idealize the machine

In 1992 the architectural partnership Holt Hinshaw Pfau Jones modified Le Corbusier’s famous chaise lounge.
1992 chaise

This chair, a mix of chaise lounge and machine, is now part of the permanent collection at SFMOMA. It’s interesting because the concept is still very relevant today. In an essay titled “Soups Up . . .” (as in ‘souping up’ a hot rod’) they talked about the danger that “human emotional maturity with respect to technological development lagged far behind”. They were concerned about the possibility that “humans could accept the machine as a normal extension and glorification of their humanity”. The essay argued that the abstraction and alienation of the machine is a good thing. To avoid losing our humanity it’s better to put technology on a pedestal, to treat it as separate from ourselves. The Corbu chair was originally shown in 1929 as a “machine for sitting”. The Holt Hinshaw Pfau Jones interpretation was to emphasize and idealize the machine aspect of the chair beyond functionality.

The Principle of Cladding according to Adolf Loos

“…he concluded that underclothes can be any color other than that of the color of skin”.

Everyone knows one the fundamental questions of architectural Modernism is the s0-called “truth of materials” but what about finishes that can’t easily be seen? Like using a faux finish to represent wood inlay in a high ceiling too far away to tell if it’s real or not.

From an “overtly passionate” essay by Adolf Loos titled: The Principle of Cladding, pub. 1897 Neue Freie Presse, Viennese newspaper. . .

Here’s the rule that Adolf Loos set up:
The principle of cladding forbids the cladding material to imitate the coloration of the underlying material.

Here’s what he had to say about people who break that particular rule of Modernism . . .
(I love this paragraph) . . .

But no, you imitators and surrogate architects, you are mistaken! The human soul is too lofty and sublime for you to be able to dupe it with your tactics and tricks. Of course, our pitiful bodies are in your power. They have only five senses at their disposal to distinguish real from counterfeit. And at that point where the (person) with his sense organs is no longer adequate begins your true domain. This is your realm. But even here – you are mistaken once more! Paint the best inlays high, high up in the wood ceiling and our poor eyes will have to take it on good faith perhaps. But the divine spirits will not be fooled by your tricks. They sensed that even those (wood carved) decorations more skillfully painted to look “like inlay” are nothing but oil paint. That begins the long-discussed and unanswerable question: who are the divine spirits that will not be fooled?

color – CityYear

Recently we had a chance to work with a great non-profit youth organization called CityYear. They had some serious problems with their office. It was way too dark and the lighting was poor. They spend all their money on their kids but working with a great landlord we helped them extend their lease and improve their space. With a very low budget we were able to make dramatic changes with bright paint, new lighting and a vision for the future.

CityYear interior

project construction

We’ve got a great project under construction. Below is a construction photo on the left and a rendering on the right. We’re not allowed to name the client yet but it’s an office space for a high tech company that does equipment development and testing.


Local press

We’ve had a few mentions of our projects in a couple local blogs. These projects are for our Vendemmia client, Brian Clevenger. We did his second project called East Anchor, a seafood and oyster shop located next to Vendemmia. It opened a few weeks ago with massive success. Our third project with Brian is a restaurant in West Seattle, going to be called Raccolto.

RT press

office words and culture

There are more ways to describe office culture than you might have thought. Does your office have a ‘huddle room’? Do you ‘accelerate serendipity’? How about ‘swarm work’? Does your office do that? Are you falling behind if you don’t have individual hammock desks like this office space for Google? (Note: I don’t think those hammocks are too comfortable).

work space
Not to worry, here’s a list of office culture descriptions that you can learn…
Better Together Mentality
Clan Culture
Co-working Space
The Creative Class
The Deskless Office
Dissaggregated Workforce
Hot Desking
People-Centric Workforce
Reverse Mentoring
Third Places
Touchdown Space
Triple-Bottom Line
Vibe Working


Olympia House Build 2

Here are some updated photos of the Smitch Residence in Olympia, WA. The roof is complete and the windows have been installed. The house is set for completion in late April. Finishes and fixtures are being purchased and landscaping is being designed. The view from the living room looks out over Budd Inlet, the southern-most tip of Puget Sound.
Olympia residence

Olympia residence RaderTangen Architects

Olympia residence RaderTangen Architects

Apex Steel Office Open

We are very excited to announce that the Apex Steel office project is complete and they’ve moved in. We came in within budget and schedule. The clients were great to work with. Take a look at the project page here for more pictures.
apex steel group

Olympia House Build

The Olympia house is under construction! See the project page here. Set to be completed early next year, the general contractor’s goal has been to get a roof on the house before the end of fall, that way he can work on the interiors through the winter. It’s very exciting to stand on the main floor looking out over the water. It’s quite a view. The home owners get to watch their new home under construction from the front row: they currently live right next door!
olympia residence view
olympia residence ca1sm
olympia residence 1

High Line in LA?

I lived in LA for eight years and my family lives there today, in fact they live in the fashionable Arts District in downtown. Full of loft condos, art galleries and restaurants, it’s highly regarded as one of the most popular places to live in LA today. It’s also directly adjacent to a section of the concrete-lined LA River and the big story in LA is what is Frank Gehry designing for the LA River?

The Guardian News website has an excellent article about how Gehry is making some waves by ignoring the “King Kong” effect. Those are the Friends of the River group and other organizations that have spent years advocating for the development of the river.

Not much is known about Gehry’s ideas, but here’s a link to the latest info from Curbed LA . . .
LA River