Luxurious details and faux finishes that allude to a grander image do not hold up to the true material expression, whether it be organic elements taken straight from nature or even unfinished, manufactured building materials like plywood. Not to get all philosophical or however you may characterize this statement, but to me honest design and material expression displays a sense of confidence that I don’t often see in designs that view materials as ornament rather than as tools whose properties can aid in informing the final form.
Good design = saying it without saying it
Industrial designer Arnaud Lapierre came up with the ultimate ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign. His concept doorknob uses a pulley system so that the knob outside can pulled in by twisting the knob inside. [via design-beats]
An ingenious detail.
Boat’s House at Millstätter Lake by MHM Architects [for article & more images]
i mean, technically it’s attached to a building, so it’s tangentially architecture? right?
well, maybe i just have too broad an idea of what constitutes architecture, as i’ve included pictures of clouds and lizards on this site. but i’m a college drop-out, so what do you expect? an erudite and reasoned consideration of exceptional buildings? or pictures of lizards and graffiti? how about an erudite and reasoned consideration of lizards and graffiti? and buildings, too, on occasion.
i also have a really hard time spelling words with double consonants. like: ‘occasion’. is that right? it looks like it should have 2 ‘s’s’.
so: graffiti. you have to admit, this graffiti is pretty remarkable. and it defines and establishes the space, far more than the building upon which it’s been painted. the building itself is kind of egregiously unremarkable. it’s only the graffiti that distinguishes the building from the few million other generic buildings in l.a.
i especially like the scary blue baby doll playing bongos. and the scary clown.
Architecture, as well as graffiti, ‘defines and establishes’ space. Though the buildings themselves leave much to be desired architecturally speaking, I believe the graffiti that adorns them does a much better job at establishing a sense of place because it is participatory. It is more of a direct reflection of the community because it’s created by the community, rather than an artistic interpretation of its essence and functional needs created (more often than not) by someone from the outside.
Good design that facilitates community involvement in the evolution of a building/space - by creating spaces and surfaces for public art, planning of walkways by following the beaten pathways that show the natural circulation through a space, flexible universal spaces to suit many needs and functions, or what have you - is what architecture should and has the capability to be.
Howler and Yoon, winners of the Audi Urban Future Award image a NYC where roads become soccer fields and solar panels.
Do you know what else Manhattan is largely comprised of? Rooftops… where more solar panels should go. Hint hint…
Just an aside… I like the fact that the top graphic highlights Lower Manhattan and part of Midtown in its 23.2% of households portions considering the devastation of superstorm Sandy back in the fall. I think it’s much more telling of the possibilities for disaster prevention/recovery in the city because of that.
ok, so there’s an architectural style from the early/mid 20th century that is either called ‘moderne’ or ‘streamline moderne’ or ‘houses that look kind of like grounded ocean liners’.
and l.a has a lot of these ‘streamline moderne houses that look vaguely like ocean liners from 1930’. not enough, as they’re pretty great, but still: a lot, comparitively speaking.
and this one is arguably the prettiest of the bunch.
because it also sort of looks like a corbusier inspired french/parisian house from 1930, but with palm trees sitting in the background (and uninspiring beige houses on either side of it).
also, i’m advertising my ignorance here: i know nothing about this house. i don’t know who designed or built it. nor do i know when it was designed or built. but it’s beautiful. and it looks like like a grounded and amazing ocean liner. albeit a modest/small grounded and amazing ocean liner.
it does sometimes make me sad that when people/developers put up new buildings they rarely seem to aspire to put up beautiful and interesting buildings, but rather throw up (apt choice of words) a handful of generic beige vaguely missionary houses.
i apologize for editorializing, but the world doesn’t really need any more generic beige houses. but the world would benefit from having more houses that look like grounded, futuristic, art deco ocean liners. like this one.
there, i’ve editorialized.
dear developers: please make more houses like this. and fewer generic, beige houses. if possible.
oh, ps. here’s the wikipedia page on ‘streamlined moderne’. oh, and i’m not sure why they tacked the extra ‘e’ on the end of ‘modern’. but it makes it almost impossible to say out loud and not sound really pompous. try it, say ‘moderne’ out loud. see, it’s pretty awkward, huh. like you need a cigarette in a 10” long cigarette holder and noel coward playing in the background.
Architects have received this memo about generic beige houses. Unfortunately they are often not the ones in control of making these projects happen. :/
‘Evolution of Transportation’ - Saqqara, Egypt - Winter 2009
Photo by Angela Holmberg
Furniture that isn’t furniture. A raw, industrial aesthetic befitting of the resourcefulness.
A major criticism of dense urban centers is a lack of connection to nature. Although the ‘real thing’ can’t be substituted, there are man-made parks that create an experience of nature amongst the concrete jungle. Think Central Park in Manhattan - a contained green space designed to deliberately obscure sight lines to give the illusion of physical and mental escapism from the surrounding urban environment and the fast and sometimes overwhelming pace of city life. Its design intentionally mimics nature with lakes, ponds, and winding paths through trees that contrast the rigidity of Manhattan’s grid of streets. But with less and less sizable expanses of open space in cities for “authentic looking” nature oases, introducing natural elements into a city must be done in a more deliberate way. Unused or underused urban space is reclaimed and natural elements are used as a “building tool” to carefully create an experience of interaction with nature without masquerading as the real thing. Honest design expression in a time calling for resourceful and sustainable solutions to our human needs.