Life

Studio Vision has brought me back by Michelle Linden










Anyone who follows this blog (is there anyone still out there?!?!) has probably noticed that it has been a while since I last posted...


Since my last post, I've merged practices with Henry Walters of Drome Design Studio to form atelier drome, llp. We're pretty excited about our merger and feel blessed to be busy! But, it has been too long since this blog has been active, so we're going to try and make an effort to reactivate the blog. This blog has meant a lot to me, a source of inspiration when I was working in jobs feeling less than inspired... a means of connecting to friends and new acquaintances across the globe... and now I hope to take this blog with me on a new journey with my new company.


Even though this post doesn't have any architectural photos... I can't think of a better product to summarize my aesthetic. When I first saw this bench (is that what you'd call it?) on shoebox dwelling, I actually gasped. I absolutely love the minimal design with the surprise inside.

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Hey, I know this guy! by Michelle Linden






It is always fun when you see people you know in the news... I don't know the architects on this project (Ruhl Walker Architects out of Boston), but I know the local architect - Rhoady Lee, the builder - Phil Tinguely, and the mechanical engineer - Mark Morrison.
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When I was living in working in Hawaii, I felt like there was a real lack of modern design, so it is nice to it start to happen more and more.

Congrats to all for the Hawaii Wildlife Center!
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Via Dezeen.

Lux Park - and website update by Michelle Linden


Lux Park is a joint design by atelier a+d, Tom Mulica, and Mark Stoner. Entered into the Holding Patterns competition, we were awarded an honorable mention by the City of Seattle's Design Council.
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The project's intent was to provide a place of summer refuge for Seattle's vitamin d deficient masses. Lux Park is perpetual summer in a bubble... a transportable design that can move from site to site, providing Seattle citizens with a much needed dose of sunshine and heat.
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I've just updated the website to include the project... check it out here.

Architecture's Modern Marvels - #3 by Michelle Linden

The building that hit #3 on Vanity Fair's Modern Marvels list is perhaps my all-time favorite building. It is at least in contention for the top spot. I guess the critics are right when they call Peter Zumthor the architects' architect.



In architecture school, there is always a lot of discussion about the experience of the space. About entry, passage... about the journey.
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The Therme Bath Vals is a spa set up in the mountains of Switzerland, and if any building is about the journey... then it is this one. I drove with friends from Zurich up to Chur and then on to Vals. For someone who hadn't really spent much time in the mountains, the drive was unbelievable. The scenery was so picturesque and quaint - at one time we were stopped by a passing farmer and his herd of cattle!
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By the time we got to Vals, I was soooo ready to be at the spa. The excitement had really been building. As someone who loves minimalist design, but also loves tactile, crafted designs, Zumthor has always been one of my favorite architects.
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Believe me, the spa did not disappoint. The exterior structure is gorgeous, constructed of locally quarried stone in long linear patterns. The massive forms sink into the mountainside, with the green roof furthering the feeling that you are being enveloped by your surroundings.
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Once inside, we donned our bathing suits and made our way into the pools. Talk about the progression of space... I can still remember the different experiences in each pool; the hot water right next to the unbearable cold, the rose petal water, the tiny pool with the highest ceiling, the pass-through from inside to out. We swam and swam until we were so shriveled we couldn't possibly stay any longer.
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Buildings are meant to be experienced, and the Therme Bath Vals was one of the unforgettable experiences of my life. How can you not love this building and this architect?
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Architecture's Modern Marvels - #1 by Michelle Linden

As many of you probably know, Vanity Fair recently compiled a list of Architecture's Modern Marvels. And it is really a pretty good list. Probably because they actually took the time to survey real (and prestigious) architects, rather than simply give us a list of the most popular according to HGTV. Since I've been fortunate to visit 6 of the top 21, I thought I'd take the time to write a bit about my experience with those buildings... after all, architecture is really all about the experience.




First up is Frank Gehry's Guggenheim Bilbao, which coincidentally was the site of my first ever architectural pilgrimage. While lately it has been pretty popular to hate on Gehry (I'm as guilty as anyone), it is hard to deny the success of this building.
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One of my closest/oldest friends has lived in Bilbao most of her life, so the summer after my freshman year in college (1998 - just after the building opened), I took a trip to visit her. The trip was mostly social... I wanted to see my friend, but I have to admit I was also excited about the prospect of seeing this building, one that we'd been hearing about in school all year long.
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Even though I've known all my life that I wanted to be an architect, I had a bit of a rough start my freshman year. I just wasn't cut out for the tedium of pencil shading, hard-lining, and precision. Precision had never been my forte, but that was exactly what we were expected to produce. In fact, after a year of hard-lining (of which I was adequate, but certainly not a star), I was beginning to wonder if architecture was meant for me after all.
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That all changed when I visited Bilbao. Along with my friend and her family, we spent the day visiting the museum. Just walking the streets up towards the museum took my breath away. Clearly, this was an icon. The museum had been open for less than a year, but everyone knew that the city was changed forever. The Bilbao effect has since been coined to describe the complete and utterly positive changes on a city by a singular structure.
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We spent the day wandering through the museum. For anyone who ever travels with families, you know how difficult this can be. Trying to accommodate young children, the elderly, and everyone in between can be hard, and more often than not I'm leaving the museum sooner than desired. But, with the Guggenheim, no one wanted to leave.
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We all know that "form follows function" is not how Gehry works. But for some reason, the form and the function of this building are completely interconnected. All of the spaces are appropriately formed from the inside to suit the artwork, while still creating Gehry's sculpture from the outside.
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Do I think it is perfect? Of course not, no building is. But whether or not the Guggenheim Bilbao is to your taste or not, you have to admit that it is a spectacular piece of architecture. This one building does more than most architects' entire careers. It has unity a city, brought (some) prosperity to that city, and become an iconic symbol across the world. It has managed the unique and delicate balance of fantastic form and suitable function. It has helped to advance both the architectural and building technologies - in the field and in the office. And perhaps least importantly to most, but most importantly to me... it helped remind me why I wanted to be an architect, and helped me to return to school completely motivated and totally invigorated.
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