Tuesday, May 29, 2012

COMIC STRIP TOUR - Brussels Murals 2009

Brussels has a long tradition of murals. For the 2009 comic strips theme, the City of Brussels will again add to its comic strip tour, with two or three murals.
One of these murals will be devoted to Rabaté for the album ‘Les petits ruisseaux’ (small streams), which won the latest City of Brussels prize. This prize is awarded annually to an author and an original work that opens up new perspectives for comic strips (in terms of graphics, stories or story-telling technique). Artists from abroad are also invited to Brussels for this, to participate in the city’s beautification and to make it more attractive.

The City of Brussels started producing its own comic strip murals in 1993. They have been included in a tour that stretches across the city. Now very popular with tourists, the tour includes 31 walls in the central Pentagon area and four walls in Laeken. People following it can therefore take a nice stroll and discover Brussels in a different manner. This tour is today an integral part of the city’s heritage. It is something we would like to spotlight during the comic strips theme year, by ensuring the murals are known and recognised by everyone and by turning them into some of the most popular tourist attractions of our capital – the home of comic strips! Besides the murals, some streets in Brussels will be given two plaques, one of which is fictional. This will be an amusing reference to Belgian comic strips.
These ‘comic strip’ streets make up a second comic strip tour across the city, as the guiding thread for a nice walk.

The Brussels' Comic Book Route (or also The comic strip route in Brussels) is a path composed by several comic strip murals which deck the walls of several buildings throughout the inner city of Brussels as well as the neighborhoods of Laeken and Auderghem. The large comic strip murals show motifs of the main characters of the most famous and popular Belgian comic artist, for instance Lucky LukeTintinGastonMarsupilami or Gil Jourdan.
The project began in 1991 by initiative of the local authorities of the city of Brussels in collaboration with the Belgian Comic Strip Center. At its beginning, the project was just aimed to mask or embellish empty walls and gables of the buildings of the city, but it became also an opportunity to remember to its citizens and tourists that many well-known comic artists around the world were born or linked to the Belgium's capital, which at the same time claims to be also the capital of the comic strip.[1][2]
Today, the Brussels' Comic Book Route offers more than 50 mural paintings, most of them located inside the Pentagon (as the city center is often called due to its geometrical shape). Following its trail, the Comic Book Route is a good way to discover the capital and even penetrate some neighborhoods less crowded by tourists. The Brussels tourist association Pro Velo organizes a 2 hours bike tour starting at the Bicycle Riders House (Maison des cyclists).
Broussaille was the first comic book wall to be painted,[3] based on an original project of the Belgian comic book artist Frank Pé. With its surface of about 35 m2, the mural painting was inaugurated in July 1991 at the intersection between the central streets Marché au Charbon and Teinturiers. As most of the mural paintings, the Belgian association «Art Mural» was in charge for the execution of the fresco painting.
«Art Mural» is an association created by five artists in 1984, mainly aimed to realize mural painting in public areas. Since 1993 it has been devoted to the creation and realization of the fresco paintings belonging to the Brussels' Comic Book Route, with a rhythm of 2 to 3 works per year.[4] Georgios Oreopoulos and David Vandegeerde are the only two remaining founder members of the association who have been always involved in all the projects and mural paintings, helped with a large number of other artists who have collaborated and worked together with them.

Brussels has undergone many architectural face-lifts and artistic design. None are quite like the cartoon characters that adorn the sides of buildings throughout Brussels. The brainstorm of someone with a bit of sense of humor and taste for the playful came up with the brilliant idea of transforming dull and grey buildings into eye-catching works of artistic expression. Local residences are being treated to the brightly colored displays across the city. Much to their delight the murals are said to being smiles to all who catch glimpse of them
As you make your way through the city to streets such as 33 rue de la Buanderie you will find a cartoon mural featuring The Adventures of Asterix. This particular mural is located on the wall a public soccer and basketball playground. Artists Albert Uderzo who provided the text and René Goscinny who created the illustrations have together created a masterpiece of sorts. The Stockel Metro Station is another location featuring the cartoons character The Adventures of Tintin Mural. It is considered to be the most grand of all the murals in the city of Brussels.
This beautifully illustrated mural is featured on duel sides of 135 meters of underground station wall. Considered one of the most renowned as it was drawn by the late Hergé prior to his death in 1983. The actual completion of the mural was not until five year later. In 1988, Studio Hergé and Bob de Moor successfully completed the task in honor of the Stockel train station's grand opening.
The Lucky Luke Comic Strip is one of the most beloved comic strips in Europe. As a local featured favorite in the city of Brussels, the mural stands at 180 meters of magnificent stature. Lucky Luke Comic Strip mural beheld as a most wondrous mural was painted by D. Vandegeerde and G. Oreopoulos in 1992. While the happiest mural in the city could be disputable, there is no mistaking the humor provided by the mural known as the "Happy Metro to You."
Created in 1974, artist Marc Mendelson hoped the mural would bring a more humorous side to the daily commute of onlookers making their way through the Park Metro Station. Stroll along the streets in Brussels and you can observe this fun and exciting way to liven up the dullness of old Brussels city walls. Five more vibrant and energizing murals have been commissioned for this year with another 10 expected by 2010.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Rem Koolhaas

Remment Lucas Koolhaas (English pronunciation: /ˈrɛm ˈkɔːlhɑːs/; born 17 November 1944) is a Dutch architectarchitectural theoristurbanist and "Professor in Practice of Architecture and Urban Design" at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University, USA. Koolhaas studied at the Netherlands Film and Television Academy in Amsterdam, at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London and at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Koolhaas is the founding partner ofOMA, and of its research-oriented counterpart AMO, currently based in Rotterdam, Netherlands. In 2005 he co-founded Volume Magazine together with Mark Wigley and Ole Bouman.
In 2000 Rem Koolhaas won the Pritzker Prize. In 2008 Time put him in their top 100 of The World's Most Influential People.

Found Here:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rem_Koolhaas

In their Citation, the Pritzker Prize Jury described Rem Koolhaas as a visionary and a philosopher. Critics have argued that Koolhaas ignores all consideration for beauty and taste. And, in our 
discussion forum, one reader responded that Koolhaas designs are "the result of architecture that wants to be different, only different."
Rem Koolhaas is, in fact, so different that scholars have difficulty classifying him. Is Koolhaas's work:
A design like the Seattle Public Library defies labels. The Library appears to be made up of unrelated, disharmonious abstract forms, having no visual logic. And yet the free-flowing arrangement of rooms is founded in logic and functionality.
But never mind the theoretical mumbo-jumbo. How are we to respond to structures with glass floors or erratically zigzagging stairs or shimmering translucent walls? Has Koolhaas ignored the needs and aesthetics of the people who will occupy his buildings? Or, is he using technology to show us better ways to live?
According to the Pritzker Prize Jury, Koolhaas's work is as much about ideas as it is buildings. He became famous for his writings and social commentary before any of his designs were constructed. And, some of his most celebrated designs are still only on the drawing board.
Now it's your turn to be the judge. Join us on a virtual tour of architecture by Rem Koolhaas. View photos of his work and read about his life and his ideas. Then, answer our Rem Koolhaas poll, or log onto our discussion forum and tell us what you think.

© Christian Ritchers
One of the most prominent aspects of a design, if not the most important, is the consideration of the context and environment in which the proposed design will be found. In the case of the  by , the unique and very challenging environmental conditions and topography of the site led to a design with interesting conditions that respond to these conditions.
More on the Dutch House in The Netherlands after the break.

© Christian Ritchers
Not only is the design limited to a four-meter height restriction, it was to be situated on a highly uneven topography yet maximize space for specific program in the private-residence. Given the difficult site, Koolaas took it upon himself to incorporate a house both above and below ground, accommodating four bedrooms, a kitchen, living room, study and two terraces.

© Christian Ritchers
Program is based on the permanent occupancy of the two parents and the temporary and visiting occupancy of their three grown-up daughters. For times without visitors or daughters, the house is kept at a manageable scale through a programmatic split and literal slab. The intentions remained to maximize the total program while minimizing the amount of formal gestures.

© Christian Ritchers
At the most basic level, one wall appears to wrap around as it defines a continuity of interior spaces and patios that function as the living spaces for the visiting daughters, remaining introverted and grounded. The wall contains all of the functional elements which allows the space surrounding it to be free and open within their glass box enclosure. A deck which appears to float becomes the supporting structure for the program of the parent’s living quarters. Connecting the two is a pivoting bridge and horizontal door that contributes patio spaces and service entries to both bedroom units.

© Christian Ritchers
This dual relationship is further emphasized and expressed through the use of multiple different treatments of glass and uses of shadings according to program and orientation. Bridging the dichotomy (literally and figuratively) is a central ramp, which provides functional and visual connections between the two separate programmatic systems.

© Christian Ritchers
The site, totaling 5,000 square meters,  is embedded in golden “beachsand” in a forest of pine in The Netherlands. Restrictions were not limited to the difficult site, but were found in the requirements of maximum height and distance from the adjacent road (both four meters). The literal interpretation of the regulations gave Koolhaas a fundamental frame which would dictate the boundaries of possible length and height.
In terms of vehicular circulation, a drive-through path was carved out to enable successful and efficient accessibility and exiting.
Architect: Rem Koolhaas
Location: The Netherlands
Project Year: 1995
Photographs: OMA
References: OMAEl CroquisLucy Bullivant