Thursday, February 21, 2008

Natural light everywhere

Instead of installing a solar cell to collect sunlight, convert it to electricity, and then light an interior lightbulb, why not just bring the sunlight in? The parans system uses a combination of optical collectors and cables to transmit natural light deep into building interiors. Great solution for updating, or preventing, gloomy rooms. Information and photos of installations on their website.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Rest and Respite

I've continued to think about this post, from the blog architecture + morality:

" seems to me that churches can help people lead simpler, more focused and satisfying lives by demonstrating what this life looks like, especially on Sunday morning.

So instead of building a church around programs and activities, especially activities for families and children, I see the church as a respite amid restlessness, an oasis for lives already dealing with busyness. The chief role of the church in the suburbs should be one of prayer and worship, ignoring for the most part time constraints and similar pressures. As I look around, there are more than enough activities for families in children in most neighborhoods between school, athletics, theatre, etc. There is even a plethora of charities that do excellent work, often doubling up the churches effort
s. It’s not to say the church should abandon all its programs or charity, but instead should focus less on frenetic activity, and more on teaching us that the frenzied lifestyle is a trap in and of itself.

How can the design of your church express rest and respite?  

[The above image is of the Jubilee church in Rome by Richard Meier.  More detail later, but for a thoughtful blog about the Jubilee church and its place in sacred architecture, see sisu

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Better Parking

The necessity to accomodate a heavy car load one morning a week often leaves church buildings looking like they sit half-dissolved in a puddle of asphalt. Most of the week, the lots are bare, empty, unsightly, and unfriendly both to the environment and the onlooker.

If you're installing new parking facilities, consider making at least some of them out of permeable concrete pavers which allow grass to grow and water to drain, but are still stable enough for heavy Sunday loads. The rest of the week, it looks like lawn. Will require mowing of course, but IMHO that's preferable to the huge periodic costs of renovating asphalt or concrete lots.

The photos above are from grasscrete, which is in the UK.

Their distributor in the US is the Bomanite corporation.

As you'll note from the site, these are also useful for a lightly used access road, slope protection, and drainage channels.

Consider them anytime you're thinking of pouring asphalt or concrete.

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