Friday, January 25, 2013

This Week in Architecture: Episode I

Prologue: I'd like to start a new little series here, and I'm going to do my best to make this a weekly occurrence. The world of architecture is constantly evolving and constantly changing as new functional needs and desires are attempted to be met by the brilliant design world of today. Each week, new exciting things happen all over the world, and these episodes will be an attempt to capture but a fraction of these things, gathering a few of them that pique my interest all in the same place. Without further ado, Episode I.

My Micro NY

The first story comes to us from New York City, where Mayor Bloomberg announced the winning designs for the 300-square-foot Micro Apartments. Designed to create affordable housing, teams competed in a competition entitled 'adAPT NYC' to create affordable living spaces for singles in New York City. Two teams, nARCHITECTS and Actors Fund HDC had winning proposals, which will be formulated into a project called My Micro NY.

The first micro building will have 55 rental apartments ranging from 270sqft to 370sqft, with storage space, great views and even balconies. The building will have the same amenities as other apartment buildings, with public meeting space, a café and rooftop garden. Residents are expected to be able to move in beginning in September 2015.

Now of course, there is the big question everyone has in their minds: what will something like this cost? With rental rates rising and a huge competitive market for housing in NYC, recent graduates and singles will be looking for affordable places to live. Unfortunately, "affordable" has a completely different scale in NYC; a studio apartment will likely start at $940 a month, and up to $1700 for a two-person apartment.

Check out the full story here.


If you're staring at that title and wondering what the heck it is, you're not alone, and that's because it's Danish. Our second story is a project that is yielded through the collaboration of JDS Architects, CEBRA, SeARCH and Louis Paillard. A new housing development in Denmark is quite close to completion, designed to look like and inspired by floating icebergs. The project is expected to be inaugurated this spring, and will accommodate around 7000 inhabitants and around 12,000 new workplaces. Talk about efficient!

The title is quite literal, meaning "The Iceberg." And that's exactly what it looks like! For those architectural minds that love to see sweeping curves, this is not the project for you. However, it does carry its own intriguing character that revolves around unexpected diagonals and some truly irregular forms. It just goes to show that architecture does not need to look like a 1950's toaster to be beautiful.

This is just one of many developments in progress for Denmark's docklands area, which is definitely worth digging up if you have the time.

Check out the full story here.

Tumbleweed Tiny Houses

This is a bit less current and not so much a story or article as it is something I found really interesting. in an increasingly high-density world, people are beginning to look for new living options. With prices rising, each new square foot is quite a bit more expensive than it was, say, 10 years ago. But what if you could build an entire home that could you could simply plop down in a backyard? What if someone had already drawn up the plans for you to do it?

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Tumbleweed Houses. With tons of pictures, plans, DIY documents, and example layouts, this company provides everything you need to build your own functional home  with your bare hands. Did I mention these are all about the size of a large shed?

The fact alone that people can live with only the bare necessities is intriguing, and would make many a person second-guess that overpriced apartment they're living in. While the original intent seems to be creating full homes, the same plans can also be used for extra rooms to be used as you pleased -- right outside in your backyard.

Check out the site here for plans, photos and more.

3D Printing a House

Today's last story comes to us from the Netherlands, where a Dutch architect has designed a home that he plans to build with the world's largest 3D printer. A relatively new technology, 3D printing is still enormously expensive and is not very widely used in the architectural profession albeit for perhaps small projects and concept models. Inspired by a mobius strip, Janjaap Ruijssenaar's (try pronouncing that one out loud) design 12000 square foot home will be printed using the massive D-Shape printer. Designed by Italian Enrico Dini, the D-Shape printer can print an almost 20ft by 20ft square, and continues to add layer by layer for depth.

This literally brings to life the idea of a "printed house," something I certainly never imagine I might see in my day. Not only is the technology behind the expected construction amazing here, but the actual design itself is gorgeous. It's simplistic, but speaks to a more profound idea of limitless continuity. Though the only available photos are renderings, they are pretty freaking cool.

Unfortunately, the project could take up to 18 months to build, and the printer would be active for half a year -- straight. If he pulls it off, Ruijssenaar could open up a whole new world of architectural design. But that's what it's all about in the field; pushing the envelope.

Check out the full story here.

Thanks for reading! Tune for next week's episode, available Friday, February 1st. Have a great week!

For any requests or discoveries to be discussed in the coming week, comment below!


Got an opinion or question? Leave it below.

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Benefits of LinkedIn

Lately I have been exploring the possibilities of the social media network known as LinkedIn as a way to promote oneself in the professional world. As it turns out, LinkedIn, in my opinion, is one of the best way to network and get to know professionals in your field.

The best way to start out is by filling in as much information about yourself as you can. Not only does this start to tell people who you are and what you're all about, but it also is a great motivator to get your résumé together, finalize your portfolio, and really delve into the things that you love in your field, and the skills that you have to compete in the professional world.

After that, you're going to need connections. Remember to connect with people that will help you progress in your professional life. If you're in architecture, there's not really a need to connect to Jane, who is living in China to attend a culinary school about asian foods. Yes, this will gain you extra connections, but all of those extra potential connections in your network will be completely irrelevant. After all, people in architecture are probably the biggest purchasers of box dinners with all the time we spend in studio...

Update your profile often. Ask for recommendations from your studio teachers and others who have seen your work. These people can attest to your skills, both professionally and personally. They can express what you can do which is really important, because otherwise it's just your word to a potential employer and there's pretty much nothing else to back it up.

Based on your industry that you select and the past jobs that you input, LinkedIn can recommend jobs it thinks you might be interested in, or even select people to connect with. Note that you should really only connect with people that you know... this is not Facebook or Twitter.

The last part is to join groups. Joining groups that you are interested in opens you to the world of discussion, forums and questions. By joining groups you can surround yourself in the digital world with the experts of your field. Already in the few months I've had a LinkedIn profile, I've been able to participate in discussions about programs and what to use, ask questions to those with a bit more experience than I, and read countless articles about everything from sustainability, to interview advice, to the world's smallest homes.

Basically, I think that LinkedIn takes social media to a whole new level: One bursting with opportunity. If you haven't already checked it out, give it a look. I guarantee it will be worth it.

Today was just another day in...


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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Time Management in Architecture

One of the biggest challenges that students of architecture face is managing their time. As a freshman, it seems awfully difficult to balance a social life, organizational activities, clubs, and all of the schoolwork to do. Pile on top of that the studio work that suddenly seems to consume your life, and you have a walloping schedule that doesn't really include much free time.

Time management is the answer to all of your problems. the trick is learning about it, and getting used to it. I once had a graduate student teacher that told us that the time when you should be pulling all-nighters and long work days is the first few weeks of your project. That way, issues would be sorted out, ideas would be finished, and concepts fleshed out. All you have left to do is build what was already designed, whether that be physically or digitally.

In theory, that's easy, right? But inevitably most of us will end up looking like this for the last couple of weeks of our project, right up until the deadline:

Needless to say, over the years I have unknowingly improved my time-management skills. It's not that I really made an effort to manage things better; it's that I have no choice. With higher caliber projects that require a more in-depth process and design, it is simply impossible to finish them without working on them without putting in the required time. A large part of becoming better with time management is simply accepting the fact that you very well might not have as much time for fun activities as the average student. Yes we all complain, and yes we all hate working all the time, but if you work hard enough, stay productive, and set yourself goals from a schedule, having a little bit of a social life is in fact doable.

Perhaps we can chalk up the changes to just being used to never seeing our roommates, never going to parties, and attempting to stretch and crack our backs after the soreness that happens due to sitting on stools endlessly. Regardless, time management is an essential skill to learn in the architectural field -- and the sooner you figure that out, the sooner you'll have more free time.

Today was just another day in...


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