Ninjas Do It Best

And by “it”, I of course mean everything…

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:

ArchDaily [Timeliness]
AMNP [Wisdom]
A Daily Dose of Architecture [Regular Diet]
Inhabitat [Never Leave A Trace]
Super Colossal [Super Strength]
Designboom [Masters of Weaponry]
BLDGBLOG [Foresight]
cityofsound [Laser Focus]
DeZeen [Agility]

I have to say, I think Linda should have included her own site in the comic – although, in not she has displayed the 10th ninja characteristic: “modesty”.

.:full comic->via Archi-Ninja

Posted: January 6th, 2010
at 6:15pm

Categories: architecture,my ninja, please,MNP,illustration

Comments: No comments

Burj Dubai Opens


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?

.:quote via-> Monsters and Critics

Posted: January 5th, 2010
at 1:22pm

Categories: architecture,my ninja, please,towering pagodas,videos

Comments: 2 comments

Actual Lego House


My ninja, please.

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.

.:via->the BBC

Posted: January 5th, 2010
at 1:10pm

Categories: architecture,my ninja, please,pre-fab,housing,installation,videos

Comments: No comments

Ninjas on the ‘Net

HAPPY [wicked cold] NEW YEAR!

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.

2009 in review, a decade in retrospect, and the decade ahead []

Burj Dubai opens amid financial crisis []

– Boston’s beautiful brutalism []

– Ouroussoff on the Novartis campus [NY Times]

– the year in architecture [NY Times]

– living in a tiny plastic bunk [NY Times]

– view from Los Angeles City Hall, then and now [LA Times]

architects and chapter 11 [Archidose]

– ‘Landscape Architect’ one of best 50 careers for 2010? [USNews+World Report]

– SF Chinatown tourists don’t see [RaceWire]

– housing bubble threatening China’s boom? [Globe and Mail]

futuristic trailer learning [atelier a+d]

spiral icon + the blobwall and the bomb [BLDGBLOG]

Sumare House [COOLBOOM]

– imaginary subway maps [COOL HUNTING]

Posted: January 5th, 2010
at 1:02pm

Categories: Ninjas on the 'net

Comments: No comments

Zaha Hadid on Charlie Rose

[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].

Posted: December 22nd, 2009
at 12:58pm

Categories: architecture,videos,starchitects

Comments: 1 comment

AMNP Reviews: The Function of Form


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 for $26.37, here.

::Review copy of The Function of Form provided by Actar::

Posted: December 17th, 2009
at 11:40pm

Tagged with ,

Categories: architecture,books

Comments: 1 comment

NotM EASTERN design: Villa Saitan


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.




More images of this project can be viewed here, at AMNP’s Flickr page.

.:previous firm profile of EASTERN design office->

.:Slit House->

.:MON Factory->

::photographs by Kouichi Torimura::

::images, info + quoted text courtesy of EASTERN design office, Inc::

Posted: December 16th, 2009
at 4:44pm

Tagged with , , , ,

Categories: architecture,housing,featured ninjas,Ninjas of the Month

Comments: 3 comments

Quote of the Day


You have to give this much to the Luftwaffe – when it knocked down our buildings it did not replace them with anything more offensive than rubble. We did that.

~ Charles, Prince of Wales [AKA ‘Prince Chuckles’ to ninjas]

Posted: December 15th, 2009
at 2:38pm

Categories: quote of the day

Comments: 2 comments

Ninjas on the ‘Net


[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

– a look at the Macallen Building in South Boston, by Office dA [A Daily Dose of Architecture]

– cracked-earth maps, flattening the globe [BLDGBLOG]

– parametric modeling vs sustainability in the schools? [Design Observer]

adaptive fritting [Transmaterial]

– should the cul-de-sac be banned? (yes!) [NY Times Magazine]

– Beijing Watercube design copied for casino in Macau [Architecture&Design]

Foreign Office Architects closing after partners split [bd online]

– minaret built in protest of new Swiss law [AFP]

British pavilion for Shanghai Expo 2010 [designboom]

– architects trying to save Cuban architecture [LA Times]

BIG at the Architecture League [Architecture League]

building & the arts while the economy slumps [NY Times]

– St Albans shows the importance of the design of our schools [Washington Post]

– ACSA announces 2009-10 Arch Education Award winners [Architect]

– Lebbeus Woods on architect Balthasar Holz [Lebbeus Woods]

Posted: December 15th, 2009
at 2:35pm

Categories: Ninjas on the 'net

Comments: 1 comment

Ninjas on the ‘Net


[Image: detail of Web Trend Map V 4.0, via]

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

Enjoy your week!

holiday archi-book guide 2009 [Archidose: A Daily Dose of Architecture]

– the top 10 books of 2009 [Planetizen]

– a fellow blogger’s new home, and ‘monospace‘ [atelier a+d]

– Georgian mountainside cave dwellings, and a ‘plants without borders‘ interview [BLDGBLOG]

Andels Hotel Lodz [The Cool Hunter]

Aesop Store, Singapore [coolboom]

– Re:Vision Dallas: Entry 193: Forwarding Dallas [architecture lab]

– an optical illusion courtyard, possibly swallowing a tree [loud paper]

bougie house boats [dornob]

marking hazardous waste for the next 10,000+ years [mammoth]

– an Architectural Proposition for Sydney by (our ninja) Linda Bennett [archiCentral]

– an interview with Joseph Tainter, author of? The Collapse of Complex Societies []

concrete cloth [dezeen]

– lastly, don?t miss 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.

Posted: December 1st, 2009
at 1:15pm

Categories: Ninjas on the 'net

Comments: 3 comments