Friday, June 4, 2010

“When you discuss your own work you have to ask yourself what you acquired from whom. Because everything you find comes from somewhere. The source was not you own mind, but was supplied by the culture you belonged to. (…) Architects are in the habit of concealing their sources of inspiration and even of trying to sublimate them…but in so doing the design process gets clouded, while by disclosing what moved and stimulate you in the first place you may well succeed in explaining yourself and motivating your decisions."

Everything that is absorbed and registered in your mind adds to the collection of ideas stored in the memory (...) the more you have seen, experienced and absorbed, the more points of reference you will have to help you decide which direction to take: your frame of reference expands."

- Herman Hertzberger, from his book "Lessons for Student in Architecture"


Monday, April 12, 2010

ARCH 7111

Masters is so hard...

This is a link containing the master plan for the Harold Park Urban Renewal Project we are currently doing for this year:

Thanks to all the group members who have made this wonderful presentation layout!!! XD especially the leader of the group =P Of course, everyone did their best too. So give yourselves a big round of applause!!

Now we have more to suffer in the individual project. Yippie~

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Beeld en Geluid

'Beeld en Geluid' is a Dutch word, which means 'Sound & Vision'. This is the title of a rather interesting book by David Keuning, introducing the magnificent design of The Netherlands Institute for Sound & Vision by the founders of Neutelings Reidijk Architecten, Willem Jan Neutelings & Michiel Reudijk, together with the graphic designer Jaap Drupsteen.

Architects always try to make the building work in reverse in relation to the Earth's gravity. In the case of NIBG, almost half of the volume sinks into the earth (4 levels of archives) while the other half sticks out above ground (5 levels, including offices, cafe & Media Experience), resulting a draw in this fight against the laws of nature. This building has 2 functions: it serves as a public attraction in Hilversum's Media Park, and also an archive to store 'treasures' consisting of Dutch TV & radio programmes. Facts about The Netherlands Institute for Sound & Vision (NIBG):

  • Archive: 700,000 hrs if audio/visual collections; 10,000hrs digitally available; 20,000 objects; 1mil photos
  • Building: 25,000m2 in total; 6100m2 depot with 4km of shelves; 3000m2 office space; 3300m2 Media Experience; 30,500m3 atrium, 26m high, 16m deep; 10,000m3 of concrete; 2244 coloured glass plates with 748 images in relief on facade; 120m2 shop with furnishings on wheels; Grand Cafe with seating for 190 people; Parking garage with 185 places; Theatre 1: 200 seats, film & HD video projection; Theatre 2: 90 seats, HD video projection; Workshop area with 30 workplaces; Temp. exhibition place
  • Media Experience: 165 computers, 160 LCD screens, 45 projectors; 100km cables; 2000m2 wood, steel & glass walls; 13,000l of chroma-key blue paint; Media panorama - rollup screen, 45m wide x 4m high
  • Construction: Began May 2003; Opening 1 Dec 2006

The concepts behind NIBG are the main reason why I like this building: -


As an architectural theme of NIBG, this is expressed on different scales. The stain-glass facades engages the building with the condition of the sky and clouds of that day, creating interesting play of light into the interior of the building (especially in the atrium), with its subtle reflection of colours giving the aluminum plates an appearance of precious mother-of-pearl. Like a medieval cathedral with high ceilings and stained-glass windows, the atrium displays an amazing play of colours, creating a welcoming & merry atmosphere within the space.

At night, the building is set aglow, like a beacon in a sea of buildings of muted colours . The relief in the glass adds an interesting layer to its play of light, showing off images on the relief glass either clearly or vaguely, arousing one's curiosity. Depending on the angle of light reflected off these glass panels, the facade can sometimes be matte or glossy.

In a metaphorical sense, NIBG is a place for reflecting upon the ever increasing information in today's high tech society, a mirror of society, as well as reflecting upon the time where these images and sounds are created, documenting all the pivotal events through time, immortalising things that defines the time which had produced them (e.g. fashion, hairstyles, language, humour etc.). It uses 'journalism as the gateway to historiography', as Keuning puts it.


In contrast to many of Neuterlings Riedijk's previous architectural designs, NIBG is sculpted from within, creating a sublimated mass of space: a ;large plaza and atrium in the heart of the building. As stated by the architects, the empty space (as a 'counterspace' for the massing, a internal space) are a luxury: 'anything can happen (in an empty space), because nothing is compulsory. The cavities in our buildings are ... sanctuaries for the uncontrived; they are public places without an assigned purpose'.

The atrium is such a space, like a covered plaza surrounded by separate solid entities defining the walls of the open space. The slightly angled glass wall of the office wing is designed as such to minimise the southern sunlight, while light pours into the atrium in abundance without the need of artificial lighting.

The' treasure chest', a.k.a. the archives are installed underground, as if inside a vault. This is a ingenious move; to utilise the underground's temperature and relative humidity (which is more stable compared to above ground) to regulate the conditions of the archives. This in turn require less climate control apparatuses than a conventional above ground archive facility. Besides saving energy, it also suits Neutelings Riedijk's objective to produce a piece of architecture that stimulates the human senses, which involves a variety of arrangements and composition for the building. In addition, the enclosed box shape of the building also render it a vault-like quality; 3 out of 4 cheerfully coloured facades scarcely have any window.


Like a film scrip production for a TV show, the building unfolds in a succession of spaces. The arrangements of the building's program (offices, Media Experience, archives) mimics a functional city; each has its own strategic position, command squares, control directions. As one passes through its low entrance, one will be in awe as s/he set foot into the vast atrium, with its canyon like underground archives and terracing building elements, discovering new spaces as one goes across the bridges, stairs and lobbies that lead to other interesting spaces. Each steps bring different experiences to the senses. One may even stop to scrutinise the images hidden in the relief glass or Wall of Fame (sandblasted).


'Buildings are born naked & must then be clothed' is a famous quote by Neutelings Riedijk, indicating that architects are tailors that custom-make the costumes for the buildings they design. It also needs to have a sense of tactility (by applying the appropriate texture befitting the building), like the comfortable feeling the clothing exudes on its user. Apart from the seductive, translucent and brightly coloured glass screens encasing the NIBG, the 'layering' concept is also applied on the interior of the building, where the 'second-line colours' shine through the 'first-line colours': the fiery orange glow emanates through the dark, dense canyon; and hues created by the LEDs behind the layers of a pale fabric & wooden 4-point stars in the cinemas and , for examples. Other layers are hidden from view, such s the utilities and building skeletons/structures.


Time is a wave motion that doesn't move in a straight line, and 'every architectural intervention to have its own wavelength' or life-cycle. For example, the Roman buildings have existed for more than 2000 yrs, while commercial or contemporary units and residential houses have different designed-lifespans. Within the macrocosm of a city, there lies the buildings and the forever variable humans and their everyday-life gadgets. In another sense, the NIBG can also be interpreted as a macrocosmic unit, where it contain bits forming the offices, theatres, cafe, shop, archieves, etc., and the visitors (microcosm). All held together by the seemingly flimsy glass-skin envelop to form a whole, complete entity.

Time can also be read as a 'uniform or exponential acceleration' ,where media are constantly expanding through time, i.e. the numbers of radio stations and television channels today compared to decades ago. This is expressed in the numbers above the openings of the archive/ canyon: time is expressed in seconds on the top most level, and the time span gets longer as it gets deeper (e.g. hrs, months, or even years (?)). This numeric system is non-functional, of course. It's just a way of representing the concepts/ideas of the architects. Yet, the most important aspect of time is articulated through the archive materials themselves, showcasing the cultural heritage of the Dutch society since the bygone days till now.

To me, the architects has indeed successfully 'captured' the intangible, immaterial phenomena; time, light & sound. Its simultaneously light and heavy quality do suggest that important things are stored within, like the Pandora Box (in a good sense). The whole building forms a personal relationship between a human & a building, through its rhythmic spaces and volumes, selective projection of building elements, lights and sounds, and the human's sensory factors that enable them to see, feel, touch, taste and smell the architecture and the spaces. This building represents the present, with its modern design and technology, but at the same time, brings nostalgic memories to the society.

Keuning D. 2007, Beeld en Geluid - Sound & Vision, BIS Publishers, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

ARCH1202 : Exercise 4 - Week 14



HORIZONTALITY seems to be everywhere near & in the site: from the beach & it's horizon as viewed from Arden Street, the Coogee Beach steps, to the grass strips of the oval (as viewed from Dolphin Street), the metallic seats there & the blinds in the Senior Citizen’s Hall of the current Coogee Oval Community Centre. Even the Grandstand itself has horizontal element applied across it, which can be clearly seen on its south-west fa├žade. Personally, I think that horizontal element has a calming effect & therefore it's suitable to be used in the design of the Coogee Beach Community Centre (CBCC).

But a ‘break’ is introduced & that is the VERTICAL element, like the trees on Coogee Beach & the surrounding medium-rise buildings. The seats & field strips can be looked as vertical elements as well when seen from different angle.

With that, a sense of RHYTHM can be produced.

Facade facing oval

Facade facing Brooke Street

  • John Lautner
  • (Segel House in Malibu [1979] & Rawlins House in Balboa Island [1980])
  • John Lautner deals with the surrounding context rather organically & reciprocity seems to to occur in every part of his building designs. Each part & bit of the house are connected nicely, even though they are of different materials.

  • Herman Hertzberger
  • (Verdenburg Music Centre in Utrencht [1973-78] & Apollo Schools in Amsterdam [1980-83, 93])
  • Herman Hertzberger's sense of order & organisation is strong, with clear circulation systems linking all of the rooms or spaces. The choice of materials is also carefully thought through to create a welcoming gesture.
  • In the Apollo Shools, he has grouped the rooms round & open onto the heart of the school, where I tried to apply the same idea into my design (e.g. the arrangement of the multipurpose rooms, foyer, administrative rooms)

  • Mario Botta
  • (Gerbio Residences in Switzerland, 1992-96)
  • Mario Botta is an expert in using brickworks to create the forms & spaces he wanted. The selection of brick types, textures & colours also goes well with the surrounding context.


The 5 keywords, from top left down: Insertion, Infrastructure, Threshold, Reciprocity (3 images including the one on the bottom right). I personally like 'materiality' for it relates more to the senses; what one sees, touches, feels, smells etc.

A map showing the mass of building blocks & the location of the site (in red) in relation to the surrounding context.

A diagram showing the sun path, the location of the building in relation to the surrounding buildings & natural elements, human flow, & visual & physical permeability (red & blue arrow respectively).

Ground Floor Plan:
The foyer act as a central 'heart' which pumps in human flow from the 2 different entrances (one from the street & the other from the park) & allows them to be redirected to other places, such as the cafe, multipurpose rooms, common kitchen, gyms, & flexible workshop. Most of the rooms have clear views into the oval since it is the most happening place of the site. The kitchen is placed near the Grandstand to activate that area; they can have BBQs there & watch a rugby/cricket match at the same time.

From south to north, the building slowly changes from rigid, angular shape to a more fluid form, just like the context of the site, where there is more built environment on the south compared to more 'natural architecture' on the north.

Lower Ground Floor Plan:

A ramp leads the people down into the gyms, toilets, change rooms & rubdown rooms. Separate change rooms & rubdown rooms are created for the convenience of people & also for the different teams which would be playing in the oval.

Physical Permeability & Circulation

Circulation path on ground floor

Circulation routes on lower ground floor

Visual Permeability & Transparency

Program & Colour Coding

Red: Community & sporting facilities
Blue: General facilities
Yellow: Administrative spaces

Sections & Elevations

Elevation 1:
This is the Brooke St facade by using different coloured bricks, showing the concept of 'horizontality' with a break by vertical columns. The Grandstand's darker brown bricks are continued with the introduction of a lighter coloured brickwork (greyish-brown) & it slowly turns to an even lighter colour near the north side. This exoskeleton of the building implies a strong robust quality of the building that seems to hold up its structure, just like the rugby or cricket players.

Section/Elevation 2:
The interior facades have a warmer colour to create a welcoming gesture, which is done by using timber strips, all placed horizontally as if guiding one's view into certain spaces.

Elevation 3:
CBCC as viewed from east.

Longitudinal Section:
Rendered section of the spaces to show how the light or shadow plays in the rooms.


Overall view of design:

Ground Floor

Lower Ground floor

The huge columns which produce a rhythm. There is also a sense of transparency here. People can see what's happening in the large gym hall through the 2000x2000mm windows on the ground floor without having personally going down into the gym.

The indented wall of the main entrance from Brooke Street.

A clear view of all the routes linking the floors of the building once one is in the foyer.

The 2nd entrance linking the park & the playground to the CBCC.

The cafe is of an organic form since this part is linked to the (natural) park & it implies a softer side of the building. A deck is placed here facing the north so that people can enjoy & experience the nice views & quality of the park while having a cup of coffee.

An angular deck of the care framing the view of the oval.

A slit through the roof to admit natural light down the ramps.

The roof of the large gym hall opening up to the north to gain maximum sun light during winter.

CONSTRUCTION DETAILS of the 'secondary street' & the large gym: