The FutureLand Express departs once daily—three times on Sunday—in front of FutureLand, the information center of the latest extension of the Port of Rotterdam. The bus tours Maasvlakte 2, as the area is called, for seventy-five minutes, showing visitors 2,000 hectares of artificial ground for port activities and ‘nature’. The dredging of 240 million cubic meters of sand for land reclamation was just beginning in 2008; back then, this was, literally, future land. However, FutureLand’s promise of witnessing the future through a bus window goes beyond sightseeing record-breaking civil engineering works. Maasvlakte 2 is also home of the two most technologically advanced container terminals in the world.
There’s no doubt that architects spend a lot of time in front of a desktop, be it virtual or three-dimensional. In fact, although this statistic is not exclusive to architects, the average time a person now spends sitting down per day is 7.7 hours; in the United States the average is an unbelievable 13 hours. Of course this includes time spent on the train, watching a movie on the sofa, or a whole range of other seated activities, but the vast proportion of this time is likely to be spent working by a desk or laptop.
How can you improve the quality of that time, so it’s both well spent and, ideally, minimized? To have a more efficient, productive—and most importantly, more pleasant—time at work, here are 13 ways to improve your physical and digital workspace.
Late last year the New York Times published a thought-provoking article about the importance of workplace culture. Adam Grant, professor of management and psychology at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, explains
When it comes to landing a good job, many people focus on the role. Although finding the right title, position and salary is important, there’s another consideration that matters just as much: culture. The culture of a workplace — an organization’s values, norms and practices — has a huge impact on our happiness and success.
What aspects of workplace culture do our readers most value? What are the elements of office culture that are important to you and push you to be more creative and efficient?
Since 2009, Mario Carvajal has captured amazing panoramic photographs from his hometown in Colombia as well as top destination spots around the globe. He has climbed the Empire State Building in New York and Colpatria Tower in Bogota, Colombia. Carvajal has captured the geographical beauty of Iceland as well as the intensity of Paris at night.
As Carvajal mentioned in an interview with ArchDaily, images in 360 degrees "allow the viewer to dive into an attractive and interesting 'virtual world' to experience immersive sensations". Of course, with the new surge in popularity these types of pictures have experienced with the hardware becoming more readily available and these images being shared more and more every day through Facebook, Carvajal's work reaches new levels, allowing thousands of people to see the world from above.
Below, we invite you to see his best shots of iconic buildings and landscapes around the world. For a complete experience, we recommend using Google Cardboard.
Cars have reshaped cities across the world, largely at the cost of everyone outside of a private vehicle. In recent years the "grid city" of Barcelona has been suffering from clogged roads and choked air quality, with urban traffic contributing to the 3500 premature deaths caused by air pollution each year. Beginning in the district of Eixample, proposals laid out in the 2014 Urban Mobility Plan aims to diffuse traffic congestion and reduce air pollution in the city. In a recent film Vox have picked up on one of a number of potential schemes: the Superblock concept (known as superilles in Catalan). According to Salvador Rueda, the Director of the Urban Ecology Agency of Barcelona who developed the plan, these are "grid[s] of nine blocks [in which] the main mobility happens on the roads around the outside, [...] and the roads within are for local transit only."
The Nolli Map made history when it was created in 1748, largely because of its focus on public spaces. With it, Giambattista Nolli highlighted the fact that public places don’t exclusively exist in the forms of streets and parks, but also in enclosed spaces. Yet the importance of our communal areas is constantly being undermined. Our public areas exist to promote inclusion and equal opportunities, but despite that they are being forgotten and abandoned, debilitating their ability to bind communities together.
Given that the main goal of Studio Gang’s newly released, free, downloadable booklet, Reimagining The Civic Commons has been to “help communities everywhere activate their civic commons,” then, it is unsurprising that the booklet includes graphic maps reminiscent of Nolli’s visual aim. The booklet, which arose from work funded by the Kresge Foundation and Knight Foundation, focuses on the advancement of 7 types of “existing assets”: libraries, parks, recreation centers, police stations, schools, streets and transit. Since the start of Studio Gang's research, a larger, $40 million initiative has begun—funded by the JPB Foundation, The Knight Foundation, The Kresge Foundation and The Rockefeller Foundation along with a multitude of local donors—with plans taking shape in Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit, Memphis and Akron. The graphic guide is designed to offer adaptable, cost-effective and flexible approaches to these spaces, so that it can be implemented over time and in a variety of different communities. Read on for our summary of the report’s 7 strategies for improvement.
White Elephants: Over-Budget, Unsuccessful, and Embarrassing Architecture Projects From Around the World
Not every piece of architecture can be an economic and social success. But there is one dreaded term reserved for only the mot wasteful of projects: "white elephants." The term comes from a story of the kings of Siam, now Thailand, who would reportedly gift sacred albino elephants to courtiers they didn't like. Refusing the gift from the king would have been unacceptable, but being sacred, these animals were forbidden from work, leading the courtier to financial ruin—a fact the kings knew all too well.
Of course, in architecture the term "white elephant" is used frequently to disparage certain projects, and whether a project is deserving of such infamy is usually a matter of perspective. Often eyesores or reminders of poorly spent funds, these projects refuse to be forgotten despite few wanting to remember them. Dotted around the world and across history, they all have the same thing in common: although they may (or may not) have once looked good on paper, they probably should have just stayed on paper.
Simply put, metamaterials are materials that behave according to their structure, rather than their base material composition. By manipulating their internal microstructures, metamaterials can exhibit properties that would not otherwise be found in a naturally occurring material.
To date, the term has mostly been used to refer to materials which can manipulate electromagnetic waves with an unnatural refractive index. But recently, a different way of looking at metamaterials has been studied by a team at the Hasso Plattner Institute (HPI), who suggest that “so far, metamaterials were understood as materials – we want to think of them as machines.” A series of objects created by HPI that perform mechanical functions through their metamaterial configuration demonstrate this concept of “metamaterial mechanisms.”
Little Architect is a program at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London. Created in 2013, the program is focused on teaching architecture to primary school age children, obtaining amazing results with more than 2,400 children from different backgrounds receiving architectural lessons. They are especially focused on running their program in low-income areas and state schools in London.
"Our responsibility as architects is not just to design but also to bring architecture to society and to create an awareness about urban issues and contemporary architecture within the people who inhabit it," says Dolores Victoria Ruiz Garrido, author and director of the program.
Opening to much fanfare earlier this week, Zaha Hadid Architects' Port House holds a commanding presence over the port of Antwerp. The design combines a listed and formerly derelict fire station, which was restored as part of the project, with an eye-catching glass extension which rises out of the older building's courtyard and thrusts itself towards the water in a dramatic cantilever. In the context of the port, where large infrastructure and colossal machines form the backdrop to everyday functions, the building boldly stakes its claim as the operational centerpiece, providing a space for the Port of Antwerp's 500 employees. Photographer Thomas Mayer visited the building, capturing its striking external presence and investigating how its structural gymnastics translate to the building's internal space.
All the world’s a stage – quite literally so, in the case of the Container Globe, a proposal to reconstruct a version of Shakespeare’s famous Globe Theatre with shipping containers. Staying true to the design of the original Globe Theatre in London, the Container Globe sees repurposed containers come together in a familiar form, but in steel rather than wood. Founder Angus Vail hopes this change in building component will give the Container Globe both a "punk rock" element and international mobility, making it as mobile as the shipping containers that make up its structure.
In architecture, perhaps the most remarkable change heralded by the 20th was the radical rethinking of housing provision which it brought, driven by a worldwide population explosion and the devastation of two world wars. Of course, Modernism’s reappraisal of the design and construction of housing was one part of this trajectory, but still Modernism was underpinned by a traditional process, needing clients, designers and contractors. Arguably more radical were a small number of fringe developments, such as mail-order houses in the US and Walter Segal’s DIY home designs in the UK. These initiatives sought to turn the traditional construction process on its head, empowering people to construct their own homes by providing materials and designs as cheaply as possible.
In the 21st century, the spirit of these fringe movements is alive and well, but the parameters have changed somewhat: with a rise in individualism, and new technologies sparking the “maker movement,” the focus has shifted away from providing people with the materials to construct a fixed design, and towards improving access to intellectual property, allowing more people to take advantage of cheap and effective designs. The past decade has seen a number of initiatives aimed at spreading open source architectural design--read on to find out about five of them.
Murphy’s Law, right? The thing is, since technology moves so fast, chances are you’re using slow and/or outdated hardware to build and render your models. Of course, those software crashes always get you when a client needs to see your work. And yet, when you tell the bosses you need better hardware, or updated software, they often scoff and lecture you about the costs. Perhaps one day they’ll understand the struggle of the production staff, but it seems like for now, not so much. So, good luck at the office today, hopefully, everything will work.
This exclusive photo essay by Laurian Ghinitoiu was originally commissioned for the fifth issue of LOBBY. Available later this month, the latest issue of the London-based magazine—published in cooperation with the Bartlett School of Architecture—examines the theme of Faith as "a fervent drive, a dangerous doctrine, a beautifully fragile yet enduring construct, an unapologetic excuse, a desperate call for attention and a timely consideration on architectural responsibility."
In 1986 the Pritzker Architecture Prize announced their first German laureate. In a speech at the ceremony in London’s Goldsmiths’ Hall, the Duke of Gloucester suggested that the prize “may not guarantee immorality,” inferring, perhaps, that not even the most prestigious award in architecture could compete with an œuvre so compact, focussed and enduring as that of Gottfried Böhm – a “son, grandson, husband, and father of architects.”
This article was originally published on Autodesk's Redshift publication (formerly known as Line//Shape//Space), under the title "Live, Work, Play: WeLive’s Live-Work Spaces Reveal a 'Third Place.'"
According to urban sociologist Ray Oldenburg, people need three types of places to live fulfilled, connected lives: Their “first place” (home) for private respite; their “second place” (work) for economic engagement; and their “third place,” a more amorphous arena used for reaffirming social bonds and community identities.
This third place can be a barbershop, neighborhood bar, community center, or even a public square. The desire for these three separate spheres drives how human environments are designed at a bedrock level, but increasing urbanism—as well as geographic and economic mobility—are collapsing these multiple spaces into one. The result is a new hybrid building type: a live-work multiunit dwelling that is home, office, and clubhouse.
During the last decade, the idea of a technological singularity has passed from science fiction to a plausible prediction of the proximate future. In its simplest terms, a technological singularity will take place when an artificial general intelligence (AGI), capable of modifying its own code, advances so rapidly that subsequent technological progress (and as a result history itself) become as unpredictable and unfathomable as what happens within a black hole. In the most radical vision, the ‘hard takeoff’, within hours or even minutes of artificial intelligence developing the capacity for recursive self-improvement, the intelligence advances so greatly that it fundamentally transforms life on Earth.
A century since the founding of the National Memorial Association and the start of a campaign by African-American war veterans for a monument of African American culture, the National Museum of African American History and Culture will finally be opened on September 24th. The Museum took $540 million and four years to build, resulting in a striking, and refreshingly unorthodox, architectural construction on Washington DC’s National Mall. The Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup JJR team, led by Ghanaian-British architect David Adjaye, defiantly broke the white-marble-Corinthian-column convention, opting instead for a bronze-coated aluminum façade bound to provoke a reaction from the critics.
Patrick Bateman’s apartment from American Psycho is one of the most iconic locations in recent film history – his bone-white business card writ large. The sterile set design, by Gideon Ponte, is as impersonally creepy as Christian Bale’s performance (sure, put a telescope by the window, why don’t you; a serial killer without voyeurism just isn’t scary enough.) Archilogic’s interactive 3D model invites you to experience the apartment from the inside – without fear of an axe to the head.
Architects are often noted for having bad work-life balance, a lot of stress and little free time. How can you take time off while still improving your skills as an architect? Can that time off even give you an extra edge? Compared to other fields, architecture stands out as a field in which you need to “know a little bit about everything." Thus, in order to live up to our name we must also do a little bit of everything, and as they say, a little goes a long way. So with that in mind, here are 11 activities which, while not obviously architectural, just might make you a better architect.
When you think of original designs, you know that you're talking about something unique and special. An innovative design that can change our perception and visual culture: that is exactly what the German designer Elisa Strozyk does with Wooden Textiles, a product line that mixes wood with fabric.
The designer shows us that innovation remains a fundamental part of design. She imbues wood with living properties and turns it to a flexible fabric with unpredictable movements, changing its color and texture. It’s an astonishing use of this traditional material to create new forms and experiences.
We are all familiar with the "utopian" towns of the 20th Century. Basildon, Essex, was one of the largest of those New Towns. It was founded in 1949, when Lewis Silkin, the Minister of town and country planning at the time, ambitiously predicted that "Basildon will become a city which people from all over the world will want to visit. It will be a place where all classes of community can meet freely together on equal terms and enjoy common cultural recreational facilities." Nearly seventy years later, Basildon is left with a struggling local economy, splintered communities, and a fraction of the art and culture than what was originally hoped for. "New Town Utopia" is a documentary film that confronts this concrete reality with a question: “What happened when we built Utopia?”
Throughout the past century, architecture's relationship with water has developed along a variety of different paths. With his “Fallingwater” house, for example, the American master Frank Lloyd Wright confronted the dramatic flow of water with strong horizontal lines to heighten the experience of nature. Since then, architecture's use of water has become more varied and complex. A space made almost purely of water emerged with Isamu Noguchi's design at the Osaka World Expo: glistening water appeared to fall from nowhere and glowed in the dark. Later with digitalization and fluid forms as design parameters, the focus shifted towards liquid architecture made of water and light. The interpretations have ranged from architectural forms modeled after literal drops of water, like Bernhard Franken´s visionary “Bubble” for BMW, to spectacular walk-in installations made of lines of water, transformed into pixels by light.
The following essay by Nick Axel (Volume's Managing Editor) first published by the magazine in their 49th issue, Hello World!
With the rise of computational networks and power, cognitive models developed and debated over in the postwar decades have finally been able to be put to work. Back then, there was a philosophical debate raging alongside the burgeoning field of computer science theory on the nature of consciousness, in which machines of artificial intelligence served as a thought experiment to question humanity. Yet with the proliferation of data and the centralization of its archives, theoretical practice moved from conceptual experiments to empirical tests.
In the canon of great Dutch architects sit a number of renowned practitioners, from Berlage to Van Berkel. Based on influence alone, Rem Koolhaas—the grandson of architect Dirk Roosenburg and son of author and thinker Anton Koolhaas—stands above all others and has, over the course of a career spanning four decades, sought to redefine the role of the architect from a regional autarch to a globally-active shaper of worlds – be they real or imagined. A new film conceived and produced by Tomas Koolhaas, the LA-based son of its eponymous protagonist, attempts to biographically represent the work of OMA by “expos[ing] the human experience of [its] architecture through dynamic film.” No tall order.