Arch. Myriam B. Mahiques Curriculum Vitae

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Vanke Center, by Steven Hall

Vanke Center. Picture: Iwan Baan

Enjoy this post by Gwen Webber:
The Vanke Center in Shenzhen, China is a culmination of architect Steven Holl’s long-time pursuit to defy gravity. Although physically elevated above ground on broad concrete pillars, the secret behind this levitation effect is the building’s lighting design. “Steven thinks of light as an integral material, like stone or glass,” said Jason Neches a principal at L’Observatoire International, the New York-based lighting design firm. The firm’s contribution to the design is evident: the solid concrete-core supports, for example, which house the circulation up to the first floors, are wrapped in glass and lit to give the impression that the building floats. “Steven wanted uplighting, which provides a dramatic effect,” said Neches. “But since people are drawn to light, they would have looked down when we wanted them looking up at the building. So it is lit top-down.”

Keep on reading:

Friday, October 28, 2011

Design-History-Revolution Workshop. NYC. Call for papers

CFP: Design/History/Revolution Deadline: December 7, 2011 Conference: April 27& 28, 2012, The New School, NYC

Whether by providing agitprop for revolutionary movements, an aesthetics of empire, or a language for numerous avant-gardes, design has changed the world. But how? Why? And under what conditions? We propose a consideration of design as an historical agent, a contested category, and a mode of historical analysis. This interdisciplinary conference aims to explore these questions and open up new possibilities for understanding the relationships among design, history and revolution. Casting a wide net, we define our terms broadly. We seek 20-minute papers that examine the roles of design in generating, shaping, remembering or challenging moments of social, political, economic, aesthetic, intellectual, technological, religious, and other upheaval. We consider a range of historical periods (ancient, pre-modern, early modern, modern, post- and post-post-modern) and geographical locations (“West,” “East,” “North,” South,” and contact zones between these constructed categories). We examine not only designed objects (e.g., industrial design, decorative arts, graphic design, fashion) but also spaces (e.g., architecture, interiors, landscapes, urban settings) and systems (e.g., communications, services, governments). And we welcome a diversity of disciplinary and inter-disciplinary approaches. This conference brings together scholars from the humanities, sciences, and social sciences with designers, artists, and other creators. We hope not only to present multiple methodological approaches but also to foster conversations across traditional spatial, cultural, and disciplinary boundaries.

We list some possible subject areas below, and encourage you to propose others:

Design and political / cultural / economic revolution
Design and the everyday
Design and technological revolution
Design and government
Design and social movements
Design and surveillance
Design and historicity
Designed landscapes
Design and empire
Design and the sacred
Design and the avant-garde
Design and memory
Design and the print revolution
Design and philosophy/philosophies
Design and literature of design
Design and consumerism
Design and the city
Design and science
Design and the environment
Design and cybernetics
Design and the domestic sphere
Design and education

Please submit a 250-word abstract (maximum) and 1-page CV to:

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Spaceport America Terminal and Hangar Facility

Spaceport America Terminal and Hangar Facility. Image from
Image from

The hangar-dedication ceremony is the latest in a string of opening events for the spaceport. In October 2010, officials dedicated the facility's long runway, named "The Governor Bill Richardson Spaceway."
The hangar itself is a Tomorrowland-looking piece of work. It is expected to house up to two of Virgin Galactic's WhiteKnightTwo launch planes and five SpaceShipTwo tourist-carrying rocket planes, in addition to all of Virgin's astronaut preparation facilities and a mission control.
Excerpt from :

Now, let´s read Morey Bean´s opinion, (I agree with him)

The winning competition entry that Foster + Partners provided to the New Mexico Spaceport Authority makes no reference to the innate femininity of the firm’s design for Virgin Galactic’s Terminal and Hangar Facility at Spaceport America in southern New Mexico. My response to this intuitively sensual design, however, was an immediate attraction to the curvaceous feminine symbology of the Terminal building.
Although the competition entry documentation describes the view of the Terminal building from the air as a reference to the logo of Virgin Galactic, the anchor tenant of the New Mexico Spaceport, the Terminal building undeniably appeals to our collective sexual unconscious. The Terminal building relates well to the incredibly captivating landscape of New Mexico: In my opinion, it is indescribably voluptuous and beautifully proportioned, indeed lying subtly and sumptuously on the landscape.

Lea sobre Spaceport America en español:

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The knotted curtains of Chazen Museum, University of Wisconsin, Madison

I´ve always thought that the designs of the Argentine born architects Machado and Silvetti were like old fashioned, post modernist and didn´t show new investigations on design.
But this time, I am satisfied to see this beautiful project of knotted curtains inside the lobby of the Chazen Museum, University of Wisconsin. Though, this particular design do not belong to them but to the Dutch textile designer, Petra Blaisse, at least Rodolfo (with O) was bright enough to hire her. From the post by Molly Heintz, for

Rudolfo Machado, principal at the Boston-based architecture firm Machado and Silvetti Associates, was seeking a way to create a sense of place and privacy in the new glass-walled lobby of the Chazen Museum. Located on the campus of the University of Wisconsin in Madison, the 86,000-square-foot building is a freestanding extension of the existing museum designed in 1970 by Harry Weese. The new three-story structure, which opens to the public on October 22, houses galleries but will also serve as a space for performances and events, including both university-sponsored and private soirées in the lobby. “We needed something to help visually define the lobby from the courtyard, and we wanted it to be contemporary and site-specific,” said Machado.
Machado proposed commissioning a piece by Dutch textile designer Petra Blaisse, whose work had made an impression on him during a visit to the Casa da Musica in Porto, Portugal. Blaisse’s firm Inside Outside created massive knotted curtains that added texture to the OMA-designed space and also acted a screen for concert hall windows. Machado organized a trip for the Chazen’s director Russell Panczenko to Blaisse’s studio in Amsterdam, and Blaisse in turn visited the site in Madison. When she began to sketch out her vision of a semi-transparent curtain, Panczenko was convinced of the project’s merit as an artwork in its own right. “We have a textile collection here, so we were able to use accession funds for it,” said Panczenko, describing how the museum was able to cover the roughly $250,000 cost of Inside Outside’s installation.

Pictures and excerpt from:

Monday, October 24, 2011

Kevin Lynch Memorial Lecture 2011: Christopher Alexander

Christopher Alexander. Picture from

Location: The Gallery, 70 Cowcross Street, London EC1M 6EJ
Date: Wed, 23/11/2011 - 6:30pm
For this year's prestigious Kevin Lynch Memorial Lecture, the highlight of the UDG's events calendar, we are delighted and honoured to welcome Prof Christopher Alexander. Architect, theorist and winner of the UDG lifetime achievement award for 2011, Christopher will be in conversation with the UDG’s patron John Worthington, discussing his career, his tremendously significant and influential ‘pattern language’ and his forthcoming new book.

Ticket prices:
Cabaret seating: £35.00 for UDG members & Academy of Urbanism / £40.00 for non-members
Stalls seating: £25.00 for UDG members & Academy of Urbanism / £30.00 for non-members
Concession places for students & unemployed: £10.00 for members / £15 for non-members (this rate is limited to 10 places)
Prices include a reception with drinks and light buffet.
We anticipate that this event will be extremely popular. Pre-booking and payment in advance is essential.
To book, please email after 25 October 2011 and you will be advised on how you can pay.
Booking will open on Tuesday 25 October 2011 - We are unable to take bookings before this date.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Friday, October 21, 2011

About prisons: From The House of the Dead

Alcatraz, California. From
Cárcel de Devoto. Photo by Maxie Amena
Abandoned prison, Mexico. From

¨Our prison was at the end of the citadel behind the ramparts. Looking through the crevices between the palisade in the hope of seeing something, one sees nothing but a little corner of the sky, and a high earthwork, covered with the long grass of the steppe. Night and day sentries walk to and fro upon it. Then one perceives from the first, that whole years will pass during which one will see by the same crevices between the palisades, upon the same earthwork, always the same sentinels and the same little corner of the sky, not just above the prison, but far and far away. Represent to yourself a court-yard, two hundred feet long, and one hundred and fifty feet broad, enclosed by an irregular hexagonal palisade, formed of stakes thrust deep into the earth. So much for the external surroundings of the prison. On one side of the palisade is a great gate, solid, and always shut; watched perpetually by the sentinels, and never opened, except when the convicts go out to work. Beyond this, there are light and liberty, the life of free people! Beyond the palisade, one thought of the marvellous world, fantastic as a fairy tale. It was not the same on our side. Here, there was no resemblance to anything. Habits, customs, laws, were all precisely fixed. It was the house of living death. It is this corner that I undertake to describe.
On penetrating into the enclosure one sees a few buildings. On each side of a vast court are stretched forth two wooden constructions, made of trunks of trees, and only one storey high. These are convicts' barracks. Here the prisoners are confined, divided into several classes. At the end of the enclosure may be seen a house, which serves as a kitchen, divided into two compartments. Behind it is another building, which serves at once as cellar, loft, and barn. The centre of the enclosure, completely barren, is a large open space. Here the prisoners are drawn up in ranks, three times a day. They are identified, and must answer to their names, morning, noon, and evening, besides several times in the course of the day if the soldiers on guard are suspicious and clever at counting. All around, between the palisades and the buildings there remains a sufficiently large space, where some of the prisoners who are misanthropes, or of a sombre turn of mind, like to walk about when they are not at work. There they go turning over their favourite thoughts, shielded from all observation.¨
From The House of the Dead. By Fedor Dostoievsky. 1911

Auschwitz, main entrance. From
An imaginary prison by Piranesi. Google images

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Architecture, urbanism, design and behaviour. By Dan Lockton

Chepstow; Monmouthshire (restored 1524) and Philips High Tech Campus, Eindhoven (c.2000). Photo downloaded from the article below

This is an excerpt from researcher Dan Lockton´s article (part of his PhD tesis) Architecture, urbanism, design and behaviour: a brief review. Below, there´s the link to read it in full:

Where there is an explicit intention to influence behaviour, the intended behaviours could relate (for example) to directing people for strategic reasons, or providing a particular ‘experience’, or for health and safety reasons, but they are often focused on influencing social interaction. Hillier et al (1987, p.233) find that “spatial layout in itself generates a field of probabilistic encounter, with structural properties that vary with the syntax of the layout.” Ittelson et al (1974, p.358) suggest that “All buildings imply at least some form of social activity stemming from both their intended function and the random encounters they may generate. The arrangement of partitions, rooms, doors, windows, and hallways serves to encourage or hinder communication and, to this extent, affects social interaction. This can occur at any number of levels and the designer is clearly in control to the degree that he plans the contact points and lanes of access where people come together. He might also, although with perhaps less assurance, decide on the desirability of such contact.”
“Designers often aspire to do more than simply create buildings that are new, functional and attractive—they promise that a new environment will change behaviours and attitudes” (Marmot, 2002, p.252). Where architects expressly announce their intentions and ability to influence behaviour, such as in Danish firm 3XN’s exhibition and book Mind Your Behaviour (3XN, 2010), the behaviours intended and techniques used can range from broad, high-level aspirational strategies such as communal areas “creating the potential for involvement, interaction and knowledge sharing” in a workplace (3XN, 2010) to specific tactics, such as Frank Lloyd Wright’s occasional use of “very confining corridors” for people to walk along “so that when they entered an open space the openness and light would enhance their experience” (Ittelson et al, 1974, p.346). An appreciation of both broad strategies and specific tactics is valuable: from the perspective of a designer whose agency may only extend to redesign of certain elements of a space, product or interface, it is the specific tactical techniques which are likely to be the most immediately applicable, but the broader guiding strategies can help set the vision in the first place. For example, the ‘conditions for city diversity’ outlined by Jacobs (1961)—broad strategies for understanding aspects of urban behaviour—have influenced generations of urbanists.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Abandoned televisions. Urban installations by Alex Beker

Driving through a city block or suburban neighborhood anywhere, you'll often see discarded items chillin' on the street corner, abandoned and left for the trash man or those who might find it valuable. "Abandoned Televisions" is a series by Miami-based graphic designer/photographer Alex Beker that is meant to conjure up nostalgia in us about our favorite childhood television shows. The TV screens feature moments during the show, frozen in time to help us remember.
"We travel back to our younger years, recalling the house we used to live in, the room where the television set was, the chair we sat in to watch, the smells of our house, and those we watched the show with. A snapshot of popular culture tells a piece of our own personal story."
Pictures and text from:

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Kevin Roche Retrospective Opens in New York

New York, New York (1963-68). Ford Foundation Headquarters. Photo Ezra Stoller
New York, New York (1969-75). One United Nations Plaza Photo courtesy Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates
J.P. Morgan and Company Headquarters. Photo courtesy Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates
J.P. Morgan and Company Headquarters. Photo courtesy Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates
New York, New York (1980). Metropolitan Museum of Art, American Wing Court. Photo courtesy Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates
Oakland, California (1969). Oakland Museum of California. Photo courtesy Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates

¨The exhibition and catalogue—researched by Eeva-Liisa Pelkonen and her students at Yale, where the exhibition was first staged—argue that Roche is influential for considering architecture as a nexus of complex systems: urbanism, the environment, infrastructure, workplace organization, and architectural history. For his corporate clients, for instance, he researched organizational needs by systematically interviewing employees. This resulted in suburban office buildings of fractal intricacy, like the Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, headquarters of Merck (1993), its floor plan a colossal, crenellated hexagon, or the snowflake-like wings of the Union Carbide headquarters (1982) in Danbury, Connecticut.
Stylistically agnostic, Roche built in concrete, steel, and glass in vocabularies ranging from Brutalism to minimalism to postmodern classical references—or with some combination of the three. Much of his work is justifiably acclaimed, although the squat, yellow-and-green Kimmel Center (2003) at Manhattan’s New York University shows the limits of the systems-analysis design methodology when it neglects aesthetic components like form, proportion, and material.
The New York installation of the show emphasizes Roche’s influence on the city, particularly the landmark Ford Foundation Headquarters (1968) and his complete transformation of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (ongoing since 1967). Even better, the city itself is a perfect showcase of his work, with 13 completed buildings still standing throughout Manhattan.
Roche will join former New York Times architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff for a sold-out conversation at the Ford Foundation Headquarters on October 17, 2011. The exhibition closes on January 22, when it will travel next to the National Building Museum, Washington, DC, in July 2012, followed by the Eric Arthur Gallery, University of Toronto, next October.¨

Excerpt from Carl Yost´s article for Architectural Record, read it in full:

Monday, October 17, 2011

Amplían el área del casco histórico de Buenos Aires

Catedral de Buenos Aires. De

He leído sobre la peatonalización de más calles en el microcentro de Buenos Aires, dando prioridad al transporte público. Una buena medida, que es acompañada por la extensión del área del casco histórico.
De la nota de Ángeles Castro, 7 de octubre de 2011:

Cabildo de Buenos Aires. De
Congreso de Buenos Aires. Al frente, estatua El Pensador de Rodin. Imagen de

Las calles Reconquista y Florida, la recova del Bajo, edificios emblemáticos del centro porteño como la Bolsa de Comercio, la Iglesia de la Merced y el Rectorado de la Universidad de Buenos Aires, entre otros, integran una nueva área catalogada ayer por la Legislatura como de protección histórica (APH), con restricciones de altura para futuras construcciones y de emplazamiento para la publicidad callejera.
Por una ley aprobada anoche, que fue impulsada por el diputado Patricio Di Stefano (Pro), los legisladores categorizaron como APH al polígono delimitado por Florida, Rivadavia, Leandro N. Alem y San Martín, al que denominaron Catedral al Norte. Asimismo, ampararon con similar catalogación a la zona de la plaza San Martín.
Dentro de esos límites, los diputados impusieron diversos niveles de protección a 192 edificios de valor patrimonial, lo que impide demolerlos y obliga a mantener sus fachadas. Entre ellos, figuran los ya mencionados, así como el ex Banco Francés (Perón y Reconquista), el ex banco Alemán Trasatlántico (Reconquista y Mitre), el Nuevo Banco Italiano (Reconquista y Rivadavia) y la ex Compañía Naviera Dodero, hoy sede de la Sindicatura General de la Nación (Corrientes y Reconquista).
De esta manera, recordó Di Stefano, se aseguró la conservación de todo el frente costero fundacional de la ciudad de Buenos Aires, desde el parque Lezama hasta la plaza San Martín. Desde la década del 90, uno de los rincones más antiguos de la Capital, entre Paseo Colón, Rivadavia, Perú y Brasil, ya contaba con la declaración de APH, al igual que todo el eje de la Avenida de Mayo.
En el caso del área ahora denominada Catedral al Norte, que coincide geográficamente con la city porteña, los legisladores buscaron que se respetara en el tiempo la particular morfología urbana que se consolidó cuando, tras una modificación del Código de Planeamiento que flexibilizó las alturas, a los edificios más históricos se fueron sumando otros modernos y altos por el arraigo de la actividad financiera.
A partir de ahora, con el objetivo de preservar los inmuebles de valor patrimonial en esta zona céntrica que sigue siendo atractiva para las inversiones inmobiliarias y en la que también se radicó gran parte de la oferta hotelera de calidad, los diputados aprobaron la catalogación.
Por eso, las futuras construcciones deberán respetar los 32 metros de altura sobre las avenidas del polígono y los 21 metros de altura, sobre las calles.
En tanto, los dispositivos de publicidad exterior también deberán guiarse por normas específicas. Se prohibió la colocación de marquesinas, de modo que sólo serán permitidas las ya existentes que sean parte integrante de la arquitectura original del edificio.
Por otra parte, se autorizan únicamente en las plantas bajas toldos rebatibles que no superen con su proyección la mitad del ancho de la vereda, mientras que los toldos fijos quedan prohibidos.
Asimismo, no podrán instalarse anuncios salientes, estructuras publicitarias ni cualquier otro elemento sobre fachadas, techos y medianeras de los edificios.
Finalmente, las cajas de telefonía, electricidad y cualquier otro elemento -excepto el alumbrado público y el mobiliario autorizado- no podrán ocupar la vía pública ni el espacio aéreo del APH.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The coolest fictional cities

Gotham city. From
Gotham City. From

My favorite fictional city ever is Gotham City, designed by Tim Burton for Batman.
And from the 50 coolest cities selected by Complex City Guide, I´m sharing the ones I like most:

Dark City
Kings landing
Los Angeles (Blade Runner)
Metropolis (Fritz Lang)
New York (Futurama)
The Citadel
See the rest of the selected ones:

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Architects and interdiscipline

Structure in Mars. Fractal generated by Myriam B. Mahiques

What I like most in Architecture is that it is so extended to all careers... an architect has an important general culture. He/she knows about philosophy, mathematics, design, history, arts, also music (even if he doesn´t know about the theory of music), gardening, computers, physics, and so on. Of course in more or less degree. Vitruvius adds ¨medicine¨, ¨astronomy and the theory of heavens¨, one would say it´s exaggerated now, but if we remember the ADN of spiders is used to build strong cables, why not agreeing with him?
From Ten Books on Architecture. Chapter I, The Education of the Architect;
3. In all matters, but particularly in architecture, there are these two points:—the thing signified, and that which gives it its significance. That which is signified is the subject of which we may be speaking; and that which gives significance is a demonstration on scientific principles. It appears, then, that one who professes himself an architect should be well versed in both directions. He ought, therefore, to be both naturally gifted and amenable to instruction. Neither natural ability without instruction nor instruction without natural ability can make the perfect artist. Let him be educated, skilful with the pencil, instructed in geometry, know much history, have followed the philosophers with attention, understand music, have some knowledge of medicine, know the opinions of the jurists, and be acquainted with astronomy and the theory of the heavens.


Related Posts with Thumbnails