Without a doubt, it’s among the most famous houses in Los Angeles. The house is easy to describe: a steel framed L-plan, divided into bedrooms and the communal living spaces, all wrapped around a turquoise pool seemingly impossibly poised above the city. But words don’t do it justice. Julius Shulman’s 1960 photograph of Pierre Koenig’s Case Study House 22, perhaps better known as Stahl House, changed the fantasies of a generation.
In the early days of the architectural profession, teaching and practice were neatly aligned: the elements of the various styles could be taught and put into practice in the field. However in the 20th century, while the business of construction was becoming increasingly technocratic, architectural theory became equally pluralistic and esoteric. Ever since, the dichotomy between architectural education and practice has been a controversial subject. Many in the business say that education fails to prepare students for the real world, while some academics equally contend that architecture schools have given up too much ground to technical considerations, and no longer teach enough important theory.
In the 21st century, that dichotomy is increasingly being bridged by the internet, offering a convenient alternative to universities and practices where architects can teach themselves. With that in mind, we wanted to open a discussion up to our readers: what are the things you wish you learned in school but never had the chance? Was there an element of history and theory that is vital to your understanding of architecture that you only learned after graduation? Or perhaps a technical consideration that you had to learn the hard way?
Candles shaped like icebergs that melt to increase awareness for global warming. Reconstructions of Brutalist playgrounds. Geometric overalls with patterns representing the taste buds. These are just a few of the projects tackled by the young minds selected by Metropolis Magazine as their “7 Designers to Watch.” The list includes architects RAAF, LAB.PRO.FAB and Assemble Studio, alongside furniture designers, industrial designers and a design strategist.
The past two weeks have seen a number of high-profile designs unveiled, including OMA in Manchester, SANAA in Budapest, Libeskind in Vilnius, Foster + Partners in Chicago and two projects involving BIG in Pittsburgh and New York. As ever with such renowned practices scooping up work, opinions flew and in some cases also produced reasoned debate over the new projects. Read on to find out what people had to say about them.
Postmodern architecture has largely been overlooked in recent years, left behind by current fashion, but not quite old enough to gain the attention of preservationists. Even in the architectural hot spot of Chicago, postmodern buildings tend to go unnoticed in favor of the Miesian towers and Prairie Style houses. ArchDaily’s own feature of notable Chicago buildings was noticeably lacking a postmodern example. To correct this oversight Metropolis Magazine has compiled a collection of Chicago’s most noteworthy examples of Postmodernism.
If there’s one thing that can get the architectural community up in arms, it’s the threat of demolition being placed over a much-loved building. Whether it’s a 44-year-old bus station, a 38-year-old hospital, or even a 12-year-old art museum, few other news stories can raise such a sustained outcry. And recently, some have started to turn their eyes toward the next wave of preservation battles: the upcoming crop of Postmodern buildings which are increasingly being placed under threat. But in all of these heated debates about preservation, do people really know what they’re arguing for?
To talk about architecture and construction without ever mentioning cost overruns is not an easy thing to do. These kind of unforeseen problems happen in the majority of projects, as the dynamics of architecture and construction are extremely complex and often present challenges that aren't 100% controllable. Over the years, project management consultants have been integrating cost management into their services, making an effort to fill this market gap with a proper solution. Still, most of this work is performed by consultants with a financial background and little knowledge of architecture and construction solutions and processes.
With this increased attention to budgetary issues, the cost performance of projects has been steadily improving, but usually at the expense of the project’s aesthetic concept and final quality. Would it be possible to put architects in control of this kind of management? After all, they’re the ones with the conceptual sensibility and the technical knowledge necessary to perform this work in a truly integrated way.
In this day and age, innovation is occurring at a faster rate than ever before. And while a majority of ideas may make a small impact before fading away, some inventions are able to slip through the cracks and become a real game changer in their field. Our field, of course, is architecture, and this year there have been no shortage of inventions that may change the way we live and work forever. In TIME magazine’s annual release of inventions of the year, at least 6 may have an impact on the world of architecture, encompassing inventions within the field of architecture itself and developments that could change how we design and experience space. Read on for those projects and what they might mean for our future.
When you consider the practical properties of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) - durability, versatility and low price - it is easy to understand how it has become such a common construction material, with applications as roofing membranes, siding, pipes and plumbing, conduit, window frames, window blinds, molding and trim, and fencing. But perhaps it’s time to be more cautious about its use. According to a new whitepaper report by Perkins+Will, "What’s New (and What’s Not) With PVC," in spite of recent advances in plastic chemistry PVC is still responsible for a range of environmental and human health hazards created in multiple stages of its manufacturing process.
With the rise of the internet, old-fashioned brick-and-mortar stores have struggled, as online ordering services have increasingly made it unnecessary to actually go to a store. The answer for the physical stores of the future? Make spaces not for purchasing the things people need, but experiencing the things people want, as explored in this article by Matt Alderton originally published on Autodesk's Line//Shape//Space publication as "How Technology and Big Data in Retail Are Shaping Store Designs of the Future." Alderton looks at how forward-looking stores are being designed to appeal to customers, finding that the same technology revolution that threatened to make stores obsolete might also play a key role in saving them, too.
Shopping used to be stimulating. Although its end was sales, its means was a mix of status and spectacle. It was social commerce in which partakers transacted not just cash, but also cachet.
Nowhere was this more evident than in the earliest department stores, whose architects designed them to be destinations. In London, for instance, Harrods boasts the motto “Omnia, Omnibus, Ubique”—Latin for “All Things for All People, Everywhere.” Established in 1849, it has seven floors, comprising more than 1 million square feet across more than 330 departments. The store installed one of the world’s first escalators in 1898, opened a world-famous food hall in 1902, and sold exotic pets such as lion cubs until the 1970s.
Completed in 1986, Donald Judd's 100 aluminum boxes offer one of the most exciting locations to study the grace of minimalism. His vision at Marfa in Texas has transformed a piece of military history into a peaceful and unique environment for art and architecture. Here, the shimmering material transcends the formal strictness of plain patterns and the narrow concepts of minimalism. The multiple reflections of light and space create an illusionary atmosphere beyond ascetic ideas.
Held annually, the International Festival of Art and Construction (IFAC) is a 10-day event that brings together 300 students from all over the world, joined by architects, scientists, musicians, artists and craftsmen. Together they carry out 30 workshops across different disciplines that “are bound together by the architecture through which they are expressed,” according to the website. In an article originally written in Spanish for ArchDaily en Español, Ana Asensio Rodríguez shares her experience at the 2015 edition of IFAC, reflecting on the powerful intersection of art and architecture, and the collective nature of the event.
Sometimes you get to meet people who fill you with energy and electricity -- fleeting, intense crossroads full of shared views and beautiful ideas. Spontaneous connections, which however tiny, will remain with you for a very long time.
Sometimes, these crossroads are not between people, but between arts, crafts, talents and experiences. Among these intersections is the inevitable attraction between art and architecture: explosive collages, a romance drunk with imagination. And, on very few occasions these two types of crossroads occur at the same time. And in those moments you can only hope that it will happen again.
It's called IFAC, the International Festival of Art and Construction. It is a 10-day long celebration that brings together more than 300 people from all over the world - creatively restless individuals, who meet somewhere in the European countryside. I felt immeasurably lucky to be one of those 300 people, and so I wanted to share how fascinating IFAC is from the inside.
“To me, light and space is the great luxury” - Calvin Klein
Like architecture, fashion is an art dealing with structure and shape, one that relates to the form and function of the human body. Oftentimes the introduction of a small element, such as a zipper or a doorknob, can completely alter the perception of a work. In the end, image is in the details. So it should come as no surprise that legendary designer Calvin Klein holds a strong relationship with architecture.
In his lecture earlier this month at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Klein describes how architecture has played a role in his designs and campaigns over his 40-plus year career. His self-proclaimed love of minimalism is displayed in photoshoots in locations ranging from the white walls of Satorini, to the earthen forms of Taos Pueblo, to Donald Judd’s Chinati Foundation, and his Madison Avenue store helped to accelerate the career of acclaimed minimalist architect John Pawson. Watch the video above for more of Klein thoughts on architectural fashion and designs for his own living spaces, and visit the Harvard Gazette here for more on his visit.
After being announced as the winners of the 180 Creative Camp Open Call for Urban Interventions, earlier this year the Colombian team of María Mazzanti and Martin Ramirez realized their design for the city center of Abrantes, Portugal. The project, entitled “Domesticity,” reached out to residents of Abrantes for unused furniture, which the designers refurbished, repainted, and reused to create a shared outdoor living space where people could interact. The designers arranged the furniture pieces to encourage writing and drawing, and built a mailbox to house conversation topics.
The architecture world is a very different place compared to what it was ten years ago - a fact that is all too obvious for today's young architects, who bore the brunt of the financial crisis. But how can recent graduates harness such rapid change to make a positive impact? This article written by ArchDaily en Español's Nicolás Valencia explores the impact of the financial crisis on architecture in the Global South and in particular in the Spanish-speaking world, finding that it may be the inalienable right of the architect "to give yourself room to fail or to quit."
For some years now, three figures have been floating around that are worrisome to Chilean architects and architectural students: every year 48 architectural schools enroll 3,500 students and give degrees to another 1,400 in a completely saturated market. The future appears bleak, the professional internships are depressing, and among those who already have degrees, we're all too familiar with the exploitative offices that not only offer their employees zero contracts (or health insurance of any kind, all the while praying that nobody gets injured) but also make them work much more than they agreed to with paltry salaries and labor unions that have seen better days. Meanwhile at the universities, talking about money in studios, or about flesh and blood clients, has become a taboo subject. “Students, don't let money tarnish the beauty of the discipline” they tell you. Of course, not only does it not get tarnished, but we've gotten to the point where many don't even know how much to charge for a plan drawing, let alone for an actual project.
The Future of Architecture Visualization: An Interview with Morean Digital Realities and Zaha Hadid Architects
Above: The final presentation video for Zaha Hadid Architects' Danjiang Bridge entry, with construction sequences provided by morean digital realities and atmospheric shots provided by Studio MIR
In this age of lightning fast response rate, it is more important than ever for architects to be able to provide clients with a clear idea of what is to be built. Luckily for us, there are firms out there that specialize in aiding that process. Take morean digital realities, for example, a visualization firm that works in conjunction with architects to create renderings and animations that help explain how a project will work. These visualizations can be geared toward clients, competitions or used as material for fundraising. Their recent work includes a video for the Danjiang Bridge Competition, in which morean provided a dramatic construction animation accompanied by atmospheric shots by another visualization company, Studio MIR. Together, these two visualization studios helped Zaha Hadid Architects come away with the project commission.
ArchDaily spoke to three members of the team on that project - Saman Saffarian, a Lead Designer at Zaha Hadid Architects; Karl Humpf, Director of International Bridges at Leonhardt, Andrä und Partner; and Gonzalo Portabella, Architect and Managing Director at morean digital realities - about the role of visualization within architecture and where the field may be headed.
Chicago has long been known for distinctive architecture, and this year’s inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial has only furthered that reputation. Although it is nearly impossible to narrow down the countless iconic structures, in celebration of the Biennial, we have compiled five Chicago buildings that highlight the many phases of the city’s architectural history.
Awards season is in full swing in the architecture world, with - among others - the World Architecture Festival and the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat recently handing out prizes for the best new buildings worldwide (OMA + Ole Scheeren's Interlace and Stefano Boeri's Bosco Verticale, respectively). However, it has been relatively quiet in our comments section; are we to assume that there are few strong objections to these winners?
Nevertheless, a quiet period doesn't mean there weren't some great discussions had in the comments over the past two weeks, with opinions shared on the success of BIG, the problem of negativity in architecture, and more. Read on to find out what our readers had to say.