Posts Tagged ‘community’

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Philosophy Tuesday

May 14, 2019

Often the most frustrating things

About a tragedy –

Whether one unfolding,

One yet to come,

Or one done and gone;

Whether personal,

Or of a nation,

Or of the planet;

Whether solid,

Or existential;

No matter the type –

Are the twin responses

Proffered by many:

 “It doesn’t/won’t make any difference to MY life”

Or

“It had nothing to do with me, it just happened.”

 

Indifference and lack of accountability

Are the two most destructive traits

Of humanity.

 

We have the capacity to care.

Empathy and responsibility

Are two of our most beautiful traits

When we choose to employ them.

 

It can be so easy,

Instinctual even,

To close our eyes and pretend

It’s not our problem,

And that things that affect others

Are somehow beneath our care.

 

Yet, we desire others to be there for us

When tragedy strikes.

Why do we try to have it both ways?

 

We are rapidly running out of time

On so many things.

And, really, little is truly

Independent from us.

It comes around to affect us eventually.

 

Now is the time

To engage our hearts,

Our empathy,

Our compassion,

And unleash our finest traits.

Before we are no more.

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Architecture Monday

March 25, 2019

Ah, I love this!  A new school in a remote village in Senegal, the Fass School uses local materials and know-how to beautiful effect, creating something unique and beautiful for the community.

Befitting the region, the design features lots of natural ventilation, white reflective walls, and a high ceiling to keep the space comfortable during the hot and bright days.  The tall roof also serves double duty to help channel rain to an existing underground aquafer when the driving rains arrive.  Add to all that that a generous courtyard and large porches.  It’s a wonderful example of form and function singing together, creating delightful spaces that enhance the learning within.

If this project looks a bit familiar, it is because it is by Toshiko Mori, who designed the Thread Cultural Center I posted about a few years ago.  Just like there, I love her continued exploration and use of the local forms and materials, the curving surfaces flowing together to create a unified whole, both in the school and the adjacent teacher’s house (and toilets!).

Really great work, providing a new hub and opportunity for a community, celebrating the culture, history, and creating something lovely well within the budget of a nonprofit.  Great design comes from the heart, not necessarily the wallet.

The Fass School by Toshiko Mori.

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Wonder Wednesday

March 6, 2019

Our beautiful home

With the new Dragon II spacecraft approaching

A new dawn

In more ways than one

“We can be united by a cause that’s not based on fear, threat or common enemy but rather on a bold endeavor, an insatiable curiosity to go beyond what is known and to do what has never been done. We Humans were built for Exploration.  And we were built to do it together.”

Photo and Quote by Anne McClain

(Who has a glorious and delightful series on her twitter feed giving a tour of the station to the little earth plush that arrived with the Dragon II… very cute!)

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Architecture Monday

February 18, 2019

I posted about the Sagrada Familia quite a few years ago (aside: it’s been four years?  Wow…) and every time I come across a picture of the nave it still floors me.  (Here’s a 360 interior shot that gives some sense of it – the interplay of all the elements in motion while walking would render it more magical still).  Still on my list of places to visit, though more and more I’m planning out in the future for when it is completed, if only because even the ancillary spaces are going to be something amazing.

Case in point:  A neighbor recently visited the cathedral and brought me a book that shows a picture of the “crossing room” – a room just above the main crossing of the nave and the apse, where the main tower is to rise, and it is, in a word, stunning.

The columns are continuation of the ones below, angled and formed to follow the structural forces without requiring exterior buttressing, creating these marvelous concentric rings of interplaying columns leading up to a whole gaggle of hyperboloids vaults that will be skylights… all punctuated by these angled and gem-like windows.  The floor itself is suspended by these columns, hovering over the vaults below, with raked steps perfect for both quiet contemplation or a choir or any number of things.  It is a thing of beauty, both spatially and structurally.

Here’s a 360 degree photo:

Even crazier is that the tower jutting above is going to be equally stunning in an entirely different way.  Where this room has columns enclosing an open centre, the tower will have a sculptural central element (housing a glass lift) sinuously rising to the tower’s full height surrounded by diamond windows and colourful tiling.

 

No photo yet – construction is just underway – but have a rendered video instead:

Just incredible.  The level of intricacy in both the work but also the number of rooms and spaces where you wouldn’t think there would be any, generated by following the conceptual underpinnings of the design to its fullest detail, all with the intent to create beauty over and over and over again.  Absolutely wondrous.

The Sagrada Familia by Antoni Gaudi and countless others who have carried on the work.

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Architecture Monday

January 28, 2019

If you’ve heard the term “glass pavilion” before, well, this certainly fits the bill.  Lots of glass and even mirrored glass makes this diamond-patterned box, along with its dramatic and likewise diamond-patterned roof that appears to float above it all, a striking object nestled into its wooded site.

The purpose of all this pizzazz is for a neighborhood library.  Once inside, the drama of the glazed exterior transitions to something much more sedate.  I love how the deep wood boxes that make up the diamond pattern becomes almost quilt-like as it envelops the stacks and reading areas.  And by pulling back the second floor in various places, these large atriums get created that let that mosaic strut its stuff, further enhanced by the luminous ceiling.

It’s all about the outer wall (and roof) here, and that’s alright.  With its nifty design there’s a lot of fun plays between light and shadow, transparency and solidity, outward views and inward texture.  As a temple for reading and community gathering, it’s suitably exciting without detracting from the quiet and comfy needs of the readers and gatherers.  Cool stuff.

The Francis A Gregory Library by Adjaye Associates.

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Architecture Monday

January 14, 2019

Sometimes, when you do well in school you get a gold star.  This particular school takes that notion in an almost literal way.

Shaped like a star, the layout of the school does a couple of cool things.  Each radiant point houses a grade levels or two, each sporting its own design character as well as age-appropriate sizing.  At the same time, grouping the shared and special functions by the centre creates the school unified and creates a strong communal point.  It at the same time allows for separate environments and scale that allow the students to relate to the building and feel safe within, while still allowing the school to be a unified whole through interactions and gatherings in the communal core.

And what a core!  The piece de resistance, the stair and open-air (and deconstructed) library and gallery seating and stage and who knows what else keeps the area alive and engaged with activity throughout the day while also being a powerful and ownable element in its own right.

The angled nature of each of the wings means that there’s no hallways per se; things are wide enough that the circulation can serve double duty as seminar and collaboration space.  And if that wasn’t enough, the place is littered with smaller rooms and nooks and all sorts of great spaces for students to gather and do work or just socialize.

Wait… is that… a nook with a literal PIT of LEGO?  (Well, I guess it is in Denmark)  Man… I love this school even more now.

As a bonus, check out those wicked and very fun conceptual drawings of the building!

Compared to many of the institutional and staid schools that abound, this is a design that aims to make an engaging and delightful place for the students and teachers who spend so many hours there.  Plus its design is geared towards natural ventilation, full of light, covered in solar panels, and aims outward towards playgrounds and parks and trails leading into the surrounding neighborhood.  Splendidly done.

Nordstjerneskolen (New City School) by Arkitema Architects

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Architecture Monday

December 10, 2018

This is an interesting one to me.  Firstly, no doubt, for its unabashed wedge shape of blackness, as though a geological form or some ancient monument emerging from the ground (made all the more striking in winter in stark contrast with the snow).  Secondly, for the fact that this striking form has been crafted with some of the humblest, and inexpensive, of materials.  Lastly, for it’s multifunctional use, intended to be a craft and studio space for audiovisual design and exhibitions.

To that purpose, the inside was purposefully left raw and unfussy, with plenty of open space to be used as a studio.  But it still possesses a few nice touches that keep it from being a drab bunker of nondescript offices.  That concrete stair core, with its careful assemblage of cut-away concrete walls, is certainly a worthy entry and centerpiece.

Multi-purpose, made for the community, and an expressive design that demonstrates that big budgets aren’t always needed for good buildings.  Nicely done.

The Cathedral by Petra Gipp Arkitektur