Barker Freeman Design Office proposal to redesign the Warsaw Rotunda enwreathes the existing structure in a pleated Dupont Corian Terra canopy that provides a space for events, exhibitions, and performances. The Rotunda facade and roof is reclad in Dupont SentryGlas to house a rain garden of native Polish vegetation that can absorb stormwater from the surrounding hardscape. The space can be reserved for special celebrations like weddings and parties and to house exhibitions and installations. Rainwater filters through the center of the new powdercoated steel center column into a reservoir for plant irrigation. The underside of the canopy becomes a reflective canvas that can be uplit to create a dramatic light show. An elevated outdoor amphitheater provides a space for public gatherings and performances as well as a connection to an indoor mezzanine. The Polish climate is highly favorable for solar energy harvesting, and the country is a leader in the production of solar collectors. The faceted panels on the expansive canopy roof are laminated with thin film photovoltaic cells using Dupont encapsulants and resins to power events within the space. Read the rest of this entry »

Memory and Commemoration in Beirut is a very delicate subject. Beirut witnessed ups and downs, from a devastating civil war to an exponential urban development. Architecture plays a fundamental role in shaping a city. It acts as a living organism with muscles and tissues inextricably interwoven, building a complex world.

With its 30 stories, the Holiday Inn is a massive example of one of these damaged buildings. Facing Beirut’s famous St Georges bay, the hotel was mostly known for the rotating restaurant on its top, offering a 360-degree view on Lebanon’s scenes. It dominates its surroundings by its mass, its brutal imperialistic architectural style, and mostly by the shared individual and collective memories. Due to its height and strategic position, numerous militias occupied it during the war. It is currently still in ruins, unlike most other hotels which were damaged by the war but later renovated.

The project is conceived to be a public hub, the existing shell opening up to welcome individuals between the circulation core and the ruined iconic facade. The renovated hotel is inserted on the existing facade, merging the new structure with the existing one. Different room typologies are conceived responding parametrically to sun exposure. The agglomeration of components gives a new look to the hotel in Beirut’s urban fabric. The project proposes a single three dimensional network as one architectural space, creating a homogenous, loosely differentiated ‘field-space’. Alternation in scale and thickness of the network’s members leads to finely differentiated program typologies, allowing for gradual transitions between polar opposites: structure/volume, open/closed, public/private.

Design: Elias El Soueidi Read the rest of this entry »

The West Coast Premier Design Event Set to Attract Influential Design Community and Enthusiasts with Curated Selection of Leading Brands, Series of Special Events, Special Sales, Panels and Workshops

After a successful debut last fall, WestEdge Design Fair returns to the Barker Hangar for its second edition October 16-19, 2014. This four-day event will cater to the trade, press and public featuring over 150 exhibiting brands and activations. Attendees will find design inspiration and be able to shop from the best in furniture, lighting, kitchen, bath, outdoor furnishings and other products for the home. The fair offers a full design experience, complete with custom installations, a series of special events and notable discussions, panels, and workshops on a wide range of design topics and trends.
WestEdge’s creative presentation and full calendar of programming is bringing much enthusiasm from the design community, participating brands and design aficionados. “WestEdge is unlike any other show. It provides a fresh focus on showcasing a fair of curated brands and lifestyle activations that appeal to both the trade and consumer audience. Last year, the talent of the exhibitors, designers and architects impressed me. We are thrilled to be participating again,” said Bret Englander, Co-founder of Cerno, a lighting manufacturer and repeat WestEdge exhibiting brand.
On Thursday October 16, WestEdge will celebrate its opening night with a venue-wide cocktail party to benefit Heal the Bay, one of Southern California’s leading environmental nonprofit organizations.  “WestEdge Design Fair celebrates the Southern California lifestyle,” said Ruskin Hartley, president and CEO of Heal the Bay. “The event is a great fit our organization. We are excited that proceeds from the event will help underwrite our work to keep L.A. beaches clean, healthy and safe for millions of visitors.”
The evening festivities continue on Friday night with a cocktail party to benefit A+D Museum. Guests will have the chance to network with the global design community and win several prizes, including a week in Palm Springs during Palm Springs Modernism Week in February. This special evening supports the A+D Museum mission of celebrating and promoting an awareness of progressive architecture and design in everyday life.
In addition to evening events Thursday and Friday, WestEdge will host a comprehensive schedule of panels and workshops throughout all days of the fair in a theater outfitted by Jenn-Air. The Jenn-Air Master Studio schedule includes Thursday-Friday programs geared for the design trade and weekend panels targeted toward homeowners and design enthusiasts. Topics include: Art & Interiors, Color Trends, The Consummate Kitchen, Craftsmanship in the Digital Age, Rethinking Retail: Does Main Street Matter?, Rock Star Architecture: Creative Design for Recording Artists, The Bottom Line: How to Build a Cool Project Without Getting into Hot Water, Innovations in Kitchen & Bath Design, and Decorating for the Entertaining & Holiday Season, and more.
Other fair highlights include cooking and grilling demonstrations, an outdoor lounge, a Color Consultation Hub presented by Benjamin Moore, an exhibition all about Pacific Coast design (superPAC) presented by Design Milk, and a group collective of furniture and lighting designers from New York City.


On an island in Lake Superior craftsman Robert Teisberg’s Ancientwood Ltd. studio has created an exceptionally rare and unique $100,000 table made from 50,000-year old Ancient Kauri wood, the oldest workable wood in the world. The 42-by-94 inch Kahiko (Ancient One) table is one of the most unique and expensive tables ever created.

The unique grain of this particular piece of wood creates waves that make the surface of the table appear three-dimensional even though it’s flat. The wave effect is exceptionally rare in Ancient Kauri and is not found in any other species of wood.

“This table is created from one of the rarest pieces of wood I’ve ever seen,” said Teisberg, who has been creating Ancient Kauri pieces for more than a decade as the sole U.S. distributor of the ancient wood. “The price of the table reflects the unparalleled collector quality of the piece,” added Teisberg.

The base of the table is as unique as the wood itself. The compositely engineered wood and carbon fiber base is a sculpted design that “offers” the two book-matched pieces of polished Ancient Kauri to the viewer.

Ancient Kauri is a conifer endemic to the North Island of New Zealand. Preserved in bogs for thousands of years, its size is comparable to Coastal Redwoods and Giant Sequoias. While Kauri species still grow today, only fallen Ancient Kauri trees are removed from prehistoric bogs and used by Ancientwood to create its one-of-a-kind pieces.

Ancientwood’s studio is located in La Pointe, WI on Madeline Island, the only inhabited island in the Apostle Island National Lakeshore.

Autonomous West LA

By: admin | September - 30 - 2014

We are interested in exploring the relationship between an autonomous and a networked society. In the Mid review, we were challenged with the question, “How do you address the loss of freedom that comes with autonomous cars?” While it is true one might sacrifice freedom to go speeding on the freeway, we believe that autonomous vehicles represent a new kind of freedom. A freedom that lets you take a nap or check email on your way to work (something we are starting to do already).

Our site is the Venice Beach/ Marina Del Rey Area, where the Median income is $84,000 and the median age is 35. With Silicon Beach emerging as a target for young tech start-ups, the field is ripe for a generation of young, affluent early adapters to embrace a technology and an infrastructure that will shatter our preconceptions of private transportation. We are proposing a vehicle that dispatches from proposed metro stations that pick up the user when called, then return to the station. Instead of charging on a grid, they charge independently by the sun. They continuously traverse the roof of each station, which is optimized for solar radiation exposure and return to the ground plane when called. These hubs are designed to interface between human and vehicle movement, creating a fabric that can be pushed and pulled according to circulation and sunlight needs.

Design: Joseph Sarafian, Xueqi Bai, Xianshuang Zeng, Sruthi Kumar

Exhibit opening in Perloff Hall, UCLA Oct. 2 2014

Video: https://vimeo.com/josephsarafian/autonomous
Blog: http://biokinematic.tumblr.com
Website: www.josephsarafian.com

Read the rest of this entry »

Anagenesis examines the notion of a post-industrial building envelope that engages natural phenomena as a productive force. The investigation, carried out by Hseng Tai Lintner at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden, explores the interrelationship between the natural and the manufactured and focuses on the use of bioluminescence, a naturally occurring form of chemiluminescence that makes organisms like fireflies and jellyfish glow, to produce ambient lighting for the interior.

A series of laboratory experiments involving the harvesting of various bioluminescent bacteria strains and designing facade and food distribution systems that could support the growth of their colonies were conducted in collaboration with the Department of Clinical Bacteriology at Gothenburg University. The species that is most suited to the site and the nature of the project was Aliivibrio fischeri. This strain is endemic to the region, easy to cultivate, requires dark growing conditions with wide ranging optimal growing temperatures ranging from 4-25 degrees Celsius and subsists best on a simple medium consisting of sea water, peptone, yeast extract and glycerol.

The design of this has been supported by a dialogue between digital and analogue mediums that have throughout the process informed spatial relationships as well as performative systems. Investigations involved emulating the experience of geological formations through architectural language which was rationalized using a series of physical sketch models, computationally simulated fluid dynamics and equilateral mesh crumpling. The resulting smoke-like quality is an architectural anecdote to the building’s former use as a gasometer.

As a way of bringing the project full circle, and creating a narrative contrast between program and building envelope, the proposed program is a new museum of industrial history housed in a post-industrial installation in a derelict gasometer at Gullbergsvass in Gothenburg. The gasometer is a powerful symbol of Gothenburg’s industrial past and has been an important landmark for 80 years. The proposal is at once a homage to the city’s industrial legacy and an exploration of what things may come.

Design: Hseng Tai Ja Reng Lintner
Advisor: Daniel Norell

Miniature Skyscraper

By: admin | September - 22 - 2014

Eight stories high the building designed by Blauraum becomes a significant living landmark and stands out within the urban block. The crystal like and fully glazed street façade is divided into segments to reflect the shape of each unit. These individual glass segments are inclined in various directions and covered with a window film that vary in brightness. The result is a colorful and constantly changing rhythm of light and reflections.

The new building composed of rental units and retail space is located on Hoheluftchaussee, one of Hamburg’s main arteries leading to the city center. The primary concept is to fill a vacant lot and create high quality living space while taking into account the high traffic volume.

To counteract traffic noise an inhabitable double-skin façade similar to a loggia is created. It becomes a buffer between the lively street and the adjacent bedrooms. The layout of each apartment offers a southward facing open concept with a view onto the interior courtyard thus avoiding the busy street on the opposite side. During the planning process, the challenge was to create generous and open floor plans while working within the narrow margins of urban planning regulations. Each apartment has a balcony facing south as well as a loggia facing north – the Laubenzimmer. Read the rest of this entry »

Anamorphic Carcases is a generation of architectural artifacts using, as a medium, the polluted aquifers lining the Mojave desert. Native species population, and fresh water supplies hang unbalanced in the desert- leaving Anamorphic Carcases to create an environmental performance through the purification process. Ultimately creating a symbol of pollution and an architectural stance on effects to the ecosystem.

Using monolithic operable holding tanks and an expandable water purifying scaffolding, the filtration process excretes and diffuses deposits that grow to skeletal artifacts. The deposits are composed of minerals, salts, and harmful alkaline and creosote compounds. The “carcases” that are left behind leave memorials of waste, gaining attention across the desert.

Visually, the project reflects the impact of pollutants in the aquatic ecology of the Mojave desert; tectonically the structure evolves through an aging process – emerging latent monuments to the site. The architecture, fully assembled, forms an ambiguity and pureness to the heavily aggregated structure, bringing a dialogue of hierarchy and tectonic qualities. Revisiting progressive techniques, such as aggregation and striations, the architecture creates a spectacle in relation to natural resources and technologies. The end result varies from site to site resulting in a emergence of sub-elements grouped in structurally aggregated figurations.

Design: Daniel Caven (SCIarc post graduate ESTM program)
Advisors: Casey Rehm, Marcelo Spina

Located on Jinghan Avenue in the bustling Qiaokou District, the commercial and business heart of Wuhan, China with light rail and mass transit railway accessibility, Heartland 66, designed by Aedas, is a mixed-use development which comprises a world-class shopping mall, Grade-A office tower and serviced apartments.

The design adopts a concept of ‘infinity loop’ as an association with the Chinese art of knot tie. The interwoven knots are usually tied with a jade ornament, symbolising blessing and wealth. The concept of infinity loop and knots, developed by Aedas’ Executive Directors Christine Lam and David Clayton, is transformed into actual retail circulation which appears as the visual feature uniting the three uses. The infinite form of knot is presented in the circulation and roof form, connecting the anchors and destinations with seamless flowing arcades.

The shopping mall is divided into three zones – the retail zone contains a large atrium for events; the alfresco zone contains a mix of retail and dining outlets with outdoor terraces; and the entertainment zone has a cinema. At the center of the looping roof form are stepping terraces for alfresco dining, offering a unique experience and interesting spaces in Hang Lung’s malls.

The prime located office tower, at over 300 metres tall, is connected to the shopping mall and a winter garden, enjoying views over the adjacent park towards the confluence of the Han River. Read the rest of this entry »

BLOCK is a video game for city planning and speculation. The game is founded on ideas of ecology, establishing the interdependencies of city entities such as housing, shops, parks and infrastructure. By allowing the player to understand how to use resources (money, waste, social capital), we can encourage entrepreneurship through the design of an ecological urbanism, allowing for new opportunities to be conceived in the city. The objective of the game is to both educate people and to generate user data for design patterns for the LA of 2050, producing the first database of a future city. The project will be open-source and free to access. The first prototype of the game has already been developed within USC School of Architecture.

BLOCK is competing to receive a grant from LA2050. To learn more and vote for BLOCK please visit LA2050.