Get Sun! Beautiful Examples Of Passive Solar Design



Cliff House by Altius Architecture, Inc

Imagine freedom from paying your bills. Not all of them, of course. Just a few—namely gas, oil, and electric.

Building a house using passive solar design principles can allow the home to go off the grid for all or many heating and cooling needs. And, with today’s technologies and innovations, without sacrificing aesthetics or functionality.

Modern architects have harnessed the power of the sun since the 1930s. But it was rare: Builders struggled to integrate the beauty of architecture with the utilitarian aspect of engineering. It wasn’t until the oil and energy crisis of the ’70s forced architects to think of creative design solutions that solar passive techniques finally gained traction.

See the full collection I curated for Architizer here.



Vashon Island Cabin by Vandeventer + Carlander Architects

The Honest Beauty Of Shibui


House EVTM by OYO

“Shibui” is a Japanese word used to describe a design aesthetic that values simple, unadorned minimalism. It is related to the concept of wabi-sabi, which is the celebration of the imperfect and transitory nature of objects in the world. The seven key components of shibui design are simplicity, implicitness, modesty, silence, naturalness, everydayness, and imperfection.

Read the complete article at Architizer here.


La Muna by Oppenheim Architecture + Design

An Amazing Visual Tour Of European Architectural Treasures


Photo: Luke Shepard.

From the Renaissance until the middle of the 20th Century, artists from all over the globe would travel to Europe to pursue their trade—whether painting, sculpting, poetry, or architecture. This artistic rite of passage was known as the Grand Tour, as these cultural pilgrims traveled throughout the Continent in order to absorb what were considered the greatest works of art and architecture.

Luke Shepard, a precocious American photographer based out of Paris, has done a contemporary take on the Grand Tour, wandering through Europe photographing some of his favorite structures at night and turning it into a video named “Nightvision.”

Read the complete article at Architizer here.

NIGHTVISION from Luke Shepard on Vimeo.

IKEA’s Virtual Reality App


Last week we speculated about the ways in which digital technology will radically alter the way we think about, arrange, and decorate our interiors.Now, we’re one step closer to that future. A new technology, from Swedish furniture manufacturer Ikea, will eliminate our need for such archaic tools as measuring tape or at least expel any lingering doubts that the couch we just ordered will actually fit in our already lived-in living room.

Read the full article at Architizer here.

Naum Gabo’s Material Gamble



What the statue is supposed to look like. Model for “Construction in Space: Two Cones,” 1927. Photo © Nina & Graham Williams/Tate, London 2011 via the Tate Museum.

Brittle, brown, and crumbling, Naum Gabo’s sculpture “Construction: Two Cones in Space” is a harbinger of what is to come for artwork fabricated out of plastic. The sculpture, part of the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, has so deteriorated that it is no longer feasible to display.



The state of the sculpture today, housed in the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s storage.

Gabo was a key member of the Russian Constructivists, an avant-garde group active in the beginning of the 20th century. The Constructivists had many radical ideas: the autonomy of material, imbuing everyday objects (such as chairs and utensils) with aesthetic concerns, and using contemporary materials and technology to wipe away the past. Gabo’s use of plastic was rooted in another of their beliefs: in using contemporary materials to create a new art.

Read the full article at Architizer here.


Skate This!



Image via.


What makes a great “skate spot”? Smooth surfaces, sweet inclines, and such bonus features like ledges, steps, rails, and transitions help. Now, skateboarders, being a notoriously inventive and industrious bunch, could have fun in any parking lot with a curb. But built environments that push skateboarders to new feats of daring offer more options than just a flat surface to roll on.

Modernist architecture, for example, with its embrace of concrete, marble, and granite, has proved a great boon to the sport. Two of the most famous skate spots in history—the Embarcadero in San Francisco and Love Park in Philadelphia—were built as public plazas in the Modernist style. The Embarcadero’s Gonz Gap, created by a gigantic concrete wave, and Love Park’s low granite benches helped transform these spaces into, to paraphrase Le Corbusier, “machines” for skating.

See the full collection of architectural projects I curated for Architizer here.


Public Sculpture As Skatepark



Traditionally, skateboarding parks are separated from the general public—the skateboarders are relegated to their concrete area, the metal fences a boundary between them and the rest of the city. However, most skateboarders don’t desire this sequestration, no matter how great the park is. Skateboarders want the freedom to take their four wheels and plywood planks where they want, when they want.

Read the complete article at Architizer here.

Photo: RedBullContentPool 

The Found Model For The Rodin Museum


Most museums push the majority of their collections so deep into climate-controlled storage that they’re rarely (if ever) seen by the general public. But sometimes these crates have been in storage for so long that no one—not even the museum’s directors and curators—knows what’s inside of them.

Such was the case at the Rodin Museum. Set between the Barnes Foundation directly across the street and the Philadelphia Museum of Art further down, the Rodin Museum is a frequently overlooked jewel of a building in Center City Philadelphia. Paul Phillipe Cret, the architect responsible for most of the buildings lining the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, designed it; he also designed the original Barnes Foundation in Merion, Pennsylvania. Like the Barnes, the Rodin Museum houses the collection of one man, Jules Mastbaum, an early film mogul with an obsession for, yes, Rodin. The collection of sculptures, notes, and drawings is actually the largest group of Rodin’s work outside of France.

Read the full article at Architizer here.

FDR: DIY Urban Renewal By Philadelphia Skateboarders


Photo: Phil Jackson via “FDR Skatepark: A Visual History”

There has been a shift in recent years in the way cities look at redeveloping the urban environment. Rather than bulldozing neighborhoods to a new future–one usually consisting of parking garages or elevated ramps–cities are now repurposing existing, unused areas. The most famous example of this is the High Line in Manhattan, the unthinkable success story that has spawned numerous schemes all around the world and back again (see New York’s “LowLine”). In Philadelphia, similar efforts are being made at rehabilitating the frontage on the Delaware River, like Race Street Pier, as parks for pedestrian use. But while this repurposing tendency hasn’t always been a hallmark of city planners, it has been, and still is, a defining characteristic of skateboarders.

Read the full article on Architizer here.


Photo: K. Scott Kreider

Discontented With The Barnes Foundation


The Barnes Foundation, the recently relocated art museum in Philadelphia, is no stranger to controversy and acrimony. Its move from Lower Merion to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway was a long and litigious journey involving many of Philadelphia’s cultural heavy hitters, including Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell. The intricacies of the plot are too detailed and winding to describe here (see the movie “Art of the Steal” for a good primer on the issues involved), but it’s needless to drag out that point: the move has concluded, and the collection is now housed in a new building by Tsien and Williams.

Read the complete article on the Architizer website here.


Photos: K. Scott Kreider