Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Swiss Architectural Photographer Walter Mair

Walter Mair is a swiss photographer who's work documents many of Switzerland's most talented architects; Peter Zumthor, Herzog & De Meuron, and Christian Kerez to name a few.

via: Peter Guthrie

Monday, October 27, 2008

Jack Mama and Clive van Heerden of Philips Design at the Studio

Jack Mama, Creative Director at Philips, and Clive van Heerden, Senior Director of design-led innovation at Philips, discuss the aims, benefits and outcomes of the Design Probe programme at Philips Design.

This unique foresighting initiative, which tracks emerging developments in five main areas – politics, economics, environment, technology and culture – is aimed at understanding ‘lifstyle’ post 2020.

While challenging conventional ways of thinking the Design Probe research initiative develops concepts such as ‘Electronic Tatoo’ and ‘Bubelle’ in the hopes of stimulating debate and fostering a prosperous relationship between business and innovation.

London 2008. Adaptable architecture gallery - Taller301

The proposal starts with an island, the image of a floating island that navigates through the Thames. An island with a forest, a garden that has grown on it. The gallery couldn’t be an object placed over it, but it would be excavated from it. The spaces are thus hollowed from the rock formation creating frames that transform the experience of the city and its monuments. The islands vegetation also helps alter the perception of the gallery as it changes throughout the seasons.

Each space establishes a different relationship with the exterior. The observation patio is the central space: a courtyard open to the sky, the sun and nearby monuments. In its center lies a pool for the summer time, and a fireplace for the winter. The exhibition room/auditorium is the darkest space so that images can be projected on its walls. This space resembles closely the image constructed by Plato in his “Allegory of the Cave”.

The project reflects on the origins of architecture. The cavern is the most primitive refuge known to man, even before he began to build his environment. In some of them we can still find projections or drawing manifestations. It’s inside the cave where man first expressed its culture and made use of fire in order to keep himself alive thus reflecting his time-spirit (zeitgeist).

via: Taller301

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wouldn't It Be Nice…

Dot Dot Dot is an arts journal published by Dexter Sinister, a collective working from New York. In recent years the biannual journal's form and content has been influenced by the specific context of its production.

Over three evenings content for Dot Dot Dot issue 17 will be articulated 'live', through dialog, talks and visual presentations from contributors including James Goggin, Jennifer Higgie, Will Holder, Richard Hollis and Dan Fox. The idea is to ‘speak’ the issue in advance of it's printed version, and the various forms of presentation will directly inform their various modes of graphic and linguistic translation. The resultant publication will be available from Somerset House Embankment Galleries at the end of the exhibition Wouldn't It Be Nice…

Tickets are £5 for each night with a £1 bar .

For more information and tickets please go to

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

World Architecture Festival in Barcelona

World Architecture Festival
at: international convention center, Barcelona
from: October 22nd - 24th, 2008

tomorrow, the world architecture festival will begin, celebrating the work of some of the world's most seasoned architects. one of the main exhibitions is the 'height exhibition' which will examine the relationship between architecture and the factors which influence their construction. there will also be seminars and
keynote addresses, as well as an awards ceremony to celebrate the best buildings globally, of 2008.

via: DesignBoom

Monday, October 20, 2008

ASLA 2008 Student Awards - Congratulations Amanda, Malea, and Laura


Remediation as Catalyst: Transforming an Industrial Landscape
Laura Kamin-Lyndgaard, Student ASLA, Amanda Olson, Student Affiliate ASLA and Malea Jochim, Student Affiliate ASLA
University of Minnesota, College of Design, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Faculty Advisors: Lance M. Neckar, ASLA; John J. Comazzi

"An important topic! Cities have to make decisions about brownfield sites and their use more and more frequently, so this is good work. The collaborative effort between landscape architecture and architecture is very clear."

— 2008 Student Awards Jury Comments

Project Statement:

The St. Paul Ford Assembly Plant in Minnesota has been in operation for the past 80 years. As the Plant shutdown looms in the near future, this studio was created to provoke the city of St. Paul to address the economic, cultural, and environmental issues of brownfield redevelopment. Remediation as Catalyst, a collaborative approach between one landscape architecture and two architecture students, proposes an innovative strategy for reintroducing a highly contaminated industrial site into the existing urban fabric using remediation strategies as catalysts for design.

Project motivation and approach
The term superfund, according the Environmental Protection Agency, is the name given to the environmental program established to address abandoned hazardous waste sites. This term is important to understand and analyze, as the latest list of superfund sites in the United States reaches 1,500 in number. As superfund sites become part of everyday redevelopment plans, we must begin to question the role of contamination cleanup within the process of planning and design. Remediation as Catalyst was motivated by the potential for connecting research to innovative processes of landscape and architectural design; processes that capitalizes on the complexity of contamination cleanup, traditional barriers between industry and neighborhood, and the value of time sensitive design strategies. Our research and design serves to provoke neighborhoods and cities to question traditional methods of re-introducing superfund sites back into our everyday urban and rural fabrics.

Environmental, cultural and historical data and analysis methods
The analysis and collection of data was essential to our design process and planning strategies. The Ford Assembly Plant was originally named an EPA superfund site in the 1980’s, but taken off the list approximately five years later [for purposes unexplained]. Therefore, at the beginning of our research and design process, the severity of this sites contamination was not fully known by government or community members. It was only through an intense process of collecting data from local environmental agencies, newspaper articles, and government mandated soil tests that our group, along with twenty-four other landscape and architecture graduate students, began to unfold the severity of contamination within this 124 acre industrial site. The data collected by each student was then analyzed through a series of diagramming techniques that connect and interpret complicated scientific data. After analyzing each data set, the collective studio designed a template and method of organization for the research to be put into a 138 page book. This book served as the foundation for our design and planning strategies and as assistance to city officials and neighbors investigating the future of St. Paul’s Ford Assembly Plant. Specifically, the book was organized into city, region, nation and world and within each topic contained environmental data on contamination and clean up methods (chemical, natural, and mechanical), historical data on the development of the Ford Assembly Plant and surrounding neighborhood, and cultural data on the influence of the automobile industry and the St. Paul site specifically. Remediation as Catalyst focuses specifically on data, such as bioremediation and phydoremediation techniques for cleanup, as inspiration of a design and planning strategy that is dynamic in its organization and form. Imagine a place that slowly reveals itself to the surrounding neighborhood and where everyday learning meets scientific inquiry. This is where our project begins to grow and expand our collective professions of landscape and architectural into a world of creative systems analysis and network integration.

Planning strategy/Design Process
After the final analysis presentation, the two studios were asked to create three to four member groups that had at least one person from a landscape studio and one from an architecture studio. The three of us pared together for this initial charrette. We were charged with creating design strategies for the redevelopment of the St. Paul Ford Assembly Plant, using the research that had been accrued through both the landscape and the architecture studios.

Our group started with the levels and types of contamination and different ways it could be remediated. This led to plans that focused on the progress of time, and how stages of development could be phased according to economic, social, and environmental factors. For our initial presentation we set up a strategy around the idea of touching the ground lightly versus permanent fixture. We worked to integrate various temporary and permanent infrastructures into closed loop cycles of remediation. By researching various remediation strategies, we created plans that incorporated phytoremediation with biomass energy recovery and heavy metal extraction from the plants. We studied the use of living machines to treat area stormwater runoff and sewage waste along with contaminated groundwater before it was allowed to reach the Mississippi River. We also researched using bioremediation to treat soil deep underground using microbes and a mixture of oxygen to clean soil that plant roots simply can not reach. With all of this remediation we worked to create a viable pedestrian circulation [and later road infrastructure] plan that included existing rail lines, continuations of existing neighborhood grid lines, and new pedestrian facilities to create a multi-layered plan that would slowly integrate neighborhood amenities over the course of time. These were the ideas that we took to the initial charette review.

Each group presented their plans that they had created and then the studios were given the opportunity to switch groups, so that people could work on plans that suited their individual interests. There was no longer a requirement that a landscape student had to work with an architecture student. However, our group was so excited about our plans by the end of the charette we didn’t even consider splitting up. We were the only group that did stay the same throughout the semester and only one of two groups that maintained a mixture of both landscape architecture and architecture students.

We took the focus of time, and how systems thinking [connectivity between phasing contamination and design implementation] could be integrated into our overall planning strategies. From the charette forward our main goal was to create a plan that fully integrated our systems into as much of a closed loop as possible. This meant changing some things that were initially part of the charette plan, while at the same time adding new concepts and research. The language of time morphed into a series of planning sequences that we titled dig, fill, seed, grow, and cultivate. This sequence helped form the matrix for how we applied everything from circulation to water treatment to the development of buildings.

It quickly became apparent that if our strategy of time was to be effective we would have little to no control over a series of ‘fixed’ or ‘final’ images. Through discussions and research it was becoming clear to us that so often when faced with contaminated land, the answer is often to cap or to simply remove the contamination off site as a ‘final’ answer. Our question to this was why? Why can’t a more thoughtful and fluid development take place? One that takes into account the industry that has occurred for the past 80 years and the unknown futures. We did not want this history hidden, but rather we wanted a project that started to heal the wounds that had been inflicted on the site, while re-introducing the land to the surrounding neighborhood.

Project design
Our research in remediation techniques became catalysts for our design. These in turn informed decisions we made in terms of development phasing. Our final design strategy focused around a research center that we placed in the zone of highest contamination. When the Ford Site was cleaned, the research facility would shift its focus to a consulting climate lab that would facilitate remediatation research for brownfield sites around the world. The information gleaned from the research facility would be disseminated to the public through a series of kiosks that would be placed on the circulation system that runs through the site. These would explain everything from strategies for treating groundwater to biomass collection, to the phytoremediation of creosote.

Along with the research component of our plan was the phasing of infrastructure and building development. We felt strongly that integrating people in the site, as soon as contamination levels were safe, was important to the success of the project. Therefore, a typology of infrastructure [transformative infrastructures] was designed based on projected needs for building and circulation systems; which would transform in use and form throughout the process of remediation and development. We also explored higher density, sustainable development that would allow for experimentation in orientation and form. With this in mind, blocks of development were planned around key planting sites that were initially phytoremediation zones, and then, as they became clean they shifted to community gardens and central catalysts for future development and growth.

The final product was presented as a strategic diagram for implementing remediation, building, research, circulation, and water distribution. Discussions during the review focused on the idea that perhaps the fields of landscape architecture and architecture should not be as different as they are currently perceived. Why should architecture be presented as a final product at the beginning, and then go into a state of decay while landscape architecture is presented as a piece of torn up earth that slowly grows into magnificence? This project was our way of trying to address these questions. It is perhaps only the first step, but one that all three of us will continue to pursue for the rest of our careers.

Is this way of thinking, remediatation as catalyst for physical and intellectual development, possible in today’s fast paced economic and cultural market? To be honest our group was not sure…until we got a chance to present our project in front of the mayor of St. Paul, Minnesota. He acknowledged the viability of a project that not only looked at planning for today’s contaminated sites, but also for tomorrow’s state of unknown changes. And what better way to begin strategizing the economics and development of a site but to use the problem itself as a potential catalyst for redevelopment – contamination. It is the energy and complexity within existing strategies for contamination cleanup which we saw in the research phase of the design and brought forward into a collaboration between landscape and architecture. Our group was not afraid to embrace the challenges of contamination cleanup; rather, we used those challenges to create a site that maintained economic viability through phased development plans, researched initiatives stretching beyond St. Paul, addressed the curiosity of neighbors by reintroducing the site in safe and thoughtful moves, and utilized existing methods of clean-up to catalyze innovative typolologies of courtyard housing and city infrastructure. Therefore, the implementation of Remediation as Catalyst, although just an idea on paper right now, has the potential to expand the future of how we think, live, and play today within the industrial landscapes of yesterday.

P.s. On a personal note, glad see the University of Minnesota is being represented by such great company.

See all 11 winners by clicking here

via: Bustler

Sunday, October 19, 2008

My New Book of Choice: The Metropolis of Tomorrow

I have recently been reading The Metropolis of Tomorrow by Hugh Ferriss. Ferriss was a architect and draftsman for some of the most predominate urban planners and architects of the 1920's and 30's. For those of you who are familiar with Minnesota architectural history, you might find it interesting that Ferriss got his start working for the great Minnesota architect Cass Gillbert.

The book was first published in 1929 to illustrate the architectural trends of the future. What I find so interesting is Ferriss's short, and often, correct predictions pared with his beautiful illustrations of realized and theoretical buildings.

This is a great 10 dollar purchase for those of you who are interested in the architecture of the 1930's and beautiful graphite renderings.

Here is some further information on the book.

Publisher Comments:
The metropolis of the future — as perceived by architect Hugh Ferriss in 1929 — was both generous and prophetic in vision. Largely an illustrated essay on the modern city and its future, Ferriss' book incorporated his philosophy of architecture. Includes powerful illustrations of towering structures, personal space, wide avenues, and rooftop parks. 59 illustrations.

Book News Annotation:
This is a reprint of a 1929 book in which architect and draftsman Ferriss presented his vision of the city of the future (based on New York City) with dramatic and powerful drawings. His buildings appear massive and mysterious, and evoke a sense of smallness and frailty in the viewer. The drawings use shadow and light to describe the structures, with less attention paid to the actual surface of the building. The book is divided into three parts: the first part depicts buildings already in existence (at the time of publication); the second part shows underlying trends and proposals, and the third part presents Ferriss' vision of an imaginary metropolis. Ferriss' drawings are displayed in 59 full-page black & white plates, and are supplemented by his writing.
Annotation �2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

The metropolis of the future — as perceived by architect Hugh Ferriss in 1929 — was both generous and prophetic in vision. This illustrated essay on the modern city and its future features 59 illustrations.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Shanghai World Financial Center / KPF (Kohn Pedersen Fox) Architects

So I know that I am a little bias when it comes to this story... being that I work for KPF, but I thought that I post this video from Arch Daily.

The Burj Dubai by SOM hasn´t been finished yet, but it´s currently the world´s tallest structure. Meanwhile, the Shanghai World Financial Centre by KPF has been opened a few weeks ago, which is (as for now) the tallest building in the world when it comes to roof height with 492m (1,614.2ft). The Taipei 101 in Taiwan is 509.2m (1,670.60ft) if you count the antenna, but its roof is only at 449.2 m (1,473.75 ft).

The building took almost 11 years to be completed, delayed by the Asian Financial Crisis of 97-98 and change on design, but it was finally opened to public on August 30, 2008. You can see an interesting tour of the building on the video posted above.

The observatory on the 100th floor is amazing, with a transparent floor.

via: ArchDaily

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Video of Architectural Photographers - Floto+Warner

we rarely ever learn much about the people behind the camera. Jeremy Floto and Cassandra Warner are the fantastic photographers behind the Brooklyn, New York based Floto+Warner Studio, and the website Zoom In has produced this video featuring them talking about their work.



Conversation moderated by author and curator Kurt Forster

Thursday, Oct 23, 8:15 pm
92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Ave at 92nd Street

Tickets $27/Student tickets at $10 one hour before event or 212.415.5500

One of the most influential architects of our time, PETER EISENMAN is known for his pure and sensual designs and his belief that architecture is an autonomous art. Founder of the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies, and author and co-author of numerous books and articles, he works from his New York-based Eisenman Architects. GREG LYNN uses computer-aided design to create sculptural, biomorphic structures. His interest in digital fabrication, calculus and what he terms “blob architecture” have put the architect-theorist at the forefront of architectural discourse. Influential theorist KURT FORSTER is the founder of the Getty Research Center and the Canadian Center for Architecture in Montreal. He has published widely and has curated groundbreaking shows, such as those on Herzog & de Meuron in Montreal and on Schinkel in Chicago.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Thirteen New York Architects Design for Ordos

The Architectural League just opened an exhibition of projects by the thirteen New York-based architects participating in the Ordos 100.

The Ordos 100 is a new residential development in the city of Ordos, Inner Mongolia, China. One hundred emerging architects from around the world have each been invited to design a 10,700 square foot villa on lots ranging from a quarter to a half acre. With a master plan by artist Ai Weiwei and architect selection by Herzog & de Meuron, the Ordos 100 challenges conventional ideas about urban design, placemaking, and context. Criticized by some for its scale and environmental impact, applauded by others as a form of art practice, Ordos underscores and intensifies the complexities of contemporary architectural practice.

The Architectural League presents projects by the thirteen New York-based architects participating in the Ordos 100 in the current exhibition 13:100 | Thirteen New York Architects Design for Ordos, on view through November 26, 2008. For this exhibition, interviews were conducted with the participating architects, to allow them to describe in their own words their experiences working in Ordos and how they feel about it now that the design phase has come to an end.

via: The Architecture League

Monday, October 13, 2008

Video of Liz Diller at TED

Liz Diller might just be the first post-wall architect. From a mid-lake rotunda made of fog to a gallery that destroys itself with a robotic drill, her brainy takes on the essence of buildings are mind-bending and rebellious. Her firm, Diller Scofidio & Renfro, partakes of criticism that goes past academic papers and into real structures -- buildings and art installations that seem to tease the squareness of their neighbors.

DS+R was the first architecture firm to receive a MacArthur "genius" grant -- and it also won an Obie for Jet Lag, a wildly creative piece of multimedia off-Broadway theater. A reputation for rampant repurposing of materials and tricksy tinkering with space -- on stage, on paper, on the waterfront -- have made DS+R a sought-after firm, winning accounts from the Juilliard School, Alice Tully Hall and the School of American Ballet, as part of the Lincoln Center overhaul; at Brown University; and on New York's revamp of Governor's Island. Their Institute for Contemporary Art has opened up a new piece of Boston's waterfront, creating an elegant space that embraces the water.

via: TED

Sunday, October 12, 2008

MIR the people behind Snøhetta's Amazing Images

MIR is a Norwegian visualization firm that works with many of Norway's most progressive architecture firms. Their renderings are very beautiful and some of the best in the industry (my personal opinion). Take some time to run through their website...learn from their images...and up your archy-game.

Am Kupfergraben 10 by David Chipperfield

David Chipperfield Architects’ gallery building Am Kupfergraben 10 in Berlin has received the first prize in the ‘office and commercial buildings’ category of the Fritz Höger Prize 2008.

The Initiative Bauen mit Backstein (Initiative Building with Brick), the organiser of the award, received 322 applications of projects completed between 2004 and 2008. The jury nominated 31 entries for the Fritz Höger Prize 2008 eventually awarding Chipperfield the €10,000 prize.

Am Kupfergraben 10 which is located on the Kupfergraben canal, overlooking the Lustgarten and the Museum Island in Berlin. As part of the cityscape, the composition of the four-story gallery building reacts to its immediate historic context, while the scale of its window openings reflects the urban dimensions of a corner building.

As an urban infill, the new building connects with both of its neighbouring buildings with regard to their respective building heights and occupies the footprint of the preceding building (destroyed in the war), while at the same time developing its own sculptural quality. The facades are of brick masonry on reconstituted stone courses with no visible expansion joints, using salvaged bricks pointed with slurry. Large window openings reflect the urban scale of the site and define the composition of the facade, given structure by their untreated wooden sashes.

While solid materials that will age well characterise the exterior, the interior is defined by daylight and proportion. The building cores organize the space of the 5.5 meter high rooms. The simple floor plan varies throughout the four stories depending on the form of the volume and the placement of the window openings. The gallery spaces are side lit from different directions, and daylight is controlled by interior folding shutters. The intention was to create a series of well proportioned and well lit rooms for living, working, or showing art – in a townhouse dedicated to the arts and directly related to the cultural heart of the city.

Text Via: World Architecture News

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Making of Photosynth

The Making of Photosynth from Nathanael Lawrence on Vimeo.

The video above looks at the making of Photosynth, its informative and provides a glimpse of where Photosynth is going.

In truth we are simply at the beginning of being able to take crowd sourced or self taken imagery and automatically construct scenes, it is without question however an exciting beginning.

We have a feeling that in a few years time we will be explaining to our students that to create a 3D building we used to actually manually draw in the polygons, line by line, window by window and door by door.

We are close to it all becoming automatic and while we may miss the 'hand made approach' and indeed the argument is about to start that there will always be a role of 'hand made' digital architecture, we think its only a few years off becoming automated.

In the same way that Google Earth/Google Maps changed the field of GIS, the technologies behind Photosynth maybe about to change the world of architectural visualization.

via: Digital Urban