Showing posts with label architecture. Show all posts
Showing posts with label architecture. Show all posts

Friday, October 1, 2010

Corbu's Colors

Who doesn't love a fan deck of colors? Paint samples, Pantone swatches - you name it, I love them all. But I think this one just might take the cake. The architect and designer Le Corbusier created custom paints to compliment his modernist interior spaces. Generally speaking, mention of a modernist interior evokes images of white, black, stainless steel, clear glass and an overall minimalistic sleekness. But it turns out that Corbu, in fact, used lots of well-placed splashes of color that were designed around the materials specified for a given space. The paints are mineral-based which gives them a rich quality missing in most mass-produced paints of the present day and also makes them very eco-friendly. Sometimes is easy (and sheek) being green. The paints are distributed in the US through Aronson's in NYC. I am thinking a nice Yves Klein ultramarine blue would look great in the living room.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Gehry's Green Gripes: A Good Trend Gone Wrong

City Center in Las Vegas - LEED Gold?

You will not often find me praising Frank Gehry, save perhaps in an occasional acknowledgment of his brilliance in the siting of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, but his recent, much-criticized commentary on the state of green building and the US industry's narrow focus on LEED has given me cause. Designing and building for a sustainable future require so much more than a checklist. In an open letter in defense of Gehry, Fred Bernstein, using the monstrous City Center development as a prime example, argues Gehry's point supremely well - "...the question is political. If there were robust public debate, Americans might decide that projects like City Center pose environmental costs that far outweigh their benefits. Zoning regulations, taxes, and other tools of government could then be used to stop such projects. LEED, by contrast, cannot stop wasteful projects from being built, nor does it attempt to." I hope Gehry's "Starchitect" status can help keep this very important issue fresh and encourage a continued and open debate on responsible, sustainable development.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Notes from an Ancient Land: Philae & the Armed Guards

The Ancient Temple of Philae, dedicated to Isis and still attracting worshipers today, sits on a small island in the water between the two dams just south of Aswan. It was not built here originally by the ancient Egyptians, but rather on a small island slightly further south by the Ptolemies and dedicated by Cleopatra herself. That island is now completely under water, drowned by the rising waters after the construction of the Aswan High Dam. The temple was dismantled and reassembled on its new home island. It is not easy to photograph the temple from afar as much of the surrounding land is secured and inaccessible, part of the very tough security that guards the entire High Dam area. With special permissions and clearance, access to the high rocks of Bega Island was granted and so the stake out for sunset and rising temple lights began.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Notes from a Strange Land: Building for the Future

In a land that is so focused on their monumental past, I find myself fascinated by the way in which they build for the future. As seen in a view from the pavilion surrounding the Colossus of Ramses II at Memphis, easily 95% of all new construction residential buildings are brick and cement and only completed as space is needed. The buildings, from Alexandria to Luxor, all share this unfinished top floor from which protrude concrete pillars encasing steel rebar. As the family grows, or the owner determines there is a need for more space, they add a floor, just as the one before it, with the same pillars and exposed rebar. This lack of commitment to the future, and the heavy involvement of the government in most construction, is a striking example of the seeming reluctance to plan communities, make organized neighborhoods and create a reliable, shared infrastructure. Fascinating.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

'The Hijacking of 'Modern''

Schermerhorn Symphony Center
Designed by David M. Schwarz Architects

Photo by Hedrich Blessing

Writing for Traditional Building Magazine clearly indicates a certain bias, but this is a very interesting debate and one that really should be brought forward into the mainstream architectural media - into the very publications that have propagated said hijacking.