Contemporary renovations and beautiful, modern residential architecture

Contemporary renovations and beautiful, modern residential architecture

makeArchitecture talks about Trump's Wall in Architectural Record

makeArchitecture talks about Trump's Wall in Architectural Record. Spoiler alert! We think it is against everything that we stand for and is a giant waste of money:

“Hardworking immigrants have transformed 26th Street into the most vibrant shopping district outside of Michigan Avenue,” said Huchting. “We fear that this and other thriving neighborhoods will suffer if the wall is built.”

http://www.architecturalrecord.com/articles/12453-border-wall-divides-profession

 

#architecturalrecord #trumpswall #architecture-lobby #arch-lobby #equity #america #jefferson

 

 

 

Using the World Health Organization HEAT index, ROI on the SuperBikeway could be in the hundreds of millions of dollars

Using  the World Health Organization HEAT index, ROI on the  SuperBikeway could be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

 

The online questionnaire asks us for data and suggests sources: Before we begin the HEAT assessment, it
is worth noting: An estimate of how many people are walking or cycling. This might come from route user surveys, population surveys, roadside counts, or could be estimates, for example from scenario analyses. (Data was taken from CTA and Metra sources. http://www.transitchicago.com/ridership/ and https://metrarail.com/metra/en/home/about_metra/planning_records_reports/ ridership_reports/station_level_data.html) I used local transit survey information and created ridership numbers based upon a 5%, 10% and a 20% ridership.

An estimate of the average duration spent walking or cycling in the study population, which can again come from surveys or from estimates. HEAT gives one the choice of I chose 40 minutes of cycling per day as the average duration for 180 days per year. This puts us at about 36 weeks of cycling out of the 52 weeks per year. This allows for riders to sit out 16 weeks a year or the majority of winter.

The baseline cost for this section of the SuperBikeway is borrowed from the recently completed 606 line. The
606 was $33 million per mile of totally reconstructed viaduct infrastructure with all new bridge crossings. The SuperBikeway has two parts: the shared path and the outrigger. There are also only 5 stations compared to 11 on the 606. The SuperBikeway stations are meant for bikes and it lacks many of the amenities seen in the 606. There is lighting, but no landscaping or pedestrian amenities. The existed roadbed is used “as is” as opposed to being rebuilt. The modelled cost of the 13 mile long shared pathway is $30 million including its 4 stations. The modelled cost of the outrigger section is slightly less than the 606 cost as it is smaller and requires (at a cursory glance) less work. The total estimated cost for the SuperBikeway is $130 million. These costs should be reexamined at
a later date once the first numbers are crunched and the benefit is calculated (or no benefit is found relative to infrastructure costs.)
9 606 cost per mile was taken from the http://www.the606.org

The results of the test are as follows: an economic gain of 3.03, 6.06 and 8.4 times over a 20 year period.10 The gain was proportional to the number of riders which were 3,922 , 7,843 and 11,118. What did we learn? First the hypothesis that building encouraging wellness through a separate, non- stop cycling highway would bring a net return on investment assuming our costs are correct. With further analysis, these costs can be made more

in line with the reality of building the project. The project also could also be modified in order to make the budget work.

The goal is not to replace the role of transportation planner but to bring a fresh set of eyes to the challenge of the turn-of-the-twentieth century city, where budgets are low but expectations about quality of life are high. With an innovative eye, cost effective solutions can be found hiding in plain sight and the public health improved. The hypothesis has legs and is worth exploring further. This, in our opinion, is what resilience is all about.

makeArchitecture is presenting at the 105th ACSA Convention in Detroit

makeArchitecture is presenting at the 105th ACSA Convention in Detroit. Our project "A Third Logistical Regime: The Ecological Succession of Industrial Ruins" was selected by Luis Francisco Rico-Gutierrez & Martha Thorne for inclusion in the "Brooklyn: Move to Detroit." 

Many industrial cities grew up around transportation nodes. These nodes were originally water routes and evolved in the 19th century to railroad yards. Factories and and warehouses sprouted. Today these urban nodes are being supplanted by mush larger ones in the ex-urban areas and the question is how to cultivate them for the 21st century rather than redeveloped them in terms of urban or other 20th century strategies.

Section across Western Avenue and the railroad viaduct at 15th Street.

Section across Western Avenue and the railroad viaduct at 15th Street.

In our our scheme we explore what can be done with the typical inner-city railroad yard and its environs. We will report more in the coming weeks.

Server farms heat greenhouses built upon the roof of the early 20th century distribution warehouses.

Server farms heat greenhouses built upon the roof of the early 20th century distribution warehouses.

The SuperBikeway was featured in an email from 100resilientcities

The SuperBikeway was featured in an email from 100resilientcities.org.Our image was in the masthead and emailed to all of the Rockefeller Foundation's subscribers. We were honored and excited to participate in this productive discussion. We hope to have an engineering study underway later this summer!


We paint the back of the fence.

People ask us what is different about our approach to Architecture?

In a soundbite, we paint the back of the fence.

What does that mean?

There's great article on the website iMore.com:

Some people might not care. Like painting the back of the fence or finishing the underside of the cabinet, it's a detail that only people who take tremendous pride in craft really care about. And, of course, people who look for just exactly that kind of quality.

That's because it takes an incredible amount of time and resources to achieve it. It takes an incredible amount of planning and coordination as well. It also takes the willingness to not do something if you feel doing it right is important enough.

Our work at makeArchitecture lines up. Always has and always will.

The cedar trellis is aligned with the masonry. Note the native prairie grass lawn.

The cedar trellis is aligned with the masonry. Note the native prairie grass lawn.

Here the inside/outside effect is celebrated by the alignment of the bench.

Here the inside/outside effect is celebrated by the alignment of the bench.

And even more importantly is thought out at the beginning with diagrams so that it delivers maximum effect with ease and elegance.

The diagram of a house addition. See below for its final resolution and expression.

The diagram of a house addition. See below for its final resolution and expression.

Because as the author of the article says:

Because once you know the back of the fence wasn't painted, not only can you never un-know it, you can never stop wondering what else wasn't given that same care and consideration.

Here's our collaborative process that brings out the best possible solution.

Here's our collaborative process that brings out the best possible solution.

A house addition for privacy and natural light.

A house addition for privacy and natural light.

So if you care about details, then you will want us to be your Architect!



Archispeakpodcast on the state of the Architectural Fight Club

This is a must listen for Architects and Civilians alike.

From their blog: 

Welcome to Architectural Fight Club. The first rule of Architectural Fight Club is: you do not talk about Architectural Fight Club. The second rule of Architectural Fight Club is: you DO NOT talk about Architectural Fight Club! 

For Episode 51, Archispeak breaks the first rule of Architectural Fight Club and discusses architecture's so-called "crisis of confidence." As more and more mainstream figures in the field are admitting that the profession has lost its way, we ask the question: what, if anything, can architects do?

http://archispeakpodcast.com/episodes/51

Have a listen and let us know what you think!

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly or Smithson's Parallel of the Orders experienced during a 10 minute walk

Peter Smithson in his seminal essay “A Parallel of the Orders,” argued that a construction system becomes an order and then evolves (or really devolves) into a decoration. He claims that this is the natural course of architectural development. He then argues that the first two steps are acceptable whereas the third is heretical

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We predict that the the Lucas Museum on Chicago's lakefront, aka Jabba the Hutt, will be a record-breaking success and attract far more visitors than the Obama Library.

We predict that the the Lucas Museum on Chicago's lakefront, aka Jabba the Hutt, will be a record-breaking success and attract far more visitors than the Obama Library.

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We miss Hans Hollein and Michael Graves

Yesterday Michael Graves passed away and I think he will be remembered, not for his architecture, but for his championing of universal design. He is part of a conversation of inclusiveness–Design with a capital D should serve all of us. That's so important. 

Michael Graves and his prototype for a universal bathtub.

Michael Graves and his prototype for a universal bathtub.

Then I thought–who did some really beautiful architecture and design work that could be called post modern? Work that transcended kitsch? (Please forgive me, Michael Graves.)

Hans Hollein.

And he passed away about a year ago.

His Retti Candle Shop is deceivingy simple, yet very powerful.

Hans Hollein's sketch of the candle shop entrance. 

Hans Hollein's sketch of the candle shop entrance. 

Retti Candle Shop Exterior

Retti Candle Shop Exterior

Interior

Interior

The facade is thick like stone but made with metal, I think aluminum. The punched opening creates a figure/ ground shift and draws you into the volume that is the store. It is the play of designing in one material, stone,  a heavy, matte one, and building in metal,  a light weight, reflective one. The transformation is engaging and effective.

Hollein deservedly won the Pritzker Prize in 1985. The jury praised Hollein as an architect "who with wit and eclectic gusto draws upon the traditions of the New World as readily as upon those of the Old" and "never fears to bring together the richest of ancient marbles and the latest in plastics." More importantly, I think he pulled it out. It isn't easy and many accomplished people, like our local Stanley Tigerman, were not able to do convincingly. (I think this is what Stanley Tigerman was trying to channel in the facades and plans of a couple of his better known projects. Some said that they looked like penises. Perhaps, but I just think they tried to be like Hollein's Retti Candle Shop which is very hard to accomplish. [Tigerman's later work reminds me of more of Michael Graves.])

What do you think?

Detail and Effect

I once thought that a great name for an Architecture firm would be "Details and Effects."

"Why?" you ask.

Because details are part of what makes separate really great design from the mundane. Consider the apartment buildings and homes in the historic districts in Evanston, Lakewood-Balmoral, River Forest or Oak Park. They are not much different in terms of their overall massing from others in adjacent neighborhoods but the details and the overall effects they create raise the buildings to another level. This example of a 100 year old brick half-tudor, gabled apartment building with a cut-limestone, gothic entrance and a slate roof illustrates this. The entrance is set off by its arch and by its material against the wire-cut, dark brown brick. It is a color and material scheme that stands the test of time.

Here's a stucco house on Sheridan Road in Evanston. Note how each part or detail works to create a harmonious whole.

Here's a stucco house on Sheridan Road in Evanston. Note how each part or detail works to create a harmonious whole.

The entry features hand crafted materials that bring it to life. Each piece or detail works to create a harmonious whole.

The entry features hand crafted materials that bring it to life. Each piece or detail works to create a harmonious whole.

The entry has cut glass. It features fall colors and fallen leaves. The tile floor is a mixtures of bone, dark bone, honey and a chestnut brown. They outlines are imperfect and this creates a rhythm and visual interest.

 (We personally think the earth-tone color scheme is gorgeous.) The textures make a difference as well. The bricks and tile are hand made and have enough imperfections to ensure variety. This attention to detail is crucial and one that we follow in our projects. Hand made and natural materials generally have a level of detail that bring a project to life. We think that is important. Do you?

Details are a bit misunderstood today. Rem Koolhaas said that "There are no details anymore." I have had students repeat this to me in design studio. Many fresh-minted faculty also have stated this. The one thing they have in common is they have never designed and built an actual building. Yes, details matter and, yes, there will always be details, even if there are hidden, no matter the latest fashion. A hidden detail is many times more difficult to engineer, design and fabricate than an obvious one. We will talk more about this in a future post.

We like IKEA and Sweden, its source, has wonderful residential design

We like IKEA, and Sweden, its source, has wonderful residential design. This house and its interior by the wise and talented architects In Praise of Shadows illustrates where good design is part of everyday life.

 

Do you think that good design is part of everyday life? For instance, do you have an iPhone? Jonny Ives and Steve Jobs toiled tirelessly to make it this invisible but pleasure to use. It is one example. Do you drive an Audi, BMW or a Tesla? (We have a Prius.) These automobiles are designed with the idea that driving should be a pleasure with the Tesla combining this with a desire to live a carbon-free lifestyle. 

Let's start with the kitchen. It's where a lot of us cook, talk, make pour overs, share and spend a great of time alone and with the ones we love.

The grey floors are concrete as the house is an insulated slab on grade. The kitchen is MDF in both plain and painted white. The island drawers have no pulls allowing you to work and talk closely. Instead they are elegant and simple cut circles. The countertops are laminated wood. The color is simple and, thus. timeless. That's key!

And the clean interior itself. Storage is the key to having a clean. (Our LightBox project illustrates our passion for storage and its talent for being a design element. Much of the storage here is located outside of the living spaces.) Also, a digital lifestyle where downloads have replaced DVDs–I think vinyl still has a role to play and we are designing a space around a hi-fi system right now–and magazines and newspapers are being read online.

The bedroom is simple and embraces the daylight.

The bedroom is simple and embraces the daylight.

Daylighting is important at this latitude as the sunshines very briefly in winter. Skylights make the most of the available natural light.

The outside reveals the classic "coconut" scheme: dark on the outside; light and light filled on the inside. The exterior is clad in dark oiled wood. The driveway is permeable and the garden makes for eating and entering outdoors. 

The framing underneath is what's called "Swedish" Framing by many of us in the United States. It eliminates thermal bridges and, as the energy codes in the USA are made more strict, soon will be the the norm here in Chicago.

Imagine this:

Great design for everyday living and saves energy! We like that and we hope you do too!

A little advice on turning a 2 Flat into a Single Family Residence

Our good friend and esteemed colleague Jerry, aka the Man of Steel, poses with the 1000 pound steel beam we specified for this 2 Flat to Single Family conversion. Here, we cut a cavity between the floor joists and Jerry is about to lift the beam into place. This detail creates a flush ceiling and, thus, a single space where they were four small rooms. Real sized furniture, anyone?

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Making a Place for Beauty in Your Life

Roger Scruton has written that "Adolf Loos set out to discover a purer beauty–beauty that belongs to modern life and also endorses it." Professor Scruton is on to something!

Lina and Adolf Loos's bedroom circa 1903 from the Austrian Museum of Applied Arts.  © Peter Kainz/MAK

Lina and Adolf Loos's bedroom circa 1903 from the Austrian Museum of Applied Arts.  © Peter Kainz/MAK

This a productive way of talking about Lifestyle and Effects. What does that mean? It means that we at makeArchitecture create good, clean design that aims to be as beautiful as it is integral to the way you live. It has to FUNCTION!

The first question we ask is

How do you want to live?

This ethos is in the details as well as the overall of the space. Here's an example. The desire to work in the kitchen and speak to guests inspired this project. The plan on the left shows that there was a load bearing wall between the two rooms. There was no way to cook and have direct contact with the guests. What to do?

victorian2-plan-1500px-1000px.png

The plan on the right shows the new relationship between the kitchen and dining room. The next decision was how to detail the structure supporting the joists that were resting upon the kitchen wall and the exterior wall on the south side. Typically a contractor would have put a lintel on the underside of each but this would have made the effect less clear. We loved structures in school–there's a beauty in the way the maximum moment of a continuously loaded beam can be ascertained from the area of the shear diagram. (More on that in a different post.)

So we cut off the southern exterior balloon frame wall 16" above the second floor. (The temporary wall you see in the background also exists on the second floor to hold up the ceiling and roof.) We created a pocket within which to place the beam and create flush ceiling that unifies the space and reinforces the idea of dining room and kitchen as one. 

The parallam being raised into the pocket.

The parallam being raised into the pocket.

Modern lifestyle–cooking while hosting a party–needs details that make this possible. The view from the kitchen to the table with its setting for the dinner party. Note how the space is one. Doesn't that make sense?


House of the week is in Los Feliz & was designed by W. C. Tanner

People accuse of us being a modernist. We love modernism and we love good, clean design. That's why we love this W. C. Tanner designed home in Los Feliz. It's not modern and it's gorgeous. It can be your for $5 million.

It's comfortable, livable, has a swimming pool and those LA views we in the midwest find intoxicating. The living room has a vaulted plaster ceiling that adds visual and sonic interest.

Here's the link to the article in LA Times.

ARCHITECTURE DIAGRAMS SHOW WHAT MAKING ARCHITECTURE IS.

This is our first installment in Architecture Diagram Mondays.

What is making Architecture?

It's asking a lot of questions, listening and then responding in sketch form. This is one of the unique talents of Architects.

So why not use this skill as an entreé to the profession and what a good Architect does?

So let's look at one older project featuring Graeme Ogg's design for transforming the ruins of a farm house into an apartment complex. Please have a look at the story it tells...

From ruins to a Japanese courtyard complex where buildings slide by each other and the roof is revealed in layers. Why? Because this detail reinforces the sliding of masses and breaks it down into smaller pieces. One enters the courtyard from an angle and one can recall that Wright swore by this technique as it brought drama to the experience of space.

Bill Nye on Climate Change

Bill Nye was recently on Bloomberg and CBS delivering a powerful message. 

Why isn't the United States the world leader on man-made climate change?

What does that have to do with you how you live and what you build?

How can makeArchitecture foster positive change?

How can we help you move all of us in the right direction?

Ask us!

Richard Neutra's Ann and Donald Brown House

Richard Neutra was regarded as one of the star students of his class in Vienna at the Institute of Technology and, like his classmate Rudolf Schindler, emigrated to Chicago. Neutra lived in the Chicago suburb Highland Park commuting downtown on the UP-N to work at a large firm designing hotels. He later followed Schindler to Los Angeles and the rest is history.

Neutra's work, like Schindler's and Mies's, owes much to Wright. This house in Washington D.C. has planes that project beyond the ribbon band of windows much like Mies's Farnsworth House. I think it can be argued that the house makes your experience of the seasons better than if you were outside. What do you think?


The house has a public and private side and does not reveal everything at once. Here's the approach.

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