Friday, October 26, 2012





 Free Form Solar Powered

My goal is the active skin, whose base element (Solar module) is a flexible material in the process conceptual architectural design and construction.

Convert solar array to a material with which to compose and build architecture.
Overall, from photovoltaic laminated glass, I have developed a number of details and construction systems, such as Ventilated Façade, Curtain Wall and Monolayer Structures
that host the facilities inherent in any PV system and the different architectures that build proposals, with particular interest in the design, effective input method of this technology in the urban scene.

I try to convey the idea that the generation of clean energy can be part of the beauty of its major consumer, THE CITY.
Specifically in the photovoltaic industry, until now largely developed by engineers must entry into the industry figure of the architect to develop their integration into the urban scene.
 For more information on The complete project please see links below:

Friday, October 19, 2012

The crowd psychology of Grand Central Station

Foster + Partners present vision for Grand Central Terminal

From Dezeen:

News: architecture firm Foster + Partners has unveiled proposals to increase the capacity of New York’s Grand Central Terminal by widening approach routes and pedestrianising streets (+ slideshow).
Grand Central Station Masterplan by Foster + Partners
The architects were one of three teams invited by the Municipal Art Society of New York to re-think the public spaces in and around the 100-year-old station, which was designed to serve around 75,000 passengers a day but often sees as many as a million passing through.
Grand Central Station Masterplan by Foster + Partners
Foster + Partners’ proposals include the pedestrianisation of Vanderbilt Avenue to the west of the station, creating a public square at the entrance to the new East Side Access lines, surrounded by trees, cafes and public art.
Grand Central Station Masterplan by Foster + Partners
The plans also include wider pavements and trees on the southern approach from 42nd Street and along Lexington Avenue to the east, while larger underground spaces would lead into the terminal from Park Avenue to the north.
Grand Central Station Masterplan by Foster + Partners
Inside the station, wider concourses would help to ease congestion for travellers on the 4, 5, 6 and 7 metro lines.
Grand Central Station Masterplan by Foster + Partners
“The quality of a city’s public realm reflects the level of civic pride and has a direct impact on the quality of everyday life,” said Norman Foster. “With the advent of the Long Island Rail Road East Side Access, along with the plan to re-zone the district, there has never been a better opportunity to tackle the issues of public access and mobility around one of the greatest rail terminals in the world.”
Grand Central Station Masterplan by Foster + Partners
Foster + Partners presented their proposals yesterday at the third annual MAS Summit for New York City, alongside American firms SOM and WXY Architecture.
Grand Central Station Masterplan by Foster + Partners
In the last year the firm has also won a competition to design a high-speed rail station for Spain and presented proposals for an airport and transport hub on the estuary outside London.
See more stories about Foster + Partners »
Here’s some more information from Foster + Partners:

Foster + Partners re-imagines Grand Central Terminal for 2013 Centenary
Norman Foster presented proposals for a masterplan to bring clarity back to Grand Central Terminal at The Municipal Art Society of New York’s annual Summit in New York last night.
Grand Central Station Masterplan by Foster + Partners
Masterplan – click above for larger image
Grand Central Terminal is one of New York’s greatest landmarks and contains perhaps the city’s finest civic space. However, over time it has become a victim of its own success. A building designed to be used by 75,000 people per day now routinely handles ten times that number with up to a million on peak days.
The result is acute overcrowding; connections to the rail and subway lines beneath the concourse are inadequate; and the arrival and departure experience is poor. Added to that, the surrounding streets are choked with traffic and pedestrians are marginalised. The rapid growth of tall buildings in the vicinity has all but consumed the Terminal.
Within the station, the proposal creates wider concourses, with new and improved entrances. Externally, streets will be reconfigured as shared vehicle/pedestrian routes, and Vanderbilt Avenue fully pedestrianised. The proposal also creates new civic spaces that will provide Grand Central with an appropriate urban setting for the next 100 years.
Grand Central Station Masterplan by Foster + Partners
Wider masterplan
The 42nd street entrance to the south, where access is severely constrained, will be widened to fill the entire elevation by using existing openings, thus greatly easing accessibility. The access via tunnels on the northern approach from Park Avenue will be rebalanced in favour of pedestrians by creating grander, enlarged underground spaces through the Helmsley building. Lexington Avenue to the east will be tree-lined with wider sidewalks and will benefit from more prominent and enhanced tunnel access to Grand Central Terminal. The idea already mooted to pedestrianise Vanderbilt Avenue to the west would be extended. The street would be anchored to the south by a major new enlarged civic space between 43rd Street and the west entrance to the Terminal and to the north by a plaza accommodating new entrances to the East Side Access lines. Trees, sculpture and street cafes will bring life and new breathing space to Grand Central Terminal.
At platform and concourse levels where congestion is particularly acute for travellers on the 4, 5, 6 and 7 lines, we will radically enlarge the connecting public areas, to address the huge increase in passenger traffic in the last 100 years. This will transform the experience for arriving and departing commuters and passengers. A generous new concourse will be created beneath the west entrance plaza on Vanderbilt Avenue connecting directly into the main station concourse.
This visionary masterplan with its focus on pedestrians and travellers will allow Grand Central Terminal to regain the civic stature that it deserves as a major New York landmark and an appropriate twenty-first century transport hub.

Friday, October 12, 2012

House on Lake Okoboji


I got this piece from Ramon (Thank you!) just morning and thought it would be great to share with you all on YEOW.

Its called the House on Lake Okoboji by Min|Day Architects, a firm in San Francisco.

Here is a little summary they have on their site about the project:

West Lake Okoboji, Iowa, 2008
For a lake residence on a diminutive lot in rural Iowa we conceived of a house as a series of spatial frames that offer a focused and private experience on an otherwise densely populated shore. This second home sits in a resort area that appears as an oasis in the midst of the Midwestern 'corn desert'. The owners desired a house that was 'all about the lake' and the oak trees that bound the lake from the expanse of farmland beyond. The house behaves as a 3-dimensional set of 'blinders' obscuring the neighbors while gradually opening to the lake beyond. Passing through the house one moves from areas of density to areas with a diaphanous quality while color and material texture intensify moving from open to intimate spaces.

 Check out their site:

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

An Experimental New Starbucks Store: Tiny, Portable, and Hyper Local


A new style of smaller, LEED-certified Starbucks may touch down near you soon. It's all part of a plan to evolve the coffee giant's business

This week in Colorado, Starbucks opened a store unlike any before it. There are no leather chairs or free power outlets. In fact, there’s no space for the customer at all. Starbucks has reimagined the coffee hut as a “modern modular,” LEED-certified drive-thru and walk-up shop. The building was constructed in a factory and delivered from a truck, but its facade is clad in gorgeous old Wyoming snow fencing. As diminutive as the shop may be, its designer wants drivers to pass by and ask “What is that?” only to conclude that, oh, “it’s art.”


It’s hard to remember the Folgers era, before Seattle’s grunge scene and coffee culture invaded the U.S. In retrospect, the shift seems inevitable. Coffee, popularized during the industrial revolution, just got bigger as the Internet revolution began. Today we all know that a laptop is near-useless without an Internet connection and a warm cup of caffeine by its side. Yet Starbucks’s Arthur Rubinfeld, the now president of global development but architect by trade (and Co.Design 50), remembers a different story--one where Starbucks wasn’t a trenta-sized juggernaut, but a longshot beverage company hoping to sell America on frou-frou coffee. “When I joined in ‘92, we were under 100 stores. And we had an understanding that espresso-based beverages were on trend. We knew this from the loyalty of our customer base at the time, but our category--speciality beverages--was not in itself a business driver,” Rubinfeld tells me. “At that point it was about establishing the American idea of the coffee house. Hundreds and hundreds of years old in Europe, it was mostly about community.”
The drive-thru looks bigger than the 500-square-foot building! (Courtesy Starbucks)

So that community coffee house was crafted into an archetype, the plush-chaired, dark-wooded, Starbucks that we all know today (a European clone so effective that it’s taken a bite out of Europe’s own coffee market). Yet Starbucks still had to win over America city by city in a strategic land war, so they made their way into strip malls and shopping centers, recognizing coffee as an impulsive convenience purchase to complement a trip to the grocery store or post office. Each regional strategy had to be tailored at the city level, but it always started with a convenience-based link. “Chicago is one of the early Starbucks entry points,” Rubinfeld says. “When Starbucks entered in Chicago, it was at the core of office buildings on the way into work. Then it became more ‘where you live work and play,’ and then it became the third place between home and office--the community connection point, the human interaction point that’s so critical.”

Rubinfeld left the company for a bit, and when he came back in 2008 to take his new seat, the world had changed. No one would call Starbucks a risky business model anymore, nor would they dare finger coffee as a fad. 17% of U.S. adults were consuming a gourmet coffee concoction on a daily basis. Today, coffee’s grown bigger than soft drinks--and it has a two-digit market lead over those fizzy beverages.


Premium coffee had become an addictive enough habit that Starbucks didn’t require the sloppy seconds of grocery stores or business complexes anymore. A frappucino alone could be worth a trip. At the same time, the local omnivore movement was taking off. Laptops no longer just browsed the Internet, they created it. Culture became about content creation and original voice. And the very definition of cool had changed. Flannel-clad rejects were out, but geeks of all types were in. Teens were wearing backpacks on two shoulders and caring about the environment.

Coming back in 2008, Rubinfeld tied all future store designs with the company’s Shared Planet Initiative, which impacted everything from Starbucks’s practices with farmers to how their stores dispose of refuse. “Once that connection to our mission statement, our soul if you will, was established, that became the go-forward design foundation for our stores, along with one additional very important element, and that is being locally relevant.” But one very big challenge remained.


This was a question that Rubinfeld posed to Starbucks’s 14 architectural offices around the world. You see, Starbucks doesn’t hire out their building design. They conceptualize all stores from within. And what resulted was the greenlighting of a series of coffee shops that are absolutely stunning, highly individualized, sustainably idyllic flagships that easily challenge Apple’s best stores in terms of pure chic.

One particular flagship was built right in Seattle, using Starbucks’s reclaimed shipping containers along with prefabricated components. And while Rubinfeld admits that it’d have been cheaper just to ditch those shipping materials altogether, he liked the statement. It was experimental, green, and gorgeous. It was ostentatious and responsible at the same time.

Starbucks, of course, can’t afford to be totally idealist. They still have market challenges of their own and, sooner or later, there are only so many large coffee houses you can build and expect profitability. Rubinfeld describes the issue as one of neighborhood-level demand. Starbucks sees countless markets that might exist, but each is a bit too small to sustain a traditional store with larger square footage.

Their new building paradigm--officially labeled a “pilot program”--is a confluence of all these various impulses. The environment. Localism. Market growth. Low-cost, low-risk expandability. And making it all come together is the responsibility of Anthony Perez, a senior concept design manager who envisioned Starbucks’s original prefab store.

"Modern modular," a prefab modular frame under a unique facade of local materials. (Courtesy Starbucks)

“To both build scale while having things be locally relevant, that’s really a designer’s problem to solve,” Perez tells me. “It’s a really, really challenging problem.” But it’s not an impossible one. The core of each of these new, small Starbucks locations will be a prefabricated, modular set of rooms. At a mere 500 square feet, they have just enough space to squeeze in three to five employees along with all of the coffee making apparatuses necessary to execute a full Starbucks menu.


But around this mass-produced structure, Perez envisioned high-end facades constructed out of local materials (“local” is actually not just jargon in this case, it’s a LEED-certification point in Starbucks’s favor, meaning the material is sourced within a 500-mile radius). These facades exude “craftsmanship,” I’m told, and can be anything from reclaimed lumber to corrugated metals. The entire point is that there’s not one set go-to in this circumstance. The modular frame can become almost anything with a high-end facade tacked on top. (Also of note, LEED will give Starbucks even more points for using signage to label where parts of their facade were sourced from.)

“What we’ve done is standardize the interior,” he explains. “But what we want to be able to do is, as people are going around this prefab, we want the materials on that exterior to feel like it’s part of the local environment.”

Perez sees this facade as both a literal and metaphorical layer to the building that can make a mass-produced corporate product into a relevant place to the community. It even leaves room for “art panels.” Much like coffee shops will hang pieces from local artists on the walls, Perez wants to see these rear illuminated exterior panels serve a similar function--to push individuality and maybe even local artistic voices.

It’s important to remember, all of what you see was essentially lowered off a truck. (Courtesy Starbucks)

“We’re working with lots of ways to build palettes similar to what we have inside the cafes, but now we have them on the outside,” he explains. “We’re not looking for all the stores to look similar. They’re going to look very, very different around this idea of craft.”

But amidst all of Perez’s rhetoric of “moments of art” and “delight,” you can see the wheels of a multi-billion-dollar corporation spinning underneath. For one, these modern modular buildings aren’t just placed anywhere. They’re placed particularly on the side of the road on which the most locals drive to work. First and foremost, Starbucks knows that whatever else has changed in 20 years, their coffee is still a “convenience-driven product.”


“Our buildings need to be lanterns, beacons of light in some ways,” Perez says. “We’re responding to a palette of darkness. For a good part of the year in most of our markets, most of our business in a drive thru is done first thing in the morning. Instead of having just a few glowing signs and a light in the hallway, is there way to do this to make it a lot more interesting? Actually activating the building in such a way that’s taking advantage of light?” He’s careful to add that they’ll do it in "a very environmentally sensitive way."

Some might see that last tag-on as lip service, but from an awkward set of moments and questions that followed, I inferred that Perez had just spilled the beans on something much bigger. Consider the small, modular locations. Consider the LEED certification. Consider the power savings of a drive-up business that doesn’t need to feed electricity to laptops all day. Starbucks might not just be designing modern modular locations that are off the normal consumer grid--they could be designing low-footprint stores that eventually go off the grid altogether.

Click here to see more photos of An Experimental New Starbucks Store.

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Standard

New York / Ennead Architects

Designed to allow the High Line to pass beneath it, the 18-story Standard hotel was constructed using sculptural piers that raise the building 57 feet above the street grid. New York–based Ennead Architects accentuated the hotel’s distinctive presence with a central “hinge” that divides the structure’s two slabs.


Jury: “The building addresses the urban scale as a tower relating to the High Line [and the Hudson River]. … There is clarity in the choice and articulation of materials and a sense of restraint, though the end result is one of high visual impact.”

Client: “I usually renovate older buildings, and this was ground-up construction. Add to that the matter of the High Line and it was a unique challenge … We had to be sensitive to this new landmark. It tramples through our site, but it also defines it. That said, we wanted to not be overly shy or reverent toward it. Whatever we put up there would have to jump the train tracks.” —André Balazs, owner, as told to Vanity Fair

For more information please see link below: