Thought cloud

Came across this rather good looking ‘thought-cloud’ from Stan Allen Architects. What’s smart is using this as active navigation ensuring purpose for such elegance. The full size view of it can be found here or check out the site.

Hugh Ferriss

Hugh Ferriss (1889 – 1962) was an American delineator (one who creates perspective drawings of buildings) and architect. According to Daniel Okrent, Ferriss never designed a single noteworthy building, but after his death a colleague said he ‘influenced my generation of architects’ more than any other man. Ferriss also influenced popular culture, for example Gotham City (the setting for Batman) and Kerry Conran’s “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow”. “Just Imagine” (movie from 1930), strongly influenced by Hugh Ferriss’s book, Metropolis of Tomorrow (1929), takes the archetype vision of the future city as defined by a Manhattan-like skyline, and portrays it in all its beauty and majesty.

Via Elecko Plankton’s reference. Enjoy the huge image archive on flickr showing off his spectacular imagery. They are taken from the collection available online at the Avery Library of Columbia University, where you can also download scalable high-resolution files. Check out his glorious books on Amazon.


Lee H. Skolnick Architecture + Design Partnership (LHSA+DP) are a nationally recognized, published, award-winning integrated design firm with a diverse portfolio of architecture, museum and graphic design projects.

They are credited with using the phrase ‘design as interpretation’


Our process always begins with total immersion into the content and context of any situation. A fun credo of “listen, learn, distill, create” results in designs that uniquely embody the vision and goals of their clients. Giving form and imparting meaning become one objective, one vision, and one of the surest paths to superior design.

Outstanding. Great firm.

Environa studio

“Building a freestanding prefab home is, in a sense, building a green SUV: You’re greening up the wrong thing.” Sydney based architects Tone Wheller and Jan O’Connor of Environa Studio.

An article in this month’s Dwell, discussing the vocabulary of modern design, inspired by prefab assembly and by the legendarily balmy Australian climate.

We try to allow a certain amount of flexibility in our projects. You’re not using the same room in the same way 365 days of the year. The house is flexible enough that you can use one room in the evening and one in the morning—or you can adjust the spaces so that they’re used at different times of day and even different times of year. It goes down to the modernist tradition of furniture that’s light and easy to move. Sustainability needs to go beyond just materials and energy use; we need to start thinking about density, size, flexibility—fitting more things into smaller spaces. Everything would be small and compact—but everything would fold out at full size.

I’m really getting into modular use spaces, I first came across it at the Royal College of Art CRD studio, which would often change appearance based on the intended function or the evening’s activity. Doors on rails, screens (fabric and metal) swing into place and provide immediate privacy and flexibility to this adaptive studio space.


Farnborough Airport Building

Farnborough Airport Building, England, UK by REID architecture.

“TAG Aviation’s customer experience is one of ‘comfort, quality and excellence’ “says Matthew Bedward, Design Director at REID architecture.

“The challenge for us was to realise a design that delivers a high quality customer environment that creates a memorable visual and spatial excitement appropriate to TAG (Techniques de Avante garde) Aviation’s cutting edge reputation for technological and service excellence.”

Farnborough is the historic site of the world famous air show. REID architecture has created a ‘theatre of aviation’, with grandstand views of the dynamic activities of the airport, yet maintaining a functionality and intimacy of scale appropriate for the privacy often demanded by the client’s customers. “Our aim,” stated Matthew Bedward, “was to create a building, which picks up on and reflects the technology and beauty of aircraft”.The 5,000sqm building is designed as a two storey office and operations ‘wing’ clad in mill finished aluminium shingles ‘hovering’ over a fully glazed ground floor of customer lounges, conferencing and entrances.

The main atrium is a 3 dimensional oval bowl pace that appears to peel away from the external skin of the building. This complex space is the heart of the building and provides a processional circulation route for all passenger facilities, offices and operations areas. Its sculptural nature creates an open, fluid and welcoming introduction to TAG Aviation’s service.

Side View of Airport

Room Without A View

Gazing at images today of light drenched rooms filled with panoramic views. These days we’d be happier settling for some good looking art on the walls and a discreet hi-fi/flat screen tv. Breathtaking panoramic views are officially reserved for weekends away.

Design for the War Room in ‘Dr Strangelove’

Design for the War Room in ‘Dr Strangelove’ Kenneth Adam (born 1921), UK, 1962

In ‘Dr Strangelove’, the concept for the War Room – the principal setting of this bitterly ironic film about the prospect of nuclear warfare – came from director Stanley Kubrick’s idea for a reinforced-concrete bomb shelter.

Production designer Kenneth Adam dramatised the space by using backlit maps, display boards and a huge circular baize-covered table, which turned defence planning into a poker game. Final concept drawing of felt-tip pen on card for ‘Dr Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb’, directed by Stanley Kubrick, 1964. Additional section to drawing, 1999 Sir Kenneth Adam, London

Kubrick said:

“As I tried to build the detail for a scene I found myself tossing away what seemed to me to be very truthful insights because I was afraid the audience would laugh. After a few weeks of this I realized that these incongruous bits of reality were closer to the truth than anything else I was able to imagine. After all, what could be more absurd than the very idea of two mega-powers willing to wipe out all human life because of an accident, spiced up by political differences that will seem as meaningless to people a hundred years from now as the theological conflicts of the Middle Ages appear to us today?”

I architect

Seth Godin’s says, Is architect a verb?

“I confess. I like using it that way. I think architecting something is different from designing it. I hope you can forgive me but I think it’s a more precise way to express this idea. Design carries a lot of baggage related to aesthetics. We say something is well-designed if it looks good. There are great designs that don’t look good, certainly, but it’s really easy to get caught up in a bauhaus, white space, font-driven, IDEO-envy way of thinking about design.

So I reserve “architect” to describe the intentional arrangement of design elements to get a certain result. You can architect a computer server set up to make it more efficient. You can architect a train station to get more people per minute through the turnstiles.

More interesting, you can architect a business model or a pricing structure to make it far more effective at generating the behavior you’re looking for. Most broken websites aren’t broken because they violate common laws of good design. They’re broken because their architecture is all wrong. There’s no strategy in place.”

Image: Henri Cartier Bresson
Ernst Haas—Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Roof gardens in NYC

Rooftop beauties from Manhattan, including Mariah’s penthouse.

Amazing private roof decks, speechless! This one BELOW includes Mariah’s penthouse. I can say with 90% certainty that it is indeed Mariah’s rooftop. The curve of the window matches what we saw in MTV cribs, and she always mentions a hot tub on the roof: is that dark red patch near the front corner of the roof a hot tub cover? And the brickwork looks to match.

All credit to jwilly for photographing a brilliant set of ostentatious roof gardens in New York City.


Good looking prefab

The on-going debate about what to do with _our_ NY roof space took an interesting turn today after a conversation with a Vancouver based architect. This one was designed by Ray Kappe for LivingHomes

Architects Ray Kappe & Shigeru Ban

The folks over the LivingHomes, talking about the 46 week process for a prefab house:


Venturing into the process of bringing your dream LivingHome to life, you may wonder, “Will this is hard, complicated, a pain in my Eames-loving rear?” Correct answer: No, because we’ll be there to work with you and guide you through every step along the way. Unlike the frustrations often associated with building a traditional custom home, we’ve designed a process to ensure a comfortable, predictable experience, an experience in which we are partners — from personalizing architectural design to choosing your favourite fixtures.

The following sections discuss a step-by-step roadmap of the entire LivingHomes purchase process — from evaluating the suitability of the land you select to that moment when the finish crew has gone and it’s just you, your favourite chair, an expansive view, and the great sense of space that pervades your LivingHome.

Ecospace Prefab Garden Studios

Treehugger (2006) explains:
They are available in modular or “bespoke”, built from sustainable timber and sit on an adjustable bearing shoe that minimizes site disturbance. We also like the green roof: “A planted green roof system is used which was developed in Germany over 25 years ago. The green roof is ecologically sound and aesthetically reduces visual impact of the studio. It is a low maintenance roof with plants well suited to cope with a full range of conditions. Species include mosses, succulents, herbaceous plants and grasses. The Bauder green roof has a high insulation performance.”

EcoSpace UK


The Apple iMac. The New Beetle. The Oh Chair. The Guggenheim Bilbao Museum. These are all classic examples of blobism, a futuristic retelling of the curve, resulting in protoplasmic forms designed by computers. A growing number of inventive architects are now embracing this concept, making blobitecture the hottest global trend in the industry.

This is the first book to focus exclusively on the blobitecture phenomenon in detail: how the process works, the geometric and environmental challenges it presents, the sophisticated software that allows artists to bend the lines of traditional architecture, and the stunning work produced by this art form. Featuring curved walls to blob-esque furniture to Greg Lynn’s Embryological House and Koloatan and McDonald’s Title House, this is both a showcase of the best in blobism and a guide to applying it in a designer’s own work.

New York Times critic, Herbert Muschamp.

New York Times architecture critic, Herbert Muschamp rhapsodizes about Seattle’s new Central Library calling it, “The Library That Puts on Fishnets and Hits the Disco”. Seattle is a town with a big case of boosterism. Towns with this affliction usually have an inferiority complex derives from their envy of big cities like New York, Los Angeles and even San Francisco. This is precisely the case here. So when a big, bold, beautiful new edifice goes up, the local papers pull out all the stops. And they won’t disappoint with their coverage of Koolhaas’ Central Library. NY Times article