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
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.
Caught these images of Case Da Abitare magazine over at Things To Look At. Very nice!
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.
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.
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.
Linda Aldredge is a graphic designer and the creative mind behind LuLu Organics. Also, SHE LIVES IN A FACKING TREE FORT. This is so amazing I can’t even put it into words, the pictures will have to fill in the blanks. Judging by the interior shots I’m pretty sure I would have a hard time coping with the rather spartan accommodations. But, of course, living in a treehouse would probably more than make up for any lack of modern accouterments. The best part is that the whole thing cost like $12,000 or something and runs entirely on solar. I really love the modern design of the exterior; it looks like it belongs right where it is. The house — situated in upstate New York — was designed by Kursten Bracchi and built by her and some friends. The images above are from an InHabitat article about the house which delves a bit deeper into the whys and hows of the whole situation. There’s also an in-depth look at the build process at DominoMag.
Seeing stuff like this makes me realize I’m going to wake up one day when I’m 60 and realize I never really did anything all that adventurous in my life. Maybe on that day I will decide to go into the forest and build a tree house, but I seriously doubt it and I also doubt that solar panels could provide the 200 jigawatts required to power my studio, even in 2037. Of course, all of this is likely moot as by that time we will have been enslaved by some sort of robot overlords and/or the Illuminati or whatever. But not Linda Aldredge, she’ll still be kicking it in the woods all off-the-grid style with her solar panels and iPod like that old couple in Children of Men. What? Anyways, point is, it would be cool to live in a treehouse.
Just a few gems from the Modernism 101 collection. Modernists in the 50′s had it down and it’s images like these that remind me it wasn’t all garishness back then. Not everything had bubbles and fins and bulges; some people were hiding out in the woods quietly appreciating their straight lines and right angles. Unfortunately, most of them stayed in the midwestern United States. Out here in San Francisco, apparently they decided that the height of architecture was the victorian age so all we got is a bunch of ugly houses with 400 rooms in them and Mel’s Drive In.