Monday, December 14, 2009

happy holidays

bitterly cold morning [-10 degrees F]

frost screen texture #1

frost screen texture #2

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

on books

in my inbox today:

[click to enlarge]

despite closing their doors for good in chicago, prairie avenue bookshop is holding an auction for items in their rare architectural book collection. we are somewhat of an architectural book collector ourselves, and even though the prices on these books may be way out of reach the list list is still intriguing to peruse. some selections include works by edward lutyens, charles garnier, walter gropius & frank lloyd wright. browse through the entire catalogue here. the prairie avenue lot starts on page 37.

but the auction is a bittersweet event--a reminder that one of the most influential and well known architectural book stores will unfortunately join the ranks of many other institutions that have been affected by not only the down turning economy, but also the shift towards the internet being the chosen method of buying goods. this will not turn into a rant, but is meant to be merely a lament for the experience that browsing, selecting and reading books offers to our cultural existence. consumerism aside [overindulged expenditure], a society's values can be measured by the quality of their creations--our built environment included. architect david chipperfield said it best recently when asked about the state of british architectural values [which could also be said about the usa]:

“Simple,” he says. “Britain gets the architecture it deserves. We don’t value architecture, we don’t take it seriously, we don’t want to pay for it and the architect isn’t trusted... We are a country that values money and individualism. Architecture becomes glorified property development, not valued culture. Ten storeys? Try for 20. Squeeze in more bedrooms. That’s British architecture." - via

this attitude could be applied to many different aspects of our culture [including books]: expediency over thoughtfulness, convenience over tactile experience. given our nomadic way of life, this not surprising. some will also argue that reading a book on your iPhone saves trees from being made into books. to us, this sounds more like tunnel vision. trees are a renewable resource and can be replaced if handled responsibly [it's not about the delivery, it's all about the approach]. the physicality and weight of a good book can offer new emotional, physical & intellectual connections to our environment and society. it is a [semi] permanent snapshot of our society's discoveries and interests, whether it be the twilight series or research on stem cells.

of course there are many degrees of value, and we are not promoting the death of digital book reading in any way. we just want to keep the choice of "the book" alive...


Wednesday, November 04, 2009

clyfford still museum: trimmed but still a 'go'

from today's denver post article.

After a recession-induced delay of about nine months, groundbreaking for the $29 million Clyfford Still Museum has been set for Dec. 14.

Museum leaders decided not to move ahead with the building's construction until they had raised $25 million — a little more than 85 percent of the funded project's total design and construction budget.

The museum's design, by Portland, Ore., architect Brad Cloepfil, has undergone minor modifications since it was unveiled in March 2008 (it has dropped from 31,500 square feet to 30,000), but its low-lying, rectilinear look remains essentially unchanged.

hallow's eve; old man winter visits early

a warm halloween

1 day before it looked like this...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

prairie avenue bookshop closes in chicago

Some sad news today, as this was one of our own favorite architectural bookstores:

PAB Header

We have closed the doors of THE PRAIRIE AVENUE BOOKSHOP after a glorious era in the history of architecture. The Bookshop is a proud accomplishment and made many other things possible.

We published a magazine on a seminal movement, THE PRAIRIE SCHOOL REVIEW, which defined a period in Midwestern architectural history, published books on Sullivan, Wright and Griffin, wrote a Student Guide leveling the playing field for students in Idaho, wrote a history of the 19C leap of Chicago to the forefront of world architecture, and opened this mecca ("the best architectural bookshop in the world", LONDON FINANCIAL TIMES) for architects from all over the world. All this while Bill was planning and supervising the restoration of Wright's Dana House and Sullivan's Cedar Rapids Bank, among others. The master plan for the Robie House with Getty funding was also part of the mix with too many others to list.

Granted we rode a revival in preservation and historical studies, and a publishing revolution as well: facsimile printing and President Johnson's junior college program in the 60's, the duotone and color technology by the Italians and Japanese in the 60's and 70's, instantaneous ordering by fax and then by the web, the photolithography process for printing THE PRAIRIE SCHOOL REVIEW in the 60's, and self publishing on the computer, all while several new movements in design came to the fore. Why, a couple of my Prairie Avenue Bookshop catalogs with contemporary architectural bibliography were even offered online in England for 15 pounds.

Then of course came the debacle of Amazon and its destruction of 1000's of independent bookstores and the Senate Committee disallowing sales tax on the internet sales which punished brick and mortar businesses, ours included, (which in turn hikes your state's budget shortfalls and local real estate taxes). The unnoticed present and future destruction of publishers is in progress. And critical editing in general will disappear as foretold in the Graham Foundation's seminar several years ago. In Chicago, Cook County's 10.25% sales tax was the final nail in the coffin.

But that's another story.

Bill's book THE CHICAGO ARCHITECTURAL CLUB, Prelude to the Modern, chronicles the change in architectural historiography itself: a club, letters, drawings, blueprints, magazines documenting ideas and design, as opposed to the 20C telephone, e-mail in lieu of letters, the death of magazines, and CAD--the death of drawing. Such a book will not be written on 20C architecture. No one writes or keeps that kind of record today. Alas!! Artistic works such as Sullivan's A SYSTEM OF ARCHITECTURAL ORNAMENT and Wright's WASMUTH PORTFOLIO will not be produced. We donated a "carload" of documentation from THE PRAIRIE SCHOOL REVIEW and later nineteen boxes of research (including too many drafts) for the CAC book to the Art Institute of Chicago, which in turn has skipped nearly all of the 20C of Chicago architecture and cuts Jack Brown's Ryerson /Burnham Library budget first in every financial crisis. Should records we donated be catalogued, at least historians in the future can see how it was done.

But--it's been a great ride. We enjoyed talking for 48 years to visiting architects, architectural historians, architectural critics, students and architectural buffs. We will miss you all, and especially our incredibly loyal staff, particularly Beth, Karl and Emily, known to all of you, who stayed with us to the end.

Now it's time to retire. Marilyn's two new knees and Bill's ubiquitous cane spell the end of exciting professional lives. Bill will be finishing his new book on Dwight Perkins--the man he considers the third in the triumvirate of turn-of-the-century architects, Sullivan, Wright and Perkins--and Marilyn is delving into literary criticism again.

Thank you for your conversations and support.

Marilyn & Bill Hasbrouck

Prairie Avenue Bookshop

Monday, October 12, 2009

Pecha Kucha Night Denver: Volume VII

In my box this morning:

Tuesday, October 20, will be Denver's 7th volume of PechaKucha Night!

Ten local architects, designers and artists will share their creative projects, each showing 20 images timed for 20 seconds each. Volume 7 includes a line-up of incredible presenters with diverse topics; from alley houses to robots, cocktails to dive bars, come to be entertained and inspired by the creative talent in our city. More information about the event is on our website:

PKND7 | 10/20 at 20:20
Buntport Theater
Doors open at 8, show starts at 8:20
FREE or a suggested $5 donation

Reserve yourself a seat! Chairs are limited; floor and standing room is available the day of the show.

We'll start leaking the presenter line-up on twitter this week:

We hope that you can come! Please forward this email and the attached flier to family, friends, and colleagues. If you have any questions let us know.

Your hosts,

PechaKucha Night Denver team

PechaKucha FAQ:
What is PechaKucha Night? check out the PKN global website:
What's it doing in Denver?
Who has presented in the past? we name-drop for each volume here:
What about online social networking? totally: flickr / twitter / facebook
Can I reserve a seat? yes, otherwise floor and standing room is available.

PechaKucha Night was conceived by Klein Dytham architecture as a place for architects, designers and artists to share their creative work easily, informally, and succinctly. Each presenter shows 20 images of their work timed for 20 seconds each, adding up to 6 minutes and 40 seconds of fame before the next person takes the stage. The phenomenon of PechaKucha, which is Japanese for the sound of conversation, has spread virally to 246 cities around the world since its inception in Tokyo in 2003.


Thursday, October 08, 2009

Rodinný dům - ateliér [Family house Kojetin]

Family House Kojetin - photo by: Studio TOAST

stumbling onto this czech architecture newsletter site...
...has been one of the best sources of architectural reference that we have found in years. granted most of the site is in the czech language, but that is besides the point and nothing a little free translation can't take care of...

modern intervention shares a common roof - photo by: Studio TOAST

this particular project immediately caught our attention, due to it's unique site and existing conditions. after breaking some language barriers, we can gather that this residence is located near the eastern border of the czech republic, about 35 kilometers from slovakia. the pre-existing conditions included working around the ruins of an old sandstone barn, first erected in 1862 perched at the top of a rolling hill.

building site context - photo by: Studio TOAST

ruins of a sandstone barn from 1862 - photo by: Studio TOAST

KAMIL MRVA ARCHITECTS were responsible for delicately inserting a modern box within the confines of the barn ruins. the description notes the main design elements were a summer sitting porch, light framed roof, and floor to ceiling glass to allow for the uninterrupted view of the countryside.

archaic exterior shell; modern interior amenities - photo by: Studio TOAST

new interior space - photo by: Studio TOAST

exterior stone walls anchor the interior spaces - photo by: Studio TOAST

experiencing the sun deck - photo by: Studio TOAST

in order to retain the character and function of the existing stone pillars, they were given shape and capped with a concrete lintel, and served as structural bearing points for the new shed roof. once a protective shell now becomes an irregular colonnade which helps frame views and ambiguously define the out door terrace.

a well laid plan--drawing by: kamil mrva architects

exterior elevations--drawing by: kamil mrva architects

like a rural interpretation of the defunct downtown warehouse transformed into lofts [re: lodo denver], this obsolete building program has been given new life.


Monday, October 05, 2009

build llc: the modern list

a recent blog post called "the modern list: colorado" from some guys we really admire [build llc] has gotten our attention after their somewhat whirlwind tour of this great state.

on behalf of everyone here, let me say to the BUILD BLOG guys we were happy to have you!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

patio dining table prototype

latest project for the backyard:

patio dining table prototype
seats 8 persons comfortably; 10 persons max.

-[4] 4x4 cedar posts
-24 1x4 cedar slats [one side rough]
-a crap tonne of wood screws
-gorilla wood glue

36" W. x 108" L. x 30" H.

3d exploded axon rendering

the primary goal of the aesthetic is the idea of "zero-ness" by concealing every fastener and connection, as if the table was formed through sculpting or subtraction, rather than an additive process.

the materials were leftover from cedar fence project-> using 4x4 posts as structural support, and 1x4 slats for the table top. the top was conceived as a butcher block construction . the orientation of the boards would be strongest this way, and with spacers to let rain/snow fall through. with just a light sanding to finish there will be no stain or sealer applied, and the wood will turn a silvery-gray with weathering over time.

3d axon rendering of table design

margaritas on the job site? ["do what i say, not what I do kids..."]

a profile reminiscent of traditional japanese building forms
[the original aesthetic of minimalism was born out of necessity, not out of fashion]

the exposed "zero detail" where the 3 axes converge and disappear

one third of the table top complete and the chair is for performance testing

that's as far as we got. finalized pics coming soon.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

in good we trust | denver biennial for the americas

following on the heels of bruce mau's visit to denver for pecha kucha night denver: volume VI is:

in good we trust | denver biennial for the americas

A Letter to the Future: In Good We Trust
February 3, 2009

We find ourselves between things. In transition. We find ourselves asking questions new questions - questions of purpose. Propelled by these questions we seek new possibilities for change. In this way we are on the cusp of a new era. The 21st Century brings with it a sense of optimism for what is to come. I believe in this optimism and the sheer massive potential of this future. I have born witness to its roots over the past decade through a network of innovators, entrepreneurs, and creative thinkers. And, I witnessed its blossom to scale at an inspiring spectacle, in Denver, in August 2008.

Never before had I experienced such spirited engagement with this future as I did during the Democratic National Convention held in Denver. There was a sense that we were all in this together, actively participating in the optimism. My contribution at this historic moment was through a series of conversations about the future challenges of sustainability that we face as a nation and as a collective world. From this dialogue, so fresh in our memory and so recent as it has launched a new leader, we begin to move towards a new space of action. This is the place in which we begin to imagine a new kind of cultural and civic "Biennial" engagement, that is based on the most fundamental creative acts: Innovation, the act of introducing something new into the world and Entrepreneurship, the act of a building a significant undertaking.

Through our work on Massive Change we have documented and mapped the movement of change-makers broadening the discourse on the future of our collective world. These innovators and entrepreneurs have been leading and participating in a movement in production of new models of public good. This movement is action-based in form and demands active participation by many. It is bound and interconnected by an unspoken and invisible cloud of trust across boundaries of disciplines, institutions, and geographies. I imagine the title of this movement as, “In Good We Trust”.

We will 1) exhibit and articulate, 2) engage participants, 3) produce experiences, 4) build networks, and 5) launch new contributions to “In Good We Trust” in Denver in summer of 2010. This project, a new and radically ambitious cultural project, takes its cue from the energized civic life currently characterizing Denver and innovations currently underway across the Americas and globally. It will be organized through the principles of “proof and possibility”. We will present to the world the diverse creative practitioners that prove this movement is already active and we will catalyze the new possibilities they invite. It is my honor to serve as the first Creative Director of the Denver Biennial of the Americas and lead a vision of the program: In Good We Trust. Be Possibility,

Bruce Mau

Bruce Mau will be serving as creative director starting in 2010 and Denver will be the host city of the biennial every two years after.


Monday, July 13, 2009

Pecha Kucha: Volume VI [with Bruce Mau]

In my inbox [Bruce Mau is coming to Denver--sweet!]:

Tuesday, July 21st, will be Denver's 6th volume of PechaKucha Night. The line-up of presenters is amazing - from Big Blue Bears to Biennials, furniture design to fashion, this round includes some of Denver's top local creatives along with a special guest presenter: Bruce Mau, Artistic Director for the 2010 Denver Biennial of the Americas.

Since it's summer, we're taking the show outside. We'll still be at Buntport Theater, 717 Lipan St., we're still asking for a $5 donation, and the show still begins at 8:20, but unlike PKN events in the past, this will be an OUTDOOR event. Please bring your own blanket or low-slung chair - larger chairs will be asked to move towards the back. Come at 8 and set up in the parking lot or grass outside the theater. Being outside will let us fit more folks than usual and you can camp out early to get a good spot. In the event of bad weather however, the event will be held indoors and seating will be limited, first come first served.

Lawrence Argent: Artist & DU Professor, Argent Studios
Berger, Henry & Foehr: Design Team, cypher13
Charles Carpenter: Graphic Designer, EBD
Larabee & Thornton: Furniture Makers, DoubleButter
Scott Lary: Art Director & Sculpture Artist, Slary Design
Bruce Mau: Designer and Artistic Director, Bruce Mau Design Inc.
Ted Schultz: Architect, CTA Architects Engineers
Brandi Shigley: Dreamer & Doer, Fashion Denver
Ravi Zupa: Visual/Video Artist, Parts and Labor Union

PechaKucha FAQ:
What is PechaKucha Night? start here:
What's it doing in Denver?
Who has presented in the past? we name-drop for each volume here:
What about online social networking? totally. flickr / twitter / facebook

Please forward this email and the attached flier to family, friends, and colleagues.
If you have any questions let us know!

Your hosts,
Jaime and Angela

Angela Schwab and Jaime Kopke
PechaKucha Night Denver


Wednesday, July 08, 2009

ghost lab 11

photo by RShott on flickr

this year's ghost lab has been completed for about a week now, and through evidence at the Ghost 11 flickr Pool this year's lab was quite different from past projects. from the photos, what we can tell is that this year's ghost was a re-construction [and re-locating] of an existing structure onto the ghost village site. being an alumnus of ghost lab 8 ourselves, the documentation of these exploits in nova scotia are always a pleasure to view.

*Update*--here is an article briefly explaining how this year's historically significant ghost 11 came to be:

"...Granville Centre may have lost its Troop [family name] barn heritage landmark, but the 121-year-old octagonal building has found a new home.

Halifax architect Brian MacKay-Lyons bought the historic barn with its vertical faded red clapboard and cupola. Last month he had the barn dismantled, loaded on a truck, and taken to his farm in Kingsburg.

Catherine Pretty of MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects writes that the Troop barn will get a new life as part of the Ghost Architectural Laboratory, an intensive two-week design program currently underway in Kingsburg. For background, go to and click on Ghost.

Ms. Pretty says the barn will become a community building on the campus. When it’s finished later this year, the new/old Troop barn will be christened with a Lennie Gallant performance.

The Troop barn was built by William B. Troop in 1888, and is one of two surviving octagonal barns in Nova Scotia. The other one is in Old Barns, just outside of Truro."

we will leave you to discover the ghost photo set on your own. here are some more highlights of ghost 11:

photo by RShott on flickr

photo by RShott on flickr

photo by RShott on flickr

also linked from another fellow ghostie: with love and squalor


Thursday, June 11, 2009

plotter postmortem

Information technology support CSI photo: front

Information technology support CSI photo: back

our plotter literally blew out its back side [of the magenta cartridge], and here are the crime scene photos. ambiguously eerie and almost david lynch-ian in aesthetic...

speaking of...try dark night of the soul on for size. listen here.

we can't stop listening and visualizing the types of spaces this music should be heard in.

cover art for danger mouse, sparklhorse, david lynch collaboration: dark night of the soul

promotional art for dark night of the soul; imagery by david lynch

promotional art for dark night of the soul; imagery by david lynch


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

high line [phase I] is open!

photo by iwan baan; friends of the high line

phase I of the new high line park in manhattan was recently opened, and it is a stunner! articles and praises galore for this unique urban space:

NYT: Renovated High Line Open for Strolling


NYT: On High, A Fresh Outlook

-->Slideshow 2


Friends of the High Line Blog

Arch Daily

photo by librado romero, new york times

photo by librado romero, new york times

photo by iwan baan; friends of the high line

photo by iwan baan; friends of the high line

More photos of the high line on flickr search.

time for a field trip!