RMIT building 8 by Edmond & Corrigan, 1993, a building that thinks it’s a city.
Building 8 is a multi level education exchange. It is a fragment of the University that nonetheless stands for the whole. It contains the University Library, an enlarged Student Union, the Faculty of the Constructed Environment (the Schools of Architecture, Interior Design, Landscape, Building, Planning & Policy, and a Centre for Design) and the Departments of Fashion and Mathematics.
The aim was to break down the dominant and seamless wall that RMIT presented on Swanston Street. The building’s front, side and rear elevations create a whole from fragments and a collage of design ‘ideas’. It presents itself to the city on its own terms.
The building engages the idea of uniting opposites. It demurs to Melbourne’s built past: memories of Walter Burley Griffin, the Manchester Unity, the Block Arcade, the Shrine et alia are fleetingly seen in its aesthetic.
It was described by a national architectural commentator as a building that `thinks it’s a city’. The building is widely recognised nationally as being distinctively Melbourne in character and idea. This strong sense of regional identity and pride is no small achievement in this ‘international’ era.
121231 - Benjamin Edwards’ work since the early 1990’s has explored what he calls “the architecture of suburbia” - the forms found in strip malls, fast-food joints, gas stations, motels and other familiar citadels of consumerism. Accompanying this architecture is what Edwards refers to as “the iconography of the roadway”, of artificial elements, commercial signs and highway symbols, juxtaposed with the natural scene or environment. In order to gather material for his work, Edwards has taken a number of cross-country road trips, searching out the “roadside life that almost exists in a separate channel.” Along the way, he takes photos with his digital camera and keeps detailed logs and diaries containing “location notes,” recording where he stops, where he stays, and what he buys. The digital photos are loaded into his computer. He subsequently selects various elements in the photos, isolates them, and reduces them to the basic geometry found in the subject. Once he makes his selections, he projects the design elements onto a canvas, incorporating as many as three hundred separate photos into a single painting. The result is a conflated composition, which becomes emblematic of what he refers to as the “American consumerist utopia.”
121229 - Do seating arrangements affect your political viewpoint? Here’s a short piece of work I did, originally for the Pews and Perches competition run by the RIBA, subsequently published in the zine RE. Click through for the piece
Drawing of Selinus, sacred precinct of Demeter Malophoros, 6th century BC. No gaps between built elements. ___
[Ancient] Greeks employed a uniform system in the disposition of buildings in space that was based on principles of human cognition. […] If we have hitherto failed to recognize that the urban layouts of the archaic, classic, and Hellenistic periods were organized on the basis of a precisely calculated system, it is because we are strongly influenced, consciously or unconsciously, by the rectangular system of coordinates (in which every point is established by its position on a plane in relation to two lines intersecting at right angles). This system was completely unknown to the ancient Greeks. Their layouts were not designed on a drawing board; each was developed on a site in an existing landscape, which was not subject to the laws of axial coordinates.
The discovery of the Ancient Greek System of Architectural Spacing is a brilliant chapter of Constantinos Doxiadis’ PhD dissertation (originally published in 1937) on the system of polar coordinates used to place buildings in space. Prior to the rational Hippodamian grid (5th century BC), this conception was based on the human viewpoint, taking the entrance to a site as the reference from which all the optical perspectives would start from. As a result, the person is able to visually control all the constructions in a site from a single point. Gaps between buildings are meticulously choreographed and limited to a minimum, the elevation of one building immediately following its neighboring one. ___
120918 - Edilizia residenziale libera a torre, in Nuovo Portello, Milan by Cino Zucchi Architects, 2002. The forms at the top of the towers remind me a lot of the frame-like work that is happening at the moment, but here they are incorporated into another architectural language with mass. Very beautiful.
120806 - The clock tower in Chrisp Street Market on the Lansbury Estate, Poplar, by Frederick Gibberd. Gibberd described this clock tower as a “practical folly” which was an observation tower for the general public when it opened in 1951.
120803 - Bosco Verticale (Vertical Forest) by Stefano Boeri Architetti is well on its way to completion.
Bosco Verticale (Vertical Forest) is a project for metropolitan reforestation that contributes to the regeneration of the environment and urban biodiversity without the implication of expanding the city. Bosco Verticale is a model of vertical densification of nature within the city. It is a model that operates within the policies for reforestation and naturalization of large urban and metropolitan borders (Metrosbosco). Metrobosco and Bosco Verticale are devices for the environmental survival of contemporary European cities. Together they create two modes of building links between nature and city within the territory and within the cities of contemporary Europe.
The first example of a Bosco Verticale composed of two residential towers of 110 and 76 meters, which will be realised in the centre of Milan, on the edge of the Isola neighbourhood, and will host 900 trees (each measuring 3, 6 or 9 m tall) as well as a wide range of shrubs and floral plants.
On flat land, each Bosco Verticale equals an area equal to 10.000 sqm of forest. In terms of urban tree density the equivalent of an area of single family dwellings of nearly 50.000 sqm.
The Bosco Verticale is a system that optimizes, recuperates and produces energy. The Bosco Verticale aids in the creation of a microclimate and in filtering the dust particles contained in the urban environment. The diversity of the plants and their characteristics produce humidity, absorb CO2 and dust particles, producing oxygen and protect from radiation and acoustic pollution, improving the quality of living spaces and saving energy. Plant irrigation will be produced to great extent through the filtering and reuse of the grey water produced by the building. Additionally Aeolian and photovoltaic energy systems will contribute, together with the aforementioned microclimate to increase the degree of energy self sufficiency of the two towers. The management and maintenance of the Bosco Verticale’s vegetation will be centralised and entrusted to an agency with an office counter open to the public.