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Thursday, May 15th, 2014

Our Top Five Favorite Movie Architects

Becky

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Architect seems to be the favorite job for movies to give a certain kind of character. Here’s a look at our top five fake architects, all for various reasons. Please add yours to our list in the comments section. And apologies to Gary Cooper for leaving you out, but I liked the book a lot more than the movie.

photo via Vancouver Lookout

5. Richard Gere in Intersection (1994). Yeah, this movie bombed at the box office, but the building they chose to pretend Gere’s character built was a superior choice. It’s the Musuem of Anthropology on the University of British Columbia campus, designed by architect Arthur Erickson and built in 1976 (with a stunning landscape designed by Cornelia Oberlander). The fact that the movie pretends this was designed and built in 1994 shows how successful and surprisingly timeless the mix of brutalist concrete and glass and how well it fits into the landscape are.

photo via moviescreenshots.blogspot.com

4. Michelle Pfeiffer in One Fine Day. This tale of one woman trying to have it all is exhausting, and her work situation doesn’t seem all that realistic, but the breaking of the model, well, anyone who has ever dealt with one sure felt that pain. Man though, that is one ugly building, huh? I think the model deserved what it got.

3. Joseph Gordon-Levitt in 500 Days of Summer (2009). We gotta give this movie props for being ahead of the chalkboard paint wall tipping point, and for using it better than anyone else has to date. I loved the way it fit in with the sketchy architectural graphics used in the movie as well. A broken heart and reassessment cause this sweet lovestruck man to drop out of the greeting card business in the funniest way ever, and rekindle his true passion, architecture. Plus, his love of architecture provides a lot of special moments from his favorite bench that overlooks the city. Kudos.

photo via Twentieth Century Fox

2. Matt Dillon in There’s Something About Mary (1998). Pat Healy is the fakest fake architect around. He claims he’s working on a soccer stadium in Santiago Chili, he skirts his way around answering what the difference between Art Deco and Art Noveau is, and he has a pocket full of Napelese coins. Chompers is an all-time sleazy favorite. And a big part of his sleaziness is that he’s claiming to be an architect when he’s not.

photo via hookedonhouses

1. And our favorite movie architect is … drumroll please … Steve Martin! The problem is, we can’t decide if we find him more appealing as the hapless Newton Davis HouseSitter (1992) or as the self-defeated sensitive guy who is giving Meryl Streep the kitchen of her dreams in It’s Complicated (2009). Well, who would redo that perfect Nancy Meyers movie kitchen anyway?”  Newton Davis reduced me to a puddle, laughing on the floor when he sang “Toorah Loorah Loorah,” so the winner is HouseSitter. We look forward to seeing Martin play another architect soon.

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Monday, March 3rd, 2014

Hybrid-Home’s Brian Flynn … As a Muppet

Becky

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Oh if you just need a laugh today check out a day in the life of the Muppet version of the amazing Brian Flynn over at Design Milk. We know Brian and his wife Dora Drimalas from Hybrid-Home, which offer fantastic limited-edition prints like this one:

Pencils, Limited-Edition Print by Hybrid-Home

image via Design Milk

Watch Muppet Brian order lunch, brainstorm and collapse in yoga class.

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Friday, February 7th, 2014

Cool Stuff We Spied Around the Web This Week

Becky

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What caught your attention on the web this week? Certainly there was plenty of Sochi not-so-funny terrible conditions fall over the internet. Here are five things that made me say wow this week.

1. Swimming on the Metro. The proposals for the abandoned Metro stations in Paris was my favorite link this week. Can you imagine if this:

Magically transformed into this?

What a beautiful and unique subterranean spot for getting some laps in.

Photos via NK Paris and RATP/ 20 Minutes; story via Messy Nessy Chic

2. Sochi, oh Sochi. I don’t know where to start, but this graphic certainly lightened the mood for me. Yes, I’m 12, potty humor gets me every time. I have to wonder about the graphic artist who had to sit and illustrate things like “don’t put a fishing pole in the toilet,” or “don’t do your business in the ‘upper deck.’” Is the one on the bottom right some sort of Olympic athlete-caliber calisthenic? That position looks tougher than eight-angle pose:

photo via @SebToots/Twitter

3. Thomas Wold adds his magic to Pinterest’s offices. I was so excited to see ingenious designer Thomas Wolds installation at Pinterest get attention from The Wall Street Journal online as well as at Fast Company. Though I would like to state for the record that I asked him for an interview about it months ago but the man was too busy building more magical things. Way to go Thomas!

Photo by Victor Ng

4. Other people’s Facebook Movies (or even your own). JUST KIDDING! Seriously Facebook, when we X it out as “annoying or unintesting,” stop putting them in our news feeds! Sheesh.

5. Vintage NASA photographs. There’s something so cool about these, I want to blow one or two up and design a room around them. I think it would be really neat for a kid’s room as well:

photo by Neil Armstrong/NASA via NBCNEWS.com

What kinds of cool things did you catch on the internet this week? Please let us know in the Comments section.

Also, we’ve been trying our hand at Instagram (I know, we’re WAY behind the times on that one!) Please feel free to give us any suggestions on how we can be better Instagrammers, we could use the help. Have a great weekend everyone!

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Thursday, January 16th, 2014

Around the Web This Week

Becky

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photo by Patrick Cashin, via The New York Times

I loved seeing Patrick Cashin’s photos of the MTA’s massive construction projects (he’s been taking them for 16 years). It reminds me of Margaret Bourke White photographing massive-scale infrastructure projects so many years ago.  Check out the entire slideshow at The New York Times.

40 Maps That Will Help You Make Sense of the World. I am obsessed with maps and this collection covers a ton of subjects, from countries that don’t use the metric system to a US Map of the highest paid public employees by state (most of them are college coaches, a few academics in states with crappy college sports teams snuck through).

The 17 story-high water slide. Part of Schlitterbahn Waterparks and Resorts (hilarious name for a waterpark, I have some funny definitions of “Schlitterbahn” made up in my head). Apparently it’s taller than Niagara Falls. When I first watched this and my stomach stopped lurching, I thought “No way in this world, I’d never survive the wedgie!” I guess you go down in a four-person raft though? Maybe when I was under 25 but I couldn’t do it today. How about you?

photo by Kim Lucian, via Apartment Therapy

Taking a break from Tech. Apartment Therapy contributor Kim Lucian has been working on the January Cure (it’s an AT thing) and this particular aspect strikes a chord with me. It’s really hard, even on vacation, to stop craving an email check on the first day, but the longer you go unplugged the more relief you feel. Try to unplug during some evenings at first (baby steps), then go for an entire 24 hours on the weekend. Before you know it, you’ll be trading in your smartphone for an old-school flippy one.

What caught your eye on the web this week? Do you have any great links to share that inspired you, made you laugh, made you gasp? Please share them with us in the comments section.

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Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

Favorite Design Books of 2013: The Bold

Becky

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Last week we showed you some of our favorite design books released in 2013, a group of five that focused on the beautiful – European antiques, flowers, gardens, marble floors, homes in the Hamptons, idyllic lakeside spots. Now we’d like to share some that feature the bold – international style, modern and contemporary, minimal and downright sublime  … here are five of our favorites from the past year. Note, these make great gifts for the architecture fans in your life; I’ve included the Amazon links for each book in case you’re interested in ordering.

Building Seagram by Phyllis Lambert. I’m not going to lie, ever since I took Richard Guy Wilson’s architectural history course, this has remained one of my top five favorite buildings. Lambert was there every step of the way, spearheaded the search for an architect that resulted in finding Mies, and her amazing tale will surprise you.

Le Corbusier: An Atlas of Modern Landscape, published by MoMA. This is an absolute MUST HAVE for any architectural library, you cannot begin to understand the roots of International Style without understanding Corb, and this may just be the most comprehensive tome on the market. Plus, more shallowly, it’s got a really cool spine that will pop on your shelves.

The Houses of Louis Kahn by George H. Marcus and William Whitaker. You may know all about the library at Exeter or the Salk Institute, but this book is a collection of Kahn’s lesser-known work, his residential homes. Again, I must declare this an architecture library must-have.

Tadao Ando: Houses by Philip Jodidio. Ando took concrete, known primarily for heavy brutalist architecture, and created thoughtful and ethereal buildings with it. A master of proportion and light, these qualities can best be seen (IMHO) in his residential designs, which are the focus of this beautiful book.

Nelson Byrd Woltz: Garden, Park, Community, Farm by Warren T. Bird Jr., Thomas Woltz and Elizabeth Meyer. Full disclosure: I used to know all of these people ten years ago. Warren made us chase him on four hour plant walks with his long fast stride, while we furiously scribbled down Latin names for plants and tried to sketch them at the same time (sometimes while climbing up the Blue Ridge Mountains; the class was a better workout than Barry’s Boot Camp), I knew Thomas Woltz socially and Beth Meyer was a horrible person to have to turn in a paper to, because she’s probably the best at writing about landscape architecture and landscape theory (she doesn’t get mired down in all that nonsensical archi-speak that plagues so many academic design writers). Anyway, now that that’s out of the way — the work of this firm is wide-ranging and puts into practice all the elements you dream about putting into practice back when you’re a wide-eyed idealistic student.

Any books you’d recommend for 2013? Please share any that caught your attention in the comments section.

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