Really, you didn’t see it??

Okay, so my disgruntledness is making a brief appearance.  I am not typically the kind of architect who conceives of crazy, esoteric designs.  But I understand, and respect from an artistic point of view, those who do.  Sometimes it helps to keep your theoretical viewpoint sharp, but it’s not practical.  Usually I just look at the designs and sigh, or laugh.  But this one really has me ticked. 

MVRDV, a dutch firm, has created a design for two towers in Korea.  If you are worth your architecture salt, then you have see these already on the news or on some blog you follow – so it should be a review.  But in case you haven’t, I feel the need to post these for consideration.  The towers are under international scrutiny and criticism because they resemble the NYC  Twin Towers…and not in their architectural hey day, but at the very point when two planes hit and destroyed them and their inhabitants on 9/11.  MVRDV has claimed that they did not see the resemblance at all in their design, but critics the world over are questioning their design savvy and their responsibility as architects if they were so blind to the implications.  I agree with the critics, except one, who for some reason thinks that architecture may embody whatever ideal it wants for the sake of art…Washington Post architecture critic, Phil Kennicot says:

“The controversy seems part of a larger cultural effort to make the events of September 11, 2001 somehow sacred, to use the meaning of the terrorist attack for larger, more overbearing cultural control. So now it is being deployed against contemporary architecture, not because there is anything inherently offensive in this design (which may or may not be an intentional reference to 9/11), but because the emotions generated by the attack have been co-opted by one part of the political and cultural spectrum.

Architects have long been exploring ways to turn buildings inside out, to peel away their external skin, to represent them as if melting or hurtling through space. The metaphor to “explode” a building might well be used as a positive architectural value, to open up space, break down formal strictures, allow multiple points of access. So even if the Dutch design firm, MVRDV intended a reference to 9/11, there’s no reason that reference should be read as mocking or ironic. It might easily be seen as an effort to freeze frame a traumatic event, in architectural form, and neutralize its shock and pain.”

Really?  Am I the only one having trouble seeing where common sense is apart of this critique?  I am all about exploring form and metaphor, but really guys, sometimes there is a line that ought naught be crossed.  Not because it is done intentionally or because there may be an opportunity for exploration, but because of the basic dignities granted to humanity.  It’s not necessary, find a different version of this form and metaphor, its just a question of being sensitive.  Architects have a responsibility to people as well as art.  Art should never supercede the experience of your user, at least that’s my opinion.  You may disagree.

Dizzy yet…?

So, like any architecture firm, we get gobs of design magazines that we either subscribe to or not.  Usually they come in the principals names, but no one ever picks them up so they either end up in recycling or on my desk because I am too cheap to subscribe to a glossy magazine I can get for free at the office.  Recently, I “came into possession of” Interior Design magazine…it’s a glossy and a goody.  Apart from it being half ads and the other half interiors concepts that no one would ever spec in their project because it would tank the project in one foul swoop in just finishes and FF&E, Interior Design is the typical trendy design rag.  I did, however, enjoy these pics right from the cover.  I was completely confused and duped at first and I admit I opened the magazine solely because I could not figure out what was happening on the cover.  I am not sure I would want to work in this environment, but the jury is still out on that……this is Salon Himmelblau in Welsberg-Taisten, a village in the Italian Tirol,  and the designer, Architekturbüro Stefan Hitthaler, designed the basement upside down.  Also, I can’t imagine having to spell that name over the phone….





















Images courtesy of Interior Design Magazine

Why it’s all about space…

I absolutely love this modular home.  Granted, I am a big city type of person so that thought of living in Nowhereville, Connecticut kind of gives me the heeby jeebies but I do like to fantasize that in some other life I would actually enjoy living on a farm with silos amidst a gorgeous field of wildflowers.  But, in this New York Times article a set of designers, who own their own residential firm, Poesis, show what it means to make “place” out of space for their own home.  Its a simple modular/prefab building, with simple materials and geometries.  But with some thought to its presence, orientation and design they turned a modular frame into a fantastic and gorgeous space.  Love it!

Images courtesy of The New York Times and Poesis

Noticeably Absent….

Okay, so I have been absent recently.  I think I fell into the abyss of lack of motivation and inspiration.  Architects find themselves in this dark hole frequently when a project is in CA; our creative drive is eaten up in the process of reviewing RFIs and Submittals.  Something about reviewing metal fabrications for color and size has just sucked the life out of me, leaving me with no other option than sitting on my couch night after night contemplating writing a blog entry or watching NCIS re-runs.  And yes, I chose NCIS; don’t judge me, it’s a good show.  I am beginning to have dreams where I am stuck in Newforma, it’s not a good state of affairs.

So, as I re-enter the world of blogging snarky disgruntledness, I thought I would leave you with this poster.  I agree with it’s sentiment, except the working for free part….I would not do that.  🙂  Happy Monday!

Image Courtesy of Swiss Miss

Quote of the Day…

“Reasonable people adapt themselves to the world. Unreasonable people attempt to adapt the world to themselves. All progress, therefore, depends on unreasonable people.”

– George Bernard Shaw

Zombie-Proof House…

As a friend of mine aptly put it, it is about time we had a template for one of these…I don’t know why we haven’t designed one sooner.  Certainly they work as fantastic and practical fortresses against zombies and vampires of all sorts, especially if an army of the undead decides to come over and borrow sugar from their friendly neighbor…but I also think this will come in handy in shading me against those deadly UV rays that Al Gore keeps telling me about.  Who has time to buy and apply sunscreen for global warming when you could just build this place and live in it all the time.  Also, you might need to invest in nightlights when the house is closed.  Thanks KWK Promes for making this awesome “Safe House.”



















Images courtesy of All That is

Punch Lists…..

In honor of doing a really bad punch list over the last two weeks, and when I mean bad I mean really, really not great, I wanted to leave you with the world’s worst punch list items.  You may have seen this before, but I was revisiting this forwarded email this week because it made me feel better about my own punch list items…..which I could add here.  Happy Friday!













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