Wednesday, 29 February 2012

ARCHES



I've been thinking a lot about arches lately, especially in connection with building brick walls, an increasingly interesting construction method for new architecture. If you have an ideal of the true construction of a building being visible, as I do, you have you use either arches or lintels to cover any spans, for example for windows and doorways. You could of course, as many do, fake the whole thing by using hidden steel lintels, covered by the bricks, but that is in my opinion a cheap trick, unworthy of an architecture with ambitions beyond a certain wow-effect. A Norwegian example here, from the otherwise rather tasteful Bøler church, by Bjørndal/Hansen Architects A/S:























*Sigh* Back to the arches. There are many kinds of arches to be found, and they're all suitable for different situations.
























Parable or catenary arches may be good for a gateway, or a building you want to look soaring and strange,



















a semi-circular arch may be suitable for a solid and classic look,




















the segmental arch is good for informal red-brick architecture,



















the right-angled flat arch or jack arch (there's also a variant called french arch) can be used in architecture with a geometric or minimal expression,




and the four-centred ("tudor") arch may be fitting if you're a hardcore romantic, 




perhaps combined with some sort of pointed ("gothic") arch

Still, I think one of my favourites (What's your "favourite arch"? God, I'm such a geek.) is the three-centred arch. This gentle shape creates good vibrations all around, feels earthbound and yet poetic, and doesn't require great height. 

The first place I thought of that uses these, is my former school, the eminent Nansen Academy in Lillehammer.


The old school building, originally a private residence built in 1918, features three-centred arches in the ground floor windows of the entrance facade. There's also a tiny side building, connected to the main volume via a very short arcade made up of a couple three-sided arches. 


It seems this shape was very popular in early 20th Century Norwegian architecture, but it seems to have more or less vanished around 1925. Now, how do you construct this three-centred arches, you ask? You already love them that much? That's good. Here's a youtube video with a very simple explanation:





Now, go ahead and design your own!

(Picture credits:

Arcade with yellow arches - Wikipedia
Bøler church - Anne-Beth Jensen/bygg.no
Catenary arches in Gaudí's Casa Milà - Wikipedia
Marble Arch - Wikipedia
Insula with segmental arches - Wikipedia
Georgian row house facades with flat arches - PhotoEverywhere
King's College Chapel - Wikipedia
Hogwarts' Great Hall - Warner bros, I guess
Nansen Academy entrance facade - Nansen Academy Facebook page
Nansen Academy side shot with people holding flags - asylmarsj.no)

Saturday, 25 February 2012

CHEESE SLICERS!























After almost two months in Kenya fighting off the deilicious cheeses they produce here using unsharpened knives of all sorts, my colleague Heidi and I were extremely happy when we suddenly found cheese slicers at our local supermarket the other day. And they didn't just have one type, they had four different models! The cheese slicer is a Norwegian invention, originally designed by carpenter Thor Bjørklund, and patented with the number 43377 in 1925.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Monday, 6 February 2012

Sunday, 5 February 2012

A SIMPLE IDEA OF TETRIS AND URBANISM















Imagine the point when the screen is almost entirely filled up by the different pieces, because you're not really that good at Tetris. Imagine it's a city, and you're seeing it from above. Imagine that every piece is a block, with apartment buildings along the edges, and huge green common backyards in the middle. Imagine narrow streets separating all the pieces, and that the unfilled spaces are squares and parks.

Friday, 3 February 2012

SWEDISH KING

I found this in the Swedish National Museum. I forgot to write down who it was, but I guess it's a king or something.

And now, have a look.

Normal king:
























PSYCHO king:























Conclusion: Be careful when choosing your "good side".
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