Friday, August 26, 2016

DaNCinG fAçAdE

Kiefer Technic Showroom

Ernst Giselbrecht + Partner presents the Kiefer Technic Showroom, an office building and exhibition space with dynamic façade that changes to outdoor conditions, optimizing internal climate, while allowing users to personalize their own space with user controls.

The shell construction of the façade consist of solid brick walls, reinforced ceilings and floors, and steel encased concrete columns. The façade consist of aluminum posts and transoms with protruding bridges for maintenance, with an EIFS- Façade in white-plaster. The sun screen operates on electronic shutters of preformatted aluminum panels.

The 112 metal tiles that line the exterior of the Kiefer Technic Showroom in Bad Gleichenberg Austria are all movable, creating a dynamic and changeable façade that will quickly change anyone’s opinion of solar shading.

This façade also has a time control where the panels can change design every hour.

Check out the video here:


Friday, June 10, 2016


If given the opportunity would you work outside?

The students at Montgomery College - Department of Applied Technology, came up with an idea and pitched it to the Peterson Companies.  As luck would have it, the Peterson Companies were interested and worked with the students to make their idea possible.  This venture is actually a collaboration between Montgomery College, the Peterson Companies, Downtown Silver Spring and Adventist Healthcare.

The basic idea is to provide an alternative work/ conference space for local offices.  Considering most of us are an office most of the day - we walk in in the morning and walk out in the evening.  Wouldn't it be great to have a meeting in an outside space - get a little fresh air and sunlight.  Well if you work in Downtown Silver Spring, here's your opportunity.


Here's another thought, while it would be great to have a meeting outside (then stop by Ben and Jerry's on the way back to office), but how many of us would be able to concentrate on the meeting and not 'people watch' or get drawn into the wonderful weather.  Or worry about the possible intrusion from passers-by.  Again, it's a nice idea and I appreciate the thought in offering  office working professional a way to get out and enjoy the day.  Perhaps better suited as an overflow space for a restaurant.

1. Washingtonian

2. East MoCo

3. Downtown Silver Spring YouTube
(see link above)

4. DCist


Wednesday, April 20, 2016


Mill Creek Ranch

Honor Award, Residential

Vanderpool, TX | Ten Eyck Landscape Architects Inc. | Client: Private


Nestled in the Medina River valley of the Central Texas Hill Country, this ranch derives its beauty from its peninsular setting at the convergence of a natural spring and hill country creek. The open-air layout of the new ranch buildings—combined with terraced gardens, water and fire features, trails, and restoration of the site—allow the residents and their guests to be fully, yet comfortably, immersed in the beauty of the Texas Hill Country. A cascading storm water and creek purification feature in the courtyard activates multiple senses and pays homage to the spring, while another feature circulates a rill of spring water to help oxygenate the adjacent creek. Native grass lawns provide spaces for entertaining and children’s athletic activities. Old ranch roads and footprints of former barns now give rise to native grasses and forbs that cleanse rainwater prior to entering the creek and spring.

The new ranch house compound, situated near a spectacular bald cypress-lined spring and a creek, features outdoor living spaces carefully crafted to highlight existing features and designed to accommodate the client’s desire for play lawns, volleyball areas, a meditation area, a boat launch, hiking trails, and engaging water and fire elements. The various spaces are defined by native vegetation and durable hardscape materials—such as limestone, Oklahoma sugarloaf sandstone, natural steel, and board-formed concrete—selected to maintain coherency with the architecture. The architects sited the four building complexes at different elevations and angles, which were resolved by the landscape architect through terraced gardens and creatively routed stone plank paths. Original drawings by the civil engineer showed a catch basin in the middle of the courtyard to manage stormwater runoff; alternatively, the landscape architect developed a cleansing riparian courtyard garden and check dams that cleanse and accentuate the path of rainwater prior to it entering the spring and creek. Water features near the spring intercept small amounts of spring water to enhance the sensory experience of sound in addition to helping aerate the stagnant-prone waters of the creek, here upstream from an existing dam. Consistent forms and material selections respond to variations in site conditions and program to create a dynamic, yet unified aesthetic for the ranch house and ranch manager’s compounds and barn, which features an organic orchard and vegetable garden.



Friday, March 25, 2016


Hummelo is a village and private garden in Gelderland, eastern Netherlands. It is also Piet Oudolf’s home, his personal garden laboratory, a former nursery run by his wife Anja, and the place where he first tested new designs and created the new varieties of perennials that are now widely available.

Piet Oudolf is an influential Dutch garden designer, nurseryman and author. He is a leading figure of the "New Perennial" movement, using bold drifts of herbaceous perennials and grasses which are chosen at least as much for their structure as for their flower color. Other noteworthy Oudolf projects include The Highline and The Battery in New York City.

Oudolf first moved into Hummelo in 1982. It has gone through many changes which reflect Oudolf's constantly developing planting design.




Friday, March 11, 2016



There are some cities that have famous parks, like New York's Central park.  Many are not surprise or impressed to hear about a new park in a city that already has a great one already.  What would you think about an underground park?  Perhaps, how does this actually work? Well, the minds of Dan Barasch and James Ramsey have done just that...designed and created an underground park in New York City.

The project is based on the approach, developed by James Ramsey (a former NASA engineer).  The proposed location is Manhattan's Lower East Side.  First the duo captivated New Yorker with the park idea in 2011 with a media campaign.  The two acquired funding through a couple of 'Kickstarter' campaigns, then a South Korea technology company (SunPortal) jointed the project (2013).

So, 'How does this actually work?'  The underground park will be equipped with a new prototype remote solar hardware and hand-polished lenses from Germany - the retooled optics system preserves the Archimedean aspects of the first scheme.  The Lowline Lab will be housed in the Essex Street warehouse until March, but he lab is destined for the abandoned trolley station beneath Delancey Street.

While visiting the lab, you will notice the glowing tubes of refracted sunlight - suspended from the ceiling - aren't intended to illuminate the space.  The park has been described as a cross between a corporate atrium, a botanical garden, and the Rainforest Café - thanks to the contributions of Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects.

While this is a great idea and will prove useful in the future, there's nothing like going outside for fresh air and the scenic views.


1. METROLOIS magazine - February 2016


Friday, February 12, 2016

SCAD's Answer to Urban Housing?

Most urban colleges and universities have housing issues - for the upper classmen, which students tend to stress about as much as classes.  Well, SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) is proposing a solution to this problem.  It's called 'SCADPad' and the idea is to find new ways to re-use existing structures and make habitable communities. 

The project is an interdisciplinary collaboration of students, faculty/ staff and alumni - who designed dwelling units in a parking garage near the SCAD-Atlanta campus.  The project includes three dwelling units - each with a different theme/ identity, a common space - organic garden, a composting/ recycling center and a rapid prototype area - with a 3D printer.   The size of each dwelling unit is equal to the size of a parking space (8' x 16') and is laid out with a bathroom/ kitchen/ sleeping space.  The themes for the dwelling units are Asia, Europe and North America.  The decore can be changed and or enhanced with each occupant.

To obtain real feedback on whether the project could work, SCAD students, faculty/ staff and special quests have taken turns living in the SCADPads - two weeks each.  Initially the project was to span a few months (April to June 2014), but it is currently approaching it's second year.

Thinking Space
Organic Garden
Asia Dwelling Unit

Asia Dwelling Unit - bathroom

Europe Dwelling Unit
Europe Dwelling Unit - Exterior

North America Dwelling Unit

North America Dwelling Unit - Bathroom
SCADPad Evolution

Bubble Chairs

If find this idea interesting and would like to follow the project, go to the project website (  You will be able to register and receive updates.

1). ARCHITECT magazine
2). SCADPad website
3). DWELL Magazine

Friday, January 22, 2016

Buhl Community Park

Buhl Community Park 

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

After winning first place in a national competition, ACLA ushered the design for this public park, adjacent to the Pittsburgh Children’s Museum, through its opening day in 2012. The design respects and highlights the historic importance of the site at the same time as it breathes fresh life into the plaza. After reconnecting the historic city grid that was destroyed during 1960’s-era ‘urban renewal’ efforts, the park is once again the public gathering area it once was for Allegheny City.

Important design features such as a bioswale and native planting educate visitors about sustainability, while an interactive art installation activates the space and fosters a connection with the nearby Children’s Museum. Emphasizing species native to the waterways, woodlands, and meadows of Pittsburgh’s region, the planting design for Allegheny Public Square connects visitors with the experiential qualities of the local ecosystems while also processing the plaza’s storm-water. ACLA assembled and managed a large team of designers and engineers to meet the unique challenges of building this park.

Collaboration with a public artist to develop the site-specific installation, fully integrated into the park, was an important aspect of the design process. The resulting art piece by Ned Kahn consists of a grid of 64 stainless steel poles that emit fog with water fed from the steam heating system of Pittsburgh. An ethereal hovering sphere floats above the park’s surface.