Sunday, January 27, 2008

Water Spectacle: Digital Water Pavilion Planned for Zaragoza Expo 2008 is H2O-wsome

Water Spectacle: Digital Water Pavilion Planned for Zaragoza Expo 2008 is H2O-wsome

Architecture Qoutes

Adolf Loos
Does it follow that the house has nothing in common with art and is architecture not to be included in the arts? Only a very small part of architecture belongs to art: the tomb and the monument. Everything else that fulfils a function is to be excluded from the domain of art.
Architecture arouses sentiments in man. The architect's task therefore, is to make those sentiments more precise.
The house has to please everyone, contrary to the work of art which does not. The work is a private matter for the artist. The house is not. The house has to serve comfort. The work of art is revolutionary; the house is conservative.
The room has to be comfortable; the house has to look habitable.
The work of art shows people new directions and thinks of the future. The house thinks of the present.

Le Corbusier
A house is a machine for living in.
The home should be the treasure chest of living.
To create architecture is to put in order. Put what in order? Function and objects.

Arne Jacobsen
If a building becomes architecture, then it is art.
If architecture had nothing to do with art, it would be astonishingly easy to build houses, but the architect's task - his most difficult task - is always that of selecting.

Frank Lloyd Wright
A doctor can bury his mistakes but an architect can only advise his clients to plant vines.
A great architect is not made by way of a brain nearly so much as he is made by way of a cultivated, enriched heart.
All fine architectural values are human vales, else not valuable.
Every great architect is - necessarily - a great poet. He must be a great original interpreter of his time, his day, his age.
Form follows function - that has been misunderstood. Form and function should be one, joined in a spiritual union.
New York City is a great monument to the power of money and greed... a race for rent.
No house should ever be on a hill or on anything. It should be of the hill. Belonging to it. Hill and house should live together each the happier for the other.
Television is chewing gum for the eyes.
The heart is the chief feature of a functioning mind.
The truth is more important than the facts.

Tadao Ando
I believe that the way people live can be directed a little by architecture.
I would like my architecture to inspire people to use their own resources, to move into the future.
There is a role and function for beauty in our time.
When I design buildings, I think of the overall composition, much as the parts of a body would fit together. On top of that, I think about how people will approach the building and experience that space.
You cannot simply put something new into a place. You have to absorb what you see around you, what exists on the land, and then use that knowledge along with contemporary thinking to interpret what you see.

Luis Barragan
My house is my refuge, an emotional piece of architecture, not a cold piece of convenience.
Space and light and order. Those are the things that men need just as much as they need bread or a place to sleep.

Louis Kahn
A great building must begin with the unmeasurable, must go through measurable means when it is being designed and in the end must be unmeasurable. Architecture is the reaching out for the truth.
Design is not making beauty, beauty emerges from selection, affinities, integration, love.

Philip Johnson
Architects are pretty much high-class whores. We can turn down projects the way they can turn down some clients, but we've both got to say yes to someone if we want to stay in business.

Maya Lin
I try to give people a different way of looking at their surroundings. That's art to me.
You have to let the viewers come away with their own conclusions. If you dictate what they should think, you've lost it.

Alvar Aalto
We should concentrate our work not only to a separated housing problem but housing involved in our daily work and all the other functions of the city.


I am an architect

Monday, January 21, 2008


Dont exactly remember the photographers name but really enjoyed watching the couple of shots above.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Karbala: The true symbol of non-violent resistance

By Rupa Abdi,

Black was the colour of pathos, and I was submerged in it. Women dressed in black sarees and salwar kameez were beating their chests to the chant of ‘Ya Hussain’. The chorus rose to a fevered pitch followed by a sudden silence. In that momentary silence was crystallized generations of mourning. The place – a Shia Muslim neighbourhood in Lucknow; the time – the tenth of Moharrum. If grief has different shades, on can see it during Moharrum.

While the rest of the world greets its ‘New Year’ with celebrations, the Muslims, especially Shia Muslims, begin Moharrum, the first month of the Islamic calendar of Hijri, with mourning to commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Hussain – son of Hazrat Ali and grandson of Prophet Mohammad. Over 1300 years ago, in the desert of Karbala, in present day Iraq, Imam Hussain and his small band of relatives and supporters sacrificed their lives for Islam.

From the first to tenth of Moharrum, and sometimes for a longer periods, majlis (the Mulsim counterpart of Satsang) are held day and night in Muslim neighborhoods and Imambaras where zakirs and zakiras give sermons which climax with the heart wrenching tale of Karbala.

History has seen numerous massacres of innocent people, but the tragedy of Karbala is one of the few where men, women and children voluntarily allowed themselves to be subjected to hunger, thirst, humiliation and death on the burning sands of Karbala because they believed that Imam Hussain stood for righteousness. Little wonder that for over 1200 years Muslims, have been nurturing the tale of Karbala in their hearts like an open wound, lest they should forget the supreme sacrifice of Imam Hussain and his followers.

Great spiritual leaders are known to make great sacrifices, but at Karbala, common men and women with infants at their bosom, their hearts and souls aflame with righteousness, chose death rather than evil and weakness. Such was the greatness of Imam Hussain, such was his spiritual power, which could uplift common mortals to heights of supreme courage and sacrifice.

However Karbala is not an exclusive Shia event, neither do majority of Sunnis consider it as a point of contention between themselves and the Shias. Imam Hussein is widely revered by all Muslim communities without any exception, even many Hindus in India mourn the tragic death of Imam Hussein and his 72 relatives and supporters who were brutally killed in Karbala. Majority of Sunni scholars are unanimous in their condemnation of Yazid including Maulana Ishaq (a Sunni scholar), Shaikh Ahmad Deedat (a Sunni scholar from South Africa), Dr. Shahid Athar (a professor and Sunni writer on Islam), and Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri (Pakistani writer and religious scholar) among others. Sheikh Faysal Mawlawi, deputy chairman of the European Council for Fatwa and Research, issued the following statement in the year 2004:
“The revolution that Imam Al-Hussein made was not a rebellion against a legal ruler; it was a revolution against a tyrant dictator, Yazid Ibn Mu`awiyah, who deprived the Ummah of its right to choose its rulers [by succeeding his father to the caliphate]. Besides, he was notorious for being corrupt and dissolute. The majority of the Sunni scholars and others agreed to that, and Ibn Hajar mentioned so in his book As-Sawa`iq Al-Muhriqah.”

The tragedy of Karbala took place in 680 AD on the banks of the Euphrates in Iraq but Karbala has a universal appeal and in today’s climate of violence, it is more relevant than ever. The tragedy of Karbala and its spirit of non-violent resistance and supreme sacrifice has been a source of inspiration to the likes of Mahatma Gandhi and Pandit Nehru. The former’s first Salt Satyagrah was inspired by Imam Hussain’s non violent resistance to the tyranny of Yazid. Gandhi is said to have studied the history of Islam and Imam Hussain, and was of the opinion that Islam represented not the legacy of a sword but of sacrifices of saints like Imam Hussain. Nehru considered Karbala to represent humanities strength and determination. According to the great poet Rabindranath Tagore, Hussain’s sacrifice indicates spiritual liberation. Munshi Premchand, one of India’s greatest Hindi/Urdu writers, a visionary and reformer, eulogized the tragedy of Karbala in his famous play ‘Karbala’. Premchand’s Karbala was published both in Hindi and Urdu in the 1920s. This was the time when Hindu-Muslim relations were strained and the battle between Hindi and Urdu was raging. Premchand’s Karbala was aimed at both the Hindu and Muslim audience. This play was not just Premchand’s tribute to the martyrs of Karbala but also an attempt at reconciliation of declining Hindu-Muslim relations. In his introduction, Premchand drew parallels between Karbala and Mahabharat and Ramayan.

Karbala drew the attention of quiet a few Western writers and Charles Dickens is believed to have said that, ‘if Hussain fought to quench his worldly desires, then I do not understand why his sisters, wives and children accompanied him. It stands to reason therefore that he sacrificed purely for Islam.’

According to Dr. K. Sheldrake, ‘"Husain marched with his little company not to glory, not to power or wealth, but to a supreme sacrifice and every member of that gallant band, male and female, knew that the foes were implacable, were not only ready to fight but to kill. Denied even water for the children, they remained parched under a burning sun, amid scorching sands yet no one faltered for a moment and bravely faced the greatest odds without flinching.’

Karbala symbolizes the true face of Jihad – non-violent resistance. Not taking life but sacrificing your life for Islam. In the words of famous Urdu poets:

“Insaan ko bedaar to ho lene do,
har qaum pukaraygi hamare hain Hussain” ---- Josh Malihabadi
(Let humanity awakens and every tribe will claim Hussain as their own.)

Qatl-e-Hussain asl main marg-e-Yazid hai,
Islam zindaa hota hai har Karbala ke baad” --- Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar
(In the murder of Hussain, lies the death of Yazid, for Islam resurrects after every Karbala)
More recent times when Karbala inspired as a freedom mechanism
According to the prevailing conditions at the time of the commemoration, such reminiscences may become a framework for implicit dissent or explicit protest. It was, for instance, used during the Islamic Revolution of Iran , the Lebanese Civil War, the Lebanese resistance against the Israeli occupation and in the 1990s Uprising in Bahrain. Sometimes the `Ashura’ celebrations associate the memory of Al-Husayn’s martyrdom with the miserable conditions of Muslims in other non-Islamic third-world nations, on the pretense that every nation and era has their own Husayn.[20]
On the other hand some governments have banned this commemoration. In 1930s Reza Shah forbade it in Iran. The regime of Saddam Hussein saw this as a potential threat and banned Ashura commemorations for many years. In the 1884 Hosay Massacre, 22 people were killed in Trinidad and Tobago when civilians attempted to carry out the Ashura rites, locally known as Hosay, in defiance of the British colonial authorities.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Nuktey (Sufi Inspired Urdu Poetry)

Dabeer Hemani

Basti mein in murdoo ki
Zindagi ko parvan charhana ha

Ek nuktey k ghulam ban ge hazar
Ghoomay ja baja har bazaar

K eik meri aas thi
Who bhi jo meri pyas thi
Us nuktey k who loogh
Uthey bachey chor maa ki ghud

Yad aaya woh jo us din aya tha nazar
Jis k naam pe hum ne ki eik zindagi basar
Who nuktey na miley jahan
Hum chor aey apna sab kutch wahan

Humey yad sab kutch tha magar
Sabar ker k unke hum chaley dagar
Nuktey phir jag uthey eik din
Ghulam unke hai sarey insaa o jinn

Dekh raha hon mei yahan beth
Rang jo bikharey ga har har khet
K un nukto k baghair lafzoo ki kya okaat
Jaisey namaz ho bina rakaat

Gar unko ghum ho tu kyun na mein rou jaon
Unke liye mei tu bas mar jao
Tamam lugat ha dushman-e-nukta
Ab mujh pe aa nahi sakta koi sakta

Abb tu safey bandhi hain k ho ada namaz
Kahey na koi ab k aai na humey awaz

perhaps the first sufi poem ive ever written.. and in urdu!!

Friday, January 11, 2008

World's biggest building coming to Moscow

Moscow’s rapidly growing skyline will soon feature an eye-popping new addition: Crystal Island, which will be the world’s biggest building when completed. Sir Norman Foster’s mountainous 27 million square feet spiraling “city within a building” will cost $4 billion and it is scheduled to be built within next 5 years.

The Crystal Island will be Lord Foster’s second large scale project in the Russian capital, and his third new building design that resembles a volcano (we’re talking about his two mountainous buildings in Astana, Kazakstan). Although many people are calling this design the ‘Christmas Tree’ of Moscow - we can’t help but be reminded of the utopian and also rather volcanic X-Seed 4000 design for Tokyo. Unlike that pipe-dream project, however, Foster has a track record of getting buildings built, so the likelihood is high that we will see this striking structure towering over the Kremlin within 5 years time.

The statistics for the project are absolutely staggering; floor area alone will be four times the size of Pentagon in Washington DC. The incredible 1500 ft. tall multi use structure will feature 900 apartments, 3000 hotel rooms, an international school for 500 students, cinemas, a theater, sports complex and much more. There will also be a 16,500 space underground parking lot for all the visitors. The Crystal Island visitors will be able to enjoy panoramic views of Moscow on the viewing platforms located 980 ft. above ground.

And as we’d expect from Foster + Partners, this soon-to-be world’s biggest building will also incorporate a number of sustainable design features into the overall scheme. The exterior facade will be solar responsive and will include solar panels which, along with wind turbines, will generate electricity for the huge tower. Natural ventilation will be provided thanks to numerous strategically placed large atriums. The internal environment will also have dynamic enclosure panels slotted into the structural framing that will allow daylight to penetrate deep into the heart of the structure; the panels will also be controlled to modify temperature inside the building – closed in winter for extra warmth and opened in summer to allow natural ventilation. Energy management is at the heart of this structure, several on-site renewable and low-carbon energy generation projects are planned.

Images via SkycraperCity


Staircase Drawers

Here’s a brilliant idea that leaves us wondering - why didn’t we think of this first? Despite our penchant for 2-in-1 furniture, we’ve never seen anything quite like this before. Regardless of attempts to be organized in the modern world, most of us continue to be ashamed of one (or eight, in my case) junk drawers around the house- black holes filled with old receipts, pens, and random trinkets. But now you can flaunt your junk drawer with Unicraft Joinery’s simple yet brilliant under-the-staircase drawer solution.
What a great way to utilize a generally overlooked space! Step and store in style, using each step as storage for a different item- everything from socks and shoes to books and, well, junk. The Australia-based company unfortunately does not have a website, but contact info can be found here, with more details in Vogue Living Australia’s Autumn/Winter 2007 issue.

BITUBLOCK: Building blocks made from compressed rubbish!

If we told you there was a sustainable substitute for concrete you’d probably say rubbish!… and you would be right. The dream of a resource-saving, emissions-reducing replacement for concrete is becoming a reality in the form of BituBlock - made from post-consumer waste. Dr. John Forth of the University of Leeds is behind the revolutionary process that turns rubbish into a strong, less-energy intensive structural material that is poised to make concrete obsolete.

BituBlock is a high-performance product that is about six times stronger than traditional concrete block. It’s made by mixing waste products like recycled glass, metal slag, sewage sludge and incinerator ash with a sticky binder called bitumen, also used in road paving. The mixture is compacted in a mold and heat-cured, which oxidizes and hardens the bitumen.

While high recycled content is a vital part of sustainable construction, BituBlock’s landfill diverted ingredients are just part of what makes it so groundbreaking. Concrete is the most widely-used construction material with over ten billion tons produced annually. About 7% of global CO2 emissions come from concrete production. The primary source of CO2 emissions generated by concrete manufacturing is Portland cement, responsible for 74% to 81% of total CO2 emissions. In BituBlock, the bitumen binder replaces the Portland cement.

Structurally superior, BituBlock is gaining commercial interest and the project team, which also includes Dr. Salah Zoorob from the University of Nottingham, expects BituBlock to be market ready in just 3-5 years. Plans are also underway to develop ‘Vegeblock’ using waste vegetable oil.


Spiral Glass Staircase

Some time after 5 p.m. workers at the Shinsaibashi retail store removed the black plastic that had been covering the front window, revealing for the first time the design of the spiral glass staircase--it was worth the wait!
The store itself runs left-to-right in the building, instead of front-to-back as is usual. As you look into the store, the entrance is angled inward, and you have an excellent view of the glass staircase to the left, and the store off to the right. The regular "home," "pro" and other sections are on the ground floor, and presumably the Genius Bar, Internet cafe and "kids" section is on the second level. The point-of-sale counter is at the far-right, or rear, of the store.
Ah, the glass staircase! It has 24 glass treadles, or steps, angled into a 270-degree near-circle. It begins from a two-step-up, stone platform, angles left, and then joins up with a 10-foot long glass bridge before reaching the second floor. The most compelling part of the staircase, perhaps, are the huge, glass side panels for the interior and exterior wall of the stairs, which is a visual and design marvel. You'll find yourself wondering they were made, and how they was transported to the store for installation without breaking. When you done pondering that, try to comprehend that the stairway is suspended over space--there's nothing below the steps or stairs holding them up. Initially you don't realize it until you see "nothing" below the stairs! Then you gaze upward and notice that there are several thin, silver rods running from the staircase to the ceiling, which apparently support the weight of the stairs.
It's difficult to see in the photos of the glass bridge, but the siding for the second floor actually mimics the G5 design--thousands of small holes drilled in metal siding. I believe this design was also used at the San Francisco store.
Interestingly, the front windows aren't fitted with the floor or ceiling hardware to support Apple's standard window displays. It appears that the long side-window will serve to display Apple graphics, while the front windows will be clear of obstructions to showcase the store and the staircase.
Overall, the store design is an incredible use of space, and provides a spectacular--and inviting--view into the store. How any passerby could ignore the stairs, and the attraction of walking up those stairs to the second floor is beyond me! There's no doubt that it will be a crowd creator for the store!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Architectural Terms

Sense of Entry
The front door is big and far away.

Human Scale
Less than 400 feet tall.

Skewed Grid
The design looked too boring with a regular grid.

Doesn’t have enough parking.

Is surrounded by a lot of other buildings the architect couldn’t tear down.

Nobody in their right mind would ever consider building the crazy thing.

Signature Building
You can’t afford it.

Less Is More
The designer ran out of ideas. Cheap Skate.

Classically Proportioned
Traced out of a book of Greek architecture.

Traced out of a book of Roman architecture.

International Style
No country will take responsibility for it.

The backhoe ran into it during construction—and they liked it.

Seismically Designed High Rise
In an earthquake, the structure will not collapse, but will drop all of its glass and stone panels into the street turning pedestrians into a stew-like mush of pureed flesh.

Firing squad.

Design Review Board
Failed architecture majors.

Architecture Student
Egotistical masochist with no money

Carlo Scarpa's Steps

These are steps designed by carlo scarpa.. remembered the studio design project where a lot was to be done in minimal space.. this architect did certainly used his brains for sure.. i guess a lot in architectural innovation is more about observation and logic. thinking caps on!


Smoking point for smokers in a non-smokers world!

Paris reporter Hugh Schofield says attitudes to smoking have changed dramatically in France in the past year and any fears that people will generally ignore the new law can be discarded.
The French health ministry allowed smokers a 24-hour "grace" period for the New Year festivities in a gesture of "tolerance".
Any smoker caught flouting the ban thereafter can be fined up to 450 euros (£332; $662), while those who turn a blind eye to smokers on their premises can be fined up to 750 euros.

France has about 13.5 million smokers among its population of 60.7 million.
Restrictions on smoking also came into force in Portugal on Tuesday, but the rules were not as tight as in France or Germany.
Portuguese bars smaller than 100sq m (1,076sq ft) can still opt to allow smoking. Public buildings can still have smoking zones, provided they are clearly signposted and ventilated.
German restaurants and pubs have strongly resisted the bans, not only because of the potential loss of income but partly because of an earlier crackdown on smoking initiated by Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime.
The sensitivity of the issue has prompted the authorities to allow special rooms to be set up purely for smokers.
In Lower Saxony where a ban is already in place, chef Michael Windisch came up with the idea of a "smoking point", which he hopes will allow smokers to enjoy a puff without leaving the premises.
The toughest rules in Germany are being brought in in Bavaria, where no smoking rooms will be allowed.
Lighting up is also likely to be banned at the state's Munich beer festival in October.

Source: BBC World

Friday, January 4, 2008

A toilet shaped house!

A South Korean lawmaker and public hygiene activist on Sunday opened his 1.6 million dollar toilet-shaped showcase house designed to campaign for cleaner loos worldwide.
The two-storey home, complete with a nameplate reading "Mr. Toilet's House", is now ready to be occupied, according to owner Sim Jae-Duck.
Billed as the world's only toilet house, the 419-square-metre (4,508-sq-foot) concrete and glass structure rose on the site of Sim's former home in Suweon, 40 kilometres (24 miles) south of Seoul.
Sim, 74, who told AFP last month that his mother gave him birth in a bathroom, has actively campaigned for "clean and beautiful" toilets since his service as Suweon mayor from 1995-2002.

His campaign has since turned many of public restrooms nationwide into facilities boasting paintings, fresh flowers or even small gardens.
Sim's house was completed before the Korea Toilet Association, which he funds, holds a forum in Seoul later this month to launch the World Toilet Association to take his campaign worldwide.
Before Sim's family moves in, he plans to rent out the residence for 50,000 dollars a day -- with proceeds going towards providing poor countries with proper sanitary facilities.
In the centre of the house is a glass-walled bathroom which features a device producing mist to make sure users do not feel too exposed. The loo's lid is raised automatically and music is also turned on when people enter.
The house, which has a stream and small garden in front, is nicknamed in Korean "Haewoojae," meaning "a place of sanctuary where one can solve one's worries."
Sim says 2.6 billion people still live without toilets worldwide.

Alamillo Bridge by Calatrava

The Alamillo Bridge in Seville, Andalusia (Spain) spans the Guadalquivir River. Construction of the bridge began in 1989 and was completed in 1992 by Santiago Calatrava.
It was built to allow access to
La Cartuja, a large, deserted island on which Spain decided to host Expo 92.
The bridge is of the
cantilever spar cable-stayed bridge type and consists of a single pylon, counterbalancing a 200 m span with thirteen lengths of cables. The original intent was to build two symmetrical bridges on either side of the island, but in the end, the Alamillo's singular design has proved most striking.
This bridge represents the soaring aspirations of the city of Seville in preparation for the World's Expo of 1992.
Sundial Bridge at Turtle Bay located in Redding, California (2004), and Chords Bridge in Jerusalem, Israel, are similar in design to the Alamillo Bridge.

Text from Wikipedia
PS. More interested people in this bridge can ask for further info.. which is perhaps too many mega bytes of wait to do =p

Dilbert is an architect

KPT Tower Karachi

The Karachi Port Trust (KPT) has announced that Aedas is the winner of an international architectural competition for the design of a new landmark waterfront development in Karachi, Pakistan.The mixed-use project will be the first such landmark building built in Karachi Port.

The scheme has two aims: to act as catalyst to some major regeneration initiatives planned for the port by KPT as it develops its land bank; and to provide a new landmark for this new Commercial Business District by the waterfront.

Endorsed by Pakistan’s President General Pervez Musharraf, designs also include residential, retail and conference facility space in addition to its core commercial facility.The distinct form will be an instantly recognisable symbol. It responds to ecological concerns to reduce carbon footprint, setting a precedent in Pakistan for environmental building standards though the use of passive design principles and techniques of environmental control.At the centre of the development is an 80 storey helical tower with glazed outer skin.

This will house 102,000 sq m of office accommodation, on top of which will sit a 250-bed 5* hotel across the top 21 storeys. The hotel will also include 30 luxury serviced apartments and a swimming pool, and give immaculate views over the Indian Ocean.Three further towers echo the design, each of varying heights, arranged around a lake.

These will each include 280 serviced apartments with a further 70 apartments above 10,000sq m of high-end retail development. The scheme also features a 1,200-seat convention centre and exhibition hall and an underground 2,500 space car-park.

David Kingdom, project director comments:“Over the last six months we have worked to develop a concept design that satisfies an international demand for BCO standard office space and answer an extreme shortfall in 5* hotel and high class residential facilities identified by the Karachi Port Trust.

This is the first step in developing a large swath of reclaimed land at Karachi Port, a promising area of prime commercial and residential development.”

Aedas is being assisted by MM Pakistan and Mott MacDonald UK & Dubai. The project is due to start on site in April 2007.

Source: Aedas

Hright: ~300m

Floors: 80

Developed by: Karachi Port Trust (KPT)

Designed by: Aedas