Friday, September 28, 2007

Architect Frank Lloyd Wright calls up the image of " The Floo Floo Bird "

" I know of nothing more silly than to expect 'government' to solve our advanced problems for us . If we have no ideas , how can government have any ?"

" EARLY IN LIFE ," said the greatest of American Architects , " I had to choose between honest arrogance and hypocritical humility .I chose honest arrogance and have seen no occasion to change ."

Frank Lloyd Wright died in 1959 , at the age of ninety-one .During the seven decades of his innovative career ,Wright developed a " Prairie style " in the design of buildings with long, low horizontal lines and open interiors .

In his autobiography , he wrote ," No house should be on any hill or on anything .It should be of the hill ,belonging to it, so hill and house could live together each the happier for the other." This central concern of Wright's work was expressed in the title of his 1939 book ,An organic Architecture .

In 1938 , he addressed a meeting of the Association of Federal Architects. Speaking in the nation's capital , he discussed organic architecture as a field outside of governmental regulation ,and added to his reputation for being irascibly opinionated.

In the speech ,he derogates America's cultural heritage and doubts the effectiveness of government in advancing American architecture .In addition to the repition of "now" to introduce his ideas ,Wright uses rhetorical question and the unforgettable illustration of "the floo floo bird " to construct his argument .


The cultural influences in our country are like the floo floo bird .I am referring to the peculiar and especial bird who always flew backwards .To keep the wind out of its eyes ? No .just because it didn't give a darn where it was going , but just had to see where it had been . Now ,in floo floo bird you have the true symbol of our government architecture -too ,and in consequence ,how discredited American culture stands in the present time.All the world knows it to be funny except American .What prevented us and still prevents us from knowing it ? Armchair education ,let's say .

Now ,all this has parallels in history .The Romans were just as incognizant as we of the things of the spirit .They ,too, has no culture of their own. England had none of her own ,and we,having none,got what we have as a substitute second ,third,or fourth hand from them all .Romans culture ,for instance ,was greek. The Romans however,did have great engineers ( you have all heard of the arch),but what did the Romans do with their greatest invention - THE ARCH ? you know well enough that for centuries they wasted it by pasting a travesty of greek trabeation over it to conceal the truth of structure , until finally ,some vulgar Roman ,more "uncultured" than the rest ,one day got up nd said ,"Hell ! take it all away ! What's the matter with arch ?It's a genuine ,beautifull ,and noble thing "; and finally they got it ,got the common arch as indigenous architecture .

We,the modern Romans, probably are going to get architecture something like that same way . We are going to have a true architecture of glass,steel,and the forms that gratify our new sense of space.We are going to have it . No colonial Eden is able ,long,to say us nay .
Culture ,given time ,will catch up and assert itself in spite of reaction. This thing which we call America ,as I have said ,goes around the world today .It is chiefly spirit but that spirit is reality .Not by way of government can we find encouragement of any help .No ,we can have nothing by way of official government until the thing is atleast ten years in past .

What can government do with an advanced idea? If it is still a controversial idea ,and any good idea must be so ,can government touch it without its eye on at least next election ? It cannot .I know of nothing more silly than to expect "government" to solve our advanced problems for us .If we have no ideas,how can government have any ?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Architecture in Second Life Machinima

Erick van Egeraat designs artificial islands in the shape of Russia

Erick van Egeraat

Erick van Egeraat has revealed his designs for a 330ha artificial archipelago in the shape of Russia, to be built in the Black Sea near Sochi.

Federation Island, is scheduled to be completed in time for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. It will consist of seven main islands, over a dozen private islands, and three breakwater islands with sandy beaches, dunes, grasslands, bushes, small forests and riverside. It will contain hotels, cultural, leisure and recreational facilities, beach residences, luxury villas and apartments, dune, river and cliff houses.

The pattern of Russia’s river network is reflected in the island’s waterways, while the country’s mountains are reflected in the island’s relief.

The development will be 15 km from Sochi and the regional Adler airport and near to the cty, marina, airport and skiing resort of Krasnaya Polyana.

Van Egeraat presented the plans to Russian president Vladimir Putin at the International Investment Forum 2007 held in Sochi.

The project is being developed by M-Industries of St Petersburg and designed by Erick van Egeraat in co-operation with Dutch engineering companies Witteveen & Bos and Van Oord Dredging and Marine.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Pervious concrete

via Indiana green living

Coffee isn’t the only thing that needs to percolate. Water needs to perk through the soil to slow down runoff and trap certain pollutants. However, in urban areas, where there is twice as much pavement as buildings, about two-thirds of rainfall hits an impervious surface, where it runs directly into streams, rivers and lakes — unfiltered, or without percolation — carrying with it pollutants like oil, salts and metals that contaminate our water.
We can’t do much about the weather, but there are options for patios, driveways, sidewalks, parking lots and other hard surfaces in the use of porous, or permeable materials.

The move to permeable surfaces is driven by two things, said Drew Bender, regional manager of J.F. New, a natural-resources and ecological consulting firm headquartered in Walkerton, Ind. The first is regulations to require the control of flooding and to improve water quality. Second, there is a cost benefit to developers as space becomes a premium.

"The opportunity to create green space and attractive features in sustainable development is catching on from a marketability standpoint," he said. Because porous concrete or asphalt is a relatively new process, it may seem costly. But that should improve as contractors become more experienced in the process.

Engineers and scientists have made improvements in the design of storm-water filtration systems and have been successful with pervious surfaces. In Chesterton, Ind., the Coffee Creek Center is an example. The effort combines native plants, whose roots filter pollutants, and underground pipes that put wastewater to work, said Steve Barker, director of the Coffee Creek Watershed Conservancy. A series of pipes, called level spreaders, move water captured in an underground pond downhill to nourish the plants in an expansive prairie.

Permeable paving is most appropriate for sidewalks, patios, driveways or alleys. It is not for high-traffic or high-speed areas because it has lower load-bearing capacity than conventional pavement.

coffee creak centre

Pervious materials have more voids, or air spaces, which allow water to pass through. Traditional concrete has from 2- to 6-percent void structure, while pervious concrete contains around 25 percent

The method that is used for pervious concrete application is based partially on a soil’s percolation rate. The soil percolation rate is the amount of time water takes to move through soil, measured in minutes per inch. Finer-textured clay soils have slower percolation rates than sandy soils.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

WaveRock , Hyderabad

Architects - Pei Cobb Freed & Partners

TSI Ventures Business Park in Hyderabad is poised to set a precedent in India’s commercial real estate landscape.
It is located in Hyderabad in Gachibowli, next to the Financial District, it will provide 2.2 million sq.ft. of office space in a Special Economic Zone being promoted by the APIIC(Andhra Pradesh Industrial Infrastructure Corporation ).

The Green Office

Designed as per the standards of the US Green Building Council, it aims to qualify for LEED accreditation with a Gold rating. Key environment friendly features would be:

-Building management systems that ensure high standards of energy efficiency
-Use of local materials and resources that are low in terms of embodied energy.
-Systems that minimize the impact of construction on natural resources.

Features and Specifications

-Efficient floor plates with efficiency ratios as high as 90%.
-Double Glass curtain walls that ensure abundant natural light in offices.
-Sophisticated automated building management systems.
-Central elevator cores with wait times of 30 seconds.
-Multi Level, covered parking.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Green Building Congress 2007 , Chennai

Green Building Congress 2007 - Event Calendar

A. International Conference on Green Buildings - 20 & 21 September 2007
B. Exhibition on Green Building Products - 19 to 22 September 2007
C. Seminar on Green Homes - 22 September 2007
D. LEED Workshop - 19 & 22 September 2007
E. Green Building Mission - 19 & 22 September 2007

Venue : Chennai Trade Centre, Chennai

World over, the construction sector is growing at a rapid pace. In India, the construction sector is growing at 13% and real estate at a stunning 30%.
This would undoubtedly burden the already stressed urban infrastructure. If this kind of a growth rate is to be sustainable, there is an imminent need to look at construction which is environment - friendly.

Since the past 5 years, green buildings have caught the imagination of several stakeholders of the construction industry for a variety of reasons:

40% to 50% reduction in energy cost
30% to 40% reduction in water consumption
Green corporate image
Health of building occupants
Imbibe best operational practices right from day one

The projected growth potential for Green Buildings in India is estimated to be Rs. 2000 crores by the year 2008


-Create awareness on green building concepts
-Expose the participants to the latest global trends
-Exhibit green building products and technologies
-Provide a platform for networking
-Facilitate exploring new business opportunities
-Enable market transformation of green products and equipment

Focus Areas

-Architectural perspecttves in Green Buildings
-National & international experiences on Green Building concepts
-Case studies on green buildings
-LEED Green Building rating system
-Green Building materials, equipment & technologies
-Public policies.
-First hand feel of Green Buildings in Chennai.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Global designs on India

via Business standard
Global designs on India
by Arati Menon Carroll

Indian real estate is benefitting from the integration of global architecture and design firms. What is driving this trend?

By the end of the year Mohit Gujral, will be extending his architectural firm’s talent pool to include 30 Singaporean architects and designers in his first overseas office. Many of them will be practitioners in specific design areas like lighting or landscaping.

Edifice Architects — a Rs 300 million architecture and interior design firm with a focus on the IT, ITeS, telecom and hospitality sectors — is also looking at starting an overseas office in the Philippines by the end of the year.

Their approaches may be different — Gujral is climbing up the value chain by employing highly skilled designers, Edifice is leveraging cost efficiency and will outsource its base level drafting and 3-D animation work to the Philippines. Both, however, are means to achieve a greater scale of operations. And quick.

Some of this urgency, both admit, comes from the increasing competition on home turf. From DLF to Unitech, Ansal API and Emaar-MGF, prestigious developers are signing on architects with a global imprint and Indian architects are feeling just that little bit unsettled.

What started with the government liberalising the foreign investment regime in the $14 billion (source:Dun &Bradstreet) real estate sector and the subsequent rush of foreign investors, is unlikely to slow down.

According to a report published earlier this year in fDi — a bimonthly publication on the business of globalisation — overseas funds of about $7 billion have been announced for investment in Indian real estate and FDI in real estate is estimated to reach $16 billion by 2012 from $600 million last year.

“As a result, an increasing percentage of retail and commercial real estate development is now driven by standards set by private equity,” according to Peter Burke, a senior architect with Buchan group that is, at this time, involved with masterplanning projects in India.

“It’s not as if there’s not enough work to go around but the imbalance between the scale of construction and the supply of local architects in the country is undeniable,” concedes Gujral.

According to Vijay Sohoni of Council of Architecture, there are 40,000 registered architects in India, of which only 30,000-odd are practising — 80 per cent of these in the 10 large cities. But the problem, most say, is the proverbial quantity over quality.

When Provogue tied up with UK-based Liberty International to float Prozone, a retail infrastructure arm, they were convinced that to create true brand differentiation in the mall space, a retail infrastructure specialist would have to be roped in.

“Unfortunately local architects hadn’t had exposure to developing a mall of three million sq ft,” says Salil Chaturvedi, promoter of Provogue.

So they signed on Benoy, a UK based practise with expertise in the retail and leisure markets. “Did you know that 35 per cent of the traffic in a mall is replenishment traffic, so certain procedures for traffic flow, service entry, offloading terminals have to be followed. Local suppliers just did not have that kind of hindsight,” says Chaturvedi.

Ravi Sarangan, director, Edifice Architects, suggests that the demand-supply gap is even more conspicuous in sectors like hospitality. Edifice, who’ve chosen to focus on hospitality for precisely this reason, themselves collaborate with foreign architects to gain expertise.

Similarly, as John Zeckendorf of Mandala Asset Solutions — professional developers and asset managers — points out, “The concept of integrated townships are around three years old in India and 50 years old elsewhere. International architects have had time to iron out the kinks and debug problems.”

Mandala, that is currently working on mandates for eight townships, works with Australian biggies like Edaw and Buchan to ensure that land owners are able to “supply a differentiated product to a limited market”.

The fact that projects are getting more grandiose in scale and complexity is driving the need for experienced master planning and urban design specialists.

Take for instance, Unitech Grande, a super-luxury residential community with a Greg Norman golf course, that is being developed in Noida over 347 acres. The project involves 10 global architectural and design consultants.

Often developers use different firms for specific areas of design within one project. Ansal API’s 5,000-acre Sushant Golf City in Lucknow offers golf villas designed by KTGY inside an 18-hole professional golf course designed by Martin Hawtree with landscaping by Belt Collins.

There is also an upsurge of real-estate projects that wish to emulate foreign architecture. Mohali Hills, an Emaar-MGF development, is a gated mixed-use community with Spanish style architecture.

“Global design firms work with the best developers worldwide and have to their credit some of the finest landmark structures in the world today,” says a senior company spokesperson.

When developers want iconic solutions, they tend to go with a global biggie like HOK, Renzo Piano or FX Fowle, all of whom are looking at entering India in a big way,” explains Sarangan.

But what does that do to costs? “For most projects, there is a fractional increase in cost, of say Rs 10 per sq ft, but this is easily recouped from a sale price premium of up to 20 per cent on account of better design.”

“If you have a ‘developer’ attitude with a view to flip the asset in three years you will tend to tightly manage costs. If you follow an asset owning model you want flawless and accurate designing because the cost of rewriting is very high,” explains Chaturvedi.

DLF believes it is an equitable trade-off bet-ween cost and time saving. Last year, they entered into a joint venture with a leading UK-based construction company, Laing O’Rourke, and have commenced the development of 14 projects covering a total area of 25.7 million square feet with an order book of Rs 4,172 crore, including big-ticket projects like The Magnolia, The Belaire and the Mall of India in Gurgaon.

“They give us access to the latest advances in design and construction techniques, which always shortens lead time for completion,” says a company spokesperson.

Sarangan hints at several peers whining about work being snatched away from them. But developers will tell you that there is a more than fair integration of local talent even when foreign architects are involved.

“It is always a collaborative effort. Local architects have a better appreciation of local code compliance and regulatory issues. They also possess a sound understanding of the onground social milieu which largely influences realty design and development,” says the spokesperson for Emaar-MGF.

In fact, Banerji’s lament is that senior Indian architects are actually so inaccessible that it’s impossible to tie them down to a discussion even. Mohit Gujral’s order books, for example, are overflowing with over 65 million sq ft of project work.

With the Indian real estate market getting exposed to global best practices and international standards of designing, it seems certain that only those architects who rise to the occasion will profit, while others will get relegated to undertaking routine contracting work.

As Gujral says, “With a huge infusion of funds in the market no one needs to learn from mistakes. They can afford the best the first time round.”

Thursday, September 6, 2007

The Thinker

The Thinker (French: Le Penseur) is a bronze and marble sculpture by Auguste Rodin, held in the Musée Rodin, in Paris. It depicts a man in sober meditation battling with a powerful internal struggle. It is sometimes used to represent philosophy

What is concept ?

A concept is a mental integration of two or more units which are isolated by a process of abstraction and united by a specific definition .By organizing his perceptual material into concepts , and his concepts into wider and still wider concepts , man is able to grasp and retain , to identify and integrate an unlimited amount of knowledge , a knowledge extending beyound the immediate concretes of any given , immediate moment .

In any given moment , concepts enable man to hold in the focus of his conscious awareness much more than his purely perceptual capacity would permit . The range of man's perceptual awareness - the number of percepts he can deal with at any one time - is limited . He may be able to visualize four or five units - as , for instance , five trees . He cannot visualise a hundered trees or a distance of ten light years . It is only his conceptual faculty that make it possible for him to deal with knowledge of that kind .

Man retains his concepts by means of language . With the exception of proper names , every word we use is a concept that stands for an unlimited number of concretes of a certain kind . A concept is like a mathematical series of specifically defined units , going off in both directions , open at both ends and including all units of that particular kind .For instance , the concept " man" includes all men who live at present , who ever lived or will ever live - a number of men so great that one would not be able to perceive them all visually , let alone to study them or discover anything about them .

Language is a code of visual - auditory symbols that serves the psycho - epistemological function of converting abstraction into concretes or , more precisely , into the psycho- epistemological equivalents of concretes , into a manageable number of specific units .

( Psycho - epistemology is the study of man's cognitive processes from the aspect of the interaction between the conscious mind and the automatic functions of the subconscious)

Consider the enormous conceptual integration involved in any statement , from the conversation of a child to the discourse of a scientist . Consider the long conceptual chain that starts from simple , ostensive definitions and rises to higher and still higher concepts , forming a hierarchical structure of knowledge so complex that no electronic computer could approach it .It is by means of such chains that man has to acquire and retain his knowledge of reality .

Yet this is the simpler part of his psycho-epistemological task . There is another part which is still more complex .

The other part consists of applying his knowledge - i.e, evaluating the facts of reality , choosing his goals and guiding his actions accordingly .To do that , man needs another chain of concepts , derived from and dependent on first , yet separate and , in a sense , more complex : a chain of normative abstractions.

While congnitive abstraction identify the facts of reality , normative abstractions evaluate the facts , thus prescribing a choice of values and a course of action .Congnitive abstractions deal with that which is ; normative abstractions deal with that which ought to be .
Extract is from - The romantic manifesto by Ayn Rand.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Middle of Nowhere


skeleton barn

via flickr

The Palm Jebel Ali , Dubai

Source :- NAKHEEL

The Palm Jumeirah: the creation of an artificial reef

In the creation of the island, a primary goal was to ensure that construction not only had the smallest possible negative impact on the environment in which it was being created, but that it actually enhanced the environment above the original, pre-development status.

Two independent oceanographic experts from California, Professor Joseph Valencic and Jim Miller, spent several years documenting the sea life around the location of The Palm Jumeirah, before, during and after reclamation. Their work on monitoring the temperature and salinity of the water, as well as the bottom conditions and the health of the marine animals, involved numerous dives in and around the site to establish base-line parameters and verify how the reclamation work has affected them.

Before reclamation commenced, the area was almost barren with virtually no signs of marine life; in studies conducted, 95% of the area was bare sand or mud. The impact of the project has been simply to create a foundation for a variety of landscapes and seascapes, which give way to the existence of marine life.

The importance of using natural material in the creation of the island was key to encouraging the development of marine life in the area. In creating the breakwater only natural rock was used, despite it being difficult to find in the region, expensive and requiring a higher level of engineering to place. Using natural rock has meant the creation of a 550 hectare reef on which corals and a biodiversified eco-system has grown, resulting in a dramatic increase of fish in the area.

As soon as the placement of rocks began, algae started to grow, offering some hard substrate for colonization. Urchins, barnacles, sponges, clams, crabs and fish soon followed. As the island was reclaimed, the fine sediments that were created by the reclamation eventually paved the way for a biologically and organically fertile soil on the sea bed, on which turtles and a variety of fish are living. This will lead to a highly oxygenated water, with excellent visibility for divers and snorkelers.

In fact, it is not only the natural reef on the breakwater that will attract divers – and fish. Two passenger aircraft – an Airbus A 340 and an Illushyn 76 (a huge Russian cargo plane) have been salvaged, environmentally sanitized and sunk into the nearby shallow waters. Entirely environmentally friendly, the same process of colonization that happened on the breakwater, has happened on the planes. This will provide a visually fascinating dive site just off the breakwater of The Palm Jumeirah

Nakheel is currently employing a ground improvement technique at The Palm Jebel Ali known as vibrocompaction. The process, which is performed with specially designed vibrating probes, significantly increases the bearing capacity of the soil making it ready for construction and ensures that no subsidence of land can take place in the future.

Currently 18 vibroprobes are being used at The Palm Jebel Ali, each weighing approximately 2,600 kilograms and capable of up to 1,800 revolutions per minute, resulting in a force of 30 to 50 tonnes. The long, hollow probes go through the entire depth of reclamation until they penetrate the seabed’s hard layers at average depths of 15 metres. During this process, the combined action of vibration and the jetting of water rearrange loose sand grains into a compact state. Sand is then added from the ground surface to fill the void space created by the vibrator and to ensure that any soft layers on the sea bed are densified

Vibrocompaction increases the soil bearing capacity of reclaimed land by around 80% to create a land mass that is similar in strength to mainland Dubai. The average area being compacted at The Palm Jebel Ali on a daily basis is approximately 13,000 m2 per day, with the entire 7.5km by 7.5km island to be treated. The entire process is expected to be completed at the end of March 2008.

Marwan Al Qamzi, Managing Director, The Palm Jebel Ali, said:

“What would normally take nature a period of more than 20 years to achieve can be accomplished in just a few months using vibrocompaction. The process ensures that the reclaimed land mass of The Palm Jebel Ali is strong enough to build buildings of significant height; it also ensures that the island will not move - there’s absolutely no chance that the island can sink despite the rumours that seem to circulate in Dubai!”

The Palm Jebel Ali is a landmark commercial, residential and tourism development for Dubai, which, along with the Waterfront project, will transform an area of empty desert and sea into a bustling international community, with an estimated population of 1.7 million people by 2020. With the majority of land reclamation on The Palm Jebel Ali complete, Nakheel has already begun putting in place an infrastructure which will eventually support a population of more than 250,000 people.