Thursday, August 17, 2017

Hello Wood Publications

Archdaily and Designboom published articles this week on Hello Wood. Last year the Cathedral did not get much pictorial coverage, but this year the structure was very photogenic.

I especially like the review of the Cathedral in Archdaily:

The cathedral in the Hello Wood village is under construction and has been expanding now for a second year running. This year, the church built on the ruins of the settlement that existed here three hundred years ago has been expanded with further elements: the communal spaces of a chapter house and a cloister. A special feature of the latter is that it is always open towards the interior garden of the chapter house, and so though it shuts out the outside world, this does not mean that its structure is not welcoming: inside, it makes space for people to gather.
One part of the communal spaces, also newly created, is reminiscent of a living room, while another is more fitted to fulfilling the functions of a bedroom thanks to the reclining spaces within. The residents of Hello Wood may just be visiting, staying temporarily in the village, but they still need places that can provide them with the comforts of home. At the same time, the expanded cathedral is a structure that can adapt flexibly to any kind of need. It can be a private residence for its builders, but it can also accommodate the more than one hundred residents of the village on a more spiritual occasion, such as for example a concert.

Throwback - Lucas always building big!

Here is a picture I just found from 2004. Lucas creating sculptures on the beach. Not quite "inhabitable" but almost.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Hello Wood - Pop-Up Wine Bar

This year at Hello Wood we worked on creating Human Scale Activities focused on the theory of Adaptive Use - creating flexible spaces that can be easily adapted for multiple, or unforeseen uses.

Thursday afternoon one of our team members, a guy from Yorkshire, England, completed a table that looked to high.

"It's not too high," he said standing at the table acting like he was holding a drink, "it's beer high."

Immediately my mind went through a dozen interactions I had had. I knew there was expensive red wine at the bar they did not serve, I knew they had liver pate in the kitchen (they serve it for breakfast), I have built a bar out of
found items before - POP-UP WINE BAR.

About 15 minutes later we had a plan. Friday from 6:30 to 7:30 v"we will host a pop-up wine bar, go write it on the board!"

Good turn out, great use of our space. Super great use of our "mobile" section that we had built on Thursday. The Chapter House was transformed. I tried to get all our team members to put black shirts on.

In the late afternoon it started to pour rain. I thought the event would be ruined, or cancelled. Lucas said not to worry.

'The rain will stop and whe the sun comes out it will be an even better evening," he said.

He was right. By 6:00 the rain had stopped and the quality of light was amazing as the sun set. Janus wines brought ten bottle of red down. We wrote up a sales board and opened for business. The raking light in the late evening glistened off of the Cathedral and the pictures taken on this evening will be the ones published by Hello Wood and put into the video. It was a staggering evening, and that's not just the wine talking.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Hello Wood - Midnight Cello Concert

When Lucas presented our architectural theory he talked about "adaptable use" with the idea that we were going to create a space that allowed "human scale activity."

We were able to do programmatic activities because we were already starting with a built form... The Cathedral we illstalled last year. So really, the "art" we intended to create was activating the space.

On Wednesday, half way through the week, we happened onto a midnight cello concert. What I mean by this is one of the team leaders was also a concert cellist. On Tuesday I saw him playing out in the middle of no where. On Wednesday he came over to our site and asked to borrow a shovel.

"You can have our shovel if you play a cello concert at the Cathedral," I said.

"Are you saying you will only let m'e take your shovel if I agree to play cello?" He replied.


At around 11:30 the power went off at Hello Wood and we held a 20 minute cello concert. 130 people came to our site and sat in silence. It was one one the coolest events I have ever been a part of. Magic.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Hello Painting

Last year it felt like Hello Digging; this year it was Hello Painting

After a year, the Alt Cathedral installation was still in pretty good shape. No rot at all on the burned-wood foundations.  As much as we painted last year, however, it was very obvious we missed lots of areas.

So, the first day we began painting the structure with a semi-transparent white stain. The third day we got new paint and painted another coat. But we used a clear coat instead of the white stain. New paint had to be ordered. So, on days six and seven we painted everything again.

On the bright side, the installation received three coats of preservative. The white paint blended the old work with the new work, and we recieved. A lot of comments that painted white the installation looks even more spiritual in nature.

The images on the Hello Wood Facebook site and Instagram posts look amazing. Painting the whole structure white turned out to be one of the best design decisions made.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

A Good Project Starts with a Good Team

We had great students on our team this year at Hellowood Wood. At its heart, Hellowood Wood is an educational platform that calls itself an art and architecture camp.

The job of team leaders is to teach aspects of design and construction methods to architecture students. We had students from Hungary, England, France, Poland, and China.

This year, we were adding on to the existing installation we built last year. It is tough coming on to a project that is already built, but this allowed us to really improve the usability of the habitable art installation and during the week we hosted a couple of events that turned out to be very cool.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Bummer, no Wifi

Just found out that there will be no internet connection for the next 10 days. I did get our luggage though!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Cake is Better than History

Today was an amazing day in Budapest. We headed out to the Buda side - Budapest is the combination of two cities, Buda and Pest joined together in 1873. We went over to see Buda Castle, the most visited tourist site in Budapest, but instead went to the Ruswurm cafe for some cake. This is the oldest cafe in Budapest,  in operation since 1827. Having cake there was on two lists of the top 10 things to do.

We then headed to the Budapest History Museum. I was wonderfully surprised. We saw three exceptional exhibits, all based on archaeology. One was a temporary exhibit using archaeological projects resulting from construction projects around the city to illustrate the different cultures and people that have occupied the area where the city is today. This exhibit was excellent.

The views from the Buda Castle are wonderful, and probably why it is the most visited site.

In the afternoon, we took advantage of walking past the Rudas Baths to sit for a third time in the thermal waters that run throughout the city. These baths date to the Ottoman occupation of the city and were built in 1566.

Afterward we relaxed yet again at a coffee house. We leave tonight for Hello Wood and say good by to Budapest. But I should say...the archaeology exhibit was better than the cake.

Budapest Day 3

City Park is a couple blocks up from where Lucas and I have been staying. A large avenue terminates into Hero's Square, which is flanked by two museums. 

There is a new controversial master plan to redevelop the park with several new cultural institutions all designed by signature architects. There are protest camps set up around the building sites. The construction sites are surrounded by plywood fences so we could not see the work going on, which is what we wanted to look at, but we walked around the protest camps. 

I am sure the protesters are upset at the loss of open park area and the public expense of the buildings. But theree is a fine line where you are protesting against museums.

This month is the end of our fundraising cycle for our Natioal Endowment for the Humaities grant to build an endowment to fund staffing at the Deser Museum. I have been working toward requests for donations since Fedruary. We came before two public boards this week and recieved approval for donations, but at about 10 percent of our request. It is enough so they can say they gave us money, but not not enough to keep our positions funded. 

The Carpathian Basin has such an interesting history. It is replete with migration, conquest, revolt, and renewal. In this picture, Lucas standing next to a statue of George Washington. Next year it will be near the entrance to a new performance venue and the center of an internationally known culture park. 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Budapest Day 2

Today, we visited the Gellert Spa. Budapest is built on a series of hot springs and people have been using the thermal pools since the Roman conquest of the area, known then as Pannonia. We stayed most of the day at the Gellert in the hot springs and out in the wave pool.

In the afternoon we went to the Hungaian National Museum. The museum has a new permanent exhibit in the Archaeology gallery, it is the history of the Capathian Basin from the Paleolithic ear to the Magyar conquest.

The exhibit is extremely well done. Written in both Hungarian and English, very nice case work, great LED lighting, and exceptional collection.

I know a little about the Roman period here, but told Lucas I wanted to learn where the Magyar people came from when the migrated to the are around 900ce. I don't really have a grasp on exactly where people were coming from during the Great Migration after the fall of Rome.

Found the panel..."There are numerous ideas about the origins and previous accomadations of the Hungarians that still require further research."

Monday, June 26, 2017

Ruin Pubs Part Deus

We arrived in Budapest today, after delays in Chicago and Berlin, but with out luggage. Luckily, I packed a swimsuit in my carry on.  But unless bag shows up, I have one change of clothes for the next two weeks.

 We have been walking around Budapest and checking out the Ruin Bars since we arrived. We are very tired. Because of the time change - 9 hours - Lucas is pointing out that it has been  48 hours without night.

Tomorrow we will try and make a plan.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

On my Way to Hello Wood

I left today for Hungary. I am meeting Lucas in Chicago and then we are flying to Budapest. If there is anything I would ever want to do, it would be attend an art and architecture camp. I find it to be an unbelievable privilege to get to teach at one again this year.

We put together our presentation this week. We are working on the concept of Adaptive Use.

This seems innovative, but it is really what I have hoped to do my whole career. I want to create space where people want to be engaged.

I wrote a note to our team members yesterday. It said, "I think the most successful part of our first project, the Alt-Cathedral, was digging out the foundation of the "Ruin" and building the fire pit. We lit it every night, and it was indeed a focal point where people gathered."

We will be working on the goal of creating a new space at the Cathedral. One that focuses on this idea of gathering. One that breaks down the nature of public and private, and creates a space that is both invites and separates. I am excited for what might come out of this project.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Wishing for Better Friends

I was complaining this week that I wish I had friends who were artists and designers. Or friends who were designers and friends who were better artists. But then Lucas reminded me that we are all walking around with pretty cool designer couture back backs made by one of my friends.

They are pretty cool, and in the last couple of weeks we have realized how well designed they are. Davis is living out of one during the week, and camping of it every weekend all summer in Yellowstone National Park. Though compact and light weight, the pack was big enough to get everything he took for the summer. And it looks really cool.

Lucas had one on the Pacific Crest Trail. It was 11 pounds fully loaded, nearly ultralight. This canvas pack has an integrated sleeping pad built in as the back and side support. He loved it.

Yesterday, he packed it for Hungary. He said it packed up like a vacuum bag. He could not believe how much he got in it. And it still condensed enough to meet requirements of a personal bag on his flight.

Michael Field made these bags under the design name Bagriculture. He is the lead exhibit designer at the San Diego Natural History Museum. They are one-of-a-kind bags and all hand made. They are light weight and durable, made specifically for overnight desert hiking.

So, maybe I am just overlooking how cool some of my designer friends really are. I will have to think about that when I am in Hungary next week.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Hellowood Project Page

Our project page went up on the Hello Wood site. You can click here to see it.

The Cloister and Chapter House project is about developing structural detail and method-based investigations utilizing interpretations of traditional timber-framed constructs. We propose a standard assembly that can be used to construct an array of building types and could conceivably be expanded upon until infinity.

The project incorporates the Cathedral and Ruin to investigate the juxtaposition of temporary and permanence: habitation and visitation. Beyond adaptive re-use, to simply adaptive use. The existing grid system used to build the Cathedral will be be used to construct a Cloister, enclosing the stone foundation of the Ruin and creating an actual courtyard at the Cathedral site. Inside and around this courtyard, the Chapter House will be constructed.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Hello Wood Project Village 2017

Lucas and I will be attending the Hello Wood Art and Architecture program in Budapest again this year. Our project was selected by the jury yesterday and we will be one of 14 teams to build an installation. We have proposed to continue the work on the Alt-Cathedral we built last year, with the addition of the Cloister and Chapter House project. We are very excited.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Yikes! its been three months

When You Get Tired of Wearing Heels

That was the name of the email today from the Imperial Valley Desert Museum.

Since returning from Alaska, the Desert Museum has been a whirlwind of activity. We entered 2017 with a new direction called "The Year of the Outdoors." This year we will focus on hiking and camping and getting millennials into the desert.

It has been an insane start with new staff, a new direction, and a new board.

We have camping and hiking gear all over the museum and a bunch of new stuff in the gift shop. I will have to make up some time and rewind back to where we have come from!