December 21, 2010

Designated Sketcher - a virtual desk crit

Too often architects and designers don't get significant feedback on their work until the design process is finished or the building is completed. Students slave away for weeks only to get their work torn apart in overly critical juried reviews. To combat this, Jeff Pastva, a designer and Philadelphia-based architect, developed a website to help rectify the disconnect between design process and constructive feedback. It allows people to receive continuous feedback on their work throughout every stage of their design development. His site - Designated Sketcher - brings the idea of the desk critique to the cloud, allowing individuals to post their ideas, process sketches, finished projects, study models, diagrams, etc., and then receive comments from a community of designers. Anyone can register and submit their work or just browse through the work and offer their opinions. It allows people to adjust their ideas, fix their designs, or reconsider certain moves before it is too late for changes to take effect. It also is a great way to start conversations about architecture and stimulate the sharing of ideas.

It is a brand new site that just recently launched. The community is growing and will only become more interesting as more work is posted, and more critics offer their opinions. I highly recommend you check out the site and offer some insightful comments on the work shown, and post your own projects.

More information from creator Jeff Pastva:
The Designated Sketcher is a website that focuses on the advancement of student projects and the documentation of the decision making process. Since the design and decision making process is the most valuable asset to the student and young professionals’ germination, the site aims to provide critical professional feedback to help bridge the gap between education and employment. In order to accomplish this, it allows users to post their works in progress, which can range from your first sketch in studio to an entire body of work, for the community to engage in the dialogue. To get the full experience, designers would be encouraged to post their own projects at inception, so that the design community can be involved with this decision making process every step of the way.

Check out the site:

December 20, 2010

Slideshow: First Nations Garden Pavillion - by Saucier + Perrotte Architects - Montreal, Canada

A beautiful building that elegantly slips through the forrest at the Montreal Botanical Gardens. The flowing roof hovers over the displays below, highlighting the history and crafts of the local aboriginal culture.

December 16, 2010

Video: Open SimSim - Daniel Dendra - TEDxBerlin

I just got this presentation forwarded me from Daniel Dendra who I collaborated with while living in Berlin. It is a fantastic idea that could have a huge impact on the future or design. Hopefully this concept will catch on, gain a wide user-base and grow to be an influential entity for our built environment.

According to the OPEN SIM SIM website:

OPEN SOURCE ARCHITECTURE – WHERE PEOPLE MEETOpen source is changing many aspects of our every day life. We use open source projects such as wikipedia for researching information and gaining knowledge. We use open source software such as OpenOffice to write letters and make presentations. We are shifting from a corporation owned consumer world to a community driven participation system where people are enjoying contributing their knowledge and time to the wider public for free.

Could architecture and urbanism also benefit from this ideas?

98% of the world wide residential building market is not designed and built by architects. OpenSource will gain credibility as well as increase market shares for the architectural community.

OPEN SOURCE ARCHITECTUREOpen source architecture is a community driven platform that enhances the architectural design and building process. Open source architecture deals with wide range, innovative and sustainable housing concepts. It provides user generated content including scripting tools and with it valuable knowledge. 

The design process and realization of architecture are defined in a contemporary way: An interested community such as architects, engineers, climate specialists, home owners, designers and manufactures are putting their input and feedback into the design. It is available to everybody who cares about the world of design and the design of the world.

The goal is to define new objectives, develop strategies to initiate activities, meet people in architecture, make the design process more transparent and create new visions. Architectural design for homes should be for free, as long it is sustainable.

The key players in the process are:
  • perspective home owners
  • architects
  • manufacturers
  • engineers and scientists 
Open source architecture is targeting smaller scale residential projects.

TECHNOLOGYOpen source architecture is operated by a simple state of the art technology. It is based on a dynamic and flexible core system which provides common web2.0 and social media features.

REFERENCESThe tool that is developed is radical different from any existing tools or open networks for architects on the internet. References to existing projects from other fields are: DIYdrones and LocalMotors.

We presented the beta version of the online platform to a broader audience. Furthermore an interactive and partly physical installation demonstrated the ideas and possibilities of Open- Source for architecture and design. 15 open source projects were featured and the visitors interacted with the sustainable design process and became part of the design community.

For more information visit the OPEN SIM SIM Website:

December 15, 2010

Video: Ellen Dunham-Jones: Retrofitting suburbia

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Parks House

LOS ANGELES, June 30, 2010 – New design talent Michael Parks is pleased to announce the completion of the dramatic remodeling of the Parks House, a modern and innovative three-bedroom, three-bath hillside home located in the Laurel Canyon section of Los Angeles‟ Hollywood Hills. The creative ingenuity behind the year and a half transformation of the Parks House is made all the more intriguing because Parks, the owner, had no formal architectural/design education. Yet he designed and spearheaded the project himself -- an architectural metamorphosis through which Parks himself found a new career and a passion for creating ground-breaking modern design.

“After an architect presented us with a set of plans (no similarities to Parks‟) that were over three times our budget, I decided to explore the possibility of using my love of architecture and my creative, budgeting and project management skills from TV and film producing to try and do it myself,” Parks said. “It all came together in a very LA story. While getting my haircut, a stylist told me that he had a contractor/business partner „who was the best.‟ The contractor turned out to be his brother, but after meeting him I realized he was our man and I could do the project for under our limited budget.”

Parks faced countless challenges when he purchased the house: severe dry rot and termite damage to every area of the wood, post and beam-built house; windows that did not connect with their frames; a poor floor plan with little worthwhile useable space and only one proper bedroom; a kitchen where Parks actually put his foot through the rotted floor; poor ventilation with no insulation and an oddly shaped lot coupled with difficult hillside conditions. But Parks looked past the dwelling's numerous issues and instead saw incredible, unrealized potential.

With a contractor on board and with the housing market going bust, Parks had no choice but to dive in. Never one to take the easy road, Parks had just finished production on a new TV pilot; had recently planned an international wedding with his then fiancé; and was in the midst of pitching several television shows when construction began. Nevertheless, he immersed himself totally into the project and was hands-on from day one, tackling all the architecture, design, budgeting, permit and inspection approvals, getting advice from a Los Angeles plumber, as well as complex landscaping issues. (Completed Parks House Photos:

In fact, many days Parks could be seen dangling 40ft. in the air staining wood -- an undertaking befitting Parks -- a man whose vision, drive and spirit of adventure led him to ascend the treacherous slopes of Mt. Everest in 2000. “With this house, the learning curve and the difficult lot were both steep to say the least,” Parks said, “the only way to accomplish this was to make it a full time job.”

Parks' love of architecture began as a child in Washington, DC where he played in a house designed by modern architect, Richard Neutra. "I loved the spacious openness, bold lines and floor to ceiling glass, which were in direct contrast to the prevailing colonial and traditional architecture of Washington, D.C," said Parks. On weekends in Los Angeles, just for his own enjoyment, Parks found himself taking walks with his wife, searching out houses by the great modernists, not realizing he would soon be putting this inspiration to use on his own property.

The Parks House now stands as a testament to forward-thinking, sleek, open, airy and inviting modern architecture that accomplishes the rare feat of combining a minimalist aesthetic with both comfort and hip, understated luxury. With impeccable proportions and bold geometry, Parks‟ design uses the strategic and artful interplay between horizontal and vertical volumes to define the home‟s appearance -- engaging and heightening the senses of those who visit.

“There is a story for every square inch of the house,” Parks said. One standout, design-forward architectural feature, a breath-taking wall of glass that looks out into a striking tree canopy, was perhaps the most challenging design and remodeling detail of the project. To achieve this, Parks had to turn a deaf ear to many who told him that he would not be able to find glass that was energy efficient, thermal, double glaze, and large enough for his design. After accomplishing this, he was then faced with the dilemma of installation. “Due to the height, the slope of the street and the trees that surrounded the 35ft. high window opening, a crane was out of the question,” Parks said.

The solution: nine men carried the heavy glass wall down the stairs and angled it through the yet unframed front door and into the house. To create a dark, vertical, metal cladding element for the exterior, Parks thought outside of the box and used sustainable metal standing seam roofing, usually seen on large commercial buildings, cutting it into various widths to create an unexpected and beautiful, cascading design. (Glass Wall Photos:

Other distinguishing features include a stunning wood-trellised box-framed window; a portion of the house sheathed in exquisite, sustainably-harvested exterior wood cladding; and the extensive use of sustainable and eco-friendly building materials throughout. In addition, large retaining walls made of recycled concrete from old driveways; floor to ceiling glass reminiscent of its mid-century modern roots; and an outside waterfall created with small pieces of discarded slate add distinctive detailing to the house.

Perhaps one of the most inspiring aspects this project is that the creation of the Parks House, borne from a love of architecture and design, has turned into a new career for Parks, who, mid-way through construction, began taking architecture courses at night at UCLA. Parks said, “I remodelled the house and the house remodelled me.

“I heard a quote once that said 'There's how we live and that is food, clothing and shelter. And then there is why we live... and that's called art.' The goal was to create a house in which we were surrounded, inside and out, by warm, modern architecture that is art, but could be lived in comfortably.”

For more information about Michael Parks and the Parks House, please contact Marilyn Fletcher, at Fletcher Communications: Cell - (917) 547-8045 - or visit the website

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December 3, 2010

Video: Media facades: When buildings start to twitter

During the day, façade structures with their windows and material combinations grant a specific building image to the public. However, after sunset electrical light is the medium for an architectural image. The light appearance sends an atmospheric signal to the citizens like hang on in front of an asleep structure, look at an inviting but static façade or enjoy a vivid architecture sharing short stories like tweets. In the last decade, media facades have become a widespread element for luminous short messages. They establish a network between the building owner and the citizens, sometimes driven by aesthetical debates, other times by commercial intentions to avoid traditional light advertisement. The pursuit of persuasion by way of big screens gives the impression that size receives a higher relevance than content, comparable with the large amount of trivial tweets in Twitter. Various media facades appear as monumental monologues repeating a fixed animation daily. A few facades use signals from the environment and transform them into a play of light and shadow. Others emerge as urban dialogues when buildings show combined moving pictures. Some even allow people to send messages to the building to receive luminous retweets. They turn the city into a community following the dialogue and with the respective Apps may possibly even gain a following community worldwide.

- Thomas Schielke, arclighting:
- Parsons The New School for Design, New York:

December 2, 2010

Video: Interview with Ole Bouman - Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAI)

From Studio Banana TV:
In this video, Ole Bouman, director of the Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAI), explains the concept and vision behind the Dutch presentation at the Venice Biennale 2010. He also talks about the role and position of the NAI as not only a museum of architecture but above all as a cultural institute which is open to the public and which uses a variety of methods for communicating about the shaping of human space.

December 1, 2010

November 29, 2010

Slideshow: The Architecture of Peter Stutchbury - Australia

For more information on the architecture of Peter Stutchbury visit his website:
His is also one of the fantastic tutors of the Glenn Murcutt Masters Class:

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November 23, 2010

3rd International Holcim Awards: Developing new perspectives for the future

Zurich, Switzerland, November 12th, 2010 – The 3rd International Holcim Awards competition offering a total of  $2 million USD in prize money is now open for submissions. The open design competition is open to proposals for sustainable building and civil engineering works; landscape, urban design and infrastructure projects; and materials, products and construction technologies. The Awards are an initiative of the Swiss-based Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction.

Entries must be submitted online at by March 23, 2011. The competition celebrates innovative, future-oriented and tangible projects and visions from around the globe and is open to anyone involved with approaches that contribute towards a more sustainable built environment. The 3rd International Holcim Awards competition is comprised of five regional competitions in 2010/11 and the global phase in 2012. Step-by-step instructions on how to enter the competition are available at:  

Holcim Awards (main) and “Next Generation” (student) categories
The main category of the competition is open to architects, planners, engineers, project owners, builders and construction firms that showcase sustainable responses to technological, environmental, socioeconomic and cultural issues with contemporary building and construction. Projects are eligible for the competition if they have reached an advanced stage of design. Construction (or commercial production in the case of materials, products and construction technologies) must not have started before July 1, 2010. In addition, the Holcim Awards seeks visions and ideas for the “Next Generation” category, open to student projects created within university programs at final year bachelor level or above (including master’s and PhD). The categories are separate so student projects compete against other student projects - same for the professional submissions.

Measuring up to “target issues” for sustainable construction 
Submissions in both categories are evaluated by independent juries, using five “target issues” to define sustainable construction. Three of these align with the triple bottom line concept of balanced social, environmental and economic performance. The rest cover contextual and aesthetic impact, and innovation and transferability. For further details see:  

Internationally renowned architects and academics in juries 
The juries in the five competition regions include experts in sustainable construction, such as Angelo Bucci (Brazil), Raymond J. Cole (Canada), Wowo Ding (China), Harry Gugger (Switzerland), Bjarke Ingels (Denmark), Sheila Kennedy (USA), Ashok B. Lall (India), Winy Maas (Netherlands), Jürgen Mayer H. (Germany), Mohsen Mostafavi (USA), Amer Moustafa (UAE), Lucy Musgrave (UK), Olivia la O’Castillo (Philippines), Joe Osae-Addo (Ghana), Michel Rojkind (Brazil), Hashim Sarkis (Lebanon), Bruno Stagno (Costa Rica), Gunawan Tjahjono (Indonesia).

The North American region jury includes: 
  • Mohsen Mostafavi (Head): Dean, Harvard University Graduate School of Design, Cambridge, Mass., USA 
  • Ray Cole: Director, School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada 
  • Keller Easterling: Associate Professor of Architecture, School of Architecture, Yale University, New Haven, Conn., USA 
  • Harry Gugger: Principal, Harry Gugger Studio, Basel; Professor of Architecture, Laboratory of the Production of Architecture, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland (TCC) 
  • Sheila Kennedy: Principal, Kennedy & Violich Architecture, Boston, Mass.; Professor of Architecture, School of Architecture and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass., USA 
  • Hans-Rudolf Schalcher: Professor em., Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich), Switzerland (TCC) 
  • Nader Tehrani: Principal, Office dA, Boston, Mass.; Professor of Architecture and Head of Department of Architecture, School of Architecture and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass., USA 
  • Bernard Terver: Area Manager North America, Holcim, Waltham, Mass., USA 
  • Mark West: Director, The Center for Architectural Structures and Technology, Faculty of Architecture, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada
 A full list of jury members is available at:  

Support by world-renowned technical universities 
The Holcim Awards competitions are conducted in partnership with some of the world’s leading technical universities. The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich) leads the Technical Competence Center of the Holcim Foundation. Other partner universities which host the independent competition juries are: the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, USA; the Universidad Iberoamericana (UIA) in Mexico City, Mexico; l’École Supérieure d’Architecture de Casablanca (EAC) in Morocco, and Tongji University (TJU) in Shanghai, China. The Universidade de São Paulo (USP), Brazil, and the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) in Johannesburg, South Africa, are associated universities of the Holcim Foundation.

100 prize winning projects in the first two competitions 
In the 2nd Holcim Awards competition 2008/2009, almost 5000 projects from 120 countries were submitted. The 52 prize-winning projects included the global winners: Holcim Awards Gold – River remediation and urban development scheme, Fez, Morocco. Silver – Low-impact greenfield university campus, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Bronze – Sustainable planning for a rural community, Beijing, China. “Innovation” prize – Self-contained day labor station, San Francisco, USA. Details about the 100 prize-winning projects from both the 1st and 2nd competition cycles are available at:

Visit the facebook page for more information: Holcim Awards on Facebook
To submit projects to the Holcim Awards go here: Online Entry Form


The Holcim Foundation is supported by Holcim Ltd and its Group companies in around 70 countries and is independent of its commercial interests. Holcim is one of the world’s leading suppliers of cement and aggregates as well as further activities such as ready-mix concrete and asphalt including services. In 2009 the Group was confirmed as a member of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for the seventh time in succession.

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November 22, 2010

Slideshow: Omotesando Street - various architects - Tokyo, Japan

I don't think any other street in the world has quite a collection of contemporary architecture. Yes, it is all a collection of retail shops but the list of architects is a who's who of the top names in the world. If you ever go to Tokyo to visit, I highly recommend spending a day and an evening exploring this area and the surrounding alleys. Here is a fantastic guide to being an architecture tourist in Tokyo, built together by Tom Heneghan and myself "pooling our knowledge and experiences from various trips": Tokyo Architecture Tour

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November 19, 2010

Holcim Awards Competition Lifts Profile of Sustainability Projects

Design competitions are an ideal vessel to raise awareness and introduce a broad audience to issues affecting the built environment. Winning an award can have a significant impact on gaining public support or securing sponsorship for the respective project. The Holcim Awards is such a design competition: it promotes and rewards innovative approaches to sustainable construction.

Living With Lakes Center:
Holcim Awards Bronze 2008 North America – “Living with Lakes Center for freshwater restoration and research”, Sudbury, Canada
Holcim Awards Bronze 2008 North America – “Living with Lakes Center for freshwater restoration and research”, Sudbury, Canada
One of the award-winning projects is the “The Living with Lakes Center” (above) in northeastern Ontario, Canada. The project will house a research center to aid the restoration of the city of Sudbury’s ecosystem with an emphasis on water security for future generations. The research center will be self-sufficient for electricity and heating needs and be built to LEED platinum standards with instrumentation fitted to monitor the effectiveness of an array of technical features and their impact on lake water quality.

The project is led by Laurentian University scientist John Gunn who remarks that winning a Holcim Award for North America secured vital funds for the project as well as assisted the project team in attracting financial support from Industry Canada and other sponsors for the USD 5 million project.

 River Remediation and Urban Development Scheme:
Global Holcim Awards Gold 2009 – River remediation and urban development scheme, Fez, Morocco
Global Holcim Awards Gold 2009 – River remediation and urban development scheme, Fez, Morocco
The Global Holcim Awards Gold 2009 winner, “River remediation and urban development scheme” is situated in the UNESCO World Heritage-listed city of Fez, Morocco. The project is a multi-sited, multi-functional project that is centered upon the recovery of a river. Work on restoring it triggers a range of interventions in the Medina. Core components are the rehabilitation of the old city’s architecture, revitalizing public spaces and traditional tanneries, and creating new pedestrian zones.

“The Holcim Awards brought international public attention to the river project and in turn triggered new rehabilitation initiatives in the city”, project architect Aziza Chaouni comments. The Medina of Fez continues to host new opportunities for sustainable urban development through a new competition for the design of a site for the nearby Place Lalla Yeddouna.

The 3rd International Holcim Awards competition offering a total of $2 million USD in prize money is currently open for entries. There are no restrictions to who may develop and submit new perspectives for our future. The competition seeks exemplary sustainable building and civil engineering works; landscape, urban design and infrastructure projects; and materials, products and construction technologies. Construction may not have started before July 1, 2010, entries must be submitted by March 23, 2011. More information visit and check out our facebook page

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November 18, 2010

HIGHRISE & Out My Window

This is an incredible project that has recently partnered with I strongly suggest you watch the trailer below and explore their website. It is a fascinating glimpse into the lives of people around the world and how they adapt to the architecture they inhabit.

HIGHRISE is a multi-year, multi-media, collaborative documentary project about the human experience in global vertical suburbs. Under the direction of documentary-maker Katerina Cizek, the HIGHRISE team will be making lots of things. Web-documentaries, live presentations, installations, mobile projects and yes, documentary films. We will use the acclaimed interventionist and participatory approaches of the award-winning National Film Board of Canada’s Filmmaker-in-Residence (FIR) project. Our scale will be global, but rooted firmly in the FIR philosophy — putting people, process, creativity, collaboration, and innovation first.

 Out My Window is one of the world’s first interactive 360º documentaries. Delivered entirely on the web, it explores the state of our urban planet told by people who look out on the world from highrise windows.

It’s a journey around the globe through the most commonly built form of the last century: the concrete-slab residential tower. Meet remarkable highrise residents who harness the human spirit — and the power of community — to resurrect meaning amid the ruins of modernism.
With more than 90 minutes of material to explore, Out My Window features 49 stories from 13 cities, told in 13 languages, accompanied by a leading-edge music playlist.

“This is stunning, merging the geography of the high rise and film”
- @PJHatfield, curator at British Library, on twitter

For more information on this great project and the Highrise project follow these links:
Out My WIndow:

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November 15, 2010

Slideshow: The Jewish Museum - by Daniel Libeskind - Berlin, Germany

A piece of architecture that is worth visiting for it's few spectacular moments. However, it is hard to feel that the end product just doesn't live up to its potential and definitely not the hype.

For a full review check out this link: The Jewish Museum

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Video: People Meet In Buildings, the International Architecture Biennale of Venice

A nice short film offering various architects' reactions to and opinions of the theme of the 2010 International Architecture Biennale of Venice "People Meet in Buildings" directed by Kazuyo Sejima.

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November 8, 2010

Slideshow: Nordic Embassies - by Berger + Parkkinen - Berlin, Germany

Another fantastic piece of architecture in Berlin. While living there, I worked for Pysall Ruge Architekten, the firm the was the local architects for this project. However, the master plan was developed by Berger + Parkkinen while each individual embassy was designed by a firm from the home country.

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November 2, 2010

Book Review: Unpacking My Library: Architects and Their Books - Edited by Jo Steffens

A book about books is always an intriguing concept, particularly when it gives insight into the thought process of people you look up to. In this instance, Unpacking My Library: Architects and Their Books, we are given a glimpse into the collections along with a top 10 list of books from 10 influential Architects: Stan Allen, Henry N. Cobb, Liz DIller and Ric Scofidio, Peter Eisenmann, Michael Graves, Steven Holl, Toshiko Mori, Michael Sorkin, Bernard Tschumi, and Tod Williams and Billie Tsien. The book itself was conceived as part of an exhibition by the same name at The Urban Center in 2009. The participating architects also engaged in a series of conversations over the course of the exhibition with parts of the interviews featured in this book. Seeing the overlapping books was particularly interesting and has given me a deep list of books to find and read. Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow appeared on about half the lists as did Robert Venturi's classic, Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture. Perhaps the most interesting list was that of Liz Diller and Ric Scofidio, who are strongly influenced by pop culture and featured the incredible Sci-fi novel Snow Crash by Neal Stevenson and the food manifesto The Omnivore's Dilema by Michael Pollan. Of course one of my all time favorite books, which is featured in the library of Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, is Harold and the Purple Crayon, an incredible story about the imagination and creativity of child who draws his way through landscapes and cities.

Overall, Unpacking My Library is a well designed book that is fun to read and full of departure points for further study. It is an excellent resource to return to when searching for books to help inspire, when looking for an intense novel, or when a glimpse into architectural theory is necessary.


Unpacking My Library: Architects and Their Books
Edited by Jo Steffens
Hardcover: 192 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0300158939
Yale University Press:

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October 27, 2010

Video: David Byrne: How architecture helped music evolve

An interesting presentation on how architecture influences the way people create music. Surprisingly I found David Byrne to not be the most dynamic speaker, as I expected his incredible stage presence during his concerts to transfer to his lecture.

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October 25, 2010

Slideshow: GSW Building - Sauerbruch Hutton - Berlin, Germany

An incredible office tower design by Sauerbruch Hutton Architects. The double facade encloses an elaborate sun screen system that created a pattern of warm colors as the users open and close the shutters. The faced is ever changing as the days and seasons roll by.

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October 20, 2010

Video: Theo Jansen creates new creatures

These are incredible creations. I love the videos at the beginning of the presentation, showing the creatures walking along the beach. So beautiful.

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October 19, 2010

Book Review: Above the Pavement - The Farm! : Architecture and Agriculture at P.F.1 - Edited by Amale Andraos & Dan Wood

Above the Pavement - The Farm! : Architecture and Agriculture at P.F.1 is an account of the process behind the design and construction of the annual P.S.1. young architects installation in 2008. WORKac was the winner of the competition with their proposal to construct a working farm, planted in sections of sono tubes sloping up over the walls of the courtyard. Told through first person accounts of the process, by people intimately involved in the project, this book offers a unique view into the design and construction process as well as the challenges and details that often get glossed over once a project is completed. This story follows the project from the initial conception and competition presentation, through the installation and dismantling of the farm. In plain language the book highlights the incredibly complex process of actually getting a design completed including getting the perspective from various members of the design team, construction team, volunteers and clients. Each lends their perspective to the process as the interviews are interwoven following the timeline of the project.

Furthermore, this book highlights a complex web of important issues facing our urban conditions, and how to reintroduce nature and food production into our cities. It is a heart warming story of a group of people banding together to make a statement. The project managed to collect a wide range of citizens, from all walks of life, to work together in order for it to succeed. It wasn't an installation designed by architects for other designers. It wasn't a project solely focussed on the summer music and party events held at P.S.1. It was as design with the purpose of bringing people together, to start a dialogue, and hopefully to teach people about the possibilities of bringing farming back into urban centers. It attracted families with children, artist, architects, and party going Brooklyn hipsters. Furthermore it invited gardening volunteers from the area as well as employed inmates from Rikers island to help plant, grow and maintain the plants. It included a true cross section of New York citizens and brought them together to experience a new way to live and work in the city.

This book manages to capture the spirit and energy of the project and enlighten readers into the complex and often hectic experience of creation. It humanizes the architectural world in a way that the average person can understand and sympathise with the difficulties in taking an idea and turning it into reality.


Above the Pavement - The Farm! : Architecture and Agriculture at P.F.1
Amale Andraos, Dan Wood
Paperback, 208 pages
June 2, 2010
ISBN-13: 978-1568989358
Princeton Architectural Press:

For more information on the firm WORKac click here:

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