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Tag: Design

Architecture June 2020

Bishop Lucey Park, Cork – Design Competition

3rd place in international competition

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Warp & Weft, a dynamic threshold for Cork

The scheme takes its inspiration and character from unearthing the archaeological remnants of the old city of Cork.  The burgage plotlines inform both pattern of path and place. A stone veneer is laid uniformly, as a warp and weft pattern, across the gentle slope rising from Grand Parade and South Main Street.

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This design facilitates a permeable connection between these two thoroughfares, by removing fences, walls and barriers. Introducing a uniform design character gives structure and legibility to the space, consisting of 3.6 m high portals.  This architectonic device provides a regula for the space.

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To address the barrier-like fortified wall, a metal and glass grill covers an artificially illuminated cavity. Elsewhere archaeological structures emerge to contain raised wildflower beds.  Linear timber seating encircles this archipelago of planters.

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The space adjoining Grand Parade has been cleared to facilitate temporary events such as music performances and a new café is proposed to face south onto a courtyard shared with the public house on the corner of Tuckey Street.

C:Data_NJBA677 - Bishop Lucey Park677 - Design677_ElevationsThe construction consists of veneers (stone paving and timber seating) and discrete retaining or point load structures, (concrete walls, steel and timber frames).  Artificial lighting is integrated into the portals across the whole of the park which can be modified to suit different thematic and temporal conditions.

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As neither square nor park, the design is a blended mix of art and architecture, landscape and urbanism.  It is purposefully a neutral yet dynamic framework that bridges the distance between the old and the new city of Cork.

Urbanism February 2020

Cavan Market Square

Between 2018 and early 2019 NJBA A+U provided urban design research and a vision for the much maligned Market Square in Cavan Town, Ireland.  This multi-level design research exercise enfolded the shareholders, the local authority and town team in a process which evolved to make a dramatic intervention in the centre of this old urban centre.

History

The earliest extant record of the town dates from 1591 which identifies two (long demolished) castles, one on the hill overlooking the town and the other set into the fabric of the town next to the Franciscan friary.  Mapping this over the more contemporary fabric it reveals the relationship of the various artifacts to the morphology of the town’s streets.

Market

What remains of the original Victorian Market Square is a pale reflection of its earlier form.  At the centre near what appears to be a well on the 1591 map the old market house was demolished in the 1960’s to make way for a different hub, the general Post office.

Design Challenge

Initial research into the temporary use of the remaining area suggested a different alignment for market stalls that re-affirmed the street condition and cleared a space for people to engage in a truly urban space.  This emphaised the lost opportunity that existed hidden behind the newer fabric, that is the abbeylands, where it is reputed that the body of Owen Roe O’Neill is interred.  Aside from the historical resonance of this space the spatial pattern at the heart of the town is at stake.  With the support of the main stakeholder, the post office, a new idea emerged.

Abbeylands

Re-aligning, re-positioning, re-situating would allow a new connection to the heart of the medieval town that was anchored around the old friary, whose church suffered at least three catastrophic fires.  It remains an empty unloved and oft forgotten void.  By identifying the key boundaries of the centre; between Town hall Street, Main Street, Bridge Street and Abbey Street, the centre can be re-invigorated, and re-connected to its place.

The relationship between church and market space can once again be reunited.  A new branded scheme clarifying the core can become the anchor for a new identity for historic Cavan.

Urbanism

Engaging local stakeholders required a multi-disciplinary approach to communicating ideas and engaging interest.  Combining, drawings, plans, sketches, computer and physical models helped convey the reality of the proposal, eliciting generous, welcome and critical comments.

Simulating before and after proposals were the most effective, especially those that portrayed the reality of the impacts through photo-montages, that reflected what viewers were already familiar.

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Simulation

Simulating or imagining the use of the space was even more effective in convincing the audience of the substantial benefits accruing from the dramatic changes.  The new vision offered a 400% increase in usable public space at the heart of the town, capable of holding exhibition sports events (Tennis / Basketball), small concerts and a more substantial civic space.

Design 

Emptying the space is not sufficient in itself.  Instead a framework that reinforced the street condition of Main Street, provides the infrastructure for temporary accommodation when and if markets are required.  This disciplines the often random nature of such events without compromising the operation or enjoyment of the space.

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Next Steps

Currently the Abbeylands are subject of a new urban masterplan which suggests that significant changes will emerge for this effort and finally the town will be rewarded with a market square that holds the heart of the town in the centre.

njba a+u was commissioned by the Cavan Town Team to provide a vision in conjunction with he key stakeholders surrounding the space.

Design February 2020

Material x 3

Synthetic Reality’s output increased in the first month of the new decade.  Aiming to launch at least one design per month has seen three new designs launched on the Design by Humans platform.   The target is to double the designs available on the platform in 2020 (40). Currently 23 differing designs are available for purchase.

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1 Magellan

Magellan was designed as a new logo for the Portuguese Space Agency as part of an open innovation engagement.  Regretfully overlooked SR has repurposed it as the logo for a fictional space mission.  The Magellan iconography includes a depiction of the constellation of Dorado (The Dolphin). The subdivision of the blue sky identifies the four cardinal directions necessary for terrestrial navigation.

 

Two versions of the Magellan mission T-shirt; a team badge version and then a full sized version above.

2 Diversity

Diversity is another re-worked idea around the idea of diversity and celebration.  An abstracted idea of arms raised in celebration it doubles as a bird like “flying free” symbol.  This is available in a bright version or faded version.

3 Drift

Drift was inspired by the observation of ice floes in a river and the fragmentary but unified character of the image created an interesting but balanced dynamic.

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Drift White (on Blue)

Three versions are available, Blue, Red and White on a wide variety of T-Shirts and other tops.   With an ambitious range of topics for 2020 Synthetic will be busy responding to the demand for new concepts.

 

 

Further details: https://www.designbyhumans.com/shop/Synthetic/

Architecture July 2018

Dolphin’s Barn Urban Space

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NJBA A+U plan of intervention 

On the cusp of the new millennium NJBA A+U were part of a new urban space initiative championed by Jim Barrett City Architect at Dublin City Council.  Several under-utilised and under-valued spaces across the city were identified as part of the strategy.  Taking advice, suggestions and direction from the city architects and transport departments the task was to find a suitable model for urban renewal.  Concerns regarding the use of these spaces were paramount.

NJBA A+U Model Study 

Where social activities were positive they should be enhanced and where those activities were anti-social, proposals had to alleviate or deter.  Supporting mechanisms such as active public frontage and housing were important components of any solution.  In addition, where suitable, existing traffic use, including parking, could be maintained if it supported activity.

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NJBA A+U – Section through main junction

In this proposal, shared spaces were a key strategy to ensure valuable public activity, especially in font of the church.  Commercial uses along the edge of the spaces are re-enlivened with robust hard landscaped space augmented with trees and public lighting.  Where viable, residential uses above shops support passive surveillance.  A new mixed use building on the edge of the main public space provides financial subvention for the public realm works.

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NJBA A+U – Main space in front of church with mixed use supporting building

The existing condition also suffers from access problems.  The crossing is difficult due to its unique geometry, topographical variation and traffic levels.  Safety was a priority from a traffic management perspective.  This scheme proposed both shared spaces for the low density areas alongside public functions in front of the shops and the church. For the main crossings more direct connections were proposed and the usual pedestrian barriers removed to facilitate easier movement of pedestrians.  This would necessitate a pedestrian prioritised lighting sequence.

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NJBA A+U – Study of new urban space and supporting mixed use building

Regretfully this scheme was not progressed.  It remains only in sketch form a potential solution.

Music October 2016

Oblique Projection: A new Logo and a new outlook; towards the future.

After a less than satisfactory experience with the original logotype that introduced Oblique Projection a new logo was commissioned from Synthetic Reality (designers).

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The original logotype linked the name with the concept did not seem to have that iconic character that could be distinguished from the background noise.  When the “Cycles” (OPus 2.0) album ( https://obliqueprojection.bandcamp.com/)was released earlier this year the logotype was suspended.

Cycles by Oblique Projection

Cycles by Oblique Projection

 

The designers believed that reducing the band name to an acronym logo would make it easier to identify and explain a little more about the band and its music.  Other bands are almost better known by their acronyms OMD, PIL, ELO, etc.  Oblique Projection reduces to OP which can be seen in the catalog numbers for each album (MEC OPus 1.0, Cycles OPus 2.0), also a play on the word opus.  “OP” could be seen as short for Optic related topics.

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So “the eyes have it”.  Synthetic Reality launched the new Oblique Projection logo on OP’s facebook page, ( https://www.facebook.com/ObliqueProjection/) with a roll out on other social and web sites in the coming weeks.  The eye logo unites the OP acronym to the idea of image and representation, a new view of the world and the music.

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As part of the roll out is an investigation into merchandise and apparel (T-shirts) which were test launched on the Facebook page above; Cycles T-Shirt & City Lights T-Shirt. Black and White versions are also shown on their facebook page.

 

For a sample of Oblique Projection‘s output, check out their soundcloud page,including a new tester track “There”:

 

Music April 2016

CYCLES – OPus 2.0

Cycles by Oblique Projection

Cycles by Oblique Projection

Cycles has been released on Bandcamp (see https://obliqueprojection.bandcamp.com/)

Over 2 years of working on and off this album of loosely associated pieces. Originally intended to be titled Moods, Cycles seemed to be a better explanation of the pieces.

The album starts with City Lights, which had a digital release in 2014.

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The remainder of the album picks up on memories, ideas and thoughts of experience. City Lights can be streamed on most major digital platforms and it is listed on soundcloud (see https://soundcloud.com/12publishers/city-lights-by-oblique).

This is the second album in a live experiment of music development, to see where it leads, to capture interests and ideas I have had for years but there never seemed to be time. Time, I have found, however is elastic. So pressing the button to finalise the last piece Next Now was a release from worrying if anyone would find this remotely interesting.

The question I had set myself was if Architecture could be considered “frozen music”, could music be considered dynamic Architecture. The works I had intended have been transformed by the work itself, getting in the way of an idea, manipulating it into something else. On MEC (our first album) the piece Cloudsea was closest to the objective but Chase was more dynamic, the former inspired by a work of architecture while the later was mapped to a piece of cinema (BULLIT).

For those who have got this far in the blog the remaining may be only of academic interest but it might go someway to explain the inspirations behind the work rather than explain the work itself.

City Lights 5:39

Inspired by the lights in particular around Christmas in the City

Lost in the Rain 3:28

Atmospheric piece drawing on Film Noir cinema

Monday Morning 4:24

This started as Newsday, an introduction to broadcast news

November Walk 3:00

Another atmospheric piece inspired by a walk on a bright, cold and clear day in a wood

Paris to Lyon 2:58

Inspired by a remembered train journey on the TGV from Paris south.

Storm Clouds over Mestre 4:00

Inspired by an electrical storm over Venice

A video was set against a outdoor aerial dance performance (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jGZxEHPPUmI)

Experiential 3 5:20

This has a tortuous birth, starting as Moonrave, but morphed into several versions before being stripped down to this.

Next Now 2:18

This is the most stripped down piece, largely a bass and drum track to finalise the album, clearing the ground for the next work.

So where to next?

Cycles was meant to be the third outing for the Oblique Projection vehicle. Gardens of Kyoto has been in preparation for years now and is probably half complete, 5 of the planned 10 tracks are complete to a point that represents coherency and completeness. As for time, it may stretch out or be pulled back, I cannot say for certain when, but eventually it will appear.

For the moment, Cycles will follow the Bandcamp presence with a digital release in about 4 weeks on all major platforms. A physical limited edition CD version may be released later in the year, depending on demand.

To frame a busy, urban and often chaotic life Cycles might provide the soundtrack to your life.

greg

Architecture September 2015

World War 1 Memorial Washington DC

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“Try Again, Fail Again, Fail better.” Samuel Beckett

 

This was the submission narrative submitted along with the competition entry.

The scheme strips back Pershing Park to the bone, a clearing among the trees.  The berms and undergrowth are cut back to provide maximum visibility and access from all sides.  At the centre is a new fractured “ground” consisting of granite blocks with tomb like proportions at different elevations.  On this “ground” are 12 marble statues of infantry marching towards the “front” where tall oxidised steel sculpted “trees” represent the loss of nature and destruction.  At the end of this vista is the old “court” which is to be re-purposed as a reconciliations space.

 

And when peace comes to Flanders,

Because it comes too late,

He’ll still lie the, and listen

To the Otterburn in spate –

Wilfred Gibson – Otterburn

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General Pershing’s statue has been relocated opposite its current position to face the “front” alongside his flanking men.  While Pershing’s statue is 2 x life size the soldiers are 1.5 x life size.  Completing the composition is the chronology of the war in bronze.  Opposite the timeline is a series of illuminated beacons that display the poetry of the WWI – a reminder of the realities of war.  The space around the new fractured “ground” is to be made level and accessible to all.  It is expected that seating would be provided at the periphery looking inward to the statues.  Lighting is to be provided in the beacons, along the edges and in the joints between the granite of the new “ground” platform, in the vertical markers of the timeline and around the court and the Pershing statue

Dark clouds are smouldering into red

      While down the craters morning burns.

The dying soldier shifts his head

      To watch the glory that returns;

He lifts his fingers toward the skies

      Where holy brightness breaks in flame;

Radiance reflected in his eyes,

      And on his lips a whispered name.

Siegfried Sassoon – How to Die

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The main design consisted of

  1. Poetic Beacons – Poetry of the First World War
  2. The fractured ground – a staggered plate of granite to represent both the destruction of the ground, the mechanisation of war (tomb like proportions)
  3. The Marble Statues of the Soldiers at the front (the sleepwalkers)
  4. The “trees” – oxidised steel poles that represent the destruction of nature, echoing iconic images from the Somme and Ypres.
  5. General Pershing’s statue relocated to face the “front” towards the East separated from his men (flanking) in attack towards the end (the old court)
  6. The chronology of major events of the war cast in bronze with vertical markers
  7. The Court of resolution- armistice, the old memorial refurbished and re-purposed

 

Who died on the wires, and hung there, one of two –

Who for his hours of life had chattered through

Infinite lovely chatter of Bucks accent,

Yet face unbroken wires; stepped over, and went,

A noble fool, faithful to his stripes – and ended.

Ivor Gurney – The Silent One

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Having read the brief in some detail and thinking on the epoch changing nature of the war the design was a sparse and poetic reflection on mechanisation, death, pain and memory.  A sparse entry by the standards of the others it was invisible among the bombastic statements of many and it had no gimmicks.  It provided space for reflection and brought to the fore the war poetry that has not been a major feature of other memorials.

What in our lives is burnt

In the fire of this?

The heart’s dear granary?

How much we shall miss?

 

Three lives hath one life –

Iron, honey, gold.

The gold, the honey gone –

Left is the hard and cold.

 

Iron are the loves

Molten right through our youth.

A burnt space through ripe fields,

A fair mouth’s broken tooth.

Isaac Rosenberg – August 1914

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The opportunity to engage in open competition is of benefit to the work in the practice.  The realisation that it will not progress further is of course a disappointment.  Reflecting on this failure I am strengthened by Beckett’s mantra; “try again, fail again, fail better”.

njb  – NJBA A+U

Design June 2014

Pylons 

The opportunities that “made to demand” technologies offer multiply by the day.  The myriad of choices available to the market make it difficult to discern a trend or even a design orthodoxy.  In many ways this is the great advantage of the new industrial landscape.

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Without the traditional infrastructure of client led inquiry or demand after years of working on the periphery with independent research projects Synthetic Reality is with various partners like FAB all things able to bring products to the market.   Of course this presumes the market really wants these things.

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Perhaps the market does not know what it wants until it is produced, make it and they will buy to paraphrase that oft used quote from the Field of Dreams.  Reflecting on the work we have undertaken in the last 4 years dreams have come to the fore.  A type of surrealism or rather surrealist humor appears to find their way into the work.

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Even here, the use of an industrialized motif as the framework to art or craft hints at the industrialized origins of most jewelry and echoes the earliest origins of jewelry; bead making, which gave rise to some of the first industrialized practices in the ancient world.  These and other bespoke industrialized products are available from FAB all things

Synthetic Reality’s range of products are;

Pylons Jewelry Tree: http://www.faballthings.com/products/pylons

Chain-mail Phone Case: http://www.faballthings.com/products/chain-mail

Baubles Ear Rings – Nylon : http://www.faballthings.com/products/baubles-earrings-white

Baubles Ear Rings – Steel http://www.faballthings.com/products/baubles-earrings-stainless-steel

Botanic Wall Art: http://www.faballthings.com/products/botanic-gardens

 

 

 

Architecture April 2014

HØYBLOKKA REVISITED

This is NJBA A+U’s contribution to the ‘dugnad’, (a voluntary input for the purposes of debate) organised by Markus Richter of the 0047 Gallery in Oslo.  Tasked with examining the complex, its buildings and spaces the proposal sought to invoke a memory of why the place has been abandoned.

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It is hard to look at Høyblokka without thinking of Caspar David Friedrich’s “The Abbey in the Oakwood”.  What had been a vibrant monastery had firstly been dissolved then fell into ruin before been recycled for defensive positions.  In the painting the ruin is shrouded in darkness as mourners arrive to a funeral.  The trees like the ruin are also pruned, their branches amputated.  The melancholy of the painting is a suitable echo of the sad events in Oslo and Utoya.

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The blackened oaks are mirrored in the tall trees standing in front of Høyblokka.  It seems appropriate that two hundred years separate the creation of the painting from the events in Norway.

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The enduring image of the events in Utoya was the white sheets that covered the victims of the atrocity.  The organic distribution of the sheets along the waterfront produced and enduring almost artistic image of innocence and loss.

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While deliberations will take time to define the future of Høyblokka this is a proposal to honour the fallen to compliment the proposed memorial on Utoya to loss.  71 internally illuminated crumpled sheets are placed on 71 biers raising them above the pedestrian level.  As frames they take up variations in the landscape creating a cloud like cover to the remaining urban space of the Høyblokka complex.

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0047 will present a wide range of entries in the exhibition Høy­blokka revisited, which opens on March, 27th; a selection of the entries will subsequently be published in Arkitektur N.  The debate should raise important questions about the nature of urban ruins.

 

Design March 2014

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Synthetic Reality’s collaboration with FAB all things progresses.  Chainmail is now available for the iPhone on line with other models coming on line.

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Designed to simulate chain mail it is an ideal demonstration of the potential of 3D printing.  Printed in red nylon the interwoven rings provide a dynamic surface behind which the phone may still be seen.

Chainmail_3The perfect accessory for a chainmail dress, perhaps.  The concept alludes to virtual security using a more ancient version of protection.