December 27, 2009

Video: Mathieu Lehanneur demos science-inspired design



From TED.com:
Naming science as his chief inspiration, Mathieu Lehanneur shows a selection of his ingenious designs -- an interactive noise-neutralizing ball, an antibiotic course in one layered pill, asthma treatment that reminds kids to take it, a living air filter, a living-room fish farm and more.

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December 22, 2009

Video: Rem Koolhaas - Interview

Part I:


Part II:


Part III:


* A rather unfortunate yet slightly humorous mistake occurs 3 minutes and 11 seconds into Part I. When talking about Rem's work with Prada the makers of the film mistakenly show Herzog and de Meuron's Prada store in Tokyo rather than the store designs carried out by OMA - notably in New York and Los Angeles. I'm sure Rem is not amused and it is a rather embarrassing mistake for CNN.

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December 19, 2009

Video: Rory Sutherland - Life lessons from an ad man




This was just an inspirational talk that discusses issues from a unique point of view. The story about improving the train journey between London and Paris was particularly insightful, in my opinion. Throughout our lives, we need to focus more on quality over speed or convenience.

From TED.com: Advertising adds value to a product by changing our perception, rather than the product itself. Rory Sutherland makes the daring assertion that a change in perceived value can be just as satisfying as what we consider “real” value -- and his conclusion has interesting consequences for how we look at life.

From unlikely beginnings as a classics teacher to his current job as Vice Chairman of Ogilvy Group, Rory Sutherland has created his own brand of the Cinderella story. He joined Ogilvy & Mather's planning department in 1988, and became a junior copywriter, working on Microsoft's account in its pre-Windows days. An early fan of the Internet, he was among the first in the traditional ad world to see the potential in these relatively unknown technologies.

An immediate understanding of the possibilities of digital technology and the Internet powered Sutherland's meteoric rise. He continues to provide insight into advertising in the age of the Internet and social media through his blog at Campaign's Brand Republic site, his column "The Wiki Man" at The Spectator and his busy Twitter account.

Rory is the original advocate of '360-degree branding,' a persuasive and charismatic speaker and has a tremendous knack for making ideas come to life in an easily digestible way. He has been walking the walk longer than anyone.
Gary Leih, Ogilvy Group Chairman


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December 8, 2009

Video: Jacek Utko designs to save newspapers



From TED.com: Jacek Utko is an extraordinary Polish newspaper designer whose redesigns for papers in Eastern Europe not only win awards, but increase circulation by up to 100%. Can good design save the newspaper? It just might.

Newspaper designer Jacek Utko suggests that it's time for a fresh, top-to-bottom rethink of the newspaper. (At this point, why not try it?) In his work, he's proved that good design can help readers reconnect with newspapers. A former architect, Utko took on the job of redesigning several newspapers in former Soviet Bloc nations, starting from basic principles. He worked closely with newspaper executives to figure out the business goals of their papers, and then radically reformatted the product to fit those goals. (And he wasn't afraid to break a few grids in the process.)

As the art director at Warsaw’s Puls Biznesu in 2004, he redesigned this small business-focused newspaper and immediately won the SND award for world’s best-designed newspaper. Readers responded, and circulation went up. He’s now art director for the Bonnier Business Press, overseeing papers in Eastern Europe and the Baltic states, and the work he oversees consistently wins major prizes (including another SND world’s-best in 2007 for Estonia’s Äripäev), despite their small teams and limited resources.

"Who knew that the world's best designed newspapers are in Poland and Estonia?"
-June Cohen, TED

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December 5, 2009

Video: Majora Carter's tale of urban renewal


From TED.com:
In an emotionally charged talk, MacArthur-winning activist Majora Carter details her fight for environmental justice in the South Bronx -- and shows how minority neighborhoods suffer most from flawed urban policy.

Majora Carter is a visionary voice in city planning who views urban renewal through an environmental lens. The South Bronx native draws a direct connection between ecological, economic and social degradation. Hence her motto: "Green the ghetto!"

With her inspired ideas and fierce persistence, Carter managed to bring the South Bronx its first open-waterfront park in 60 years, Hunts Point Riverside Park. Then she scored $1.25 million in federal funds for a greenway along the South Bronx waterfront, bringing the neighborhood open space, pedestrian and bike paths, and space for mixed-use economic development.

Her success is no surprise to anyone who's seen her speak; Carter's confidence, energy and intensely emotional delivery make her talks themselves a force of nature. (The release of her TEDTalk in 2006 prompted Guy Kawasaki to wonder on his blog whether she wasn't "every bit as good as [Apple CEO] Steve Jobs," a legendary presenter.)

Carter, who was awarded a 2005 MacArthur "genius" grant, now serves as executive director of Sustainable South Bronx, where she pushes both for eco-friendly practices (such as green and cool roofs) and, equally important, job training and green-related economic development for her vibrant neighborhood on the rise.

"We could not fail to be inspired by Majora Carter's efforts to bring green space for exercise to the South Bronx. We need more ideas like these to bring solutions to minority communities."
- Time

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December 1, 2009

Urbanisms: Steven Holl + Li Hu

On Monday, December 7, Steven Holl Architects opens the exhibition Urbanisms: Steven Holl + Li Hu: 4 Projects in China by Steven Holl Architects in the Horizontal Skyscraper/Vanke Center, in Shenzhen, China. The exhibition tracks the process of designing four ambitious projects in China from 2003-2009: Nanjing Museum of Art and Architecture, Beijing Linked Hybrid, Shenzhen Horizontal Skyscraper, and Chengdu Sliced Porosity Block.

As China experiences one of the world’s largest urbanizations in history, these works explore the creation of collective urban space- as opposed to object buildings. Rather than monofunctional buildings, these are new hybrid buildings with rich programmatic juxtapositions. Each project investigates the phenomena of light and tactility through material development and experimentation. Geothermal cooling and heating, solar PVC and gray water recycling are among several green strategies utilized in all the projects.

The exhibition illustrates the design process from initial conception to current status; documenting the collaborative process of model making, drawing, and animation. The works presented are the product of a cooperative effort between Steven Holl Architects’ offices in New York and Beijing, where the difference in time zones often facilitates a continuous 24 hour cycle of production, the result of which are unprecedented works that are a fusion of landscape, urbanism, and architecture.

The exhibition will be on view in the newly finished Vanke headquarter offices in the Horizontal Skyscraper/Vanke Center in Dameisha, Shenzhen. This hybrid building, a design by Steven Holl with partner Li Hu, includes apartments, a hotel, and offices for the headquarters for Vanke Real Estate Co. ltd. A conference center, spa and parking are located under the large green, tropical landscape which is characterized by mounds containing restaurants and a 500-seat auditorium.

The decision to float one large structure right under the 35-meter height limit, instead of several smaller structures each catering to a specific program, generates the largest possible green space open to the public on the ground level. Suspended on eight cores, as far as 50 meters apart, the building’s structure is a combination of cable-stay bridge technology merged with a high-strength concrete frame. The first structure of its type, it has tension cables carrying a record load of 3280 tons.

As a tropical strategy, the building and the landscape integrate several new sustainable aspects. A microclimate is created by cooling ponds fed by a grey water system. The building has a green roof with solar panels and uses local materials such as bamboo. The glass façade of the building will be protected against the sun and wind by perforated louvers. The building is a tsunami-proof hovering architecture that creates a porous micro-climate of public open landscape; the first LEED platinum rated building in Southern China.

Interiors including the auditorium, conference center and hotel will be completed in late 2010.

For more information on the work of Steven Holl Architects, please visit www.stevenholl.com

---

I won't hide that I am a big admirer of the work designed by Steven Holl's office. His attention to natural light, materiality, and his dedication to phenomenology closely ties into my architectural interests. However, in this particular building I feel he has move a bit towards the monumental form driven architecture of the Dutch and Danish practices making waves today. The interior photograph looks like a standard, and not very pleasant, corporate cafeteria - an an incredibly deep space reliant on fluorescent lighting. The exterior materials seem conventional even if Brightly colored. I love the perforated sun screen and the use of channel glass around the cores, but otherwise the interest in this building stems from its form rather than its phenomenological properties. A bit disappointing in my eyes but still an interesting building. I still do admire the integration of sustainable features and respect the LEED Platinum certification the building has received.



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November 30, 2009

Notre Dame du Haut - Ronchamp, France

For such a vaunted idol of modern architecture, designed by a deity of the architectural designers of the 20th century, visiting the chapel of Notre Dame du Haut in Ronchamp, France was a serene and beautiful experience. Designed by Le Corbusier in 1956, the chapel lies on a picturesque hill high over the quaint village, offering stunning views of the rolling countryside. A small road winds its way through the wooded slopes and deposits you at a somewhat antiquated visitors center. The chapel remains hidden from view by trees and hedges and is slowly revealed as one meanders along the path leading further up the hill. As you follow the pathway, glimpses of the whitewashed walls and infamous concrete roof appear between the gaps in foliage. You round a bend, the hedges end, and the edifice stands before you, rising out of a pristine grass clearing, resting quietly, smaller than expected.

It is difficult to describe the building other than to say it is different, and more magnificent than any of the many photographs and writings about the building have illustrated. Somehow photographs make the chapel look more imposing, often lacking the scale of the place. It is a rather modest sized building, quietly resting on it’s hilltop perch, gazing out over the landscape. It clearly demonstrates Le Corbusier’s talents of fitting his buildings into the greater landscape, an aspect of his work that is often overlooked. He was a master at manipulating the fluidity of concrete, and the subtleties of natural light. He also had an instinctive connection between building and nature, one which gets lost when studying his high rise housing blocks hovering over the land on pilotis. This church felt like it belonged to the site, enhancing the surroundings, relating the clouds passing above to the rolling hills below.

Slowly walking around the building revealed elements of the design, and details that I had never seen in the extensive coverage of Corbusier’s work in my architectural education. The celebration of rainwater collection on the immense roof, becomes a sculptural water spout feeding a basin of sculptural forms rendered in concrete. The light towers, hidden from view in the most common photo of the building, echo each other and frame the secondary, but only open entrance to the interior. External stairs cantilever off the side and animate one of the facades. Tiny dark gashes in the bright white monolith hint at the experience of the dark interior pierced by carefully controlled streams of natural light.

Another Facade, offers a platform protected by the cantilevered roof, containing the facilities to run outdoor services. The podium for the sermon, the table for the holy relics and place for people to take communion become sculptures carved out of the thick walls or rising out of the concrete floor. Each is a work of art, static sculptures, adding interest to the building until they are called into duty when a summer service is required.

Walking into the interior transports you into a different world. The sunny summer day dims while cool air offers relief from the hot sun. Eyes adjust to the darkness revealing the rough textures of the walls as light flows down the arcing ceiling of the light wells. The source is hidden from view leaving only gentle gradients of light to bless the quiet rooms for prayer. The main congregation sits on playfully designed benches set along one of the most famous aspects of the building - the immensely thick walls pierced by angular openings for light. Each gash is cuts deep into the wall and is capped by a stained glass window of varying pattern and color. These holes fold open as they move into the interior, pouring colored light in different directions. As the sun shifts, and clouds move across the dome of the sky, the effects through the wall make the interior a dynamic experience, with each moment being a unique temporal existence.

The building is beautiful, elegant and a truly marvelous experience to visit. It was a pilgrimage of sorts for me, although a non religious one. The power of this building can be felt physically and emotionally. It engages your senses in a truly spiritual way, seductive textures draw your hands to touch the walls, light moves your gaze to the heavens, the cool air calms your spirit, the scent of burning candles relaxes your mind. It was a building seeping with phenomenology, proving the power of design and the genius of one of the truly great architects.

Click here for a slide show of photographs of the chapel: Notre Dame du Haut - designed by Le Corbusier

---

After over 50 years of unchanged surroundings, the site is currently being redeveloped. To bring new life to the chapel a nunnery, a new gate house and a visitors center are being added to the site. Designed by world renowned architect, Renzo Piano, each of the new buildings is being integrated into the landscape, partially submerged into the hill side so as to not interfere with views of and from the historic chapel. The new construction began this past year and is planned to be completed in 2011. The access roads, parking area, and surrounding landscaping will all be redesigned to enhance the site for visitors as well as to add life and purpose to the spiritual aspect of the building. You can see images and find more information about the design by visiting the Renzo Piano Building Workshop website: http://rpbw.r.ui-pro.com/

Check out these books on The Chapel at Ronchamp and Le Corbusier's writing and architecture: Le Corbusier: The Chapel at Ronchamp, Towards a New Architecture, Le Corbusier in Detail, and Le Corbusier : Complete Works in Eight Volumes.



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November 28, 2009

Video: Ray Anderson on the business logic of sustainability


This is an inspirational talk discussing how a company can be profitable - perhaps even more so - by focusing on a business model that embraces principles of sustainability. It proves that making the imperative decisions to change our habits are NOT anti business, no matter how some people argue otherwise. Innovation and responsibility should be the key to a successful company, not antiquated business practices and stiff regulations holding back your competition. I believe, if more CEOs and other people with corporate power followed this line of thinking our economy would be stronger, consumers would have access to better products, and our world would be safer, cleaner, and more beautiful.

At his carpet company, Ray Anderson has increased sales and doubled profits while turning the traditional "take / make / waste" industrial system on its head. In a gentle, understated way, he shares a powerful vision for sustainable commerce.
-ted.com

From his TED.COM profile:
Ray Anderson is the founder of Interface, the company that makes those adorable Flor carpet tiles (as well as lots of less whizzy but equally useful flooring and fabric). He was a serious carpet guy, focused on building his company and making great products. Then he read Paul Hawken's book The Ecology of Commerce. Something clicked: with his company's global reach and manufacturing footprint, he was in a position to do something very real, very important, in building a sustainable world.

Anderson focused the company's attention on sustainable decisionmaking, taking a hard look at suppliers, manufacturing processes, and the beginning-to-end life cycle of all its products. (For example: If you can't find a place to recycle a worn or damaged Flor tile, Interface invites you to send it back to them and they'll do it for you.) They call this drive Mission Zero: "our promise to eliminate any negative impact our company may have on the environment by the year 2020."

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November 23, 2009

Talkitect.com News and Update

Hello readers. You may have noticed that our site has been changing recently. I want to update you all on a few of the things we have been working on at Talkitect.com over the past couple of months. Along with the slight redesign of the website, we are now branding ourselves as an Online Magazine, hoping this will give us a little more credibility than being just another blog. We have been slowly growing over the past year, and we hope this move will help us grow faster going forward. Yes, this is just a branding/marketing move and not a real change to the site, but it is important none the less.

We have also started a group on Facebook (click here). We would love it if you would all become fans and invite your friends! Feel free to add your comments and post interesting photos, links and other design related content. We are also looking for administrators for the group. Let us know if you would like to get involved.

You can also follow us on twitter (by clicking here). We will be posting interesting thoughts, ideas and links a few times a day. Our goal is to be one of the most followed architecture and design groups on Twitter. Please help us grow our followers.

Talkitect.com has recently joined the Amazon.com Affiliate program. We get a small percentage of all sales that we refer to Amazon. Check out our store (click here) to see books that we recommend. You can also follow one of the links off our site (like this one) and then order any product offered through amazon.com. You may also have noticed that we are featuring related books below our posts. This is a great way to find out more information on the designers, artists, and topics we write about.

You can help talkitect.com grow by subscribing to our feed (thank you to the many of you who already do) and by clicking the "Follow" button on the Google Friend Connect widget in the left hand column. We also love hearing feedback so leave comments after the articles and videos you find interesting. We promise to respond.

As always, we are looking for new contributors to the site. If you have an idea, a complete article, a research paper or an interesting video that is in need of some exposure let us know.

Finally, check out our picasa web albums for photographs of great architecture from around the world. There are albums for many of the buildings we write about as well as other interesting places we have visited on our world travels. We will be adding photographs from a recent trip to Copenhagen over the next few weeks.

Thanks once again for reading Talkitect.com.

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November 22, 2009

Video: Paula Scher - Graphic Design


An interesting talk about graphic design. I was particularly interested in her blending of graphics and architecture.
Here is a good book on her work: Make It Bigger
She is also interviewed and featured in the documentary Helvetica. Buy the DVD here: Helvetica

November 18, 2009

Construction Starts on MVRDV Market Hall

Here is a press release I recently received from MVRDV for their new project in downtown Rotterdam:

Today the mayor of Rotterdam, Ahmed Aboutaleb and city councilor Hamit Karakus have officially started the construction of the new Rotterdam Market Hall. The arched building located in the centre of Rotterdam, developed by Provast and designed by MVRDV is a hybrid of public market and apartment building. Completion is set for 2014. Total investment is 175 million Euro with a total surface of 100.000 m2.

At the place where Rotterdam was founded, near the historic Laurens church, the Market Hall will be realized as a new urban typology. The Market Hall is a sustainable combination of food, leisure, living and parking. Fully integrated to enhance and use the synergetic possibilities of the different functions, a public building emerging from housing.

An arch of 228 apartments, of which 102 for rent, will create a large hall which houses 100 market stalls, shops and restaurants, 1200 parking spaces and an underground super market. The apartments will all have a balcony on the outside and a window to the inside of the market. Insulation will prevent any unwanted effects. The 40 meter tall and wide opening of the front and back will be covered with a flexible suspended glass façade, allowing for maximum transparency and a minimum of structure. The interior of the arch will display market produce.

The project with a total of 100.000 m2 is set to be completed in 2014 and part of the current regeneration of Rotterdam’s post war centre. Project developer Provast realizes the building, Unibail Rodamco invested in the shops and restaurants whilst Housing Corporation Vesteda will manage the rental apartments, making the building a socially integrated part of the city.

My thoughts: It is definitely a bold statement and an ambitious design. However, I don't find it particularly captivating. It seems rather large and bulky and definitely doesn't slip into its surroundings - rather, it screams for attention. The market space seems inviting with the minimal glass walls separating it from the elements while preserving views and allowing ample daylight. It is also interesting that all of the apartments will have views both out to the city and in to the market. I just don't think this building needs to be so flashy. Giant fruits and vegetables as super graphics on the interior of the arch? Do they really have to hit us over the head with the graphic design? I would much prefer a simpler material palate, one with high quality materials and an acute attention to detailing - something less flashy and more subdued and confident. I would have liked to see a building that creates a new typology for mixed use architecture and yet elegantly fits within the context of the historic city.

* Update from Irold van der Sar, a friend and architect living in Rotterdam: The development of the Markthal is really not sure. See: http://www.vastgoedjournaal.nl/index.php/news/760/16/Provast-dagvaardt-Vesteda-opnieuw Briefly: the developer is taking Vestada to court. Vestada doesn’t have faith in the project anymore now that one of the other investors stepped out of the project.

---

Firm Profile:
MVRDV was set up in Rotterdam (the Netherlands) in 1993 by Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs and Nathalie de Vries.

MVRDV produces designs and studies in the fields of architecture, urbanism and landscape design. Early projects such as the headquarters for the Dutch Public Broadcaster VPRO and housing for elderly WoZoCo in Amsterdam lead to international acclaim. MVRDV develops its work in a conceptual way, the changing condition is visualised and discussed through designs, sometimes literally through the design and construction of a diagram.

The office continues to pursue its fascination and methodical research on density using a method of shaping space through complex amounts of data that accompany contemporary building and design processes. MVRDV first published a cross section of these study results in FARMAX (1998), followed by a.o. MetaCity/Datatown (1999), Costa Iberica (2000), Regionmaker (2002), 5 Minutes City (2003), KM3 (2005), which contains Pig City and more recently Spacefighter (2007) and Skycar City (2007), the latter two will be exhibited at the 2008 Biennale of Venice. MVRDV deals with global ecological issues in large scale studies like Pig City as well as in small scale solutions for flooded areas of New Orleans.

Current projects include various housing projects in the Netherlands, Spain, China, France, Austria, the United Kingdom, USA, India, Korea and other countries, a television centre in Zürich, a public library for Spijkenisse (Netherlands), a central market hall for Rotterdam, a culture plaza in Nanjing, China, large scale urban masterplans in Oslo, Norway and in Tirana, Albania, a masterplan for an eco-city in Logroño, Spain and an urban vision for the doubling in size of Almere, Netherlands.

The work of MVRDV is exhibited and published world wide and receives international awards. The 60 architects, designers and staff members conceive projects in a multi-disciplinary collaborative design process and apply highest technological and sustainable standards.

For more information please contact public relations at MVRDV, Jan Knikker / Paula van Baak / Isabel Pagel
+31 10 477 2860 or pr@mvrdv.nlwww.mvrdv.nl

If you are interested in the work of MVRDV and want to see more of their research and built projects check out these books: Mvrdv: Km3: Excursions on Capacity, Skycar City (MVRDV), Metacity/Datatown, and MVRDV: Works and Projects 1991-2006



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Video: Cameron Sinclair - The refugees of boom-and-bust


Cameron Sinclair is an inspiring individual and I agree with his statement that in many of the issues he takes on, there is no High Road, but only one road to take. Social and environmental sustainability and responsibility is a moral imperative, one architects are bound to serve. Make the right choices.

At TEDGlobal U, Cameron Sinclair shows the unreported cost of real estate megaprojects gone bust: thousands of migrant construction laborers left stranded and penniless. To his fellow architects, he says there is only one ethical response.

To watch his previous video: click here
Visit the Architecture for Humanity homepage: architectureforhumanity.org
Buy the fantastic book produced by Cameron Sinclair's organization Architecture for Humanity: Design Like You Give a Damn: Architectural Responses to Humanitarian Crises



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November 17, 2009

Video: In the Studio - Antony Gormley’s cutting-edge workspace



This past summer I visited an exhibition of Antony Gormley's work at the Kunsthaus Bregenz in Austria - a beautiful building designed by Peter Zumthor. Along with the elegance of the gallery itself, Gormley's work was absolutely incredible. His three diverse sculptures captivated visitors and engaged the entire space of each gallery, forcing viewers to interact with the sculpture and ponder the ways the human body interacts with surrounding space. The works completely dominated each gallery room guiding people to move into and become part of the sculpture themselves.

From the Tate website: Antony Gormley takes us on a tour of his studio. Designed in collaboration with the architect David Chipperfield, this converted warehouse just north of King Cross manages to accommodate hanger-like rooms, where teams of assistants work on large-scale sculptures, with more intimate, personal spaces.

Antony Gormley's homepage: www.antonygormley.com
Antony Gormley's Artsy Page: www.artsy.net/artist/antony-gormley
If this talk intrigued you check out these books showcasing Antony Gormley's amazing artwork: Antony Gormley, and Antony Gormley (Contemporary Artists)



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November 9, 2009

Video: Eric Sanderson pictures New York - before the City



Since being introduced to the concept of Landscape Ecology by Profesor Brook Muller at the University of Oregon, I have been fascinated by the blending of architecture and the environment. This fascinating talk takes a step back in time to visualize what life on Manhattan was like before the Europeans arrived. Using this knowledge as a base we can better design site specific architecture that is in complete harmony with the ecosystem around it. Think about what New York City would be in 100 years if nature was reintroduced as an integral infrastructure for the city - there are some visualizations of this concept at the end of the presentation. From Ted.com:
400 years after Hudson found New York harbor, Eric Sanderson shares how he made a 3D map of Mannahatta's fascinating pre-city ecology of hills, rivers, wildlife -- accurate down to the block -- when Times Square was a wetland and you couldn't get delivery.

If you found this talk interesting check out this book: Mannahatta: A Natural History of New York City


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November 4, 2009

Video: Olafur Eliasson - Playing with space and light



An international artist whose work bridges art and architecture, Olafur Eliasson offers an inspiring way of looking at space and causing people to interact with and perceive the spaces around them in a unique way. His experimental work uses natural elements and phenomena - water, light, fog, ice, etc. - to express his ideas, while focusing on movement and how that alters our perception. Time is also an important element in his art, once again causing viewers to perceive things in a new perspective. Usually he works at a large scale, with installations ranging from a series of waterfalls in the rivers surrounding Manhattan to an installation of a giant setting sun shrouded by fog in the Turbine Hall of the Tate Gallery in London. From TED.com:

In the spectacular large-scale projects he's famous for (such as "Waterfalls" in New York harbor), Olafur Eliasson creates art from a palette of space, distance, color and light. This idea-packed talk begins with an experiment in the nature of perception.

Denmark-born Icelander Olafur Eliasson has taken the art world by storm -- and the meteorological dimensions of that statement are appropriate. His immensely popular The Weather Project, at London's Tate Museum, immersed spectators in an artificial mirrored environment with its own looming sun (and its own analog of London fog), and attracted 2 million visitors in the process. In the summer of 2008, his four massive waterfalls spectacularly punctuated key sites in New York's harbor -- including one pouring from beneath the Brooklyn Bridge.

Eliasson's works emphasize tricks of light, refraction and scale, and tend to involve each viewer in his or her own unique experience, as in Beauty, which, by passing light through a wall of fine mist, produces a different rainbow when viewed from different points in the gallery. And his works engage passers-by in urban environments -- Eye See You, a project for Louis Vuitton (and meant to publicize 121 Ethiopia, an African nonprofit Eliasson co-founded with his wife), grabs viewers in the street with a beam of light shot from the window by an eye-shaped lamp.
"Many of his best-known works explore architecture and the mechanics of perception, almost as if the fantastical imaginings of Buckminster Fuller were reinterpreted by a cognitive scientist."
- Michael Joseph Gross, New York magazine

If you are interested in more information about Olafur Eliasson and his artwrok check out these books: Take Your Time: Olafur Eliasson, Studio Olafur Eliasson: An Encyclopedia, Olafur Eliasson (Contemporary Artists)



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November 1, 2009

Video: Stefan Sagmeister - The power of time off



From Ted.com: Every seven years, designer Stefan Sagmeister closes his New York studio for a yearlong sabbatical to rejuvenate and refresh their creative outlook. He explains the often overlooked value of time off and shows the innovative projects inspired by his time in Bali.

If you liked this video check out these others: Stefan Sagmeister Talks

These Books may also be of interest: Things I have learned in my life so far, Sagmeister: Made You Look
As will this movie, available on DVD and for download: Helvetica for download, Helvetica on DVD




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October 30, 2009

Video: Aimee Mullins and her 12 pairs of legs


The TED.com description of the video: Athlete, actor and activist Aimee Mullins talks about her prosthetic legs -- she's got a dozen amazing pairs -- and the superpowers they grant her: speed, beauty, an extra 6 inches of height ... Quite simply, she redefines what the body can be.

Aimee Mullins was born without fibular bones, and had both of her legs amputated below the knee when she was an infant. She learned to walk on prosthetics, then to run - competing at the national and international level as a champion sprinter, and setting world records at the 1996 Paralympics in Atlanta. At Georgetown, where she double-majored in history and diplomacy, she became the first double amputee to compete in NCAA Division 1 track and field.

After school, Mullins did some modeling - including a legendary runway show for Alexander McQueen - and then turned to acting, appearing as the Leopard Queen in Matthew Barney's Cremaster Cycle. In 2008 she was the official Ambassador for the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival.

She's a passionate advocate for a new kind of thinking about prosthetics, and recently mentioned to an interviewer that she's been looking closely at MIT's in-development powered robotic ankle, "which I fully plan on having."

October 29, 2009

Glenn Murcutt International Master Class (Part IV)

Here is the official press release for the 10th annual Glenn Murcutt International Architecture Master Class - July 11 to 25, 2010.

The tenth Glenn Murcutt International Architecture Master Class will be held in Australia at Glenn Murcutt's "Masterwork", the Arthur and Yvonne Boyd Education Centre 'Riversdale' on the banks of the Shoalhaven River south of Sydney, and at the School of Architecture at the University of Sydney, 11-25 July 2010. Information: www.ozetecture.org. Watch a four minute clip from the 2008 Glenn Murcutt International Architecture Master Class on the web site (or on Talkitect by clicking here)

The two week residential design studio program is led by Glenn Murcutt with other tutors including Richard Leplastrier, Peter Stutchbury, Brit Andresen and, Master Class Convener, Lindsay Johnston. A major feature each year has been the insights contributed by Aboriginal Elder 'Uncle' Max Dulumunmun Harrison. Since its inception, participants from 46 nations have attended the program. Participants are primarily, now, practicing architects - older and younger - with some professors, academics, recent graduates and a few senior students.

Participants stay for the first week in the exquisite hostel accommodation at the Boyd Education Center, designed by Murcutt with Wendy Lewin and Reg Lark and completed in 1999. The 'big room' at 'Riversdale' is transformed into both banqueting hall and a design studio for six days while participants commence the conceptual design of a project located on a sensitive scenic site within walking distance of the venue. The program includes extensive site investigations, intensive studio tutoring, progress design critiques and after dinner lectures by the 'masters'. The studio relocates to the University of Sydney for the second week, where participants stay in a hotel near the University at Darling Harbour, and culminates in final presentations and a 'Big Crit Day'. Other events in the program include visits to significant houses designed by Glenn Murcutt and the other tutors and, in previous years, a Sydney Harbour evening cruise.

THE TUTORS:

Glenn Murcutt is best known for his 'singular practice' acclaimed through the award of the 2002 Pritzker Prize. He has also been recipient of numerous other international awards including the Alvar Aalto Medal in Finland, the 'Green Pin' Award for Architecture and Ecology in Denmark and the Richard Neutra Award in USA. He received the Gold Medal of the Australian Institute of Architects in 1992 and the Gold Medal of the American Institute of Architects in 2009.

Richard Leplastrier is a seminal figure in Australian architecture and is considered as one of the great teachers. He worked with Kenzo Tange and with Jørn Utzon at the time of the Sydney Opera House and his body of work has been acclaimed with the award of the 2009 Dreyers Foundation Prize of Honour in Denmark. In 2004, he was awarded the 'Spirit of Nature Wood Architecture' Award in Finland, also awarded to Renzo Piano, Kengo Kuma, Peter Zumthor and José Cruz Ovalle. He is also a Gold Medalist of the Australian Institute of Architects 1999.

Professor Brit Andresen taught at the AA in London before joining the University of Queensland. She worked with Barry Gasson on the winning entry for the Burrell Museum in Scotland and, with her partner Peter O'Gorman, has authored significant works that have been widely published internationally including in the Phaidon Atlas of World Architecture. Brit was the first woman recipient of the Australian Institute of Architects Gold Medal in 2002.

Peter Stutchbury is a leading practitioner in Australia with a significant body of outstanding innovative built projects that have been awarded nationally and published internationally. He was winner of the 2008 International Iron and Steel Institute 'Living Steel' Competition for extreme climate housing in Cherepovets, Russia and held the 2008 Catedra Luis Barragán in Mexico, a Chair previously held by Tadao Ando, Norman Foster, Nicholas Grimshaw, Peter Zumthor and Glenn Murcutt.

Lindsay Johnston is former Dean of Architecture and Design at the University of Newcastle, Australia, with a particular expertise in environmentally responsive design and some of his built projects have been awarded and published internationally.

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For details of Uncle Max Dulumunmun Harrisons's book 'My People's Dreaming" see - http://www.finch.com.au/html/s02_article/article_view.asp?art_id=288&nav_cat_id=220&nav_top_id=70

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