ArchiWEB Explorer: Architecture

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Creative Ideas to Brighten up Your Office Space

When we think about brightening up an office space, we tend to think about lighting and splashes of colour. Fair enough. However, as many people find, growing space issues and clutter can turn any place into a stressful mess and become a drab interior. Have you ever noticed how bright your office looks just by clearing surfaces? Whether you work from home or in a corporate environment, there are creative and workable solutions that you can integrate into an office setting.

Colourful Canvas Art


Ok, yes, we are talking about the “splashes of colour” part. Purchasing a canvas print IS a great way to brighten up a drab office instantly. In fact, why stop at one? You could switch a print to a different one every couple of months or sooner. Who says that you have to look at the same picture time after time? Go further! With services that can take your pictures to a new level, you can have custom, lightweight artwork that can work well on your walls. These can be pictures that motivate you to work harder, such as pictures of your children, or a beautiful shot of a desired travel destination. Have a new goal? Switch up your wall art.

NASA Green

Disfiguring a PoMo Icon

On Monday Snøhetta released renderings of their proposed renovation of 550 Madison Avenue, better known as the AT&T Building, designed by Philip Johnson and John Burgee and completed in 1984. The main rendering reveals that a section of the pink-granite base facing Madison would be removed in favor of a wavy glass wall exposing the innards of the lower floors, including diagonal steel bracing located just behind the facade.

[Rendering: DBOX, courtesy of Snøhetta]

The main argument for what is effectively a disfigurement of a Postmodern icon is, in the words of Snøhetta, that "the recognizable top of the tower will remain a fixture of the New York City skyline." Even though the oft-called Chippendale top of the AT&T Building is its most recognizable feature, it is not a separate entity from the base. Base and top are two parts of a total composition, one that emphasized weight and aperture at a time when glass and skin were the norm.

Terraced Balconies & Double Helix Bridges: Spotlight on Penda Architecture

[ By SA Rogers in Architecture & Public & Institutional. ]

Kinetic architecture, verdant cascading balconies, timber-frame skyscrapers and double-helix bridges: Beijing- and Salzburg-based multidisciplinary firm Penda brings all sorts of refreshing ideas to the worlds of architecture, landscape and interior design. Founded by Chris Precht and Dayong Sun, the youthful firm subverts norms and commands attention with its surprising solutions, and we’ll likely see a lot more stunning projects from them materializing in the future.

Tel Aviv Arcades

Preserving Architectural Gems: 8 Beijing Hutong Plug-Ins Update Historic Shells

[ By SA Rogers in Architecture & Houses & Residential. ]

Passing through historic Beijing neighborhoods, seeing only the preserved street-facing facade, you’d never know that surprisingly modern structures contrast with aging surfaces within the courtyards just out of sight. Instead of just demolishing the ‘hutong’ courtyard houses found only in this Chinese city, architects are adapting them to modern life, slotting houses, hostels, museums, tea houses, cinemas and more under the existing roofs.

Tea House by Archstudio

Book Review: Álvaro Siza Architectural Guide

Álvaro Siza Architectural Guide: Built Projects edited by Maria Melo, Michel Toussaint
A+A Books, 2017
Paperback, 240 pages

On a recent trip to Zurich I came across a couple books on the architecture of Álvaro Siza, both published by A+A Books out of Lisbon. One was a case study devoted to his Piscina das Marés in Leça da Palmeira and the other was a guide to 82 of the architect's built projects in Portugal. Unfortunately their expense made buying both impossible. Even though the former project is in my forthcoming 100 Years, 100 Landscape Designs, I opted for the latter for a few reasons. First, perhaps some day I'll make it to Portugal and can use the book to scope out as many of Siza's projects as possible. Second, the book is a great resource with familiar buildings but many that I've never heard of before. Not all of the projects (selected by Siza) are publicly accessible, but they paint a solid picture of Siza's output in his home country over six decades.

Starchitect Spotlight: 9 Wooden Wonders by Kengo Kuma & Associates

[ By SA Rogers in Architecture & Public & Institutional. ]

Acclaimed Japanese architect Kengo Kuma brings traditional Japanese building techniques and aesthetics into the 21st century with dynamic structures making creative use of wooden elements. Known for his gridded installations and unusual ways of stacking and assembling small pieces of wood, the architect often works with joinery techniques that negate the need for any metal fasteners.

Japan House in São Paulo, Brazil

Book Review: The Structure of Design

The Structure of Design: An Engineer's Extraordinary Life in Architecture by Leslie Earl Robertson
The Monacelli Press, 2017
Hardcover, 336 pages

Earlier this month structural engineer Leslie E. Robertson spoke to a packed house at the Skyscraper Museum (a video of the talk is embedded at the bottom of this post). The talk focused on his recently published book, The Structure of Design, which is made up primarily of highlights from his long career and structured as collaborations with architects. Among them are Minoru Yamasaki, Gunnar Birkerts, Philip Johnson, I.M. Pei, and KPF; these are the architects Robertson spoke about during the talk, on such projects as the World Trade Center in New York, the Federal Reserve Bank in Minneapolis, Puerta de Europa in Madrid, the Bank of China Tower in Hong Kong, and the Shanghai World Financial Center. It goes without saying, from this short list alone, that Robertson has been involved in many of the most innovative and high-profile tall buildings in the last 50 years.

Lush Life: 12 Verdant Architecture Projects Making Plants a Main Priority

[ By SA Rogers in Architecture & Houses & Residential. ]

Not all architecture incorporating lots of living greenery is doomed to remain an unrealistic rendering, depicting buildings that can’t structurally support the weight of all the soil and water needed to keep full-sized trees alive. Architect Thomas Heatherwick built ultra-strong concrete pillars into his 1000 Trees design, for example. Other buildings take a subtler approach, choosing ivy, potted plants or existing trees rooted in the ground. All of these projects attempt to meld urban architecture with lush gardens in the hopes of cleansing the air, storing CO2 to mitigate climate change and providing enhanced access to green spaces in cities.

Valley: Green-Terraced Towers by MVRDV in Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Zero-Carbon, All Bamboo Sports Hall Features Organic 50-Foot Trusses

[ By WebUrbanist in Architecture & Public & Institutional. ]

A new sports hall in Thailand highlights the aesthetic power and physical strength of bamboo, a flexible and fast-growing natural material. In total, more carbon is captured in the bamboo than was used to treat, transport and use it for construction, rendering its carbon footprint neutral.

Located at the Panyaden International School in the Chiang Mai province, the new building was designed by Chiangmai Life Architects, a firm specializing in natural materials like bamboo and rammed earth.

Pop-Up Pavilions: 15 Playful Temporary Architecture Installations

[ By SA Rogers in Architecture & Cities & Urbanism. ]

Pavilions are like playgrounds for architects and designers, allowing them to show off what they can do when they really set their imaginations free. Unfettered by the typical limitations of a permanent structure, they can experiment with new materials and processes, potentially producing innovations they can apply to other structures. These pavilions are often subversive in the urban environment, too, taking over public spaces and giving them back to the people or creating micro housing that falls within grey areas of the law.

Transforming Street Cinema in Venice by Omri Revesz