This modern vacation dwelling by US studio ArchitectureFirm consists of three rectilinear volumes arranged on a bluff “like a scattered group of stones around a campfire”.
The James River House is located in the rural town of Scottsville, Virginia, on a hilltop overlooking a river.
Situated on a 44-acre (18-hectare) forested property, the retreat serves as “place for three young boys to grow and learn from their surroundings”, said ArchitectureFirm, a studio in Richmond, Virginia, that was established in 2009.
Encompassing 2,750 square feet (255 square metres), the home consists of three rectilinear volumes, each serving its own function. The central volume contains public zones, while the wings contain sleeping quarters.
“The three volumes of the house hover above a bluff alongside a bend in the James River, arranged loosely and lightly on the land like a scattered group of stones around a campfire,” the firm said.
“The arrangement of these volumes allows the visitor to slip between and through the house, opening the view to reveal light, river and the woods.”
The house is accessed via a nearly half-mile long road that passes through the wooded site. Visitors arrive at a garage building, where they park their cars and walk to the cabin – evoking the feeling of hiking through the trees and leaving the city life behind.
They then encounter a terrace made of stone pavers and an outdoor fireplace built into the south-facing facade.
The team used two different facade strategies. The north side, which looks toward the water, features large windows that provide sweeping views. The volumes were angled away from each other so that residents are afforded several different vistas.
The southern facade is more opaque and angles inward, “reinforcing the sheltered atmosphere of the south elevation and the outdoor hearth”. Given its minimal glazing, this side also helps keep the cabin cool during the summer.
Inside, the central volume contains an open-plan kitchen and living room that is designed to be both intimate and expansive. “This central living area is at once hearth, tree house and dining hall – and is the nexus of activity for the family and the three boys who fill the house with light and motion,” the studio said.
A glass-walled walkway connects the main volume to a sleeping wing, which houses the master suite and a children’s bedroom with eight built-in beds.
The other volume, which is detached, is dedicated to guests. An adjoining deck provides a place for occupants to “enjoy good weather and take in the cycles of the seasons, tucked into the canopy of surrounding trees”.
One of the most important goals of the project was having minimal impact on the terrain. By elevating portions of the structure, the team was able to reduce the home’s footprint.
“There was no grading done to any part of the site, except for the gravel path to drive in to the project – all done to minimise disturbance and honour the existing landscape,” the architects said.
Steven Holl has called for the impeachment of Donald Trump, while Daniel Libeskind has described the US president’s recently imposed travel restrictions as “an affront to our freedom and core values”.
Both of the prominent American architects sent statements to Dezeen, in the wake of the restrictions Trump put in place for citizens from seven African and Middle Eastern countries last week.
“This action, by the loser of our citizens’ popular vote, actively works against the diversity and dialogue essential to this mission and violates the United States Constitution,” said Holl.
“This president who repeatedly tells lies, fights human potential for good and defies the constitution must be impeached.”
An impeachment would involve charging the president with misconduct – voted for by a majority of members of the US Congress’ House of Representatives – then a trial in the Senate, with two-thirds of elected senators voting in favour for conviction.
Libeskind – a Polish immigrant – also fiercely opposed the so-called Muslim ban, and invited others in the architecture, design and construction industries to join his studio’s boycott of companies that support the new administration’s policies.
“The Trump travel ban is an affront to our freedom and core values,” he said. “It affects our employees, colleagues and collaborators.”
Both Libeskind and Holl stressed that they employ architects from countries across the globe, and are working on international projects.
Trump signed the executive order on Friday to restrict citizens of Muslim-majority nations entering the US for 90 days, and to curtail the country’s refugee intake for a period of 120 days.
The countries affected are Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Sudan, chosen on the grounds of alleged potential threats to America.
Since then, protests against the move have taken place worldwide. US tech companies including Apple, Amazon, Google and Airbnb were among those to denounce the order.
Libeskind revealed that nearly a 100 people from his office joined the march against Trump in Washington DC on 21 January 2017 – the day after he was inaugurated.
Read the statements from Holl and Libeskind in full below:
Our office of 44 people based in NYC and Beijing has a staff representing over 18 different languages. We are dedicated to an architecture of openness encouraging human potential.
This action, by the loser of our citizens’ popular vote, actively works against the diversity and dialogue essential to this mission and violates the United States Constitution. This president who repeatedly tells lies, fights human potential for good and defies the constitution must be impeached.
We have now worked on five continents pursuing our mission (currently working on our first African project, a library for a new campus in Malawi, which is deeply rooted in our core principles). Today, more than ever, we need to pursue our values; green architecture for the environment of future generations, formation of social space, and realisation of new spatial energies.
Studio Libeskind would not exist without immigration.
Daniel Libeskind immigrated to the United States, fleeing persecution and communist rulers in Poland. His wife, Nina, co-founder of the practice, is Canadian. Daniel and Nina run the studio with three partners from the US, Germany and Afghanistan. Our studio in New York is comprised of the most dedicated and talented architects and designers from more than a dozen countries.
On any given day one can hear French, Spanish, Farsi, Italian, German, Chinese, Russian, Hebrew, Dutch, Turkish, Swedish, Arabic, and Korean spoken. This diversity makes us stronger and makes this practice uniquely American, not the other way around.
The Trump travel ban is an affront to our freedom and core values. It affects our employees, colleagues and collaborators. Now is the time for us to join hands and take a stand. On January 21, the studio brought nearly a 100 people to march on Washington DC.
We are actively boycotting companies that support the current administration’s policies. But there is still more to do. We invite our colleagues in the architecture, design and construction communities to join us.
Icelandic musicians Sin Fang, sóley and Örvar Smárason (of Múm) have announced that they’ll be releasing a collaborative track at the end of every month during 2017. The first, “Random Haiku Generator,” carries an almost mystical balladry. Electronic……
it isn’t, but it sure feels like one, doesn’t it?! The ASIG Concentric watches embrace their design in all its hubless glory. Each hand comes in a ring-shaped design that rotates on an invisible axis. Outcrops on these rings form the ‘hands’ of the watch that allow you to tell the time despite the presence of any numeric markings on the watch’s face. Although, I don’t blame the watch… it barely has a watch-face to begin with! Absolutely loving this Dyson-esque donut timepiece!
Even the most extreme tool nuts can be forgiven for not having heard of Mark Martinez; I’d never heard of the guy until I was introduced to him a few weeks back at The World of Concrete in Las Vegas. A carpenter by trade, Martinez invented the solid titanium framing hammer in the late 1990s and produced it under the Stiletto Tools label until the brand was acquired by Milwaukee.
That hammer was significant not just for its use of titanium, but for beginning the trend towards lighter hammers—with framing models now as light as 12 or 14 ounces. The idea took awhile to catch on with carpenters because it was completely at odds with the traditional rule of thumb referred to in a Core77 story about Estwing’s new steel/aluminum hammer:
Traditionally framers used 22- to 28-ounce hammers to produce the requisite driving power, and paid the price with repetitive motion injuries to their arms and shoulders. The current thinking is that lighter is more ergonomic, which is where E=1/2MV² comes in. In classic mechanics, kinetic energy (which for hammers equates to driving force) for non-rotating objects is equal to 1/2 mass (the weight of the head) times velocity (speed of the swing) squared. Simply put, swing faster and you can generate the same nail driving force with a lighter hammer.
Physics are just part of it; the other part has to do with materials. According to Martinez, titanium absorbs shock as well and won’t break when used for a handle. But it can’t take a beating, which is why the Martinez Tool Company makes steel-head hammers with wood or titanium handles.
Martinez Hammer with Axe Handle
Martinez Hammer with titanium handle
Steel is harder than titanium; a steel face stands up better to pounding nails and steel claws are less likely to break when used for prying or chopping (as is done during demolition work). And steel is heavier than titanium, so using it for the head puts the weight where it needs to be.
The heads on Martinez hammers are easily detached from the handles, allowing carpenters to use the same head with straight and axe-style wooden handles or the same titanium handle with smooth- and mill-faced heads. If something breaks or becomes worn it can be replaced in the field—including the rubber grips on titanium handles.
On wood handle models, the head is held in place with a hardened screw that extends into the handle and threads through a captured metal piece.
On titanium handle models, the head is friction fit over wings on the handle and held in place by a bolt.
Martinez hammers are a premium product aimed at professional users, and given their price ($75 wood; $199 titanium) are not the kind of tool you keep in the junk drawer in the kitchen. They are available with milled or smooth faces and a ball peen head is said to be in the works.
Imagine a world where Architecture takes inspiration from Transportation design. We would have some spectacular looking buildings, wouldn’t we?! Honestly though, the edgiest buildings would be those inspired by Lamborghini’s aggressively sculpted designs.
The Lamborghini Museum literally takes a slice of the Supercar company’s visual language and uses it to create an architectural masterpiece. The keen Lamborghini enthusiast may notice that the building mirrors the curves and style of the Aventador LP700-4. Me, I’m just wondering where the ticket counter to this place is!
If the student maintains a 3.7 GPA or above, the scholarship can be extended to cover the full programme.
The initiative, led by graduate programme chair and Italian native Elena Manferdini, offers international students the opportunity to transition their careers to the United States.
“I am proud to be able to offer this opportunity again for the upcoming academic year,” Manferdini. “I know firsthand how the trust of an institution can change someone’s career.”
“As an international student myself, having been the recipient of similar scholarships allowed me to pursue an education and shaped my adult life as an architect.”
Students will also have access to the university’s fabrication facilities, some of the largest in the US, which include an Analogue Shop, Robot House and Magic Box — a new digital fabrication facility equipped with 17 3D printers, two computer numerical control mills, and six laser cutters.
SCI-Arc‘s MArch 2 is designed for students who hold an undergraduate degree in architecture and are looking to focus their education on contemporary tools, techniques and technologies, and to expand their experience in digital design, fabrication and critical thinking.
Eligible candidates must demonstrate citizenship of any of the 28 countries within the European Union along with proof of having earned – between 1 January 2013 and 1 August 2017 – an undergraduate degree that is equivalent to the United States’ undergraduate degree in architecture.
The course structure intends to propel advanced design exploration and offer students an educational model that promotes close collaboration with a team of distinguished faculty and critics.
These include SCI-Arc Director Hernan Diaz-Alonso, graduate programme chair Elena Manferdini, Tom Wiscombe, Eric Owen Moss, Thom Mayne, Marcelyn Gow, Marcelo Spina and Peter Trummer.
Applications are currently being accepted online and are due by April 15 2017. All entries for the scholarship will be reviewed by Diaz-Alonso, Manferdini and one guest juror.
For scholarship requirements, guidelines and application information visit the scholarship webpage on the SCI-Arc website.
Augmented reality could lead to a dystopian world where everyone is trapped by their own views. It’s up to architects to set them free, argues Owen Hopkins in his first Opinion column for Dezeen.
Walking down a street in central London, I stare down at my smartphone screen. Only a few more metres to go. I quicken my pace, facedown in my phone, oblivious to the world passing around me. I reach a small intersection. Where is it? It should be here. Then I see it. It’s small, about the size of a dog, but yellow and with a strange zig-zag tail. It looks at me expectantly. At last, I’ve caught my first Pikachu.
My pursuit of this cartoon-like fictional creature will be familiar to any one of the millions of people who have played Pokémon Go, which took the world by storm last year.
Part of the game’s popularity clearly stemmed from the nostalgia around its 1990s Gameboy forebears. Yet its seductive merging of the digital world of Pokémon with external reality showed the potential of a 21st-century technology set to fundamentally transform the ways in which we interact with the world: augmented reality, or AR.
AR’s current dependency on smartphone screens is diminishing, and quickly
At the moment users have to consciously switch into the AR of Pokémon Go, which only comes into being on a smartphone screen. However AR’s current dependency on smartphone screens (at least in its mainstream applications) is diminishing, and quickly. Even after the market failure of Google Glass, companies like Microsoft, HTC, Magic Leap and, if we believe a recent rumour, Apple are devoting serious time and money into developing AR (and VR) headsets and glasses.
Some of these products are already on the market. Given the pace at which this technology is developing it won’t be long before AR functionality is integrated into contact lenses, ensuring that there will be no perceptible signifier that someone is experiencing AR or not.
With this weight of capital driving AR forward, it is safe to say that catching the occasional Pokémon is just the start. The logical endpoint of AR is to be seamless and pervasive, with digital overlays constantly and completely mediating how we experience the world. In effect, we will view everything refracted through our smartphone – phone calls, emails, news, social media, games will all be their right in front of us.
But, of course, that’s just the start. When, for example, we look up towards the flashing lights of Piccadilly Circus or Times Square, we will see ads that are tailored to us personally. When we walk through the supermarket, products will actively encourage us to purchase them, based on our previous purchasing habits, or perhaps even a realtime analysis of our blood-sugar levels. If we’re trying to find a restaurant, a trail will be laid out on the pavement for us to follow. And these are just the obvious, initial applications; the possibilities of AR are limitless.
The consequences for architecture are quite troubling. Why spend money on an elegant facade or an expensive material when it can be created far more cheaply as an AR digital overlay? And what’s more, that overlay is infinitely flexible.
If I prefer the classical style, then the building can present itself as a classical one. Then again, if I’m a brutalist nut, the AR can make sure I see only concrete. Why bother with windows facing a particular view, when we can decide whether we’re looking out on London, Paris, a Tuscan landscape or even the Great Barrier Reef? Why spend time lighting a room in a particular way, painting it a particular colour or lining it with a particular material, when its appearance will be able to change automatically depending on each individual’s preference?
Mechanisms exist for ensuring that alternate views aren’t just ignored, they’re filtered out
With every visual aspect of a building rendered infinitely alterably, it is no understatement to say that AR heralds the complete abolition of architectural practice as we know it. So, where does this leave architects, if it leaves them anywhere at all? A clue, I think, lies in the social and political implications of this blurring of the physical and digital worlds, which we are already seeing play out.
In the era of “fake news” and increasingly polarised online communities, it has become abundantly obvious that what we see on Facebook, Twitter, even when we do a simple Google search, is far from an objective or unmediated view of the data, but a curated one, shaped in its entirety by algorithms. All the tech giants that depend on clicks and traffic have a vested interest in showing us only what we want to see, and in screening out what we don’t. And the more we use their platforms and click on what we like, the better that screening and selecting process becomes.
This is not just only showing us the particular brand of shoes we’re into, but news stories, factual articles and opinion pieces that correspond with and then, in turn, reinforce our pre-existing ideas and preferences. In time, this begins to alter our world view; we see only that which we already agree with, which we then uncritically assimilate, even if something it bears little or no relation to reality.
“Group think” is, of course, nothing new – architects are among the most frequent offenders – but now the mechanisms exist for ensuring that alternate views aren’t just ignored, they’re filtered out before we ever encounter them.
Currently, social media exists on a screen, separate from external reality, but what will ensue when it inevitably follows Pokémon Go and crosses over into AR? What will happen when the social-media echo chamber exists not just online, but in external physical reality, and the self-selecting and screening effects apply to our everyday existence – affecting not just ideas and opinions we receive, but places we visit and people we see?
Perhaps while chasing the Pikachu down that London street, I saw several people sleeping rough. What will it do to my views on welfare provision, on taxation, on the type of society I want to live in, if the algorithms that shape my AR decide (without my explicit knowledge) that maybe I’d prefer not to see the homeless, or the poor or people of different races? The implications of AR are not just troubling, but downright dystopian.
The implications of AR are not just troubling, but downright dystopian
The fragmentation of the public sphere that we’re already experiencing is just the beginning. AR threatens its complete and irrevocable shattering, taking us to a world where our views, ideas and opinions have been wholly privatised and are constantly served back to us in a never-ending cycle of regurgitation.
But this doesn’t have to be inevitable. Technology can be moulded to benefit everyone, and rather than facing professional oblivion as most of their traditional tasks are all but subsumed by AR, architects might actually take the lead in doing so.
Architecture is fundamentally an optimistic pursuit. We build in order to create a better world. Some buildings inevitably contribute more than others. But even the most cynically conceived project contributes in some way to the public sphere and has some element of human progress inherent in it.
The task for architects over the next few decades is to seize the optimism inherent in their discipline and harness it to stop the otherwise inexorable march towards a world of ever-increasing extremes. In a world where everyone is trapped in their own AR, it’s up to architects to set them free.
One of the most famous examples of the high-tech style, the Centre Pompidou was assembled from a kit of huge prefabricated steel parts.
Over 15,000 tonnes of steel were used in the construction, including a network of ten-tonne gerberettes that define the building’s outward-facing appearance.
The Pompidou’s famed inside-out approach sees its colour-coded technical guts expressed externally, in a bid to keep the floorplan of each of its ten storeys column-free.
Blue marks air-conditioning pipework, yellow is for electrics, green denotes water pipes, and red highlights tubular escalators and elevators.
“The centre is like a huge spaceship made of glass, steel and coloured tubing that landed unexpectedly in the heart of the Paris, and where it would very quickly set deep roots,” said Piano of the building, which is situated in the French capital’s Beaubourg area.
British architect Rogers and Italian architect Piano worked together on the project, for which they were awarded the contract in 1971. Acclaimed modernists Oscar Niemeyer, Jean Prouvé and Philip Johnson were among the jurors who selected the duo.
During construction works, Piano and Rogers set up office in an inflatable structure opposite Notre Dame cathedral on the edge of the River Seine.
The design was influenced by the political unrest in Paris of the previous decade, when protesting students and workers came close to overthrowing the government in 1968.
In a video interview with Dezeen, Rogers said: “It was a highly active period of politics, and you could argue that it was a part of the concept. This was a dynamic period, a period of change, but we wanted to catch what was going on at the moment.”
“That moment nearly changed history, certainly for Europe,” he added. “It looked as though there would be a revolution. In fact, it didn’t happen. But we captured some of it in the building.”
Originally called the Centre Beaubourg, the building was renamed the Centre Georges Pompidou after French prime minister Georges Pompidou, who died during the building’s construction. Pompidou was credited for peacefully resolving the civil unrest of 1968.
Designed as a “fun palace” for the city, the Centre Pompidou was intended to operate as a cross between “an information-oriented computerised Times Square and the British Museum”, according to Rogers.
Inside, the majority of space given over to hosting the collections of the National Museum of Modern Art, with further areas designated for temporary exhibitions. It also hosts the Pubic Information Library, a research centre, auditorium, conference room and two cinemas.
The building was to feature bill-board messages and screens across its facade, to be viewed from the plaza below. But this element of the design was scrapped following Pompidou’s death.
“We had it all going very well until Pompidou died and Giscard [the subsequent president of France] came in and sunk it with no hands. He said: ‘It is a political weapon, I don’t want it.’ So that died.”
Rogers recalled how the design has been vilified from day one, with one passerby striking him with her umbrella when he revealed himself as the designer. “The shock of the new is always really rather difficult to get over,” he said.
But Piano said the city was quick to adjust to the building’s design: “Despite earlier widespread opposition to the project, the public was quick to embrace the Centre Pompidou,” he said.
The Centre Pompidou was inaugurated 40 years ago today and has seen more than 150 million visitors pass through its doors.
To mark the occasion the centre will be hosting a year-long series of events, kicking off this weekend with two days of festivities.