Architecture Monday

This is a fun little take on the ‘typical’ shipping container house.  By slicing some of the containers along the diagonal (like they were the target of some giant’s sword practice) before stacking them the house gains a strong geometric form that rises from the ground and strikes out towards the sky.

As a bonus, this sculptural move also creates a series of open air decks and patios, giving every level of the house its own garden (or pool!) along with plenty of light, all culminating in a roof deck that overlooks the surrounding neighborhood.  On the flipside, the rising form also allows for a subterranean garage which further allows the property to be free for living space.

What I really appreciate in the house are all the little bits that take advantage of the shipping container as a module and as a material:  The slit windows that fit between the corrugations and create dramatic lighting patterns on the floor and ceiling.  The electrical outlets hiding within the container’s C-channel frames.  The brightly painted sleeping pods nestled within the perfect with of a container module.  And how the parking cut on the underside is leveraged to create raked seating for a home theatre.

But the house goes beyond being just cute and inventive, it’s got a great feel to it with plenty of light and texture, especially from the wood floors and ceilings (which also appear to be from recycled materials).  I like it lots, great stuff.

Carroll House by LOT-EK

Wonder Wednesday

There is a new full-length documentary out on Halyx, the “space rock band” that Disney created for Tomorrowland in 1981, and it is amazing (both the band and the documentary):

If you want more, the user Bangoe has been posting on his channel recordings of the band’s performance that he himself recorded as a guest at Disneyland in 1981.

And for those of you who are not familiar with Defunctland, the Youtube channel who made this, the above is only the tip of the iceberg of the great videos they make not only about old and removed rides and attractions (the ‘defunct’ part of their name), but also deep dives into Disney and general theme park history, old children’s TV shows, an incredible multi-part series on the life and art of Jim Henson, and more.  If any of that piques your interest, I highly, highly recommend a subscribe!

Architecture Monday

Oh wow.  Clearly there’s some great photography going on here – waiting for a mist-filled valley morning is perfect! – but there is a lot of beauty to find here in this exhibition building comprised of two pavilions angling towards each other, one transparent and light, the other opaque and heavy.

Together they are an expressive pair, borrowing from the cultural language without becoming a copy of form or straying too far to become a mocking bit of press-on-pastiche (albeit the entry door portico really straddles that line).  Surrounded by both a large reflecting pool and gardens, it manages to remain tranquil and grounded despite its big and bold forms.

Very cool.  A great and appropriate use of expressive abstraction coupled with some refined details (like the sunshade fins on the glass building) and some very nice play of space and feel between the two building wings all make for a winner.  Good stuff.

The Gaoligong Town Exhibition Center by Mingzheng Li

Philosophy Tuesday

Knowledge is great.*  And informational learning super useful.  It lets us do all sorts of really great things.  Without it we can’t tie our shoelaces, we can’t cook up a great meal, we can’t learn the rules of the road, we can’t invent smartphones, we can’t fly to the moon, and so on.  Great stuff, that.

But there are certain parts of our lives where knowledge makes absolutely no difference.

As in, knowing how to lose weight, and losing weight, are two totally different things.

Likewise, knowing that being nervous doesn’t help, and then not being nervous, are worlds apart.

Or knowing how to ride a bike, and being able to ride a bike, also are two completely separate.

And it doesn’t matter how much we learn about them.  All the diets and the physics and the methods and the theories and the techniques and the tricks and the nuts and bolts and yet… there is that gap.  The gap that – frustratingly – cannot be filled – though we may try and try and try – by gaining more knowledge.

And this becomes especially true in those areas of life that are the most meaningful to us and that dig into the really big questions like, “How can I open myself fully?”  “How can I feel comfortable in my own skin?”  “How can I be confident?”  “How can I love and be loved?”  “How can I be fulfilled?”  “How can I gain peace of mind?”  “Or just peace?  Detox from stress?  Freedom from worry?”  “How can I be present and happy and full of vitality?”

All of the areas of life that are truly important to us.  That really matter to us.

Here is where transformational learning comes in.  The realm of ontological philosophy that gets at the root operating system of what it means to be a human being, a deep inquiry into that “being” part of human being.  Rather than give more knowledge and ideas, this kind of learning gets out of the way what’s in the way of us being powerful with what we’ve already got, both in the realm of what we know** but, more importantly, in the realms that gain us access to answering those big and meaningful questions.

Mindfulness, philosophy, ontology, Socratic inquiry, they’re all pathways into transformational learning and all hugely important in being able to integrate every glorious thing that make up our human beingness, from our emotions to our logic to our feelings to our physicality to our creativity to our expressions to our very presence of being and the wonderful dance between all of those and all that surrounds us, day in, and day out.

It is the path of self-cultivation that can lead us to the clearest views, greatest performance, and the highest delights of living.

 

* And as a geek, knowing things forms a big part of my identity…

** Which is one of the unexpectedly exciting results about transformation, that not only is the daily experience of life so much grander but holy cow does performance shoot up immensely at the same time!  Instantly get way better in just about everything (and without having worked on it).   Crazy weird, but undeniably cool.

Architecture Monday

Another library tonight that forms a nice contrast from the museum of last week’s post.  Where the watch museum went for a delicate and unique form, this one takes its cues from its agrarian surroundings, exuding rugged beauty and muscle, though done with an equal eye to proportion and detail.

Using brick and concrete, the heavy frame with its open-gable roof rises from the terraced paddy fields that surround it.  The shell is treated almost like an independent structure, like a found building (with a tree nearly growing into it at one end!) into which are inserted the lighter and glass-faced interior spaces.

Inside the contrast continues, with wood and steel and glass playing off the coffered robustness of the frame.  Plenty of cutaways and punched windows lets the light in and allows for little details like the study nooks and the upper terrace to look back out to the fields all around.

I dig it.  A nice and textured solidity that settles into the fields around it coupled with an airy interior that has plenty of moments to delight.  Nicely done.

The Sichuan Fine Arts Institute Library of Huxi by Tanghua Architect & Associates

Wonder Wednesday

Oh how happy this Art Assignment makes me!

My favourite running joke for the past two decades has been to interject – in an absurd and usually non-sequitur way – “It’s made of meat.” And here we go! Books made out of meat. So perfect. I love it.

(Plus, the video has the great and completely understated line, “Meat is just like fingers.” The delight just keeps coming…)