Just a collection of my thoughts or links to other thoughts on architecture and design.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Bonding Humanity and Landscape in a Perfect Circle

An exhibition at the Hammer Museum, makes a strong case that John Lautner's legacy has been curiously underestimated. NYT


Verizon's New Clothes

Verizon's old waterfront switching station will be shedding its limestone shell in favor of a high-performance glass skin. Limestone will be "quarried" from the building's exterior for uses elsewhere in the renovation project. Architect's Newspaper


Nouvel on NPR

Jean Nouvel was featured in today's Morning Edition on NPR. Read/Listen


'Only an Idiot Would Have Said No'

Star architect Jacques Herzog, the man behind the new Olympic Stadium in Beijing, tells SPIEGEL his arena is a subversive place where people can meet in locations not easily monitored by officials. He also defends his decision to build for a regime criticized for human rights violations. Spiegel


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Protest: China's Olympic Syndrome

Rampant paranoia threatens to make the 2008 games an act of damaging self-deception, writes Andrew Yang for The Architect's Newspaper. "Above all, what I blame most on the Olympics is how it implicates architecture in the fabrication of this whole spectacle, and even uses it to mask real urban problems confronting Beijing."


Monday, July 28, 2008


From Archinect:


Built on many layers of past empires and having shed glorious names like Byzantium, Constantinople and Stambuli, Istanbul is a much contested territory at the moment by foreign and domestic investors and by the international architects playing the we-know-how card. The city's regain of rock star status is on the charts everywhere. The original junction of the civilizations still performs that great act. Istanbul's architectural pedigree is impressive, you can study centuries old masterpieces still in use, have a cup of tea in the same coffee house where Corbu drew sketches for his Journey to the East and trace hillside homes by Bruno Taut, Ernst Egli and others. There are many Turkish modern buildings from the Republic's early years after the tired Ottoman Empire. Those were the days, the second quarter of twentieth century, when the idealist young architects of Turkey produced works worthy of their modernist mentors' praises and confident of their own identity. Then, something drastic happened in 60's. Coupled or tripled with political unrest, democratic regression, economy without ethics, cities and buildings without architects became the norm. Architects and planners simply did not disappear; they have just become puppets in the hands of speculative builders who did not know what a plan meant and why there should be architects designing buildings. These instant entrepreneurs caused a lot of damage that most Turkish cities will never recover from. Although, with its largely infected fabric, Istanbul is not beyond the reach of urban solutions within its physically and economically dilapidated sections, and against its dubious land transactions. These days, many foreign architects are visiting the city, giving lectures and offering solutions. Bold plans pitched to the mayors and high-level politicians, distant friendships made and large districts of the city are eyed, often in the name of unfair gentrification schemes called, 'Urban Transformation Projects.' Market researchers and PR people from the Gulf Region, Western Europe and United States based large firms are busy to get contracts signed for their developer clients. Their architects are also busy finding local offices to carry on their projects designed in their home offices elsewhere. They want a building in this highly symbolic place that spans between the continents and joins them via the monumental handshake of two Istanbuls, one from the East and one from the West. Civilizations will have to brace each other over Bosporus before they fly off to Baku, Almaty and thereoff to build the future cities. In Istanbul, the task is mainly a repair job, but a very delicate one. Lesser known to most outsiders, this fascinating metropolis is also a place of beehive like activity for the domestic talent. A place for a young group of Turkish architects who are mainly surviving through national competitions, designing for emerging new communities, businesses and institutions. They want to shake things up, establish their territory, build various scale buildings compatable with their foreign counterparts, and perhaps start to export their talents in all directions from their strategic location. This article started out as a rather personal research to find out what was going on in Turkey via Istanbul and its architects point of view. I was trying to get a certain cross section of younger generation of Turkish architects, who were mostly educated in Turkey and ask them about their work, challenges and daily grunge. It quickly developed into a multiple long distance short interviews with the help of Emine Merdim-Yılmaz, editor in chief of Arkitera, I was able to construct my own very first 'five architects' curatorial article, to say the least... Some readers will be surprised with the familiarity of the issues these architects are dealing with, and if you are slightly familiar with the chaotic context where they are executing their work, you would appreciate their resilience, quest for quality and fighting spirit. The unchecked obtuse growth, many irreversible urban design and architectural blunders committed on daily basis in their vicinity, these Young Turks have to wear their battle gears on all phases of their work and year around with no rest on sight... They are political, active, business savvy, determined and restless. We have few things to learn from them. I asked similar and sometimes the same questions to the architects, and when I understood the context of their practice better, the preciousness of their work became all the more apparent. They say, as an architect you'll get better as you get older, but you will be doing your most important and difficult work during the youth of your professional life. - Orhan Ayyüce, Senior Editor, Archinect With special thanks to Emine Merdim-Yılmaz, Editor in Chief, Arkitera, all the architects and their staff who participated in these interviews.

DB ARCHITECTURE Bünyamin Derman / Dilek Topuz Derman www.dbmimarlik.com.tr image

Bünyamin Derman, photo courtesy of Arkitera

Orhan Ayyüce- How do you describe your involvement with architectural competitions and your way of winning them. What it takes to win a competition? Bünyamin Derman/Dilek Topuz Derman- Competition is a widely used tool for acquiring new business all over the world. It is the key to both improve and create awareness of oneself as a young architect. From this perspective, it is surely not a coincidence that our career started with competitions. National and international competitions serve as platforms to compete with highly experienced architects. Everybody competes to win of course but there is no clear-cut formula for it. If you had done your homework, have an original idea and have expressed yourself articulately, then an experienced selection committee would not be indifferent to your work. And, the journey is as important as the destination you arrive at in the end. OA- How do you feel about doing highly complex and large project like airports early in your carrier? BD/DTD- Dalaman Airport is special both as a project and as a practice without a doubt. This project is a milestone of our career in terms of organization, coordination, fieldwork, and client relationships. And, the high standards we have achieved with it are to last. We can clearly express with contentment that we continue to make large scale projects with great quality. image

Dalaman Airport, Bünyamin Derman with Emre Arolat Architects


Dalaman Airport, Bünyamin Derman with Emre Arolat Architects

OA- How do you describe the transformation of the architectural scene in Turkey? BD/DTD- With the globalization of markets, Turkey has become an attractive market for investors. Although this mobility seems attractive because of the variety and number of projects, competition metrics have changed. Foreign investors are bringing banks, supply chains, and architects with them. This, by weakening the competitive position of the local firms, has forced them to re-organize to do business with global standards. In other words, if you want to exist and manifest yourself with quality work, you'd better be good at what you do. And, that is what we are trying to do. image

Dalaman Airport, Bünyamin Derman with Emre Arolat Architects

OA- Do you actively seek work abroad? BD/DTD- Naturally, we do not border ourselves with national projects. Our international presence best manifests itself with the awards we have got for several international competitions we had attended. In addition to that we have international proposals, projects and consultancy work we are executing for the time being. image

Antalya Film Museum, , DB ARCHITECTURE

TEĞET ARCHITECTURE Mehmet Kütükçüoğlu / Ertuğ Uçar www.teget.com image

Mehmet Kütükçüoğlu / Ertuğ Uçar

Orhan Ayyüce- Where do you see your firm in coming years? Ertuğ Uçar- We want to be a firm synonymous with quality and contributions to architectural work, instead of a firm synonymous with total square footage built. As echoed in our web site, we want to be collaborative, open to criticism and we want to seek that critical environment around us. Also, we would like to remain above the trends and instead of form and materiality plays, we want to produce timeless line of work with plan based solutions incorporating interiors and exteriors. image

Baro of Istanbul, TEĞET Architecture


Baro of Istanbul TEĞET Architecture


Baro of Istanbul TEĞET Architecture

OA- How do you define your role in the transformation of the architectural scene in Turkey? EU- In the urbanized areas of Turkey architects don't play a major role in the building process. There is hardly a culture of architecture exists. There are no standards for doing architecture. For example; client architect relations are usually very amateurish, the fees established by the architects' guild are very low to develop a decent project, usually architect's job is considered done upon the delivery of construction drawings and there is a disdain for architects who are doing construction administration, it is viewed as unnecessary, etc... So, in this case, the architect is usually asked to do a lot of sacrifices for the love of the profession. Other words, conditions are not healthy. Many problems coming up during the development and construction phase are ending up unresolved. This is naturally leading to badly finished product. You have to be resilient to work under these circumstances and in order to establish some standards, you have to stand tall at all times. OA- What are the most specific challenging situations you are currently dealing with, in regards to practicing architecture in Turkey? EU- First, most common problem we are running into is to be a part of construction process. We have to work hard to convince the client that we should be a part of the construction process. Even the Maritime Museum project which we have won through a competition and worked two years to develop, we made a huge effort to stay on the board for the construction administration and we had to talk many bureaucrats from bottom up. It is still not clear we are going be the project administrators as architects. image

Maritime Museum, TEĞET Architecture


Maritime Museum, TEĞET Architecture


Maritime Museum, section, TEĞET Architecture

Second, it is very hard to make specialized areas like landscape, lighting, fire and emergency systems designs part of the project and establish budgets for the consultants. You can imagine the lack of completeness without these consultants. However we don't particularly have difficulties with the design process. Since our clients coming to us after seeing our previous projects, outside of the programming and technical issues we don't have too much interruption during the design process. OA- How do you compare architectural education abroad and in Turkey? EU- I have not studied abroad. I am teaching design studios in Istanbul Technical University and Yildiz Technical University and invited to juries in other schools. Sometimes I see the work of foreign students. There is a difference but since the students are the same, I am thinking the difference is coming from the instructors. Other-words, the fabric is the same, but there is a problem with the tailor... However, I cannot really say too much without seeing more student environments abroad. image

Belek Homes, Belek, Turkey, TEĞET Architecture

TECE ARCHITECTURE Tülin Hadi / Cem İlhan www.tecemimarlik.com Orhan Ayyüce- You have won a competition to build a stadium in a suburb of Izmir, but after the competition the project was put on hold. I am from Izmir and when I saw your small stadium in the newspapers, I was excited. Is there any hope or progress toward building the Yeşilyurt stadium? Tülin Hadi/Cem İlhan- Yeşilyurt Stadium was a powerful example of our concept and design strategy in resolving the urban and building scale problem. It has received the praises of architectural community and the selection jury. However, unfortunately, there is no hope that it will become a reality. The local mayor who was a jury member as well, turned around and wanted to build a small sports arena on the same lot instead. Our efforts to convince him did not result in anything. Since it was a competition outside the jurisdiction of the Architects Guild, they could not force it either. It will now remain as an example in the literature of small sports complex designs... image

Yeşilyurt Sports Complex, TECE Architecture


Yeşilyurt Sports Complex, TECE Architecture

OA- How do you improve and maintain your practice? TH/Cİ- We started with competitions. We have just completed our 15th. year as a firm and even though they are few, we have almost never got any project outside of the competitions. Most of our team of architects are here because we do mainly competitions. We believe in doing competitions, solving and engaging in different problems and challenging ourselves. However, we are now more selective of competitions because increasingly juries are selecting images instead of solutions. For our visibility, we don't use anything other than our website and publications. We don't have a marketing department. We get a lot of support from architectural community and from our colleagues. If possible, we don't want to exceed our eight people team and still remain competitive through our collaborators and consultants. Clearly though, we need to expand outside of the architectural community. image

Siemens Employees Social Center, TECE Architecture

OA- How do you describe the transformation of the architectural scene in Turkey? TH/Cİ- It is necessary to think architectural work together with, employers/clients, architects, building sector. And, the market is increasingly accepting design work and ideas as a commodity it needs to pay for. Even though it still needs to improve, this is the time the employers/clients are paying more attention to architecture. It is also a good time for architects who are having more choices than ever in terms of available materials and construction technology. Design, build and administer triangle is having a better reception. Furthermore, they are slowly becoming the standard procedure. The firms who are understanding and defining the programmatic needs, following consistent and healthy time schedules, taking their imaginative work closest to reality and crowning these virtues with international success are giving a lot of encouragement to the other firms. Turkish firms are increasingly getting confident in their work. Presently, architects in Turkey are in a very busy and consistent work tempo. Many Turkish firms are working on creative projects both here and abroad. They are also acting as local project architects for big foreign offices. Even though it does not sound good to be somebody's project architect, the experience gained from such projects are proving to be very important in terms of establishing production, time scheduling and budgetary standards used in global practices. In this time period, even the small firms are adopting in house hierarchies, organizational charts, production standards and professional work habits. The firms who have adopted these methods recorded growth. The problems of rapid development and growth have been countered with youthful energy, adaptability and the collaborative effort among the younger firms. However the fruits of these gains are also depend on the sustainability of these practices and the flow of the incoming projects. Most firms' exported work is directed toward Russia and Caspian Sea region. The Western influenced work of Turkish firms have not produced substantial work for these places in terms of cultural and geographical similarities. In fact, if you think in terms of Dubai, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, the clients are not interested in cultural similarities anyway. In the latest period, the largest sector in Turkish construction industry were the shopping malls and the housing or the combination of the two. With the exception of few projects like Santral Istanbul and Sabanci Museum, there has not been a lot of public projects in Turkey. One would think there would be many competitions for public projects because of Istanbul becoming the cultural capitol of Europe for a year or so in 2012., but so far there is not much activity. The city of Pecs in Hungary is already have projects underway for the same event and we feel left behind already. But we should not be hopeless considering the political turmoil we are experiencing at the moment. ERGINOĞLU / ÇALISLAR ARCHITECTURE Kerem Erginoğlu / Hasan Çalışlar www.ecarch.com Orhan Ayyüce- How do you define the existence of globally informed clientele in Turkey? Kerem Erginoğlu/ Hasan Çalışlar- Clients often come to us with images or a trend in mind for a given project. While they may be aware of what is happening architecturally/ design-wise globally, unfortunately the time constraints are such that the design process is generally quite short. imageimage

Burc Beach, Erginoğlu/Çalışlar Architecture

OA- How do you see the transformation of Turkish cities taking a place? KE/HÇ- Much to the demise of our cities, architects are generally not afforded the opportunity to be an active part of this process. City planning & design projects are generated and decided upon by city council bureaucrats- not architects. Resultantly, this transformation is taking place with minimal input from specialists/ professionals and without the needed groundwork necessary to deliver desirable outcomes. imageimage

New Istanbul, Erginoğlu/Çalışlar Architecture

OA- What are the most challenging situations you are currently dealing with, in regards to practicing architecture in Turkey? KE/HÇ- The Turkish development laws, and the lack of an industry-wide Code of Building Regulations, including standards and specifications. image

Mixed Use Center, Baku, Azerbaijan, Erginoğlu/Çalışlar Architecture

ÇIRAKOĞLU ARCHITECTURE LTD. Alişan Çırakoğlu http://www.cirakoglu.com/ image

Alişan Çırakoğlu and Co.

Orhan Ayyüce- ODTÜ Teknokent is an important and ambitious building. Do you see it influencing your future work? Alişan Çırakoğlu- ODTÜ (METU) Teknokent Galyum Blok project was a particularly significant case for my architectural practice. First of all the building would somehow be a part of METU (Middle East Technical University) campus where I studied architecture, and the physical environment of the campus and especially the faculty of architecture building itself had been shaped as a result of an ambitious design approach. I believe having the opportunity to design a building in such an environment encouraged me to stay further away from certain market-dictated-stylistic-clichés of building production process than I can manage to in our other works. Our client was the university and the contractor was also a company which belongs to METU Development Foundation. This obviously led to a totally different architect client relationship than we got used to in typical commercial commissions. The whole design and construction process of Galyum Blok presented us a projection of how a building erection may take place in terms of collaboration with professionals for our future works. image

ODTÜ Teknokent, ÇIRAKOĞLU Architecture


ODTÜ Teknokent, ÇIRAKOĞLU Architecture

OA- How do you maintain a collaborative practice? AÇ- The building industry or in more general terms, the formation of the urban environment now involves more individuals from many number of disciplines. We are aware that being corporate makes life easier for all parties of the industry, such as service providers like us or the actual builders. But we are also aware that such an ease may take us to a boredom and make us loose the "architectural essence" we are trying to keep in all of our production of any scale. Rather than positioning the persona of the architect at the top of a hierarchical order we are trying to keep "architecture" at the core of building production process. We are getting organized as a team in this manner. OA- How do you describe the transformation of the architectural scene in Turkey? AÇ- Unfortunately construction work is everybody's business in Turkey and as a result the hardest part of running an architectural practice is convincing the potential client to invest in the "architectural project" instead of paying for architectural drawings. OA- Do you actively seek work abroad? AÇ- We were having contacts with firms abroad for architectural projects, especially from Kazakhstan but up to now none of them went further than preliminary conceptual studies. I actually do not seek work abroad at the moment not because we do not want to do work out there but I do not have any idea about how to contact companies especially in Europe and United States. image

ODTÜ Teknokent, entrance. Photo, Arkitera, ÇIRAKOĞLU Architecture


Designer Cities: The Development Of the Superstar Urban Plan

Zaha Hadid has begun redesigning the rundown industrial city of Kartal, Turkey; Rem Koolhaas is designing Waterfront City, Dubai; Daniel Libeskind is designing the downtown of Orestad, a five-kilometer-long urban area south of Copenhagen; David Chipperfield won a competition in March to create a plan for a new art and technology quarter in Segovia, Spain; ... "We are seeing an emergence of a new industry," says Dennis Frenchman, director of the city design and development program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's urban-studies department. "It's not real-estate development; it's not architecture; it's not city planning. All I can do is name it 'the city-building industry.'" Wall Street Journal | CITY PLANNING THROUGH HISTORY: pg 1, pg 2


Friday, July 25, 2008

Starbucks Redux

The July issue of Architect asked five architects/firms to redesign Starbucks - designLAB, Pentagram Architects, William E. Massie, Studio Works, and STUDIOS architecture. Read | More about Pentagram's design on their blog


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Making Plans

Raumplan, masterplan, plan libre, planned community, game plan, health plan, escape plan, business plan, floor plan ... There is likely no other word in the architect's, landscape architect's, urban designer's, urban planner's vocabulary that is more vacuous than "plan." When uttered, its use and application are completely overlooked, or resigned to technicality. Can the agency of the plan be entirely rethought to no longer be simply relegated to a set of descriptive orthographic drawings? Can the plan be resuscitated into new life, new applications, new considerations? The plan keeps coming up again The plan means nothing; stays the same But the plan won't accomplish anything If it's not implemented - The Plan, Built to Spill (1999)

What's the Plan? Often overlooked and recently playing supporting actor in the age of the section, the plan is ripe for rethinking. More recently, plan drawing has been absorbed into representation systems of mapping, diagramming, and indexing, therefore relegating plan drawings simply to plan-making. Frequently assigned the role of orientation device, the plan is subjected to quantitative scrutiny while the section is permitted qualitative indulgence. The conventional system of architectural plan-making predominately presents itself as evidence of area, structure, and territory. But as with all orthographic drawings, plans can never be experienced as such. Demanding near omnipresence, a plan drawing cannot be easily occupied as it privileges a view our vision cannot replicate. Plans are vehicles for transpositional experiences. To overcome the inaccuracy of plans, architects are often asked to "walk us through the plans." Therefore, though underequipped for the task, plans are employed to act as spatial machines. I would argue for a renewed independence of the plan from the grips of both aestheticized mapping and mathematic drafting. This new "plan" can be seen as a set of pre-considered actions unfolding responsively to new information in amanner similar to a plan but dynamic (like a section) and temporal (like a diagram). This sets a distinction between plan-making and making plans. Architecture typically relies more upon plan-making, an almost documentary exercise. In contrast to this, making plans permits architecture a more atmospheric unknown quantity as the plan invites only a cloudy forecast of its potential. A common inquiry when confronting a problem or issue is "Whats the plan?" Making a plan embraces the full meaning of this question. Making a plan is a machine prescribing a set of actions and relationships, whose result is not only not yet known, but possibly not even relevant. As in fuzzy logic, making a plan is a rigorous description of uncertainty. It is an exercise in anticipating the atmospheres of architecture. Making plans are forecasts of techniques and strategies, a roadmap of actions yet to be executed as in a business plan, a marketing plan, or a lesson plan. Here, the plan is suggestive of the phasing or implementation of work more than it is its anticipated outcome. It is a recipe, an outline, or a template for the organization of matter. Though, like with business plans, sometimes the plan is ill-conceived. And the plan frequently lies, or tells (innocent) incomplete truths, of the anticipated result. The plan is often evasive. -------- Following are nine plans that embrace making a plan: image

Page spread from Danielewski's House of Leaves (2000).

1. Discrepancy In Mark Danielewski's 2000 novel House of Leaves, one of the three embedded stories follows a family that has recently moved into a new house. Upon moving in, the new occupants discover a previously unaccounted for space. Attempting to understand how this space has just appeared, they measure the outside length of the house as compared to the inside length. This yields a 5/16" discrepancy. Numerous recalculations only affirm this difference. The inside measures longer than the outside. This leads to a series of filmed expeditions into this space. In Danielewskis extreme poche, the plan deviates from expectation, revealing a rogue space that eludes even the quantitative logic of the plan. Its presence is only proven by dimensional mathematics. The plan is often littered with discrepancies, fortunately. image

Eno and Schmidt's Oblique Strategies cards (1975).

2. Strategy Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt collaborated on a set of cards called Oblique Strategies that was released in 1975. They realized that they each kept by their side a set of suggestions or critiques that spurned them on in moments of hesitation or pressure. These were intended to instigate unforeseen outcomes prior to settling on an existing strategy or plan. Like little voices, the cards suggest: "simple subtraction," or "emphasize differences," or "Look closely at the most embarrassing details & amplify them." Oblique Strategies demands a willingness to have a plan pushed in another direction; To have a plan voluntarily hijacked. The plan can and should be reconsidered. image

Results of Martin Wattenberg's Shape of Song program (2001).

3. Shape Martin Wattenberg has devised a technique and program for illustrating the shape of a song. The software works like pattern recognition. It seeks out similar sound sequences and brackets them with a translucent arch. Similarities and sub-similarities at a range of durations stack up eradicating the need for notes and staff. Wattenberg's venture highlights that planning is often the management or curation of repeatable elements. How often to repeat and where within a work? The plan yields unexpected symmetries. image

A playbook fragment from the Arizona Cardinals.

4. Playbook Every good team keeps a playbook that documents rehearsed plans of action, or plays, for use in the heat of a game. (Even the hail mary, the ultimate desperation play, has its own setup.) The success of the game plan is the frequency and order in which they are used. But it is also dependent upon knowing which plays should not be used with which opponents. The plan can be changed … at the last minute. 5. Leverage Twelve Leverage Points were devised by scientist Donella Meadows to address the possibility for change within a large system. In this case Meadows was referring to the environment as such a system. She documents twelve properties in which to intervene that allow a small transformation to ripple fully across a larger system. The plan should be entirely reconfigured when tweaked. image

The patterned plan(s) of Archizoom's No-Stop City was generated using a typewriter (1969).

6. Indeterminate The plans for Archizoom's 1969 No-Stop City were typed out on a typewriter. The plan emerged from limitations of typesetting: leading, tabs, indentation, and spacing. Appropriately enough, the project conceived as architectureless architecture is represented with a planless plan. Operating more like graph paper, the plan was seductively incomplete and awaiting occupation. The plan is often vacuous intentionally. image

A scene in the "most miserable place on earth" (according to Leth) from The Five Obstructions (2003).

7. Obstruction In Lars von Trier's 2003 documentary film The Five Obstructions, he invites his mentor Jorgen Leth to remake the 1967 film The Perfect Human with certain limitations, or "obstructions." Von Trier attempts to crack what he perceives as Leth's tendency toward comfort. The first re-make forces Leth to shoot in Cuba with no set using shots no longer than 12 frames. What initially seems to be limiting and constraining becomes what von Trier later calls "a gift." The plan should have rules that necessitate ingenuity. image

Plus-Minus by Karlheinz Stockhausen (1963).

8. Formula Karlheinz Stockhausens 1963 piece Plus-Minus contained the notes reading "Instrumentation unspecified; Duration unlimited," yet it contained six pages of instructions, seven pages of musical notations, and seven pages of symbolic notations. Each symbolic notation page contains 53 frames read left to right and up to down. Within each frame is a form-scheme outlining duration, form, and effect. The piece does not declare the number of participants nor the instruments, nor even the range of notes permitted. Instead the plan is pure pattern, a intricate colour-by-numbers. The plan is a formula offering a variety of uses and abuses. image

Plan of 21st Century Museum of Art, Kanazawa by SANAA (2004).

9. Relational Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawas (SANNA) Kanazawa Museum of Contemporary Art and Toledo Museum of Art demonstrate the plan as a hyper-legible system of relational spaces, yet both projects maintain ambiguities about the role of circulation. Movement is absorbed into the buildings entirety, as in Kanazawa, or within the shared edges of spaces, as in Toledo. The plan is the arrangement of programs with degrees of liquidity. Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License

Turning the Bus Terminal Into a Skyscraper

Three architects' proposals imagine a skyscraper atop the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown. NYT


Preliminary Images for Port Authority Tower Released

Curbed has gotten a hold of some shoddy images of the three front runners up to design the new 1.3 million square foot office tower that will rise above one of Manhattan's more depressing icons.


The Solution or Part of the Problem? Hutongs and Gentrification.

At a time when the siheyuans, some of them centuries old, have been disappearing at an alarming rate, these renovators, including Westerners and some newly moneyed Chinese, are emerging as the city's best hope for holding on to what's left of the old hutongs. NYT related


Les Bains des Docks

Jean Nouvel's baths building opened last July 17th on Le Havre. A revitalisation project lead by the city in order to create together with the mandatory shopping centre a unique destination in the long term. Flickr photos - Press (in french)


A 7,500-Square-Foot Ad for Chanel, With an Artistic Mission

A futuristic art pavilion, commissioned by Chanel and designed by London architect Zaha Hadid, will make a temporary appearance in Central Park this fall. NYT


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Lost in the New Beijing: The Old Neighborhood

A construction boom tied to the Olympics is threatening two types of housing in China's capital. NYT


More Olympic Architecture

While a dark flood of pseudo-critical article's on Beijing's urban transformation is clogging the international press channels, few have focused on stadia other than the Cube or the Nest. Bert de Muynck | movingcities published in a recent issue of MARK Magazine 'Olympic Architecture' highlighting the background of the basket stadium, velodrome, tennis stadia,... and others while checking their impact on the urban development of Beijing.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

CityRacks Competition Finalists Announced

CityRacks, a competition that seeks to find new solutions for NYC's bike locking/parking fixtures, has announced the finalists. Bustler


New House, Available for Delivery, Convenient to Museum

Burst* 008, a full-scale house for the Museum of Modern Art, was a photo finish for its two architects, Jeremy Edmiston and Douglas Gauthier. NYT


Serpentine Gallery construction Time lapse Photograph

sorry yeah Frank gehry sorry yeah sorry yeah frank gehry gehry yaeh yeah oh yeah. in You tube


Prefab Housing's Future? Really?

With a shiny cubic pod, a scaffolding wrapped in transparent solar panels and a jigsaw-puzzle cottage, New York's Museum of Modern Art has turned a next-door vacant lot into a tiny, giddy world's fair. Bloomberg | prev.


Monday, July 21, 2008

Paris Plages '08

2,000 tons of sand, 85 boats, 950 trees, and 61 beach cabins have been temporarily installed on an expressway in Paris. Guardian


ShowCase: St Anne's Sure Start Centre

From the Archinect Feed:


ShowCase is a new feature on Archinect, presenting exciting new work from designers representing all creative fields and all geographies. We are accepting nominations for upcoming ShowCase features - if you would like to suggest a project, please send us a message.

This commission for a new community building was won in an open RIBA competition. Public consultation followed, informing the design of the building which responds to the immediate context of Parsons Heath and its topography. image

The building seen from across the rooftops of Colchester (Photo: Edmund Sumner)

The building functions as a community café and as the base for specific health, training and childcare services, and is also used for activities and events such as parties and performances. Local community organizations have permanent offices in the building, while an "incubator" unit provides space for small businesses.


The more robust external elevations seen from the Heath (Photo: Edmund Sumner)


Secure entrance from informal courtyard prior to completion of landscaping (Photo: Edmund Sumner)

The building is set over two stories, with the ground floor at two different levels to follow the topography of the site. Its dynamic undulating form creates an identifiable entrance, encouraging local enjoyment of the new facility and the Heath beyond. The shape of the building envelops a large existing oak tree, which provides solar shading and creates an informal ,west facing courtyard separated from the Heath, with a series of external spaces between entrance, community garden, and secure play area. Two highly glazed main entrances open onto a central café with generous views through the building. This space contains a reception and forms a hub to the community spaces at ground floor, the childcare spaces at lower ground floor, and the office accommodation at first floor.


View through entrance and Café space into Heath (Photo: Edmund Sumner)


Detail of timber-clad triangulated roof (Photo: Edmund Sumner)

Technical considerations informed the development of the design from an early stage, alongside this essential social dimension. The particular form of the building was developed through a series of model studies using an analysis of views and movement on the site. The innovative timber-clad triangulated roof can be seen from above from a number of the surrounding roads and green spaces, creating a local landmark and beacon. The design emphasizes simple sustainability through flexibility and dual use for maximum economy and energy efficiency, with natural ventilation, natural day lighting, and sustainably sourced materials.


Shared stair and ramp parallel to fall in external landscape (Photo: Edmund Sumner)


Interior of community room showing roof light and views into landscape (Photo: Edmund Sumner)

The finished building is a result of close collaboration throughout the design team and project team. The innovative geometry of the building created a number of potentially challenging junctions and details. In particular, the innovative timber detailing to the rain screen includes sharp mitred corners in complex three-dimensional junctions between planes and with components such as windows and roof lights. image

View towards informal courtyard around Oak tree (Photo: Edmund Sumner)

imageDSDHA DSDHA's architecture creatively negotiates diverse interests to produce sustainable and dynamic buildings and spaces. They respond in practical and inventive ways to contemporary attitudes about life. The practice's ideas build upon what the client brings to a project and always give back much more. Strategy and engagement are integral to DSDHA's methodology, whatever the size or type of project – be it on the scale of a building or urban design, in the arts, education, public or private sectors. Research plays a vital role in their work, both in the growing range of projects and in the contribution to the culture of architecture from teaching to writing, judging to broadcasting. DSDHA is an award winning practice established by Deborah Saunt and David Hills. Claire McDonald became the third director in 2006.


A Greener Britain one house at a time.

Elisabeth Rosenthal examines Britain's attempt to "green" residential housing stock. A range of methods have grown in popularity including; smart metering, the retro-fitting of older housing stock with better efficiencies, green roofs and the addition of on-site wind or solar generation. NYT


Vibrant Gateway Planned for Lincoln Center Campus

Describing it as a "front porch" for Lincoln Center, the architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien have redesigned Harmony Atrium between West 62nd and 63rd Streets as a "theatrical garden" featuring 20-foot-high walls of plants and rods of falling water. NYT


From diagram to architecture: Tate Modern extension redesigned by Herzog and de Meuron

The redesigned extension to the Tate Modern contemporary art museum in London, launched today, shows Jacques Herzog moving from what would effectively have been a built diagram of stacked boxes - his first attempt of two years ago - into something considerably more smoothly sculpted. It's turning into architecture. Gabion | Previously


Parks and Wreck: L.A.'s Fight for Public Green Space

The most park-impoverished major city in America, Los Angeles devotes only 4 percent of its land to public greenery. By contrast, parkland comprises 17 percent of New York City and 9 percent of Boston (where 97 percent of the city's children have immediate access to a park — as opposed to one-third of kids in Los Angeles). The LAWeekly's MATTHEW FLEISCHER gives LA a well-deserved slap in the face, focusing primarily on the lack of energy dedicated to creating successful outdoor space. Read



From Archinect:

NEXT-GENE20 is a project that challenges 20 architects from around the world to design villas along the Northeast Coast National Scenic Area in Taiwan. A little over a week ago the designs were unveiled in a ceremony in Taipei, attended by all the architects, developers and project organizers. Now they are available online, here, with more detailed presentations scheduled for the official exhibition at the International Exhibition of Architecture at the Venice Biennale, September 14 - November 23.

Invited architects include: Kengo Kuma (www.kkaa.co.jp), Akihisa Hirata (www.hao.nu), Hailim Suh (www.himma.co.kr), Toshiko Mori (www.tmarch.com), MVRDV (www.mvrdv.nl), IaN+ (www.ianplus.it), Fernando Menis (www.menis.es), GRAFT (www.graftlab.com), Julien De Smedt (www.jdsarchitects.com), Shu-Chang Kung (www.auradesign.com.tw), David Chun-Tei Tseng (www.citicrafts.com.tw), Kris Yao (www.artech-inc.com), Jay Wen-Chieh Chiu (www.abplus.com.tw), Kyle Chia-Kai Yang (www.arctangent.com), Hsueh-Yi Chien, Irving Hung-Hui Huang, Ray Chen, Sheng-Yuan Huang (http://fieldoffice.myweb.hinet.net), and Yu-Tung Liu (www.arch.nctu.edu.tw). image

Kengo Kuma - Aimai House


Akihisa Hirata - Architecture Farm


Hailim Suh - Ridge House


Toshiko Mori - FlexiVilla


Yung Ho Chang - Triptych House


MVRDV - Observer


IaN+ - Villa Palladio


Fernando Menis - House Aurum


Graft - bei-lin = shell under copious rain


Julien De Smedt - The Twirl House


Shu-Chang Kung - Radix House


David Chun-Tei Tseng - Terra Vista


Kris Yao - COCOON


Wen-Chieh Chiu - The Elf on the hilltop


Kyle Chia-Kai Yang - The House Q – In Phrase of Stratus


Hsueh-Yi Chien - Chromosome-H


Irving Hung-Hui Huang - Z-HOUSE


Ray Chen - Floating Courtyard


Sheng-Yuan Huang - Monsoon and the earthworms


Yu-Tung Liu - Calligraphic House