Latest Articles in Design

The Satélite Towers, Mexico City, Mexico.

Science Fiction Architecture

For this week's "Three Buildings" column I turned to industrial designer Gustavo Fricke. We featured him and his Oaxaca shop Blackbox in our July/August issue's Design Finder ("Hecho in Oaxaca," online here). He currently lives in San Francisco and has traveled a fair bit, so I was curious to hear which three buildings inspire him most. Sure enough, his picks span the globe, from Mexico City to San Francisco to Paris.   When asked what unites the three buildings he selected, Fricke replies: "Since I was a kid I've been fascinated by science fiction. Science fiction explores future scenarios that push the boundaries of our imagination. These three buildings, too, allow for the projection of the imaginary—for the representation in our present time of a future world to come. They are props of a future possibility, frozen in time."
September 2, 2011
architecture and the city 2011

Architecture and the City 2011

This week, the AIA San Francisco kicks off its ninth annual Architecture and the City festival. The month-long event features food tours, home and city tours, film series, exhibitions, lectures, and more. Here we highlight the happenings that we're most looking forward to.
September 1, 2011
This is one of the Maxon family's favorite Tom Kundig projects: a 1,000 square-foot weekend cabin, basically a steel box on stilts, that can be completely shuttered using a hand crank when the owner is away.

Building the Maxon House: Week 25

In our latest Backstory series, Seattleite Lou Maxon recounts the thrills and trials of ditching the suburbs, buying property, and designing and building a modern house with Tom Kundig of Olson Kundig Architects. Week 25: Q & A with Tom Kundig. Last week we profiled our contractor Tanner Construction for insights into their process and involvement with the project. For week 25 we turned to Tom Kundig over at Olson Kundig Architects to get the firm's take on working with us on our future residence. When you engage with an architect or architecture firm you spend a considerable amount of time communicating, meeting, debating and making critical decisions that impact your project. A bond is formed between client and architect and the relationship grows over the course of the project, which helps inspire and cultivate new ideas that may find their way into the final built object. It was critical to us during our selection process to find a firm that was willing to listen, respond to our ideas and have the confidence and experience to elevate and inspire the design throughout the process. We found that with Tom Kundig and Olson Kundig Architects. Enjoy the interview.  
August 31, 2011
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Gerald Parsonson's Favorite Buildings

I've admired Kiwi architect Gerald Parsonson's work for some time. There are so many strong projects on his firm's website, including the one we featured in our June issue—his own beach house, inspired by New Zealand's traditional "bach" architecture. So I was curious to hear what three buildings most inspire him and influence his own work.   "I have a very broad appetite for architecture so it was quite hard to choose 'favorites,'" Parsonson wrote in response to my query. Pressed to identify a link between his eclectic choices—detailed below—he said: "I enjoy architecture that explores and expands the resonance of place, that can frame things in ways that are unexpected or beautiful. There is so much generic modernism produced these days that I find it exciting to discover architecture that transforms normal situations into something unique and special and in doing so becomes unique itself. I think these three buildings, even though they are quite different, do this for me."
August 29, 2011
Steve Jobs graced the cover of Inc. in October of 1981.

Friday Finds 8.26.11

In this edition of Friday Finds, a collection of magazine covers featuring Steve Jobs, a video for all those who've ever dreamed of flying, a new product for all the Tron fans out there, and much more!
August 26, 2011
Right: Grand Central Station shot by David Iliff (via <a href="">Wikimedia Commons</a>)

Jeff Sherman's Favorite Buildings

For this week's "Three Buildings" column I turned to Jeff Sherman of the New York architecture firm Delson or Sherman. We're featuring his painstakingly hand-renovated home (a formerly decrepit illegal kennel!) in our September issue ("New Prospects," online here) as well as in an online behind-the-scenes video here.   "If I had to choose just three favorite buildings, I’d say Grand Central Terminal in New York City, the Yale School of Architecture in New Haven, and the Mill Owners' Association Building in Ahmedabad—they all make my heart jump," says Sherman. "These buildings have a couple big things in common:  in all three, form transcends program, and all are subversively occupiable. By that, I mean that the shapes of the buildings dramatically exceed their humble practical requirements, and they all offer access to spaces that feel off-limits. These buildings showed me what architecture could be."
August 23, 2011
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Alex Garcia Exhibit

I met the artist Alex Garcia nearly a year ago (we were introduced by the architect Alejandro Sticotti, who like Garcia is a native Porteño), and since then I've stumbled onto his work in a variety of surprising spots. He makes wall assemblages out of wood—recycled, scrap, veneer, new—and thin strips of metal, creating striking graphic compositions. His work was on view at the San Francisco shop Propeller several months ago; now it's on view at Sticks & Stones Gallery in downtown Oakland through August 31. The other night I ate for the first time at Baby Blues BBQ, a local restaurant, and the lacquered scrap wood tables looked vaguely like Garcia's artwork... turns out he actually made those tables two years ago, as a special project for the restaurant owner. This guy is everywhere! Or maybe it just coincidentally feels that way...
August 19, 2011
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Stilted Living

Our September Japan Style issue celebrates design influenced or inpired by Japanese culture. In conjunction with the issue, guest writer Cathelijne Nuijsink will be covering residential projects by the core of young architects presently working in Japan. Week 2: Go Hasegawa & Associates.   33-year old Go Hasegawa is known for investigating the character of spaces that are partly inside and partly outside, accentuating the relationship between a building and its immediate surroundings. When an elderly couple residing in Tokyo asked him to design a weekend retreat in the dense forest of Agatsuma-gun, Hasegawa mimicked the surrounding tall, slender trees. The main living space floats 6.5 meters (roughly 21 feet) in midair and is supported by thin stilts, creating an outdoor patio beneath it. The design fulfills two requests: It provides the couple with a concrete deck on the ground floor that is spacious enough for the entire family to gather for a barbecue, as well as a rooftop platform high enough in the surrounding tree canopy to see Mount Asama during wintertime. The 6.5-meter elevation was the result of careful studies. Exactly at this height the residents are connected to nature without feeling alienated by distance, Hasegawa says. Since Japanese building regulations restricted the building height to a maximum of 9 meters (29.5 feet), the floating upper volume—containing the living room, the bedroom and a bathroom—had to give in on ceiling height. The space is only 1.80m on one side, with a slight increase on the other side because of the soft, sloping roof. For Hasegawa this “unfortunate occurrence” is nothing but an advantage. "The tiny space makes it look like a bird's nest. The residents feel the natural forest more brightly and freshly from here," he says.
August 14, 2011
method 7

Methodology Highlights

We just announced the winner of our Methodology contest, but we received many more creative and innovative designs from readers eager to upcycle away. A special thanks to everyone who spent time thinking about how to transform a humble container into something useful, practucal, and beautiful! Click through our slideshow to see seven of our favorite ideas.
August 12, 2011