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Archive for the Architecture Category

Plastic Moon

Posted by Alex

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I’ve been spending most of my recent waking hours looking for an apartment in San Francisco. Most of what I see looks like it was built in 1900 (because it was) and is light years away from an architectural style I gravitate towards. I prefer styles like what you see above for Plastic Moon by Norisada Maeda Atlier. (Good luck finding this in SF.)

As weird and crazy as it looks, I think this is fantastic. Reminds me a little of the Micro Compact Home, though I don’t think you can pick up and move everything quite as easily. Sterile looking? Perhaps, but that’s what you get when you combine a living space, dental clinic, and a swimming pool all into one space. I bet I could get a lot of work done here if I switched out the dental clinic for a design firm. I would live in Plastic Moon instantly. And of course, a little resemblance to Jakub’s Moodgadget cube never hurts anybody.

via designboom

Michael Pollan’s Writing House

Posted by Scott

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Michael Pollan's Writing House
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Michael Pollan's Writing House


Author Michael Pollan (In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto and The Omnivore’s Dilemma) spoke at U.C. Berkeley’s Zellerbach Hall tonight. If you haven’t heard of his books, you may recognize him from the recent film Food, Inc. — which I highly recommended seeing.

In one of his books, A Place of My Own, Pollan describes how he personally, with no carpentry experience, built this small structure behind his house in Vermont. This whole thing might be ringing a bell if you read the Linda Aldredge post, but remember her tree house is a real, fully livable home, isolated in the woods, in a tree. She definitely wins the battle of priciple, but Pollan gets the honorable mention for pragmatism. Although how many people just happen to have an acre of woods in their backyard? Or happen to own an acre of raw forest for that matter… I think this is an east coast thing, the woods always look amazing out there.

This “writing house” — as he describes it — is a great concept and I am willing to bet it’s an incredibly productive environment. I often find that working in the same space as I live presents unique challenges to motivation and focus. This seems like a cost-effective alternative to having different addresses for your working and living spaces.

How many of you work primarily from home? Do you find there to be a conflict between convenience and distraction in the home work environment? Comment

1971 Entertainment Center

Posted by Jakub

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I had to scan this Home Entertainment Center out of a vintage magazine for you all, imagine just having that control panel to drool over and look at or it just being part of your interior architecture of your home. I love that there is soo much space used with beige panels, buttons, reels, and wall design, thats what makes a ton of the design in the past more admirable to me sometimes.

Philipp Schaerer

Posted by Alex

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Architectural imagery by Philipp Schaerer. I love the negative space created by the buildings in his Bildbauten series. As he describes on his site, the images are based on the photographic language, and “reflect a built, exaggerated reality.” I’m not sure the techniques used in the creation of the images, but I love the results. You can try and decode his description on his site.

Micro Compact Home

Posted by Scott

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ISO50 is back online after the server apparently took a much needed 24 hour nap, hope you didn’t miss us too much…

Anyways, before the outage I had planned on posting this amazing prefab home from architects Horden Cherry Lee. The “Micro Compact Home” is a joint Japanese/German project and it shows. You really can’t go wrong with that combination and you also can’t go wrong when your new home is delivered into the mountains by some Swiss helicopter. Awesome. Loving that antenna too, or is it a flag pole? Either way it makes the whole thing about 100 times better.

The Architecture of Happiness

Posted by Alex

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I purchased The Architecture of Happiness by Alain de Botton because I loved the cover. I think it was the colors that first caught my eye. I was also intrigued by the shadow and the shape it created; how it almost touches the statue in the most perfect way. The eye follows the line it creates, and it helps reinforce the hierarchy of the page really effectively. For whatever reason, and as the title indicates the book may elucidate, the whole design makes me happy every time I look at it.

Why this design makes me happy, and to a greater extent, why architecture of a certain aesthetic caliber appeals to us, is largely what this book explores. It is a must read for designers of all disciplines as it pursues the question at the core of what we do: Why make things look beautiful (what does “beautiful” even mean?) and not just purely functional? One of my favorite parts of the book describes the principles of some nineteenth century engineers that felt like they had determined the end-all criteria for evaluating structural design:

The engineers had landed on an apparently impregnable method of evaluating the wisdom of a design: they felt confidently able to declare that a structure was correct and honest in so far as it performed its mechanical functions efficiently; and false and immoral in so far as it was burdened with non-supporting pillars, decorative statures, frescos or carvings. Exchanging discussions of beauty for considerations of function promised to move architecture away from a morass or perplexing, insoluble disputes about aesthetics towards an uncontentious pursuit of technological truth, ensuring that it might henceforth be as peculiar to argue about the appearance of a building as it would be to argue about the answer to a simple algebraic equation.

As the rest of the book unfolds, Botton examines, as eloquently as he does above, the alternative to what these engineers proposed. Why it is that we strive to make things beautiful, and what qualities beautiful work possesses. The parallels between his chosen arena of architecture, and other realms of design, are easily drawn, and make it very worthwhile for interested minds in every field. My favorite paragraph is on page 72, and does a nice job bringing together a lot of what he discusses in the book:

In essence, what works of design and architecture talk to us about is the kind of life that would most appropriately unfold within and around them. They tell us of certain moods that they seek to encourage and sustain in their inhabitants. While keeping us warm and helping us in mechanical ways, they simultaneously hold out an invitation for us to be specific sorts of people. They speak of visions of happiness. [Buy on Amazon]

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On an unrelated Note: Peter, of Buchanan-Smith, wrote in to clarify the attribution information of a previous post on designer Josef Reyes. The work presented was produced by the studio Buchanan-Smith, where Reyes works as a designer, and the post has been updated to credit the work to the Buchanan-Smith studio. Definitely make sure to check out their site, they have a lot of great work.