Inside/Outside

Considerations of architecture often fall into two camps, interior and exterior. The two are inexorably linked, and the best forms of our discipline create a conversation that contrasts or combines the skin and the heart.

Our office and practice works in both spheres, but a times they become separated. Many historic rehabilitation projects demand a loyalty to the original exterior with little change, and the interior architecture and layout become to fulcrums of our scope. Conversely, large scale mixed use developments are best suited to partners whose focus is interior design, and thus we study the architectural form, street wall, context, and programmatic usage of space.

The above is a before/after of the reception desk at Linden Row Inn in Richmond. Recently completed, the project–ostensibly focused in scope to one piece of furniture in one area of the hotel–explored and impacted the spacing and scale of the entire entry, and lead to further space renovations currently being conducted. It began as a study of entry, of beginning, or first impression.

Center of the universe brewery

Contrast this, the Center of the Universe Brewery, currently wrapping up final finishes. It’s a place that has grown organically, and that people return to every night. It’s a part of the community, and the project was about returns, comfort, and making form from use–making the space easy to use in the way the sizable following already inhabits it. The building–formerly a newspaper operation–transforms into a warm tavern, an idiosyncratic place to congregate and devour delicious, carbonated cups.

 

The tools and techniques with which we approach these interiors are fundamentally the same as those employed for exterior architectural form. Questions of scale, relational form and strength, functionality, beauty.

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We do both, we love both.

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We Love Cardboard

Ok, on a whim and inspired by recently released AR apps, I bought Google Cardboard. A 2-pack, one for the office, one for me.

It’s awesome.

We’ve mostly been starting with spherical images rendered from our models, since that has been looking the best so far. For those unfamiliar, Google Cardboard is a stripped down VR viewer that makes use of an app on your phone and a — you guessed it — cardboard holder with plastic lenses.

Spherical images are available for download below and use on your Cardboard if you happen to have one. They come straight from our render program (V-Ray), and we’re currently playing with how to get the right HDRI skybox.

I think VR tools will start to become integral to the architectural process. To experience a simulacrum of a site and building through VR is so much more immersive the a static printed image or even a video fly-over. It’s more honest, straightforward, and awesome.

It’s awesome.

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Architecture Ain’t Easy

Architecture ain’t easy. Architecture is hard. It’s trust–equal parts reason and guess.

It can be difficult, some might argue impossible, to really know what a building’s outcome will be. So we work to develop themes, understanding, function, and, most importantly, sense. We create a sense of what the building looks like, feels like.

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Architecture and design of space are practices of dimensional translation. Of manifesting something that is beyond the human scale through means we can manipulate. Digital modalities augment our means, but our hands still make our homes.

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Architecture needs art as much as it needs engineering. It is incomplete without people and imperfect with rigor. The city and its varied architectures sit at fragile crossroads of needs and desires, and down those roads we go.

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Symbol Mattress Factory Construction Update

Construction is well under way for the Symbol Mattress Factory project. We’re hugely excited to see steel going up on our biggest project to date. See more at ado.design/symbol.

 

The complex in construction is a three building site with two multi-family apartment buildings and a commercial building with retail, restaurants, and offices.

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