Friday, August 15, 2014

Simmons Hall at MIT

If you see Boston city from the Prudential sky deck you will experience virtually all the buildings with exposed brick, keeping the monotony. Of course, there are high-rise buildings in downtown Boston. The neighborhood on the south east side is beautiful and has a mixture of all architectural styles specifically on Tremont Street.

On the Cambridge side if you observe carefully on the west side you can see a white colored perforated sponge like structure, Simmons Hall, designed by renowned architect Steven Holl. The main idea of the design was that the building would metaphorically work as a sponge. It would take light and in some cases air through its porous structure and allow major interactive spaces for students, a natural source of light.

When you enter the building you can see the lobby, which delivers an organic shaped stairways, completely different from the outer geometry of the building. There is a long passage which runs along the stairways, which takes you towards the elevator. All the rooms are on the upper floors. Passage of the upper floor is lined by wavy walls.There are some punctures in the walls of the passage from where you can see an interactive space for students. The most interesting part in the building is this interactive space. It has a skylight and you can see it from every alternate floor. Space is organic shaped and almost feels like the light is arriving from the summit in a cave. The interior design was complimenting the overall design of the building. Each room has nine operable windows and 18 inch wall depth allows low angled winter sun to warm up and allow the rooms to stay shaded and cool in warm months.

Main entrance of Simmons Hall
Organic shaped stairways

Wavy walls of the passage

Interactive space for students

Skylight in the interactive space

Operable windows

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Trip to Appenzell

 If you want to see a typical Swiss village Appenzell is the best place to go. It takes two hours from Zurich via Gossau station. The whole train journey would take you through many beautiful farms. 

I made a last minute plan to visit Appenzell. I was little late to the train station. At the ticket machine it asks for the pin so if you have an international credit card it doesn't work. I stood in the line to buy a ticket. Everyone in the line was so relaxed. My train was at 9.09 a.m. and I was still not close to ticket window. Finally at 9.00 a.m I bought my ticket.

I hastened to the train, sat in the nearest train car. When I went in there was a group of school boys and girls who were making tons of noise. They went down at Winterthur station. After they left the train car was nearly empty except for two old ladies who got on the train at Wil Station.

The farms were beautifully maintained. Huge farm land and small house at the center it was spectacular. After reaching Gossau station I had to change train for Appenzell. That train was tiny only with 3 cars. There was no one on the platform and I was 15 minutes early. I was alone in the car until the last minute when an old man got on the train just before the train started moving. I was busy taking photos he looked at me with a smile and asked where I am getting down at. That journey was really beautiful.  The mountains were small but full with snow. The old man was telling me information about mountains we were passing by (in his typical European accent which I found it cute) as he hike there almost every alternate day. I was really impressed. Finally we arrived at Appenzell. He told me to visit tourist information office for maps and touristic routs in the village.

The Appenzell is really small place. First thing I noticed was the castle. The castle has been privately owned since 1780 by Sutter family, who still resides there, and is not open to the public. But still it looks beautiful from outside. I completed my touristic route in an hour. Among the entire place I like ‘Heiligkreuzkapelle’ a tiny church in the village. It could occupy about 12 people at a time. The stained glass windows of the church are depiction of five sorrowful mysteries of rosary and were designed by Ferdnand Gehr in 1964.

Saw some typical Swiss houses like Salesis House, Konkordia House, Hampi  Fassler House and historic square called as Landsgemeindeplatz, which is unfortunately used as car parking. Another place was mentioned in tourist route ‘The Lowen Pharmacy’ which is considered to be an architectural gem with beautiful paintings on its decorated fa├žade. It has pictures of herbs painted on the white round arched panels covering the shutter. There is a cemetery on the side of the St. Mauritius Catholic church from there you can see a beautiful view of mountains and river.

On the way to Appenzelll


Heiligkreuzkapelle Interior

Lowen Pharmacy 

View from St. Mauritius church

Monday, September 9, 2013

UCSF Community Center

I was looking out from the train window and suddenly something stroked my eyes,it was a long pillar kind of structure with vibrant sandstone color."I had seen this building in some book I was recalling and name came in mind was Ricardo Legorreta,a Mexican Architect,I couldn't wait to double check it online, I was right.I still remember my internship days when I was working at Ar. Ravi Gadres office, I used to look at some of his book collection and  legorreta+Legorreta was one of them I always used to get fascinated by the way he use vibrant colors in his all projects.

The main entrance of the building is not visible from the access road.what you see is green space which is generally used for playing football,tall pillar of a building with small punctures at the top and seating spaces along the pathway 

A bright yellow column  empower the glazed atrium wall that serves as a grand entrance portico to the UCSF Community Center.

The most interesting part of this building is its atrium he used two colors blue and orange and you can see play of shadow through out a day.