Friday, December 18, 2009

ARCHITECTS IN FASHION


As an avid fashion follower...or should I say STALKER....I can often be found with my nose deep within the latest VOGUE or any other fabulously glossy fashion magazine I have found calling me from the shelves of the newsagency....But it was while entertaining my other magazine addiction - architecture and design mags, that I recently found an article about 'ARCHITECTURAL FASHION' - that is fashion inspired by avant guard shapes and form, less concerned with the shape of the body and more interested in creating bold patterns or forms through careful selction  and consideration of material combined with detailed pattern making - creating walking pieces of every day wearable art.

This got the fingers typing and the curiosity bubbling ....I knew of Zaha's fabulous 'Melissa' rubber shoes....which sadly I am told don't look all that good on...but I still think they are a work of art....

I wondered had there been any other Architects to throw their....SHOE into the ring???

Below are my findings.... ENJOY....




ZAHA ' MELISSA' DESIGN

ZAHA - LACOSTE DESIGN

MOBIUS - REM KOOLHAAS


UNITED NUDE - ARCHITECTS & FASHION DESIGNERS UNITED














EAMZ 'CHARLES & RAY EAMES' INSPIRED SHOES






APARTMENT vs APARTMENT

At the 'Property Council of Australia' Xmas Brisbane Luncheon last week it was hard not to notice the pink elephant in the room …the flailing construction industry…probably the one industry hardest hit by the global economic downturn… , but despite the doom and gloom I did manage to find a few optimistic souls who continued to look onward and upward, knowing that there is no purpose in wallowing…


Their focus and in turn the focus of our conversation was the flurry of multi-residential projects beginning to come on line…now these are consultants I was talking to…people at the beginning of the construction pipeline… so the products of their excitement and their hard work will probably not be seen breaking ground for a little while yet… but I too would like to consider myself an optimist…most the time…and this is the best news I have heard in a long while… to coincide with these reports on a quick trip to Melbourne last week, while speaking with a local realtor, he confirmed that the last few months has seen the Melbourne residential market “going crazy”. In some suburbs the average price had escalated so greatly in such a short space of time that several buyers had been priced out where only several months previous they could have quite comfortably afforded…

Meanwhile back on Brisbane’s north side, the release of both Mosaic and Hamilton Harbour, Leighton projects, has been met with eager buyers realizing an incredible percentage of sales in only a few weeks for both developments.

Not one to be behind the band wagon, group Kildey , development company, our brother company, and our largest client at the moment, stands ready to launch Brooke Elise to market early 2010. As some of you may know, we have been working on the Brooke Elise project for over 6 years now; the design and development approval has matured from a 4 storey multi-residential building to a 20 storey multi-residential, with grand lobby space, function rooms, restaurant and recreational facilities…Over this time it has been our goal to stay up to date with the market demands, this is not just as simple as the finishes, but also includes what users want out of a space, this is important no matter who is buying, be it owner/occupier or investor, as the best returns always come from the most desired properties…and in turn the most desired properties are those that are a joy to live in…so livability and living demands are one of our biggest design considerations.

Located close to the CBD, the likely occupier is what in the past has been nicknamed a “YUPPY”, but what we would like to think of as the UPWARDLY MOBILE… Professionals, Career oriented men and women, those who work hard and probably long hours, who want to substitute a commute for a few more hours enjoying the restaurants and cafes the inner City and Valley areas have to offer. They probably don’t spend too many hours at home, but the time they do is about quality, being able to stop and appreciate the moment, maybe sit out on a deck and watch the world go by. In understanding our occupier we hope to design a space that compliments his/ her lifestyle and only goes to add to it , possibly even making it a little easier…. In doing this we take cues from many other developments and keep an eye on what is new on the market, what market expectations are and what does and doesn’t sell…



In investigating the new developments that have come to market in the last 5 years in Brisbane, there seems to be a great disparity between them, in the interest of comparing apples and apples, we have only noted what we observed from the one bedroom apartments on offer.


MOSAIC - FORTITUDE VALLEY - BRISBANE

The “Mosaic” development offers no balcony to their one bedroom apartments, in my mind a grave error no matter how presales are going, having lived in Dubai in a climate where temperatures are prohibitively hot a majority of the seasons and you are forced to live most the year round in air-conditioned circumstances, very very rarely having the opportunity to enjoy the balconies provided, and if you are lucky enough to escape cabin fever you really do learn to appreciate the fantastic weather Brisbane has to offer. Having lived in London in considerably different climatic conditions where balconies are less of a draw card, but cabin fever a similar threat, you learn to appreciate the other commodity living in Australia has up until now afforded, and that is space….now the windows in Mosaic above balcony height might slide back giving a “Juliet” balcony but I dare say with traffic noise and sun loading this is not going to be a pleasant space to live.


CHARLOTTE TOWERS - CHARLOTTE ST - BRISBANE CBD

Charlottle Towers a Divine development offers something similar, what they call an “Alfreso” in most of their South East facing apartments, which is an undrained, tiled balcony like zone, that has no step down like a normal balcony, but has bi-folding glass windows above balustrade height at the edge of balcony and sliding glass doors between lounge and balcony. This at least offers additional space and a variety of living options…and possibly even enough room for a dining room table for 3 or four people, enough for guests.

The development at Kelvin Grove’s Urban village has moved the laundry to the balcony, obviously as a response to Brisbane’s perfect climatic conditions, negating the need for a dryer, they have also been mindful of other environmentally friendly design solutions, by adding two levels of doors to the apartment entry, a conventional fire door and a pair of louvered security doors , allowing breezes from open air lobbies to be drawn in through the apartments creating cross ventilation, and providing for natural ventilation a much more pleasant atmosphere for living.

MIRO - FORTITUDE VALLEY - BRISBANE








MIRO, a Fortitude Valley development has maximized living space by reducing space in other areas, the bedroom is only as big as absolutely necessary, even borrowing the central corridor space to form part of the bedroom at the entry, with only a thin veil of chiffon curtain separating the two, what could have easily become a small one bedroom apartment becomes a studio apartment, no matter what the realtors say…
The laundry and bathroom each encroach on each other’s space so much that little all else space remains for storage…the Kitchen in most cases is a galley setup , which considering that cooking in this apartment would most likely be for one, is ample, and the bench top carries on to become a sit-up bar dining table capable of accommodating 3 or four….the living space is tight but at least there is a balcony with privacy provided by mesh screening.

One item which seems to have not caught on during this time despite plenty of momentum initially was the SOHO, or for want of a longer explanation the “Study or Home Office”. In the beginning these spaces where big enough to provide for what now functions in many apartments as the poorer second bedroom, despite the lack of natural ventilation. These small rooms had a translucent door panel which at least allowed for some reflected natural light if the doors ran parallel to the balcony, but in a few I’ve seen, developers have even gotten away with hiding them down a long dark corridor. In time the SOHO shrank as few could afford the luxury or justify the extra floor area for space that could not buy them another rung on the bedroom/bathroom/ car space ladder.

And last but not by any means least, there still remains the two big debates, WIR vs Mirrored Robe in the Bedroom debate & the bathtub vs shower debate.

Now I believe the the WIR vs mirrored cupboard within the bedroom is really a female vs male debate , most woman enjoying the space and options an open WIR affords, being able to peruse the wardrobe for the days selection of clothing and accessories, whereas a man is more likely to know where his slacks and his shirts are and pick one of each, either as a selection of what remains washed and ironed or what is closest (sorry gentlemen– but it is true….more often than not).

However I believe the bathtub vs shower debate I believe is quickly becoming a moot point, as water conservation and greener approaches to living are being encouraged through several state and federal government initiatives, I believe it won’t be long before tax incentives or tax penalties will apply for those who do not convert to showers with water saving shower roses and possibly even timed water outlets.

So where do we land in response to all of these approaches…

BROOKE ELISE APARTMENTS - BOWEN HILLS - BRISBANE









Well we have a STUDY not a Soho, although big enough for guests it actually becomes part of the living space when not in use, and provides an entry space– unlike almost all our counterparts.
We have a WIR , men you will just have to learn to live with more options, we have decided to incorporate our laundry discreetly into our bathroom, which can operate as both bathroom and ensuite, with the closure of an additional slider. We have large linen cupboard and a closet to the study space providing for additional storage space usually forgotten in the smaller apartments, but very much needed….
And our kitchen is a galley not a dual bench, as we resolved our occupier was more likely to eat out, order in or be cooking for only a handful…not a football team…we DO have a balcony and we have treated it as the main dining space, as we believe our weather is too good to ignore, and our views probably an even better reason to enjoy the outside.

See for yourself….does the “YUPPY” in you like it ???

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Just call me the "Dr of SPACE"...


So, as many of you may not know, there is legislation that protects the use of the word “Architect”, ensuring that those who use the word are professionals, with the necessary education, skills and experience to qualify. It is called “The Architects Act”. As you can imagine accumulating those requirements isn’t a short or easy process, and takes at least, and I mean at the very least, an arduous and grueling eight years. So at the end of that process and after successfully completing the necessary registration exams and interviews and being admitted to the Board of Architects, I get more than a little miffed when some Tom, Dick or Joe Bloggs comes along and uses “the word” I worked so hard to be 'allowed' to use…


It seems of late "the word" has gained popularity, being used much more liberally, there are now ads in the employment section advertising for “Enterprise Architects” as well as degrees offered by local universities in "Enterprise Architecture", there is a salon on the west side of Brisbane called “the Hair Architect”, and recently many of the morning talk shows have taken to speaking of someone as "being the architect of his/her situation…"


Although I have issues with some of these examples more than others… the one I have the biggest concern with was one I saw by chance the other day – "Business Architect" the brochures and flyers offered by this particular business used building blueprints as the graphic background, a woman wearing a hard hat in one image and in another, she was perusing plans with collegues on a construction site, there were also additional references to Project Managers as a comparison …but admittedly no where do they say they offer “Architectural services”…


When I contacted the Board of Architects, I was told if they didn’t hold out to being an Architect or suggest they offered Architectural Services then it was okay…


Well it is at this point, that my blood boils, with so many blatant uses of architectural symbolism...aren't they at least playing on the word...and surely there would be another word of the millions in the English language that could be used to better explain the particular service they offer… after all what is a business architect ???...


But using this theory… I from this day forward am not only going to call myself an Architect, but I am going to call myself “Doctor of Space” (not to be confused with DR WHO) and anyone who reads this…I would like you to address me as such, e.g “ Good Morning Dr of Space. How are you today?” … If I am not offering any of the services of a Doctor, and not holding out that I am a medical Doctor… then I can see no problem…


But what’s the bet that the Doctors and Doctors Act, if there is such a thing…might have something to say about that…

Monday, July 27, 2009

FURNITURE MAKES THE HOME

"Clothes make the Man. Naked people have little or no influence over people". - Mark Twain
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And if alive today I am sure he would agree...
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Furniture makes the Home. An empty house is of little or no use to anyone.
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So bearing that in mind....
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I thought I would provide you with a few images of some beautiful "HOME" making furniture,
I have found in my internet travels.
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Some of these images come from great second hand dealers ( links below), some are from new designers, some from eBAY, some I own, and some I wish I did....
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Remember - Architects are trained to design space, INSIDE and OUT, from urbanscapes to interiors.
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By employing an Architect you are not only getting a well trained aesthetic eye, but a bredth of knowledge relating to many aspects of the built environment...which inturn provides a better more thorough reponse and in the end, a better quality design and product for you.
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Enjoy the eye candy...









Friday, May 29, 2009

THE MECHANICS OF SHOWERING


...So I joined the “1 million women” campaign the other day...the campaign aims to rally together “...daughters, mothers, sisters, and grandmothers committed to protecting our climate, our communities and our future - leading change for the better”. The great thing about the website and campaign is you can log your progress, through simple behaviour changes you can see how you are reducing your carbon foot print...it makes grand and small suggestions as to how you might achieve this... the first of one of the easier changes I am willing to make to my daily behaviour is my showering...and if you knew how much I like my warm showers ...well you’d know I mean business...

So this morning armed with my four minute shower timer thanks to TODAE...I confronted my fear...a short shower...so not to false start...I stood readied, leaver in one hand shower timer suctioned to glass screen ready to flip with the other.

On your marks.......


Get set..........


GO!!


Well the blue sand started making its way thru the bottle neck...way too fast for my liking...and yet the hot water was nowhere to be seen...”come on ...hurry up...I’m running out of blue sand” ...it was a fifth of the way thru the blue sand ....the hot water kicked in...- thank goodness...yet I still had to wash my hair & shave...maybe I was asking too much...for my first try...
Previously ...although my showers had always been much longer...I had always taken to only pulling the lever half way out...reducing the water pressure and I am sure the amount of water I was using...so therefore in my mind justifying the longer shower time....

But this morning with time passing way too fast for my liking...

Shower power full speed ahead....

First ginger shampoo which doubles as body wash...natural, good for the environment and my scalp and kills two birds with one stone...washed once...two washes I have decided is a theory perpetuated by large hair product manufacturers ...so you use their products twice as fast....
Next ...the conditioner...- sadly I haven’t yet found a natural alternative that moisturizes my hair as well leaving it smelling good and shiny...but open to suggestions....
So while conditioner is soaking...shave....oh ohhh sand check ....very very little left....I’m not going to make it out without opening a vein and suds in my hair....Just as I have finished one leg...my time runs out...so I go to flip the timer...”let’s see how long I really take!”


....but the Timer knows!!!


The game is up!!!...


It drops from the wall...shattering....- not the sand thank goodness...just the outside container....- thankfully repairable for another time trial tomorrow...
Maybe I will alternate tasks...but either way...the egg timer is going to go on the outside of the glass screen....to stop the inevitable happening again and to prevent me from cheating....and if I invested in one of the preheat things...that makes the water come out hot straight away...I might win back those valuable seconds I spent hiding in the corner of the shower where the cold spray can’t reach....and maybe even a water saving shower head....(check out WELS - Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards)


With water restrictions not set to be reduced until December... (don’t even start me on this)....I hope my bathroom time trials help to reduce our household water consumption...at least a little...and put me that one step closer to reducing my carbon footprint by 1 tonne


So all in all I like my new blue sand 4 minute shower timer...
It makes for some interesting times in early morning hours when really it is the only piece of equipment I am qualified to operate pre -caffeine...

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

THE EVOLUTION OF BRISBANE TRANSPORT

“TRAMS will return to Brisbane streets as part of the biggest
overhaul of the city and its transport network yet.
- Mr Peter Beattie”
Emma Chalmers and Margaret Wenham July 16, 2007 – couriermail.com.au
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This was what Mr. Peter Beattie, ALP promised...2 years on, a new Premier, but the same party and I cannot see hide nor hair of a tram anywhere...but the murmurings continue, as they have for many years...with many reminiscing of how it use it be when the trams traversed Brisbane.

(The trams stopped running in Brisbane on Sunday 13th of April 1969, at the hands
of the Lord Mayor at the time, Clem Jones, ALP. At the height of the Brisbane service,
the network consisted of over 109km of track, most of the lines running through Adelaide
or Queen Streets, from one side of Brisbane’s inner city suburbs to the other.)

(1999 Proposal for Trams in Brisbane)

Some argue, with the changes that have occurred to our roads recently, the dramatic increase in population and in turn traffic in Brisbane’s CBD and inner city suburbs, the space required to accommodate the
re-introduction of the trams just cannot be afforded.
Instead the Brisbane City Council and State Governments have decided to turn their focus towards TOD’s (transit oriented developments) in Brisbane’s outer suburbs, encouraging diversified commercial hubs that reduce the focus or requirement for high numbers of people to make their way into the CBD. If you are like me, you enjoy the city, with its tall buildings, the river, the restaurants and cafes, the markets, the gardens, the museums, the art gallery, Southbank, the high end shops, and unless they intend on moving these also, you too will still travel to the city.
The TOD’s principal has merit, however I would propose there are many more of us who live somewhere in between the two, that is reside between the CBD and these proposed TOD’s, who are currently serviced by one of the biggest blights on Brisbane, the poor public transport system. I have lived the best part of my life a 15min drive from the city by car, however that puts me the best part of a 40min walk to the closest train station not including waiting time and train ride to the city, or a 45min bus ride, which does go past my door but only every hour. Given the option, which one of the three would you choose?

Also there is the CBD itself, in comparison to many other major cities it is small, and will probably continue to stay so, as there is only so far you can walk in the summer months without burning to a crisp or melting away, and even in the fairer seasons, it’s all about efficiency and time constraints, the Circle Bus, just does not cut the mustard.
If you have visited other major cities around the world, you will have noticed two things, 1- When travelling your focus is always “the City”, 2 – The larger of these cities usually have a layered fabric of alternate transport systems allowing you ease of movement around the central precincts as well as to those neighbouring these central areas. Take London, they have "the tube", the double decker buses, overland trains, water ferries all supported by black cabs , registered private taxis and rickshaws in the West End precinct. In Hong Kong, on the island, they have an elaborate raised covered pedestrian walkway interconnecting many of the towers through the air-conditioned malls and allowing for separation of pedestrians and traffic and ease of navigation around the city. Venice, a city of its own, based around the water on which it is built, has Vaporetti, Traghetti, private water taxis, gondolas and of course the ease of pedestrian access if you are one of those lucky enough to be born with a keen sense of direction.

(London - Underground "the Tube" Map)



(Venice's Vaporetti)

What I propose is composite of all these approaches, firstly a SKYTRAM, a gondola carriage system suspended over the streets of Brisbane, requiring less support or structure than an elevated monorail, following the current street design, running on much the same timetable as the Trams did in Brisbane, or do in Melbourne, or as the tubes do in London. Stations would sit supported above our roads doubling as raised pedestrian crossings and in time through a proactive city plan new developments would be encouraged to link on their 1st level, creating air-conditioned corridors through the CBD. The SKYTRAM would look to new power solutions through the utilization of a combination of alternative power sources, and in addition would provide Brisbane with a novel character of its own.
The second approach which I believe would also go toward reinvigorating our city through a more efficient transit system, would be the introduction of water taxis, the City Cats are a great start, although they could do with more stops along the river and larger service area, a water taxi service much like those in Venice, might go to encourage the development of the water’s edge of our river, something until only recently has been down played, the river should be a selling point of our city and life blood for our tourist trade.

(Artist's Impression of Northbank Proposal)

The NORTHBANK proposal for the activation of the Brisbane river’s edge may have shocked many through its density and scale, however its ambition to turn what is currently a transit corridor neglecting prime real estate and river front into an activated pedestrian corridor open to all, enjoying the river and views across to Southbank, the Museums and the Art Gallery was one of its greatest merits. Through a combination of these approaches, by providing more convenience and ease of access around our city, we would only go to grow our city centre, increasing our appeal to many, including international events, business and tourism, and in turn benefit all of us.

So how about it?... All Aboard?...


Monday, April 20, 2009

PRINCE CHARLES needs IKEA

(Image: Richard Rogers proposed scheme for the former army barracks site, Chelsea, London)
Of late it seems HRH Prince Charles; Prince of Wales has been adding his two cents worth on Architecture again. He has recently criticized a scheme proposed by Richard Rogers, Baron Rogers of Riverside, CH, FRIBA, FCSD, for the former army barracks in London’s Chelsea district, which neighbours the Royal Chelsea Hospital, a historic building designed by Christopher Wren, 17th century architect of St. Paul's Cathedral.

The Prince has been outspoken on his views of modern architecture for many years, expressing his disgust for what he calls ego obsessed architecture, which he believes has brutalised the UK’s built and natural environment over the past century. HRH has gone so far as to commission an alternate scheme for the site that mirrors the architecture of the neighbouring hospital, and offering his services and opinions to the development arm of the Qatar Royal family who are majority shareholders in the development.


(Image: Richard Rogers proposed scheme for the former army barracks site, Chelsea, London)
However it seems he has woken the giants of the Architecture world, Zaha Hadid, Frank Gehry and Sir Norman Foster, all Pritzker prize winners, adding their names to a letter criticizing the Prince for speaking out of turn. Their objections relate to the Prince’s abuse of his privileged position to influence what they believe should be an open and democratic planning process.

(Image : Windsor Castle)
It reminds me of the thoughts I had while wondering the halls of both Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace. The opulence, the grandeur, the beauty in the quality of workmanship that money, influence and power delivers is overwhelming. To live surrounded by such beautiful and precious things is a privilege, that very few are afforded in life, but in turn does it breed an expectation of the same level and standard in everything? If the royal family had lived ensconced in these surroundings, had they missed out???
Missed out on the great feeling of self satisfaction, that ‘pat on the back’ you give yourself, when you have no matter the lack of detail provided in the instruction manual, managed to successfully assemble your flat pack furniture from IKEA ??? Had they ever lived with IKEA??? Possibly Not!! It was this realization that made me pity them...
Although the mass production of flat pack furniture is not an environmentally friendly approach, I must say I have been guilty of purchase too many times to count. It is the modern way! Mass production, Modular systems, standardized materials, simple colour palate, all a product of the industrial revolution... Many of us cannot afford the luxury of bespoke furniture, and have become accustomed to purchasing the mass produced items which we style and tweak to create our own sense of individuality. These products in turn use materials that are easiest to manufacture, plywood, plastic, aluminium, glass...a modern palate of materials...


(Image: Benjamin Stool - IKEA)
Which makes me wonder, had the Prince not had such a privileged upbringing ....and had he had a few IKEA pieces to furnish the Castle or Palace, would he be less opposed to the modern movement, with its modern materials and modern architecture in particular...?



Monday, April 6, 2009

PARADISE or PARASITE


I am still on the search for my own little bit of paradise, or rather to be more precise the CBD in Brisvegas, and as yet I am still coming up empty handed…as I have admitted before this is probably due to the long list of requirements and how I might be just a little bit picky, or as my real estate agent has said.. “I am able to pick the eye out of any property!” – Lovely fellow he is… …so that made me think…I could design what I wanted, quality, area, and determine the perfect location... (Preferably 5mins from work – so rolling out of bed at the last minute was an option…) and just tack it on somewhere…



In New York they utilize roof tops of heritage listed buildings, the original buildings over engineered at the time of their construction provide the perfect foundation for light weight constructions, that can house 1,2 or sometimes 3 rooftop abodes, taking advantage of the sunlight, views and location.



With few substantial heritage buildings in Brisbane that have not already had their rooftops overtaken by air-conditioning plant, that option isn’t so viable. But as the ever optimistic profession (or unrealistic, as our project manager foes sometimes like to describe us), Architects around the world... some of us not letting a little gravity get in our way... have proposed other solutions…





Maybe the affordable inner city dwelling is a realistic goal for more of us..with just a little more creativity from our city planners … After all increased density is suppose to reduce urban sprawl, infrastructure spending and in turn makes us all that little more green ????




What do you say Town Planners? – Can you stomach the concept???…
Can you think outside of the boxy building…???