Ten Best Articles on Architecture

Best of the Blog 2010 – Architecture

There are few professions that are truly able to challenge conventions and shape our world in quite the same way that Architecture does. A big part of this is how architects use the technologies available to them – often pushing the boundaries in new and exciting ways.

Click through for our top Architecture highlights from the Ponoko blog.


Laser Cutting Sugar. It Doesn’t Really Work.

learning from your isomalten mistakes

Seattle Food Geek recently posted an equally amusing and interesting article on the not-so-successful attempts of Seattle resident Scott to create a scale model of the Seattle Central Library from a sheet of sugar.

The article begins:
“I had this grand idea for a “gingerbread” house this year: a scale replica of the Seattle Central Library building – one of the few modern architectural landmarks of our city, and a magnificently example of complicated geometry. I planned on making the whole thing out of sugar, since the library building has an all-glass exterior.

And, to top things off, I was going to laser-cut all of the pieces I needed, since the project clearly wasn’t geeky enough to begin with.

Instead, I ended up with this 6” spiral staircase. Let’s review what happened…”

You really should check it out.

Well, they both sort of lean the same way…

Laser Cut Your House

Ok, maybe a scaled down version

No architecture firm is complete without a model maker. That patient person who precisely cuts out all the little doors and windows and walls from card, basswood and acrylic and then painstakingly assembles them. Once the cloud of glue vapours has settled, lo and behold a scale model of a house that makes you want to shrink yourself, so you can run around the miniature building. So much accuracy is required to make sure all the pieces fit. Of course, laser cutting makes it all so much easier. Working from his Boston residence. Daithi Blair does just that.

The residential designer found Ponoko in his search for a laser cutting service that would enable him to create the architectural models. Having just one room in his apartment as his office wasn’t sufficient space for any cutting or sawing or pretty much anything too messy.


A treasure trove of modern design

Impressive photo stream of design icons

If you’re feeling a little stuck on where to head with your next design, how about jumping onto flickr where user afghtiga has been steadily uploading an incredible collection of design icons.

There is a definite leaning towards products from the 1960s and 70s, as well as a particular fetish for gentlemanly wristwatches. You’ll also catch a few more recent industrial design goodies… and even a burst of architecture here and there. He is an architect, after all. This is an archive well worth immersing yourself in if design tickles you in even the smallest of ways.

What a fantastic opportunity to get inspired before firing up your Personal Factory 4 here on Ponoko!

Via Engadget

Cave Grave for Dead Websites

lasercut in polycarbonate for posterity

I’m sure many of you would agree that because the internet has become so important in our lives, it is only proper that there should be a place where we can go and pay our respects to dead websites.

In their third Manual of Architectural Possibilities, experimental architecture group David Garcia Studio proposed an installation for a dead website archive in the Munižaba cave in the Velebit mountains of Croatia.

Selected sites would have their contents lasercut into thin, polycarbonate sheets and would be “arranged chronologically, placed directly upon the topography, lit by LEDs and visited as one would a library, or a forest.”

Within the a bridge-like building inside the cave, a visitor could photocopy an entire website archive or project it on the wall.

Although this project is an exercise in imagination, preserving the ephemeral virtual world is a legitimate endeavor undertaken by organizations like the International Internet Preservation Consortium, the Web Archive, and Library of Congress.

via PSFK via DPR Barcelona

Flatpack, Lasercut Dollhouse

Ponoko Product of the Week

I love this simple but perfect “Foldable Dollhouse” from Make Anything aka Katherine Belsey. The house structure is lasercut from 3mm hardboard and provides a blank canvas for 8 doll rooms.

But if you would rather have a fully-furnished, turnkey dollhouse, you can order the pop-up paper interior at MakePopUpCards.com

The lasercut house is available for $55 in MakeAnything’s Ponoko Showroom or download the structure plans for free.

The paper interior comes in the form of a book and is available HERE for $21.95. (10% off until Halloween! use coupon code HARVEST at checkout.)

Distance of Fog

Using perforations to see without really seeing…

One of the great things about objects with holes in them, is that you can see through to the other side. When clever designers take this simple physical reality and put their own twist on it, the results can often be quite striking.

Japanese architects from studiogreenblue have been getting some well-deserved attention for their Distance of Fog house. Rather than separate spaces by solid walls, they have used multiple layers of perforated metal. The effect when looking through from one room to another is said to be reminiscent of seeing through a thick fog.

With the recently featured barrier grid optical illusions, the question was raised as to whether these approaches can be translated into physical structures. Although the studiogreenblue architects had a different objective in their design, it is interesting to see similarities emerging in the finished outcome.

See more of the house (including plans and concept sketches) at the source article.

Via Monogocoro

Modular Wall A.R.T.

New York architect Donald Rattner discovered Ponoko while searching for a way to make wall art pieces that he designed for himself.  The result of that discovery is a comprehensive catalogue of modular wall art designs.

The search process also led the architect to immerse himself in the universe of New Industrialism – mass customization, on demand production, digital fabrication, co-creation and all the other computer-driven technologies that are altering the way we make things.

When did you start making with Ponoko and what type of products do you create?

My firm – which now operates both an art and architectural studio – started designing pieces about 15 months ago, and rolled out our first portfolio last March at a popup store in Brooklyn. We’re continuing to design works of modular art in various formats – hanging wall sculptures, rotational paintings, tapestries, modular artist’s books and wallpapers.

How would you describe your creative process?


Object Creative: reDoor

CNC Carves Out New Life for Old Doors

From Emerald City (that’d be Seattle, WA) comes this interesting use of digital manufacturing technology to give a new lease on life to reclaimed timber doors.

Husband and wife team Jonah and Mackenzie Griffith together form Object Creative, a design house that specialises in bringing humour and simplicity to fully functional design.

The reDoor project takes traditional domestic doors that have been reclaimed through salvage, and extends their lifecycle. The magic happens when a CNC router is used to cut designs and patterns into the wooden doors. A little lacquer and a lick of paint later, and you have a portal that is sure to be the envy of all your neighbours.

There’s a touch of the mesmerising look we saw with smArchitecture here, although this time around it is much more accessible to everyday folk like you and me.

Object Creative

My Measures – iPhone app

There’s An App For Your Dimensions Too

My Measures iphone app

Do you like to know how big things are? Maybe you’d like to be able to share this info with others too…

The My Measures iPhone App presents a tidy little solution to keeping on top of just how much space the stuff around you takes up. The examples provided in the demo video are mostly architectural, but there is also scope for this to be used for furniture and even teeny jewellery items.

The simple process of snapping a photo and quickly adding annotations could be quite handy while researching or prototyping your next design. The only catch is that the app doesn’t do the measuring for you… that part still happens manually.

Via Monogocoro