Architecture

Architecture for the Birds.

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Do you feel that the fine feathered friends building nests in your yard’s trees need something a little nicer? Maybe a nice two bedroom Eichler inspired house, or something a little bit more Frank Lloyd Wright? Well Sourgrassbuilt is here to help you make sure that all the birds in your yard have a modern dwelling to call home. Designed and built by Douglas Barnhard for his company, Sourgrassbuilt, in Santa Cruz California these mid-century modern homes are pretty amazing. The birdhouses are handcrafted from valuable leftover wood and laminates that come from other furniture projects that Barnhard creates for Sourgrassbuilt. One of the really nice touches is the fact that many of the houses have small living garden space to help attract birds as well. Barnhard’s Etsy site says he is still taking orders through December 11 for Christmas delivery, so if you want be Santa to the birds this year, you better hurry.

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The USC Architectural Teaching Slide Collection, A Mid Century Modern Time Capsule.

Tremaine residence, Montecito, Calif., 1949. Richard Neutra, architect

Tremaine residence, Montecito, Calif., 1949. Richard Neutra, architect

Yesterday I was looking for some reference images of mid century modern architecture for an illustration I am working on when I stumbled across the USC Architectural Teaching Slide Collection. This website contains about 1400 images taken between the late 1930’s and late 1960’s. it features the work of American masters like Frank Lloyd Wright, Richard Neutra, Pierre Koenig, Fritz Block and many more. The site is broken into 4 sections, Pierre Koenig (302 items), Fritz Block: Modern architecture II (The new concept of space) (459 items), Fritz Block: Modern architecture I (248 items). There is also a link to a prototype website that was built back in the late 1990’s with additional information.

If you open an image, there is a large selection of information about each slide. Location of the structure, the year taken, who the photographer is, the architect, publisher etc. The images are scans of slides taken in many cases by the architect, or Block. They are not color corrected, and these are not professional architectural photographs. They do however show what was going on in terms of modern architecture at the time, and in some cases show shots of the buildings being built. There are images of blueprints, and correspondence as well as site drawings, and planning layouts for entire subdivisions.  All the images are available for download, print or sharing.

Archiblocks.

Remember the building blocks you played with as a kid? Simple squares, usually with the alphabet painted on them. Well these are not your average building blocks.

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Archiblocks were designed by Laurence Calafat for Cinqpoints. Cinqpoints is a French maker of architectural stationery and toys, and Archiblocks is a beautiful, minimalist set of building blocks designed to encourage kids to create. Cinqpoints mission is to spread the ideals of contemporary architecture. Archiblocks are designed to reflect balance, composition, and modular design. The set contains 16 pieces, all machined from untreated lime-wood. the blocks are smooth to the touch, with each block hand sanded before being sealed and painted. If I had kids, I’d get them a set of these. Actually, I might have to get a set for myself, because they are pretty damn cool.

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SNOW CREEK RD.

If I had an extra $450,000 in cash just laying around I’d be tempted to pull the trigger on this property listed by Paul Kaplan in Palm Springs. Yes this is small at just 756 square feet. Yes it needs a boat load of cosmetic work. That’s why I said $100,000 more than the asking price. But look at how cool this space is and how amazing it could be with a little TLC and a vision to take it back to the year it was built; 1961. I really love the sky light that runs the length of the A-Frame roof line. Try and look past the clutter and the current decor. This could really be an amazing space with less furniture and a bunch of updates.

The editorial below the images is from the listing page.

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“Here is Your Chance to Own a Piece Of Incredible Bohemian History. Snow Creek Village is Nestled in the Beautiful San Jacinto Mountains and less than 10 Miles from the Modernist Center of Palm Springs. 39 Eclectic Homes Dot the Scenic Wilderness. Artists, Writers & Musicians have all called Snow Creek Home. This Unique, one of a kind 1 Bedroom/1Bath hand hewn A-Frame House with Loft was built in 1961. A Stunning Celestial Glass Peak Greets You Inside with Rock and Wood Walls & A Large Granite Fireplace. Detached Studio Space sitting on an Incredible .73 acres with a Rock Stream Koi Pond & An Above Ground Jacuzzi. Mature Eucalyptus, Bamboo & Citrus Trees Abound.”

Interactive Portals at LAX.

Public Art can be a hit or miss endeavor. More often than not it misses the mark for one reason or another, be it budgets, design by committee, to many cooks in the kitchen, what ever. Occasionally though it ends up being pretty impressive and true to the need of the commissioning group and the artists themselves.

Recently Los Angeles International Airport installed a series of large-scale, permanent public multimedia installations in the Tom Bradley terminal. The works were designed to enhance the spacial experience of travelers by bringing the architecture to life through the media features of the installations. Designed by Moment Factory the 16 unique responsive digital artworks are built to react to passenger movements with audio, video, sound effects and music being served up real-time in the space. I can’t wait until I fly in or out of LAX again so I can see these in person.

Cabins

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Cabins / Huts is a new book from Taschen that combines beautiful photography, illustration by Marie-Laure Cruschi, and insightful text about the idea of what a small refuge building is. I absolutely love the style of the illustrations, which remind me of classic Charlie Harper works.

Over the past decade, as our material existence and environmental footprint has grown exponentially, architects around the globe have become particularly interested in the possibilities of the minimal, low-impact, and isolated home.

This book explores how this particular architectural type presents special opportunities for creative thinking and showcases some of the most inventive and forward-looking contemporary architecture today. The book features works by Renzo Piano, Terunobu Fujimori, Tom Kundig and many fresh young professionals all embracing such distilled sanctuary spaces.

The cabins selected for this publication emphasize the variety of the genre, both in terms of usage and geography. From an artist studio on the Suffolk coast in England to eco-home huts in the Western Ghats region of India, this survey is as exciting in its international reach as it is in its array of briefs, clients, and situations.

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Digital Grotesque. Printed Architecture from Sand.

This is probably one of the coolest things I have seen done with a 3D printer in a while. Digital Grotesque is a human scale fully immersive enclosed structure that was completely printed out of sand using a 3D printer. The structure measures 172 square feet in size, and creates a fictive narrative space that is less concerned with functionality than with the expressive formal potentials of digital technologies.

Designed by Michael Hansmeyer, and Benjamin Dillenburger every aspect of this architecture is composed by custom-designed algorithms to create a form that appears at once synthetic and organic. The design process thus strikes a delicate balance between the expected and the unexpected, between control and relinquishment.

Architects:
Michael Hansmeyer
Benjamin Dillenburger

Partners and Sponsors:
• Chair for CAAD, Prof. Hovestadt, ETH Zurich
• Department of Architecture, ETH Zurich
• voxeljet AG
• FRAC Centre
• Strobel Quarzsand GmbH
• Pro Helvetia

Research for the Digital Grotesque project was carried out at the Chair for CAAD at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich. All components were printed by voxeljet AG. The first part of Digital Grotesque is a commission by FRAC Centre for its permanent collection.

Fabrication Team:
Maria Smigielska, Miro Eichelberger, Yuko Ishizu, Jeanne Wellinger, Tihomir Janjusevic, Nicolás Miranda Turu, Evi Xexaki, Akihiko Tanigaito

Video & Photo:
Demetris Shammas, Achilleas Xydis