Adding to an ART momentum
Not long until the Dark Horse Show and our 100 Art Work give-away! Scattered around Singapore will be authentic pieces of Art signed and dated - you find it you keep it.
The Singaporean staff & students felt it important to represent and deliver art and design, accessible and free from the usual corporate and financial attachments...........
If Singapore is looking for a sense of itself then look no further than these articulate and creative 100+
A visit to the affordable art fair Singapore………
F1 Pit Building Singapore proved to live up to its billing, it was the pits ! Although some of the art was good and the galleries exhibiting were of reputation the venue let them down. It was just like a visit to IKEA, the ways were mapped on the floor, free rapping services and partitioning segregated the work with a brutal disregard to the effort and rigor needed to produce the artwork. Lighting was sterile and obsessive. People walled IKEA like from café to apathy. Artwork began to lose its individuality and began to represent an Athena poster shop or middling art student’s bedroom. Bargain wall, ‘two for the price of one’, come and by your apples here madam.
Taxi queue – rapping queue, drop off and pick up slots.
Why must we commodify our art? And if we need too, lets be creative about it !
I fled the greed and ignorance, queues and pseudo Caucasian buyers speaking in tongues
“I love that one it’s kind of Japanesy”
“I got one last year but can the rabbit be blue”
“David! Your company needs art in your reception, this one is the same colour as your furniture”
Good night, good bye…………………………..:-)
takes us on a journey through metropolitan areas from all corners of the world: North and South America, Africa, Europe, Asia and Oceania. The photos give a clear picture of an architectural environment that continues to close in on us. While the city in the photos seems to burst at its seams, humans ultimately have the last word. The exhibition shows how human activity breathes life into the city's concrete.
Artists represented in the exhibition include , who captures compelling portraits of life on the chaotic, byzantine streets of the in Brazil; and , who takes us through the experiences of denizens of the night with his vivid images. In the plethora of images by , , Lin Yilin and , one sees sorrow, solemnity, confusion and exhilaration at the fast-paced nature of urban change. But above all, there is a genuine sense of joy and optimism as these photographers capture the future of burgeoning cities within their camera lenses.
Dann Botlek Illustrations
Dann Botlek an Illustrator from Rotterdam the Netherlands has a series of illustrations that captured my imagination this week.
In my reading, a simple image of escape – an attempt to leave the confines of manmade spaces. Someone from the unseen captive majority so compelled to escape or elude architectural captivity, their soul uncouples and leaves. Their souls leaving them to a mundane corporate existence and make a break for it….
Or maybe just an artist playing with perspective and expressing his art on an urban canvas …..hahahaha
I wish it was a comment on corporate captivity
Filip Dujardin the Belgium photographer’s work has been receiving favorable press recently for his work titled “Fictional” a comment of Architecture rhythm and composition perhaps? A dialogue of mass with regards negative and positive spaces? Although captivating the novelty soon subsides and I am left only captivated in the process of the image manipulation and subject choice. Curiously it’s his work on Chimneys that draws me back and back again however the title in my opinion, sound be called ‘hearth’ [heart of the home] not Chimney!
More please Filip!
Image by Filip Dujardin
“Two bodyguards trotted behind Enrique Peñalosa, their pistols jostling in holsters. There was nothing remarkable about that, given his profession – and his locale. Peñalosa was a politician on yet another campaign, and this was Bogotá, a city with a reputation for kidnapping and assassination. What was unusual was this: Peñalosa didn't climb into the armoured SUV. Instead, he hopped on a mountain bike. His bodyguards and I pedalled madly behind, like a throng of teenagers in the wake of a rock star” Charles Montgomery The Guardian
An interesting article in the Guardian commenting on the secrets of the world’s happiest cities, The reporter mainly reporting the merits of Bogata as a city challenging the urban norm with the help of Enrique Peñalosa Londoño the mayor of Bogotá Colombia.
Listen to: Fever Ray - Concrete walls not really related but the Title is especial as I write this in Singapore
When Buildings Kill by KEITH EGGENER
The Design studio Weiss-Heiten have conjured up a moment of interior magic that appeals to my sense of escapism, a space that ensures you forget for a moment and like Alice’s wonderland things seem magical and cinematic, French film like, as you stare out of the environment that beckoned you inward as you passed and glanced in.
You really shouldn’t care that the handmade concrete tiles in different shades of green cover which most of the surfaces are intended to reference the monochromatic canvasses of German artist Gerhard Richter.
inside outside images
Dutch Church Reuse
Image 1 Church interior
Image 2 Interior Main Stair
Another delightfully prosaic intervention by BK. Architecten http://www.bkpunt.nl/ in NL, this 547-year-old building’s reuse project in Zwolle leaves me underwhelmed and frustrated.
In this case the host building won overwhelmingly, the new intervention looks apologetic and whimpish in comparison, the none-eventful regular furniture and architectural furniture, is outmatched in scale and presence. The submissively lit book shop, cowers below a symphony of expansive arches, bold columns and piously flavored natural light emanating through huge stained glass windows marshaled by the silent bellows of a commanding pipe organ.
Do designers still spec bespoke furniture of merit?
Perhaps the people of Zwolle are happy an old church is being reuse and doesn’t stand dormant, as so many do in Europe. I am too, but does this mean we should be reduced to apathy in our expectations and ambition?
That said, what about this gem of Dutch Design by Architecture studio Onix who has inserted a wooden staircase inside another medieval Dutch church to provide access to the apex of the bell tower. An insertion with attitude and an equal to its host, the building and intervention are easily read and create moments of magic and energy between them. More please Onix! http://www.onix.nl/
Image 1 Host Building
Image 2 Stair [Timber]
The World Architecture Festival [WAF]
World Architecture Festival is the world’s largest festival and live awards competition dedicated to celebrating, and sharing architectural excellence from across the globe.
I was lucky enough to judge the Villa section of the World Architecture Festival and to speak in the main auditorium. I spoke of the frustration I felt of polite architecture and the complacent nature of architecture and designers today. I spoke of daring to be different and to challenging a designer’s sense or curiosity, to explore and to exchange ideas with other innovators from all types of industries not just those with a bass in the creative industries. It was therefore, on the following day, with great delight, I found myself judging the villa section of the awards with two creative and articulate designers [Carlotta Zucchini, Art Director. THE PLAN magazine + Keong Wee Lim]
. The short listed Villas were:
Alexandra Tent House
Irving Smith Jack Architects Ltd
Koning Eizenberg Architecture, Inc.
United States of America
ONG&ONG Pte Ltd
Singapore, Republic of
LM Guest House
Desai Chia Architecture PC
United States of America
Singapore, Republic of
Point King Residence
Six Senses Winegallery
markus tauber architectura
Vo Trong Nghia Architects
Hammoodi & Partner
The winners were Chang Architects who were quietly unassuming but daring and dynamic …….An easy choice as it happens.
To top my few days off at WAF I meet and spoke on stage with Odile Decq a famous French architect and George B Johnston PhD AIA , Professor and Chair, School of Architecture – both real characters …….
Opening Night in The Gardens By the Bay Singapore
Frazer Macdonald Hay Speaking on Day 1
Decay and derelict adventures of a culinary kind
A place where memories, history, emotion, architecture and the company others meet for something to eat. A space that delights whilst setting a scene of devious or solicit behavior - A place for graffiti, glue sniffing and prostitution, shelter for vagrancy and fires …….. As kids many of us have explored such environments finding thrills and the odd dead pigeon.
Now in China you may be just as likely to happen into a medley of food, cheer and beer!
This Project by Remix http://www.dezeen.com/2013/10/12/paizi-38-installation-by-remix-studio/ interests me but equally depresses me – after all that journey, the dereliction and drama what your faced with is the same old restaurant format, only packaged differently – Opportunity Missed perhaps!
Image of the route to the Remix Restaurant
Frazer Macdonald Hay has been asked to Speak at the conference organised by the British Council and the Ministry of Education Thailand.
"I am looking forward to the conference and the subject discourse, I am asked to speak in the secession …Higher Education Partnerships: getting the balance right.
This will be an excellent opportunity to learn, develop, contribute and play a considered part in East Asia’s creative industry initiatives. It’s privilege to participate”. FMH
ASEAN’s Creative Economies: educating
tomorrow’s leaders – Thailand Forum
6-7 September 2012
The Landmark Hotel
Organised by the British Council
the Office of the Education
As countries emerge from world recession, keen to define their position in a new order global economy, higher education is under huge pressure from world governments to drive economic growth and play a role in securing their global position. As global markets rapidly develop, governments perceive that innovation and economic growth will be generated from growing global networks of researchers, students and institutions. However these are hugely dependent on mutual understanding and trust for their success and sustainability.
The rise of
The Office of the Education Council is one of the government departments in the Ministry of Education responsible for formulating education policy and conducting research for the further development of education. The OEC and the British Council jointly recognise the critical importance of connecting global higher education sectors and their institutions, promoting the exchange of knowledge and ideas and maximising the benefit that such an exchange delivers for the
As countries across
Only by bridging the gap between future industry demands and higher education provision, will the next generation of graduates cultivate the competitive skills and competencies required of true global citizens, enabling
A holistic and long term strategy will be required to achieve this goal. Thinking on the creative economy is new for the school, vocational, and higher education environments, with some teachers and academic staff reluctant to change their style of teaching and learning. A flexible and responsive approach will be needed where the focus is on enquiry based learning, around a project orientated curriculum. New forms of assessment, where the process is as important as the result, will need to be adapted to be open and flexible to reflect an ‘education journey’.
Relationships between senior figures in government, leaders and entrepreneurs across the creative industries and the education providers, will need to be redefined in an environment which must foster new thinking if
The conference themes
Over two days, the conference will explore and debate the challenges and opportunities facing the development of
The dialogue will focus on best practice and lessons learnt from Thai policy makers and education leaders, and draw on experiences from other countries around East Asia and the
Article: IID /The Asia Pacific Space Designer’s Association [APSDA], GOA India, Frazer Macdonald Hay Key note speaker:
"It was 9 am on February 15, 2012 and
The venue Tango-1 of Taj Vivanta, Goa
When the official representatives from
APSDA member countries gathered
And enjoyed good fellowship.
Ar. Frazer Macdonald Hay from Scotland, UK, the keynote
speaker of the second day, proposed that people like
him who were interested in spaces should be called
“Interiorists”. His polished and intellectual speech
embodied profound observations of elastic design,
interventions in design, understanding the “DNA of the
building” and an approach to reusing buildings involving
working with memory. He concocted an interesting
equation of the meaning of interior design………..”
Big Stone Collective are delighted to announce that the company’s founder and Director [Frazer Macdonald Hay] whilst on contract with Glasgow School of Art in Singapore has been invited as an ‘eminent speaker’ on the subject ‘Second Life Re-use’ by world Interior's Kees Spanjers,Curator and General Director This will an event hosted by World Interiors 2013
Frazer joins the other speakers on 4th -7th September, speakers such as:
From the main theme ‘Past, Present and Future of Interiors’ sub themes have been derived. The topic ‘Second Life, Re-use’ is where you come in. With your expertise and your important contributions to this field you will make an eminent speaker on this topic. We would be very much obliged if you, in principle, would be willing to contribute to the congress”.Kees Spanjers
Frazer Macdonald Hay is currently in Singapore setting -up a Glasgow school of Art Initiative in Singapore GSofA Singapore. GSofA Singapore will provide two key degree programmes, Communication Design with three strands Illustration, Graphic Design and Photography the other key programme is Interior Design. The School opens on Sept 17th 2012 with an initial cohort of 100+ students - The Students are taught by a collaboration between Glasgow School of Art [GSA] and Singapore Institute of technology [SIT] The students have an interim campus built especially for them until they move to their permanent Campus which will be built 2014.
As the programme’s director, Mr Macdonald Hay has high expectations for this pioneering culturally dynamic education environment ….
“We hope to create a new breed of global designer fluent in cross cultural communication and expression. The graduates will have a beguiling mix of influences, skills, techniques and histories which will help make them a hot commodity for the international design communities eager to facilitate tomorrow’s corporate and cultural initiatives” Frazer Macdonald Hay
Frazer Macdonald Hay MSC. Arch. Conservation; BA [HONS] Int. Architecture;MCSD,PgCTLHE
The Dutch Photographer Maercel Heijnen has an exhibition in Singapore that looks excellent and provocative considering its context.
An amazing web site of buildings with architectural personality and the a cultural residue to behold: [click here]
On a Milan Visit sitting on a train - thinking - relaxed and happy to be stuck - why?
Who said that Asia's Architectural Conservation only exists as a rather prosaic attempt to preserve Old buildings - NO - Reuse has re-invented an approach - Asia is a target rich environment for Intervention architecture and a very appropriate tool for conservation management. Frazer Macdonald Hay
"Ipoh, the Town that Tin Built, is beginning to come alive and heritage preservation is playing a big role. Since the collapse of the tin industry in the late eighties Ipoh has slowly but surely been on a downward spiral. Many of its youth, attracted to the more progressive cities of Kuala Lumpur and Penang, have left Ipoh in a mass exodus, earning it the label of being a retirement town. Concomitantly, old buildings, some of them well worth preserving, have been left to rot and decay, some even collapsing, as in the case of Concubine Lane.
Movement at Last
Finally things are beginning to move in Ipoh. Ipohites with nostalgia, as well as property developers, are beginning to take an active interest in preserving Ipoh’s rich heritage and some of its buildings. If we drive along several roads in New and Old Town, we will notice that progress has been made in certain old shop lots which have been upgraded with their exterior façades maintained while their interior have been modernised.
Currently, we are seeing a proliferation of this ‘preservation of Ipoh’ with the ‘restoration’ of multiple units of properties which their owners say will be turned into boarding houses or boutique hotels or “restored just to keep the spirit of Ipoh alive”. A welcome spirit indeed and one which Ipoh Echo has set out to explore and document".
Radical Reconstruction by Ralf Furulund
Radical Reconstruction: an interpretation of the drawings, words and ideas of Lebbeus Woods
Lebbeus Woods explores issues that deal with the design of systems in crisis: Where the order of the existing is being confronted by the order of the new.
His designs are politically charged and provocative visions of a possible reality. He is probably best known for his proposals for San Francisco, Havana, and Sarajevo in the book “Radical Reconstruction” These projects define approaches to the reconstruction of buildings and urban fabric damaged by forces of both human and natural origins.
The site Lower Lea Valley: Upon visiting the site, my initial thought was this is an urban wasteland! Derelict warehouses, landfills and scrap yards stretching towards the horizon. The East London site is a threshold: between the boroughs of Newham and Tower Hamlets. The river Lea carved through the landscape and left an industrial heritage in its wake: it now acts as an urban barrier.
Woods words were used as a backdrop to design a framework that can respond to the area.
By stitching the landscape together, weaving and creating another layer of the city. One allows the unimaginable, unmappable and unstitchable to all exist. This emulates the heterarchies Lebbeus Woods encourages as the mode of the city.
“Design heterarchy of spaces, not hierarchy of space”.
A heterarchy is defined as any pair of items related in two or more differing ways. It has been said that to understand heterarchy one usually requires a willingness to move between unrelated perspectives.
We can now create complex, fluid and multilayered societies, but for this to be possible we have to revert to a city planning, that is complexly layered so that it has the possibility to grow and reshape itself. Old cities grew over time with use and re-use a transformation that stitches and weaves through generations.
This had an impact on the question of how one structure’s a framework based on his ideas.
Any sort of general rules of how to zone the area had to come from a heterarchical connection. Therefore a mapping of the areas past functions, its current uses and future potential was conducted to generate a code of key priorities within the new framework. By using the idea of heterarchical connections between the urban elements determining its position within the scheme it serves to guide the process as it continues
The process of transforming the teachings of Lebbeus Woods into a workable framework was a journey, trying to create a structure out of a system that encourages flux, informed complexity and change.
It required an interpretation of several of the key concept drawings and his words into applicable theories, a process that relied on interpretation and creative processing.
Turning concepts like scarring, freespaces, urban prescriptions and augmentations into an urban framework.
“In spaces voided by destruction new structures can be injected. Complete in themselves, they do not fit exactly into the voids, but exist as spaces within spaces” Lebbeus Woods
“Scarring and scabbing”; not tabula rasa. When a building is broken or an area is damaged, it should be treated with respect and accept that the past and that now it is time to adapt, revitalize and change. We should build for the future. I do not claim that all buildings should be kept or re-transformed; only that, from today the time for building short term is over. A building should and must have the possibility to grow to transform, to change its use and function into another, creating new layers of complexity and urban fabric.
This code is built on robustness and it is embedded with element of change in its very core.
The urban form is changed: old structures and roads are reconstructed to perform new functions where possible. New routes of movement are carved out of the urban tissue while routes lost and broken are now stitched back together creating a new pedestrianized urban landscape.
Parts of the original landscape are left “untreated” to act as glimpses into the past, where the area’s history and evolution can be seen in its scars. Woods concept of “freespaces” was translated to act as “potential space” integrated in any building scheme. The potential space can be injected with a new function (building or use) when the needs of the community become apparent. The new urban therefore exists with a failsafe against mono-use, to allow for a more flexible city structure.
When comes to reaching my final concluding thoughts on all of this, the transformation from framework to master-plan level was not immediately successful I found that to try to control the scheme was ironic, as controlling and shaping something that was intended to be a naturally evolving and flexible response to a system in crisis. The translation from theory to framework and to master plan was the part where I learnt the most. How the ideas and potential outcomes change, from “idealistic” theory to framework, and to realism dealing with control, cost and agencies on a masterplan level.
The ideas that make up this new, urban acting code, in effect slows the urbanization of an area, allowing it to grow and “become” at a more natural pace. This hopefully fights the notion of kit urbanism, and allows us to slowly move towards cities, that grow with the population and the needs of the people that inhabit it. The architecture should act for the people and respond to how they decide to change their conditions of living. It should not act as a defined mode of life, where society adapts to the grid put in place. The architecture becomes an instigator of events, transforming the social fabric as Woods said “Architecture is a political act”
I heard once that architects should be able to imagine the entire lifespan of the building he designs.
As urban designers I think it is important to move beyond the built form and the material world as Lebbeus Woods said “We’ve got to imagine more broadly. We have to have a more comprehensive vision of what the future is.”
THE EXHAUSTED LANDSCAPES by Patrycja Izabella Perkiewicz
FROM MINE - LANDS WITH LOVE
A landscape is a complex system, similar to the human body. An organism that is affected by all of life’s effect. It breathes, grows, breeds and dies. It has the ability to memorize , to feel excitement as well as tiredness and disappointment. A system that due to human need of exploration and exploitation is wounded and suffers traumas. The mine as part of the landscape, is exposed to the same
functions of life. Could we assume that the mine as well as the landscape could go through all different states of emotions? What it’s reaction to catastrophic events? People can adapt to critical situations. For centuries earth’s resources has been exploited, the landscape exposed to the depletion of the natural world. Due to personal experience we can prepare ourselves for uncertainty.
Could we say the same about the landscape?
The moment we step out of our safety zone and find ourselves in uncomfortable situations, could be a powerful force of creativity. People have a need to belong, to be part of something larger than ourselves. An identity that we can relate to, allow us to survive the destruction, the violence of any sort. This drive to preserve the comfortable existence we inhabit, force us to treat the natural world as our very own smoere
gos board. Very often this lead to the landscape being depleted voided. Eventually left broken and battered. A state it might never recover from. Observing the events, changes and trends in the mining industry similarities become very visible. Drilling is a traumatic event; human hunger and need of certain standard of living become a force for destruction and uncertainty. Mineral extraction takes away from landscape its identity. The same area that could be a potential new finding is a home for others.
This illustrates the complexity of the system, which has the ability to all affect others, although always remain under their influence. Exposed to every change, without the possibility to take part in the decision making process. The natural world is our silent bystander.
In a world where everyone has its own agenda.Could time heal all wounds? A statement that seems oddly relevant everything is affected by time. Even
the unwanted voice has the same mandatory needs for existence. But for the time being our Landscapes immune system is failing. The natural world is being depleted on a faster pace than it can be replenished. Exhausted…. Can the landscape be re-activated or else it will start to “oppose“ human evolutionary needs “gadgets”?
The disappearance of minerals from our earth’s crust will create an overall chaotic situation. The desperate response that follows will force radical changes on many levels. New political strategies must be created for society, as it exists today to have a chance at a future. Basics become the new key priorities distributing food, water, medicine, to provide shelter to those who need. Further exploitation of the already existing mines could create a dramatic landscape response. Kiruna’s situation proves it. The mine will not need the town any more. We should listen: to the voices that want to be heard. This begs the question can human hunger coexist with our natural world?! Is there a place for compromise?
Traumatic events force changes, creative solutions. Therefore a situation which from one side could be regarded as catastrophic, can and does open windows of opportunities. Recreating the idea of safety allow for radical changes to take place. Mines require large amount of space. Due to that consequences very
often are on the scale difficult to imagine. How can we transform the depletion of the landscape into driving force for new opportunities? Maybe an answer lies in what we are most afraid of: the lifespan.
Temporality could become an important part of future projections. Everything is affected by time. Why not to use the factor of the lifespan. Future “sites of trauma” should have an epheremental presence, the new mining villages” could and should move to where it’s needed a traveling circus of roaming
landscape exploitation machines. At the end of an era when a mine is shutdown there should be no remnants but a hole in the ground. This could lower the chance of catastrophes like the situation currently found in Kiruna. Instead of being intruders, mining company would adopt the role of a visitor. Guest that will disappear sooner rather than later, not claiming territory that does not belong to themselves. Not creating cities that are doomed to die and fade from the very beginning. In this time and age the last thing we need is wasteful resource management. With it comes another opportunity a responsibility really for reclaiming and reconstructing what has been lost in the sense of identity and belonging.Voices must be heard, futures must be considered, polices must be made. Views must be radically changed if these questions are not asked we might face a catastrophe that might, forever change human history.
Extra Special People (ESP) is Eastside Projects’ Associates scheme, supporting the development of work, ideas, connections and careers through a programme of events, opportunities and projects. Members become active contributors to a practice-led peer support network and benefit from Eastside Projects’ experience of the contemporary art world and regional, national and international contacts.
Hanson Street Studios, 77 Hanson Street, Glasgow, G31 2HF
April 20th 2012 – May 7th 2012
10am-5pm (until 7pm on Thursdays)
Opening Reception: 5-8pm April 21st
Inter-dimensional Transposition performance 11am-7pm Saturday 21st April
Extra Special People present ‘Castling’ a collaborative project between artists in Birmingham and Glasgow, taking the form of a billboard exchange.
‘Castling’ is an exhibition that takes the form of a billboard exchange. The project title, ‘Castling’, references a maneuver in the game of chess whereby a player is allowed to move more than one piece in a turn. The move was invented to help speed up the game and to help balance offense and defense.
Referencing the exterior billboard structure at Eastside Projects in Birmingham, Extra Special People have constructed two additional billboards in the Hanson Street Studios Project Space.
For the duration of the festival, works by artists including Max Slaven, BAZ, Nadia Rossi, Andrew Gannon and Sparrow+Castice will be shown on these three billboards as well elsewhere within the Hanson Street Project Space.
Nadia Rossi and Andrew Gannon will be creating a new collaborative work 'Inter-dimensional Transposition' in the space on Saturday April 21st 2012. The two artists will be changing places - sitting in boxes representing each other’s body space in an endurance performance lasting 8 hours.
A fourth ‘virtual billboard’ will be erected online. This ‘virtual billboard’ will take the form of an uninteractive webpage. This will change daily, alternately showing works made by invited Birmingham and Glasgow based artists, each responding to previous day’s ‘pasting’. The full list of participating artists can be found on the Extra Special People website.
The 3rd Year Interior Students from Edinburgh College of Art had a brief from the third and forth year Fashion Students. The brief was to design and fabricate an exhibition for the 3rd Year Fashion Show [Monday 12th 2012] and then, to redesign the exhibition to facilitate the final year fashion students exhibition at London fashion week, this summer.
The design brief was challenging in that the materials specified were to be steel and Calico.
The 9 Interior Students from Finland, Turkey, Scotland and Switzerland working under the title of Fabritecture were excellent in the approach to the design process, fabrication and communication. They developed an animation of the process and a website. Take a look...
We take our "Big Stone Collective" hats off to these designers....well done
“Only a fool will build in defiance of the past. What is new and significant always must be grafted to old roots, the truly vital roots that are chosen with great care from the ones that merely survive. And what a delicate process it is to distinguish radical vitality from the wastes of mere survival, but that is the only way to achieve progress instead of disaster."
[Bartok, 1962 page xvii]
. Part of the collective has been built on research geared to explore analytical streams, methodology, design systems and tools for facilitating re-use. We work closely with post and under graduate architectural education, helping test ideas and develop design practice. The students work on centre projects and develop case studies and model design proposals. The academic / research relationship has proven beneficial and works well on many levels.
An old building read as a ‘Palimpsest’ is a helpful metaphor used by ‘Rodolfo Machado’ which poetically reflects upon old buildings as a stretched piece of suede which was used by Roman couriers in place of paper. The Palimpsest was written on, using a metal stylus. After the message had been received the surface was scraped back in order for a new message to be written. As the suede wore, traces of the previous messages could be read, an interesting analogy, when thinking about how buildings over their lifetime have been written, rewritten in part or erased at times then rewritten again. These ghosts of past interventions can also be read within the buildings’ fabric and used once decoded as an essential part of any redesign or alteration proposal.
Often architects and designers see their responsibility towards old buildings in anthropomorphic terms - as performing surgery, breathing new life into and restoring the soul and heart of culturally significant buildings. These are dynamic and dogged acts which require the building to adopt a submissive role, to remain prone while work is visited upon it. Anthropomorphising the building in terms of ‘voice’ and ‘memory’ however, reverses this relationship, if only in the short-term. The act of listening enables the building to become an agent in its own reinvention and the designer has to work hard to hear what is said.
Metaphysical aspects of historical buildings are often over looked. An interesting response to the idea that buildings don’t resonate memory is reflected in the extreme example of murder. Violent crime has the power to completely reinvent a place; where society hears a voice so shrill that only demolition will cause it to stop. In the UK, the homes of two notorious child murders, Ian Huntley and Fred West, were not only demolished but the rubble was taken away in secrecy and pulverised to help erase the memory of the events which took place there.
The ability to clearly identify and assess the attributes which make a place valuable to us or to our society enables the designer to adapt or develop with greater freedom. .........FMH
Feedback after a truly inspiring trip to India for the ASPDA conference.
The conference and related events were conducted and facilitated in an impressively professional and friendly manner, the speakers were of a high standard covering the event's themes [and more] with examples of work, professional insight and research. Two speakers of particular note were Sameep Padora from Sameep Padora & Associates and Kiran Venkatesh from InFORM architects.
Both architects reflecting the exciting times in Asian Architecture and an inspiring attitude to the global aspects of managing our built environment. I encourage you to familiarise yourself with their work if you haven't already.
The iiid [institute of interior designers] were excellent hosts and the Goa chapter in particular worked tirelessly to ensure that the conference ran smoothly on the day and for months before hand.
special thanks to the iiid team and in particular Shrikant Nivasarkar & Nandini Shankar
Image of Sameep Padora & Associates project
The IIID APSDA Conference Theme Design for Changing Lifestyle
Key Note Speaker: Frazer Macdonald Hay
In today's dynamic culture of life and life style, it is important to develop new and elastic methods, metaphor and design practice.
At the foundation of all new elastic design methodology lies memory, once memory is defined then the process can bend and flex to accommodate change.
One such design approach involves the process of working with memory and the building's 'DNA' to help generate new design solutions. When the 'DNA' is understood, we can explore design in a scientific or medical manner. Genetic modification, bio mechanics, plastic surgery and psychology become possible design drivers especially for our old, sick and disabled buildings which struggle to accommodate a changing lifestyle.......FMH
Image by Agnes Stansfield
Big Stone Collective's founder and director, Frazer Macdonald Hay has been invited as a 'Key note' speaker at The Asian Pacific Space Designer's Associations [APSDA] International Summit in Goa, India [design for changing lifestyles]
International Summit of ASPDA 2012- Goa, India
Host: The Institute of Indian Interior Designers
Assembly Dates: 15th February
Conference Dates: 16th, 17th February
The Asia Pacific Space Designer’s Association (APSDA) was founded by the Chinese Society of Interior Designer (CSID), the Japanese Society of Commercial Designers (JCD) and Korean Society of Interior Designers (KOSID) in 1989 in Taipei, Taiwan. Since then its membership has grown to include:
· Chinese Society of Interior
· China Building Decoration Association (CBDA)
· Design Institute of Australia (DIA)
· Interior Design Confederation Singapore (IDC)
· Indian Institute of Interior Designers (IIID)
· Indonesian Society of Interior Designers (HDII)
· Interior Design Association- Hong Kong (HKIDA)
· Japan Interior Designers Association (JID)
· Japanese Society of Commercial Designers (JCD)
· Korean Society of Interior Designers (KOSID)
· Malaysia Society of Interior Designers (MSID)
· New Zealand Society of Interior Designers (NZSID)
· Philippine Institute of Interior Designers (PIID)
· Shenzhen Association of Interior Designers (SZAID)
· Thailand Interior designers Association (TIDA)
Big Stone Collective has a new site we wish to engage with, this site is another modernist building type but this time it's much smaller but has just as much if not more to say culturally. The small white toilet block on the border between East Lothian and the Boarders, is the first point of reference for travellers public, private, tourist and commercial coming to East Lothian. In our view, the site is an important part of East Lothian's perceived identity and an excellent opportunity to develop a tangible connection with the area's beguiling range of beautiful scenery, historic and cultural significant environment, a rich tapestry of spectacular castles, bridges, wildlife, walks, beaches, people, industry, tourist attractions, sporting venues etc. which are seamlessly woven together creating an impressive cultural identity which merits an information facility greater than that of a crudely painted board screwed to a toilet wall.
The site also has a remarkable parking and picnic facility unknown to us before visiting and discovering its location north of the existing structure. The parking is located on the North lay-by which is on a mound which elevates your line of sight and gives you a underwhelming but workable panoramic view across the fields and towards the sea. Sadly it's in disrepair and only raises you high enough to see a small slice of the coast line.
This site has huge potential to showcase the many facets East Lothian's make-up and to set the scene for the tourists visiting Edinburgh and beyond. There is nothing from [or even on] the countries boarder which proudly states and facilitates the visitors arrival in our spectacular country.
The Information on the wall of the toilet:
The picnic area [there are APPROX 8 benches and a vandalised information board only the supporting legs survive ]
A 'North Berwick Rowing Club feasibility Study' by Big Stone Collective
Divers such as David Crabb performed at North Berwick open-air pool. Crabb was a professional trick diver in the 1920s and worked in East Lothian for three summers. The ‘fire dive’ sometimes provided the climax to North Berwick galas. He would put on two pairs of overalls, the outer of which was doused in petrol and set alight, the lighting was turned off and Crabb would dive off the high board into the pool below. Crowds of over three thousand spectators were not unusual at these aquatic extravaganzas.
North Berwick pond from the 1940s onwards, saw dances at the Harbour Pavilion and the arrival of beauty pageants, bringing new generations to the pool. Spectators overflowed onto the Platcock Rocks sheltering the pool, for events such as the “Aquacabaret”. The crowds enjoyed champion and comedy divers and even trampolining by the “Trampomaniacs”.
AS IT IS NOW.....
The intention of the design proposal is not only to provide North Berwick's Coastal Rowing Club , with a premises for various sized boats, oars, equipment [storage and repair], club activities [ training and social], changing facilities, showers and kit storage. The new design will also serve to regenerate a key area of cultural significance within North Berwick, East Lothian and Scotland.
By redeveloping the remaining aspects of a modernist structure belonging to the "late" outdoor swimming-pool of North Berwick. An area with social, historic and personally invested cultural memory , The old building's architectural style is particular to the coastal environment and its era in Scotland's history. Visitors local and tourist, came to socialise, swim, compete, romance and to exercise in an out-door environment facilitated by an engaging modernist architectural statement of its time.
The hope is that this will encourage further investment and engagement in this historic area, helping to return this part of North Berwick back to an important aspect of East Lothian's culture and community - connecting; the sea, the public, the craft and sport of coastal rowing to a its past whilst engaging in the present and celebrating North Berwick's cultural significance.
The new design proposal should be easily read and distinct in its relationship with the existing structure allowing the viewer to easily distinguish new from old.
The design proposal will engage with the environment and the elemental conditions
Frazer Macdonald Hay
images by School Staff
Big Stone Collective were asked to visit a local primary school to explain and discuss, architecture, what does an architect do? and how does it work?.
what a fantastic opportunity to engage with youngsters in their primary level of education.
The Children are in temporary accommodation waiting for their new school to be built. The Head of School and the teaching staff thought it would be a good opportunity to engage them in design and architecture . The Staff asked Big Stone Collective to present a slide show and set a workshop task which would help the children to understand the fundamentals of architecture and design.
Travelling to the school on the morning of the visit I needed an ice breaker, a way to engage the children quickly. It dawned on me that we were all architects at that age. We were continuously building lego structures, camps with our household linen and furniture and dens in the back garden or the local park. We were dealing instinctively with structure whilst trying to stop the pillow walls from caving in or the bed-sheet roof from sagging, we were dealing with views in and out when hiding from our parents [or the opposite sex] in the structure we built. We were dealing with context and material even scale as we often built structures for our various toys. We became interior designers as we allocated living and play spaces to our visitors or whilst setting out our imaginary restaurant to serve our parents. We even dealt with time scale of structure, materials and the elements when we watched our sandcastles melt back into the sea or came back to our secret den the next weekend to find it still intact and usable, if not a little more muddy and smelly. So with this in mind I opened the day by asking who knew an architect? They were excited and happy to hear they were all sitting next to one......
The Day was a success and we all enjoyed exploring structure, materials and form, they loved seeing the iconic structures and architectural celebrities of the world from Gustave Eiffel and his tower to the proposals of Richard Buckminster Fuller. The workshop helped the children to understand building structures and was a surprising success with the student completely absorbed in the different types of structure - building from straws and glue [no sticky back plastic] - truss, arches, column and beam even cantilever in order to meet their brief .."design your own building".
We ended the session talking about School design and what they liked and didn't like about their old school and their temporary accommodation which seemed to be a fitting end. I left saying goodbye and happy I didn't need to tidy up...
It has long been my belief that our poor architectural awareness and expectations in Scotland have been the main reason for the poor buildings we suffer on a day to day basis, [housing or otherwise], When comparing the architectural intent with those across Europe and further afield my heart sinks Many people in the built environment complain pointing the fingue of blame towards the othe facets of the profession, only really seeing it from a short term perspective in my opinion - loving to share out the blame to the planners, the contractor, the developer, the architect or the bank manager, but it is my belief it's our general public's lack of engagement in architecture and design, especially at an early age [and throughout ] of our education which is the issue. Developers provide stale unimaginative cheep build scenarios because we buy into them, Architects and contracts will provide buildings that are of a certain standard if not challenged and tested and the next generation of professionals will still be basing their decisions and choices from a particular standpoint rather from a general foundation of appreciation and interested in the subject on a broader and more considered level ....and so on
I truly hope we engage our children in architecture and design better in the future or this negative spiral will continue to drag this great countries architectural expression and choice downwards.
...............The children were truly inspiring on so many levels and filled me with hope and energy, perhaps dear friends, colleagues, peers and professionals a local school near you might benefit from a visit, give them a call, drop by and transfer some knowledge.
The Interiorst, 弗雷泽·麦当劳·海是一名建筑处理改造、室内与建筑保护的专家。弗雷泽同时也是Big Stone Collective公司的所有者兼爱丁堡大学和艺术学院的客座讲师。
弗雷泽曾经参与国际性和国家性的标志性建筑项目像哈莱姆区纽约纽约州的Gerechtsgebow艺术演艺中心、新苏格兰议会厅和斯特灵Tollbooth艺术中心的工作。弗雷泽也在英国、比利时、荷兰和挪威运营着设计与建筑CPD & workshops。这名曾经的消防员和非洲远征领队，弗雷泽虽然投入专业设计领域比较晚，但已经成为领军人物，现在也是SBIB（英国室内设计协会）的主席、ECIA（欧洲室内建筑委员会）顾问和苏格兰议会建筑和建造环境委员会的成员。
无论你有任何零售、商业、休闲或公共环境上的建筑空间问题，让The interiorist 来帮助你处理。
“The Interiorist” 是专注建筑处理、重新设计改造和公共和商业空间的改进专家。
Forbidden Places & Cumbernauld's Lost Urban Art
As an Interiorist I am constantly discovering hidden and forgotten gems, ceilings behind suspend ceilings, fireplace and hearth behind walls. Our built environment is riddled with spaces and places of lost magic and ghostly reflections of a cultural past.
The Forbidden places website takes this modern day treasure seeking to a new and perhaps more prescribed level. However, the website is full of ruinous environments and provocative whispers of human intervention and past innovation, well worth a look.
It is the 'Cumbernauld Art web site' which engages on a more intimate level probably because I spent so many happy years there as a school boy, tearing round a concrete labyrinth of interconnected pseudo-villages of new and interesting form and material. The town was amazing to me in that no path ran alongside a road, the cars were below and we walked or ran above. The town became infamous for many things negative but truly its heart is pure and is reflected in the iconic film Gregory's Girl in which many of us young lads made an appearance. The town is still misunderstood and ill financed by government but has a magical utopian foundation that resonates and connects with the creative soul. Cumbernauld is a missed opportunity laying culturally dormant but not extinct, waiting for a spark of considered interest to ignite a cultural revival and an urban integrity which was once shown ..
Thank you 賴 怡如 [Anny] for this
provocative and captivating image from Taiwan.
The Pain of Competition
Image: The Late Enric Miralles's sketch of the concept for The New Scottish Parliament competition which he won of-course
The nature of competition is integral to an architectural and Interior profession. Architects and designers compete for employment and pay, practice's compete for work and status. Therefore it is important to introduce students and professional to the rigors of competition as soon as possible.
The secret is to find the appropriate project or competition, research-based briefs or practical one focused on image and eye candy. It is so difficult to find a project that can engage emerging young designers and challenge accepted thinking through innovative design practice. Many of the competitions out there are a shameless process of product placement and entrapment, where as others are bias 'carve up' scenarios of favouritism and skulduggery.
That said there is nothing better than a design competition to hone those presentation techniques, especially since many are prepared outside office hours or between projects where time is precious. Therefore, the finest and quickest ways to communicate ideas are always key and developing those skills are a painful but rewarding process.
Bringing a project’s presentation together in a structured and clear manner using the latest 3dimentional digital modelling software can create a realistic visual representation of the proposed solution but often it's the sketches and comments that capture the imagination of the panel best.
When combing orthogonal drawings, sketches, physical models and precedent studies the overall presentation becomes complete and beautifully clear but only when you understand and practice of structuring your package of information clearly - The Narrative is king.
The Concept sketch consolidates and communicates the designers intentions, aspirations and exploration in regards the Brief, Site and many other facets of creative thought such as form, function and of course, design / architectural methodology
An ability to communicate a concept quickly and clearly comes from a confidence which has built up over years of practice and success or from a belief in your design resolution and a clear and uncomplicated ability to get your message and feeling across.
One key aspect to competition entry is how we communicate the manipulation of light giving the project a feeling of drama, depth and seduction. Lighting plays an integral role in creating successful architecture and interior environments, capable of separating areas, suggesting circulation, manipulating mood and creating atmosphere within a space.
Natural light has got to be one of the most important elements of an architectural environment and requires a serious levels of engagement from the earliest stages of the project’s design process
In many cases the success of an interior relies on the clever and sensitive use of light both artificial and natural.
Here is a link to some good competitions currently active, Good Luck....FMH
image by S. Chalmers
............LET US HAVE MORE LIKE THIS!.................
An Angel of A Building..
This speculative office space redefines the sector. The building is extremely well made and resolved, offering an idea of how building and working in the city might become a more dignified act.
The new building retains the original structure while infilling much of the old courtyard and adding new office and retail girth around its perimeter, thereby both unlocking the development and making it more intimate with the surrounding streets. The entry sequence, with publicly accessible cafe and lounge, sets new standards for civilised explorations of the atrium form and for the animation of a commercial ground floor.
A magnificent polished black gestural sculptural piece by McChesney Architects, 'Out of the strong came sweetness', adds drama and counterpoint to the Kahnian gravitas. ...RIBA
The building industry in the UK is currently responsible for 70 million tonnes of construction and demolition waste every year and most of it is sent to landfill
Embodied energy is fast becoming one of the most important energy considerations in the built environment and increasingly an important factor in architectural conservation. In particular its buildings re-use methodology; assessing the embodied energy of an existing or historic building, reveals the cost of demolition and the viability in re-using the buildings.
In today’s energy sensitive economy, custodians of the aging and historic built environment are wrestling with the costs and practicalities of re-use and sustainability verses a new build scenario. Understanding the relationship between embodied energy and conservation methods such as alteration or re-use at the very start of a project can save money, a factor integral to any and all, government or private developer alike.
One of the largest architectural web sites in the world, e-architects asked the director of Big Stone Collective, Frazer Macdonald Hay, to be a guest editor this week. Frazer wrote about a selection of current projects.
After a few months of tutoring, I feel it's time to write a wee Friday article on Museums and their design, especially when dealing with historic context, content and hosted by a building with significant cultural significance.
The brief is to re-design a museum, a educational and tourist facility which has become tired and cluttered with no real sense of itself or place. The building is in a historic part of a city and has hundreds of years of use and re-use. The building has hosted retail, residential, cultural and civic programme. The building itself is arguably the main artefact and when allowed to, can communicate and engage on many different levels of educational, cultural and architectural information.
The Interior is crammed with all manner of bits and pieces with no real obvious narrative which connects them, viewing them is difficult, especially as most are observed through the obligatory, highly reflective glass in poorly, located, lit and constructed exhibition cases. The building groans with misuse and neglect, the space confuses and disorientates the user. The key exhibition spaces have a strange variety of content from seating and exhibition cases to boxes of museum admin, back of house storage, even a stuffed dog which appears to have escaped the storage demons or is part of the museums rogue 'lost and found' collection.
The positive aspects, however, for those that can find the badly sign-posted museum is that the space has a unique acoustic quality, rather like, that of an wooden deck, from a medieval or pirate ship, laden with treasure. A deck and hull which creaks with the history and memories of it past occupation and historical journeys. The other fantastic aspects to the building, are the natural light and architectural qualities, they are fantastically beguiling and tell their own stories of the space, place and the elements.
With that said you can imagine the project's complexity and charm.
The key thing to develop in my opinion, from the student's perspective, is the designers position, all designers need to take a particular and considered position regarding the task at hand...and the students have begun to engage with this process of developing a designers position, by engaging in:
What is a Museum, physically, culturally and metaphorically?
What's its purpose?
What is the Narrative of the building, its space and the artefacts it hosts?
Where is it located?
Who Uses it?
How do the public interact?
Are there interesting precedents to explore? [ It is important to stress a precedent study, is not the analysis of the finished product but that of the process and methodology too]
There really are a whole host of questions to explore and test, which will begin to develop the designers position. Once you become confident and articulate in communicating your position through the design process, the results are far more rewarding and richly received.
In my opinion, two fabulous, and relatively new museum projects require mention. The first is the 'The Natural Sciences Museum of Barcelona' The Museu Blau (Blue Museum) by architects Herzog & de Meuron in the year 2004..
The museum's circulation, exhibition and lighting is truly astounding and you can't help but inspire and invigorated by the content and how it has been presented...take a look [here]
The Second is the Neues Museum in Berlin, restored by David Chipperfield Architects and Julian Harrap Architects, the £49 million renovation is one of the most prestigious re-use projects in Europe.
In ways the Carl Scarpa would have enjoyed, I am sure - Chipperfield has rebuilt the missing north-west wing and a bay to the south east. The courtyard spaces and staircases have been restored in a way that preserves a sense of the building’s decay and the new and old can be read, The architecture reminds me of fictional characters in some fantastical novel with sophisticated and sensitive layering and challenging plot lines, with narrative and suggestion, weaving weft and warp, throughout the fabric of the writers memories and imagination.....take a look [here]
Lastly There is a fresh and a very clever approach to the historic context that I feel is appropriate to make reference to, simplify because it's beautiful. The project is in Spain and was delivered by Josep Mias Gifre & Mias Archiectes ... take a look [here]
There is a country which we are, in an architectural sense, fascinated by , and that country is Russia. The country is so large and relatively undiscovered [from the architectural and interiorist sense] that the potential and possibilities truly stager the mind and imagination. It is only recently we have become more familiar with the culture and its reservoir of creative expression.
Russia has so much to tell and we at 'Big Stone Collective' have been collecting information on its architecture, geography and culture with the hope to finance some sort of research field trip in the future.
Ironically it was an image of an America airport entrance that started us on our quest for more information as we were convinced it was a Russian architect that designed it - We were wrong - we had been bitten by the soviet design bug though.
Le Corbusier (Charles-Édouard Jeanneret), Pierre Jeanneret, and Nikolai Kolli,Centrosoyuz Building, detail, 1929-36, Moscow, Russia, © Richard Pare, 2007
Looking through the e-architect website, a website packed with architecture, design and creative discourse, it dawns on us that there are very few websites like this one, a website so crammed with information that you are constantly discovering new things and finding interesting international projects - so we thought we would tell you about the Friday journey it took us on..
Discovering new and inspiring practice is a delightful thing and critical for our practice and our ability to keep current and to keep challenging design methodology and idea generation, e-chitect is one of a few sites that alows us to do this and as a group of ' interiorists' We often chance upon unusual and current design and architecture which sets us on a journey of discovery, you never quite know where the next visit might take you.
We were researching articles on Temporary Spatial Installations which led us to discover an excellent Installation piece in France by Ball Nogues Studio which the e-architect site had covered [here]. From there our journey continued through the news articles and connecting subjects, we found ourselves discovering a practice called Bestor Architecture and their fabulous interior projects and instillations finally ending up at the Graham Foundation............Founded in 1956, the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts makes project-based grants to individuals and organizations and produces public programs to foster the development and exchange of diverse and challenging ideas about architecture and its role in the arts, culture, and society...............
If you get the time explore the e-architect site its surprising the journey you'll take...FMH
This is Black Rock City The Ephemeral Architecture of Burning Man
.........It showcases the different shelters that the Black Rock citizens have to come up with in order to survive in style (or not) the scorching sun and most of all, the almighty fierce winds.
Every year new designs come up, old ones are refined, same mistakes are made and next year, promise, it will not fly away................here
Temporarily space design a-plenty in this blog, a real festival of nomadic contemporary lifestyles and ingenuity woven through the modern day need to escape.
We at 'big stone' would love to book a plot next year and as the weary, burning-man revellers left and discarded their fabric and poles we would re-use, stitch together and wait for the next festival resplendent in our almost new fabric palace of past emotion and memory.
Image: Lalibela, Church Ethiopia
After an interesting conversation with two architects this morning the term 'Human Spolia' developed and since then I have been mulling it over in my mind.......
The Human aspect to the term;
The process of receiving organs from others to enhance our own health and life expectancy is a interesting aspect of modern medicine. If we have blood circulation issues we can add a stint or if we are lucky we might even receive a new heart . If we are ill and need a new liver and / or kidney and in some cases recently, a completely new face. We can attempt to re-use these organs from a donor providing they match our genetic make-up so that our body wont reject them.
So what's Spolia;
Spolia is a fascinating term which refers to the re-use of building parts or architectural artefacts normally associated with the appropriation of Roman, Greek and Medieval remains and using them to add to new structures for practical reasons, aesthetic or even as symbols or power, success, social or cultural hierarchy. Spolia comes from the Latin word for spoils, often relating to the compensatory and symbolic reward or process linked to post-combat triumph.
The combination of the two words;
What a fantastically provocative term, 'Human Spolia'.....The idea of adding other human parts to a body isn't new of course, most of us have thought about being a donor at some point or another. Sadly few of us make the move to sign-up as donors though, why is that?. ...
The combination of the two words is intriguing when you consider our greatest battle or conflict is with nature and our struggle to survive in the most fundamental of ways. Shelter, food and protection, we have become extremely successful and our culture and society reflects that to a certain extent.
That is until you allow yourself wonder, 'what is our bench mark' with regards our success, have nothing to weigh it against [or have we?] there is no other race of humans, so we can't measure ourselves against that. With that in mind, we could be completely underperforming in our complacent amble through life, full of idiosyncratic posturing and Narcissism . Is Human Spolia the next stage then, are we to gather the spoils of our success from those less fortunate...it's a morbid thought, I know...? Make no mistake, I am 100% in favour of organ donor-ship and wholeheartedly support it, it's the potential questions, implications and mysteries that the mixing of the two words evokes which intrigued me.
In fact, taking it to the next stage of the ramble, Contemporary Spolia from an Interior architectural point of view is an incredibly interesting methodology or proposal where buildings with sickness are concerned. Organ-like issues can receive medical treatment in the form of architectural elements re-used from buildings on a donor register. Like humans the building will have to be compatible and the DNA completely understood before augmentation. An architectural Stint would be used to increase circulation flow or an extra lung to help a building breath which could be taken from a healthy donor or a donor which isn't diseased but due to no fault of its own, derelict or due for demolition. Imagine parts or the entire body of a church surgically implanted within a corporate host body of an office building type....Or the face of one building grafted to another ...might we clone successful buildings for their parts?....ramble over ...FMH
The World Interiors Event 2013...here
It feels strange promoting an event two years away, I can't wait though, in fact in two years from now, it will be drawing to an end and we will be in a anticlimactic place of reflection, optimism and desperation.
Reflective on the mouth-watering events and exhibits programmed, desperately looking for the next event in the calendar to follow-on from such a potential wealth and variety of rich and simulative design content. Finally the depression because after all the excitement, dreaming and throwing your hands in the air with creative inspiration and gay abandon, reality slowly filters back as the clients emails your blackberry with budget issues and the contractors have left 15 messages on your phone telling you that your drawing are wrong and they have fallen out with the sub-contractors......
Where is our design nirvana? university could be the closest .........probably?
............2013 will be the Year of Interiors in Amsterdam; an attractive and varied event program will highlight the historic, cultural, artistic and economic importance of interior architecture and design. Theme of the inamsterdam World Interiors Event 2013 will be the ‘Past, Present and Future of Interiors’. Existing and new initiatives in the field of interiors will be brought under one umbrella, aimed at professionals as well as the public at large. From March to October an array of exhibitions, fairs, events, projects, lectures, seminars, presentations and much more around the theme of interiors will take place. Where possible the program will connect to existing events. Other Dutch cities will be involved in the World Interiors Event 2013...........
3. AldoVan Eyck
What a Space 'Kraftwerk Berlin-Mitte' has been used in a variety of ways from an exhibition space to a rave venue ...here
Berlin played host to REALSTADT.Wünsche als Wirklichkeit [Realstadt.Wishes Knocking on Reality's Doors]. The focal point in this exhibition was not only the concept of the City but also the way we dealt with the City.
It is the wishes of very many different actors playing an active part in shaping the City that are central to the exhibition: mundane wishes and spectacular ones, idealistic and economic ones, local and global ones. Cities, after all, are built from wishes, animated by wishes and pulsing with wishes.
A vast array of around 300 architectural and planning models and 80 exemplary projects from all over Germany testify to the wish for change and the energy needed to make it happen. In response to a nationwide call, these models were submitted by local authorities, town planning offices, universities, planning initiatives and individuals. The prize-winning projects of the competition “National Prize for Integrated Urban Development and Baukultur”, which was organised in 2009 by the Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development represented important points of reference. They include blueprints for extensive urban redevelopments and pinpoint interventions, realized concepts and shelved competition entries, participatory processes and bold individual statements.
Realstadt.Wünsche als Wirklichkeit is staged in the 8,000 m2 turbine hall of the power station Kraftwerk Berlin-Mitte, which was built in 1961. For REALSTADT it is making its debut as an exhibition venue. Its stark austerity lends overwhelming resonance to the exhibition’s urban impulses.
This architect and his practice has an exciting formula for concrete and light that not only challenges the exterior and the building's context but also leads us to explore the merits within the interior. A brutal and uncompressing style but delightful in its sophistication and apparent simplicity. Take a look at some of his work... here
video interview ....here
Image Interior to Swiss visitor centre
Valerio Olgiati studied architecture at ETH Zuerich. Having lived and
worked first in Zuerich and later in Los Angeles for some years, in 1996 he
opened his own practice in Zurich and in 2008 with his wife Tamara Olgiati in
Among his major buildings are the schoolhouse in Paspels, the Yellow House in Flims, a house for a musician in Scharans and the museum for the Swiss National Park in Zernez. Among his major projects are a housing development in Zug, a winery for Carnasciale, Italy and a music auditorium for the manor Hohenbeilstein in Germany.
Image Below; The Yellow House
Wassily Kandinsky paintings
Abelardo Morell - photographic art - the photos of lanscapes in rooms
Speed of Light
control how the paint would move.............
On the way to work, reflecting on the Annual UK RIBA Stirling Awards for Architecture, I slowly refocused my train of thought onto the radio programme in the background. When I had originally turned it down, Radio Scotland was asking a question about Fat Tax but now they were talking about buildings and their impact on everyday life.
I turned up the radio and was astounded at the line of questioning .."Do Well Designed Buildings make a difference to everyday life or are they just arty-farty and don't really mean much" Kaye Adams, BBC Scotland [brings a human touch to the stories making the news] . http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b015d1sf#synopsis
People were phoning in their opinions about their new and improved spaces and context. One caller " The Head of a School in the central belt said when asked, what her teachers and pupils thought about the new place, she answered " surprisingly they did like it and commented on the fact it was a little like an airport but really liked the wide corridors and stairs. The pupils felt safer, could meet one-and-other and work more effectively" [or words to that effect]. Then a retired Architect came on to discuss the merits of buildings and how good building design effects us. ...................................
Why am I writing about this?
Well, ...It is just me but surely its depressing that we are still in a primitive stage in our culture where we are feeling the need to discuss publicly the merits of good building design as if the alternative is just as valid. Why is the teacher surprised that the students liked this building and why was she surprised that they responded to its aesthetic? "Atry Farty" what, are we still in the 50s? please !......I switched off sighed and wound down the window in the attempt to blow away the scepticism I was feeling about our current state of architectural and design discourse.
Sadly the Car Window trick didn't work and I was still scowling when sitting in the office waiting for the PC to boot up.
The First Email I opened was about the RIBA Awards and the success of Zaha Hadid with her new School Design ...how's that for Irony.
The 2011 Awards are an interesting event especially with the above subject in mind. The RIBA spoke beautifully about the wards stimulating new architectural practice and reflecting where we are now as conscientious designers, designers who think more about the user [the public] than say creating a signature building of image and status. http://www.architecture.com/Awards/RIBAStirlingPrize/RIBAStirlingPrize2011/RIBAStirlingPrize2011.aspx
Odd then that Zaha Hadid was awarded the prize, a building full of image, status and signature. I do think it is an amazing building - but is it the new architectural message the RIBA were selling us the other night on the TV?
All the building were amazing and some were fantastic in there Re-use and the architect's manipulation of the old or existing structure. one judge likened the designers to watchmakers, with really creative ingenuity, another remarking that the building design of one building saved the environment 18 years of co2 emissions when weighed against the new build option. So surly they were better placed to deliver the new RIBA message of architecture love and concideration for the public and their everyday quality of life?
Even more odd, is that when you read the public [the user group] voted on the RIBA Website, Zaha Hadid receives only 2.8% of the Vote. What does that tell us? http://www.architecture.com/Awards/RIBAStirlingPrize/RIBAStirlingPrize2011/RIBAStirlingPrize2011-publicvote.aspx
The Lyon Opera House in France designed by Pritzker Prize-Winning Architect Jean Nouvel, he created a dramatic contemporary theatre from an ageing host building with cultural significance when he re-modelled the Opera House in Lyon, France. The grand first floor façades of the Opera House in Lyon were the base for a dramatic new drum roof which set the scene for one of the most seductive pieces of building re-use, Interior architecture and Interior design to date. Although relatively old the intervention still stands as a beautiful example of architectural intervention.
Jean Nouvel and his practice have long been a favourite source of architectural and design expression since being a student, I have followed French practice and their international projects for years.
The Lyon Opera house can be easily read as old architecture and new intervention which is essential in the re-use of buildings. The original building is allowed to retain its old characteristics and invested memories whilst starting up a whole new architectural dialogue with the new modern structure and their context.
Why discus this now?
Well when a student of mine asked me, what is the future of Interior Architecture and building re-use I stopped and thought, yes there will always be some sort of host building to tackle, changing its use and orientation but what do you do with something like the Lyon Opera House. The building is beautifully layered old and new but when it comes to add the next layer of modern day use what then - I will have to just as creative in what we remove as well as what we add.
We should already be challenging ourselves in redesigning or re-using these types of modern buildings - hybrid building use is the future perhaps but how to facilitate that?
It is not until you are inside it or up close to it, that you feel the magic of light, shadow and mass.
At dawn the building sweats with solar anticipation, at dusk the concrete remains warm for a while and glows with artificial light at night giving an otherworldly connection.
The function is that of a mausoleum and to me it is definitely a celebration of life and energy, a fitting final space from which to depart from.
Please send in others like this...........FMH
Janine Stone is pleased to announce the launch of the 2012 Young Interior Designer Award. The competition has quickly established its credentials and is well regarded by the country’s leading universities. They recognise that it presents an exciting opportunity for students to compete against each other for the grand prize of £10,000 cash and a six-month, fully paid internship with one of the world’s leading interior and architectural design practices.
“The Young Interior Designer Award created by Janine Stone presents an amazing opportunity for talented Interior Design undergraduate students to launch a successful career in Interior Design. The competition is a chance to demonstrate the breadth of skill and creativity of our students and a chance for them to stand out in this competitive industry".
More than 50 UK universities have been invited to enter their students in a bid to get their work seen by a national audience of media and potential employers. Students will have four months to respond to the creative brief before the closing date for the competition on the 31st January 2011, culminating in a gala judging event at a chic London venue in April 2012.
The competition has been established to help young interior designers to connect with the industry by providing a national platform to showcase their work. It is hoped that it will also help to further drive respect for the industry by showing the commitment and excellence of the graduates that take part in the competition.
The Brief for the competition:
For the purpose of this award we are asking students to design a 450 sq metre lateral apartment in a major city of the world. The apartment can have balconies and terraces up to a maximum of 100 sq metres. The height of the ceilings can be up to maximum of 4 metres. There are no restrictions on the number of rooms or spaces within the apartment, provided it meets your client’s brief and design aspirations. The design of the apartment needs to reflect the culture of the city of your choice and the requirements of your client. Your client can be a single person, a couple, or a family unit, with or without personal staff. The client can be a well known personality or someone fictitious.
FULL DETAILS OF THE BRIEF TOGETHER WITH THE CONDITIONS OF ENTRY ARE CONTAINED IN THE ACCOMPANYING AWARD DOCUMENT WITH THIS COMMUNICATION AND ALSO AT:
CULTURE, HERITAGE, PHILANTHROPY & CIVIL SOCIETY
The Marqués de Santa Cruz (Spain) and Dr Rupert Graf Strachwitz will speak and then Paul Docherty (British Council UK 2012) and Donald MacDonald will join them as panellists for the subsequent Q&A
Date: Thursday 20th October
Venue: RCPE - 9 Queen Street - 5.15pm cash bar for 6pm event
Tickets: Free of charge but registration essential - via email@example.com and guests are most welcome to attend but in respect of each delegate please supply:
Florian Urban studies the history of mass housing in seven narratives: Chicago, Paris, Berlin, Brasilia, Mumbai, Moscow, and Shanghai. Investigating the complex interactions between city planning and social history, Tower and Slab shows how the modernist vision to house the masses in serial blocks succeeded in certain contexts and failed in others. Success and failure, in this respect, refers not only to the original goals – to solve the housing crisis and provide modern standards for the entire society – but equally to changing significance of the housing blocks within the respective societies and their perception by architects, politicians, and inhabitants.
Intervention for L’Opéra in Paris
The restaurant which opened on June 27th , at the Opéra Garnier was billed as a contemporary architectural or design statement, a powerful interior design which contrasts the cultrly significant building and creates an new energy to be experienced. The designer Odile Decq is already understandably drawing notice from restaurant designers and architects.
......The contemporary addition compliments the classical details of the vaulted stone ceiling without altering history. Narrow columns extend upwards towards the molded plaster hull, which curves to form the edges of the handrail. This vessel, which has been slipped under the cupola, is almost like a cloud formation hovering between the existing elements of the room without touching them suggesting the changing form of the phantom, whose white veil glides furtively within the space. The large floor plate is suspended with concealed steel plates and a glass wall encompasses the interior isolating the space from the existing shell. The wafting white structure touches down to the lower level producing integrated organic supports. The striking red Poltrona Frau chairs, bench and floors produce a theatrical character reminiscent of the phantom of the opera which was once performed within the auditorium. .......
I worry though, as striking and as luxurious as it seems I can't help feeling that it has already begun to date and that the design may be more of a 'one trick pony' rather than a 'magnificent stallion of design integrity'.
I do love the contrast expressed through the form, material and colour though. I certainly will visit and have a meal basking in the pure decadence of the space - enjoying the guilty visual pleasures on offer. I will, I know however, leave feeling a little grubby and culpable in my enjoyment and participation of such flashy design masturbation and will leave vowing never to return but knowing deep down I'll be back soon.
Sorry Carlo Scarper and Peter Zumthor ...etc., I have been seduced by the Parisian design candy....
Feria Habitat Valencia 20-24th Sept 2011
Whilst attending the ECIA [European Council for Interior Architecture] Annual GA meeting in Valencia, I was lucky enough to visit the Design Show which was being held in the same building.
What a building it is!
The industrial setting of concrete and steel gave a brutal contrast to the designs on show. The building is dramatic in scale and character, full of spatial integrity and wonder.
The Show itself was remarkable, interesting and delightful in its temporality and theatrical expression, begging for attention in the hope to procure an element of corporate intercourse.
This event was one of the biggest and most well rounded interior design shows I have been to, including furniture, decor, textiles, lighting, appliances, transport interiors, and far more.
The statistics were: almost 1,000 exhibitors and 60,000 visitors
Feria Hábitat Valencia is the only international Spanish trade fair that gathers together the entire product offer for interiors: furniture, decor, home textiles, lighting, contract, fixtures, fittings and furniture for commercial facilities and, courtesy of the R, D + i seminars, leading edge cooking.
Feria Hábitat Valencia seeks to give a boost to the sectors involved, create trends and generate innovation. Its achievements to date are proof of this ambition: it now boasts 800 exhibitors, 60,000 visitors from more than 100 countries and 125,000 square metres of space given over to exhibits.
At Feria Hábitat Valencia we have always believed in and been committed to quality and design as features that create a point of difference. These values are at the core of the 'Made in Spain' way of perceiving interiors and have helped make ours an important exhibition for the world’s leading markets...........
If you ever get the opportunity [or rather, I suggest for you to create the opportunity] to see next year's fair and enjoy the space and exhibits whilst exploring the fantastical expression of Valencia's city culture both architecturally and socially.....FMH
A Book Recommendation ......by frazer Macdonald Hay
'Drawing out the Interior' by Ro Spankie from AVA's Series 'Basics Interior Design & Interior Architecture is easily the best academic book of its kind, I haven't enjoyed or been inspired this must, since reading Ed Hollis's book titled 'The Secret Lives of Buildings'.
Ro Spankie's book is beautifully structured and written with the right balance between text and image to engage the reader visually and intellectually. The book will, in my view, be a big hit with students but strangely, I also feel, it should be an even bigger hit in the realm of professional practice. I have lost count of the amount of colleagues which have voiced an insecurity and /or a frustration about drawing without CAD. It's this type of book which will inspire and rekindle a lost love for some and for others, it will inspire and energies their learning and practice.
I am very relieved to see Ro Spankie has written and researched this book with rigor and depth. I am so tired of seeing publications of so called authors, who just catalogue their past students work. Although this is at times interesting, it's one dimensional and shallow, with little impact value to student's education in my opinion. Ro Spankie on the other hand has written a document with authenticity and integrity, which works on many levels.
The AVA series in general is well worth a look, I feel their range of Design Topics and their authors are excellent, I was fortunate enough, to read yet another book from the same range earlier this year, by Graeme Brooker and Sally Stone, the book is titled 'Context and Environment' and I immediately recommended it to my students............FMH
Dear Undergraduate students & Post Graduate student,
The summer frolics [I know for most, it was a summer of hard work, saving living at home in order to return and survive another academic year] . Ok so, the summer is almost over and I hope you're returning with the energy and ambition to start a new year. Before you start however, I thought I would perhaps offer some helpful information with regards you, the learner. It is important to realise your strengths and weaknesses, to understand yourselves as learners and to understand that not everyone learns in the same way, speed or structure.
Take some time to read and reflect upon yourself and you characteristics from an academic perspective. If you felt frustrated or disillusioned last year or perhaps feel underappreciated then perhaps it's because your learning style or learning approach hasn't been met yet. Take time to understand yourself a little better. If you feel it's appropriate discuss it with your tutor or tailor you activities with added confidence, in the knowledge that you are in control of you own specific learning approach. First though, understand what kind of learner you are.
Activists appreciate novelty, will 'try anything once'. When given a task, you will throw yourself wholeheartedly into the work. You will like to get on with things but are not so interested planning what needs to be done or what you are about to do. You will most likely be living life very much in the present. The activist gets fed up with repetition and processes which appear to be going over old ground. Activists are stimulating, vital. open-minded and gregarious.
Reflectors like to 'look before you leap' you will like to collect information and sift through it. You are cautious, thorough learners. You will prefer to observe rather than take the lead. You might be slow to make up your mind but when you do, your decisions are very soundly based - not only bases on your own knowledge and opinions but also structured on what you have learnt from observing and listening to others. You might feel or appear quiet in groups, however this is more related to your 'Olympian detachment' rather than from any insecurities.
Theorists occupy the world of ideas, you might have tidy, organised minds. You're not content until you got to the bottom of things and explained your observations in terms of fundamental principles. You need to know the logic behind actions and observations. You may dislike subjective, ambiguity and others which take actions which are not underpin by a logical or theoretical structure. If a tutor uses data to support their opinion, it is most likely, you, theorist learner, who will ask about the validity of the data.
Pragmatists, like the theorist learner is equally interested in ideas, but you want to try them out to see if they work. You are often less interested in actually developing the idea itself but will happily beg borrow or steal those you think will facilitate your actions more effectively. You will certainly enjoy experimentation but won't be to interested in drawn out analysis of the results which would appeal to the 'reflector type' learners. You most likely take the opinion that if it works then it works, if it doesn't work, then there seems no point in wasting precious time wondering why. You will probably spend the time looking for an alternative solution with more promising aspects and give that a go. You love solving Problems !!
Ok so just in case you feel that was easy and have already classified yourself one way or another - you may also be surprised to learn that your approach to learning can be measured too, and badge'd as an approach or process of a Serialist or Holist:
The Serialist's approach to learning in a systematic and linear one, breaking down the task into bite size 'sub-tasks' combining them later to achieve the task's main objective. You might work in a general pattern such as:
You might work systematically, one step at a time
Focus on particular aspects of the brief
Look at details and data evidence
You may filter images and data, as too many will frustrate and confuse your process
You may need to take ownership of your project rather than just accepting the explanation offered by others
You probably enjoy a tightly scheduled and rigorous teaching style
The Holist's approach is in complete contrast to the above approach as you will work best tackling a task in its entirety, right from the very start of the brief. You might work in a general pattern of:
You may work impulsively according to mood, interest and inspiration
You may look at the whole picture first
Your focus will be on broader issues of context and programme
You will really enjoy images, precedents, theories and comments, 'more the merrier'
You will then probably enjoy giving the evidence your own interpretations
In terms of teaching you will perhaps enjoy a more freer tutoring style
**Just remember you will need to embrace both approaches to successfully approach a design brief and deliver an appropriate and rich solution. Problem solving calls for a combination of both approaches so know your strengths and work on your weaknesses **
Finally there are three fundamental approaches to learning which are known as DEEP, SURFACE & STATEGIC, you most likely already have invested in some or all approaches from school or higher education. The approach criteria is something like this:
The Deep approach is all about you taking ownership of the task [Learning as Understanding] making your own sense of your learning and its outcomes. The other key aspect to deep learning is that you reflect on your learning and appreciate the personal changes its made and the academic journey taken [Learning as personal development]
The Surface approach is all about learn as a typical process or your traditional perception of education. Surface is often referred to as passive [sit back and absorb] a method of filling the learner as if like an empty vessel [Learning as getting more knowledge]. Another surface type learning approach is memorising the subject content, it's a little more active and requires subject matter to be retained and understood.[Learning as memorising] Finally there is the aspect of learning which require an understanding of not just the facts given by the tutors but the methods and theories too[Learning as acquiring facts, procedures and skills]
The Strategic approach is all about achievement and is driven by higher grades based of feedback and criteria and weighting of material to be learnt. You approach learning intending to gain the highest possible grades, You will be focused of time and effort and making the most of these to their maximum effect. If you feel that this is the approach you most suit the chances are you are a mature student. You will already have a efficient, well-organised and manageable study method or two.
I hope the information in the text above is useful and goes a little way to making your academic years more enjoyable and productive. Good luck in the coming years and remember you will be taking your learning skills with you after higher education, it is probably good practice to work on those weaker aspects within your learning portfolio as you will require rounded, balanced and robust learning skills and methods in professional practice too....FMH
its culturally significant
Image by FMH
In its simplest condition, concrete is a magical but complicated substance that when set hard has the compressive strength and durability of stone but when initially mixed, has a low viscous consistency which allows the substance to be plastic in nature, malleable and easily cast in a multiplicity of conditions. Although the concrete fabrication process is fairly sophisticated nowadays, concrete has a relatively basic mixture [fig1] of paste and different size aggregates [coarse and fine stone]. The paste is composed of cement [formally lime] and water which coats the surface of the fine and coarse aggregates. The mix, through a chemical reaction called hydration, hardens and gains strength to form the rock-like substance known as concrete. It is within this hydration process that the key to concrete’s remarkable dual characteristics lie. These unique properties have intrigued and seduced the construction industry for over eighteen centuries and explain why concrete, can be used to build furniture, skyscrapers, bridges, sidewalks, houses, dams and even lighthouses.
Although the word concrete derives from the Latin word “concretes” meaning hard, concrete is often referred to as, “reconstructed stone” or “reconstituted stone” which acknowledges the fact that concrete is an artificial fabricated stone like substance, with characteristics resembling those of natural stone. For example, most sedimentary stone such as limestone and sandstone comprise of small sized stone aggregates or sand grains that have been bound or cemented together naturally over time. Concrete too, is comprised of smaller stones and sand held together by a binding cement which sets to produce a solid material.
Image by FMH
Concrete is one of the most widely used construction materials in the world fuelling a $35 billion industry and employing over two million industry related workers in the United States alone. There are many types of concrete in circulation today ranging from the widely used concrete masonry used mainly in wall, floor and foundation construction to tilt-up concrete, where walls are cast in the horizontal position and then tilted to the vertical. However it is the ready-mix concrete that accounts for nearly three-fourths of all concrete used. Ready-mixed refers to concrete that is batched for delivery instead of being mixed on site. Each batch of ready-mixed concrete is delivered to the contractor in its plastic condition, usually by road.
One of the most common uses of ready mix is in the fabrication of reinforced concrete. Reinforced concrete was developed to address concrete’s low tensile strength and revolutionised the construction industry when realised. The unique potential of reinforced concrete derives from the complementary virtues of its two constituents: steel in tension and concrete in compression. Steel is set into the concrete. They bind together creating a material high in both tensile and compressive strength.
Concrete is an extremely versatile substance and can be cast on site [insitu] or pre-cast off site in a more controlled fabrication environment. The process of pouring concrete is governed by a set of key actions. The main actions are compacting and curing the concrete. When initially pouring the concrete into formwork it is important to compact the freshly poured concrete. This will expel unwanted air bubbles and ensure that the mixture fills the formwork to achieve the required profile and ensure the correct coverage depth when working with steel reinforcement. Consolidation [external or internal artificial vibration] will compact fresh concrete to help mould it to the forms and around embedded items such as reinforcement bars. This will help eliminate stone pockets, honeycomb, and entrapped air too. When concrete is vibrated it behaves more like a liquid and slowly settles into the forms under the action of gravity. In this condition the larger entrapped air pockets rise more easily to the surface. As soon as vibration stops the concrete continues to set naturally. Correct compaction techniques are essential if the concrete is to meet its intended strength and durability. For each one percent of entrapped air, concrete can reduce strength by six percent and its ability to protect the reinforcement and resist frost action will be severally compromised over time.
The amazing historical Context of concrete........
The history of concrete can be mapped back to the
Romans however the Egyptians and Greeks were using mortar well before then. The
Romans industrialised concrete mainly due to the discovery that when volcanic
ash was mixed with water it
allowed concrete to harden under water. The main source of the Roman’s ash was
Concrete’s modern development
spans no more than 185 years. In 1824 a patent for the manufacture of the first
Portland cement was awarded to Englishman Joseph Aspdin which proved to be one
of the most important milestones in concrete's modern history. Modern ‘
The next important
evolutionary step on concrete’s timeline came in 1854 when William Boutland
Wilkinson patented his idea of reinforcing concrete through the addition of
iron hoop and iron section. Although it wasn’t until the development and
resulting patent of French entrepreneur Francois Hennebique in 1892, that
architecture fully embraced the potential of reinforced concrete. The
Hennebique system made use of round mild steel bars for the main steel-work
needed to enhance concrete’s naturally weak tensile resistance whilst
complimenting its compressive strength. The ends of the bars were split and
spread to form Y-shaped “fishtails” to improve mechanical
anchoring. The Shear, an effect condition which tries to split a beam or slab
vertically is resisted by flat steel strips or links wrapped around the bars.
Other reinforced concrete systems have been developed generally from abroad,
for example the Kahn system from the
“After Iron, reinforced concrete is probably the most important invention in the realm of materials, perhaps the most important of all because reinforced concrete possesses all the properties that are missing in iron – and because the properties of stone and iron are united in the building material. For what has now become possible in principle? No more and no less than the construction of surfaces without seams, walls without joints. On a stone wall that was only possible after plastering it, not before, and moreover this enabled the straight span between two supports spaced at practically any distance. So it has become technically feasible to construct the two most important elements of architecture – wall and the member spanning between supports – with almost any dimensions. In addition, there is the unification of floor and ceiling, also as a complete unit, and again in all possible sizes. This building material is a technical triumph over the difficulties caused by all the building materials produced up to now”
[1922 Dutch Architect Hendrick Petrus Berlage]
Unfortunately concrete over the last few decades of the twentieth century has acquired a bad reputation. This, despite the liberation the material afforded architects and designers, was mainly due to the general practice of ill considered and badly executed social projects in the 1960s and 70s. Concrete was being abused in the construction industry; new materials were used before research into their long term properties and characteristics could be understood. This rushed and uneducated use of concrete resulted in the short life span of many buildings or at the very best a premature need for major repair. Many buildings were demolished not only due to poor workmanship but also due to the concrete’s poor weathering properties, unsightly staining and the misnomer of concrete cancer. ...FMH
image by Callum
Aberdeen's St. Nicholas House.... should be re-used and celebrated not demolished
We invested energy and memory within the buildings we use, St Nicholas House is no different. St. Nicholas House has a place in local and civic history. The Building has been a part of Aberdeen's social awareness of place and self. The Gateshead building "The demon of the North" was raised to the ground last year rending the local environment, local identity or urban orientation, benign and soulless. This came as a surprise to the locals. I heard some say "it feels like a death in the family" as I stood with them and watched the machinery raise to the ground generations of civic memory and social participation. Once the building began to fall the realisation began to dawn. The space, skyline and urban make-up was no longer specific to Gateshead but yet another multinational and homogenised copy of countless, characterless town centres from around the western world, spaces in which we drift in and out feeling slowly more disillusioned and grey.
The building was said to be one of the 12 most ugly...seriously? It is amazing in its scale presents and attitude.
It is to be raised to the ground..................behave yourselves! let's Re-use it ! but creatively, not for hotels or residential but something public and inclusive ...engage- engage!
The building should be recognised as a building of 'cultural significance' and conserved for generations to come...
Apart from the emotional and social loss to the city , the invested energy or 'Embodied Energy' must be acknowledged and engaged with too.....
Embodied energy is fast becoming one of the most important energy considerations in the built environment and increasingly an important factor in architectural conservation. In particular its buildings re-use methodology; assessing the embodied energy of an existing or historic building, reveals the cost of demolition and the viability in re-using the buildings.
In today’s energy sensitive economy, custodians of the aging and historic built environment are wrestling with the costs and practicalities of re-use and sustainability verses a new build scenario. Understanding the relationship between embodied energy and conservation methods such as alteration or re-use at the very start of a project can save money, a factor integral to any and all, government or private developer alike.
Determining the value of a building’s re-use or rehabilitation, maintenance costs, and overall energy benefits requires a process that provides a comprehensive assessment of the building. Embodied energy is determined by the amount of labour and energy consumed in the fabrication of a building, from the harvesting of natural resources, to the manufacture and delivery of materials and installation of these materials and products. It also includes the energy required to demolish and remove building components. Embodied energy reflects a cradle-to-grave philosophy and is critical to any sustainable approach in managing and conserving our culturally significant built environment.
To lighten the mood here are 10 top tree-houses
We at 'Big Stone Collective' whole heartedly support this initiative but feel it could and should be expanded to the documentation of dormant space in general. We believe it's not just the house that makes the home but the context too.
Churches sit idle and decaying and sixties architecture is being persecuted and destroyed at an alarming rate but it could serve an excellent social or commercial purpose - Concrete is not ugly guys its only the design and use of it, that can, at times let the material down - It is still our heritage.......FMH
Design education is similar to the practice of any construction activity [architectural or cerebral] in that all processes from the past to the present, modern or traditional require a firm and reliable foundation from which to build upon.
To help successfully manage a group of creative students, an academic should quickly recognise the potential issues and the warning signs, should communicate clearly and fairly and understand their student’s support structure whilst recognising their own professional limitations. It is also equally very important the students realise that this process is difficult and full of contradiction and pit falls but that they are not alone and that we [designers and academics at all levels] have been through the process and continue to face the challenges that this incredibly difficult but wonderful profession puts our way, so please don't suffer in silence.....
The necessity to become a little mad is not part of an Interior education but it helps. To dare to put forward ideas, to offer up visions to realise the unexpected requires pushing the imagination. But how crazy should we get? Not too much: people still have to use the costly stuff that we produce. Not too little: let’s be less boring in the future.
The design imagination should be a combination of utility and philosophy. It responds to the specification and utility and philosophy. It responds to specific needs and situations, but keeps in mind that interior design and architecture is also a thought about how we want to live in our world. These two, utility and philosophy, should not drift apart. The secret is to unify them and to always let them be mutually enforcing. How do we reconcile deep thinking with utility? Be curious, always ask “do you have an idea for us?” Be interested in other philosophies and in fantasy, play and experiment. Extend and deepen reality. Be prolific. Keep churning out the works so as to get better and so as to grow in your own thinking. Above all, know the world in which we are living and being skilful at developing combinatorial models to get the most out of every technique, effect and idea...
Design education is a slippery process, the topic is complicated and has a diverse method in which, it is hoped that the student leaves after three to four years with the confidence to create and manage an innovative response to their clients brief. The student must learn to facilitate the clients brief whilst on one hand adhering to the rules and regulations of the construction industry and on the other responding to current cultural and aesthetic issues, ever conscious that the public and their peers will critique the end product.....FMH
One of the most beguiling, strange, inspirational and thought provoking site visit was had Yesterday in Fife, Scotland. I planned to visit the Scottish Secret Bunker Complex for some time and yesterday's schedule offered the opportunity.
The Bunker is hidden beneath a farm building, in the middle of the countryside near St. Andrews. The site is a mile from the main road, and driving there you feel as though you are moving back to the 70s -[ no idea why, on reflection perhaps due to the fact that the environment seemed to remind me of the beginning scenes to every episode of the Sweeny TV series] .
Once inside the farm building, the bunker entrance is unassuming and located unsurprisingly in the retail area. Once you open the door behind the cashier though, you are confronted by an all together different environment. The Light, acoustic and materials are alien and in direct contrast to where you've just come from. The spatial dimensions completely change, changes which are, at first, hard to fathom and slightly disorientating. Down the stairs and in front of you is a 150 meter concrete walkway to the bunker complex, shroud in green fluorescent light and which has a looped soundtrack of its past institutional working environment.
From there onward it is a journey through a ' Post Second World War and Cold War' condition of readiness, awareness, preparation and secrecy. The spaces within the complex are capsules of time with regards design and communication. The furniture and material, technologies and social requirements are familiar and yet so very foreign.
As an Interiorist I was fascinated by the quality in many aspects of design and spatial arrangement, Line of sight, acoustics and privacy are cleverly woven within the military fabric of hierarchy and command. The transitional spaces between off and on-duty personnel are well thought through and successfully executed. Communication and data management is practical and easily monitored. The cross-sectional properties of the operational areas are simple but effective. The working and living environments, although hundreds of meters below ground and surrounded by 3m concrete walls are surprisingly comfortable and do not give an excepted feeling of claustrophobia. Very important when you consider the purpose of the bunker and the potential stress levels of its occupants when working there.
Taken then that the space is well designed and impressive in its ability to function as a cold war environment where nuclear attack is a real threat and move it forward 30 years. It is no more a military space of formidable power and observation capability but a flaccid piece of war memorabilia for tourist consumption.
The site becomes a bizarre mix of military sophistication and tourist fascination . A secret cold war bunk with a licensed cafe, large scale plastic ice-cream -cones, gaming machines, disabled access and guided tours. A completely delightful contrast and which isn't picked up by the average tourist - but is a screaming oddity to a designer and Interiorist. A PHD could be written on this site alone!
To heighten the sites peculiarity, the attraction's owner has chosen to dress the manikins in appropriate period uniforms but over time they have become slightly dishevelled and unbalanced, adopting individual characters of their own [honest] which is completely fine as they somehow tie the whole attraction together with a presents and character which remind me of my days in the armed forces.
As a Captivating space and an odd attraction I strongly recommend you visit and enjoy its many levels of charm and memory...FMH
+A clinic for sick and disabled buildings Is Coming to Scotland in December, contact Frazer Macdonald Hay at 'firstname.lastname@example.org' for more information and the opportunity to participate.
An international workshop directed by Frazer Macdonald Hay held in
“The distinctive characteristics of any national style of architecture depend in part upon endowed geographical factors and in part upon the circumstances of political and economic history. Scotland’s geographical endowment, in comparison with that of many other western European countries, is a markedly unfavourable one. Small in size and remote in situation, saddled with difficult terrain and harsh climate, the country cannot be said to present many natural advantages for pursuit of architecture”. [
John Dunbar’s quote in 1966 paints a bleak picture of the Scottish scene and on first impression it may seem there are fundamental difficulties in the pursuit of architecture in
Castle Tioram, Loch Moidart,
Architects and stone masons in
Building materials used in
The country’s harsh climate plays its part in defining the character of Scottish architecture. Buildings have to adapt to the diverse, changing and inclement weather systems. Architects often specify thicker walls with small windows which insulate from the cold winter winds. The walls are often harled to protect the lime and stone from the elements. Pitched roofs that shed the rain and protect from the harsh windy conditions are preferred.
Culture is the last of the filters contributing to a building’s nationalisation.
3. Key to
The Last Major Architectural Influence in
With “Form Follows function” [Sullivan L] as their mantra, international architects embraced Modernism and its ideologies. Modernism could be expressed in many different styles such as Structuralism, Formalism, Bauhas – (later to be known as the International Style), Brutalism and Minimalism. All were expressed through a common thread of, little or no ornamentation, factory-made parts, man-made materials such as metal and concrete, emphasis on function and a dedicated rebellion against the traditional styles of architecture. [Image7]
Modernism became further established between the two World Wars and developed again after World War II. Mainstream modernism, ‘The International Style’ had established itself in the
Architect Gerrit Rietveld -The Schröder-Schräder house,
In the later part of the 20th Century, the modern movement developed a Post- Modernism style which started as a reaction to early rationalist modernism and its associated building styles. The architectural style was increasingly seen as indifferent to the surroundings and to the discipline’s own historical traditions. Post-Modernism introduces a new set of factors. The emphasis was now on the façade; reference was made to historic elements of architecture. Architects increased their pallet of materials and started to explore a variety of architectural form.
The success of modernism and post-modernism with regard to whether, or not, the architects were able to naturalise their buildings to the Scottish scene can be explored by dividing the ‘Modern Movement’ into three general groups and applying the five part filtering system.
The first group contains “off the shelf modernism” - an international architecture, IKEA-like in nature and common to a variety of countries but originated from the Bauhaus style in
The flat roof construction and large windows leave the building vulnerable to the Scottish climate. The nature of the roof means rain and snow will collect on its surface, rather than drain away, adding to the building’s imposed load, and accelerating the erosion of roofing material - making the building susceptible to leaks.
The large windows, thin walls and orientation will result in problems heating the building, retaining its warmth and giving poor insulation against the winter winds.
Although timber framed and sitting on a stone base the construction is not Scottish in nature. The building materials are factory made parts, with very little protective qualities. The timber paneling used in the original construction has already been replaced and rendered. The steel detailing has corroded, and been replaced. The aesthetic nature of the materials used conflict with the environment within which the building sits.
The use of landscape as a means to naturalise the building to the Scottish scene has been largely ignored. Rather than complimenting and working with the context of the building, the architect has chosen almost to ignore it, happy to site the house on a raised artificial plinth of stone, sacrificing any connection with the landscape, and instead greedily maximising the building’s main objective, the view.
Culturally the building style is Scottish in nature in that the architect has delivered a building which represents the country’s presence within a new international community. The building has been designed to reflect a homogeneous life style of a society without national boundaries.
But its anti-tradition ideology has failed to engage with the final filtering factor of conflict. By delivering an international building the architect has ignored the country’s struggle for independence and its national identity which has shaped
[Images 8,9,10,11 Port
The second group contains “bespoke modernist buildings” - one off pieces of civic architecture that blend modernist materials and building techniques whilst remaining sympathetic to the Scottish nature of architecture. An example of bespoke architecture is St. Peter’s College Seminary in Cardross near Dumbarton, built by the architectural practice Gillespie, Kidd and Coia in the 1960’s. The Cardross seminary’s architects appear to have nationalised their modernist building.
The building materials used were reinforced concrete and steel rather than a traditional stone construction, but by creating a rough finish to the concrete similar to a harl finish, the building becomes recognisable as Scottish in nature
The building’s inability to adapt to the Scottish climate was in the end its downfall. The building struggled to remain watertight from the outset and after a 14 year battle against the elements, it closed and currently stands in a ruinous state of decay. Ironically this has made the structure more Scottish in nature, standing as so many castles stand, ruined and yet iconic as (delete: of) a part of Scottish history.
The architects modified their architecture to the surrounding landscape by introducing arches, staggered terraces, curved surfaces and a variety of form. By using large amounts of manmade materials the architects have delivered a brutal modernist building. But by softening the exterior and reducing its impact on the landscape the building seems comfortable in its surroundings.
The Cardross seminary building successfully relates to the culture and conflict filters by (delete:in) reflecting the nation’s autonomous ambitions. The architects, mindful of the independent nature of the brief, have designed an aesthetically defiant structure from which to teach Scottish catholic priests, with an independent connection to the
The third category relates to Post-modern buildings. Whilst still part of the Modern Movement these buildings are easily recognisable as Scottish in nature. The architects have abandoned many of their early modernist’s utopian ideologies and re-engaged in the pursuit of architecture relative to tradition. Most buildings designed in the late 20th century were postmodern in style. Architects were able to naturalise their modern buildings to the Scottish scene far easier but this time the architecture had evolved as a hybrid ‘traditional-modern’. An example of Post-Modern Scottish architecture is the
“Movement is mean to express, the rise and fall, the advance and recess, with their diversity of form, in the different parts of the building, so as to add greatly to the picturesque of the composition. For the rising and falling, advancing and receding, with the convexity and concavity, and other forms of great parts, have the same effect in architecture, the hill and dale, fore-ground and distance, swelling and sinking have in landscape: this is, they serve to produce an agreeable and diversified contour, that groups and contrasts like a picture and creates a variety of light and shade, which gives great spirit. Beauty and effect to the composition” [Adam J & Adam R movement in architecture]
The museum’s architects use a blend of traditional and modern building materials, whilst making clear reference to the origin of the building through their use of stone. The building’s architects use a variety of modern materials and technologies to deliver an authentic and complicated project of cultural significance. The Museum’s construction was adapted to the Scottish climate and sits comfortably within its urban landscape. The ease with which the museum relates to its urban context is partly due to the choice of construction materials and its scale, but mainly it’s due to its reference of past traditional architectural styles. The Tower House and Castle styles are easily read throughout the building’s architectural make-up. This combination of traditional and modern architecture connects the building to the local and the national environment, whilst delivering a modern interpretation of
[Image 15, 16] Benson & Forsyth Architects 1996-98
[Image 15, 16]
Benson & Forsyth Architects 1996-98
Conclusion The last external influence was the modern movement, a
style of architecture that began in the early 20th century.
Modernism saw architecture as a solution to a variety of economic and social
issues which developed after both periods of World War. Modernism celebrated
new materials, new international ideologies, cost effective building techniques
and rejected tradition. In delivering these new modern utopian styles of
architecture, 20th Century architects were able to naturalise their buildings
to the Scottish scene but only in the later half of the century with the development
of the post-modern movement. The Post-Modern architects had re-established the
importance of creating nationalised architecture and explored ways to deliver a
hybrid building blending traditional and modern styles. There were exceptions to
the rule in that bespoke architecture and the architects that designed these one-off
civic buildings such as the Cardross Seminary, adapted their modernist methods to
the Scottish Scene. The early styles of the 20s, 30s and 40s had been rubber stamped across Europe
and Ironically, current iconic Scottish architecture which
has played such a large part in the country’s reaffirmation of national
identity may never have happened without the unfiltered influence of off-the-shelf
modernism in the early 20th century. ......................FMH
The last external influence was the modern movement, a style of architecture that began in the early 20th century. Modernism saw architecture as a solution to a variety of economic and social issues which developed after both periods of World War. Modernism celebrated new materials, new international ideologies, cost effective building techniques and rejected tradition. In delivering these new modern utopian styles of architecture, 20th Century architects were able to naturalise their buildings to the Scottish scene but only in the later half of the century with the development of the post-modern movement. The Post-Modern architects had re-established the importance of creating nationalised architecture and explored ways to deliver a hybrid building blending traditional and modern styles. There were exceptions to the rule in that bespoke architecture and the architects that designed these one-off civic buildings such as the Cardross Seminary, adapted their modernist methods to the Scottish Scene.
The early styles of the 20s, 30s and 40s had been rubber stamped across Europe
Ironically, current iconic Scottish architecture which has played such a large part in the country’s reaffirmation of national identity may never have happened without the unfiltered influence of off-the-shelf modernism in the early 20th century. ......................FMH
Commons is one of the first in a new type of “civic gaming”, a new
approach to make citizen reporting social. It’s a mobile, location-aware civic
media app for urban communities that merges methods of traditional city-dwelling
reporting tools, with gaming mechanics and social voting.
Commons is one of the first in a new type of “civic gaming”, a new approach to make citizen reporting social. It’s a mobile, location-aware civic media app for urban communities that merges methods of traditional city-dwelling reporting tools, with gaming mechanics and social voting.
A Stone House...
An other interesting bit of feedback from a well respected lawyer after reading the "Vertical Squatting in Caracas" article, was that a Radio 4 documentary on Slums had air'ed this week, exploring an alternative view with regards that positive aspects Slums create for community, wellbeing or actually has or will they become more of a necessity to many a modern city's existence in the future.......
thank you Sir..FMH
This programme is inspirational and thought provoking................have we over complicated our existence, confused ourselves with the obsession for shinny new things that promote our worth... or have we simply been socially complacent and just took our eye off the ball? FMH
A Squatters Tower of Light and Life
Image by Hans Wilschut
Following the article "Vertical Squatting in Caracas" on the 9th of August we have had a surprising amount of communication from as varied a background as Lawyers, photographers, bankers and architects.
One of the most interesting was from 'Frans' in the Netherlands who is director for 'Gebouw F' which is the Breda Centre for Architecture 'Gebouw F' focuses on architecture, urban planning, landscape architecture, interior architecture and new media.
Frans told us of a building in South Africa which was to be a block of flats, which had been colonised by squatters and that a friend and colleague of his, photographer 'Hans Wilschut' had gone to document the building as part of a project he was doing. Hans photograph was full of light and hope and in my eyes a mark to humanities ingenuity and resourcefulness. The sad and brutal news however is that after some time a mafia like organisation became interested in the building and its inhabitants forcing the squatters to pay rent in exchange for (actual) protection. The poorest had no choice but to move to an alternative, unsuitable empty building further away. ... showing a contrast of humanities characteristics and the frustrating reality of our struggle to endure. FMH
"A new generation of the very best urban
sports stars are teaming up with incredible young film-makers. Together they've
produced stunning films that have captured the attention - and the imagination
- of tens of millions of viewers"
"A new generation of the very best urban sports stars are teaming up with incredible young film-makers. Together they've produced stunning films that have captured the attention - and the imagination - of tens of millions of viewers"
A wonderful hour of Urban play and expression by poetic film makers and incredibility skilled sportsmen, but wait!.....These sports are all about the Urban or Architectural environment and yet there is no mention of it . The Brutal architecture of London's Barbican has a cameo so do the multi story car-parks of the 60's. Material like Concrete and Steel take the lead roles, Industrial buildings and ruins set the scene.
Without the beautiful art of architecture there would be no contemporary sport culture developing- it's a product of social housing and urban development. It is an evolution sparked by modernism, so where are the plaudits? where are the sick moves, high five respect or nod to the greats, why is there no: 'double switch back 360 degree 'Corbusier 'FLIP' or the 'Hurtsburger 'bomb' or even the 'reverse sliding grab Gropius' come on guys modernism is just as, IF NOT.. MORE RAD....!
The African fantasy coffin business
In a suburb outside of Accra, Ghana, the African fantasy coffin business is an amazing business and very popular. Why not? we spend an astounding amount of our life spending time and money on our spatial experiences, from spec'ing car interiors, designing living spaces [supposedly reflecting our individual character and aesthetic preference] to fitting out our varied office or working environments
Why then should we stop there? The last and longest place we will spend time in, surely should be given some thought too.
In Africa this coffin business, has gone the next step reflecting the client's work or passion, by modelling their last lodging accordingly: "shoes for the cobblers, hammers for the carpenters – perhaps a Coca-Cola bottle for the street salesman".
Who knows perhaps we can continue or obsession with capitalism and find sponsorship, perhaps a NIKE tick coffin or perhaps a more appropriate one, Marlboro?.....FMH
Images by Lizzy Cowan
Channel4's The Secret Life of Buildings
At last the beginning of some sort of media realisation that you cannot design and build architecture of quality and integrity without involving an interior specialist from the begining of a project. Rather than asking them to dress the structural envelope when completed they must be involved from the outset, involved in brief development, client meetings and project design theory and execution.
Wake up Britain!
Architecture today and the spaces it creates, too often fail the user [us], spaces which are poorly lit, acoustically inappropriate and aesthetically stagnant. Spaces which you [sorry, we] are suffering day to day and which are avoidable.
As an alternative for architectural pomposity egotistically driven and with an obsession for signature buildings that brand a city [Bilbao are you listening]. We should be resolute and demand a building which is designed with integrity throughout - from the Context - to the Building - through to the interior and to the work place and back.
"Our workplace - from schools to offices and factories - should inspire us, motivate us and bring out the best of our abilities. But are these spaces doing just the opposite" channel 4
St. Albans and the local area's community have rescued an old and loyal friend in need, they fought for and financed a rescue mission which took years of hard work, organisation and good-will .
The old cinema in St Albans was due to be developed or demolished this year but after a outstanding effort the rescuers bought the building and took ownership of its memories and it s destiny.
Sitting here with fingers crossed, we at ' BIG Stone' hope that now the first battle of ownership is won, the new client body know what the next stages are and that they have a clear design intent with a clear methodology behind it, otherwise the rescued building may be destined to a fait worse than death.
Physically please beware the architectural equivalent of plastic surgery gone horribly wrong [chose the appropriate surgeon] or physiologically speaking, beware the trauma that a split personality can cause or the side effect resulting from an inappropriate way of dealing with the building's the cognitive behaviour.
We wish you luck and well done.....FMH
The Odyssey Cinema is a trading name of The Alpha Cinema, St.Albans, a limited company. Registered number: 07103180. Registered Address ℅ The Rex Cinema, High Street (Three Close Lane), Berkhamsted, Herts, HP4 2FG
The Odyssey Cinema
166 London Road,
(Not open to public)
A fascinating link between this article in Caracas and the last article about the work Misha a conceptual artist from Latvia. you decide what that means to you.
photo by Julia King
Vertical squatting in Caracas
An article initially written by the New York times wrote about a high-rise called ''
photo by Meridith Kohut for the NYTimes
Misha's photographic projects 'Crowd' and 'Sheptun' are a captivating collection of work.
For me as an 'Interiorist' I especially enjoy the play between scale, space, negative space and its relationship with the body and our human obsession with contact and shelter. Perhaps I also like the work philosophically because it asks if we are a social race then why are we so desperate for an individual character and covet personal space ....... was it not Aristotle that said communities more than 150 participants begin to break down. It is a fact that a contributing reason for high-rise living to fail so terribly in the 70's was that after 6 floors you were no longer able to develop a meaningful sense of community, so the utopian 'vertical villages' of yesteryear failed to promote and nourish the communities the hosted.....FMH
An image sent to us last week has intrigued and created a host of different reactions.
Is it a positive space? he has a space to wait in or contemplate what? is it set now or in the future or a reflection of a past dilemma.
What ever you answer its a dynamic space created from basic materials and an existing structural foundation piece - It is obviously fabricated digitally or is it? ...FMH
French designer Methieu Lehanneur has developed an interesting method to tackle the relatively difficult task of design interventions within church spaces. Although relatively sculptural and prosaic in its purpose, I feel it could start a further exploration of complicated internal spaces by artists and designers rather than architects.
The Magic of The Llobregat delta walkway is in the way the architects have poetically re-used the Neo-classical building and its context to cerebrate and promote the site memories whilst allowing the user the opportunity to read old from new. It must be a joy to explore the environment and its new purpose.
Adaptive re-use in the raw
Many re-use projects are despite the host building and its context rather than working with the building and its strengths, weaknesses and memories. A good re-use project compliments the characteristics of the host environment and allows it to continue telling us its story, whilst being part of an adaptive re-use solution. The building has a DNA profile, as we do, it has a character and develops baggage on its life's journey. The key to successfully working with an old, abandoned or culturally significant building is the ability to discover and work with its DNA, found only through a rigorous analytical process.
With this in mind:
Image: Boxing Club [In the blue timber clad link structure
Yesterday I had the good fortune to visit one of Edinburgh's leading Boxing clubs " Holyrood Boxing Club" I had heard of a business park being developed using a selection of buildings within a 'B listed' stone built brewery. The complex has an ongoing development programme of the Brewhouse, Wellhouse,Maltings, Fementation. Most of the developed parts are converted from the traditional brewery buildings of the Main Office Block, Stableblock, Paddock block and Tun rooms.
But it was the boxing club i was particularly interested in.
In the steel frame, timber clad link between the buildings an enterprising ex-professional boxer [Bradley] had began to re-use the space to house a boxing club.
Unlike the other developments the Club didn't decide to hide the building away with cheap plasterboard ceilings and walls of ridicules office and retail parrafinailer. The club worked with the structure and has a relatively sophisticated philosophy with regards their use and engagement with its host building.
Bradley, the boss explained that he understood that the building needed to breath and that the moisture content could be controlled simply by not sealing the interior space and removing its environmental relationship with the original building. The Boss also explained that he liked the idea of revealing the structure and building materials, as it had become a metaphor for the boxers and their training in his gym. The building and the gym felt incredibly comfortable and integrated with one and other.
Image: The Bag training area
I felt that, although the Club has no money and no architectural or design guidance, it has been more true to the building's profile than that of its contemporaries. I love the link between old brewery and boxing club.
The culture of dinking and fighting is obvious, I Guess, and in this area of Edinburgh, there is a reputation of violence. It is inspiring to see the connection reversed for the good. Youngsters are coached and given a purpose, white collar workers visit and are integrating through their pursuit of fitness. The local community is very proud of its club which is a growing concern in the community. All this in my opinion came from a humble and simple [but successful] piece of adaptive re-use.
I promised Bradly I would add that on the 9th Sept there is a live boxing event at Princess St. Gardens EDINBURGH v LONDON.... i will be there.
A proposal by Frazer Macdonald Hay
St.Peter’s College Seminary in Cardross a Grade `A`
The architects modified their contemporary Scottish architecture to the surrounding landscape by introducing arches, staggered terraces, curved surfaces and a variety of form. By using large amounts of manmade materials the architects delivered a Brutalist, modern concrete building. But by softening the exterior, staggering the facade and reducing its impact on the landscape the building seems comfortable in its surroundings.
The Cardross seminary building successfully relates to, and reflects the nation’s autonomous ambitions at that time. The architects, mindful of the independent nature of the brief, have designed an aesthetically defiant structure from which to teach Scottish catholic priests, with an independent connection to the
The construction’s £486,010 original estimate grew to a final cost of £609,800 and on St. Andrew’s day 1960 the site was blessed and the first sod was cut. However, due to bad weather conditions construction was hampered and rescheduled for the spring. In April work on the massive ferro-concrete retaining walls began, ending in November. The construction schedule was contested by the client group director, Bishop Ward, who was unhappy with the two and half years estimated by the project’s architects and surveyors. The eventual main contractor agreed to do the build 6 months quicker and was given the job but many believed the contractor to be inexperienced in reinforced concrete construction. The client went with the
In its ruinous state, the building and in particular the main block, is still easily read. The main block part of the site is symmetrically arranged. The standard dimension of the concrete frame for the main block began with 2.5 metre wide student cells which informed the architectural appearance and scale of the entire block. The load bearing structure constitutes a series of reinforced concrete frames and upper cross-walls, placed in situ at 2.5 metre centres and supported on concrete columns at ground level. There are also a set of double cantilevered beams housing vaulted non-load bearing vaults, plaster finished on a steel lath system. The architects specified that all concrete should be exposed and the marking from its shuttering should remain rather than be polished out. The ground floor programme was a refectory [to the north], and the chapel to the south with a central hall dividing the two. The hall housed the central concrete stair which provided the main circulation to the upper accommodation levels which were cantilevered into the end voids situated at the north and south of the project. The cells were separated by load bearing concrete walls and the plaster ceilings were vaulted. Each room had access to a continuous balcony which was concrete and clad in heavy, exposed aggregate–faced precast units.
The ground floor chapel and recessed nave is flanked on the east and west by ten silo shaped chapels of brick construction which support insitu concrete semi domes.
At the south end of the main block sits the “Sanctuary Block” a load bearing deeply curved exterior wall with concrete ramp running within, leading to the cloister and crypt level. The sanctuary level was double height and top lit. The curved load bearing wall continually curves to meet the main block at the south end. The main block is floored by a patented screed floor panel layout in dark grey.
Although easily read in regards the architectural and design intent, the first impression of the building’s current state is one of extreme decay. The site is completely open to the elements. Running water is flowing from the landscape into and around the building and there has been damage due to fire on every floor. The widespread acts of vandalism are evident externally and especially internally. The timber detailing and most fixings have been removed, glazing, lighting and partitioning destroyed.
Despite the site’s ruinous appearance most of the damage is superficial and the main core structural elements are fit for purpose after some remedial care and steps are taken to arrest water ingress. There are countless examples of concrete spalling, cracking, water damage and steel reinforcement corrosion which have been identified in ‘Historic Scotland’s Avantire report’ which can be found on line at www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/index/news/indepth/stpeters/stpeters-avantireport.htm.
The main areas of concrete decay can be found in the ‘Sanctuary’ block due to fire, vandalism and water ingress; the external stair at the north end of the main block due to exposure and poor construction techniques and the main block and central stair due to vandalism and water damage. The key signs of decay in Cardross seminary are; staining and discolouring on concrete surfaces due to the steel reinforcement bars corroding and weeping rust coloured moisture. Fractures to concrete edges, these breaks in the concrete’s structure expose the integral reinforcement bars to the climatic elements. Chloride attack, due to the absorption of the localised flood water and the sea breeze which the area receives frequently, indicating that salt has penetrated the concrete cover and is attacking the steel reinforcement. Steel tendon tracks in the concrete surface indicate that the concrete coverage is too shallow and isn’t providing the correct amount of protection to the reinforcement. The steel is already showing in places and has begun to corrode. Blackening of the concrete surface is due to localised fire damage and superficial cracking and spalling through vandalism
The concrete in its current condition will continue to deteriorate relatively quickly. Without action in addressing the key issues of climate, water and vandalism the building will be lost to the nation. The building is a fine and rare example of early Scottish modernism and signifies a brave, and at time naive architectural engagement in a relatively new building material and its possibilities. The project is culturally significant, reflecting in many ways, a national struggle for independence and autonomy; the concrete used undoubtedly symbolised a stark non compliant attitude and a solid resolute ambition for change.
The material created some of the most spectacular yet subtle interior spaces and manipulated the light beautifully. However the material was in its infancy with regards fabrication knowledge and techniques. The acoustics of the space were extremely poor, due to the material’s ability to reflect sound and the poor concrete junctions and detailing meant that the building leaked heavily from the very start. The shallow concrete coverage of the reinforcement was insufficient and the contractor was relatively inexperienced in this kind of concrete construction.
The Proposal then
“As the twenty-first century unfolds and we reflect on the twentieth century questions as to whether and how its most significant architectural achievements are to be conserved and protected are attracting an increasing amount of public and professional discourse”. Mills, E. D 
The Cardross proposals for re-use has been hotly contested over the last ten years with parties lobbying for the site’s demolition, while others want it restored to its original glory. In
The main building is to be used as a conference centre and the other buildings as a rehabilitation centre. The 'De Koepel' service building will become visitors’ and welcome centre. The Dutch have managed to settle the issue of restoration of buildings designed by architects who had no intention of constructing monuments and solve the contradictions involved”. [Fig 23-26] Mills, E. D 
The building’s tool value was deemed a key aspect and therefore opened the site to other tool value proposals which seemed to satisfy all the parties involved.
“A response to the conflict of interests is the pursuit of architectural alteration within a modernist building which would facilitate new programmes adhering to the modernist’s commitment to progress and engaging in the fundamental value of modern building which is that of the `tool value`”. Mills, E. D 
This is also a fundamental difference to the Cardross project in that the original design was of fair faced concrete with no finish and with none of the formwork polished out either. Despite the obvious differences the
Indeed the Cardross building was bought by ‘Urban Splash’ – a company which specialises in the reuse of buildings. The new owner team had appointed ‘Gareth Hopkins’, one of
Now finally a realistic chance for new life, the Cardross site is now championed by NVA, A very interesting and dynamic practice developed to engage participants physically and creatively in redefining urban and rural landscapes. NVA which is an acronym of nacionale vitae activa, a Roman phrase describing ‘the right to influence public affairs’. has a real opportunity to make a difference and the initial signs are extremely encouraging.
A key theme in the origins and development of modernism was the determination to address contemporary social needs by exploiting new materials and construction techniques” Mills, E. D 
It must not be forgotten that a defining characteristic of the Modern Movement in architecture was its international scope and that the Modern Movement arrived later in
“The interesting paradox of seeking to prolong the life of a building, whose design intentions and physical fabric were purportedly determined solely by its operational programme. To one school of thought at least, modern architecture’s defining `raison detre` in contradistinction to all preceding traditions was its commitment to the idea that buildings should not be conceived as monuments, rarefied artefacts defying time and change, but as functioning tools valuable only for their capacity to serve the social requirements or economic processes that caused them to be built in the first instance”. Lion, E. tbc
Perhaps then by this logic, the only consistent response to the question of what to do with modern architecture in decay like Cardross, is to salute its destruction and consign it to terminal neglect. Or is there a compromise to be had in the fact that the significant elements of the project are not in its architectural merit but in its use of concrete, its location and the structure’s internal spaces and their natural light qualities which are unique, [Fig 26-28] in which case a proposal would be to strip the structure of anything other than the concrete. Repair to the original concrete should be done by cutting out the infected concrete, treating and recovering the reinforcement bars, and strengthening through the use of concrete collars. The site should be properly irrigated and drainage within the building upgraded. The surrounding woodland cutback by at least 200 meters and security measures taken to ensure no further vandalism takes place. The entire site like the
Once the concrete has been preserved, repaired and treated, the site drained and secured, the structure can be left as a castle ruin might stand: a monument to a particular architectural ethos, style and material exploration, which reflects the nation’s individuality and approach to a new modern culture. Once this has been established then within and around the building, practical architectural elements may be introduced. Smaller buildings which don’t touch or interfere with the structure in any way but merely share the space internally and or externally would service the original building and site, but more importantly serve to draw the public to the area and help engage and educate the visitors in the merits of Scottish Modernism, thus developing its economic and educational value.
Thank you - FMH
Today has been a bipolar ride of excitement, inspiration and frustrations. Today I explored three spaces which I have waited a long time to access.
Driving into Edinburgh [in the rain, which I love for its purity and cultural shaping tenacity] I felt a knot of excitement in my stomach as I anticipated my visit to St. Andrews House in the morning and the re-designed Scottish museum in the afternoon with a quick visit to St. Pauls Church in the Old town just off the Royal Mile
St. Andrew's House is a fantastic and special interior treat. The building's views of Edinburgh and its period detailing a real joy to behold. The stairs and modernist detailing on original doors, window and utilities were straight out of the design-history books . A real step back into the late 1930's.
The most intensive [and incredibly sexy of spaces] are the board rooms, the walls have their original timber lining which surround the stone fireplaces and add a faint fragrance to the environment . The rooms have a perfect acoustic value and an intensity which is suggested too, as you open the walnut doors with a very large solid brass door handle. Revealing the meeting room table, solid and worn, which seductively radiates power and confidence a feeling that touches the subconscious and tells of a subtle knowledge and understanding with regard to a fabric of political memories and debate its hosted. The tables are central islands of reason to an assembly of seating built of timber and leather, comically shaped by many a civil-servant's bum. ....."ahh the irony"
Sadly though the building has been tormented and abused by tinkering design gremlins that have added poor lighting, carpets that offend the senses and furniture [for office and reception areas] which must have been chosen with budget, rather than aesthetics and quality in mind.
I feel a nagging worry that these offices could or already is a breeding ground for SAD Syndrome if not addressed.
The entrance area was a little disappointing especially the' dentist's dental hygiene like space' which is the waiting area or holding pen with an exhibition of this amazing building's life reduced to a collage of images and text presented on one wall. The main entrance reminded me of a northern bus crossed with a colonial African boarder control out post building.
It also saddened me to see that there was no reference [architecturally] to the site's past [the prison in particular] in the refurbishment. The building and its context should tell the story of its historic social struggle and cultural significance.
That said this building was an excellent opportunity to explore early modernism and one I truly loved, the building in all its oppressive 1930's character and fantastic New York brutality combined with a very real Scottish personality of honesty and bravery is a national gem and really show be open to the public more often.
Let's look after it...
For the images of the building's interior you will need to access [http://www.scotland.gov.uk/About/sah-70 ] - I was not permitted to take photos unfortunately.
My energy still crackling from my time travel, I walked through the medieval city of Edinburgh strangely moving forward and backwards in time architecturally.
The Newly Re-designed National Museum.
Thank God it is back! and accessible to the public again, I really missed its open spaces, amazing content, steel structure and beautifully naturally lit main hall.
Ok, so.... without a working knowledge of the projects budget, client steering group requirements and design restraints the designers were under these are my initial feelings :
The Animal world is amazing, I stood in that space with the suspended fish and birds above dinosaurs and elephants listening to the excited squeals of kids [and adults] as they cultural imploded with wonderment and anticipation. In fact the exhibitions were excellent, engaging and interesting. I strongly recommend a visit.
Animal Exhibit Scottish national museum.
The re-design was, of course was a tall order to ask. The building is an elegant national treasure and its character and aesthetic is fragile and tender, or at least that is the perception - in my opinion though, it is a passive aggressive bully of a space. I feel it could have been dealt with more aggressively design-wise.
The main issues I have is that the main central exhibition wall running from 0 to 5th level doesn't work aesthetically, in that it is not one wall but a series of walls broken or interrupted by the existing floors- why not puncture the floors as done with the glass elevator? The main problem I have is that it is not easy to read new from the old, therefore it's a mixed or confused set of design messages sent when experiencing the 'Grand Gallery' space.
'Grand Gallery' space
Circulation is an issue too, the main choke point was where the gallery café dramatically obstructed flow around the gallery. There were long queue's for lifts and many people still tried to leave through the main door but were turned away by 2 staff stationed there as a temporary fix to the issue that the design of the space still orientates the user to use the original door rather than down the new stair system
traffic jam on the gallery
no exit through these doors
The main exhibit of muffins and cake.
The most important and viewed exhibition space at the foot of the main stair's landing, a dramatic vaulted space and facade, glazed and a fantastic transitional element between the new subterranean floor and original ground leave, exhibits, not the T Rex or Scottish warriors of past but a nice array of scones, muffins and cake; yes, it is the glazed side wall of the cafe [what are we saying about our culture here folks?]
It feels to me the, cafes are an afterthought and in particular the design of those cafes are lacking the same integrity as the detailed thought gone into the exhibitions.
Inappropriate cafe design.
The last issue that jumped out as I visited this remarkable facility, was its street presents - I challenge you to walk past and know what wonderment exists within, without looking at the signage. Why are there no glimpses or tantalising views of the content from street level - I don't mean in a Disney or Hollywood manner, I mean subtle architectural aspects of design play that invigorate and stimulate the public's perception and mind before entering the building - after all the street is the ultimate transitional space or not?
I believe the Museum is a special and stimulating place and a real treasure to Scotland but I am left with a feeling of irritation that there was an opportunity missed with respect the refurbishment.
I am impressed with the exhibition design and its content, its interpretation and the lighting is successful. There are many positives to the project but i am left feeling unconvinced that the potential was met.
However, let us not forget that the Grand Hall is always beautiful in its diffused light and elegant structural system whilst brooding next door is the massiveness of its extension.
Stag's eye view
ST. Pauls Church
The last building is a glass of water and an oat cake between two malt whiskeys from Argyle and southern lowlands . it is a space of clarity, calm and reflection, accessed though a modest door off the Royal mile via the Carrubers Close. Go and have a look . If you have the time, open the door and experience the change in your mood as the modern world leaves you behind when the door closes and the silence, smell and scale of the space envelopes.....FHM
Dovecote Studio . UK
A beautiful wee example of re-use by the not so wee architectural practice of Herzog & de Meuron Derelict or abandoned buildings often have a great deal to offer in terms of location and character and should be viewed as opportunities rather than eyesores; Dovecote Studio, post-renovation, photo: Haworth Tompkins
1930s Japanese Army headquarter
This fantastic conversion of a 1930s Japanese Army headquarter into a 19-room boutique hotel, located at the new Docks development on the South Bund District of Shanghai, was designed by the locally based Neri & Hu Design and Research Office. The architectural concept behind NHDRO’s renovation rests on a clear contrast of what is old and new. It is very depressing however not to being able to see images of the interior space, to see if the deign intent was continued within [or should I say], throughout the project.
fingers crossed that it is just as brave within.
In times of ecological crunches and economical collapses it is more than logic to discuss reasonable re-use of existing architecture. The architects David Yocum and Brian Bell from blgds turned this beautiful mid-century automotive electric parts warehouse into their office and home.
This is the type of house, home and context, I often day dream about.
The Midden Court Symbister, Whalsay, Shetland Islands stands in ruins just now however Angela Tulloch an x-student of mine has an interesting proposal, we worked on the idea of a boat building workshop and museum in her final year at University and Angela developed a fantastic feasibility study for the site.
If I were a member of the Shetland community I would certainly be asking why this site is not redeveloped in such an exquisitely sensitive fashion. And as part of the coastal rowing community, I hope one day this idea will take form, if not on Shetland then in another, equally relevant site on the coast of Scotland where the craft and passions of boat builder, rowers and enthusiasts can visit or rather gather, for training, coaching and the sharing of their knowledge. The craft of boat building and local history should be shared through a museum and events centered around the re-use of a culturally significant site like Midden Court Whalsay.
Please Note, when I say museum, I mean a museum facility designed with equal detail, thought and precision reflecting that of the boat builder of old, not a dry and energy sapping couple of plasterboard partitions with images blue-tacked to the wall and a few glass cases where parts light up if you press a button..There is no need for that type of prosaic design and sadly it has infected many aspects of our nation's attempts to communicate its fantastic culture and history - Stirling Castle exhibitions for example [minus the blue tack that was poetic licence on my behalf].....FMH
Angela T states: The Midden Court is a series of out-houses to Symbister House (the lairds mansion) and has a rich and complex history. The building stands for alot of pain and struggle of the local community in years past but also of community strength and change. Symbister House, like Heidegger’s bridge,
what has , and thereby reveals its value as a symbol. And in turn the context has revealed its
meaning. Symbister House sits as a memory of what has and now, as the islands school, it
stands for something else aits context and s “…taking place presupposes that the places conserve their identity during a
certain stretch of time. is a necessary condition in human life.” C. Norberg-Schulz
Frank Gerhy was the first architect to inspire me, like a first love, you never really forget the feeling of the first architectural encounter to move you. I first encountered Frank's work whilst travelling. I had no idea who he was at the time but in LA I was astonished by three buildings to the point where I would make excuses to walk past them and site having lunch in their presents. At night if restless I would go for a walk with at least one of the on route. The first was a building built to look like a pair of binocularsa the second a car park in Santa Monica and finally a beach house near Venice beach.
Later as a student, in Edinburgh I learnt that these building were designed by the same architect and that like me he was starting out in architecture later in life. Gerhy 40 years old was a boxer and had an HGV licence too! and that was it I was hooked. I wrote about his deconstructive-ism and studied the sketches and images of the houses and museum he built.
Sketches by F. Gerhy
Our external services may well one day come to us. Space and time already at a premium, in the future our urban, high density spaces, will be used to their fullest. Discarding any and all none financially productive facilities. Perhaps opting to book transient spaces when needed. Kitchens, boardroom, meeting and presentation areas will be booked-out from an Urban bank of spaces, which will scuttle in from the country to facilitate the business engine-room of society...FMH
Say no more..........................FMH
Two beautiful ways to address space and void and its many wondrous nuances...FMH
In 1991 Rachel Whiteread conceived the idea of casting the interior of a whole house. One became available— 193 Grove Road, Bow—in the East End of London (an area with the highest concentration of artists in Britain). It was the last of an old terrace of three-storey dwellings that was being demolished to make way for a small park called Wennington Green.
A Fantastic book, full of insight- reflection and intellect...perfect for an interiorist
Bollnow conceives the human experience of space not merely as a philosophical problem but also as an extension of his research into psychology, human behavior, and the conventional domains of architecture: living in a building, in an apartment, in a house. Human Space is a remarkable investigation of space as we experience it, by a man many consider to be the father of spatial and architectural anthropology.
Medowbank Velodrome Re-use it or lose it
Olympic Medal winner and record breaker Chris Hoy learned his ‘trade’ on the boards at Meadowbank. It seems likely that he would still be based in the City if Edinburgh had had an all-weather track. He now does most of his training in Manchester.
There is now plans afoot for demolition without any real exploration as to how this culturally significant structure can be re-used and regenerated to continue in its function to facilitate and inspire a generation of world betting talent.
Really? come on guys re-use and regenerate the space lets use the memories invested by our champions and spectators. Let's build on its raw and unapologetic character to underpin or new stars bravery and endeavour....FMH
Images by FMH
Before the demolition of another high rise in Edinburgh 'downtown' I was granted access to document the interior living space of its inhabitants, only a few days after they left for other accommodation. Much like the Gracemount high-rise there was ample evidence of tradition, memory and decoration which reflected instruction by mass media. In this flat it was very interesting to explore the interiors from different cultural groups and to discover the subtle differences in the priority given to their living space.
Sadly there was a marked difference in the flat's general personality which had developed from the sum of all the internal parts within. Whereas Gracemount Flat in the South reflected general everyday life, holidays and pastime interests this flat had a darker more sinister character with little evidence of positive living. An unhealthy proportion reflected despair, escapism, alternative realities and violence. As I documented the interior, the spaces whispered of dark secrets and I could feel the isolation for society. An altogether disturbing place to be [of-course amplified by the fact that I was the only one in the building]
Why did this flat differ so must from the Flat in Gracemont?
After a little digging I found that the demographic was different and that the Sighthill flat was mainly a combination of young parent families, ex-trouble tenants and re-located foreign settlers.FMH
Gracemount Flats, Edinburgh
Just before the demolition of yet another of Edinburgh’s block of flats I was granted access to the interiors, stripped of furniture and possessions each interior still reflected the memories of its past inhabitants, the smoke stained walls revealed ghostly shapes of picture frames, ornaments and behavioral patterns . The decoration and a human need for tradition shone out as an example of our need for connection to a childhood memory or a preconceived idea of normality, the need of false fire places and net curtains in a high-rise is more psychological than practical. Take a trip through the spaces and identify with the owners and their lives, spaces which are forever lost. These images which show a meagre summary of years of in-habitation are an interesting tapestry of clues which are easily connected. FMH
In 1922, a number of buildings and a portion of land, which had been part of the airfield, were given over to create the East Fortune Hospital. This acted as a tuberculosis sanatorium for the southeast of Scotland. After the War the hospital was re-instated, but by 1956, as the number of tuberculosis patients began to decrease, the hospital changed its function to house the mentally handicapped. The hospital closed in 1997 and the remaining patients were transferred.
The Opportunities for re-use and intervention projects there are incredible and varied - lets use it !
The Buildings at Risk Register has been in operation in Scotland since 1990 in response to a concern at the growing number of listed buildings and buildings in Conservation Areas that were vacant and had fallen into a state of disrepair.
The Register is maintained by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) on behalf of Historic Scotland, and provides information on properties of architectural or historic merit throughout the country that are considered to be at risk.
Saturday 16th saw the launch of the new book we were co-editor for; Interior Tools, Interior Tactics describes the new professional
boundaries, research territories and educational horizons and
speculates on how these spheres will collectively determine the future
strategies of interior design / interior architecture in the 21st
century. The book contains contributions from some of the leading
thinkers in the field of Interior Architecture and Design including:
Julieanna Preston, co-editor of Intimus, a Design Theory Reader; Fred Scott, author of On Altering Architecture; Graeme Brooker and Sally Stone, co-authors of Rereadings: Interior Architecture and the Design Principles of Remodelling Existing Buildings, alongside contributions from higher education. But
theory cannot exist without practice; and the book also features a
series of debates held between these research contributors and
practitioners renowned for their interiors work, from Val Clugston of
NOMAD, to Antonia Cairns of DEGW, Kevan Shaw Lighting, NRS Nicoll
Russell Studios and the architect Richard Murphy. The rare combination
of academic speculation and professional rigour takes the book beyond
academia to practitioners of interior design.
Frazer Macdonald Hay & Ed Hollis together with the publisher presenting at the launch in London
The Interior and Architecture Show at Free Range:
Free Range at The Old Truman Brewery, London. This is Europe's largest graduate art and design show and the oppertunity to sample the graduates work. There is a link to the exhibiting institutions and their graduates work - This year was the best I have seen, the graduates and their work are developing a sophistication and confidence which can be felt throughout the exhibition. There is defiantly an Interiors movment happening - from student to professional - where is a momentum and excitement about the profession. FMH
The 1929 Michigan Theatre in Detroit was left abandoned for years due to the city's economical decline but has now been revived and serves as a city car park. To many this might seem like a sad fate for such a grand building but I personally love the idea of giving it a second chance at least be re-using we haven't lost it to demolition or worst still private accommodation - the public still get to enjoy the spatial memory.
Structural surgeons are required to address buildings that no longer work properly or have become old, week and disabled, surgeons that understand their structural make up and capable of biomechanics, bionics, or even plastic surgery in an architectural sense.
Opened in 1939 with 1040 seats. Architect was a Mr Wilson, ARIBA.
Closed in the mid 1970s.
We are Just back from working in Malaysia for Nottingham and Tent University [NTU]. We were validating design and architecture courses at KBU. Also visited the Architectural festival there where sustainability and energy were the key topics. Interestingly after a meeting with the director of architecture and innovation conservation is soon to be on the agenda and we at Big Stone are invited to collaborate.
KBU and its executive board are progressive, ambitious and professional with their eyes firmly on post graduate studies and international collaboration. The principle and chief executive are particularly interested in high calibre collaboration and academic excellence.
Kuala Lumpur is an incredible melting pot of design ideas and architectural confidence and the festival was nestled beneath the spectacular Petronas Twin Towers. FHM
Why ‘Big Stone’?
Well apart from being intrigued by Greek mythology and the tale of Sisyphus.
For me it’s hard to ignore the fact that stone has been central to human culture from as far back as making use of its caves for dwelling within. We are and have been obsessed by stone, we have carved it, mined it, worshiped it, we use it to build with, we extract our iron from it, we make concrete from it and wondrously we live on its many elemental states whilst 70% its surface is covered with water. This fantastic big stone orbits the sun at 107,000 kilometres per hour, whilst spinning on its own axis. Amazing!
There is no real metaphorical reason for the name or deep meaningful comparisons to be made - the company’s name naturally evolved from my experiences, passions and interest. It fits, and for me,it seems to reflect architecture and culture on many levels. FMH
After many years of working for design and architectural practices, on projects such as the new Scottish Parliament Building , Stirling Tollbooth's performing arts center and the Gerechtsgebow, Harlem NL. and after seven years of educational practice nationally and internationally, Frazer MacDonald Hay has begun his own design practice. 'Big Stone collective' is split into three main subject areas which offer Consultancy, Research and Education.
Big Stone collective, can provide 'small scale' domestic to 'Large scale' corporate design consultancy from interior to architectural intervention.
'Big Stone collective' offers workshops, lectures, summer school and architecture and design excursions.
'Big Stone collective' also have many research activities resulting in a wide variety of academic publications, mainstream magazine articles and exhibitions which address subjects such as building re-use and regeneration, architectural surgery and hotel design for example.
" we provide a creative solution to design and architectural issues. Whether small or large scale we can provide design and architectural consultation , critically we are also actively engaged in design and architectural research which underpins our consultancy and which is passed on to you through our educational programme of CPD courses, workshops, summer school and seminars". FMH
Frazer Macdonald Hay
MSC. Arch. Conservation; BA [HONS] Int. Architecture;MCSD,PgCTLHE
Big Stone Collective
t: 00 44 (0)7891928396
t: 00 44 (0)7854962978