Sunday, November 10, 2013

planter brick

The World's Sexiest Hardscape Building Component (Seriously) by

May 21, 2013

The Planter Brick may be the sexiest hardscape building component we've ever seen. Designed by Real San Fratello Architects, the Planter Brick can be installed in vertical masonry walls as a single piece of sculpture or in a group to create a vertical garden wall of succulents.  This is no ordinary brick.

Emerging Objects Planter Brick, Gardenista
Above: Bay Area architects Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello are modern day explorers of sorts, pushing the boundaries of materials and design. The aptly named Emerging Objects is their design and research company that specializes in developing 3D printed objects for the built environment using custom materials and processes. The Planter Brick is a favorite.

Emerging Objects Planter Brick, Gardenista
Above: The Planter Bricks are made using 3D printing technology (the architects teach a 3D printing studio at University of California, Berkeley). The bricks are modeled in 3D software, which is then sent directly to a 3D printer to be manufactured. This means that bricks can be customized to a client's particular application.

Emerging Objects Planter Brick, Gardenista
Above: The finished product is a ceramic brick that is bisque fired and glazed (in white) to make it waterproof. Planter Bricks are also available in custom colors, and in a gray cement version. The ceramic brick is $400, while the cement version is $300.

Succulent Brick Wall, Gardenista
Above: Like this idea, but looking for a DIY solution? Consider this succulent wall using cored clay structural bricks. Each brick has three holes that can serve as planting spots. Oldcastle Red Cored Concrete Bricks are $0.82 each at Lowe's.  Image via Upcycle That.

Succulent Source Collection, Gardenista

Above: The Succulent Source offers a huge variety of succulents, including a Fifteen 2.5-inch Succulent Collection for $35.

save those suc-cers!

DIY: How to Stop Killing Your Indoor Succulents by  

June 24, 2013 
Photographs by Erin Boyle.
I've killed every succulent I've ever attempted to grow. Things start off well enough, but a few weeks after I bring succulents into my home, they start to look spindly and sad before giving up and dying. Despite hearing time and again about how foolproof succulents can be, I've never had luck. And I have a hunch that I'm not the only one. Fellow succulent killers, are you out there?
Distraught about my inability to nurture a succulent in my tiny New York apartment, I took advantage of a trip to San Francisco last week to head to that city's succulent mecca, Flora Grubb Gardens, to ask for advice: Why are my succulents dying and how can I stop killing them?

succulents at flora grubb in san francisco | gardenista
First, let's talk about climate. Before wallowing in despair about your inability to keep a succulent alive, it's a good idea to think about the exterior factors that you can't control (Remember my Fiddle Leaf Fig Dilemma?). Succulents in San Francisco grow like weeds. Wedged between crack in the sidewalks, spilling out of containers in the middle of the street, twisting out of hanging planters suspended from lamp posts, the succulents in the City by the Bay are so healthy and abundant that if I didn't know better, I might actually believe they were mocking me. But the truth is that outside in the dry San Francisco air, succulents are just decidedly in their element.

succulents at flora grubb in san francisco | gardenista



































Succulents are desert plants. They thrive in hot, dry places with plenty of sunshine. It's no surprise that a sun-loving plant doesn't enjoy life in my dimly lit New York apartment.

succulents at flora grubb in san francisco | gardenista



































But even if the climate in my small apartment can't mimic the desert, I learned a few rules of thumb for keeping succulents alive indoors anywhere.

how to stop killing your succulents | gardenista



































As a general rule of thumb,  when shopping for succulents to grow indoors, look for the green ones. The greener the succulents that you choose, the greater the chances that they'll survive inside.

how to stop killing your succulents | gardenista
Green succulents in the Crassula genus are a dependable option. A Crassula "Gollum" Jade like the one above is available from Mountain Crest Gardens for $3.30.

how to stop killing your succulents | gardenista  
If you prefer the cactus look, agave and aloe plants can also do surprisingly well indoors if placed in a bright window. The thread-leaf agave (above) has my eye in particular.

succulents at flora grubb in san francisco | gardenista
Part of the appeal of succulents is their variety of colors and shapes. But succulents in the purple and orange color family are really better suited for outdoor spaces.

how to stop killing your succulents | gardenista
Instead of focusing on having a variety of color, look for green succulents in a variety of shapes.

how to stop killing your succulents | gardenista
































 


In outdoor plantings, succulents can do well in crowded compostions, but if you're hoping for your succulent to survive in lower indoor light, it's best to space them apart so that a maximum amount of sunlight can reach them.

how to stop killing your succulents | gardenista
Maybe most important: succulents don't like to be watered very often. The soil should be allowed to dry completely before getting another drink. Planting succulents in unglazed plants can help them to drain completely in between waterings and will prevent them from becoming water-logged.

A recap:
  1. Give your indoor succulents as much natural light as possible. No matter how much you want them to, they can't survive in a dim corner.
  2. Water your succulents sparingly, allowing the soil to dry out completely between waterings. Planting succulents in an unglazed vessel will prevent the soil from getting water-logged.
  3. When growing succulents indoors, stick to green varieties whenever possible: crassulas, agaves, and aloes make for ideal houseplants.

colored strings

Strung out: A canopy for a Williamsburg bridge by HOTTEA.


Photos: HOTTEA.

With a bit of imagination and a ball of string, one can do a lot more than find your way out of a maze.
The artist HOTTEA, who likes working with coloured string, is a case in point. She has created this installation over a rather dull-looking bridge in Williamsburg, USA and in doing so, is leading local residents out of the unfathomable monotony of their environment with the introduction of a little colour.
It is a very simple idea with a powerful logic that is remarkably effective. It demonstrates that vibrancy can be created even in relatively unpromising situations with limited means.
It would be interesting to see what this modern-day Ariadne would do with a bigger commission.
Christopher C. Hill.






left-over-space... house

The Left-Over-Space House in Australia

This narrow private house demonstrates what can be achieved on the myriad of ‘left-over’ spaces in inner cities, such as disused easements or parking lots. In this case, a 3 metre wide tiny caretaker’s cottage, adjoining a heritage hall has been recycled and linearly extended into a family house for parents and two children.

Architect: Cox Rayner Architects
Location: Paddington, Australia
Left-Over-Space House, Australia, Cox Rayner Architects

Left-Over-Space House, Australia, Cox Rayner Architects

The designers and owners Casey and Rebekah Vallance, two young talented architecture graduates who had topped their year at the University of Queensland, fell in love and married, bought the cheap, redundant lot in 2003. Although challenged by its site, they set about grafting old with new elements that belie its constraints and pursuing their philosophy of making everything count.

Left-Over-Space House, Australia, Cox Rayner Architects
Upper floor plan: Cox Rayner Architects
Left-Over-Space House, Australia, Cox Rayner Architects
Lower floor plan: Cox Rayner Architects
Left-Over-Space House, Australia, Cox Rayner Architects
Street elevation: Cox Rayner Architects

In the three metre wide frontage to the old cottage is a new study designed through its portals and window boxes to engage the street. Where the site slightly opens up behind the cottage to an open, roofed and screened staircase atrium forms the primary social space. A small bridge is a library connecting it to kitchen and living room, and beyond to stacked bedrooms and a stair to a roof deck.

Privacy from close placed neighbours is gained by a series of iron screens whose perforations for light are the patterns of peeling paint of weatherboards on one of the neighbouring cottages. The screens slide or swing out to engage the neighbours when desired and to mediate different solar positions. They are one of an array of details rethinking the typology of the private house, no matter how small, as both sanctuary and communal participant.
Left-Over-Space House, Australia, Cox Rayner Architects

Left-Over-Space House, Australia, Cox Rayner Architects

Left-Over-Space House, Australia, Cox Rayner Architects

Left-Over-Space House, Australia, Cox Rayner Architects

Design
The project recycles an existing small cottage as a piece of the house to which extensions in front and back are grafted in 3 metre and 5 metre wide portions respectively. The forward portion is a single level study room for architectural practice, or if later to be used by a new owner, a potential small office.

The former cottage is opened up to form a conduit to the rear portion, it also comprising the dining space. As the site falls steeply to the rear, two levels of bedrooms are attached to the old cottage piece, with a staircase atrium running longitudinally beside a library which also bridges the front and rear parts of the house.
Left-Over-Space House, Australia, Cox Rayner Architects
Elevation: Cox Rayner Architects
Left-Over-Space House, Australia, Cox Rayner Architects

Left-Over-Space House, Australia, Cox Rayner Architects

The atrium belies the narrowness of the site, the stairs being seating treads, and scale generated by volume. This space manages the climate of the subtropics with layers of perforated iron screens which alternatively project and open up to the external conditions.

The mobile screens are intrinsic to an approach to private house design that facilitates sanctuary and engagement of the community as desired. A series of inserted window boxes, a side door to an easement and sliding downstairs doors each play a role in participation in or closure off from other spaces or to neighbours and passers-by.
Left-Over-Space House, Australia, Cox Rayner Architects

Left-Over-Space House, Australia, Cox Rayner Architects

Left-Over-Space House, Australia, Cox Rayner Architects

Making
Each part of this house is designed to enrich the experience of both openness and intimacy, and to belie its narrow stature. It is almost entirely hand-made by the owners, from its structural frame through to its suspended lights which, like the perimeter screens, are perforated in patterns gleaned from the paint peeling off the neighbouring cottage.

The intent was to impart delight and discovery to each movement through the spaces, simultaneously revealing the sense of making the house. This sense of how each part is manifest is a philosophical stance by the architects as a means of understanding architecture as outcome of process as distinct from a manufactured commodity.
Left-Over-Space House, Australia, Cox Rayner Architects

Left-Over-Space House, Australia, Cox Rayner Architects

The materiality of the house continues the ‘timber-and-tin’ tradition of Brisbane’s domestic architecture, a tradition that is strongly preserved by the city. However, it is not simply clad in these materials, but utilises their innate qualities to be moulded, carved and folded such that small elements cumulatively create a house of multiple layers, and way of seeing the left-over spaces of cities as opportunities for urban enrichment and denser living.
The jury commended the project, saying ‘this is a timeless and ephemeral house, where its realness and authenticity reflects the spirit of the owners. It has been executed beautifully, addressing the
difficult site well and exudes a poetic quality that is confident and comfortable.”











Tuesday, November 5, 2013

oslo kindergarten

Stimulating Environment: Kindergarten in Oslo

The kindergarten is located in an area of Oslo called Fagerborg and can accommodate four groups of children. The group spaces can either be used separately or in combination. Reiulf Ramstad Architects were involved right from the beginning of the project and supported the process from conception to completion of the building. A stimulating environment conducive to the development of children aged from one to six has been created.

Architects: Reiulf Ramstad Architects, Oslo
Location: Fagerborg, Oslo
Fagerborg Kindergarten in Oslo
photograph: Thomas Bjornflaten
"In nature, top seeds need the best soil for the best growth conditions to flourish. This is the same for humans. Children are the citizens of “tomorrow” and the resources of the future and it is important that this group have stimulating and developing physical limits in their everyday sphere. Therefore, the objective of the program – agreed upon by both the client and the architect – was to create a nursery that would have a rich architectural register and become a house of character to encourage the development of character – a meaningful architectural framework for children’s important first phase of the formation and development of the child's experience outside the family." (Reiulf Ramstad Architects)
Fagerborg Kindergarten in Oslo

The kindergarten is situated in an area characterised by residential buildings from 1900-1950. This meant that many cultural heritage guidelines had to be considered in the design developed by the architects. In response to the contemporary style demanded by the local authorities, the building is completely covered by wooden cladding with a vertical grain direction. The generous use of natural wood gives Fagerborg Kindergarten an organic aesthetic. Square windows speckle the fa├žade, which is undercut on one side of the building and cantilevers out to shelter the entrance area below.
Fagerborg Kindergarten in Oslo
One end of the building is undercut and cantilevers out to shelter the entrance area below. Photograph: Thomas Bjornflaten
Fagerborg Kindergarten in Oslo
photograph: Soren Harder Nielsen
Fagerborg Kindergarten in Oslo
site plan. Reiulf Ramstad Architects
Fagerborg Kindergarten in Oslo
section B-B
Fagerborg Kindergarten in Oslo
floor plan of level 1.
The design offers space for four kindergarten groups, which form a striking, solid structure and can function both independently and together as required. All the groups share a common area and a kitchen in the heart of the building. The administrative spaces are accommodated upstairs, separate from the children area. Light-flooded and colourful interiors aim to provide an environment that fosters the enquiring minds of children and wakens their curiosity.
Fagerborg Kindergarten in Oslo

Fagerborg Kindergarten in Oslocolorful staircases lead to the administrative areas on the upper floor.
Fagerborg Kindergarten in Oslo
the interiors are also clad with wood. the gross floor area is approximately 1,200 m².
Fagerborg Kindergarten in Oslo

for other projects on the topic "Building for Children", please see DETAIL Concept 2013/3.
further informationwww.reiulframstadarkitekter.no