Thursday, October 14, 2010

Cracked Concrete Garden

It's a really gray Thursday morning and I just came to think of this fine garden design project done by San Francisco landscape architects Conger Moss Guillard.
[Images of little tough plants growing in the concrete cracks. Photos from CMG website]
The company writes about the project:
"The Crack Garden is a hostile takeover of a concrete urban backyard by imposing a series of jackhammer “cracks.” Inspired by the tenacious plants that pioneer the tiny cracks of the urban landscape, the formal rows of this garden create order amongst the random and mixed planting of herbs, vegetables, strange flowers and rogue weeds"

[More images of the cracked concrete garden. Photos from CMG website]
There's a beautiful oxymoron within the entire idea of a Concrete Garden. The project, direct in its approach, appeals to me in the stated inspiration by the appearance of a strong sprout managing to root itself in a little crack of concrete.

I couldn't help thinking of the drug when I came across Crack Garden. I guess, that garden might be more disturbing.

Harsh beauty of worn concrete
The strong contrast of the worn concrete and the fresh plants enhance the beauty in each other. Lovely! - Because, yes, I do find that worn concrete contain a great beauty!

[Image from the harbor of Trondheim - part of the Atlantic Wall, photo by yours truly]

Remind myself to post more images of the Atlantic Wall, the coastal fortification cast by the Nazis in a whole lotta concrete that remain very present all along the western European coast. 

Here's a link to a guide to (concrete) war tourism of the west coasts of Denmark and Norway 

Monday, October 11, 2010

Dutch Prefab Case Studies

While I'm at it here's another link from my Summer School Concretum Compendium introduced here.
It's still an anonymous author from the Academy of Architecture, Amsterdam
[Image of concrete surface from Case study presented on BureauBakker's web site]
Prefab Case Studies was or is an initiative into exploring prefab concrete which received the Dutch Building awards 2009 in the category Services & Communication.

Here's the link to a slide show of works described further below.
And here's a little movie

'jury commentary Dutch Building Awards 2009:

Creative with concrete! That's how the jury describes this entry. As they should. The Prefab Concrete Casestudies unveil the building material's potential. Exchange of knowledge among designers and manufacturers proofs that concrete is much more than tough, gray and simply straightforward. The casestudies offer room for imagination and lead to a formal language that this industry normally is not able to, or does not want to speak. This opportunity for creativity is beneficial for the industry as a whole. According to the jury the integral manner in which the initiators handle the open dialogue and knowledge exchange is unique.'

Bureau Bakker describes the initiative here:
'The initiative for the Prefab Concrete Casestudies originates from striving towards a more intense, exploring and fruitful communication between manufacturers of prefab concrete and designers. The Casestudies are organized in such a way as to focus this communication on the development of the product – prefab concrete. As such an innovative approach of design, application and manufacturing becomes the main issue.'

Fascinations and ambitions
and continues:
'The Casestudies are seemingly focused on research and development of concrete. The invitation to the designers seems to be very clear about that. Even more than pure product development the Casestudies are foremost an introduction into different cultures. Those of designers and manufacturers. De proposals are often so extreme that within the very short time span of a Casestudy there can only be a first and extremely important step towards a serious product innovation. Nevertheless promising prototypes are being further researched and developed.

The core of the Prefab Concrete Casestudies as presented by the initiators is to discover each others fascinations, ambitions and potential. The potential of concrete. The fascinations for the material by designers as well as the industry. And the ambitions for aesthetics, manufacturing and innovation.'
[Image from the website - featuring Concrete Design Competition, photo: Maarten Veerman]
What is Bureau Bakker?
Siebe Bakker is the architect by training who's behind Bureau Bakker - I've come across the office before because he is involved in the Concrete Design Competition - another site worth exploring for inspiration into concrete futures!!.

Baukje Trenning's art in concrete

As a preparation to the Erasmus Summer School 'Concretum', students of eight European Architecture Schools made a marvelous compendium of concrete innovations from their respective countries. 

I just browsed through it again and pursued some web links in the printed booklet (of 200 pages).

Without further ado, I'm passing on the link to you - aging as it is - the portfolio collected in 2007 of Amsterdam based artist Baukje Trenning (B. 1969) is still a great source of alternative concrete surfaces used in the urban landscape.

[Image collection from Baukje Tenning's web site]

The author who provided the link doesn't appear in my compendium, but it's from the section produced by the students of the Academy of Architecture, Amsterdam