The Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas is considered one of the crowning examples of organic architecture, a philosophy credited to Frank Lloyd Wright that promotes a harmony between the natural world and human habitation. The non-denominational chapel was designed in 1980 by an apprentice of Wright’s, architect E. Fay Jones, who employed the use of steel and glass to create a weightless, almost translucent structure that offers sweeping views in all directions of the surrounding Ozark habitat. In keeping with the organic design of the chapel Fay asked that no construction element be larger than what two people could carry through the woods by hand.
Recently a power company has applied to build a 48-mile high voltage transmission line through Northwest Arkansas that will cut through the woods right next to the chapel, shattering the views and serenity offered by the extremely unique building that was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2000. For those interested, the Arkansas Public Service Commission is accepting comments from the public regarding the proposed power line construction. You can also read much more over on Hyperallergic.
Architect Moon Hoon recently designed the Panorama House (scroll down), in Chungcheongbuk-do, South Korea. One of the most unique features incorporated into the home is a wooden slide built directly into a library which also functions as a stair-stepped home theater seating area. Via the architect:
The basic request of upper and lower spatial organization and the shape of the site promted a long and tin house with fluctuating facade which would allow for more differentiated view. The key was coming up with a multi-functional space which is a large staircase, bookshelves, casual reading space, home cinema, slide and many more. The client was very pleased with the design, and the initial design was accepted and finalized almost instantly, only with minor adjustments. The kitchen and dining space is another important space where family gathers to bond. The TV was pushed away to a smaller living room. The attic is where the best view is possible, it is used as a play room for younger kids. The multi-use stair and slide space brings much active energy to the house, not only children, but also grown ups love the slide staircase. An action filled playful house for all ages.
Many painters working from photographic source material employ a wide variety of techniques to arrive at a final image. This will involve anything from loose sketching beforehand to complex grids, where a photograph is translated into paint box by box. Such is not the case with British painter Nathan Walsh who instead relies on elaborate drawings reminiscent of architectural blueprints before every committing paint to canvas. This deep reverence for the underpinning geometry and perspective gives each work a sense of life that might otherwise not be present in something created with the mechanical aid of a camera or software.
Walsh tells me his primary source materials are not photographs but pencil sketches drawn on-site, for example the Chicago pieces above began from over 100 drawings he then references in his studio. In this way he can easily alter the position and size of any particular element, a process he likens to “building a world from scratch”. Personally I think the process is more akin to building the entire world in his mind so he can better represent it later in his paintings, each of which takes up to 3-4 months to complete. Via his website:
I deal exclusively with the urban landscape and aim to present a painted world which in some ways resembles the world we live in. I am fascinated by the city, it’s visual complexity and constant state of flux. The act of painting is an attempt fix this information and give vision to our experience of living within it. [...] The work aims to create credible and convincing space which whilst making reference to our world displays it’s own distinct logic. This space is created through drawing, which I see as fundamental in establishing a world the viewer can engage with. Drawing allows me to make human pictorial decisions instead of relying on the mechanical eye of a camera or software package. This process is open ended and changes from one painting to the next. Whilst I employ a variety of perspectival strategies, these methods are not fixed or rigid in their application. Working with a box of pencils and an eraser I will start by establishing an horizon line on which I will place vanishing points to construct simple linear shapes which become subdivided into more complex arrangements.
You can see numerous final works at a much higher resolution, as well as initial drawings over on his website. Walsh will have work at the Changing Perspectives technology conference in Paris later this month, and is working on a solo show at Bernarducci Meisel Gallery in November.
Recently unveiled in Marseille, France this giant mirrored canopy called the Port Vieux Pavilion was designed by architecture firm Foster + Partners. The pavilion measures nearly 150 feet (46 meters) long and is made of highly polished stainless steel meant to reflect people and the surrounding environment of Marseille’s World Heritage-listed harbor. The project is somewhat analogous to Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate here in Chicago and based on these photos I have no doubt the canopy will be a huge draw for tourists and locals alike. (via designboom)
Without the use of a camera Portland-based artist Jim Kazanjian sifts through a library of some 25,000 images from which he carefully selects the perfect elements to digitally assemble mysterious buildings born from the mind of an architect gone mad. While the architectural and organic pieces seem wildly random and out of place, Kazanjian brings just enough cohesion to each structure to suggest a fictional purpose or story that begs to be told. You can see much more of his work over on Facebook, and prints are available at 23 Sandy Gallery.
For his MFA Thesis Exhibit last September, Pennsylvania artist James McNabb created a beautiful collection of architectural wonders using discarded wood. He describes his process as “sketching with a band saw,” and says initial intent was not to build skylines, but instead began with the creation of the individual wooden pieces which resembled tools or other strangely familiar objects. After he built nearly 250 of them in a day they collectively began to resemble a miniature city. You can see many more works from the exhibition on his website.
For nine decades Fulton Market Cold Storage Company operated in Chicago’s meatpacking district with a full ten stories of freezing storage situated close to major railways. Last summer the company decided it was time to start fresh in a state-of-the-art facility outside of Chicago, so the building was sold to SRAM, a bike component manufacturer who will use the space for its global headquarters. Architects Perkins + Will were hired to help convert the ice-encrusted space into a new, modernized office building and were also tasked with the most epic refrigerator defrost in history. Luckily photographer Gary Jensen was asked to snap some incredible photos prior to the thawing which was actually caught on video (sorry no embed). See more photos on his website. (via gapers block)
Update: I’ve been asked to clarify that the building owner is technically Sterling Bay and the architect of the conversion is Hartshorne and Plunkard. SRAM is a potential tenant in the building and Perkins & Will is their architect.