Having been to so many building department all over Los Angeles, the one I managed to go to only once in my 13 year career is the downtown Building Dept. But in this era of budget cuts and reduced government services, all of the city's services are being consolidated downtown. So to get a sign off needed for a project, instead of going to West LA I now needed to schlep all the way to downtown. So I decided to make the best of it and take the subway downtown and walk to the building dept.
Well, that was better in theory than practice. I had a roll of drawings and had to carry them everywhere. Then while the building dept. is close to the Pershing Square if you're a crow. Walking is a different story, especially when you wear the wrong shoes as I did.
Then there is the fact that all of the building department's services are scattered across many floors in a high rise and you have a very long day.
The walk there is interesting as you have to pass LA's Central Market, Pershing Square, the Disney Concert Hall, the Dorothy Chandler Pavillion and MOMA.
Next time I go there, I may just take my car.
Fancy Swiss architects Herzog & De Meuron have just introduced a new website that makes me wonder why they even bothered. It looks like it's a broken and there is virtually nothing cutting edge about it. Most architect's websites are bad simply for the fact that they try awfully hard to push the boundaries of design to justify their place on the world wide web. There are numerous examples of this trend.
Famous Iraqi born architect Zaha Hadid comes to mind. Her website has a lot of information to convey and the there are interesting things happening. The problem is that it's a clunky. It's like an old computer operating system that went from line based input to a first generation GUI. All of the little windows are movable and that's cool. But it looks a bit dated which is about the last thing you could say about the firm's architecture.
I don't mean to pick on her of course. There are a lot of firms that come to mind. Renzo Piano's website is dated and the navigation is extremely limited. Frank Gehry's website is stunningly plain. Morphosis' website is graphically bold but the navigation confusing. But the website that takes the cake is Yale's School of Art. Although not technically architecture related, it belongs on this list for being U-G-L-Y.
For more websites that make you face palm, check out Vincent Flanders' Web Pages that Suck. The last website on this page will make you glad you did.
If you're interested in a one bedroom house in Malibu that looks like it's from the Flintstone's, then look no further. Dick Clark had this house designed in to look as if it were carved from a rock. The reality is that the contractors and the architect must have done A LOT of drugs to come up with something this subversive. Now with Mr. Clark's passing, it's not hard to imagine that the someone will step up to the plate and purchase this curiosity. It could be yours for all of $3.5 million.
Source: Fast Company Design
This table designed by Nika Zupnac would would be perfect work surface for my kindergartner, although I'm sure she would just want to play and slide from the work surface.
The desk is really ingenious in a simple and elegant sort of way. It has storage on one side of the tilt up portion which opens via a hand crank.
No mention of pricing or availability, but even though it looks simple, don't expect it to be cheap.
If you have ever wondered what the building off the 101 freeway in downtown is with the strange spire is, it's School #9, the Ramon Cortines School of Visual and Performing Art. It is a project that has had it's share of controversy, not the least of which was a scathing critique by some of it's students.
The architect, Wolf Prix from Coop Himmilb(l)au, sat down with Howard Silver to discuss the school's influence and his belief that as a school of performing arts, that the school's architecture should not be a "stupid box". It's an interesting video and one where you get a description of the building from the architect himself.
Now this is just too cool for school. Artist Leandro Elrich has created a simulation of the interior of a swimming pool. The walls of the faux pool are painted aquamarine and the "roof" is a piece of transparent glass with 10 cm of water over it to give the effect of being inside of a swimming pool. What I don't understand is how you get inside the pool if there is a piece of water tight glass serving as the covering. I can see a woman climbing down a ladder, but how does the water not flood the inside of the pool?
View The 1% (or 0.0001%) in a larger map
Architizer has another interesting article on how the 1% live. At least about the facades of all the buildings where the 1% symbols of wealth in New York live. Big surprise: all of the facades of the buildings where the 1% live are grey and non-descript. There is only so much you can do in one of the densest cities in the world.
Sources: Architizer, Gawker
I love the unapologetically minimalist design of this church located inside Riga International Airport inside the north terminal (if you happen to be in Latvia). There is a lot of concrete. The pews seem to be suspended in the air. The graphic of Mother and Child is both cute and striking. And that ceiling is icing on the cake. But it looks familiar. Hmmm. Where have I seen it before? Oh right.
This story gives me a warm feeling inside. The kids from Whitehorse High School in Montezuma, Utah, get 50 bikes and a lesson on how to ride and maintain them, while the good people from 88bikes do another good deed. And of course DesingnbuildBLUFF and the volunteers that put the trailer together can be proud of the work and cause they contributed to. The trailer made out of a hodge-podge of salvaged and recycled parts will serve as a workshop and a host to clinics that can be towed to anywhere it is needed. DesignbuildBLUFF is no stranger to the Navajo Nation and have won numerous awards from the Colorado AIA for their efforts.
Source : Inhabitat
It's easy to spot an architect when you are in an interesting building. They're the ones that are always looking up with mouths agape. Now they might just blend in with the crowd as they take panoramic photos on their iPhones courtesy of Photosynth. The iPhone app takes a series of pictures and terms them into a stitched image that you can later view in either a 3-D panorama that you can zoom in and a 2D image that stitches the images together. The image quality is pretty amazing, especially when you consider that it's coming from a smart phone. You will need the Microsoft Silverlight plugin to view the images, but it's a small price to pay to relive a striking vacation spot or interesting bit of architecture.
About my blog
I like architecture. I want to write about it. As my first teacher in architecture school told on the very first day of school: "Architecture is a great hobby"