The notion of utopia proves as diverse as it does universal. From exuberant master plans to singular architectural expressions, the rise of the utopian architectural movement in the 1960s and 1970s represents a critical shift in ideology away from mid-century traditionalism. This period shakes off the conformity and conventions of the 1950s in favor of a more experimental post-war agenda. Marked by groundbreaking reinterpretations of both the single family house as well as more large scale developments, the embrace of utopian and generally progressive thinking mirrored the cultural revolution of the times. These daring, charming, futuristic, and hopeful designs were not isolated to a particular part of the world. Visionary voices longing for a fresh approach to architecture began appearing across France, Japan, the United States, and beyond. The Tale of Tomorrow documents this prolific era in architecture--a time when anything felt possible as architects began to think further and further outside the box. The Tale of Tomorrow focuses exclusively on built manifestations of utopian ideas. Rather than mixing together abstract theorists with practitioners, this book focuses on the tangible embodiments of such forward thinking. Highlighting well-known projects as well as the more obscure and offbeat, the collection of utopian approaches compiled here maintain their visual power and infectious optimism nearly half a century later. These experimental structures, both large and small, appear in everyday places in stark contrast to their far-from-utopian contexts. In addition to featuring a range of whimsical architectural gestures, The Tale of Tomorrow also explores more brutalist styles of utopian thinking. This bold and iconic class of projects not only inspires a sense of awe and reverence towards one's surroundings but also demonstrates the broad spectrum of deeply personal solutions at play as each architect began to craft their ideal world. Whether an organically shaped residence or a towering sculptural complex, the projects in this book stand as poignant suggestions of what might have been and, perhaps what could still be.
HOMES FOR HOPE
Collaboration with R. Scott Mitchell
Photography by Brandon Friend-Solis
MADWORKSHOP Homeless Studio/ USC School of Architecture
In a city with a vacancy rate of 2%, countless plots of land remain underutilized across Los Angeles. Homes for Hope activates this unused land to provide modular, transitional stabilization housing for immediately sheltering the city’s homeless. Installed or dismantled in two weeks or less, Homes for Hope easily reconfigures and adapts to a range of site conditions. The stackable 92 square foot units aggregate into 30-bed communities. The base modules combine to form communal spaces, bathroom facilities, outdoor terraces, and courtyards. Homes for Hope offers an affordable and empowering solution for rapidly rehousing our city’s most vulnerable – the first step on one’s journey home.
More than 50,000 people sleep on the streets of Los Angeles each night (that we know about). In the past year alone, homelessness in the San Fernando Valley has increased 35%. For this project, we partnered with Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission and their CEO Ken Craft to develop a solution for emergency stabilization housing. In Los Angeles, attention and funding focuses on permanent supportive housing. Permanent supportive housing is the long term end-goal for all people experiencing homelessness. The trouble is, this type of housing takes years to realize and typically only produces a few dozen new units at a time.
Homes for Hope provides transitional bridge housing to get people off the streets and into permanent supportive housing sooner. While we worked with Hope of the Valley as the client for this pilot project, the concept of Homes for Hope is not client specific and can be applied rapidly across the city to meet the growing epidemic of unhoused residents. Since the beginning of the project, we have worked closely with the Mayor’s Office and the Departments of Building and Safety and City Planning to optimize the design and ensure we are code compliant. Homes for Hope identifies and works within a number of city zoning loopholes to help people get sheltered faster.
The LA edition of the CITIx60 travel series enlists 60 of the city's top creatives to recommend their favorite places. With the help of talents including Ben Mor, Rich Sommer, Paul Dini, Baraba Bestor, Lo-fang, Thom Mayne, Ball-Nogues, and many more, you'll get to know Los Angeles like a local.
With Sven Ehmann and Robert Klanten
The way we design an immersive experience, whether it be an art installation, storefront, retail space, or public event, represents an opportunity to reimagine and reframe the world around us. Such expressive and holistic approaches to both commercial and art spaces manifest as one-of-a-kind, transformative branded experiences. These sophisticated spaces and installations transcend visitor expectations to create a visceral, interactive, and lasting imprint on those who encounter them. Liquid Spaces documents this bespoke renaissance, highlighting a mix of ephemeral events, happenings, and art projects.
Located in the heart of Berlin, this izakaya restaurant combines traditional Japanese materials and hand craft with 3D modeling and computer programming to form an atmospheric space for dining. Responding to the client’s wishes for a cozy space that establishes a visual identity for the restaurant while also maximizing table count, the entire design intervention is achieved without the use of a single wall. A 56 sq meter ceiling installation serves as the main design feature of the restaurant. By using the chopstick as a simple, repeating element, the project creates an immersive and highly intimate canopy over the space.
The form comprises a series of vaults interspersed between a lower datum of darker chopsticks These vaults hover over the two main seating areas on either side of the entrance, providing a sense of intimacy and spatial division. The installation is made out of 13,454 hand drilled, stained, and threaded chopsticks, 57,400 knots, and over 20 kilometers of nylon and took a crew of 14 people three weeks to complete. A wallpaper resembling a lush forest from afar prominently covers the back wall of the restaurant. Hand drawn on the computer and then processed by a customized script, the brightly lit wallpaper attracts curious visitors passing down Rosenthalerstrasse with its recognizable image, only to gradually dissolve into a line drawing and warm texture when viewed up close. The wallpaper’s disappearing effect adds to the mystery of the project and its vertical lines resonate with the verticality and spacing of the hanging hashi.
The bar and exterior façade are filled with half a ton of Japanese rice and backlit, casting a diffused warm glow onto the street and into the space.
Designed as Affect Studio with Bjørn Hoffmann.
Additional photo credits: Iohanna Nicenboim
Exclusive Interview and cover story with will.i.am and director Ben Mor Mark Magazine, Issue 48 February 2014 / March 2014
HIDE AND SEEK
With Sven Ehmann and Robert Klanten
Our longing for simplicity, clarity, and retreat often leads us into nature. Hide and Seek showcases a range of charming and elegant hideouts that satisfy this yearning. The highly individual cabins, hideaways, and summer homes featured in this book offer their owners exceptional, yet convenient ways to escape urban routines and embed themselves into the land. These imaginative structures meldtraditional architecture with modern living in fascinating and surprising ways. Whether located in the forest, on the water, or in the mountains; whether light and minimalistic or dark and cozy, the compelling dwellings exemplify how to create remote shelters that bring calm and balance to our hectic lives. With the right concept, furniture, décor, and atmosphere, even small or basic designs become stunning sanctuaries. Hide and Seek is a contemporary survey of contextual architecture and interior design that channels our shared desire for peace and quiet. These projects not only have the power to get people in touch with their surroundings, but also with themselves.
Interior renovation of Redondo Beach home.
Designed as Colorblock with Susan Nwanpka.
ROCK THE SHACK
With Sven Ehmann
Much has changed since architecture's origins as the primitive hut. And yet, after all our collective drive for expansion and urbanization, we are once again moving back to this intimate shelter typology. From choosing a modest second home to the arcadic inspired lookouts, hideouts, retreats, converted barns, cabins, and chalets, the resurgence of this form of architecture speaks to a greater longing to reconnect to our environment and one another. Rock the Shack features exceptional examples of these small and idyllic residential structures that inspire a simpler, rarefied, and often more economical approach to contemporary living.
THE NEW NOMADS
With Robert Klanten and Sven Ehmann
Mobility is the ultimate new form of freedom: freedom from routine, traditional values, and geographic restraints. Today's creatives thrive on a lifestyle that enables them to work six months in a shared office in Berlin, spend the summer in a caravan in Chile, and show up in time for their next project at a temporary desk in New York.
This growing trend generates visionary ways of designing products and spaces that facilitate a nomadic yet high-tech life. From a modular dwelling system on wheels to an inflatable classroom in a repurposed dumpster, this book compiles a wide range of flexible spaces and innovative products that define today's nomads. Through innovative technology, and by literally thinking outside the box, the designers behind these concepts give people the freedom to call the entire world their home.
Sofia Borges & Susan Nwankpa | Colorblock
Now on exhibit at the USC School of Architecture.
My brother Daren spent most of his adult life homeless and I spent most of my childhood wishing I could do something about it. Nearly 50,000 people sleep on the streets of this city every night. We see them each day in our peripheral vision – hunkered down at the local bus stop, resting on the stoop next to our favorite coffee shop, or temporarily occupying a transitional space under a rare awning. And while we know these people are there and that they have needs and dreams just like the rest of us, we walk past them, averting our eyes. We have no vision of how to contain the problem so we look away. This collective complicity turns our homeless into urban ghosts. We all know their images and they rightfully haunt us. In 2015, the city of Los Angeles declared a state of emergency on homelessness, casting light on our growing epidemic unrivaled anywhere else in the country. HOME(less), a collaboration with my partner Susan Nwanpka at Colorblock, brings these ubiquitous scenes of homelessness back into plain sight.
Susan and I shot the photographs for HOME(less) over a single weekend in January. The vast majority of the images were taken on Wilshire Blvd, the main artery connecting the east and west sides of the city. We photographed in an impersonal way, making each shot less of an invasive portrait and more of a contextual commentary. Even so, what was intended as an impersonal survey quickly became deeply personal. The transitory nature of each person's day to day story revealed a life ever on the move, shuffled and dispersed from one temporary point to the next. A walk down the same few blocks in the morning would reveal a completely new line-up of people just a few hours later. The objective overviews also quickly exposed deeply personal details that easily get glossed over with a cursory glance. This dual gaze led us to track certain shopping carts, colorful blankets, a 2016 puppy calendar, and other possessions that provided fragmented clues of character and background. Informed by the given context, we then set out to house these people and their belongings in our imagination.
We drew from a number of architectural typologies ranging from A-frames to Mid-century Modernist Case Study Houses, organic earth homes to thatch roof bungalows. We brought people to the lakes, mountains, and even a French topiary garden. The power of environment shapes how others see us, but more importantly how we see ourselves. We are not our environment, and yet, we also are. Rather than adopting one set stylistic approach for all, each person required – and deserved – their own unique solution. Combining serendipity with the power of optimistic suggestion, these imaginal structures and vignettes are left in a raw state, highlighting the challenges and opportunities inherent in designing for this underrepresented and increasingly growing faction of our local population. The homeless are always thinking about architecture. It's time we started thinking about them.
This exhibition is dedicated to the memory of Daren Borges (1972-2014).
THE CHAMBER OF CURIOSITY
With Sven Ehmann and Robert Klanten
YOU ARE HERE
Published with viction:ary
Signage plays a critical and ubiquitous role in how we orient ourselves within our built environment. Adopting an active and creative role, these supporting graphic markers elicit a deeper exploration of the interiority of a place. These compact icons also double as a strategic branding mechanism, introducing an engaging and memorable component between points A and B.
Effective and compelling signage achieves a challenging balance between standing out and blending in. Separated into two sections,You Are Here traces some of the world’s most inventive interpretations and applications of wayfinding models today. Outlining signage sets tailored for specific purposes, Directions in Graphic is a tightly-edited review of pictograms that expressively encode functions and space. Subsequently, Directions in Space demonstrates remarkable examples of how these 2D graphics are translated into volume, extending from parks to parking lot, and from exhibition graphics to building directory for malls, schools and residential complex.
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With Sven Ehmann and Robert Klanten
In the age of online shopping, opening a store and becoming a shopkeeper seems like a bold move. Yet from Vienna to Vancouver, storefronts are emerging once again as worthy opponents to commercial corporations. Customers embrace individual businesses that share the distinctive knowledge, personalities, vision, and humor of their owners.
Whether brand new and based on innovative ideas or passed down for generations and revamped, the stores and their shopkeepers featured in this book stand out for the singular experience they provide to their customers and the personal selection of items they sell. The Shopkeepers celebrates the diversity and creativity of brick-and-mortar businesses, telling the stories of the shops and their unique owners.