I wake up facing a ‘Bazinga’ poster on my wall every morning, before drifting towards the kitchen, which is stripped bare of any formal or spatial indulgences except a horizontal work surface. When I moved in, this house was a hollow shell. It took us nearly a month to transform it into a familiar space. In a few months, my collection of knick-knacks, figurines, Hello Kitty merchandise and the like, invaded the house. There is no ‘real’ utilisation or function of these things except they are just there. Their eclectic existence enhances the personal value of the space they are in. 

In other words, they mark familiar territory in our minds.

“Ornamentation is wasted manpower”, declared Viennese architect Adolf Loos. He went further, differentiating ‘ornament’ from ‘ornamentation’, the former meaning purposeful or functional adornment while the latter referring to superfluous decoration or add-ons, without which buildings would continue to stand unperturbed. In other words, stripping a structure of anything that did not directly or indirectly work towards binding its various parts together, was perfectly acceptable. In 1908, when he published ‘Ornament and Verbrechen’ (Ornament and Crime), Loos primarily appealed to capitalists, stating ornamentation as a wastage of capital. He went further, relating cultural progress to minimal ornamentation. In other words, he believed that society gave up superficial decoration and as a consequence, progressed culturally. Hence, for man to reach the zenith of progress, all ornamentation would have to be banned and craftsmen discouraged to practise their craft. Loos’ opinion fermented into his articles and building projects that were indeed realised, much to the shock and initial disbelief of people with a Classical idea of beauty in architecture.   

If ornamentation were to be discarded, wouldn't everything turn generic in its bland existence? While not exactly favoring ornamentation as one sees it around these days, it would not be improper to question the relevance of self without ornamentation. Is it not ornamentation that allows personal idiosyncrasies and individuality to co-exist with societal norms? As a society, how accommodating are we to alternate mindsets? Under the garb of ornamentation, the main cause of concern is tolerance. For instance, when Loos designed the Café Museum, people who viewed Modernist ideals as obsolete and a short-lived reaction soon to die out, derided it as Café Nihilism. The plainness was too blunt for their taste and at the time, since they had not been exposed to a statement so monumental and oft-seen in their daily lives, they decided to press harder for a familiar neo-Classical style. While heavily decorated fluted columns and cherubs floating around ribbons and sashes of silken cloth register themselves as a rigid category in our minds, so do white rectilinear forms with strips of openings for picturesque views. Both these visual sets, belong to a pre-set category in our minds- the former as Classical architecture and the latter as Modern architecture. (Note that it is architecture we talk about here, and not Architecture)

Going back in time, why were cave paintings like those found at Lascaux, France, made? Apart from the many possible explanations, one that cannot be ruled out, alludes to the need for aesthetic stimulation of the visual senses. During every civilisation, there have been periods where the arts flourished and hence, archaeologists happened to gather material culture. Ornamentation existed long before our time, just not viewed as we do currently. Are we, as a species, hard-wired to objectively agree regarding aesthetics? Probably not. Similarly, can we question the integrity of a building by categorising it as wrong or right architecture?
The One and Only Royal Mirage, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
The function of a building or a house is to nurture its inhabitants allowing adequate sunlight, ventilation and a habitat conducive to individual development. If it fulfills these requirements with or without ornamentation, does it matter? A dwelling; whether a cave or an igloo or a mud or concrete house, facilitates its inhabitants to grow, multiply their kind, sheltering them from any natural threats. Our earliest shelter, the cave, qualifies the Corbusian ‘machine for living’ ideal as it permitted all the activities of the early man. However, just as Loos and other Modernists identified and dictated a certain module for the ‘modern house’ which if followed, would lead to generic neighbourhoods and colonies where people would be forced to accept a certain formal language irrespective of their cultural differences or sensitivities.

Human behaviour and settlement patterns have varied over time and as physical and social conditions change, these will continue to morph further into newer aesthetic choices. Every built structure is a witness to a certain period of historical development and gives away a piece of information about its dwellers. Whether an individual chooses to formally recreate the Parthenon for a market place, a museum or a governmental office, is a personal decision. It does have implications in the public sphere but one has to remember that any new style or the revival of an older style has always created outrage amongst the general masses and theorists.

The role of a building in any setting also includes engaging the city in a formal and spatial discourse, creating enriching experiences for onlookers. Bypassing the debate about ornamentation is the human need to reach out for the familiar. Any change, whether revolutions or economic recessions, create a domino effect of fear, insecurity and a need for re-invention and renovation. Architectural styles were a reflection of the turbulent times of change during the past eras, not an end in themselves but a means to an end. As Robert Venturi had stated in his 1966 essay, “I like complexity and contradiction in architecture.” To each, his own.

Yasra Daud Khoker

Yasra Daud Khoker has a degree in Interior Design from the American University of Sharjah. She is an art critic and artist who divides her time between Dubai and Jaipur. Yasra can be contacted at yasrakhoker@yahoo.com

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COLUMBIA, South Carolina – Stevens & Wilkinson, a full-service architecture, engineering and interior design firm based in Atlanta and Columbia, S.C., recently completed site planning, architectural, and engineering design for Clemson University’s new Core Campus Housing and Dining precinct improvements. Completion of the facilities marked the first step in Clemson University’s redevelopment of its core campus, as envisioned in the university’s 2002 masterplan. The Core Campus’s new construction is a progressive approach to residential housing, dining venues and academic space that has created an interactive, living-learning community.

Photo credit: Flashnick Visuals, LLC.
Comprised of nearly 286,000 square feet, with an estimated construction cost of $83,000,000, this project will help meet the growing demands for contemporary housing and dining options. The facility supports Clemson University’s goal of retaining more sophomore students on campus. As one of the nation’s top-20 public universities, the new precinct will also enable the demolition and redevelopment of the school’s Harcombe Dining Hall and Student Union in subsequent phases. 

Located on the site of the former Johnstone Residence Hall, the new Core Campus complex was conceptualized as an integrated mega-structure that serves to anchor the precinct on campus. The complex now provides 700 student beds and 1,200 seats of dining and is the new home to the Calhoun Honors College and associated academic spaces. 

“Beyond square footage and new construction, the project aspires to much more, including the design and development of quality campus life for students and new forms of housing that support the university’s desire for a multi-purpose, mixed-use center of living and learning,” said Ashby Gressette, AIA and president of Stevens & Wilkinson, South Carolina. 

Primary goals for the project included capturing the best of the “Clemson experience”; advanced coordination of future projects outlined in the Campus Masterplan; creating a facility to enable recruitment and retention of students and achieving LEED Silver Certification. The latter is currently pending final review with the United States Green Building Council. 

The new dining facilities offer a wide array of choices across 300 seats of retail dining and 900 seats of residential dining in a modern capacity. Retail venues with extended hours; a delicatessen and grill; national coffee and chicken sandwich chains; and a convenience store provide flexible options. 

“The character of the new, high-end facility offers a variety of seating areas separated by custom millwork-style seating and partition screens,” says Gressette. “Each retail dining venue has its own unique character and finishes that have been tied into the overall aesthetic of the facility.” 

Photo credit: Flashnick Visuals, LLC.

Photo credit: Flashnick Visuals, LLC.
The dining complex has three levels, including a lower service level, main dining level, and a relaxed dining mezzanine, all of which are connected by a centrally located main circulation core. 

The Stevens & Wilkinson project team designed the new housing spaces to provide numerous residential unit types and community options for students, furthering the university’s plan for student growth and on-campus retention. 

At the north end of the site, two seven-story residence halls of 244 and 178 beds comprise the Calhoun Honors College, with academic assembly and administrative space on the first floor arranged around a raised courtyard. Common lounges connected by open stairs enhance the idea of community in close proximity to student accommodations of double and single semi-suites with semi-private baths. To the south, a 265-bed residence hall provides double occupancy rooms with common private baths. 

This housing design aids the college in its student recruitment for a National Scholars Program and the continued retention of students living on campus following their first year.

Newly implemented site planning and landscape architecture created flexible and high-quality, open spaces for easy connectivity to and from central campus buildings. This began by creating the popular Clemson Walk pedestrian spine, which now acts as a key unifying space for the entire precinct. 

“The 20-foot-wide walk features integrally colored concrete paving and is framed by an allée of trees and LED lighting elements,” says Gressette. “Pairs of bench elements are arranged along the walk, and the new housing, dining, and honors college are accessed from this path.” 

To the west, Clemson Walk opens into a series of courtyards, providing access to the buildings. The courtyards provide lawn space, deciduous canopies of trees, and areas of concrete paver units for activities. These spaces were also created for public art selected via a national competition. 

Due to previous development, the site was formerly crossed by most major campus utility services, including steam, chilled water, power, telecommunications, storm and sanitary sewers, which were strategically relocated by the team to make way for the project.

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As an avid book lover and passionate literature student, the sheer delight which I felt when taking a peek at Kansas City’s beautifully renovated car park is understandably quite intense. 

It’s not just about the books, either – great selection that they are. It’s about turning a drab, generally un-motivating environment into one which is colourful, uplifting and, most importantly, one which introduces ideas. 

It’s impossible to walk or drive away without thinking, “Hmmm... it’s been a while since I’ve picked up that book. I wonder if I should give it another go?” And hereby a place as blasé as a car park suddenly becomes a place of transformation. 

It’s places like this which make cityscape's such a fascinating arena for creativity in various shapes and forms – of metamorphosing what would once have been a passing thought in a pedestrian’s mind into something more, and transcending what even the most ambitious of large-scale architectural projects can sometimes fail to achieve.

© Kansas City Car Park
Recording Our Stories, Recycling Our Memories
What makes these public spaces so poignant is their personal capacity. There is no sense of pretentiousness, the tension which comes with deliberate presentation which turns so many of our great museums into places where they say “art goes to die.” Here, it comes to life, in the most unlikely of surroundings, capturing the element of surprise beautifully and inspiring us in a multitude of ways. 

Reclaiming our public spaces encompasses a variety of cultural movements, from the glorious street art of hip hop culture to the empowering, edgy, and heart-wrenching stories painted on the Berlin Wall where people turned war and pain into art. They are the brutally honest portraits of our time, perhaps in some ways more authentic than the classical murals and frescoes which we have come to revere.

But it’s not all fraught with politics and war. Walking down any cosmopolitan city with a Bohemian flair like Berlin, Barcelona, New York and Montreal – just to name a few – will reveal that even the tiniest of places, or the most seemingly abandoned, can become intimate and welcoming, as well as a place for the community to come together. 

The High Line in New York is a great testament of collective effort to “recycle” a public place and transform it into a vibrant green space where people can gather from the surrounding neighbourhoods and enjoy a measure of nature, reflective of many alleyways and small parks throughout the city which provide a valuable community purpose. And now, such urban areas are becoming recognised not only within their immediate community but on a national scale, as well – London’s famous Rom skatepark is now a national heritage site, and other similar cultural shrines are now preserved thanks to their community stepping forward and saying “hands off, these are our memories, this is our identity.”

A New Business Model
That doesn’t mean that every hot locale has to be preserved in perfection, but perhaps the most interesting and challenging phenomena of reclaiming cultural space is how we continue to interact with it as well as observe and reflect on it. And where there is an interest, money inevitably follows, and this can be a good thing. 

From real estate to business, converting old industrial buildings into chic cafes and trendy apartments is a popular pursuit, and some cities have become truly innovative in this approach, from turning old cellars and churches into swanky bars and nightclubs and old boats into bookstores. Design elements are always controversial, but for the most part, business owners are happy to maintain some of the original decor – such as ornate ceilings and exposed brick walls – and artfully combine it with modern features.

This is certainly a more conscientious method of building a business, rather than demolishing and starting from the ground up. However, it does entail a lot of expense, from obtaining permission relating to which parts of the building are historically protected to making it more energy efficient and meeting current health and safety standards as well as accessibility. Additionally this also impacts the coverage which that business has as well, encompassing a variety of factors

As well as these practical aspects to consider, business owners must be truly diverse in their brainstorming process, finding innovative ways to convert a building purposed for a different time and bring it into modern society. Fortunately, the popularity of these spaces thrives on the fact that the “history” which is imprinted in the building itself serves as quirky, attractive feature, and provided the environment is warm, welcoming, and easy to access, it is yet another valuable urban space.

And so while many grandiose projects look towards the future, on a smaller scale, communities look to the past when regenerating their urban environment. Whether it’s creating a small, green marketplace in an alleyway, renovating a local church or painting a new mural on a school wall, as individuals and neighbours, we are making special spaces happen because of our love affair – and curiosity – with bygone times and the desire to make new ones.

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There is a growing surge of activity focused on developing new learning environments in response to demands for increased interaction, collaboration, connectivity, engagement, and community. This movement is spearheaded by the need to accommodate the variety of identified ways in which students learn. Innovative school facility design is the key integrator of multi modal learning concepts, academic customization and technology synthesis for existing and new K-12 schools.

© 2016 Brian Gassel Photography

Non-traditional, Immersive Learning Environments, or “Learningscapes,” are generally designed around five distinct types of learning activities, namely: Individual study, collaborative small group, breakout lecture,community classroom, and exploratory workshop spaces.

Each of these has specific needs in terms of space, configurations, technologies, finishes, furniture, acoustics, and lighting. For example, individual study areas define intimate spaces designed for individual investigation, critical thinking and assessment. Collaborative small group areas integrate flexible team spaces for project-based learning and collaboration.

Workshop areas accommodate hands-on exploration and testing, similar to a science lab. Breakout lecture areas include gathering spaces intended for short discourses and distant learning. Community classroom areas are shared spaces planned for social learning and co-planning in groups. The relationship and configuration of these spaces, in conjunction with a central teaching-team planning area, are the design components used to develop such environments.

Mutual Education and Learning

“Immersive Learning Environments, also known as active learning, personalized learning or project-based learning, promote diverse teaching strategies aimed at changing the idea of one teacher in one room in favor of a more migratory educational experience,” explains Kirk Marchisen, principal and vice president of Stevens & Wilkinson, Georgia. “The variety of space typologies permits a team of teachers to jointly devise the curriculum and workflow into “neighborhoods” of learning to improve teacher-to-student and student-to-student interaction and educational outcomes.”

Learning neighborhoods are better for both students and teachers. Rather than transitioning from one fixed classroom to another, or remaining with the same teacher all day, students may be given the choice to work either individually, or study collaboratively in groups of varying sizes and learning abilities.

This expanded learning format requires more interaction and cooperation among the teaching team to develop plans that are unified yet diverse in their offerings. Professional development focused on activity coordination and the utilization of these varied areas within the neighborhood is imperative to successfully realize the full potential of an Immersive Learning Environment.

Students educated in an Immersive Learning Environment have the opportunity to become more engaged in the learning process within a creative atmosphere that blends interaction, collaboration, modernized curriculum, and the enhanced integration of technology. The setting provides activity-based instruction and student-led participation, which significantly improve attention and promote retention and understanding of new concepts.

“Today, there are many ways to gather and test knowledge,” says Marchisen. “This evolution of educational space design is a value-added proposition to accommodate the innumerable ways in which students learn, understand, recall, and apply information.”

© 2016 Brian Gassel Photography
The Role of Architecture and Design

From a design perspective, there is not a prescribed formula that dictates the planning of these spaces. Each design is oriented to promote intercommunication between the variety of spaces and activities; to take advantage of available natural light and site views; and to support the culture of the school, district or community.

The main goal of Immersive Learning facility design is to provide a spatial response to the multifaceted learning needs and abilities of students as well as the demand for improved educational results. Design solutions are developed to facilitate team-based interdisciplinary curriculum and stimulate confidence in communication, critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, and technology. Successful design will also support the development of a team approach to instruction and coordination between the teachers.

“When we design Immersive Learning Environments, we envision a student easily transitioning from class to lab, or being part of a small group in a more specialized space to watch a video or perform tasks without disturbing the rest of the class,” says Marchisen. “The design is a critical component to the evolution of each student’s learning process.”

For several years, Marchisen and his colleagues at Stevens & Wilkinson, a full-service architecture, engineering and interior design firm with offices in Columbia, S.C. and Atlanta, have worked closely with various county leadership committees and school administrations to implement a series of architectural prototypes of the Immersive Learning Environment concept.

In 2012, leaders of the Fulton County School system in Atlanta hosted a two-day charrette to discuss and address the challenges of 21st century transformative education. Stevens & Wilkinson, in collaboration with Little Diversified Architectural Consulting, worked closely with Fulton County to develop a range of ideas to tackle the challenges of the changing educational landscape.

The outcome of the charrette led to transformational changes for Fulton County and its approach to facility design with the introduction of Immersive Learning strategies. The district felt a strong responsibility to develop these concepts in their schools and be an example for the State of Georgia as a leader in promoting nontraditional learning environments.

Results: Cases in Point

The Ronald E. McNair Middle School, located in Fulton County Georgia, was Fulton County Schools’ first example of a reimagined facility based on the principles of Immersive Learningspaces.

Based on a prototype originally designed by Stevens & Wilkinson in 1998, the school formerly had three separate wings for sixth, seventh and eighth grade core instruction. Each grade had self-contained classrooms and labs flanking a traditional circulation corridor.

By introducing Immersive Learning design and further developing ideas originally presented in the 2012 charrette, Stevens & Wilkinson and Immersive Learning design consultant Little Diversified transformed the conventional wing design into the concept of “neighborhoods.”

Individual classrooms and science labs in each wing were reconfigured into three distinct yet interconnected neighborhoods, also known as learning communities. “The neighborhood concept is successful because there is a social aspect to it,” Marchisen says. “A neighborhood has a more open feel without all ofthe doors of more conventional classroom design, but is totally different from the open plan designs popular in the 1970s.”

The redesign allows teachers to interact with more than one class at a time, evoking a greater sense of community and communication between learning areas. Students can remain in their neighborhoods for the better part of a school day, freely circulating between productive spaces designed for class, labs and teamwork.

The neighborhood includes four connected classroom areas and a workshop / lab, along with a series of adjoining spaces for individual study, small group study, and a tiered lecture space. In addition, a centrally located teacher planning area is within the neighborhood.

The outcome of this effective Immersive Learning design has proven so positive for McNair Middle School, the same design principles were developed for a series of middle school additions in a separate part of the county.

Bright colors, natural light and attention to acoustics and indoor air quality contribute to Immersive Learning Environment schools, with the goal of serving as places of joy and well-being for teachers and students.Students are happier being able to work in group settings or self-sufficiently as an alternative to former confines.

As observed by Luqman Abdur-Raman, principal at McNair Middle School, “Students benefit from understanding that in real-world problem solving, it is not only about lecture or group work; it is also about coming together to present and share ideas.”

In South Carolina, Richland School District Two’s new, LEED-accredited Lake Carolina Upper Elementary School includes flexible learning spaces that coexist with new Immersive Learning Environments. These spaces are inclusive of traditional classrooms with multiple, smaller breakout spaces that open to large commons areas used for flexible team teaching, project-based learning and collaboration.

“The new school continues to receive rave reviews from the students, faculty and, most notably, the parents,” says Martha Jones, director of strategic partnerships for Richland School District Two. “Everyone is enjoying the new campus model, the state-of-the-art design and the innovative layout of the classrooms.”

The classrooms and breakout spaces are defined by large glass doors that provide physical and visual connectivity to the larger commons area which, by design, encourages team teaching and relationships or associations between the different groups. In turn, defined teacher work areas are integrated within the neighborhood cluster of learning spaces to enhance supervision, utility and teacher support.

According to Marchisen, the supervisory element is also part of the design team’s architectural considerations. “Teachers should be able to position themselves in the neighborhood and effortlessly see through an interior windowpane or open doorway to adjacent learning areas. In essence, the design yields a good amount of visual connection for teachers and students alike.”

Tim Williams, AIA, associate vice president, senior architect with Stevens & Wilkinson, S.C., stated the design team met with Richland School District Two’s leadership to help them develop goals and objectives, in order to create a mission statement for a design concept that became known as the “Treehouse for Learning.”

This unique concept, similar to the Immersive Learning model, encompassed multiple design challenges, supportive of the learning environment, such as how to best approach the school; how to instill a sense of exploration; and how to stimulate imagination and encourage collaboration. The Stevens & Wilkinson, S.C. project team helped revise the Richland School District Two’s detailed program. The team was ultimately invited to design a new pre-K through 5th-grade elementary school reflective of the district’s revised philosophy for flexible and multifaceted instructional space.

Former board chair of Richland School District Two’s Board of Trustees, Calvin “Chip” Jackson believes the building will serve the school and district well for decades to come. “Everyone enjoys the school’s collaborative work spaces and natural lighting. It is handsome, colorful and energy-efficient, all aspects the community are proud of,” he says.

Emergence of Immersive Learning Environments

While the narrative of fewer walls and greater visual connectivity can often give rise to mistaken perceptions of noise and student control, the benefits become obvious when the spaces are active with students, and teachers can fully utilize the range of space options. Once these concepts are embraced and implemented, everyone involved - teachers, students and staff- easily realizes the positive impacts and potential of the new designs that address the wide variety of teaching and learning opportunities.

To accelerate the transition to Immersive Learning environments, school authorities have a leading role to perform. In both Georgia and South Carolina, school districts are considering ways to incrementally add new learning environments to existing conventionally designed schools and new school buildings. In fact, the move to embrace the concept is beginning to take shape throughout the region and country.

“As designers, we believe in the Immersive Learning concept. As school leadership boards and administrators explore the possibilities and seethe benefits, we would like to see the concept evolve and become even more successful,” agree both Marchisen and Williams.

Architectural and interior design are integral parts of the development of Immersive Learning Environments. Through the design of more varied neighborhood-oriented spaces, learning happens in a community context. Visual transparency contributes to greater connectivity between groups of teachers and students. Together, these are transforming the way our next generation of leaders are being educated for a promising future.
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Consisting of a unique collaboration between Kellogg’s, Journee’s Anthony Rudolf (formerly of Thomas Keller) and James Beard award-winning chef Christina Tosi, Chipman Design Architecture was challenged to design and elevate the comforting experience of enjoying your favorite cereal amidst the energy of Times Square.

Image Copyright © Chipman Design
The centerpiece of the restaurant is that delight the customer experiences when receiving their food order through the Cubby Wall. Inspired by the automats of the 1950’s, Chipman Design designed an experience that was also reminiscent of opening your kitchen cabinet to grab the ubiquitous box of cereal. Working directly with the millwork company, Chipman developed the configuration for the Cubbies as well as operations for both front-of-house and back-of-house.

Image Copyright © Chipman Design
While being a relatively small and narrow space, the Design Team did not want the restaurant to feel cramped and claustrophobic, but light and airy. With a concept based on a 1950’s retro diner with a modern twist, mid-century modern furniture was chosen and specified in addition to the use of white painted brick and clean-lined, red light fixtures to tie the space back to the Kellogg’s brand.

Image Copyright © Chipman Design
As a new dining concept, Chipman Design wanted to provide clear wayfinding from the restaurant entrance through the queue to the service counter and cubby wall without strictly using signage. Utilizing a wood wall with open portals to divide the queue and dining area, guests are clearly directed to the service counter to order by a porcelain tile mimicking woodgrain, both beautiful and durable. Complementing the woodgrain throughout the space is a retro black and white mosaic hexagonal tile, equal parts nostalgia and present day.

Image Copyright © Chipman Design
Providing full architectural and interior design services, Chipman Design collaborated with the client from the firm’s Chicago and New York offices. Implementing full due diligence services including code and lease review as well as performing a site survey of the proposed space, the Chipman Design Team designed the concept for the restaurant while utilizing the firm’s Visualization Studio to create in-house, photoreal 3D renderings to communicate the design intent to the client. Chipman then further developed the design, completing the Construction Documents and performing full Construction Administration services. 

From the Architect
‘Kellogg’s NYC was a unique project – a chance to develop a concept that was both nostalgic and forward-thinking. The most important element to establish in the restaurant were the ‘cubbies.’ The client wanted it to feel like you were getting your breakfast from your own kitchen cabinet. The space has a vintage soda shop/automat (the famed Horn and Hardart) feel accomplished by utilizing the black and white mosaic tile on the floor as well as painting the brick walls a matte white. Modern touches included the red lacquer finishes for the cubbies as well as the updated shape of the mid-century-inspired walnut chairs and marble tabletops.’

‘As this was a new concept for the Kellogg’s brand, we wanted the ordering process to be clear to the customer. Wood flooring was used as a wayfinding device – leading the customer to the ordering counter and then to pick up their food in the cubbies. We also used an open, storefront divider along the queue line to create separation between ordering and dining, but still, keep it feeling open as New York real estate is at a prime and the restaurant is only 1,400 square feet.’

Herschler worked hand-in-hand from Chipman’s Chicago headquarters with the firm’s New York office, communicating daily with Project Manager Tunde Soyebo and Principal Gary Metzger to develop the concept with the client and translate the design intent into Architectural drawings.

The outcome: an extraordinary experience that feels like coming home.

For background information about Chipman Design Architecture visit:

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Dubai has changed a lot in the past 30 years, it's construction industry is now one of the most proficient in the world, and most buildings appear to hold some Record Breaking title, from World's Tallest Building (Burj Khalifa), to the most luxurious hotel (Burj Al Arab). It's no surprise then that, due to the endless amounts of money and investment available, architects are able to try out new groundbreaking designs, with limited risk.

Architect Dr. David Fisher, Founder of Dynamic Architecture has envisaged a slightly different future for the construction industry in Dubai, than what can currently be seen. He sees a way for buildings and skyscrapers to be able to become self reliant, constantly changing, and all whilst providing the comfort and home necessities that Dubai's elite have come to expect.

The firms latest innovation, known simply as 'Dynamic Tower', is a 80 floor, 420 metres high skyscraper, which is capable of generating it's own electricity via the output of 48 wind turbines mounted between each floor level. Our only concern would be how loud these wind turbines actually are, as the ferocious desert winds flow through the building.

There is another interesting addition however. As you may have guessed, each floor is able to rotate independently in both directions. This means that as you sit in your office, or read a book in bed, your view will be constantly changing every time you look up, sounds great, right?

Externally, things begin to get really interesting. The almost 'rectangular' floor sections create a constantly changing pattern, from fluid and smooth, through to random assortments of angles, which vaguely resemble a Jenga game gone horrendously wrong!
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Bauhaus or to give it it's full name of Staatliches Bauhaus is actually the name of the design school that taught the famous style of design and architecture. The school was originally based in the Weimar Republic until 1925, then moved to Dessau until 1932 and then in the final few months of its existence it was based in Berlin, the capital of Germany.

Bauhaus College in Dessau, Germany
Even though the design influences of the school are clearly architectural, the school did not actually have an architecture department. Instead, they explored the fundamentals of the style through the use of artistic works such as paintings and 

The school insisted on using only primary colors; red, blue and yellow for the vast majority of their artistic works. This color palette, coupled with very simple geometric shapes, led to a distinctive look for the Bauhaus style.

The Bauhaus also aimed to expand their influence by designing many household items, such as clocks, kitchenware, and furniture. The common theme with all of the products that were designed is that they could be easily mass produced, and were therefore relatively simplistic in their appearance. This was a huge shift from other products that were on the market at the time, which were often very ornate and expensive. 

The Bauhaus had the intention of creating an 'International Style' by using shapes and colors that were easily replicated, and were unlikely to cause offence to other religions or cultures.

Key People
Throughout the time that the Bauhaus Design School operated, the professors that were employed were all well respected in their own fields, whether that be architecture, design or art. They all had diverse backgrounds and therefore taught each module from a different perspective, meaning that the courses were all well-defined and comprehensive.

1. Walter Gropius
  • Architect and Founder/Director of the Bauhaus Design School. 
  • Walter's ideologies as an Architect outlined the initial courses offered at the school, and therefore the fundamental philosophy of the Bauhaus Movement as a whole.
2. Johannes Itten
  • Itten was fascinated by the use of color in artistic works and architecture and was responsible for the focus on using the three primary colors, black and white.
  • Itten initially taught the preliminary 'Basics' course at the Bauhaus Design School, which all students had to pass in order to proceed to the next stage of their learning.
3. Laszlo Moholy-Nagy
  • Took over the teaching of the preliminary 'Basics' course in 1932 after Johannes Itten had left the Bauhaus Movement.

Bauhaus Products

Silver Teapot - Designed by Marianne Brandy in 1924
Image Rights © bauhaus-archiv
The Sugar and Cream Set - Designed by Marianne Brandt in 1928
Image Rights © bauhaus-archiv
The Egg Cup - Designed by Marianne Brandy in around 1926
Image Rights © bauhaus-archiv
Chess Set - Production of the product began in 1924
Image Rights © bauhaus-archiv

Building Luminaire - Designed in 1923/24
Image Rights © bauhaus-archiv

9090 Espresso Machine - Designed by Richard Sapper in 1979
Image Rights © bauhaus-archiv

Image Rights © bauhaus-archiv

Max Bill Wristwatch - Designed by Max Bill in 1972
Image Rights © bauhaus-archiv

Bohner Table/Wall Clock - Designed by Matthias Bohner
Image Rights © bauhaus-archiv

Architectural Connections

So what makes Bauhaus so important in relation to modern style of architecture? Well, the answer is simple. In every single modern building, there are two distinctive options that an architect can choose when designing a scheme for their client. 

You can play it safe and replicate one of the other hundreds of modernist buildings that are dotted around cities such as London and New York. 

Or you can take a step back and apply the general principles of the Bauhaus, ending up with a remarkable looking building, simply by using geometric shapes and unusual angles. We personally think that the buildings below have been designed in such a way, that they subtly reference the Bauhaus, with the inclusion of modern design styles.

Modern Architecture, with Bauhaus-inspired elements

Modern Architecture, with Bauhaus-inspired elements
All of the buildings above were clearly designed from the basic starting point of a geometric shape and then more intricate details were added after. 

The last building is our favorite, for the bold use of the exterior shape and also because of the lines of wood continuing through the glass to the inside. If they had rendered the walls and painted them white the effect would not have been there at all.
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When it comes to designing a new home or even extending an original home it can become a stressful endeavour. By taking the time to make sure that you hire the right architect, you can lessen the level of stress drastically. This process does not have to be painstaking or overly complex. There are eight questions that you should ask an architect before hiring them. The answer to these questions will provide the lucidity necessary to make an educated decision.

1. Do you like their current projects?

As a general rule, an architect's portfolio reflects their passion — revealing the type of projects that excites them; however, there are those times that an architect's portfolio is so diverse that it requires that you ask them about their latest projects to get an idea of where they are currently at.

2. Which projects represent their best work?

Imagine that you have become familiar with the work of a particular architect, and you have developed an affinity for several of their past projects. By asking the architect to share their best work it will allow for you to determine if you share the same ideas and inspirations.

3. What is the potential of my project?

After an architect has visited the potential site, or in the case of a remodelling project, walked through your home, ask them what they see happening with the project. One architect may want to emphasise the view while another may want to accentuate the landscaping. You are asking this question to determine if you and the architect at least have some ideas in common.

4. How do they manage the permit review and regulations process?

Actually, the methodology is not as important as timing in this particular area. Whether the architect prefers to use a meeting or a checklist is irrelevant; however, when they start the process is highly important. This should be done immediately after they have been assigned the project, not after the design is finished.

5. How do they document decisions, and is there a way that you can refer back to previous decisions?

There can be 100's of decisions that a client may have to make over the course of a project from room dimensions to glazing types. Unfortunately, with many architects, the only way to reference these decisions is in the final construction drawing; however, there are some architects who keep a user-friendly document that displays all of the decisions for easy referencing.

6. How will they manage your budget?

The vast majority of architects will provide a preliminary estimate for the cost of the project. It is important to get this before moving past the schematic phase of the project. It is also important to determine how the architect will ensure that the works are within the allowed budget.

7. Will they be actively involved during the construction phase?

The majority of the architectural profession has moved from a purely design and consultation practise into a more project management role, especially on smaller projects. You will want an architect who either, includes construction services as a part of the fee or at least offers it as an additional option. If this is not the case, it should send up an immediate red flag.

8. What is and is not included in the final price?

Simply getting the final price is not enough. You will need to understand what will be included and what you may end up paying extra for. If at all possible, attempt to get an all-inclusive estimate.

Asking these questions should provide a solid foundation on which you will be able to make an informed decision. Once your residential project is completed recommend checking out Modernize for home design ideas!

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Floating Cube 
The Quadreria Contemporanea (Contemporary Picture Gallery) of Molteni&C showcased with a new display concept by Ron Gilad and curated by Crist iana Colli. 

Inside M&C, the large-format multicultural, plural and bilingual periodical invented by Luca Meda for 10 years has been brooding, intimately and in secret, a photographic committee, Visual Art, which counterpoints every edition, every Furnishing and Design trade fair and show.

Ron Gilad
Cristiana Colli and Ron Gilad

The project was inaugurated in 2006, conceived and curated by Cristiana Colli, a gift that is inserted in the center of the magazine, a collection that is shared, accessible, diffuse.

So the Quadreria Contemporanea was a work in progress that has manifested the experience, the idea of collection, the style of collecting, the network of collectors unpredictable, hybrid, mobile. 

Now, from the M&C mega-mag, the collection arrives in Giussano, presented in a site specifically designed for Glass Cube, called “Floating Cube”, with a display concept by Ron Gilad.

A design statement sustained with conviction by the company, committed to every era – as documented by its eight-year-long history - in supporting contemporary culture, architecture, and design. A gift that is inserted in the center of the magazine: two-faced – side A and side B always, pulls out, an impossible object, a paradox to be displayed between two sheets of glass. A collection that is shared, accessible, diffuse. 

Travelling arm-in-arm around the world, in book shops, in archives, in air – suspended and held in place by fishing lines. A community of artists, glances, thoughts, intentions that make themselves available for contemplation. So the Quadreria Contemporanea – paradoxically in format yet coherent in its format – was a work in progress that has manifested the experience, the idea of collection, the style of collecting, the network of collectors unpredictable, hybrid, mobile. To connect the Molteni community – people, projects, objects – with the spirit of the times, the good vibrations of the communities, of the dialogues, of the landscapes. 

Now, from the M&C mega-mag, the collection arrives in Giussano, inside the Compound that since 2015 has housed the Molteni Museum, presented in a site specifically designed for Glass Cube, called “Floating Cube”, with a display concept by Ron Gilad. 

“A white cube at the heart of a glass one, floating above running water. A room without entrance or exit, an unexpected space for hanging art” said Ron Gilad. 

A space within an existing space, unexpected and floating on a few centimeters of water. A square volume that landed in the centre of the structure that becomes an art gallery, and that makes an edition of Glass Cube. 

Ron Gilad’s project transforms the exhibition space, embraces the layout of the images, allows this essential and monolithic form to become a platform for contemplation, also through the distance between the visitor and the work that maintains that public intimacy at the origin of the project and the photographic commissioning. 

There are twenty photographic works on display, with just as many Molteni&C products featured, created by Paola De Pietri (2007), Francesco Jodice (2008), Antonio Biasiucci (2009), Olimpia&Miro Zagnoli (2010), Alessandra Spranzi (2011), Barbara Probst (2012), Davide Pizzigoni (2013), Botto&Bruno (2014), Mario Carrieri (2015), Olivo Barbieri (2016). 

Floating Cube
10 anni 10 autori 10 opere
Curator: Cristiana Colli

Molteni Compound
Via Rossini 50
20833 Giussano (MB)

16 October 2017

Mon - Fri, 10.00 – 16.00
By appointment: museum@molteni.it 
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Front Elevation - Rendered Graphic
The glass house is condensed with multiple rooms of various functionalities and in order to balance the busyness, it is executed with minimalist approach. 

Transparent walls convey a sense of unity of internal areas, as well as wholeness with the external space and amplify the contrast between hot climate and the cool interior. 

For achieving a privacy in a single room, it may be skirted with remotely controlled white panels, spread with simplified oriental ornaments. 

Shadows casted by these traditional outlines augment the particular character of the house. 
The miniature waterfalls drop at the entrance door and in the backyard pool. Small gardens symmetrically break up the space adding organic atmosphere to the house.


Architecture: STIPFOLD
Project Leader: Beka Pkhakadze
Copywriter: Mika Motskobili

Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Type: Residential
Site: 3100 sq m 
Area: 700 sq m
Year: 2015
Status: In Progress



For more details head over to the STIPFOLD website.

You can also find out more about STIPFOLD on their Facebook and Twitter profiles.
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