Tuesday
Nov262013

Kanye West Drops in to Harvard Graduate School of Design

When Kanye West spoke with students at Harvard Graduate School of Design Sunday evening, he said “I really do believe that the world can be saved through design, and everything needs to actually be ‘architected.’” In the social media frenzy that followed, a recurring response that I saw on architecture-centric sites was to snicker at West’s use of the word “architect” as a verb. For many, this was symbolic of West’s ignorance and hubris as he presumed to talk about something without knowing anything.

Except, of course, that “architect” is well recognized as a verb. Dictionaries say so, architects say so, and academics say so. If you’re architect Doug Patt and call yourself howtoarchitect on YouTube, you get a contract from MIT Press to write a book—called How to Architect. If you are the French philosopher Louis Marin, you can suggest that “the castle and gardens of Versailles ‘architect’ the Prince to make him not only the absolute of political power, but the center of the cosmos in its entirety,” and you will be counted among the most eminent semioticians of the twentieth century. If you are Harvard architecture theorist K. Michael Hays, you might stand up at an academic conference and say, “There are only certain things that can be done at this moment. Not just anything can be architected at this moment, right? There are limits.” When you do, people will nod and applaud.

But in reality, Kanye has always been a supporter of all things art, design, and of course: Fashion. His surreal stagesets and props put him on the vanguard of design with contemporaries like Lady Gaga.  Anyways, Kanye Loves architecture, and we Love Kanye.

Tuesday
Jun182013

Improving Residential Market Leads to Larger Homes and an Increase in Property Enhancements

According to the AIA, The American Institute of Architects, the American housing market is at its strongest growth level since 2005. As the once struggling residential market continues to improve, the size of homes is also growing in both high-end and custom homes as well as in additions to existing homes. Data from the Home Design Trends Survey reveals that preferences for accessible spaces in homes – such as open-space layouts and single-floor design – is also on the rise.

Thanks to improving consumer confidence in the American housing market, business conditions at architecture firms are at their strongest growth levels since the economic downturn. These findings are from the AIA Home Design Trends Survey for only the first quarter of 2013, which focuses specifically on overall home layout and the use of interior and exterior space.

AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA explains that the organization has seen, over the past few years, “an increased interest in seamlessly blending indoor and outdoor spaces and building in more informal spaces into homes. Because lot sizes don’t show any signs of increasing, it’s clear that homeowners want to maximize their current square footage to its highest potential, as opposed to increasing it.”

Scroll through the following graphics to help explain the situation and read Baker’s full survey here.

News via the AIA

Thursday
Jun132013

Tetris, Social Housing and Artist Studios / Moussafir Architectes

The project is part of a larger urban program aimed at regenerating underprivileged neighborhoods in Northern Paris. The action plan developed in close cooperation between the city, the local associations and the landlord included new and refurbished low-rent housing, as well as studios for artists and musicians.  Three plots entrusted to Moussafir Architects were sited on two narrow parallel streets separated by a long, low-rise housing block; a private garden in its middle enabled visual interaction between the two parts of the project. Built on these three plots were nine residences and three artistsʼ studios. The project was shaped by an intention to stay in harmony with the neighborhoodʼs scale and density while maximizing space and daylight available to future residents. Standards established for social housing severely restrict the size of apartments, therefore the architects decided to differentiate interior volumes, creating an added spatial value, which subsequently led to increased amounts of natural light.  Read more here...

Tuesday
Jun112013

The Traditional versus the Modern in Church Design

“Space, lines, light and sound” are the essential components of the experience of architecture and the most profound buildings have captured these moments through thoughtfully orchestrated design.  Recently, architects that have designed with these primary elements in mind have come under criticism by the Vatican for diverting from the traditional form and iconography of .  According to a recent article in The TelegraphMassimiliano and Doriana Fuksas’ design for a church in Foligno, Italy has been labeled as problematic by the parish and Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, head of the Vatican’s Pontificial Council for Culture, for its resemblance to a museum instead of a place of worship – based on traditional Catholic values placed on the altar and imagery. Regardless of the Vatican’s criticism of the aesthetic approach of architects that break with tradition, this seems more of an issue of miscommunication between the architects and the congregations that have commissioned the projects that are being criticized.  Read more here.

Thursday
Jun062013

FastCompany: The World's 50 Most Innovative Companies 2013

http://www.fastcompany.com/most-innovative-companies/2013/introduction#