Tag Archives: Architecture

Comments on Spec Writers Are Always in the Basement; A Case for Changing Specifications.

Build Blog » Spec Writers Are Always in the Basement; A Case for Changing Specifications. – Build Blog’s perspective on specifications is definitely colored by the types of buildings they design and the process of engaging contractor’s that they choose as a design/build firm. There are definitely benefits to their approach and one that I find familiar in my recent experience in high end residential design.

However as several of the comments bring up, the idea of putting spec information directly on drawings or in schedules tends to break down when addressing public works who require multiple bids and true performance specifications with alternates for all products. Large complex projects have similar obstacles.

That said, in my own work, I find a hybrid approach best. For those products and specifications that require only performance information, a traditional specification is best, however for proprietary products or materials that are integral to the design I like to use a schedule(s) that list out the information in a concise way.

Comments on CHEAP — THE BI BLOG

CHEAP — THE BI BLOG – As always, Bi Blog provides two different takes on their current post concerning the concept of CHEAP. While Jacob's half is poignant in how it describes the consequences of building cheaply even when it was with good intentions. Thom's thoughts on CHEAP, however, are more aspirational and thought provoking. Thom questions why contemporary Architecture seems fraught with expensive formal devices over the careful balancing material excess with other resources equally as important, such as space. It is a good question, but one that must be asked carefully, while heading the implicit warning in Jacob's post.

Comments on AD Classics: Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library / Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill | ArchDaily

AD Classics: Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library / Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill | ArchDaily – The rare book library at Yale is an excellent example of modernism done right. While the building is largely self contained and self referential like most classic modernism, the library's carefully crafted spaces and exquisite materiality of the translucent marble facade, give it a sense of progression and reverence for the functionality of the library.

While the seriousness and sincerity that the library takes for its function seems out of date compared to the irony filled and clever architectural programs that spill out architecture schools and magazines, it is also its greatest asset. While so much modern architecture has lost its ability to affect and instead comes across empty or naive, this library still carries with it a sense self and purpose that is rare.

Comments on Hsiangshan Visitor Center / Norihiko Dan | ArchDaily

Hsiangshan Visitor Center / Norihiko Dan | ArchDaily – The Hsiangshan Visitor Center is spectacular in the way it engages and separates with the earth around it. Like a rock face, pushing up out of the ground, the Hsiangshan Visitor Center has a certain inevitability to it, without falling into banality. With long sweeps of concrete, that twist into openings or sweep out to form vistas to the landscape, the building has a unquestionably contemporary form, yet it doesn't fall into the all to typical foreign object perched in the landscape.

The building is like a continuous field of variation that extends the landscape and focuses it into a building. With its green roofs, the blur between landscape and architecture is further intensified.

Overall, the building is a study in extending the ordinary field and though using the formalisms of the singular, it actually critiques the approach that so many today favor, one of explosive expressionism that favors the object over the field.

Comments on Queensland Courtyard House / Plazibat & Jemmott Architects | ArchDaily

Queensland Courtyard House / Plazibat & Jemmott Architects | ArchDaily – The Queensland Courtyard Houses are row houses with a thoughtful twist. The spatial organization of the house is based around an open alley way that climbs the grade of the site. This opens onto an exterior courtyard near the rear of the building that then becomes the entrance to the interior of the house. This spatial arrangement gives the house a layer often missing from row houses, the exterior and allows for more light and air to penetrate the house. Living in New York City, I see townhouses all the time that are long, dark and narrow feelings. The Queensland Courtyard Houses don't suffer from this problem.

Add in the focus on sustainable, durable construction that at the same time, give the house a materiality beyond a simple contemporary gypsum box and these houses really show off what a row house can be.

Comments on TN House / Miyahara Architect Office | ArchDaily

TN House / Miyahara Architect Office | ArchDaily

A house designed for two sisters and their families with busy thoroughfare in the front and overlooking the Tama River. The house is built as two separate dwelling units in the single building, yet a few spaces between can be jointed when the occasion fits. The exterior matches the mostly industrial nature of the surrounding area by using zinc siding and perforated steel sheets.

The project seems to do a good job of addressing the contextual problems of the area as well as the programmatic challenge of separate but connected dwelling units for this extended family.

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Comments on Footbridge in Maribor / Ja Studio + Tadj-Farzin Studio | ArchDaily

Footbridge in Maribor / Ja Studio + Tadj-Farzin Studio | ArchDaily

This bridge finally convinces me that variation can actually produce an interesting variation of program. This project works because of the context in which it is put. Too often projects like this are too isolated from the context, giving them a superficial feeling despite the convoluted plastic form.

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Comments on Video: life-altering 3D projection gets splashed on German building

Video: life-altering 3D projection gets splashed on German building – An amazing video projection on the surface of a building that challenges one’s perception of the building’s form and architectural intention. The projection entitled “How it would be, if a house was dreaming” dissolves the very architecture that it is projected on, creating new architectures that shift and change as the video progresses.

Comments on Estação Ciência Cafe / Una Arquitetos | ArchDaily

Estação Ciência Cafe / Una Arquitetos | ArchDaily – This cafe on the Sao Paulo University campus abuts a veranda of a former textile plant that now serves as an exhibition space.

The simple, rectangular steel and glass structures floats above the ground and seems almost parked next to the veranda rather grounded like most buildings. This strong relationship activates the space of the veranda by creating a destination and way station for the busy student.

The cafe itself is glazed on all four sides with a clear glass. The three outside facing sides are shaded with a bris-soleil set between the panes of glass. The interior is organized by a long bar with a few small tables at either end.

The project is amazingly straight forward and simple yet seems create a dynamic and usable space for the everyday needs of the students and faculty of the university. Few buildings can successful address an everyday need without falling into the trappings of overly architectural expression or banal practicality. This cafe avoids both.

Comments on Invisibility cloak could hide buildings from quakes – New Scientist

Invisibility cloak could hide buildings from quakes – New Scientist – The physics behind optical invisibility cloaks that have been gaining so much attention have other possibilities. Scientists at the Fresnel Institute have worked out a potential technology for cloaking buildings from surface waves caused by Earthquakes and Tsunami. The technology uses tuned rings that might end up being installed in the foundations of a building to propagate a wave around the building, leaving the wave virtually untouched. Such a technique might also work for vibration isolators for equipment. The physics can be applied to all sorts of wave phenomenon and are filled with possibilities.

Yet what might this hold for the design of Architecture. Surely the practical implications are big enough but the conceptual ones are interesting too. Too often Architecture is thought to be an expression of some conceptual intent, but what might a building that cloaks intentions, expressions and movement be like. What can the idea of an architecture of the invisible teach us.