July 21, 2010

Book Review: Green Dream - by The Why Factory

Green Dream: How Future Cties Can Outsmart Nature, is curious exploration of the sustainable movement in architecture and urbanism undertaken by The Why Factory (a global think-tank and research Institute, initiated and run by MVRDV and Delft University of Technology). Offering a diverse range of information and data pertaining to the green movement, this book is part factual research and part science fiction, envisioning what our future cities, and globalized world may become. From trains that travel faster than planes, to the use of bacteria to generate light and electricity in the canals of Amsterdam the design explorations carried out by the Why Factory and its students are both visionary and often surreal. The images are bold, ideas fresh yet sometimes overly bold and shocking. The main criticism is the unrealistic aspect of many of the proposals - usually looking for architectural solutions to problems rather than actually solving the initial problem itself. However, exercises like this manages to force the reader to think about their role in vast complex networks. It shows that what common sense or recent trends suggest might not necessarily be the best or most sustainable solution to certain issues.

Finally, the book itself is a well designed document. The variation of font size makes the reading easy and appeals to the designer in us. Bold and clear info-graphics grace the pages to illustrate the main points, while full bleed color images presents the various proposals and their captivating renderings. The paper is heavy and feels good in your hand as you flip through the pages. The only criticism here would be that the inner margin could have been a bit larger, providing a little more white on the page and easier reading as you get deep within the thick book. However, this is a minor point to a great addition to any architect's personal library.

Read the press release for the book here: http://www.talkitect.com/2010/05/book-green-dream-how-future-cities-can.html

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Green Dream: how future cities can outsmart nature
By The Why Factory: Winy Maas with Ulf Hackauf and Pirjo Haikola
Paperback: 408 pages
ISBN-13: 978-9056627416
Nai Publishers: www.naipublishers.nl


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July 19, 2010

Slideshow: Helsinki Contemporary Art Museum - by Steven Holl - Helsinki, Finland



Designed by Steven Holl, the architecture of this museum is as interesting as the art it holds. The way natural light is introduced into the building is particularly noteworthy, with curved textured surfaces folding the light into the galleries from above. Steven Holl is known for a phenomenological approach to design and it is clear in this building as the mood is set by the textures and colors of the materials, and unique lighting of each room.


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July 12, 2010

Slideshow: Architecture of Glenn Murcutt - by Glenn Murcutt - Australia



I was fortunate enough to be a member of the Glenn Murcutt International Masters Class in the summer of 2008. While attending the course we visited various buildings designed by Glenn Murcutt and the the other tutors, often private residences that are not open to the public. As discussed many times previously on Talkitect, I find his architecture a fantastic blend of building and landscape.

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July 5, 2010

Slideshow: Church of Light - by Tadao Ando - Osaka, Japan



Visiting this transcendent piece of modern architecture was an absolutely incredible experience. Despite the sweltering heat and overbearing humidity, this building was a tranquil oasis in a residential suburb of Osaka. Tucked away on a small street and partially hidden behind trees, the simple concrete geometry distills the symbolism of Christianity into it's fundamentals. The main focus of the whole complex is the chapel building, left completely bare with only a gap in the far wall, letting light to stream in through it's crucifix form. This, now famous, use of absence to define the crucifix, creates a unique atmosphere that allows the spirituality of natural light to flood over the congregation.


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