Tropolism Books: Density Projects


Title: Density Projects
Author: Aurora Fernández Per, Javier Arpa

Publication Date: 2007

Publisher: a+t ediciones

ISBN: 978-84-612-1335-1

Nothing brings us more joy than architectural books in the mold of those in a+t ediciones' Density Series. In Density Projects we have architectural book nirvana. The book's topic is tight: 36 projects (many of them being built) of multi-family housing, all of them recent. The layout is clear, with complete floorplans, site plans, urban situations, and verbal descriptions, all without sacrificing concept drawings and wow renderings. The book is bilingual (Spanish and English). The cross sample is primarily European and North American (although some important projects in Asia are shown, none are by Asian architects), but still incredibly diverse, with good work from architects famous and less-famous. The latest ideas in modern urban planning are presented, all balancing the concerns of environmental responsibility, great cityscapes (both additive and entirely new), and of course, great places to live.

But perhaps the greatest pleasure is that this tight (yet diverse) sample is put to good use. The authors chose to analyze them side-by-side: simple graphic analyzes of residential density, dwellings density, floor area ratios, and uses all set this book apart from most of its kind that travels across this desk. In short, they did some work, and the book was saved from being interesting-but-forgetful, instead being a useful resource for designers and theorists alike.

This book is available at Amazon.

Spaceship As House


If you are a regular reader, you know that we have an undying fetish for Star Wars inspired architecture. Sometimes its fascination with the overt references. Sometimes they're more implicit. Residence F. by the Frankfurt firm Meixner Schlute Wendt should be filed in the implicit category. With a metal second story that looks uncannily like a landing stealth bomber, the house seems to float above a landscape. The visage of the house as a vehicle of some sort, landing on a hill in a forest, is remarkably surreal.

Via Blue Ant Studio, our new favorite design blog.

Furniture Friday On Wednesday: 15 Architect-Designed Chairs


Oobject gives us this gem: "Five or so architects have produced much of the most famous modern furniture." They present 15 architect-designed chairs and ask us to vote on them. Of course, there are some glaring omissions, but to me the most interesting is the wacky lounge chairs by Oscar Niemeyer, found over at Wright20.

Temporary Tower In France Not Receiving Reported Temporary Addition


Only today do we discover that the Eiffel Tower is not receiving its grand absurd addition, as reported here on March 20, 2008. It was a hoax, or internet fed rumor, that the suggestion they won a competition to add to the tower was widely reported, as the spokesman for David Serero Architects claims. We regret the error. There is nothing we dislike more than renderings of projects that have no chance of being built.

Because this is the first time (we think!) this has happened to us, we followed our trail back. We saw it on io9, who saw it on Dwell, who in turn found it on Archinect, who found it on Bustler, who claims the architect claims they won the competition, but without further attribution. Their website, which we visited prior to posting our original entry, did state clearly "The project will extend the top floor plate of the tower by grafting a high performance carbon Kevlar structure on it." Because the conditional isn't being used, we took it to be a done deal, or at least a winner in an "open competition" mentioned on Bustler but nowhere else.

We speculate that the architects did some studies for the Eiffel Tower's guardians, and got carried away announcing some meeting minutes. The recent mia culpa on their website is too defensive to be purely a creation of the internet.

Stadium Seat Mosaics


In yet another study in the sublime scale of stadiums, StrangeHarvest gives us dozens of shots surveying the world of stadium seating. As mosaic. We're always a fan of obsessive catalogs.

Bioscleave House: Still Kooky


The New York Times does a glossy show for the Arakawa and Madelaine Gins house in East Hampton, now apparently ready for viewing. Online. When we first mentioned the Bioscleve House, over two years ago, we were of the opinion that the Site Of Reversible Destiny was the best testing ground of their ideas. After seeing more pictures of said house, we stand by our original opinion. As a house, it is the finest work Ettore Sottsass has ever produced, were it 1979.

Furniture Friday: MH005 Coffee Table


In the venerable tradition of naming your funiture designs with your initials and a number, Matthew Hilton gives us the MH005 Coffee Table. The profile reminds us of a lot of Latin American architecture, starting with Gio Ponti's Villa Planchart in Caracas. But this table is from Brazil, not Venezuela, and carries all the gorgeous hardwood craftsmanship any collector of modern furniture would expect from that country.

New Orleans Rebuilding: Lots Of Local Modern


Life Without Buildings does a rundown on this year's New Orleans AIA winners, four of which are modern architects doing significant projects in the region. After the blowup of the regional plan, and hte plethora of urban plans and space buildings from non-local whiz kids, we were afraid the reactionary pendulum would swing far, far away from modern design. But the local modern architects seem to have saved the day. Pictured is the temporary Rebuild Center at St. Joseph Church by Wayne Troyer Architects.

Two-Dozen List, Tropolism Editor's Edition 2008


Two Dozen List, Tropolism Editor's Edition, 2008. Subject to change. Click Continue Reading for Full Annotated Edition.

1. 40 Mercer: Jean Nouvel
2. 40 Bond Herzog & DeMeuron
3. 100 11th Avenue: Jean Nouvel
4. 524 West 19th Street, Metal Shutter Houses: Shigeru Ban
5. 515-517 West 23rd Street, HL23: Neil Denari
6. 366 West 15th Street, The Porter House at : SHoP (aka That Stripey-Light Building)
7. 165 Charles St: Richard Meier (aka Meier3)
8. Perry Street South and North Towers: Richard Meier (aka Meier1 and Meier 2)
9. 109 Norfolk Street, Switch Building: nArchitects
10. 385 West 12th Street: FLAnk
11. 290 Mulberry Street: SHoP
12. 184 Kent Avenue: Arquitectonica (aka The Illinois Institute of Technology)
13. One Kenmare Square: Richard Gluckman (aka Gluckman Wave)
14. 48 Bond: Deborah Burke
15. 15 Central Park West: Robert A.M. Stern
16. One York: Enrique Norton
17. 497 Greenwich Street: Winka Dubbeldam (aka Winka Wave)
18. 33 Vestry Street, V33: Winka Dubbeldam
19. 330 Spring Street, Urban Glass House: Phillip Johnson
20. West 11th Street, Julian Schnabel Palazzo Chupi
21. 166 Perry Street: Asymptote
22. Lower East Side, Blue: Bernard Tschumi (aka TschumiBlu)
23. Astor Place, Sculpture for Living: Charles Gwathmey
24. Highline 519: Lindy Roy

Notes On The Two Dozen List


In 2005 I fleshed out an idea I first proposed in 2004: that a slew of midsized residential buildings would be built, all designed by celebrity architects. And so the Two Dozen List was born.

The mid 2000's in New York City have seen a unique confluence of money, skyrocketing real estate prices, hyper-demand, and cheap credit. The competition between developers, combined with a rise in interest in architectural design by the general public, has led to the hiring of our beloved celebutantes as brand novelties to distinguish one development from another. The moment is now passing: credit is tight, leading to projects down the pipeline being shut off. While the competition for buyers will certainly continue, it is likely that high-priced talent, or at least the famous names, will not be invited to create design masterpieces quite as often.

The similar size, shape, and sites give us a unique opportunity to compare these talents, and ask some great questions. How powerful were these architects in the development process? How well did they redefine what is possible in this context? How many boundaries did they push? How did they approach, and solve, the great problems of the New York Skyscraper: the slab and the curtain wall?

I will post my personal version of this list this week. Tropolism will begin to review the projects on my list that have not been reviewed to date. In addition, guest writers will post their own lists, here and elsewhere. Finally, we invite you to submit your own entries for a reader's choice list, which will of course be published here. Enjoy!

Snee-osh Cabin


After seeing DIY houses by the dozen in all the architectural publications, it is easy to let them all kind of blur into one plywood-floored, artfully exposed CMU background.

Snapping us out of our ennui is the Snee-osh Cabin by Zero Plus Architects. With its minimially invasive structure and beautifully detailed wraparound glass, it's a prime example of the elegance one can get when you go that extra mile to marry a project to its site.

Via The Mid-Century Modernist.

Furniture Friday: Stingray Chair


Mid-Century Modern Interiors describes the Stingray Chair best:

It's derivative as hell, but that doesn't make it any less beautiful.