Posts tagged ‘library’

Swooning, the east coast edition.

The last time you caught me swooning (a word I refuse to take lightly), it was over the residential design for 12+Adler in Portland, by Skylab Architecture.

Today I bring you two more swoon-worthy designs, from the city of New York. Interestingly, they’re also both residential again (I wonder what that says about me?).

First up: the two-story, light-filled library and reading room from an oh-so-shwanky Tribeca loft that I have actually visited in person. And yes, the space really is as wonderful as it looks in this photo (though perhaps a touch more cluttered).

photo via Dying of Cute

Second up: the location used in the movie Last Night as the main characters’ home. I particularly can’t stop thinking about the almost-everything-fits-under-the-counter kitchen (and its freestanding sinks).

images from Last Night, with production design by Tim Grimes

February 15’s daily design idea is what do the spaces that linger in your memory say about you?

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February 15, 2012 at 9:12 pm Leave a comment

For people who like to work in yellow.

I hope everyone had a relaxing Thanksgiving week! This one coming up is always one of the more busy work weeks, in my experience… so here are some photos of Urban Station, a super well-designed public workspace in Buenos Aires (discovered via Dezeen). Urban Station was designed by the BA office of Total Tool.

All photos by Sergio Esmoris

If I was only working for myself, this is pretty close to what my ideal workspace would be. November 29’s daily design idea is what’s yours?

November 29, 2010 at 10:13 am 1 comment

I impulse purchased my way into a 28,000 person art project.

Yesterday was the extended deadline to enter The Sketchbook Project, something I found out about a mere 50 minutes before it was too late (thanks to Twitter). Within those 50 minutes, I had read the overview and the rules, become increasingly intrigued and enthusiastic, and signed up.

So what is The Sketchbook Project?

“It’s like a concert tour, but with sketchbooks. Thousands of sketchbooks will be exhibited at galleries and museums as they make their way on tour across the country. After the tour, all sketchbooks will enter into the permanent collection of The Brooklyn Art Library, where they will be barcoded and available for the public to view. 28594 artists from 94 countries around the world are participating. The tour starts February, 2011.”

Which apparently is all I needed to know in order to spend $25 on an plain moleskin and a two-month time commitment… I even bought the shirt.

I really do think that this is a great idea, but I’m also fascinated by how quickly and fully I believed that it was a great idea. What does this experience say about my own behavior? Is running out of time my weak spot in consumer psychology? Is my sketchbooking artist side craving esteem? Has Threadless conditioned me into wanting any American Apparel cotton T-Shirt that comes my way?

In all seriousness, I am a big fan (and also now a participant) of The Sketchbook Project and, overall, of community-building opportunities to share creative work. I hope that if you’re in Portland, Brooklyn, Washington DC, Winter Park, Atlanta, Chicago, Austin, San Francisco, or Seattle in the first half of next year, you’ll go check out the tour.

November 16’s daily design idea is seek out creative ways to share your ideas with others. You might just end up with a cool shirt in the process.

November 16, 2010 at 4:25 pm 1 comment

Guerrilla libraries.

Tonight’s discussion panel about the L!BRARY Initiative project (coordinated with Anoo Siddiqi’s related book launch) was full of strong personalities, a passion for education, and a distaste for bureaucracy. The project itself included a number of big shots in both the education and design industries, and resulted in 56 gorgeous new libraries in New York City public schools. Five of the major players spoke at the Architectural League‘s event, resulting in an impressively collaborative dialogue. But considering how much collaboration went into the creation of these libraries, that’s really no surprise.

Of the event’s many highlights, I especially enjoyed the rogue-ish spirit of Harold Levy, Henry Myerberg, and Lonni Tanner. Levy, the former Chancellor of NYC’s public schools, admitted with a smile that he agreed to the project without knowing if he even had the authority to do so. Myerberg, who directed the design process for all of the Initiative’s libraries and served as architect for 11 of them, described the initial project team as a small group of enthusiastic, committed individuals who took a somewhat “guerrilla approach” to renovating the libraries. As the project grew and more institutions became involved, the designs’ “delivery mechanism had to change” and more and more red tape began to appear. Tanner agreed, with the panel ultimately concluding that the project’s development went “good, better, bad”. It seemed as if the earlier design teams got to run a little wild, have a little more fun, and get a lot more done.

While the earlier libraries (such as PS 50) are certainly well-constructed and safe for children, the “guerrilla approach” became too risky later in the project. In retrospect, that risk factor may have played an important part in the Initiative’s early successes.

May 12’s daily design idea is a little (thoughtful) risk can go a long way.

photo credits
school: PS 50
design: Henry Myerberg with Rockwell Group
photograph: Peter Mauss/Esto

May 12, 2010 at 10:41 pm Leave a comment

Architecture for everyone.

One of my personal architectural values is that everyone deserves some kind of shelter to call home. This shelter doesn’t need to be a traditional permanent structure, but it should be functional, (semi-)customizable, and something that an individual can be proud to live in and take care of. In a 2007 interview with Cameron Sinclair, co-founder and executive director of Architecture for Humanity, GOOD quoted Sinclair on his goal with the community-based non-profit: “We have tried to design with pride. That’s the real motive: to design with pride and not pity.”

This goal addresses a real issue in the architectural profession and in the perception of what architects do. Great initiatives exist to help architects expand their reach beyond the luxury market (including Public Architecture’s 1% Program, which helps architects donate 1% of their billable hours to pro bono projects). But the problem also needs to be addressed on vernacular side. For example, I’ve been wondering if the dichotomy of ‘regular housing’ and ‘affordable housing‘  should instead be referred to as ‘unaffordable housing’ and simply ‘housing’.

In addition to Sinclair, there are lots of architects, designers, and other built environment-conscious people that have a “pride not pity” philosophy. Check out the international firm MASS, hotelier Harris Rosen’s recent project for Haiti, and Robin Hood Foundation’s L!BRARY Initiative, for a start.

May 1′s daily design idea is good architecture shouldn’t be a luxury. If you agree, I highly recommend reading Expanding Architecture: Design as Activism.

May 1, 2010 at 4:24 am Leave a comment

Soft spaces – figuratively and literally.

According to Ian Adamson, AIA, “Soft space holds it all together.” His article in Contract Magazine (Feb 11, 2008) focuses specifically on the soft spaces, or multi-purpose spaces, in academic buildings. They include libraries, lounges, and atria, and they allow for valuable forms of spontaneous interaction and learning that can’t always happen in formal classrooms.

Adamson clearly means “soft” in the figurative sense, but it made me think about how important soft spaces (literally) are in academic buildings as well. Lots of people nap all over the place in college, though the spaces never seem designed for this purpose. I’m definitely not a fan of students having to sleep in the library because they can’t afford housing, but I do think it would be great if napping could be included in the multi-purposes of soft space.

March 25’s design idea is how can an academic space successfully promote rest in addition to study and social interaction? And what would this space look like?

March 25, 2010 at 10:21 pm Leave a comment


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