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Andrew Maynard: Vader House


Our ninjas over at Andrew Maynard Architects recently dropped us an email about the Vader House, a project in Fitzroy, Australia, which they recently completed. Contrary to the ominous name [I first thought of heavy breathing and the dark side, I have to admit], the project is an open, welcoming, and light-filled extension of a Victorian terrace.


Utilizing  the existing brick walls to define the boundaries of the house, AMA inserted a glassy, transparent, steel-frame volume within the space – all surrounding a central courtyard space, creating what is essentially the antithesis of the original, dark, brick structure.


The plan clearly shows the pre-existing brick walls, and how all the newly created spaces surround an open courtyard space.


The high boundary walls, built in disregard of existing height regulations long before such rules were created, permitted a non-standard height along the northern boundary. The roofline then abruptly turns to follow the dictated set-back lines, resulting in a playful and telling interpretation of planning rules.


All the new works surround an outdoor courtyard space which becomes the new centre of the house- accessed by a series of glass doors it is the opposite of the dark masonry-clad rooms of the old house. The refined palate of materials is subverted where volumes are removed to reveal the flesh inside – coloured bright red with glass tiles and joinery.


The ‘playful’ roof-line [a byproduct of the site setbacks and height requirements] allows for a one and a half storey living space, complete with a small mezzanine – adding to the openness of the house, through both the increased height of the ceilings and the creation of high clerestory walls.



.:images, info + quoted text->via Andrew Maynard Architects

::more of Andrew Maynard Architects’ work on AMNP::

Posted: February 25th, 2009
at 4:28pm by orangemenace

Categories: architecture,housing,featured ninjas

Comments: 1 comment

Andrew Maynard’s Suburb-Eating Robots


[Image: Andrew Maynard Architects’ CV08]

Andrew Maynard has what some may consider to be a peculiar vision for the future of the Australian suburb – lush forest wilderness, or otherwise natural untouched land devoid of cookie-cutter human settlements. And it would all be thanks [if he had his way, perhaps?] to something resembling the image above.

That’s right, my ninjas – Maynard has developed a proposal for giant suburb-devouring robots, that will both consume the existing suburbs as they pass AND do a little terraforming while there at it. Who could ask for more? Well, maybe just this:

We are thinking about getting a few more students at AMA so that they can build a prototype in the store room. Then we will accidentally [on purpose] spill various liquids on it until it comes to life and starts killing people indiscriminately and tries to take over the world. We can only hope. [Andrew Maynard]


[Image: the CV08’s trail of newly terraformed land]

Invited to speak at the RAIA‘s upcoming Critical Visions ’08 conference in Sydney [April 10-12], Maynard will be presenting a polemic on Australia’s suburbs and their overall impact on society + the planet. A slideshow on AMA’s website describes Maynard’s prediction for the suburb’s future: as oil prices continue rising, the suburbs will become more and more unaffordable – the dependence on the automobile and lack of public transit, coupled with the lack of money for gasoline [and/or lack of gasoline itself] will cause the collapse of the suburb’s infrastructure.

Where will suburbanites live when there is no other means of circulation to their homes? What will we do with our abandoned and decaying suburbs? And most importantly, what will we do with the 50% of Australians that are over-weight due to car dependence and a sedentary lifestyle?

Well, my ninjas – Andrew Maynard Architects believe they have the answer: the CV08.


[Image: CV08 section diagram]

The CV08 is like a late night infomercial on steroids: it slices, it dices, it consumes entire towns – and it even cleans up after itself. The satirical hexapod will descend upon the suburbs, gathering the abandoned homes and cars through it’s front legs [dubbed ‘demo legs’, seen below] – crushing everything in its path and packaging it neatly for recycling. The CV08 then releases new flora+fauna through the middle legs [which are kept, obviously, in carbonite freeze until deployment] – immediately populating the newly reclaimed land.

Lastly, the rear legs of the CV08 will serve as a means of power-collection: they pull chubby Australian suburbanite stragglers up into a liposuction chamber, which draws out all of their excess fat [which then powers the CV08]. The now trim Aussies are then shot out of the backside [read: ass] of the robot, parachuting down to safety – along with a brand new bicycle constructed from recycled suburbs.

Think of all the time + money this will save people on painting their McMansions, mowing the lawn, and going to the gym.


[Image: CV08 section detail – the ‘demo leg’]

Learn more:

A slideshow, from the AMA website.

A brief video showcasing the project.

A PDF of the presentation boards.


[Image: CV08 section detail – the ‘flora leg’]

After learning about the project and the Critical Visions ’08 conference I had the opportunity to ask Andrew Maynard a couple questions regarding the CV08 polemic and the increasingly popular AMA.

ArchitectureMNP : So for starters – why?

Andrew Maynard : I have always been anti-car [anti-car ownership to be exact] and I am a public transport advocate. So CV08 is just another step on my continuing polemical journey to illustrate just how nasty cars are for us.

AMNP : Was the suburb-eating robot already in the works / a thought in the back of your mind somewhere – or is it entirely a response to Critical Visions ’08 [as the name implies]?

AM : The majority of my ideas have been tucked away for awhile and I simply try to find the appropriate time to let them out. I am a borrower and hoarder of ideas. We have lists and lists of ideas in the office, just waiting for the opportunity to be given life. Though I am an old school fan of regionalism, Frampton and his contemporaries I tend to find that I am not very good at purely responding to site and the brief. If I wait for the good idea to pop out then it will simply never appear. Instead I try to be pragmatic with my response to site and brief and then simply refer to one or 2 of my hoarded ideas to bring in the colour and joy. To answer your question, I had on my ideas list “design a robot” for no other reason than I am a geek and I like Asimov. The conference simply gave me an excuse to dedicate some time to it. We couldn’t think of a good name for the robot. We started discussing R2-D2 and C3-P0 and we decided that the conference name, CV08, was perfect.

AMNP : Did the entire firm work on the project? I imagine that the initial discussions + meetings were hilarious.

AM : I’m not great at teamwork, which does trouble me, but I do try. In our office I tend to disappear with a new project and try to get the parameters clear in my head. At numerous times between my first survey of the issues and the final design I will quickly grab everyone and ask for input. The more absurd and subversive the better. I like getting as much feedback from my crew as possible, but as the boss, I am in the lucky position of ignoring what I don’t want to hear and taking on what excites me. My inability [unwillingness?] to work in rich team environments is not a great working model. But it works for us. In reality though, my way of working will most likely mean that we remain a small firm [boutique]. Put me in a room with equal weighted stake holders and I tend to be a sook or throw tantrums. Hopefully I’ll grow out of this.

But yes, once I had identified the key concepts that I wished to pursue, the initial discussion for CV08 was a lot of fun and everyone was involved. We were all throwing ideas around and everyone was drawings robots. The sketch that we settled on was actually drawn by Matt, who is an insanely talented designer/architect. As with every project that we do, I worked it up in detail on the computer while everyone else got on with projects that would pay the bills.

AMNP : How many of you [who worked on the project] are from / grew up in the ‘burbs yourselves? Was there a little bit of leftover teen angst that you guys got to express through the project?

AM : We are all from the “burbs”, except for Jun who is from Singapore. There is a lot of teen angst here. I remember many, many hours of being trapped in the back of a car. However hopefully our polemics are based in a strong political and social ideology rather than pure angst.


[Image: CV08 section detail – the backside/’lipo leg’]

AMNP : Lastly, as a sidenote: you can tell by your graphics that AMA uses SketchUp, achieving a simple yet interesting + fun rendering style. Could you take a second to explain your views on current software usage / rendering styles in architecture?

AM : I don’t really have a strong opinion on this one. Everyone in the office has at one time or another been involved in a sub-culture such as skating, surfing, indie-bands and such and we try to reference this rather than borrowing from the typical architectural discourse both literal and graphical. In the end I want our work to look like its come straight out of a comic book, somewhere between Jim Lee, Frank Miller and Future systems. Before we got into SketchUp, which is a very recent addition to our office, I would spend a lot of time and energy making our graphics look somewhat like a comic. SketchUp just made the process quicker.

For more from Andrew Maynard Architects head on over to their website – and check out these previous posts on AMNP:

photo du jour 12.12.2007
Andrew Maynard Architects: Tattoo House
Andrew Maynard – Poop House

::All images, quotes + info courtesy of Andrew Maynard Architects. Special AMNP thanks to our ninja from down-under Andrew Maynard for taking the time to speak with us::

Posted: April 3rd, 2008
at 5:35am by orangemenace

Categories: architecture,my ninja, please,green arch,housing,tech,featured ninjas,interview

Comments: 8 comments

Andrew Maynard Architects: Tattoo House


[Image: Night few of the Tattoo House – a kitchen+living space addition]

I should start by saying that Andrew Maynard – with the lofty goal of ‘complete tyrannical world domination’ [sounds familiar…] – has already reached 9th dan ninja status, and I’m pretty sure he’s not even thirty [so in architecture terms, he’s basically a child]. The Aussie architect has a unique and thoughtful approach to design, and should be watched closely by all those interested in quality, green, and seemingly low-cost buildings.

Here we have the Tattoo House – an addition to an existing 3 bedroom home in Fitzroy North [A suburb of Melbourne] providing the current residents with new living and kitchen space, opening onto a new deck.


[Image: Close-up of the house’s ‘tattoo’ and the shadows it creates]

Many of the design decisions behind the Tattoo House were based on the budget, along with local building requirements – truly using the project’s restrictions to drive the design. The addition is therefore simple square – where each element serves multiple functions for ‘maximum return’. More design for your buck.


[Image: View of the kitchen – in particular the counter in the back as it becomes the landing for the stairs to the second level]

The new kitchen, located on the ground floor, is an open plan with large sliding glass panels that allow the space to be opened to the outside – merging with the deck to form an even larger interior/exterior room, which is accentuated by the double-height area created along the exterior wall.


[Image: View of kitchen/dining area’s double height space, which opens onto the deck]

Above, on the second level, a new family room overlooks the kitchen’s double height space and is given a nice level of privacy by the house’s ‘tattoo’ – UV stable stickers in the form of tree supergraphics, based on images of trees from a local park. More than a simple decoration, the tree graphic is a response to the local building council requiring that the second storey spaces be at 75% opacity. The solution screens the inside – eliminating the need for curtains, reflects heat and glare away from the expansive windows – controlling solar heat gain, and [last but definitely not least] creates an incredible play of light + shadow on the additions interior surface. Pretty siiick.


[Image: View showing kitchen opening onto exterior deck, forming a new, large open space]


[Image: View of the addition within its context]

My only negative comment about the project: who would want to spend any time in the pre-existing house? If I had a regular home, and Maynard came along and created something this beautiful as an addition – I’d have to knock the rest over and see what else he could do [yeah, that defeats the purpose – but so what?]. Also – I wonder how much it would cost to just build the addition – I don’t need that much space anyways…
Head on over to Andre Maynard Architects’ website for more images [pages 1, 2, 3, 4, sketches + info on the ‘tattoo’] and an array of noteworthy projects.

More Andrew Maynard on architecture.MNP:

Poop House

::Images courtesy of Andrew Maynard Architects – photography by Peter Bennetts::

::MNP would like to thank Cara from Andrew Maynard Architects for dropping us an email about this project::

Posted: December 10th, 2007
at 6:00am by orangemenace

Categories: architecture,green arch,housing,featured ninjas

Comments: 10 comments

Andrew Maynard – Poop House


Welcome to another ‘Green Tuesday’ at architecture.MNP!

Yes, my ninjas, you read that [ahem] shit right – Andrew Maynard Architects has designed a proposal for what they have named the ‘Poop House – An Ama Fairy Tale‘. MaynardAussie architect extraordinaire [for more design from down under, check out Wallpaper* Magazine’s 101 directory] – proposes that inflatable water structures be constructed, the walls of which will be slowly filled with household [including human] waste over time, creating a solid structure.


The proposed structure would be made of polypropylene forms, which could be manufactured in various shapes and sizes – and assembled to form any number of volumes imagined by the inhabitant. A house [or structure for whatever other purpose] could then be easily transported to the desired site, and the interior, transparent, layer of the polypropylene skin could be inflated/filled with water to create the initial form [images above and below]. The waste management system would also be set up, which would [basically] store all household waste – poop included – in a second, opaque, layer of the polypropylene skin, eventually creating solid walls.



It seems as if Maynard even proposes a greywater management system, which would treat the blackwater from the household’s sewage, using it for watering plants on the property, etc, while returning the rest of the waste water to the polypropylene walls.


My ninjas, PLEASE!!

::all info and images from Andrew Maynard Architects::

::download the project’s PDF::

Posted: July 17th, 2007
at 7:00am by orangemenace

Categories: architecture,my ninja, please,green arch,housing,tech,featured ninjas

Comments: 6 comments

Maynard Interview

Head on over to the Archi-Ninja for an interview with an AMNP favorite, Aussie architect Andrew Maynard.

.:interview->via Archi-Ninja

Posted: August 20th, 2009
at 9:00am by orangemenace

Categories: sidenote

Comments: No comments

Augmented Reality iPhone 3Gs App


I have to admit – recent and ongoing developments in ‘augmented reality’ user interfaces have me kind of geeked. Integrating technology into our lives in increasingly seamless ways is both exciting to me in a ‘the future is now’ kind of way – and for the possibility of un-tethering ourselves, while remaining somehow connected to the ‘net [or whatever] in a more ‘real’, integrated [and maybe less anti-social] way. Not that any of this has to do with this iPhone app giving you directions in the subway…

From the developers:

When you load the app, holding it flat, all lines of the New York subway are displayed in coloured arrows. By tilting the phone upwards, you will see the nearest stations: what direction they are in relation to your location, how many miles away they are and what lines they are on. If you continue to tilt the phone upwards, you will see stations further away, as stacked icons. Only available to Apple iPhone 3GS users.

But yeah – looks pretty dope. I’m really interested to see how architecture and design respond to these kind of developments – and what they will mean for public space, in particular.

.:video mentioned Andrew Maynard interview -> over at Archi-Ninja

Posted: August 20th, 2009
at 10:57am by orangemenace

Tagged with , , , , , ,

Categories: architecture,my ninja, please,tech,videos

Comments: 3 comments

Ninjas on the ‘Net: Happy 2009!


Happy New Year, my people! Sure, it’s about 4 days late – but I’ve been on a vacation from the interwebs. As for our first installment on Ninjas on the ‘Net for the New Year, I’m bringing you the first [of 2] part of a selection of some of my favorite posts from 2008 – along with a random assortment of links that I’ve collected over the past two weeks [mostly while at work, bored from the holiday ‘lull’].

Hope you enjoy – and a happy start to your ’09.

Jan – The ‘Air Tree’

Feb – Pittsburgh RiverPark

Mar – The Eiffel Tower’s Giant Lily Pad [because it turned out to be a fake]

April – Andrew Maynard’s Suburb-Eating Robots

May – The Solar-Shade

June – GreenPix Zero Energy Media Wall

Tune-in next week for the second half of ’08.

Moving along, those links from the past two weeks:

– the NY Times published an article about architects running wild and not solving any real-world problems, and Architecture for Humanity responded

– the NY Times also had German ‘passive homes’ and the ‘green-osity’ of roundabouts

– Time Magazine tracks the evolution of dorms

– the BBC covers new German hotels

– designboom features the creators of some pretty cool fonts

– dezeen has some interesting concept cars

-the Times Online explains that Prince Charles doesn’t think green buildings need to ‘look modern’

– Wired has a proposal to save the Netherlands

– Archinect features selected predictions for 2009

– the evolution of church design? [ha! see what I did there?

– last but most definitely not least – don’t forget about the rest of the MNP [My Ninja Please!] crew: the parent site, MyNinjaPlease; MusicMNP; GreenMNP; PolitricksMNP; and RobotNinja.

– and that’s it for this week’s Ninjas on the ‘Net – don’t forget, you should also be clicking those sidebar links + buttons and checking out all of our blogging ninjas out there.

Posted: January 5th, 2009
at 5:00am by orangemenace

Categories: Ninjas on the 'net

Comments: No comments

Styx Valley Protest Shelter


I’ve always wanted a tree-house that would make those pretentious Ewoks jealous…

After getting a newsletter from Andrew Maynard Architects last week, I was on the AMA site checking out the ‘news’ section and came across the Styx Valley Protest Shelter. Apparently the project is from a few years back – but AMA has built a new model of the project for the Venice Biennale [which is why the project was in the ‘news’ section of the AMA site].

Moving along – these things are pretty siiick. Essentially, treehuggers in ‘the Styx‘ had set-up a treetop base of operations called ‘The Global Rescue Station’ [built on a tree named ‘Gandalf’, it’s little more than 2 wooden platforms hanging from the tree], and staged human barricades to protect the trees [the tallest hardwoods in the world]. Maynard’s proposal would step the protests up a notch – creating the ‘Global Rescue Station, Generation 2’ [should have called it ‘GRS: Reloaded’].


Background info on the issue, from AMA’s website:

The Styx Valley Forest is a pristine wilderness in south western Tasmania. It is home to the tallest hardwood trees in the world averaging over 80 metres. It is a unique ecosystem unlike any other. Many of the trees are over 400 years old. In 1996 only around 13% of these trees remain. A large area of south western Tasmania’s pristine wilderness is world heritage and is therefore protected. Unfortunately the Styx Valley falls just outside the South West National Park and it is now under attack from logging companies.

The logging companies clear fell such areas in Tasmania and burn any remnant vegetation once they have removed any timber considered of value. The high quality timbers that are then removed are reduced to nothing more than wood chips that are then exported mainly to Japan.

From this rape and pillage of Tasmania’s previously untouched, pristine landscape, Tasmania receives only AUD$10 per ton of woodchips [via].


Generation 2 would give protesters more shelters, which are attached to three [rather than 1] trees each, therefore protecting more of the forest [apparently they save the surrounding trees too – loggers are afraid of cutting nearby trees, as they may injure a protester]. This way, a small number of shelters could help to protect a large area of forest.


::all images + info via Andrew Maynard Architects::

Posted: August 5th, 2008
at 2:21pm by orangemenace

Categories: architecture,my ninja, please,green arch,featured ninjas

Comments: 2 comments

AMA’s Proposed KLCC Towers


[Click the image to watch video]

From our ninjas at Andrew Maynard Architects:

We were recently commissioned to submit a design of 3 x 40 storey mixed use towers at the Kuala Lumpur City Centre on a site facing the Petronas towers. After many weeks [and weekends] of toil we sent the design to KL for assessment.

Stay tuned for the competition announcement, and perhaps, in a few more years, AMA’s first built towers …[source]

I really love Maynard’s unapologetic use of SketchUp. Simple, but nice

And be sure to check out AMNP’s previous posts featuring Andrew Maynard Architects:

Andrew Maynard’s Suburb-Eating Robots [with brief interview!]

Andrew Maynard Architects: Tattoo House

Andrew Maynard – Poop House

Posted: June 30th, 2008
at 12:00pm by orangemenace

Categories: architecture,green arch,featured ninjas,towering pagodas,videos

Comments: No comments

Ninjas on the ‘net


[Image: The Varying Impact of Gas Prices, from The New York Times]

To be honest, I had made it through most of the week without getting sucked through the black hole that we call the internet while reading up on some random topic. That is until yesterday, when I started reading The Concrete Dragon: China’s Urban Revolution and What it Means for the World [recently provided to AMNP courtesy of Princeton Architectural Press – expect a review when I’ve finished it] – I then proceeded to lose myself in these here inter-webs, reading about the cultural revolution [check out these propaganda posters], the people’s republic since Mao, and the history of China in general.

Regardless, I’ve once again [just barely] escaped with my life – however, expect lots on China in the near future. But for now, here’s some other architecture+design related goodness from the web:

– for starters [and speaking of China], peep the New York Times‘ article I’m the Designer. My Client’s the Autocrat.

ENR has a list of the top 100 green design firms

materialicious brings us the LEED platinum greensburg 547 art center, by studio804

BLDGBLOG explores the vast emptiness of the South China Mall

– the Sydney Morning Herald sat down with our ninja Andrew Maynard a few weeks ago for this video interview

Pruned features some controversial Lily Pads [minus the controversy]

The Independent hits us with an urban farmer on a mission

Where proposes an interesting [personal] exercise in urban navigation

– have you seen AMNP in Modern Design Magazine [June 2008 issue] yet? Don’t sleep…

– And last but most definitely not least – don’t forget about the rest of the MNP [My Ninja Please!] crew: the parent site, MyNinjaPlease; MusicMNP; GreenMNP; PolitricksMNP; and RobotNinja.

Posted: June 23rd, 2008
at 11:22am by orangemenace

Categories: architecture,Ninjas on the 'net

Comments: No comments

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