Latest Articles in Architect

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Architectural Virtual Reality

Last year we posted a video that architect Sebastian Mariscal shared with us; a cinematic architectural rendering that takes viewers on a virtual tour of a project he designed in Woodstock, New York. You can see it here (and check out his other videos here). I recently found my way back to that post and was delighted to see all the comments my question had sparked. In response to my query—"Is video an effective presentation tool for architects?"— the flurry of responses ranged, effectively, from "hell yes" to "meh."
January 14, 2012
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The Dylan, Amsterdam

Last year I spent two nights at the luxurious Dylan Hotel in Amsterdam, and I'm excited to share my photos of the place. It's located in central Amsterdam, along the Keizersgracht canal, in a cluster of historic buildings that includes part of a 17th century theater; an 18th-century bakery and alms house; and a series of canal houses. There are historic architectural remnants throughout the property, including giant wooden roof beams (in my attic guestroom!), original twisting stone staircases, and yellow bricks that date back to 17th century that line the entrance hall. It opened as a hotel in 1999 and recently underwent a renovation; just last year, the design firm FG stijl redesigned ten rooms in an adjacent historic building. When I was there, they were still under construction, but I recently received photos of the completed spaces, and they're lovely. Take a look!
January 12, 2012
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A Zero-Energy Community: Part 8

Project Manager Brad Liljequist chronicles the building of zHome, a ten-unit townhome in Issaquah, Washington—the first multifamily zero-energy community in the United States. Part 8: How it ends... Because I’ve been talking so much about various aspects of construction on prior posts, I’m going to skip that story, and jump to the grand finale—our education and media rollout.
January 4, 2012
At our initial design charrette, we consolidated around the site plan concept that exists today. Integrated design over time proved to be challenging due to the run fast/stop/run fast aspect of the project, changing builder partners, and scheduling challe

Building a Zero-Energy Community: Part 7

Project Manager Brad Liljequist chronicles the building of the zHome, a ten-unit townhome in Issaquah, Washington—the first multifamily zero-energy community in the United States. Part 7: Finding a new builder partner.   In our last blog, we described the early days of zHome. The story rolls on with us facing our first hurdle—finding a new builder partner.   In Spring of 2008, we were informed by our initial builder partner that they needed to pull out of the project. After working so hard to push the project forward quickly, including design team selection, initial design charrettes, energy modeling and finishing schematic design, it was a rough blow.   
December 21, 2011
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The Saguaro, Scottsdale

This 5.5-acre property is a much-needed hotel option in Scottsdale and a welcome splash of color in the mundane beiges of the Sonoran desert. Despite breaking out from the shackles of traditional design, Peter Stamberg and Paul Aferiat of Stamberg Aferiat Architecture still paid homage to the landscape and the Southwest by blending the original buildings' classic "International style" architecture with the invigorating colors of twelve indigenous flowers.
December 20, 2011
Aaron Adelstein is the Built Green Executive Director and has been an essential contributor to the project from the beginning. The Built Green program is now planning to make a new certification level based on zHome.

A Zero-Energy Community: Part 6

Project Manager Brad Liljequist chronicles the building of zHome, a ten-unit townhome in Issaquah, Washington—the first multifamily zero-energy community in the United States. Part 6: The Backstory... Having already gone into the nitty-gritty of green materials and stormwater management, and chronicled the making-of a zero-energy building, I thought I'd back up even further, and talk a bit about how zHome originally came to be.   The project officially started life in March of 2006, when I brought a small group of regional green building innovators together with a common vision to build a community which radically redefined the environmental footprint of production housing. We each played leadership roles in green building in our respective organizations, which included the City of Issaquah (represented by David Fujimoto and me, working as a consultant with GordonDerr to the City), Built Green (Aaron Adelstein), King County GreenTools (Patti Southard and Katie Spataro, who now works for the Cascadia Green Building Council), and Chuck Murray (then with Washington State University Energy Program, now with the WA State Department of Commerce).
December 7, 2011
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A Family Home in Israel

Located in Ramat-Hasharon, a suburb of Tel Aviv in Israel, this 2,100-square-foot house was designed by Keren Milchberg Porat for a family of six—a cinematographer and art director and their four children, ranging in age from one to 17 years old. Porat, who heads up the architecture firm Studio ID253, used a slew of recycled and raw materials, strategically located openings to maximize ventilation and natural light, and "circular passages" to create an open and flexible family home that works equally well for entertaining large groups of people—something the family loves to do. ‎‏Originally the owners were inspired by prefab techniques and concepts. But "due to the fact that they couldn't find any local Israeli contractor with validated prefab experience, and their budget was too tight to simply fly in a crew from the states or Europe, they decided to go the only way they could—with conventional and traditional building methods popular in Israel," says Porat. "But certain prefab-inspired design elements remained, such as cement floors, industrial roofing, extensive use of large windows, and large deck areas that surround the interior of the house."
December 6, 2011
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A Potrero Hill Renovation

San Francisco architect Cary Bernstein recently completed this renovation and expansion of an old cottage in San Francisco's Potrero Hill neighborhood. The cottage had suffered a series of haphazard additions over a 100-year period, and the client wanted more space and an updated modern interior. Bernstein describes her goals thusly: "To expand the house while staying within the existing footprint to protect the mature gardens, to preserve the charm of the existing building’s ad-hoc character, to integrate a modern architectural vocabulary with the older construction, and to build sustainably." The resulting home fluidly knits together a modern vocabulary of open interiors, connection to the outdoors, innovative structural details, and a mix of contemporary and reclaimed materials. For a peek inside, click though the slideshow.
December 5, 2011

Designed by Commune

I've had my eye on Commune's work for a while now, having first encountered their unique, quirky, modern aesthetic sensibility at the Ace Hotel & Swim Club in Palm Springs, California, which they designed in 2009. The Los Angeles-based design collective, founded in 2004 by Roman Alonso, Steven Johanknecht, Pam Shamshiri, and Ramin Shamshiri, has branched well beyond interiors in recent years, designing commercial spaces, brand identities, and products—including the eight I've highlighted in the accompanying slideshow. If you're in L.A. you can scope them in person at Commune's West Hollywood concept shop, Community, open by appointment. Or you can order from their online shop here.
November 29, 2011