Category Archives: architecture

In praise of small spaces, well designed (with an amazing bed)

I am a big fan of small spaces, well designed, and the one featured here certainly is a great example of that. What I found especially smart is the bed: instead of folding into the wall, it rises into the ceiling. Very smart, and very beautiful. Well worth a look.

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Thoughts on the architecture of the TTC

Is the TTC architecture bad? It’s something I have been thinking about after the critical comments from “A.R.” in which he pointed  out that: “Toronto has some interesting subway architecture, as well. you know. Maybe you should appreciate some of the creativity in the system” in response to my comment that “Toronto subway stations…look like washrooms without the necessary plumbing”.

I think alof of Toronto subway architecture is, if not bad, then boring. In this blog post I found, David Ahm from the TTC agreed, saying, “The Yonge-line stations are from the ’50s and ’60s and are functional but kind of boring.”

This blog post with Ahm’s comments were interesting, because you see the challenge of designing a subway station, budget being one serious consideration. But that doesn’t mean there can’t be interesting design work done on a subway, and in fact, lots of Toronto subway stations are well designed. And despite limited budgets, the TTC is looking to have better and better stations in the future, which is a good thing indeed.

Of my favourite stations, the ones I most like are Old Mill, Rosedale, Yorkdale and Dupont. I like the openness of Old Mill and Rosedale. They belong to the neighborhood, somehow. I feel like I am in a different city when I am waiting for a train (or a bus) at the Rosedale station. And I love the windows of Old Mill. Perhaps it is no coincidence that they are both above ground subway stations.

I also admire the design of Yorkdale and Dupont. Yorkdale makes the subway system itself seem dynamic, while Dupont is like an experiment in subway station design.

I like other stations too, like Queen’s Quay, Museum and St. Andrew and St Patrick. Of the latter two, I like the “tube” like design of the tunnels. It reminds me of a European subway station.

One thing I really like about the TTC is their choice of artwork. It is a collection of some of the best Canadian artists, from Charles Pachter to Joyce Wieland to Micah Lexier. And the scale of the work is striking, whether it is the 1.5 million one-inch tiles, used by Toronto artist Stacey Spiegel to create Immersion Land or 3000 handwritten samples that Lexier collected over 5 years to create “Ampersand”.  Anyone visiting Toronto should stop at various stations just to see it. (You can get a sample of it all by going to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toronto_subway_and_RT)

Detroit: the future sadly

This photo essay in TIME, The Remains of Detroit, is haunting.  This photo is of the Michigan Central Station, designed by the same architects that did the still vibrant Grand Central Terminal in NYC. It is anything but vibrant, being vacant for 20 years.

In the film Blade Runner, much of “future” Los Angeles is like this: deserted, decrepit, waterlogged. Perhaps Detroit is the future, sadly.

casa cachagua and other great design at materialicious

What ismaterialicious™? As it says, it is “a weblog featuring residential architecture, design, craftsmanship, materials and products. It is edited by Justin Anthony, a New Yorker who is currently residing in Phoenix, AZ., and was a residential restoration specialist for 25 years.” It is chock full of great architecture and design, like the Casa Cachagua featured above. Go see.

casa cachagua, f3 arquitectos at materialicious

How to build a very small house

There are a number of architects and builders specializing in very small dwellings for people.

Tumbleweed Houses are appropriately named and nicely done. It makes being a nomad seem grand! You should visit the site, just to see what can be packed into such a small space.

The World’s Most Beautiful Libraries

The blog Your Daily Awesome often has some great posting. A recent one is The World’s Most Beautiful Libraries

The libraries are stunning. You have to go see.

Ecospace – smart, ecological, affordable architecture

I would love one of these spaces myself. Here’s hoping more architects come up with such designs.

Stockholm Subways

Unlike Toronto subway stations, which look like washrooms without the necessary plumbing, the Stockholm subways have a presence to them, the way great architecture should. See Ueba – Stockholm Subway these photos to get an idea of what I mean.

Philip Johnson’s Glass House is officially opening to the public on June 21, ’07…

..my question is: why? What’s closed about it now? :)

For those of you who think about such things as I do, check out Memories of Life and Death in an Architectural Masterwork – New York Times

For such a slight building, it’s also very influential. I think the key to living there is good pajamas. And not scratching your butt. Or scratching your butt but not caring anyone might notice. :)