architecture fun

So where is the architecture?

Believe it or not there is architecture everywhere.

It is likely you will not need to travel across an ocean to get to see beautiful buildings and design.  I read book many years ago called Outside Lies Magic by John R. Stilgoe, I thought the book was only semi-interesting but I loved its premise.  In short Stilgoe was suggesting that there is inspiration everywhere when you become acutely aware of everyday places and observe the ordinary elements around you.  The book covered some mundane stuff but what I took from it was the idea that there is design and architecture everywhere as long as you are looking for it.

Apartment Building  Herzog de Mueron inspiration

Apartment Building, Basel in Switzerland by Herzog and De Mueron, did inspiration come from the road sewer grate?
 

So I suggest that architecture is not far, it could be in your backyard.

Next time you are out on a walk or taking a bike ride – observe the buildings around you.  Most people take their everyday environments for granted and no longer see beauty and design right in front of them.  I sometimes bringing a camera which helps me focus and pay extra attention to the magical moments and minute details.

Iconic architecture can be a short road trip away.  There are many wonderful projects that are not in a city centre but a bit off the beaten track – they could be a day trip or weekend excursions.  These projects are great excuses to just get away for a day or two.

These are some of my architecture road trips:

Fallingwater

Fallingwater by Frank Lloyd Wright in Pennsylvania, a spectacular building and a memorable experience (6 hour road trip from Toronto).

Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre

Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre by Hotson Bakker Boniface Haden architects in Osoyoos, British Columbia, I had read about the rammed earth wall and wanted to see it in person (5 hour road trip from Vancouver)

Ronchamp

La Chapelle de Ronchamp Notre Dame du Haut by Le Corbusier in Ronchamp France, had been on my bucket list since architecture school (a couple hour drive from Basel)

La Tourette Church by Le Corbusier

Sainte Marie de La Tourette by Le Corbusier outside Lyon, this spiritual convent was inspirational and spiritual (less than an hour outside Lyon, France)

Felsen Therma Vals

Therme Vals by Peter Zumthor in Vals, Switzerland, I was lucky to get into this thermal spa, architecture which touches all the senses (about 2.5 hours from Zurich)

The Bauhaus in Dessau Germany by Walter Groupius

The Bauhaus in Dessau Germany by Walter Groupius

The Bauhaus Dessau by Walter Gropius, Dessau Germany, any modernist would love to visit the school where modern architecture was born (1.5 hours outside Berlin)

ChurchOfLight

Church of Light by Tadao Ando in Ibaraki, Japan, I missed this project because I got very turned around a lost so it is still on my bucket list (just over an hour from Kyoto)

Suprising architecture

Vitra Design Museum, projects by Zaha Hadid, Herzog & de Meuron, Frank Gehry, Tadao Ando, SANAA and more Weil am Rhein Germany, a campus of architecture (less than 30min from Basel)

a happy groupie is an architecture GROUPIE

visit www.archgroupie.com the architecture directory

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

package your architectural memories

So we take these extraordinary architectural journeys and visit inspirational places and but when we get home it seem almost immediately to be like a dream that went by in a flash.  Before you begin planning your next trip take some time and package your architectural memories.

Make the most of your experiences and re-live them by sharing with family and friends.  This is what I do to keep the inspiration and memories around me or at my finger tips.

Scrapbook / Box it

It sounds nerdier then it is.  I try to keep all the tickets stubs, receipts, plane boarding passes, train tickets and even subway cards from my trips.  When I return home I usually put them all in a scrapbook or well labeled box.  It is surprising how much you forget until you open up the scrapbook or box and see a ticket stub to a museum or tour and flooded with memories of the day and experience.  I also like to look back to see how much I paid for things like flights or dinners and it makes it much easier when friends ask me what I did when I was there.  It is also nice to see how different the each scrapbook can be, ticket stubs and receipts in different languages, little notes and things you pick up along your travels can vary immensely.  The scrapbook doesn’t need to be beautiful – just make sure the paper has a heavy weight, I like paperclips for pamphlets and maps, staples and glue work well also.

Scrapbook3 Scrapbook2 Scrapbook1  Box-it

Photobook

Some of us will have taken thousands of digital pictures which will go into our computers never to be seen again. Create a photobook that looks like a magazine, the days of the old 4×6 picture album with plastic sleeves is over.  There are much better photobooks that are so easy to make online.  I have used the Blacks photobooks but there are lots of companies that provide similar services.

Now that we take hundreds, even thousands of photos on our trips picking the right pictures can be a bit of work.  An easy way to sift through all of this is to make a ‘BEST OF…’ folder.  Then go through all the pictures and any one you like COPY into the ‘BEST OF…’ folder, you do not need to be too picky at this point, if you are really thorough this is when you can delete any out of focus shots or just really bad ones.  When you are done the first round go to the ‘BEST OF…’ folder and see how many pictures you have.  Keep narrowing it down removing photos that are repetitive, try to get the essence of the trip.  Depending on how big you want to make your photobook is how many photos you should have in this folder.

Slideshow

Using the photos from your ‘BEST OF…’ folder you can easily make this into a slideshow.  There is so much software available to do this I won’t go through all of them, keep in mind you can add any videos you took, include local music, add captions and so on.  Be creative and have fun.  You can play your slideshow on your TV or computer; you can send it to your friends and family online. I recommend no more than 200 pictures – this is even pushing it for the average attention span – they weren’t there so they are only so interested.  Also be sure that the pictures you use in a slideshow are not just of you with a landmark in the background, my brother and his girlfriend did this and watching a slideshow essentially of just them was pretty boring and we have never let them live it down (all in good fun).

Journal it

Travel Journal

Writing and/or drawing in a journal is so gratifying for your future reminiscing.  I highly encourage you to spend a few minutes everyday on the trip and jot down a few things you were thinking throughout the day.  But what do you write, here are some ideas:  the most surprising or best part of the day, what really inspired you and why, what you thought was disappointing.  If you don’t’ like to spend time doing this when you could be out and about take advantage of the train rides or waiting in the airport, there is always some downtime that can be better utilized. These short notes are priceless and you can keep them private or share them.

Showcase

It is always nice to surround yourself with memories of the places you have been and also a way to decorate your home.  Here are some suggestions of ways to display your photos which I have done.

Collage

Print 4×6 photos and collage them together, this is inexpensive and a fun home project.  The image above is a small portion of my photos of Japan, if you make the collage big enough it has lots of impact and can tell the story of your trip and all the places you have been.

Photos on the cheap       Photos on the cheap 2

This image are photos I printed on my home printer and then spray glued each photo on foamcore, using an x acto knifecut off the boarders and mounted them on the wall using a small piece of double sided tape (be careful to use a tape that can come off the wall easily).

Photo Series

A series of photos is also nice, the image above are two photos from Turkey I sent to be printed and then mounted them in frames I purchased.  This is more expensive, the cost will depend on the frame and type of printing you choose.

Party

Often when I return from a trip I am eager to share what I have seen and learned with anyone who will listen.  Returning from a vacation doesn’t mean the fun is over – have a party themed and inspired by it.  When I returned home from Peru I decided to have a bunch a girlfriends over and host a ‘Peruvian night’ we all brought a Peruvian dish, drank pisco sours and I ran my slideshow with the native music playing.  It was all very fun and relaxed and because a few of them had already been there it was a trip down memory lane for them too.

A happy groupie is an architecture GROUPIE

Try HDR for your Architectural Photography

HDR is an awesome photo technique so if you haven’t tried it in your architectural photography you should. 

I am going to give you the 101 on HDR. 

High Dynamic Range (HDR) is a post-processing method of taking a series of images, combining them, and adjusting the contrast ratios to do things that are virtually impossible with a single aperture and shutter speed.

HDR compensates for this loss of detail of overexposed and underexposed areas in a photo by taking multiple pictures at different exposure levels and stitching them together to produce a picture that is representative in both dark and bright areas in computer software during post-production.

The reason HDR creates such amazingly realistic photos is because a single image uses only one shutter speed and one aperture setting however the human eye does not process images the same way.  Your eyes move and adjust the light as required and does a lot to process an image accurately.  So even with the best equipment getting an accurate representation of what you saw is difficult.  HDR stitches all the images together – a trick to accurately represent and image.  Many times HDR is exaggerated in post-production – this effect is no for everyone or appropriate for all pictures so balancing the effect with your desired outcome is where the challenge lies.  Some examples of HDR from www.stuckincustoms.com:

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What you need:

1.  MANUAL CAMERA

A camera which can be put into manual mode, likely a DSLR or SLR, because you will need to be able to adjust your exposure (I have the Canon 4Ti which is an inexpensive camera with lots of features).  Most DSLRs have Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB) which allows you to set the exposure easily and the photo will take the photos and adjust automatically.  If you are not sure check your camera’s manual.  Some of the newest cameras have an HDR feature but this does all the work for you and you will have no control over the final output – do a comparison to see if you are happy with the results.  Also, I would recommend taking the photos in RAW+JPEG but if you are low on memory or can’t shoot in the RAW it is fine (Shooting in RAW just gives more post production control).

2.  TRIPOD

A tripod is important to maintain the exact same shot with different exposures.  There are so many tripods out there and the price range is significant the Manfrotto 410 is an awesome tripod because of all the leveling features and stability but there are less expensive tripods on the market.  For the purpose of HDR you just need to keep the camera still so a basic tripod and you can adjust and straighten your photo in post-production.  It is also recommended to have a camera remote (canon rs-60e3) which prevents the camera from shaking when you press the shoot button.  If you are traveling and want to pack light just use the timer on your camera so you press the button and there is a short delay before the camera goes off.

Manfrotto tripod

3.  POWER & MEMORY

Taking HDR is requires taking multiple shots for every one photo, usually 3 or 5 but if you are very particular or need a really perfect image you can do more with less exposure range between them.  Thus you will be going through your batteries and memory 3 or 5 times faster, something to prepare for if you are taking a trip.  Note:  if you are planning a trip soon try this technique before you go so you don’t miss a great photo.

4.  THE SUBJECT

The image should not be in motion, repetitive motion is fine for example a waterfall but people walking will result in ghosting – which can be a cool effect but may not be what you want.  If you are shooting architecture this shouldn’t be a problem.  Also, you will likely see the most noticeable improvement in photos where the subject has with lots of color, HDR can be used for monochromatic photography however I found the benefits less apparent.

5.  SOFTWARE

There are a number of software programs available to do the HDR post-production, I always use Adobe Photoshop but this is pretty expensive software, an alternate I have been hearing about is called Photomatrix.

For more research check out this review of HDR software Top 10 Best HDR Software Review 2012

  

OKAY – now you are ready to begin, it is easy

  1. Setup your camera on a tripod as you would for any photo
  2. Using the AEB function set three exposure levels appropriate to your setting with one begin the correct exposure (you can add more exposures as you practice).  You can meter the dark and light spots to find the right exposure range.  If you do not have AEB you will need to adjust the exposure manually after each shot but be careful not to move the camera.
  3. Take the photos, depending on your camera you will either press the shot button once or will need to do it for each shot.
  4. Bring your images into the post-production software and have fun, play around with the features and the light levels. The process will depend on the software you choose, if you are using Photoshop this YouTube video will help you see the process:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qhnd1oNlqCU

13 + 2Untitled_HDR2

You will never say

“Well, you really had to be there” again

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Architectural Photographers that will leave you speechless

Hisao Suzuki Photography

Sometimes the architecture is the star of the photograph  other-times the architecture is the subject and the photograph is the showstopper.  Noteworthy  architectural photographers,  Ezra Stoller, Iwan Baan,  Lucien HervéJulius Shulman, Erieta Attali, and Hisao Suzuki capture architecture that will leave you speechless by the sheer fact that they are amazing photographers.  Architectural photography on occasion is so powerful in their representation their images will forever represent the building’s the photograph.

Architectural photography is an art which two-dimensionally represents the essence of the three-dimensional built form and the architect’s idea and vision.  We can aspire to their work and look at their talent not just as a mastery of technique but also a unique and insightful way they see space, light and lines.  Their photos and career inspire my architectural photography i hope you take a moment to notice the talent of this small collection of images which represent architecture in a magical way.

Ezra Stoller Photography

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Ezra Stoller was born in Chicago, 1915, but grew up in New York.  When he was a student he photographed buildings, models and sculpture. In 1942 he was drafted to work as a photographer for the Army Signal Corps Photo Center. Stoller had a long architectural photography career, working closely with Eero Saarinen, Frank Lloyd Wright, Richard Meier, Paul Rudolph, Marcel Breuer, I.M. Pei, Gordon Bunshaft and Mies van der Rohe.

Many modern buildings are known by the iconic images Stoller created due to his talent at visualizing the formal and spatial aspirations of modernist architecture. In 1960 Ezra Stoller was awarded a medal for his photography, the first time the American Institute of Architects awarded a medal for architectural photography.

Ezra Stoller’s photographs are published in countless books and magazines:

Ezra Stoller received an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from Pratt Institute in 1998 and died in 2004 in Williamstown, Massachusetts.

http://www.esto.com/ezrastoller.aspx

Iwan Baan Photography

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Iwan Baan was born in 1975 and raised outside of Amsterdam, he studied at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague and worked in New York and Europe in publishing and documentary photography.

In 2005 he proposed that he document a project by OMA to Rem Koolhaas. The documentation of the construction and completion of OMA’s China Central Television (CCTV) building and National Olympic Stadium by Herzog & de Meuron’s in Beijing led to his career in architectural photography.   Since he has photographed work by Frank Gehry, SANAA, Morphosis, Steven Holl, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Toyo Ito and Zaha Hadid.

His work is characterized by the portrayal of people in the architecture, the context, society and environment around architecture.

Books featuring Iwan Baan’s photography:

http://www.iwan.com/iwan_index.php

Lucien Hervé Photography

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Lucien Hervé was born in László Elkán, Hungry, and died in Paris at the age of 26.  Known primarily for his architectural photography of Le Corbusier.

“Lucien Hervé is one of the rare photographers to combine a humanist outlook with an architect’s eye. His characteristic style of cropped frames, plunging or oblique views, and pared-down compositions tending toward abstraction distinguish his work from that of his contemporaries.”

Books on Lucien Hervé:

http://www.lucienherve.com/

Julius Shulman Photography

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Julius Shulman (1910 – 2009) was an American architectural photographer known for his photographs of the California modern architecture movement such as the iconic shots of the Case Study House #22, Frank Lloyd Wright’s or Pierre Koenig’s remarkable structures, have been published countless times.

“The clarity of his work demanded that architectural photography had to be considered as an independent art form. Each Shulman image unites perception and understanding for the buildings and their place in the landscape. The precise compositions reveal not just the architectural ideas behind a building’s surface, but also the visions and hopes of an entire age. A sense of humanity is always present in his work, even when the human figure is absent from the actual photographs.”

Many of the buildings photographed by Shulman have since been demolished or re-purposed, lending to the popularity of his images.  His vast library of images currently reside at the Getty Center in Los Angeles.

Books on Julius Shulman:

http://www.juliusshulmanfilm.com/shulman-photographs/

Erieta Attali Photography

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Erieta Attali was born in Tel Aviv in 1966 and studied Photography at Goldsmith’s College, University of London.
Her talents are proven by her awards including Fulbright Artist Award in Architectural Photography, the Japan Foundation Artist Fellowship,  and the Graham Foundation Grant, Chicago.

Attali’s career as an architectural photographer began by working internationally, being published in various books of architecture and periodicals and being exhibited in major museums and institutions.  From 1992 to 2002 she worked in the field of Archaeological Photography.  From 2003 she has been an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Architectural Photography at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Columbia University, New York.

Work of Erieta Attali:

http://www.erietaattali.com/

Hisao Suzuki Photography

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Hisao Suzuki was born in 1957 in Yamagata, Japan. He studied at the Tokyo College of Photography and moved to Barcelona in 1982 to observe the work of Anotnio Gaudi, where he still resides, becoming immersed in contemporary architecture.

Suzuki is currently the principal photographer for the architectural journal El Croquis.

“A photographer may take one of two stances: either demonstrate a work within its reality and its environment, or demonstrate the image of the work that the photographer himself has created. In Suzuki’s case the former is true, for his work is a true testimony and documentation of reality.”

http://www.nuaa.es/eng/hisao.html

VISIT archGROUPIE.com to find modern and contemporary architecture

Vote on the Best Modern Architecture City in the WORLD

architecture world map

There is so much amazing architecture in the world and so many cities to choose from.

architecture GROUPIE is trying to determine which cities are missing from our architecture directory and travel maps.

WE NEED YOUR HELP!

VOTE for your TOP 3 modern and contemporary architecture cities OR add another city we missed.

Forward on to all your architecture groupie friends.

Thanks for your help.

travel guides shopping copy

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

Tips for your architectural Sketches

Tadao Ando Sketch

Architectural sketches are many things but they do NOT need to be perfect / meticulous or even pretty.  Sketches are tools and without rules.  Often times we shy away from sketching because we think they need to be pretty perfect replicas of whatever we are sketching.

Sketching offers so many benefits such as:

  • a record of something you have visited and seen in person
  • a record of one or more aspects of something you want to keep record of
  • a way of learning how materials and forms come together
  • is a great alternative when cameras are not permitted
  • sketching is slower than photography which lets you take a moment and really appreciate and look at the architecture you are visiting
  • you can add notes and thoughts to your sketches
  • a rough description – it’s OK if they lack detail; don’t fill the page or are not even completed

All you need:

Faber-Castell 9000 Pencil Design SetPencil:  A carbon pencil is great for the beginner – they come in a variety of lead grades and provide a varied and richness to sketches over mechanical pencils which are hard and thin,  I would recommend a soft lead such as a B or 2B, for a sketcher quality you can even move up to a 6B.  Mechanical pencils break easily and because they are so thin it will be more difficult to shade and obtain a variety of line qualities.  No erasers – don’t bring an eraser sketches do not need to be perfect when you make a mistake work with it or start over, this adds character and will help you improve.

Pen:  there are so many types of pens available; the easiest to sketch with, in my opinion is a felt tip marker.  The thicker the pen the less precise and detailed you need to be.  Experiment with pen types you have, I would not recommend traveling with a fountain pen, they require refills and my fountain pen exploded on me after a long flight so stick with a basic felt or nylon tips.

Moleskine Classic Red Notebook, Plain Large

Paper:  a sketch book with good quality paper is important, also if you choose to use markers you will need a paper that can hold the ink without bleeding the next page.  Every sketch looks better on good paper – Moleskine has a variety of paper weight available for their sketchbooks and the paper color also varies which adds to the quality of the sketch.

Sketching Tips:

Everyone has different preferences so spend a few minutes and experiment with what you like.  You do not need to travel with lots or supplies, 2 pens and 2 pencils and 1 sketchbook are enough.

To do this sort of sketching you need to relax and let yourself go and not to be afraid of making mistakes and to have an understanding of form and shape.

A lack of confidence and worrying about a perfect sketch inhibits your work and enjoyment of the process.  Sketches are a means of conveying an idea, they are tools to learn, understand and communicate so they do not need to be perfect or finished.

Really simple tips to elevate your sketches:

  1. Darken the end of the line

  2. Overlap corners

  3. Add a dot at the end of the line

  4. Leave gaps in lines

  5. Repeat your line

  6. Shade on a 45° angle & vary you depth

  7. Write notes

  8. Use white space

  9. Continuous lines (don’t lift your pencil/pen)

  10. When drawing a long straight line do not use your wrist but rather move your entire arm  – try it.

Architectural Sketching Tips

Draw something everyday – an exercise which will bring fluency and confidence to your drawing

The Art of Urban Sketching: Drawing On Location Around The WorldDrawing: A Creative Process

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!

architecture JARGON: two

…Talk like an architect continued

Here is a lexicon of words to help you discuss architecture and understand architects:

 

Balance [bal-uhns]:  Always a goal for architect creating balance can be done most easily with symmetry however asymmetrical architecture can still obtain balance.  Architectural balance is concerned with the arrangement and proportioning of mass to obtain visual equilibrium.

The balance of the CCTV building in beijing changes dramatically as you move around it. 
Flickr Photos by Ningbo Ningbo

Occupant experience:  This term is a way of empathizing with how users of the building will understand the space.

Permeability of the space:  This is a very architectural way of describing that there is easy movement / flow / connection (visual or physical) between multiple spaces without describing in anyway how this is done.  For example the exterior walls of the SOHO Camper store is permeable because there are a number of means to access the store from the street and the street from the store, therefore this is a highly permeable space.

 

The entire facade blurs the line between interior and exterior on the Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York.
The Prada Store in Los Angeles by Rem Koolhaas completely deletes the front facade, this retail space has maximum permeability to the street.
 

Form [fawrm]:  A clearly defined area, material, configuration, shape while not specifically describing it at all, thus being generic and specific simultaneously. The form of architecture is typically clear.  When an architect or architecture is said to be ‘formal’ it refers being designed based on the outcome of the building form rather than other driving forces such as building function (functionalism) or experience.

Mies van der Rohe is a prime example of a formal architect whereas Koolhaas is less so.

This is the Architecture Centre Amsterdam.

Functionalism [fuhngk-shuh-nl-iz-uhm]:  This is an architectural style where the building function, materials, purpose and construction is expressed and is the driving force of the design.  Louis Sullivan coined the phrase “form follows function” in the 1920s which transformed the aesthetic of architecture and became a mantra for the modern movement.

Typology:  A way to classifying architecture by type.  For example residential, institutional, schools, recreational, and so forth.
 

Architectonics [ar-ki-tek-ton-iks]:  The science of architecture / the science of planning and constructing buildings.

Peter Zumthor at work

model posing as an architect at work

 to be continued…

Architect’s Chairs

Every architect needs a SIGNATURE CHAIR and their modern chairs embody their design aesthetic and creative process. Chair are not a far departure from architecture, in fact in many ways a chair requires the same spatial consideration and informs as much response from the user as architecture does.  If you haven’t spent much time thinking about chair design it is worth some reflection. Chairs can reinforce the architecture of a space as well as how that space is to be used.  Does the chair allow for a relaxing or is it straight formal.  Does the chair look comfortable or sculptural appropriate more to be looked at then used.

Take a look at these chairs… can you see the resemblance in the architecture?

Mies van der Rohe

Barcelona Chair vs Barcelona Pavilion

Eero Saarinen

Tulip Chair vs TWA Airport

Alvar Aalto

Paimio Chair vs. Baker House

Daniel Libeskind

Diamond Chair vs The ROM

Ray and Charles Eames

Lounge Chair vs. Case Study House 8

Zaha Hadid

Z Chair vs MAXXI Museum

  

Maya Lin

Stones vs. Vietnam Memorial

Frank Lloyd Wright

Barrel Chair vs Guggenheim

Gerrit Rietveld

Red and Blue Chair vs The Rietveld Schröder House

Richard Neutra

Boomerang Chair vs Kaufmann House

 

Frank Gehry

Cardboard Armchair vs. Vitra Design Museum

 

Le Corbusier

Chaise vs Notre Dame du Haut

If you love chairs as much as most architecture groupies do here are a few MUST HAVE books to quench your thirst for more beautifully designed chairs:

Furniture by Architects: From Aalto to Zumthor poses such questions as: do architects design differently to product designers? Do they exhibit any consistent aesthetic preferences? Is there something typically architectural in their designs? Furniture by Architects features works by Alvar Aalto, Ron Arad, Gae Aulenti, Karl Bertsch, Emil Beutinger, Marcel Breuer, Pierre Chareau, Egon Eiermann, El Lissitsky, Norman Foster, Frank Gehry, Walter Gropius, Zaha Hadid, Marc Held, Josef Hoffmann, Arne Jacobsen, Le Corbusier, Daniel Libeskind, Gio Ponti, Richard Riemerschmid, Gerrit Rietveld, Eero Saarinen, Mackay Hugh Baillie Scott, O.M. Ungers, Mies van der Rohe, Otto Wagner, Frank Lloyd Wright and Peter Zumthor, among others.

Fifty Chairs That Changed the World takes an up-close look at chair designs that have had the greatest impact on the look and feel of modern interiors.

 

 

How To Design a Chair tells you everything you need to know and looks at the principles and processes of designing a chair, from its symbolic and functional properties to materials and mass-production techniques. In a working case study Konstantin Grcic, one of the world’s best-known furniture designers, traces the design and development of one of his most successful chairs – the Myto – from start to finish and reveals what it takes to create a successful design.

which chair is your favorite, would you sit in any of these?

Visit architectureGROUPIE.com a Modern and Contemporary Architecture Travel Guide

architectural travel entry: six

I have been here before but I can never get enough. the darkness of the enormous interior is interrupted only by one large cut in the massive concrete dome which is filled with blinding light. I follow the light cast across the perfect proportions of the space into the depths of the coffered panels which create an intense spotlight. I remember from school the geometric drawings to obtain these proportions and the technical terms for the architectural elements and the mysterious uses of this space over the centuries.

But the duality between light and dark is so extreme here I don’t pay any attention to anything but the ceiling and how this light seeps into the darkness of this massive heavy fortress.

I watch others entering this space and are forced to look up to the oculus, everything else is lost to its power. Although the interior is draped in marble and the ornamentation, the magic here is the dome and oculus alone.

The Pantheon – Rome

architecture JARGON: one

Talk like an architect.

Architects have a particular language to describe and discuss architecture – this isn’t purely to sound smart or pretentious but rather to convey ideas and express the meaning of built form.

Here is a lexicon of words to help you discuss architecture and understand architects:

Human scale:  The relationship and measurable qualities of the human body as it relates to architecture.  The human body’s scale and proportion has been studied since Leonardo Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man or Le Corbusier’s Modular Man.  How the body’s relationship with, or the lack thereof, is often intentional and is present in all architecture.

Leonardo Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man

Le Corbusier’s
Modular Man

 

The National Assembly Building by Louis Kahn in Bangledesh (right).  Notice the building has no frame of reference to the size a person.  The image on the top could appear to be big or small.  This building, for the most part lacks human scale. 

Juxtaposition [juhk-stuh-puh-zish-uhn]:  This is when two or more architectural objects are located close together or next to one another for comparison and/or contrast.  This is commonly seen with new architecture next to historic architecture.  This is also a technique that can be applied to one very large building to break it down into smaller components which have differing materials, scale, and/or form.

Quartier Schützenstrasse, Berlin by Aldo Rossi.  The large building is broken down by colour and form.

Legibility:  The ability of being deciphered or understood.  In architecture this typically refers to way-finding which is how easily users can understand their environment and find their way within it.  If a large number of signs are required to decipher where to go the architectural legibility is poor.

Synergy [sin-er-jee]:  When the combination of parts or components creates a greater effect than any individual element.  This is typically the case for any good architecture but this word seems to get thrown around a lot.

Columniation:   The arrangement of columns.

Treptow Krematorium, Berlin by Axel Schultes, Charlotte Frank, Christoph Witt.  Its all about the columns.

Intercolumniation:  The space between columns.  The pattern of spacing between columns.

Squarify:  To make more square. (This is not a really word.  FYI:  architects love to make all words verbs)

Negotiate the Topography:  To change levels, to go up or down stairs or ramp.

(I guess sometimes architects like to sound pretentious sometimes)

Tectonics [tek-ton-iks]:  The science or art of assembling, shaping, or ornamenting materials in construction; the constructive arts in general.  A general term for the theory and techniques of construction.

Materiality [muh-teer-ee-al-i-tee]:  A way to create form and space via the nature or quality of materials used in architecture.  Materials can be the driving force behind the design of architecture, where the architect studies materials and techniques and thus form a building from the maximization of their effect.  In modern architecture material honesty is at its essence.

   

Ricola Factory by Herzog and de Meuron (masters of materiality)

LAST BUT NOT LEAST…

Space [speys]:  A loaded word which could be discussed at length but in short it is the formation and realization of a constructed three-dimensional realm.   In architecture space is physically or implicitly enclosed by the constructed form to create specific experiences and qualities.

The Pantheon, Rome.  One of the most dramatic interior spaces due to the geometric proportions.

to be continued…

Vitra Campus – Weil am Rhein

Why visit Weil am Rhein? …. Vitra

Weil am Rhein is a located in Germany but boards onto both Switzerland and France and is about 20 minute drive from Basel, Switzerland.

As an architecture groupie you may be wondering why I would feature such a small and obscure town.  Well Weil am Rhein is home to the Vitra Campus which is a mecca for any modern architectural enthusiast.

Vitra is a furniture company founded in Weil am Rhein, Germany in 1950 by Willi Fehlbaum.  Specializing in the production and retail of furniture originally designed by many internationally celebrated designers.  Priding themselves on creating beautiful well-design and well-made furniture.  Although Vitra is company famous for reproducing furniture designed by many well named architects they have also gained a reputation for commissioning celebrated architects to manufacture, house and exhibit their products.

In 1981 a large fire destroyed most of Vitra Campus who were forced to rebuild and continue to expand.  Nicholas Grimshaw was the first to begin the rebuild and Herzog and de Mueron has been the most recent project, completed in 2010, currently a new Factory Building by Kazuyo Sejima / SANAA is scheduled for completion in 2012.  The Vitra Campus is a collection of contemporary capital ‘A’ architecture.

The Vitra Design Museum by Frank Gehry is an exhibition of the design and architecture of Vitra.

Visit architecturegroupie.com/weil-am-rhein for a directory of the Vitra contemporary architecture.

Vitra Campus

When visiting the Vitra Campus be sure to take a guided architectural tour of the campus as well as a guided tour of the exhibition.

For the tour schedule visit www.vitra.com/en-us/campus/visit .

In addition the new workshop at the center of the Lounge Chair Atelier holds live demonstrations of the production of the famous Lounge Chair by Ray and Charles Eames check out this video demonstration

 

Vitra Miniatures Collection

Besides the modern designed life-size furniture, Vitra also manufactures The Miniatures Collection which is collection of 80 small-scale furniture pieces.  The pieces are considered to be the most influential in design from 1850 to the present day.  Model builders measure the historical original in the museum collection and then scale it down to one sixth of the original size, compile technical documentation and replicated each with impressive precision.  The Vitra Miniatures Collection include The Barcelona chair by Mies van der Rohe, the Tulip Chair by Saarinen, the Barrel Chair by Frank Lloyd Wright and of course a series of furniture pieces by  Ray and Charles Eames to name a few.

Here is the full Vitra Miniatures Collection

These miniatures can be delivered directly to your home at  Vitra Miniatures at Amazon or click the image below to order.

   



     

If you have been to the Vitra Campus – share your experience with us.


 

architectural travel entry: five

The most interesting event upon entering the Church is realizing the doorway is at the side of the altar. There are references to what direction is considered to be the front. The rectangular space is overwhelming to enter, it rises at least two storeys in height and the walls are made of raw concrete block. Everything within this space is simple there are no distractions and no ornamentation.

The windows behind the choir stalls are cut into the walls on a steep angle and the frame is painted bright yellow, green, and red, which releasing soothing light so there is no view of the exterior, we are forced to focus on what is happening inside.

In the middle of the room resides a large piece of polished sheet metal, it is hung from a single wire attached at the ceiling 25 feet or so above us. The metal is attached at its center and the edges bow to the ground just hovering above the floor.  A short wood bat is nearby and when the metal is struck the entire room echoes, the sounds are reminiscent of the monks chanting.

The sound penetrates the space and brings us all to silence.

La Tourette by Le Corbusier, France