Showing posts from category: Design
As you are climbing uphill; what seems like a continuous climb throughout the many hills of Parc Guell, you bravely steel a glance or two downwards and think that this is it. This must be one of the more beautiful experiences of your life. Gingerly you take each step with your camera in hand, careful not to drop the camera or anything else as you find yourself looking at, well, everything. It’s an overwhelming experience, and in a good way. Earlier in the year, my dad passed away, thereby making this my first vacation in a decade where I did not suffer from any family distractions. No worries, but did I ever miss him! I still do. But it was one less thing to ponder as I was transversing uneven stone steps with nary a handrail in sight. But I was just starting to speak of the beauty about this park, a must-see for anyone who travels to Barcelona, when I hit a few detours. Count Guell was a prominent businessman in Barcelona at the early part of the last century. He engaged a prominent architect, Antoni Gaudi, to design a garden city with sixty houses on a hill called Montana Pelada. The venture was not successful and only two houses were built. But an unsuccessful venture led way to one of the more beautiful parks you will ever see. At the entrance, you will find the main staircase with a dragon fountain made of broken bits of glazed ceramic tile, a signature style for Gaudi. This leads to the Salon of a Hundred Columns which really number eighty-four, but who cares? The ceiling of the salon has more tiled mosaics. In fact, they’re everywhere in sight. The on-site museum contains splendid furniture that Gaudi designed. And so it goes; you’ve walked for three hours, and have a big smile on your face. You can’t wait to tell the story to all you know.
You’ve planned a week in Barcelona because you are wise and know that you will not be bored for a second. You will want to come back. As you continue drinking in the various Gaudi shrines throughout this beautiful city, you get to understand a bit more about the architect with each building. Casa Batllo is truly amazing and I would suggest to go early in the day to avoid crowds. The details on the doorknobs and locks; the center court and other means of ventilation were ahead of their time. The rooftop dragon is not to be believed. Next up is Casa Mila, his iconic monument to the Modernist movement. It does not seem very livable, but once again, it’s all in the details. The Sagrada Familia is no problem for anyone familiar with waiting on lines at Disney. Wear comfortable shoes! If you are able to go to the top of the towers, then you are lucky for you will view this beautiful city in the most unique way and it is breathtaking.
Okay, I lied. It’s not all about Gaudi. It’s also about the food. As I’m re-reading my diary, the secondary descriptions that do constant battle with architecture are of the fantastic food. As I read about the various meals of fish, meats and risotto, my mouth waters and I desire to savor them all over again. Since we are incapable of dining at 10:00 PM, we chose instead to have our main meals of the day at lunch and have a more casual al fresco experience in the evening.
I lied some more. It’s all about the walk. Ever since I was twenty and I traveled to San Francisco with friends, I have always made note of how compatible I am with the place I am visiting. San Francisco was fine but I quickly realized I couldn’t live with Californians. In Barcelona, at some point we stopped and thought, “could I live here?” Yes was the answer. It is walkable; it is friendly; it is safe and clean; it is modern; it is old. Barcelona is ideal. The week was brimming over with a travelogue of lists consisting of everywhere we ambled and places we didn’t quite get to at this time. Maybe, next time? Because there was so much good stuff that really good architects had the sense to design and get built all in walking distance of each other. More Gaudi, so much to see in the Gothic Quarter as you walk past what is left of a Roman aqueduct, the Picasso Museum and the Palau de la Musica Catalana (a music hall with a gorgeous stained glass ceiling). And then there’s Gehry’s Fish. Barcelona’s golden fish sculpture sits in Port Olimpic at the base of one of the tallest buildings in the city. Frank Gehry was commissioned to build the piece for the 1992 Summer Olympics and brought the city to the attention of the world! Wow!
aia, architect, architects, architecture, architecture critic, Art, buildings, built environment, Design, Engineering, modern architecture, modern buildings, new buildings, Sculpture
architects, architecture, Barcelona, Disney, Frank Gehry, Gaudi, Gehry, Palau de la Musica Catalana, Parc Guell, Picasso Museum, Spain
House in Carapicuiba by spbr Architecture is set in a small valley far below street level. To design a house that provided for both living and work in this unique site, the architects created a multi-level structure that separates private and professional space. The entrance to the concrete and glass building, reached via a steel-grid bridge, provides two options upon entry: a descending staircase to the living space, or an ascending staircase to a tube-like structure that serves as the office.
Full story and all photos in Architizer
architecture, Design, Engineering, Interior design, modern architecture, Sculpture
architecture, Brazil, Carapicuiba, David McFadden, design, spbr Architecture
After Sandy, the lifeguard stations on New York’s beaches were destroyed. But these new versions are built to withstand a storm–and might be a model for how to think about building better for the future.
Garrison Architects has created a plan to introduce net-zero energy, flood-resistant, modular structures along the beaches of Coney Island, Staten Island, and Rockaway Beach
Jim Garrison is a busy man. Just before Christmas, his architecture firm got a call from New York City officials asking if he could design and build nearly 50 lifeguard stations and other beach structures to replace the ones wiped out by Sandy. The one catch: The new units needed to open to the public in five months, on Memorial Day weekend, the symbolic start to summer.
The new structures will be constructed in a factory offsite, and later installed into site-specific support structures and access ramps on the beaches. Relying on quick-to-install modular structures in the future might serve as the foundation for the reconstruction of whole neighborhoods (as opposed to throwaway, temporary trailers).
When Garrison Architects needed shop drawings done so the contractor could begin fabrication, they called Consulting For Architects (CFA) to find them an architect to execute the drawings. “Within 24-hours, we closed the deal with Garrison Architects and a talented CFA Consultant who started this week.” stated CFA owner David McFadden.
Since then, “it’s been a wild ride,” Garrison told me over the phone on Tuesday. After 40 days worth of 16-hour planning sessions, Garrison Architects emerged with a plan to introduce net-zero energy, flood-resistant, modular structures along the beaches of Coney Island, Staten Island, and Rockaway Beach. He says his designs are not only economical and aesthetically interesting– but could help lay new groundwork for the way that cities respond to climate change-related disasters in the future, by relying on quick-to-install modular structures that serve as the foundation for the reconstruction of whole neighborhoods (as opposed to throwaway, temporary trailers).
Better lifeguard stations are nice, but their design could also help lay new groundwork for the way that cities respond to climate change-related disasters in the future
He says the initiative is the first time he can think of that any American city is “confronting the reality of starting to build infrastructure that can deal with these enormous storms and can live beyond them.”
Garrison’s designs for new lifeguard stations, comfort stations, and beach offices include a number of features that make them both flood-resistant and sustainable: they’re elevated above the new FEMA storm surge numbers, and they rely on photovoltaics, solar hot water heating, and skylight ventilators as part of a net-zero energy system. The wood siding was salvaged from boardwalks wiped out by Sandy.
The project also involves relandscaping the beaches, reintroducing dunes in certain places to help protect the shore, and eliminating boardwalks. “The waves basically just roll under [boardwalks] and sometimes take them away with them,” Garrison says.
The new structures will be constructed in a factory offsite, and later installed into site-specific support structures and access ramps on the beaches. According to a briefing by Garrison’s firm, “New York has only a handful of modular buildings, such as low-income trailer housing or modular classrooms, most of which essentially qualify as manufactured boxes on chassis, not unique designs. Our modules are a premier example of cutting edge modular building practices and sustainable design solutions for the future.”
The new buildings are elevated above the new FEMA storm surge numbers, and they rely on photovoltaics, solar hot water heating, and skylight ventilators as part of a net-zero energy system. The wood siding was salvaged from boardwalks wiped out by Sandy
What’s perhaps more impressive than the speed of the design is the way the city’s bureaucracy got out of the way to let the project unfold under tight deadlines. “I’ve never seen anything like it on [the city’s] part,” Garrison says (and he’s been designing buildings in New York for more than three decades).
Garrison hopes that the project serves as a model for disaster rebuilding efforts in the future, when it’s possible that Sandy-strength storms will be the norm. “Next time it hits, can we mobilize [modular design] as disaster housing? And I mean good stuff–not FEMA trailers that make people sick, stuff people can really live in for the long term?” Garrison wonders. “This is a way to build in an era of congestion, ecological challenges, and the need for permanence.”
Credit Zak Stone
Zak Stone is a staff writer at Co.Exist and a co-founder of Tomorrow Magazine.
aia, architect, architects, architecture, architecture critic, architecture jobs, built environment, construction, Consulting For Architects, Design, Engineering, Green Architecture, Green Built Environment, Landscape Architecture, Sculpture
beach offices, Co.Exist, comfort stations, Coney Island Beaches, David McFadden, flood-resistant, Garrion Architects, Hurricane Sandy, lifeguard stations, Modular, modular structures, net-zero energy, new york city, photovoltaics, Rockaway Beaches, Solar, Solor Technology, Staten Island Beaches, sustainable design, Tomorrow Magazine, Zak Stone
north eastern corner overlooking the northern forecourt. images courtesy lyons, dianna snape, michael evans, nils koenning
the la trobe institute for molecular science (LIMS) by australian lyons architecture is a major new building on university’s bundoora campus, which will meet the school’s long-term needs in terms of student learning and research in the science disciplines. the project seeks a‘transformative’ identity of the campus, which had previously been built within the strict guidelines for materials and heights.
the lower levels of the building accommodate first to third year undergraduate learning spaces – with large open flexible labs (accommodating teaching cohorts for 160 students) connected with ‘dry’ learning spaces. this allows people to move between laboratory based project work, to digital and collaborative learning activities within the adjacent spaces. at ground level, these learning areas breakout to new landscaped interior environments, extending the idea of placing students at the centre of outside social and learning hubs.
the upper three levels of the building are research focused and based around a highly collaborative model. all laboratories are large open flexible spaces where teams are able to work together, or expand and contract according to research funds. these large ‘super labs’ are located immediately adjacent to write-up spaces, allowing a very direct physical and visual connection between all research work sections. the plan includes a major conference room, staff ‘college’ lounge and informal meeting spaces, are also located on the research levels. the design is fully integrated with the adjacent existing structure, which accommodates a number of other lims research staff and laboratories.
a major stairway rises through the centre of the building, connecting the student and research levels – as a form of representation of the ‘pathway’. the cellular exterior of the building is derived from ideas about expressing the molecular research that is being undertaken within the building, and is adjusted via the materiality of the building itself. the walls are primarily precast concrete, with the cells providing a ‘lower’ and ‘upper’ window into the various spaces, aiding the penetration of daylight. the cellular concept also creates a framework for a number of distinctive spaces for students to occupy or for research staff to meet and collaborate.
Continue reading on DesignBoom
architect, architects, architecture, architecture critic, Art, buildings, Consulting For Architects, Design, modern architecture, modern buildings, Sculpture
bundoora campus, climate, designboom, interior environments, la trobe institute for molecular science, lyons architects, research, science, science disciplines
When it comes to sourcing the right interview candidates, I’ve never been keen to use recruiters. But I recently changed my mind.
My company, Metal Mafia, has an excellent candidate screening process, a super training program, and a very successful team of employees to show for it.
But hiring has always been a difficult task for me because each time I get ready to hire, it takes me forever to find the right type of candidates to even get the screening process started.
Despite the fact that I carefully consider where to advertise for candidates–I try to maximize the search dollars and get a good mix of potential applicants–it always takes me a long time to find people suited well to the company, and therefore, even worth interviewing.
I’ve tried everything from placing ads on large job boards like Monster.com, to smaller specialized job boards that cater to sales hires or fashion jobs, to local university boards where I can post for free (or close to it). Each time, I experience the same slow crawl toward finally finding the right person. It has taken me up to five months to find the right kind of hire in the past. So in November when I decided I needed to think about hiring for the new year, I was not optimistic.
For me, recruiters have traditionally been out of the question because I figured they would be a waste of time and never be as good at sending me the right people for the job as I would be in reviewing resumes myself. They’re also too expensive for my small budget. But as I got ready to place my job ads again, one of my senior staff members came to me and offered me the name of a fashion recruiter she knew and thought could help. I was skeptical, but I called her anyway, figuring listening would cost me nothing.
The recruiter convinced me she would do a thorough job, but I still hesitated because of the price. I do not have large sums of money to devote to the hiring process, and by my calculations, when all was said and done, using the recruiter was going to cost me three times as much as my usual techniques. On the other hand, the recruiter would only charge me if she found someone I decided to hire, which meant I was risking nothing, and could always come back to my original methods. I bit the bullet and signed up, reminding myself “nothing ventured, nothing gained.”
The recruiter sent me the resumes of 10 entry-level candidates. I screened six by phone, met three in person, and found the right hire–all in a month. The cost suddenly became much less, because I saved so much time in the process, and because I got a pool of applicants who were decidedly better to choose from than in the past. Even more interesting, perhaps, was an insight the right candidate shared with me during the interview process. When I asked why she had chosen to work with a recruiter rather than post on job boards, she said “because recruiters make sure your resume gets seen, while submitting via the Internet is like sending your resume into oblivion.”
If most people these days are thinking like my new hire, the recruiters will clearly have the best selection of candidates every time. Looks like I’ve got an essential new hiring strategy.
Vanessa Merit Nornberg: In 2004, Vanessa opened Metal Mafia, a wholesale body and costume jewelry company that sells to more than 5,000 specialty shops and retail chains in 23 countries. Metal Mafia was an Inc. 500 company in 2009. @vanessanornberg
architect, architecture, architecture jobs, construction, Consulting For Architects, David McFadden, Design, Freelancer tips, Hiring trends, Interior design, jobs, recession, unemployed architects
aia, architecture, David McFadden, design, jobs, unemployed architects
All I can say is did we really need to do this?
New sign design by pentagram
Full article via design boom
architecture critic, Art, built environment, Design, Landscape Architecture, Sculpture, Urban Planning
architecture, city signage, clutter, eye sore, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, new york city, pentagram, sign design
Developer Larry Silverstein is said to have offered a way to to build and pay for a facility in back of the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Guess what’s in it for him.
On Tuesday, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Executive Director Patrick Foye told a Crain’s Breakfast Forum about an idea proposed by developer Larry Silverstein to build and pay for a much-needed Manhattan bus garage. Mr. Foye called it “interesting, provocative,” but he offered no details.
A source said the idea, floated during last year’s leadership transition at the Port Authority from Christopher Ward to Mr. Foye, involves developing a site on West 39th Street and Dyer Avenue used most recently by Mercedes-Benz by the service road that funnels traffic to and from the Lincoln Tunnel just southwest of the Port Authority Bus Terminal.
Mr. Silverstein, who has a long-term letter of intent with the owner to develop that building, proposed constructing a bus garage capped by a residential tower.
Unanswered questions include how big the tower would have to be to generate sufficient income to finance the construction of the garage, and whether anyone would want to live on top of a bus garage in the heavily trafficked area. It also remains to be seen how much the Port Authority would pay.
Certainly, the idea of the Port Authority doing business again with Silverstein Properties presents political hurdles given the two entities’ complex relationship at the World Trade Center site. The developer declined to comment for this article.
On the plus side, a bus garage-cum-residential complex would solve a number of thorny logistical problems for the agency, which abandoned a bus garage development for lack of funds.
Because there’s no room inside the bus station and nowhere else to park, hundreds of New Jersey Transit buses return empty to the Garden State after dropping off morning commuters in Manhattan. They come back to the city to pick up passengers in the afternoon. A bus garage nearby would cut down on trans-Hudson River traffic, reduce air pollution and save money on fuel.
Part of the savings could be used by the Port Authority to lower terminal fees for short-haul intercity buses, including discount carriers that are under fire for using city sidewalks to load and unload passengers. Bus companies that use the terminal have already threatened to leave because they pay millions of dollars in rent and say free curbside parking for their competitors is unfair.
State legislation would actually allow the city to issue permits for private buses to pick up on the sidewalk. A bus garage could open space at the bus station for discount carriers like Megabus.com, which has a permit to use West 41st Street just outside the bus station as a depot.
“You could get more buses into the terminal,” the source said. “But you’d have to ban them from these sidewalk pickups.”
The insider called Mr. Silverstein’s idea “intriguing,” but it may be a pipe dream.
Mr. Foye would say only that he’s looking at fixing the problem. “It’s a serious question under serious review,” he said.
architecture, architecture jobs, Design, Engineering, Urban Planning
Christopher Ward, Developer Larry Silverstein, Larry Silverstein, Lincoln Tunnel, Megabus, new jersey transit, Patrick Foye, port authority bus, Port Authority Bus Terminal, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Silverstein Properties, transportation, travel, World Trade Center, WTC
The Taiwan Tower is a Sustainable Twin Syscraper for the 21st Century The Taiwan Tower is a proposal by Vienna-based architect Steven Ma in Collaboration with San Liu, Xinyu Wan, and Emre Icdem. This highly innovative project consists of a set of super slim twin towers that reach a height of 350 meters where an observatory and sky-park is located. The plinth of the towers is formed by an intrica…te set of museums that will exhibit Taiwan’s past, present, and future. Each of the three museums configures itself around recreational areas that include a water plaza, an outdoor theatre, a green house, and an event plaza. Another interesting feature is the location of four different types of hanging gardens along the towers’ structure with high-end residences and an aviary for endangered bird species. Among the sustainable features, the Taiwan Tower is equipped with water recycling plants, wind turbines, and a beautiful set of photovoltaic cells placed along the sky-garden and on top of the museums’ undulating surfaces.
architects, architecture, buildings, built environment, carbon-neutral office building, Design, eco building, Green Architecture, green buildings, Green Built Environment, modern architecture, modern buildings, new buildings, skyscraper
Emre Icdem, San Liu, Steven Ma, Taiwan Tower, Xinyu Wan
Design is complex. There is little that is more complex to design than a home, however fundamental issues offer an architect a starting point; where is the sun? How do we capture it in winter, how do we exclude it in summer?
The thin allotments that dominate Melbourne’s northern suburbs often provide indomitable constraints to solar access and therefore require the production of unorthodox ideas to overcome these constraints and convert them into opportunities.
The site faces north therefore relegating the backyard, the family’s primary outdoor space, to shadow throughout the year. In the 90s a two storey extension was added reducing solar access even further while creating deep dark space within the house. A family of five wished to create a long-term home, which could meet the requirements of three small children and their slow transformation into young adults over the years.
Rather than repeating past mistakes and extending from the rear in a new configuration, the proposal was to build a new structure on the rear boundary, the southern edge of the block, upon the footprint of what had been, until now, the back yard. The new structure faces the sun, the pure cantilevered box above acts as the passive solar eave, cutting out summer sun, while letting winter sun flood in.
Following the decision to build at the rear of the block a ubiquitous modern box was first imagined. Soon it seemed necessary to pursue the opportunity to activate this new, once shaded, now sunny facade. A seat along the new northern facade? Perhaps a series of steps like the Scalinata della Trinità dei Monti? But how does one lounge in the sun on steps. Perhaps a slope instead …. And the hill house evolved/emerged.
The new structure faces the original house. The backyard is now the centre of the house activated by the built form around it. Beyond solar gain, the benefit of the new structure being in the backyard is that it borrows landscaping from its neighbours’ gardens. The high windows about the entertainment cabinetry and the dining area are enveloped in trees. Internally one gets the sense that Hill House is enveloped by bush rather than part of the suburban mix.
Along one boundary a 2m high fence was created, but unlike most houses the Hill House has a one metre wide fence; a corridor lowered into the site to achieve head height. This in turn creates a lowered dining area. One rises into the living space. The change in floor level creates a bench seat for the Maynard designed ZERO WASTE TABLE.
Front Street no longer provides the main entry to the home. Family now enters via the side lane. The original house, now private dormitory spaces, no longer has a typical relationship to the N#@$%k street’s “front” door. The original house, as with most narrow blocks throughout Melbourne, demanded that visitors walked a long corridor past bedrooms to the living area. Stolen quick glances into dark private spaces always occurred along the journey. At the Hill House the entry is reorientated. The kitchen, the nerve centre, the hub of the house, is the new greeting point. Beyond is the park. Adjacent is the living space, the yard and the “kids’ house” beyond.
The old house is converted into “the kids’ house”. The old house is as it once was. The rear of the simple masonry structure, though spatially connected, is not reoriented, a face is deliberately not applied. It is left honest and robust. With a restrained piece of “street art” to be applied.
Andrew Maynard Architects was established in 2002 following Andrew’s receipt of the grand prize in the Asia Pacific Design Awards for his Design Pod. The core principles in the establishment of AMA was a balance between built projects and broad polemical design studies. This is demonstrated in AMA’s highly crafted built work and socio-politically based concepts both of which have been widely published and have garnered global recognition.
Andrew Maynard Architects explores architecture of enthusiasm – AMA treats each project as a unique challenge, offering unique possibilities and prides itself in experimentation. All of AMA’s designs are concept rich, left of centre and sustainability conscious; styles and singular themes are avoided. AMA specializes in ideas rather than building type, whether the project be a house in Fitzroy, a library in Japan, a protest shelter in Tasmania, a plywood bicycle or a suburb eating robot. Andrew Maynard Architects continues to be published in many prestigious international journals such as Mark Magazine [Amsterdam], Architectural Record [US], Architectural Review [London], Monument. Houses A + T [Spain], Architecture Australia, Wallpaper [London] and Pol Oxygen. AMA’s conceptual and built work has been exhibited in New York, Budapest, Melbourne, Sydney, Osaka, Milan, Sao Paulo, Tokyo and more.
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‘Like’ CFA’s Facebook page for job openings for architects and interior designers
CFA Founder/CEO David McFadden’s about.me profile!
architecture, Design, eco building, green building, Green Built Environment, Landscape Architecture, modern architecture, Residential, Sculpture
transportation, travel, vacation
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill has recently added a new landmark to the skyline of Kuwait City: the Al Hamra Firdous Tower, now the tallest building in the country, peeks through the clouds with its quarter-mile-high torqued form. Unless record height is achieved, ‘supertall’ skyscrapers rarely sustain attention these days, but SOM’s latest tower has received notice for its unusual appearance. The Al Hamra Firdous Tower is the only skyscraper with an asymmetrical exterior; the structure wraps around like a robe, choosing to conceal or reveal depending on one’s angle of approach.
The Al Hamra Firdous Tower is notably constructed with malleable concrete as opposed to traditional steel. At ground level, curving concrete buttresses interlace to create stunning structural nets that again conjure allusions to fabric. The crisscrossing forms evoke the structural integrity of the Gothic as well as the latticed, exposed steel arms of architecture at the dawn of the industrial revolution.
In SOM’s design, 500,000 tons of concrete weave upwards to form a folded, monolithic tower culminating with a sharply asymmetrical, winged crown. The exterior of the ‘robe’ embraces the shiny, smooth façade of other buildings of its class, but its interior aspires to project a different image. Not only is this partially enclosed facade paved in lusterless concrete, but the windows also appear deeply set and unevenly coffered, casting a pattern of shadows on the matte surface that not only suggest the designs of Middle Eastern textiles but also make the building appear massive.
In doing so, the design refuses to fully conceal its core material and recalls a more vernacular building practice. With an unexpected turn to concrete, the Al Hamra Firdous Tower respects its site and innovates accordingly, creating an impressive building to match its own impressive views.
All images © SOM
architecture, construction, Design, modern architecture, modern buildings, new buildings, skyscraper, som
al hamra, Al Hamra Firdous Tower, Kuwait City, middle eastern textiles