February 28, 2011

Video: Reuben Margolin's Kinetic Sculptures

Check out this video of Reuben Margolin, a Bay Area visionary and longtime maker, creates totally singular techno-kinetic wave sculptures. Using everything from wood to cardboard to found and salvaged objects, Reubens artwork is diverse, with sculptures ranging from tiny to looming, motorized to hand-cranked. Focusing on natural elements like a discrete water droplet or a powerful ocean eddy, his work is elegant and hypnotic. Also, learn how ocean waves can power our future. Learn more about Reuben at http://www.reubenmargolin.com/

Slideshow: The Bauhaus - by Walter Gropius - Dessau, Germany

Walter Gropius designed this architectural icon in the early 1920s as the famous school relocated from Weimar to Dessau. It has recently been renovated and reopened as an architecture school.

February 23, 2011

Video: Forms of Spectacle and Solutions to Vacancy

This is a wonderful video that explores the influence of architecture on an underserved community. A class of students builds a replica of a Frank Gehry design on a vacant lot. How will the community react?

February 21, 2011

Slideshow: California Academy of Sciences - by Renzo Piano Building Workshop - San Francisco, California

To restart our architectural slideshow feature, here is a set of photos from a recent trip to the California Academy of Sciences designed by Renzo Piano and an incredible piece of architecture.

February 10, 2011

Contest: win a copy of "Narrow Houses"

The Princeton Architectural Press has generously donated 5 copies of Narrow Houses to be given away to our readers. There are two ways to enter the contest for a chance to win one of the books:
1) Email us your best architecture photograph: click here to email us!
2) You can "like" and then post your best architecture photograph on the wall of our facebook page: www.facebook.com/talkitect

Deadline: March 7th
Winners Announced: March 14th

Once the competition is closed we will chose the 5 best photographs and publish them on Talkitect.com. The authors of the photographs each get a copy of Narrow Houses. You can enter the contest once through email and once through Facebook. Please include your name and mailing address in your emails. For the facebook entires we will send you a message if you are chosen as a winner.

About the Book:
Narrow Houses: New Directions in Efficient Design
by Avi Friedman

Since the beginning of the housing boom of the 1950s, the size of the average North American house has steadily grown while the size of the average family has decreased. Today, a growing number of homebuyers seeking smaller, more efficient residential designs are rediscovering a centuries old housing prototype: the narrow house. Measuring twenty-five-feet wide or less, these "infill" or "skinny" houses, as they are often called, are on the rise in cities and suburbs around the world. The benefits of building small and narrow are numerous: greater land-use efficiency, less building material, fewer infrastructure costs, lower utility bills, and flexible layouts. This building type creates environmentally sensible houses that allow homeowners to live within their means. Narrow Houses presents a thorough overview of the practical considerations of designing a narrow-front home, including siting, floor arrangements, footprint, and interior and exterior finishing. The book documents twenty-eight innovative examples of narrow houses from around the world designed by today's foremost architects. Project data including floor plans and extensive interior and exterior photography demonstrate the inherent flexibility of this housing model and the many possibilities for adapting these homes to the constraints of site, climate, budget, family size, and other needs.

Thank you Princeton Architectural Press for generously donating the books.

February 9, 2011

Video: Hangzhou Normal University Cangqian Performing Arts Center, Art Museum and Arts Quadrangle | Steven Holl Architects

Steven Holl

This video highlights the design of Steven Holl's design of the Hangzhou Normal University Cangqian Performing Arts Center, Art Museum and Arts Quadrangle. Beautifully presented, with camera work moving through the models, and an elegant description of the design process by Steven Holl himself, this video makes the project seem like an exciting addition to the Hangzhou university as well as becomes a powerful piece of architecture. The juxtaposition of the additive form and subtractive design are excellent and lead to some stunning interior and exterior spaces. This is one of the few projects that I feel has successfully navigated the concept of blobitecture, considering that the form is directly derived from the functions within.

Video curtesy of www.archdaily.com

BIG to Design 600-unit Residential Building on W57TH Street in NYC

West 57th, designed by BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group, introduces an entirely new residential typology to New York City that will add an inviting twist to the Manhattan Skyline.

Durst Fetner Residential (DFR) today announced the design of West 57, a 600-unit 80/20 residential building on West 57th Street between 11th and 12th Avenues. The building is designed by renowned Danish Architect firm BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group and is their in­augural North American project. The building’s program consists of over 600 residential units of different scales situated on a podium with a cultural and commercial program. The building will strive for LEED Gold Certification.

“It’s extraordinarily exciting to build a building whose architecture will attract visitors from around the globe,” said, Hal Fetner, CEO of Durst Fetner Residential. “BIG’s design is innovative, evocative and unique and the building’s beauty is matched only by its efficient and functional design that preserves existing view corridors while maximizing the new building’s access to natural light and views of the Hudson River. West 57th will establish a new standard for architectural excellence and its creative design, sustainable-construc­tion and operations, breathtaking views and distinctive amenities will make it New York’s most sought after residential address.”

The building is a hybrid between the European perimeter block and a traditional Manhattan high-rise. West 57th has a unique shape which combines the advantages of both: the compactness and efficiency of a courtyard building providing density, a sense of inti­macy and security, with the airiness and the expansive views of a skyscraper. By keeping three corners of the block low and lifting the north-east corner up towards its 467 ft peak, the courtyard opens views towards the Hudson River, bringing low western sun deep into the block and graciously preserving the adjacent Helena Tower’s views of the river.

“New York is rapidly becoming an increasingly green and livable city. The transformation of the Hudson River waterfront and the Highline into green parks, the ongoing effort to plant a million trees, the pedestrianization of Broadway and the creation of more miles of bicycle lanes than the entire city of my native Copenhagen are all evidence of urban oases appearing all over the city. With West 57th we attempt to continue this transformation into the heart of the city fabric – into the center of a city block,” Bjarke Ingels, Founder, BIG.

The form of the building shifts depending on the viewer’s vantage point. While appearing like a warped pyramid from the West-Side-Highway, it turns into a slender spire from West 58th Street. The courtyard which is inspired by the classic Copenhagen urban oasis can be seen from the street and serves to extend the adjacent greenery of the Hudson River Park into the West 57th development.

“The building is conceived as a cross breed between the Copenhagen courtyard and the New York skyscraper. The communal intimacy of the central urban oasis meets the efficiency, density and panoramic views of the tall tower in a new hybrid typology. The courtyard is to architecture what Central Park is to urbanism: a giant green garden surrounded by a dense wall of spaces for living”, Bjarke Ingels, Founder, BIG.

The slope of the building allows for a transition in scale between the low-rise structures to the south and the high-rise residential towers to the north and west of the site. The highly visible sloping roof consists of a simple ruled surface perforated by terraces—each one unique and south-facing. The fishbone pattern of the walls are also reflected in its elevations. Every apartment gets a bay window or a balcony to amplify the benefits of the generous view and balconies which encourage interaction between residents and passers-by. DFR commissioned Copenhagen based BIG in the spring of 2010 to introduce a new residential typology to Manhattan. As of 2011 BIG has opened a new office in New York in order to oversee the development and upcoming construction of West 57th.

About Durst Fetner Residential
Durst Fetner Residential is a unique collaboration between two of the most respected commercial and residential development com­panies in New York City—The Durst Organization and Sidney Fetner Associates. The Organization develops, builds, owns and manages premiere properties throughout the New York metropolitan area that set new standards in environmental responsibility and user efficiency.

About BIG
BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group, founded in 2005 by Bjarke Ingels, is an architectural office currently involved in a large number of projects throughout Europe, Asia and North America. Based in Copenhagen, Denmark and with a newly opened office in New York, USA the office is led by six Design Partners, including Bjarke Ingels, Andreas Klok Pedersen, Finn Norkjaer, Thomas Christoffersen, Jakob Lange, David Zahle and two Management Associate Partners, Sheela Maini Sogaard and Kai-Uwe Bergmann. BIG’s architecture emerges out of a careful analysis of how contemporary life constantly evolves and changes, not least due to the influence of multicultural ex­change, global economic flows and communication technologies that together require new ways of architectural and urban organiza­tion. In all our actions we try to move the focus from the little details to the BIG picture.


PROJECT: West 57th Street
CLIENT: Durst Fetner Residential
ARCHITECT: BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group
SIZE: 870,000 ft² (80,000 m²)
LOCATION: Manhattan, New York, USA
STATUS: Direct Commission
COLLABORATORS: SLCE Architects (Architect of Record) , Starr Whitehouse Landscape Architects, Thornton Tomasetti (Sturctural), Dagher Engineering(MEP), Langan Engineering (Civil), Hunter Roberts (Construction Manager), Philip Habib & Assoc. (Transportation), Israel Berger & Assoc. (Building Envelope), Nancy Packes (Marketing), Van Deusen & Assoc. (Vertical Transportation), Cerami & Assoc. (Acoustical), CPP (Wind), AKRF (Environmental), German Glessner (Renderings & Animation)

Partner in Charge: Bjarke Ingels
Project Leader: Beat Schenk
Project Architect: Sören Grünert
Team: Thomas Christoffersen, Celine Jeanne, Daniel Sundlin, Alessandro Ronfini, Aleksander Tokarz, Alessio Valmori, Alvaro Garcia Mendive, Felicia Guldberg, Gabrielle Nadeau, Ho Kyung Lee, Julian Liang, Julianne Gola, Lucian Racovitan, Marcela Martinez, Maria Nikolova, Minjae Kim, Mitesh Dixit, Nicklas Rasch, Riccardo Mariano, Stanley Lung, Steffan Heath, Thilani Rajarathna, Xu Li

February 4, 2011

Video: Columbia College Media Production Center - Studio Gang Architects

Short film of Studio Gang Architect's Columbia College Media Production Center in Chicago, Illinois. Film by Dave Burk © Hedrich Blessing with 3rst Design.

A wonderful short film highlighting the design of the recently completed Columbia College Media Production Center by Studio Gang Architects in Chicago. This is a fantastic building designed one of the most creative architecture firms practicing in the US today.

February 3, 2011

News and Update for 2011

It has been a busy 5 months, which has thus caused Talkitect.com to be a bit neglected. It has been too long since I have made the time to sit down and write articles, put together slideshows and search for interesting videos and other content. Moving from Berlin, Germany to Portland, Oregon has occupied a tremendous amount of time and effort. Settling into the new city has also absorbed a chunk of the time I normally would devote to this site. Furthermore I have been searching for an architecture design position at a local firm, which has once again distracted me from updating Talkitect and creating new content.

However, there are big plans for the growth of Talkitect.com this year. We are currently looking for an intern who can help us with promotion and marketing - contact us if you want to help. We have created a facebook fanpage - www.facebook.com/talkitect - and integrated it with our website. We are also on twitter - www.twitter.com/talkitect and on Architizer. We are working hard to create new and unique content, and are continuing to write reviews of buildings, books and other architecture and design related events. We are constantly searching for interesting videos and press releases to post and are also looking for new writers to contribute to the site. The plan is to come up with regularly scheduled posts - Monday Slideshows, Tuesday Articles/Reviews, Wednesday Videos and then fill in the rest of the week with press releases and other short posts. We will hopefully have this worked out in the next month or so at which point you will see a bit more polish and regularity with our posts.

With the move to Portland you should also be seeing some posts and photographs from the fantastic collection of architecture this city has to offer. It is a haven for artists, designers and architects and yet there is very little publicity of the many creative firms making fantastic architecture. I plan on highlighting some of the great contemporary architecture sprinkled throughout Portland as I wander the streets and become familiar with my new home.

We have also been connecting with different groups and organizations to offer some fantastic contests and giveaways this year. Keep checking the site often for a chance to win books and other design related items.

Finally, it would be wonderful if you would help us out by telling your friends about the site, liking our facebook page, following us on twitter and most importantly leaving comments on our posts and please send us feedback on how to improve. The most rewarding part of running a website is interacting with the international community of people who are passionate about design and architecture.

We would also like to thank our many sponsors over the past couple years who have made this site possible. Please visit the links in the "Sponsors" section on the left hand column. I would also like to specifically thank the Princeton Architectural Press for donating the books for the contests we have run this year. They have been a huge supporter of our site and we will continue to collaborate with them on future occasions.

- If you have any ideas for content or would like to contribute please get in touch.
- If you would like to sponsor the site or advertise with us send an email.

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