September 23rd, 2009


Welcome to our first installment of another ongoing series of posts. Our main goal with this series is just to have fun designing. Our other goal is to provide vignettes that demonstrate how design can affect our built surroundings. We'll be finding buildings (homes, commercial or otherwise) that we feel need some design love. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do creating them.




September 18th, 2009


I thought it fitting to offer this building example with our economy in a current state of recession. The San Petronio Basilica in Bologna, Italy offers a real world example of a building project that ran “dry”. The basilica ran out of funding towards the end of construction leaving, as you can see, the façade only partially complete. The stone cladding stops abruptly, with the structural brick walls behind exposed for the majority of the building. As we explored around either side of the church, we quickly discovered the exterior wasn’t the only feature missing. Apparently the notice that the money was gone came in right about the time the side wings were being built. The side alleys now reveal corners literally cut off, still in construction process as it was many centuries before. They did however brick up the walls where the wing ends.Although, not what the Architect envisioned and designed, the juxtaposition between the highly ornate, refined stone work and the simple, rough brick creates a very unique façade. Particularly in the realm of Italian basilicas. Unintentionally the building starts an interesting conversation about the idea of ornamentation in architecture. It seems to be pulling back its fancy robe, saying “See, underneath this fancy stone I’m really just this ordinary brick. This is what is true”. The side wing cut off in mid air recalls the work of Gordon Matta-Clark and his “de-construction” of buildings. There is certainly an uneasy tension when viewing the incompleteness. You get an x-ray slice through the building, bones sticking out and all.

Architecture By the Bottle

September 15th, 2009


I love the idea of taking an object or a piece of history and using those items or ideas to develop details of a design or concept. The wine rack above is a detail from Circa restaurant in Memphis, TN designed by 3SIXO architects. The modular design serves as both screens, creating privacy for diners as well as storage for wine bottles. Simple idea, we need storage for our wine, we need privacy for our patrons. Two birds, one stone. They could have just as easily designed privacy walls and wine storage independent of each other. I think the combining of the two creates a new beauty, an added layer.

Blatz 03

Johnsen Schmaling Architects used the history of the Blatz brewery company as inspiration for it's conversion into a mixed-use building. These pivoting walls of beer bottles from the old brewery act as both door and lighting element.