Is there a correlation between colorful cities and happy residents? Apparently Bristol is ahead of other English cities on the happiness index and here it is below with colorful building facades.
Or maybe it's a cycle where happy people paint their buildings in bright colors and that makes other people happy? In the case of San Francisco (below), all it takes is one quirky neighbor to get half the block on a roll.
I hope architects and developers know that color can make otherwise boring multi-storey buildings a lot more interesting! For more photos of colorful cities, go to this Buzzfeed post.
15 - story Ark Hotel
Level 9 earthquake-resistant
This video not only reflects the benefits of prefabrication but also epitomizes the rate at which China's built environment is growing. Cost-effective way of prefab construction should be used as a model in other developing countries, especially providing semi-permanent structures in informal settlements.
I question how much thought was put into the aesthetic design of the building and its programs. A red rectangular block, really? How will the building interact and affect its adjacent neighbors- how does it fit into the existing matrix of urban space? Long term planning efforts must be critically considered so that buildings and open space are fully integrated. Unfortunately, this is the nature of growth in China currently; the Chinese are great at efficiency but still need to work on creativity.
via [arch daily]
Courtesy of UID architects via ARPlus
Architects: UID architects - Keisuke Maeda
Project location: Minoh, Osaka, Japan
Type of Project: Atelier/House
Structural Engineers: Yasutaka Konishi, Takeshi Kaneko
Site area: 328.16 sq. m
Built area: 151.76 sq. m
Total floor area: 151.76 sq. m
Completion: December 2009
Contractors: Seiyu Kensetsu, Yukihiko Nishida, Mitsuhiro Matsumura
This is one of the few residential building built in Japan posted by The Architectural Review that contributes positively to its surroundings. Land in urban areas in Japan is expensive which is why many new homes end up being almost at the road's edge to maximize space. This project, Atelier Bisque Doll, a gallery, doll-making studio and residence, had luxury of space- it's great UID architects took advantage of surrounding their building with planting.
The suspended rectangles function well on multiple levels. At the entrance, it's a refreshing way to define private space. Screening from chest level and above creates privacy while visually sharing the landscape- this openness increases the quality of the street and the overall aesthetic of the neighborhood. In a way, the building teases people passing by and nosy neighbors... imagine seeing legs but not a body!
Conceptually, the live/work spaces match well with tiered levels. Hierarchy allows both a mental and a physical distinction of usage. And here, another rectangle around the home creates another privacy screen without sacrificing openness. It's a Japanese thing and an architecture thing to use white for simplicity and pureness, but really with everything?
I find the landscaping to be sub-par. Maybe they're going for the organic-juxtaposed-against-modernist-white-canvas look, but it just looks messy. They clearly cared enough to stage furniture for the architectural photo-shoot, so why leave the landscape looking unmaintained? There's a difference between looking naturalistic and looking neglected. What's with the side swatch of moss/turf? If it's moss, I hope it's perpetually in shade or else it's going to toast. Either way it looks out of place, like an afterthought "Oh maybe they'll need outdoor gathering space. Here's a wavy line to define it."
I would love to work in a space with natural light while surrounded by plants and critters. It's common to show trees against white backdrops, but in this case the combination with understory planting suggests a romantic nod towards seasonality and the passing of time. Imagine the drama when midday sun beams down on newly budding chartreuse leaves. Though perhaps they'll install curtains at some point, because the sun will be scorching in the summer through all that glass.
The photos look to have been taken in autumn; I'm curious what the integration of building and landscape will look like come summer when the plants mature some more. This would also be an interesting project to check out in ten years as the trees take more dramatic forms and the white building greys with pollution.
London calls to me.
For the past month, it's been the city of conversation among my friends. A friend went two weeks ago, another one is there right now for work and lovin' it. And then another wants to move there because her boyfriend just left to start his company in the West End. Or maybe it was the East End? I know not.
I have a hankering for full English breakfasts, for pub food, for the British Museum- to reminisce and be re-inspired. Architecture and design there is experimental and interesting.
Sure there's red-tape but none of this "we're California so every opinion must be heard before making decisions" crap. So I selfishly supported my friend's desire to follow her boyfriend to London, moving in with him, branching into a different sect of her career in apparel, etc. Normally I would have scoffed and said "How sure are you of all this working out? Europeans are protective of their jobs- especially in this economy." Instead I said, "I LOVE LONDON! The Indian food there is amazing and so is the contemporary art! Just look at the Tate!"
The Tate Modern pushes the envelop through installations and the exhibits are provocative and the pieces are skillfully done. It's what SFMoMA secretly aspires to be.
What London lacks in good weather it makes up for in urban density, diversity, and in public transportation accessibility.
But the real reason London has been calling: it hasn't. Why I miss London: San Francisco isn't meeting expectations. My discontent drives me to fantasize about nomadic travels because it's a form of escape. It's unfair to SF because complacency means I need to try harder to find design inspiration.
I'm looking for exits and waiting for answers. I'm scared. What I should be doing instead of evading: figuring out my problems here and now and fixing them.
Project: Qatar Education City Convention Center
Location: Doha, Qatar
Construction cost: $720,000,000 USD
Initial reaction to the Qatar National Convention Center concept, especially the support columns, was that they resemble underground tunnels made by desert animals. In that sense, it's very relevant to the landscapes surrounding Doha. However, the architect, Arata Isozaki, envisioned the concept based on the Sidra Tree (with lots of artistic license thrown in, of course). The Sidra Tree represents learning and growth, and were traditionally gathering spaces for scholars and poets to exchange knowledge; Yamasaki Architects (best known in the US for the old World Trade Center buildings) did their homework.
Kudos to the effort in seeking LEED Gold- a first in the region and about time somebody set the trend. But the landscape design sucks; looks like an airport terminal and is all that turf water-efficient?
And how will the cladding on the "trunks" and "branches" look after construction? Such amorphous shapes reveal installation mistakes far more than planar materials. This seems to be a new trend for many firms, thanks (no thanks?) to Frank Gehry.
I see Japanese influence in the design: the strictly-controlled color palette, the simple repetition of geometries, the minimalistic furnishings When our cultural backgrounds take physical evidence in our work, does it insult local cultures? In this case, can a building be functionally contextually but morphologically multi-cultural?
I wasn't expecting intricate Islamic details, but I wasn't expecting projections of Islamic tile patterns either. To project at such a large scale goes beyond making a statement; the effects of the delicacy in texture and geometries are lost.
I find clowns creepy.