Wednesday, 31 October 2012

House Sitting: Whimsical Chair-Supported Wooden Building

by artist/woodworker Ted Lott

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

What is Architecture? An Essay on Landscape, Buildings, and Machines

Paul Shepheard

British architect and critic Paul Shepheard is a fresh new voice in current postmodern debates about the history and meaning of architecture. In this wonderfully unorthodox quasi-novelistic essay, complete with characters and dialogue (but no plot), Shepheard draws a boundary around the subject of architecture, describing its place in art and technology, its place in history, and its place in our lives now.

At a time when it is fashionable to say that architecture is everything—from philosophy to science to art to theory— Shepheard boldly and irreverently sets limits to the subject, so that we may talk about architecture for what it is. He takes strong positions, names the causes of the problems, and tells us how bad things are and how they can get better.

Along the way he marshals some unlikely but plausible witnesses who testify about the current state of architecture. Instead of the usual claims or complaints by the usual suspects, these observations are of an altogether different order. Constructed as a series of fables, many of them politically incorrect, What is Architecture? is a refreshing meditation on the options, hopes, possibilities, and failures of shelter in society.

Pilotis in a Forest

Architect: Go Hasegawa
Date: 2010 finished construction
Location: 3hours outside Tokyo. Situated among a forest

Propped 6.5 meters into the air through a series of stilts and cross braces, the dwelling
Provides views above the treetops and on to the mountains in the distance. Trees that encircle the structure like walls shelter an open plaza below.


The main volume, accessed by a daunting set of stairs, features large frameless windows and a terrace that introduce the forest directly into the residence. Louvered portions of the floor and ceiling further merge the boundaries between indoors and out, entwining sight and sounds of the forest with that of the home.

BOOK: Tham & Videgard Arkitekter


In 1999, Bolle Tham and Martin Videgård Hansson founded their architectural practice Tham & Videgård Arkitekter with the aim of offering a progressive and contemporary vision that was neither stuck in the functionalist past nor preoccupied with the conceptual image. By approaching each new project in their own direct and uncomplicated way, they have created boundless opportunities for architectural exploration and creativity. For ten years, during which time the firm has won numerous accolades and awards, they have produced singular and lucid architecture that uniquely combines elements of traditional Nordic design with an international and contemporary vision.

In Detail: Building Simply

in DETAIL: Building Simply
Editor: Christian Schittich
A publication by the Detail architecture journal which introduces simplicity in modern architecture. This book begins with 5 essays about materials and minimalism, followed by a collection of 25 case studies ranging from bridges, workshops to cemetery; most of which are designed in minimalism.

remarkable projects:
1. Log Bridge in Alto Adige
     Architects: monovolume, Innsbruck
An arch structure situated across a 28m wide gully in Alto Adige. This structure is formed by arranging timber poles tangentially. Each piece of timber used in building this bridge is cultivated in the local area; therefore it blends into the surrounding area in harmony.
The Log Bridge in Alto Adige(left and below) has a similar design concept to the Mathermatical Bridge in Cambridge(right).

image source:  (Mathematical Bridge)
Scanned from book (Log Bridge and Log Bridge Section)
2. House in Dortmund
     Architects:, Bochum
The seemingly flawless wooden facade reveals the essence of Minimalism of this building. Despite a very simple design on the exterior, floors are established playfully in a mixture of split and traditional levels as described in the book, "From the entrance, the eye is drawn upstairs, via a flight of stairs to the open living area on the level above. This double height volume conveys a feeling of spaciousness, and the split-level layout evokes a sense of flowing transitions." -

image source: Scanned from book (House in Dortmund Floor Plans)

Monday, 29 October 2012

Installation Artist Creates Rainbows At Will

Michael Jones McKean’s

The Rainbow: Certain Principles of Light and Shapes Between Forms

The project creates a simple, but phenomenal visual event — a rainbow in the sky. The public artwork will produce temporary rainbows above the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Omaha, Nebraska using the most elemental materials: sunlight and rainwater.

Architect: John Lautner Building: Arango House, 1973
Lautner integrates Architecture and site by extending the structure into the landscape, conceiving the house as an extension of the rugged topography. The sweeping concrete roof is anchored to the hill and slopes up to the sky above eyerange. It is a floating island above sea level.
The open terrace encompasses the beautiful view of Acapulco Bay and the clouds that embrace it. A 6-foot wide swimmable channel rings the entire terrace with a continuous overflow. The water of the pool blends into the water of the ocean below, evoking a sense of infinite space.
The free form of the living terrace cantilevers out from the hill, blocking out disturbing lights from houses below. It also gives the occupants the impression of walking on air between sky and bay.

Marie Short House, Glenn MurcuttKempsey, New South Wales, Australia 1974-75Glenn Murcutt designed this house for the mother of a previous client. Heavy rains, high humidity and huge variations in temperature meant that the brief was to create a “house that is as cool in summer as standing under the mulberry tree, and as warm in winter”. Murcutt accommodated the wooden off-cuts that the client had been collecting into the design of the house and ensured that the house could be dismantled and reconstructed in a different location, a possibility at the time. Murcutt intended the building to be dynamic and operated like a yacht, he says “The roof overhang, blinds, insect screens and louvered windows are like layers of clothes that you can put on or remove: the blinds can be fully retracted; the louvered adjustable windows tilt and change the light levels and control ventilation”.

The house is orientated to facilitate the geometry of the winds and Murcutt took this opportunity to experiment with positive and negative airflow over forms. The wings of this building are separated into living and sleeping areas, connected with two sets of pivoting doors. The open plan living space is located on the warmer side of the house and the south side is shifted to shelter the North veranda, which is necessary in the summer months. Murcutt strived to “make a whole building where it feels like one is living on the edge and can smell the rain and sense changes in the air and light”. By working with the climate, Murcutt managed to create an interior that reinforces and also dissolves the differences between the environments within and around the house.    

Fromonot, F. (2003) Glenn Murcutt: buildings and projects 1962-2003, London: Thames & Hudson
Beck, H. and Cooper, J (2002) Glenn Murcutt: a singular architectural practice, Victoria: The Images Publishing Group Pty Ltd
Fromonot, F. (1995) Glenn Murcutt: works and projects, London: Thames & Hudson
Farrelly, E. M. (1993) Three Houses: Glenn Murcutt, New York: Phaidon Press Limited 

Powers of Ten

Book cover

Powers of Ten is a book based on a film, which has the same title. The film was made by husband-and-wife team of Charles and Ray Eames in 1977. Philip Morrison later translated the film into this book.

Charles Eames was an architect. Designs produced by Eames could be seen at . The film that he made is adapted from an article written by Kees Boeke who studied architecture in university.  

The film could be watched at

Powers of Ten takes us on an adventure in magnitudes. Starting at a picnic by the lakeside in Chicago, this famous film transports us to the outer edges of the universe. Every ten seconds we view the starting point from ten times farther out until our own galaxy is visible only as a speck of light among many others. Returning to Earth with breathtaking speed, we move inward- into the hand of the sleeping picnicker - with ten times more magnification every ten seconds. Our journey ends inside a proton of a carbon atom within a DNA molecule in a white blood cell.[1]

Taken from Powers of Ten

[1] Powers of Ten(1977). Retrived on 15 October 2012.

Mirror Bench by swedish architectural practice stockholm field office (SFO)

swedish architectural practice stockholm field office (SFO) 

more here on DESIGNBOOM thank you!

Sunday, 28 October 2012

BBF: Vanna Venturi House

Location: Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Architect: Robert Venturi (American)
Construction Year: 1962-1964

On this flat and quiet site, Robert Venturi designed this deceptively simple house for his mother. The building is considered a manifesto of postmodern architecture. When approaching the site we see the wide split gable which looks almost like a pediment. The chimney pokes out in an exaggerated way from the back. The house has a sense of symmetry but it is distorted because of the different placement of the windows. A Modernist ribbon window is placed on one side and square windows are for the bathroom and living room on the other side. 
The interior is centred around the fire place placing next to the stair. They are considered the core of the house. 

"Architects can no longer afford to be intimidated by the puritanically moral language of orthodox Modern architecture. I like elements which are hybrid rather than "pure", compromising rather than "clean," distorted rather than "straightforward," ambiguous rather than "articulated," perverse as well as impersonal, boring as well as "interesting," conventional rather than "designed," accommodating rather than excluding, redundant rather than simple, vestigial as well as innovating, inconsistent and equivocal rather than direct and clear. I am for messy vitality over obvious unity. I include the non sequitur and proclaim the duality." -  <Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture>, Robert Venturi, 1966 

In order to create this "complexity and contradiction" in this house, Venturi made the scale very interesting. For example, we can see the doors are low in height, contrasting the grandness of the entrance space. The fireplace is also exaggerated in size compared to the room. The architect played with fundamental elements such as rectangular, curvilinear shapes and all these different kinds were combined together in a slightly distorted way to enhance the complexity and contradiction.

The exterior was considered as a layering system and it's rich in historical references, e.g. Michaelangelo's Porta Pia in Rome, the Nymphaeum at Palladio, Alessandro Vittoria's Villa Barbaro at Maser. 
It would definitely be worth looking into Postmodern Architecture.