Archive for May, 2014


Extreme Craftsmanship Required

May 17, 2014


Corrugated Aluminum House in Sweden, published in Designboom, by förstberg arkitektur och formgivning. Follow the links to see the entire house.

What could be more relevant:  sleek modern design, industrial materials?   So why does our very  real everyday built environment not often share such an aesthetic?  When it does, why must it end up looking “home made” like the house in the photo below, as apposed to the polished mechanized version above?  And granted, my photo below is bad, but not bad enough to account for the difference

modern reno

The sign in front of the building says “Design Build Finance”

So why do the quality places seem only to appear in expensive trendy areas, hidden away in private retreats, alas on the pages of Dwell?  To start with, a close look at the house in Sweden reveals that is a a timber frame.  In the US the skill of cheap stick building has been refined to the level of excluding everything else.  Any other structural system ends up costing more.  But it is not just the structure that is different.  It is the quality of the finishes, which in the Swedish house are perfection; no distorted or warped trim, unfinished edges, mismatched windows, off the shelf garage doors, or unfinished wood there.  Not to mention the strangely proportioned design and very commercial need to install windows in the roof.

There is a lesson here.  Extreme craftsmanship is required if industrial materials are to be used successfully.  If funds and/or confidence are in short supply, then I say opt for tried and true methods and put your efforts into a superior design.  I know!!!  Why not hire and architect?




Praising the sum of the parts.

May 7, 2014

To see more photos check out the link here: India Art n Design – Home in the Wild

To see more photos check out the link here: India Art n Design – Home in the Wild

Since site cast concrete buildings can be engineered and built with primitive methods, hand labor and local materials, it is not surprising that social, economic and very real physical conditions have provided a home for Modern Architecture in virtually every tropical climate zone on the planet.  Also, mid century pioneering projects like Le Corbusier’s complex in Chandigarh, India;  Lucio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer’s  Brasília;  and Lou Kahn’s National Assembly Buildings in Bangladesh, had the far reaching effect of validating modernist efforts in tropical locations until today, when it might even appear, to those of us who live in the world of tortured steel, glass, plastic, engineered wood and stone building, that time has stood still.

In India the case could be made that this is doubly true because of the national tendency to decorate all things modern with temple motifs.  We are left with a sense of parallel worlds, existing side by side but somehow never quite assimilating.  It is occurs here, to the bungalow in the photos, with actually quite pleasing results.  Maybe it is time we stop expecting the whole to materialize, and be happy with the sum of the parts.