Learning how to design is hard. It requires students to learn an entirely new way of thinking and seeing the world. It even requires a whole new vocabulary. So architecture school is rightly hard. However, architecture school is known for being hard for the wrong reasons; studio is considered a mystical place on college campuses full of sleep-deprived students who are designing simply because professors decree that they must—so much so that when a non-architecture student meets an architecture student on the Quad they immediately offer their condolences. This perception exists because studio culture has not yet evolved from its rigid hierarchy, originating in the Beaux Arts teaching method, that thrives on competition and intensity and creates a breeding ground for unhappy students.
Neoliberal post-fordism poses a dramatic challenge to urbanism as we have come to know it since the early 20th century. The public planning process has become more and more an embarrassment and obstacle to urban and economic flourishing. It’s a relic of a bygone era. The high point of urban planning was the post-war era of socialist planning and re-construction of the built environment. With respect to this period we can speak about physical or perhaps ‘positive planning’, in the sense of governments formulating concrete plans and designs about what to build. This era has long gone as society evolved beyond the simple fordist society of mechanical mass production to our current post-fordist networked society. When a few basic standards were functionally separate, optimized and endlessly repeated, central planning could still cope with the pace of societal progress. The world we live in today is far too multi-faceted, complex and dynamic to be entrusted to a central planning agency. The old model broke apart as it could not handle the level of complexity we live with and our cities should accommodate. The decentralized information processing mechanism of the market was indeed capable of managing such levels of complexity and, for this reason, has effectively taken over all positive decision-making processes.
The movement towards gender equality in the architecture profession has been gaining attention for some time now, led in large part by surveys of the profession such as the AIA’s recent diversity study or of course the annual Women in Architecture survey by The Architectural Review and The Architects’ Journal. However, recently the debate around gender has taken on a different form; in a response to the AR's most recent survey published in RIBA Journal, for example, the curator of Turncoats and founder of the practices Interrobang and Studio Weave Maria Smith argues that it is time to move on to a more nuanced depiction of the problem. “I’d like to see a radical change in how this discussion is framed,” she says. “We must move away from generic indignation and start to properly interrogate why both men and women practice architecture the way they do.”
In light of this slow movement towards action in place of indignation, on International Women’s Day last month we asked our readers what exactly should be done to eliminate gender inequality in the field of architecture. The question provoked a broad and at times incredibly heated discussion - read on to find out what our readers had to say on the topic.
The love affair between architecture and film has been well documented. From huge breathtaking sets to small spaces for intimate conversations, the architecture in a film often plays as strong a role as any character in translating the director’s vision to his/her audience. In constructing the environments of their narratives, the great filmmakers could even be considered architects in their own right—that's the claim presented in this video from the British Film Institute, which looks at the work of celebrated director Jean-Luc Godard and how the architecture in his films transforms to suit their tone. In pictures such as À bout de souffle (1960), Le Mépris (1963) and Week End (1967), Godard uses streetscapes to convey optimism or pessimism, uses walls to emphasize the emotional distance between lovers, and even includes a cameo from the particularly photogenic Villa Malaparte. Watch the video to learn more about the techniques used to achieve these moods.
This article was originally published on ArchSmarter.
These days, nearly every architect uses a computer. Whether it’s for 3D modeling, documentation or even creating a program spreadsheet, computers are well entrenched within the profession. Architects now need to know almost as much about software as they do about structures, building codes, and design.
As our tools become more powerful and sophisticated, we need to evolve and develop our working methods in order to stay competitive. I’ve written previously about how architects should learn to code. A lot of the problems we need to solve don’t fall within the capabilities of off-the-shelf software. We need to tweak and customize our tools to work the way we work. Creating our own tools and software is one way to do this.
That said, the reality is that not everyone has the time or the inclination to learn how to code. It’s time-consuming and you’ve got projects to run, show drawings to review, and buildings to design. Fortunately there are new tools available that deliver the power of programming without the need for all that typing.
Enter computational design and visual programming.
Since Zaha Hadid’s death two weeks ago, we’ve been thinking a lot about her legacy. Hadid’s accomplishments in architecture are impressive not only because of her innovative designs, but because she succeeded in a male-dominated profession, and undoubtedly experienced sexism along the way. In our webcomic, Architexts, we use humor to cope with various aspects and stereotypes of the architectural profession, including negative ones. With our forthcoming book, Architects, LOL, we hope to share the stories--your stories--that paint a more realistic picture of the profession, rather than an idealistic one that most of us can only dream of.
In this article originally published by Archipreneur as "Space as a Service: Business Models that Change How We Live and Work," Lidija Grozdanic looks into the recent proliferation of coworking services - as well as the new kid on the block, coliving - to discuss how the sharing economy is redefining physical space as a highly lucrative part of the service industry.
Some of the most innovative and profitable companies in the world base their business models on commercializing untapped resources. Facebook has relied on its users to generate content and data for years, and organizations are starting to realize the value of gathering, processing, storing and taking action on big data.
In the AEC industry, some companies are discovering the hidden potential of excess energy that is generated by buildings, while others are looking to utilize large roof surfaces of mega-malls and supermarkets for harvesting solar energy. Airbnb has turned underused living units into assets, and allows people to generate additional income by renting out their homes to travelers.
The traditional notions of "private" and "public" space are eroding under the influence of a sharing economy and technological advancement. Space is being recognized as a profitable commodity in itself.
In recent years, it's been no secret that Dubai has been attempting to diversify its industries, as the city moves on from being an oil-based economy. In this article, originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "Dubai: Making a Creative Capital from Scratch," Ali Morris investigates how the city is building its own design district to rival London or New York - and doing so despite starting from almost nothing.
In cities where a faded industrial area exists, a creative community often follows. It’s a well-established cycle of urban regeneration that has played out in Berlin, London, and New York. Attracted by cheap rent and large, empty spaces, the creatives come, building up areas with independent cafés and stores before inevitably being priced out of the market by the very gentrification they helped to bring about.
So what happens in a city so young that it doesn’t have a dilapidated area for the creatives to occupy? When the city in question is Dubai, which was still just a desert fishing settlement until around the 1960s, you build it from scratch, of course. With the second part of a three-phase build unveiled last year, Dubai Design District (known as d3) is a sprawling 15.5-million-square-foot (1.4 million square meter) development located in a desert plot on the eastern edge of the city. Circled by multilane highways and located between downtown Dubai and a wildlife reserve, d3 has been masterminded as a framework from which to grow and sustain a new design ecosystem.
For the United Parcel Service (UPS), space is valued insofar as it grounds the socio-technical assemblages that secure the company’s economy of speed. Holding one of the largest airline fleets in the United States, UPS’s services range from delivering cargo for the US Air Force and e-commerce packages to relocating endangered animal species and partaking in disaster relief. It operationalizes logistics in the space between military and civilian domains and from the scale of cargo for large corporations to small packages for individuals. UPS runs a global logistics network that crosses more than 200 countries and territories and delivers about 17 million packages every day through its planetary ring of Shanghai-Shenzhen-Anchorage-Louisville-Cologne-Dubai. It participates in the making of trans-border infrastructural systems and influences national politics towards the lifting of legal barriers to transnational trade. Yet what makes UPS significant is not its volume of shipment, infrastructural capacity, or magnitude of operational precision, but rather its resiliency and acute performance within the tides of uncertainty.
Using photogrammetry to capture and model existing buildings is a fantastic way to share cultural treasures with the world, and with VR features cropping up everywhere even enables us to give people virtual tours of a site of cultural significance from thousands of miles away. But beyond that, capturing a model of a building is also a great way to digitally preserve that structure at a given point in time - this technique is even being used by Harvard and Oxford to protect structures placed at risk by the ongoing wars in Syria and Iraq.
In that spirit, our friends over at Sketchfab have compiled a selection of cultural treasures that have been immortalized on their platform. Read on to see all seven models, and don't forget that you can view all of them in virtual reality using Google Cardboard.
From community meeting hubs to secluded refuges, places to learn and places to study, libraries can be so much more than just a place to a check out a book. With this in mind, we’ve rounded-up 15 awe-inspiring libraries, including a Canadian church that was converted into a library, the first library in Muyinga, Burundi – built using participatory design and local materials – and the largest academic library in Finland. See what makes each of the libraries unique after the break.
The majority of our built environment is designed for people who hear, with little regard for how the hearing-impaired navigate a space. But what would a space look like if it were designed for the deaf? This video from Vox and Curbed focuses on Gallaudet University, the world’s only liberal arts institution for the deaf, and the ways the campus is tailored to the needs of its students. By analyzing what they refer to as “Deaf Space,” the university has been able to pinpoint techniques that not only make communication and wayfinding simpler for the deaf, but to produce spaces that function more effectively and comfortably for everyone. For more on the university and how its members are impacting the architecture world, read the full article over at Curbed here.
Over the past 20 years, many of the most renowned European cultural institutions - including ARTE France, Les Films d’Ici, the Louvre, the Ministry of Culture and Communication Department of Architecture and Heritage, Centre Pompidou, City of Architecture and Heritage, Musée d'Orsay and the Fundació Mies van der Rohe - have come together to produce more than 50 architecture documentaries devoted to the most significant achievements of architecture, its beginnings, and the latest creations of the great architects of today. Now, these videos are accessible to the public via the YouTube Channel ACB (Art and Culture Bureau).
Each documentary is approximately 26 minutes long, and focuses on the genesis and impact of a single building that has played a role in the evolution of architecture. Narration is in English, and many of the videos of newer buildings feature interviews with the architects themselves. Check out some of the videos below, or find the entire list here.
Of course, the top story in recent weeks has been the sudden death of Dame Zaha Hadid, who passed away last week in Miami. At just 65 years of age, and at the height of her powers as an architect, the news of Hadid’s passing was a shock to many and unsurprisingly was met with grief from many of our readers. Read on to see what tributes those readers left, along with opinions on other stories from recent weeks.
A figure whose work blurred the line between the mathematical and the aesthetic, French industrial designer, architect and engineer Jean Prouvé (8 April 1901 - 23 March 1984) is perhaps best remembered for his solid yet nimble furniture designs, as well as his role in the nascent pre-fabricated housing movement. His prowess in metal fabrication inspired the Structural Expressionist movement and helped to usher in the careers of British High-Tech architects Richard Rogers and Norman Foster.
Kisho Kurokawa (April 8th 1934 - October 12th 2007) was one of Japan's leading architects of the 20th century, perhaps most well-known as one of the founders of the Metabolist movement of the 1960s. Throughout the course of his career Kurokawa advocated a philosophical approach to understanding architecture that was manifest in his completed projects throughout his life.
Earlier this week, the Supreme Court of Sweden ruled against Wikimedia Sverige in a landmark case over “Freedom of Panorama,” a ruling which The Wikimedia Foundation has “respectfully disagreed with” in a blog post. The Swedish Supreme Court’s ruling, in short, states that Wikimedia Sverige is not entitled to host photographs of copyrighted works of art on its website Offentligkonst.se, which provides maps, descriptions and images of artworks placed in public spaces in Sweden.
The concept of freedom of panorama describes a provision in copyright law which extends the right to take and to disseminate photographs of copyrighted works provided those photographs were taken in public spaces. Most people who own a camera (in other words, most people) have probably given very little thought to their freedom of panorama, or any restrictions that may have been placed upon it. But the reality of this little-known copyright-related oddity is something that many people, and architects especially, should find very concerning indeed.
One of the most boldly dissenting voices of our time, architectural and urban theorist Léon Krier (born 7 April 1946) has throughout his career rejected the commonly accepted practices of Modernist Urbanism, and helped to shape ideals of the New Urbanism movement. Through his publications and city designs, Krier has changed the discourse of what makes a city successful and returned importance to the concept of community.