The Philology ‘Brain’ Library


Foster and Partners are the architects behind the Philology Library of the Free University in Berlin.

The Free university is one of the city’s most important symbols of education and also one of the leading institutions in Germany. With more than 39,000 students it is by far the largest of Berlin’s three universities. The project included the restoration of the uni’s Modernist buildings and also the design of a new library for the Philology faculty.

The site for the library links six of the university’s courtyards. It has four floors all of which are contained within a naturally ventilated bubble-like skin. The Skin is clad in aluminium and glazed panels are supported on steel frames with a radial geometry.

The inner ‘membrane’ is made from translucent glass fibers and is used to filter the daylight, creating an atmosphere of concentration with also scattered transparent opening allowing for momentary views of the sky and glimpses of sunlight.

The book stacks are located and structured in an ordered manner in the centre of each floor, with reading desks placed along the perimeter of the floors. The serpentine profile of the floors creates an edge pattern in which each floor swells or recedes with respect to the one above or below it. (Creating a similar pattern to a brain MRI.)

“Amusingly, the library’s cranial form has already earned it a nickname, ‘The Berlin Brain’

Interior Photography By Rachael Smith

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Here are some of the shots from London based freelance photographer, Rachael Smith

Rachael who graduated from University in 2000 has worked for a number of design and advertising clients throughout the UK and also across Europe.

She has a talent for capturing the very essence of a place in her interior shots. Portraying not just the physical features of a home, but giving us an insight into what it may very well be like to live there.

She has the unique ability to capture what makes a house a home in her interior shots.

Here were a few of my favourites..

Swedish Summer House

Against the Swedish, Forest Background.

A well loved and often used fireplace

A warm room that captures the ability of floor to ceiling windows to bring outside in.

Ladbroke Grove Home

This shot gives us into a glimpse of the family home — A Classical piano on modern, polished concrete floors is the main feature of the room. Whilst the toy car lets us know that the Home belongs to a young family.

Eero Aarnio’s Home

The Home of Furniture designer Eero Aarnio.
Here he is with his famous bubble chair

A library or study room – With still a hint of Aarnio’s plastic and fibreglass furniture

Unique Australian Residential Architecture from Melbourne based firm.

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Edward River House
Deniliquin NSW
The design of this farmhouse located on the Edward River near Deniliquin explores an interpretation of historic farm buildings in the local area typically constructed of timber frames and corrugated iron cladding.
The house is traditionally sited adjacent to the river and the two storey structure is linked to a water tank tower which identifies its position nestled amoungst the indigenous Red Gums on the river frontage.

Melbourne Based architects Jackson Clement Burrows offer highly refined, unique and successful solutions for their clients and public.

The founding directors are Tim Jackson, Jon Clements and Graham Burrows, and are involved and committed to all stage of architectural process, from start to finish.

Armadale House, Armadale VIC

An alterations and additions project to an existing Victorian house in Armadale that had been renovated in the late 1980s. The project involved a complete refurbishment of the existing Victorian House and a new upper level extension separated into two private zones.

The project was Runner-up in the Belle-SAAB House of the Year awards 2004

The team which consists of 20 core architectural staff suggest that their design philosophies lie within their ability to be flexible during the design process –

“Our design methodology is often informed by making intelligent decisions about perceived constraints.”
The Team can also boast a broad and diverse range of collective experience, allowing for the tackling of small residential programs right through to large scale urban design, multi-storey commercial and residential towers and large industrial projects.

Cape Schank House, Mornington Peninsula, VIC

The Primary program is elevate to take advantage of expansive views across the Mornington Peninsula from Bass Strait to Port Phillip Bay.

The house engages with the landscape in both form and materiality. The upper level extends westwards towards the views appearing to emerge from the Ti-tree over an artificial escarpment formed by the lower level.

“Our depth of experience ensures that we can service projects of all types and sizes and our collaborative studio culture combined with the intimate scale of our offices ensures that we maintain consisten and direct contact with out clients.”

The practice has been awarded with wide print media coverage and AIA awards. “We believe our proven ability, intelligent design responses and collaborative team approach make us ideally suited to delivering successful architectural outcomes.”

Port Melbourne, VIC
This project is located on a small infill site of just 120m2. The two bedroom house has off-street parking concealed behind an active facade which is illuminated at night. The project consciously challenges the neighbouring mock-heritage terraces and gives the streetscape a new identity.

Recycled Paper homes to address homelessness and developing countries.

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Wall AG have developed a pre-fab home, the ‘Universal World House’ to be made from recycled paper as a response to those in devloping countries, the homeless or perhaps those displaced by disaster.
The Design uses a product known as Swisscell — Cellulose is extracted from recycled newspaper and cardboard, the resin from the recyclables is then formed into honeycomb like walls that provides an amazing strength to weight ratio as well as excellent insulation.

“Gerd Niemoeller says that the 36sq m paper house weighs barely 800kg (1,763lb)- lighter than a VW Golf. ‘Without the foundation block, the whole house actually weighs in at about 400kg,’ says the design engineer. It will not, however, simply blow away. The basic material is resin-soaked cellulose recovered from recycled cardboard and newspapers.’”

I found this gem via view the original article here.

and also via Timesonline (UK)

Mr Niemoeller who patented the invention explains.. “The prime purpose is to create intelligent housing settlements almost instantly for the displaced and the urban poor.”

“People don’t want to flee their countries, they’ve been driven to leave their homes out of the need to survive,” said the 58-year-old engineer. “The number of migrants, refugees living in improvised housing, is going to grow with climate change, and we offer an alternative.” An alternative, that is, to the corrugated-iron sheds and lean-tos so often seen in the slums of the developing world.

The house has eight built-in single and double beds and a veranda with a sealed-off area housing a shower and a lavatory. It has been designed together with the German development aid agency GTZ, and with the architect Dirk Donath, from the Bauhaus University in Weimar.

Apart from the sleeping area, there are shelves, a table and benches. “It has been designed so that a family can slaughter an animal on the veranda, wash it in the shower and hang it, along with fish, on an integrated washing line.” The whole wall of the kitchen can be tipped open to let air in and to blur the distinction between inside and outside.

It may be a tad exaggerated (or perhaps ignorant?) to name a design the ‘Universal world house’ I wonder if it could stand up to the likes of a harsh Australian summer or a freezing Greenland? One would also have to question is stability and fire susceptibility — Regardless, a positive step toward global housing.. no matter how fundamental

Ancient Monolithic chamber..? No, Japan’s Storm Water Drain

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Recently I have been so captivated by Japan design.. I think I’m turning Japanese (I really think so.) Much to do with the fact I will be visiting the land of godzilla and vending machines in a few short months.

In my constant internet travels I came across these amazing images of Japan’s Storm drains over at ‘Underground’

The drains resemble something from another century (or something alien a little more alien perhaps)

Hanging Spiral Stair Case.


Just a quick one for you all.. I stumbled upon this image and had to do a double take..

..a Hanging spiral stair case done by MVRDV projects for a project named Didden Village

It’s amazing what they’ve done with this, I would love to know the strucutal elements involved!

The wonders of tape – ‘Forty-Eight’ by Rebecca Ward

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I recently stumbled upon the website of Rebecca Ward — Rebecca is an artist from down town Austin, Texas who has exhibited a number of creative, linear works, by utilising the original beams, columns and angles of any given space, usually strung together with a very colourful palette of plain old tape. “I have always been drawn to its unique textural qualities… When using tape, rather than leaving evenly-placed two-dimensional lines upon a wall, I expand upon the material’s sculptural potential and bring these installations into a third dimension.” Her installations are ‘inherently architectural,’ and all ‘site-specific’ No two exhibits are the same. Each site goes through a series of detailed measurements before each installation to properly assess the use of patterns and shapes. “Ideally these patterns are numerically symmetrical or somehow numerically balanced, producing a dialogue between line and space.”

I Got in touch with Rebecca to find out more about an exhibit in Houston Texas — a splash of colour down an otherwise ordinary staircase.

The piece is named ‘forty-eight’ and was commissioned by Box 13 artspace

I soon learnt that the colourful display was not in anyway random, but instead was loosely based on the age old concept of the golden rectangle

Here are Rebecca’s thoughts on the installation.

“When I began investigating the Box13 space, I wanted to plan my installation according to the laws of the golden rectangle.The aerial view of the staircase seemed to have a shape that would work with the golden spiral. Ultimately, it was too difficult to make every piece of tape and every linear gesture adhere to the very specific laws of the logarithmic spiral, but I think the end result still has its basis (somehow and somewhere) in phi. I guess I kind’ve ended up making my own rules about balancing proportions in a rectangular space.”

A huge thanks to Rebecca for sharing her thoughts and work with us.

For more information and equally stunning installations visit..

Rebecca Ward

Interview with Jeff Kovel – The architect of the Cullen House (Hoke House) from twilight.


When I wrote the original Cullen House article I never imagined it would gain the popularity it did. As promised, I have been in contact with Jeff Kovel from Skylab Architecture and have prepared the following interview/bio along with a few more images for all the mad fans!

“I am in architecture, development, and rock and roll.”

- Jeff Kovel

Jeff Kovel grew up just outside of New York City and lived there until he attended Cornell University’s Architecture school. Since then he has made his way to the West Coast and in 1996 he finally settled down in Portland, Oregon. However, it was while growing up in New York that Jeff realised he wished to become an architect. His family had begun work on a new home and a young Jeff thus developed a new fascination for both building and design.
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Well shnap, perhaps I picked the wrong decade to graduate from Architecture school..?

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Architecture 5c -

Well god dam, did I pick the wrong decade to graduate from Architecture school..

The above image is of John Morefield’s. A 27 year old who has been twice laid off by architecture firms in the past year, a direct result of the spreading world economic crisis.

“This what it’s come to, John? Going to parade down Market Street in sandwich boards later?

“I’m serious,” Morefield said, laughing when asked about his booth, which has appeared two weeks in a row at the open-air street market in old Ballard. “I’m here to answer questions. And I do charge a nickel. I’ve made a dollar today so far.”

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Toyo Ito is coming to town

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If there are any other local Melbournites around on the 17th of Feb, than make sure you check out the international speaker series put on by the RAIA -
Gracing our shores will be the highly accredited and heavily awarded, Toyo Ito.

Visit here for more info

For those of you off shore it I thought I’d put together a few images of Ito’s amazing work.. but first a little background.

Toyo Ito 1941- is considered “one of the world’s most innovative and influential architects” (Designboom).

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Fit for a vampire.. The Hoke House (the Cullen House from Twilight) – Skylab Architecture

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Edit!: Also see my interview with Architect — Jeff Kovel Here

UPDATE: Interior Images of the residence from New Moon HERE

Myself and two other architecture students went along to see the new vampire come romance movie twilight..

..We made the mistake of going opening day. Aussie kids are currently on their Christmas break and amoungst them, screaming teens, all hungry for the blood (like vampires.. get it?) of teen heart throb, ex- harry potter star, Robert Pattinson or ‘Edward Cullen’ as those who have seen the movie might know him.

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Hidalgo Hartmann – Bianna House

Another great find via Arch Daily

Bianna House / Hidalgo Hartmann

Architects: Hidalgo Hartmann – Jordi Hidalgo Tané & Daniela Hartmann
Location: Vall de Bianya, La Garrotxa, Spain
Project year: 2002
Construction year: 2002-2006
Client: Jordi Sala, Susanna Comamala
Contractors: Estructures Olot S.L. , Libra-S.L., Plantalech S.L., Fusteria Serra S.L.
Constructed Area: 362 sqm
Photographs: Hisao Suzuki, Eugeni Pons

Located in an agricultural valley surrounded by mountains, the house submits to the protagonism of the landscape with respect. It is perfectly integrated in the ground and views are oriented through precise openings that frame the nature.

The house is composed by two concrete volumes that are inserted in the territory getting fused to it.
Both volumes of diferent sizes are set firmly to the ground by the enlargement of the containing walls that define them. These walls modify the topografy of the territory to get the volumes more integrated in it. By connecting the two volumes, a ramp that leads to the entrance of the house creates an independent
outside space, a space separated from nature and appropriated by man.

The main volume lodges the house program and the other one the technical spaces and the garage.
Inside the house: The living room treated as a porch opened to the landscape, the kitchen with a small wc and laundry, two bedrooms separated by a patio, the master bedroom and on the upper floor, where circulation ends, a studio compose the programm of the house. A big window at the studio offers the view
to the landscape we left behind on our walk to the entrance.


Architects and Johnny Cash..

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I found this Here

The Greenhouse By Joost


“Witness an Australian first in sustainable design and innovation, by visiting the Greenhouse by Joost, a temporary exhibition over the Spring and Summer period of 2008|09. It’s built entirely from recycled and recyclable materials.”


..Coffee in a jar?
No, not nescafe blend 43

Last weekend myself and good friend/fellow Architecture student sat down for a latte, straight from a recycled jar.

“If you think guerilla gastronomy is a load of old rubbish – then wait ’til you see what’s been dumped in Melbourne’s Federation Square.”

The Greenhouse by Joost Bakker “has taken up residence at Melbourne’s federation square, though perhaps “popped up” is more appropriate. Joost was “repulsed by the practices of a planet that keeps making stuff without any thought to the impact of creating more stuff.’

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Interview With Kate Bezar Creator of Dumbo Feather, Pass it on.

Well loved Dumbo Feather Library

Following my short article of Dumbo Feather, Pass it on, that i’d found at the Design Market
Comes an excerpt from the interview with Kate Bezar via

Well-loved Dumbo feather library

I get the feeling Kate Bezar is a bit of a dynamo.

It’s not just the incredible success she’s had with her stunning independent publication Dumbo feather in a fiercely competitive market….. (a magazine she started single-handedly five years ago and with no journalism experience, mind you). No, mainly, it’s the fact that just a few seconds of googling brings up so many varied accolades and creative collaborations that I begin to wonder if there might be 25 Kate Bezars.

But no, there’s only 1. And she’s here, here, here and even here.

And of course, she’s here! [] Read on for an insight into the inspiring world of ‘editor, publisher & dreamer’, Kate Bezar. Thanks so much for your time Kate!”

Thedesignfiles: “Tell me a little about your background – what did you study and what path led you to what you’re doing now?”

“I’d almost bet I’m the first person with a Chemistry degree to grace your blog!

I think, like a lot of people, I never really knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. So, when I finished school, even though my best marks were in English and Painting, I thought the more sensible thing to do would be to study Commerce and Science. That lead me to a very sensible career as a management consultant working on projects for companies like banks and airlines, both of which I also used a lot; I flew ridiculous amounts and was paid ridiculously well. That was pretty seductive, but on some really fundamental level I knew it wasn’t what I was meant to be doing with my life, it wasn’t what I was passionate about.

I was volunteering at art galleries on weekends just to get my ‘fix’. Eventually I walked into a newsagent one night wanting to buy a mag but just couldn’t find what I wanted. I wanted to read about real people who’d found what they were passionate about in life and how they’d gone about pursuing it. When I walked out of that newsagent and I hadn’t found a mag but I had found what I was going to do. I was going to make a mag for people like me.”


See the rest of the interview here! at Lucy’s blog