Posts tagged "Architecture"

Redesigning New York’s Waterfronts

Hurricane Sandy's Damage in Dumbo Brooklyn

Hurricane Sandy’s Damage in Dumbo Brooklyn

Sandy, storm of the century, reeked havoc on 1/3 of  the US over the past few days and devastated many east coast cities, namely New York.

Many sections of the Manhattan waterfront were flooded.  The west side to Hudson Street, parts of the Lower East Side, Dumbo, Red Hook, Queens and Long Island City were submerged in water.  One wonders, could this have been prevented?

Over two years ago, MoMA and P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center created The Rising Currents exhibit.  The exhibit showcased five projects that addressed the concern for climate change over the next five years and how it will drastically effect Manhattan’s waterfront.

The harbor was divided into five areas and given to five teams (composed of members of n Architects-in-residence program at P.S.1).  Their goal, according to the Rising Currents project, was to “re-envision the coastlines of New York, and New Jersey around the New York harbor and to imagine new ways to occupy the harbor with adaptive soft infrastructures that are sympathetic to the needs of a sound ecology”.

The Rising Currents exhibition ran from March 24, 2010 to October 11, 2010.  Its unfortunate that a natural disater like Sandy had to happen before New York opened it’s eyes to the inevitable destruction.

The harbor divided into 5 zones

The harbor divided into 5 zones

Potential plan for zone 0 to stop sewage overflow and block higher sea levels

Potential plan for zone 0 to stop sewage overflow and block higher sea levels

nArchitects, Zone 3: An archipelago of man-made islands lines the coast of Staten Island and Brooklyn. These islands not only filter the storm waves, but will be programmed with specific functions to accommodate the expected spike in the population.

One Square Meter = Home Sweet Home

Bigger is always better, right? Not in this case.  Berlin based architect Van Bo Le-Mentzel created a one square meter house.

The “One-Sqm-House”, as it is named has a lockable door, window, built in desk and when flipped on it’s side,  a built in bed.  The only thing this house is lacking is plumbing (which means no kitchen or bathroom).

Le-Mentzel wanted a house of his own in which he could control where he went, which way his window faced and door opened, and who his neighbors are.  He drew a lot of his inspiration on aircraft cabins and their spacial savvy-ness.

The house is said to weigh a mere 90 lbs. and can easily fit into most elevators and subway cars.

Interested in occupying your own sq. meter utopia?  The materials to build one cost roughly $300, or it can be rented for a little more than $1 a night.  Visit airbnb for info.

Pop Up Coffee

Design group Nendo conceived its first ever Pop Up Starbucks in Tokyo Japan which was open Sept 9- Sept 30.  For those unfamiliar with the term “Pop Up Shop”, it is simply when a company or brand takes over an existing space.  In this case Starbucks, the well famed coffee brand occupied an art gallery.

The two story space was called “Starbucks Espresso Journey” and was designed to resemble a library.  The clean neat design was lined with a gradient of brown tone books.  The second floor was a open area for customers to sit and enjoy their coffee.  The concept was to mesh the two pleasures of reading and drinking a cup of coffee.

Upon entry the customer is encouraged to explore the 9 different books, each color coded to represent a 9 different drinks sold.  Once the customer is educated and has selected the perfect book (coffee), it is then brought to the counter in exchange for the drink.  The reverse of the book covers also double as an insert foe a short or tall tumbler, should you want a souvenir of your experience.


images from Designbloom


Phenomenology: Steven Holl’s Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Phenomenology is a more genuine approach to architecture. It is an architecture that is experienced through our senses and becomes more immersive. Here in Steven Holl’s Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art he uses light as another building material that changes your experience between night and day. During the day he mixes different light sources captured from multiple directions and mixes them to generate the perfect lighting for the work on display. At night the museum radiates light from with-in and illuminates the landscape. The project was an addition to an existing building and is composed of five connected structures that move down the slope of the landscape on the right of side of the existing conditions. Holl does an excellent job of considering the artists work with both how he blends natural light and also how he collaborates with the sculpture piece in the front to allow for natural light to flow down into the parking garage underground. Holl has a good understanding of what architecture should be and how it should be built to fit the needs of the program and still focus on human interaction.


Wohn- und Geschäftshaus Tiroler Goldschmid

This is Wohn- und Geschäftshaus Tiroler Goldschmid by Höller & Klotzner in Schenna, Italy. It is group of a residential and commercial buildings. The second photo shows the context of the site and how the two different types of architecture contrast each other in a rather pleasing way. The cube-like commercial building appears to be floating on top of the large heavy base due to the long windows underneath it. The base on which it rests acts as a platform for both buildings and boutique shops at street level. This is an interesting composition that has a lot of richness to be observed and studied.

Art & Design: David Byrne Bike Racks

Ex Talking Heads front man, David Byrne has found a new livelihood in bike rack design.  New York’s Department of Transportation held a design contest for both indoor and outdoor bike racks.  As an avid bicyclist, they asked Byrne to judge the contest.  Feeling inspired, Davis submitted his own sketches.  Each rack was designed to represent different neighborhoods, a dollar sign for Wall street, an abstract shape to represent MoMA, and a high heel in front of Bergdorf’s.  The DOT loved it and told Byrne to make them so they could put them up!  The racks are installed in eight locations in Manhattan and one in Williamsburg Brooklyn.  They were installed under the city’s temporary public art program but has since been voted by the city’s Design Commission to remain permanently.

(from l-r:) The Ladies Mile loated in from of Bergdof’s, The Hipster located in Williamsburg, The Villager located in front of AIA

Recently, David was invited by The Brooklyn Academy of Music to design their new bike racks.  This time for BAM, with the help of Dero Bike Rack, Bryne will use typography to spell out words like “Pink Crown” and “Micro Lip”.  The bike rack words will change periodically and could have the ability to advertise productions at BAM or just random messages.

           (“Pink Crown” bike racks at BAM)

Art & Design: Afangar

Afangar exhibits all of the design themes in some capacity. Activation of ground is activated by both contrasting orientation of the elements and the uniformity of the material. The landscape is vast and barren. The pillars act as contrasting, tall, vertical elements that interrupt the enormous horizontally of the space. The Pillars however, possess a sense of belonging, because of their material. They are made out of quarried basalt stone similar to that of the island in which they stand.

This leads to both site contextuality and scale and proportion of the landscape and nature. This instillation has a strong sense of proportional isolation. The island, where the site is located, is isolated from the main land and civilization in a way. Although it is a tourist site not many people regularly visit the island making the island remain in its undisturbed state. The idea of isolation also exists on a smaller scale between each of the nine groups of two. The groups are arranged based on the topography of the land and creates separation of each set from another and also determines the distance between each of the pillars. It creates a tension of longing to not be alone in some of the further apart examples.

The role of movement in spatial experience is a tricky one because the way it is used by Serra is not used in a way that the piece is in motion or has an implied movement but it encourages the viewer to walk around to seek out different arrangements of the pillars and views framed by each set. Serra himself has created a series of twenty-nine or so prints based on this very experience. Afangar doesn’t have much of a sense, or really any sense of enclosure but there is something to be said about occupation. The pillars are occupying such a small portion of the vast wasteland, which strengthens the sense of isolation by allowing the landscape to dwarf the fairly large pillars.

Serra’s use of material and tectonic strategy is an important theme here. It is what makes this instillation so striking. The use of basalt stone gives the pillars a sense of belonging but their tectonic eludes the fact they are not a natural occurrence and were placed there. Finally, the theme that absolutely cannot be overlooked is the module used in Afangar. Each set of the pillars has one that is three meters and one that is four meter. They are both embedded in the ground until they are level with each other and each set is arranged in this fashion. This creates a connection between them that strengthens the pair.

Unusual Architecture: Seashell House

Could one love the sea so much that they would live in a seashell?  Russian architects, ArchStudia Vega designed a three story 228 sq. m seashell house with a rather peculiar layout.  The house contains no straight lines, just curves that flow from ceiling to floor.  The three levels of the house represent  the sea’s bottom or “grotto” , water surface, and the sea air.  Some of the key features are the paint, which changes color depending on light and time of day, and the bathroom’s glass trimmed mosaics in over 30 different colors.

Upon entering the shell you will find yourself on the main floor with living room, dining room, kitchen and guest bath.  The living room contains the world’s most unique fireplace with a flute that carries smoke downward!

Upstairs is the main bedroom, bathroom and coat room.  The center of the floor has a bed niche equip with fountain and lake front view to further your aquatic experience.

The flowing curvilinear staircase will take you to the lower “grotto” level where you will find an office, guest room,  and guest bath.

For more on the Seashell House: Architecturelab