World-Architects Daily News

      

Friday, April 29, 2016

Book Review: Eco Living Japan

Eco Living Japan: Sustainable Ideas for Living Green by Deanna MacDonald
Tuttle Publishing, 2015
Hardcover, 240 pages



When I think of Tuttle, I think of Japan – and vice versa to a lesser degree. Be it gardens, tea or, in this case, houses, the publisher has a knack for capturing the intrinsic qualities of Japanese culture and disseminating it to a wider audience. Eco Living Japan, by Temple University professor Deanna MacDonald (she teaches at their Tokyo campus), has compiled 20 houses that, while contemporary, exhibit many of the traits that people associate with traditional Japanese architecture; the cover house, for instance, looks like it is wrapped entirely by shoji screens, glowing like a lantern in the snow. (The project, designed by Kengo Kuma, is actually wrapped in polycarbonate with polyester insulation.)

MacDonald's collection of green living in Japan and beyond is broken down into five chapters: Borrowed Landscapes; Reinventing Tradition; 'Smart' Green; Reuse, Renew, Recycle, Renovate; and Sustainable Japan Abroad. These thematic chapters move from the traditional to the contemporary, from the way Japanese designers have traditionally brought nature into the smallest of houses and gardens, to the way their ethos has been absorbed in other places recently. Accompanying the projects in each chapter are sidebars on some recurring elements (engawa spaces, prefab, charred wood siding, etc.) that further link the new houses with old traditions.

Over the years I've reviewed numerous books on (small) Japanese houses and gardens, but even with exposure from those books and the many websites that champion the same, many of the houses in this book are new to me. Credit goes to MacDonald for sticking to the theme of "eco living," rather than compiling the latest and greatest, and therefore finding houses with positive green attributes. Key words at the end of each project highlight what these attributes are, giving readers an easy way of cross-referencing the designs and finding what qualities they most admire. The success of her book would be greatest if, like the last chapter, people reading the book absorbed its ides of eco living and incorporated them into their own living spaces, wherever they may be.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Today's archidose #899

Here are some photos of Sky Habitat (2016) in Singapore by Safdie Architects. (Photographs: Trevor Patt)

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Friday, April 22, 2016

10 Towns that Changed America

On Tuesday PBS aired the last of three new episodes in the "10 that Changed America" series by Chicago's Geoffrey Baer. Watch 10 Towns that Changed America below.



Previously: 10 Homes that Changed America, 10 Parks that Changed America

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Today's archidose #898

Here are some photos of the Sports and Rehabilitation Center of the Medical University of Warsaw in Warsaw, Poland, by Kontrapunkt Architecture in collaboration with AI Architects Cyprus. (Photographs: Piotr Krajewski)








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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Ford Foundation's New Atrium Garden

New York YIMBY reports the good news that "on Tuesday, the Landmarks Preservation Commission approved changes to the atrium of the Ford Foundation Building at 320 East 43rd Street." Gensler is overseeing the upgrades to the 1967 building designed by Kevin Roche and John Dinkeloo, which address code and accessibility issues. Since the needed "asbestos abatement requires the removal of all living things," according to Alexandra Lange at Curbed, the famous one-third-acre atrium garden designed by Dan Kiley will be replanted. Miami's Raymond Jungles is in charge of that work, and here are some existing and proposed views of the atrium garden. (Images are via YIMBY; click any image to view as a slideshow, recommended).

Existing:

Proposed:


Existing:

Proposed:


Existing:

Proposed:


Comparison of the before and after views shows more trees and low plantings in the latter, which should enable more visibility across the terraced atrium. This is aligned with the intention of bringing the atrium garden closer to what Kiley originally intended. In developing his design, Kiley told the Ford Foundation frankly it would be an experiment, and in turn many of the plantings failed, leading eventually to the current dense crop of trees and plants. These images (also via YIMBY) illustrate how Jungles will transform the garden into something aligned with Kiley's original design:





Upgrades are expected to be completed in 2018. In the meantime, visit YIMBY for the full LPC Submission.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Book of the Moment: Toilets: A Spotter's Guide

Yes, the title of a brand new book from Lonely Planet is Toilets: A Spotter's Guide, which appends the phrase: "Nature's call has never been so beautifully answered."



Although it's been a while since I've posted about toilets (or 23-foot-high toilets or books printed on toilet paper), yet I still contend that the quality of a building can be gleamed from how well the bathrooms were designed. If the below sample pages are any indication, the toilets in the spotter's guide are all about standalone structures and are as much about where they're found as what they look like.



Book description from Lonely Planet:
Loos with incredible views, lavish lavatories, outstanding outhouses ­ all are featured in this pictorial guide to the world's most stunning toilets. Whether they're high­tech or arty, amusing or amazing, each toilet has a photo and a description of its location. More than 100 restrooms to remember are featured, from Antarctica to Zambia.

As any experienced traveller knows, you can tell a whole lot about a place by its bathrooms. Whatever you prefer to call them – lavatory, loo, bog, khasi, thunderbox, dunny, bathroom, restroom, washroom or water closet – toilets are a (sometimes opaque, often wide­open) window into the secret soul of a destination.

In these pages you’ll find porcelain pews with fantastic views, audacious attention­seeking urban outhouses, and eco­thrones made from sticks and stones in all sorts of wild settings, from precipitous mountain peaks to dusty deserts. So, wherever you’re reading this, we hope you’re sitting comfortably.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Today's archidose #897

Here are some photos of the Pedras Salgadas Eco-Resort (2012) in Pedras Salgadas, Portugal, by Rebelo de Andrade Studio and Diogo Aguiar. (Photographs: José Carlos Melo Dias)

Modular prefab cabins by Luís Rebelo de Andrade and Diogo Aguiar:
Pedras Salgadas, Eco Houses. Luís Rebelo de Andrade + Tiago Rebelo de Andrade
Pedras Salgadas, Eco Houses. Luís Rebelo de Andrade + Tiago Rebelo de Andrade

Tree Snake Houses by Luís Rebelo de Andrade and Tiago Rebelo de Andrade:
Pedras Salgadas,  "Casas nas árvores". Luís Rebelo de Andrade + Tiago Rebelo de Andrade
Pedras Salgadas,  "Casas nas árvores". Luís Rebelo de Andrade + Tiago Rebelo de Andrade

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Thursday, April 14, 2016

WOHA's "GARDEN CITY | MEGA CITY"

Head over to World-Architects to read my write-up of the exhibition GARDEN CITY | MEGA CITY on display at the Skyscraper Museum in New York until September 4, 2016. The exhibition presents a number of built and unbuilt projects by Singapore's WOHA.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Van Alen Bidding

Between now and April 27, the Van Alen Institute is taking bids for a variety of unique experiences – a jaunt through Madrid with Rafael Moneo, dinner at the Libeskinds', "tripping in the Netherlands" with Winy Maas, etc. – to raise funds for the Institute and their "cross-disciplinary research, provocative public programs, and inventive design competitions."

And for those in NYC, tonight is the Van Alen's Spring Party, taking place at The Tunnel in West Chelsea.

10 Parks the Changed America

Last night PBS aired the second of three new episodes in the "10 that Changed America" series by Chicago's Geoffrey Baer. Watch 10 Parks that Changed America below.



Previously: 10 Homes that Changed America