THE HONG KONG PEAK COMPETITION 1982. GLEN HOWARD SMALL AND JOE MADA ARCHITECTS, Â ASSISTED BYÂ RALPH MURSINNA, SUHEIL SHATARA,Â ERIC CHAVKIN,Â PAT KONRAD, AND CHARLIE BROWN.
RECENTLY THERE HAS BEEN A LOT OF INTEREST IN CARGO CONTAINERS AND ALL THE POSSIBILITIES THEY CAN DO, Â PLUS A NUMBER OF BUILT EXAMPLES.
I HAVE BEEN A BIG FAN OF CARGO CONTAINERS AND HAVE DONE NUMEROUS SCHEMES WITH THEM, Â BUT THE PEAK COMPETITION WAS MY HIGH POINT OF EXPLORATION. Â I SEE THEM AS BUILDING BLOCKS THAT SHOULD BE USED IN A PURE MANNER. Â NO INFRASTRUCTURE, Â JUST THE BOXES ALONE CLIPPED TOGETHER. Â A COORDINATION OF THE FACTORY USING THE MODULAR SIZE AND STRUCTURAL COMPONENTS TO TRAVEL, LIKE ALL THE REST OF THE CONTAINERS ON SHIPS, TRUCKS, AND RAIL. Â ADD ONS Â BEING THE ELEMENTS TO BRING THE DYNAMIC DIMENSION TO THE CONTAINER BLOCKS.
IN THE FALL OF 1982 THERE WAS AN INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION FORÂ Â A PRIVATE CLUB, CONDOS, Â HOTEL, AND OWNERS SPREDÂ FOR THE PEAK IN HONG KONG. THE PEAK BEING A PROMINENTÂ MOUNTAIN IN HONG KONG THAT OFFERED AN ELEVATED VIEW OF THE CITY AND HARBOR. THE Â ROAD Â BEING Â A PUBLIC PILGRIMAGE TO THE PEAK. Â AT THE TIME,Â Â PETER COOK WAS STAYING IN OUR HOME IN VENICE LA COMPLETE WITH BABY AND CHRISTINE HOLLY. Â PETER GAVE ME A GLIMPSE OF PART OF HIS ENTRY. Â SOME WALL SECTION DONE UP RIGHT, Â IT POINTED TO REALITY SO THAT STUCK IN MY MIND OF HAVING TO SHOW HOW OUR SCHEME COULD BE BUILT. Â MILICA DEDIJER ARCHITECT, Â MY SECOND WIFE DID HER VERSION OF THE PEAK COMPETITION AS WELL, Â AND WAS THOROUGHLY CONVINCED SHE PRODUCED THE BEST SCHEME. Â SO OUR HOUSE WAS DIVIDED.
COMPETITIONS ARE A LURE FOR THE HUNGRY ARCHITECTS THAT HAVE Â SKILLS, BUT NOT THE CLIENTS. Â I HAVE DONE A NUMBER OF THEM WITH JUST MINOR RECOGNITION, Â BUT I DO NOT REGRET DOING THEM. Â THEY JUMP START ONES BRAIN AND CONDENSE IN A SHORT AMOUNT OF TIME AN OUTPOUR OF CREATIVE JUICES. Â THE END RESULT BEING SOMETHING THAT IS A SUMMATION OF IDEAS THAT Â ALLOW ME TO POINT Â AND SAY, Â YES THAT IS WHAT I CAN DO, Â THAT IS WHAT I BELIEVE SHOULD BE BUILT, Â A FAR CRY FROM A CLIENT TELLING YOU THIS IS THE WAY I WANT THINGS DONE AND I DO NOT LIKE THE LOOK OF THAT ETC.
TIME AND TEAMS ARE CRITICAL WITH COMPETITIONS. Â BEING A PROFESSOR IS A BIG HELP, BECAUSE I HAD STUDENTS AND EX STUDENTS AND A BUZZ AROUND ME THAT WAS A POOL FOR RESOURCES.
I MISS THAT BIG TIME NOW. Â SITTING IN OREGON IN AN ISOLATED COMMUNITY Â WITH THE ONLY COMMUNICATION BEING MY BLOG. Â MY ORGANIZATIONAL SKILLS BEING MARGINAL AND MY MONEY BEING ZERO.
A SAFE HAVEN FOR THE MOMENT TO ALLOW ME TO REGROUP. Â THE INTERNET BEING THE CONNECTION THAT ALLOWS FOR SANITY. Â I BEING ABOUT OLD SCHOOL DRAWING AND MODEL BUILDING SKILLS FOR DESIGN AND PRESENTATION. Â COMPUTERS ARE LIKE LEARNING A FOREIGN LANGUAGE Â FOR ME, THEY BEING EXTREMELY DIFFICULT AND ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE FOR ME TO MASTER.
I PUT A TEAM TOGETHER OF JOE MATTA ARCHITECT AND A BUNCH OF FORMER STUDENTS AT SCI-ARC INCLUDING RALPH MURSINNA, SUHEIL SHATARA, PAT KONRAD, ERIC CHAVKIN AND CHARLIE BROWN. Â CHARLIE WAS WORKING FOR JOE MATTA AT THE TIME AND RECEIVED COMPENSATION FROM JOE, Â EVERYONE ONE ELSE WORKED FOR ARCHITECTURAL LOVE. Â I WAS A PROFESSOR AT SCI-ARC.
AT THIS TIME I WAS TEACHING AND HAD EX STUDENTS THAT WERE UP FOR THE CHALLENGE. Â JOE MATTA HAD AN ARCHITECTURAL PRACTICE, Â BUT WAS A ROMANTIC AS WELL. Â I AM SURE HE LOST SOME REAL MONEY DOING THE COMPETITION. Â HE IS NOW SPECIALIZING IN HOSPITAL DESIGN AND HAS WORKED HIMSELF WAY UP IN THE PECKING ORDER.
JOE WAS IN THE MIDDLE OF A DIVORCE AND NEEDED A POSITIVE DIVERSION. HE HAD GREAT DRAWING SKILLS, KNEW HOW TO PUT BUILDINGS TOGETHER, AND HAD AN OFFICE TO DO THE WORK. I BUILT A ROUGH MODEL WITH DRAWINGS Â THAT SHOWED HOW IT WOULD LOOK AND FUNCTION, BUT NOT POLISHED ENOUGH TO PHOTOGRAPH. SO WE DECIDED TO BUILD A NEW FINISH MODEL AND PHOTOGRAPH IT, WHICH TOOK A LOT OF TIME THAT PUSHED US PAST THE DEAD LINE.Â Â LUCKY FOR US THERE WAS AN ELECTRICAL OUTAGE IN VENICE CALIFORNIA FOR A COUPLE OF DAYS THAT AFFECTED THE OFFICE USAGE AND WE CRIED “UNFORESEEN HARDSHIP” . Â SO WE GOT AN EXTENSION OF A COUPLE OF DAYS TO FINISH UP THE PRESENTATION.
THE SITE WAS IRREGULAR AND ON A SEVER Â CLIFF OF A MOUNTAIN ROAD.
I WAS COMING OFF THE GREEN MACHINE Â HIGH TECH IMAGE COVERED WITH FOLIAGE, AND I WANTED TO GET BACK TO SENSUALITY WITH ALL THE ECOLOGICAL SUSTAINABLE ITEMS INCLUDED. I HAD PLAYED AROUND WITH CARGO CONTAINERS A BIT AND ALWAYS ADMIRED KUROKOWA MODULAR BUSINESS CAPSULE STRUCTURE.
THE IDEA OF USING THE MODULAR OF THE CARGO CONTAINER AS A BUILDING BLOCK WAS THE BASIC PATTERN. 8â€™ X 8â€™ X 20â€™ WAS A STANDARD SIZE OF THE DAY. I ARRANGED THESE MODULARS TO THE FUNCTIONS AND THEN HUNG A BUNCH OF ARCHES OFF THEM. EVERYTHING CLIPPED TOGETHER IN THE SWEET HIGH TECH WAY. THE CARGO CONTAINERS BEING BUILDING BLOCKS THAT STEPPED AS THE UNUSUAL SITE BOUNDARY VARIED. THE ARCHES VARIED FROM PRIVATE CONDO BARONIES COVERINGS TO THE HUGE POOL ENCLOSURE AND ECHOED IN PLAN AS WELL WITH THE PONDS AND POOLS.
DRAWINGS BY JOE MATTA OF THE SEQUENCE FROM SHIP TO SITE WITH A FEW LOUVER AND SHADING AND DETAILS THAT WENT FROM OPEN TO CLEAR TO TRANSPARENT CLOSED AND SOME CONNECTING DETAILS. HONG KONG HAVING A BEASTLY CLIMATE OF HEAT , HUMIDITY AND RAIN TO DEAL WITH.
THE PUBLIC PILGRIMAGE BEGAN AT THE BOTTOM OF THE SCHEME NEAR A CHAIR LIFT TERMINATION. I WELCOMED THE PUBLIC WITH A RAMP THAT TRUSTS ONE UP AND OUTWARD TO THE TOP OF THE ROOF. THUS THE PUBLIC HAD A FANTASTIC VIEW OF HONG KONG AS THEY HIKED AND SAT UNDER THE SOLAR COLLECTOR SUN SHADES ON TOP OF THE ROOF. THE RAMP CONNECTING THEM TO THE STREET AT THE TOP. I AM INTRIGUED WITH PUBLIC INTERACTION OF PRIVATE BUILDINGS. YOU FIND THIS ON SIDEWALKS IN CITIES. BRINGS PEOPLE TOGETHER. WE HAVE A LOT TO SHARE AS HUMANS THAT KEEPS US AWARE AND FOCUSED WITH HUMANITY. REFRESHMENTS IN THESE PUBLIC SPACES WOULD MAKE A TON OF MONEY. THUS A PUBLIC PARK ON TOP OF A PRIVATE BUILDING. THAT THE GUESTS COULD EXCAPE TO ADD A BIT OF DIMENSION TO THEIR LIVES. BUT IN REALITY THE RICH PUT UP EVERY BARRIER THEY CAN TO SEPARATE THEMSELVES HUMANITY. A BIT OF TONGUE IN CHEEK ON MY PART.
THERE WERE DIFFERENT INTERIOR ARRANGEMENTS OF THE HOTEL UNITS CREATED BY SELECTION ON A COMPUTER CHIP.
THE BUILDING WAS FOUR PARTS: PARKING ON THE LOWER REAR SIDE WITH FANTASTIC VIEWS, CONDOS ON THE LOWER SIDE WITH FANTASTIC VIEWS, CLUB HOUSE WITH DINING POOL ACTIVITIES ROOMS IN THE CENTER WITH FANTASTIC VIEWS, AND A OWNERS UNIT AT THE TOP WITH FANTASTIC VIEWS.
A ROLL DOWN TRANSPARENT ROOF SCREEN WITH LOUVERS COVERED A LAYERED ENTRY TO DINING THAT LOOKED OVER THE SWIMMING MAIN SPACE AND DISTANT VIEW OF HONG KNONG AND BAY.
A SERIES OF NECKLESS POOLS THAT COLLECTED RAIN AND RECYCLED WATER WERE USED IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE AIR CONDITIONING AND FISH PONDS.
I PUT A SICKLE,( A PUN ON THE HAMMER AND SICKLE) SYMBOLIZING THE COMMUNIST TAKEOVER OF HONG KONG, IN THE OWNERS PAVING PATTERN AROUND THE POOL.
THE PROJECT WAS ALL WORKED OUT FOR FUNCTIONS AND CONSTRUCTION AND LOOKED LIKE A SEA DRAGON ON THE HILLSIDE.
EIRC CHAVKIN, WITH SOME JAN MARDIAN IMPUT CREATED THE FOLLOWING DESCRIPTION .
DRIVING UP MOUNT AUSTIN ROAD , ONE IMMEDIATELY NOTICES THE DIFFERENT ORDER PRESENT IN THIS PROJECT . THE RHYTHMIC SILHOUETTE, LIKE A SEA DRAGON UNFURLED, IS A VISUAL AXIOM OF PEACE AND POWER THROUGH PROSPERITY. THE SLEEPING DRAGON IS THE GUARANTOR OF PEACE BY MEANS OF STRENGTH, AND PARADOXICALLY, THE DRAGON AWAKE HOLDS THE POTENTIAL OF APOCALYPSE.
THE SEA DRAGON LIES CLOSE TO THE GROUND IN A LINE THAT PROPELS US TO THE PEAK, AS IF THE FENG-SHUI WIND CARVED IN INTENTIONALLY. THE OVERT ORGANIC STRUCTURE SERVES AS BOTH VISUAL COMPLEMENT AND METAPHOR FOR THE IDEALS OF DYNAMIC MOVEMENT AND GROWTH.
MOTORING UP TOWARD THE STEPPING FOUNTAIN , A FEATHERED , TIERED RAMP DANCES IN PARALLEL TO OUR ONCOMING MOTION. DURING FESTIVALS , HUNDREDS OF TRAVELERS WILL WALK UP THE SPIRAL â€œPROSPERITY PATHâ€ TO THE ROOTOP AND WANDER UPWARDS, BENETH SOLAR COLLECTORS AND CANOPIES, FOLLOWING THE STEPPED CONTOURS-IN CELEBRATION â€“TO THE PEAK.
EVERYTHING CENTERS ON THE DYLINDRICA SOLARIUM, WITH ITS CASCADING POOLS FOR SWIMMING ,SPAS, FISH PRODUCTION AIR CONDITIONING HEAT SINK AND WATER COLLECTION WITH HI TECH KINETIC ROLLING LOUVERS AS COUNTER POINT. GAZING AT THE HONG KNONG SKYLINE THROUGH A SERIES OF TEXTURED TRANSPARENCIES FROM THE CANTILEVERED BAR ABOVE THE RESTAURANT WE FIND OURSELVES SUSPENDED IN TIME AND SPACE AMONG THE THINNEST OF ARCHES THROWN FORWARD AS A WATER OVER A FALL. RECEIVING PERSONAL POWER BY THE THIS EXPERIENCE , THE THRUSTING ARCHES IMPLY AN ANALOGY OF OUR RELATIONSHIP TO THE SEA. THIS MICROCOSM REPEATS ITSELF MANY TIMES WHENEVER THE STRUCTURE MEETS WATER.
A SEQUENCE OF STEEL CARGO CONTAINER MODULES STEPPING UP THE ASCENDING TOPOGRAPHY FORM AS UNDULATING SILHOUETTE FOR THE BUILDING. CARGO CONTAINERS , AVAILABLE AROUND THE WORLD, ARE EASY TO ERECT AND TO CHANGE. THE HARD-LI NE CHARACTER OF THE CONTAINERS IS COMPLETELY OBSCURED, ADORNED WITH SINUOUS RAMPS TRELLISES AND FREE FLOWING CANOPIES IMPLIED WITH IN THE FORM OF THE STRUCTURE, IS THE NOTION OF A NEW HOUSING INDUSTRY FEED FROM THE REUSE OF TYPICAL STORAGE BOX TECHNOLOGY, AS HONG KONG IS THE CENTER OF THE WORLDWIDE CARGO CONTAINER INDUSTRY. THE DESIGN IS LIKE A SEED PLANTED WITHIN FERTILE SOIL.
NOTHING FROM THE JUDGES. JUST A BIT OF LOCAL PRESS IN LA ARCHITECT. AXIS MAGAZINE OF JAPAN DID AN EXTENSIVE ARTICLE ON ME THAT INCLUDED THE PEAK COMPETITION. I REGRET THAT THEY DID NOT GIVE JOE MATTA RECOGNITION WHICH I HAD INSTRUCTED THEM TO DO. JOE GOT PISSED OFF FOR GOOD REASON, BUT IT WAS NOT MY DOING.
THE WINNER ZAHA HADID HAD A SCHEME OF RANDOM PIECING DECONTRUCTIONALIST CLASH AND BANG SHAPES. SHE DENUDED THE SITE OF ALL PLANTS AND TREES, WHEN I QUESTIONED HER ON THIS CHOICE SHE SAID, SHE DID NOT LIKE LANDSCAPE GROWTH.
SHE TOOK AN ARTY APPROACH THAT WAS OUTRAGEOUS WHEN IT CAME TO STRUCTURE AND PRACTICAL ISSUES. ALL VAGUE. SHE CLAIMED IT WAS RUSSIAN CONSTRUCTIONIST. A FAR CRY FROM, THEY WOULD HAVE HAD A HEART ATTACK SEEING NO REAL STRUCTURE EXPRESSED, JUST DRAMA.
ZAHA IS A BIG BUNDLE OF TALENT AND SHE COMES FROM MONEY AND HIRED THE BEST TALENT TO HELP HER. IN 1982 THE PLAYING FIELD HAD NOT YET BEEN LEVELED WITH THE COMPUTER. HER PRESENTATION WAS THE BEST ART WORK MONEY COULD BUY. THE KOOLHAUS INFLUENCE IS PREVALENT. A HIT AMONG THE ARTSY SEVER TYPE, BUT HARDLY SOMETHING YOU WANT TO CUDDLE UP TO. ARCHITECTS AND JUDGES ARE SUDUCED BY GRAPHICS OR ART FORM PRESENTATIONS, AND ZAHA DID IT PERFECT.
THERE IS A TAKE ON THE BOX: DICE IT, SLICE IT AND COOL IT. THE TERRAIN ABSTRACTION IS MORE APPEALING THAN THE HARD EDGE BUILDING.
ZAHA WAS IMMEDIATELY PUSHED INTO THE SPOTLIGHT OF FAME. THE SCHEME WAS NEVER BUILT.
ONE PART OF THE COMPETITION CALLED FOR A COLOR SCHEME. AT THE TIME I HAD BEGUN A POSTER FOR SCI -ARC USING A COMPUTER DIGITIZING EGG, A PROCESS THAT USC HAD FOR MEDICAL STUDIES. I WANTED TO USE THE SAME PROCESS FOR THE PEAK COMPETITION, BUT IT NEEDED A BLACK AND WHITE PHOTO TO WORK OFF OF. IN HIND SIGHT IF WE HAD DOCTORED UP THE ORIGINAL MODEL, TAKEN PHOTOS AND DONE THE DIGITIZED COLOR PICTURES WE MIGHT HAVE BEEN REWARDED. THE COLOR DIGITIZED PHOTOS WERE NEVER SUBMITTED WITH THE ENTRY. I DID THEM AFTER WE HAD SENT OFF THE ENTRY. THE COLOR WAS SENSATIONAL AND REPRESENTED THE WAY THE BUILDING COULD CHANGE WITH LIGHTING THAT MADE AN IMAGE RESEMBLING A GIANT DRAGON ON THE HILL THAT CHANGED COLORS. JUST THE SORT OF THING THAT USHERED IN THE COMPUTER AGE AND WOULD BRING INSTANT DEVELOPER ATTENTION. PLUS THE PUBLIC WOULD LOVE IT. THE WHOLE ORIENTAL THING OF WATER, VIEW, HABITAT FIRE DRAGONS ETC.
DURING THE COMPUTER DIGITIZING SESSION WHERE THE USC MEDICAL SPECIALIST WAS ASSIGNING COLOR TO THE BLACK AND WHITE PHOTO I WAS AMAZED AND HOWLING WITH DELIGHT AT THE VARITY OF COLOR THE AUTOMATIC DIFFERENCE BEING DIALED. AFTER AN HOUR OF JUST ONE UNBELIEVABLE IMAGE AFTER ANOTHER, THE TECHNICAL TURNED TO ME AND SAID â€œENOUGH OF THIS, I HAVE TO RETURN TO SOMETHING IMPORTANTâ€, WHICH WERE HIS MEDICAL IMAGES.
WHEN I SHOWED THE SCHEME TO ERIC MOSS, I THINK WE WERE TEACHING A CLASS TOGETHER AT THE TIME, HE ASKED, IF I HAD SUBMITTED THE COLOR IMAGES WITH THE ENTRY? ERIC BEING KEENLY AWARE OF WHAT TURNS JUDGES HEADS. A GAME CHANGER THAT I BLEW. REGRETTING TO THIS DAY. THIS WAS 1982 AND THE COMPUTER WAS JUST BEING INTRODUCED AS A TOOL OF THE FUTURE AND THE ARCHITECTURAL WORLD WAS BEGINNING TO GRASP THE POTENTIAL. SOCIETY THINKING THE TOOL WOULD BE A DRASTIC CHANGER. A CORRECT PREDICTION WHAT IS JUST IN THE INFANCY OF ITS POTENTIAL.
REFLECTING ON IT ALL NOW. I THINK OUR SCHEME WAS THE WINNER. JUST ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF NOT GETTING THE NOD, BUT ALSO ME NOT GETTING THE DIGITIZED COLOR IN THE ENTRY. BUT PROBABLY STILL NOT ENOUGH TO SWAY THE JUDGES. MANIPULATING THE BOX IS A BIG TIME SELL WHICH IS STILL THE IN THING TO DO. I USED THE BOX AS THE BUILDING BLOCK INSTEAD, LIKE A BIG BRICK. ALL OF THE ISSUES WE ADDRESSED ARE BIG TIME TODAY, PLUS IT WAS COOL LOOKING.
WHEREAS ZAHA EVOLVED TO FARRIER FLOWING LINES, WHICH I ADMIRE AND ARE ATTRACTED TO, BUT HAS RECENTLY GONE BACK TO THE JAGGED AGAIN. THE FLOWING STUFF IS TOO COSTLY AND THE BOX SLICED AND DICED IS MUCH CHEAPER. SHE HAS HAD TO GIVE LIP SERVICE TO BEING GREEN, BECAUSE OF THE MOVEMENT, NOT BECAUSE SHE LOVES PLANTS. SHE IS REALLY A PRODUCT OF THE RICH AND FAMOUS AND CATERS TO THEIR TASTE, AND SHE DOES IT VERY WELL, EXCELLENT DESIGNER, I WOULD LOVE TO BE ON A JURY WITH HER AND SET HER STRAIGHT. IF THE LATE ALVIN BOYARSKY OF AA FAME WAS STILL AROUND HE COULD MAKE THAT HAPPEN FOR ME. SHE IS A SUPER STAR AND IS UNTOUCHABLE.
Hi Glen, good to see one again.
This project was best in LA the lead story in LA Architects view. The description I wrote has some typos and missing parts I see. Also some parts of the last paragraph about cargo containers are not mine. The poetic stuff is. I don’t think Jan Mardian had any input at all.
Nevertheless, what i found exciting about the Hong Kong competition is the form, not the cargo containers. This could be built with rooms as pre-cast concrete units. In hindsight The cargo container metaphor is a stretch of logic.
BTW I later went out with someone who worked at USC imaging physics lab and knew the project from that end. Small world.
I WILL WORK WITH YOU TO CORRECT THE TYPO ERRORS ETC. SEND ME YOUR CORRECTIONS VIA MY E MAIL..
JAN MARDIAN CRIED TO ME MANY A TIME ABOUT HER INFLUENCE NOT BEING SHARED ON THIS PROJECT. SHE HAD NOTHING BUT PRAISE FOR YOUR SPIRIT AND MIND.
SHE ALSO TOLD ME TO WORK WITH WATER ON MY HOUSE DESIGN IN OREGON. A SMART WOMAN THAT WE WERE FORTUNATE TO KNOW WELL.
I THINK THE WHOLE CARGO CONTAINER THING WAS CORRECT AND RELEVANT TODAY AS WELL. YES IT COULD BE OUT OF CONCRETE, BUT THE CONTAINER WAS THE IMPETUS FOR THE DESIGN.
I SHOULD MENTION THAT WHEN YOU DID YOUR POEM ON THE PROJECT I WAS PLEASANTLY BLOWN AWAY AND SURPRISED, THIS IS RARE GIFTED TALENT, AND YOU STARTING TO USE IT ON A REGULAR BASIS.
This is easly my most favourite Glen Small design. Loved the form – the dragon look, and I still remember being fascinated by the coloured computer images 20 plus years ago.
Love Hongkong and have spent a period of my life living there.
To me this is great architecture and Glen at his peak (best).
THANKS FOR THE KIND WORDS. COMING FROM YOU MAKES IT ALL THE MORE IMPORTANT.
I MUST SAY YOU GETTING ME INTO THE EVOLO COMPETITION HAS CONSUMED MY TIME AND MIND.
NOT THE SIMPLE ALL PARTS SOLUTION LIKE THE PEAK COMPETITION , BUT MUCH MORE RELEVANT.
PLUS I DO NOT HAVE THE FANTASTIC TEAM OF HELPERS I DID ON THE PEAK PROJECT. BUT WE WILL GIVE IT OUR BEST LONELY SHOT. I DO HAVE, MY GURU, DAVID TEACHOUT GIVING ME ADVICE TO KEEP ME ON COURSE.
THANKS FOR GIVING ME THE TIP.
Being a part of a team that entered the competition I have to say that yours was the best of the entries I saw, certainly better than Zaha by a long shot. I can’t say a whole lot about my team’s entry. Great concept but poor execution due to the wildly diverse architectural interest of the team members. Two of our team members married each other, Annie Chu and Rick Gooding, who now practice together. The others were Bill Gregory and yours truly.
Rick Gooding is showing his drawings at Woodbury.. The opening is tonight
Yeah I got an email from Rick and wanted to go, just for the faces and ambiance (the drawings just don’t do it for me), but an injury is keeping me down for a while longer. Thanks for letting me know anyway. Are you going?
I will try and go. BTW I have (somewhere) the LA architect article with yours and Rick Gooding’s entry
I too went in alone for the Evolo compt. last year, along with my wife providing the peotic description for the project.
What I love about this competition is that you have to be inventive and there are virtually no restrictions.
Unfortunately they love anything to do with Sustainable design, and my design had nothing to do with the same.
Anyways, hope you have better luck than me and win.
Would be interesting to be able to see Peter Cook’s, Milica’s and Carlos entry too for the HK Peak design.
Here are some poor snapshots of the model photographs. One of these days I’ll do a proper scan of the photos and drawings. Team members were evenly split along styles: Rick and Annie had adopted Post-Modernism and Bill and I were more… rationalists? In any case we had an inclination towards Glen and Peter Cook. As a consequence none of us were entirely satisfied with the end product. A successful competition team entry requires a leader with a goal who can communicate effectively to the other team members, who in turn must agree to understand and follow the leader… or move out of the way.
I guess you can’t have 4 individuals designing a project.
I liked the 1st photo taken from top (plan).
Was there any concept behind the Great wall of China/Hongkong?
What is with THAT wall? A sign? A symbol? Allegorical reference?
An academic essay on the romantic symbol here. Obliquely applies to Glen’s work, in a way, the biological references.
Glen ,,, let me tell you what i really think of the Hong Kong project. I like the form. It is articulate, rhythmic, bold and exciting.
The dragon metaphor is weak. The specific zoomorphic association doesn’t really matter here and actually distracts from the shape which is stronger than any Chinese symbolism.
The same with the cargo containers. A weak association of symbol to architecture. This means to an end is not important, doesn’t enhance the visual qualities and confuses the form with an ad-hoc construction concept.
What is really good here is the rhythmic succession and variations on the shapes that follow along the ‘body’ of the structure. If we look at this ‘morphologically’ without any specific animal in mind there is in an abstract way, a sort of a head , tail and body. but this is not omnipoetic like a ship in the shape of a fish. More like Ralph Knowles than “Tail-of-the-pup” .
As to the dual solariums at the head and sides they balance the body oddly but still work. I like the cascading pool side better than the ‘head’ which just ends. The elevation of open cells of the rooms and balconies I like a lot too.As zoomorphic association they remind me of the texture of reptile scales, that is maybe where the dragon-form comes across. But I think the overall visual concept is that of rhythmic variation, and secondarily metaphoric.
after the INITIAL hit of comments, the blog has gone silent. we are discussing cargo container technology applied to architecture. what are your thoughts?
what is interesting is that modular construction systems end up costing nearly as much or more than regular construction. the break coming with speed of ERECTION.
is there a conspiracy to stop cheap construction? i would like to hear your comments.
i am presently busy on the evolo competition, happy designing and drawing.
Glen, I think we went silent because you went silent. I figured you were busy “happy designing and drawing”.
I don’t think there is a conspiracy, that’s just your paranoia coming to light. There are more mundane reasons prefab has not made it big, among which is the issue of cost, as you mentioned.
A few years ago prefab all of a sudden was in the limelight, as it periodically does, this time piggybacking on the green movement. But the last time I checked all of the prefab startups had gone under. The problem as I see it is that it is difficult to design ‘one size fits all’, whether it’s a Ray Kappe influenced modernist or a cargo container. One of the big culprits is that pesky little thing called gravity, and of course the codes intended to ensure, among other things, that we pay minimal response to the laws of physics. A cargo container intended to stack a few modules high means that the container at the top of the pile has to be over-structured sufficiently to be in the middle or at the bottom of the pile. “Over-anything” translates to $$$.
On the other hand, a certain kind of pre-fab does make sense. I’ve worked on a few multifamily buildings where we used panelized construction. These panels were made off site, in a climate-controlled factory, with great quality control, precision, and efficiency. Hardly a piece of wood goes to waste, unlike conventional framing where as much as 10% waste exists. Once the panels are shipped (labeled and numbered) to the site, erection happens very quickly. There is minimal disturbance to the neighbors since there is not a hoard of workers sawing and hammering all day long. There is less need for huge waste bins. There is less need for low-skilled workers trying to make sense of “blueprints”.
Modularity is also starting to make some headway but not quite cargo-container-like. We have a client who has one kitchen plan and one bathroom plan for all his apartment units. The plan has been carefully designed for the way people move about the kitchen while cooking, for efficient use of materials to minimize waste, and such that the contractor who puts it together is immediately familiar with every unit in the complex and does not have to reinvent the wheel. Of course this means that a 1 bedroom unit has the same kitchen as a 3 bedroom unit, but in looking at most multifamily apartments, this is the case anyway.
Shortly we will begin on the design for a new house in a historical area of Pasadena. The house has to be of a craftsman style, no two ways about this. But the client has agreed to use panelized construction for the walls and floors, and trusses for the roof. This will mean less interruption for the tenants of an existing occupied house on the same lot.
thanks for the information.
the stacking thing is redundant, but in oregon all the houses are build with 2×6 stud wall whether one or two story. talk about over abundance of overkill.
we are still very primitive about structure. that is why industrialization with light strong materials has always been intriguing.
does any of this jabber matter?
I do all my exterior walls with 2×6 but not for structural reasons. I do it because I can fit thicker insulation, despite the fact that I can get away with 2x4s. I suspect in OR it’s not a matter of choice.
Does it matter? It only doesn’t matter if you keep it to yourself.
insulation is the ovious reason here as well, affecting the roof rafter selection as well. but would it not make more sense if they imporoved the insulation and still kept the price reasonable? it seems all the extra wood is a huge waste of everything..
Glen ,, pls add floor plans: The upper parking plan does NOT describe the interior or spatial relations in plan.
Also, the primary interest here (or at least my primary interest) is the expression of form.
I don’t think your project really is about cargo containers, psychedelic computer renderings or allusions to Chinese mythology. Do you? The aesthetic interest that I observe has everything to do with movement along the building length and variations of the segments. The several solarium volumes add a micro attrium-eco system aspect which should be more emphasised (and not left, by default , to be confused as a typical hotel garden attrium) I can go on. But lets all focus on the project posted
THE FLOOR PLANS I COULD NOT FIND. I THINK I HAVE THEM, BUT I NEED TO DOWNLOAD THEM FROM SLIDES OR RECENT DUPLICATIONS THAT I AM SCARED TO OVERLOAD MY COMPUTE RWITH, WHICH I RECENTLY REPAIRED BUT IS FUNCTIONING AWFUL. AT THE MOMENT BUSY ON COMPETITION, BUT WILL GET THE PLANS ON WHEN I CAN NEXT WEEK.
I PUT THIS BLOG TOGETHER REAL FAST WITH STUFF I HAVE. I THOUGHT WILLIAM MENKING SAID YOU, ORHAN, CARLOS AND MURSINNA SHOULD DO A BOOK ON ME. WHEN IS THAT GOING TO HAPPEN?
FOR SOME REASON I AM STARTING TO FEEL DESPERATE TO SUMMARIZE MY LIFES WORK.
THAT LECTURE AT SCI-ARC THAT YOU LINKED ME TO THAT I GAVE IN 2006 SHOWED I HAVE A LOT TO SAY BEFORE I CHECK OUT. THIS BLOG KEEPS ME ALIVE, BUT I NEED TO REALLY POUR IT ON.
PLUS, I KEEP ADDING MORE STUFF LIKE WHAT I AM WORKING ON NOW,. AQUATIC PARK, AND ACOUSTICAL SHELLS FOR CANADA.. ALL HAVE TALES TO TELL THAT NEED TO BE HEARD.
Glen you are doing fine. Think of this blog AS your book. My interest in your work is this: to establish a theory framework that (in hindsight) explains how you do you. Your system.
It is not that hard. I did it for Larry Totah. His was mostly a series of psychological projections that became his style. Yours has the added dimension of ethics and morals as well as an aesthetics of architecture. The psychological aspects , in your case, is less important. Your not making art nor limiting yourself to working within a type, a residence, in Totah’s case.
Stylistically you work off of patterns. You say that often. I connect the patterns to a primitive, embryonic morphology. Your patterns are starting points, almost all from a nature based prototype. . You have an interesting way of developing your forms from environmental factors such as orientation etc.. And they are not ‘subjective’, ‘gestural’, or merely ‘expressive forms’.
I could go on but you get the point.
After the competition, I think it may be a good idea for you to consider, along with your blog, uploading yourself speaking about the same / similar topics on YOUTUBE.
After all there is more power in seeing and listening, than just reading.
Hi Happy Glen,
What’s happened? You have suddenly gone small?
Doesn’t feel like you, so please put the CAPS LOCK back on 🙂
YOU ARE THE FIRST PERSON TO COME FOWARD AND DECLARE LIKING THE CAPS. I CAN DO THE LOWERS AS EASY, BUT THEY ARE HARD FOR ME TO SEE.
THANKS FOR GETTING ME STRAIGHT.
Good response glen, I too have difficulty with lower case. And in your ‘case’ the all-caps is a style choice that stands out – like your work, like your personality.
Glen, good to see you back.
Don’t try to “fit in”, always “stand out” – that is who you are.
MITM, who are you?
Only time will tell – who I am.
For now, I am one who does not care about “fitting in” nor “standing out”.
Carlos, who or what is the Wall about?
Man in the Mirror – the illusion of depth?.
Or, like I told my wife “stop staring, it’s only a mirror”
Eric, it’s only a mirror – if you choose to look at the wrinkles rather than look inside.
More illusions of depth 🙂
Man in the mirror
The illusion of depth, in this case, is the allusion to depth.
The half empty/full glass, the door swings both ways, it’s always darkest before the dawn, it is what it is…etc these are all rhetorical devices that imply something profound from the saying. The allusion to depth is rhetorical, like a cliche
I don’t remember what the wall was about. there was some allusion to the GWofC but also something about how the wall was perceived at various times during the day. The interior of the wall was accessible. One of these days I’ll ask some of our team members if they remember.
I don’t see what purpose it serves to hide.
IT HAS JUST BEEN BROUGHT TO MY ATTENTION THAT I MISPELLED JOE MATTA’S NAME.
I WILL ATTEMPT TO GET IT CORRECTED.
THE EVOLO COMPETITION HAS ACKNOWLEDGED RECEIVING MY ENTRY.
IT IS ALL HUSH HUSH SO I DO NOT WANT TO SAY MUCH UNTIL AFTER FEB 27TH ANNOUNCEMENT OF WINNERS, BUT I DID NAIL MY IDEA. AND AT THAT TIME I WILL DO A 3 PART BLOG.
BJARKE INGELS WILL GET IT BUILT AND CLAIM IT WAS HIS IDEA. I WATCHED HIM ON CNN AND LOOKED OVER HIS AMBITIOUS WORK. I AM FORMULATING WHAT I WILL SAY, MAYBE MY NEXT BLOG.
ALL PEACEFUL IN OREGON WITH EXTREMELY RAIN. NO SHORTAGE OF WATER HERE.
THANKS MITM FOR BRING THE COMPETITION TO MY ATTENTION. IF YOU HAVE ANOTHER ONE YOU THINK I SHOULD ENTER, BLAB ON.
Happy you had a good time. Hope you win. Evolo is my favourite since you can go wild and design something underwater if you choose to.
Maybe you can start thinking about Evolo for 2013?
Really looking forward to seeing it. Break a leg!
Since you are on a roll you maybe interested in:
You can also check out these sites for more competitions,
Very odd. This post was lost in space, so I posted the second one. And now it has suddenly appeared?
Same thing happened here. Post came thru about a week later
It’s the work of your humble webmaster. I run a spam filter, and occasionally some of the legitimate prose is fingered. I have to look at every post and validate the ones that the spam filter categorizes incorrectly. Sometimes it takes me a few days.
Hi Humble Tim,
So our posts were caught up in a web, awaiting release by the master. 🙂
While you are on a roll you might be interested in,
You can also check out,