Friday, May 27, 2011

022. Tru Born Playa

I was browsing through the vinyl in a record store the other day when I came across this. Tru Born Playa by Gridlok and Prolix, featuring MC Fats.

If you look carefully you can see Zaha Hadid's Phaeno centre. I'd love to know who did the artwork.

The track itself is a fairly bangin' piece of drum'n'bass. You can listen to it here:

Gridlok & Prolix 'Tru Born Playa' by realplayaz

<< Raise your hands if you're a Tru Born Playa >>

Monday, May 16, 2011

021. The wrong Kaufmann House

I've become somewhat obsessed with the imagery and advert for the Ministry of Sound Chillout Sessions XII.

It features artwork by Australian design firm Collider, who created a model diorama based on Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater, but given a West Coast poolside setting. It's beautifully constructed and shot, but I can't help but think they chose the wrong Kaufmann House.

It's easy to forget from this diorama that the house at Fallingwater, by FLW for Edgar J Kaufmann in 1937 is actually set in a dense woodland just outside Pittsburgh PA, with the house set on top of the waterfall that gives the house its name.

The story of the design of Fallingwater is the stuff of legend, and lovingly told by Hugh Pearman here:

"Eventually Kaufmann's patience ran out and he telephoned to say he was driving over - a distance of 140 miles. "Come on over, EJ - your house is finished," said Wright calmly, and put down the phone. Everyone in the office knew that not a single line had been drawn. So Wright sat down, got out his coloured pencils and - in two hours flat or as much as three by some accounts - designed the house, in its entirety, down to the smallest detail. As he drew it, he talked, describing it. It was all in his head. Wright placed the house on a great rock right on top of the waterfall. He named it, and signed it. This astonishing feat of speed-design is the single most celebrated act of architectural creativity ever"

Elsewhere, Pearman recounts it thus:

"As related by his disciples, the design just poured out of Wright’s head, and he talked as he drew, wide-eyed underlings handing him a stream of freshly-sharpened pencils. He was talking to himself, mainly, describing the narrative of the design, where the members of the family would be, how the house was going to relate to the stream in the wood. He named it, signed it, and handed over the drawings to his assistants to finish as he strolled out to meet his clients with the immortal words: ‘Come in, EJ. We’ve been waiting for you."

Fallingwater without the waterfall is a strange conception, the vertical wall of water was the primary generator for the form of building, with its massive horizontal concrete cantilvers and vertical stone walls. Wright chose the most dramatic part of the site and instantly knew that this was where the genius loci - the spirit of the place - dwelt.

Edgar Kaufmann commissioned another famous house, designed by Richard Neutra, and built in Palm Springs. I think this house would have suited the vibe that the MOS Chillout Sessions diorama is going for, and the mid-century moderne aesthetic typified by the TV series Mad Men that Collider are tapping into.

My favourite episode of Mad Men is Jet Set, from the second series, where Don Draper goes to the West Coast and then to Palm Springs. He ends up at a beautiful villa and pool which could be the Neutra Kaufmann House (although i understand the episode was actually filmed at the Fox Residence, Chatsworth, California).

I'd love it if for a future Chillout Sessions release Collider could use the other Kaufmann House.

Friday, March 27, 2009

020. Slam City.

Borja Bonaque

Borja Bonaque

Love these illustrations by Borja Bonaque. And if that wasn't enough, there are also these beautiful skateboard deck graphics. Just the thing when you're reading Iain Borden's Skateboarding, Space and the City.

Borja Bonaque

Thursday, January 15, 2009

019. My Playground.

Via the Skira Yearbook site, take a look at this parkour video shot at the intriguing Mountain Dwellings housing development in Orestaden by BIG.

It's a teaser for a documentary by Kaspar Astrup Schröder, My Playground, featuring the parkour skills of Team JiYo. Regardless of what you might think of parkour/free running, the video really brings alive the spaces of the fascinating building by BIG.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

018. All Streets

All streets is a project by Ben Fry which maps all 26 million roads to the lower 48 states in the USA. No other features were added yet as Ben notes cities mountains and other geographical features emerge from the absense of roads or their patterns as are diverted around these unseen obstacles.

Monday, October 20, 2008

017. Revolutionary Minds.

From a recent edition of Seed Magazine, Revolutionary Minds explores the work of several designers and architects working with a very generative and organic approach to creativity. Embedded below are clips featuring Skylar Tibbits and Aranda Lasch. Revolutionary Minds Revolutionary Minds

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

016. Reimagining Robin Hood Gardens

Robin Hood Gardens proposal

Robin Hood Gardens proposal

Here is our entry for the recent competition for Robin Hood Gardens as run by Building Design.

Our proposal for the recent competition for Robin Hood Gardens as run by Building Design, focused on restoring Robin Hood Gardens at the heart of a dense urban realm for Blackwall Reach.

Robin Hood Gardens' high rise but low density development, with a unique green open space at its centre, forms the centrepiece for a fundamental urban redevelopment that focuses on public space and interaction.

Thus proposal attempts an intensification of the urban field around Robin Hood Gardens, re-establishing prior street patterns and creating new ones through a series of urban interventions, exploring both existing archetypes of urban form and also new urban prototypes.

Robin Hood Gardens proposal

Touching lightly on the facade of RHG, 4 mobile, kinetic parasitic structures provide security, lighting and telecommunications, an exo-refit for RHG. Mobile, robotic units, they move along the articulated facade of RHG.

As can be seen on the BD website, most of the shortlisted entries focussed on new approaches to the two blocks themselves, with numerous protrusions, and slicing into the building, and across the estate.

Robin Hood Gardens proposal

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

015. A Night at the Opera

Dubai Opera House

Hadid's Opera House in Dubai is the first true architecture of the 21st Century. Digital. Sleek. Perfect. So why build it?

That most celebrated of building types, the Opera House has given us culture barns such as La Scala in Milan, the Beaux Art Paris Opera, and of course Utzon's masterpiece in Sydney. If Sydney Opera House was the iconic building of the 20th Century, perhaps Hadid's Dubai Opera House might be the definitive work of this.

Dubai Opera House

Dubai Opera House

It is the culimination of the proceses her practice has been exploring throgh projects such as the Phaeno Centre, the BMW building, and the Centre for Contemporary Arts in Rome. Traditional architectural elements are dissolved, the arrangement of spaces determined by the composition. Form follows function is an antiquated concept these days, but here function is a mere conceit. Form follows more form.

Form rides everything is where parametric modelling leads - an aesthetic darwinism of evolved appearances. You can see it in almost every project to come form the DRL at the AA, the farm team for Zaha Hadid Architects, and where Patrik Schumacher teaches.

With this project, walls and roof are united into a sleek 'hull', transformed by parametric process which warped slice and skew the form into a sensuous, sinuous form that rises and twists it's way across the dunes.

The sheer beauty of the renderings is breathtaking. I want to inhabit its spaces (virtually). I want to fly through it. I want to explore its surface, its textures and materials. But I have no intention of visiting it.

Dubai Opera House

The only reason to build it is to prove it is buildable, that the building can capture the essence of the renderings.

But the reality will never live up to the beauty of the proposals. So why bother?

The future of architecture is not Dubai, but Dezeen.

Dubai Opera House

Dubai Opera House

Dubai Opera House

Friday, June 20, 2008

014. Meet the Starchitects

Rem Koolhaas

These fantastic caricatures, drawn by Kathryn Rathke, can be found in the latest issue of Intelligent Life magazine from The Economist. In the Summer 08 issue, you'll also find a great profile of Queen Zaha by Jonathan Meades.

I think these caricatures could become the definitive image of these architects, I especially like Nouvel's Dr Evil pose. Click on the thumbnails below for larger images.
Oscar NiemeyerRichard RogersZaha HadidJean Nouvel
Norman Foster

Friday, April 11, 2008

013. Gundam Architecture

Aoyama Technical College

Aoyama Technical College

Aoyama Technical College

Aoyama Technical College

Here are some remarkable images of Aoyama Technical College, by Makoto Sei Watanabe, posted by Flickr user Viggo:

The building, in the Shibuya district of Tokyo, has been developed from a process of self-organisation in an attempt to define an emergent urban form for Tokyo:

"The self-organizing, organic system that emerges on this principle, however, is-like a natural phenomenon-not conscious. As long as it remains an unconscious principle, it is difficult to draw upon in creating, for example, some building."

"By extracting from the spontaneous workings of this principle those methods that we can consciously apply, it is possible that we might develop a conscious principle upon which to create a new architecture for the city. The Aoyama Technical College aims to discover such a principle for establishing a new order"

Elsewhere, we learn of a Japanese robotics expert, Takayuki Furuta, who wants to build a six-storey tall Gundam battle robot, and has costed it out at approx $742 million.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

012. Surreal Madrid

This advert for Madrid Metro presents a view of the city from below, the Spanish capital literally turned into a floating city, a worms-eye view of the world, suspended in a moment in time.

This video reminded me of the worms-eye axonometric drawigns that James Stirling was infamous for, a sadly underused representational technique in these days of 3D computer modelling. Alas there seems to be a distinct lack of these drawings available online - they are an exquisite way of capturing space.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

011. Songlines.

Here is the entry from Team Helsinki for the Helsinki 2050 competition, from which your humble SuperSpatial team was formed.

[click on the images for larger-scale versions]

Called Songlines, we sought to create 6 urban corridors connecting regions across Helsinki, attempting to create sustainable communities that subverted the normal urban-peripheral dualism of most concentratic city plan. This model, with it's Central Business District, cultural centre and radial hub-and-spoke transportation system seemed to us a 19th and 20th Century pattern that had little relevance for the citizens of mid-21st century Helsinki.

So we sought to create mini-decentralised cities, areas of urban intensification in linear suburbs, each of which could possess unique characteristics due to special planning, tax or other regulations. Thus the Vantaa – Riipilä corridor (or 'songline') might have tax relaxtions which would attract high-tech business start-ups, while the Järvenpää – Mäntsälä zone would be declared petroleum free zone.

Our proposal went into the most depth along the Katajanokka - Vuosaari corridor, which we envisaged as a gateway to the city, focussed around a high-speed Helsinki-St. Petersburg 'Shinkansen'. This area is ripe for development to help meet the requirement for the amount of new housing that a growing city like Helsinki would need by 2050, as set out in the brief, but rather than use the proposed metro line as the engine of development, a well planned shuttle tram service would be cheaper and more environmentally friendly.

The area was an opportunitity to explore a number of housing and mixed use typologies

Our entry was placed a lowly 58 (out of 109 accepted entries), with the jury finding "an ironically made (e.g. bioterrorism courses for a prospective Sipoo university and a Christiana-type community in Kauniainen), incomplete entry, nevertheless featuring beautifully presented documents."

However, we can be proud that we produce something with such a limited resource which contained the germ of some genuinely good ideas that sparked some interesting debate.

Download our detailed proposal for Katajanokka - Vuosaari.
Download detailed_proposal.pdf (49.6K)

Download our 'helsinki vision' document
Download helsinki_vision.pdf (81.9K)