30 January 2007


As I pull the materials together (at long last) for funhaus.net I will be posting here from time to time on the past projects and events. If you, dear visitor, have any photos, stories, or commentary of ye olde funhaus of yore, please please contribute - it is certainly the spirit of community that drives this thing.

The first entry in the FLASHBACK series is the piece "Turn", aka the funbox. Back in the year 2000, Amy Broderick was a masters thesis student at MICA in Baltimore and was one of 10 artists awarded a "Viewing Station" to be publically displayed as part of the annual Artscape festival. The artists were issued a plywood box, approximately 4'x4'x8' and solid on all sides except for a Plexiglas panel in one of the vertical faces; the requirements were to install drawings in the box for "90, 180, or 360 degree viewing". This opportunity to challenge the frame and manipulate the connection between 2d drawing and three dimensional space was the inspiration which lead the project to evolve into a collaboration between Amy, who was working on large drawings with ink on paper at the time, and Thom, who was working in architecture. The idea was to put the viewer inside the box, and the drawing outside. Further, the viewer would have to interact with the drawing - to touch it and pull it around the box, to turn it- in order to see it in its entirety.

The funbox became a sort of spectacle at the festival. It was amusing and surprising to watch people line up to enter it while the masses surrounded it...the viewers inside and out becoming the objects of attention. Even more amusing and surprising was watching people put their hands inside the rubber gloves we installed... totally nasty; those things reeked of crab cakes in no time!
After three days of abuse from hordes of often drunken and/or sun-stroked festival-goers, the installation finally succumbed with the drawing, which had been sandwiched in acetate to shield it from moisture, shredded and then ultimately ripped in half, the gloves pulled off their bungees, and the box itself soiled with the grime of summer fun.

I intend to post a video i made of this thing in action on funhaus.net. stay tuned.

19 January 2007

Another Milestone

It's been a fun week for me on the Architecture side of things. On Tuesday, the previously blogged-on American Cancer Society building had its dedication ceremony, which means it is fully operational. And yesterday was move-in day for the Residence in Ghent project I've been working on since the Summer of '05.

This project began as an exciting design challenge for a couple of supercool clients: to renovate and make an addition to a historic residence in the Mowbray Arch section of Ghent. The existing residence would be gutted down to the floor plates with only a small number of interior walls remaining; and an old shabby addition would be removed to make way for a larger new Addition. Once drawings were made and the demolition began, the project quickly evolved into a significant construction challenge, as it was discovered that majority of the wood framing of the house was so compromised by termite damage and shoddy previous patches and "repairs" that it would all need to be replaced. So the house was stripped down to just its perimeter masonry walls and the roof. Steel frames and plywood shear walls were implemented to keep the house from toppling over, while at the same time affording us the opportunity to keep the first floor completely open and continuous, free of interior partitions, AND allowing us to completely remove the existing north facade, which would be the point of intersection of the old house and the new Addition.

It turned out well. There are some minor details which still need to be worked out, as is always the case. Once everything gets wrapped up and the residents are settled in, I'll head back for another photo session and post here in further detail. In the meantime, here are two sets of images of some of the highlights:

It will also be fun to post some "before and after" shots; they will be quite dramatic. Props go out to the clients for the vision, to John Tymoff, Michael Schnekser, and Missi Smith for their input and expertise through the design process and execution, to Covington Contracting for making it happen, and to 5forty Design for the custom fabrications.

10 January 2007

Second Life madness!

First... at the beginning of the week it was announced that Linden Lab is making the Second Life viewer (the software that gets loaded onto your home machine) open source, which is going to make the "by residents, for residents" aspect that much more true, and will certainly make the platform even more viable as a collaboration tool, which gets the FUN seal of approval (trademarked). Then... SL is featured on Archinect with a rather amusing look at "LOL Architects" out of Stockholm, a group with the goal of becoming the largest architecture office in the world. Check out www.archinect.com and www.secondlife.com.

I am slammed with a handful of huge deadlines (RL), but wow - 2007 is off to a very interesting start with regard to my current favorite hobby...

Oh yeah... Happy Lucky '07 to all!