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Month November 2010

Visualizing the Beautiful Mind

Via NY Times

Subnetwork, 1995

This image shows a single neuron’s soma and dendrites (at center, orange) and the dense branches of its axon (yellow). The latter spreads throughout a considerable portion of a rodent’s hippocampus (an area implicated in learning and memory) and shuttles this neuron’s information to thousands of others. The blue background reflects a staining of many neighboring neurons, revealing the overall structure of this brain region.

Credit: Gyorgy Buzsaki and Attila Sik

House Vihavainen

Via ArchDaily, by Andrew Rosenberg

Architects: Mika Huhtala & Kari Pöykkö / Architecture Office Kanttia 2 Ltd
Location: Punkaharju, Finland
Project area: 232 sqm
Project year: 2009
Photographs: Sauli Kosonen

House Vihavainen is situated on a exceptionally beautiful lake side plot in Punkaharju, Finland. The form and materials were inspired by the surronding nature with its rushes, stones and tall pine-trees. Large windows bring the nature inside to be a part of the everyday life. Weathered wood and low mass lifted from the ground gives the building humbleness and modesty in the beautiful Finnish landscape. Nature will take back it’s space in few years.

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ICY + SOT, Iran

From unurth

Only Shallow

Powering the Cell: Mitochondria

L’Étape du Tour 2011: A Double Act

Via Rapha, by Joe Hall

On Monday 11th July a 109km route (68 miles) will take etapistes over the Col du Télégraphe, Col du Galibier and the Alpe d’Huez. Three legendary mountain passes that will test even the most hardened grimpeurs.

Étape number two, which takes place on Sunday 17th July, has less overall elevation but is a greater distance at 208 km (130 miles) and will be a very demanding course. As of today you can register to ride L’Etape du Tour 2011 here.

Bonne chance.

Olympic Park Velodrome, London

Via CyclingNews, photos © Getty Images

Corbusierhaus

Via ArchDaily, by Andrew Kroll

Architect: Le Corbusier
Location: Berlin, Germany
Project Year: 1956-1959
Photographs: Thomas Lewandovski

After World War II, post-war Europe was suffering from a lack of housing with many displaced people from the extensive bombing raids. In response to the housing crisis in Europe, Le Corbusier began delving into designing large scale, communal residences for the victims of World War II. One of the most notable projects in this series was the Unite d’ Habitation in Marseilles, France. This project had inspired a continued implementation of the design type across Europe. The fourth building in the series is the Corbusierhaus in Berlin, Germany. Completed in 1959, it was designed as a symbol for the modernization of Germany after the war and the Cold War.

Designed for the International Building Exhibition of 1957, the Corbusierhaus is almost an exact carbon copy of the Unite in Marseilles. Among the dense living conditions, there are elements of communal living that provide amenities and activities for people to come together. Within the large housing block there is a kindergarten, medical facility, several recreational spaces, and a garden; a continuation of the conceptual “city within a city” bringing people’s every day activities and needs into the housing block. Corbusierhaus was also an extension of the idea of the “vertical garden city” of bringing the villa into a high-rise.

Orange County Government Center

Via ArchDaily, by Megan Sveiven

Architect: Paul Rudolph
Location: Goshen, New York
Project Year: 1963-1971
References: NY Times , Tony Monk, Paul Rudolph
Photographs: NY Times , jschumacher, Eloise Moorehead, Wikipedia, U Mass Dartmouth, Tony Monk, Paul Rudolph

Famous on all ends of the architectural spectrum, the Orange County Government Center takes Paul Rudolph‘s fundamental ideas of the houses he designed decades before to a much larger scale. This fascinating architectural structure was built to be the office and government of Orange County in New York, containing everything from records to a Department of Motor Vehicles for the state.

The obviously brutalist style was infused with Rudolph’s interest in “working with Mies Van Der Rohe’s concept of implied space.”

Drawings reveal an internal spatial complexity, but pictures and exterior renderings show a more simple structure and mechanical framework. Columns are regularly spaced, and within their structural module the air-conditioning ducts and light fixtures are hidden from view. In order to rid the shorter, less structural spans of their clutter, concrete frames were used as cantilevers to add support. The parallel reinforced concrete beams were five feet wide and two feet deep, 18 feet apart and spanning between 40 and 50 feet on to columns or walls.

Natural light was just as important in this design as in the previous ones done by Paul Rudolph, and so clerestories are carefully placed to the north and south sides of the building to increase the flow of natural light in the interior. The extrusions of the boxes as seen from the exterior reveal fundamental ideas of the forms found within the walls, as they punctuate what would be a massive exterior wall to another scale

A central courtyard was designed to divide the portion of the building pertaining to the County Court and the other half dedicated to the executive and legislative branches, as there was no interest in mixing adults, juveniles, officials and legal administration. However, in the late 1990s, the courthouse was deemed unfit for use and so a costly new addition was built to its north after much delay. Each of the buildings have a central courtroom, with seating ranging from 24 to 125 people per room. These are lit naturally with high ceilings that allow light from the undulating roof.

The whole complex is placed on a grid consisting of spaces that vary in width, creating a 3:1 rhythm with everything from walls to rooms. This grid is also followed with the choosing of construction materials. The system of intersecting and parallel planes of solid wall and window openings added a spatial harmony to the mass, and the surfaces of the varying-leveled courtyard spaces also followed the pattern of the grid. The external facades were emphasized with cast concrete and extending roofs, fusing different textures and techniques.

Rudolph wonderfully represents his ability to fully plan a design, which is noticeable in the final finishes of the materials. The exposed concrete and split-rib concrete blocks were painted with colorful banners, as well as the painting of the ceilings and the bright fabric.

The Orange County Government Center received a lot of publicity recently, as a proposition was brought to the citizens of New York about demolishing one of the largest public buildings done by Paul Rudolph. Because seven of the roofs have leaking issues, there is talk about using the tax money to reconstruct a new building, instead of essentially throwing the money away to continue to keep up the current structure. This fought by architecture admirers who realize the wonder of having such a structure to study, and they hope it will remain for years to come.

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Jote, Geometric Forms, Poland

From unurth