Héctor Fernández Elorza Builds a Genetics Research Building in Madrid

Héctor Fernández Elorza Genetics Research Building Madrid Spain

Héctor Fernández Elorza Genetics Research Building Madrid Spain

This beautifully austere science building addition is on the campus of the University of Alcalá in Spain, and from the drafting boards of Héctor Fernández Elorza. Because the technological and spatial needs of research buildings tend to evolve quickly, the original building was in desperate need of a renovation to bring the building up to the working standards of a modern facility.

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Alex Dent

April 11, 2013 / By

OMA teams up with Knoll to make furniture precise but unpredictable

OMA Tools for Living Knoll 3013 Milan

OMA and Knoll have officially debuted a new line of furniture called Tools for Living, in Milan. The kinetic and boxy pieces may look familiar to fashion-savvy readers because they were first seen back in January on the runway of Prada’s 2013 Autumn/Winter Men’s Runway show. What’s remarkable is that most of the furniture that makes up Tools for Living is somehow kinetic: it swivels, has complex inner hinges, or an adjustable height. It sounds almost more like a Swiss Army Knife than a line of furniture, but these aren’t meant to be static and stately pieces, and they’re called tools for a reason.

The Tools for Life range is based on the idea that furniture should be understood as a high-performance instrument rather than a design statement. OMA conceived the furniture to facilitate the contemporary flow between work and social life, while adjusting to the different needs of both.

Rem Koolhaas commented: “We wanted to create a range of furniture that performs in very precise but also in completely unpredictable ways, furniture that not only contributes to the interior but also to the animation of the interior.”

The good news is that the same tools can turn your space into a casual and social space again at the push of a button.

OMA Tools for Living Knoll 3013 Milan

OMA Tools for Living Knoll 3013 Milan

Alex Dent

April 10, 2013 / By

This is What Happens When SimCity’s Mayor is an Architecture Critic

SimCity Panoramic

I’ve always been kind of terrible at video games. Any video game, it doesn’t matter. I automatically make anyone else playing a game with me look expertly skilled. It started when I plugged in my very own Sega Genesis on my seventh birthday and continues to this day when I get together with friends to play Michael Jackson: The Experience on Wii. However, I did have the fleeting experience of skillful gaming one summer when my parents sent my twin sister and I to spend time with our Aunt and Uncle in Minneapolis and they, in turn, sent us to spend time at a computer camp.

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Alex Dent

April 9, 2013 / By

La Trobe University Institute for Molecular Science’s Cellular Structure

Lyons Architecture La Trobe University Institute of Molecular Science  

Lyons Architecture La Trobe University Institute of Molecular Science
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Sometimes while joking with my old friends who work as architects, I’ll offer my own summary of the entire history of the profession: “Let me just go ahead and boil this down for you: it was built to keep the poor people away.” It’s an absurd summary, and is far removed from the reality and concerns of practicing architects. More rational people might summarize the recent history of architecture (since Modernism) using either popular dictum from Mies van der Rohe, “less is more,” or another from Le Corbusier that describes architecture as a “machine for living in.” But, more recently, there seems to have been a shift toward thinking of buildings as organisms. I can’t think of a snappy saying associated with this shift, although I think the cover of the first Mark Magazine was getting somewhere with, “Let’s Build Trees!”

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Alex Dent

April 8, 2013 / By

A LEGO-inspired footbridge by Michael Jantzen

Michael Jantzen Foobtbridge

Michael Jantzen Foobtbridge

I haven’t quite figured out how seriously I should take architecture. Is it important? To some people, absolutely. But not everyone needs or wants it, so it’s a bit like fashion if you ask yourself these two questions: Do people need clothing? Yes, but not fashion. Do people need shelter? Yes, but not necessarily architecture. As much as we may like to dress spiffy or inhabit swanky spaces, most of us would probably roll our eyes if someone insisted that couture labels were a matter of life and death. And as long as it doesn’t collapse, architecture is pretty much the same way, right?

We’ve been looking at playful projects this past week, and have seen everything from roller coasters to legos to fiber optics. The last project we’ll see this week is from Michael Jantzen. Jantzen is probably best known for his shape-shifting M-Vironments which have been widely published, or you may know him from his playful photo series of deconstructed houses. and churches. And today we have a relatively simple footbridge he’s designed for nowhere in particular.

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Alex Dent

April 5, 2013 / By

The Teton County Library in Jackson, Wyoming physically responds to the Internet

E/B Office Filament Mind Jackson Wyoming Library

If you’re looking for a fun place to hang out and interact with data (and who isn’t?) try the Teton County Library in Jackson, Wyoming. The library has a new addition built by Gilday Architects. And inside the new entrance lobby, you’ll find a stunning installation created by E/B Office. The New York-based practice has filled the lobby with five miles of fiber optic cable cut into a thousand segments.

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Alex Dent

April 4, 2013 / By

Buying Bags Inside a Matrix of Fluorescent Tubes and Moving Images

Ryan Russell Crumpler Store Melbourne

On the south side of Melbourne, designer Ryan Russell of Russell & George has recently completed a bright, playful space for Australian bag maker Crumpler, their twelfth store in Australia. What immediately makes the store stand out is the grid of fluorescent lights that defines the ceiling and moves down the walls of the retail space. The lights are big, looking almost like the largest and most fragile K’Nex project you’ve ever seen.

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Alex Dent

April 3, 2013 / By

MVRDV Is Inspired By Blocks: The Porous City Exhibition and the DnB NOR Headquarters

MVRDV Porous City

MVRDV Porous City

Even if they weren’t your favorite, you may have spent a portion of your childhood building things out of blocks. I loved playing with the blocks at school because they were huge; I could stack the pieces into symmetrical piles half my height and stomp around the mess durring recess. Sadly, at home I was relegated to playing with lincoln logs or Legos, neither of which are any fun to stomp on with bare feet. As it turns out, some architects grow up and never stop playing with blocks. Instead, when these architects start to work/play, the result becomes more complex than anything I made when I was little and their building blocks become much more expensive. But not always.

MVRDV Porous City

Here are two recent works by the Dutch firm MVRDV. To me, most of the firm’s work can appear blocky at times, but these tall white towers made for an exhibition in Cannes are especially blocky because they are made from white legos. The exhibition is called Porous City and these towers (which were made with help from the Why Factory) are investigations about how to break up the solid mass of a skyscraper. These legos are the building blocks that aren’t so expensive.

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Alex Dent

April 2, 2013 / By

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