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.

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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: www.papress.com

For more information on the firm WORKac click here: http://work.ac/


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October 18, 2010

Slideshow: Fire and Police Station - by Sauerbruch Hutton - Berlin, Germany



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Architecture Internships and my Career Path

After graduating from McGill University in 2003, I began my architecture career by moving to Bangkok, Thailand - mostly as a break from the brutal Montreal winters but also to gain some international experience. Once there I found an architecture internships at an engineering and construction firm, helping with project management and document control. Definitely not the most exciting job, but it created opportunities that, as I look back, were invaluable. After 6 months I transfered with the company to Shanghai, China and worked with a team of talented designers and engineers. We did master-planning and architectural design for industrial parks around China. After another 6 months, now armed with a year of experience, I once again hit the open job market. It was an ideal time as China's cities were going through unprecedented growth. It only took a few weeks for me to find new work, this time in a boutique design office. I was given the opportunity to work within a small design team and develop proposals for architectural competitions. This fast paced creative environment allowed me to explore a wide range of architecture from sports centers and office towers, to schools and affordable housing. Furthermore this experience honed my architectural interests and ultimately led me back to school to focus on sustainable architecture at the University of Oregon. I graduated in 2008 and once again skipped over the border to work abroad, this time in Berlin, Germany. After another two years I recently relocated to Portland, Oregon to settle down and continue my architecture career. This long path was improvised as I went, yet it wouldn't have been possible without finding that first internship. It set the dominos in motion and really molded my early career.

I wrote this story as a way to introduce a website that contacted talkitect.com today. It is a site that lists internship opportunities in different industries - specifically they have a section dedicated to architecture and design related professions. It might be a great way to establish some professional experience and lead to interesting opportunities.

From the site:
Finding a job in the architecture field can be very rewarding, but differentiating yourself from other candidates can be a lot easier with job experience you can gain from an internship. Experiencing an architecture intern position can equip you with the tools and on-the-job training you can use to land your dream job in both small and large architecture firms that deal in the construction of small and large building projects. Architects are also responsible for designing landscape elements for building exteriors, parks, recreation areas and general residential garden landscaping. Architecture internships, in particular, are a good way to get your head out of the books and learn how to build, create, manage, or engineer a construction project in the office and on site. As in many construction internships, interns get to experience hands-on training, similar to apprenticeships, that can enhance a resume or lead to interviews and full-time employment. Interns are often given the opportunity to demonstrate specific skills or focus their energy on specific projects that may be of personal interest to them. Architects are also on the cutting edge of green design, which is a growing sector in very high demand. Start your search today at Internships.com.
If you are interested in finding architecture internships or something in a similar field check out their listings: architecture internships

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October 15, 2010

Video: British Pavilion / Shanghai 2010 Expo

The UK Pavilion from Shanghai Expo Timelapse Machine on Vimeo.


This project is incredible. Heatherwick studios expanded on an idea they had a few years ago and created a sensational building. Definitely the architectural highlight of the world's fair in Shanghai.

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October 8, 2010

The Folly of Competitions

I wanted to re-post this open letter to the architecture community from Charles Holland of FAT, a London based architecture and design office, because I think it raises a lot of interesting issues and should start an stimulating debate. Competitions have been such a part of our profession that it is often hard to picture a landscape without them. In fact, competitions take a lot of our control and power away, and give them to developers and other clients. As mentioned below, these competitions are a crap shoot with little chance of winning and thus they are poor business models. They have us working for free, giving away our ideas for no compensation. However, they also provide a platform to experiment with new ideas. A place where a designer can push the limits or explore forms and materials that wouldn't happen working directly for a client necessarily. Either way it is an interesting debate. We would love to hear your thoughts on the topic in the comments section below this post.



 
Please stop entering design competitions. It’s sheer folly. Here’s why:

1. It’s massively wasteful of your time and resources. Can you think of another comparable industry, or, more pertinently, profession, that spends so much time and money on bidding for work? Do doctors undertake a number of unpaid, speculative operations in order to convince people that they really need a hip replacement? No.

2. It gives away your main asset – your ideas – for free. After that, the rest is routine.

3. You are highly unlikely to win. This is just a fact. Some are better at them than others but no one wins them all and most lose often.

4. Even if you do win, it’s still unlikely that the building will be built. Most competitions are speculative, not in the sense that the client is looking for experimental architecture, but in the sense that there is little or no funding in place and they have not informed you of all the impediments still in the way of the project.

5. Therefore, there is often only one thing more disappointing than losing a competition and that’s winning one (in the long run).

6. They are a pretty terrible way of procuring a building. Imagine a system where you want something but you’re not sure exactly what it is. So you make a list of things you think you want and invite everyone in the world to send you their ideas for what it looks like. You have no other interaction with them, communicate – if at all – by email and, in the end, hope for the best and pick the one you fancy. This is the architectural competition process. It’s similar to internet dating, but less fun.

7. Competitions momentarily flatter you into thinking that you are designing, say, Oslo Opera House or a New Town outside Madrid but, in reality, you’re not. Until you get the commission it’s just pretend.

8. No one else in the world understands why you’re doing it. They just get used to you not coming out or refusing to take a holiday or forgetting to wash for five days. But they still think you’re mad.

9. You could do without the stress. All that time. All that effort. The all-nighters and the break-neck journey to the printers to get the boards made up! The intern dispatched to Inverness to hand them in because you’ve missed the courier’s deadline! The anxious wait for the results that sometimes never come! Honestly, you could do without it.

10. Remember: it’s not the failure that will kill you. It’s the hope.

So, if you’re thinking of entering a competition, don’t! Take your office down the pub instead. It will be more fun and cost a lot less. You might even meet someone down there who wants to give you a job. Remember: if you stop, I can too.
- Taken from Fantastic Journal


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October 5, 2010

WINNER: Maryhill Double installation by Lead Pencil Studio

Thank you one and all who entered Lead Pencil Studio's Maryhill Double, autographed book contest. We appreciate all of the thoughtful, and often humorous, comments as well as all of you who decided to tweet about our site.

The winner of the autographed book is:
Justin D Ehart

In order to receive the prize Justin, you must email us your mailing address and we will ship it to you promptly.

A big thank you to Annie Han and Daniel Mihalyo of Lead Pencil Studio, for their generosity. To see more of their inspiring art and architecture visit out their website: http://www.leadpencilstudio.com/

Check back here often as we have some more contests and giveaways planned for the coming months.


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October 1, 2010

Steven Holl Architects Design for the Glasgow School of Art Redevelopment Unveiled

Glasgow, 17 September 2010 - The plans for Phase 1 of The Glasgow School of Art re-development were released today. Designed by Steven Holl Architects in partnership with JM Architects (Glasgow) and Arup Engineering, the new building will replace the Foulis Building and Newbery Tower on Renfrew Street opposite the Mackintosh building and significantly refurbish the Assembly Building which houses the Students’ Union.

Steven Holl Architects was appointed last September following an international competition to design a new building for the Art School which would enhance significantly the teaching, learning and research facilities available to GSA students and staff as well as providing access to new publicly accessible spaces including exhibition galleries and the Windows on the Mack interpretation area for the Mackintosh Building.

Inspired by Mackintosh’s inventive manipulation of his 1909 Art School building’s plan and section to introduce and deploy light in a tremendous variety of inspiring and successful ways, the new design complements its neighbour, but moves forward using a new language of light. With well proportioned studio and workshop spaces at the core of teaching and making art, these spaces are arranged in plan and section with natural side and top light for inspiring work environments, supplemented with ‘driven voids of light’ that penetrate the building’s core and deliver natural light through its depth; providing direct connectivity with the outside world through the changing intensity and color of the sky.

The design provides much needed studios and centralized workshop facilities, the Center for Advanced Textiles, new digital media spaces, a lecture theatre and seminar rooms, exhibition space, a refectory for staff and students and a range of informal learning areas. The interpretation centre for the Mackintosh Building, phase 4 of the Mackintosh Conservation and Access Project is also on the site.

“Our collaboration with Steven Holl Architects and theirs with JM Architects has produced a design that I am confident will deliver a world-class building for The School and for Glasgow,” says Professor Seona Reid, Director of The Glasgow School of Art. “An intensive design development process has produced a building which not only provides all the specific functionality that we need for our educational and research purpose but also creates an environment which will inspire all who study, work and visit there. . The inventive use of light, material and section make it a worthy companion to Mackintosh, a striking building of which we will all be immensely proud.”

Steven Holl said, "The site opposite the Mackintosh Building calls for a unique, inspiring and stimulating twenty-first century architecture with a great sensitivity to light, detail, and material. The new Glasgow School of Art Building will provide contemplative space for individual creativity and thought, and spaces of collective interaction for students, staff and the Garnethill community."

The design began with the Studio space - the core of teaching and making art. Wellproportioned studio and workshop volumes are arranged in plan and section with ideal top and side light. They are adaptable with potential for individual studios to open into larger groups, and arranged with functionally adjacent support spaces in rhythm with the studio/workshop volumes. They are illuminated with north light, with shafts of warm south, east or west light. Studios are generally positioned on the north façade provided with large inclined north facing glazing to maximize access to the desirable high quality diffuse north light throughout the academic year. Spaces that do not have a requirement for the same quality of natural light, are located on the South façade (opposite the Mackintosh building) where access to sunlight can be balanced with the occupants; needs and the thermal performance of the space through application of shading or informed shaping of openings.

Centralized facilities for the GSA campus, including exhibition spaces, seminar spaces, digital media and the “Window on the Mackintosh” centre are located on the ground floor in a carefully considered balance that forges an identity as an academic building, for the school and students, but that also invites the public inside.

Located one level below, a 300-seat lecture theatre has direct access to the lobby as well as the centralized workshop and associated assembly spaces. Immediately above the ground floor are the school directorate and administrative offices (on the south) whilst studio space occupies the entire north side at this level and moving up through the building. The new GSA refectory is located on level 2 above the offices, bringing the entire school up and into the building on a daily basis.

Along the South elevation, at the same height as the Mackintosh main studios, there is a landscape loggia in the form of a Machair that gives the school an exterior social core open to the city. Natural vegetation with some stonework routes water into a small recycling water pond which will also reflect dappled sunlight onto the ceiling inside. Meanwhile inside the ‘Driven Void’ light shafts deliver natural light through the depth of the building providing direct connectivity with the outside world through the changing intensity and colour of the sky. The exterior of the building will be coated in a thin skin of matte glass referencing Mackintosh’s stone skin on the 1909 building. The material, used by Steven Holl Architects on the Vanke Center in Shenzen, China, will soften the light on the Mackintosh building ensuring the studios continue to benefit from the quality of light as envisaged by the designer.

“The site opposite Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s masterpiece, the original Glasgow School of Art, is one of the most important in Europe, “says David Dunbar president of the RIAS.” It is thoroughly appropriate that an international master architect is working with an excellent local team to create a building which will serve as superb foil for the impressive building opposite. The new School of Art building is also something which will merit international acclaim and attention, giving Glasgow a new highly distinctive and prominent landmark.”

“It was reassuring to see the care and attention that has gone into the whole project, and the sensitive response to the site, to meet the challenges of designing opposite Mackintosh’s internationally acclaimed building,” says Stuart Robertson, Director of the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society and Chair of the Mackintosh Heritage Group. I cannot wait to see the new building taking shape and I am sure it will be a great asset for the School and for Glasgow, and provide a fabulous environment for the staff and students, it will definitely be a worthy companion to the Mackintosh Building and a building of which we will all be immensely proud.”



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Steven Holl Architects has realized cultural, civic, academic and residential projects both in the United States and internationally. Steven Holl Architects (SHA) is a 48 person architecture and urban design office founded in 1976, and working globally as one office from two locations; New York City and Beijing. Steven Holl leads the office with partners Chris McVoy (New York) and Li Hu (Beijing). Most recently completed is the Linked Hybrid mixed-use complex (Beijing, China), recently named 2009 Best Tall Building Overall by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH); the Knut Hamsun Center (Hamarøy, Norway), the Herning Museum of Contemporary Art (Herning, Denmark); and the Horizontal Skyscraper-Vanke Center (Shenzhen, China). Currently in construction are the Nanjing Museum of Art and Architecture (Nanjing, China), Beirut Marina (Beirut, Lebanon), Cité de l’Océan et du Surf with Solange Fabião (Biarritz, France), the Daeyang House and Gallery (Seoul, Korea); and the large mixed-use complex in Chengdu, China: the Sliced Porosity Block. In 2007, Steven Holl Architects opened the highly lauded Nelson Atkins Museum of Art (Kansas City, Missouri). Steven Holl is a tenured Professor at Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture and Planning.

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



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