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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |   2 Oct 2013  |  Comments (0)



If you're designing urban homes for Japan, you've automatically got two built-in problems: Earthquakes and tiny building footprints. Japan's seismic woes are well-known, and the nation's space-tight cities mean you're always dealing with narrow frontage. The traditional way to combat the former is to use shear walls, which combine bracing and cladding in such a way as to prevent lateral motion. (Think of an unclad wall made from vertical studs, and how it can potentially parallelogram if the floor or ceiling moves; nail some sheets of structural plywood to it and the problem is basically solved.) The traditional way to combat the latter is to design spaces that admit a lot of sunlight and ventilation through that narrow piece of frontage. But that openness doesn't jive with shear walls, which by definition are clad.

Here with the solution is architect Kiyoshi Kasai and his "Wooden Box 212" construction method, which uses wood yet enables large, column- and partition-free spaces. As he describes the issue (roughly translated from Japanese),

With narrow-frontage urban housing there is a conflict with providing a window for lighting, ventilation and entrance and reconciling that with a shear wall on the same side.... The design preference in recent years has been to seek a sense of transparency and openness via a wide opening in the outer wall surface of the housing, but achieving this with conventional wood is difficult.


Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |   1 Oct 2013  |  Comments (0)


One of the most wonderfully bizarre pieces of architecture I've ever been lucky enough to experience in person is Antonio Gaudi's Parc Guell in Barcelona. That the famous Catalan architect was able to conceptualize and realize all of those undulating, organic shapes in a pre-CAD era of pencil, paper and T-square is as amazing as the nearly two-million-square-foot site. It took 15 years of building, from 1900 to 1914, before Gaudi was able to see it finished.

One thing Gaudi never lived to complete is the Sagrada Familia church, also in Barcelona. He had taken the project over in 1883, but by his death in 1926, some 43 years later, it was still less than 25% complete. A reported nine architects have attempted to complete the structure since then, with the process interrupted by wars and eventually modernized by the advent of CAD. And now it seems as if architect Jordi Fauli and his team will be the ones to complete it.


Check out this amazing animation put together by Fauli and co. of how the finished structure will look as it goes up:


Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  30 Sep 2013  |  Comments (0)


For a sports arena that can hold 85,000 people to be built directly on a fault line does not sound promising. But that's what happened in 1923, when UC Berkeley opened their Memorial Stadium, presumably due to a lack of surveying technology. Over the years cracks began to appear in the building, as the Hayward Fault runs directly under the field—practically from goal post to goal post, as you can see below:


With a 62% chance of a 6.7+ earthquake hitting sometime in the next three decades, something needed to be done, and the University recently revamped the stadium. Did they completely tear it down or move it, like you'd think they would? Nope: As the school's Assistant Athletic Director Bob Milano Jr. pointed out in a 2011 article, "The alumni have some great memories at Memorial Stadium, and we have to make sure not to lose the heart and soul of the place."


Posted by An Xiao Mina  |  24 Sep 2013  |  Comments (0)


Eight years later and the Bay Bridge is finally up. As the much-neglected stepsibling of the more famous Golden Gate, it's lain dormant for years until it reopened earlier this month, ahead of schedule. It took $6.4 billion and 15 years, but, as Bloomberg pointed out in a brief design and bureaucracy history, "the country's most daringly iconic highway bridge stands as a poster child for those who think major infrastructure projects are wasteful." It goes on to explore a challenge every designer on a team knows well: demanding clients and struggles with funds.

But what does that mean, really? Archinect recently shared a time-lapse video of the Bay Bridge coming to life: 42,000 hours of work in just four minutes. It's an impressive look at the complexities of bridge building, especially a bridge that must be both aesthetically pleasing and structurally sound. (The last Bay Bridge was damaged in the 1986 earthquake.)


Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  17 Sep 2013  |  Comments (2)


Skyscrapers have always been symbols of architectural, economic and national might, the taller the better. They are meant to be seen from miles around. But a new tower slated to go up outside of Seoul, South Korea, has been designed with a twist: It is meant to be seen--and then not seen. The Tower Infinity, designed by the multinational GDS Architects, uses technology to render itself "invisible," or at the very least, optically camouflaged.


Clad in a surface of both cameras and image-producing LEDs, the 450-meter-tall tower will visually capture its surrounding environment and transmit those images to the opposite face of the building from which they were shot. With a building manager's finger on a dimmer switch, the opacity of the building could be adjusted.



Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |   5 Sep 2013  |  Comments (9)


MIT famously sued Frank Gehry back in '07, as the undulating surfaces he'd designed for their Stata Center turned out to be perfect for harboring mold. Now comes news of an architecture gaffe with an even more dramatic problem. The so-called "Walkie Talkie" building in London, a 25-story curved glass structure designed by Rafael Vinoly, is capable of focusing the sun's rays into powerful beams that can start fires!

Still under construction, the building's glass panels are nevertheless able to harness the sun in such a way that they recently damaged a man's Jaguar parked nearby, melting the side mirror and distorting panels and the Jaguar badge. Reflections from the building also reportedly set the doormat of a nearby barber shop on fire, and distorted the paint and de-adhered wall tiles on a nearby restaurant.

The announced temporary solution will be to erect street-level scaffolding to shield nearby businesses, though there's no word as to what the permanent fix will be for the £200 million structure. In the meantime, the building's acquired a second nickname: "The Walkie-Scorchie."

Here's a solar physicist explaining the problem:

Posted by core jr  |  30 Aug 2013  |  Comments (0)


My grandfather, Alfred Easton Poor, was a New York City architect with many major projects to his credit, including the Jacob Javits Federal Building in Manhattan and the restoration and extension of the US Capitol Building's East Front in Washington, DC. The Wright Brothers Memorial was his earliest major design win, and perhaps his most visible. One of my treasured possessions is a letter from Orville Wright to my grandfather, thanking him for a print of a photograph he had taken of the memorial.

It was a fitting project, as he was an early aviator himself. He learned to fly when in high school, but was too young to enter combat when the World War broke out. Instead, he went down to the Florida Keys where he taught pilots to fly floatplanes. For World War II, he was too old to fight, and spent at least part of the war overseeing aircraft production in Ohio.



Posted by Ray  |  22 Aug 2013  |  Comments (2)

YuliaChicherina-Deceuninck-LiveHouse-0.jpgImages via Deceuninck / Archello unless otherwise noted


Singer Yulia Chicherina may not be a household name outside of her native Russia, but I was interested to see photos of her country house. Located outside Moscow, the distinctive structure features two rows of triangular floor-to-ceiling windows, uniformly distributed on the faces and edges of the off-white cubic edifice.

The singer's two-storey house has been designed as a cube with 24 triangular openings for mirror-glass windows and a glass entrance door. The Live House, an exceptional project by Yulia Chicherina and her architect husband, gives plenty of room for creativity and leisure. It was originally conceived as an art laboratory to give inspiration, to originate fresh ideas, and to create new songs. Now Yulia Chicherina's Live House is not just a creative laboratory, but a countryside house for back-to-nature recreation far from the urban hustle, noise and stress.



Roughly one-third of the walls are windows (each of which weighs in at 150kg), but the original design included a single exception: an iron door. Frustrated that it didn't match the windows, Chicherina turned to UK-based building materials company Deceuninck—"the world leader in the sphere of production of PVC systems for the construction industry"—who developed a custom glass vestibule to match the windows. "The square-shaped entrance door in the triangular doorway opening is made of shockproof hardened glass and enclosed by a reinforced-plastic transparent prism."

YuliaChicherina-Deceuninck-LiveHouse-4.jpgImage via Porter Novelli


Posted by core jr  |  20 Aug 2013  |  Comments (0)
Content sponsored by Windows Phone

Core77 is pleased to partner with Windows Phone to bring you a series of photo diaries this summer. Based on the theme of Reinvention, we're looking to capture the fleeting moments and highlight the often-overlooked facets of the world around us through the lens of the Nokia Lumia 928, especially in the low-light settings in which its camera excels. (All photos were taken with the Nokia Lumia 928 smartphone and are published without postproduction unless otherwise noted.)

Reporting by Ray Hu

New York City's new-ish High Line is nothing if not photogenic, offering sylvan respite from the concrete jungle, a thoroughly considered green space that is at once removed from and embedded in the thick of Lower Manhattan. Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Field Operations' seminal public park is a sui generis locale, and although both the architectural features (benches, water fountains, criss-crossing paths) and impeccable landscaping allude to overgrown railroad tracks, the High Line is a remarkable urban space regardless of its history.

If it's rather difficult to take in the various art installations and commissions peppered throughout the park once the sun goes down, the tasteful lighting and ambient cityscape happen to emphasize that the High Line more of an attraction in itself. Leafy silhouettes obscure skyscrapers in the distance; cross streets afford unusual urban vistas; highrises in the immediate vicinity offer an incongruous—and at times voyeuristic—backdrop to the greenery.




Posted by Ray  |  16 Aug 2013  |  Comments (0)


Our Pop-Up Institute for Craft & Ingenuity opens in just a few hours—get a behind-the-scenes look here—but on those rare occasions when we're not inclined to make something ourselves, we turn our discerning eye to a handful of respectable purveyors of well-curated accoutrements. And while it's easy enough to find beautiful things on the Internet these days, the old-fashioned brick-and-mortar can offer a rather more immersive browsing experience.

This summer has seen the debut of a few new design-centric stores from established retailers here in the Lower Manhattan, offering an impressive selection of gift items for residents and visitors alike. Here are our pics/picks:



We've had our eye on Shinola since they soft-launched earlier this year, so we were pleased to hear that they were planning to set up shop in NYC in addition to their main operation in Detroit. The Tribeca storefront is on the ground floor of a building that also houses offices and a showroom for Steven Alan, which is also owned by mogul-behind-the-curtain Tom Kartsotis. Following the very successful opening of their flagship store in Motor City, the NYC outpost quietly opened about a month ago, featuring a selection of the Made-in-Detroit wristwatches, bicycles, leather goods and more, as well as a few items from likeminded store Hickoree's.


Shinola-3.jpgThe small leather goods are exclusive to the store

Designed by Rockwell Group, the understated retail space features a small café in the front and a full store in back; the furniture, fixtures and details collectively "harken back to America's manufacturing legacy." The bespoke pieces, such as the multipurpose shelving and bleachers that line opposite walls, nicely complement the reclaimed and vintage pieces, from the brass library lamps to the bronze world map, which originally bedecked "the lobby of an oil company located at Rockefeller Center."



Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  31 Jul 2013  |  Comments (10)


I recently saw the Tom Cruise flick Oblivion, which people apparently hated; but one thing I really dug was the shot you see above. Director Joseph Kosinski, depicting New York City in the year 2017, gives us our first glimpse of the completed One World Trade Center. The movie was released in April of this year, but as we saw earlier, in reality it wasn't even until May that the spire was raised. And just this morning, I looked up to see the real deal still has glasswork to be done, and still has a construction elevator running up its side. Oblivion was the first convincing depiction I'd seen of the completed structure.

Kosinksi is an architect by training, and until recently was still teaching 3D modeling as an adjunct assistant prof at Columbia, so it's no surprise that he took the time to get One WTC right. (Amusingly, had he swung the camera just a bit to the left in the shot above, we'd see Gehry's ugly 8 Spruce Street; thankfully the framing precludes it, and I wonder if it was intentional.) But even directors with no architectural background are in a prime position to educate, or at least familiarize, the general public with different styles of architecture. With that in mind Architizer's Zachary Edelson has written "A Brief History Of Modern Architecture Through Movies," where he ticks off a list of flicks with such iconic backdrops that any layperson who's seen them can get an instant frame of reference for what Art Deco, Art Nouveau or Modernism looks like.

By necessity Nelson's list is far from complete, but it makes me wonder what films you guys would use to describe not just architecture, but entire design movements to laypeople. I first saw Blade Runner, with Deckard chilling out in the Ennis House, before I even knew who Frank Lloyd Wright was.



Posted by Christie Nicholson  |  31 Jul 2013  |  Comments (2)


Remember that crazy CO2 Scraper Concept? It called for a towering structure filled with trees, to scrub the surrounding air of carbon dioxide. Well, it turns out there's a very common manmade material that, with the right tweak, could serve a similar function and literally kill pollution. The material? Cement.

Smog-eating cement first made headlines back in 2007, when it was introduced in the U.S. by the Italian company Italcementi, whose R&D center is pictured below. The cement is called TX Active and the magic ingredient is titanium oxide. When exposed to sunlight, titanium oxide can neutralize some pollutants—basically the toxins are oxidized when they come into contact with the cement. For instance, nitrogen oxide and sulfur oxide gasses are made harmless when they are turned into nitrates or sulfates. Without the catalyst of titanium oxide, the nitrogen and sulfur oxide break down in the atmosphere creating smog and ground level ozone.


But with the catalyst, the nitrates and sulfates simply wash off with rainwater, leaving the cement very clean and without a need for chemical treatment—an added bonus. One of the more well-known examples of this self-cleaning cement is the Air France headquarters in Roissey-Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris. The HQ is housed in a very white building, that has remained through the years very white.


Originally the cement was made for Richard Meier, the architect who requested a very white cement for the Jubilee Church in Rome.



Posted by Teshia Treuhaft  |  26 Jul 2013  |  Comments (2)


In most parts of the world, we can't exactly say that new architecture has been kind to our feathered friends (or any part of our environment for that matter). In a time of urban sprawl, pollution and environmental degradation, London-based Aaron Dunkerton's project "Bird Brick" is a nice nod to the role design could be playing in our less than healthy relationship with the environment. We've seen some similar projects, most notably the Brick Biotope by Micaelaa Nardella and Oana Tudose at "FABRIKAAT" during Salone Milan 2012, but Kingston University grad's approach seems to bypassing some potential structural issues by sticking to the brick making basics.



Using a traditional brick-making process and the help of MGH Freshfield Lane in West Sussex, UK, Dunkerton created a five-part brick system that provides a cavity for House Sparrows to nest. The house sparrow population in the UK has decreased by an alarming 70% in the last 50 years. Not surprisingly, pairing well-considered design with an endangered species is a pretty simple recipe for a project that strikes that sweet spot between design and doing good.



Posted by core jr  |  22 Jul 2013  |  Comments (1)
Content sponsored by Windows Phone

Core77 is pleased to partner with Windows Phone to bring you a series of photo diaries this summer. Based on the theme of Reinvention, we're looking to capture the fleeting moments and highlight the often-overlooked facets of the world around us through the lens of the Nokia Lumia 928, especially in the low-light settings in which its camera excels. (All photos were taken with the Nokia Lumia 928 smartphone and are published without postproduction unless otherwise noted.)

Reporting by Ray Hu & Teshia Treuhaft

Now in its 16th year, MoMA PS1's summer concert series Warm Up brings contemporary art, architecture and design together with food and live music for a weekly outdoor festival in the unique setting of a former school courtyard. The series kicked off in late June with a powerhouse line-up the first weekend featuring the artists from the Berlin-based experimental and electronica label PAN_ACT. As the sun set on the first Warm Up of the season, Detroit techno legend Juan Atkins took the stage to the delight of the thousands of day-drinking revelers in the hippest corner of Queens.



The Martinez Brothers closed out the second edition, on July 6, with a solid two-hour set of four-on-the-floor house music, and the momentum had only grown by the following week, which saw record attendance of 5,000+ partygoers. Tickets sold out within the first couple hours of the show (the event is from 3–9pm), as fans filled the expansive courtyard for a lineup including self-proclaimed "Canadian Prince" (and Pitchfork darling) Ryan Hemsworth, Brooklyn-based noise-techno artist Pete Swanson and Detroit legend Marc Kinchen (pictured above and at bottom).



Posted by Kai Mitsushio  |  16 Jul 2013  |  Comments (0)

TonoMirai-Nest-1999_2004-1.jpgnest / Kanda SU (1999-2004)

They say your home is your "third skin," after your clothes and your actual skin. Our second and third "skins," just like our actual skin, have a significant effect on our lives. If your clothes are wet, or aren't warm enough, you might catch a cold. If your house is designed and built without natural, eco-friendly materials... well, you may not catch a cold, but the space you live in, its materials, its design, surely has an effect on your well being.

Tono Mirai is an architect who believes this, and has focused on making houses out of, for lack of a better word, "earth" for nearly 15 years. His series of "earth houses" began while experimenting with traditional Japanese plastering techniques—which have a deep, 1,000-year history in Japan—used to make "tsuchikabe" (literally "mud walls") in an effort to create a more natural, healthy home for his wife. Through this experimentation, he realized how soil, wood, and other natural ingredients could be used to fulfill the three things he wanted to achieve with his architecture: sustainability, health and beauty.

TonoMirai-FuturesHouse-2010-1.jpgFuture House (2010)

TonoMirai-FuturesHouse-2010-2.jpgFuture House (2010)


Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  26 Jun 2013  |  Comments (1)


For a designer to bring their own personal passion into a public works project can be indulgent, or it can be fantastic. This example is the latter. Danish architect Soren Nordal Enevoldsen, who's been designing skateparks and skate shop interiors since at least the early 2000s, was tasked by the Danish municipality of Roskilde to revitalize a massive and abandoned concrete production area called Musicon. The site is exposed to a "huge amount of rainwater from the adjacent city areas," and a drainage facility was required as part of the project.


Put two and two together yet? Enevoldsen and his firm, Nordarch, designed a massive concrete area that collects and transports water into a canal. But the 24,000-square-foot drainage facility is also peppered with undulating shapes, walls curving up to near-vertical and grindable edges, meaning the resultant Rabalder Parken design doubles as a big-ass skatepark.



Posted by Ray  |  25 Jun 2013  |  Comments (0)


A week and a half ago, we saw some striking images of the Burj Khalifa, reportedly captured with "the best digital still image equipment money can buy." In which case Google's Trekker might be an example of superlative photography equipment that is beyond a mere bankroll.

Indeed, the Google Maps team just launched a Street View Collection of the Burj Khalifa and its surroundings, marking their first excursion up a skyscraper—previous excursions include mountaintops, UNESCO World Heritage Sites and other landmarks—as well as their first 'Trek' in the Arab World.

The imagery was collected over three days using the Street View Trekker and Trolley, capturing high-resolution 360-degree panoramic imagery of several indoor and outdoor locations of the building. In addition to the breathtaking views from the world's tallest observation deck on the 124th floor, you can also see what it feels like to hang off one of the building's maintenance units on the 80th floor, normally used for cleaning windows!

As with the POV footage of spire of Freedom Tower, some of you may not be entirely comfortable with the vicarious yet vertiginous view from the top.



Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  17 Jun 2013  |  Comments (1)


My ID classmate kept getting burgled. His second-storey East Village apartment was broken into multiple times, and in frustration he signed a year lease on apartment 6B of a six-flight walk-up. He reasoned that no thief would be willing to haul a television down six flights of stairs. But within a month, he was robbed again—this time they broke in through the roof door. And my TV-less buddy spent the next 11 months going up and down six flights of stairs every day.

Six storeys (some say seven) was the maximum height they'd build residential buildings in New York, prior to the elevator. No resident was willing to climb more stairs than that. After Otis' perfection of the elevator, that height limitation was gone, and within a century we had skyscrapers. Then the new height limitation was building technology.

Advanced construction techniques have since skyrocketed, if you'll pardon the pun; as the World's Tallest Building peeing contest continues, it is rumored that Saudi Arabia's Kingdom Tower will be a kilometer high. But the new height limitation is the thing that smashed the old one: Elevators. Steel cable is so heavy that at its maximum elevator height of 500 meters, the cables themselves make up 3/4s of the moving mass. You can stagger elevator banks to go higher, but the heaviness of steel cable makes long-haul elevators prohibitively expensive to run.

Finnish elevator manufacturer Kone believes they have the answer. After ten years of development they've just announced the debut of UltraRope, a carbon-fiber cable that's stronger than steel, lasts twice as long, and weighs a fraction of the older stuff:


Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  24 May 2013  |  Comments (5)

night-heron-01.jpgPhoto by Benjamin Norman for The New York Times

In New York City there are plenty of places to get drunk, starting with my kitchen. But most crave a more glamorous experience, and in a city of millions, glamor is often equated with exclusivity and secrecy. Faux speakeasys have become as much of a cliché as drunken fistfights in the Meatpacking District. Yet for a brief period earlier this year, a group of artists ran a true speakeasy in the most unusual of locations: A water tower atop an abandoned building in Chelsea.

night-heron-02.jpgPhoto by Benjamin Norman for The New York Times


Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  23 May 2013  |  Comments (2)


While Amazon had already received City Hall approval to build a new HQ in Seattle, apparently they've had a change of heart with the design, perhaps inspired by the forthcoming Facebook West and the Apple Spaceship. The skyscraper part of Amazon's multi-building plan remains the same, but they're looking to switch up one of their low-rise structures for something a bit more eye-catching. Here's the previously-approved, now-scuttled building design:



Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  21 May 2013  |  Comments (5)


You've heard the expression that [American] football is a game of inches. So, increasingly, is living in Manhattan.

This video of Luke Clark Tyler's apartment (captured by Kirsten Dirksen's Fair Companies) has racked up nearly two million hits, and for good reason: Tyler downsized from his previous 96-square-foot palace to shoehorn his life into a 78-square-foot studio. But what really makes this video distinct from other "tiny living" vids we've seen, and what should be of interest to the Core77 reader, is that Tyler is a trained architect who can design, build and install his own things, like his sideways Murphy Bed.


Also observe the little details, like how he's using eyehooks as toothbrush- and razor-holders and how the bottle-stays on his shelves are just wooden dowels held in place by two carefully-placed sheetrock screws on either side.


This is giving us a potentially cruel idea for design education—but before we get to that, watch the vid:


Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  14 May 2013  |  Comments (2)


Of all the reasons why I could never be a construction worker—not strong enough, can't consistently wake up at 5am, don't know how to catcall—preeminent among them is my deathly fear of heights. It was terrifying to watch this video of construction workers hoisting the spire onto One World Trade Center (someone slapped a GoPro camera onto the thing). The crazy part is that at the end, you get to see a handful of guys jimmying the massive thing into place with what look like crowbars.

Warning: This video isn't edited at all, it's a continuous nine-minute shot of them hoisting the spire from the roof to the top of its supporting structure. Part of me wishes they'd fast-forwarded the video, though if they had I would've peed my pants or thrown up (probably both).


Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  22 Apr 2013  |  Comments (1)


When it comes to innovations in staircases, we've seen ones that disappear (like this one and that one) but more often, it's staircases doing double-duty as storage (like this and that) that tend to get the most blog ink. And it's no wonder; stairs are handy places to stack things.

This South Korean house by architect Moon Hoon is the first new construction we've seen in which the staircase is specifically intended to do triple-duty: It's a means of ascending & descending, it's a storage unit, and it's furniture.



"The basic request of upper and lower spatial organization and the shape of the site prompted a long and thing house with fluctuating facade which would allow for more differentiated [views]," writes Moon. "The key was coming up with a multi-functional space which is a large staircase, bookshelves, casual reading space, home cinema, slide...."



Posted by core jr  |  18 Apr 2013  |  Comments (0)


Shel Kimen loves a good story, and hers is a tale of a grassroots effort to support a creative community in their time of need. She dreamt up Detroit Collision Works, a multipurpose boutique hotel, co-working space and venue for all-around awesomeness, in Summer of 2011, and they're hoping to Kickstart a prototype of a converted shipping container in time for Flower Day in the country's longest running farmer's market—exactly one month out, on May 18. With just 36 hours to go to raise $11,000 for First Container, Kimen was kind enough to take the time to tell us why we should care.


Awesome needs a place to be.

As people are all too eager to tell you, Detroit has some problems, with the economy, crime, and fractured communities. So when I was thinking about a move to Detroit after 14 years in New York City, I knew that whatever I was going to do had to address some real needs. Coming from the design world, I know that making a good product means understanding, intimately, the people that are going to use it. So the first thing I started doing when I got to Detroit was talk to people. Lots of them.

It started with a hotel. Amazingly, there was not a modern, boutique hotel in all of Detroit! Yet creative people from all over the world visit to work on design an innovation projects—for the auto industry, for bio-tech, for the city (we are an urban planners dream thesis), and to perform at or attend one of our legendary music festivals that combined bring in half a million people annually. Those are creative travelers!

So, ok, we need a cool hotel.


But a cool hotel isn't enough. We need a place for coming together, with our immediate communities, as a city, and inclusive of the many people who visit us. We need a place to accelerate the growth of our communities.

Collision Works is a creative space needed by the people living in Detroit now and the people coming to visit us. It's an artful 36-room boutique hotel, co-working facility, and public event space that uses storytelling to connect and engage travelers and locals alike. Our whole lives are stories—truth and fiction, history and imagination. Stories connect us, help us learn, and catalyze personal and community growth.


Posted by Ray  |  17 Apr 2013  |  Comments (0)

DSRatNYPL-viaArchidose.jpgImage via Archidose

In celebration of the recent release of Lincoln Center Inside Out: An Architectural Account (Damiani 2013), the New York Public Library recently hosted Elizabeth Diller, Ricardo Scofidio and Charles Renfro, principals of the eponymous architecture studio—stylized as Diller Scofidio + Renfro, or DS+R—in conversation with MoMA's Curator of Architecture Barry Bergdoll. Among other topics, the participants attempted to define the object itself, only to conclude that the beautifully-printed tome is beyond categorization: it is at once an art book, literally overflowing with beautiful full-bleed photography (more on that shortly), and a scholarly record of the decade-long redesign of one of New York City's iconic public spaces. Indeed, Diller offhandedly characterized Lincoln Center Inside Out as "an architectural porno book," though Bergdoll contended that it is as encyclopedic as it is eye-catching.


So too can the book be perused in a number of ways: At over 300 pages, Lincoln Center Inside Out is comprised almost entirely of gatefolds—which, as the panelists noted, might very well be a first for a comprehensive visual and quasi-technical document of such size and scope. The first tenth of the book consists of introductory text and a series of nicely laid-out conversations between DS+R's Ilana Altman and various, followed by some 30 gatefolds, each of which spans eight normal pages. The exterior panels of the pages invariably feature photos—interiors, exteriors, details, wide angles and even a few process shots—by Iwan Baan and Matthew Monteith, concealing explanatory text and images within. Suffice it to say that Lincoln Center Inside Out (pun most certainly intended) is about as comprehensive as they come.



DillerScofidioRenfro-LincolnCenterInsideOut-gatefoldCOMP.jpgPhoto at top: Alice Tully Hall, Iwan Baan, 2008

Bergdoll lauded the book's built-in experience of discovery as Scofidio acknowledged that the design serves as "a metaphor for the travails [of the project]," which looks immaculate on the surface but actually goes several layers deep. In fact, he later disclosed that the "archaeology of the space" was a challenge unto itself: By some accounts, upwards of half of the total cost went into bringing the woefully neglected substructure up to code (fun facts: there is a full gas station in the parking garage and there is a river underneath Juilliard).


The metaphor applies not just to space but to time as well: Diller commented that the highly tactile, physical construction of Lincoln Center Inside Out serves to slow readers down and take their time absorbing the dense vignettes, which cover everything from grass species for the 'hypar' (hyperbolic paraboloid) roof lawn to the form studies for the prow-like geometry of the new Juilliard building.



Posted by Ray  |  12 Apr 2013  |  Comments (3)

PianoViolinHouse-viaBuildingam-1.jpgAll images via

Well, the title sort of gives it away, but I recently came across this wacky edifice that's made web rounds at least a couple times since it surfaced a few years ago. According to, the Piano Violin House was built in the Anhui District of Huainan City, China, back in 2007.

This romantic house was designed by the students of the architectural design faculty of Hefey University of Technology with the designers of the company Huainan Fangkai Decoration Project Co.... a breadboard model inside [the] house displays various city plans and development prospects in an effort to draw interest into the recently developed area.


The pair of instruments reportedly comes in at 50:1 scale to their playable counterparts, but this fact strikes me as patently false: at relative scale, the stringed instrument is more likely to be modeled after a cello than a violin, and even then it comes in at what looks like upwards of 50% too big.


Of course, the 'keys' are also completely out of proportion as well.