Food / architecture
We want people to have a close relationship with architecture just like they do with food; simple, nourishing and stimulating. These days, people can still intuitively tell a good meal from bad, hopefully with architecture too. Both food and architecture are essential to everyday life yet both can rise from mere utility and function to an art form providing sublime, rewarding moments of being alive and happy, without neglecting the basics of human senses and the experience; delicious, nourishing and inventive. For us, the proof is in the pudding.
With the Grand Rapids Art Museum and all of our museums, we aim for what we call ‘invisible green.’ What is it? It’s the shade of green that is integrated and ingrained in the aesthetic and experienceable design of the building, not an afterthought to say that you’re also green. You wouldn’t eat organic food if it didn’t taste good, would you? These days who can afford not to be green; invisible green is the synthesis of creative design / efficiency and sustainability all as one. No compromise. You can’t point to a part of the building that is green and another that is not. All is green, organic and sexy. After all, for us the most beautiful shade of green is in fact invisible.
This idea came to us by working on the Speed Art Museum. We see the old building as having had a long life, long before us and will continue long after our lifetime. This time, our job is not to try to pin our ego and identity of the present to the museum, but to help the museum achieve good, sustainable health, help it de-fragment, unclog the flow and improve the lifeline, and help it to connect with new generations through new technologies and ideas. Like acupuncture, the intervention is focused and precise, aiming at the strategic points and areas in and around the building where the effects could release new energy and regain a holistic rejuvenation. Much better than a facelift!
Similar to operation to Acupuncture Architecture but even more organic, Acupuncture Urbanism is deployed in our design proposal for Point State Park in Pittsburgh. The freeways cut the park into pieces and we were striving to help the land become whole again. We propose an intervention that the land pieces reach for one another, striving for wholesome and healthy being. Again, we don’t want to do a facelift to hide the health problem of urban spaces but we aim for long term healing process of sustainable health.
At the Venice House, with crazy client, we dream of sofas and chairs and beds that we sleep on in our rooms, that then could easily get thrown into the pool nearby where we could enjoy the same activities, but now happily wet, bobbling and drifting. Would it not be great ? a real indoor / outdoor seamless experience, a daydream that starts in the bedroom and ends in the pool. We have some prototypes made for Venice House. Stay tuned!
Bar Code Spaces / Checkered pattern indoor – outdoor spaces
We experimented with this idea for the House on Mulholland Drive. Though unbuilt, this house design allowed us to push the envelope on the Californian indoor / outdoor space design. We want indoor / outdoor continuum but do not want to repeat what the case study houses had done with sliding glass doors, projecting eaves and glass corners. So we decided to go for the complex end, we searched for maximum interaction line between 2 entities, black and white for example, and we thought about the Bar Code or Checkered Pattern; both have maximal interface between black and white. The spatial composition was designed based on this notion for maximal interface, fusing the indoor and outdoor to the highest degree, all under a big roof and uniting swimming pool.