Posts Tagged ‘ that is key to creating and honoring the original structure ’

Green Spaces that Work… Beyond Concept to Functionality

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There have been many trends in Architecture and lifestyle, but I think the “green” trend has inhabited every aspect of our lives. In its concept, “Green” living refers to… “a lifestyle that attempts to reduce an individual’s or society’s use of the Earth’s natural resources and personal resources. Practitioners of green living often attempt to reduce their carbon footprint by altering methods of transportation, energy consumption, and diet.” As defined by Wikipedia. This concept has permeated the zeitgeist and made positive strides in health and well-being. Green living has affected how we live, shop, eat and exercise and in Architecture it has affected how residential and commercial construction is designed.

From reducing our carbon footprint, saving energy, consuming less, eating well and living in a less excessive style, everyone can benefit from a green lifestyle. In designing a  home, office or commercial space, what materials will we use and how will we heat, cool and light spaces? In a true green space, the ultimate goal is reducing energy consumption, reducing cost and maintaining and supporting the environment.

How does the designer take aspects of making a green home or office from the drafting table to reality? There are many aspects to include in this equation: geography, space, building codes, and how to make the space as green as it can be within certain guidelines. Lighting, heating and cooling, and energy sources come into play as well as plant based design to incorporate within areas of a home or office, to create energy and improve air quality and even create a food source.

Materials that aid in this concept are another major component of a green space. Using recycled materials, natural materials that are sustainable and durable are important. A truly green space considers every alternative to wasteful and high cost materials and strives to create a new and more affordable yet still high quality design.

Building codes and regulations also should be included within the design plan, in an urban environment especially. There are many regulations put in place long before sustainable homes or workspaces became popular, so the designer must adjust to these rules. How will the designer incorporate these new ideas into an old framework of codes and regulations? For example, the Client wants a “living” wall, of plants or an indoor vertical garden for a food source or air quality source, will their building allow this and how will it be maintained. These types of new features must be studied and researched and the designer must be sure that not only can it be installed but that it can also be maintained by the client.

I think that in the flurry of excitement around having a “green” space, sometimes the functionality factor can be neglected. When designing this type of home or office, it is more imperative that the research, development and execution of these new features be more examined and that the proper experts are involved in the installation of these green features. “Green” is not just a trend, when done successfully the Client’s daily life is improved and their home or office can truly be economically more sound and their well-being improved.

 

 

 

 

 

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Losing our History…The Erasing of our Architectural Footprints

St Sava Serbian Orthodox Church NYC

St Sava Serbian Orthodox Church NYC

May’s Blog is dedicated to the memory of the Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of Saint Sava in the Flatiron District NYC, which was ravaged by a large and quick consuming fire Sunday May 1, 2016.

The church building was constructed in 1850-55 and was designed by noted architect Richard Upjohn in the English Gothic Revival Style. In 1968 the city of New York declared this church a landmark.

As one of the oldest churches in New York, Saint Sava served as not only a spiritual anchor for the community, but also an architectural anchor. In a neighborhood which one could say is plagued by developers who are eager to construct new residential and commercial spaces for their financial gain, Saint Sava served as an historic Architectural marker, a memory. In a fast changing cityscape this church was a reminder that our buildings are our memories, our reference to eras gone by and are preserved to remind future generations of how people constructed and ultimately how they lived in the past.

It has been a longstanding practice of war and territorial domination that the first destruction begins with a city’s buildings and landmarks. The oppressor seeks to erase the memory and footprint of the former ruling body, therefore erasing history so their domination can be seen as new. With Architectural treasures destroyed, a new regime, government, ruling body can form history in their own manner for future generations. If there is no Architectural footprint left, history is lost.

Our Architecture contains not only history but emotion; these structures have been created to evoke a feeling, to elicit an emotion for those who enter. As an Architect and Designer, buildings are the keepers of our history and evolution, and the destruction of this church is a tragedy, not only for the church family but for the community at large who received such joy when they passed, when they took a photo or entered to find some peace amid the art, painstaking details and beauty of the structure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Power of Harmony: The Home Office

Tribeca Loft

For those who work at home or have a home office that is utilized regularly for household tasks, creating a harmonious and flowing space is crucial. The home office is the epicenter of organization, where we can be comfortable and productive doing household business or professional job related tasks. I want to explore the concept of “office symmetry”, having tools, workspace, and storage space organized in such a way that items are easily accessible, available and maximized in their usage.

If my Client is fortunate to work at home, that is an important aspect of their space design or renovation. How does working in the home affect all other activities? Lighting, layout, storage and office placement in the home become that much more important.

My goal is to design a space that spurs my Client’s productivity in a positive and calming way. Ease and simplicity of color for walls, lighting and furnishing all play a role in creating that harmonious work environment at home. The image presented is from our Tribeca loft project, this workspace is clean, fresh and comfortable.

At home work spaces are becoming the new normal. As more and more people have their own enterprises, a home office becomes a necessity for their space and part of the concept of their design. This movement towards working at home adds another dimension to our design task and allows the designer to be creative in more than just a residential capacity, what we are really doing is two types of spaces in one that can work harmoniously in one home.

The Power of Color: The Endless Possibilities of White

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When we think about color for a space, it does not always have to be bold, electric, intense color that snaps us to attention…What about the power of White? The clean, fresh and expansive feeling that white can bring to a space. It can elongate, delineate, exaggerate, and expand a space, creating light, form and shape.

As a Contemporary Designer, I have always been drawn to white for these reasons, because it is transformative. It can refresh an already existing space or be the powerful backdrop to a new one. White can be the basis for walls, accessories, carpets, furnishing, and anchor a room with its bold un- color. White is evocative of feeling fresh, clean, renewed. Why do we wear white mostly in Spring? It is a time of renewal and of dazzling possibilities.

I love the feeling of a white Kitchen, I want to use the example of a custom Kitchen I designed for a Project in Mid-Town Manhattan. The Kitchen is a gathering place, an entertaining space and a completely functional space. By utilizing white, it creates the illusion of a much larger space and gives a clean and sleek feel. I designed the custom Corian island in the center of the space to serve as a prep station, dining table and utility space. By using white I create a beautiful, modern and unobtrusive centerpiece that complements the white cabinets and flooring.

In this open floor plan white creates dimension and reflects light in this open space, it does not compete with the panoramic views and is practical and beautiful.

White can be one of the most powerful colors in your design palette, try adding some white accessories to a room and see the way all other materials and furniture take on a different look. It is complementary yet still holds it own.

The Power of Harmony

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Harmony is integration of objects, spaces, people…into a cohesive and functional symbiotic partnership. Harmony in Architecture is the result of the space and its surroundings working together to form a perfect union. What might be harmonious in one location may not be when placed or constructed in a different location. It is like a recipe, measured and weighed out to integrate all the elements and amounts of them, into this pleasing and harmonious creation.

The term “Organic Architecture” was based on these principles. It formal definition can be: a philosophy of architecture which promotes harmony between human habitation and the natural world through design approaches so sympathetic and well integrated with its site, that buildings, furnishings, and surroundings become part of a unified, interrelated composition.

So, what is the duty of the Architect when their design principles are rooted in a philosophy of Organic Architecture? Their vision for the Project,  be it a new construction, renovation or space re-design is generated from the desire to create harmony, integration and unification. The idea being that, materials, motifs, and basic ordering principles continue to repeat themselves throughout the building as a whole.

As the finished product results in a juxtaposition of all these elements, creating Harmony in a space is of the utmost priority and will lead a Designer to wonderful results and a satisfied Client.

The talent of seeing “the big picture” as some would say is inherent in a good Architect, to see beyond the drawing, the four walls, and to understand the potential of a space in its most organic state.  Then to apply that vision to a physical structure, a harmonious blend of floors, walls, furnishing, objects, lighting and color. When designing a home or re-designing a space for my Clients I strive for harmony, for the meeting of the minds between Client, Designer and Space.  I create an “Architectural Symphony”  with all the players working symbiotically. When all these roads converge in the harmonious way, we have achieved success. The sometimes challenging hours of planning, designing, selecting and discussion, all produce a pleasing and lasting outcome

Looking towards 2012 … Architecturally Speaking

A Style for every Emotion…

You look to the  future and allow yourself to imagine the impossible… As designers we do this with every project. What are my client’s dreams? and how can I make them come true or even transcend them? It begins with a vision, when creating a home,  emotion is an integral part of the design process. Who will be living in the space and what are their needs? hobbies? passions? Something so personal as  designing a home comes with great responsibility. Not only to create a functional space, but one that is warm and inviting, one that feels safe and comfortable. Especially when dealing with renovations, you need to reassure your client that you are making their home better, more accessible, without erasing the emotional feeling they had from the home before. Having a “stylish” home is relative and based on the people who will spend a good part of their lives there. In modern Architecture, we use words like “minimal”, “zen” but that doesn’t necessarily mean an empty room. Harmony is crucial, whether you have a room full of furniture or just a few select pieces, how do they work together??? This is what is important. there are so many aspects to what makes a home “work”… Inspiration is also a big part of making the Client/Architect relationship work. Do we inspire each other? What can we bring to the table that will make the project, the one that client is dreaming about. Innovation is also key. To innovate within the boundaries of an existing space can be a challenge and a blessing. If the “bones” of the space are good, that is key to creating and honoring the original structure. As an Architect and Designer my goal is to create my best work every project, give the best of me to my clients and from that I will reap the benefits.

Here’s looking to a propserous New Year… by design!

 

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