Copenhagen Design Week Tour- Day 2-Danish Museum Danmark

After 10 hours of rest, we are excited and refreshed to begin Day 2 of the tour. Day 2’s schedule was as follows:
9-11 am Guided Exhibition visit: Design Museum Danmark
11-1:30 pm Magnus Olesen-BellaCenter & Bella Sky
2-4:30 pm Grundfos Workshop at Copenhagen Towers
5-7 pm Louis Poulsen tour and Lighting Lab

As the 10 hours of sleep involved missing the first event; I went back a few days later to enjoy the Design Museum Danmark.

Danish Museum Danmark with Reflected Image Installation

The Design Museum Danmark was founded in 1890 and is Denmark’s largest museum for Danish industrial design, decorative and applied Arts. The Museum’s goal is to display exemplary products in order to serve as an inspiration to the industry and thus raise the overall industry standards. Housed in the former King Fredrick’s Hospital, the museum’s dual parallel rooms allow the visitor many great examples of inspiring Danish design.

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Curator, Karen Kjaergaard shares a time-lapse of the Reflected image installation for the Copenhagen Design Week 2011.

Now off to Bella Sky by Metro to meet up with the tour group. . .


OSRAM Culture House & Green Lighthouse-Day 1-Copenhagen Design Week Tour


Existing OSRAM graphic was restored

New Exterior at Courtyard

We arrive at the OSRAM Culture Center and are greeted by our host; Henrik Norlander Smith, Architect for Velux. OSRAM was an industrial building built in 1953 that was renovated to become a community center. The renovations target was to minimize resources required in construction and later on for the life of the building. Through a more appropriate layout of the ground floor energy savings were reduced, natural lighting was brought in through roof windows that also open to adjust for ventilation. Solar thermal collectors were installed for domestic hot water and a reflecting pool for collection of rainwater from the roof also waters a new green wall.

Green Lighthouse by Christensen & Co Arkitekter A/S

Another short bus ride and we are at the Green Lighthouse, Denmark’s first carbon neutral building. The Green Lighthouse is the Student Service Center of the Faculty of Science for the University Park’s Norre Campus. The building runs on solar, so it is appropriate that it is shaped like a sundial. The roof’s solar cells produce the electricity to run the building in the winter and in the summer, surplus solar energy is collected underground for later use. Daylight is abundant with electronic controls for sunshades and stack cooling through roof windows that open and close automatically.

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If you are still with us on the tour, we have now been awake 29 hours and our next event is dinner at Paustian. Insert images of an elegant dinner with George Jensen silver, Royal Copenhagen dishes, Danish furniture, Nordic delicacies and lovely conversation with our tour attendees and invited guests.

Just imagine this, get some sleep and tomorrow we will begin again.


8House-Day 1-Copenhagen Design Week Tour

Continuing the morning tour we arrive at the 8House in Orestad via the Orestad Metro stop. Our tour guide will be Nathan Smith, Biz Dev Mgr. for BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) for this project.


The 8House’s intention was to improve city life within the boundaries of the building site. On the lower floors are commercial offices, a child care center and a cafe. The upper floors are 476 housing units with balconies that are arranged in such as way that it winds around a figure 8 ending in penthouse apartments at the top. This is a project that will appeal to those who are not shy as views are directly into each apartment from the “street” pathways. What I can’t stop remembering is how quiet the project was for having so many people living in such close proximity to one another.

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After an escape from the pending rainstorm in the cafe for coffee, our Big (not to be confused with the Architects) Purple Bus arrives to caravan us to our next stop; The OSRAM culture Center and the Green Lighthouse.

We wouldn’t want you to miss out on the most significant cultural aspect of Copenhagen; bicycling. Currently, 45% of the citizens of Copenhagen use bicycles as their means of transportation. They have created bicycles to carry children and groceries and other necessities of life. The streets are well delineated for pedestrians, bicycles and cars; they use the hand signals for turning consistently and they have perfected this; just ask them, they will tell you if you are in the wrong.



Think Human at the Copenhagen Design Week 2011

Aboard the ship "Havet" for Copenhagen Design Week 2011

This month, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark invited American Architects to attend their sponsored AIA/IIDA tour during the Copenhagen Design Week 2011. Danish design always appealed to me for their modern warmth and clean design solutions, so bags packed I left on August 31, 2011 for 10 days to Copenhagen, Denmark to learn about their culture and the design of Scandinavian architecture.

Arriving Sept. 1 at 7 am at CPH Airport, we catch the train to downtown (I had invited my lovely husband/arm-candy/photographer and IT dept) and arrive at Copenhagen Central Station. Quickly checking into our Marriott, we set off on foot to find our tour group on board the Havet ship at Kvaesthus Pier.
9-10 am: Morning Talk with Architect Andreas Klok Petersen, BIG Architects
10-12 pm: Welcome and introduction of Copenhagen Design Week ‘Think Human’ exhibition.
1-3 pm; Tour of ‘Eight House’ by BIG Architects
4-6 pm; Green Light House + OSRAM Culture House
7:30 pm; Welcome Dinner at Restaurant Paustian
9-11 pm: INDEX after party

Our walk to the Pier from the Marriott is one of the best experiences as we are in a new city for the first time and everything is intriguing and a wonder.

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After a presentation of the ‘Think Human” exhibit from the Copenhagen Design Week Curator, we were off to the Metro to visit Orestad and the “Eight House”.


An afternoon at Arthouse Austin

Side Elevation

Arthouse- Seventh Street Elevation

Arthouse Austin hosted a “Grand Reopening” October 24, 2010 for the community of Austin. I was especially excited to attend the presentation by Architects Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis.Architects to take place at 2 pm.

I arrived at the magical hour of 1 pm when the laminated “glass blocks” create a spectacular curvature of light on the floor of the first floor offices.

Later, during the LTL presentation of the project, I learned that the building had originally been designed as the third theater in Austin, The Queen Theater. The original frescos from the Queen where left
exposed for all to appreciate.

The route to the main gallery level is taken on an incredible staircase that LTL described as a “piece of furniture on a building scale”.

I also learned that the original roof of the Queen Theater was left exposed and that a new concrete floor was poured above it for the structural load of the newer upper level. Here the exposed trusses are shown with the existing art installation from artist Tony Feher . I liked the simplicity of this installation an wondered how long it took to tie all those water bottles up there.

Below the existing exposed rafter ceiling, the main gallery had a brilliant exhibit by Jason Middlebrook transforming the construction debris of the Arthouse construction into benches, tables, lighting and other usable artwork. I really wanted to know who drank all that wine and apple juice during the construction to make the tableware?
What I found very interesting during the LTL presentation, was the many studies they had completed for the project and especially for the decision of the exhibit wall space. Their solution was both innovative and cost saving in that they put the wall on an overhead track (imagine a huge pocket door) and the wall can move across the space in 30-40 seconds allowing for versatility for numerous exhibits. Here the wall is shown along one wall creating a corridor on the opposite side. The wall was covered in hundreds? of hand written recipes, some of which I wanted to pick up a copy in the gift shop (they didn’t seem to have a gift shop – isn’t that Art Museum 101?). None the less – brilliant design solution for the gallery wall space!

Finally THE SPACE TO BE on an incredibly beautiful October afternoon was the rooftop. This space was designed for dining and film screening and LTL explained that the inlaid floor lights provide the equivalent of candlelight for outdoor parties and events. I’m looking forward to the Arthouse’s Architectural Film series beginning in the Spring of 2011.

LTL should be congratulated for taking a prominent building in downtown Austin and with a limited budget transforming it into a well crafted work of Art and Architecture that will be enjoyed by residents and visitors of Austin for many years to come. Plan an afternoon at the Arthouse soon for yourself!


AIA Convention – Historic Art Deco Walking Tour

During any convention, the spouse of the conventionee usually has the obligatory duty of meeting new people, going to events with new people and spending a bit of time exploring the Convention city.  This blog posts shares the photographs of one creative  spouse  Mark Welker, on a walking tour of South Miami Beach’s Historic Art Deco District, Nikon in hand for a day.  Enjoy!


More than Chinese Drywall may be causing Corrosion

On Friday, April 24, 2009, a lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court, Ocala Division against Georgia-Pacific (GP) by a local Florida builder who installed GP’s ToughRock drywall on his own home in fall 2006 and has since developed severe corrosion of metal parts in the home by 2008.  GP ToughRock is not manufactured in China, but in the United States and Canada. 

What is important about this case is that the theory exists that the “green products”- synthetic gypsum used in the base of the product appears to be causing the corrosion of “plumbing fixtures and several silver picture frames”, HVAC coils, the microwave keypad, the TV set, the smoke detectors, the light switch and outlet connectors and the dishwasher.  Numerous manufacturers have been marketing the synthetic gypsum for it’s green properties and contributing to LEED points.

The suit claims that “when synthetic gypsum is used to manufacture drywall” (a byproduct created after coal is pulverized and fed into power generation plants) “the end product contains excessive amounts of sulfur-based pollutants”.  I found this to be true in the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) for another manufacturer of “green drywall” Temple-Inland.  The Stability and Reactivity section of the MSDS indicates the product is stable under normal conditions, but should avoid “sources of ignition,  elevated temeratures, humidity”. Incompatible Materials are “strong oxidizing agents” and Hazardous Decomposoition Products include “silicon oxides, sulfur oxides,calcium oxides”. http://www.templeinland.com/PDF/msds/GreenGlass_MSDS.pdf

The suit pleads that “When the exterior of Florida homes containing synthetic gypsum drywall become heated due to normal Florida temperatures, the air temperature inside the wall cavity between the outer shell of the home and the inner drywall become significantly elevated. These  elevated temperatures combined with Florida’s humidity cause sulfur dioxide gas to be released. . .(causing) significant oxidation of vaious metals that lie in close proximity to the drywall.”   http://www.ecohomemagazine.com/news/2009/april/florida-lawsuit-claims-gp-84-sold-dangerous-drywall.aspx

My guess is that this corrosion condition is most likely occurring in wood frame construction of the central portions of Florida versus the CMU typical construction in South Florida. 

What my purpose in researching this is as more building use “green products”,  this building condition would be  more prevalent in the Lower Texas, Louisiana, Coastal regions where wood frame construction is more common and could spur similar corrosion problems for homeowners and builders.  I will post updates as I learn more about this potential building hazard.

UPDATE: GP Arch. Rep. said that the Quana, Texas Plant manufacturer’s their DensArmor Plus for the Texas Region out of quarried gypsum there in Quana and not synthetic. Stamped with a Code TX 1 or 2.

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June 2018
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Susan H. Welker, AIA, LEED AP, RID