Using only four materials — stone, wood, concrete and steel — Chris Corbett designed and built a new patio and deck for a backyard in Davis, California, that’s anything but basic. “My philosophy is to use natural, raw materials,” Corbett says. He focused on thoughtful, handcrafted details that not only make this backyard and patio design stand out, but also make it more livable and likely to thrive with little maintenance or attention for years to come.

Past Fort Portal, under the shadow of the Virunga Mountains, we followed the signs for Semliki National park so we could find the lodge. In spite of the fact that we wandered around for about an hour the good people of the area were kind enough to keep setting us back on our path. At around 2:30 pm we drove into Semliki Safari Lodge. At first sight we noticed that all the buildings and chalets were covered with grass thatched roofing and open view architectural work. We found out later that it’s the local people in the area who helped to collect the materials for construction.

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Reclaimed wood has never been more popular, making its way from basement bars all the way up to elegant master bathrooms. Used on flooring, vanities, accent walls, mirror frames and even tub surrounds, this material adds warmth and rich texture. It’s also a wonderful contrast to the usual bathroom materials, such as glass, granite, marble and tile, which can leave a space feeling cold. “Reclaimed wood can be a once-in-a-lifetime gift,” says Nathan Daves, of Restoring Texas. But using it in a room full of potential splashes and steam takes some extra consideration. “At the end of the day, water is the evil kryptonite for wood,” Daves says.Daves also warns that not all reclaimed wood is created equal. A broken-up pallet will not withstand moisture at all like old-growth pine lumber harvested from a pre-1940s barn, for example. Other good choices for moisture resistance are reclaimed teak and old-growth cypress. Whichever wood you use and wherever you decide to use it, check out this list of ideas and advice to see if reclaimed wood will suit your bathroom.

here was a time when no self-respecting rendering would allow itself to be seen in public without a zeppelin hovering somewhere in its desaturated sky. Supermodels in haute couture garments strutted across opera foyers, uninterested expressions and blasé attitudes adding to the exclusivity of the space. These gimmicks are still widely used, but since its early days architectural rendering has seen major technical advancements that allowed it to appropriate cinematic techniques relying on color, lighting, framing, composition, and angles to convey moods. This disciplinary overlap between architecture and film is fundamental in the use of similar software and modeling techniques and has brought the two closer through the idea of storytelling, a notion inherent to both disciplines. In architectural rendering, if the spirit or the main feeling isn’t persuasive and engaging enough, the function of images is reduced to regurgitating information already provided through drawings and schematics.

An overabundance of visual content, brought on partly by the democratization of architectural publishing, has produced an almost pornographic fixation on architectural representation, rendering techniques in particular. Computer generated imagery is no longer an intermediary between an idea and its realization, but a finished product on its own. Different rendering genres have emerged over the years, similar in approach and style to recognizable cinematic tropes.

The Mad Max

City lights dimmed, the “urban wasteland” awaits the appearance of the new development whose lights seem to be the only sign of life for miles around.

Eleftheria Square by Zaha Hadid Architects, via Skyscrapercity (See also: Zaha Hadid on Artsy)

Phoenix Towers by Chetwoods Architects

The Whodunit

These renderings sport a menacing atmosphere achieved by desaturating the image or using only dark blue and green tones. Stormy skies, shadowy figures, and strong contrasts create tension that transforms spaces into potential film noir crime scenes.

Kaohsiung Port Terminal by RTA-Office

Park51 by Soma Architects

The David

The David flaunts its perfectly mapped textures, lifelike grass, and clinically precise reflections to the point that, like the android boy David in Spielberg’s A.I., the architecture looks a bit too perfect.

The Quest by Ström Architects

Paranormal Activity

Blended so well into their surroundings, these projects are practically not there. Buildings appear as dreamy echoes of themselves held up by light and memory, instead of concrete pillars and slabs.

Camellian Opera House by Matteo Cainer Architects

The Gondry

The stubborn collage technique may feel anachronistic but, every so often, it makes a powerful comeback. The combination of photos, renderings and drawing can be surprisingly effective and reminds of Michel Gondry’s distinctive visual style. In its most experimental form The Gondry may include unicorns, movie stars, space ships, and a cutout photo of Le Corbusier.

Boulders Resort by Diller Scofidio + Renfro

The Theodore

The Theodore could be a subcategory of Paranormal Activity, but, unlike the latter, it is found mostly among representations of interiors. Airy spaces and more than generous amounts of diffuse lighting make one want to lay back in an armchair and dictate a heartfelt love letter, just like Theodore in Spike Jonze’s “Her.”

Green Valley by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

The Katherine Heigl

Romantic snowbound streets, palpable silence of the first snow, kids having fun, couples holding hands, and a building in the background. The Katherine Heigl promises a happy ending and a lighthearthed story enacted in and around the omnipresent new building. This category includes sunsets, images whose large portions show meadows, forests, parks, and all kinds of pastoral scenery.

Le Brassus by BIG

Samaranch Memorial Museum by HAO Holm Architecture Office

Originally posted here.

Some Thoughts on Texture

A thought that is often running through my head when working on architectural illustrations is how can I bring more of a human touch to the image. The answer is almost always through texturing in Photoshop.
I have spent the last week illustrating an aerial perspective for my latest personal project. For this particular work, I wanted to hit almost every surface of the image with a strong texture to see what would happen. There were many areas that I would normally skip over in other illustrations but didn’t in this one. The result is an image with imperfections that shows age.
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Not the sexiest title for a blog post, I know. But as we’ve inhabited a variety of workplaces—including a garage in Menlo Park, a farmhouse in Denmark and an entire New York city block—we’ve learned something about what makes an office space great. And we’re excited to put that into practice, starting here at our home in Mountain View.

Today we’re submitting a plan to redevelop four sites—places where we already have offices but hope to significantly increase our square footage—to the Mountain View City Council. It’s the first time we’ll design and build offices from scratch and we hope these plans by Bjarke Ingels at BIG and Thomas Heatherwick at Heatherwick Studio will lead to a better way of working.

As an architect, what do you give the company that has everything? More to the point, what do you design for the company that is everywhere, that has become digitally ubiquitous?

If you’re Thomas Heatherwick and Bjarke Ingels, the rising-star architects tapped to design the new Google headquarters in Mountain View, you begin by covering all of your bases, philosophical, practical and technological.

The remarkably ambitious plans that Google released at the end of last week, for a hefty 3.4 million square feet of new office space distributed across four pieces of land between the 101 Freeway and the edge of San Francisco Bay, are communitarian, flexible, robotic and dipped in nostalgia all at the same time.

The important dream and desire of everyone, is to have their own customized home befitting their individual needs. A recently released housing survey by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics points at an improvement in housing, but states that there is still a gap to be filled if the majority of the poor are to fully realize this right. The survey indicates that Uganda has a housing deficit of 550,000 units. About 160,000 of this backlog is in urban areas. Kampala alone has a housing deficit of 100,000 units. Uganda’s population, which is growing at a rate of 3.3% per year, is projected to increase to 45 million by 2020. Read more!

The word itself explains its definition. It is a virtual moving computerized presentation of the project before its real execution. This service is a miracle for real estate developers, builders, property developer, industrialist, and visionary people. With the use of this service they are able to explain their dream project to their clients, investor, and bankers before its execution. Compared to main stream 3d animation, walk-though animation is cost effective & less time consuming. With the camera movement in the presentation process contain animations of the structure, its construction, vehicular and human movement along with planned fixtures due to this process the term animation is used with walkthrough. Read more!

As a client, how can you avoid paying for design work you don’t want? Making sure you know what you’re getting before you have it built helps.

Today there is no better way to understand and have a feel for new design than to see it in 3-D. Rather than your having rely on imagination to see if the bathroom door will be far enough away from the kitchen, 3-D allows you to virtually walk through your home before even approving any specs or designs. Want to see that living room wall with bay windows? No problem. Want to check out the view from the window? Step right up. Changed your mind and now want no windows? Hold on a sec.

3-D design has proven to be a fast and efficient way to get involved in every part of the design process. When architects actually design with you, the client — and present other, different or better options — you’ll be better equipped to make informed decisions on a design that’s perfect for you.  Read more!

The roof above your head – arguably our most important human possession, and yet how many of us know about proper construction and upkeep?

More homeowners are opting for modern architecture characterized by strong horizontal lines, large, expansive windows, and flat roofs. While visually striking, some homeowners have doubts about the flat roof’s ability to withstand harsh windy equatorial rainfall.

Just this past Christmas holiday, residents in Entebbe were woken from their sleep to the sound of loud bangs and shaking beneath their feet. What they were experiencing is called a “thunderstorm.” Tropical rainforest climates have no pronounced summer or winter; it is typically hot and wet throughout the year and rainfall is both heavy and frequent. Some homeowners with faulty or unreliable flat roofs may have heard the sound coming from above. Flat roofs can be susceptible to water collection that can gather and stagnate in water pools.

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