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Emilio Ambasz: “I Detest Writing Theories, I Prefer Writing Fables”

09:30 - 24 January, 2017
Casa de Retiro Espiritual. Image Courtesy of Emilio Ambasz
Casa de Retiro Espiritual. Image Courtesy of Emilio Ambasz

While many of the pioneers of green architecture could arguably be criticized as technocratic and dry, this has never applied to Emilio Ambasz. His concept of “green over gray” has been pushing the debate around sustainability forwards since the 1970s, but alongside this concept he has developed a critical approach to architectural meaning and form-making which competes with many of architecture's more poetic practitioners. Ahead Vladimir Belogolovsky's upcoming exhibition of Ambasz's work, “Emilio Ambasz: Architecture Toward Nature,” which is on show at the Singapore's Urban Redevelopment Center from February 6th – 28th, here Belogolovsky shares his interview with the architect – the latest interview in his “City of Ideas” column.

Vladimir Belogolovsky: I read that you knew you wanted to be an architect at an early age and when you were 11, you even dared to propose an exhibition on American architecture in Buenos Aires. What was it that prompted your initial interest in architecture?

Emilio Ambasz: I was interested in architecture since I was nine, I think. I am a person of steady ideas. Once I have an idea that’s it, I persist. I wanted to become an architect and that led to my applying to Princeton. I sent my application with a wax seal telling them that I went to bed every night with the idea of wanting to be an architect and woke up every morning with this idea…

Banca degli Occhi in Venice-Mestre. Image Courtesy of Emilio Ambasz Fukuoka Prefectural International Hall. Image Courtesy of Emilio Ambasz Casa de Retiro Espiritual. Image Courtesy of Emilio Ambasz Ospedale dell’Angelo in Venice-Mestre. Image Courtesy of Emilio Ambasz +36

Villa Holtet / Atelier Oslo

09:00 - 24 January, 2017
Villa Holtet  / Atelier Oslo, © Gunnar Sørås
© Gunnar Sørås

© Lars Petter Pettersen © Gunnar Sørås © Lars Petter Pettersen © Lars Petter Pettersen +11

Architecture Students: Then Vs Now

08:00 - 24 January, 2017
Courtesy of The Leewardists
Courtesy of The Leewardists

To be certain, architecture students are required to perform a wide variety of skills to complete a project. But thanks to some guys named Gates and Jobs (among many others), we are now able to execute nearly all of our tasks on one magical machine: the computer. While things like sketching and model making will always be fundamental parts of our profession, the laborious task of hand drafting has already become the "walk to school uphill both ways" of architecture – that is, something most of us are happy to have moved on from.

Check out more of then vs. now below:

AD Classics: Millennium Dome / Richard Rogers (RSHP)

06:00 - 24 January, 2017
AD Classics: Millennium Dome / Richard Rogers (RSHP), Millennium Dome (licensed under CC-BY-2.0)
Millennium Dome (licensed under CC-BY-2.0)

In 1994, with the third millennium fast approaching, the British announced a national festival to mark the year 2000. Amid a new sense of optimism, the year-long festival, which became known as the Millennium Experience, would take the form of an exhibition celebrating “who we are, what we do, and where we live.” Under the project direction of Mike Davies, a partner of Richard Rogers’ practice (known today as RSHP) designed the Millennium Dome to house this exhibition.

In an extraordinary feat of architecture and engineering, the vast dome, whose canopy encompasses a volume of 2.2million cubic meters, sped from initial concept design to topping out in only two years. Although the Millennium Experience closed its doors as the year 2000, the building which housed it has since been put to a variety of uses, its durability largely due to Richard Rogers’ characteristically flexible design.

An elevated walkway inside the dome  (licensed under CC-BY-2.0) A steel strut pierces the canopy of the dome  (licensed under CC-BY-2.0) Two cyclindrical service towers stand adjacent to the dome  (licensed under CC-BY-2.0) The 'Body Zone'  (licensed under CC-BY-2.0) +8

White Clouds / POGGI & MORE architecture

05:00 - 24 January, 2017
White Clouds / POGGI & MORE architecture, © Javier Callejas
© Javier Callejas

© Javier Callejas © Javier Callejas © Javier Callejas © Javier Callejas +16

The Unexpected Stories Behind 10 Skyscrapers That Were Actually Built

04:00 - 24 January, 2017
The Unexpected Stories Behind 10 Skyscrapers That Were Actually Built, Torre Velasca. Image © José Tomás Franco
Torre Velasca. Image © José Tomás Franco

As long as there have been buildings mankind has sought to construct its way to the heavens. From stone pyramids to steel skyscrapers, successive generations of designers have devised ever more innovative ways to push the vertical boundaries of architecture. Whether stone or steel, however, each attempt to reach unprecedented heights has represented a vast undertaking in terms of both materials and labor – and the more complex the project, the greater the chance for things to go awry.

Ryugyong Hotel. Image © José Tomás Franco Robot Building. Image © José Tomás Franco CCTV Headquarters. Image © José Tomás Franco Cayan Tower. Image © José Tomás Franco +21

House in the Orchard / ŠÉPKA ARCHITEKTI

03:00 - 24 January, 2017
House in the Orchard / ŠÉPKA ARCHITEKTI, © Tomáš Malý
© Tomáš Malý

© Tomáš Malý © Tomáš Malý © Tomáš Malý © Tomáš Malý +47

  • Architects

  • Location

    Prague, Czech Republic
  • Author

    Jan Šépka
  • Co-operation

    Vítězslav Kůstka, Jan Kolář
  • Area

    80.0 m2
  • Project Year

    2016
  • Photographs

Wadi Penthouse / Platau

02:00 - 24 January, 2017
Wadi Penthouse / Platau, © Wissam Chaaya
© Wissam Chaaya

© Wissam Chaaya © Wissam Chaaya © Wissam Chaaya © Wissam Chaaya +29

  • Architects

  • Location

    Beirut, Lebanon
  • Area

    650.0 m2
  • Project Year

    2016
  • Photographs

Tea House in Li Garden / Atelier Deshaus

22:00 - 23 January, 2017
Tea House in Li Garden / Atelier Deshaus, © TIAN Fangfang
© TIAN Fangfang

© TIAN Fangfang © TIAN Fangfang © TIAN Fangfang © TIAN Fangfang +23

House in Shimokawahara / KOIZUMISEKKEI

20:00 - 23 January, 2017
House in Shimokawahara / KOIZUMISEKKEI, © Toshiyuki Yano
© Toshiyuki Yano

© Toshiyuki Yano © Toshiyuki Yano © Toshiyuki Yano © Toshiyuki Yano +19

Yi She Mountain Inn. / DL Atelier

19:00 - 23 January, 2017
Yi She Mountain Inn. / DL Atelier, © Sun Haiting
© Sun Haiting

© Sun Haiting © Sun Haiting © Sun Haiting © Sun Haiting +29

Slack NYC HQ / Snøhetta

17:00 - 23 January, 2017
Slack NYC HQ / Snøhetta, © Michael Grimm
© Michael Grimm

© Michael Grimm © Michael Grimm © Michael Grimm © Michael Grimm +20

  • Architects

  • Location

    New York, NY, United States
  • Design Team

    Anne-Rachel Schiffmann, Vanessa Kassabian, Aaron Dorf, Rikard Jaucis, Craig Dykers
  • Area

    12000.0 ft2
  • Project Year

    2016
  • Photographs

9 Visions for Lunar Colonies Selected as Winners in Moontopia Competition

16:15 - 23 January, 2017
9 Visions for Lunar Colonies Selected as Winners in Moontopia Competition, Moontopia Competition Winner - TEST LAB. Image Courtesy of Eleven-Magazine.com
Moontopia Competition Winner - TEST LAB. Image Courtesy of Eleven-Magazine.com

Eleven Magazine has announced the winners of the international design competition “Moontopia,” which asked architects to imagine a self-sufficient lunar colony designed for living, working, researching and space tourism.

From a pool of proposals from hundreds of applicants worldwide, 9 schemes were selected by an expert jury including space-architects, academics and NASA designers as the winners of the competition. Check out the winning projects below.

Rural Health Clinic / SAA arquitectura + territorio

15:00 - 23 January, 2017
Rural Health Clinic / SAA  arquitectura + territorio, © Sergio Araneda
© Sergio Araneda

© Sergio Araneda © Sergio Araneda © Sergio Araneda © Sergio Araneda +16

New York City's SeaGlass Carousel, Photographed by Danica O. Kus

14:00 - 23 January, 2017
New York City's SeaGlass Carousel, Photographed by Danica O. Kus, © Danica O. Kus
© Danica O. Kus

In this latest photoseries, architectural photographer Danica O. Kus takes her lens inside New York City’s SeaGlass Carousel, designed by WXY Architecture + Urban Design with artist George Tsypin. Completed in summer 2015, the 2,575 square foot nautilus-shaped pavilion has become a new attraction within a Piet Oudolf-designed landscape in Battery Park, drawing in visitors with an immersive LED and audio experience inspired by bioluminescent organisms found deep within the ocean.

© Danica O. Kus © Danica O. Kus © Danica O. Kus © Danica O. Kus +15

House Cronos / Moirë arquitectos

13:00 - 23 January, 2017
House Cronos / Moirë arquitectos, © Ramiro Sosa
© Ramiro Sosa

© Ramiro Sosa © Ramiro Sosa © Ramiro Sosa © Ramiro Sosa +35

Watch Steven Holl Take You on A Tour of the Recently Completed 'Ex of IN' House

12:00 - 23 January, 2017
Watch Steven Holl Take You on A Tour of the Recently Completed 'Ex of IN' House

Architecture, I believe, changes your life. It changes the way you can live life – the way you can see, the way you can feel. Like Winston Churchill says, ‘First we shape our buildings, and then they shape us.’ I think this house has that shaping ability.

In this video by directors Spirit of Space, architects Steven Holl & Dimitra Tsachrelia explain the core concepts and exploratory mission driving the architecture of the firm’s recently completed Ex of IN House. Watch as the architects lead you through the home's unique layout and construction, describing how the house “explores a language of space, aimed at inner spatial energy strongly bound to the ecology of the place - questioning current clichés of architectural language and commercial practice.” 

The Green Embassy / Steffen Impgaard

11:00 - 23 January, 2017
The Green Embassy / Steffen Impgaard, © Kirstine Mengel
© Kirstine Mengel

© Kirstine Mengel © Kirstine Mengel © Kirstine Mengel © Kirstine Mengel +23