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Happy Valentine's Day!

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On this Valentine’s Day, our creative friends at Arch Daily and Architectural Record have created fabulous galleries of architecture-inspired messages that convey the spirit of the holiday in design-friendly words and pictures. We’ve excerpted a few to share—enjoy!

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And for our part, we polled friends and colleagues about what architecture means to them…see how their responses shaped up here.

Five Weekend Diversions for Architects and Designers

If your summer days aren’t quite as lazy as you’d like, and taking a full-fledged vacation is not in the picture, don’t worry—we’ve compiled a short list of simple day-trip destinations that can refresh you just as much as a week on the beach. All of our suggested sites are homes and/or studios of artists, so you can tap into the creative vibe and further your own artistic interests during your visit—kind of a busman’s holiday.

 

manitoga russell wright

Manitoga

Garrison, New York

Overlooking a water-filled quarry in the Hudson River Highlands, mid-century designer Russell Wright created the interiors for his home and studio; David Leavitt was the architect for the house, which was built in 1960. Trails wind through the 75-acre woodland garden. A program of music performances and art installations continues throughout the summer; guided tours are offered May through November.

 

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Georgia O’Keeffe Home and Studio

Abiquiu, New Mexico

This adobe compound was in a ruined state when Georgia O’Keeffe’s first visited the property in 1945. After a four renovation, she moved into home and converted a stable into her studio; she lived there until 1984. About 50 miles from Santa Fe, the property is open for tours from March through November.

 

 

grant wood

Grant Wood Studio

Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Grant Wood painted American Gothic in this studio in 1930. Located on the second floor of a modest 19th century brick carriage house, he remodeled the raw loft, creating an unexpectedly interesting and space-efficient live/work home. The building is open for visits from April through December.

 

The Benton Carriage House

Thomas Hart Benton Home and Studio

Kansas City, Missouri

The humble-yet-heroic paintings and murals of Thomas Hart Benton offer a powerful look at American life in the 1930s, with the people and culture of the Midwest his most frequent subject. The artist worked in this studio for 35 years, until his death in 1975. The property is open from April through November.

Away From It All

July is the month when vacation season starts in earnest. Temperatures climb, work weeks shorten (if you’re lucky), and the beach beckons. We’ve rounded up some architecturally auspicious summer homes by the shore (perhaps you’ll recognize a few of them) where we’d be very happy to while away a few days.

 

1 arango_house_lautner

Designed by John Lautner in 1970, the Arango House still has an avant-garde appeal. Overlooking Acapulco Bay, its solid, swooping forms handily defy easy categorization.

 

2 Brighton Beach

A vivid bit of vernacular design, the photogenic “beach boxes” of Australia’s Brighton Beach are an architectural inheritance of sorts, passed from one generation to the next. When one of these colorful cabanas does come on the market, the asking price—around $200,000 AUD—belies its size.

 

3 cooper_hse_gwathmey_siegel_architecture_hausman

Photograph by Bill Maris

An instant icon when it was built on Cape Cod in 1968, the Cooper House by Gwathmey-Siegel featured a peace-keeping program: the childrens’ bedrooms were separated from the parents’ master suite.

 

4 f2architecture.com.au 1

Photograph by Matt Lord

Clever photography and superlative engineering imbue this home, the Pole House Fairhaven by f2 Architecture, with the illusion of floating over the Australian coast.

 

5 garves_malibu_architecture_hausman

Post-modernism is having something of a moment, now, so we’re including this Malibu beach house by Michael Graves on our list of seaside retreats.

 

7 vault_hse_johnston_marklee_architecture_hausman

North of LA in Oxnard, the Vault House overlooks the Pacific. Architects Johnston Marklee designed the geometric exploration in 2013.

 

8 Norton Gehry Architecture Hausman

Frank Gehry‘s Norton House has been a landmark on the Venice, California boardwalk since 1984. The “lifeguard tower” structure, inspired by the homeowner’s erstwhile summer job, is used as a writer’s studio.

 

9 jeffreydungan_alys bch_architecture_hausman

Moorish meets Moderne in this spirited stylistic hybrid. In Alys Beach, not far from the epicenter of New Urbanism, Seaside, Florida, it’s designed by Jeffrey Dungan Architects.

 

10 mackay lyons two hulls architecture hausman

Reaching out over the waters of Canada, the Two Hulls House illustrates MacKay-Lyons-Sweetapple Architects’ continuing interest in pared-down forms set in a primordial landscape.

 

11 meier_malibu_architecture_hausman

At this Malibu residence, Richard Meier forgoes his traditional white facade in favor of a slatted screen of wood. How very Cali.

 

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The harbinger of a Bay Area regional style, Condominium 1 at The Sea Ranch was not initially well received by its developers, who sent a terse telegram—”Stop work. It looks like a prison.”—to architects Charles Moore, Donlyn Lyndon, Bill Turnbull, and Richard Whitaker in 1965.

Sneak Peaks

hill harbor

We wrap up our month-long look at nature and architecture with a look at one of the newest public parks in New York City. Designed by West 8 landscape architects, the Hills on Governors Island are scheduled to open on July 19—but we’ve got a secret to share with you. Over the course of Memorial Day weekend, free hardhat tours of the Hills will be offered. Hour-long tours will depart from Liggett Arch at 11am, 1pm, and 3pm on Saturday and Sunday. Leslie Koch, president of the Trust for Governors Island, will lead the 11am and 1pm tours both days. Hardhats and vests will be provided, and closed-toe shoes are required.

governors-island-hills

Governors-Island-Park-The-Hills

The ten-acre site features four hills, built of recycled construction materials and fill. Grassy Hill is a 25-foot-high slope overlooking the island’s new and historic landscapes, as well as the Manhattan skyline. Slide Hill, rising up 40 feet, is home of four twisting slides, including the longest one in New York City. Rachel Whitehead’s Cabin has been installed on Discovery Hill, another 40-foot mound. Overlook Hill provides both fully-accessible paths and a granite-block scramble to its 70-foot summit, where panoramic views of harbor and city can be enjoyed.

Architecture in Bloom

In an extension—logical or otherwise—of last week’s post on green architecture, today we’re taking a look at buildings that cite nature as a design influence, as well as at a few structures whose purpose is to provide shelter for collections of exotic fauna.

 

safdie2 lotus

An abstracted lotus blossom gives form to the ArtScience Musuem in Singapore by Moishe Safdie.

 

studio505-lotus bldg

At the other end of the design spectrum, 505 Studio‘s Lotus Building in Wujin, China offers a slightly more representational visage.

 

lotus-temple-delhi

Built in 1986 in New Dehli, the Lotus Temple by Fariborz Sahba conforms to the Bahá’í precept requiring religious structures to have a plan based on a nine-pointed star.

 

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Turning from architectural metaphors to buildings actually designed for botanicals, we have the Howard P. Rawlings Conservatory in Baltimore. Opened in 1888, it’s the second oldest glass-and-steel-framed structure still in use in the US.

 

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On the grounds of Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, Franz Segenschmid designed the Palm House in 1882. The glazing was largely destroyed during World War II; following five years of reconstruction, the building reopened in 1953.

 

jewelbox st louis

A curious bit of Art Deco in St. Louis, MO, the Jewel Box greenhouse was designed by city engineer William C.E. Becker. Built in 1936, the project was largely funded by the WPA. A 2002 renovation included new HVAC systems.

 

adelaide-botanic-gardens-rainforest-house

In Adelaide, Australia, the Bicentennial Conservatory was designed by Guy Maron in 1988. The curved structural steel and the aluminum-framed glazing units were prefabricated, then assembled on site.

Going for the Green

The showers of April have continued—all too vigorously, for some tastes—into May. While this soggy state of affairs can dampen the human spirit, it’s great weather for green architecture. Here’s a mix of built and conceptual projects that we find particularly uplifting on rainy spring days.

 

henning larsen moesgaard

The Moesgaard Museum by Henning Larsen Architects features a green roof that insulates the interior while shielding objects on display from direct sunlight.

 

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A cell-like construction system is at the heart of the Re-Generator Skyscraper, a proposal by Gabriel Munoz Moreno to revive the wetlands of Hangzhou, China.

 

Prudential-green-wall-w-architecture

W Architecture and Landscape Architecture created a 32-foot by 55-foot green wall at the Prudential headquarters in Newark, New Jersey.

 

stadel museum

A green grid of circular skylights at the Stadel Museum in Frankfurt, Germany forms the “roof” of the underground expansion of the galleries, designed by Schneider + Schumacher.

 

espace bienvenue

Environmental scientists at Espace Bienvenue enjoy the view of a rooftop garden designed by Jean-Philippe Pargade.

 

olfen-bureau-baubotanik

Baubotanik utilizes living plants as the load-bearing systems in small constructions such as pavilions, towers, and walls. For architects accustomed to wielding complete control over a project, the serendipity of working with natural forces could be a bit challenging.

 

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Developed by Arup, a proposal for the eco-city of Wanzhuang, China explores a situating a cluster of villages around a shared town center as a solution for the country’s urban-rural gap.

 

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To mark the upcoming 50th anniversary of Expo 67 and Buckminster Fuller’s Biosphere, Studio Dror envisions a companion dome, netted with vegetation, on Montreal’s St. Helen’s Island.

Fun Haus - Haunted Haus Tour

We’ve reached the end of October and it’s time again for costume parties, scary movies, and, our favorite, haunted “Haus”-es! We’ve scanned the globe to locate the coolest and creepiest abodes. As a primer for this post, read this excellent New York Times article on the subject by Patricia Leigh Brown published back in 1987.

It’s no trick, we’re treating you to a ghoulish gallery of quirky, spooky, and funky paranormal pads and macabre mansions.  Enjoy!

The 1924 Ennis House, designed by Frank Lloyd Write, is shown in the Hollywood Hills in Los Angeles, Friday, June 19, 2009. The badly damaged house that offers breathtaking views of the Hollywood Hills and has appeared in several movies is being sold for $15 million. (AP Photo/Philip Scott Andrews)

The 1924 Ennis House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, is shown in the Hollywood Hills in Los Angeles, Friday, June 19, 2009. (AP Photo/Philip Scott Andrews)

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Ennis House has been a popular film set for various movies from the 1959 House on Haunted Hill starring Vincent Price to the sci-fi classic Blade Runner.

Winchester House

The Winchester Mystery House is one our favorites due to its multiple doors and stairs that go nowhere, windows overlooking other rooms, and stairs with odd-sized risers.  Apparently the house’s “designers” were out of this world!  Allegedly, Sarah Winchester held nightly séances to ask the spirit world to help her design a house that would protect her from “bad” spirits.

accordian-house-2

We love The Dragspelhuset Accordion House from Sweden. It reminds us of a goblin’s cottage and is called the accordion house because it has an expandable room that can extend out over the adjacent pond.
The_Overlook_HotelWho can forget these famous haunted houses from the movies? We’ll concede that in the context of the story, the Overlook Hotel from The Shining counts as a single family residence…

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This abandoned house in Wales, UK, known as the “Cloud House” by locals.  Its inhabitants disappeared without a trace and left all of their belongings behind…

Dakota

And if you’re in the market for a Devilish dwelling check out these real-life haunted residences up for sale…We’ll take John Lennon’s old apartment in the Dakota Building here in Manhattan!  Wait.  That’s not the Rosemary’s Baby apartment is it?

If you’re wondering how to design a frightfully delightful haunted house experience, check out this article on FastCoDesign.

Have a safe and happy Halloween!

FunHaus: A New Way to (Re)View the New Whitney

Whitney 6.30.15

This post is the first in our new series “FunHaus” where we explore the people, places, and things we love.  Enter the FunHaus! 

“A new standard for online journalism,” commented Bencharif on the The New York Timesreview of the new Whitney Museum.

We couldn’t agree more. The review, if that’s still the right word for it, was a collaboration between writer Michael Kimmelman, a team of graphic artists, and the architect Renzo Piano – produced entirely without photography of the new museum. The goal was to “create a seamless experience that would leave readers with a greater understanding of the building than could be achieved in a more traditional story form,” wrote Graham Roberts, one of the graphic artists. Mission accomplished.

Architecture lends itself marvelously to video. It’s a visual medium, obviously, but also a kinetic one. Time is one of its components: buildings are designed to be moved through (see our recent post on architecture as experience by guest blogger and architectural historian, John Kriskiewicz). Designers looking to get their work published, even without photography, should consider creating similar fly-throughs with their existing 3-D models.

Kimmelman’s words are punctuated by several kinetic experiences. The reader/viewer passes through walls, zips backwards along an interior corridor, zooms in and out. The videos move fast, but one of the lovelier moments is a lingering slideshow of historic images of the uptown building.

No buttons to press, no links to follow; the experience is automatic. This curated approach is not to everyone’s taste. M Hagood in Brooklyn said, “I am giving up, because the design keeps hijacking my page and sending me off on a visual roller coaster. Look, I like design. I teach design. This is just a pain in the behind.” Overall, however, the reception was enthusiastic. Richard in Denver gets the last word: “The best review overall in decades.”

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