December 26, 2011

Slideshow: Brandhorst Museum - Munich, Germany - by Sauerbruch Hutton Architekten

Sauerbruch Hutton Architekten has developed a reputation as the architects of color. However, this overshadows the fact that they make fantastic buildings. This museum has a simple form that comes alive with the materiality of the facade. The multicolored ceramic facade is beautiful to behold and is reminiscent of Joseph's amazing technicolor dream coat. Unfortunately I didn't have the time to make it into the museum, although I heard the lighting in the galleries is fantastic. Still the facade of this building really blew me away.

December 19, 2011

Slideshow: Beyeler Foundation Art Museum - Basel, Switzerland - designed by Renzo Piano

Renzo Piano's creative genius is derived from his uncanny ability to adapt his style to fit the surrounding context. This building takes a step back from the high tech aesthetic of many Piano buildings, and sits comfortably in a suburban setting, overlooking a farm field and rolling hills in the near distance. The light is carefully controlled to naturally illuminate the galleries while the materials are simple, elegant, and complement the art and natural surroundings.

December 15, 2011

Video: New Architectures - Nature and Phenomena, by Nona Yehia & Jefferson Ellinger

Nona Yehia and Jefferson Ellinger established the architectural firm, Ellinger/Yehia Design LLC in 2003 to investigate links between architecture, landscape and technology. In 2004, the firm opened an office in Jackson Hole, Wyoming to further explore these inter-relationships. Architects, artists, scientists and designers throughout the ages have been inspired by the beauty and elegance in nature; studying, imitating and attempting to recreate natural systems has shaped life as we know it. Today, the question is how natural phenomena can become instrumental in the design of new architectures that radically redefine our built environment.

Glowing Light Ball Bench - by Manfred Kielnhofer

"The “Glowing Light Ball Bench” created by Manfred Kielnhofer was present at the Light Art Biennial Austria. The bench which has a very simple design consists of three light balls and two wooden board perforates that lay over the light balls."

It's an interesting design although I would like to see if it works as well during the day. I would also worry about the wood planks standing up to changing weather. They seem pretty thin from the couple images that were shared with us. Still, a fun project. 

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December 12, 2011

Slideshow: Architecture of Berlin, Germany - Various Architects

This is a rather long slideshow featuring a series of photographs taken during my two years living and working in the city. Berlin boasts an incredible history and collection of architecture. The juxtaposition of historic buildings, contemporary architecture, and modern designs creates a unique urban fabric. Throw in the vast ranks of soviet era housing blocks and bombed out lots and ruins, and Berlin has a little bit of everything. A Le Corbusier housing block graces the eastern edge, next to the Olympic Stadium built by the Nazi regime. Daniel Libeskind offers the first in a seemingly endless line of jagged monstrosities, just a few blocks away from a John Hejduk IBA housing project. Eisenman, OMA, Hadid, Alsop, Foster, Rossi and other giants in the history of the 20th century have all offered up buildings to help rebuild this capital after the war.

December 10, 2011

Video: The Brooklyn Bridge, as seen on "Great Spaces"

Episode two of "Great Spaces" takes us back in time to the Brooklyn Bridge. One of the most iconic pieces of New York City architecture, the Bridge connects Manhattan and Brooklyn with one of the most beautiful bridge designs in the world.

December 9, 2011

The Cloud: 2 luxury residential towers in Seoul, Korea by Architects MVRDV

Yongsan Dream Hub corporation presented today the MVRDV designed residential development of the Yongsan Business district: two connected luxury residential high-rises. A 260 meter tall tower and a 300 meter tall tower are connected in the centre by a pixelated cloud of additional program offering amenities and outside spaces with wide views. The towers with a total surface of 128,000m2 are expected to be completed in 2015.
The Cloud at Yongsan Dreamhub, Seoul, South Korea
The two towers are positioned at the entrance of the Yongsan Dreamhub project, a master plan designed by Studio Libeskind, extending the business district of the South Korean capital Seoul. The southern tower reaches a height of 260 meters with 54 floors, the northern tower 300 meters with 60 floors. Halfway, at the level of the 27th floor the cloud is positioned, a 10 floor tall pixelated volume, connecting the two towers. The cloud differentiates the project from other luxury developments, it moves the plinth upwards and makes space on ground floor level for public gardens, designed by Martha Schwartz.
The Cloud is located at the entrance to the Dreamhub masterplan
Usually a high-rise adds little to the immediate surrounding city life, by integrating public program to the cloud the typology adds in a more social way to the city. Inside the cloud, besides the residential function, 14,357m2 of amenities are located: the sky lounge - a large connecting atrium, a wellness centre, conference centre, fitness studio, various pools, restaurants and cafes. On top of the cloud are a series of public and private outside spaces, patios, decks, gardens and pools. To allow fast access the cloud is accessible by special express elevators.
The interior of the Sky lounge
The luxurious apartments range from 80m2 to 260m2 of which some offer double height ceilings , patios or gardens. The towers with a perfect square floor plan contain four corner apartments per floor offering each fine daylight conditions and cross ventilation. Each tower is accessed via a grand lobby at ground level; the rest of the ground floor is divided into town houses. In addition to the amenities the Cloud furthermore contains 9,000m2 of Officetel (Office-Hotel) a typical Korean typology and 25,000m2 panoramic apartments with specific lay-outs. The top floors of both towers are reserved for penthouse apartments of 1200m2 with private roof gardens.


MVRDV was set up in Rotterdam (the Netherlands) in 1993 by Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs and Nathalie de Vries. MVRDV engages globally in providing solutions to contemporary architectural and urban issues. A research based and highly collaborative design method engages experts from all fields, clients and stakeholders in the creative process. The results are exemplary and outspoken buildings, urban plans, studies and objects, which enable our cities and landscapes to develop towards a better future.

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), and more recently Spacefighter (2007) and Skycar City (2007). MVRDV deals with global ecological issues in large scale studies such as Pig City as well as in small pragmatic solutions for devastated areas of New Orleans.

Current projects include various housing projects in the Netherlands, Spain, China, France, the United Kingdom, USA, India, Korea and other countries, a bank headquarter in Oslo, Norway, a public library for Spijkenisse, Netherlands, a central market hall for Rotterdam, a culture plaza in Nanjing, China, the China Cartoon and Animation Museum in Hangzhou, the ROCKmagneten museum in Roskilde, Denmark, large scale urban plans include a plan for an eco-city in LogroƱo, Spain, an urban vision for the doubling in size of Almere, Netherlands and Grand Paris, the vision of a post-Kyoto Greater Paris region.

The work of MVRDV is exhibited and published world wide and receives international awards. The 70 architects, designers and staff members conceive projects in a multi-disciplinary collaborative design process and apply highest technological and sustainable standards.

Together with Delft University of Technology MVRDV runs The Why Factory, an independent think tank and research institute providing argument for architecture and urbanism by envisioning the city of the future.

For information please contact public relations at MVRDV, Jan Knikker / Isabel Pagel +31 10 477 2860 +31 10 477 2860 or

December 7, 2011

Red Stair and Vent Sculpture, by Marcus O'Reilly Architects

Below is a press release from my friend, fellow Glenn Murcutt Master Class Alumni, and talented Australian Architect Marcus O'Reilly. I think it is a wonderful transformation of an urban square into an active and dynamic space. I am particularly captivated by the way the sculptures illuminate at night. 

Southbank - Melbourne CBD, Victoria

Situated along Southbank Promenade beside the Yarra River, Queensbridge Square is a major public meeting space connecting Southgate, Southbank Boulevard, Queensbridge Street, the casino, the Freshwater Place apartment tower and the Sandridge Bridge, which leads to the Flinders Street Station and its underpass.

This red stair works as a beacon, an easy to find meeting place. It is an outdoor amphitheatre for buskers and small meetings or demonstrations, and for sitting in the sun. On any given day hundreds of people descend upon the stair for a casual chat, a quick bite to eat with co-workers, access to their recommended daily vitamin ‘D’ intake, or put on a show of impressive bmx and skateboarding tricks off the canted sides of the structure.

Red plywood is backlit with LED lights, providing a glow in the dark effect. The high back wall cuts the wind and hides the roadway leading to the tunnel underneath. The back wall further functions as a book end to Queensbridge Square. This creates a sense of enclosure to the urban space effectively resulting in a modern Piazza. The iconic form and bold use of colour helps signalize a truly successful urban space. 

Across the square, a second sculptural intervention was created over a new concrete vent shaft. The splayed planks, sit in the garden area of the urban space. The planks and curved steel recall the railway tracks that were pulled up to make the space available. The entire project is an excellent case study of how underused and mundane aspects of urban life can be transformed and activated through clever design. 

The design work was done in conjunction with the client, the City of Melbourne, led by Professor Rob Adams. The project was awarded the Melbourne Prize and an Urban Design Award by the AIA.

Physical Photography - move out of the digital realm

As an architecture enthusiast and practitioner I have had the pleasure of living abroad and traveling extensively throughout the world, visiting some of the most amazing pieces of architecture along the way. As you can imagine I have thus created a vast collection of photographs taken upon my journeys. I have slowly been sorting through thousands and thousands of images to collect relevant architectural photographs into slideshows which I post on this blog. I have recently scheduled a series of slideshows to be posted every Monday morning from now until February. I am hoping to continue this schedule and post one every monday from here on out.

However, with all the digital photographs, too often they end up just sitting on my hard drive, waiting for the rare moments I have to actually sort through them. Unfortunately I hardly ever get a chance to look through photographs for fun, and I have not printed any as decoration or to show friends and family. Recently I was contacted by a representative of Easy Canvas Prints - a company that prints photographs on various sized canvases. They offered to give me a sample of their product and I figured it would be a great way to make one of my digital photographs something tangible, something that I could show in my newly purchased house. 

I was happy with the result. The image was crisp and clear with bright colors and rich blacks. I was worried that it might be washed out when printed on textured fabric but was pleasantly surprised with the end result. I would recommend checking out their website to see what products they offer. It is a perfect gift idea for the holidays and a great way to move some of your photographs out of the digital realm and into the physical world. It is an elegant product that would add a nice touch to any room. 

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December 5, 2011

Slideshow: Amsterdam Architecture - Amsterdam, The Netherlands - various architects

There is a small development of commercial towers located on the southern edge of Amsterdam near the southern train station. Not all of the architecture is fantastic, but there are some interesting solutions to the issues facing tower architecture. I particularly am fascinated by the carved out exterior staircase that twists its way down one of them.

December 4, 2011

Video: UNStudio Amsterdam Pavilion - Great Spaces

The Amsterdam Pavilion, designed by UN Studio, is nice little pice of architecture calling lower manhattan home. This is the first in a series of short videos from Great Spaces - highlighting interesting architecture in the New York City area.

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