The new Florentine museum of the Opera del Duomo, affiliated to the city's cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, is set to reopen its doors to the public next week following years of restoration and reconstruction. 6000 square metres of exhibition space, designed by Adolfo Natalini and Guicciardini & Magni architetti, will house the largest collection of Florentine medieval and Renaissance sculpture in the world, including pieces by Donatello, Michelangelo (the Florentine Pietà), Andrea Pisano, Lorenzo Ghiberti (Gates of Paradise), and Luca della Robbia. It will also exhibit fifteen 14th century statues and almost seventy fragments from the cathedral's original medieval façade.
Read Monsignor Timothy Verdon's, Director of the Opera, narrative of the new spaces after the break.
Former SHoP partner, scholar, author and urbanist Vishaan Chakrabarti has announced the creation of Partnership for Architecture and Urbanism (PAU), a new practice focused on the "advancement of cities through cosmopolitan architecture and strategically innovative urban planning." As founder and CEO, Chakrabarti will lead the New York City-based firm with a mission "to create an ecological network of empowered citizens, generous buildings, discursive public space, strong infrastructure and a thriving urban environment."
PAU's first client will be Sidewalk Labs, a new urban innovation company funded by Google that seeks to solve urban issues through the application of technology.
In an era when both environmental comfort and sustainability are key concerns in architecture, the tendency to cover buildings entirely in glass is among the most criticized and controversial traits of contemporary architecture, as all-glass buildings often guzzle energy thanks to their demanding cooling and heating requirements. Over the years, a number of fixes for this problem have been attempted, including smart glass solutions that allow users to modify the transparency of the window. The problem with this solution, however, is that smart glass is unable to block infrared (heat) transmission without ruining the very thing that makes glass attractive in the first place: its transparency to visible light. That conundrum may soon be a thing of the past, though. As reported by Phys.org, a team of researchers at the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a new smart window technology that allows users to selectively control the transmission of light and heat to suit their requirements.
Plans have been unveiled for a "skinny Shard" in London's Paddington area. Designed by Renzo Piano, the 65-story skyscraper is the focus of a £1 billion plan aimed at revitalizing the "soulless" district.
"At the moment you only go to Paddington for two reasons - to catch a train or to see someone in hospital. It is soulless and has no life and yet it is only five minutes from Hyde Park and seven or eight minutes from Marble Arch," Sellar Property Group chairman Irvine Sellar told Evening Standard. "It is a fantastic location but it is stuck in a Fifties time-warp. We intend to create a place for people to go, where they will want to live, work, eat and shop."
“Aside from uneven demand for design services in the Northeast, all regions are project sectors are in good shape,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker. “Areas of concern are shifting to supply issues for the industry, including volatility in building materials costs, a lack of a deep enough talent pool to keep up with demand, as well as a lack of contractors to execute design work.”
A breakdown of regional highlights, after the break.
Barcelona-based designer David Lamolla of SmartPlayhouse creates children’s playhouses based on contemporary architecture styles, aiming to create fun spaces for children that are also sculptural elements for the garden. His Kyoto playhouse series is inspired by minimalist Japanese architecture, taking on a form reminiscent of Toyo Ito’s Mikimoto Ginza 2 building.
"SU+RE HOUSE powers itself with clean solar power, and uses 90 percent less energy than its conventional cousins," says the winning team. "In the aftermath of a storm, SU+RE HOUSE can become a hub of emergency power for surrounding neighborhoods."
Wilkinson Eyre Architects has won an international competition to design Australia's second tallest tower. The proposed Queensbridge Hotel Tower, planned for Melbourne’s Southbank area, will be comprised of a 388-room luxury hotel and 680 apartments, as well as ground floor retail and rooftop garden terrace. As BDOnline reports, the winning scheme will rise 317-meters - just five meters shy of the country's tallest building: Q1 on the Gold Coast. Pending approval, it is scheduled for completion in 2020.
In this edition of Section D, Monocle 24's weekly review of design, architecture and craft, David Plaisant speaks to Daniel Libeskind about the art and architecture of memory, with particular focus on his designs for his Ground Zero Masterplan and memorial in New York City. The show also discusses plans to transform John F. Kennedy airport's iconic TWA Terminal, and head to Singapore to meet the team at Ministry of Design.
It is no secret that, in the last 10 years, a majority of the big budget construction projects have been centered in newly emerging world markets like China. But now, the markets may be turning. Steven Holl Architects is a strong example of this trend: with the groundbreaking of the Glassell School of Art in Houston on the 15th, the firm now has 8 projects under construction in the western world - 7 in the United States, and one in the United Kingdom. Owing to the steady strengthening of the US dollar over recent years, clients seem to be investing in high ticket architecture once again. After completing projects abroad such as the Sliced Porosity Block in Chengdu, and Nanjing’s Sifang Art Museum, Holl will now be working in cities like Richmond, Iowa City, New York and London.
Holl’s recent work also reflects a change in design scale. In projects such as the Linked Hybrid in Beijing and the Vanke Center/Horizontal Skyscraper in Shenzhen, design began at the urban level, resulting in inward-looking superstructures. In the firm’s return to the west, projects are usually designed as an object or extension of an existing environment, such as in their expansion project for the Kennedy Center. The reduced sense of scale is also evident in the square-footage in some of their recent designs, including a residence to be built at under 1000 square feet.
A Kickstarter campaign recently launched by Jack Self and Shumi Bose of the Real Estate Architecture Laboratory (REAL) has reached its funding target in only twenty days. Produced by an independent team of editors and designers, this bi-monthly magazine intends to "revive the review as a writing form" to a general readership within the architectural sphere and its orbital subjects, with a particular focus on politics and economics. Their campaign has so far seen considerable support from the architectural community and beyond — testament to their 'no-ads policy' and dedication to paying their contributors.
In a statement to those who have pledged so far, the editors have said that "the Real Review will happen, and it is directly and completely due to your commitment, your vision and your generosity. We can’t thank you enough for getting us here!" They are now looking to surpass this crowdfunded milestone, with Kickstarter remaining the only way to subscribe.
The winners of the 2015 Leading Culture Destinations Awards have been announced at a ceremony in London. The Awards recognize the success of “museums, art organizations, and cultural destinations from around the world [that] are investing in iconic architecture, cross-sector collaborations, [and] audacious programming […] to diversify the experiences offered to visitors and establish their global reputations.”
The Knight Foundation has announced their second Knight Cities Challenge – a grant with a pool of $5 million to be awarded for city-improving ideas. Applications can be submitted by anyone, professional, student or amateur. Projects must take place in, or benefit one or more of the 26 knight communities across the United States, and focus on one or all of three key drivers of city success: attracting and retaining talent, expanding economic opportunity, and creating a culture of robust civic engagement.
To pay "tribute to the creative processes, materials and features" that characterize each of its store designs, Aesop has a launched a new website called Taxonomy of Design. Inspired by the compendium, we’ve rounded up some of the best Aesop store designs, each of which is distinctly developed, largely by local designers who are inspired by the location of the store. Read on for nine Aesop shops that revitalize architectural simplicity.
London is in the throes of an architectural identity crisis, compounded by a severe shortage of housing. While politicians and public figures debate various solutions to the city's design dilemmas, a London-based artist has conceived of a "satirical competition for architecture of the absurd." Known as A Folly for London, the free open-call for solutions to London's architectural conundrums was created in response to Arup and Heatherwick Studio's proposal for the yet to be built, and highly controversial, Garden Bridge.
Unlike traditional architectural competitions, A Folly for London sought to ignite debate on the current state of architecture in London. Presented with a distinctly British sense of humour, the competition received more than fifty entries. Winning proposals include the systematic burning of London's forests, construction of a massive inhabitable light bulb and the creation of a catacomb of submerged signature double-decker buses at the centre of the River Thames.
See the winners of "A Folly for London" after the break
TFP Farrells have been selected by Winland Group in an international competition to design "the pioneer project of an emerging financial district," the Xiamen Cross Strait Financial Center. Located on the eastern coast of Xiamen Island, the 500,000 square meter project will comprise four high-rise towers containing office buildings, a serviced apartment tower, a 5-star hotel and retail space.
October has become a busy month in the design world. If you’re living in the United States, New York specifically, it means Archtober: a portmanteau that means the city is flooded with architecture activities, programs and exhibitions, piled onto an already rich design calendar. One of these events is the New York Architecture & Design Film Festival, which started on Tuesday night and runs through Sunday October 18th, and will screen 30 films from around the world in 15 curated, themed programs.
This week, I was able to visit the festival to absorb the atmosphere and speak to the festival's director Kyle Bergman, to learn the ins and outs of this year’s festival, how things got started, and where it will go in the future.
A total of 51 teams, consisting of 320 architectural practices, responded to the call for submissions, and 13 semi-finalist teams were highly commended for their designs. The four shortlisted firms will participate in a design forum at the university next week and will submit their final concept designs by January 2016.
Photographer Paul Clemence of ARCHI-PHOTO has shared with us images of SANAA's latest completed work, Grace Farms in New Canaan, Connecticut. Known as "The River" for the way it flows through the site across a level change of almost 44 feet (13.4 meters), the building was conceived to "become part of the landscape without drawing attention to itself, or even feeling like a building" in order to give visitors a greater appreciation of the surrounding natural space that will be preserved by the Grace Farms Foundation. The building itself, meanwhile, will be made available to Grace Community Church and other nonprofit and community groups for a wide range of community and cultural events. Read on for Paul Clemence's full photoset.
The V-A-C Foundation has selected Renzo Piano Building Workshop to re-develop a two-hectare area in Moscow, converting a former power station into a center for contemporary arts and culture. Located on the Moskva river in the city’s Red October district, the GES2 power station was built in the early 1900s and once supplied energy to the city. The project envisions the recuperation of the power station’s original form as well as the reconfiguration of the entire site into a 150 meter by 150 meter square.
Patano Studio Architecture has created a proposal for a 45-acre, two-mile park spanning over the top of the Interstate-5 freeway in Seattle. Called C.A.P., the plan “proposes a city-wide architectural infrastructure solution to multiple issues facing the fast growing city.”