Friday, November 28, 2008

Got delayed in the station?

This is what we had in mind after finishing a long discussion and arguments on creating the most effective circulation and functions for an interchange station. At that time we thought that station is a very 'functional' facility, thus every chance to design it would need greater consideration to the public use or flows. Thus again, this wasn't just an image competition that pleases jury's and public's eyes, hence professional certification is needed for each entrant. After the discussion settled, we needed a striking punchline or statement that may put our design to the new level of understanding, how an interchange should be and look like on its urban context.

Why would be delayed become somehow entertaining experience?
Have you ever been delayed by someone or from some scheduled task in Indonesia? Most probably you have, and some would think that the term 'jam karet' is still relevant. This might be unpleasant condition to have, if we constantly put ourselves as the object of delay. On the contrary when one choose to delay him/herself from a scheduled task because the situation 'lures' him/her to do so.

First, the site is quite specific where roads and railways are cross-overlayed upon each other, with an additional of water element in Ciliwung river. This has in fact devide the site into 4 different area, each with its own development plans; Dukuh atas on northeast is known for its density of market, small residences, and night clubs; Talang Betutu on northwest with its skyscrapers future development; and south sides with its developed business district and hotels. Although separated by the site, we did not see how the interchange stations (between commuter, airport link, and MRT) should also be as well, as the TOR would suggest. An interchange station should represent speed, accesibility, and comfort. And we cannot suggest comfortable and effective 'speed' of interchanging in a separated stations concept.

While the station itself represents speed, other public (commercial and communal) facility in the station offers comfort that is related to a slower pace concept, thus 'delaying the speed' for a more public refreshment facility is the issue that we proposed for Dukuh Atas interchange station. Delaying also means providing more green open space that surrounding area lacks of, so that it sustain its presence on the ground and upper level as people meeting point, or simply a place to have your lunch during the busiest day in Jakarta.


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Lighting Design

In Indonesia, “Lighting Design” has been commonly considered as another profession related to electrical (M/E) engineering, and sadly, some do not understand why would such profession even exist? Once, we were working on the design team for a big hospital project when the principal said,” leave the lightings to the M/E engineers, they should know what to do”. At that time we thought, perhaps lighting have nothing to do with architecture.

Almost 80% of the information received by human brain is captured through the eyes as human sight sense. Thus, the basic concept of such profession may said to be “the most beautiful things cannot be seen without light.” This profession has been developing as the electronic starts to fulfill human needs for technology, from a simple light bulb to the discovery that turn human from daylight into 24-hour creature.

What does a lighting designer (LD) do?

Lighting designer is an engineer whose expertise lay on the art and technique of manipulating lighting. They are not merely an electrical engineer, but they may also an architect or designer graduates, with a taste of art that sometimes could not be understood by on-site technical applicator.

For instance, for a meeting room, LD would calculate the amount and power of illumination needed for meeting activity according to the standards, through a complex calculation and regular research for human eye. One may have various scenarios for meeting, such as discussion, writing, and presentation that need different lighting treatment. A simple miscalculation of illumination may result in weary eyes, exhaustion, and even nausea.

As for public facility such as sport fields and public roads and pedestrians, LD also put a thorough consideration on how to choose or create lighting fixtures, as they might also affect human safety issues. In a 4 season country like Germany, winter may also cause different way of designing lights since the sun only shines for less than 10 hours a day.

A contrary to a meeting room and standard public facility, entertainment/leisure facilities’ LD such as cafes, night clubs, or building facades, does not focus on fulfilling technical standards. A sense of art may dominate the way LD propose their designs, how they manipulate shadows and lights, the dark or lighter side of the room with a touch of colors to create interesting ambiance.

Lighting design technology has been improving rapidly during high-tech era, where the use of energy-saver illumination and lighting controller to manage multiple scenarios for a room, have reached a higher level and varieties. We may even turn the lights on/off from mobile phones. The challenge now for LD is to create, choose, and determine the right lighting or luminaries from variety brands of fixtures, with millions of shape of armatures in the world, to be set accordingly to human needs. Thus for LD, to know the minimum/maximum standards for a room may not be sufficient without the experience of selecting and combining those armatures with aesthetic consideration in real projects.

In collaboration with artists, an LD can develop their sense of art through installation. The art of space installation is also an interesting challenge, since lighting may assist the expression method or media for the artist. An installation object may emerge differently at night by the use of artificial lightings, and so does the well lit city during the night.

Initially, the LD profession was held under an illumination technique organization named CIE (Commission Internationale de l'Eclairage) in Europe and IES (Illuminating Engineering Society) in US, and they were dominated by electrical engineers. As the time went by, such LD organizations form a more specialized association, namely IALD and PLDA. Today, IALD and PLDA has been collaborating well so that its LD member would not necessarily register to both organization to have its acknowledgement. PLDA in Europe has developed more in world wide than IALD in US, as it has expanded to Asia.

As in Indonesia, such LD organization has founded in early 90’s by the name of Himpunan Ahli Teknik Iluminasi Indonesia (HTII). With its headquarter is in JDC (Jakarta Design Center), HTII has stood proudly side by side with other designer associations in Jakarta, which mark the next phase of lighting design world.

Pavilion 95, as one of the few consultant specializes in LD, has been putting an effort to register its experts to the standards of HTII and even ELDA (European Lighting Designer Association), to raise its competence in the lighting business. Thus, we feel obliged to remind the importance of having a well designed and calculated lighting for your room or facility, especially when lighting affects not merely aesthetic sense but also health and safety for human activity.

Agust Danang Ismoyo, ST.,MALD.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Maya Lin, an architect and sculptor

Maya Lin was known for the first time from her earthwork design on Vietnam Memorial War, a competition which catapulted her to fame when she beat other 1400 contestants including many professional architects, when she was a 21-year-old senior at Yale. For those who love to watch Hollywood movies with Vietnam war setting must recognize this landscape memorial. Through her design, Lin proposed a memorial with book life form splitting the landscape and submerged into the earth, cutting aggressively into the Washington Mall. It is outspoken and angry in the way like a visual scar on American landscape, symbolizes bitterness and grief over Vietnam war.
In her new earthwork project at the Storm King Art Center,New York, Lin creates seven rows of undulating hills cradled in a gently sloping valley and she names it as “Wave Field”. This is a project that proposes an ocean waves expansion that have been frozen in place when you look from a distance. Yet as soon as you walk into the piece whose earthern swells range in height from 12 to 18 feet, your experience of it changes remarkably. At first, standing at the bottom of a slope, it may look craggy and insurmountable. But in scaling it — which turns out to be relatively easy because of the rough surface — you become keenly aware of the earth itself, currently a patchy mix of topsoil, short grass, clover, white daisies and yellow-flowered partridge pea, which attracts swarms of monarch butterflies.
Back to eight years ago when she was invited to make an earth project on this area, Maya Lin found herself attracted to an area known around the art center as the gravel pit. Located on the property’s southwestern edge, about 100 feet beyond Andy Goldsworthy’s “Storm King Wall” (1997-98), the pit was a reminder of what Storm King looked like in 1960, the year it opened. In the year of 1950s much of Storm King’s landscape consisted of acres of gravel that had been mined from the surrounding fields in connection with the construction of the New York State Thruway. Over the years the art center used this rocky material to shape its grounds, creating the seemingly natural hills and valleys that now are dotted with sculptures and site-specific works by artists like David Smith, Isamu Noguchi and Mr. Goldsworthy.

This man-made landscape, bringing gravel in and reshaping it and that’s what attracted the architect-landscape artist for the first time. As usual, Maya Lin tried to make her piece become less of a centerpiece. She prefers to create works on the edges and boundaries of places so they would begin to own the environment. The piece at Storm King’s board is Maya Lin third pieces with similar shape as her two previous projects at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and at the courtyard of the Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr. federal courthouse in Miami. Both of these previous projects are smaller than the piece at Storm King. Lin believed that she had to culminate the series with a field that literally giving the most extreme space experience within these hills, so when she found a perfect location she decided to make the waves much larger than human body and create the piece as a concluding part of her two previous earthwork series

Since the site was officially a mine, the Art center’s board had to secure permission from the state Environmental Conservation Department to reclaim it as an artwork. The department has strongly supported the project. Because Ms. Lin is also well known “a committed environmentalist,” as she put it, she was intent on using minimal intervention to turn it into an artwork and making the most of what was already there.

In a collaboration with other local landscapers, Maya Lin and teams sculpting the landscape with a bulldozer and create the waves and the bowl-like valley in which they rest were largely built from the gravel and earth in the pit itself as well as a berm that had shielded the site from view. By the time the piece opens to the public next spring, it will be shielded from the Thruway by about 270 young trees — a mix of maple, oak, sycamore and other local natives. That’s how many trees Ms. Lin’s studio staff has calculated it will take to offset the fuel and energy consumed in making the piece, including the artist’s own frequent car trips from New York. This trees idea derives from Maya Lin’s firm believe on global warming. And she still looking for more trees that can take hotter weather and become more dominant on the piece. She also believe when the spring come, tall plants like deertongue and Canada bluegrass around the piece will have taken over from the ground cover that now holds the topsoil in place. Eventhough she doesn’t want to recreate water, Lin hopes that the grass will flow in the wind and feel more like its own formal play.

As an Architecture graduate Maya Lin’s entire career has been interplay and swing among what she regards as three separate strands: she is an architect and an artist, and she also designs memorials (a criteria that she likes to call them as anti-monuments) that fall somewhere between the two. She has been pursuing all three directions since she finished the Vietnam memorial in 1982.

During her time in Yale graduate school of architecture, Maya Lin found herself spending more and more time in the sculpture studios and start working with her hands. Soon after completing her master degree, she designed her second monument, the Civil Rights Memorial at the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama, which was dedicated in 1989. By 1993 she had completed her first major building, for the Museum of African Art in SoHo, which is now defunct.

Since then she has worked consistently in all three areas, often developing ideas for one sort of project while working on another. In 1993 she created her first site-specific sculpture for the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio. Called “Groundswell,” the piece consisted of 40 tons of broken tempered glass poured into snowdriftlike piles around the museum’s exterior walls. From this came the idea for her first earthwork, “Wave Field,” in Michigan, which she completed in 1995.
In the past Maya Lin has always conceived of her different career strands as separate. She always think that this might be the only way to keep herself balanced. Yet recently she has been coming around to the idea and realize that the strands may be intertwined. Now she can conclude that her design whether it’s art, architecture, or memorials will intrinsically tied to the natural landscape around us.

-- New York Times and other references related--

This is one of those stories that made you perceive architecture as a frame of mind, thus allowing you to create, work and even succeed in whatever field you are in. So, if you're an architect then there's no boundaries for you to create your own space, even if it is made from lawn, furniture, light, sound, or whatever you can imagine it to be.