28 January 2015

Joint effort

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It has been quite emotional to browse through the hundreds of Doshisha site photos coming through the past few weeks.
Now the project is coming closer to wrap up, a lot of the hardwork in the process is evident. It is so nice to see things coming together.

Take this little toilet window as one example.

close up of window.
top and bottom of the window fall in line with the tiles, and there is no tiny off-cut tiles to left and right of the window; it is of course designed to happen this way, not accidental.

The process has roughly been:

1. internal planning to determine window location - Architect 
2. determine exhaust location and dimension - Architect + Mechanical 
3. determine window sizing - Architect + Structural
4. determine surrounding finishing detail - Architect + Supplier
5. custom tile design and tile setout - Architect + Supplier
6. fine-tuning of window location to better suit tile setout - Architect + Structural
7. concrete structure with adequate spacing for necessary window framing parts - Architect + Supplier + Contractor
8. steel reinforcement and concrete pouring - Architect + Contractor
9. opening framing - Architect + Contractor
10. window installation - Architect + Supplier + Contractor
11. exhaust system installation - Architect + Supplier + Contractor
12. tiling - Architect + Contractor

Architect's involvement is not about physically holding the power tool and building something (a common public misconception resulted from reality TV shows..) but to maintain a perspective of the whole project and to ensure each step along the way is carried out to enable the next step to occur according to plan.
Especially when multiple parties (various engineers and trades) are involved, coordination becomes vital as miscommunication is source of disaster.

... And of course there are many more windows and doors and you-name-it to make sure the building functions... 

It is not about the window itself, but about incorporating functional elements in design without distracting the design intension.

It is always about the big picture.

19 January 2015

Last stretch for Wu-Gu! 加油! がんばれー!

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For many many many unforeseeable reasons beyond our control, Wu-Gu construction is suffering from extended delay (you do not have a whole day to read and I do not have a whole day to whinge, let's not get into it..).  Now we are seeing light at end of tunnel, at last.

Some lessons I have learnt to date are:
Contract is a formal documentation of human relationships.
Contractual arrangements between all parties (including and definitely not limiting to leasing contract between client and his/ her landlord) have direct impact on people's mentality, which directly influence people's attitude, performance and reliability.
Amount of time spent =/= quality of outcome.
(reinforced) Persistence.

Anyway, let's do look at some nice site photos!

The hoarding came down, this was the first time I have looked at the facade in its entirety.
Was so exciting!

Close up of facade in process.  The window mullions are made of 8mm steel flatbar, designed to be very refined to minimise gaps between facade joinery boxes.

Majority of the facade came flarpacked and was built off-site, they give more depth to the facade.

strong linearity inside the shop

most of internal spatial divisions were also built up by the flatpacked boxes

lights up;
modularity of the boxes extending from inside to the outside is visible; the entire shop was designed with the base unit of the box.

lighting effect from afar

15 January 2015

Doshisha working through Christmas break

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Over the quiet period of Christmas / New Year, Doshisha Chapel Complex at Kyoto continued to push on and is developing at a steady pace.

Here are some updates.

from the main campus boulevard, external tiling almost finished.. such beautiful lighting effect on the facade.

...same view of the design rendering - taking shape!!

marble on back wall of the Student Lounge installed, skylight above is visible, ceiling battens are also in place. Services underfloor (mainly air conditioning) can be seen through the floor framing.  With big volume like this, it is more energy efficient to control temperature from floor where it is closer to the people occupying the space (rather than projecting air from above).

standing on the water feature between Student Lounge (L) and Chapel (R).  Custom-made hollow concrete blocks are almost completed.
...this is similar view in render, except here we stand inside the Student Lounge not on the water....

reverse view from the above,  looking back into Student Lounge, exhibition display cases are in place.  

slender steel columns continues across the central walkway into the Chapel on the other side.

Chapel side is catching up....

entry hall to the Chapel with wall tiles almost finished.

waterproofing the roof!

6 January 2015

Long road

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Seatondale has been through a lot ..

After a very long wrestle with Council (like, 4 years) albeit strong support from Council Heritage Advisor, we have finally received Development Application approval for the entire site of Seatondale.
We received the agreed and registered DA conditions on 2014 DEC 22, I was too overjoyed I didn't know how to respond.  It is only starting to feel real for me now.

Through this long and draining process we have developed a very strong bond with the client and his family, with a deep understanding of the design philosophy and unsurpassable persistence.  Without their support it would have been a very lonely road.

For some design background you can refer to the first post HERE.
In the mean time we have also worked on interior of the Seatondale heritage house HERE, HEREHERE, HERE and HERE

The 2 new dwellings to the rear will NOT BE VISIBLE from within the heritage house (grey in model).  It is important for us to respect the view the Seatondale heritage house once enjoyed.
Extensive studies have been devoted to the overlooking, overshadowing, landscaping and visual connections in order to achieve a blurred balance of architecture and landscape, ensuring a harmonised coexistence of openness and privacy amongst the 3 dwellings.