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Call of Nature: Waterfront Step Organ in Croatia Turn Waves into Tunes

20 July, 2017 - 19:00
[ By WebUrbanist in Art & Installation & Sound. ]

oceanfront wave organ

This 230-foot-long musical instrument contains 35 organ pipes and is powered by the Adriatic Sea, producing sounds for visitors that seem eerily composed rather than random.

Whistle holes cut into the stone steps are ‘powered’ by air pushed in by waves of water, creating chords that are strikingly harmonious in nature. The sounds are constantly shifting, but you can listen to a clip above (a .wav file of the waves, if you will).

seafront playable instrument music

The Sea Organ, or the Morske Orgulje, is part of plan to revive Zadar, a city over 3,000 years old that was nearly obliterated in the Second World War. Architect Nikola Baši? wanted to give the place something with character, differentiated from the stark and boring concrete buildings that were created during initial years of rebuilding.

sea organ white steps

The design was inspired by the Hydraulis, an ancient Greek instrument that used water to push air through tuned pipes, but also borrows from the Wave Organ in San Francisco, a likewise seaside device amplifying the sounds of the Pacific Ocean. (images by linssimatoLisa and J We).

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Out of This World Architecture: 16 Real Buildings Inspired by Science Fiction

19 July, 2017 - 19:03
[ By SA Rogers in Architecture & Public & Institutional. ]

From a Star Wars-inspired house in South Korea to a blob-shaped ‘friendly alien’ museum in Austria, these structures make no attempts to hide the sci-fi sources of their inspiration. All 16 of these futuristic buildings are completed or in progress – not just concept art – including flying saucers, pavilions that quiver in the wind, spaceship houses and even murals of Neo from the Matrix in a Buddhist temple.

Faraday Future Campus by MAD Architects

MAD Architects has designed a science-fiction inspired campus for Faraday Future, a company in the midst of producing “the world’s fastest-accelerating electric car.” Set on a former Navy base in Northern California, the campus features a reflective ‘user experience center’ tower that rises above the low complex of buildings. A bridge shoots the customers’ cars right out of the warehouse and into the showroom to meet them.

Star Wars House in Korea by Moon Hoon

The Star Wars House in suburban South Korea by Moon Hoon pays tribute to the film series with its blocky concrete proportions and horizontally banded windows. Inside, there’s a secret room hidden within the shelving water on a wall, and the top floor is conceived as “a control room for the future Darth Vader or Jedi.”

2010 UK Pavilion for the World Shanghai Expo by Thomas Heatherwick

When the renders were released for this incredible pavilion by Heatherwick Studio, many people thought it could never be built as it was illustrated. Its strange blurred form seemed difficult to translate into a 3D structure. But the architects managed to pull off the ‘Seed Cathedral,’ which is made of 60,000 slender transparent fiber optic rods that move in the wind. Each one contains embedded seeds as well as built-in lighting

The United States Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel

Designed by architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) and built in 1962, the United States Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel in El Paso, Colorado mimics the speaks of the Rocky Mountains in which it’s set, featuring seventeen rows of 150-foot-high spires. A steel frame of 100 identical tetrahedrons makes up the base of the structure, enclosed with aluminum panels, the gaps between them filled with colored glass.

The Atomium by Andre Waterkeyn & Andre and Jean Polak

Originally built for the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair, the Atomium stands 335 feet tall, with nine 60-foot-diameter stainless steel spheres connected into the shape of a unit cell of an iron crystal. Five of the spheres are habitable, containing exhibition halls and other public spaces, and the top sphere holds a restaurant with panoramic views of the city.

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Cheap Seats: Sculptural Furniture Showroom Facade Made of 900 Black Chairs

18 July, 2017 - 19:00
[ By WebUrbanist in Architecture & Offices & Commercial. ]

Using cheap and repetitive materials sounds like a recipe for kitsch, but this furniture-oriented facade clad in generic black chairs (at around $5.00 USD a piece) manages to pull off an elegant and refined look.

The clients, MY DVA (a furniture company), were looking for something additive, layered onto the existing bland building, but also reflecting their function (to showcase office and school furniture). The ideal solution would promote their wares while also entertaining visitors. It also had to be inexpensive.

Versed in product and urban design, Ondrej Chybik and Michal Kristof of studio CHYBIK+KRISTOF, took these concerns into account when designing the facade. Tapping into their respective backgrounds, they came up with cladding literally composed of product designs that also fits a neighborhood theme of repetition (filled with identical blocks of flats).

In total, the team used 900 Vicenza seats, a regular offering of the company, to form an undulating black box around the showroom, which functions well with the reduced light provided by these exterior shading elements.

Inside, the space was pared down to expose a raw concrete ceiling, from which suspended curtains hang to create little galleries — adjustable lights in these zones simulate different lighting conditions for furniture client spaces.

Staff offices are located along the edges, off to the sides and out of the way behind translucent partitions, leaving a large, open, blank-slate showroom for furniture buyers.

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10 Subterranean Museums Reclaiming Abandoned Mines, Tunnels, Cellars & Docks

17 July, 2017 - 19:03
[ By SA Rogers in Destinations & Sights & Travel. ]

Disused subterranean spaces like former mines, quarries, tunnels, bunkers and catacombs can offer just the right combination of spaciousness, moodiness, natural drama and a sense of gravity to house museums and other places of learning. Often making use of raw, rocky walls, cavernous proportions and the temperature-regulating insulation of the earth, these underground museums give us opportunities to explore spaces that are typically closed to the public.

TIRPITZ Museum in Denmark by BIG

Tucked into the sandy shorelines of Blåvand, Denmark, TIRPITZ Museum by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) transforms a former German WWII bunker into a cultural complex housing a venue, exhibits and galleries. “The heavy hermetic object is countered by the inviting lightness and openness of the new museum,” say the architects. “The galleries are integrated into the dunes like an open oasis in the sand – a sharp contrast to the nazi fortress’ concrete monolith.”

Salina Turda Salt Mines Turned Museum, Romania

A cavernous salt mine deep beneath Transylvania, built in the 17th century, is now the world’s largest salt mining history museum. The alien-like quality of the unusual timber structures built within it, along with the suspended tube lights, augment the sense of being in an otherworldly place. These structures offer recreational attractions like a mini golf course, bowling lanes and a ferris wheel. The museum is completely free of allergens and most bacteria and maintains 80% humidity naturally.

Centre for International Light in an Old Storage Cellar, Germany

The world’s one and only light art museum resides beneath the German city of Unna in former brewery storage cellars, hosting site-specific exhibitions by artists like Olafur Eliasson, James Turrell and Joseph Kosuth. The Centre for International Light Art is definitely a hidden gem, attracting just 25,000 visitors per year, partially due to the fact that local laws require limited capacity tours for safety reasons in case of the need for evacuation.

Paris Underground: Catacombs, Tunnels and Unofficial Arts Spaces

Perhaps one of the world’s best-known subterranean historical spaces, the Catacombs hold an estimated 6 million bodies from the Cimetieres des Saints-Innocents as well as a vast network of underground tunnels and rooms, most of which are closed to the public. In addition to officially sanctioned attractions (which also include a museum documenting the history of the French sewer system and the ancient ruins beneath Notre Dame) the tunnels and quarries hold countless works of street art and are often used as settings for informal and often illegal events – and as housing. These images were captured by photojornalist Stephen Alvarez for National Geographic.

Messner Mountain Museum Corones by Zaha Hadid, italy

Telescoping out of the summit plateau of Plan de Corones in the Italian Alps, the Messner Mountain Museum by Zaha Hadid Architects celebrates the career of climber Reinhold Messner – the first to make it to the top of Mount Everest without supplemental oxygen — and explores the sport of mountain climbing. Underground gallery spaces contain photographs of the climber’s life and adventures while the three protruding volumes offer views of the alpine landscape. Messner himself designed much of the structure.

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Today's archidose #970

17 July, 2017 - 17:11
Here are some photos of Studio Gang's Hive at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC. The installation is on display until September 4, 2017. (Photographs: Mark Andre)

The Hive
Hive DC
The Hive
Hive DC
Hive DC
The Hive
The Hive
Hive DC
Hive DC

To contribute your Flickr images for consideration, just:
:: Join and add photos to the archidose poolTo contribute your Instagram images for consideration, just:
:: Tag your photos #archidose

Slow-Motion Demolition: Expanding Agent Cracks Concrete from Within

17 July, 2017 - 03:00
[ By WebUrbanist in Abandoned Places & Architecture. ]

Going forward, buildings may not need to go out with a bang if this “non-explosive cracking agent” takes off. The destructive action is quieter and potentially cleaner way to take out structures, break down old infrastructure or excavate building sites.

Betonamit is boasted to be a non-toxic powder that, when mixed with water and poured in to drilled holes, much like TNT, but instead of exploding, it “hardens and expands, exerting pressures of 12,000 psi. Reinforced concrete, boulders, and ledge are fractured overnight with no noise, vibration, or flyrock.” It’s not the only such stuff, but claims to be the first (other brands include the cleverly-named Crackamite).

Like some kind of anti-concrete, the dry powder is mixed with water — thus activated, it is poured into place. It is advertised for indoor use, as well as bridges, dams, limestone, boulders and concrete slabs. Seems like great stuff for large-scale artwork of some kind, but there don’t appear to be many such applications as yet.

Geoff Manaugh of BldgBlog wonders, though, what happens when something goes wrong. He writes: “I’m imagining a truck full of this stuff overturning on a crack-laden bridge somewhere, just an hour before a rainstorm begins, or a storage yard filled with crates of this stuff being ripped apart in the summer wind; a seemingly innocuous grey powder drifts out across an entire neighborhood for the next few hours, settling down into cracks on brick rooftops and stone facades, in sidewalks and roadbeds. Then the rains begin. The city crumbles. Weaponized demolition powder.”

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Buildings as Backdrops: Playful Photography Humanizes Built Environments

15 July, 2017 - 19:00
[ By WebUrbanist in Art & Photography & Video. ]

People often play a small part in architectural photography and renderings – not so in this series of travel photographs, which would lovely but otherwise unremarkable without clever human inclusions.

Anna Devis and Daniel Rueda are a design-minded couple, one an illustrator and the other an architect. And they have taken their creative sensibilities on the road, filling in the implicit gaps in built environments across Europe.

The settings represent a range of architectural styles, often bold yet minimalist except for that added element of interactivity, sometimes using props or costumes to turn facades into theatrical sets.

In Denmark, Spain, Italy and other countries they visit, Devis and Rueda take that old idea of a person seeming to ‘tip’ the Leaning Tower of Pisa to new heights. Pixelated surface suddenly become other things, like clocks or canvasses, apparently manipulated by the duo.

That critical personal element that animates each scene also serves as a foil for showing off the patterns and colors of each context, subverting but also highlighting design details. In some cases, added manipulations warp their surroundings as well. For more on their work, follow the pair’s journeys via their Instagram accounts.

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A Whole Latte Art: Masterpieces Rendered in Coffee and Milk

14 July, 2017 - 19:00
[ By SA Rogers in Art & Drawing & Digital. ]

Most baristas who go the extra mile to make a cute design in the foam on top of your latte or mocha manage to illustrate a heart, a swan, a cat or maybe an owl, not an entire Vincent van Gogh painting. But there’s always an overachiever, isn’t there? South Korean barista Lee Kang-Bin shows off his illustrative prowess by reproducing masterpieces in nothing but foam and food coloring, destined to be destroyed as soon as someone gets thirsty.

From ‘Starry Night’ and Edvard Munch’s ‘The Scream’ to Captain Jack Sparrow and scenes from Disney movies, the artist faithfully recreates iconic imagery so impressive, it would be hard to take that first sip. Customers wait up to 15 extra minutes for one of Lee Kang-Bin’s creations, and it’s not hard to see why.

The 26-year old owns Cafe C-THROUGH in Seoul, so there’s nobody to tell him he can’t spend his time on the clock any way he wants, and customers line up to temporarily ‘own’ one of his paintings, anyway. The self-taught artist honed his skills over ten years on the job, and calls his work ‘creamarts.’

To see more videos of Lee Kang-Bin in action, check out his Instagram, @leekangbin91.

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Mattest & Flattest: Blackest Paint You Can Buy Turns Solids into Voids

13 July, 2017 - 19:00
[ By WebUrbanist in Art & Drawing & Digital. ]

In a weird ongoing war over the blackest black and pinkest pink in the world, a new contender has hit the market — and unlike Vantablack, anyone can purchase some to make really dark artwork (great for black holes!).

Stuart Semple’s blackest salvo to date in this pigment war is Black 2.0, which can create mesmerizing effects in real life that also translate to images and videos. In them, painted objects appear flat, or like voids rather than solids.

According to its creators, “its the most pigmented, flattest, mattest, black acrylic paint in the world,” a claim backed up by a lot of black-coated objects juxtaposed with lighter and brighter surroundings.

This pigment “was created in close collaboration with color chemists, specialists from the cosmetics industry and architectural coatings experts. It’s foundation is Stuart’s ‘Super-Base’ which enables this paint to hold more pigment than any other whilst drying to an anti-reflective, super flat finish.”

An implicit stab at the Vantablack exclusivity arrangement: “It has been developed in close collaboration with thousands of artists from all over the world. Their amazing insight, support and inspiration has formed this unique super-black paint for the benefit of all artists.”

Semple admits it’s not truly the blackest paint when compared to Vantablack, clarifying that it is just the blackest acrylic and blackest paint available to all artists, not just one who secured exclusive rights — note: this black is available to everyone but that artist (via MyModernMet).

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Palaces of Self-Discovery: Photos Document the World’s Most Beautiful Libraries

13 July, 2017 - 03:00
[ By SA Rogers in Art & Photography & Video. ]

Symmetrical photographs reveal the elegant geometries present in the architecture of some of the world’s most beautiful libraries, captured by Thibaud Poirier. The Paris-based photographer has traveled throughout Europe, visiting places like the Bibliotheque de la Sorbonne, the modern white Stadtbibliothek in Stuttgart, Dublin’s Trinity College Library and the church-like Biblioteca Angelica in Rome to highlight their classical beauty and make us all wish we were roaming around gazing at those rows of books right now.

“Like fingerprints, each architect crafted his vision for a new space for this sacred self-exploration,” says Poirier. “These seemingly minute details are everywhere, from the balance of natural and artificial light to optimize reading yet preserve ancient texts to the selective use of studying tables to either foster community or encourage lonely reflection. The selection of these libraries that span space, time, style and cultures were carefully selected for each one’s unique ambiance and architectural contribution.”

The photographer calls this library series ‘Palaces of Self-Discovery,’ noting that they provide the same kind of worship space and community interaction as a church, even while the act of reading is typically a solitary one. Within each of these buildings is countless opportunities to lose oneself in another place or time, take on another person’s identity and temporarily forget about all of our cares and worries.

The photos also offer something we couldn’t get from these libraries in real life: the chance to see them empty of people. Poirier seems to have gained permission to enter each library before or after opening hours to get his shots, further emphasizing the sense of solitary exploration. See the whole series at Thibaud Poirier’s website.

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Book Review: Welcome to Your World

13 July, 2017 - 01:00
Welcome to Your World: How the Built Environment Shapes Our Lives by Sarah Williams Goldhagen
Harper, 2017
Hardcover, 348 pages

Welcome to Your World is critic and educator Sarah William Goldhagen's attempt to succinctly and clearly distill voluminous research on neuroscience and architecture toward the improvement of buildings and cities. It's a welcome book that makes an otherwise impenetrable topic accessible to a wider audience.

But before diving into this book review, a personal aside: Although I didn't know it so well at the time (the first half of the 1990s), the school I attended for undergraduate architecture was particularly strong in environment-behavior studies. Thing is, Deconstructivist architecture was all the rage at the time, and like anywhere, striving to create something new and personal in architecture studio trumped the learning taking place in other classes, be it history, structures, or MEP.

Kansas State University was, and still is, home to David Seamon, a prolific author on phenomenology, as well as Dick Hoag, whose Environment & Behavior classes were some of my favorites, and Robert Condia, who has delved recently into neuroscience. Although searches for novel forms in studio often took priority, the teachings of these three (and others) have stayed with me over the years, and these days they tend to enter my psyche more frequently. Perhaps this is due to the cyclical nature of architectural practice, which veers back and forth between social and formal considerations; or maybe it's the increasing relevance of (neuro)scientific studies related to architecture, which haven't been as well considered since the 1970s and the short-lived influence of environmental psychology (all of the E&B textbooks seemed to come from that period). Whatever the case, this aside stems from the numerous overlaps found between my undergraduate education and the ideas Goldhagen explores in her book.

One reason I bring up my architectural background is because Goldhagen argues that, among other things, the design professionals shaping our homes, places of work and play, and so on should "be thoroughly schooled in the evolving body of knowledge in environmental aesthetics and experiential design." Her argument is predicated, first and foremost, on breaking down the barriers between building and architecture (and with it the belief, I presume, that only people paying A LOT of money get the latter, the experientially richer part of the built environment), but then calling on the whole built environment to be designed by people with this "evolving body of knowledge." Like the book, which presents the good and bad of design and argues skillfully why everybody should care, this point reaches for the stars. As I type it here, though, it also comes off as a bit naive; reorienting architectural education seems to be an insurmountable task, especially when considering my education, which had some of that learning already but didn't incorporate it directly (enough, at least) into architectural studio, where so much effort is expended by students.

That said, many schools are heading in the right direction anyways, particularly through the flowering of design-build programs that expose students not only to construction but also actual clients. Although Goldhagen does not broach this aspect of architectural education (her book is more about arguments for making better environments than dealing with how that actually happens), it's hard to deny the impact of such projects as (to toot KSU's horn again) Design Make Studio's affordable housing at 7509 Pennsylvania Avenue in Kansas City, which capably balances architectural expression and experiential richness like so many other design-build projects around the country.

Of course, education does not stop at graduation, so there is no reason registered architects, like myself, cannot learn the necessary lessons about "environmental aesthetics and experiential design" in order to apply principles culled from neuroscience and other related fields to practice. Heck, why not make relevant information in this area a subset of the learning units architects need to maintain licensure? Architects need the depth of well-researched studies to better shape our lives, but clients need only pick up Goldhagen's book to be convinced the efforts are worthwhile.

Bold Boats: 15 Wild, Fantastical & Futuristic Nautical Designs

12 July, 2017 - 19:00
[ By SA Rogers in Conceptual & Futuristic & Technology. ]

File these awesome boat and watercraft designs under ‘things you’ll wish you had access to this summer.’ Who wouldn’t want their very own personal submarine, or a house boat shaped like a UFO? Some of these wild-sounding creations are concepts – like automated, self-piloted cargo ships and yachts shaped like giant illuminated swans – but others are available to rent or purchase right now.

UFO Houseboat by Jet Capsule

This UFO-shaped fiberglass floating object features a main living area with kitchen, bathroom an storage in its above-water level, while the submerged level contains a bedroom and second bathroom. Or, you could commission one to hold a floating restaurant, gym or hotel reception area. They’re powered by electric engines that push them along at a speed of about nine knots, and their batteries are charged by solar panels, wind turbines and water turbines. The manufacturer, Jet Capsule, will reportedly be ready to start shipping these out via helicopter in 2018.

Quadrofoil: Electric Hydrofoiling Personal Watercraft

This thing looks like a mechanical animal galloping through the water. It also looks really fun to ride in. The Quadrofoil gets a top speed of 21 knots and features an electric engine that can be fully charged in under two hours. They’re available for order now at the company’s website, in three models.

U-Boat Worx C-Explorer 3

This ‘luxury personal submersible’ boat by U-Boat features a 360-degree acrylic pressure hull capable of containing a pilot and two passengers, zooming around underwater for up to 16 hours at a time at a maximum depth of 3,300 feet. Plus, it’s air-conditioned. That’s pretty incredible! While it’s primarily geared toward scientists and researchers rather than the general public, it looks like anyone can order one, provided you have the cash.

Hydrohouse by Max Zhivov

A houseboat, dock, garage and water parking for a hydroplane all come together in a single nautical creation called the HH Hydrohouse, with all parts made from prefab modules so it can be transported by truck. It contains a kitchen, master bedroom and two guest bedrooms and a bathroom, and its upper canopy is one big solar panel array.

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Flat-Pack Mobile Architecture: This Building Will Self-Construct in 8 Minutes

11 July, 2017 - 19:00
[ By WebUrbanist in Architecture & Offices & Commercial. ]

Requiring a single tool and very little power, these self-deploying structures are ready for use in minutes, expanding themselves to multiple times their compact travel size.

Based in the United Kingdom, Ten Fold Engineering’s structures can be packed onto ordinary trucks, conforming to road-worthy dimensions for maximum flexibility.

The company boasts myriad possible uses, from medical clinics and mobile hotels to on-demand offices and private retreats — the sale pitch in the video above is a bit blandly corporate, but the mechanics of the thing unfolding are gorgeous.

Their custom pin-jointed linkages help them open and close easily with minimal energy requirements and using just a single (presumably sonic) screwdriver. They are modular and can be customized with various arrangements of floors, doors, windows and dividers — they can even be shipped with furniture inside.

The company is also experimenting with designs for multi-story structures as well as stackable variants, opening up a whole world of possibilities.

Even the designs show an appealing variety of aesthetic possibilities, including dynamic modern looks and spacious expanding ceilings that go a step beyond typical prefab home possibilities.

Thanks to their variable footings, the units can be put up on uneven or sloped ground, stabilizing to sit flat from the perspective of the occupant.

The buildings can go off the grid but also feature optional attachments for solar panels and batteries, presenting an array of potential power possibilities.

At around 700 square feet and $130,000 the base models aren’t cheap, but for someone with the urge to roam they make a pretty stylish and comfortable option for a semi-mobile home.

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Should Architects Moonlight?

11 July, 2017 - 07:01

Moonlighting is something that literally ever architect has done at one time or another in their career. There are a handful of reasons why an architect would consider moonlighting, but I honestly believe the main reason (as in 99% of the reason) is financially based.

I have written about architects and moonlighting only once before on this site – a pretty ripe subject really, but considering this is article number 819, you could probably conclude that a) I don’t have strong feelings one way or the other, b) feel like this topic has so many variables to it that my myopic opinion on the subject isn’t worth discussing or c) I am too jaded to talk about this topic rationally.

The betting person would go with what’s behind door #3.

I do think this is a topic worth discussing and I am going to toss a few things out there for your consideration without getting into my jaded past. There are a lot of positive ramifications that come out of moonlighting work – the most obvious is money – so for the sake of time, let’s just assume that extra money is, for the most part, a good thing and let’s avoid that consideration for now. I do feel like I am in a somewhat unique position to talk about moonlighting because this site gives me such visibility that I receive emails from people from all skill and experience levels regaling me with tales of both their positive and negative experiences with moonlighting. To sum up, the short-term gains are always awesome and the long-term gains are rarely what that individual is hoping for.

Should Architects Moonlight

For the most part, I am not a fan of unsanctioned moonlighting but to put it simply, I don’t think there are any real positives other than financial short-term gains, and considering the potential pitfalls, even those can be dubious. Here are some of the main arguments I’ve heard supporting moonlighting:

I work in a large firm, how am I going to get project management experience doing toilet partition wall details?
Join an A.I.A. committee or donate some of your time to any of the number charities that could use an energetic future architect, get involved with Hearts and Hammers or Habitat for Humanity – the list can go on and on.

I am a super designer but no one here cares, I need to take on work so I can express myself and get my name out there!
While I am not a fan of competitions, you can always enter competitions if you want to introduce the world to its next greatest architect. The upside here is that if you are actually fortunate enough to place, you’ll some recognition, maybe some cash and if the grand prize winner, you’ll get your opportunity to actually create some real architecture.

My office doesn’t pay me enough to survive, I need to take on extra work to pay my bills.
Okay, I don’t have a great argument for this one. Even though my default answer is to tell you to go find somewhere else to work, that might make me appear inconsiderate to the working conditions wherever you are. I can’t help but think that if the firm where you work doesn’t value you enough to pay you your worth, what does it say about how you feel about your worth by staying? There is also the possibility that you aren’t worth what you think you are – either way, some additional research on your part should commence.

The people who want to hire me think I’m great and are willing to pay me what I’m charging.
That’s great … but I would ask if you are charging the correct amount. Most young energetic future architects will readily admit that they don’t understand billing and office management so it might seem like a fortune to get paid $35/hr for drawing up house plans. Do you understand or know how many hours you will have to spend preparing the drawings? What time from your friends and family you are forfeiting? What about taxes and social security or are you just not going to worry about that? Something in the neighborhood of $12.50 of your $35 should be going to Uncle Sam so you need to consider how important your gains are for $22.50/hr. Considering that a conservative estimate of 5% of the emails I receive are from people asking me how much they should charge for moonlighting work, I am comfortable claiming that most people don’t actually know what to charge.

Another consideration for those considering moonlighting work is to take a look at your client. Are they hiring you because they are your neighbor or your Aunt? Or are they hiring you to moonlight the project because they are looking for a lower cost provider? The latter will always make the worst client because they obviously don’t place a lot of value on your time or the services you provide. They might not have the financial resources suitable for the services they need (which essentially puts you at risk for not receiving what meager fees you are probably charging) otherwise, they would probably go a more traditional route of getting architectural services.

Okay … I might be wrong in that last paragraph. It is completely possible that the people asking for you to help them with a little moonlighting work are looking for some help and simply can’t afford to go a more traditional route by hiring a full-services architectural firm, but they actually do value the services you can provide. As a moonlighter, you might offer all the possible advantages of a full-service firm, but without the overhead of a more traditionally structured firm, and as a result, can charge a reduced amount for your service.

But do these clients realize that they will be receiving a reduced amount of your abilities? Let’s be honest, you can’t work on their project during regular business hours, the time during the day when you are supposed to be working on your “real” job. So you come home at night and start working on job #2 for the day. It is unlikely that you’ll be in top form and even more unlikely that the project will progress at the speed that it probably should. I suppose there are some trade-offs that the client would accept knowing that this is your working situation, although I can tell you that most clients seem to forget that you are moonlighting their job when push comes to shove, and they’ve grown tired of you trying to live your life while they are impatiently waiting on their addition/renovation drawings.

I personally don’t have any experience with that last paragraph, but I can look at the articles I write for this blog and tell you which ones have my attention and which ones don’t … which is the main reason I don’t charge people to read them.

You should also be aware that while architecture firms can’t technically be held for work that employees do on their own time, as with all legal matters, there’s the written policy and then there are the nuanced interpretations. If the work you plan on moonlighting is similar to the work you perform where you work, the work may be construed by the client (and the client’s attorney) as being produced under the supervision of the firm, thereby exposing your firm to liability by association for any of your negligent acts. If you use firm resources, like copiers, Fax’s, CAD equipment, advice from office peers, if you are in a decision-making position at your firm, and the firm doesn’t have a policy against moonlighting, your firm’s tacit approval of the use of these resources suggests that the firm benefits from and condones the moonlighting. With liability claims being what they are, principals at firms should think twice before allowing employees to use firm resources for any outside endeavors.

I can appreciate that anyone with the endurance to read this post might leave thinking I am bitter towards moonlighting, maybe because I took on one major moonlighting project in my youth and was completely hosed in the process. I do not encourage moonlighting in my office – they are busy enough with their real job and from what I know, we pay them what they’re worth (salary, provide insurance, healthcare, vision, dental, 401K, etc.). If they’ve got some spare time, we want them to volunteer and develop connections and obtain new skill sets that improve their value in the office. Finally, if someone in my office wants to work on a project for their Aunt or some friend of theirs, we let them bring it in, run point on the project, all while trying to protect them from making an unrecoverable mistake. However, if you work at a firm that specializes in tilt-wall warehouse buildings and you would like to tackle a different project type, I think the best course of action is to talk to your firm and let them know what you are trying to do. I can’t imagine that they would see this as a conflict of interest – who knows, maybe you’ll get the support that will allow you to put your best foot forward.

Moonlighting seems to be an inevitable rite of passage if you are an architect. My hope is that you are the architect that has positive results from the process, but 25 years of expeprience tells me that it isn’t going to work out the way you had hoped.

Best of luck,

Bob signature FAIA

This is the 28th entry in a series titled “ArchiTalks” and the topic was “Moonlighting”

When I started #ArchiTalks, I wanted people to discover that architects have different experiences, backgrounds, and objectives. Despite architects all getting lumped together with a handful of broad stereotypes, we are all onions … we have many layers and not all of them smell good.

If you would like to see how other architects from around the globe responded to today’s topic of “Moonlighting” just follow the links below.

Lee Calisti, AIA – Think Architect (@LeeCalisti)
moonlighting more than an 80s sitcom

Jeff Echols – Architect Of The Internet (@Jeff_Echols)
The Ironic Blasphemy of Moonlighting and what Architects are Missing Out On

Lora Teagarden – L² Design, LLC (@L2DesignLLC)
Moon(lighting) changes with the seasons

Collier Ward – One More Story (@BuildingContent)

Jeremiah Russell, AIA – ROGUE Architecture (@rogue_architect)
hustle and grind: #architalks

Michael Riscica AIA – Young Architect (@YoungArchitxPDX)
Moonlighting for Young Architects

Stephen Ramos – BUILDINGS ARE COOL (@BuildingsRCool)
Architects do it All Night Long

Brian Paletz – The Emerging Architect (@bpaletz)
Starlight, moonlight – tick tock

Jeffrey Pelletier – Board & Vellum (@boardandvellum)
Is Moonlighting Worth It? Probably Not, But We All Try.

Kyu Young Kim – J&K Atelier (@sokokyu)
Dancing in the Moonlight

Keith Palma – Architect’s Trace (@cogitatedesign)
The Howling

Jim Mehaffey – Yeoman Architect (@jamesmehaffey)
Moonlighting: or Why I Kept My Dayjob.

Tim Ung – Journey of an Architect (@timothy_ung)
An Alternative to Moonlighting as a Young Architect

Mark Stephens (@architectmark)
Architalks 28 Moonlighting

Gabriela Baierle-Atwood (@gabrielabaierle)
On Moonlighting

Ilaria Marani – Creative Aptitude (@creaptitude)
There is no moolighting. It’s a jungle!

Jane Vorbrodt – Kuno Architecture (@janevorbrodt)
Crafted Moonlighting

Registration – 2018 Skyscraper Competition

10 July, 2017 - 23:12

2018-logo 150w, 300w, 768w" sizes="(max-width: 600px) 100vw, 600px" />

eVolo Magazine is pleased to invite architects, students, engineers, designers, and artists from around the globe to take part in the 2018 Skyscraper Competition. Established in 2006, the annual Skyscraper Competition is one of the world’s most prestigious awards for high-rise architecture. It recognizes outstanding ideas that redefine skyscraper design through the implementation of novel technologies, materials, programs, aesthetics, and spatial organizations along with studies on globalization, flexibility, adaptability, and the digital revolution. It is a forum that examines the relationship between the skyscraper and the natural world, the skyscraper and the community, and the skyscraper and the city.

The participants should take into consideration the advances in technology, the exploration of sustainable systems, and the establishment of new urban and architectural methods to solve economic, social, and cultural problems of the contemporary city including the scarcity of natural resources and infrastructure and the exponential increase of inhabitants, pollution, economic division, and unplanned urban sprawl.

The competition is an investigation on the public and private space and the role of the individual and the collective in the creation of a dynamic and adaptive vertical community. It is also a response to the exploration and adaptation of new habitats and territories based on a dynamic equilibrium between man and nature – a new kind of responsive and adaptive design capable of intelligent growth through the self-regulation of its own systems.

There are no restrictions in regards to site, program or size. The objective is to provide maximum freedom to the participants to engage the project without constraints in the most creative way. What is a skyscraper in the 21st century? What are the historical, contextual, social, urban, and environmental responsibilities of these mega-structures?

eVolo Magazine is committed to continue stimulating the imagination of designers around the world – thinkers that initiate a new architectural discourse of economic, environmental, intellectual, and perceptual responsibility that could ultimately modify what we understand as a contemporary skyscraper, its impact on urban planning and on the improvement of our way of life.


Architects, students, engineers, and designers are invited to participate in the competition. We encourage you to have multidisciplinary teams.

  • Participants must register by January 23, 2018.
  • Early Registration: USD $95 until November 14, 2017.
  • Late Registration: USD $135 from November 15, 2017 to January 23, 2018.
  • One registration = One project
  • Participants may submit various projects, but must register each entry.
  • There is no limit as to the number of participants per team. Individual entries are accepted.
  • After your registration has been approved eVolo will send the registration number (within 24 hours), which will be necessary for submission boards.



  • July 10, 2017 – Competition announcement and registration opens.
  • November 14, 2017 – Early registration deadline
  • January 23, 2018 – Late registration deadline
  • February 6, 2018 – Project submission deadline (23:59 hours US Eastern Time)
  • April 10, 2018 – Winners’ announcement


This is a digital competition and no hardcopies are necessary. Entrants must submit their proposal no later than February 6, 2018 (23:59 hours US Eastern Time) via email to

The project submission must contain the following files:

  1. Two boards with the project information including plans, sections, and perspectives. Participants are encouraged to submit all the information they consider necessary to explain their proposal. These boards should be 24″(h) X 48″(w) in HORIZONTAL format. The resolution of the boards must be 150 dpi, RGB mode and saved as JPG files. The upper right corner of each board must contain the participation number. There should not be any marks or any other form of identification. The files must be named after the registration number followed by the board number. For example: 0101-1.jpg and 0101-2.jpg.
  2. A DOC file containing the project statement (600 words max). This file must be named after the registration number followed by the word “statement”. For example: 0101-statement.doc.
  3. A DOC file containing the entrants’ personal information, including name, profession, address, and email. This file must be named after the registration number followed by the word “info”. For example: 0101-info.doc.
    All the files must be placed in a ZIP folder named after your registration number. For example:


Vishaan Chakrabarti [principal PAU]
Moon Hoon [principal Moon Hoon]
Eric Höweler [principal Höweler + Yoon]
Chris Precht [principal PENDA]
James Ramsey [principal Raad Studio]
Dayong Sun [principal PENDA]


  1. This is an anonymous competition and the registration number is the only means of identification.
  2. The official language of the competition is English.
  3. The registration fee is non-refundable.
  4. Contacting the Jury is prohibited.
  5. eVolo Magazine, as the competition organizer, reserves the right to modify the competition schedule if deemed necessary.
  6. Entrants will be disqualified if any of the competition rules are not considered.
  7. Participation assumes acceptance of the regulations.


1st place – US $5000
2nd place – US $2000
3rd place – US $1000

Winners and special mentions will be published by eVolo and several international print publications. In addition, the results are covered by the most important online architecture and design publications and general media such as the Huffington Post and The Wall Street Journal.

Previous winners have been featured in the following print publications:

ABC Magazine – Czech Republic, About:Blank Magazine – Portugal, Aeroflot – Russia, Architect Builder – India, Architecture and Culture – South Korea, Architecture Design Art – Pakistan, Architektura Murator – Poland, AT Architecture Technique – China, Archiworld – South Korea, AWM – The Netherlands, Azure – Canada, B-1 – Thailand, Bauwelt – Germany, Blueprint – United Kingdom, BusinessWeek– USA, C3 – South Korea, CAAOH – Ukraine, Casamica – Italy, Casas y Mas – Mexico, Concept – South Korea, Courier Mail – Australia, Discover Magazine – USA, Donga – South Korea, Enlace – Mexico, Focus – Canada/Italy, Future Arquitecturas – Spain, Geolino Extra – Germany, Grazia Casa – Italy, Kijk – The Netherlands, L’Installatore Italiano – Italy, L’Arca – Italy, L’Uomo Vogue – Italy, La Razon – Spain, Le Courier de l’ Architecte – France, Le Fourquet – Mexico, Mark Magazine – The Netherlands, Maxim – USA, Mercedes Benz Magazine – Germany, Mladina – Slovenia, Modulo – Italy, Modulor – Switzerland, NAN – Spain, Natur + Kosmos – Germany, New Scientist – United Kingdom, Oculus – USA, Of Arch – Italy, Pasajes de Arquitectura – Spain, Peak Magazine – Singapore, Popular Mechanics – USA/Russia, Popular Science – USA, Puls Biznesu – Poland, Quo– China/Spain, Rogue Magazine – Philippines, RUM – Sweden, Salt Magazine – The Netherlands, Science et Vie – France, Sciences et Avenir– France, Shanghai Morning Post – China, Space – South Korea, Spade – Canada, Spazio Casa – Italy, Specifier Magazine – Australia, SMW Magazine – Taiwan, Stafette – Germany, Tall Buildings – Russia, Tatlin – Russia, The Broker – The Netherlands, The Outlook Magazine – China, The New York Times – USA, The Wall Street Journal – USA, Time Style and Design – USA, Travel and Leisure – USA, Vida Simples Magazine – Brazil, Vogue – Australia/USA, Vox Design – Poland, Wettbewerbe Aktuell – Germany, Wired – USA/Italy, Woongjin – South Korea, World Architecture – China


Who can participate in the competition?
Everyone is invited to participate, including students and professionals from any country worldwide.

Can we submit more than one entry?
Yes, but each project must be registered individually.

Can we submit printed boards?
No, this is a digital competition and all submissions must be in digital format as outlined in the competition brief.

Is there a specific height requirement for the skyscraper?
There is no specific height requirement.

Is there a specific program requirement?
No, participants have complete freedom to establish their own program, site and conceptual agenda.


Acclaim for the Reclaimed: 14 Cool Upcycled Architecture Projects

10 July, 2017 - 19:00
[ By SA Rogers in Architecture & Houses & Residential. ]

Going beyond simple stacks of shipping crates and ripped-apart pallets, these creative upcycled architecture projects reclaim stuff like corrugated iron, 5-gallon water bottles, old doors and even junk left over from the London Olympics as building materials and truly elevate them to new heights. These projects offer some fresh ideas, use the materials in new ways or demonstrate how recycled and upcycled architecture integrate into modern designs.

Stedsans in the Woods: Upcycled Permaculture Farm in Sweden

This permaculture farm and retreat nestled in the woods of southern Sweden will function as a “lab for discovering better ways to eat, live and connect with nature,” including a farm-to-table restaurant and a collection of beautiful treehouse-like cabins made of waste wood, fragments of old barns and glass from abandoned greenhouses.

Rising Moon Pavilion Made of Recycled Water Bottles

Reflecting itself into a perfect sphere on the surface of a still pool, ‘Rising Moon’ by Hong Kong-based studio Daydreamers Design is a geodesic dome fitted with 4,800 five-gallon polycarbonate water bottles, each acting as a lantern to help the structure glow. At night, they transmit light from inside out, while during the day, the interior is illuminated by the sun. LED torches are attached to pre-fabricated triangular modules with the bottles fitted over them, and an additional 2,300 bottles hang from the ceiling.

Parasitic Student Residences Made of Pallets for Paris

French architect and graffiti artist Stephane Malka proposes ‘Ame-Lot,’ a series of parasitic structures made of upcycled pallets and other reclaimed materials that attach to existing architecture. The pallets fold and unfold to let more light into the interior, and the structures can be constantly rearranged and added to as necessary for growth, becoming a visual meter of consumption in the city.

Collage House Made of Recycled Doors by S+PS Architects

Over a dozen reclaimed doors and windows salvaged from demolished houses in the city make up a highly unusual and creative collage-style facade for a Mumbai residence by S+PS Architects. This double-height curtain wall makes for some seriously striking curb appeal, and sets the tone for the living room as well. The architects also incorporated other found materials into the home, like metal pipe leftovers pieced together like bamboo to form a ‘pipe wall,’

K Valley House Clad in Reclaimed Iron by Herbst Architects

Rusted corrugated iron sheets resembling the sheds often seen in the New Zealand countryside contrast beautifully with the greenery of the Kauaeranga Valley in ‘K Valley House’ by Herbst Architects. “We positioned the form straddling the ridgeline, engaged with the slope at the high end and floating above the land as it falls away,” they say.

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A Hidden Gem in a Westport Forest

10 July, 2017 - 16:30
Over the weekend, with the help of a friend's car, I decided to take my wife and daughter to Grace Farms, the SANAA building in New Canaan, Connecticut, that I was able to visit (and write about) when it opened in 2015. But on the way there we first stopped to see Victor Lundy's First Unitarian Church in Westport, which I learned about the day before when a quick Google search for "modern Connecticut architecture" brought me to the Westport Historical Society. The image of the church on that page – like a viking ship moored in a forest – was enough to convince me to visit.
First Unitarian Church

In reality the building does not disappoint. But before reaching the peak of the roof nestled amongst the trees, as in the photo above, we had to walk from the parking lot past two classroom wings that extend in a "V" formation from the sanctuary space. From here, the building felt much like a resort, with its low-slung roof, stone walls, subtly curved glulam beams, and deep overhangs protecting the glass walls.
First Unitarian Church

The triangular outdoor space – combined with the peak of the roof rising in the distance – made it pretty clear where we needed to go.
First Unitarian Church

Once inside, the logic of the architecture is laid out clearly: the curved glulam beams progressively rising toward the peak; the glass walls framing the trees outside, and the gap between the two sides of the wooden roof bringing in light from above. This is, without a doubt, a sacred space, but one rooted in its place.
First Unitarian Church

Looking away from the pulpit, back toward the entrance, the gradual rise of the beams is more pronounced, as is the (lower) illuminated gap between the roofs.
First Unitarian Church

The roofs continue outside, beyond the vertical "zipper" of glass behind the pulpit. From here, looking up, the wooden underside changes to metal past the most upright of the glulam beams.
First Unitarian Church

On top of the roof are shingles – simple yet entirely suitable given the roof's parabolic form.
First Unitarian Church

Stepping stones set into the moss-covered ground lead from the walkways around the sanctuary to small burial plots (for cremated remains, I presume) that are set among the trees. Occasionally there is a bench – such as one for victims of September 11 – that is oriented back to the church to frame a view of its impressive roof.
First Unitarian Church

Heading back to the car we decided to walk along one of the walkways outside of the building, rather than back through the sanctuary. Glass doors that gave views into the sanctuary, like the one below, must serve to greater connect the congregation to its beautiful surroundings during services.
First Unitarian Church

This last view is looking along that walkway toward the peak of the roof.
First Unitarian Church

Lundy designed the church in 1959, won a P/A Award for it in 1960, and wrapped up construction on it in 1965. Perhaps because his output was so varied (witness this "inflatable" for the 1964 World's Fair), Lundy is not so as known as many of his contemporaries. As Mimi Zeiger put it in her 2008 Dwell story on Lundy, "Victor Victorious,": "What makes [his] low profile surprising, is that Lundy, as much as his distinguished colleagues, experimented with and redefined modernism in the sixties and seventies." The First Unitarian Church is but one example of this, and one worth visiting as much as Grace Farms, Philip Johnson's Glass House, and other better known works of modern architecture in Southwestern Connecticut.

Water You Can Eat: Edible Drink Bubbles Aim to Eliminate Plastic Bottle Waste

8 July, 2017 - 19:00
[ By WebUrbanist in Design & Products & Packaging. ]

So far so good: the creators of these edible water balls have begun deploying them at large-scale festivals, the kinds of places where hundreds of disposable plastic bottles are used and trashed. But while this type of innovation bodes well for the future of biodegradable design, there are still some flaws to be sorted out before it can begin to seriously tackle the big problem: 35 billion plastic water bottles tossed in the garbage every year.

Ooho!’s solution is pretty simple and ingenious: drop frozen balls of water (or other beverages) into a (thankfully) tasteless solution that forms a gelatinous layer around the outside. Once the ice melts, drinkers can pick up and pop a gulp, or if that seems too strange: puncture the membrane (which then biodegrades in weeks) and drink from it. Made of seaweed, the “container” layer can also be colored and flavored.

Between crowdfunders and other backers, they have a lot of funding behind them, and “the team at Skipping Rocks Lab—made up of chemists, engineers, designers and business advisors–are continuing to pioneer the use of seaweed in other packaging uses, with a mission to become the leading global producer of seaweed-based packaging.”

The whole process uses a lot less energy than normal bottles require, but does it serve to replace them? In pop-up settings, like festivals and sporting events, it could — especially if the machinery used to make them can be made mobile. But for ordinary everyday use the problem is trickier — the membranes are delicate and would pop if tossed into bags or pockets.

Still, the science is worth pursuing: the same method could be expanded to make more robust and larger frameworks (better analogs for ordinary bottles). And the technology could be improved to, made to create and dispense water balls on a more mobile and automatic basis in public-event settings (e.g. ball-vending machines). For now, it isn’t the invention to end plastic bottles some might hope, but it is a step in the right direction and — at least in limited contexts — makes for a sustainable drinking alternative.

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Defiant Democracy: Parthenon Replica Made of 100,000 Banned Books

7 July, 2017 - 19:03
[ By SA Rogers in Art & Installation & Sound. ]

Standing on the site where Nazis burned 2,000 books by Jewish and Marxist writers, this Parthenon is not made of marble, but of 100,000 books that have been or remain banned by various governmental entities around the world. The Parthenon of Books by Argentine artist Marta Minujin faithfully recreates the historic Athens landmark in Kassel, Germany with various editions of 170 banned books, all wrapped in plastic and donated by the public.

Why the Parthenon? Because Athens was one of the world’s first democracies and the Parthenon was built as a negotiation between the government and the Athenian public, with each element voted upon. Today, it stands as a potent symbol of democracy itself. Minujin aims to make a statement about censorship.

The titles include Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, the Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses, Cecily von Ziegesar’s Gossip Girl, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and George Orwell’s 1984. The books are wrapped around a metal frame like a shingled facade with their covers visible, proving that despite efforts to keep their contents from the public, they have endured.

The Parthenon of Books was erected as part of the Documenta 14 art festival, and maintains the same dimensions as the original. It’s also the second time Minujin has installed the piece; in 1983, she erected a similar installation of books to condemn censorship imposed by the military dictatorship after the falling of the junta in her home country of Argentina.

The artist will keep accepting copies of the banned books and adding them to the structure until Documenta ends on August 4th, and then the books will be distributed to anyone who wants them.

Photos by: Rosa Maria Ruehling, Ictanner, Alex Gorlin, ahoisparky, rachelmijaresfick

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Panda Power Plant: Shaped Solar Panel Array Forms China’s National Animal

6 July, 2017 - 19:00
[ By WebUrbanist in Drawing & Digital & Gadgets & Geekery & Technology. ]

The world’s largest solar power-producing nation is showing off its record-setting green energy production through an adorable new array shaped like a giant panda bear, the national animal of China.

This Panda Power Plant in Datong, China, is the brainchild of Panda Green Energy in partnership with the United Nations Development Program. And this first sections of this huge creature-shaped station mosaic have just been hooked up to the grid.

The plant also going to grow — currently at 50 megawatts, the installation will have a capacity of 100 MW upon completion. Over the next 25 years, the array is estimated to provide as much power as a million tons of coal and to reduce CO2 emissions by over 2.5 million tons.

The whole panda figure is part of the power production process: darker parts of the animal shape (like legs and arms) are made up of monocrystalline silicone solar cells — gray areas (face and torso) are thin-film solar cells.

An educational center alongside the Panda Power Plant aims to teach children about the advantages of solar power and other forms of sustainable energy. Meanwhile, more panda plants are in planning phases as well across China, and some may also end up outside the country.

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[ By WebUrbanist in Drawing & Digital & Gadgets & Geekery & Technology. ]

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