Category: Architecture and Home Design

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.

Trees and Plants in Design

Trees and Plants in Design

Saturday, October 1, 2016 | By | Add a Comment

English: Evergreen and deciduous trees in Beth...

English: Evergreen and deciduous trees in Bethlehem Township, NJ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Trees and Plants in Design

So, it has been some time since I have posted and I sincerely apologize to my readers regarding my absence.  I have been busy with a new job and finishing my education to obtain my bachelor’s degree in Project Management and Administration, which has taken up most of my time as a result of training and being on the road or working on final projects which has been extremely time consuming.  I have also had a number of problems with accessing my website, as well as transferring my website to a new domain name.  So, basically, I have had very little free time for the past several months to do anything but other essential life things.  On top of everything else, I have had a lengthy internet disconnection and I have had to replace my router, so I have had many complications.  My apologies to my avid blog readers for any inconvenience I have caused.

Today, I would like to begin writing on a topic that is relevant to Revit, and I would like to discuss trees and plants.  Adding trees and plants is an important part of the design process of Revit, as most architecture usually has surrounding landscaping.  For most of us who have used Revit, then you know that there are pre-generated families that come with the program, as well as downloadable familiies from various other Revit related websites.

But in architectural design, it is important to understand what trees and plants are able to survive in the climate zone and area in which they are planted.  Sun exposure and the amount of moisture the plant needs must also be taken into consideration in regards to the location where the plant or tree will be planted as well as the system of irrigation that will be used to water the plant and trees.

Trees come in different shapes and sizes.  There are several types of trees or tree species in the world that make part of our ecosystem that acts as a habitat for over 140,000 animal species and other micro-organisms.  Trees are divided into two categories namely deciduous and coniferous trees as can be seen in the following discussion.

Deciduous trees are sometimes referred to as broadleaf trees because of their leaves.  They have larger and wider leaves as compared to those of coniferous trees.  They spread out as they grow and they have rounded shapes as compared to conifers.  Deciduous trees tend to drop their leaves during autumn.  This is because the larger the size of the leaf the greater the surface area for photosynthesis and as such the leaf can not certain weather conditions. Most of these trees are hardwood trees.  These trees are predominantly grown for their highly valued timber.

Coniferous trees are also known as evergreen trees. This is because the leaves of these trees remain green throughout the year and they only drop the old leaves. On top of that these trees grow upwards and have a triangular shape.  These trees have long pointed needle like and flat scaled leaves.  Coniferous trees do not lose their leaves annually and they are evergreen.  These trees are strong and resistant to different climatic conditions.  Most of these types of trees are softwood trees.  Unlike the deciduous trees, conifers are not in very high demand but that does not mean that they are useful for their timber.

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3D Printed Architecture

3D Printed Architecture

Monday, June 13, 2016 | By | Add a Comment

3D Printed Architecture

3D printed architecture is quickly becoming a viable method of construction in the near future.  Teams of architects in London and Amsterdam are competing to produce the first habitable printed structure, using technology that could transform the way buildings are made.  Though they all have the same objective, the teams are investigating very different materials and fabrication methods.

Existing 3D printers are only able to produce homogeneous materials that have the same properties throughout. But graded materials would be useful for printing architectural elements such as beams or façades that mimic bone, which is hard on the outside but spongy on the inside.  But gradients are hard to produce with the current generation of 3D printers, which rely on armatures or gantries that can only move on three axes such as back and forward, side to side, and up and down, and which must lay down material in layers, one atop the other.  They also require complex support structures to be printed at the same time to prevent the printed objects collapsing under their own weight.

In traditional 3D printing, the gantry size poses an obvious limitation for the designer who wishes to print in larger scales and achieve structural and material complexity.  Research is being done in investigating ways of printing with additional axes of movement, by replacing the gantry with a six-axis robotic arm.  This will allow “free-form” printing at a larger scale and without the need for support structures.

Today’s material limitations can be overcome by printing with responsive materials.  Gantry limitations can be overcome by printing with multiple interactive robot-printers.  Process limitations can be overcome by moving from layering to weaving in 3D space, using a robotic arm.  Robotic arms can be used to print in traditional materials, such as plastic, concrete or composites, or employed to weave or knit three-dimensional fibre structures.  Researchers are also exploring how the high-performance fibres excreted by silkworms and spiders could be produced artificially.  In the future, buildings may be constructed by swarms of tiny robots that use a combination of printing and weaving techniques, called “swarm” construction.