So much has already been written about Hamburg’s undeniably excellent Elbphilharmonie, which formally opened in January but has been publicly accessible, in part, since November. The chatter has mostly revolved around the same two talking points—the building’s on-the-tip-of-your-tongue shape and its fantastic price tag. In addressing the former, critics have called attention to the hall’s resemblance to an iceberg, an outcrop, a ship, circus tents, or the Sydney Opera House. And as for the costs, totaling $900 million, they point out how the project hemorrhaged cash, even if they have inadvertently exaggerated the figures. Having momentarily lost control of the narrative, the city felt compelled to set the record straight in time for the inaugural performance: The building cost just three—not ten!—times the initial budget.
The architectural legacy of the Rockefeller family in Manhattan is well-known, most obviously demonstrated in the slab-like Art Deco towers of the Rockefeller Center and the ever-expanding campus of the MoMA. But in a city that is filled with landmarks and historic buildings, it's easy for even the most remarkable projects to go unrecognized. Philip Johnson's Rockefeller Guest House in Manhattan was completed in 1950, just one year after the construction of his better known Glass House in New Canaan. The Glass House is an obvious cousin to the later guest house: both feature largely empty glass and steel boxlike forms, where structural work is exposed and celebrated.
This article was originally published on Atlas Obscura as "Five Architectural Easter Eggs Hiding on Gothic Cathedrals."
The modern use of the term “easter egg”—not the holiday treat but rather a hidden joke or surprise item inserted in a piece of media—originated with Atari in 1979, when a developer snuck his name into a game hoping to get some recognition as the creator. But these surprise treats, hidden to all but those who look closely enough, aren’t only lurking in the digital world. Some of the best easter eggs are snuck into the physical architecture around us.
The excellent thing about architectural easter eggs, be they tongue-in-cheek, carved out of spite, or simply placed as a fun treat awaiting an observant eye, is that they endure in the landscape around us, becoming a sneaky and often confusing part of history. Here are five hidden carvings that dot historic structures with a bit of human nature.
The importance of public spaces in urban life is an issue that has been apparent since ancient Greece and is still with us today. Opportunities to meet and exchange ideas in these spaces are able to influence how the inhabitants participate in the development of their city, and occur in greater instances when public spaces are accessible to everyone.
However, in modern societies, the strategic role of these spaces has been limited. According to The City Fix, a blog on sustainable urban planning, one of the main reasons for this is the overabundance of automobiles. In fact, according to one study by the Brazilian Institute for Energy and the Environment, 70% of public spaces in urban centers are taken up by roadways and other spaces for cars, while car owners make up only around 20 to 40 percent of the city’s population.
How can public spaces be recovered to promote urban life? We discuss three important factors below.
"False Binaries": Why the Battle Between Art and Business in Architecture Education Doesn't Make Sense
This article was originally published by The Architect's Newspaper as "Phil Bernstein pens inaugural column on technology, value, and architects’ evolving role."
This is the inaugural column “Practice Values,” a new bi-monthly series by architect and technologist Phil Bernstein. The column will focus on the evolving role of the architect at the intersection of design and construction, including subjects such as alternative delivery systems and value generation. Bernstein was formerly vice president at Autodesk and now teaches at the Yale School of Architecture.
This semester, I’m teaching a course called “Exploring New Value Propositions for Practice” that’s based on the premise that the changing role of architects in the building industry requires us to think critically about our value as designers in that system. After studying the structure and dynamics of practice business models, the supply chain, and other examples of innovative design enterprises, they’ll be asked to create a business plan for a “next generation” architectural practice. I’m agnostic as to what this practice does per se, as long as it operates somewhere in the constellation of things that architects can do, but there is one constraint—your proposed firm can’t be paid fixed or hourly rate fees. It has to create value (and profit) through some other strategy.
The following excerpt was originally published in Natascha Meuser's Construction and Design Manual: Architecture Drawings (DOM Publishers). With our industry's technological advances, "the designing architect is not simultaneously the drawing architect." Meuser's manual aims to help architects develop and hone their technical drawing skills as the "practical basis and form of communication for architects, artists, and engineers." Read on for ten freehand drawing exercises that tackle issues ranging from proportion and order to perspective and space.
What is beauty? A few years ago, a group of international researchers sought to unravel the mysteries of human beauty. They used state-of-the-art, totally impartial computer technology and a huge dataset to establish once and for all why particular faces are perceived as beautiful, and whether beauty exists independently of ethnic, social and cultural background; in other words, whether it can be calculated mathematically. The scientists input countless photos of faces from all over the world, each described by survey respondents as particularly beautiful, into a powerful computer. The resulting information, they believed, could be used to generate a face that would be recognized by any human being as possessing absolute beauty. But what the computer eventually spat out was a picture of an ordinary face, neither beautiful nor ugly, devoid of both life and character. It left most viewers cold. The accumulated data had created not superhuman beauty, but a statistically correct average.
Once every two years architecture schools around the world are invited to submit their single, finest graduation project to the Archiprix International competition and exhibition. Since its inception in 2001 (born out of the Dutch Archiprix), an ever increasing number of schools choose to participate. This year, Archiprix International selected Ahmedabad, in India, to exhibit the results. Arjen Oosterman, Editor-in-Chief of Volume, spoke to Archiprix Director and "Mister Archiprix" Henk van der Veen.
This article was originally published by Autodesk's Redshift publication as "Life on Mars? Architects Lead the Way to Designing for Mars With Virtual Reality."
If an architecture firm is lucky, it can hit two birds with one stone on a single project—for example, prioritizing both historic preservation and energy efficiency. But a team at KieranTimberlake, based in Philadelphia, is aiming for four ambitious goals with its pro bono project, the Mars City Facility Ops Challenge.
Architects Fátima Olivieri, Efrie Friedlander, and Rolando Lopez teamed up with National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS), NASA, and the Total Learning Research Institute (TLRI) to create a virtual working city on Mars—one that might reap multiple rewards.
We're all used to seeing buildings in urban settings, surrounded by glass high-rises and tidy green parks. Yet around the world, there are many buildings in much more extraordinary spaces. Some have made it to the news because of their unusual locations, while others remain relatively hidden or even abandoned. Whether historic or brand new, protected or restored, grand or humble, flooded or floating, the following 13 buildings have one thing in common: their less-than-normal locations.
3D printing is here to stay. Every day we see articles that show us the latest accomplishment using 3D printers. From bridges printed entirely in 3D to 3D replicas of lost architecture or for something silly machines that print pizzas. We are fascinated and impressed by everything they can do, but still, regard them as something without real life application. In the field of architecture we see it as the next revolution that will save us the time spent on making models, but ... why limit it to only that?
Utopia Arkitekter wants to start a discussion in Stockholm: how do we manage and develop our public spaces? The definition of the word public, according to the Oxford Dictionary, is something “open to or shared by all the people of an area or country.” However, as commercialism continues to rise, Utopia Arkitekter has a problem with our new applications of indoor “public” spaces. As architecture critic Rowan Moore writes in Why We Build, “Identity, desire and stimulation become things you have to buy, as clothes, restaurant meals of calculated diversity, and rides on the ski slope or up the Burj Khalifa.” The problem is that as our inner cities adopt more commercial indoor
The problem is that as our inner cities adopt more commercial indoor public spaces such as shopping malls, cafés or restaurants, the “public” is no longer represented by “all the people of an area,” simply due to economic restrictions. In a city like Stockholm, where darkness and temperatures below 10 degrees celsius prevail for 6 months of the year, the economic boundaries set up around indoor public spaces mean reduced opportunities for people to socialize outside of the home. Utopia Arkitekter’s proposal in response to this conundrum? An indoor park.
7 Architectural Solutions for Asylum Seekers Shown by the Finnish Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale
The 2016 Venice Biennale may have officially closed in November, but many of its constituent parts continue to have a life beyond the confines of Venice. From Border to Home, the exhibit hosted by the Finnish Pavilion, showcased the results of an international architecture competition between October and November of 2015 that called for residential solutions for asylum seekers that offer both short-term shelter for refugees and long-term impact on the surrounding community. Three winners and four honorable mentions were featured in the exhibition, accompanied by a blog that offered sustained dialogue on the topic from architects around the world. On March 21st, Finland's contribution to the Biennale will finally be concluded with a review of the Biennale's themes and a seminar on the pavilion, hosted in Helsinki. Read on to find out more about the winners and four mentions from the competition that were featured in Finland's From Border to Home pavilion.
Go to any medieval European city and you will see what streets looked like before the advent of the car: lovely, small narrow lanes, intimate, and undisputedly human-scale. We have very few cities in the US where you can find streets like this. For the most part what you see is streets that have been designed with the car in mind—at a large scale for a fast speed. In my native San Francisco, we are making the streets safer for walking and biking by widening sidewalks, turning car lanes into bike lanes, and slowing down the cars. We are working with the streets we have; a typical San Francisco street is anywhere from 60 to 80 feet (18 to 24 meters) wide, as compared with a medieval, pre-car street which is more like 10 to 20 feet (3 to 6 meters) wide.
As an urban designer, I work on lots of projects where we take large parcels of land and subdivide them into blocks by introducing new streets. These new streets are a rare opportunity to take a fresh look at the kinds of car-oriented roads that we are used to, and instead try to design streets that prioritize the safety and comfort of pedestrians. These projects give us a chance to design streets that are just for people. Imagine that we made these people-only streets into narrow, medieval-style lanes that are intimate and human-scaled. But even as we try to design streets that might not ever see a single car, we find that the modern street design has become so much more than just places for walking or driving. There are therefore a number of things for socially-minded designers to consider, beyond the commonly talked about pedestrian-car dichotomy.
#donotsettle is an online video project created by Wahyu Pratomo and Kris Provoost about architecture and the way it is perceived by its users. Having published a number of videos on ArchDaily over the past two years, Pramoto and Provoost are now launching an exclusive column, “#donotsettle extra,” which will accompany some of their #donotsettle videos with in-depth textual analysis of the buildings they visit.
In our first installment we are taking you to Doha, the capital of Qatar, where we visited the Museum of Islamic Art. For some years, this museum was the only architecture fix you could find in Doha, but recently this has changed, with projects almost completed by Jean Nouvel and Rem Koolhaas, and will continue to change leading up to the 2022 World Cup. The building was designed by IM Pei who, when the building was constructed in the mid-2000s, was retired but was persuaded to commit his time to design this prominent museum. And prominent it for sure is. Mister Pei, you know how to make your building stand out. Standing off the mainland, a solid natural stone structure rises out of the water.
Singapore’s first Housing and Development Board (HDB) housing blocks were erected in November of 1960, in response to a severe lack of adequate housing for the country's 1.6 million citizens. Fast forward to 2017, and over 80% of the Singaporean population live in HDBs, with over 90% of them owning the home they live in. Often painted in vibrant colors, HDBs have a focus on community social spaces, more often than not maintaining the ground floor of the apartment blocks as open public space, exclusively for public meeting areas. These can include hawker centers, benches, tables, grills and pavilions where residents can socialize under cover from the hot Singaporean sun.
Experimentation in architecture is what propels the discipline forward. In an ideal scenario, once a project gets as far as the planning stage, large amounts of careful research and collaboration between the architect, contractor, and client contribute to a smooth execution of an exploratory idea, and ultimately a successful end product. But it’s not uncommon for even the most skilled architects to design work that has a misstep somewhere along the line, whether it has to do with shrinking budget, unforeseen contextual changes, lack of oversight, or anything in between. In some way, the projects here all fall into the second category of failed experiments, but some have also become potential models for revitalization of existing buildings, rather than (less sustainable) demolition and reconstruction. Read on to discover what went wrong in these notable disasters.
The construction of this exclusive cycling path was promoted by the Xiamen City Government to provide inhabitants with a new sustainable transportation alternative that could significantly reduce vehicular traffic on the city's already congested highways.
Architect and illustrator Diego Inzunza has created a new series titled "Architectural Classics," which presents and analyzes 20 iconic architectural works from the 20th-century. Using a graphic technique based upon axonometric views, the style allows each building to be seen from multiple sides, creating a comprehensive overall interpretation of the architecture.
The work of the Catalan firm RCR Arquitectes was, until its founders won the 2017 Pritzker Prize this month, little-known worldwide, with appreciation of their projects largely restricted to the few European locations in which they have built and a number of well-informed academic circles. Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta founded their office in the small town of Olot almost 30 years ago, and most of their work for the past three decades have been built in the surrounding regions of Catalonia. As the Pritzker jury has pointed out, one of their greatest qualities is their ability to show how architects can have "our roots firmly in place and our arms outstretched to the rest of the world." Through the videos presented in this article, it is possible to understand a little more about the work of the office, and more specifically, to appreciate the atmosphere of its built works.
In this second installment of his revamped “Beyond London” column for ArchDaily, Simon Henley of London-based practice Henley Halebrown discusses a potential influence that might help UK architects combat the economic hegemony currently afflicting the country – turning for moral guidance to the Brutalists of the 1960s.
Before Christmas, I finished writing my book entitled Redefining Brutalism. As the title suggests I am seeking to redefine the subject, to detoxify the term and to find relevance in the work, not just a cause for nostalgia. Concrete Brutalism is, to most people, a style that you either love or hate. But Brutalism is far more than just a style; it is way of thinking and making. The historian and critic Reyner Banham argued in his 1955 essay and 1966 book both entitled The New Brutalism: Ethic or Aesthetic that the New Brutalism began as an ethical movement only to be hijacked by style. Today, it is a mirror to be held up to the architecture of Neoliberalism, to an architecture that serves capitalism. More than ever, architecture relies on the brand association of the big name architects whose work has little to do with the challenges faced by society, which are today not unlike the ones faced by the post-war generation: to build homes, places in which to learn and work, places for those who are old and infirm, and places to gather. We can learn a lot from this bygone generation.
Seeing the space of an auditorium in section is a key tool in allowing us to approach a design's of acoustics, accessibility, and lighting. These components are what make the design of an auditorium a complex task, requiring detailed and specific studies.
There are a number of ways to design an auditorium that offers multiple responses to these challenges. For this reason, we have selected a number of sections from different auditoriums that can help you understand how other architects have solved the challenge.
Check out the 30 auditorium sections below, they are sure to inspire you!
The characteristics of Corten steel has been respected by all architects, both for its strength and for its particular color. It corresponds to a type of steel manufactured with a chemical composition that provides an oxidation that protects the piece, practically without altering its mechanical characteristics. The architectural details of Corten steel present a diversity of situations and connections, not only the obvious constructive factor but it also gives an aesthetic value to any architectural project.
We have compiled this list of 6 eye-catching Corten steel construction details that stand out the most.
Seoul-based architect Moon Hoon describes his style and attitude towards design as “putting architecture to the edge of art” and having as much fun as possible in the process.
Hoon’s drawing history began 40 years ago, and is a habit he still maintains in the form of diaries or, as he likes to call them, "magic books." All of his interests come together in these books from which ideas emerge and transform into architecture—futuristic fantasies in diary format, with drawings which eventually get constructed in real life.
Keep reading to see some of these drawings and their real-life, built counterparts!
Architecture students have a lot in common. We share a long-term committed relationship with coffee. We share an instinctive urge to collect random cardboard boxes for model-making. We share a university studio which, over time, becomes our ‘home away from home’. As we get to know our fellow students, however, we learn that the architecture studio hosts a micro-society of ten different, but lovable, characters.