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Beirut explosion was like a "nuclear blast" say Lebanese architects and designers

13 hours 46 minutes ago
View of Beirut after explosion

Architects and designers in Beirut have shared their first-hand accounts of the huge explosion that destroyed a large part of the city on Tuesday, with one describing the devastation as "beyond an apocalypse". "I thought it was a tsunami or a bomb, or even a nuclear blast," said architect Lina Ghotmeh, who witnessed the massive

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Cajsa Carlson

Southern Africa: Eviction, Extortion and Upheaval - a Mother of Five's Search for a Place to Call Home in Khayelitsha

13 hours 56 minutes ago
[Daily Maverick] Nyameka Mantambo, a mother of five, was evicted after being unable to pay rent in Khayelitsha during the Covid-19 pandemic. She moved to Empolweni where, after shacks were destroyed and obtaining permission to rebuild, she was forced off the land after community members tried to extort R1,000 to 'allow' her to erect a shelter. The land belongs to the City of Cape Town.

Black staircase twists up Joseph store in Miami Design District

15 hours 14 minutes ago
Joseph store Miami Design District by Sybarite

London studio Sybarite has designed a store for fashion label Joseph in the Miami Design District to include round balconies, curved railings spiral stairs as a reference to the city's seaside architecture. A black metal corkscrew staircase is among the details that takes cues from Miami's seaside architecture dating back to the 1940s and 50s.

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Eleanor Gibson

Upgrade Your Bathroom with a New Toilet Paper Holder

15 hours 44 minutes ago

Little things mean a lot. Consider the power of a new toilet paper holder, especially when this is one of the last features to be upgraded during bathroom DIY projects. If you’ve replaced the cabinet knobs and towel racks, it’s time to turn your attention to where you display the bath tissue. Believe it or […]

You're reading Upgrade Your Bathroom with a New Toilet Paper Holder, originally posted on Decoist. If you enjoyed this post, be sure to follow Decoist on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

Kate Simmons

Designing a Garden

16 hours 45 minutes ago

Designing a Garden: Monk's Garden at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Michael Van Valkenburgh
The Monacelli Press, October 2019

Hardcover | 7-1/2 x 9-1/2 inches | 208 pages | English | ISBN: 978-1580935524 | $40.00

PUBLISHER'S DESCRIPTION:

In Designing a Garden, Van Valkenburgh presents the design of the Monk’s Garden at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, an intimate, walled garden that Laurie Olin has described as “a masterpiece, and not a minor one.” The book documents the evolution of the garden’s design, which is based on the concept of meandering paths through a dreamlike woodland to create a contemplative space. Sketches and models show how the idea was worked out, and lush photographs reveal the completed garden through the seasons.

Van Valkenburgh’s text explores the origins of his love of landscape and plants in his family farm in Upstate New York and how this has influenced his intuitions as a designer. He shares the full background story of the Monk’s Garden, focusing on the experimental nature of design work as well as the challenges and satisfactions of the small scale and the historic and cultural context. Designing a Garden provides a unique first-person account of the design process from the most prominent landscape architects in the country.

Michael Van Valkenburgh is the founder of Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (MVVA) and formerly the Charles Eliot Professor in Practice of Landscape Architecture at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University. Based in New York and Cambridge, Massachusetts, his firm is widely acknowledged as a leader in the discipline of landscape architecture.

REFERRAL LINKS:

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dDAB COMMENTARY:

My library at home has many books I classify as "case studies," but most of them are about buildings rather than landscapes. The former range from small houses to museums and building complexes, but the latter tend toward the large end of the spectrum, such as with titles devoted to the High Line, Millennium Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Madrid Río, and Parc de la Villette. I can think of a couple exceptions to this preference for extra-large landscape case studies: the 2007 book about the green roof for the headquarters of the ASLA in Washington, DC, and Designing a Garden, the new book on the seven-year-old Monk's Garden at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. Both books happen to be about landscapes designed by the firm of Michael Van Valkenburgh, who also designed the 85-acre Brooklyn Bridge Park — a waterfront park large enough to contain 500 versions of the 7,500-square-foot Monk's Garden.

Curiously, Designing a Garden is not the first book devoted to Monk's Garden at the Gardner. In 2014, two years after Renzo Piano's renovation and expansion of the museum and one year after the garden opened to the public, Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates won an ASLA Honor Award for Monks’ Garden: A Visual Record of Design Thinking and Landscape Making, a book that was commissioned specifically for an exhibition at the Gardner. Both books trace the process and progress of the design from inception to construction, so why release a second book six or seven years later, outside of the fact the first one is near-impossible to obtain? The most obvious answer is because it's a garden: a landscape that changes over time. When comparing the photos in the new book with those on the ASLA website, Monk's Garden has changed dramatically in a short amount of time.

One source of the garden's flourishing since 2013 is revealed on page 134, where some small photos of the garden are accompanied by an excerpt from an email (a page resembling the third spread below). Michael Van Valkenburgh's February 10, 2015, email to Anne Hawley, director of the Gardner at the time, asks, "May I have your permission to add daffodils to the Monk's Garden? I'd like to plant about 1,000 bulbs: 500 early bloomers, 500 late bloomers, all white." These plants obviously were not present when the first book was made, but beyond adding interest to the garden's winding paths, the addition of the daffodils captures MVVA's attention to their creations even after they're handed over to the their clients. Elsewhere in the book, for example, are comments about how quickly the new birch and other trees have grown, necessitating trimming but also reconsidering what plants will grow as the canopies get fuller and cast more shadow on the east-facing garden: Changes will continue.

Van Valkenburgh, who loves cooking, considers Designing a Garden to be like a cookbook, one that clearly explains in words and images the process of designing and building a garden. In turn, the most revealing parts of the book fuse text and image, such as when emails — certainly never intended for publication and probably edited for the venue — explain the decisions echoed in the adjacent photographs and drawings. Younger landscape architects and students of landscape architecture will find plenty to appreciate in the clarity of the book, though fans of the garden will receive new layers of appreciation arising from understanding the many decisions that went into such a small space.

SPREADS:

John Hill

Linear brick wall conceals earthy and tactile interiors of Devon Passivhaus

18 hours 4 minutes ago
Devon Passivhaus by McLean Quinlan

A linear red-brick wall obscures the textured interiors and art-filled courtyard hidden inside McLean Quinlan's low-rise Passivhaus home in Devon, UK. The energy-efficient dwelling, aptly named Devon Passivhaus, nestles into a sloped walled garden that was once owned by an old English country house that fell into a state of disrepair. In an effort to

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Lizzie Crook

UK government attempting to "destroy" planning system say architects and critics

18 hours 14 minutes ago
RIBA calls for "urgent reconsideration" of proposals to deregulate planning

The UK government's planning reform proposals, which were revealed yesterday, will fail to address the root causes of England's housing crisis according to architects and critics. The government's Planning for the Future white paper, which aims to reform the planning system, prioritises the interests of developers over the building of good-quality, affordable housing, architects told Dezeen.

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India Block

Remi restaurant in Berlin is defined by cherry-red joinery

20 hours 44 minutes ago
Remi restaurant in Berlin designed by Ester Bruzkus Architekten

Red-stained cabinets crafted from MDF surround the open kitchen of restaurant Remi in Berlin designed by local studio Ester Bruzkus Architekten. Remi is situated near Berlin's Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz square and is led up by Dutch chefs Lode van Zuylen and Stijn Remi. This is the second restaurant that the pair have in the German capital, joining Lode

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Natasha Levy

University of Colorado students share architecture projects in the Rocky Mountains

21 hours 44 minutes ago
University of Colorado students share architecture projects in the Rockies

A high-altitude lavatory with gabion walls and a reimagined motel feature in this VDF school show of work from University of Colorado's College of Architecture and Planning. The projects range from built to conceptual and were created by students as part of their graduate and undergraduate degrees in architecture. While some designed interventions to improve

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Dezeen staff

Expansive Mexican Home Turned into an Inviting Family Gathering Center

22 hours 32 minutes ago

There are plenty of different styles of homes that we come across on a daily basis and also houses that were once churches, industrial complexes and abandoned warehouses. But rarely do we see a large family home being transformed into a lavish family gathering center and event venue that has it all! Renovated and completely […]

You're reading Expansive Mexican Home Turned into an Inviting Family Gathering Center, originally posted on Decoist. If you enjoyed this post, be sure to follow Decoist on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

Sherry Nothingam

Camille Walala unveils Les Jumeaux street artwork in colourful New London Fabulous style

22 hours 44 minutes ago
Camille Walala artwork pays homage to West London architecture

Two pedestrian crossings and a building facade in London's White City district have been given a new lick of paint as part of one of Camille Walala's characteristically vibrant public art installations, called Les Jumeaux. The project forms part of a burgeoning design movement called the New London Fabulous – a term coined by Adam

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Jennifer Hahn

Atelier Dau adds kinetic bronze facade to Chimney House extension in Sydney

1 day 4 hours ago
Chimney House by Atelier Dau

Architecture studio Atelier Dau has created an infill extension with a perforated bronze facade for the refurbishment of a heritage-listed building in Sydney. Chimney House was designed by the Sydney-based studio as two interconnected volumes after the owners decided to extend the existing house to create a gallery-like interior for their art collection. The original

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Cajsa Carlson

GBSA