Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Architecture of Mansilla-Tunon

I have become very interested in the Spanish Architecture firm of Mansilla-Tunon. This video illustrates some of their design strategies and methodologies. Spend a few minutes and watch this video.

via: Plataforma Arquitectura

Friday, November 28, 2008

Foster and Hadid to redesign Mecca

This seems like a very bad idea...but what do I know.

Norman Foster and Zaha Hadid have been lined up to take on one of the most high-profile projects on earth – the redevelopment of Mecca

According to sources, the scheme for Islam's holiest city could create a huge new structure around the central Haram mosque that will eventually be capable of holding three million people, making it the 'highest occupancy' building in the world.

The top-secret plans are being backed by King Abdullah ben Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia who has asked a hand-picked collection of starchitects to 'establish a new architectural vision' for the 356,800m2 mosque complex.

The AJ believes that the project is likely to be phased, with phase one transforming the mosque from having an official capacity of 900,000 to 1.5 million. This will then go up to three million with the completion of several phases over the following five to 10 years.

It is understood the proposals have been split into two 'tracks', with Foster + Partners earmarked to look at a range of alternatives for the northern expansion of the Haram mosque. Ten other practices are also believed to have been approached to draw up feasibility studies for the extension program, including Atkins.

Meanwhile Hadid has been given the prize task of coming up with ideas for the Haram mosque itself as well as 'revisiting the whole area of the central district'. Another six other 'world renown' architects have also been linked with the job.

British-based engineers Adams Kara Taylor and Faber Maunsell are also in the frame for the multi-billion pound project.

A source close to project told the AJ: 'This study is not meant to be a competition… the main objective of the design studies is to enrich our discourse on how we should address the future architecture of the Haram and its growth.

'These design exercises in addition to other investigations will be subject to an exhibition to his Majesty… by the end of the month.'

Every year, more than three million people make a pilgrimage to the Saudi city of Mecca, known as the Hajj.

Author: Richard Waite.

Text via: The Architects' Journal

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Royksopp - Remind Me (an old one but a good one)

This video is quite old...but I keep finding myself coming back to it. I simply love its infographic style.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Amazing Video of 56 Leonard Street by Herzog & de Meuron

56 Leonard Street from david basulto on Vimeo.

Temporary chapel for the Deaconesses of St-Loup

In the summer of 2007, Localarchitecture and architect Danilo Mondada were awarded the contract to renovate the mother house of the Deaconess Community of St-Loup. The commission involves the complete renovation of a historic building, including the community’s main chapel.

It was immediately apparent the mother house would have to be closed for the duration of the building works, in other words for 18 months starting from the summer of 2008. Instead of settling for a standard solution, like renting a tent or containers, the architects suggested building a temporary chapel to accommodate religious worship during the construction period.

Localarchitecture, which has a special interest in timber construction and new structural solutions, has made its name with several works exploring traditional and contemporary wood construction techniques. In this instance, the architects suggested working in partnership with Hani Buri and Yves Weinand from the IBOIS laboratory at the EPFL (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne), whose ongoing research into folded structures seemed particularly interesting and appropriate for this project. The team developed a structure using timber panels, which makes it possible to cover large areas with fine sections. The shape was generated using computer software that calculates the load-bearing structure, determines the dimensions and transmits this information to the machine that cuts out the 6-cm thick timber panels.

Built directly on the ground, the new chapel blends subtly and delicately with the landscape. The structure, which lies along the axis of the east-west valley and is open at each end, lets in plenty of natural light.

Interpreting the traditional layout of protestant churches with their variations in width and height between transept and nave, the design creates a space whose horizontal and vertical dimensions vary via a series of origami-like folds, which give rhythm to the interior and exterior of the building. The folded volume generates a wide horizontal space at the entrance, before closing in and rising up to become vertical towards the center of the chapel. Each fold in the facade reflects the light differently and thus emphasizes the progression and elongation of the volume. The structure punctuates the interior space, while creating an atmosphere conducive to reflection.

Transparent plastic panels in the gable side facades, covered with fabric, allow natural light to enter the chapel. The frame of columns and diagonals resembles the structure of a stained-glass window.

The wooden chapel in St-Loup is the first full-scale structure that incorporates design and structural analysis based on computer method of generating novel geometrical forms, but it is also a bright example of the spatial reinterpretation of a traditional religious space in harmony with its environment.

via: Arch Daily

Monday, November 17, 2008

Students Cut Your Wood Smart...With a Computer Program

Furniture makers, shop guys and students should dig Cutlist Generator, a program (written way back in the '90s, and tweaked up to present day) that figures out how to squeeze the most from your wood stock. Punch in the dimensions of the pieces you need, the width of your saw blade and the minimum amount of waste you can tolerate, and the program spits out the most efficient cutlist. It will even put priority on crosscutting or ripping, depending on your setup. Best of all, it's free!

The Cutting Stock problem requires that we find the best (cheapest) way to cut one-dimensional stock pieces (pipe, dimensional lumber, wire, rolls of paper or other sheet material to be slit, etc.) in such a way that a given number of pieces of specified lengths or widths are created.

via: Core77 & Tool Crib

Monocle Video: New Designs on Diplomacy

Post September 11 every embassy was built as a bunker ready to repel all comers, but now from Kathmandu to Harare architects are reinventing the mission as a national calling card. Robert Bound reports.

Via: Monocle

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Chipperfield wins competition for Kunsthaus Zurich Extension

Chipperfield’s design was selected from an initial 214 anonymous entries to Zurich’s Department of Structural Engineering, which organised the competition. These were subsequently narrowed down to 20 in the first round of judging in March.

This 20-strong shortlist included Caruso St John, Max Dudler, Steven Holl, Rex Architecture and Sauerbruch Hutton.

The extension will house galleries for displaying new media, prints, drawings and photography. It will also have classical gallery space for the museum’s Bührle collection and 19th century artworks.

The winning design will be announced formally on December 15, and an exhibition of all 20 shortlisted projects will be held at the Kunsthaus from December 16 2008-January 11 2009.

The scheme is one of the first elements of the city’s central development plan to get under way, and is due for completion in 2015.

The 20 shortlisted architects in full:

Andreas Fuhrimann/Gabrielle Hächler, Zurich

Annette Gigon/Mike Guyer, Zurich

Arge Grazioli/Krischanitz, Zurich

Barkow Leibinger Architekten, Berlin

Caruso St John Architects, London

David Chipperfield Architects, London

Diener & Diener Architekten, Basel

Eckert Eckert Architekten, Zurich

Josep Lluís Mateo MAP Arquitectos, Barcelona

Luis Mansilla & Emilio Tuñón Arquitectos, Madrid

Marcel Meili, Markus Peter Architekten, Zurich

Max Dudler Architekten, Zurich

Mazzapokora, Zurich, & Buchner Bründler, Basel

Miller & Maranta, Basel

Oskar Leo Kaufmann/Albert Rüf Ziviltechniker, Dornbirn, Austria

Pool Architekten, Zurich, & Aires Mateus & Associados, Lisbon

Rex Architecture, New York

Rüssli Architekten, Lucerne, & Steven Holl Architects, New York

Sauerbruch Hutton, Berlin

Sebastian Irarrazaval Arquitectos, Santiago, Chile

Monday, November 10, 2008

KWK PROMES - Aatrial House

Beautiful minimal house that expresses structure and materials in an extremely simplistic execution. Check out there website for more of their work. KWK PROMES

up your architecture: First Ever Q. and A.rch

In the first ever edition of Q. and A.rch we'll be featuring a pair of designers Troy Gallas and Colin Kloecker of Solutions Twin Cities ( Architects by day and Solutionists by night this duo has been working together since they met while attending the University of Minnesota and has continued their efforts to improve, advocate, and educate for and about design in the Twin Cities. With their events nearing the double digits they work in a variety of ways but predominantly through a series of "Volume" events every 6-8 months and as series of smaller collaborations and interactive events in between. Each of the large presentations is presented in a Pecha Kucha format (they'll touch on that later) and features designers of all disciplines that have a connection to the Twin Cities area of Minnesota. I was lucky enough to speak at there Solutions Vol. 2 event and am pleased to have Troy and Colin as my first of hopefully many guests on the Up Your Architecture Q. & A.rch column. Hope you all enjoy.

Troy Gallas (on the left) has a background in visual arts, performing arts, and architecture. A Twin Cities native, he graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in architecture. He has learned and practiced traditional methods of building in Mexico, Nova Scotia, and Spain, and has explored other methods throughout Europe and the US. In addition to co-founding Solutions Twin Cities, he is currently working at LHB, a Minneapolis firm focusing on affordable and supportive housing, and is a steering committee member of Architecture for Humanity: Minnesota

Colin Kloecker (on the right) has been living in the Twin Cities for 6 years. He graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in architecture and has since been working at Cermak Rhoades Architects in St. Paul, a small firm with a focus on affordable and supportive housing. In addition to co-founding Solutions Twin Cities, he is a member of Architecture for Humanity: Minnesota steering committee. You can find his thoughts on architecture and humanitarian issues online at Blog Like You Give A Damn.

1. In an earlier discussion we talked about how Solutions Twin Cities is almost acting as "city design advocates". With that in mind, give us a short explanation of how you came to be and what you are as an organization.

We founded Solutions Twin Cities about a year and a half ago because we wanted to create spaces for exploring new ideas and drawing awareness to existing solutions here in Minneapolis and Saint Paul. Design is a really big part of this, but we're really advocating for people and projects that are making a difference in new and exciting ways, what we like to call "future-positive creativity."

2. It's been a busy year for you guys and this may be a bit of cut and paste after an introduction but tell us a bit about what you've been up to [i.e. Solutions Vol. 3, Solutions for the Other 90%, W(e are) Here]...

It's been soooo busy. Yikes! But it's been a lot of fun too. Going back a little further then a year, we kicked off this crazy adventure with Solutions Volume 1 in May of 2007. The "Volume" series is our flagship program and it's a hybrid event showcasing future-positive creativity in action. It highlights an up to the minute cross section of exciting people, projects, and ideas in the Twin Cities using a Pecha Kucha presentation format. Volume 2 was in October of 2007 and Volume 3 was just last August. We'd like to continue doing these at least twice a year. Last July, we had the great opportunity to curate an event for the Walker Art Center called Solutions For the Other 90%. The event was in conjunction with an exhibit the WAC was hosting called Design For the Other 90% and acted as a local counterpart to this international exhibit.

We've also started to branch out beyond one time events. In early 2008, Intermedia Arts asked us to curate an exhibit for one of their galleries. This led to W(e are )here: Mapping the Human Experience, which ran from March to May of this year. The exhibit explored the intersections of communication, technology, and aesthetics through data visualization, artistic expression, and interactive installations. Our interest in mapping emerged from an underlying desire to make intangible connections visible. Whether it's tracking emotions across the totality of the Internet, or one's personal and biological response to the built environment around them, we really think the artists we found for this exhibit challenged our notions of what a map can be and how it can be used.

3. Volume 3 was an outdoor event and had an interactive component, how did you like this format as opposed to the interior events you've done in the past? Can we expect more in the realm of interactivity and indoor/outdoor? Solutions TC: Volume 4- Wash & Wear?

We've challenged ourselves to create a unique experience for each new event or program. Our events have taken place in an gritty urban theatre, a cavernous sound stage, a formal art museum "cinema" (not so exciting), and a grungy graffiti-walled parking lot, projecting onto a brick wall. Each event has presented it's own learning curve, and we've never done the same thing twice (however stupid or smart this might be, we haven't decided yet). The event outdoors (Solutions Volume 3) was definitely the most challenging, nearly putting us $8,000 into debt, not to mention multiple near casualties (don't ask). At the same time, it allowed for the most creativity. We asked a local new media artist, Christopher Baker, to install his "Urban Echo" project - an interactive projection that allowed the audience to communicate with each other on a large scale via text message.

We're in the process of narrowing down our thoughts for Volume 4: Hot air balloons, Mississippi river barge, roaming bicycles, or possibly the Xcel Energy Center (OK, give us a year or two for that one).

4. You've been involved in other non-events/games/national events such as Park(ing) Day and Urban Capture the Flag. How can people get a hold of you or get your ear about events they would like you to be involved with?

You're right, beyond the events and exhibits we've done so far, we want to create more informal spaces where people can come together to do a wider range of activities. Like the two examples you cited above, we'd like these to be themed around new ways of interacting with the city. Another example of this was a psychogeographic map making party we hosted during the W(e are )here exhibit. These are all things that we plan on doing on a ongoing basis.

The best way stay in the loop about these events, or anything else we're up to, is to sign up for our mailing list - which you can do here. You can also contact us directly at

5. Park(ing) Day happened to fall on Talk Like a Pirate Day this year, any interesting anecdotes or overlaps?

Nope, sorry! (We actually weren't that involved in the Park(ing) Day Activities this year, but we have big plans for next year). But we are full fledged advocates for Talk Like a Pirate Day... very future-positive.

6. You've been asked to participate in a collaboration with the Humphrey Institute and Science Debate 2008 similar to the event in coordination with the Walker, can you tell us a little bit more about what's going to be poppin'?

Our event is part of a larger conference called Innovation 2008, a two day conference organized by the Humphrey Institute and Science Debate 2008 taking place at the University of Minnesota on October 20th & 21st. We're putting together an hour long Solutions style showcase that will precede a keynote address by Ira Flatow, host of NPR's "Science Friday" and founder/ president of TalkingScience, on the last day of the conference. 7 local scientist/ artist/ educators will deliver short presentations on their work while addressing some of the key issues raised by the 14 Science Debate 2008 Questions for the President. In addition, these presenters have been asked to think about how art might be used to connect science to the public in more meaningful ways. Click here to learn more about the conference.

7. This year has been pretty packed for you two, besides Innovation 2008, anything more before the new year rings in?

No! We've been working on events almost non-stop since we started and have decided to take a much needed programming hiatus. This will allow us to focus on some long term strategizing, finalizing our non-profit status with the government, and begin the search for major funding (readers, if you're loaded and think what we're doing is cool... let us know!). That doesn't mean that we're totally stagnant - we're working on an exciting project with METRO Magazine to expand the concepts developed in the W(e are )here exhibit to a monthly feature on their back page. Look for that to start in January! (Fingers crossed!)

8. Moving forward, where would you like Solutions to be in a year? In five years?

Our goals for the next year are to continue the programming we've established while working towards dedicating more and more time to Solutions projects. We're both currently working full time at local architecture firms (Colin at Cermak Rhoads Architects, and Troy at LHB), but hopefully we'll find enough funding to allow us to take on Solutions Twin Cities full time.

One long term goal is to find a storefront space for STC. Using the Storefront for Art & Architecture in New York City and SuperDeluxe in Tokyo as precedents, we're envisioning this space as a "Storefront for Ideas." We'd also like to see Solutions style organizations starting up in other cities around the US. While we'd like to maintain our focus on the Twin Cities, it would be awesome to enable people in other cities with what we've learned. How 'bout it James, Solutions Biloxi?

9. Whom or what in the design world are you into right now?

Hassan Fathy :

Edward Burtynsky :
Cenci Goepel and Jens Warnecke :

Theo Jansen :

Sterling Prize:

Dave Eggers re: 826 Velencia (a precedent for a future Solutions storefront)::

Wholphin DVD Magazine:
(they will be represented at Sound Unseen this year)

Archi-blogger Jimmy Stamp interview with Charlie Kaufman about his new movie Synecdoche, New York and the role of architecture in it:

Museo Aero Solar: The Solar Baloon Project:

10. What's your solution for a young designer to up their architecture?

As soon as you can, get involved in architecture, design, or community organizing outside of your formal education or career. Join up with your local Architecture for Humanity chapter. If your city doesn't have one, start it. As students, getting involved with AFH - Minnesota really opened our eyes to the possibilities for good that our education could provide. This was the seed that eventually led us to start Solutions Twin Cities.

I'd like to personally thank Troy and Colin for all their help in getting this together and being patient as I got it up and out on the site. I encourage you to check out what they and the people that have spoken at their events are doing in the Twin Cities and beyond. Cheers.

via: up your architecture

Slideshow of Peter Zumthor: Buildings and Projects Lisbon

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Chipperfield in China - Part 2

Here’s a second project in China by David Chipperfield Architects: Ninetree Village is a recently completed residential development in Hangzhou.

The project is situated next to a bamboo forest and consists of twelve residential buildings, each containing five apartments. Each building is clad in a wooden grid, which varies in density according to the level of privacy required in different areas of the home.

Ninetree Village
Hangzhou, China
2004 – 2008

A small valley, bordered by a dense bamboo forest, forms the site for this luxury housing development, situated near the Qiang Tang River in Hangzhou, south-eastern China. The particular charm and beauty of the place are the determining factors. Twelve individual volumes are arranged in a chessboard pattern to create the maximum amount of open space for each building. Through planting new vegetation, each apartment building is set in its own clearing in the forest. The buildings adapt to the topography, creating a flowing landscape through a slight turning of the blocks. The grounds will be accessed from the southern entrance via a network of lanes.

All buildings are linked to an underground car park, enabling the site to be free from vehicles above ground. Within the development there are six types of building differing in size and floor plan depending on the location, view and light conditions. The individual apartment buildings contain five generously proportioned apartments, each accommodating a full floor of approximately 400 sqm. The floor plan concept creates a flowing interior space defined by solid elements which accommodate auxiliary functions. The selection of materials for the living and sleeping areas provides an elegant, calm atmosphere, whilst the enclosed elements are envisaged as cabinets using precious traditional materials. The loggia zone, which runs around the whole building, provides a transition area between the interior living space and the surrounding nature.

Based on a traditional principle of Chinese housing, an exterior skin using wooden elements protects the privacy of the residents. This skin differs in density, depending on the interior functions, sunlight and the conditions of the site. Movable elements allow the resident to further decide on the degree of privacy desired.

via: Dezeen

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Monocle - Fantastic Design Magazine

Here are several links to Monocles most interesting videos.

Hosted every other year, the Venice Architecture Biennale invites some of the most conceptual thinkers from around the world to flex their creative muscles to interpret a set theme. This year's curator was Cincinnati Art Museum director Aaron Betsky and his topic of choice "Out There - Architecture Beyond Building". In the first of two films Sarah Balmond reports on the laboratory of ideas in the Arsenale exhibition grounds.

In our second film report from the Venice Architecture Biennale, Sarah Balmond visits the curated exhibitions in the Giardini, where national pavilions were transformed into temples to architectural thought.

Founded 32 years ago, Nigerian capital Abuja was a Utopian dream. But it became marred by corruption and few could afford to live there. Today, as the cranes return, its new minister is attempting to forge a truly African city.

via: Monocle

Monday, November 3, 2008

Liangzhu Culture Museum by David Chipperfield

Set on a formerly contaminated industrial site once isolated from the town of Yuhang in Zhejiang Province, the stone-clad Liangzhu Culture Museum provides a contemporary home for an ancient civilization. The site, which is now a park with rolling hills and streams, is an artificial topography that provides an evocative setting for the sculptural forms of the new museum. Plans call for generating an inviting landscape with a densely wooded area west of the museum to complement the man-made streams winding through the regenerated property.

The museum will display some of the archeological objects and valuable relics of the Liangzhu Culture, dating from 3000 BC, that were found in the area. Although the building is finished, the museum will not open until the end of the year, when visitors will be able to see remnants of the Neolithic Yangtze River Delta people—handiwork artifacts of jade, silk, ivory, lacquer, and black-burnished pottery.

Just as the Yangtze River was essential to the prosperous Liangzhu people who developed aquaculture and irrigation systems, the manmade waterways in the new landscape play an integral role to the museum design. Visitors enter the building, which is surrounded on three sides by a pond, via a bridge, and can see the modern structure reflected in the water,.

The London-based architect David Chipperfield designed the 9,500-square-meter museum as a series of four long rectangles, each 18 meters wide, but of varied lengths and heights.
Within these long boxes, Chipperfield inserted a set of five courtyards which act as joints connecting indoor galleries to outdoor rooms. The courtyards enliven exhibition spaces inside the building with daylight and soften rectilinear stone passageways. Wooden balustrades frame the internal courtyards and serve as perimeter benches, creating spaces for visitors to linger and relax.

“We felt that abstract geometry and linear spaces were quite sensible for this project,” says Chipperfield. “Since it is a museum, and is an exploratory environment, we wanted to create a sequence of indoor and outdoor spaces that would take visitors on a journey through an ancient culture. The reference to Chinese courtyards relieves the linear route while referring to architectural traditions,” explains the architect. Chipperfield clad the building in cream and tan-colored Iranian travertine, which recalls the milky-white jade cylinders that the Liangzhu people were renowned for.

On crossing the bridge to the entrance courtyard, visitors can choose to begin their exploration of either the permanent collection or the temporary exhibitions, both of which are accessed separately from the entrance hall. A rear courtyard leads visitors to a second bridge that connects to a small island where outdoor exhibitions will be mounted. Here visitors will be able to gaze at the hilly landscape that stands atop the buried treasures of past cultures.

via: Architectural Record

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos

Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos is an amazing Spanish architecture firm. I highly recommend that you take some time and check out their website.

Juvet Landscape Hotel by Jensen & Skodvin Arkitektkontor

Burtigard, Gudbrandsjuvet, Norway 2008.
Jensen & Skodvin Arkitektkontor

Each room is a detached small independent house with one, or sometimes two of the walls constructed in glass. The landscape in which these rooms are placed is by most people considered spectacularly beautiful and varied and the topography allows a layout where no room looks at another. In this way every room gets its own surprising view of a dramatic piece of landscape, always changing with the weather and the time of the day and the season.

via: Materialicious