about the spaces themselves, as I've yet to experience them in person. For sure I'll be visiting one of these weekends and will follow up with my own images and first-hand thoughts.

117 Delancey by f.trainer
Photo by f.trainer

(Thanks to Ana Maria for the head's up!)

Book Review: Bow-Wow from Post Bubble City

Bow-Wow from Post Bubble City by Atelier Bow-Wow

While the prolific duo of Momoyo Kajima and Yoshiharu Tsukamoto, may not be household names like many other Japanese architects, their oeuvre deserves as much attention as their more popular contemporaries. As Atelier Bow-Wow, the two have built a tremendous amount of (albeit mainly small) commissions in their minus-20-year existence, as well as seven books, including this monograph that collects almost 70 of their buildings, unbuilt projects, furniture, exhibitions, and publications.
The bilingual book is broken down into twelve chapters, as a means to organize the various projects by overriding thematic and exploratory tendencies, with a conversation by the duo introducing each chapter. The Gap Space chapter, for example, features three projects that take into consideration the space between buildings in dense urban areas. These typically leftover spaces are the product of independent buildings and the lack of shared walls cities like Tokyo, and the spaces are used to their advantage in the case of the three projects in that chapter.
Each project includes explanatory text, photographs, and the studio's axonometric drawings that will be familiar to those who have seen Bow-Wow's popular Made in Tokyo and Pet Architecture books. At the back of the book are a thorough index and bibliography, the former including statistics like floor-area ratio (F.A.R.) that reinforces a tendency of the duo to be highly skilled categorizers and organizers. What comes across in this book, as well as their previous non-monograph ones is an attempt to document the urban environment in various ways (via photographs, architectural drawings, descriptions, and statistics) in a manner that seems to be at odds with the apparently chaotic context of Tokyo. Perhaps that duo uses their organizational skills to find the underlying order in the chaos, a chaos that is the result of bureaucratic instruments like building codes and zoning ordinances, of which the F.A.R. is but one factor. Bow-Wow's designs exploit the potential in these limiting factors, in effect creating unique yet rooted buildings that develop from their idiosyncratic take on their architecture and their surroundings.

Hanamidori Cultural Center

Hanamidori Cultural Center in Tachikawa City Tokyo, Japan by Atelier Bow-Wow

The following text is excerpted from 2006's Bow-Wow from Post Bubble City for Atelier Bow-Wow's Hanamidori Cultural Center (2005) in Tokyo's Tachikawa City. Images are primarily culled from the Architectural Photography web site.

This is a facility that intensively combines various functions of information dissemination and exchange associated with the Green Culture Zone, newly opened within the Showa Memorial Park.

The basic concept was for a "growing architecture," in response to the developing activities of green culture and for "parkitecture": architecture integrating with the landscape, in which interior and exterior are connected. Our intention was for a space as comfortable as in the shade of a tree.

The building consists of 15 cylinders varied by size, structure, and materials, supporting an undulating roof covered by green. Under a large overarching roof, the interior space is defined by a glass enclosure, and visually connected with the exterior space. Every cylinder contains a different room for a specific purpose, and is treated as an independent building. The use of space between cylinders can be defined and reorganized by furniture.

During good weather, the operable elements can be opened up, using sash devices to enable an unhindered connection to the exterior. The roof trusses are extended from the cylinders, are formed by a T-bar and are synthesized in the manner of a spider's web. The trusses become higher at the connection with cylinder due to its moment diagram, producing a crater topography like on the moon. These craters receive a thick layer of soil to implant large trees, and the overall roof becomes green floating garden.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Today's archidose #134

cliff, originally uploaded by andrewpaulcarr.

Crampton Street residential development by Tate + Hindle, as part of the Elephant and Castle Regeneration Program in London's Southwark area.

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Half Dose #36: Kolumba

According to its web site, Kolumba's new building opened yesterday. Kolumba is the "art museum of the archbishopric of Cologne," Germany, designed by Peter Zumthor.

This is the second building to open this year by Zumthor, whose Bruder Klaus Chapel has received much press and visitors to the private chapel in Southern Germany, due to its design as much as for the fact that Zumthor produces very few buildings.

According to Kolumba's web site, the "architecture combines the ruins of the late Gothic church St. Kolumba, the chapel 'Madonna in the Ruins' (1950), the unique archaeological excavation (1973-1976), and the new building designed by the Swiss architect Peter Zumthor."

This layering of old and new is evident on the outside walls, where the new, minimal walls sit behind the old stone walls and openings of the late Gothic church. The windows of the new building sit in front of its own walls, in a slight gesture to the layering of the church openings below.

The most distinctive element of the exterior is a band that almost rings the building, of what appears to be small openings within the masonry exterior wall. These small openings create dappled effects on the inside walls, impressive effects per the image below.

It's difficult to get a full grasp on the building and its design based on the current documentation featured on Kolumba's web site (inclusive of the images above), though I'm guessing it's just a matter of time that the building gets its fair share of treatment in the press with the usual glossy photos, architectural drawings, and maybe even a video or two.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Today's archidose #133

Hoofddorp Bus Station by NIO, originally uploaded by dod:.

Bus station at Spaarne Hospital (aka The Amazing Whale Jaw) in Hoofddorp, Netherlands by NIO Architecten, 2005. See the station in its pre-peachy-paint state at Galinsky.

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