Totally called that this was an architect’s house when I saw it. This particular house was built by Warren Schwartz of Schwartz/Silver Architects. In plan, it’s a simple 17 foot by 90 foot rectangle; in section, half the house is cantilevered while the other half conforms to the slope of the site. The design is structurally dramatic, but looks oddly neutral on site, especially in the snow. The steel that enables the house to cantilever, also allows the house to flex: if you’re hanging out in the living room while the 65-pound poodle starts jumping around, you’re likely to feel the floor reverberate. But the concrete basement buried in the hill provides more than enough counterweight for the cantilever, enough for five dozen people to occupy the living room with “several thousand pounds on the roof.”
These curious and wonderful photographs are the work of Kahn & Selesnick from their current exhibition, Mars: Adrift on the Hourglass Sea, at Yancey Richardson Gallery. The series combines photographs taken in Utah with images captured by roving robots Spirit and Opportunity. The New Yorker synopsis of the exhibition describes “an imagined Mars, its civilization fallen, its buildings abandoned, its inhabitants struggling to survive.”
I was excited when I came across Khan & Selesnick’s tumblr, which features more images from the series as well as a link to a self-published book. In their description of the book, the project sounds a little different: “a world populated solely with two women. We do not learn their names nor how and when they came to Mars, but we observe their wanderings in a desolate landscape which they attempt [to] make navigable and habitable with an amalgam of high-tech components.”
Other than that habitable part, these two ladies on Mars sound like the two exploration rovers on Mars. If the ladies are as lucky as the rovers, they’ll last years longer than originally planned. Spirit and Opportunity began with 90-day missions. Almost exactly seven years after their landings, both are still operational today (although Spirit is now stationary).These are the rovers that provided imagery for Kahn & Selesnick; let’s hope their exhibition is as successful as the rovers.
Folks wanting to brush up on their Martian geography may be interested in a Mars Pillow; I have one on my couch.
This video, ModelMaking, made me miss architecture school. It’s a fantastic, brief glimpse into the convoluted bustle of nocturnal activity, junk food and accomplishment that typify the culmination of a design studio. ModelMaking was made by student Léo Collomb at the The University of Lugano, Academy of Architecture in Mendrisio. Seeing all of the students’ models aligned in orderly rows for critique is impressive, and the wall of kinetic sculptures is mesmerizing. But before the pretty, it’s great getting to peak at the mad push to the finish line. Let’ s hope the critics that were waiting on the other side of that line were generous with their knowledge and constructive with their critiques.
Photos by Idit Kobrin
For whatever reason, the recently-completed Actelion Business Center by Herzog and de Meuron hasn’t been getting as much internet love as most of their work. In fact, I’ve seen more posts about the release of renderings of their re-designed tower for Roche in Basel, which doesn’t seem as exciting as this project’s completion. I haven’t been able to find a set of plans for the building, which would really help me understand the organization behind this stack of pretty, triple-glazed offices.The Actelion website was almost helpful with this: “Every floor is laid out differently. This fundamental principle is based on a strict regularity: in the four corner points, where the ‘office beams’ meet, are the core zones through which access is provided to the whole building.” I start to understand, but the abrupt change from “Every floor is different.” to “this is based on strict regularity” confuses me. Does anyone look at images of this project and think “Oh exactly! strict regularity!”
I came across this interview in DAMn Magazine #24, where Julien De Smedt and Jesse Seegers talk to Michael Meredith via Skype. The interview starts with what MOS finds inspirational (basically everything other than sports) and ends with MOS pretending to play in a band:
… “say we were bands playing; we say ‘man, that sounds right’. our parents would say ‘that stuff sounds like shit, turn it off’. Part of our goal is to produce a kind of music that sounds right at a certain moment. This also means that we have an incredibly short lifespan potentially, but that’s OK. If scripting is the equivalent of rave-techno, we have no interest in that; we would rather use those tools to produce things that sound like Deerhoof or Black Dice, kind of using the given technology ‘wrong’. But that is indebted to a 60s, 70s practice of Stockhausen for example, you can’t arrive at that without Stockhausen.”
It’s a quick read with images from several MOS projects; I’ve used images from their P.S.1 summer pavilion that comes up in the interview a few times. The funniest time is when Meredith says “we didn’t know that our P.S.1 project was going to become Snufffaluffagus in the end.”