"Soon enough you'll be back roasting in your lovely parks"

Architects lead backlash over London park closures

This week, readers are debating whether closing parks is necessary in the fight against coronavirus.

Sun downers: readers are divided after architects used social media to argue against threats to close London’s parks. One critic described the measure, aimed at controlling the coronavirus pandemic, as “collective punishment”.

“Parks should be open because British people can’t stay inside in 20c temperatures? Open a window and get a life,” responded JMFM. “Soon enough you’ll be back, roasting in your lovely parks. No one’s taking away your freedom, just asking for common sense.”

Red By Choice disagreed: “50 hectares – well that’s 500,000 square metres, just shy of 600,000 square yards. So if there were 3,000 people there, that’s around 20 square yards per person. Not exactly overcrowding.”

“Of course parks shouldn’t be closed, but they should be used responsibly,” said Alfred Hitchcock. “3,000 people gathering together in Brockwell Park cannot be described as behaving responsibly! It’s fine to go for a walk for an hour, as long as you keep your distance from others. It’s not fine to spend a full afternoon sunbathing or having a picnic.”

Ash K was also on the cautionary side: “Writing from my home office (spare room) in Spain. Today I will take a weekly trip to the shop and back, but I’m okay with that. Spain has reported a drop in cases for the last four consecutive days. Collective measures – note the absence of the word punishment.”

One commenter had a nice message for Dezeen’s British readers:

Should parks close? Join the discussion

Stairway House by Nendo

One step too far: Nendo has caused controversy with its design for a family home in Tokyo. The house, which is home to three generations, has been labelled by commenters as dangerous thanks to a huge faux staircase which runs through the middle.

“Narcissistic house,” said Idracula. “No empathy in this structure. Little regard for occupants or visitor safety. This is what you get without building codes. Nonsense!”

Get Back To Work felt similarly: “Never mind the stupid, non-functioning staircase and the sheer drops – the rooms themselves are just soullessly boring.”

“This is an elegant, expressive, poetic, powerful structure. I am confused by the comments,” replied And Room. “If everyone wants a run-of-the-mill, cosy little cottage or bungalow, or timber-framed three-bedroom, suburban potted-plant-safety palace, why are you reading this magazine?”

“Because we are able to recognise functional, well planned and executed architecture versus architecture that is more about someone’s ‘daydream’ and/or the architect’s ‘ego stroking’ to get another second of attention,” responded Jay C White Cloud.

This reader loves one thing about the house:

Do you think the stairs are dangerous? Join the discussion

Urban Cabin by Francesca Perani

Micro wave: the porch of an Italian villa has been transformed into a 25-square-metre micro-apartment by architect Francesca Perani. It is supposed to be suitable for self-isolation, but not everyone is convinced.

“I like the use of perforated metal on the facade and I think the floor plan is indeed flexible,” praised Leo. “But I find the all-OSB look a bit disturbing.”

Troy Smith Studio agreed: “I don’t even like using OSB for a substrate. Smells like shiat too.”

“Good for temporary self-isolation,” added Jack Woodburn. “As in a wooden jail cell.”

Geof Bob had a different purpose in mind: “Useful as a doghouse for recalcitrant husbands.”

The materials used concerned this commenter for a different reason:

Could you self-isolate in this small apartment? Join the discussion

The Parchment Works by Will Gamble Architects

Herd it here first: readers are swooning over an extension in Northampton, UK, which incorporates the ruins of a 17th-century parchment factory and old cattle shed. The project was completed by Will Gamble Architects.

“Just wonderful,” said Gustav. “A place where you would equally love to spend a summer’s evening, an autumn storm, or a cold winter’s day.”

“This could have gone sideways really quick,” continued JZ. “But they prevented it from becoming a gimmick. The clarity between what was existing and what is new is well-balanced. The additions are clearly of this era, allowing the present owners to leave their mark and celebrate the ongoing adaptation of the building.”

Aigoul was equally pleased: “Reading and looking at the pictures of this stunning renovation makes my confined day enjoyable and happy.”

“Labour of love linking six centuries – poetry in stone, brick, wood and age, transcending both functional and formal issues,” concluded Geof Bob.

This reader did have one gripe though:

Are you also in love with the renovation? Join the discussion

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Frank Lloyd Wright sites offer virtual tours during pandemic

Fallingwater, Hollyhock House and Taliesin West are among the 12 Frank Lloyd Wright-designed properties opening their doors to virtual tours.

The initiative called #WrightVirtualVisits will see the sites share a video tour of another site. The short tours will be posted to their websites, and Facebook and Instagram accounts.

Established by Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy, the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and Unity Temple Restoration Foundation, the project launched on Thursday 2 April and will continue every Thursday for six weeks. The project is intended to provide access to these places while tours are postponed and offer light relief during the coronavirus pandemic.

“As social distancing and stay-at-home orders have swept the country, many Frank Lloyd Wright sites that are normally open to the public have had to close their doors, just when they were gearing up for the spring touring season to begin,” said the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy.

“These measures are crucial to slowing the spread of Covid-19 and protecting the staff, volunteers, and visitors who usually fill these extraordinary spaces with life,” it added. “It is precisely at this time, when so many are shut inside, that we need to experience beauty and inspiration.”

So far, Hollyhock House and Taliesin West have swapped videos, as well as Unity Temple and Emil Bach House, and Fallingwater and The Westcott House. This Thursday, each site will trade with another involved in the series.

Ebsworth Park, Gordon House, Graycliff, Martin House, Willey House and Samara are among the other properties signed up to the initiative. The Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy expects others to join as the programme develops.

“Wright’s works bring people together in harmony with the natural world, reminding us that we are all connected, even when we’re apart,” the conservancy continued.

Wright, who was born on 8 June 1867, designed over 1,000 buildings and completed over 500 during a career that lasted seven decades. Today, he is celebrated as one of the most important architects of the 20th century.

In 2017, Dezeen looked at some of Wright’s most famous projects to mark what would have been the 150th anniversary of his birth. These include Robie House, his most “consummate expression” of Prairie style, and Hollyhock House, an early example of Mayan Revival architecture.

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Free Documentary on Hayao Miyazaki, Co-Founder of Studio Ghibli

A free, four-part documentary on Hayao Miyazaki—co-founder of the beloved and iconic Studio Ghibli—is now streaming, thanks to Japanese broadcaster NHK. 10 Years with Hayao Miyazaki first aired last year and delves into the animator, manga artist, filmmaker and author’s artistic process and personal life—with a focus on his relationship with his son Gorō, who worked on Studio Ghibli films From Up on Poppy Hill and Tales from Earthsea. Fans can watch the series now at NHK. Find out more at Dazed.

Apple to Make One Million Face Shields Per Week

This week Apple CEO Tim Cook took to Twitter to announce the company is making face shields, at a production target of one million per week, for healthcare professionals. (This is on top of the 20 million facemasks that supply-chain wiz Cook managed to summon up for donation.)

Like many of you, I screenshotted the crap out of the video, hoping to get a definitive look at the design:

Alas, it’s not possible to see much detail:

It does look like they’ve done away with the bulkier forehead strip of the incumbent design, which makes me quite curious. I’m also wondering whether what you see above is the finished object, or if they will be adding some type of foam on the forehead strip. Any guesses?

EDC for Social Distancing? This keychain lets you push buttons, open doors, without human contact

It didn’t take long for society’s norms to shift so drastically that we’ve now got indie creator-made solutions for our modern-day problems. Meet the Hygiene Hand, a Captain Hook-inspired piece of EDC that lets you interact with the world without, well, physically interacting with it. Machined from a brass billet, which is known to possess anti-microbial properties, the Hygiene Hand acts as a keychain that you can use to push, pull, and generally maneuver objects without actually touching them. Designed by a retired New York paramedic, the Hygiene Hand is what you get when Everyday Carry meets Personal Protective Equipment.

It isn’t as in-your-face as wearing a mask in public, but it performs the crucial task of preventing germs from getting on your person. Given that your hands touch thousands of surfaces through the day, and you subsequently touch your face an average of 20 times each hour, the Hygiene Hand and its ‘neat’ (literally and figuratively) design allow you to navigate the world without having your hands ever touch a potentially germ-ridden surface.

The Hygiene Hand’s hook shape was designed to get you through most of life’s interactions hands-free. The hook comes with a slight bump at its tip that works as a metal fingertip, enabling you to press buttons on an elevator, or your PIN number into an ATM without using your hands. The brass build allows the Hygiene Hand to work as a conductive stylus too, letting you tap touchscreens or sign against tablets to fulfill deliveries.

The hook detail facilitates pulling, sliding, and turning objects like door-handles with ease – probably the only caveat being spherical doorknobs that may need grabbing and turning. The anti-microbial nature of the Hygiene Hand’s brass build reduces, if not eliminates, the chances of any germs making it to your fingertips, effectively protecting you from catching something nasty… plus, it also holds keys!

The Hygiene Hand is manufactured in the USA to help expedite delivery to one of the hardest-hit countries in the pandemic. Arriving at an incredibly opportune time when products desperately need to guide human behavior to help them stay healthy, the Hygiene Hand helps navigate through life while limiting contact with germs, comes with a lifetime guarantee on its build, and ships as early as May 2020. Kickstarter backers even get a free retractable keychain along with each Hygiene Hand, allowing you to secure it to your person or a backpack.

Designers: Avi Goldstein & William Crocker

Click Here to Buy Now: $21 $25 (21% off). Hurry, limited pieces for May delivery. Raised over $300,000.

Hygiene Hand –  An Antimicrobial Brass EDC Door Opener & Stylus

The Hygiene Hand keychain tool offers a better way to open doors & use shared surfaces like checkouts or ATMs. Designed by a retired NY City Paramedic, the Hygiene Hand is made entirely from a solid piece of brass which is inherently antimicrobial, to help decrease the spreading of germs while performing some of your everyday tasks.

Retractable carabiner keychain included.

Made From Brass

The composition of brass is 70% copper and 30% zinc. The benefits of brass:

– Inherently antimicrobial.
– Sustainable and 100% recyclable.
– Corrosion-resistant and holds up very well against harsh elements and repeated use.
– Will oxidize over time leaving a natural patina that gives it a classic, refined look.

The Back Story

“Literally a week and a half ago in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak in New York City I went to a pharmacy to pick up a prescription and was asked to use their stylus to sign for the purchase. When I pointed out to the pharmacist that the stylus must be full of germs from all the people picking up prescriptions before me they said they are out of hand sanitizer so I should just wash my hands when I get home,” Goldstein told Yanko Design.

“As the days went by and the coronavirus spread I became more and more aware how many times I have to touch things that must be full of germs.. elevator buttons, buttons to pay by credit card at stores and gas pumps and of course pulling open doors to public bathrooms. I went back to the office and met with my design team and decided we would immediately start designing and prototyping a solution to this problem,” Goldstein continued.

Click Here to Buy Now: $21 $25 (21% off). Hurry, limited pieces for May delivery. Raised over $300,000.

Would Living in a Round House Be Awesome, or Would It Suck?

So like the rest of you, I’m distracting myself from worst-case COVID-19 scenarios. My latest mental escape of choice is looking at photos of dome houses, which look cool as hell.

Well, of course they always look good in photos–a professional photographer could’ve made my first Brooklyn apartment look good. But when I start looking at floorplans of round houses, I’m thinking that living in them would actually suck.

In these panicked times, there is no room for nuance, grey area or anything but total allegiance to one of two extreme viewpoints. You must decide whether living in a circle would be Awesome or would Totally Suck. Here is a sampling of floorplans to help you decide.


– Visual discord at trying to reconcile rectilinear furniture with curved walls, and/or weird trapezoid-shaped rooms

– Wasted space where rectilinear furniture meets curved surface

– Can pay for built-in furniture to meet curves, but that gets pricey

– DIY’ing built-in furniture to meet curves will require tons of scribing

– Unusable space where walls meet floor at weird angle

It looks like you have to build a big-ass circle, one so large in footprint that you essentially flatten the curve (sorry to use that phrase) of the wall, before the issue of rectilinear furniture in a curved space starts to go away.


– Round shapes better disperse hurricane-force winds

– More efficient to heat if you have a central fireplace

– Your house will become a landmark used by neighbors giving directions (“You’re gonna pass this weird round house, then take the next left”)

Anyways, your verdict: Yea or Nay?

Behold, a Tesla Cybertruck Camper Concept

I didn’t realize that folks who pre-ordered a Tesla Cybertruck have already set up a fan website. CybertruckOwnersClub.com has a well-trafficked forum section, and it is there that we encountered these two camper concept renderings by an owner-to-be:

Image credit

So, that’s a thing. Please discuss?

Why COVID-19 is Throwing Off the Accuracy of Weather Forecasts

A surprising repercussion of the COVID-19 pandemic is that the accuracy of weather forecasts has gone down.

Weather is a big deal on a farm, and I use both the Dark Sky and AccuWeather apps to prepare for what’s coming. But a couple of weeks ago, I noticed the forecasts going wonky. They’d say a week of rain was coming, and it wound up being clear. Or vice versa. And temperatures were off.

Now I’ve learned why: The mass grounding of flights. I had no idea weather forecasters harvested data from commercial airlines, but according to the World Meteorological Organization,

“The significant decrease in air traffic has had a clear impact [on forecast accuracy]. In-flight measurements of ambient temperature and wind speed and direction are a very important source of information for both weather prediction and climate monitoring.

Commercial airliners contribute to the Aircraft Meteorological Data Relay programme (AMDAR), which uses onboard sensors, computers and communications systems to collect, process, format and transmit meteorological observations to ground stations via satellite or radio links.”

United Nations News gets into the actual numbers, and points out that things are worse in Europe than in America:

“Before the COVID-19 era, commercial airlines took around 700,000 daily readings of air temperature, wind speed and wind direction. This data and much more is fed into WMO’s Global Observing System, which supports weather and climate services and products provided by the 193 WMO Members.

“In Europe…air traffic readings are down by 85 to 90 per cent…. The impact has been less severe in the US, where commercial airline traffic data is down by 60 per cent, WMO said.

“‘At the present time, the adverse impact of the loss of observations on the quality of weather forecast products is still expected to be relatively modest’, said Lars Peter Riishojgaard, Director of WMO’s Earth System Branch. ‘However, as the decrease in availability of aircraft weather observations continues and expands, we may expect a gradual decrease in reliability of the forecasts.'”

While we still have satellites, ground-based weather stations and weather balloons, it appears the massive amounts of data harvested by airplanes is pretty crucial in meteorological modeling. With less planes in the air, there’s a lot less data. Guess I’d better do what the older folks do down here, and start relying on my own joint pain to warn me of when a storm’s coming.

Arched terracotta volume tops Delfino Lozano's Guadalajara apartment complex

House B836 by Delfino Lozano

Mexican architect Delfino Lozano has turned a family home in Guadalajara into four apartments detailed with blue-painted beams and arched doorways.

Lozano created four one-bedroom residences in a two-storey property located in the Santa Teresita neighbourhood of the Mexican city.

House B836 by Delfino Lozano

The architect said he designed the complex, called House B836, to follow as much of the existing layout as possible. Features include a pair of courtyards that allow for natural light to penetrate into each of the apartments and an internal staircase in the middle of the building.

House B836 by Delfino Lozano

“The original structure of the house was conserved, achieving the perfect distribution of the four studios and demolishing only the necessary elements to generate much more open spaces,” he said.

House B836 by Delfino Lozano

The stair connects the four units and leads up to a small volume that Lozano erected on the roof to offer residents access to a rooftop patio. The structure has concrete and glass walls, and a curved brickwork roof that is covered in terracotta tiles.

The arched roof mirrors the numerous archways seen in the project, such as arched windows and doorways.

House B836 by Delfino Lozano

White walls feature both on the exterior and inside House B836, which was previously coloured a dark yellow outside. Lozano said the colour is a way to mix Mediterranean architecture with Mexican elements to create a new style he calls “Mexiterraneo”.

House B836 by Delfino Lozano
Photograph by Erle Marec

“The design intentions reaffirm the searching of the office for picking up the line of the “Mexiterraneo”, in which materiality was selected by its freshness and sobriety they provide in each of the spaces,” he explained.

Lozano also used the term to describe his renovation of a 1970s house in the nearby city of Zapopan. Called Casa A690, it similarly includes a mix of Mediterranean and Mexican aesthetics.

At House B836, a rough stone wall in one of the courtyards offers a contrast to the texture of the smooth concrete floors inside the units.

The interiors combine the industrial quality of exposed steel beams and concrete, which is also used to create benches and tabletops, with softer surfaces. Plywood clads interior walls, forms built-ins for seating and serves as kitchen cabinetry.

House B836 by Delfino Lozano
Photograph by Erle Marec

Lozano has also painted a number of the doors and exposed beams blue to match the colours of windows and doorways.

“This way, using concrete, wood, blue-painted ironworks, and clay elements such as the vault that culminates on the top level of the building, honouring the range of local materials,” Lozano said.

House B836 by Delfino Lozano
Photograph by Erle Marec

Details that round out the 250-square-metre project are woven rugs, globe light fixtures, pillows and potted plants.

Ample natural light is provided with different window shapes, from long rectangular portions to gridded, arched designs.

House B836 by Delfino Lozano
Photograph by Erle Marec

In addition to House B836, Lozano has modernised another home in Guadalajara. He has also built two new residences, Casa G and RR House in Zapopan.

Photography is by César Béjar unless stated otherwise.

Project credits:

Collaborators: Daniel Villalba, Sebastián Aldrete, Gloria López, Jesús Sánchez, Fernanda Rodríguez
Ironwork: Franck Chamú
Electricity and plumbing: Juan Pablo de León
Woodwork: Alejandro Mena
Landscape: Petunia Landscaping
Painting: Antonio Cisneros
Construction: Delfino Lozano
Structural engineering: Delfino Lozano Armenta

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How to work with clients during a pandemic

We talk to three creative agencies about delivering virtual pitches, winning new business and being a useful partner to brands in troubling times

The post How to work with clients during a pandemic appeared first on Creative Review.