Prjkt Dump continues to bring you the absolute best and brightest projects from the design sphere. Here are six absolutely kick ass projects that are completely articulated, fully thought out, brilliant and inspiring. Check them out, click the links, and incorporate them into your design vocabulary.
AFGH: Lake Rotsee Refuge
This project is iconic and surprisingly near what I would call perfection of an idea in architecture--meaning pushing a project's concept well beyond its initial stages and into the realm of 'exactly what you're hoping for'. Swiss firm AFGH Architekten built this observation tower for the three weeks each year Lake Rotsee becomes a Rowing Club fairground. During the off months, the tower is a solid, light timber block, floating [on concrete pilons] above the reflective surface of the lake, like a monolithic Kubrikean object hovering in space. In the active months, the tower opens up: panels fold up and away, shading the interior while providing sweeping views of the lake. This way the project has two forms, the solid sculptural object without program, and the open, populated apparatus for cultural spectacles. Check out the photos here, as well as on desigboom and archdaily. Definitely check out all the skilled projects on AFGH's website.
Trahan Architects: Louisiana State Museum + Sports Hall of Fame
Although when first glimpsed the images of this 28,000 sq ft project seems to be in the vein of Preston Scott Cohen's museums, Trahan Architects have created something that is really spectacular. This highly sculptural interior lacks any of the affectation-to-a-rendering that plagues many formal projects produced today. Instead of tactless white plaster or twisted sheeting, the interior of the LSMSHF is sheathed in pale stone and looks like it has been carved out of a white ashlar mountain. It's internal plasticity is balanced between a corporeal heaviness and a material lightness, helped by a gushing amount of natural light from skylights. (It invokes the image of Gaudí meditating upon sci-fi architecture or micro-images of bone marrow...or something.) In separate spaces, the stone gives way to beautiful lumber floors and walls that share the former's material presence in a striking, symbiotic relationship. The whole thing is contained in a shiny, simple box whose shallow surface weaves wood and glass to make an equally striking and misleading exterior that only hints at the spaces within. Check out more photos on designboom and on Trahan Architects' website.
Di Mainstone: The Human Harp
The Creators Project has produced a brief 4min documentary about this project that I think you should definitely check out. (video here.) Sound artist Di Mainstone, resident at Queen Mary University, is working with a team to produce an apparatus capable of directly translating human motion into sound. The apparatus is a chic body vest with "docks" for attaching sensors, which in turn attach chords to stationary objects. The sensors measure the length, tension, and direction of strings as the body moves. With the help of a couple data processing programs, the affects on the strings by bodily motion are translated into sound; bodily motion becomes translated into sound. The goal of Human Harp is to give a milestone performance on the Brooklyn Bridge after renovations are completed. Check out the project main page and be sure to watch the video. Dying to see this in action.
Flori Kryethi: TripTop
I found this fashion project on SuckerPunch and almost didn't include it here (as interesting as it looks) except that I really like the write up and want to share the idea with you guys. Read through the first two chunks of PoMo-Speak-Nothing and you get a project that is experimenting with clothing and the body in a perceptually existential way. Especially check out this fascinating paragraph: "When viewed from different angles, familiar features of skin like folds and surfaces deteriorate into an ambiguous whole in order to make one’s body foreign and thus more present to oneself and an observer. But this does not last long, so the idea of wearing the piece has to fluctuate between awareness and cognitive immateriality. Furthermore it was necessary that the whole piece adhere to the mass and silhouette of the body and achieve foreignness solely through fine detail." Not only is the project fascinating as an object, but its physical articulation has achieved a brilliantly argued level of ornamentation. Fabulous and gorgeous. Kryethi also seems to be a part of the collective EOTEVI, whose work is definitely worth checking out and keeping on your radar.
Tengbom Architects: Student Flat
In collaboration with a wood manufacturer and a real estate company (things that should be noted), Tengbom Archs have designed this 10 sq meter flat that puts the biggest smile on my face. Mostly the smile is because I can totally see some pissed off architecture students making a version of this project in their school's shop just so they wouldn't have to pay rent on an apartment they never have time to inhabit. The "student flat" uses prefab-able, laminated wood pieces and a masterfully thought out plan to concentrate all the spatial needs of a student on less than half of the required footprint. Materials also make the flat renewable and minimize their carbon footprint. I'm not 100% sure I'd want to live here during the ridiculous swedish winters, but I'm all for trying it out during the milder months. Look at the photos here, on MocoLoco and Contemporist, because the detailing and fitting together of the elements of this flat is absolutely articulate as well as low tech.
This pavilion excels in every way: the approach and design scheme, the fully metabolized inspiration from Sequoia trees, the aggregated assembly method, and projections of the project's lifetime. Echoviren is an assembly of 3D printed 10"x10" blocks with a micro-structure inspired by the redwoods, forming an enclosure that expresses those same cell structures in a tessellated, macro way. The enclosure tapers the higher it gets in order to keep the walls in compression and ensure their structural stability. Being plant-based, the material itself will slowly degrade throughout the next half-century, providing livable environments for insects. Overall I think it's a brilliant meditation on the redwoods, on the (pre-)history of the forest, and on the future of 3D printing as a legitimate construction method. Smith|Allen has interesting things to say about each of these points in their interview with Dezeen, so be sure to check that out.
So we're changing up the Prjkt Dump a little bit here at MAINPrjkt: instead of bringing you a dozen cool projects from the design sphere, we will be bringing you half a dozen ridiculous, stellar projects that represent the absolute best of the best, not only in terms of the finished product but also in process and intellectual merit. The legion of archi-news based blogs out there provide more design fodder than can be consumed in a single week. Here at M|P we strive to bring you only the most fascinating projects with the best content, and in a way where all of us can efficiently process that content. So less is more (thank you, Mies) is the mantra!
Check out our facebook feed for a slew of projects and articles that don't make it into the Dump but that are still wondrous and amazing and worth a look at! There is so much out there it's hard to keep track of it all, so let us sift out the better ones for you! (*crafty smile*)