Ikimono Architects and the Aberrant Ground

Ikimono Architects Model Eats Ground Project

This weekend, I kind of stumbled into a rabbit hole of Japanese architecture. Or maybe it’s more like an ant farm? It started when I wanted to see what Jun Aoki was up to, and ended when I found these incredible models by Ikimono Architects. Honestly, I’m not even sure how I arrived at the firm’s website; between Jun Aoki and Ikimono Architects, it’s all a blur of white spaces and asymmetrical windows.

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Alex Dent

May 21, 2013 / By

What has Jun Aoki Been Up To?

Jun Aoki and Associates Diagram Miyoshi

Jun Aoki and Associates Diagram Omiyame

Jun Aoki is probably best known (at least in the States) for his designs of Louis Vuitton retail spaces. For over a decade he’s been working on retail projects for the brand in prestigious locations like 5th Avenue, where he wrapped the flagship retail space in a kinetic moiré pattern. Like many of his projects the predominate color of the space and it’s ghostly skin is white. So I was surprised that when I went to the firm’s website and looked at projects “In Progress” and I was greeted by diagrams as colorful as a candy shelf.

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Alex Dent

May 20, 2013 / By

Building Staircases with Nice Views: GLUCK+

Gluck+ Tower House

Gluck+ Tower House

Earlier this week, Dezeen ran a story about a clean and modern house; a house where the living spaces cantilevered off of stacked bedrooms like a grown-up, contemporary treehouse. The views from the so-called Tower House are incredible and the architects responsible for the projects are the ones at Gluck+. I poked around the firm’s website a bit and found that the Tower House has a sort of cousin built in the New York: the Vertical Library. Although one house is rural and the other urban, both are organized around something simple and humble: a staircase. More than just circulation, the stairs become exciting and dynamic places in these projects. In the city, the stair climbs a four-story bookshelf, and in the trees, the stair is painted bright yellow.

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Alex Dent

May 17, 2013 / By

“Less is Less, But Enough.” Architecture Uncomfortable Workshop

Architecture Uncomfortable Workshop

Last week, Ray Harryhausen passed away. For decades, Ray created special effects for Hollywood, using stop motion animation and old fashioned camera trickery to bring artifical villans to the big screen. When asked how computers have revolutionized special effects, Ray replied “you know, in a thirty-second commercial you see the most amazing images, the amazing image is no longer spectacular. It’s become mundane because it’s over used. The computer seems to be able to do anything. So people take it for granted.”

And even though he was talking about mythological characters and fake dinosaurs, he might as well have been talking about architecture.

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Alex Dent

May 16, 2013 / By

Dozens of Windows in Beirut, and Another into the Internet

109 Architectes Saint Joseph University Beiruit

Have you ever gotten excited about a fenestration pattern? If you’re unfamiliar with the word, fenestration is really just a fancy way to say window*. But when you find yourself talking about the fenestration pattern, you’re inadvertently talking about more. You’re talking about how the windows are composed along the skin of the building and picking up a logical pattern to their placement or picking apart how illogically the openings are distributed. I first heard the word being wielding around by a professor who was using it during a studio critique to not only tell someone their project was ugly, but to also make the student feel stupid for having to guess his meaning from context clues.

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Alex Dent

May 15, 2013 / By

Photographer Peter Hoffman Documents an Oil Spill

Peter Hoffman Fox River Derivatives Gasoline Photography

Peter Hoffman Fox River Derivatives Gasoline Photography

These photos aren’t the end product of some sweet new Instagram filter, but of gasoline.

Photographer Peter Hoffman traveled along the Fox River in Illinois, photographing the river’s meandering surface through rural and suburban areas. Before he developed the film, Hoffman drowned the negatives in gasoline and then set them on fire, throwing water to halt the process just before the film was completely destroyed. Hoffman uses fossil fuels to disturb his film in order to reflect the very real environmental disturbances caused in the pursuit of oil. He specifically cites the Deepwater Horizon Spill in a statement about the series and in further commentary about his work he says:

“I wanted to transfer that feeling I had, which was maybe something like a sense of powerlessness or dread, to the image making process. I wanted to lose control, having the resulting work border on ceasing to exist in any recognizable form.”

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Alex Dent

May 14, 2013 / By

Steven Holl, the Gymrat – The Campbell Sports Center at Columbia University

Steven Holl Campbell Sports Center Columbia University

Steven Holl Campbell Sports Center Columbia University

When I hear the word “gym” I tend to think back to the shiny-floored, harshly-lit gymnasium that I endured in order to graduate with the required Physical Education credits. In these spaces, the only thing louder than the buzzing of those mercury vapor lamps was probably all the clues that screamed, “HERE! Here is the gay eighth grader without any eye-hand coordination, athletic intuition, or self defenses.” My discomfort in gyms was a residue that I didn’t start to scrub off until I was in my final year of college.

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Alex Dent

May 13, 2013 / By

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