'Naked City Lampscape' is part of a 'Naked City' project collaboration between Natascha Madeiski and Alexander Graef, inspired by the situationist artist and theorist Guy Debord, Italo Calivino's 'Invisible Cities', as well as Jorge Luis Borges’ magical realism, and deals with urban space at different scales and orientations. The parchment lamps are on display at Galleria Rossana Orlandi, Milano, where they were first shown during Fiorisalone 2010.
Following First Prize in a concept competition in 2008, the project proposes an interactive exhibition revolving around the complex and unplanned interplay of urban phenomena, translated into an interactive, continuous 6 month long piece of music performed by an automated concert grand piano and an orchestra of found instruments. The project was developed in collaboration with Austrian composer Karlheinz Essl.
Team: Alex Graef, Steve Austen-Brown
Structures: Adams Kara Taylor, London
Client: Austrian Federal Economic Chamber
The talk draws upon his and his students' projects, which pride themselves in their rich architectural narrative, often humorous, at points obscure, but always highly contextual. Traditional craft and drawing is confronted with the latest advances in parametric modelling and rapid manufacture, biography collided with statistics, qualitative narrative analysis interpreted into algorithmically defined dependencies. Through fragmented looks at a wide range of topics and settings, architectural and narrative structures, systems and processes, he addresses a metaphorical potential of technology.
Where to go?
Architecture Lecture Hall, Dar Al-Handassah Building, Department of Architecture and Design
Please note that entry to campus is only accessible by the Main Gate, Bliss Street
Visit http://www.aub.edu.lb for more information on the event.
This paper reports on research undertaken during preparation of a competition entry for a new roof structure at Zurich International Airport.
The process described is essentially architectural, but of a kind which regards structural and other specialist input as integral part of early decision making and development of architectural concept. This approach is truly collaborative, but still maintains its focus on responding to a set of architectural, rather than structural, criteria in the first instance. In that, the description of the project is straightforward, setting out a list of client criteria, their respective translations into design parameters, and a synthesised design response to them.
Of particular interest, in the given context, is the tooling, the application of parametric design tools within mainstream architectural and modelling software, as well as the ability to visually evaluate design by using rapid prototyping technology.
However, in order to leave the field of reflective description and arrive at progressive research, a clear distinction needs to be drawn between the merely parametric and the generative. Basis for the latter are the introduction of some level of testing and feedback, whereby the original parameters are progressively adjusted in line with some form of ideally automated evaluation.
As the inevitable building by numbers ensues, London’s Thames Gateway becomes one of many playgrounds for bar charting enthusiasts. Houses measured by the thousands and little clues as to where it is, that ghost in the machine, what they are, the structures of everyday contemporary life, and who's life it is anyway.
Never has the ideal of treating technology involved with building as an intellectual discipline been further removed from any notion of genius, loci or otherwise; housing policy housing, building policy building. Against the backdrop of mass housing and landmark buildings with little space or time for anything in between, five years of studio work with diploma students at the University of Greenwich, Vienna University of Technology and University Innsbruck, concerned themselves with the structural narrative of the Thames Gateway.
This paper, as well as the projects presented through it, is a premature attempt at anchoring buildings on the words they are built on, technology on the sentence structure of its description, assembly instructions written in the most specific of dialects. It describes techniques, suggesting an architecture read backwards, sideways, horizontal and in parallel, free associative sequence, thus discussing issues of site, context, detail and conceptual adhesion.
Competition entry for a new terminal tram station at Zurich International Airport, the project comprises a random length tensegrity roof structure completing the departures forecourt. The structure forms the basis for a paper and publication at the IASS Conference 2007 in Venice (see ‘Writing’)
Team: Alex Graef, Christoph Eppacher, Trevor Elvin
Client: Zurich International Airport
Proposed extension of the KHM Vienna, the project fills one of two historic courtyards with an exhibition space for changing exhibition, gallery spaces, café and outdoor projection area. The structure and individual spaces are formed using a 3-dimensional steel truss spanning the courtyard lengthwise. Acid etched concrete façade elements frame views from inside the existing museum spaces, while light to the new part is provided exclusively through a continuous, 40m long light shaft.
Team: Alex Graef, Christoph Eppacher
Structure: Jane Wernick, London
Client: Austrian Ministry of Culture
Competition entry for a science park in extension to Linz University campus. The site is designated as key to ventilation of the adjacent city centre and industrial areas. Using rapid prototyped models and wind testing, building volumes are shaped and arranged to optimize air flow through the campus, creating large covered external areas following the contours of the site. The external skin combines large scale glazed areas with bronze mesh for solar shading and impact protection, and bronze cladding.
Team: Alex Graef, Christoph Eppacher, Franz Stibli, Rene Waclavicek
Client: BIG Bundesimmobiliengesellschaft
Competition entry for an annex to an existing school building. The new part of the building combines daytime school activity with external and public functions in evenings and during school holidays. A light flooded atrium extends a central courtyard and accesses individually arranged parts of the building contained by a folded and twisted glazed skin.
Team: Alex Graef, Christoph Eppacher
Client: BIG Bundesimmobiliengesellschaft
Design and realization of steel structure and enclosure of Imagination’s exhibition on transportation, using accurate 3d modeling for rapid steel fabrication and assembly.
Exhibition Concept and Design: Imagination Ltd
Building Construction and Enclosure: Alex Graef
Structures: Buro Happold, London
Clients: Ford Motor Company
Expo pavilion at the Swiss regional expo on Lake Biel. The project provides a literal ‘black box’ enclosure to a themed pulsed exhibition and audio-visual experience, using a perforated rubber membrane and multiple gauge stainless steel meshes on a steel structure.
Team: Alex Graef, Jason Spiliotakos, Laura Brax
Exhibition Concept and Design: Pitch-UK / Steve Austen-Brown
Competition win and subsequent realization of 12 apartments overlooking Glasgow Green, as part of Glasgow 1999 Year of Architecture and Design housing exhibition. The project prototypes pre-fabricated timber panels and long strip copper cladding as external walls in an external steel structure, uses a high end heating and environmental strategy, and innovative floor plans including 12m long living spaces and generous ‘external rooms’.
Ian Ritchie Architects: Alex Graef (Project Architect), Stephen Quinn, Anthony Boulanger in collaboration with Jane Kelly
Structures and Services: Ove Arup and Partners, London
Acoustics: Arup Acoustics
Client: The New Housing Association
Rule-based masterplan for a large disused gasworks, using generative programming and urban growth algorithms to generate enclosures which organize themselves into a series of densified centres. Architectural structures cristallise out of a large number of minimum-size boxes which are continuously altered, split, cut and tested for their viability, provision of lit space, and distance relationships to their immediate neighbors. The project was exhibited at the Architecture Symposium Pontresina in 2001, and the Generative Art conference in Milan in 1999.
Installation involving a 2min short film and a 1.8m tall steel and concrete kinetic sculpture. The film surveys a part of the human body in unvoluntary, unplanned movement using 2 cameras at right angles to map reference points into an animated topography, turning it into an ‘animate object’. In the sculpture, a 40kg concrete block is made to synchronously mimic the body movement by a steel mechanism. The piece parodies mechanistic perceptions of the body, and explores sensations of heaviness and suspense.
Alex Graef is a qualified and ARB registered architect, director of Alex Graef Associated Architects Ltd, unit leader of Diploma Studio 5 at London Southbank University and Visiting Professor at the American University Beirut. His work aims to create and exploit a symbiotic relationship between architectural practice, teaching and independent research. As a result, his work displays a collaborative ethos, strives for innovation or application of current technologies in design and production processes, and the pursuit of context and meaning in a world of constant technological innovation and specialisation.
He practices from London and Vienna.