Today, I thought I’d share three videos of three very different projects under construction right now. The projects are all quite different, and this is in no way a comparison of the three. But they are all interesting to different people and are being realized to vastly different scales.
Some people are scared of rooms. These people, who suffer from koinoniphobia, might want to stay away from Digital Grotesque. The exhibition isn’t necessarily scary but it does feature a room that might be overwhelming… even if you don’t have a phobia. Made using digital fabrication techniques, the room has some eighty million surfaces. And in case the complexity isn’t enough, the entire room is gilded. Based on the model photo above, I can’t tell if this novel form of space making is the future of surfaces or an aliens interpretation of the Baroque period.
In the past year or so I’ve learned how valuable it can be to get away from it all. Working nonstop can be extremely taxing, so it’s great to be able to go some place where you can relax and not worry about the day-to-day. Vitra recently teamed up with Renzo Piano to create a “place of retreat” called Diogene.
It can serve as a little weekend house, as a “studiolo”, as a small office. It can be placed freely in nature, but also right next to one’s workplace, or even as a simplified version in the middle of an open space office. However, it is also conceivable to erect groups of houses, e.g. as an informal hotel or guest house. Diogene is so small that it functions as the ideal retreat, but purposely does not cater for all needs to the same extent. Communication, for instance, will take place elsewhere – and thus Diogene also invites you to redefine the relationship between the individual and society.
When I read the headline “Miami Beach Advisory Board backs Portman-CMC plan to overhaul convention center” I thought the competition was over. The competition is taking place in the middle of Miami Beach, a town about to spend a lot of time and a lot of money to redevelop its convention center. But before breaking ground (or breaking apart the sea of asphalt that surrounds the current convention center) Miami Beach has to pick a plan, and they only have two to choose from. These plans are from OMA and BIG.
I’ve inadvertently been talking about projects this week that have distinct relationships with water; one has been exceedingly photogenic and the other… well… it’s working on it. I happen to like it, but wastewater treatment facilities aren’t for everybody. I’d like to write about how water can shape buildings and also feature a project that isn’t typically glamorous: the lowly public restroom.
Even without knowing what the typical water treatment facility looks like I’m fairly confident that this one in New York is an outstanding example. The only other water treatment plant I can think of that is worth mentioning is this one in Connecticut designed by Steven Holl. But this isn’t a comparison of the two projects, it’s just nice when infrastructure projects consider what they look like instead of just what they do.
The timescale of geology is bonkers. For instance, the most popular tourist attraction in Northern Ireland is the result of lava flows that occurred some 60 million years ago. Along the rocky shoreline, tens of thousands of hexagonal basalt columns emerge from the ground and gradually sink into the sea. Now thanks to the folks at Henegan Peng Architects, thousands of stone mullions are rising and sinking into a grassy plain adjacent to this natural wonder. It’s the Giant’s Causeway Visitor’s Centre.
I haven’t quite known what to think about Peter Zumthor’s proposed overhaul of the LACMA campus, ever since I saw it described as a “black flower.” It confused me. I know black flowers exist, but the architect’s nickname for the project doesn’t help me understand this enormous, amoeba-shaped slab of concrete that the architect has plopped down onto the sunny Los Angeles terrain. And aren’t flowers, even black ones, usually delicate? This project is something much sturdier and larger, and when it’s done, will probably smell a lot more like the neighboring La Brea tar pits than a flower.