After graduating from Yale in 2001, Boston architect Chongzi Chen founded independent firm Chen Architect (which we learned about from previous Playlister Aisha Densmore-Bey). His work ranges from commercial projects to residential home and interiors to green buildings. In addition to his design work, he has also taught courses focusing on integrated design practices for environmental systems and the history of sustainability. From his sun-drenched studio, Chongzi gets right to the music in this week’s Playlist.
We recently discovered architect Edward Ogosta‘s rendering of “Hybrid Office,” a yet-to-be-built project he conceived for a creative media agency of 30 workers. The workspace, which would fill an existing 6,000-square-foot concrete warehouse in Los Angeles, would employ a series of “hybrid-objects,” which exist “somewhere between furniture and architecture.” Ogasta explains: Read more
Driven by a mission to make sustainable design accessible, architect, designer, and eco advocate Michelle Kaufmann is someone who is making a real difference. Awarded for her green home design principles and often credited for helping pioneer the green prefab category, Michelle and her firm specialize in sustainable lifestyle design for single family homes, eco-luxury resorts, and multi-family communities. In addition, she consults with builders, developers, and architecture firms on sustainability and prefabrication, most recently with Google. Here, “the Henry Ford of green homes” (as she’s been called by the Sierra Club) tells us, in her words, about her background, her commitment to finding sustainable solutions, and the studio space she’s thoughtfully created along with her team in San Francisco. Read more
This week, Washington, D.C. architect and business owner Kathy Dixon welcomes us into her firm. Kathy provides architectural services, which includes base buildings, historic renovations, and additions for both commercial and residential clients. She’s lucky enough to enjoy two home workspaces: an interior space and a beguiling outdoor patio for those sunny afternoon work sessions. Check out her selection of classics in this week’s Playlist. Read more
Architect, writer and publisher Robert Kahn talks about balancing a busy architecture practice, a publishing house he runs with his wife and his family life. Kahn set up his own practice in 1986 when he left James Stirling, Michael Wilford & Associates in London. He is a fellow of the American Academy in Rome, and has received numerous awards from the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Kahn is also the creator and editor of the City Secretsseries. His wife, Fiona Duff Kahn, is the managing editor of Fang Duff Kahn Publishers, which they founded together in 2009. They live in New York with their daughter, Kiki Fang Duff Kahn. Read more
New York-based architect Deborah Berke shares her busy life for this week’s Q+A. Berke is a professor of architectural design at Yale University and author and co-editor of several books, including The Architecture of the Everyday. The work of her award winning firm – Deborah Berke & Partners Architects – has appeared in numerous publications as diverse as Vogue, The Wall Street Journal and Remodelista. Today Berke gives us a look at her residential projects and a peek into her work space.
Since it hit the design calendar 7 years ago Design Miami has named a Designer of the Year, offering that person a chance to create a site specific piece for the festival. Past winners have included Zaha Hadid, Marc Newson and Konstantin Grcic - whose work for Magis we recently welcomed into the Herman Miller family. This year the accolade goes to architect David Adjaye who has designed “Genesis” – a pavilion that incorporates his signature undulating timber blades to create a space that will offer respite from the busy show.
Below Adjaye is interviewed in his office – you’ll get a fascinating view of his workspace and also a great insight into his take on design.
Design Miami runs from 30 November – 4 December 2011.
As part of our continuing architect Q+A series we tracked down DEX Studio‘s principal Glen Bell. Here he talks about his residential and commercial work and the impact growing up in Los Angeles has had on his work. Bell’s Redcliff Residence (above) was part of the recent Dwell on Design house tours.
You opened your own Venice, CA-based design practice, DEX Studio in 1999 after you graduated from with a degree in architecture from USC. How do you think being based in California has influenced your work? Growing up in California has had a tremendous impact on my design approach. My earliest memories are of my home life around a large patio, a pool, and a yard full of fruit trees.
This connection between interior and exterior spaces continued throughout grade and high school. The school I attended had a campus designed in part by A. Quincy Jones. The grounds were a series of spaces that were centered around small courtyards. The post and beam architecture included vast walls of glass and flat roofs nestled within eucalyptus trees. To this day, my designwork centers around connecting interior and exterior spaces. This sensibility has developed into a philosophy of interacting with the environment through designed forms. My schooling at USC focused on finding ways to define shelter and its interaction with the environment. This includes using natural elements around a site to inform, animate, and provide comfort for the user.
The Redcliff Residence was designed for John Shields. a concept site planner for theme parks and his partner, artist/illustrator Nat Reed. The property is steeply sloping with Nat’s studio at street level and the more private sections of the house travelling up the hill. How did the sloping sight effect your design? The site offered an opportunity to maximize desirable views and bring in a better quality of light for the owner. The existing home had all of the elements of a modern design including a minimal geometry and extensive use of glass. Unfortunately, the two buildings were originally sited to maximize the square footage, not to create the best space for the home-owner. In addition, the existing windows let in too much heat, glaring light, and unattractive views of neighboring houses. These factors made the program more complex and rich. It developed in a way to use the whole site to connect a series of outdoor spaces with the existing and remodeled architecture. We took advantage of the topography of the site to highlight the best city and neighborhood views, while screening less attractive areas.
We implemented overhangs and operable glazing to reduce the heat load and glare on the interior space. We then provided a passive cooling system to draw airflow up from the lower spaces of the house into the second floor, thereby cooling the entire house. The owner’s landscape design softens the geometry of the architectural elements through animated movement of leaves, plants, and flowers. Inside the home, no two rooms are alike in view, light quality, or orientation. You are compelled to move from space to space throughout the day to take advantage of what each space has to offer.
Was there a conscious decision to separate the live and work spaces on the property? The accessory space on site helped the decision to keep the scale of the house modest and to separate the uses between work and live. The distinction is made more clear when you leave the home and travel through a landscaped walkway to get to the work studio at a lower elevation. It’s not a bad commute.
How does the use of texture in this home – with its detailed exterior screens, timber-lined internal walls connect to your larger body of work? I always work with texture. We prefer working with natural materials that express an honesty and quality through their imperfect attributes.
In case you missed the post over on Discover I wanted to remind you that architect Bill McDonough, who has been a long-time collaborator with Herman Miller is speaking tonight in San Francisco with “Cradle to Cradle” co-author Dr. Michael Braungart as part of a fundraiser for their Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute.