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The Demolition of Delhi's Hall of Nations Reveals India's Broken Attitude to Architectural Heritage

09:30 - 23 June, 2017
The Demolition of Delhi's Hall of Nations Reveals India's Broken Attitude to Architectural Heritage, © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/33834913@N00/409859817'>Flickr CC user Panoramas</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/'>CC BY-ND 2.0</a>
© Flickr CC user Panoramas licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

On the morning of April 24th, Delhi’s architecture community reacted in shock and disgust to the news that the city's Hall of Nations and the four Halls of Industries had been demolished. Bulldozers had worked through the previous night at the Pragati Maidan exhibition grounds in central Delhi, where the Indian Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) razed the iconic structures to the ground, ignoring pleas from several Indian and international institutions.

The Hall of Nations, the world’s first and largest-span space-frame structure built in reinforced concrete, holds special significance in India’s post-colonial history—it was inaugurated in 1972 to commemorate twenty-five years of the young country’s independence. The demolition was met with widespread condemnation by architects and historians alike, not just because of the loss of an important piece of Delhi's heritage, but also for the clandestine manner in which the demolition was conducted.

The 58-Year Evolution of Frank Lloyd Wright's Guggenheim Museum

09:30 - 22 June, 2017
The 58-Year Evolution of Frank Lloyd Wright's Guggenheim Museum, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 1959, with the original yellow-brown painted facade. Image © Robert E. Mates
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 1959, with the original yellow-brown painted facade. Image © Robert E. Mates

This article originally appeared on guggenheim.org/blogs under the title "Wright’s Living Organism: The Evolution of the Guggenheim Museum," and is used with permission.

Standing on the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum construction site in 1957, architect Frank Lloyd Wright proclaimed, “It is all one thing, all an integral, not part upon part. This is the principle I’ve always worked toward.” The “principle” that Wright referred to is the design ideology that he developed over the course of his seventy-year career: organic architecture. At its core, that principle was an aspiration for spatial continuity, in which every element of a building would be conceived not as a discretely designed module, but as a constituent of the whole.

Although not Wright’s intention per se, it is fitting that the building he conceived of as a living organism has evolved over time. The overall integrity and character-defining spiral form have remained unchanged, but there have been a series of additions and renovations necessitated by the growth and modernization of the institution.

Spotlight: Alejandro Aravena

08:00 - 22 June, 2017
Innovation Center UC - Anacleto Angelini. Image © Nico Saieh
Innovation Center UC - Anacleto Angelini. Image © Nico Saieh

As founder of the “Do Tank” firm ELEMENTAL, Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena (born on June 22, 1967) is perhaps the most socially-engaged architect to receive the Pritzker Prize. Far from the usual aesthetically driven approach, Aravena explains that “We don’t think of ourselves as artists. Architects like to build things that are unique. But if something is unique it can’t be repeated, so in terms of it serving many people in many places, the value is close to zero.” [1] For Aravena, the architect’s primary goal is to improve people's way of life by assessing both social needs and human desires, as well as political, economic and environmental issues.

Life Before and After Architecture

06:00 - 22 June, 2017
Courtesy of The Leewardists
Courtesy of The Leewardists

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes. David Bowie was right when he sang it – life’s full of so much uncertainty, variables, and excitement that half the battle is riding the wave and adapting as best as one can. Some adjustments are self-directed and others are forced upon us, but regardless of this, change allows us to reminisce, regret and reflect on what once was. 

Being an architect comes with its own set of significant life changes (and that’s in addition to that major wardrobe overhaul) which more often than not, can’t be helped. Gone are days of relaxation, relationships and rendezvous, now replaced by multitasking, models and meetings. But no matter how busy you are, a moment of self-reflection never hurt anyone. So switch off that second monitor, grab a coffee, and sit back, as we take a look at how your life has changed, for better or for worse, since that fateful day you stumbled upon architecture.

Spotlight: Alison and Peter Smithson

04:30 - 22 June, 2017
The Economist Building. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/seier/5426468934/'>Flickr user seier</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/'>CC BY 2.0</a>
The Economist Building. Image © Flickr user seier licensed under CC BY 2.0

Wife and husband pair Alison (22 June 1928 – 16 August 1993) and Peter Smithson (18 September 1923 – 3 March 2003) formed a partnership that led British Brutalism through the latter half of the twentieth century. Beginning with a vocabulary of stripped down modernism, the pair were among the first to question and challenge modernist approaches to design and urban planning. Instead, they helped evolve the style into what became Brutalism, becoming proponents of the "streets in the sky" approach to housing.

Robin Hood Gardens. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/stevecadman/2361183115/'>Flickr user stevecadman</a> licensed under <a href=https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/'>CC BY-SA 2.0</a> Garden Building, St Hilda's College, Oxford University. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/stevecadman/3414623599/'>Flickr user stevecadman</a> licensed under <a href=https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/'>CC BY-SA 2.0</a> The Economist Building. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/seier/5427505450'>Flickr user seier</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/'>CC BY 2.0</a> Robin Hood Gardens. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/98115025@N00/3058342144'>Flickr user stevecadman</a> licensed under <a href=https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/'>CC BY-SA 2.0</a> +8

Imagining the Future of Suburbia, From “Freedomland” to “McMansion Hell”

04:00 - 22 June, 2017
Imagining the Future of Suburbia, From “Freedomland” to “McMansion Hell”, Courtesy of Chicago Architecture Biennial
Courtesy of Chicago Architecture Biennial

This article was originally published on the blog of the Chicago Architecture Biennial, the largest platform for contemporary architecture in North America. The blog invites designers, writers and other contributors to independently express their perspectives on the Biennial across a range of formats. The 2017 Biennial, entitled Make New History, will be free and open to the public between September 16, 2017 and January 6, 2018.

Some works of architectural writing can be taken at face value as stark manifestos for a new aesthetic. Keith Krumwiede’s Atlas of Another America is, instead, a constantly unfurling satire that offers layers upon layers of artfully imagined social commentary. Like McMansion Hell, my own long-form satirical project, Krumwiede’s “architectural fiction" sends up American ideas about economics, politics, and culture by picking apart our outrageous suburban housing types. The project will be on display at the Chicago Architecture Biennial this fall, delivering a sardonic vision of American architecture that comes out of academic theory, but has a potent message for anyone who has spent time in suburbia. 

Spotlight: Smiljan Radić

11:30 - 21 June, 2017
Spotlight: Smiljan Radić,  The Winery at VIK. Image © Cristobal Palma / Estudio Palma
The Winery at VIK. Image © Cristobal Palma / Estudio Palma

Mainly known outside of his home country for his design of the 2014 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, architect Smiljan Radić (born June 21, 1965) is one of the most prominent figures in current Chilean architecture. With a distinctive approach to form, materials, and natural settings, Radić mostly builds small- to medium-sized projects that flirt with the notion of fragility.

2014 Serpentine Pavilion. Image ©  Danica O. Kus Copper House 2. Image Courtesy of Smiljan Radic Mestizo Restaurant. Image Courtesy of Smiljan Radic Zwing Bus Stop. Image © Yuri Palmin +12

13 Tragically Demolished Buildings that Depict Our Ever-Changing Attitudes Toward Architecture

09:30 - 21 June, 2017
13 Tragically Demolished Buildings that Depict Our Ever-Changing Attitudes Toward Architecture, Courtesy of The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (in public domain)
Courtesy of The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (in public domain)

Immortalized through photographs, drawings, and stories, buildings that have been demolished or completely renovated exist in the realm known as “lost architecture.” Either for economic or aesthetic reasons, the old gets torn down for the new, often to the disdain of community members and architects. But demolished buildings tell a story about the ever-changing politics of preservation—and often, they tell it far better than buildings that were actually preserved ever could. As the architectural landscape continues to change around us, it is important to recognize our past, even if its traces have been eliminated from the physical world.

"New(er) York" Imagines What New York's Historic Structures Would Look Like if Built Today

09:30 - 20 June, 2017
"New(er) York" Imagines What New York's Historic Structures Would Look Like if Built Today, One Wall Street, before and after. Images: left, <a href='https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:1_Wall_Street_panoramic.jpg'>Via Wikimedia</a> in public domain; right, Courtesy of Hollwich Kushner
One Wall Street, before and after. Images: left, Via Wikimedia in public domain; right, Courtesy of Hollwich Kushner

The New York Times recently reported that over 40% of the buildings on the island of Manhattan wouldn’t be granted construction permits in 2017. Most of the culprits date back to the early 20th century when attitudes towards density, ceiling heights, column placement, and general living standards were different. This begs the question: what would modern iterations of New York’s signature structures look like today? Billed by the practice as “an obsessive-compulsive study of the city we love” HWKN’s New(er) York is a peculiar experiment that tackles this hypothetical.

One Wall Street. Image Courtesy of Hollwich Kushner The Eldorado. Image Courtesy of Hollwich Kushner 214 West 29th Street. Image Courtesy of Hollwich Kushner The Eldorado. Image Courtesy of Hollwich Kushner +16

6 Timeless Details Using Stone

08:00 - 20 June, 2017
6 Timeless Details Using Stone

Stone is elemental to our built world. It is one of the oldest (if not the oldest) materials used in man-made habitats. The sense of timelessness in stone is attributed to its long and varied history alongside architecture. From ancient monoliths to cities to houses, the diversity of stone means that it can be used to convey a variety of expressions. Carved, polished, sedimented, stacked, preserved - the list can go on and on. The feeling stone conveys in contemporary projects usually brings with it a sense of place – a raw materiality when paired with timber or other natural materials. With that in mind, check out these 6 details of projects that stand out for their use of stone:

9 Incredibly Famous Architects Who Didn't Possess an Architecture Degree

09:30 - 19 June, 2017

Had the worst jury ever? Failed your exams? Worry not! Before you fall on your bed and cry yourself to sleep—after posting a cute, frantic-looking selfie on Instagram, of course (hashtag so dead)—take a look at this list of nine celebrated architects, all of whom share a common trait. You might think that a shiny architecture degree is a requirement to be a successful architect; why else would you put yourself through so many years of architecture school? Well, while the title of "architect" may be protected in many countries, that doesn't mean you can't design amazing architecture—as demonstrated by these nine architects, who threw convention to the wind and took the road less traveled to architectural fame.

Bamboo Bridge in Indonesia Demonstrates Sustainable Alternatives for Infrastructure

16:00 - 18 June, 2017
Bamboo Bridge in Indonesia Demonstrates Sustainable Alternatives for Infrastructure, © Andrea Fitrianto
© Andrea Fitrianto

As part of the second Bamboo Biennale held in October 2016, the city of Solo in Central Java received a public Bamboo Bridge courtesy of Indonesian Architects Without Borders (ASF-ID). Connecting the Pasar Gede market and colonial Dutch Vastenburg Fort, the 18-meter bamboo structure offers a revitalization of river life in the historic Indonesian city. Spanning across the Kali Pepe river, residents of Java can traverse the pedestrian bridge on its track that varies in width from 1.8 to 2.3 meters.

© Andrea Fitrianto © Andrea Fitrianto © Andrea Fitrianto © Andrea Fitrianto +32

Architects and Structural Engineers: Can’t We All Just Get Along?

09:30 - 18 June, 2017
Architects and Structural Engineers: Can’t We All Just Get Along?, Of the world's most famous architects, few have any formal training in engineering. Santiago Calatrava is perhaps the most well-known of the group. Image © <a href='https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Calatrava_Puente_del_Alamillo_Seville.jpg'>Wikimedia user Andrew Dunn</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/deed.en'>CC BY-SA 2.0</a>
Of the world's most famous architects, few have any formal training in engineering. Santiago Calatrava is perhaps the most well-known of the group. Image © Wikimedia user Andrew Dunn licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Charles Thornton, one of the world’s preeminent structural engineers, once said that the greatest challenge facing the profession of structural engineering is that “I don’t think we have enough self-esteem and enough confidence in ourselves to believe that what we do is so important... Architects are trained to present, to communicate, to sell, to promote themselves, to promote their industry, and to take credit for what they do.”

As a structural engineer with over a decade of experience, I agree with Mr. Thornton—to an extent.

Spruce Up Your "Post-Digital" Drawings With These Free, Artistic PNG Cutouts

09:30 - 17 June, 2017
Courtesy of ARTCUTOUT
Courtesy of ARTCUTOUT

Despite the insistence of some, vinyl records haven’t undergone a resurgence because of their supposed superior sound quality. Instead, the impractical medium remains cherished for its quirk and ambiguity. As of late, the collage has made a has made a comeback as a representational strategy for the very same reason, sparking a recent debate around the potential emergence of "post-digital drawing."

Intentionally fantastical compilations empower architects to create clear narratives to supplement their work. In response to this growing popularity, a number of websites have popped up to bolster the trend. Image hosting hub ARTCUTOUT is a curated collection of meticulously detailed, public domain .PNGs nabbed from works of art that were “mostly created several centuries ago by European painters and cartographers.” Serving as a something akin to a “post-digital” version of famed render hub SKALGUBBAR, ARTCUTOUT has the potential to be a go-to resource for the next wave of designers.

Explore Frank Lloyd Wright's Curvaceous Unbuilt House Design for Marilyn Monroe

09:30 - 16 June, 2017

Some unbuilt designs—the hopes they reveal and the reasons they stayed unbuilt—tell a powerful story. So it is with the home Frank Lloyd Wright designed for Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller. Or perhaps it’s what we think we know about Marilyn that makes it so poignant?

The union between a quiet-living intellectual and the world’s greatest sex symbol was baffling to the public, and the conflict between their aspirations and personalities seems to have played out in their plans for this Connecticut home. After moving into Miller’s country retreat, Monroe asked Wright to design a new house for them on this vast piece of land.

How Architecture Speaks Through Cinema

08:00 - 15 June, 2017
How Architecture Speaks Through Cinema, Image: achassignon via VisualHunt / CC BY-SA. Assembly with image of John Cunniff via Visual Hunt / CC BY
Image: achassignon via VisualHunt / CC BY-SA. Assembly with image of John Cunniff via Visual Hunt / CC BY

"There are several ways of making films. Like Jean Renoir and Robert Bresson, who make music. Like Sergei Eisenstein, who paints. Like Stroheim, who wrote novels spoken in the days of silent film. Like Alain Resnais, who sculpts. And like Socrates - I mean Rossellini, who creates philosophy. Cinema, in other words can be everything at the same time, judge and litigant "- Jean-Luc Godard [1] 

It is difficult to imagine cinema taking place in a vacuum. Without the scene to fill each storyline, we cannot be transported away from our reality to the world of the film we are immersed in. Within Godard's list of ways to make films, we can add another: cinema as architecture. The interaction between cinema and architecture - "the inherent architecture of cinematic expression and the cinematographic essence of architectural experience" is a complex, often multifaceted dialogue between both disciplines. [2] 

8 Ways We Can Improve the Design of Our Streets for Protest

09:30 - 14 June, 2017
8 Ways We Can Improve the Design of Our Streets for Protest, © Gina Ford and Martin Zogran
© Gina Ford and Martin Zogran

Once largely viewed as a fringe activity belonging to passionate extremists, protest is now—in the wake of a controversial new administration’s ascension to power in the US and a heightened interest in politics globally—a commonplace occurrence, with a much broader participant base in need of places to gather and move en masse. This revitalized interest in protest was perhaps most visible on one particularly historic occasion: on January 21st, 2017, a record-breaking 4.2 million people took to the streets across the US to exercise their first-amendment rights.

Women’s marches took place on the frozen tundra (we have photographic evidence from a scientist in the Arctic Circle) and even in a Los Angeles cancer ward. But for the most part, these protests happened in the streets. In the first few months of 2017, the streets of our cities suddenly took center stage on screens across the world. From Washington to Seattle, Sydney to San Antonio, Paris to Fairbanks, broad boulevards and small town main streets were transformed from spaces for movement to places of resistance. From the Women’s March on Washington to April’s People’s Climate March, protestors are looking for space to convene and advocate for the issues that matter most to them.

How Photography Helped to Dehumanize Our Cities

09:30 - 13 June, 2017
How Photography Helped to Dehumanize Our Cities, Singapore skyline at night. Image <a href='https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Singapore_Skyline_at_Night_with_Blue_Sky.JPG'>via Wikimedia</a> (public domain image taken by Wikimedia user Merlion444)
Singapore skyline at night. Image via Wikimedia (public domain image taken by Wikimedia user Merlion444)

This article was originally published on Common Edge as "How Photography Profoundly Reshaped Our Ideas About Cities."

Early in the 19th century, an invention arrived that would change the form and function of cities for generations.

Like all new technologies, it started out rudimentary, expensive, and nearly ineffectual. But it caught many imaginations and developed dramatically, eventually reaching the point of mass accessibility. Soon enough, it took aim at the public realm, with consequences that were indirect and unintended yet profound.

It reconfigured streets. It influenced the height of buildings. It altered foot traffic. It recast the relationship between buildings and streets. It changed how people felt about their cities and changed their points of reference. It turned cities into abstractions and, in some ways, turned city-dwellers against each other. Its influence nearly complete by the close of World War I, the invention has remained fundamentally unchanged, and is still universally celebrated, to this day.

All this with the press of a button.

13 Reasons Why We Love Millennial Pink

08:00 - 13 June, 2017

Millennial Pink has broken into the design consciousness of more than its named generation. Though hugely successful in fashion and pop-culture (and Instagram), the playful color has established a presence across design products and the built environment like never before. Colour is a fundamental tool in our perception of architecture, with architects like Ricardo Bofill and Luis Barragan having baptized pink into a high-impact contributor through their works. With that in mind, check out these 13 projects showing why pink is here to stay: 

Stood in Splendid Isolation, Questions Are Raised About Apple's Cupertino Campus

10:15 - 12 June, 2017
Stood in Splendid Isolation, Questions Are Raised About Apple's Cupertino Campus, © Apple
© Apple

The "Spaceship" has landed and the dust, it appears, is starting to settle. In an article by Adam Rogers, which follows Wired's exclusive breakdown of the new Apple Campus in Cupertino, Californiaa convincing case is put forward against its design and wider masterplan. "You can’t understand a building without looking at what’s around it," Rogers argues – and most, including its architects, Foster+Partners, would surely be inclined to agree.

Whether you call it the Ring (too JRR Tolkien), the Death Star (too George Lucas), or the Spaceship (too Buckminster Fuller), something has alighted in Cupertino. And no one could possibly question the elegance of its design and architecture. This building is $5 billion and 2.8 million square feet of Steve Jobsian-Jony Ivesian-Norman Fosterian genius.

How 7 Dictators Used Buildings to Influence and Intimidate

09:30 - 12 June, 2017
How 7 Dictators Used Buildings to Influence and Intimidate

Architecture is political. While this irks some of us and energizes others, even consciously choosing not to think of buildings politically is taking a political stance. In this way, there is no escape from the politics of architecture and many governments and powerful figures throughout history have embraced the political nature of architecture and used it to further their motives. The construction of buildings is among the clearest and most obvious visual indicators of a society’s power and economic standing, so for a new government trying to project power and prosperity, for example, architecture can be the quickest and most incontrovertible way for the government to show its success. While many dictatorships rely on more intangible strategies as well, like propaganda and the creation of a cult of personality, examining a regime’s approach to architecture can be telling of its values. 

A dictator’s relationship and approach to architecture as a strategic move (or lack thereof) is the first indication of the leadership’s beliefs and goals for a country. Does this government want to develop and build the country or tear it down to its roots? The style of the architecture created under a dictatorship is significant as well, as it is often used to convey a message in alignment with the government’s politics or to imply a sense of power and grandeur. Lastly, the types of buildings prioritized by a regime clearly illustrate its primary interests and goals—a government that focuses on building schools and hospitals sends a different message than one that primarily builds prisons and fortresses. Below is a list of historical dictatorships and their approaches to architecture while in power, from which we can draw connections and conclusions about the governments themselves and see how architecture fed into their overall ideologies.

6 Endangered World Heritage Sites as Seen from Space

14:00 - 11 June, 2017
6 Endangered World Heritage Sites as Seen from Space, Samarra Archaeological City, Iraq. Image © Deimos Imaging
Samarra Archaeological City, Iraq. Image © Deimos Imaging

Born between the Tigris and the Euphrates, ancient Mesopotamia, "the land between two rivers," is considered the cradle of human civilization or, at least, one of its main birthplaces. Archaeological discoveries place in this fertile crescent the earliest origins of agriculture, the birth of writing and the first religions, governments and social orders.

This historical land corresponds to most of the current Iraq and Kuwait, as well as to smaller parts of Syria, Turkey and Iran. Not only these countries, but the whole Middle East in general, is home to invaluable ancient treasures. However, a great number of the cultural sites there are faced with major threats, as they have been caught up in the middle of ongoing conflicts that are ravaging the region. As a consequence, UNESCO included several sites in the List of World Heritage in Danger, in the hope that the international community could join in an effort to save these endangered properties.

To reinforce this message, the Earth Observation company Deimos Imaging has released satellite images of six World Heritage sites in danger in Syria, Iraq and Yemen. The images were captured by the satellite Deimos-2, launched in 2014 and designed for cost-effective, dependable very-high-resolution Earth Observation applications, providing 75cm/pixel pan-sharpened images.

The New Yorker Cartoon That Accompanied the Opening of Frank Lloyd Wright's Guggenheim

12:00 - 11 June, 2017
Courtesy of <a href='http://www.newyorker.com/'>The New Yorker</a>
Courtesy of The New Yorker

From wonderment to disgust, the opening of Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1959 was met with a wide range of reactions from the public. This profound cultural moment was distilled in a series of witty cartoons published in the New Yorker that simultaneously lampooned both the innovative architecture and its critics, which were recently shared in a blog post by the Guggenheim Museum. Through detailed sketches, cartoonist Alan Dunn represents the experience of the building, from staring into the exterior porthole windows to walking around the grand ramp. In one drawing he depicts the perspective from the first floor looking up at the dome, giving a sweeping sense of the curvature and geometries of the building.

19 Emerging Firms Design Prototype Houses for Living Among Nature

11:30 - 11 June, 2017

As the boundary that separates work and leisure in the 21st Century continues to be blurred by technology, architects Christoph Hesse and Neeraj Bhatia sought out to uncover a tranquil solution. The pair are co-curating an upcoming exhibition at the Kulturbahnhof Kassel in Germany as part of Experimenta Urbana in a show called “Ways of Life,” which opens July 5th.

This international initiative seeks to discover “a new nomaticism.” A gathering of 19 emerging architecture offices each presents a dwelling encompassed in nature. These buildings are often equal parts project and manifesto. The show’s overarching theme is the delicate balance of naturally induced relaxation and programmatically encouraged productivity. Each firm must additionally consider constraints that include limited square footage, integration of rapidly advancing information technology, and a strictly sustainable design.

Courtesy of  Boris Bernaskoni Courtesy of DOGMA Courtesy of RICA Courtesy of The Open Workshop +79