Nothing says “sustainable architecture quite like a green roof. AN has rounded up eight of the latest green roof and subsurface components that the pros use to seal out, drain, or retail water, like the Green Roof Blocks system (above) by Green Roof Blocks.
The Green Roof Block system is a completely self-contained module made from high-grade anodized aluminum. It can be pre-planted with a growth medium that the company guarantees will never break down. Built-in drainage and convenient handles make the units easy to install.
Print your next house in 30 separate snap tight pieces
While events like Maker Faire have done a lot to increase the visibility of 3D printing, the London-based generative and 3D design group Softkill has spoken openly about how they still think “3D printing is a specialized, one-off luxury, rich man’s thing.” But they went on to say that “there really is an interesting future for architecture and 3D printing because you have great cost savings and material efficiency, which architects are really interested in. That’s where 3D printing is really pushing the discipline.” Softkill recently tested the limits of the latest in Selective Laser Sintering technology with Protohouse, a ⅓ scale house completely fabricated by a 3D printer.
Though books typically fall outside the scope of what we consider to be architectural products, we’re making an exception for Thames & Hudson’s new publication, Le Corbusier and the Power of Photography. Those familiar with Corbu’s much photographed architectural work may not know that he was something of a shutterbug himself. According to the publisher, he not only “harnessed the power of the photographic image to define and disseminate his persona, his ideas and buildings,” but his influence on the medium led to the rise of photography in general. From another perspective the book provides a more intimate way to access Le Corbusier’s creative process and some of the surprising inspirations behind his work, including images of him in his preferred office attire—his birthday suit.
The story goes like this: In 1949 an engineer named A.K. Chahroudi commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright to design a home on Petra Island in Lake Mahopac, New York, which Chahroudi owned. But the $50,000 price tag on the 5,000 square foot house was more than Chahroudi could afford, so Wright designed him a smaller, more affordable cottage elsewhere on the island.
Fast forward to 1996 when Joseph Massaro, a sheet metal contractor, bought the island for $700,000, a sale that also included Wright’s original yet unfinished plans. Though he says he only intended to spruce up the existing cottage and not build anything new, one can hardly fault Massaro for wanting to follow through on a home Wright once said would eclipse Falling Water. In 2000 Massaro sold his business and hired Thomas A. Heinz, an architect and Wright historian, to complete and update the design, a move that incensed the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, who promptly sued him, stating he couldn’t claim the house was a true Wright, but was only “inspired” by him.
Digital design meets traditional Chinese craftsmanship in a pavilion constructed like a paper lantern
Hong Kong-based architects Kristof Crolla (LEAD) and Adam Fingrut (Zaha Hadid) married traditional Chinese craftsmanship and digital design technology in their temporary pavilion, Golden Moon, which won the Gold Award in the Mid-Autumn Festival Lantern Wonderland last month. The 60-foot-tall structure was built in just 11 days atop a reflection pool in Hong Kong’s Victoria Park, proof that “complex geometry can be built at high speed and low cost with the simplest of means,” said Crolla and Fingrut, who sought to rethink digital design by “anchoring the paradigm in a strong materiality.”
For the Boardwalk Bench, the latest addition to its product line, Forms+Surfaces sourced 142-year-old reclaimed FSC-certified Cumaru hardwood from the original slats of the Atlantic City Boardwalk. The naturally oiled slats are arranged in an asymmetrical pattern to salvage as much wood as possible while trimming imperfections.
Right now all proceeds from the sales of the Boardwalk Bench go to the Red Cross for Sandy relief efforts. Read More
Making a strong, modular and architecturally significant pavilion on pocket change
For the Designers in Residence exhibition, Design Museum London asked four teams to respond to a brief entitled “Thrift.” The four resulting projects address the notion that “the limitations of economy require more resourceful, inspired and intelligent use of materials and process” and that the constraints of thrift ultimately lead to “a more creative and fully resolved outcome” than a project with limitless resources.
One of the four chosen proposals came from Lawrence Lek, an architect and sculptor who worked with Ken Yeang in Malaysia and Foster + Partners in London before founding his eponymous studio in 2011. For his project, “Unlimited Edition,” he reflected on how he has approached fabricating prototypes since completing his studies at the Architectural Association (AA) in 2008. “I remember a lot of students’ work, and mine especially, could be very extravagant with materials because being in school you have the luxury of many resources… One thing I found difficult just after leaving the academic world was actually fabricating prototypes.”
Though you might not know it to look at them, Oscar Niemeyer’s new line of sneakers for Converse are apparently inspired by his country’s greatest natural resources, namely its mountains, rivers, and its bodacious women. The Chuck Taylor All Star Hi sneaker is still the classic shape, but on his version Niemeyer has emblazoned one of his most famous quotes, in Portuguese, of course. Here’s the English translation:
“It is not the right angle that attracts me, nor the straight line, hard and inflexible, created by man. What attracts me is the free and sensual curve – the curve that I find in the mountains of my country, in the sinuous course of its rivers, in the body of the beloved woman.”
Reimagining traditional Chinese gardens with parametric geometry
For MoCA Shanghai’s exhibition MoCA Mock-ups: The Architecture of Spatial Art, USC American Academy of China (AAC) Summer Studio 2012 spent six weeks designing, fabricating and constructing “Minimal Relaxation,” a parametric canopy and undulating, LED-lit landscape that creates prime skyline viewing locations on the museum’s rooftop terrace. Inspired by Frei Otto, an architect and structural engineer famous for his complex canopy structures, “Minimal Relaxation” extends his body of design research into physical and digital form-finding processes for minimal surface structure through “dynamic relaxation techniques.”
Herman Miller launched their Select Program in 2008 to offer their customers an extra way to connect with the brand and enhance their collections with limited edition pieces. As part of their 2012 program, Herman Miller is offering the Eames Wire Base Low Table (also referred to as the LTR table) in three special colors on sale now until Spring 2013, when production will end. Read More
Experimental systems and new materials break ground in an untapped field of architecture
Earlier this month, Brooklyn-based design practice The Principals installed Wave Dilfert, an interactive “light-sensitive barrel vault” created for The Feast, a social innovation conference that took place this year in Essex Street Market. With their unique trifecta of talents, the founders of The Principals—Christopher Williams, a metal fabricator, Charles Constantine, an industrial designer, and Drew Seskuras, an architect—seem poised to lead the pack of interactive environmental architects. Interactive design is a quickly growing field thanks to events like do-it-yourself festival Maker Faire and the proliferation of open-source electronics prototyping platforms like Arduino. But before The Principals dominate the design-build world, we wanted to revisit the installation that caught everyone’s eye at NY Design Week: Cosmic Quilt. Read More