Modern Architecture

modern architecture is not just for architects

Greatbatch Pavilion by Toshiko MoriIt is a misconception that only architects or those educated in design can appreciated, understand and have an opinion on modern and contemporary architecture.

Left, The Eleanore and Wilson Greatbatch Pavilion, Visitor Center for Frank Lloyd Wright’s Darwin Martin House by Toshiko Mori Architect

Architecture is created for everyone.

to be used, lived in, visited, loved, hated, talked about, create a mood, guide us, challenge us, move us, protect us.

Architecture is all around us and can be appreciated at many levels and in a multitude of ways.  Let me use wine as an analogy.  IMG_0767Wine connoisseurs know a lot about wine, they know about the different grape varieties, where they grow, what each plant and grape looks like.  They understand the process of converting those grapes to wine, all the science and technique required, how many people are involved how many years it takes.  A wine connoisseur will know to look and smell the wine before tasting and be able to notice and articulate the subtle differences and undertones in a glass of wine using vocabulary such as robust and angular.

Does all this mean that anyone cannot enjoy a glass of wine?  Absolutely Not

It just means that the wine connoisseur will experience the wine differently have more background and likely read more from the experience but it is not a requirement to enjoy the wine and have an opinion about it.

Architecture is just like wine (minus the side effects).

If you are an architect, an architecture student or an architecture groupie you have studied and trained to read architecture and thus will see details and formulate an opinion perhaps quicker, you will notice more, know what to look for, have the vocabulary to speak about it but

anyone can have an opinion about architecture

Darwin Martin HouseBoth modern architecture and historic architecture can be good or bad.  Just because a building is old doesn’t make it good architecture and just because a building is new doesn’t make it bad architecture, and visa-versa.  Use your own judgment, next time you are looking at architecture try to make a definitive decision about whether you like it or not and why.

Left, The Darwin Martin House by Frank Lloyd Wright

Remember there is no wrong answer.

Also visit www.archgroupie.com   modern and contemporary architecture – by location

Related articles:

architecture JARGON: one

architecture JARGON: two

How do we EXPERIENCE ARCHITECTURE

Advertisements

Computer Modeling changed the path of architecture

guggenheim_bilbao Gehry_Technologies“the computer is a tool, not a partner – an instrument for catching the curve, not for inventing it”  Frank Gehry

Computers are changing architecture – some believe it is for the worst, other for the better, either way the transformation is unfolding and modern and contemporary architecture is made of different materials, formed into new shapes and much more experimental than it has ever been.  This is an exciting time to be visiting new architecture; current architects are pushing the envelope – literally.

So how does computer software actually change the face of architecture?

The computer software that has allowed for these architectural opportunities is called Building Information Modeling more commonly referred to simply as BIM.  BIM is intelligent model-based digital representation of physical and functional characteristics of building elements.  The digital model becomes a shared wholistic and comprehensive information resource of the facility throughout its entire lifecycle – Yikes!  In short architects are now building complex building forms in 3-dimensions rather than only working in plan, section and elevation (essentially flattening the building like a cubist painting). The benefit is that the complexity is computed and rationalized by the computer and the complicated information can be sent directly to manufacturers and contractors for production.

Many people believe that this type of technology is very new however this technology dates back almost 30 years.  A Hungarian company, Graphisoft, launched a 3D CAD program for Mac in 1984, eventually recognized globally in 1987 under Graphisoft’s ‘Virtual Building’ concept, now known as ArchiCAD, almost simultaneously Autodesk released 2D AutoCAD, unfortunately the popularity of computer drafting grew – until now.  The term BIM was used loosely until Autodesk popularized it in more recent years.

We are reaching a tipping point in architecture similar to the renaissance when drawing perspective altered the way architecture was designed, created and perceived.  The future of architecture is entering a new chapter, an exciting chapter defying normal architectural rules and conventions are questioned re-examined and pushed to its limits.  BIM connects architects and projects from opposite sides of the world allowing amazingly complex projects to be built within a fraction of the time pre-computer architecture.  Think back not too long ago to the Sydney Opera House, the project was awarded to Jorn Utzon in 1957, the first of three back to back phases began in 1959 and finished in 1973.  The iconic architectural landmark took 16 years from conception to completion.  Compared to Bilbao Guggenheim which was awarded to Frank Gehry in 1992 began construction in 1993 and was complete in 1997 – 5 years later.

NRS12706, 2/8645A   Sydney Opera House Detail Drawing   Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House above, Bilbao Guggenheim below

Gehry Sketch - Guggenheim  Guggenheim Bilbao by Frank Gehry  guggenheim computer model

Have you ever wondered what the drawings for Bilbao Guggenheim by Frank Gehry look like?  In fact Gehry has invented his own software to accomplish his designs to get his projects realized

Complex connection, organic shapes, and playful forms are all possible architects have more freedom and we have more to be astonished by.  Some examples of contemporary architecture taking full advantage of what computer modeling can achieve.

The Beijing National Stadium (aka the bird’s nest) by Herzog & de Meuron was completed in 2008 for the Beijing Olympics, below.  A complex façade constructed of a double-curved roof of woven steel box beams sized at 1meter squared.  The geometries where multifaceted – an impossible design to achieve and construct within the five year time frame they had.

National Stadium  Bird's Nest

Jean Nouvel’s Louvre Abu Dhabi in Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi, UAE is still in construction however computer generated design was pivotal in creating the effect Nouvel was looking for, below.  The most notable architectural feature is the perforated dome roof with a pattern of shadows – more than 1000 tender drawings and datasheets were required to describe and analyze the lattice dome.  More than one hundred thousand structural and architectural members were rationalized and assembled using the computer model.

Louvre Museum Abi Dhabi

Riverside Museum in Glasgow by Zaha Hadid is a Museum of Transport.  The complex form was created, studied, and fabricated with the computer model. Most of Hadid’s work, if not all, uses the computer to achieve organic and unusual forms.  Her architecture is unlike any others and the experience within each building is unique and memorable.

Zaha Hadid Computer modeling      BIM zaha-hadid Riverside Museum Riverside Museum in Glasgow Riverside Museum in Glasgow Diagram Riverside Museum in Glasgow Construction

The discussion of computer modeling and its effect of contemporary architecture is overwhelming however the opportunities that have been created for more exciting and intriguing architecture is yet to be created.

Starchitect

Starchitect is a blend of two words and their definitions to create a new word.

The Starchitect (star –a architect) describes architects who have obtained celebrity status and fame within the community of architecture as well as become known amongst the general population.  This fame is often a result of architecture which is avant-guard, extremely creative, provocative, the charismatic or intense nature of the architect him or herself, and their unique work that pushes the envelope of modern architecture to the next level.

Since fame is dependent on the media and is designated by others – the starchitect is therefore a fleeting or permanent designation out of the control of the architect.  Sometimes this term is meant derogatorily and some architects have an opinion about it, such as Frank Gehry who stated in his interview with The Independent called Frank Gehry: ‘Don’t call me a starchitect’

“I don’t know who invented that f—ing word ‘starchitect’. In fact a journalist invented it, I think. I am not a ‘star-chitect’, I am an ar-chitect…”

Some well known starchitecture:

Some of the most well known starchitects include:

 

Is the ‘starchitect’ a new phenomenon or were architect’s historically famous and the media and pop culture packaged and ‘branded’ the architect in a way similar to movie celebrities to further romanticize the profession or popularize architecture again?

Related starchitect articles worth checking out:

Here Now, the Craziest Starchitect Projects of the Year by Curbed

The ‘Starchitect’ Effect on Condo Prices by The Wall Street Journal

Starchitects: Visionary Architects of the Twenty-first Century

Is modern architecture as valuable as historic architecture?

liu1_5   VS   Pantheon

When I created this blog and the architectureGROUPIE website I asked many people for their feedback, both architects and non-architects, requesting feedback such as if the information was useful, if they would use it, and so forth.  I was definitely more interested in what the non-architects had to say and a recurring comment was “I don’t really visit architecture when I travel”.   I was stumped, since I am an architect and quiet honestly surrounded by them almost all the time I understand we are rare breed so I really didn’t have a clue what people do when they travel other than visit architecture!

So I continued to probe…

What I eventually discovered is that they in fact do visit architecture but typically think of it as landmarks or monuments and they were almost always old, historic and on a travel map.

SO why does the general public consider historic architecture worth visiting and new architect not  worth visiting???

drawing some of my own conclusions I posed this question to all of you:

Is modern architecture as valuable as historic architecture?

here are some possible explanations from all your thoughts:

  • historic architecture which still remains has stood the test of time
  • new architecture is about experimenting and inspired by many things – people just don’t understand architecture now perhaps because there used to be rules and principals to follow
  • some love historic architecture due to some deep nostalgia
  • architecture is making strides in technological improvements but forgetting about the experience
  • architects are involved with the edifice and not the experience
  • architecture is a representation of current ideals – time allows for an appreciation of the those ideals to develop and modern architecture has not had enough time
  • building’s are given significance when it is put in a book or placed on a map
  • historic architecture is known by a greater number of people – they are popular and some are a part of pop culture
  • the wonder of historic architecture’s creation makes it special, new architecture uses technology and machines which we appreciate differently
  • building materials have changed, a large stone building demands more attention
  • the machine age and technology has created a longing for craftsmanship
  • some need to be engaged with architecture to find it valuable – perhaps modern architecture lacks engagement with the public
  • there is a lack of education regarding design among the majority
  • some don’t care for concrete, glass and steel, minimalist design but architects continue to this
  • modern architecture doesn’t have the history and the history is what creates interest and value

my quest for answers continues…

do you have something to add? contribute to this conversation here or on facebook / twitter

Learn more about Bjarke Ingels (B.I.G)

Bjarke Ingels

Bjarke Ingels was born in 1974 and founded B.I.G. (Bjarke Ingels Group) based in both Copenhagen and New York they are well known for innovative and nontraditional design ideas.  Together they work within the field of architecture, urbanism, research and development.

BIGB.I.G’s collective belief is

“A pragmatic utopian architecture that steers clear of the petrifying pragmatism of boring boxes and the naïve utopian ideas of digital formalism… By hitting the fertile overlap between pragmatic and utopia, we architects once again find the freedom to change the surface of our planet, to better fit contemporary life forms. In all our actions we try to move the focus from the small details to the BIG picture.”

Ingels is a large advocate of sustainable architecture and re-thinks the traditional – his work is playful and practical in many ways.  He has caught international attention for his thoughts and works, his most notable projects are:

  • VM Houses (2005), multi-family housing in V and M shaped apartment buildings;
  • Mountain Dwellings (2008), an extensive parking facility combined with terraced housing;
  • 8 House (2010), a large mixed-use housing development.
  • the REN Building, taking its form from the Chinese character for person 人 (“ren”) combining two buildings – one symbolic of mind and the other of body.

To learn more about how Bjarke Ingel’s brain works check out this collection of interviews and talks: 

_______________________________________________________________________________

Bjarke Ingels: 3 warp-speed architecture tales

Uploaded on Sep 15, 2009

Danish architect Bjarke Ingels rockets through photo/video-mingled stories of his eco-flashy designs. His buildings not only look like nature — they act like nature: blocking the wind, collecting solar energy — and creating stunning views at a TED talk http://www.ted.com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4AYE3w5TWHs

_______________________________________________________________________________

Gyre: Recent Work by BIG (Bjarke Ingels)

Published on Oct 10, 2012

Bjarke Ingels, Principal, BIG

“This is the country that invented surf and turf!,” noted BIG Principal Bjarke Ingels in New York magazine when describing his forthcoming residential project W57, “a European-style, low-rise apartment block encircling a courtyard, and a Manhattan tower-on-a-podium, yielding something that looks like neither and behaves like both.” Ingels returns to GSAPP to discuss his recent work.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdrK3G1nU3A

_______________________________________________________________________________

Architect Bjarke Ingels shares his philosophy on the design process

Uploaded on Jan 28, 2011

See what architect Bjarke Ingels has to say about the design process and the importance of print.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFo50kK1tg8

_______________________________________________________________________________

TEDxEast – Bjarke Ingels – Hedonistic Sustainability

Uploaded on May 17, 2011

May 9, 2011- Bjarke Ingels wows the audience with his wit and unlikely architectural solutions around the globe. Prepare to be dazzled.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ogXT_CI7KRU

_______________________________________________________________________________

Bjarke Ingels on Sustainability

Uploaded on Aug 18, 2010Bjarke Ingels one on one talking to specific questions.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKJRS5ZzkDk

_______________________________________________________________________________

Making architecture more like our dreams (Bjarke Ingels)

Published on Apr 20, 2012

CNN’s The Next List profiles innovative Danish architect Bjarke Ingels.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4WY8kcOfc0

_______________________________________________________________________________

Bjarke Ingels – Interview by Studio Banana TV

Uploaded on Dec 7, 2011

Studio Banana TV interviews Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, principal of BIG

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAkt49vu1ms

_______________________________________________________________________________

BIG ECH – Escher Tower

Uploaded on Jan 14, 2008

Bjarke Ingels describes how when asked to design a Scandinavian skyscraper with views and daylight in abundance, he chose a slim volume: a thin slab with minimal distance between the facades. The thin slab however is as structurally complicated as it is visually simple. It combines maximum wind pressure – the wide side – with minimal foothold – the short side, thus appearing as an unstable monolith.

The Escher Tower in response consists of 3 square towers merged into one. The central tower is straight as a dart, the two peripheral ones change places between ground floor and penthouse, causing the volume to flip 90 degrees. This provides maximal foothold for the hardest wind pressures.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYRCnCxxNkY&list=UUuzMH3B5EdlKWEFacVIXDeQ&index=10

_______________________________________________________________________________

If you ever have a chance to go to Bjarke Ingels’ talks GO –  he is so inspiring!

For more information check out these great reads in BIG

Big - Bjarke Ingels GroupYes Is More: An Archicomic on Architectural Evolution

BIG: Bjarke Ingels Group Projects 2001-2010 Big: Recent Project (English and Japanese Edition)

Modern and Contemporary Architecture Bucket List

Well this was no easy task – putting together a Modern and Contemporary Architecture bucket list has made me pretty choosy. The essence of any good architecture bucket list consists of visiting projects which exemplifying design to near perfection, is beyond the norm and embodies amazing ideas.

Here is the architecture GROUPIE Modern and Contemporary Architecture Bucket List consisting of 25 architectural projects I have made a point to visit or have yet to see in my life.

Yes some are pretty obvious cliche projects but nonetheless they are famous for a reason.

without further ado, in no particular order…

1. The Therme Vals Spa, 1996, Graubunden Canton, Switzerland, Peter Zumpthor

Therme Vals

2. Bilbao – Guggenheim, 1997, Bilbao, Spain, Frank Gehry

Bilbao Guggenheim Museum

3. Sydney Opera House, 1973, Sydney, Australia, Jørn Utzon

Sydney Opera House

4. The Reichstag Building, 1992, Berlin, Germany, Norman Foster

Bundestrag im Reichstag - Berlin Architecture

5. CCTV Headquarters, 1982, Beijing, China, Office of Metropolitan Architects

CCTV - 1

6. Fallingwater (Kaufmann Residence), 1935, Pennsylvania, USA, Frank Lloyd Wright

Fallingwater

7. Oslo Opera House, 2007, Oslo, Norway, Snohetta

oslo opera house

8. Burj al Arab Hotel Dubai, 1999, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Tom Wright

Burj-al-arab-hotel

9. Church of Light, 1989, Ibaraki, Japan, Tadao Ando

ChurchOfLight

10. The Louvre Pyramid, 1988, Paris, France, I.M. Pei

louvre-museum

11. Barcelona Pavilion, 1929, rebuilt 1986, Barcelona, Spain, by Mies van der Rohe

Barcelona Pavillion

12. Canova Plaster Cast Museum, 1957, Treviso, Italy, Carlo Scarpa

Canova Plaster Cast Museum

13. Soumaya Museum, 2011, Polanco, Mexico, LAR / Fernando Romero y Mauricio Ceballos

Soumaya Museum

14. London Aquatics Centre, 2012, London, England, Zaha Hadid

London Aquatics Centre

15. City of Arts and Sciences, 2002, Valencia, Spain, Santiago Calatrava

Arts and Sciences

16. Notre Dame du Haut, 1954, Ronchamp, France, Le Corbusier

IMG_0702a

17. Centre Pompidou-Metz, 2010, Metz, France, Shigeru Ban

Centre Pompidou-Metz

18. Prada, 2003, Tokyo, Japan, Herzog & de Meuron

Prada - Tokyo

19. Sendai Mediathèque, 2000, Sendai, Japan, Toyo Ito

Sendai Mediathèque

20. Salk Institute for Biological Studies, 1960s, San Diego, California, Louis Kahn

Salk Institute

21. Louvre-Lens, 2012, Lens, France, SANAA

Louvre Lens

22. Case Study House #8, 1949, California, USA, Ray and Charles Eames

Case Study House 8

23. HSBC Main Building, 1985, Hong Kong, China, Norman Foster

HSBC Main Building

HSBC Main Building

24. Lotus Temple, 1986, New Delhi, India, Fariborz Sahba

Lotus Temple

25. Louvre, Abu Dhabi, 2013, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Jean Nouvel

Louvre Museum Abi Dhabi

Let me know which architectural projects have made your Bucket List!

Interviews with Zaha Hadid

YZ221_01.tifZaha Hadid is one of the youngest people and only women to ever win the prestigious Pritzker Prize – the highest award in architecture.  Jorge Silvetti, a Pritzker Prize juror stated:”What she has achieved with her inimitable manipulation of walls, ground planes, and roofs, with those transparent, interwoven, and fluid spaces, are vivid proof that architecture as a fine art has not run out of steam and is hardly wanting in imagination.”

Zaha was born in Baghdad in 1950, and obtained a degree in mathematics from the American University in Beirut before moving to London in 1972 to study at the Architecture Association School, winning the school’s Diploma Prize in 1977.

Z ChairHer innovative creations span the entire spectrum of design, from large-scale urban architecture to interiors, furniture and exhibition spaces, and have graced cities around the globe, winning her a number of awards and prizes.  Her best known projects are:

Zaha’s recently completed the London Aquatics Centre.  At the completion ceremony, the International Olympic Committee Chairman Jacques Rogge said: “I have seen so many venues in my life but I had a visual shock when I came into the Aquatics Centre. Everything stands out: the harmony, the quality, the innovation. It’s a masterpiece!”

In addition to her architecturalarchitects sketch and design work she is a gifted artist – she has exhibited at New York’s Guggenheim and Modern Art museums – and also an academic.

Interviews with Zaha Hadid:

Zaha Hadid Talking About Challenges of Architecture

Uploaded on Apr 5, 2010

Zaha Hadid talks to JO Magazine about the challenges of architecture.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QcdvMm6c-fU

———————————————————————————————————–

What is New? – Zaha Hadid

Uploaded on Jan 11, 2012

Pritzker Prize-winning architect Zaha Hadid has added several projects to her international portfolio: the Guangzhou Opera House in China, the Evelyn Grace Academy and the London Aquatics

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7j7gTBqijA

———————————————————————————————————–

ZAHA HADID – TWIRL

Uploaded on Apr 15, 2011

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cb3PoRzS_w

———————————————————————————————————–

Building the unbuildable – Zaha Hadid

Uploaded on May 7, 2011

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qr9P3EWYPiA

———————————————————————————————————–

Building the unbuildable – Zaha Hadid

Published on Jun 23, 2012

This year, the Guardian invited award-winning architect Zaha Hadid to Cannes Lions to speak about her own creativity.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ujFMRrSmIek

———————————————————————————————————–

OMEGA Ladymatic presents CNN’s Leading Women – Zaha Hadid

Published on Oct 11, 2012

Leading Women, a CNN television series that connects its viewers to extraordinary women at the top of their chosen fields, is sponsored by OMEGA Ladymatic.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2ZN5quZdfg

———————————————————————————————————–

Zaha Hadid | Galaxy SOHO Beijing

Published on Nov 6, 2012 

Last weekend, in the heart of Beijing, the unveiling of the amorphous globes of Zaha Hadid’s Galaxy SOHO stunned visitors with the office and retail complex’s radical aesthetic. Beijing’s rapid economic growth has thrust the cityscape into a continuous battle between ever-climbing modern high rises, and the traditional, winding alleyways, unique to the capital city. Crane.tv meets Hadid to hear about her newest structural feat, and collect the thoughts of the building’s wide-eyed neighbours.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOD8i8dJysM

———————————————————————————————————–

Zaha Hadid on song: China’s Guangzhou Opera House

Uploaded on Mar 8, 2011

Jonathan Glancey explores Guangzhou’s glittering, intergalactic new opera house, designed by British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid and opened last weekend. Sixteen years after a similar project in Wales ground to a halt, she explains why Cardiff’s loss is China’s gain

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0OgaaY62CTo

———————————————————————————————————–

Zaha Hadid: Complete Works, 1979-2009

        Zaha Hadid: Form in Motion (Philadelphia Museum of Art)

12 awesome ARCHITECTURE websites

architecture websites copy

There are so many great architecture resources online I thought I would share my favorite architecture websites.  These websites feature modern and contemporary architecture and include great photos and information on new projects around the world.

I love to look at these websites and now you can too.

These are not inclusive of all architecture websites – just some of my favorites.  listed in alphabetical order. 

12 awesome ARCHITECTURE websites architecture groupie’s will love:

archdaily.com

archgroupie.com

archidose.blogspot.ca

archinect.com

architonic.com/nttre/architecture

contemporist.com

designboom.com/architecture

detail-online.com/architecture

fastcodesign.com

inhabitat.com/architecture

mocoloco.com/fresh2/architecture

thecoolhunter.net/architecture

wallpaper.com/architecture

AND don’t forget to check out:

 ebook image-reducedArchitecture Travel: a how to guide

Charles and Ray Eames

Charles Eames:  Born in St. Louis, 1907, studied architecture at Washington University.  In 1936 began his fellowship at Cranbrook Academy of Arts in Michigan, during this time he collaborated with Eero Saarinen on furniture design.  The team won first place in MoMA’s ‘Organic Design in Home Furnishings’ competition.

Bernice Alexander Kaiser (name changed to Ray in 1954):  Born in Sacramento, California, 1933, studied painting at The Arts Students League and the Hans Hoffman School in New York.  In 1940 began school at Cranbrook Academy of Arts in Michigan where she met Charles.

Charles and Ray Eames where married in 1941, moved to Los Angeles and “began the greatest husband-and-wife collaboration of the century” (Fiell 141).

Case Study House No. 8

Pacific Palisades, California, 1945 to 1949

The Eames House is a double-storey unit divided into house and studio areas by an open court.
Made of light steel frame, standard 7 foot 6 inch bays, with sashes and panels from standard industrial components utilized in a straightforward and workmanlike way.  Materials such as: transparent panels, clear or wired glass; translucent panels of glass fibre, opaque panels of wood and coloured aluminum  were used for the building shell.  The interior was filled with furniture, flowers, pillows, toys, candles, with a mezzanine and built-in
seats, and bookcases.

This house was designed for a living pattern and not as a fixed architectural pattern.

Design Philosophy:

They could not see why the living, moving, outward-rounded human form should have to be flattened against a rigid, straight surface, or pressed down on an arbitrarily curved one when sitting or lounging.  Chair seats and back should be sculpted to fit and conform to body movements.

The Eames strived to create well-designed furniture for the masses which was affordable, durable and comfortably fit the body thus providing a positive house environment.
Their chairs belong to the occupants, not to the building.

They began working with fiberglass in the 1950s because it could be easily manipulated, creating a one-piece chair which was mass produced for Herman Miller Co. with Zenith Plastics and UCLA.
The Plastic Shell Group of chairs were made of molded fiberglass-reinforced polyester seat shell connected to various metal rod bases, with rubber shock-mounts, some were designed to be stack-able.

New technologies were fundamental as well as close relationships with manufactures to ensure they employed the latest products and techniques.
Charles and Ray were thorough and vigorous in their process.

Ray Eames stated that “what works is better than what looks good.  The ‘look good’ can change, but what works, works.”

Eames Plywood Work:

Lounge Chair and Ottoman,
1956-7, ($634 in 1957, today $5500 )
The comfortable executive chair is made of rosewood veneer, moulded plywood shells, upholstered foam and downfilled and leather cover on a swivelling cast aluminium base.

“This differs from bent plywood in that there is no excessive compression or internal stresses set up nor any tendency to return to the flat shape.

At the time of curing the individual plys of veneer are held in the desired relation to each other and so take the molded contour as their natural shape.”

Charles and Ray created a one-piece compound curved chair through the use of their homemade ‘Kazam’ Machine.  It worked by pushing glued plys, with a bicycle pump, against an electrically  heated plaster mold creating the curved plywood chair.  This process worked but took
4 to 6 hours, too long for mass production.

Process & Technique:

Eames Sketches

Charles and Ray experimented on innovative methods of molding plywood into furniture for mass production.  Their designs are molded in two directions creating compound curves from thin veneers laminated together, achieving considerable strength.

Designs were explored with full scale models from preliminary sketches, working drawings were rare.  These models under went scrutinized testing for comfort and durability.

In 1941 The Chrysler Corporation invented a process called cycle-welding which allowed wood to be joined to rubber, glass or metal, without protruding bolts or screws, this connection absorbs shock and distribute stress.  However at this time the technology was reserved for the military.  Eventually the use of Rubber Shock Mounts and Electronic Cycle Welding became available and applied to their designs.
This same process was used to mass produce the molded-plywood forms.  A synthetic resin was placed between each sheet of laminated timber, allowing each layer to cure for a few seconds while heat is supplied by a wave emission from an electronic instrument.

The mechanical components are displayed but not glorified, they believed that it was appropriate to make the greatest use out of the least amount of material.

Charles Eames stated “I think of myself officially as an architect.  I can’t help but look at problems around us as problems of structure-and structure is architecture”

Bibliography:

      

Charles and Ray Eames: Designers of the Twentieth Century

Eames Design

Eames: The Architect and the Painter

Charles Eames. Furniture from the Design Collection. The Museum of Modern art, New York

MUST SEE architecture movies

Sometimes a documentary is just easier and a bit more fun to learn about architecture than to read all these books.

13 must see architecture documentaries:

(in no particular order)

1.  Antonio Gaudi (The Criterion Collection)(1984)

In this documentary Teshigahara immortalize Antonio Gaudí taking the audience on a trip of Gaudí’s amazing architecture, such as his large and still-unfinished project Sagrada Familia in Barcelona Spain. The photographic work as strong and delicate.
 

2.  Regular or Super – Views on Mies van der Rohe(2005)

REGULAR OR SUPER is a review of Mies van der Rhoe’s entire body of work, showcasing more than 70 projects which reflect his motto: “less is more.”  This is an informative introduction to the work of one of the most influential architects of the 20th century.
 

3.  Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman(2010)

Although this is not a movie about a specific architect it is a great movie for those interested in architectural photography.  VISUAL ACOUSTICS celebrates the life and career of Julius Shulman, the world s greatest architectural photographer, whose images brought modern architecture to the American mainstream. Capturing the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, Richard Neutra, John Lautner and Frank Gehry to name a few.
 

4.  Sketches of Frank Gehry by Sydney Pollack (2005)

This film is a conversation between Frank Gehry and Sidney Pollack who discuss Gehry’s career and the process of making his architecture.  They visit four projects in this film: the Vitra Museum in Germany, Maggie’s Centre, the Guggenheim in Bilbao, and the Disney Concert Hall in L.A.
 

5.  My Architect (2003)

The world-famous architect Louis Kahn had two illegitimate children, this movie is one son’s exploration of his father’s architecture while meeting people who worked and knew him.  Exeter Library, Salk Institute, and Bangladeshi Capitol Building are visited in this documentary and much is revealed about the life and death of Kahn.

6.  Eames: The Architect and the Painter

A movie about America’s most influential and important industrial designers Charles and Ray Eames.  Interviews with friends, colleague, and experts capture the personal story of Charles and Ray giving context to their projects.
 

7.  Rem Koolhaas: Kind of Architect

Filmed by Markus Heidingsfelder and Min Tesch, this documentary features interviews from other architects and friends about Koolhaas, offering a peek into his process and his influence in architecture. 
(You can watch it here: www.youtube.com/)
 

8.  Philip Johnson: Diary of An Eccentric Architect (1996)

Philip Johnson has always been at the forefront of stylistic change. Featuring the house he designed and lives in, his famous “Glass House” which has no walls so the landscape becomes the wallpaper. This movie is what he refers to as his “diary” and insightful look into the life of Johnson. 
 

9.  The Alchemy of Building

This film explores the way Herzog and de Meuron explore various materials, how their strengths and weaknesses compliment each other and how they collaborate with others, giving the audience insight into how they develop their ground-breaking architecture.

10.  Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater Special Edition

This is a two disc collection including the fascinating story of how Fallingwater came to be as well as interviews with Lynda Waggoner, the director of Fallingwater, and Richard Cleary, an architectural historian.  The second disc includes an interactive visual tour of Fallingwater, and copies of original plans, presentation drawings, and photos.
 

11.  First Person Singular: I.M. Pei

I.M. Pei speaks about his famous projects along with experts who comment on the impact and importance of these projects.  Featured projects include the Louvre in Paris, the East Wing of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas, Texas.
(see a trailer:  First Person Singular; IM Pei)
 

12.  How Much Does Your Building Weigh, Mr. Foster?

How Much Does Your Building Weigh, Mr. Foster? follows Norman Foster’s unending quest to improve the quality of life through design. By investigating his origins to how his dreams and influences inspired the design of emblematic projects such as the world’s largest building to its tallest bridge, Foster offers some striking solutions to humanity’s increasing demand on urban centers. 
(You can watch it here:  www.youtube.com)

13.  Architectures (Vol. 1-5) – 5-DVD Box Set ( Baukunst )

This five volume collection includes: ‘The Dessau Bauhaus by Walter Gropius’, ‘The Siza School’, ‘Family Lodgings in Guise’, ‘Nemausus 1’, ‘The Georges Pompidou Centre’, ‘The Vienna Savings Bank’, ‘The Johnson Building By Frank Lloyd Wright’, ‘The Galleria Umberto I’, ‘Lyon Satolas TGV Station By Santiago Calatrava’, ‘The Stone Thermal Baths By Peter Zumthor’, ‘The Paris Fine Arts School By Felix Duban’, ‘The Jewish Museum Berlin By Daniel Libeskind’, ‘The Garnier Opera By Charles Garnier’, ‘The Convent of La Tourette By Le Courbusier’, ‘The Casa Mila By Antoni Gaudi’, ‘The Auditorium Building in Chicago By Louis Harris Sullivan’, ‘The Municipal Centre of Saynatsalo By Alvaar Alto’, ‘Royal Saltworks of Arc-et-Senans By Claude Nicolas Ledoux’, ‘La Maison de Verre By Pierre Chareau’, ‘The Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao By Frank Gehry’, ‘Jean Prouve’s House’, ‘Multimedia Library of Sendai By Toyo Ito’, ‘The Abbey Church of Sainte Foy at Conques’, ‘The Alhambra, Granada’, ‘The House of Sugimoto, Kyoto’, ‘The Reception and Congress Building in Rome By Adalberto Libera’, ‘The Yoyogi Olympic Gymnasiums By Kenzo Tange’, ‘The Villa Barbaro (Villa di Maser) By Andrea Palladio’ and ‘Phaeno Science Center in Wolfsburg By Zaha Hadid’.  This will keep any architecture groupie occupied for a while – a great gift. 
 
 A Guide to Modern Architecture

VISIT architectureGROUPIE.com for a travel guide to modern architecture

 

The Intention of Architectural Photography

Architectural Photography can serve several objectives, knowing what your objective is will produce a collection of photos that will be useful for you in the future and will help direct your photographic decisions while on site.

Postcard photography: Visiting Modern Architecture

Many buildings have a particular view-point which is easily recognizable and widely documented.  This type of photography typically aims at getting a snap shot of the building from its most recognizable vantage point.  These photos do not require a lot of creativity but rather serve as a kind of proof that you visited the building.  Often people stand in front of the structure as further evidence of their presence.  These are fun and can be used in your slide shows or on social media platforms to show friends and family you were there.

 Visiting Ronchamp – there i am standing in front of the most notable angle of the building

Documentary Architectural Photography:

This is a method of photography where the photos sever to document the architecture in the most truthful means possible.  This type of photography would not implement any personal artistic expression but rather try to utilize as much technical skills to replicate the building’s specific design qualities.

Fred and Ginger by Frank Gehry, this photo represents what the building looks like in its context without any artistic interpretation.

Detail Photography:

This is an important type of photography for those who are very interested in the tectonics of architecture.  These photos focus on how materials come together and on the minute details that represent the whole building.  Mies said “God is in the Detail” these photos embody that principle.  I value these photos the most because they are very difficult to find and are not publically documented often.  They are typically more useful for architects or others in the industry for detailing ideas and should be catalogued well (for tips on cataloguing photos).

I really liked how this handrail felt – so I took a photo for my records

Collection Photography:

Some people enjoy collecting images of a particular architectural element from many different buildings sometimes from all over the world and compiling them into a collection.  Similar to a stamp collection, the architectural element is taken out of its context for review and comparison.  These collections are very always very interesting because they are so focused and by this repetitive comparison you can really begin to distinguish the minute differences in the architectural comparison.  I recommend trying this sometime.

In Peru I was fascinated with the different construction methods of the stone walls, here are a couple from my series. 

Journalistic photography:

This type of photography tells a story about the building.  It requires more attention to the architectural function and often the interaction of people in the space.  Journalistic architectural photography can humanize a building or do the opposite but it will require the photographer to be very conscious of how they want the photo will be interpreted.

As i walked under the building canopy and looked up the ‘skirt of Ginger’.  This photo represents that moment where the building transformed from playful to knotty. 

Artistic Architectural Photography:

Your artistic expression in architectural photography can be the most fun for those who enjoy photography professionally or as a hobby.  The architecture is the subject matter but the photo is really an expression of the photographer and not the architect (unlike the documentary style).  There are endless ways to be artistic with architectural photography however your interpretation of the architecture is the real purpose and at the forefront of the photograph.

This photo of Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre, Osoyoos, crops out much of the building and focuses on what i thought to be the most beautiful elements of the building: the slight curved wall composed colorfully stripping rammed earth and the long horizontal window. 
Next time you are photographing architecture think about the photos purpose….

Visit architectureGROUPIE.com a Modern and Contemporary Architecture Travel Guide

WHY SHOULD YOU VISIT MODERN ARCHITECTURE (5 reasons)

Here are 5 reasons why you should visit modern architecture that perhaps you never thought of.

1.  means to an end

This isn’t quiet the right term but the idea here is that you can use these modern landmarks to explore and meander different streets and new neighborhoods you likely would not have found otherwise.  I have found really great alleys and markets on my way to some of these buildings you just need to keep your eyes open and make the route part of the fun.  Often the new and cool buildings are in up and coming neighborhoods which are nice to checkout before they become tourist traps.

2.  modern architecture is cool

Modern architecture can house some cool stuff or activities.  I have gone to look at some great architecture because of the architect and thought it was actually just really fun and recommended it to my friends just because it was cool.  For example while I was in Tokyo I visited the Swatch Group Store because it was design by Shigeru Ban (fabulous architect).  I actually didn’t know much about this project at all before I went.  The entire ground floor is open to the street, there isn’t any merchandise on the ground floor only glass elevators and a large open space with a trickling waterfall and living wall almost 5 storeys high.   The elevators bring customers to different floors each carrying a different brand of watch.  It is actually one of the best retail stores I have been too, we had an espresso and took a ride in some of the elevators.  It was cool.

Shigeru Ban   Shigeru Ban   Shigeru Ban

3.  it isn’t boring

Visiting modern architecture is not like visiting old Gothic cathedrals, they don’t all look the same! I must admit I don’t’ think Gothic churches all look the same but it is understandable why many would think that.  Old architecture followed particular rules for centuries – that is why they are so similar.  New architecture is not like that – Modern architecture is colourful and playful.  Architects experiment with materials and form.  Even if you don’t like every building – you won’t be bored.

Fun Architecture   Colourful architecture  Suprising architecture

4.  new stories

While your friends are doing and seeing the same old stuff that they found in their travel books you can see new and exciting projects.  Visiting these new buildings will provide you with interesting stories and adventures and you will be the envy of all your friends.

5.  here and now

Modern architecture most often relates to today.  You don’t need to be a historian to understand and appreciate modern architecture.

   Boston Modern Architecture  

Bonus reason:

Because it is now easy to find these modern buildings just visit architecture groupie.com  for an address list!

A Guide to Modern Architecture

Toronto Architecture Resources

There are many resources on Toronto Architecture,

for those who want to learn more…

Here are a few books that will help you while admiring Toronto’s modern architecture:

Toronto Architecture
 
Bold Visions: The Architecture of the Royal Ontario Museum
 
  Toronto architecture
    Concrete Toronto: A Guide to Concrete Architecture from the Fifties to the Seventies
 
  Toronto Architecture
Frank Gehry in Toronto: Transforming the Art Gallery of Ontario
 Toronto Architecture
  Design City Toronto (Interior Angles)

Toronto guide bookToronto Architecture Guide Book

Awesome websites to follow that feature cool Toronto Architecture and more:

Modern Toronto:  http://www.modto.com/

Spacing Toronto:http://spacingtoronto.ca/

A Guide to Modern Architecture
 

WHAT YOU NEED WHEN VISITING MODERN ARCHITECTURE

Visiting modern architecture doesn’t require much. In fact you don’t really need anything, but the following is what I always have on hand to make the most of my visit.

1.  SKETCH BOOK

A sketchbook or notebook is always a good idea. Even if you don’t draw it is great to write down your impressions, features you like and don’t like, and things you learned on your visit.  You always think you will remember but if you see a lot of architecture on your travels everything can become blurry and all mixed up after a while. I re-read my notes all the time and it feels as though I was just there.  For those of you who do sketch it is the best method to remember and learn from these great architects. Sketching is also handy if you are not allowed to take pictures, which depends on the building type and owner.

My favorite, and pretty much all the architects I know, is the Moleskine, they come in a variety of colours which makes it easy to differentiate later if you have a lot of them.  They are made with different eights of paper so if you like a heavy marker it won’t bleed through the other side.  But my favourite feature is the folded pouch in the back – I put all my ticket receipts in there for safe keeping or any little papers I don’t want to lose.
    Moleskine Sketchbook


2.  CAMERA

A camera is important for a few reasons:

-Snap shots will help you to quickly document the architectural features you are fond of and want to remember. These quick shots can be cataloged for your use later

-Architectural photography.  This is a topic of its own which I will be writing about soon.

-Video – every camera nowadays has video there is just some architecture that needs to be filmed either because of sounds or the way the building transforms as you move around it.

While I visit modern architecture I usually have two cameras with me: a point-and-shoot and a DSLR which works well.  If I am just taking a quick shot it is sometimes easier just to pull out the small camera, it is also much better for being discrete the big DSLR can create a bit of a scene. My point and shoot is the Sony Cyber-Shot which has a really good battery and a fairly wide-angle lens which is handy for interior shots and it fits in my pocket or small purse.  I have a Canon DSLR but I am about to upgrade to the Canon REBEL T4i which I am very excited about (I will let you know what i think in an upcoming blog).

      

Sony Cyber-Shot                       Canon REBEL T4i

I will have another blog about Cameras for architectural photography.

3.  A GUIDE TO MODERN ARCHITECTURE

It is not easy finding modern architecture, there is a ton of information to get you to the historic architecture but modern architecture is a different story.  I have spent days before a trip searching high and low to find addresses for buildings, I know the building is there but where is it?

ArchitectureGROUPA Guide to Modern ArchitectureIE is a directory of modern architecture cataloged by city around the world for your use.  Each building has an address, the closest transit stop (if available) and a link to the website for further information.  This now makes it easy for you to go visit these cool projects hassle free.

4.  GOOD CITY MAP

There is no point in having a map in a city you don’t know unless it is good and I am pretty picky about my maps. There is one travel map I repeatedly purchase before my travels: Knopf MapGuide.

The Knopf MapGuide are my favorite because the city is broken down into small sections and color coded, each section flips open and contains the map with pictures of landmarks in that area (pictures are good especially for cities that are a different language).  The map guides are small and discrete and have a lot of helpful tips.  There are no gimmicks it is just simple and since the flaps are organized by area it practically organizes my itinerary already.  I also like that I can write on it, some maps are glossy or have so many folds or the paper is too thin, it is important to be able to mark it up with the modern architecture you want to see.

        Knopf MapGuide

5.  WHY architecture GROUPIE is THE BEST ARCHITECTURE GUIDE BOOK:

-EASY TO USE, PRINTABLE and ONLY THE INFORMATION YOU NEED:

-HYPERLINKS and INTERACTIVE FEATURES (add your notes and click MUST SEE)

-TOP CITY TIPS and WALKING DISTANCE DIAGRAM

-NO ADVERTISING / UNSOLICITED PROJECTS

Toronto guide book

Visit:  travelguide.archgroupie.com/

architecture GROUPIE now has digital maps ALSO!

TECH

Less expensive and easy to use – Designed for use on your smart phone, tablet or computer!

6.  AN OPEN MIND

Remember you can learn a lot about what you like and dislike in architecture when visiting projects you don’t necessarily like from a picture. Some architecture is spectacular in person and a photograph does not do it justice and vice versa – just because a building is famous or popular does not mean you need to like it. But there is something to be appreciated in all modern architecture so keep an open mind – it is easy to be critical – a lot of work goes into making architecture.  It has been my opinion that when there is strong reaction to a building (good or bad) it is worth visiting, discussing and thinking about it.

Visit architectureGROUPIE.com a Modern and Contemporary Architecture Travel information.

Prada by Herzog & de Meuron Architekten

5 TIPS FOR VISITING MODERN ARCHITECTURE ON A BUDGET

Prada by Herzog & de Meuron Architekten

Prada by Herzog & de Meuron Architekten

Traveling can be expensive but visiting modern architecture isn’t always as expensive as you may think.  Here are a few ways to visit architecture on a budget.

 
 
This is Prada by Herzog & de Meuron Architekten in Tokyo in 2008. 
As long as you don’t shop this architecture is free. 

1.  MUSEUMS AND GALLERIES

Lots of great new Modern Architecture are Museums and Art galleries which typically have high admission prices which can get pretty expensive particularly in cities that are full of them.  However, many museums and gallery’s have days/evenings that are free or by donation, look for this before your trip. If you are not there that particular day of the month or it is not available you can often see the majority of the interior with just general admission rather than paying a premium for the special exhibits.  If you are interested in the exhibit as well the architecture it is really is a two for one deal in my opinion.  To save a bit of money I would recommend eating before or after because the museum cafe can be a bit pricey.

2.  GO SHOPPING

There is a lot of modern architecture that are shopping malls / flagship stores / religious venues / libraries and so forth and are free!  I found many of the buildings I wanted to see in Tokyo were the stores, expensive ones such as the Prada store so I didn’t spend any money and I got to see a tone of great modern architecture for free.

3.  PRIORITIZE

If you are really strapped for cash prioritize the architecture on your “must see” list (see blog: 5 Tips for Visiting Architecture) so you know which building’s are worth splurging on.  the projects lower on the list can be admired from the outside and the lobby, not quiet the same but will give you a sense of the design and building materials.

4.  MAKE IT PART OF THE EXPERIENCE

Some modern architecture such as theatre’s and performance venues are not open to public without a tour, these tours vary but generally can be 60min to 90min.  instead of taking the tour try to buy tickets for a show some venues sell tickets cheap on the day of which may cost a bit more than the day tour but you will get hours of entertainment and see the architecture as it was meant to be.  I like to try to do this for each city I visit, they are often more memorable than the day tour.

5. ASK

If you are a student, particularly architecture student, always ask if there are student admission prices even if it is not posted. when I was an architecture student I carried a letter from my school stating I was traveling for school and some architectural venues let me in for free, that was sometime ago but it is worth a try.  Seniors should also ask for discounted rates.  if you are visiting a project that is by donation don’t skip out on the donation. The buildings often need this money to operate and maintain the building and we want to help preserve these architectural works for future generations.

Visit architectureGROUPIE.com a Modern and Contemporary Architecture Travel Guide