Posts by Alex Dent

Outside and Inside a School in Australia

McBride Charles Ryan Penleigh Essendon Grammar School Australia

McBride Charles Ryan Penleigh Essendon Grammar School Australia

More evidence that kids in other countries have it made: the Penleigh and Essendon School. Forget that the school is located in Australia, where I understand that every animal and insect is poisonous and where, I’m told, spiders can fly, architects McBride Charles Ryan have designed the project around two courtyards that resemble a warped infinity symbol in plan. In section, the architects have subtracted entrances from the mass of the school, lining the arching entryways with warm wood that contrasts the dark, glazed finish of the projects exterior.

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A Thoroughly Sophisticated, Scandinavian School by Link Arkitektur

Link Arkitektur Vagan School Norway

It’s easy, at least for me, to fall into the trap of thinking that all newly constructed Scandinavian architecture is better than the majority of the freshly built buildings here in the States. Of course there are exceptions, so many that it’s not even a real rule, but instead of introducing an exceptional stateside project, here’s a Scandinavian project that reinforces my position in the trap – a school in a Norway designed by Link Arkitektur.

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Shane Hope “Paints” Macroscopic Nanoscapes and Makes Up Words

Shane Hope "Paints" Macroscopic Nanoscapes

Without having to crowd around a microscope, the lastest Shane Hope exhibition at the Winkleman Gallery gives all of a turn exploring the exceedingly tiny and complex architecture that hides inside our bodies. Well, sort of. Hope creates his work using molecular modeling software and a series of self-made 3-D printers. He pairs these technologies to produce these amazing but absurd assemblages of morphologies we might be more familiar with if we were either nanometers tall or histologists on an acid trip. The text for the exhibition is… a trip itself, predicting a world where we can building whatever matter we want using 3-D printers.

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You Mom Wants Chocolate for Mother’s Day, Not Another Angry Neighbor.

Taza Chocolate

Taza Chocolate

This past weekend I helped put together a trampoline for my nephews. Well technically, I watched my brothers-in-law put together a trampoline for my nephews, but I wasn’t entirely useless: my sisters and I spent the time trying to figure out what to get our mom for Mother’s Day. I also helped by doing a sweet flip once the trampoline was all together, just to test it out. My nephews were astonished, and one remarked “I didn’t know old people could do a flip.”

Children really are precious gems, aren’t they? I’m certain I had worse remarks for my mom growing up, which is part of the reason why my mom will receive a Mother’s Day present from me each year without any bickering. But it wasn’t just my mouth that got me in trouble or caused my mom emotional anguish when I was a kid. One summer, such anguish started on the edge of a trampoline. It was a trampoline down the street, in a backyard overgrown with tall grasses and weeds. My twin sister and I jumped on the trampoline with the kids from next door, a brother and sister about our age. Between games of crack the egg, I decided I would quickly pee off the edge of the trampoline, a task made difficult by my neighbor’s refusal to stop jumping. What made the task even more difficult was his sister’s curiosity about what makes boys, boys. I turned to the side and tried to walk around the circumference of the trampoline away from her, and as a result, a wobbly and wide arc of pee circumscribed the trampoline. As soon as I was finished, the game of crack the egg resumed as if nothing had happened.

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Stacking Bars: a-lab Designs a Striking New Office Building in Oslo

A Lab Statoil Offices Oslo

A Lab Statoil Offices Oslo

The whole area surrounding the new, a-lab designed Statoil Regional and International Offices used to be Oslo’s central airport. In fact, many of the airport’s building still stand, even if they’ve been repurposed. But this is a new construction, a shining stack of office spaces on the site of what used to be a parking lot. So when the architects describe their conundrum of designing a large office building and “making it blend with Fornebu’s idyllic shoreline” I sort of wonder how idyllic the parking lot really was compared to the outstanding new spaces the architects have created.

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In North Carolina, Snøhetta finishes the sweeping and modern Hunt Library

Snøhetta North Carolina State University

Hunt Library by Snohetta

A long way from their offices in Oslo and New York, the Architects from Snohetta have put the finishing touches on the Hunt Library in Raleigh, North Carolina. The library is a sweeping and modern addition to North Carolina State University’s Centennial Campus, where the project’s aluminum skin and contemporary presence contrast the more staunchly traditional brick buildings that flank the silvery structure. Aside from standing out among the buildings on campus, the project stands out among libraries because it pushes the typology toward something more contemporary. Instead of a staunchly academic space, the project is relaxed and collaborative; it just seems like the future.

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The story of Timothy Hursley and his obsession with a dilapidated grain silo

Timothy Hursley Silo Hale County Alabama

Growing up in a rural area, I probably passed by dozens and dozens of useless, sinking grain silos without ever stopping to think about them. But I’m not photographer Timothy Hursley, who has spent the last six years documenting a ruined grain silo which is slowly slouching toward the ground in Hale County, Alabama. One day he happened to drive by a tornado-damaged grain silo, and became enamored. You may be asking what an architectural photographer would be doing in Hale County in the first place. I’m guessing he was photographing work from the Rural Studio, a division of the Auburn School of Architecture that has been transforming public space in Hale County for years. We actually talked about the concession stands the studio created a couple of years ago, and I’m happy to see the innovative play structure that has been completed since.

In a video from the Oxford American, Timothy describes how his fascination with the silo began. He compares the form of he silo to the work of Frank Gehry, and even explains how he eventually purchased the silo for himself. If you live in a rural area, it may change the way you look at your surroundings, or it may make you wonder how many other silos are on the brink of collapse and will spend the rest of their days rusting in a scrap yard.

Lovely Little Songs From Chris Rubeo

Chris Ruebo

“What kind of music do you like?” is a perfectly reasonable and polite question, but it usually makes me a bit panicky. What kind of music do I like? Well, it’s kind of iffy, to be honest. Unlike every other contributor to this site, my ear is distinctly un-cool, un-hip and if you saw the kind of music I listen to when I’m alone, you might suspect that I’m a retired shopping mall Santa who is now supplementing his income on a gay cruise ship.

So imagine my horror when Bobby tells us three months ago that we should start contributing to a monthly playlist for the site. I felt like it was inviting judgement into an arena where I already felt an excess of judgement, highlighting my lousy eardrums. So I added a few songs from bands that I knew were passable as cool and started scouring Rdio for new music. I found a bumper crop of new bands that I sincerely enjoy and ones that I think are cool enough to share with all of you. If you’re curious what this sounds like, I’ve started this playlist as a way to force myself to get rid of the anxiety I’ve attached to my musical preferences for so long.

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‘Year In Construction’, A collection of photos celebrating the people who build

Engineering New Report Construction Photos

Engineering New Report Construction Photos

Do you ever feel small? It’s easy to feel tiny in the shadow of a huge building or the in the wake of a weighty event. And there has been plenty of news about destructive actions for the past day or so here in the States, so let’s look at some construction. The scale of construction and engineering projects is frequently enormous, but the work is still carried out by the hands of workers who aren’t bigger or smaller than the rest of us. Sure, those hands may be steering gargantuan trucks or controlling cranes so large they easily dwarf the trucks, but realizing large projects is about people our size working to build something. These photos are of the people who get it done.

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