Architectural Thoughts

Thoughts of a residential designer, husband and father of two as he goes through life in the green mountains.


FLEXlab: A Test Bed for Building Efficiency

The U.S. Department of Energy unveiled the FLEXlab test bed, created to help buildings save energy, at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in San Francisco. It is the only facility of its kind in the world, and its arrival marks significant moment as California attempts to cut the amount of electricity its buildings use. Researchers can easily swap out the lab’s heating, air conditioning and lighting, and even its windows. Furthermore, they can see how all of those elements perform together, not just one system at a time. A portion of the lab, resting on a concrete turntable that weighs a half-million pounds, can rotate 270 degrees to test how different angles of sunlight affect energy use. Sensors inside adjust temperature to minimize energy use while maximizing comfort. "We built FLEXlab with reconfiguration in mind…It’s like a kit of parts," says Cindy Regnier, executive manager of the project. ”This is about understanding the performance of a building before you spend millions of dollars on it.” 



Elisabeth and Helmut Uhl Foundation Modostudio

The project sought to preserve the surrounding environment: the buildings insist on the same footprint of the previous buildings, now demolished. The project is divided into two buildings: the building foundation and a small building adjacent to it for residential use. The building foundation consists of a series of architectural volumes: a transparent glass and steel volume hosts research activities, a wood cladding volume is used as a leisure and dining hall, while the lower architectural body, on which these volumes are placed, hosts support areas for the activities of the foundation and a wine cellar.”


Louis Kahn: The Power of Architecture

"The American architect Louis Kahn (1901-1974) is regarded as one of the great master builders of the Twentieth Century. Kahn created buildings of monumental beauty with powerful universal symbolism.

This exhibition encompasses an unprecedented and diverse range of architectural models, original drawings, travel sketches, photographs and films. Highlights of the exhibition include a four-metre-high model of the spectacular City Tower designed for Philadelphia (1952-57), as well as previously unseen film footage shot by Kahn’s son Nathaniel Kahn, director of the film ‘My Architect’.”

Design Museum 09 July 2014 – 12 October 2014


Scott Outdoor Amphitheatre, Swarthmore College, PA. Designed by Thomas Sears and completed in 1942. 

2ft high retaining walls are made from layers of local schist slabs and the randomly spaced trees are Liriodendron tulipifera (Tulip Tree) and Quercus alba (White Oak).

I love the idea of a ‘turf proscenium floor’ and it looks like a great place to learn. I can imagine this kind of space would conform to the theories of design laid out in ‘A Pattern Language’ by Christopher Alexander…

(via architecturepastebook)