Tag Archives: Architecture

Comments on JAPAN – MY TRIP TO BATTLESHIP ISLAND | Vice Magazine

JAPAN – MY TRIP TO BATTLESHIP ISLAND | Vice Magazine – The story of two friends exploring an old coal mining facility on Hashima Island, which is close to the port of Nagaski. The facility was abandoned in the 1970’s and the crumbling buildings are an incredible site. Unlike many other modern ruins, Battleship Island wasn’t devastated by war but only by neglect. The island was once the most densely populated area on earth, but is now only a shell. It is an amazing site.

Comments on Pachacamac House / Longhi Architects | Arch Daily

Pachacamac House / Longhi Architects | Arch Daily – Architecture of the Earth is such a rare thing in our contemporary times. Too often building try to float free of the constraints of gravity in an attempt to challenge our perceptions. However the Pachacamac House in Peru by Longhi Architects, which is intimately tied to the Earth seems more foreign and challenging to our modern eyes. To be from and of the Earth is no small feat and the Pachacamac House seems to flow and sculpt the ground into a terraced construct that both blends with and contrast with the barren hills rising from a lush valley.

Comments on Sand/Stone | BLDGBLOG

Sand/Stone | BLDGBLOG – A student, Magnus Larsson, at the Architectural Association, has proposed a landscape project that will solidify desert sand into sandstone, thus creating a new material for habitation within a harsh desert. The idea is to use injection piles to 3D print sandstone out of sand by injecting a microbial solution that will solidify the sand into sandstone. These structures can create internal micro-climates more favorable to habitation and the sustaining of life, condensation of water and the locking of the sand dunes which could potentially halt the progression of the desert.

It is a fascinating idea and sees well thought through. The very idea of a architecture grown from the earth is fascinating and Larsson seems to have thought it through.

Comments on Frances Anderton: “Excess” Versus “Relevance” Is an Irrelevant Debate

Frances Anderton: “Excess” Versus “Relevance” Is an Irrelevant Debate – I can not agree with Frances Anderton more when she says that by framing a dichotomy of excess versus relevance in architecture, those mourning the loss of grand projects and those cheering that loss due to the current economic circumstances, are failing to appreciate the full scope of architecture. Certainly, architectural journalism favors the spectacular projects of excess but even still most architecture fails to meet either standards.

Architecture encompasses all of the built environment, from the ordinary to the singular, and both aspects are important. By framing the debate not in a dichotomy but instead as qualities of the larger field we call our culture and environment,, an architecture for the here and now can be more easily balanced between social responsibility and artistic ambitions. Both are needed and in different mixes for different projects.


ART TO ARCHITECTURE « LEBBEUS WOODS – Lebbeus Woods asks the question about the relationship of Art to Architecture.  He points out that as the arts like painting and sculpture became less integrated with Architecture, they actually gained a more direct influence on architecture.  Suddenly Art could be used as a direct inspiration for Architecture.  It is certainly an interesting observation.

For my part, I hold with Deleuze and Guttari’s opinion that Art is concerned with precepts and affects and their ability.  This means that Architecture is not necessarily Art, though it certainly can be and certainly the value of Art in Architecture is important.  I am not one to hold that Architecture is only an Art, for Architecture includes much more than Art, both in constraints and in scope, Architecture addresses more than the limited, but very intense, subjects of Art.

Comments on Inapal Metal / Menos é mais | Arch Daily

Inapal Metal / Menos é mais | Arch Daily – Inapal Metal is manufacturer of automotive parts.  The designed by Menos e Mais architects is a simple study in corrugated metal.  Rather than a banal metal building though, the Inapal Metal building has a subtle refinement that makes it something so much more.  The curving radius of the corners and the change in direction between the two main masses of the building break the building up and create a dynamic difference that energizes the form.  The large cantilevered loading dock canopy, while very functional also gives the otherwise heavy building a lighter feel.  Finally the perforated metal screens that partially hide the mechanical systems and large circular holes for exhaust along one side of the building is almost shocking when compared to the closed feel of the corrugated metal elsewhere.  The interiors further extend the precision and neutrality of the exterior.  The building is one with few expressive moves, yet it holds a spatial movement that is farm from static.

Comments on Santo Stefano Cemetery in Italy / Amoretti + Calvi + Ranalli | Arch Daily

Santo Stefano Cemetery in Italy / Amoretti + Calvi + Ranalli | Arch Daily – The expansion of the Santo Stefano Cemetery in Italy is set between the old cemetery and a waterfront way.  It consists of a series of cubic crypts each freestanding and set in two rows along a curving line with a path set between.  The project’s success comes from its use of such a simple object as the cubic crypt which is then subverted by arraying it into a field, breaking down the idea that architecture is about a singular object, continuous or discrete.  The crypts themselves are proportioned to meet the requirements of an interned human body giving an empathic quality to the crypts.  Each crypt like the body of the people inside.  Though it is a long standing tradition in Architecture for funeral monuments to be an expression of some idea of the person life, it is modern take to make the crypt emphatically relate to the human experience rather than express or represent it.

Comments on 290 Mulberry Fabrication Update – Prototyping | CASE Design, Inc.

290 Mulberry Fabrication Update – Prototyping | CASE Design, Inc. – Case discusses the collaborative approach that was taken during their time at SHOP in the development of the innovative brick panels at 290 Mulberry.  The use of parametric modeling and a 3D printer allowed the production of quick prototypes and models that were then presented to potential fabricators, allowing a more directed and specific discussions to happen and the selection of fabricators that were interested in proceeding.  The 290 Mulberry project is an excellent example of how to work with fabricators to get unexpected results.  Well done.

Comments on Naha City Gallery & Apartment house / 1100 Architect | Arch Daily

Naha City Gallery & Apartment house / 1100 Architect | Arch Daily – Though very simple, the Naha City Gallery & Apartments by 1100 Architect is an excellent example of an architecture of the ordinary that doesn't compromise becoming the banal. Made of common materials, concrete, aluminum and glass, the building still spatially engages its surroundings. The gallery on the main floor juts out from the rest of the building, pulling in the exterior and the sunken parking beneath gives the building a firm stance on relationship to the earth, something often not thought out in contemporary buildings.

Though perhaps a building designed to closely to my own biases, I can't help but feel that carefully designs like the Naha City Gallery could do more for the urban fabric of our cities than the singular designs of many of the big name architects that gain so much press these days.

Comments on Planned Spontaneity

Planned Spontaneity – Bojana Vuksanovic argues for new approaches to design and planning that allow for more spontaneity and change rather than the rigid, preconceived approaches that are favored in current architectural practice. While her arguments are strong, I take issue with her unqualified use of the terms organic and complexity.

The organic is not truly opposed to the orderly. Her use of the organic is in line with its commonly conceived usage, but that usage favors too heavily the conception that the organic is somehow special in architecture. Architecture by its very nature is inorganic and though it can be a useful metaphor to compare certain aspects to the organic qualities, the organic metaphor can also be abused when not qualified in its usage. Like many in the architectural community, the term organic is as a judgment rather than a quality or characteristic. It is something that is favored and good for architecture without qualification.

Complexity is a more recent term filled with baggage in architectural discussion, however as in this essay, there is little qualification as to what makes up something that is complex and what does complexity actually do for the design. To state the obvious, complexity isn't a simple subject that many architect's seem to think it is. I am similarly troubled by her use of complexity without a discussion of the very real pitfalls of the “random”. Yes, current architecture can use more spontaneity or noise in the decision making process, but to argue that more complexity improves that process is not necessarily true. As Murry Gell-Mann argues in his book the Quark and Jaguar, effective complexity, that complexity that contributes to the behavior of a system, actually is highest and richest at some indeterminate mixture of order and randomness. Too often today, randomness, which is complex, is thought to be effective. Her example of fluids being more complex than solids falls into exactly this pitfall. Yes, there is more room for the random in a fluid, but its ability to interface with other systems and behaviors are not that much more complex than a solid when you consider all the different ways solids can form.

Despite these few discrepancies, the essay is very good and shows a careful and thoughtful approach to the problem of spontaneity in design. Vuksanovic’s critique of the conventional design practices that sacrifice richness of experience for the safety of certainty is a powerful one. I highly recommend reading the article.