Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Space - Art Institute of Chicago 2008

Alsdorf Galleries at the Art Institute of Chicago
August 18, 2008
I snapped this picture before the museum had filled it with their collection of art from India, the Himalayas and Southeast Asia.  Through many lunch breaks I enjoyed seeing this room recreated from a sunless hall to a bright sunlit space.  Excavating the structure (on the left) showed the craft of building to be just as art-worthy as the works it houses.  Brilliant.

Visit Maps at www.artic.edu to see what it looks like now and for more information on how to visit the museum.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Friday, June 22, 2012

A Visit to the 9/11 Memorial - May 2012

9/11 Memorial
May 2012
From a Charlie Rose Interview dated Septemeber 13, 2011, Michael Arad, Architect for the 9/11 Memorial, shares his concept behind the design of the memorial:

This is a kind of place that is equivalent of a moment of silence.  Open to you to bring what you want to bring into it.  It is very much about creating a place that allows that to happen.  That brings you into a space that is conducive to contemplation.  To sort of setting aside of all these concerns.  Setting aside the sights and sounds of the City.  Not completely removing yourselves from them.  But the sound of the water and the canopy of trees overhead and this space in front of you should put a filter between you and the concerns of the every day.  And allow you to think.  To think what has happened over the last ten years.  To bring the past into the present.
Arad also describes how the concept "came to him in a dream" where he saw two crisp voids in the Hudson River with water flowing down the walls of them.

During a visit to the memorial in May 2012 I saw many knit-brows, looks of contemplation and thought on many of the faces visiting or working there.  On faces of people placing flowers on the names of loved ones.  On faces of young Navy servicemen.  On faces on the Security.  On many faces.  And I was curious what they were (or appeared to be) thinking.  Was it the site?  The terrorist attack?  The thousands of wasted lives?  The wars we are fighting?  The destruction?  Or was it just the every day?  My coffee is cold?  How am I going to pay for my mortgage this month?  Who knows.

And as I walked through the space I felt open to bring what I wanted to bring.  And I thought what could people take out of it? The new towers rise heroically over these quiet, black voids.  Voids now exist where there were towers.  There is absence as Arad says.  There is a reckoning with agony and pain.  There is a possibility that things can be made better in the world.  There is a feeling that the people who died here did not die in vane.  "I know a place / I'll take you there!" 

There is hope.

But people need to bring what they want to bring.  And when people visit this place, bringing what they bring, what they take out could be something else.

Peace to those lost and to those who mourn them.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Poem 5 14 2012

What is the next style 
Are we beyond style 
Stephen Kieran and James Timberlake
suggest in 2003 that the new architecture
will not be about style
but substance
Is sustainable the new style
When we already know that we
have to get beyond sustainable
Who is the next
Is it an end to the hero in design
What will Calatrava
or Hadid do next
Buildings are expressions
of commerce and economy
Form follows
At one time we dressed
up our buildings with stone
to give these expressions
Some face
Some validity
there's that word again
Cathedrals to money
they are called
And what did we build
our cathedrals for again
Was it for god
What about Stonehenge
Can we get beyond
based on commerce and economy
Can we get beyond
commerce and economy
There can be
Spirit in a building
Spirit in a place 
Commerce and economy
Created these buildings and places
vice versa
What is the NEXT

Friday, April 20, 2012

Friday, April 06, 2012

Nature as Precedent

A featured project from Architizer.  The main idea is that the building, or community really, mimics nature where the residential units are like leaves on a tree.  There is a framework support system of transportation and utilities (a tree trunk) that support the residential pods (the leaves) which are interchangeable. 
"World of Chlorophyll" by IAMZ Design Studio

"World of Chlorophyll" reminds me of Richard Roger's Lloyds of London building (1986) as seen in the video below ...

Love the use of the Pink Floyd song here.  But that's another subject altogether.  There is also his Pompidou Center in Paris (1977)  ...

"World of Chlorophyll" looks like the continued development of an idea where the systems of a building are laid bare.  When broken up, modern buildings are a collection of systems.  Modern buildings are no longer just shells like a tent or tee-pee is.  Our body is a collection of systems:  circulatory, nervous, digestive, muscular, etc.   It seems that as these systems are studied, developed and even glorified, the more we realize that nature is the blueprint. 

The internet shows how interconnected we can be.  Has it really shown how interconnected we have always been?  Are we as humans really all that set apart from each other, from the environment?  Are we all part of a system?  Should we work with the system?  Have we been dillusional in our thinking that we can control it?  Is the new mantra of "zero-impact" really all that new? 

What we make, our buildings for one, is an expression of ourselves.  It seems, increasingly we say we are "going back" to Nature.  Have we ever left?  Can we ever leave the system that is Nature?  Again, are we dillusional? The Earth, a system, is some 4 billion years old.  In comparison, we only live to some 80 or so years (if we're lucky).   In the awe of this fact alone I am filled with humility.

We have been bold.  That is for sure.  And we need to keep thinking big.  With big ideas like the "World of Chlorophyll" we are continuing in that tradition. 

Like leaves on a tree
"World of Chlorophyll" by IAMZ Design Studio

Videos by kdanman00 and msafieldtripfilms on Youtube
Images from Architizer

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Future Cities and the Vertical Farm

The vertical farm by ExplainingtheFuture.com.  Where to get food, water and energy in the future?

Other than the pods shown in the image above, here are some applications of the idea:

For single family homes:  Home gardens or shared community gardens where open lawns now exist.

For multi-family developments:  The same as above / if there is a flat roof, garden there

For retirement communities: Nursing and activity departments can encourage gardening on the premises.  This will create and encourage mobility, connectivity and continuity.

For schools:  Science classes can network with the community and retailers to teach where food comes from and provide hands-on learning.

For Chicago:  Use some of the Park District land.  Vacant land can be urban gardens.  This is already happening.  Current policy encourages turning vacant land  "....into viable, productive urban green spaces."  As reported in Huffington Post, Sept. 2011, Mayor Emanuel stated:

"This policy is about taking land that we have here in the city of Chicago that is literally sitting fallow both as land as well as a revenue base or tax base and turning it into a job creator and a revenue creator. And there's great parts of the city where that exists," Emanuel said, as reported by WBEZ.

Look at Detroit ...

... Mexico City ...

For grocers big and small:  Make use of those large flat roofs by creating roof gardens.  Make use of the wasteland that is a parking lot by gardening in and over it.

For any retailers and malls:  See the idea for the grocers above

For religious institutions:  Inspire people to appreciate our commonalities and differences and plant the seed, literal and spiritual, for growth, responsibility, and a sense of community.

"Make no small plans"