Not Just a Wooden Hut

The hut hiding in the rocks

the warm, wooden interior of the mountain hut

detail of woodgrain milled into the heavy timbers of the dining room

Inaccessible by things with motors or wheels (exception: helicopters), visitors to the Neuen Monte-Rosa-Hütte have all hiked on foot for three hours from the base of a mountain. Specifically, they have hiked from the base of Monte Rosa in the Swiss Alps. The hut is not only a sight for sore eyes, it’s a lodge and restaurant for your other body parts that are probably sore and hungry from hiking over glacial and mountainous terrain. The sleek and faceted exterior doesn’t hit at the warm materiality inside, but… uh… how did all that material get up there? 3000 helicopter trips transported workers and prefabricated chunks of the project to the construction site because mules were too expensive.

Designed by Bearth & Deplazes, the project is a joint effort between ETH and the Swiss Alpine Club. It’s a project that references the site and traditional timber-framing techniques in a contemporary way, all while producing 90% of the energy it consumes. One curious detail is the exaggerated wood grain milled into the timbers of the restaurant. I wasn’t too surprised when I found it was the work of Gramazio & Kohler (remember them?) who describe the wood grain as “combining innovation and tradition into a sensual spatial experience.”

Alex

Alex Dent

February 7, 2011 / By

Space Suit of the Week

illustration by Emilio Santoyo

illustration by Emilio Santoyo

illustration by Emilio Santoyo

Geeze Louise, I’m a big fan of these paintings by Emilio Santoyo, who describes the suits as “kind of like space suits if Mad Max took place in space.” Yes! That is an amazing idea that should happen. What happened, for real, is that Emilio completed these paintings for a group show called Non Sequitur at the Hibbleton Art Gallery. Sadly, the show is down as of this week to make room for something that probably will not feature leather jackets, sweet boots, and the heroic positioning. Emilio says: “I really liked what came out of the show in the end. Though I dont normally work in this theme, I might change up my work a bit.”

He also completed paintings that look like the prop rooms from bygone sci-fi movies,  one of which is available on his site as a wallpaper. “My idea of what the prop room must of looked like in the time where everything was built. Everything was made from blinking light bulb work stations, monster heads, alien space ships in space, to large futurist cities. I think we all would enjoy the chance to run free in those studios and put stuff on and probably break a lot of things in the process.”

Alex

Alex Dent

February 4, 2011 / By

Media Production Center by Studio Gang

Courtyard with setpiece

radiant lighting seen through stained glass

Just a nice video by Dave Burk of Hedrich Blessing Photographers that features the Media Production Center at Columbia College designed by Studio Gang Architects. Completed in 2010, the colorful, low building is the first new construction realized by the Chicago-based college in 118 years. That’s a long time! Maybe this is why the Media Production Center looks happy, it’s happy to be new. Dave’s video shows a mix of indoor and outdoor spaces from warmer days when snow wasn’t falling and accumulating at some of the worst rates in 118 years.

Alex

Alex Dent

February 3, 2011 / By

Spaghetti is not a Wedding Gift

Wedding Gift Chair by Forrest Myers

I wish I knew more about this chair. I know that it was designed in 1980 by Forrest Myers as part of his Wedding Gift series that strings together 5 tables and 15 unique chairs. This chair inparticular looks… well… foxy in the way it ties together strict geometry and taunting thinness. Seriously, it looks like it’s held up by spaghetti. Myers is probably best known for his big, blue wall in SoHo, which was the subject of a convoluted tug-o-war in Court after the landlord yanked down the original sculpture and planned to replace it with billboards. Eventually, Myers and the landlord reached an agreement. In 2008, a year after The Wall was resurrected, the Hedge Gallery in San Francisco featured a show of “dynamic new wire work” from Myers. If his newer furniture work is based in dynamic wires, then this Wedding Gift chair could have descended from a tightrope. And as exciting as his newer work is, I prefer his fine balancing act from 1980.

If you know more about the chair, please speak up.

Found through MondoBlogo

Alex

Alex Dent

February 2, 2011 / By

PIN-UP Magazine

Los Angeles Statuary

PIN-UP describes itself as a “magazine for architectural entertainment.” You can tell by the magazine’s photos on facebook that it’s serious on holding up the entertainment end of the slogan; between cell phone pics of Jean Prouvé projects and the Villa Savoye made out of LEGO bricks, there plenty of photos from launch parties, house openings, and undetermined social events. It’s informal, but well-informed. And it’s always nice to see archifolks socializing! When you just get photos of a finished building and a firm’s principle, it doesn’t really convey that all these people worked to realize this building (although many firm principles are sprinkled throughout the photos, too.) It’s also nice that the magazine doesn’t take itself too seriously. The launch party for the most recent issue “The LA Special” was held at Youngwood Court, a controversially-decorated house in an affluent Los Angles neighborhood (see: lower photo).

I came across PIN-UP on a great site called ARCHI-ZINES that “provides an alternative discourse to the established architectural press.” ARCHI-ZINES also has a really great logo.

Alex

Alex Dent

February 1, 2011 / By

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