Even though Lorenz, who, like Downey, is blind, can't see the space before her, she knows exactly what to expect. On her desk at the ILRC's current office on Mission Street, she keeps a tactile floor plan that Downey printed for her. The plan's fine web of raised lines looks like an elaborate decorative pattern, suggesting a leaf of handmade stationery or a large sheet from which doilies are about to be cut. Though Downey has consulted on other architects' projects since going blind six years ago, this one marks a turning point for him. The community center is the first space he's designed since losing his sight. The center recently opened its doors to the public with a celebration to inaugurate the new space, located on Howard Street in the city's Yerba Buena district, just down the block from the Moscone convention center. But on this May afternoon, the walls are just beginning to go up.
Archillect, billed as The Ocular Engine, is a recent project from enigmatic designer Murat Pak. [more inside]
The European Parliament building regularly makes visitors and employees break down and cry. The disorienting effect probably wasn’t an accident. “Our buildings offer themselves to their inhabitants and to the city as ‘mysteries,’ or stories for which we provide ‘keys’ and signs so that they can be deciphered,” is how Architecture-Studio’s website describes its approach.
"Demolished: the end of Chicago's Public Housing" A look back at Chicago's 20th-century public housing high-rises, and how they were taken down. Also an interesting form of web presentation. (SLNPR)
Bolivia has undergone a significant change under the three terms of President Evo Morales, the first president to come from the country's indigenous majority. Members of that majority have found prosperity, increasing the prestige of indigenous design and style, as seen in this seven minute segment on the new buildings and minor twists on old fashions adopted by Bolivia's indigenous bourgeoisie, from Financial Times' coverage of the displays of the Aymara people's new-found wealth. [more inside]
"Unlike hearing people, the deaf have to keep sightlines in order to maintain conversations. So when deaf people walk and talk, they’ll lock into a kind of dance. Going through a doorway, one person will spin in place and walk backwards to keep talking. Walking past a column, two deaf people in conversation will move in tandem to avoid collision." The podcast 99% Invisible interviews a designer of a building at Gallaudet University designed for the way deaf people move and talk. [full transcript]
Interested in art, architecture, design, numismatics, software? Then you will be fascinated by Dutch artist Stani's detailed description how he won the competition to design the 2008 commemorative 5 Euro coin themed "Netherlands and architecture". A brilliant insight into the designer's thought process and the technology used to implement his concepts.
The post-war boom gave rise to new concepts of modernity in domestic architecture and, of course, massive suburban development. One such concept was the California ranch-style home, pioneered by Cliff May (1909-1989). Another contemporary architect, Joseph Eichler (1900-1974), had his own vision of modernity in America's new suburbs, but both styles used similar language. At the time, these new designs for living were seen as modern and at the cutting edge of sophistication, but sophistication within reach of the average professional, middle-class family. They were designed to have a practical as well as an aesthetic value. Welcome to mid-century modern. [more inside]
Mountain Lab: An Interview With Scott McGuire
"As a form of minor architecture," the resulting short article explained, "tents are strangely overlooked. They are portable, temporary, and designed to withstand even the most extreme conditions, but they are usually viewed as simple sporting goods. They are something between a large backpack and outdoor lifestyle gear—certainly not small buildings. But what might an architect learn from the structure and design of a well-made tent?" Amongst the group of people we spoke with that day was outdoor equipment strategist Scott McGuire, an intense, articulate, and highly focused advocate for all things outdoors.
Imbued with asymmetrical charm and handcrafted whimsy, Storybook Style houses evoke the aesthetic of classic fairy tales, inside and out. [more inside]
Shigeru Ban’s Pritzker win proves that building hope is finally in vogue
The architecture world has a new laureate, and he builds in cardboard. Japan’s Shigeru Ban was named this week as the winner of the Pritzker Prize, an annual award that is often called architecture’s Nobel – and his win sends a clear and timely message. Social change, sustainability and improving the lives of the many: This is what matters now to the world of architecture. With Ban’s Pritzker, the global design elite is marking that shift.Take a Tour of Pritzker Winner Shigeru Ban's Paper Tube Structures [more inside]
A catalog of places that used to be a Pizza Hut. The iconic "Red Roof" design was the subject of a recent episode of 99% Invisible (previously).
Walking City - "Referencing the utopian visions of 1960’s architecture practice Archigram, Walking City is a slowly evolving video sculpture. The language of materials and patterns seen in radical architecture transform as the nomadic city walks endlessly, adapting to the environments she encounters."
The Douglas Fir Plywood Association presents Second Homes for Leisure Living . . . here are 18 new leisure-time homes, built with fir plywood for comfort and economy. [via]
Beijing and Amsterdam-based studio NEXT architects have won first place in a bridge design competition for Meixi Lake near the Changsha capital in Hunan, China. The shape was inspired by the Mobius Strip and Chinese knotting.
In 1999, officials in Vienna, Austria, asked residents of the city's ninth district how often and why they used public transportation. "Most of the men filled out the questionnaire in less than five minutes," says Ursula Bauer, one of the city administrators tasked with carrying out the survey. "But the women couldn't stop writing."
"The owners of the 37-story tower known as the Walkie Talkie in the City of London financial district are investigating a light beam cast by the building that’s so intense it melted parked cars." Jaguar owner Martin Lindsay was none too pleased by this evidence of the laws of physics. And architect Rafael Vinolyapparently hasn't learned from his previous hair-scorching design error in Las Vegas.
The American Institute of Architects’ Code of Ethics [pdf] states that “Members should uphold human rights in all their professional endeavors." Raphael Sperry, president of Architects, Designers and Planners for Social Responsibility (ADPSR), wants to amend the code further so it reads "Members shall not design spaces intended for execution or for torture or other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, including prolonged solitary confinement." From Architect Magazine: “Should Architects Design Prisons?” [more inside]
"Polish architect Jakub Szczesny claims to have built the world's narrowest house, just 122 centimetres across at its widest point."
Le Corbusier: An Atlas of Modern Landscapes runs from 15 June - 23 September 2013 at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City. It is the museum's first comprehensive exhibition on Le Corbusier (Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, 1887-1965), and is billed as "the largest exhibition ever produced in New York of [his] protean and influential oeuvre"; in 2014 it will travel to Madrid and Barcelona. Exhibition curator Jean-Louis Cohen, an architectural historian at New York University, gave a tour of the exhibition as part of the "Le Corbusier/New York" symposium at the Center for Architecture on June 8. World-Architects was in attendance, so here we present some insight into the exhibition, accompanied by highlights from the symposium at right.
Endbahnhof, a collection of photographs of every U-Bahn station in Berlin, organised by line and showing the variety of architectural styles in the system. There is an interview with the photographer, Kate Seabrook, here.
Sian Jarvis, the supermarket’s head of corporate affairs, had undermined her claims to care about the health of her customers and let slip one of the secrets of a multi-billion-pound industry ... she revealed that one in three Asda checkouts “are what we call guilt-free checkouts”. Jarvis insisted “guilt-free” was merely “a term that’s commonly used in retail”. But it was too late, and her “guilt” gaffe quickly invited scorn in the industry and among public health professionals. Whatever the damage, she had already opened a door to the arcane science of supermarket psychology. To the designers of the modern store, shoppers are lab rats with trolleys, guided through a maze of aisles by the promise of rewards they never knew they sought The Secrets Of Our Supermarkets[more inside]
"Inspired by ruins, DNA and primary geometry, Louis Kahn was one of the 20th century's most influential architects. Why isn't he more famous? Oliver Wainwright on the life and legacy of a man who died bankrupt" ~ The Guardian
" Initially it was thought to be something to house firewood, though it didn’t seem capable of holding much, and the slat that sits perpendicular to the box on the inside wall made little sense. It took observers a while to realize that this contraption was a device for holding children—a “baby tender.”" (via)
Cairobserver is the start of a conversation about Cairo’s architecture and building, urban fabric and city life. A well curated blog about Cairo featuring both Arabic and English essays. [more inside]
How good is Zaha Hadid's new building? So good it's already being copied. And the copy may be finished before the original. [more inside]
This series of experiments explores the use fresh animal blood as the basis for a building material.
Here’re some photographs of outstanding structures & buildings:
The Salk Institute in San Diego
400 Monte Vista Avenue, Mill Valley CA
Light Cathedral, Ghent Belgium
The Buzludzha monument ... [more inside]
The Salk Institute in San Diego
400 Monte Vista Avenue, Mill Valley CA
Light Cathedral, Ghent Belgium
The Buzludzha monument ... [more inside]
The SCI-Arc Media Archive features 600+ video lectures on modern architecture and design, with an emphasis on Southern California.
Factum Arte in Madrid has made an animation film based on Giovanni Battista Piranesi's Carceri d'Invenzione prints; and have also built many of his pieces which shows the workings of his imagination, merging his architectural ambitions with his obsessive interest in antiquity. Giovanni Battista Piranesi was a source of inspiration for, among others, Goya, Poe, Escher, Max Ernst, De Chirico. [more inside]
Legendary architect-philosopher Christopher Alexander delivers a fascinating lecture at Berkeley, in which he criticizes "modular" design and offers a radical new vision of architecture's relation to nature. Alexander is best known for A Pattern Language, which aimed to make buildings and towns more "alive" through a series of pleasing and comfortable patterns (five sample patterns can be found here). His most recent work, the four-part The Nature of Order, theorizes that life, whether organic or inorganic, emerges from a single simple process, which can be found on page 4 of Amazon's preview of the third volume. In the first volume Alexander lists fifteen properties that make a structure whole. Also worth reading: Alexander's classic essay A City is not a Tree.
Buckminster Fuller's prototype Dymaxion House now resides in the Henry Ford Museum. A checkup under the floorboards revealed extensive cracking in the aluminum support beams underneath. The repair process granted a sneak peek into Fuller's remarkable design.
Welcome to Arts & Architecture. In the case of some, maybe, welcome back...Old-timer. On this website you will find selected projects from issues of the magazine 1945 through 1967. [more inside]
A Pattern Language explores the living structure in good and bad buildings, human artifacts, and natural systems, discussing the presence of the same living order in all systems. [Christopher] Alexander proposes that the living order depends on features which make a close connection with the human self. The quality of works of art, artifacts, and buildings is defined not merely in terms of living structure, but also in their capacity to affect human growth and human well-being.
Ultra Swank - Retro Living and Design from the 50s, 60s and 70s.
What do you mean the building codes require us to install handicapped-accessible crosswalk? Fine. Here's your fucking crosswalk. [more inside]
We and the Color is a blog about creative inspiration in art, graphic design, illustration, photography, architecture, fashion, product, interior, video and motion design. Also on Flickr.
Clarke Quay Singapore, The Cement Factory, Takasugi-an, Nobis House, Kew House, Rolex Learning Centre, Central Park, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Containers of Hope, Museum of Liverpool, Busan Opera House, The Meera House, NakahouseOpenBuildings is an collaboration community dedicated to architecture where you can browse buildings by collections, people/firms, city guides or their vicinity to you.
Jason Scroggin and Akari Takebeyashi teach in the Architecture faculty at the University of Kentucky College of Design. Together they also form Design Office Takebayashi Scroggin [D.O.T.S.] Recently they took the idea of an architectural massing model* to the world of animals. Here is a petting zoo of "Massimals" made with ziplock ties, polystyrene foam, chipboard and foam core. [more inside]
Beautiful Buildings Club is a comic about politics, the Cold War, and the eternal conflict between beautiful buildings and the evil Bauhaus empire.
"Day by day we pass by vacant lots downtown ... Neighbourhoods that, although having a huge potential, have more and more unused spaces ... Sometimes, the tourists are the ones who open our eyes by mentioning or questioning whether this situation is normal. On other occasions, we pay attention to it for a moment only because the secondary problems that those spaces imply affect us directly. But in most of the cases, they are only a part of our way."Habit Makes Us Blind is a series of colorful images by Spanish studio Espai MGR that seeks to draw attention to the problem of wasted space in urban environments (specifically, in the city of Valencia) -- by building conceptual LEGO structures in them. [via]
Michael Hansmeyer: Computational Architecture. Subdivision: Ornamented Columns -- "A full-scale, 2.7-meter high variant of the columns is fabricated as a layered model using 1mm sheet. Each sheet is individually cut using a mill or laser. Sheets are stacked and held together by poles that run through a common core." [more inside]
Christian Hubert designs beautiful residential spaces, like this fantastic 10,000 square foot home, and chic commercial projects. He design aesthetics are sensitive to the relation between art and architecture, and he has worked on some wonderful galleries and exhibition spaces. His practice is informed by a thorough knowledge of philosophy, and his site includes a comprehensive and accessibly written encyclopedia on important concepts in art, aesthetics, and critical theory.