Monthly Archives: February 2011

Someone has built it before

Last weeks have been quite intense so new posts have got postponed several times. Here is a new funny and fascinating website/blog (+) that I will definitely keep up with for new updates. Briefly, it is a collection of images from projects that have either copied or used as point of inspiration existing buildings and are not so original themselves. Yes, it sums up the notions of gossip,fun and journalism about architecture. The author has really got into comparing different projects that under every new post there is even a small drawing of him on the exact points he thinks one architect has copied another. Most of the times the images need no explanation but still the drawings add a more authentic character to the critic.

…dancing pilotis

Le Corbusier//Unite d’habitation//Marseille, France 1946-1952

Zaha Hadid//Phaeno Science Center//Germany 2005

David Tajchman//New Maribor Museum//Slovenia 2010

And a few more zaha stuff

The project was first unveiled to the public in June, 2006 at a Zaha Hadid exhibition in the Guggenheim Museum in New York. At the time of the launch the name for the project was Dancing Towers; however, this has now been changed to Signature Tower & Dubai Financial Market Development.

Zaha Hadid//Dancing Towers//Dubai 2006

BIG architects//Prague 2008

Finally an example of Corb and the very up to date firm Sanaa in their project Zollverein School of Management & Design in Germany//2006

..check the actual “Someone has built it before” website for more updates (+)

Neri Oxman//Material Ecology

In an architecture where form is becoming “god” and the process of potential form finding the most sacred process-in some firms-it is very positive to see someone who at least does it right….”Architect and designer Neri Oxman is assistant professor of media arts and sciences at the MIT Media Lab, where she directs the Mediated Matter research group. Her group explores how digital design and fabrication technologies mediate between matter and environment to radically transform the design and construction of objects, buildings, and systems. Oxmanís goal is to enhance the relationship between the built and the natural environments by employing design principles inspired by nature and implementing them in the invention of digital design technologies. Areas of application include product and architectural design, as well as digital fabrication and construction. Oxman was named to ICON’s list of the ìtop 20 most influential architects to shape our futureî (2009), and was selected as one of the “100 most creative people” by FASTCOMPANY (2009). In 2008, she was named “Revolutionary Mind” by SEED Magazine. Her work has been exhibited at MoMA (NYC) and is part of the museumís permanent collection; other exhibitions include the Museum of Science (Boston, MA), FRAC Collection (Orleans, France), and the 2010 Beijing Biennale. She has received numerous awards including a Graham Foundation Carter Manny Award, the International Earth Award for Future-Crucial Design, and a METROPOLIS Next Generation Award. Neri Oxman received her PhD in design computation as a Presidential Fellow at MIT, where she developed the theory and practice of material-based design computation. In this approach, the shaping of material structure is conceived of as a novel form of computation.” (+)

To get an idea of their work, here are few representative photos of recent projects

6-D Phase Space

The physical features of natural tissues express the distribution and magnitude of the forces that have brought them about. These forces embody the complex relations between physical matter in its given environment and denote its multi-dimensional force field. The work explores the notion of material organization as it is informed by structural load and environmental conditions. Natural micro-structural 2-D tissues are visualized, analyzed and reconstructed into 3-D macro-scale prototypes by computing hypothetical physical responses. An object-oriented finite element application is used to determine material behavior according to assigned properties and performance such as stress, strain, heat flow, stored energy and deformation due to applied loads and temperature differences.(continue reading +)Photos: Mikey Siegel

Monocoque 2

French for “single shell,” Monocoque stands for a construction technique that supports structural load using an object’s external skin. Contrary to the traditional design of building skins that distinguish between internal structural frameworks and non-bearing skin elements, this approach promotes heterogeneity and differentiation of material properties. The project demonstrates the notion of a structural skin using a Voronoi pattern, the density of which corresponds to multi-scalar loading conditions. The distribution of shear-stress lines and surface pressure is embodied in the allocation and relative thickness of the vein-like elements built into the skin. Its innovative 3D printing technology provides for the ability to print parts and assemblies made of multiple materials within a single build, as well as to create composite materials that present preset combinations of mechanical properties. Photos: Mikey Siegel


Beast is an organic-like entity created synthetically by the incorporation of physical parameters with digital form-generation protocols. A single continuous surface, acting both as structure and as skin, is locally modulated for both structural support and corporeal aid. Beast combines structural, environmental, and corporeal performance by adapting its thickness, pattern density, stiffness, flexibility, and translucency to load, curvature, and skin-pressured areas respectively.

Venice CityVision//New competition launched

New international competition of ideas got launched 3 days ago called “Venice CityVision” and calls for architects, engineers, artists and students to submit their visionary ideas about the future of Venice.

“The purpose of Venice’s competition was to give the opportunity to architects, designers and students to activate their creativity to stimulate the contemporary potential of the city and besides wanting to enhance the historic texture of the city, sees on the aquatic identity of the lagoon a fundamental starting point to create new visions about a possible development of this component. The imagination of the participants, the use of parametric software and eco technology will be the main driver of Venice’s visions and the proposals will shown how to create new digital landscape for a city so connected to classicism and tradition”

It is the second one in this series of competitions after “Rome CityVision” (+) and you can already feel that is going to be big from the very prestigious jury judging the entries. Bjarke Ingels (BIG Architects)(+), Neri Oxman (Material Ecology)(+), Elena Manferdini (Atelier Manferdini)(+), Maria Ludovica Tramontin (Università di Cagliari) and Bostjan Vuga (Sadar Vuga)(+).

Just to get the feeling of the competition here are few images of  “Rome CityVision” winning entries. Enjoy!

For further details about registration, brief etc follow the link of the competition and get started with your super cool radical proposals (+)


Hello after few days off. This is one of those posts that you do not really have to write anything. Just show the work of mudlevel (+) and let you enjoy it. The videos are shot in the “in action” way since its activity takes place in a given space or is a kind of short story. (do not expect anything like video-art or something). If I had to categorize the work I would say “street art” “performance” or just clever and amazing. It combines machinery, spray cans, balloons and a nice and amusing con in the end. Unfortunately, I do not know anything about mudlevel at the moment but I am sure I will follow his vimeo-channel for any new creations. Enjoy



“the box”

..and my favorite one “the machine”

Calvin Waterman//Installations

Let’s get around something a bit away from architecture today. The post is mainly dedicated to Calvin Waterman (+), a graduate of Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), who has a wide and diverse visual portfolio. In connection with architecture his installation works felt more familiar and fascinating, especially in terms of content and use of materials.

Don’t Trip

Don’t Trip is a multimedia installation that explores the relationship between written prose and illustrated scenarios. In what moment does information become a tangible narrative, how do we build our realities?

The piece consists of five written character outlines each with a corresponding button. When one of the five character buttons is pressed a version of that character’s scenario is chosen from a database of possible outcomes. The scene is projected on to the “stage” which consists of a small white cube resting in the corner. The white cube connects object to character, bringing the illustration into the third dimension while providing a consistent platform for the directing object of each scenario.
The relationship between the written prose and projected scene allows a linear reading. The randomization of the projected scene creates endless narratives. The resulting narratives follow Ben through different steps of his accident.


Cicindela is an interactive Installation that reacts to viewers motion and proximity. Focused on how we as viewers interpret specific settings and actions, the ambiguity of those actions and our basic “pre-determined” reaction.

*few snapshots from his above mentioned work to get a feeling of how his work can get a more spatial atmosphere away from the video point of view. Personally, I am a fan of this kind of work and definitely encourage this kind of investigation of spatial characteristics. Although as a finished result it may seem quite away from what an architect (or even better a student) is supposed to present an early experimentation through these digital means can inform in a very rich way every project.

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