Latest Articles in A Great Idea

879 n monte vista palm springs modernism

Midcentury Modern Homes of Palm Springs Under Moonlight

The striking midcentury homes of Palm Springs are well-documented in photographs, books, and films. But simply by capturing the houses at night, Melbourne-based photographer Tom Blachford casts them in a whole new light—literally. In his shots, only moonlight illuminates the homes, which were designed by William Krisel and Dan Palmer in the period between 1955 and 1965. Recently displayed in an exhibition at Modern Times in Melbourne, the prints are also for sale.
October 24, 2014
health sciences education building phoenix

Tour Impressive Buildings with Cool Spaces!

Great buildings are fodder for Instagrams and sometimes even architectural pilgrimages. But many admirers know little beyond the architect's name—if that. "Cool Spaces! The Best New Architecture" is a PBS program that aims to change that. In the show, host Stephen Chung—who recently joined us at Dwell on Design NY—tours these spaces in order to bring to light the design stories that make them so interesting. The featured venues include performance, education, health, and sacred spaces, among others. Click through the slideshow to see some of the impressive buildings featured on the program.
October 23, 2014
Concrete facade of three level, one-man sauna.

Inside This Modern Tower Is an Idyllic One-Man Sauna

Münster-based firm Modulorbeat recently built a one-man sauna on an abandoned steel factory site as part of a year-long festival exploring the economic uncertainty of the region surrounding Bochum, Germany, a former industrial hotbed. The 25-foot-high tower is made from stacked precast concrete units. With three floors and a lounge deck, the compact unit includes a plunge pool, a sauna, and what the firm calls a relaxation room on the top, offering a stunning view of the sky.
October 23, 2014
guggenheim helsinki proposal

Design Proposals for a Guggenheim Museum in Helsinki

An anonymous, open design competition organized by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation is envisioning a new branch of the museum on in the South Harbor area of Helsinki. The museum would cover international twentieth and twenty-first century art, with a special focus on Nordic art and architecture. The first round of submissions drew in 1,715 proposals from 77 countries. Click through the slideshow to see a handful of the submissions, which are poised to transform the waterfront area.
October 22, 2014
Dichroic architectural film by 3M

3M's Iridescent Dichroic Film

The blue morpho butterfly’s wings are covered with layers of microscopic scales set at slightly different angles, so that when light hits the insect, its wings appear to change color along a spectrum. This physiological feat inspired a breakthrough for 3M scientists developing a substitute for dichroic glass, which is coated with metallic oxides that give it an iridescent finish. The result, 3M’s Dichroic Film, offers the lustrous look of an insect wing with an easy-to-apply coating that, at $9 per square foot, costs 90 percent less than the real glass version.
October 20, 2014
standard architecture design photo credit grey crawford 1

10 Modern Cat Shelters

In Los Angeles, a fundraiser celebrates modern architecture for felines.
September 19, 2014
Brick wall in Bangalore

Inventive Garden Home in India

Behind a house in crowded Bangalore, India, two architects carve out a midcity oasis.
September 19, 2014
New York Transit Authority Graphics Standards Manual reissued hardcover

NYC Subway Graphics Manual Gets Reissued

For much of the twentieth century, the New York City subway system was seen as a terrifying place—often compared to a lurking, underground monster where crime was rampant and rats roamed. It didn't help that there was no sense of structure behind the system—even the signage was made up of a mishmash of fonts, and handmade lettering was not uncommon. In 1967, the New York City Transit Authority (soon to become part of the MTA) hired Massimo Vignelli and Bob Noorda of the design firm Unimark International to create a graphics system that would give the subway a uniform language across its many, crisscrossing lines. Now, graphics fans can rejoice: a Kickstarter campaign will bring the guide back to life in the form of a full-size reissue, available if you pledge before October 9, 2014.
September 10, 2014

Can the Los Angeles River Start a New Chapter?

An ambitious, year-long civic engagement project wants Angelenos to play along their waterway.
September 5, 2014