July 28, 2014

VIDEO: Candy Chang: Before I die I want to...

In her New Orleans neighborhood, artist and TED Fellow Candy Chang turned an abandoned house into a giant chalkboard asking a fill-in-the-blank question: “Before I die I want to ___.” Her neighbors' answers -- surprising, poignant, funny -- became an unexpected mirror for the community. (What's your answer?)

Candy Chang creates art that prompts people to think about their secrets, wishes and hopes -- and then share them. She is a TED Senior Fellow.

July 21, 2014

VIDEO: Edi Rama: Take back your city with paint

Make a city beautiful, curb corruption. Edi Rama took this deceptively simple path as mayor of Tirana, Albania, where he instilled pride in his citizens by transforming public spaces with colorful designs. With projects that put the people first, Rama decreased crime -- and showed his citizens they could have faith in their leaders. (Filmed at TEDxThessaloniki.)

From 2000 to 2011 Edi Rama was the mayor of Tirana, where he implemented a series of reforms to take back the city for the people.

July 14, 2014

VIDEO: Jeff Speck: The walkable city

How do we solve the problem of the suburbs? Urbanist Jeff Speck shows how we can free ourselves from dependence on the car -- which he calls "a gas-belching, time-wasting, life-threatening prosthetic device" -- by making our cities more walkable and more pleasant for more people.

Jeff Speck is a city planner and the author of "Walkable City."

July 7, 2014

VIDEO: Britta Riley: A garden in my apartment

Britta Riley wanted to grow her own food (in her tiny apartment). So she and her friends developed a system for growing plants in discarded plastic bottles -- researching, testing and tweaking the system using social media, trying many variations at once and quickly arriving at the optimal system. Call it distributed DIY. And the results? Delicious. (Filmed at TEDxManhattan .)

Britta Riley designs and builds urban farms and other participatory artworks that explore the city.

June 30, 2014

VIDEO: Thom Mayne: How architecture can connect us

Architect Thom Mayne has never been one to take the easy option, and this whistle-stop tour of the buildings he's created makes you glad for it. These are big ideas cast in material form.

Founder of the influential studio Morphosis, and co-founder of the Southern California Institute of Architecture, Pritzker Prize-winning architect Thom Mayne marries conceptual ideas with form, challenging the way we perceive structure, building and the environment.

June 23, 2014

VIDEO: Ron Eglash: The fractals at the heart of African designs

'I am a mathematician, and I would like to stand on your roof.' That is how Ron Eglash greeted many African families he met while researching the fractal patterns he’d noticed in villages across the continent.

Ron Eglash is an ethno-mathematician: he studies the way math and cultures intersect. He has shown that many aspects of African design -- in architecture, art, even hair braiding -- are based on perfect fractal patterns.

June 19, 2014

Design in Motion: the 4th Annual Seattle Design Festival From Sept. 5 to 19

Mark Your Calendars for the 4th Annual Seattle Design Festival
From Sept. 5 to 19, there will be a little something dazzling for everyone

Seattle – June 12, 2014 
This year marks the fourth annual Seattle Design Festival, Sept. 5-19th. The Seattle Design Festival is the largest design-related event in the Pacific Northwest, bringing together designers, businesses, families, community groups and tourists alike to playfully explore all the diverse and meaningful ways design makes life better. This year’s theme, Design in Motion, will take on all creative interpretations—from mobility to kinetics and everything in between. All events will be open to the public and many programs will be free. Some highlights include:

·         Kick-off Party at Tether Inc. A gathering of Seattle’s design community will kick-off the start of the Festival. Food and libations available. Tickets available at the door. 316 Occidental Ave S #400.

·         SDF Block Party. Presenting design installations, demonstrations, activities, workshops, exhibits, and tours and featuring nine installations from this year’s SDF Rumble challenge.
o   SDF Rumble. This year, we invited Seattle designers to participate in the SDF Rumble, a collaborative workshop to rapidly generate ideas for installations to be constructed for the Seattle Design Festival. Designers joined up with contractors and program partners to offer up bold interpretations of the Design in Motion theme. Come interact with the SDF Rumble installations at the SDF Block Party.
Families welcome and encouraged. Suggested donation. Occidental Plaza in Pioneer Square, 310 Occidental Ave South. Sept 6 and 710am–6pm.

·         SDF Conference. Engage with design luminaries and community leaders in this unique mixing of disciplines and intersecting fields as they gather to unpack the Festival theme, “Design in Motion.” Panel discussions, lectures and workshops. Free and open to the public. Seattle Public Library Central Branch. Sept 13 and 1411am-5pm.

·         SDF Partner Programs. Participate in SDF Partner Programs: films, panels, lectures, exhibits, activities, workshops, tours, installations and more. Some events will be ticketed. Citywide. September 8 to 18. See www.designinpublic.org for details.

·         Park(ing) Day. In partnership with Park(ing) Day International, Seattleites will build temporary parklets in ordinary parking places. Organized tours by bike will take place. Citywide and worldwide. Sept 19. See www.designinpublic.org for details.

·         Closing Party. Decelerate and celebrate with Seattle’s design community to bring the Festival to a close. Food, libations, live-music, dancing and spectacular waterfront views. Open to the public. Tickets available at the door. DLR Group, 51 University St. Suite 600. Sept 19, evening.

Since 2011, the Seattle Design Festival has been presented by Design in Public and AIA Seattle in collaboration with dozens of partner organizations. The Festival is now the largest design-related event in the Pacific Northwest. Festival attendance over the last four years has nearly tripled; it has grown from 3,200 visitors in 2011, 5,600 visitors in 2012, and nearly 7,000 visitors in 2013. This year, we are projecting 10,000 visitors at the festival. The Seattle Design Festival’s programs and partners grew from 40 programs hosted by 24 partner organizations in 2012, to 70 programs hosted by 37 partner organizations in 2013. In years past, the Festival has offered a wide variety of programs including talks, tours, films, exhibitions, site-specific installations, family- and kid-oriented programs, workshops, games, hands-on making, craft, and more.

Seattle Design Festival themes:
  • 2011: Beneath the Surface of Design
  • 2012: Engage your World
  • 2013: Design in Health
  • 2014: Design in Motion

Design in Public celebrates all the ways that design makes life better for Seattle. We nurture relationships among designers, citizens, city leaders, and future-thinking business innovators. We catalyze change by supporting imagination, vision and participation in the creation of the place we all want to live. (www.designinpublic.org).

About AIA Seattle
AIA Seattle, a chapter of the American Institute of Architects, provides the architecture community with resources and relationships to make a difference through design. AIA Seattle is the eighth largest urban component of the American Institute of Architects, with members throughout the Puget Sound area.

June 18, 2014

Build Abroad - architectural voluntourism

Build Abroad has been a project in the making for the last 4 years and we are excited to finally share it with the world. Now that we’re live, we would like to give a quick introduction and a brief overview of our plans for the future.

Build Abroad’s mission is to build and repair communities in developing nations through socially conscious construction. We offer voluntourism trips to Costa Rica with plans to expand to neighboring countries in the very near future.

It all starts with an Idea
We first came up with the idea for Build Abroad in 2010. We were college roommates during our final year of architecture school at Miami University. Our goal was to find a way to travel the world and use our architecture skills to serve developing countries. We knew we had something, but we couldn’t quite put the pieces together. The idea stayed in the back of our minds for the last several years until we were finally able to articulate a plan and execute.

Making it Happen – Our First Trip and Beyond
In 2013 we really started focusing; coming up with a logo, designing the website, planning our first trip, and registering the business. In March of 2014 we took our first trip as Build Abroad to San Jose, Costa Rica. During the trip we volunteered at multiple construction sites and really got a feel for what the local communities needed. Taking the trip also helped us realize what we wanted the experience to be like for our volunteers.

Over the last month, we have been working long hours to get everything ready to release to the world. Our next steps will be to finalize several more partnerships and start offering trips to even more countries.

We have big plans for the future of Build Abroad. Over the next few years we will be expanding to South America, Asia, and Africa. We also plan on assisting with disaster relief and designing larger scale community projects. Stay tuned!

Feel free to explore our site to learn even more about what we do and how you can help. Thanks for stopping by and we hope to see you in Costa Rica on our next trip!

Pat and Chad

BIG Designs Museum for Swiss Watchmaker Audemars Piguet

Swiss luxury watchmaker Audemars Piguet chooses BIG to expand its historic headquarters. The 2.400m2/25,800 ft pavilion will be a striking landmark to precision seamlessly integrated into the local landscape.

Team BIG, HG Merz, Luchinger & Meyer and Muller Illien´s design is rooted in the origins of the family owned company, a history of watchmaking that goes back centuries and is nested in the nature and culture of the Vallée de Joux. Surrounded by the historical workshops in Le Brassus in the heart of La Vallée de Joux, the new museum called Maison des Fondateurs, will be imbedded in the landscape - reuniting the buildings with the undulating fields of the valley.

Jasmine Audemars, President of Audemars Piguet´s Board of Directors, comments: “We are proud to announce the winning proposal of our new Maison des Fondateurs project, a new flagship for Audemars Piguet and a place for people to enjoy and share the passion of watchmaking. La Maison des Fondateurs not only symbolises the deep connection between the brand and its origins but also its spirit of independence and avant-garde.”

BIG created an intertwined spiral shaped pavilion which is conceived as a storyline for the visitors – blending old and new - and guiding the visitor through a linear sequence of spaces and events, from the entrance through lounges, galleries and workshops, to the attic of the heritage building in the workshop where it all began.

“Watchmaking like architecture is the art and science of invigorating inanimate matter with intelligence and performance. It is the art of imbuing metals and minerals with energy, movement, intelligence and measure – to bring it to life in the form of telling time. Unlike most machines and most buildings today that have a disconnect between the body and the mind, the hardware and the software, for the Maison des Fondateurs we have attempted to completely integrate the geometry and the performance, the form and the function, the space and the structure, the interior and the exterior in a symbiotic hole." 
- Bjarke Ingels, Founding Partner, BIG 

The intertwined spirals solve one of the dilemmas of the program. The narrative structure calls for a succession of galleries and workshops, while the logistics of operations requires the workshops to be interconnected. By coiling up the sequence of spaces in a double spiral, the three workshops find themselves in immediate adjacency – forming one continuous workspace – surrounded by galleries.

The roof and ceiling of the pavilion is conceived as a single sheet of metal – a steel structure clad in brass, continuous in plan but undulating in section to create a series of openings allowing daylight and views to the exhibits. Towards the end of the visit the double spiral intersects the existing museum building providing access to the vaulted spaces in the lower floor and to the attic. The dynamic forms of modern materials, concrete and brass, give way for a locally anchored tectonic of straight lines and warm surfaces of wood or stone. Heavy meets light. Soft meets hard. Warm meets cool.

“I have always admired Swiss architecture for its flawless craftsmanship. Swiss buildings sometime make you suspect that they have been built by watchmakers. That we are now working directly for the family of the original founders Audemars and Piguet is going to be an amazing exploration in mastery and innovation”,says Bjarke Ingels.

Project Information:
Collaborators: HG Merz, Luchinger und Meyer, Muller Illien
Location: Le Brassus, Switzerland
Size: 2400 m2/ca 25,800 ft
Partner-in-Charge: Bjarke Ingels, Thomas Christoffersen
Project Leader: Daniel Sundlin
Team: Ji-Young Yoon, Jason Wu, Otilia Pupezeanu, Natalie Kwee, Beat Schenk, Dammy Lee, Blake Smith, Marie Lancon, Yaziel Juarbe, Julien Beauchamp-Roy, Kristian Hindsberg, Pauline Lavie


BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group is a Copenhagen and New York based group of architects, designers and thinkers operating within the fields of architecture, urbanism, research and development. BIG is led by eight partners - Bjarke Ingels, Andreas Klok Pedersen, Finn Nørkjær, David Zahle, Jakob Lange, Thomas Christoffersen and Managing Partners, Sheela Maini Søgaard and Kai-Uwe Bergmann. With an international team of more than 200 people, BIG works on projects across a broad spectrum of industries and in more than 20 countries worldwide. We take a human-centered approach to our work - looking at how our urban environments can increase the quality of life in finding ways of designing cities and buildings as double ecosystems that are both ecologically and economically profitable. In our work process we put great focus on the necessary details in order to realize the BIG idea. www.big.dk 

Audemars Piguet is the oldest fine watchmaking manufacturer still in the hands of its founding families (Audemars and Piguet). Since 1875, the company has written some of the finest chapters in the history of haute horlogerie, including a number of world firsts. In the Vallée de Joux, at the heart of the Swiss Jura, numerous masterpieces are created in limited series embodying a remarkable degree of horological perfection, including daring sporty models, classic and traditional timepieces, splendid ladies’ jewellery-watches, as well as one-of-a-kind creations. The famous 1972 octagonal Royal Oak, the first luxury watch to be made of stainless steel, is widely recognised as one of the most important innovations in watchmaking. www.audemarspiguet.com

June 16, 2014

VIDEO: Reed Kroloff: A tour of modern architecture

Reed Kroloff gives us a new lens for judging new architecture: is it modern, or is it romantic? Look for glorious images from two leading practices -- and a blistering critique of the 9/11 planning process.

With an outspoken approach to the problems of rebuilding cites and a fearless eye for design, Reed Kroloff is helping to change the urban landscape of cities from New York to New Orleans.