Alejandro Zaera-Polo (born October 17th 1963) is an internationally recognized architect and scholar and founder of London, Zurich and Princeton based firm Alejandro Zaera-Polo & Maider Llaguno Architecture (AZPML). First rising to prominence in the 1980s with his writings for publications such as El Croquis, Zaera-Polo has had a prolific career in both the academic and professional realms of architecture.
Over the course of 134 years of construction of the Sagrada Familia, the unfinished masterpiece of Antoni Gaudi in Barcelona has experienced three unresolved conflicts. First, there was a lack of a (contemporary) construction permit, the nonpayment of taxes, and finally the uncertainty about whether or not to finally build the large plaza to the southeast that Gaudí imagined with the forced expulsion of up to 3,000 residents and lessees, all living in the area surrounding Sagrada Familia’s Glory Façade.
In recent days, these three issues have come to light almost simultaneously, but let’s discuss them one by one. Bitterly upset by what he describes as "a project without plans in Gaudi's name" Councilman of Barcelona Architecture, Urban Landscape and Heritage Daniel Mòdol called the Sagrada Familia a "giant Easter cake".
His statement, reported by the press two weeks ago, overshadowed the official Municipal proposal made to the temple’s construction monitoring committee "if they plan to modify the planning around the basilica" in a maximum period of six months. This is in reference to the large esplanade designed by Gaudi in his original plan, in front of the Glory Façade (between the streets Mallorca and Arago): a walkway 60 meters wide that would connect the temple with Diagonal Avenue.
The British government have come to the realisation that the Palace of Westminster—the iconic UK Houses of Parliament designed by Charles Barry and Augustus Pugin—is in desperate need of full-scale restoration and renovation. The decision to move ahead with the plans will be costly and inconvenient; aside from the need to repair the structure, the UK government is bracing itself for eye-watering "relocation" fees. In response to this, Gensler have proposed a temporary parliament on the banks of the River Thames.
As part of a new exhibition at the National Building Museum in Washington D.C., twelve dollhouses tracing the history of British domesticity have been lent by London's Victoria & Albert Museum of Childhood. The show—Small Stories: At Home in a Dollhouse—spans 300 years and presents a miniature-sized, up-close-and-personal view of developments in architecture and design – from lavish country mansions, to an urban high-rise.
Archimatika Architects has unveiled the plans for “Leopol Town,” a new housing project located on Styiska Street in Lviv, Western Ukraine. Overall, the project will include seven buildings, with 757 flats, shops, cafeterias, restaurants, and public access at the lower levels.
In an effort to combat the uncomfortable Soviet “sleeping neighborhood” feeling of the city, the project will feature open blocks, parceling, energy efficient systems, and sustainability principles to “invite nature in.”
LAVA (Laboratory for Visionary Architecture) has won the competition to redesign an energy park and energy storage building in Heidelberg, Germany, for the Stadtwerke Heidelberg. Currently a cylindrically shaped storage center, the space will be transformed into a dynamic sculpture, city icon, and knowledge hub for sustainable energy, fully accessible to the public with city views.
In order to display the concepts of energy transition, decentralization, networking, flexibility and adaptability, the project will feature a multi-layered façade structure inspired by geometries in nature like leaves, spider webs, and reptile skins. “The result is a dynamic, ever-changing surface of light and shadow, animated by wind, turning the building into a beacon of a dynamic new energy regime.”
Now in its eighth edition, Design Week Mexico, in collaboration with Museo Tamayo, has unveiled the design for a major public architectural pavilion designed by leading German architects Nikolaus Hirsch and Michel Müller. Until Spring 2017, the installation will be a cultural attraction at Chapultepec Park, Mexico City’s largest public park.
Behnisch Architekten has announced the groundbreaking of the AGORA—Cancer Research Center located in Lausanne, Switzerland within sight of Lake Geneva. As the new home of the Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research (ISREC), the Center will bring together 400 researchers, scientists, doctors, and clinicians under the goal of enhanced communication.
The new AGORA building will connect to an existing building on one side, with minimal disruptions to existing programming. “Visual relationships both on the site and to the landscape beyond require a carefully defined building mass and the new building responds sensitively to these site conditions while sculpturally standing out from its heterogeneous surroundings.”
For architects seeking NCARB licensure, few things are more daunting than the dreaded structural exam. But now, thanks to a series of videos from structural engineer Dilip Khatri, even those of us who spent more time doodling than paying attention in college engineering classes can acquire the skills needed to pass the structural section of the ARE.
Khatri, principal of Khatri International Structural and Civil Engineers, has a PHD in Structural Engineering from the University of Southern California and over 30 years experience in the profession, including over 20 years of teaching structural engineering. In the videos, he covers everything you’ll need to know for the exam, from test-taking strategy to shear and moment diagramming to complex problem solving, illustrating with the help of a sharpie pen.
The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) has released some of the facts and figures behind the projects appearing in their recent book, 100 of the World’s Tallest Buildings. The construction of tall buildings requires collaboration between many different companies and firms and the efforts of hundreds of people, but a few select firms have been responsible for more of the design and engineering achievements than any other.
Continue reading to see the 18 design architects that have contributed multiple buildings to the top 100 list.
In Wake of Revolution, Francis Kéré Envisions a Transparent New Architecture for the Burkina Faso Parliament Building
On October 30, 2014, as Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaoré was preparing to make an amendment to the country’s constitution that would eliminate presidential term limits and allow him to extend his 27 year rule, tens of thousands of Burkinabé citizens in the capital city of Ouagadougou broke through police lines to set fire to several government buildings, including city hall, the ruling party headquarters, and the National Assembly Building. The following day, Compaoré stepped down, ushering in a new era of democratic rule and resulting in the country’s first ever pluralistic and competitive Presidential election in 2015.
But the revolution left the former government complex in tatters and in need of a clear direction forward both culturally and architecturally. A former French colony, Burkina Faso is home to 19 million people, 50 different ethnicities and more than 60 languages. The country would require a new Parliament that could serve as a common ground for these diverse groups, while providing the technology and education necessary to create opportunities and a better quality of life for all Burkinabés.
To find this solution, last year, the new head of Parliament approached architect and Burkina Faso native Francis Kéré to develop a building and masterplan for the Assembly Building. The new building, in the architect’s words, would need to be one that could “not only address the core democratic values of transparency, openness and equality, but could also become a catalyst for growth and development for the capital city of Ouagadougou as a whole.”
The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) announced today that it has selected Snøhetta to lead in the master planning of their new 16-acre riverfront campus and develop a long-term vision for the future of the Portland, Oregon site.
The overall goal of the master plan will be “to provide a market-driven strategy that outlines the best economic and environmental uses of OMSI’s physical property while highlighting the museum’s work as a cultural touchstone, science education resource, and trailhead to connect the community to learning and skill-building opportunities that equip them for 21st century jobs.”
City Guide publisher Blue Crow Media and Deane Madsen, Associate Editor of Design at Architect Magazine, have collaborated to produce the Brutalist Washington Map, which features 40 examples of Brutalist architecture in Washington, D.C. This is Blue Crowe's fourth architectural guide map, following their Brutalist London Map, Art Deco London Map, and Constructivist Moscow Map. One can only expect further releases on the horizon.
This article is part of our "Material Focus" series, which asks architects to elaborate on the thought process behind their material choices and sheds light on the steps required to get projects actually built.
In this exceptionally imaginative and thought-provoking exercise in perceptual shifts, Ithaca- & Brooklyn-based CODA transformed hundreds of humble plastic lawn chairs into a project in the Arts Quad at Cornell University. Viewed from afar as a spiky singular entity, close inspection reveals the simple, unpretentious repeated module. CODA explains, "the object’s features are no longer understood in terms of their use (legs, arms, seat) but in terms of their form (spikes, curves, voids) as, due to their rotation away from the ground, they lose their relationship with the human body." We asked Caroline O'Donnell, principle at CODA, to explain the challenges faced in the development and construction of the fully-recyclable URCHIN.
In a competition to design Lithuania's new National Science and Innovation Center, known as "Science Island," TARI-Architect's proposal aims to exemplify sustainable design and construction practices. Although three architecture firms were already selected on September 30th, TARI-Architects were one of 144 firms to submit a proposal, making the competition the largest design contest in Lithuania. The Rome-based firm, which recently won second place for a design competition in Seoul, formed its design around the idea of science and its progressive nature.
Google and La Biennale di Venezia Release Online Catalogue of 3700 Images from the 2016 Venice Biennale
Google and La Biennale di Venezia have teamed up to release an online catalogue of the 2016 Venice Biennale. Hosted on Google’s Arts and Culture platform, the digital archive contains over 3700 images and videos from the 15th International Architecture Exhibition “Reporting From The Front”, curated by Alejandro Aravena, and a selection of National Pavilions and ancillary events.
HW architecture, led by Lebanese/French architect Hala Wardé, has been chosen as the winners of an international competition to design the new BeMA: Beirut Museum of Art in Lebanon. The new museum will be located in the heart of Beirut and features a “central campanile tower” that will rise nearly 400 feet into the air as it becomes a new cultural beacon for the city.
The winning proposal was selected from a shortlist of 13 firms by an all-star international jury, chaired by Lord Peter Palumbo, which included architects Rem Koolhaas, Lord Richard Rogers, George Arbid, Dr. Farès el-Dahdah, and Dr. Rodolphe El-Khoury as well as Serpentine Galleries curators Hans Ulrich Obrist and Dame Julia Peyton-Jones. The late Zaha Hadid, who was active on the jury until her passing in 2015, remains an honorary member of the jury.
As part of a new exhibition at the National Building Museum in Washington D.C., a group of 24 American architects, designers and architects have been commissioned to create "dream homes" in the format of the contemporary dollhouse. Part of Small Stories: At Home in a Dollhouse, in which twelve historical dollhouses spanning the past 300 years from London's Victoria & Albert Museum of Childhood are being presented in the United States for the first time, these 21st Century interpretations intend to showcase a "diverse array of perspectives, demonstrating the limitless creativity of building in miniature."
Los-Angeles-based CO Architects has released the plans for the Biological Physical Sciences Building (BPSB), a new life sciences facility at the University of California in San Diego. In order to “blend the richly diverse fields” of neurobiology, chemistry, and biochemistry, the seven-story, 128,000-square-foot building will promote collaborative research and visibility in teaching spaces.
Our goal at UC San Diego is to create opportunities to maximize interdisciplinary collaboration between multiple research and academic units, said Jennifer Knudsen, AIA, LEED AP BD+C Principal at CO Architects. We want the building to accommodate a range of research activities and teaching models capable of evolving over time.
OBR Paolo Brescia and Tommaso Principi and Michel Desvigne Paysagiste have been announced of the winners of first prize in the international competition to design the new Parco Centrale (Central Park) in Prato, Italy.
The 230-team competition asked architects to design a new 3-hectare urban park in Prato’s historical city center on the site of the former city hospital, within the perimeter of the city walls. The project is intended to meet the needs of a contemporary city while driving socio-economic development of the city center through “enhancements to its touristic vocation, sustainability and accessibility.”
The jury, chaired by architect Bernard Tschumi, unanimously selected the winning proposal for “its ability to offer to the city of Prato an original, innovative and practical solution.” Commented Tschumi on the design, “The project is remarkable in the way it understands and celebrates the history of Prato and of its medieval walls. At the same time, it looks to the future and to the development of the city and its diverse population.”
The jury also released the full rankings of the 10 finalist teams. Learn about the winning design and see the entries from all 10 of the finalists, after the break.
Researchers from Lund University in Sweden have digitally reconstructed a house in Pompeii to envision what life in the city would have looked like before the destructive eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. The large house, thought to have belonged to a wealthy banker named Caecilius Iucundus, is among the first 3D models created by the research team to document and preserve the city. The team has now released video material of their work, showing their creation of a 3D model of an entire block of houses.
A diversity of approaches and locales is the calling card of American based, Argentinian born architect César Pelli (born October 12, 1926). The common thread of Pelli’s work is a strong sensitivity to place and environment. Beginning his solo career with the Pacific Design Center (1975) in Los Angeles, and shifting through the World Financial Center (1988) (now Brookfield Place) in New York, to the Petronas Towers (1996) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and the now under-construction, Transbay Transit Center and Salesforce Tower in San Francisco, each project is a unique response to context.
Richard Meier, the Pritzker Prize and AIA Gold Medal winning architect, is well known for his abstracted, often white, buildings and unrelenting personal design philosophy. Citing Bernini and Borromini as influences as well as Le Corbusier and Louis Kahn, Meier received his Bachelor in Architecture from Cornell University in 1957 and took jobs with Skidmore Owings and Merrill and Marcel Breuer soon after his graduation. He began his own private practice in New York in 1963 and rocketed to architectural fame in the early 1970s, after being named as one of the "New York Five."
The 2016 Lisbon Architecture Triennale, which opened last week, is comprised of a constellation of exhibitions and satellites. One such show—eponymously named The Form of Form—is both an exhibition and a structure in itself – a sequence of rooms designed collaboratively by Mark Lee of Johnston Marklee, Kersten Geers of Office KGDVS, and Nuno Brandão Costa. If "one of architecture’s fundamental legacies is its own form," the curatorial statement declares, "this exhibition [builds] a dialogue that challenges notions of authorship and the limits of form."