Our ninja Linda Bennett over at what I’ll call AMNP’s ‘sister site’, Archi-Ninja, has created this comic documenting what she calls the “Top 9 Ninja Characteristics of Awesome Architecture Blogs“. Linda has chosen a blog which she believes best exemplifies each characteristic – naming AMNP for “wisdom”, adding: “Grandmaster ninjas offer knowledge and guidance to all in their dojo”. I know what you’re thinking – AMNP hasn’t even been updated with any kind of consistency in what seems like months. But I assure you that the ninjas have been in retreat, meditating on the “isness” of architecture and blogging.
The other sites selected as representatives of “ninja-ness” [which is definitely not a real word] are:
The Burj Dubai – now the tallest building in the world, and renamed the Burj Khalifa – opened yesterday with 160 inhabitable floors, and topping out at 2,700 ft tall (including the spire). And you can get your own office space there for only $4,000 a square foot! What a bargain!
They must have pre-paid for all the theatrics – because you know they don’t have any money left at this point.
And (obviously) not everyone’s into it – German architects have come out slamming the building:
In Europe, the emphasis was on refurbishing and upgrading existing buildings rather than building more, bigger developments, according to the German architects’ association DAI.
‘Nobody knows where the planning hubris of the sheikhs will lead,’ said the DAI’s president, Christian Baumgart.
‘One thing is sure though: what has become a glass and ferroconcrete desert hardly represents a sustainable contribution to building practices around the world,’ Baumgart added.
German architect Meinhard von Gerkan called the skyscraper ‘an economically pointless symbol of prestige, representing the power of money.’
Awwww, shoot – you gonna take that, sheiks and Burj Dubai?
James May continues his quest to show what is possible with old-fashioned toys by using them on a scale never seen before. In one of his biggest challenges yet, James attempts to build a full-size house out of Lego.
I’ve obviously not been particularly attentive to AMNP as of late, but my singular new year’s resolution is to cut the crap and get back to work – hopefully I’ll manage to keep that goal alive for more than the 2 weeks that my resolutions typically last…
And to start the new year off, a quick round-up of some links worth checking out as you try to adjust to being back in the office now that the holidays are finally over.
[note: to get to Zaha, skip ahead to about the 39:30 mark]
In this interview with Zaha Hadid, Paul Goldberger [architecture critic for the New Yorker] sits in for Charlie Rose. This interview aired in the summer of 2006 [I believe].
Speaking of the New Yorker and Zaha, check out the recent article in the magazine on Hadid and here work, “The Abstractionist“. They’ve also posted an audio slideshow showcasing her newest completed project, the MAXXI Museum in Rome – which opened without any art on display, as ‘the building itself is exhibition enough’ [ha].
Farshid Moussavi and ACTAR have released the first follow-up to 2006’s hugely popular The Function of Ornament,
Farshid Moussavi [now formerly of FOA], Harvard’s GSD, and Actar have responded to the widespread success of 2006’s The Function of Ornament – a self-described ” graphic guide to ornaments in the twentieth century” – with a second volume entitled The Function of Form. Over two and a half times the size of The Function of Ornament, in FOF Moussavi sets out to investigate the complex relationship established between form and function in modern / contemporary design – using the book’s introduction to both discuss various perceived historical relationships between form and function, and then to [essentially] argue that the actual relationship between form and function in architecture is in conflict with the dualistic view of modernism in the 20th century.
[Take that, Mies.]
The vast majority of the book is then organized into chapters by material/structural system – with each chapter investigating the variations possible within each system. This is achieved by first identifying the ‘base units’ of the system to be explored, and then tessellating those base units in the horizontal, vertical, and curved directions. For instance, the first chapter looks at grids and frames – establishing the base unit of one-way frames as ‘composed of a rectangular grid of columns supporting a pair of primary, parallel beams along the column lines which in turn support secondary beams that span between them at much closer intervals than the centers of the columns’. This ‘base unit’ is then tessellated in the 3 directions, creating various permutations of the one-way frame – which are further organized by spatial affect.
S.R. Crown Hall at IIT by Mies is the first example given in the book, representing a one-way frame tessellated horizontally – and having the spatial affects of ‘openness, lightness, freedom, horizontality, and specularity’.
The book goes on to investigate hundreds of variations of systems and their base units – providing a unique view of the relationship of form and spatial sensations and affects. FOF takes an in-depth look at the physical and atmospheric affects of each system, investigating the sometimes subtle differences in affects produced. The forms produced by each tessellated base unit are given a 2-page spread, with a simple 3d image meant to convey the spatial affects of the particular system on the left page – and a detailed description of the various components, including plan and axonometric drawings, on the right page.
A must-have for any designer, The Function of Form makes for a tremendous resource as a reference when investigating possible forms/structural systems for a given project – allowing readers to quickly compare spatial quality and affects of various systems, while also providing reasonably in-depth explanations as to how these qualities are achieved by the different systems.
The Function of Form, by Farshid Moussavi – edited with Daniel Lopez, Garrick Ambrose, Ben Fortunato, Ryan Ludwig, and Ahmadreza Schricker
Published by Actar and the Harvard University Graduate School of Design
Available from Amazon.com for $26.37, here.
::Review copy of The Function of Form provided by Actar::
The architecture is covered with a wall in which holes are cut. The shape of the holes resembles a trunk, leaves, a root and bulbs. It also can be seen as clouds floating over the trees. The concrete shape which is based on nature turns into a hollow cave: light, and sunbeams filtered through trees.
It’s been a minute now since our last post on our current featured ‘Ninjas of the Month’ – EASERNdesign. Keeping the series alive, here is their Villa Saitan project – an 11 unit studio-apartment complex in Kyoto, Japan.
One of the major factors driving the project was EASTERNdesign’s desire to create a structure that was different from the repetitive, impersonal nature of a ‘typical’ apartment building. The goal was to wrap the units with a continuous facade that would give the appearance of one unified home. This was achieved by cutting through the concrete walls in a nature-inspired root/trunk/leaf pattern. Behind this think wall the units are enclosed by simple glass walls on the exterior – with the concrete walls serving as sun-shading and privacy device.
This concrete shell is then covered in some kind of OSB or fiberboard, softening the forms by giving them an almost fabric-like aesthetic.
Another noteworthy aspect of the project’s layout is the public open space carved out of the ground floor of the building – linking the two sides of the site with a covered/protected external passageway. This inner pathway also connects to the owner’s yard, allowing him direct access to the apartment building’s facilities [which he manages himself].
What does the name Saitan mean? Tan is the color of the shrine gates, vermilion. It is also the color of pale red granite stone. Vermilion will not be weathered. It is said that vermillion is a sacred color and it used to be applied on serving dishes and bow and arrow to make them holy ones. Sai means variety of beautiful colors that make something more attractive.
What I really don’t understand is what exactly is going on with the facade shown above. I kind of like it for whatever reason, so it isn’t that – I just don’t see how it ties in to the curvy, nature-inspired front. It makes for an odd dichotomy that seems to give the building a kind of multiple personality disorder.
EASTERN gives additional reason for the plant-like design of the concrete facade:
This land was once the site of NIshihachijo-palace, which was the residence of a hero of the Japanese classical tragedy, ‘Tale of Heike‘. It was a stage of rise and fall of a clan in the 12th century. Such an old and sad memory is cherished and still told among the people of this neighborhood.
The collective housing that is built on such a historical place should not be seen as an average apartment house. Such notion occurred to us, which might have led us to the idea of an ‘immortal tree.’
We, therefore, designed a building which does not take vaguely a shape of a tree, but rather an intense and massive form with a tint of movement.
[image: map of the world as a near-continuous coastline, via BLDGBLOG]
I’m back, my ninjas! I wish there was some explanation worthy of my being absent from posting here for the past few weeks, but unfortunately I’ve got nothing. I suppose I’ve been ‘busy’ – or at least more so than I’ve been for the past few months – and that has kept me from the site. But the hiatus has come to an end, and the ninjas are back.
That said, I’ve got some interesting [to me, at least] news: in January I will start a 3 year term as a member of the editorial board of Architecture Boston. I’m not completely sure of how much influence that will grant me over the magazine, but I promise you this: something about ninjas will find its way into AB by 2013, so be on the lookout.
ANd this brings us to this week’s collection of links. 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, the news sidebar, or as a full post] feel free to drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
– a look at the Macallen Building in South Boston, by Office dA [A Daily Dose of Architecture]
Ed. Note: MNP was experiencing some technical difficulties on Monday, Nov. 30th. Our apologies.
Happy belated Thanksgiving! And for those of you who weren’t giving thanks for Europeans’ fairly ruthless conquering of the Americas this past week – happy Monday! AMNP is back after a week-long hiatus.
To really kick off your week, I advise you to go watch this video of interviews with people waiting in line for a Sarah Palin book signing [note to Palin fans: feel free to never visit AMNP again – I won’t be offended]. Now, I don’t really mean to be insulting here, so all I’ll say is that it’s reminiscent of the Katie Couric interview – everyone in line loves Sarah, but nobody knows anything about her policies or political goals/agendas/whatever. She has apparently won them all over by being so spunky and mavericky.
Moving on to more relevant [I hope] things – here is AMNP’s weekly selection of archi-blogosphere linkage. 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,? the news sidebar, or as a full post] feel free to drop me an email at email@example.com.
– 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.
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...