Posts Tagged 'architecture'

Outdoor Design Tips from the WDC Experts.

It’s Outdoor Week at the Washington Design Center! On Tuesday, a very creative panel of experts talked about  how homeowners can create outdoor spaces that complement the overall architecture of their homes. The panel included Anthony Cusat of McHale Landscape Design, Elizabeth Norman of Elizabeth Norman Landscaping, Jay Graham of Graham Landscape Architecture, and interior designers Barbara Hawthorn and Dana Tydings. Here is what progressed from this insightful event. (transcribed from the Home & Design website post):

Q: What is the best way to formulate a plan for furnishing my outdoor spaces?

A: Elizabeth Norman. The first thing to do is to determine how you live in and use the space. On a recent job, my client was trying to do everything—read, relax, play and entertain—in a small space. We took all the furniture out and didn’t put it back unless it solved a problem.

Q: What are some of the challenges homeowners face when embarking on an outdoor project?

A: Barbara Hawthorn I ask clients, “How do you envision using this space? How many months will you really use it?” One of the challenges is making a space attractive during its fallow time, designing for all seasons. I tell clients to have the philosophy that “it is going to grow with me.” The fact that it is going to take time [for a landscape to mature] is one of the hardest things to convey.

Barbara Hawthorn created a sultry evening setting complete with a fire element offering warmth and light.

Barbara Hawthorn a beautiful evening setting complete with a fire element for warmth and light.

Q: How can I be sure that my interior style will marry with my outdoor furnishings plan?

A: Dana Tydings. In a perfect world, you would meet with your landscape designer and your interior designer at the same time. People don’t realize that if they are working together, they can save you time and money.

Q: What is the difference between a garden and a landscape?

A: Jay Graham. A garden is very dynamic. It changes constantly and you engage with it. A landscape is an established setting for your house.

A: Elizabeth Norman. A landscape flows into a bigger vernacular, into the surrounding geography. A garden sits within the landscape. It quakes and moves all the time. It changes color daily in small ways and in big ways four times a year.

Q: What should I look for in an outdoor fabric?

A: Barbara Hawthorn. There are so many new fabrics now. They are incredibly easy to clean and don’t limit your versatility. The new solution-dyed acrylics are resistant to sunlight, rain, and discoloration from falling leaves.

Q: How can I stick to a budget and use the latest designer fabrics?

A. Dana Tydings. The newest outdoor fabrics are not inexpensive. At $60 to $80 a yard, you should order them sparingly. Do it in stages and do it right.

A: Barbara Hawthorn. Be sure to include welting in the seams to be sure cushions are durable.

A: Elizabeth Norman. You can jazz up affordable fabrics in solids and stripes with pillows in more expensive patterns. I like to change pillows seasonally.

Q: What types of elements should an effective landscape include?

A: Jay Graham. Thinking about how the landscape itself is “furnished” is important. I like to design low walls in a landscape that can be used used for sitting, dining and putting drinks on even when the furniture is put away.

Q: How can lighting enhance my landscape design?

A: Anthony Cusat. Low-voltage lights create a nice, warm glow. The new LED lights have warmer tones now. It’s very beautiful to up-light trees, such as crape myrtles, from below. Or you can add moonlighting by installing LED lights in the trees, shining down.

Q: What are some trends in outdoor living spaces?

A: Anthony Cusat. We build a lot of outdoor kitchens with grills, sinks, refrigerators and beverage centers as well as wine-tasting gardens that connect to a pool house.

Q: How can I create an eco-friendly garden?

A: Elizabeth Norman. It used to be really hard to have an organic garden. Now, Lowe’s organic department is as big as its conventional one. Ask professionals for plants that don’t need poisons to look good. And remember that some organic products are just as poisonous as their conventional counterparts.

NYU to Break Ground in DC.

Hickok Cole Architects is set to break ground on a brand-new academic center for the New York University in the Washington DC this month! Hickok Cole is a leading architecture and interior design firm located in Georgetown neighborhood and has quite a roster of well-known architectural projects.

Aiming for a LEED Gold certification, the mixed-use 12-story and 75,000 square foot building will accommodate classrooms, seminar rooms, a lecture hall, student dormitories for 120 students and faculty/administrative offices.

The design incorporates good deal of glass for natural light and open floor plans. Slated to be completed in 2012, the project will be underway starting September 20th at 1307 L Street, NW.

I’ve known the folks at HCA for over 7 years and attend their popular and always-a-good-time yearly Art Nights and various charity events. They’re a great team and will work wonders with NYU’s local campus building.

London is Feeling Hot Hot Hot.

Red is the color of fire. The color of heat. The color of deep love. And now the color of London’s Serpentine Pavilion. It’s too hot not to post (rather say cool – but you get the picture). This temporary summer arts gallery pavilion opened in London’s Kensington Gardens early this summer. Masterfully designed by world-renowned French architect Jean Nouvel, it is the 10th commission and architectural experimentation in the Gallery’s annual series and the architect’s first completed building in the United Kingdom.

The building’s web site states that “the design for the 2010 Pavilion is a contrast of lightweight materials and dramatic metal cantilevered structures. The entire design is rendered in a vivid red that, in a play of opposites, contrasts with the green of its park setting. In London, the colour reflects the iconic British images of traditional telephone boxes, post boxes and London buses. The building consists of bold geometric forms, large retractable awnings and a sloped freestanding wall that stands 12m above the lawn. Striking glass, polycarbonate and fabric structures create a versatile system of interior and exterior spaces, while the flexible auditorium will accommodate the Serpentine Gallery Park Nights and Marathon and the changing summer weather.”

It reminds me of those cute colorful jewel tones transparent Amac plastic boxes with lids sold at the Container Store. I always am drawn to them but have no idea what to use them for. =0) Maybe these teeny boxes inspired Nouvel?!

Container Store Amac Boxes

Container Store Amac Boxes

All Serpentine Gallery photographs by: Philippe Ruault (found on Interior Design Magazine website)

Shark Attack in Silver Spring.

Looks like the annual Shark Week at Discovery Channel is large and in charge. I love how their Silver Spring, Maryland building is outfitted with a gigantic blown up shark – the contrast of urban steel and glass against a fierce water animal. It’s kinda like bulls and bears on Wall Street.

Shark Week at Discovery Channel | Photo from DCMetrocentric

Shark Week at Discovery Channel | Photo from DCMetrocentric

Tea and Two-Legged Architecture.

When you see something that causes you to pause, you know its done something to you. Something has changed. Such is the case with when I discovered Terunobu Fujimori. It was last May and I was thumbing through an issue of Dwell when I was caught off guard by this image of his two-legged tea house.

The Too-High Tea House

The Too-High Tea House with rolled copper roof.

At first thought, I was sure this was a children’s tree house. Nope, much cooler! Terunobu Fujimori is an architetural historian who has a streak for letting loose his eccentric curiosity of life in his designs, such as the two-legged tea house and a dandilion and grass covered roof.

The Charred Cedar House is treated with an ancient Japanese technique that seals the wood against rain and rot.

Fujimori's own residence built in 1995.

Rock siding and grass and dandelions on the roof and walls.

Rock siding and grass and dandelions on the roof and walls.

But what captures my senses most of all is the charred walls of a few of his structures. You see, in Japanese culture, the charring of wood is said to protect the structure from insects, moisure damage and other diseases for up to 80 years!

The Charred Cedar House.

The Charred Cedar House.

Charring process with fire moving evenly up the three planks.

Charring process with fire moving evenly up the three planks.

The charred pieces.

The charred pieces.

Plus, the burnt look adds a way cool charcoal texture that makes the abode even more interesting. He’s surely charred his way into my top list of architects.

The Coal House tea room suspends from second floor, only accessible by ladder.

The Coal House tea room suspends from second floor, only accessible by ladder.

The Coal House outdoor tea room ladder contrasts with the charred siding.

The Coal House outdoor tea room ladder contrasts with the charred siding.

The tea rooms low ceiling created an adult playroom, intimate and ready for tea time.

The tea rooms low ceiling created an adult playroom, intimate and ready for tea time.

Architecture and nature combine in many of Fujimori’s projects. From trees, grasses, and plants, Fujimori built amusing structures that deserve a second glance.

The Hot Spring House has two pines sticking out of the top - nature and architecture.

The Hot Spring House has two pines sticking out of the top - nature and architecture.

The Camellia Castle has a grass covered roof and a cladding of grass and stone.

The Camellia Castle has a soft grass-covered roof and a cladding of grass and stone.

This humpback children's museum has a playful tone.

This humpback children's museum has a playful tone.

Those of you near the Outback can see an art installation by Teruobu Fujimori at the RMIT Gallery.

An Eclectic Facade Lineup.

It’s not often that one would run into a facade of buildings where four semi-attached buildings in one large metropolitan city exemplify four different architecture styles. Except for right here in Washington DC. I’ve driven by this lineup several times – blaring Friday night tunes on my way to see sibs at Ozio and hurriedly on my way to work while tearing across the intersections yellow light. With each passing, I may have glanced and noticed the contrast of styles. Not truly until now. DC Metrocentric clearly points it out in todays’ post called The Historic Modern Mix. Commenter Thayer-D details it beautifully. Mansard and all.

DC Metrocentric's Blog Post

A Master in Morph.

Architecture is way cool. Even better are the designs spinning out of school classrooms by extremely imaginative and talented students. So, I naturally got excited when I learned of the Evolver project, a morphed wooden construction designed and executed by a team of 2nd year students from the ALICE Studio at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland. The project sits strategically next to the Lake Stelli at an altitude of 8,300 feet with amazing views. Evolver’s structure mainly consists of a succession of 24 rotating frames supporting an enclosed space that visitors are encouraged to enter. As the visitor progresses through the space, a concealed but uninterrupted 720° movement is unraveling along a transformed panorama with various morphing views to the landscape beyond.

Photos by Joel Tettamanti.

Just a Thought.

"A person should design the way he makes a living, around how he wishes to make a life" — Charlie Byrd

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