Thank you for your continued readership over the past year. It is with great excitement that we announce the next phase in the evolution of So|Aware Architecture — that is, the rebranding and launch as The Commonist Magazine. Please check us out and submit your personal articles or artwork at commonistmag.com

Thank you for your continued readership over the past year. It is with great excitement that we announce the next phase in the evolution of So|Aware Architecture — that is, the rebranding and launch as The Commonist Magazine. Please check us out and submit your personal articles or artwork at commonistmag.com

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499.SUMMIT

by Andreas Tjeldflaat and Gregory Knobloch

The US prison system has failed to see advancements throughout the past century and desperately requires innovation and re-imagination. While recent literature begins to question the sociological impact of prisons, there has been little exploration of the physical environments in which inmates are housed.

499.SUMMIT is the outcome of a critical look into these static institutions. It proposed to challenges all preconceived notions of the word “prison”, and re-imagines the high-rise as an urban penitentiary. The massing consists of three towers in the shape of an arch. The inherent linear and formal qualities of the ‘arch’ allowed for the overall circulatory concept: Up, over, down. Each arch has three primary phases, Incarceration (up), Transformation (over), and Integration (down). The arches begin isolated during the incarceration phase and merge together both physically and programmatically during the integration phase. As the inmates graduate through the facility, they are being exposed to an increasing degree of social interaction, to make the transition back into society as soft as possible. To catalyst this process, public program and residential housing are introduced in the integration phase downwards.

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Designing for Adaptable Futures Student Competition Winners Announced

by Adaptable Futures

Designing for Adaptable Futures, the first competition hosted by Adaptable Futures (AF), recently announced their award recipients. The competition was open to students globally. AF requested that submissions illustrate the lifespan of the proposal (whether product, building or urban intervention) and how it would evolve over time –  an hour, day, year, decade, or perhaps a century.  

After receiving submissions from 26 countries, thirty projects were shortlisted the international team of judges then selected three winning submissions (a joint first place and a third place) along with five submissions deserving honorable mention. 

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TH!NK: Art+Architecture Camp - an Open Call to All Students and Graduates of Architecture, the Arts and Engineering
by Nka Foundation
TH!NK is designed as an art+architecture camp within the sub-Saharan landscape. This camp is intended to bring together participants from diverse cultures to explore the relationship between art and architecture to generate a modern structure using sustainable materi­als from the local environment such as earth, straw, stone, wood, and recycled/reused ma­terials. The goal is to adapt vernacular construction techniques and materials, such as cob, natural plaster, grass thatching and vault­ed roof to create a workshop/ learning center for the local community. This project offers a unique opportunity for architects and builders to collaborate with artists in the design-build process, exchange innovative ideas towards realization of the Sang Land Art Museum de­signed by Arunima Chatterjee.
So, will you be going??
To apply e-mail your CV or resume, the date you are applying and your website or sample work to info@nkafoundation.org. 
Read more in the program PDF here.  

TH!NK: Art+Architecture Camp - an Open Call to All Students and Graduates of Architecture, the Arts and Engineering

by Nka Foundation

TH!NK is designed as an art+architecture camp within the sub-Saharan landscape. This camp is intended to bring together participants from diverse cultures to explore the relationship between art and architecture to generate a modern structure using sustainable materi­als from the local environment such as earth, straw, stone, wood, and recycled/reused ma­terials. The goal is to adapt vernacular construction techniques and materials, such as cob, natural plaster, grass thatching and vault­ed roof to create a workshop/ learning center for the local community. This project offers a unique opportunity for architects and builders to collaborate with artists in the design-build process, exchange innovative ideas towards realization of the Sang Land Art Museum de­signed by Arunima Chatterjee.

So, will you be going??

To apply e-mail your CV or resume, the date you are applying and your website or sample work to info@nkafoundation.org

Read more in the program PDF here.  

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Benally House

by Design Build BLUFF

In 2007 the Design Build Bluff students unanimously voted to build their next house for Dora and Baxter Benally. The house was designed around the central hearth, which in Baxter’s Navajo culture, is traditionally an exterior fire pit for families and community members to gather around. Outward from the hearth, students drew lines in the direction of each of the four sacred mountains from the Navajo Creation Story. From these lines sprung the parapet walls, with the pitch of the roof wrapping around.

Students settled on the readily available and traditional material of hand-made adobe bricks, wrapped in donated birch-veneered plywood for the interior walls. The team salvaged scrap metal pipes from local construction sites to use as structural supports and applied sealant to the concrete foundation floors, leaving them bare.

In this building every material has a back-story – raw cork found in a local elementary school dumpster covers the ceilings, the exterior sheathing is un-galvanized corrugated metal, found at the local gravel pit and pounded flat to conform to the building’s round shape, rusted mesh found at the same pit serves as soffit material. Finally, discarded rubber tires, collected from the land on the Reservation, form a courtyard that greets visitors at the front of the home and the hearth itself was constructed from a giant inverted funnel salvaged from, again, the local gravel pit.

Related posts: Windcatcher HouseOwe’neh Bupingeh Preservation Project

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Orange Farm Township Project

by Vienna University of Technology

Emanuel Day Care is a small kindergarten situated in the township Orange Farm on the southern outskirts of Johannesburg. In a corrugated iron shack 50 children, age of 6 and under,  were taken care of in a very confined space. On the suggestion of the Department of Social Development of Johannesburg the Austrian NGO Sarch in cooperation with the South African NGO Education Africa initiated the rebuilding of the kindergarten on the existing site.

A team of 19 students of Vienna University of Technology developed and constructed the new building for the kindergarten, which provides separated spaces for babies and preschool kids, a kitchen, an office and sanitary facilities. A big roof-structure covers and connects all these functions and creates sheltered areas in between. To foster the kids’ spatial experience the students introduced climbing walls, stairs and slides to make different levels of the building accessible.

Related Posts: Living TEBOGOKinderdorf St. Antonius Community Centre for an Orphanage

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Northwest Youth Corp Seedling Shed

by designBridge – University of Oregon’s Community Design Build Program

The Northwest Youth Corp team researched, planned, designed and built a seedling greenhouse for use by a local alternative high school. The organization serves more than 700 teenagers and contributes as a teaching facility in the summer for middle school youth.

The new seeding greenhouse is a 200 square-foot facility that supports the daily operation of a 2-acre “teaching” organic farm. It will germinate plants and herbs tended throughout the year by students, and the harvested vegetables will feed all the students during their studies in the field and are prepared in a school sponsored culinary arts program. The program for the greenhouse allowed for minimal square footage and incorporated sustainable practices of maximizing daylighting while reusing materials in creative applications. 

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One World Shelter

by University of Virginia’s Studio reCOVER (Din Botsford, Dolores O’Connor, and Lauren Shirley)

The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) made major news with the Kony viral video which spread through social media like a wildfire earlier this year. However, long before this video created a stir, students from University of Virginia’s Studio reCOVER were looking at how architecture can serve the displaced Ugandan population.

LRA has terrorized northern Uganda for over 21 years, killing tens of thousands of people. Over 2 million Ugandans (1/12 of the population) have been displaced and are forced to live in IDP camps. Over 50,000 children have been reported to have been abducted by the LRA to be used as child soldiers and sex slaves. Refugees in Uganda include: 212,857 from Sudan, 20,584 from Congo, 20,213 from Rwanda.

 One World Shelter is a system that would enable people to achieve self-sufficiency by integrating basic amenities into their homes. Throughout the world refugees depend upon the government for, yet often live without, basic public resources such as access to water and sanitation facilities. One World Shelter’s objective is to introduce sustainable environmental and building technologies that support healthy and sanitary environments. Using these amenities entire communities can begin to improve their quality of life and flourish without dependency upon government resources.

One World Shelter is a core living unit that can be easily shipped and assembled as one functional unit that provides occupants’ their basic needs. This core unit collects, purifies, and stores rainwater, while also making water accessible for cooking and bathing. The unit incorporates a roof-top solar cooker and provides specific spaces for sleeping and gathering. This basic core unit sets up a foundation, structure, and roof system that occupants can add to using local resources and industry.

Related post: Community Revival by University of Virginia’s Studio reCOVER

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Help Support Fulcrum!

Fulcrum is a student-run, free, weekly architectural publication — based at the Architectural Association in London.  Since founding the magazine two years ago, students have worked hard to raise awareness of subjects the mainstream architectural press avoid, i.e. - the morality of building in countries with poor human rights records and how developers and planning laws ignore the real needs of communities.

Why Fulcrum needs your help:

Fulcrum was accepted to produce a daily publication at the Venice Biennale (an elite gathering for the who’s who of architecture). They will be publishing 5000 copies a day in hopes of making a large impact.

When they submitted their application a sponsor was lined up. Unfortunately, the sponsor is no longer able to commit funds, so Fulcrum has been left high and dry.

Watch the video above and read about how you can help Fulcrum here.

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Safe Haven Library

by TYIN  and Students from Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)

In January 2009, TYIN invited 15 Norwegian architect students from NTNU to participate in a workshop at the Safe Haven Orphanage in Thailand.  The most pressing needs at the orphanage was a new sanitary building and a library. TYIN worked on the sanitary building, together with local workers, while the workshop participants focused their efforts on the library. With the assistance of TYIN and NTNU professors the Safe Haven Library was completed in only two weeks.

The library was built using local materials and labor. All the money spent on the project was used in the nearby markets. The concrete base of the library was cast on a bed of large rocks gathered on-site. The walls consist of plastered concrete blocks which cool the building during the day.

The simple construction of the open bamboo facades provided ample natural ventilation throughout the structure. The solid frame construction, made of iron wood, serves as a comfortable floor for the children to play on. Bookshelves run floor to ceiling and the full length of the concrete wall. The floor was left unfurnished to allow the room to serve different activities. The entrance creates a comfortable buffer zone between a small computer area on one side and a larger library room on the other.

The most important thing to the Tasanee is that their children have food and an education. The library enables the children of the Safe Haven Orphanage to have a space to do homework, use a computer with internet and read books. The new building has also attained the important role of a gathering space and is frequently used for making crafts and playing games.

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