Sunday, April 26, 2009
Great depiction Peter.
A narrative slideshow that depicts a day in the life of a Berkeley architecture student (played by Chris Torres). Photography and editing by Peter Hess. Music by Nine Inch Nails
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
OFFICE KGDVS Interview / Part 1 from 0300TV on Vimeo.
Interview to Belgian architects Kersten Geers [Ghent, 1975] and David Van Severen [Ghent, 1978] principals of OFFICE KGDVS, founded in 2002. They have worked at Neutelings Riedijk Architects [Geers] and with Stéphane Beel and Xaveer De Geyter [Van Severen]. Currently, they’re both teaching at the TU Delft, the Berlage Institute and Ghent University.
In 2008, this practice was invited to participate in Ordos100 project, curated by Ai Wei Wei. They also represented Belgium at the eleventh international architecture biennale in Venice that same year.
OFFICE KGDVS works with primary operations [back to the roots], away from the superdutch [and also Danish] manners of Rem Koolhaas and his thugs [although this may or may not be a coincidence].
In this part of the interview, Geers and Van Severen describe their participation at the last Architecture Biennale, the Belgian context, historical references and how to approach different projects without any form of rhetoric or diagrammatic operations.
“OFFICE constantly tests the basic conditions of space –delimitation, embedment, inclusion and exclusion- in various scales and contexts.”
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Monday, April 13, 2009
Sunday, April 12, 2009
He is not a celebrity architect, not one of the names that show up on shortlists for museums and concert hall projects or known beyond architecture circles. He hasn’t designed many buildings; the one he is best known for is a thermal spa in an Alpine commune. And he has toiled in relative obscurity for the last 30 years in a remote village in the Swiss mountains.
But on Monday the Swiss architect Peter Zumthor is to be named the winner of the 2009 Pritzker Prize, the highest recognition for architects.
“He has conceived his method of practice almost as carefully as each of his projects,” the citation from the nine-member Pritzker jury says. “He develops buildings of great integrity — untouched by fad or fashion. Declining a majority of the commissions that come his way, he only accepts a project if he feels a deep affinity for its program, and from the moment of commitment, his devotion is complete, overseeing the project’s realization to the very last detail.”
For Mr. Zumthor, 65, winning the Pritzker, which is awarded annually to a living architect and regarded as architecture’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize, is a kind of vindication. “You can do your work, you do your thing, and it gets recognized,” he said in a telephone interview from Haldenstein, the Swiss village where he lives and works.
Mr. Zumthor is the 33rd laureate to receive the prize, which consists of a $100,000 grant and a bronze medallion and is awarded at a different architecturally significant location each year. This year’s ceremony is to be held on May 29 in Buenos Aires.
The project most closely associated with Mr. Zumthor is the spa he completed in 1996 for the Hotel Therme in Vals, an Alpine village in Switzerland. Using slabs of quartzite that evoke stacked Roman bricks, Mr. Zumthor created a contemporary take on the baths of antiquity.
He is also known for his use of wood, as in St. Benedict Chapel in Sumvitg, Switzerland, which evokes a giant hot tub.
The Pritzker jury praised Mr. Zumthor’s use of materials. “In Zumthor’s skillful hands, like those of the consummate craftsman, materials from cedar shingles to sandblasted glass are used in a way that celebrates their own unique qualities, all in the service of an architecture of permanence,” the citation said, adding, “In paring down architecture to its barest yet most sumptuous essentials, he has reaffirmed architecture’s indispensable place in a fragile world.”
Mr. Zumthor said that his projects generally originated with materials. “I work a little bit like a sculptor,” he said. “When I start, my first idea for a building is with the material. I believe architecture is about that. It’s not about paper, it’s not about forms. It’s about space and material.”
Mr. Zumthor’s buildings do not share a common vernacular. They range from tall and circular to low-slung and boxy. For his Field Chapel to St. Nikolaus von der Flüe, completed in 2007, in Mechernich, Germany, Mr. Zumthor formed the interior from 112 tree trunks configured like a tent. Over 24 days, layers of concrete were poured around the structure. Then for three weeks a fire was kept burning inside so that the dried tree trunks could be easily removed from the concrete shell. The chapel floor was covered with lead, which was melted on site and manually ladled onto the floor.
For an art museum in Bregenz, Austria — a four-story cube of concrete, steel and glass that opened in 1997 — Mr. Zumthor used glass walls that at night can become giant billboards or video screens.
His Kolumba Art Museum in Cologne, Germany, completed in 2007, rises out of the ruins of the Gothic St. Kolumba Church, destroyed in World War II. The Pritzker jury called the project “a startling contemporary work, but also one that is completely at ease with its many layers of history.”
Mr. Zumthor said that he deliberately kept his office small— no more than 20 people. “That’s the way it’s going to be so that I can be the author of everything,” he said.
“I’m not a producer of images,” he added. “I’m this guy who, when I take on a commission, I do it inside out, everything myself, with my team.”
One of Mr. Zumthor’s best-known designs never came to fruition. In 1993 he won the competition for a museum and documentation center on the horrors of Nazism to be built on the site of Gestapo headquarters in Berlin. Mr. Zumthor’s submission called for an extended three-story building with a framework consisting of concrete rods. The project, called the Topography of Terror, was partly built and then abandoned when the government decided not to go ahead for financial reasons. The unfinished building was demolished in 2004.
Born in Basel, Switzerland, Mr. Zumthor as a teenager served a four-year apprenticeship with a cabinetmaker. He studied at the Basel Arts and Crafts School and spent a year at Pratt Institute in New York. In the 1970s he moved to Graubünden, Switzerland, to work for the Department for the Preservation of Monuments. He established his own practice in 1979 in Haldenstein, where he and his wife, Annalisa Zumthor-Cuorad, brought up their three children.
Mr. Zumthor said that his village had been an inspiration and a refuge. “It helps you concentrate,” he said. “And also collaborators coming here are not distracted by all the things of the big city. To come up with me, you’re in the Alps. It’s sort of a commitment. It’s a beautiful feeling. Of course you have to like the mountains.”
text courtesy of NYTimes
Monday, April 6, 2009
1 URBAN CONDITIONS
Aims and aspirations
Urbanistically the scheme should play a major, positive, role in, and give life to the urban context. It should illustrate the remaining potential of the competition site(s), be commercially viable and provide a clear attitude to phasing. The design should acknowledge and respect the proximity to, and presence of the new opera building and the “commons”.
Contextually the project should respect an important sightline; that is the building should not interrupt the line of sight between the corner of Østbanehallen and the breaking point on the roof of the Opera.
On sites A8 and A9 the client in addition to the library, wants mixed use, human scale and public functions everywhere on street level – the building(s) should generate activity all day; a meeting place.
It should be an open, and inviting cultural institution that appeals to the general public and not just the privileged, and plays a leading role in the development of modern public libraries. It should appeal to new user groups through new technology as well as encouraging traditional reading. Information should be easily accessible and therefore be organised around the user’s needs for services, rather than according to the needs of the (book) collection.
The design should be based on a clear and strong concept that is both modern and innovative, functional and humanistic, and at the same time rational, flexible, efficient and economic as well as sustainable and inclusive (inclusive design).
Civic gesture and economic reality
The new public library represents a major new city building and a significant civic gesture; freely accessible public space with universally acknowledged social and educational rewards.
The wider project includes commercial development which underwrites the public building. Economic prudence dictates a level of flexibility in approach to this development. The commercial component should not be determined too early despite the fact that the less uncertain requirements for a library have been fixed.
A clear demarcation between the library and commercial projects will provide clarity and flexibility in the future development of the Diechmanske axis and ensure that the civic building and the commercial development are not confused or compromised.
Urban development concept
The Library has been located on block A8 with the commercial development possibilities maintained on block A9. This places the civic building in the location which seems most appropriate – overlooking the Operaalmenningen, becoming part of and reinforcing the city’s series of urban spaces leading from the Station to the Opera and Fjord.
The Library presents a simple but strong volumetric form which fills out the city block and firmly delineates the new masterplan’s urban grain. The Library addresses Operaalmenningen with a key street level façade, yet also accommodates the visual axis at higher level between the corner of Ostbanehallen and the Opera. Its shape respects the planned position of the crossroad from Opera Gate to Dronning Eufemias Gate to the east of the site by cantilevering above it to achieve sufficient internal area. As a result, the portion of block A9 available to commercial development has been maximised. This will ensure that a variety of plan and phasing options can be considered and therefore provide optimum commercial flexibility.
Our project imagines two separate mixed use buildings which fill the urban block while finding a balance between maximised area and ideal city grain. The library is architecturally and functionally independent of the commercial development and neither a compromise upon it, nor vice versa. This ensures the viability and sustainability of both.
2 ARCHITECTURAL FORM
The optimum position for the library is on a site with significant urban planning restrictions. The plot size, associated Opera viewing corridor and the fixed road crossing the site combine to dictate that the library must be arranged vertically. Our project attempts to overcome this considerable challenge by incorporating a lively and informal internal topography.
A huge room at ground level accommodates the immediate public functions, providing lively activities overlooking the surrounding streets and public space, creating an ambience of social enjoyment and inclusion. The room is accessed from all of the surrounding streets. Side and top- lit, it leads to an open lower level which contains additional social functions; exhibition space, the auditorium, cinema, seminar and meeting spaces. Library administration offices are located at first floor level, surrounding the lower public floor. This provides straightforward adjacency to major service functions below and above to the second floor where Reference Information Services are located.
The second floor also accommodates the Children’s section and a restaurant, both of which have access to a roof deck at the south west. Further public library functions are distributed across all of the 4 upper levels. A compact spine containing the elevator and stair cores and the narrow access bookcases is surrounded by a series of open internal balconies and terraces with a variety of scales, positions and views which provide Reading Rooms, Lounges, Study Spaces as well as the distributed book racks, which all overlook each other.
The top floor provides a spectacular citizen’s penthouse containing further informal library stacks and displays, a café lounge and a semi-exterior winter-garden reading room. The shifting arrangement of irregular floor plates exist within as exterior envelope and provide a wide variety of spaces. The stacked and cantilevered platforms, balconies and terraces, accessible via a number of public vertical routes provide a wide variety of aspects and internal views, an exciting spatial experience and a sense of life throughout the building.
The Library is an invigorating ‘mountain of knowledge’ and education, with panoramic views of the city to the north west and the fjord to the south east. This landscape of stacked floors provides an intriguing and theatrical setting for social engagement, a sculptural extension of the city. The building skin helps to communicate the activity within.
The stepped and irregular floor plates, with their connecting staircases and escalators, are enveloped by a double skin of opaque, transparent and translucent surfaces. Conceived as almost monolithic, this simple volumetric form powerfully yet simply landmarks the new civic building with a strong three dimensional form with a mutable surface character which transmits a sense of openness, light and transparency.
The design’s different frontages reflect a variety of volumetric conditions and provide distinct approaches; city plaza, street entrances and boulevard. The transparent perimeter at the ground floor reveals the vibrancy of the activity within. At upper levels, translucency and depth within the skin is provided by fixed mesh screens behind the outer single glazing layer and in front of the internal thermal skin (which comprises both glazed and opaque insulated panels).
The mesh screens prevent solar gain and glare to the interior whilst maintaining a high level of visual contact with the exterior. This layer also provides a consistent exterior quality whilst concealing the variety of solid and transparent panels behind.
The upper façade is punctured by a series of large windows with mechanical sun shading, which provide both transparent views out from key interior spaces and views of the activities within. During the night and long Norwegian winters, the building will appear more permeable, the light within emitting a lantern-like glow and further revealing the activities within.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
To help revive a potential fallen admiration, I have posted a highly recommended book that revives the spirit and faith of David Chipperfield. I just purchased this monograph and am very pleased with both the beautiful layout and work.
Twenty-five years later it is evident that the initial traits which defined Chipperfield's approach sensual handling of materials, lively orchestration of uses, and a laconic elegance of language are as apparent as ever. Introduced by essays from Deyan Sudjic, Enrique Sobejano and Manuel Gallego, this survey features an examination of 25 works by the architect.
AV Monograph 131: David Chipperfield 1984-2009