Architectural Cat Shelters

Architects for Animals and FixNation teamed up to raise funds to support FixNation’s charitable services provided to Los Angeles’ homeless cats. Thirteen local architects were selected to build creative cat shelters to raise awareness. In addition, twenty-eight cat bowls were also painted by various celebrities, including Clint Eastwood, Charlize Theron, Carly Patterson, and Kristen Bell. The image above shows the disco-themed cat shelter, by CallisonRTKL, with triangulated stained glass windows inspired by cathedrals.

Source: archinect

Hemlock Hospice

David Buckley Borden has created a year-long, art-based trail, along with Aaron M. Ellison and their team of collaborators. The site-specific interpretive trail project tells the story of the endangered eastern hemlock tree. According to scientists working on the project, the hemlock tree will be extinct by 2025. The trail raises awareness about the aphids that are killing the trees, and larger issues of climate change. The trail is meant to capture the attention of artists and wider audiences, bringing consciousness to the environmental frailty of the New England forests. The Fisher Museum will hold public workshops, promoting reflection, creativity, and critical thinking, along with self-guided trail maps for the Hemlock Hospice project.

Source: World Landscape Architect

Domino Sugar Refinery: Ruin or Building?

When is a building considered a ruin? That’s the question currently being discussed between design firm PAU and the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC). The Domino Sugar Refinery was built in the 1880s on the riverfront in Brooklyn, and has been vacant for more than a decade. When the Practice for Architecture and Urbanism (PAU) revealed its plans for the Domino Sugar Refinery, their proposal planned to use the masonry facade to mask a new glass office building. They argued that the building was in fact a ruin, or “a doughnut awaiting filling.”

Users of the building would experience the historic facade from a series of metal decks between the two. The LPC instead contends that the proposal transforms an adaptable building into a ruin.

Source: Arch Daily

 

Pencils Confidential

In a digital age, photographers Alex Hammond and Mike Tinney have created a series of photographs commemorating the traditional tool of the architect: the pencil. The images feature extravagant mechanical pencils, simple knife sharpened pencils, and the tooth-marked set of yellow pencils owned by artist David Shrigley. World famous architect Thomas Heatherwick’s pencil is embedded in an ornamental metal grip.

The images have been collected in a book titled “The Secret Life of the Pencil,” available from publisher Laurence King.

Source: Dezeen

Tianjin Binhai Library

Photo Credit: Ossip van Duivenbode

MVRDV and the Tianjin Urban Planning and Design Institute recently completed the Tianjin Binhai Library in Tianjin, China. The library features an enormous auditorium with undulating floor-to ceiling bookcases. The layered bookshelf is a spacial device allowing for stairs and seating within the bookshelf. The concept of the design revolves around a sphere. The sphere rests in the center of the auditorium as if it has been pushed into the building creating a ripple effect. The library was designed and built in only three years. Changes were made locally against MVRDV’S advice, rending access to the upper shelves impossible. However, since its opening in early October 2017, the building has been popular serving as an urban living room to residents.

Source: Archdaily

Preserving the Art of Japanese Indigo Dyeing

Photo Credit: Photograph by Anjora Noronha, CC BY-SA 3.0 (no changes made), wikimedia

Indigo production has been a long-standing part of Japan’s history. The artisan group BUAISOU is dedicated to preserving ancient indigo dyeing techniques. Indigo dye comes from the leaves of the indigo plant, which are harvested, dried, and then fermented in a vat of ash lye, wheat bran, and calcium hydroxide to create the dye. Sukumo—the type of dye that the group uses—has properties that prevent the dye from bleeding onto other fabrics and materials.The intensity of the dye is dependent on how long the fabric is dipped into the vats of dye. The indigo color only appears when the dye is oxidized after the fabric is dipped into the vat and exposed to air.

Source: Spoon and Tamago

Architecture, Art, and Light in Marfa

Photo Credit: Mark Menjivar

Donald Judd moved to Marfa, Texas in the 1970s. Since then, Marfa has come to be known as a pilgrimage site for those interested in contemporary or minimalist art on view at Judd’s Chinati Foundation.

Artist Robert Irwin recently completed his contribution to the Chinati Foundation’s permanent collection. Irwin worked with the Chinati Foundation and the San Antonio-based architectural firm Ford, Powell & Carson for 16 years to create an architectural monument to light and space, receiving a 2017 design award from the Texas Society of Architects.

The building, a perfectly symmetrical ‘U’ shape, sits on the foundation of the ruins of a 1919 army barracks building. The artist, architects and the Chinati Foundation had hoped to accommodate Robert Irwin’s vision within the walls of the original structure, but ultimately its reinforced concrete walls proved too inflexible and unstable. Instead, Irwin’s building references the ruins that were once on site, and eye-level windows, sheer scrims, and polished interior surfaces allow the changing desert light to act as a material itself.

Source: Texas Architect Magazine and Artnet.

Animal Sculpture at the 2017 Wara Art Festival

Photo Credit: Spoon and Tamago

Northern Japan is know for rice production. After a harvest, rice straw—or wara—is recycled  to improve the soil,or it is woven into giant sculptures. For nine years Uwasekgata Park has hosted the Wara Art Festival, teaming up with creatives to create creatures from rice straw. Schools send art students to Niiigata to assist with the sculptures that remain on display well into the fall.

Source: Spoon and Tamago

Façade Controversy

Photo Credit: Dezeen

Several campaigns and protests have rallied against Snøhetta’s proposed changes to the Philip Johnson-designed AT&T Building at 550 Madison Avenue in New York; this building, with a Chippendale-inspired roof line and marble and brass finishes, played a large role in bringing Postmodern architecture to America. Unveiled in late October, Snøhetta’s plans for 550 Madison include a curved glass curtain wall over the lower portion of the skyscraper. Protesters argue that the Postmodern building should be preserved in its original state, and that New York is losing its historic masonry buildings.

Source: Dezeen

Muvuca: Restoring the Rain Forest One Tree at a Time

Photo Credit: Depositphotos

One of the largest undertakings of its kind, Conservation International plans to plant 73 million trees in the Amazon. This short-term project—called Muvuca, a Portuguese word describing many people in a small place—will restore 70,000 acres of tropical rain forest. A large quantity of seeds of various species are being planted allowing natural selection to demonstrate which species are most suited to survive. Ending deforestation could allow for the absorption of 37 percent of carbon emissions.

Source: inhabitat

What to do with Parking Garages in the 2030 City

Image Credit: LMN Architects

Designers and planners now stand on a perplexing edge. While the modern understanding of transportation is changing, and more and more people move towards ride-sharing and public transportation, most city planning codes still call for new construction to include a certain amount of parking. Competitive car manufacturers intend to have autonomous vehicles on the road by 2025. By 2030, parking needs will be vastly different.

Cities like Seattle are already planning for this future. Seattle has begun to waive some parking requirements, allowing developers to build with no allotted parking spots in neighborhoods convenient to public transit. Other projects, like the 4/C by LMN architects, are being designed specifically to allow parking to be retrofitted for new uses.

By building parking with level floor plates, higher ceilings and space for utilities, LMN architects hopes to create an adaptable building that will continue to function into the next century. It may also be the tallest building on the American West Coast.

Source: Wired 

Thin Concrete

ETH Zurich has found a way to make an extremely thin, sinuous concrete roof structure, with an average thickness of five centimeters. The thin structure was designed using digital fabrication technologies to calculate a structurally efficient shell structure using the minimum amount of material. The formwork is comprised of steel cables and fabric stretched across the cable net. This system will be used in a residential unit on top of the NEST living laboratory in Dübendorf, Switzerland.

Source: Archdaily