Artist NOSIGNER has teamed with Tokushima Wood & Bamboo Industrial Cooperative Society Confederation to create a new wood furniture brand named ‘AWA’. Three of these new pieces were recently unveiled at DESIGNTIDE TOKYO 2009, and are featured here.
When Tokushima was once called the country of Awa, the tradition of wood furniture was initiated by ship builders. Thus, AWA decided to go back to its Tokushima woodworking roots to form this new and yet traditional project to bring Japan’s wood working culture into the future.
I think the dopeness of the projects speaks for itself – nothing like some Japanese minimalism and beautiful wood to create an awesome project. Here’s some info from NOSIGNER:
Cartesia stands for the “Cartesian coordinate system”, that is translated into a structure of drawers that have the capacity to open in two directions. This special quality makes it especially suitable for room corners. The new type of system that can open the different cases at the same time,?is a fundamental shift from the traditional modus operandi. The characteristic form of Cartesia, an inverted trapezium, is related on a rationally based design that implies handles.
UNIT is a series of interior, that is made of the same specification. Combine the chair and the law table. They transform into a bench. Confine the stool and the chair. They become a low table. This series is a flexible interior solution that can be used in numerous ways.
“Considering the special requirements of women of all cultures and all ages, special attention has been given, to provide the sports village with a feeling of intimacy and well being often lacking in the more masculine industrial-style sports complexes that are more like factories for physical exercise, than temples for body and mind.”
~ Bjarke Ingels, BIG
It seems like you can’t go more than a week or so without hearing that BIG has won another competition – this time, they’ve partnered with AKT, Tyrens and Transsolar to design the 100,000 sm World VIllage of Women Sports in Malmo Sweden. Being touted as the first of its kind, the village will be a “natural gathering place for the research, education and training in all areas connected to the development of women’s sports”.
The project has been designed as a village – rather than an overpowering sports complex – in an attempt to address the scale of the surrounding neighborhood. Sloping roof lines and staggering volumes hope to enforce this ‘village’ feel – along with terracing gardens and open public space, all connected with internal streets animated by public functions.
These sloping forms surround a large central hall large enough for a professional football [I think they mean soccer] game – which can also serve as an auditorium, performance space, conference or exhibit area, etc, etc.
Rather than being an introverted sports arena shut off from the surrounding city – it appears like an open and welcoming public space, visible from all of the surrounding streets – generously offering its interior life to the passers-by. The pedestrian network around the main sports hall plugs into the surrounding street networks as well as the interior galleries of Kronprinsen, turning it into a complete ecosystem of urban life.
“The WVOWS fuses high levels of ambition within public space and private accommodation, living and working, health and recreation, sport and culture. Like a village rather than sports complex it merges the modern utopianism of the neighboring Kronprinsen with the intimate scale and specificity of the nearby historical city center of Malmo.”
~ Bjarke Ingels, BIG
I’m kind of feeling the design – although at this point, it’s very reminiscent of a number of other projects by BIG. That said, they seem to have tweaked their rendering style a little bit – and I like it. Just a thought.
[Image: Kyle Belcher handing out info sheets to Solar Decathlon visitors, via]
Mid-week during this year’s Solar Decathlon AMNP had the opportunity to speak with Kyle Belcher, one of the project managers from Team California. A recent graduate of California College of the Arts, Kyle was involved in varying capacities from inception to the final construction and display of Team California’s solar home – named ‘Refract House‘ – which placed 3rd overall in the Decathlon.
ArchitectureMNP:To start things off – could you give us an idea of how the design process worked, and how it differed from a ‘typical’ architecture program / design studio?
Kyle Belcher: With an architecture curriculum, you usually take one project per studio and so we had to be a little bit flexible as you wanted students with a background in the project to continue – but we couldn’t just take all their architecture studio projects away from them just so that they could work on the project. So what ended up happening was that we had a schematic design studio, where 16 students each had an 800 SF solar powered house to design. At mid-terms of that semester an independent panel of architects and engineers critiqued these students, and choose 4 schemes to move forward. Those 16 students then broke up into 4 groups of 4, and at the end of the semester one project was chosen as the direction to go in. I was in that studio and my scheme was one of the 4, but it wasn’t chosen – and I thought that was going to be the end of my Decathlon.
There was then a summer studio elective that took that initial concept and produced a basic drawing set for the department of energy. A couple of days into that studio I actually got a call from the faculty member in charge at that point on the architecture side, and was asked to be his research assistant to help finish that process. So I came in to help lead the student effort on producing those drawings. At the end of that process, we had completed a basic set of about 25 pages – and I was then asked to continue on as on of the project managers. For the rest of the summer we had 4 architecture students that received a stipend to continue working on the Decathlon.
At that point we were working more closely with the engineers [from Santa Clara University], starting to develop the project from the engineering side, talking about what systems we wanted to use. Another architecture studio of 16 new student then helped develop those drawings further, and continued on to construction drawings. Of the 4 students from the end of the summer only 1 was actually in this new studio. The rest stayed on as advisors, taking an elective to help out with logistics – but we weren’t involved in the drawings everyday. That was a little tricky, because in most architecture studios everyone is doing their own proposal, and you don’t really need to work with your peers to share a single vision. In an office, there’s a clear hierarchy of who’s the principal in charge, and where everyone fits on the pay scale. We had to navigate these two things as students.
AMNP: So would you say this was more democratic than an office environment?
KB: Absolutely. Also, unlike an office, there’s not a clear 9-5 schedule everyday where everyone’s in the office for large chunks of time to work on a project. At that point we had to meet more often with the engineers, and their schedules were completely different than the architecture students’ schedules in terms of availability. So a lot of those design meetings had to get pushed off to Saturdays and Sundays, as well as late night phone calls and emails.
At that point there wasn’t simply one architecture student that was handling the details – it wasn’t quite design by committee, but it was 3 or 4 people that were of an equal level talking about design decisions. So it was hard, and it was a learning process – especially working with the engineers that don’t have prior work experience, just like the architecture student. Having to navigate that learning curve both within our own discipline and through dealing with other fields was a major obstacle to overcome.
In the following Spring there was one final studio, with some overlap of students, working on the full set of construction drawings. That ended in May, and then the managers who were graduating ran shop and finished the construction drawings and then led construction. Most construction didn’t start until after May.
AMNP:Could you talk a little about the decision to segment the house and create that courtyard?
KB: When we started the process we looked at precedents of other Decathlons – looking at what had been successful for other teams, and at what may not have worked. We noticed that a lot of the houses are simple ‘bar’ buildings, which have a lot of efficiencies for cross-ventilation, etc – but they were these ‘bar’ building with pitched roofs for solar panels, and that was kind of it. So our rallying cry over the past year has been ‘breaking out of the box’, and seeing how we can not just have 1 or 2 modules, but actually use 3 separate modules to create that courtyard – and because we were limited in square footage, we wanted to make use of exterior space to make the home feel much larger.
AMNP:So then you jumped right into construction at the beginning of the summer?
KB: Finishing up the school year we were a little behind in construction because, like any drawing set, things don’t get done until there are deadlines. The deadline of the end of school, and knowing we were losing a lot of our work force in the class forced us to kick it in gear with the construction drawings – some construction couldn’t be started until those drawings were finished, obviously – so there was one big push the last 3 weeks of May, which were the 3 weeks after graduation, to finish the construction drawings and deliver them to the Department of Energy by June 3rd.
As of the first week of May we only had our steel moment frames up and intact. The construction site being on Santa Clara’s campus, and Santa Clara being in school until the first or second week of June, it proved difficult for both finishing construction drawings and doing full 9-5 construction in Santa Clara.
AMNP:How long did it take to finish construction at Santa Clara – and how much of the construction was completed before the house was shipped to DC?
KB: We only had 6 days to put the house together on the National Mall. Because of that limitation we had to get as far in construction as possible in Santa Clara, except for those things that were site-critical. I say that because we faced some unique challenges with some of the code requirements. We needed the house to be ADA accessible, so we needed ADA ramps – but we didn’t have a true survey of our site, to know what the slope was going to be across the site. We knew where the ramps were going to be, but because of the slopes of the ramps we didn’t know what the finished height of the deck was going to be … [we had to] make sure we were under a 30″ threshold [so that the deck itself wouldn’t need guardrails] and could still fit our ramps within the envelope dictated by the Department of Energy. We were pretty nervous. We had all of the ramps built in Santa Clara – we just didn’t know if it was all going to work out until we got to DC. Also the exterior lighting and signage were handled when we got to Washington – but everything else was done in Santa Clara.
The Practice of Everyday Design is a new partnership founded in 2009 with a focus on installation art, product design, and architecture. The Practice is committed to the merging of seemingly irreconcilable ideas to form new design opportunities. The practice is not afraid of pushing the boundaries of convention, the status quo, or the constraints imposed by current technologies. Ideas emerge from the desire to reevaluate the banality of the everyday and reinvent them to create innovative and playful designs. Using art as a means to investigate process and design – there is no clear boundary between our design practice and our art pieces.
Their first published project is also their office space – ‘The Mobile Office‘. In an apparent move to ‘think green’ [and maybe a reflection of the economy and its effect on architects] the office is constructed entirely out of discarded materials found within a one-block radius of the site. Objects were collected and transported using the designer’s bikes – and only the necessary hardware was actually purchased. As you can see, the project combines a number of functions into one structure that has been inserted into the space – reminiscent of both the work of Dan Hisel and the URBIA project by OBRA Architects.
The mobile office has allowed us to consolidate all the furniture and shelving into one mobile unit. This has freed up our office space allowing us the flexibility to make large scale models and have spontaneous dance parties.
AMNP was recently contacted by Elian Stefa & Gyler Mydyti – students at the Landscape Architecture Graduate Program at the Politecnico di Milano – regarding their thesis project. Entitled ‘Concrete Mushrooms‘, the work consists of a 20 minute documentary film they are currently editing, along with a proposal to transform these abandoned bunkers throughout the Albanian landscape into an organized network of permanent shelters to be used by tourists who hike the region.
The project – or the documentary at least – is set to be finished in late December. Hopefully we’ll have more then of what looks like a really interesting proposal.
They’re not quite the holograms we all grew up seeing in sci-fo movies – but they’re still pretty sick. Produced by Zebra Imaging, these “3-D” images are printed on boards which will then showcase changing views of an object from all angles. So, unlike those holographic trading cards you had as a kid these new images by Zebra can be rotated for 360 degree views of the objects depicted.
I would think this was more revolutionary, if I thought that there were architecture firms that could actually afford to implement this technology. Maybe if this had come out in the mid-to-late 90’s we would all be using it by now – but I don’t think I see it catching on anytime soon, taking the economy and all that into consideration.
The images shown here were generated by evaluating and interpreting the 1997 music video “Mo Money Mo Problems” from the first disc of the Notorious B.I.G. album, Life After Death. The algorithm detects edges in the image and attempts to trace motion from frame to frame, using the initial frame as their starting point. The output is rendered as a vector image, the curves represent the motion. The points represent the pixels detected in the edge, their size determined by the distance from their previous location, the further, the larger the circle. The color and location of the points are determined by the corresponding pixel in that frame. The bright colored track suits worn by Puff Daddy and Mase in the dark backgrounds make for good tracking and nice color combinations. The only imagery added manually is the background color.
All that said – happy Monday! We’ve got some things going on here at AMNP this week – starting with a slight change in this Ninjas on the ‘Net feature. Rather than link all over the interwebs, willy-nilly, I’ll be using this Monday morning post to link exclusively to work on other blogs. All other links and news will now only appear in the sidebar. Earth-shattering, I know. Also – I’m happy to say that we’re kicking off our newest Ninja(s) of the Month feature this week, and are dropping a Solar Decathlon interview. SO be sure to check back throughout the week!
And as always, if you see anything on the web that you believe should be linked-to from AMNP -as part of Ninjas on the ‘Net, or the news sidebar – feel free to drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
– IMAM, Madrid, by nodo17 Arquitectos [The Architectural Review]
– lastly, don’t miss myninjaplease.com’s two newest features:A Dozen, and The Industry. Our ninja Kookiecrumbles has been hard at work interviewing artists and featuring their work as well as speaking to industry insider – coming up with some great content that should not be slept on.
JULIA CZERNIAK is the inaugural Director of UPSTATE: a design research and advocacy organization housed within the School of Architecture at Syracuse University. The mission of this center, since its inception in 2005, is to engage innovative design and development practices, addressing critical issues of urban revitalization in the Upstate, New York region. The center initiates, facilitates, and showcases projects that apply innovative, experimental design research to challenges faced by real-world communities. UPSTATE: actively seeks collaborators and partners in the academic, non-profit, private, and public sectors, acting as a resource and advisor for local and regional policymakers on design issues.?
Czerniak is also a registered landscape architect and is founder of CLEAR, an interdisciplinary design practice located in Syracuse, NY. Czerniak’s design work focuses on urban landscapes in Rust-Belt cities, and it has been recognized with numerous awards: most recently, her collaborations with Field Operations won the Syracuse Connective Corridor competition; with Marpillero Pollak Architects, she won the artNET Public Art Landscape Design Competition in Toledo, Ohio; and with COLAB, she was one of the winners for the Charm Bracelet project in Pittsburgh, PA. She was also a winner of the 2001 Young Architects Forum competition sponsored by The Architectural League of New York. Her design work for this venue is included in the book Second Nature (Princeton Architectural Press, 2001).?
Her work as designer is complemented by a body of writing. Czerniak is editor of two books, Large Parks (Princeton Architectural Press, 2007) and Case: Downsview Park Toronto (Prestel and Harvard Design School, 2001), that focus on contemporary design approaches to public parks and the relationship between landscape and cities. Other writings include essays in Landscape Alchemy: The Work of Hargreaves Associates (ORO Editions, Fall 2009); Fertilizers: Olin Eisenman (Institute for Contemporary Art, 2006); Landscape Urbanism, Charles Waldheim, ed. (Princeton Architectural Press, 2006); Assemblage 34 (MIT Press, 1998) and Harvard Design Review. Czerniak has exhibited at the Architectural League, the Storefront for Art and Architecture, the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies, the Van Alen Institute, Castle Gallery, Galleria Frau, and Gallery Joe. She lectures widely.
::Video Sundays is a weekly feature here on AMNP. For more architecture-related videos, click on any Sunday in the sidebar calendar, or on the ‘videos’ category in the ‘archjutsu’ section. And don’t hesitate to submit suggestions for video features to architecture[at]myninjaplease[dot]com::
Calm, but not sterile.
Humble, and yet unexpected.
Economical, nothing extravagant.
Open space with flexible floor plans and a space to contemplate.
These were the requirements as described by the client for this project – a Japanese-German couple which plans on living in one of the units and selling the other. I would add ‘sexy as hell’ and ‘siiick’…
This ‘2 Houses’ project was designed by the Hong Kong based Cheungvogl Architects + Designers for a site in Tokyo – and it’s pretty stunning. Iconographic forms and simple materials [concrete and aged timber] create ‘twin’ houses – each protected from the street by a concrete wall that runs the perimeter of the site. Entering either unit, the spaces are lit with skylights – and from individual courtyard spaces that run the length of the site.
This play on public vs private, making the units completely self-contained and closed off from the street, is quite dramatic – creating what I would imagine to be a quiet, private refuge.
The two houses, standing side by side, related and yet separated. Its outline traces back years of history within the context. Simple detailing, rough concrete and aged timber are elements that tie the two houses together. Within them, store calmness.
Inside the house, the connection to the outside is reduced down to two linear courtyards. Framing ‘the tree’ standing on a sheet of white gravel, absence from the city’s influence, quietly documenting time. Contrary to the ground floor, the pitched roof is a small space enclosing the stair leading to an undefined open room – the roof itself. Three meter above ground, the city skyline seems almost tangible. Looking back, ‘the tree’ is standing still.
Those of you who read the site regularly won’t need me to go into how geeked I am off of these renderings – but I do have tosay that they’re feckin’ DOPE, and you should head over to Cheungvogl’s website for larger versions. Also, the subtle slideshow method they use to show the images is quite nice, and shouldn’t be slept-on. Enjoy.
Chinese companies have been caught illegally stretching steel re-bar, thus thinning the cross-section to unsafe diameters. Must be great when an earthquake hits. I mean, this is pretty terrible... (not that a US company wouldn't do the same)
Damn near everyone with an architecture blog that has been read by more than 5 people has been plagiarized - probably by another blog or site that is much larger and established. I won't name names of who has ripped off AMNP - but they were the kind of sites that could afford to pay me for my content, no doubt. Arch Record, however, has no qualms calling someone out...
The symbolism of the skyscraper has changed very little - if at all - since 9/11, argues LA Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne. I would contend that in terms of the WTC it has changed somewhat, but in no way for the better.
The September issue is Scientific American is devoted to cities - and has one of AMNP's favorite authors, William Gibson! I'm looking forward to the issue, but until then check out the features being released online - like this interview with the author of such novels as Neuromancer and Pattern Language.
Wow, I really hope to one day cool-out in a space hotel of some sort - but I hope that sometime in my lifetime they evolve into something iller / cheaper /need less training than what the Russians are planning. Still, this is pretty awesome - see what I'm talking about after the link.
I basically think that these Ayn Rand followers are a bunch of crazies (and assholes, to a certain extent), but I actually wish Peter Thiel luck and success in his creating man-made, floating independent nation states. Then all these libertarians can go read Atlas Shrugged in their own country and leave us the F alone.
While this article on Gaudi over at the Atlantic starts out with some typical BS about 'trends' in architecture in the 21st century (I don't think Gehry and the like are really 'trending', at least not as built projects), it is a nice little write up on Gaudi that reminds us he was ill.
AIA Consensus Construction Forecast is predicting continued declines in spending for non-residential and commercial projects through the end of the year, with a possible modest recovery in 2012. Super - we might maybe see a little bit of improvement - which will probably actually simply get us back to where we are now - sometime next year. Something to look forward to.
Eh, maybe - there certainly aren't people lining up to save them. My question remains 'should the suburbs be saved'? At least, should they be saved in their current form? They seem like mostly a failed experiment - areas that actually embody what the suburbs are supposedly about are usually considered 'urban' (or at least semi-urban). I'm thinking Dorchester (Boston), for instance, as it's where I'm typing this post...
Adobe is launching a preview of Edge - basically a tool allowing web designers to ditch Flash and move to an HTML 5 future. As much as I hate to agree with Steve Jobs being super evil, Flash is pretty terrible and has to go. Sure, it revolutionized the web in certain ways, but it's time is done - time for us to move on to something faster and less clunky. And something that actually functions properly on touch screens / handheld devices.
These ninjas were arrested for building an awesome monster - thing out of shipping pallets and skateboards on top of a Brooklyn warehouse? My ninjas, please - this is a sad sad world that we live in. And these guys are ninjas.
We've all known for a minute now that the architecture and sculpture of ancient Greece wasn't left as natural stone, but was painted in technicolor - and ultraviolet light is know giving us a better idea of just what these familiar ruins and works of art really looked like. Makes our copies of Ancient Greece's architecture look like they're in need of a paint job, no?
In this Sunday's Boston Globe Robert Campbell discusses aÂ new book tells how a Cambridge store spread modern design across America. The People's Republic would like to say "You're Welcome for all the dopeness". .:via->Boston.com
There is already an existing mosque less than a mile from Ground Zero - only 686 feet from the proposed Cordoba Center. Is this existing mosque insulting to the WTC site? Could Cordoba move the 686 feet and be okay? Oh no, wait - I'm trying to understand this from a rational standpoint, which is obviously naive of me...
Anyone else think that Santiago Calatrava's design for the redevelopment of the Denver International Airport's South Terminal is a little ridiculous looking? I mean, definitely not his best work. The interiors look fine, I suppose - very 'Calatrava goes to the airport' with the white trusses. But from what the renderings show the exterior isn't looking so hot...
I've been hating on fancy architectural renderings since before I even started AMNP - now people are asking if the actual buildings can ever live up to the photoshopped hype. For real? That we're so enamored with the imagery that we don't appreciate the final result suggests some pretty serious issues...