A lot of architects love LEGO—but few may be aware of the LEGO Ideas platform, which allows LEGO fans to submit their own ideas for future sets, and if they gather enough support, be considered for production as a real LEGO product. Here we’ve created a selection of our favorite architectural proposals from the platform; though some have already expired due to a lack of votes, many others included here are still open for voting to become a real set if you so desire. If on the other hand, you feel that our list is lacking a particularly LEGO-worthy building, this could be your time to shine; design your own set and gather support! One day soon, thousands of LEGO enthusiasts could be puzzling over your little architectural gem.
This episode of Monocle 24's On Design podcast, which briefly surveys the state of Indian architecture and suggests a blueprint for a 21st Century vernacular, was written and recorded by ArchDaily's European Editor at Large, James Taylor-Foster.
In the first half of 2016 an exhibition was opened in Mumbai. The State of Architecture, as it was known, sought to put contemporary Indian building in the spotlight in order to map trends post-independence and, more importantly, provoke a conversation both historical and in relation to where things are heading.
This article was originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "'Hardcore Heritage': RAAAF Reveals Its Latest Experiment in Historical Preservation."
In the practice of historic preservation, there is often a temptation to turn a building into an object on display—meticulously restored, unchanging, physically isolated—in order to remove it from the flow of history. The multidisciplinary Amsterdam-based studio Rietveld-Architecture-Art-Affordances (RAAAF) situates itself in opposition to this method of dealing with architectural remnants. Instead, it proposes to make history tangible by altering these decaying structures in a way that makes their stories plainly visible. The practice has a name for this approach—"hardcore heritage."
This article, originally titled "The Space of Resistance," was originally published on Lance Hosey's Huffington Post blog. It is part of a four-part series about the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
The city can be a powerful form of political myth, and Washington, DC, is the premier example.
Political myths dramatize historical events for ideological purposes, in order to strengthen the authority of the status quo. For example, America’s Founding Fathers often are portrayed as motivated only by a virtuous desire for universal freedom and equality, a simplistic depiction that ignores the complex socioeconomic forces behind the Revolution. The National Mall, its buildings, and its monuments, are America’s foundation myth writ large in stone and space. Manfredo Tafuri called the image of the District of Columbia “a timeless, indisputable, completely ‘positive’ Olympus” whose creation “presupposed great optimism and was thoroughly opposed to any polemical doubt.”
In this sense, the city as political myth is ripe for protest, and the National Mall has been the site of many of the most important protests in American history. Most often, these events consist only of people gathering for demonstration. Sometimes, however, they involve building.
Jeremy Till's paper "Architectural Research: Three Myths and One Model" was originally commissioned by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Research Committee, and published in 2007. In the past decade, however, it has grown in popularity not just in the UK, but around the world to become a canonical paper on architectural research. In order to help the paper reach new audiences, here Till presents an edited version of the original. The original was previously published on RIBA's research portal and on Jeremy Till's own website.
There is still, amazingly, debate as to what constitutes research in architecture. In the UK at least there should not be much confusion about the issue. The RIBA sets the ground very clearly in its founding charter, which states that the role of the Institute is:
The advancement of architecture and the promotion of the acquirement of the knowledge of the various arts and sciences connected therewith.
The charter thus links the advancement of architecture to the acquirement of knowledge. When one places this against the definition of research given for the UK Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), “research is to be understood as original investigation undertaken in order to gain knowledge and understanding”, one could argue that research should be at the core of RIBA’s activities. This essay is based on the premise that architecture is a form of knowledge that can and should be developed through research, and that good research can be identified by applying the triple test of originality, significance and rigor. However, to develop this argument, it is first necessary to abandon three myths that have evolved around architectural research, and which have held back the development of research in our field.
“Will you look at that? St. Mark’s Square is flooded!” An Australian day tripper is astonished. “This place is actually sinking,” her friend casually exclaims. They, like so many I’ve overheard on the vaporetti, are convinced that the Venetian islands exist on a precipice between the fragility of their current condition and nothing short of imminent submersion. With catastrophe always around the corner a short break in Venice is more of an extreme adventure trip than a European city-break. If it were true, that is.
Sketches of scale figures can be seen as an architectural signature. These miniature stand-ins for human life not only bring scale and understanding to a sketch, they also offer a glimpse into the architect’s personality. Some designers automatically go for realistic, anatomically correct people, while others have more abstract interpretations of the human body. But what exactly do these predilections say about their illustrator? Read on to find out:
Pedestrians, the most vulnerable users of road space, will now be more visible to drivers in the Netherlands with the inauguration of a new luminous pedestrian crossing this past November in Brummen, west of Amsterdam.
Designed by the Dutch firm Lighted Zebra Crossing, and installed free of charge for the municipality, this crossing makes pedestrians more visible at night or during bad weather. Each of the lines has two plates of lights that at night remain illuminated at all times and not only when there are people on them.
“Re-Constructivist Architecture,” an exhibition now on show at the Ierimonti Gallery in New York, features the work of thirteen emerging architecture firms alongside the work of Coop Himmelb(l)au, Peter Eisenman and Bernard Tschumi. The title of the exhibition is a play on words, referring to the De-Constructivist exhibition of 1988 at the Museum of Modern Art that destabilized a certain kind of relationship with design theory.
This reconstruction is primarily of language. The architects draw from archives—mental, digital or printed on paper—distant from the typical parametric and highly schematic rationales that characterized the last thirty years of design in architecture. Within the theoretical system that drives architectural composition, these archives inevitably become homages, references, and quotes.
Located in the Tsaotun Township of Nantou County in Taiwan, the Yu-Hsiu Museum of Arts was completed in October of 2015, after 4 years of design development. The request received by AMBi Studio’s design team, led by architect and founder Wei-Li Liao, was for a building that was "subtle," "delicate" and "clean." The building’s focus is therefore on creating a harmonious relationship between the manmade and naturally formed architectural elements, paying respect to the surrounding Jiu-Jiu Peaks. This relationship is demonstrated in the combination of the building’s artificially constructed corridors and the existing vegetation in the area, and the museum’s doubled-façade construction which creates an "intermediary" space between outside and inside.
This successful design led the building to win first prize at the 2016 Taiwan Architecture Awards, causing the selection committee to praise Liao for his "continual effort... to explore the experience of perception... and poetic spatiality." Taiwan-based photographer Lucas K Doolan visited the site to capture the building’s interaction with nature in detail, exploring the museum’s carefully considered materiality.
Following our favorite Architecture Documentaries to Watch in 2015, our top 40 Architecture Docs to Watch in 2014, and our choice 30 Architecture Docs to Watch in 2013, we're looking ahead to 2017! Our latest round up presents a collection of the most critically acclaimed, popular and often under-represented films and documentaries that provoke, intrigue, inform and beguile. From biopics of Eero Saarinen, Frei Otto and Laurie Baker, to presentations of Chinese "palaces" and the architecture of Africa, Cambodia and India, these are our top picks.
The dramatic improvement in recent decades in our understanding of sustainable design has shown that designing sustainably doesn't have to be a compromise—it can instead be a benefit. When done correctly, sustainable design results in higher-performing, healthier buildings which contribute to their inhabitants' physical and mental well-being.
The benefits of incorporating vegetation in façades and in roofs, as well as materials and construction systems that take energy use and pollution into account, demonstrate that sustainable design has the potential to create buildings that improve living conditions and respect the natural environment.
Below we have compiled 30 plans, sections and construction details of projects that stand out for their approach to sustainability.
New year, new me! Or perhaps for architects, new Moleskine, new me? While a lot has happened in the world of architecture this year, it’s just as important to reflect on your own personal architectural practices. Whether 2017 ushers in the start or end of a degree, a new job, a new project, or just more architectural life as usual, there’s no better time to make a resolution or two. As we approach the calendar change, here are 22 ideas for how you could improve yourself in the new year.
Our experience of information is changing. We now consume more and more information digitally, with much of this being non-textual. Videos, photos and GIFs have become commonplace, with technology allowing these mediums to be as easily shareable as text. This gives way to another trend: the increase in the number and accessibility of online platforms. Not only is more information being digitized, but more dynamic ways of digitization are being developed; multimedia articles and online exhibitions, for example, hope to provide a more engaging way of sharing information.
New typologies in architecture generally arise in two ways. The first is through a reevaluation of existing typologies that cater to familiar programs such as housing, schools, or healthcare. This is done in an effort to improve on the norm and to challenge accepted architectural notions, as seen for example, in the work of Moshe Safdie and OMA. The other is when an entirely new program, site condition, or client emerges and forces the invention of a new typology simply through their design requirements.
For his Master’s degree project at the University of Alcalá in Spain, Saúl Ajuria Fernández has envisioned the essential civic building of the future: the Urban Droneport. Located in what Ajuria has identified as a “disused urban vacuum” in Madrid, Spain, the Urban Droneport “allows and optimizes the transport of goods with Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems in urban areas” - in other words, drone-delivered packages.
While Yekaterinburg’s avant-garde architecture is the city’s hallmark, and Moscow’s avant-garde is the subject of arguments, in Saint Petersburg the prominence of the style and its influence are somewhat harder to identify. Some researchers even suggest that the avant-garde is an “outcast” or a “non-existent style” here, and its presence in has remained largely unrecognized. Alexander Strugach sheds light on this phenomenon:
In Saint Petersburg, the avant-garde style is simply overshadowed by an abundance of Baroque, Modernist and Classical architecture, and is not yet considered an accomplished cultural heritage category. Meanwhile, gradual deterioration makes proving the cultural value of avant-garde buildings even more difficult.
SANAA's Zollverein School of Management and Design in Essen, Germany, is a perfect 35 meter-cube. The building's dominant presence, which is particularly striking amid its suburban context, extends to the interior spaces. The architects felt "that exceptional ceiling heights were appropriate for the educational spaces, particularly for the studio level that occupies an entire slab of the structure." Indeed, this production floor is "an unusually lofty and fully flexible space," enclosed only by the external structural walls. Photographer Laurian Ghinitoiu has visited the building, which was completed in 2010, to capture a fresh view on this seminal project.
Nikola Olic, an architectural photographer based in Dallas, Texas, has a thematic focus on capturing and reimagining buildings and sculptural objects in "dimensionless and disorienting ways." His studies, which often isolate views of building façades, frame architectural surfaces in order for them to appear to collapse into two dimensions. "This transience," he argues, "can be suspended by a camera shutter for a fraction of a second." In this second series shared with ArchDaily, Olic presents a collection of photographs taken in Barcelona, Dallas, New York City and Los Angeles.
This article was originally published on Autodesk's Redshift publication as "Architecture for Autism Could Be a Breakthrough for Kids With ASD."
Good architects have always designed with tactile sensations in mind, from the rich wood grain on a bannister, to the thick, shaggy carpet at a daycare center. It’s an effective way to engage all the senses, connecting the eye, hand, and mind in ways that create richer environments.
But one architecture professor at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor is working on a tactile architecture-for-autism environment that does much more than offer visitors a pleasing and diverse haptic experience: It’s a form of therapy for kids like 7-year-old daughter Ara, who has autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
One of the true tragedies of the architecture profession is that it instills in you expensive taste, but doesn’t give you the salary to acquire all those fine goods. The holiday season is the peak of this conundrum – how do you find the perfect gift for someone that lives up to your own lofty standards when buying a plane ticket home to see your family is already putting you in the red? One thing architects always seem to manage, however, is justifying that a cool new gadget or designed object isn’t just something we want, but something we need.
Observing the architectural landscape today it’s clear that the type of work which is currently ascendant, particularly among young practices, is very different to what came before the financial crisis of 2008. But what, exactly, does that architectural landscape look like? In an essay titled “Well into the 21st Century” in the latest issue of El Croquis, Alejandro Zaera-Polo outlined a 21st-century taxonomy of architecture, attempting to define and categorize the various new forms of practice that have grown in popularity in the years since—and as a political response to—the economic crisis.
The categories defined by Zaera-Polo encompass seven broad political positions: The “Activists,” who reject architecture’s dependence on market forces by operating largely outside the market, with a focus on community building projects, direct engagement with construction, and non-conventional funding strategies; then there are the “Populists,” whose work is calibrated to reconnect with the populace thanks to a media-friendly, diagrammatic approach to architectural form; next are the “New Historicists,” whose riposte to the “end of history” hailed by neoliberalism is an embrace of historically-informed design; the “Skeptics,” whose existential response to the collapse of the system is in part a return to postmodern critical discourse and in part an exploration of contingency and playfulness through an architecture of artificial materials and bright colors; the “Material Fundamentalists,” who returned to a tactile and virtuoso use of materials in response to the visual spectacle of pre-crash architecture; practitioners of “Austerity Chic,” a kind of architectural “normcore” (to borrow a term from fashion) which focuses primarily on the production process, and resulting performance, of architecture; and finally the “Techno-Critical,” a group of practices largely producing speculative architecture, whose work builds upon but also remains critical of the data-driven parametricism of their predecessors.
As a follow-up to that essay, Zaera-Polo and Guillermo Fernandez-Abascal set out to apply the newly-defined categories to the emerging practices of today with a nuanced “political compass” diagram. They invited practices to respond to their categorization in order to unveil the complex interdependencies and self-image of these political stances. For the first time, here ArchDaily publishes the results of that exercise.
Danish architect Jan Gehl is a world renowned expert in all things related to urban design and public spaces. He obtained this expertise by publishing numerous books, and later, from his consulting firm Gehl Architects that he founded in Copenhagen, his hometown, to make cities for people. The firm celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2016.
Charles (June 17, 1907 - August 21, 1978) and Ray Eames (December 15, 1912 - August 21, 1988) are best known for their personal and artistic collaboration, and their innovative designs that shaped the course of modernism. Their firm worked on a diverse array of projects, with designs for exhibitions, furniture, houses, monuments, and toys. Together they developed manufacturing processes to take advantage of new materials and technology, aiming to produce high quality everyday objects at a reasonable cost. Many of their furniture designs are considered contemporary classics, particularly the Eames Lounge & Shell Chairs, while the Eames House is a seminal work of architectural modernism.