Sunday, 15 June 2008

City of Shadows

Here is an interesting gallery by Russian photographer Alexey Titarenko. What really attracted me about this gallery is how the density of the crowds looks like smoke polluting the city, and how small details like hands stand out. Amazing !!!

Friday, 13 June 2008

Dairy House

Following the last post regarding the revival of traditional old crafts, here is a great example of how "sustainability" can be achieved by the integration of such crafts.

Project: Dairy House
Architect: SCDLP
Location: Somerset, UK
Completion Date: 2006

This small 186 square meter house within this 850 acre estate, almost £500k, 2007 RIBA Design Award Winner is a conversion of a former Dairy to a retreat house. Originally the client wanted to rent the house, but as the project progressed the client decided to keep the house as a retreat. The design was to combine privacy and seclusion with openness to the wider landscape. The result is a similar concept of the Arabia Mashrabiya, in the form of layered oak and laminated glass which produce an eerie, filtered light.

Sustainability, which is integral to the design, is not only in the choice of materials and technology, but comes in the form of social sustainability as well. The oak is stored in sheds in front of the Dairy House. Catling regional hired workers who live within 20 miles of the site: a carpenter who built the extension, a glass laminator responsible for adherence to the expansion of layers of glass, and a stonecutter who restored the brick walls and walkways and fashion pool of slate mined locally. All of which reduced the transportation costs greatly.

In addition, Pilkington donated the glass for the extension as the technique used has not been tested before, and the project would have been unaffordable without this. The glass blocks sit on rubber gaskets which in turn sit directly on the timber. A foam seal sits on the surface of the blocks to form a weatherproof movement joint, clear silicon forms a final weather seal. The oak retains the waney edge on the outside; the inside is finely sanded. Similarly, the blocks of laminated glass are left rough on the exterior, and are polished on the interior. The structure was built up of the prefabricated pieces on site.

More info here and here and here

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Old Crafts Revival

A "mashrabiya", "mauchrabeya", "moucharabieh" or however you want to spell it is not only a special characteristic of Arabic architecture, but a testament to the skill and brilliance of the Arab craftsmen in woodworking. On the other hand, weaving is a textile art that is considered an essential part of many cultures extending from Turkey to China, which is evident in the numerous forms and styles of oriental rugs. So it doesn't surprise me when those two magnificent crafts combine together to produce amazing artistic displays.

Arzu Firuz is a freelance designer born in Istanbul and working in France. Influenced by oriental artisanship, she brings us a blend of historical and traditional references with modern elements and materials. Examples of her products are the above Canvas Moucharabieh and Wooden Rugs, a modern interplay with materials and functions of different traditional elements.