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Wonder Wednesday

December 13, 2017

Sunset art, art at sunset, art on an island at sunset, Naoshima wonder sunset art extravaganza!

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Philosophy Tuesday

December 12, 2017

A work of art

is not a living thing

that walks or runs.

But the making of the life,

that which gives you a reaction;

to somebody’s the wonder of man’s fingers,

to somebody’s the wonder of the mind,

to somebody’s the wonder of technique,

and to some it is how real it is,

to some how transcendent it is.

 

Like the 5th Symphony;

it presents itself with a feeling,

that you know it if you heard it once, and you’ll look for it;

though you know it, you must hear it again,

though you know it, you must hear it again.

– Louis I. Kahn

 

(An excerpt from the movie My Architect, which is a fine documentary worth seeing.)

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Architecture Monday

December 11, 2017

OK, there wasn’t any way I wasn’t going to talk more about Ando’s Church of the Light.  There’s a reason this is one of Ando’s most known buildings.  For one, it was early in his career.  For two, it was done on a very tight budget.*  And for three, it’s such a crazy simple design.  And yet, there’s something about it that is way more powerful than the apparent sum of its parts.

Every little move of that simple design adds to the overall working and feel of the space.  Even something as simple as the joint in the concrete traverses continually all around the entirety of the space, and how the window mullion and the base of the cross all align on that same joint.  It both breaks down the scale of the space while also unifying everything into a whole, drawing your eye down to the apse and the luminous cross.

The angled wall that bisects part of the nave not only provides a functional need of creating a weather break, it also creates a circuitous path that is hidden from the inside, separating the mundane from the sacred.  More crucially, the way it narrows the volume in an offset manner brings yet more motion and expansion to the space that a pure rectangular form wouldn’t.  The wall also hovers below and allows light to wash along the ceiling, creating a hovering effect that seems to lift the ceiling even higher.

All the geometries then play together to create washes of light that change throughout the day.

One thing that was striking to see in person was how tightly packed the church is within its urban site.  The design was as much a response to the physical constraints as it was to the resources of the congregation.  And it masterfully navigated both.

Much less often shown in pictures is the later additions Ando designed for the church, which includes a courtyard, an entry canopy, and a side chapel/classroom/administrative hall/community gathering spot.  He employs much of the same language, including the amazing slippage of concrete and light.  Unique compared to the main church, however, is the rich use of wood.  (I especially enjoy the cross hung from the ubiquitous formwork tie holes.)

Marvelous work, on so many levels.  There’s little that can compare to being there in person;  feeling space around you is a multi-sensory affair which depends greatly on peripheral vision.  However!  There is the next best thing for now… 360 VR.  Click the images below to go to 360 degree views of both the main church and the side chapel.  And if you have Google Cardboard or similar, these should be viewable there for the full VR experience!

* So much so that midway through construction he thought he was going to have to redesign it to not have a roof!  The construction company however, sensing that this had the makings of something wonderful, chose to donate and complete the work.

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Pun Friday

December 9, 2017

I thought I had more fruit left… but apearently not.

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Wonder Wednesday

December 6, 2017

How about a bit of giant mecha action… at 1:1 scale?

How about some giant mecha action… in 360 VR?  Point your browsers this way for a 360 photo:  https://photos.app.goo.gl/C902YXe07l9NxBZK2

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Philosophy Tuesday

December 5, 2017

Someone else’s troubles| does not invalidate your troubles

Someone else’s pain | does not invalidate your pain

Someone else’s struggle | does not invalidate your struggle

Someone else’s joy | does not invalidate your joy

Someone else’s success | does not invalidate your success

Someone else’s peace | does not invalidate your peace

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Architecture Monday

December 4, 2017

One of the joys of visiting new places is all the interesting and nice buildings you run in to just wandering around.  They weren’t on the itinerary, and you didn’t see them in a magazine, but there they are, good, solid, everyday, wonderful architecture.  My Japan trip was no exception.  Here are a few (where I remembered to take pictures) of the buildings that caught my eye and design sense.

I like the muscularity of this building, using rusted steel and the prominent shutters to strongly frame its all glass-face.  Likewise, the big block look of the green annex is a beefy buttress that gives the impression it’ll be there for a long time.

A bit hard to see in the photo, but there’s what appears to be an old brick building that’s been encapsulated within this glass box.  I’m choosing to believe it’s an actual old building, for it tickles my adaptive reuse desires…  Either way, though, I always love exposed rough brick within a building, while the glass box itself could be much more elegantly and subtly detailed, the contrast between the heavily textured brick and the smooth box that surrounds it is nice.

This is one way to make a splash with your facade!  I don’t know if the wood supports the building – I hope so, for if it was just a surface treatment that would be much less exciting – but this is still fun and the little roof garden sells it.

The woodwork is what caught my eye of what I figure is a house.  You’ve got this thick regularity of the wood “logs” (kind of like long pieces of LEGO), the interlocking corners of traditional wood joinery, and by removing sections of the wood logs you have this regular interweaving of window and wall.  Nicely done.

A church hiding out behind a few other buildings.  Straightforward and evocative.

This daycare is wonderful on many levels, and that is a pun intended, for it’s got both a rooftop play area as well as a sheltered play area under the building at the ground plane.  With space at such a premium in many Japanese cities, these kind of gardens in the sky (or sheltered by the building) are quite necessary.  A nice, well-put together design, done on a modest budget and using the playfulness of the multi-windows coupled with a nice sense of proportion to create a good looking building that meets the needs of the kids within.

A multi-use building, two levels of office and retail topped by two levels of residential.  I like the mix of elements;  though the basic footprint is the same, the squaring off of the apartments at the corner lets you know there’s something different going on there, and I also like how the commercial levels are bookended by the solid wood siding punctuated by the tall, vertical windows.  What may not be obvious in the photo is that the broad middle band is actually foldable wood shutters, creating a little play of depth and shadow between them and the windows beyond.

A playful pavilion of sorts near the main train station in Osaka.  The combo of curves and the straight beams forming a parabaloid makes for a sculptural combination.

A fire station with a simple move of a screen wall formed by vertical bars and with planting on the lower level that matches the height of the doorway to the fire hall.  Just works.

Lastly, one kinda crazyinteresting building.  It’s a tower, with a funky shaped cutout.  But inside that cutout?  That’s a climbing wall.  On a rail.  So it can rise.  Presumably while you climb it.  That I’d want to see in action…