We haven't posted a 'Brick & Wonder Selects' piece for a while, so this June edition contains plenty of things we liked in May...
We’ve all seen architectural proposals for eco resort projects before, and this one designed by Jendretzki Design for Rat Island, New York is certainly commendable for many reasons. They are zero-energy buildings, and the site can run on solar and wind power and collect rain water.
Wait, Rat Island? We never knew that existed before! And we live here...
Apparently it’s a 2.5 acre private Island off the Bronx coast in City Island Harbor that recently sold for a mere $160K to a Swiss retired Port Authority worker who reached out to the firm. It’s just schist bedrock now but it’s first inhabitants according to sketchy lore were either escaped prisoners or typhoid patients in a quarantine facility during the 1800’s fever scare and was perhaps at one time an artists and writers colony. Hats off to the Jendretzki team for reimagining the cheapest acreage in New York City. Read more about the islet's history here. Via ArchDaily
While the Bauhaus is enjoying a recent warm resurgence and celebration, the Zentrum (that’s German for "center") Paul Klee has dropped on the internet some of its most prized possessions: 3,900 pages of Klee’s personal notebooks many containing mechanical drawings to inform his teaching at the Bauhaus school. We’d known that Klee was prolific in his artistic output, but these notes are as charming as they are manifold. Bring a German dictionary, or, pro tip, Google translate works pretty well on this site.
In this thoughtful Curbed piece on the racial politics embedded in home ownership, Tiana Webb Evans relates how her distinct and eclectic taste in decor revealed to her so many of the preconceived cultural notions about where she is supposed to live and how her home is expected to look. In her words, “How we live is informed by both our personal history and our cultural context.”
The idea of what constitutes a furniture and design showroom keeps expanding, in this case, into law offices. The women of Egg Collective installed a “home” in a Tribeca law office space to present their chic new furniture line and their many collaborations. We chatted briefly with the crew (Hillary is a Brick & Wonder member).
B&W: How did you find yourselves in this space?
Egg: This landmarked building immediately captivated us with its yellow roman brick, brownstone and red sandstone. However, previously housing a law office, the interior required a good deal of imagination. Ultimately we fell in love with this corner storefront with large windows and natural light throughout, and a stoop to boot!
B&W: How did you make the mental leap that a law office could ultimately read like a home?
Egg: Since we were trained as architects, we have always served as the designers of the spaces we've occupied. This particular space had to be completely gutted, which allowed us to conceive of the design in its entirety. We created large open showrooms, followed by smaller compressed spaces, to pace one's experience throughout. The space is broken down into several rooms that let visitors experience our work at different scales. Open and airy, to smaller, more intimate vignettes.
We've been working on a brand new collection of designs for the past year, and were able to move back and forth between the scale of architecture and furniture, allowing the new space and our newest work to play off of, and inform, one another. We also added a sprinkling of custom details throughout the space: hardware we designed in mirror polished stainless steel; a custom designed reception desk, also out of polished stainless steel; a sinuous sheer curtain at the entryway, thick curving walls and honed limestone flooring with custom carpets throughout.
In this NYT piece, a Nashville shepherd (yes, you heard right) brings his flock of sheep to landowners in urban and suburban areas to help them control unruly property. The lovable herbivores can digest tons of plant life, clear invasive species and fertilize the land, all in a sustainable way that involves no machinery - just old-fashioned chomping!
We listened to a great episode of 99% Invisible recently about Mexican Modernist architect Luis Barragán's relationship with a volcanic rock flow in Mexico City. Unlike most of his contemporaries who were keen to pave over the porous lava flow to drain water away from the city, Barragán saw the organic beauty and native planting opportunities in this unique terrain. And within the rock itself may lie the solution to the city's dwindling water reserves.