Category: Architecture and Home Design

Design Gloucestershire

Design Gloucestershire

Tuesday, April 24, 2018 | By | Add a Comment

Design Gloucestershire

A private garden is a special place where nature is presented in all its beauty for the ultimate enjoyment and relaxation.  Your garden can be a setting for a quiet gathering with friends, a romantic candlelit meal, or an alfresco early morning breakfast to the sound of the birds singing.  Creating the perfect garden can be an artistic expression, combining practicality and aesthetics into the ideal outdoor space.

Humans have been creating ornamental horticultural environments since the dawn of time.  Egyptian tomb paintings from the 1500s BC have been found that depict lotus ponds surrounded by symmetrical rows of acacias and palms. Darius the Great of Persia was known to have a paradise garden, as many great and affluent leaders did at this time.  There have been many different styles of garden throughout history, such as the very geometric and formal French gardening style of the Gardens of Versailles.  In England, wild gardens and perennial gardens have also been popular in the 19th century.

Nowadays, you dont have to be incredibly wealthy or royalty to have your own garden, as most modern homeowners have this privilege.  Trends in modern gardening include a recent environmental consciousness and awareness of sustainable garden design, such as green roofs or rainwater harvesting.  A recent trend is also to grow fruit, vegetables, and/or herbs in ones own personal garden, due to a desire for organic produce and a global increase in food prices.

However gardens need not serve a practical purpose as some are simply decorative.  Your garden can be anything you want it to be, when you incorporate your favourite flowers, some attractive sculptures, lights, and outdoor furniture.

If you are planning a garden, think about how much time you will be spending there and what types of purposes you would like your garden to accommodate.  Do you want to have a quiet place to sit and reflect while you watch the birds and smell the flowers?  Perhaps you want a grassy area where your children can play, or a water feature such as a fountain, waterfall, or fish pond.  Do you want an open design, or a winding maze of small stone pathways and several beds of flowers?

Also, it is important to consider how a garden fits in with its surroundings.  A good garden design will blend seamlessly with the landscape around it.  Consider using plants that are native to your area, not only will they be easier to care for as they will thrive in the climate; they will also not look out of place next to the gardens surroundings.

Also, before you decide what type of garden you want, think about how much time you want to spend maintaining it.  If you love gardening and want to be out there weeding and tending to your flowers that is great.  If you are not so inclined, you might consider a more natural garden of hardy shrubs and native plants that do not require a lot of tender loving care.

There are many landscaping and garden design experts out there who can help you when it comes to determining what kind of garden suits your needs.  Enjoy the beautiful weather more when you have somewhere to enjoy it!  Get started on your dream garden today.

Stephenchristiegardens.co.uk has a reputation as a designer who creates beautiful gardens.  Visit the website today for more on Garden Design Oxfordshire and Garden Design Gloucestershire

 

London Gasholder to Apartment Reconstruction

London Gasholder to Apartment Reconstruction

Saturday, April 14, 2018 | By | Add a Comment

London Gasholder to Apartment Reconstruction

In London’s 67-acre King’s Cross regeneration area, the architects WilkinsonEyre have transformed a set of Victorian gasholders with exposed iron frames into 145 upscale apartments.  Modern silvery cylindrical buildings now fill the spaces within the frames of what was once occupied by huge telescoping cylindrical metal gas reservoir tanks (called “bells”) that floated on below ground cisterns of water, rising and falling on guide rails.  The new residences within the salvaged frames are designed, in their varying heights and aluminum cladding, to recall these vanished tanks.

The containers stored gas produced from coal, known in the UK as “town gas” and used for street lighting, industrial processes, cooking stoves, and furnaces.  Seldom encased within buildings, as was more common in the United States and Europe, they were once landmark features of most British towns and cities.  Relatively few survive, since manufactured town gas gave way to pressurized natural gas in the 1970s.

The town-gas plant here which was built and extended between 1860 and 1880, in the industrial zone behind the neighboring Victorian railroad terminus of Kings Cross and St. Pancras was dismantled in 2001 to make way for a new high-speed rail link to France.  But, by then, these interlinked post-and-beam iron frames, with their simplified Neoclassical details, had achieved official “listed” (landmarked) status.  WilkinsonEyre won the competition to reuse them in 2002, and the development consortium for the site carefully restored the iron frames, earmarking a new spot to re-erect them a few hundred yards to the north, on the banks of another industrial relic, the Regent’s Canal.

The frames then became the armature for a trio of freestanding apartment buildings in cylindrical drums of different heights.  Practice founder Chris Wilkinson explains that such aged cast-iron components originally carrying no weight, because the gas bells within them were self-supporting and could not be called upon to bear the loads of modern buildings.  Accordingly, the frames (now painted battleship gray) stand slightly proud of the three new drums, giving clearance for motorized perforated-aluminum shutters on the apartments to open.  In total, the conserved structure consists of an interlinked set of four gasholder frames, the fourth enclosing a small park designed by architects Bell Phillips.

Wilkinson, who has his own three-bedroom apartment in the complex, developed a scheme of intersecting circles that resembles the gears of a watch.  By removing a pie-slice-shaped piece from each of the three new cylindrical volumes, he avoided having them touch or block light and views in any of the apartments.  He designed circular atria for the center of the drums, enlivened by “scallops”—balconies that widen at different points to create the sense of spiraling, upward movement. And at the hub of the complex, where the three frames meet, is a circular courtyard, left open to the sky and landscaped with a shallow water feature at its base.  This new space is energized by the iron columns and latticework beams of the conserved—and now celebrated—original structure.

The walls encircling the central courtyard are clad in precast concrete panels, pale gray with fine vertical ribbing, relieved by walkways slung off the wall to connect the blocks on three levels.  These contrast with outward-facing elevations that are covered in silver-gray aluminum, with the perforated shutters continuing across openings for windows and balconies.  To complete the allusion to the old telescoping gas bells, the exterior skin is divided into horizontal bands by dark-painted steel ring beams.  Landscaped roof gardens occupy the top of each cylinder.

Within the buildings, the common areas have floors and stairs in smooth concrete, with delicate radial brass strips that were inspired by Wilkinson’s watchwork model and emphasize the circular geometry.  The apartment interiors, by Jonathan Tuckey Design, are highly crafted with much use of sliding room dividers in mid-brown stained wood.  Since each apartment is wedge-shaped, the emphasis is naturally on the views out, and the plan of the apartments incorporates the gentle curve.

Gasholders has the expected amenities for such developments, including a business center, a gym and spa, and rooms that residents can book for large-scale entertaining. Overall, however, the project is anything but conventional. And that derives largely from the geometry and expressive character of the preserved original structure, along with a thoroughly appreciative architectural response.

Here are some of the specifications of this innovative architectural marvel:

Structural System

Manufacturer of any structural components unique to this project:

Reinforced concrete frame throughout, original gasholder frames made of cast iron. Restored by Shepley Engineers

Radial pin connected steel bridge to courtyard with curved glass balustrading. Manufactured by Frener Reifer.

Exterior Cladding to courtyard

‘Ductal by LaFarge’ ultra-high strength precast concrete cladding to the courtyard. Manufactured by Thorp Precast

Exterior Cladding

Metal/glass curtain wall:

Unitised façade with a perforated aluminum rainscreen and motorised sliding folding shutter system externally fixed.  Manufactured by Frener Reifer.

Roofing

Built-up roofing: American Hydrotech Inverted Roofing System by Alumasc

Windows

Metal frame: Schueco Triple Glazed Aluminium Windows Installed by Frener Reifer.

Glazing

Skylights: Double glazed stick system laid onto steel beams to falls with ‘butterfly’ configured motorised glazed smoke vents. Manufactured by Frener Reifer.

Doors

Sliding doors: Schueco Triple Glazed Aluminium Doors installed and engineered by Frener Reifer

Hardware

Other special hardware: Bespoke Brass Main Entrance door handles designed by Chris Wilkinson and manufactured by Franchi

Bespoke brass mailboxes, The Safety Letterbox Company

Interior Finishes

Ironmongery internals, including bespoke brass apartment door handles: Franchi

Floor and wall tile: Domus tiles to apartment toilets and bathrooms, installed by EE Smith, Natural Marble Stone tiles to Spa and large format panels to apartment bathrooms installed by EE Smith UK

Resilient flooring: Resin Flooring within apartments by Senso UK, Resin stone flooring to common parts by Avant Garde UK

 

 

Fondazione Prada’s Unfinished Tower Is Completed

Fondazione Prada’s Unfinished Tower Is Completed

Friday, March 16, 2018 | By | Add a Comment

 

Fondazione Prada’s Unfinished Tower Is Completed

The nine-story tower designed by Rem Koolhaas adds a dizzying variety of exhibition spaces and panoramic views of post-industrial Milan.

The final, towering touch to the Fondazione Prada in Milan is ready to be unveiled in April, three years after the billionaire fashion designer and collector Miuccia Prada opened the prestigious private museum in Milan.

When the Fondazione Prada launched in May 2015, the nine-story, 197-foot Torre was still under construction.  Now completed, the landmark building in the former gin distillery on the edge of Milan is set to officially open on April 20.

Koolhaas first came to public and critical attention with OMA (The Office for Metropolitan Architecture), the office he founded in 1975 together with architects Elia Zenghelis, Zoe Zenghelis and (Koolhaas’s wife) Madelon Vriesendorp in London.  They were later joined by one of Koolhaas’s students, Zaha Hadid – who would soon go on to achieve success in her own right.  Their works are known to have trademark differences from the dominant postmodern classicism designs of the late 1970s.

Its completion marks the long-awaited final stage of the more than 19,000 square metre complex designed by Rem Koolhaas with Chris van Duijn and Federico Pompignoli of OMA.  Rotterdam-based OMA is responsible for flagship Prada stores around the world.

Six of the floors in the wedge-shaped Torre are exhibition spaces.  The other levels contain visitor facilities and a restaurant, and the building is topped off with a bar on the roof that offers a panoramic view of Milan.  Some floors have a rectangular floor plan, while others have a trapezoidal one.

“By introducing so many spatial variables, the complexity of the architecture will promote an unstable, open programming,” Koolhaus said in a statement.  “The interaction between the spaces and specific events or works of art offer an endless variety of conditions,” he added.

The Prada Collection includes many important works by 20th and 21st century Italian and international artists. Since launching the space in Milan, the foundation has presented shows of work by the S artist H. C. Westermann, the Austrian collective Gelitin, and Pamela Rozenkranz, among others.  Last June it premiered Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s virtual reality installation about Mexican migrants attempting to cross the US border, Carne y Arena (Virtually Present, Physically Invisible).  The award-winning installation was co-produced and financed by Legendary Entertainment and Fondazione Prada.

The Shed at Manhattan’s Hudson Yards

The Shed at Manhattan’s Hudson Yards

Monday, March 12, 2018 | By | Add a Comment



The Shed at Manhattan’s Hudson Yards

Many people who stay on top of the world of the performing arts, especially performing artists living in Manhattan have likely heard of the Shed.  The Shed is an art and performance space that wants to become the latest spectacle along New York’s High Line and the next big thing in city attractions and architectural awe.  When first announced, the project was vaguely conceived.  Located where the High Line runs smack into the massive West Side development project called Hudson Yards, the Shed seemed hardly more than an architectural trophy, with no obvious reason for being, other than to appease a skeptical public with the promise of some “cultural” amenity on the site of one of the largest and most valuable real estate deals in New York.  People are still skeptical about it, as anyone should be about such an expensive venue on valuable property in an often highly criticized and uncertain industry such as the entertainment industry, and with unknown future prospects.  It is, however, an interesting and monumental idea which combines technology, architecture, and movement/transformation into a major city attraction which has the ability to draw in crowds not only for its own sake, but also for the sake of the entertainment venues it supports.

The Shed, an ambitious, flexible performing and visual arts facility, designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DSR) in collaboration with the Rockwell Group was But aspects of the unusual design of the 200,000 square foot structure have already been visible, emerging as construction continues on a New York City-owned site next to the High Line, in the new Hudson Yards development on the west side of Manhattan. The project, with a planned opening in 2019, has just received a $75 million gift from former Mayor Michael Bloomberg toward a $500 million capital campaign, of which $435 million is construction costs. The donation brings the total raised so far to $421 million.

The 8-level building’s most striking feature will be its translucent shell, composed of a steel diagrid frame and clad in pillows of ETFE, that can be rolled out over the adjacent plaza to form an enormous space for showing almost any imaginable performance or art installation. The vast 17,000 square foot “room”—which would become 30,000 square feet when combined with a floor of the base building—will allow for climate, light and sound-control.

According to Elizabeth Diller, founding principal of DSR, the Shed was inspired by Cedric Price’s Fun Palace—an unbuilt design for a vastly versatile building-as- machine.  So, the idea is not an original one and it has also been attempted before without completion.  To whom credit should be given for the design and how this revision of the original idea will succeed is yet to be discovered.

The building’s shell, with a primary structure that weighs 2,400 tons, moves using gantry crane technology on 6-foot-in-diameter steel wheels, or bogies, on rails, with a motorized sled drive on the base building’s roof.  The base building will contain two immense column-free galleries, a flexible black box theater space, as well as rehearsal space, a multi-purpose event space, an art lab, café, and bookstore.  Offices and back-of-house operations will be on the lower floors of a new residential tower (also designed by DSR with Rockwell) to which the base building is linked.

While the idea sounds like an interestingly new and modern concept, it may yet still be early to discern if this design will be worthwhile in the end, or if more could be done with the area in terms of something more necessary and mutually beneficial to the public.

Revit Architecture

Revit Architecture

Saturday, February 25, 2017 | By | Add a Comment

RKO backlot main hotel views

RKO backlot main hotel views (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Revit Architecture

Those of us who know anything about BIM or Building Information Modeling know how much of an oh-so-joyous happy dandy fun time Revit Architecture can be.  With its tendencies for the user to have to be highly accurate in the development of a structure without having the ability to adjust measurements manually, Revit can be an extremely time consuming and often excruciatingly painstaking program to design fully developed construction in.

Rendering can be a whole other monster to deal with in itself.  Any project with a significant amount of At the school where I learned my Revit skills, we have wonderful 2 core processor Dell desktops which pretty much are good for doing a percentage of the floor plan work and unless you have several hours to spare, then forget about rendering big projects.  Especially if animation or 3DS Max plug-ins are used, then you should really expect to be spending a significantly lengthy amount of time rendering your projects.

Of course, now we have cloud-based rendering with the experimental plug-in dubbed Project Neon, located on Autodesk Labs which is in the beta phases and allows for the user to render their images through their Autodesk account instead of locally through their own computers.  But rendering a project is still very time consuming and the use of your Autodesk account is not always available (at such places like certain schools).  It is because of the complexity of the program and the time it takes to create each individual aspect of the entire program that the program in its entirety is not always taken advantage of in the workplace.

Just imagine the incredible and beautifully polished 3D designs that could be showcased during potential project bids in any given circumstance if the software were to develop with simplified convenience in mind.  Nevertheless, Revit still is a remarkable program and it is improving dramatically by the year.  I hope to see the day when rooms are created and developed with much simpler methods and randomly generated components and furniture are brought into the program.  These improvements, including the ability to freely manipulate measurements would make Revit an excellent program to use regularly in the workplace.

Interesting Career Prospects for Revit Practitioners

Interesting Career Prospects for Revit Practitioners

Sunday, January 22, 2017 | By | Add a Comment

Interesting Career Prospects for Revit Practitioners

With the building and construction industry worldwide moving towards using building information modelling (BIM) approach for designing, documentation, construction, and facility maintenance, proficiency in BIM tools and applications is becoming a sought-after skill in the modern AEC workforce.  Whilst there are several applications that enable BIM, Autodesk Revit is one of the powerful tools used by reputed architects, structural engineers, and MEP engineers worldwide.

Architectural, engineering, and construction management students and professionals proficient in Revit have a greater scope to succeed in the modern AEC industry compared to those who are just specialised in 2D CAD technologies.  As the crucial industry stakeholders worldwide push towards transitioning to smart BIM technologies, interesting prospects related to BIM jobs are poised to open up.  Autodesk certified candidates with medium to advanced level proficiency in executing Revit jobs can seek the following career advancement opportunities:

1. Revit Modeller (Architecture)
Candidates with 2 to 5 years of hands-on experience in working with Revit Architecture can enter architectural firms or design outsourcing firms as Revit Modellers (Architecture).  An important aspect of the profile will certainly include conversion of 2D/3D AutoCAD drawings/models into Revit BIM files and reusable Revit families. For this, the incumbents should be well versed in BIM concepts and an exposure to other related architectural tools (not necessarily BIM tools) including AutoCAD, Navisworks, and GRAPHISOFT ArchiCAD. Excellent visualisation skills and experience of working with diverse projects of simple to complex nature is invaluable.

2. Revit Modeller (MEP / HVAC)
Professionals having mid-level experience of using Revit MEP for modelling MEP and HVAC systems can take the opportunity to work as Revit Modeller (MEP / HVAC) for building systems design consultants or MEP design outsourcing firms.  For the incumbent to be successful in this role, he/she should have an in-depth know-how of HVAC and mechanical services systems generally adopted in commercial, residential and mixed-use facilities.  As far as software proficiency is concerned, barring Revit MEP the candidate should ideally have exposure to modelling in applications, such as CADDuct and CADMEP+.

3. Project Manager (Revit)
Project Manager (Revit) would be an ideal profile for Revit practitioners with 5 – 10 years of experience in implementing BIM standards using the Revit platform.  The role requires coordination with the client’s design team, setting BIM execution plans, and distributing individual/federated BIM models to the production team using Revit worksharing capabilities.  He/she would need to train the project team on client’s BIM standards whilst keeping a tight control on the Revit BIM model by overseeing day-to-day tasks.  A crucial aspect of this profile would demand prompt resolution of any technical issues related to the master model.  Besides Revit, an in-depth understanding of clash detection tools, such as Navisworks proves beneficial.

4. Revit Coordinator
The Revit Coordinator position is ideal for a candidate having more than 5 years of hands-on experience of working with popular CAD and BIM applications.  His/her key role is to control and monitor design information exchange between clients and project team members using face-to-face and virtual BIM coordination meetings.  Familiarity with multidisciplinary design projects (residential, commercial, and mixed-use) is important along with an ability to conduct quality reviews of federated models and construction documentation.  He/she has the responsibility of understanding the BIM objectives of the client and maintaining the BIM model’s integrity to meet the required design and regulatory standards.