Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Herman Hertzberger to receive the Royal Gold Medal for Architecture

The internationally acclaimed Dutch architect Herman Hertzberger has been named today (Tuesday 6 December 2011) as the recipient of one of the world’s most prestigious architecture prizes, the Royal Gold Medal.
You can read more HERE

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs

If you want to learn the sucess secrets of Steve Jobs, read more HERE.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Atmosphere by Peter Zumthor

"...... Not only are you learning the fundamentals of architectural design but how people react within space and what design factors contribute to your understanding of the space. Also the book illustrates some images of projects so it is short, informative, interesting by justifying the essay itself.
A must read for all architecture students and people alike!"

Read more about this book HERE

Thinking Architecture By Peter Zumthor

"I believe that this book is based on a series of lectures ....... I think however that it is a key text for architcture students and architects alike, giving some insight into where Zumthor obtains his inspiration for creating truly individual and inspiring buildings. In a world of throwaway gestures where architecture is becoming (or has become?) equally shallow, this book is a timely reminder of the quiet power of architecture to resist this cultural move toward surface and iconoclasm". Comments on this book from Gary T. I echo  Gary's comments and I would recommend this book for the readers who are interested in the poetics in architecture.

Read more about this book HERE

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

The Monastery of Sainte-Marie de La Tourette

“Create a silent dwelling for one hundred bodies and one hundred hearts”.Such was the prayer that Father Marie-Alain Couturier offered up to Le Corbusier whom he regarded as “the greatest living architect”.
More information about this building can be found HERE

                                          Photo: arcspace

Renzo Piano's Understated Convent Opens in the Shadow of Le Corbusier's Ronchamp Chapel

After the initial fervent opposition from the architectural community, Renzo Piano's convent on the grounds of the Chapel of Notre Dame du Haut in Ronchamp, France, is finally complete.
The convent sits in the shadow of a highly-lauded design by Le Corbusier, an architectural legend so venerated in his own right that the Fondation Le Corbusier, the organization devoted to preserving his work, vehemently opposed anything being built on the chapel's grounds. Starchitects like Richard Meier joined the opposition, while, as if it were a Pritzker Prize winner showdown, the likes of Tadao Ando supported the new convent. 
Commissioned by the Association Oeuvre Notre Dame du Haut, Piano was ultimately able to erect the building, with a mission to preserve Le Corbusier's structure and finish the job with a mere $14 million, raised through a combination of local government funding, donations, and the sale of the nuns' former convent in Besançon, which their order had inhabited for 800 years. The new structure, barely visible, is nestled into the hillside, greeting visitors with an outward facing zinc and glass façade. More information about this buildin can be found HERE.

                                                       The patio and sewing room
                                                       Photo by Michel Denancé
You can also read 's article about this building HERE. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

British Pavilion for Shanghai EXPO 2010 by Heatherwick Studio

In September 2007, Heatherwick Studio leading a team that includes Adams Kara Taylor and Atelier Ten won the competition to design the UK Pavilion for the Shanghai 2010 Expo. The event, which was held from May to October 2010, was set to be the largest ever. Two hundred countries took part and with over 70 million visitors visited the Expo.
The studio’s concept is an enclosure that throws out from all faces a mass of long, radiating cilia. Their length means they gently sway in response to any wind movement. It rests on its soft forest in an urban field, surrounded by a concrete canopy that resembles unfolded wrapping paper.
The UK, with its millions of gardens, thousands of public parks and garden squares, has pioneered the integration of nature into cities as a way of making them healthier places, in which to live and work. The UK pavilion encourages visitors to look again at the role of nature and wonder whether it could be used to solve the current social, economic and environmental challenges of our cities.

More information about this project can be found HERE

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

The Eyes of the Skin by Juhani Pallasmaa

From the Back Cover

Architecture has the capacity to be inspiring, engaging and life-enhancing. But why is it that architectural schemes which look good on the drawing board or the computer screen can be so disappointing ‘in the flesh’? The answer, argues Juhani Pallasmaa, lies in the dominance of the visual realm in today’s technological and consumer culture, which has pervaded architectural practice and education. Whilst our experience of the world is formulated by a combination of five senses, much architecture is produced under consideration of only one – sight. The suppression of the other sensory realms has led to an impoverishment of our environment, causing a feeling of detachment and alienation.
First published in 1996, The Eyes of the Skin has become a classic of architectural theory and is required reading on courses in schools of architecture around the world. It consists of two extended essays. The first surveys the historical development of the ocularcentric paradigm in western culture since the Greeks, and its impact on the experience of the world and the nature of architecture. The second examines the role of the other senses in authentic architectural experiences, and points the way towards a multi-sensory architecture which facilitates a sense of belonging and integration.
Since the book’s first publication, interest in the role of the body and the senses has been emerging in both architectural philosophy and teaching. This new, revised and extended edition of this seminal work will not only inspire architects and students to design more holistic architecture, but will enrich the general reader’s perception of the world around them.
‘Not since the Danish architect Steen Eiler Rasmussen’s Experiencing Architecture (1959) has there been such a succinct and clear text which could serve students and architects at this critical time in the development of 21st-century architecture.’ Steven Holl.

You can read more about this book  HERE

In Praise of Shadows by Jun'ïchiro Tanizaki

This review is from: In Praise of Shadows (Paperback)
The Japanese have an aesthetic concept called "Wabi Sabi." This term consists of two words. "Wabi" literally means "poverty," but in the aesthetic context it stands for simplicity; "Sabi" is literally "solitude, loneliness," and for aesthetic purposes it means something like natural impermanence. Wabi Sabi encourages, as one observer put it, a profound feeling of inner melancholy, and an appreciation of quietly clear and calm, well-seasoned and refined simplicity.

Andrew Juniper's "Wabi Sabi: The Japanese Art of Impermanence" summarizes the concept by saying that "the term wabi-sabi suggests such qualities as impermanence, humility, asymmetry, and imperfection. These underlying principles are diametrically opposed to those of their Western counterparts, whose values are rooted in the Hellenic worldview that values permanence, grandeur, symmetry, and perfection. ... Wabi-sabi is an intuitive appreciation of a transient beauty in the physical world that reflects the irreversible flow of life in the spiritual world. It is an understated beauty that exists in the modest, rustic, imperfect, or even decayed, an aesthetic sensibility that finds a melancholic beauty in the impermanence of all things." (pages 2 and 51)

In order to appreciate Junichiro Tanizaki's 50-page pamphlet "In Praise of Shadows" it helps to keep the concept of Wabi Sabi in mind. While many people would object to Tanizaki's anti-modernist view of art (and call it "reactionary" or "nationalist"), it is in fact a contemporary take on an ancient aesthetic concept that favors obliqueness (shadows) over brightness, weathered naturalness over functional novelty, the crude over the polished, and - ultimately - irrationality over rationality.
Tanizaki's essay contains good examples of Wabi Sabi, and a few peculiarly funny ones that reek of Zen humor: "one could with some justice claim that of all the elements of Japanese architecture, the toilet is the most aesthetic. Our forebears, making poetry of everything in their lives, transformed what by rights should be the most unsanitary room in the house into a place of unsurpassed elegance, replete with fond associations with the beauties of nature." (page 4) To a Western reader this sounds like unmitigated satire. But it is not. Tanizaki is serious about this stuff. In sum, I find "In Praise of Shadows" a very entertaining illustration of an important Japanese aesthetic concept, written by one of the most important Japanese authors of the 20th century.

You can read more about this book  HERE.

James Turrell - recent work

James Turrell (born 6 May 1943) is an American artist primarily concerned with light and space. Turrell was a MacArthur Fellow in 1984. He is represented by The Pace Gallery in New York. Turrell is best known for his work in progress, Roden Crater, located outside Flagstaff, Arizona, where he is turning a natural cinder volcanic crater into a massive naked-eye observatory. His recent work can be found HERE.
                                         JAMES TURRELL
                                                       Dhātu, 2010
                                                       Mixed media
                                                       Dimensions variable

                                                      *Installation view 1

The Weather Project by Olafur Eliasson at the Turbine Hall, Tate Modern

About the installation

The subject of the weather has long shaped the content of everyday conversation. The eighteenth-century writer Samuel Johnson famously remarked ‘It is commonly observed, that when two Englishmen meet, their first talk is of the weather; they are in haste to tell each other, what each must already know, that it is hot or cold, bright or cloudy, windy or calm.’ In The Weather Project, the fourth in the annual Unilever Series of commissions for the Turbine Hall, Olafur Eliasson takes this ubiquitous subject as the basis for exploring ideas about experience, mediation and representation. More information about this Project can be found HERE.

Serpentine Gallery Summer Pavilions

Visiting the Serpentine Gallery Summer Pavilions designed by different architects / artists at Hyde Park, London is one of the highlights in the summer. You will find ineresting architecture and people here. This year's summer pavilion is designed by Peter Zumthor. More information about the summer pavilions can be found HERE.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Solar Responsive Kinetic Facade Shading Systems inspired by plant movements in nature

M Arch in Technology 2010/11, Department of Architecture and Built Environment,
University of Nottingham

Abstract: Interactive facade technology is a way of designing building envelopes which can change their properties or form in response to various environmental stimuli like temperature, humidity, solar radiation, etc. The objective of this study is to develop a kinetic facade shading device inspired by the principle behind plant movements in nature, to analyse the potential of the system for its practical applications in facades and to examine the factors which determine the efficiency of shading device. The hinge-less bending deformation property of plants is translated into a kinetic shading device, featuring curve line folding mechanism, using flexible polymers. The designed component is tested using ANSYS static structural analysis. The application of verified component in building facades of different geometries is demonstrated using physical paper models and digital models. Further, the possibility of applying the principles of leaf rolling mechanisms in nature to design solar responsive actuator is demonstrated using smart materials.
Keywords: adaptive facade shading, biomimetics, curve-line folding, flexible polymers, shape memory alloys

Raul has won the Best Presenation Award in the MC 2011 Conference. The full paper can be found on the NCEUB website I have posted on the 20th September blog.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Light and experience: How can Architectural strategies of manipulating light, create experiential spaces.

DISHANT JARIWALA The University of Nottingham

ABSTRACT: Light has always fascinated designers, primarily for two basic reasons, first that it brings life to a building or an object by giving them depth and defining form and secondly it creates phenomenon in a space, for the user to appreciate and use the space. The following research focuses on how natural light can be manipulated by architectural strategies to create experiences in a space. The precedent studied here is ‘Chapel of St Ignatius’ by Steven Holl. Computer simulations were used to have quantitative analysis of light in the spaces and based on their inferences, factors like the movement of spectator (user), Glare, brightness, contrast and colours were further discussed and studied as how each of them were used by architectural means for the purpose of daylighting and creating sensations in the space, physical models were also used in the study. The study suggests that by using simple architectural strategies like building orientation and baffles, light can be manipulated to create ineffable spaces. The research is based on one building, but its implication can be used in different buildings depending on the functionality of the building.

Keywords: Architectural strategies; experience; glare; contrast; brightness 

The author of this paper is DISHANT JARIWALA, a current student of the MArch Environemntal Design Course, Nottingham University. He is going to present his research outcomes in the MC2011 Conference: People and Buildings held at the offices of Arup UK, 23rd September 2011. London. This paper and other 5 papers written by the current MArch ED students can be found HERE: http://nceub.commoncense.info/index.php?n=Network.MC2011ConferencePapers 


Friday, 16 September 2011

EXHIBIT at Golden Lane Estate, London

For those of you who are interested in Architecture inspired by Le Corbusier in London, you should not miss the Barbican and Golden Lane Estate at EC1 (the nearest Tube Station is Barbican) if you are going to join the Open House London tomorrow and Sunday.

In here, you will find a lot of unexpected architectural delight and surprises, and don't miss out the Barbican Art Centre and the Lake Side Cafe (an artificial lake in central London). Another interesting place to visit is the Exhibit Gallery at Golden Lane Estate. This great place is run by Alan and Yanki. Please see more details about this gallery HERE: Exhibit at Golden Lane Estate

Open House London

On this weekend 17th and 18th September, You will have the rare chances of visiting some of the well designed buiildings in London. If you are new to the UK and would like know more about the architecture in the capital. You can join the Open House London programme tomorrow. More information can be found HERE: Open House London

Saturday, 10 September 2011

100% Design Show

100% Design Show is an intersting show for new design, products and materials for architecture and interior design. If you are interested in this show, please register before 16th September for a free entry badge. For registration, click here: 100% Design Show

Friday, 9 September 2011

Environmental Imagination

For those of you are are interested in Architecture, Environment and Poetry. This is a book I would highly recommend to you. The author is Professor Dean Hawkes, the external examiner of the MArch Environmental Design Course offered by the Department of Architecture and Built Environment, Nottingham University. If you are coming to Nottingham to read the MArch Environmental Design, this is a reference book on the required reading list. You can read the introduction and first chapter HERE: Environmental Imagination

Book Review
Environmental poetry, 22 May 2009
Ken Stevens
This review is from: The Environmental Imagination (Paperback)
"Science is for those who learn; poetry, for those who know" (Roux). In this book Hawkes really gets to 'know' his buildings and communicates their characters in a poetic and vivid manner. He feels and listens to the spaces, revealing new insights about well-known buildings (by architects such as Corb, Mies, Asplund, Aalto, Kahn, Scarpa, Lewerentz, Zumthor, Siza and Holl). The book is underpinned by archival and research work that delivers new insights, quotes and drawings. Hawkes is as eloquent about pipes as he is about light and texture. In this book Hawkes sees what many have seen but thinks what nobody has thought.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

The Poetics of Sacred Light - a comparative study of the luminous environment in the Ronchamp Chapel and the Church in the Monastery of La Tourette

In Le Corbusier’s religious buildings, space, light, sound, colour and rhythm are the key architectural elements which introduce visitor to a sense of inner harmony resulting from a state of spiritual transformation. This spiritual transformation can be most vividly experienced in the Ronchamp Chapel and the Monastery of La Tourette. The aim of this paper is to investigate the luminous environment of these two sacred structures through a comparative study which was conducted qualitatively and quantitatively. Much can be learned by studying Le Corbusier’s buildings which were built with daylight as the primary light source. Detailed analysis of his work would provide valuable insights and data which can be applied to the more routine design of the luminous environment. 

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Architecture responds to the Sun

This sacred structure shows how architecture and sun can hightened the spritual world.

John Pawson Architects

For those of you who are interested in John Pawson's work, please see his company website HERE.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Interesting Archiecture Blog

A Daily Dose of Architecture.

Making ICE in Desert

This is an exceptionally clever and ingenious way of coping with the excessive heat in the  dessert environment.

Architectural Journal Blog

For those of you who are coming to join us for the MArch Environmental Design Course, please read this FOOTPRINT Blog.

The poetics of contemplative light in the Church of Notre-Dame-du-Haut designed by Le Corbusier

This is a recent publication on the Comtemplative Light in Ronchamp Chapel.

The Measurable and Unmeasurable in Architecture - Daylight

“I only wish that the first really worthwhile
discovery of science would be that it recognised
that the unmeasurable is what
they’re really fighting to understand, and
that the measureable is only the servant
of the unmeasurable; that everything that
man makes must be fundamentally unmeasurable.” Louis Khan

Monday, 5 September 2011

New Beginning

Our students have just finished the studies with us, so my best wishes for their future. To welcome our new students, I would like them to have a look at this website: DA+BE. This will give you a more friendly introduction to the architecture school here.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Architecture of Unmeasurable

“I only wish that the first really worthwhile
discovery of science would be that it recognised
that the unmeasurable is what
they’re really fighting to understand, and
that the measureable is only the servant
of the unmeasurable; that everything that
man makes must be fundamentally unmeasurable.” Louis Khan
Photography by Gerry Johansson