Archive for November, 2012

Terra Cotta Worrier

Friday, November 9th, 2012

At UCLA, NBBJ has completed the renovation and expansion of the iconic Edwin W. Pauley Pavilion, home of the UCLA Bruins men’s and women’s basketball teams. Originally designed by Welton Becket in 1965, the expansion creates a new public concourse with vastly improved concessions, reconfigures the seating and clads the new exterior walls in understated terra cotta panels.

UCLA Pauley Pavilion Renovation and Expansion

UCLA Pauley Pavilion Renovation and Expansion

UCLA Pauley Pavilion Renovation and Expansion

Opening night of the season at the new stadium saw a capacity crowd of 13,800 perched on the edges of their seats and breathing a collective sigh of relief as the Bruins narrowly scraped through for a 72-67 win over Drexel.

The Glass is Greener

Monday, November 5th, 2012

The Causeway Bay area of Hong Kong is often cited as one of the most densely populated parts of the planet. Buildings and people are tightly packed and the narrow streets are constantly abuzz with the comings and goings of residents, office workers, shoppers and tourists.

hysan_kpf_04

Into the middle of that density, Kohn Pedersen Fox have inserted a sleek 36 story tower that sits atop blocks of retail and office space. In between these blocks, publicly accessible sky gardens on several levels provide much needed green space, views and refreshing breezes to the occupants. The building is currently the largest LEED Platinum building in Hong Kong.

HYSAN PLACE

HYSAN PLACE

Separate sky lobbies allow for rapid and dedicated access from street level to the office portions of the building, leaving the retail podium to absorb the massive ebb and flow during peak commuting and lunchtime periods.

HYSAN PLACE 

Corner Office

Saturday, November 3rd, 2012

I never really aspired to work in the corner office but now that I’m here, it ain’t so bad.

Marionettes of Fire

Saturday, November 3rd, 2012

For all the sleek, modern touches to the design of Forum 66, the music piping through the place seemed trapped in a time warp. Some uplifting Eagles to start, add a little Celine Dion here and there, a spot of Neil Diamond to hum along with on the escalator and a little Jefferson Starship to spice things up come lunchtime. One tune that kept creeping into the consciousness (albeit in slow motion) was the soundtrack to Chariots of Fire composed by Vangelis. The classic beach scene is one of the great moments of British cinema.

It was one of those bizarre co-incidences then, when just at the moment I was getting Vangelis out of my head, we passed a bus shelter with the following poster advertising heaven knows what.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

Shenyang is yet another Chinese city growing at an extraordinary rate. Everywhere you look around town there are cranes atop buildings along a seemingly endless horizon of development. And like every other rapidly developing society, there are always the small reminders of reality that creep in to chip away at the perception of the bright new future for all.

In our daily trek from the hotel to the project site, we plied our way along the main road, dodging the constant peril of scooters screaming along the footpath. In the near distance we could just make out the facade of the project through the haze. There’s nothing like Tiffany blue to brighten your morning, I always say.

Along the route, cleverly blending in with the landscaping were these signal boxes of some sort. The thought process that came to the logical conclusion that full military-style camouflage was the best way to reduce the visibility in an urban context is something that should be studied. The more we walked on, the more of them we saw. Which I guess, kind of defeats the purpose.

 

Spaghetti Westerner

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

In all our discussions leading up to the shoot, it was described to me as “the spaghetti wall”. A curved expanse of sinuous, undulating lines that caught the reflecting light nicely, imbuing the whole facade with a playful sense of vibrant activity.

In the evening, we’d been told it was important to capture the lighting effect along this same wall so with the cameras in place we waited patiently for the programmed lights to kick in. With the evening sky fading rapidly, still without lights and fearing the worst, we rang the building engineer to explain that the spaghetti wall remained at the squid ink end of the tonal scale.

He had absolutely no idea what we were talking about. “Spaghessi, spaghessi? Where is this place?” he understandably wondered.

A few precious minutes later, after a hurriedly emailed snapshot, the lights flickered to life on the Noodle Wall.

The Golden Hour

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

Diagonally across from the entrance of the retail mall was the Golden Hotel, a potential vantage point that offered an overview of the entire site. While the construction of the towers would be evident in the view, getting some context within the broader cityscape was an opportunity worth exploring.

I figured that easiest way to gain access would be to simply check in to the hotel and select an appropriate room. The hotel itself was circular so that means plenty of options and from ground level, the windows appeared to be operational. So it should be a snap, right? We’d scouted the room numbers on the higher floors and then asked for a certain room. Not available on that floor but the next floor up was free. All good so far.

As soon as we entered the room we discovered our calculations were out by one room . Return to front desk. Nothing available except for the executive floor, so upgrade required at a crippling $15 premium. Exchanged keys and hit the executive room to discover that they were actually two room suites and the numbering was completely out of sync with the lower floors.

Rapidly recalibrating expectations, we returned to the now totally confused front desk and sought out one more room change. Third time, or maybe it was fourth time lucky, we had to make this one work.

Oh, did I mention that the windows were indeed operational. But only to the extent of letting the faintest wedge of fresh(?) air waft into the cigarette infused room. There was no way to secure the camera inside the room without getting the window frame pushing into the shot.

Unwilling to let our room hopping go to waste, I decided that the only solution was to hang the Canon and bulbous 17TSE out the window by holding the tripod onto the window sill by hand. With added points of degree of difficulty I had to pass the tripod head, body and lens out through the window aperture piece by piece and assemble them out in space. And let’s not mention the ice cold, finger numbing wind shall we?