It’s a rare event when a public building is striking enough to grab the attention of most Angelenos. It’s even more curious when that building is almost unanimously panned by the critics. Barring the so-called “iconic” buildings that our city has collected over the last 15 years, Los Angeles seldom received exciting public architecture. Because of this, every new major addition gets placed under a cultural microscope. Now, with Kohn Pedersen Fox’s redesign of the Petersen Automotive Museum nearing completion, architecture critics have sharpened their knives: reviewers have called it “kind of hideous,” "the Edsel of architecture," and “the Guy Fieri of buildings.” But these gripes completely miss the point of what a car museum on the Miracle Mile should be.
Humanity has become obsessed with breaking its limits, creating new records only to break them again and again. In fact, our cities’ skylines have always been defined by those in power during every period in history. At one point churches left their mark, followed by public institutions and in the last few decades, it's commercial skyscrapers that continue to stretch taller and taller.
But when it comes to defining which buildings are the tallest it can get complicated. Do antennas and other gadgets on top of the building count as extra meters? What happens if the last floor is uninhabitable? The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) has developed their own system for classifying tall buildings, measuring from the “level of the lowest, significant, open-air, pedestrian entrance to the architectural top of the building, including spires, but not including antennae, signage, flag poles or other functional-technical equipment.” Using this system more than 3,400 buildings have been categorized as over 150 meters tall.
We take a look at world’s 25 tallest buildings, according to the CTBUH, after the break.
The city of Delhi has a transportation problem. The streets are crowded and dangerous, and with 1,100 new vehicles being added to the roads each day the city is suffering from the consequences. Last year, New Delhi was rated the most polluted city in the world by the World Health Organization, with nearly 3 times the particulate matter of Beijing. Noise levels throughout the city consistently exceed regulations set by the Indian Central Pollution Control Board, and heavy traffic means increased travel times and perilous pedestrian conditions. Even walking the last mile from a bus stop to a destination has become a game of chance.
At the same time, the river upon which the city was founded, the Yamuna (a main tributary of the Ganges), has been polluted to the point where it has become little more than a glorified sewer drain. Illegal settlements without sewage systems pollute the river directly, and even within the regulated systems, 17 sewage drains empty directly into the Yamuna. For a city already struggling with water shortages, polluting a main water source is akin to throwing salt into a wound. However, a proposal by Dehli-based Morphogenesis Architects attempts to tackle all of these issues through the revitalization of the river and its canals, known as nullahs.
“Ever wanted something more?” asks Robert Laing, the character played by Tom Hiddleston in the new trailer for “High Rise” - an upcoming film based off of the 1975 novel by new wave science fiction author J.G. Ballard. Filmed as a advertisement for the brutalist tower, the complex boasts that with its numerous amenities, “there is almost no reason to leave,” prefiguring the story's unsettling premise.
Befitting the architecturally-inspired tale, the architecture seen in the snapshots shows off a concrete megastructure, with beautiful board-formed concrete walls elegantly highlighting and contrasting with the modernist furniture and shag surfaces of the interiors. Not unlike the real-life brutalist residential megastructure The Barbican, the High Rise features a supermarket, gym, swimming pool, spa, and school. Perhaps that is why Laing describes the film’s setting as “distinctly and definitively British.” Watch the video for a first look at film, to be released in theaters in 2016, and find out more at the tongue-in-cheek website for the building's fictional designer, anthonyroyalarchitecture.co.uk.
How will our buildings change when your mobile device can receive huge amounts of data flowing from the luminaires above you? Not only has LED brought us a highly efficient light source, but a promising instrument for visible light communication (VLC) as well. Therefore light will not only be a medium to support vision, but it will also be an essential means of data communication. With the low energy consumption of LED one can even set up luminaires without mains cables for the power and just install Ethernet cables. Welcome to the world of digital lighting.
Though the ahistorical dogma of modernism would seem a perfect fit for the Soviet Union’s mandated break with traditions, the architectural history of the USSR was somewhat more complex. Stalin’s neoclassically-inflected socialist realism superseded the constructivist heyday of the early Soviet Union, only to be replaced by a return to modernism under Khrushchev, facilitated by an opening to the West. Architectural photographers Denis Esakov and Dmitry Vasilenko recently used a drone to capture photographs of several landmark structures of the Khrushchev-era return to modernism, focusing on how these aerial views reinforce their rational geometries and regimented forms. Until the recent advent of satellite imagery and commercially available drones, these were views that were only ever seen by the architects, and the officials who reviewed the plans. Even so, the photographer notes that these methodical forms must have been very attractive to the state officers tasked with implementing Khrushchev’s mandated aesthetic.
The photographs, taken in and around Moscow, include works by several prominent Soviet architects. Leonid Pavlov’s long career spanned the full spectrum of state-sponsored architectural styles, starting as a constructivist, and moving into more historicist designs under Stalin, before emerging as one of the Soviet Union’s most prominent post-war modernists. Similarly, Yuri Platonov’s work received extensive state recognition, earning him the title of “People’s architect of the USSR,” as well as awards such the Silver Medal of the Arts Academy of the USSR, the USSR State Prize, and the State Prize of Russia.
Whether from political unrest or natural disaster, refugee crises around the world seem to fill the headlines of late. These events inspired interdisciplinary designer Abeer Seikaly’s conceptual emergency shelter, entitled “Weaving A Home,” which received a Lexus Design Award in 2013. The collapsible structural fabric shelter can adapt to various climates, while also providing the comforts of contemporary life such as heat, running water, and electricity.
One of the most controversial stories to hit the architectural news last week was the revelation by Blair Kamin of the Chicago Tribune that one of the winners of the AIA Chicago chapter's Design Excellence Awards was given on the basis of an image in which unsightly elements of the building's design had been removed in Photoshop.
The "war on reality" (as one commenter ironically referred to it) is a topic that polarizes even the most level-headed people, with many arguing over the effect that such Photoshop trickery has on our perception of our world. However, with many people unaware of what goes on behind the scenes, we decided to reach out to some photographers for a candid look at exactly what role Photoshop has in the everyday processes of architectural photography, and where they draw the line regarding the ethical documentation of buildings. Read on to find out what they had to say.
5,000 3D cameras to help preserve the architecture of a country torn by war; A team of Latin American architects that moved into Venezuela’s most dangerous neighborhoods in order to design and build with the community; A legendary architect who understood architecture’s relationship to the transformation of technology -- and whose projects have celebrated technology across a trajectory of multiple decades. These are the projects, initiatives and people who have proven to be leaders in 2015.
ArchDaily’s editorial team wanted to recognize these projects for their commitment to promoting practices in architecture that serve many, in all corners of the globe -- from Bolivia to London, from Chicago to Venice, from public spaces in favelas to projected drone-ports in Africa. These are the stories that have inspired us in 2015, and whose influence we hope to continue to see into 2016.
In 2015, we've focused on expanding ArchDaily's editorial content in a number of different directions. We've opened new avenues to bring high-quality architectural content to our readers - whether that's through our many fantastic publishing partnerships with organizations such as The Architectural Review and Metropolis Magazine, by working more closely with our sister sites in Spanish, Portuguese and Chinese to bring articles with a global outlook such as our article celebrating "The Best Student Work Worldwide," or by reaching out to people who have expressed strong opinions on our stories, as was the case when we published Mark Hogan's article "What’s Wrong With Shipping Container Housing? Everything."
We've also experimented with article formats, including a combined infographic and feature article in "7 Architects Designing a Diverse Future in Africa," two complementary articles to mark the first anniversary of MVRDV's Markthal in Rotterdam, and articles that amplify the voices of our readers in our AD Discussion series. And of course, we've also continued to bring our readers more traditional articles and interviews, with responses to trending debates such as Matthew Johnson's article "Architecture Doesn’t Need Rebuilding, It Needs More Thoughtful Critics" and standout examples of favorite series such as our AD Classics section.
With all of these developments, it was a challenge to narrow down a full year's worth of articles to just 15 shining examples. Read on to find out which lucky 15 made the cut.
In 2013 New York City ranked 14th among high density cities in the United States in parkland per 1,000 residents with only 4.6 acres/1000 residents. With almost 8.5 million people living in New York and more commuting on a daily basis, NYCers are finding it harder and harder to get outside and experience nature. The harsh winter and constant demand for growth and construction only make this more challenging.
In recent years New York has become famous for an unusual method of bringing green space to the city, the hugely popular “High Line” which reused industrial infrastructure in the creation of a new park. But as unconventional as the High Line is, it’s nothing compared to James Ramsey's of Raad Studio and Dan Barasch’s state-of-the-art proposed counterpart, the subterranean “Lowline." Working alongside others including Signe Nielsen, principal at Matthew Nielsen Landscape Architects, and John Mini, the pair recently opened the Lowline Lab, an environment similar to that of the actual Lowline site that gives the team a space to put their theories and ideas to the test, gather results and make final decisions. I had a chance to catch up with Ramsey and Nielsen to discuss the landscape of their test space.
Over the past 12 months at ArchDaily, we've been working hard to bring our readers more articles that will interest, inspire and aid them, and our most read articles of the year reflect a few trends that have characterized the year. Firstly, they show the success of our attempts to bring our readers’ favorite articles from the past back into the limelight through social media and other means, with 7 of our top 20 articles from the year published earlier than 2015. Secondly - perhaps more obviously - it shows the continuing popularity of lists. And what do we do when 75 percent of our most popular articles of the year are lists and rankings? Why, we make a list of them of course. So put your countdown cap on and keep reading to see our top 20 most read articles of the year - including everything from the world's top 100 universities, to 19 notable former architects, to 22 websites you didn't know would be useful to you.
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.
Architecture is a subject that takes decades to master. Just look at the field’s consensus masters - it is not uncommon for an architect to work through his or her fifties before receiving widespread acclaim. So it should come as no surprise that architecture schools simply don’t have the time to teach students all there is to know about architecture. School is the place where future architects are given a foundation of skills, knowledge and design sensibility that they can carry with them into their careers - but what exactly that foundation should contain is still a hot debate within the field.
In an attempt to come closer to pinpointing what an education should give you, we asked a group of people with a wide range of experience as students, professionals and teachers - our readers - "what do you wish you had learned in architecture school?"
Interiors is an online film and architecture publication, published by Mehruss Jon Ahi and Armen Karaoghlanian. Interiors runs an exclusive column for ArchDaily that analyzes and diagrams films in terms of space. Their Official Store will carry exclusive prints from these posts.
Star Wars (1977) is more than a film. It’s a worldwide phenomenon. The Star Wars saga is its own universe, and with such distinct characters and mythology, even talking about Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope as a standalone film (which is part of such a larger whole) is a fascinating exercise. It’s quite remarkable that for a film that takes place in space, in worlds outside of ours, it still holds up, architecturally.
We’ve all heard the story of the cocktail napkin sketch that inspired a masterwork. Architecture is all about communicating ideas visually, and there is no better way to quickly express an idea than through sketching. But for many students just starting on the path of architecture, the skills to actually create such sketches don't come naturally, and mentors who will take the time to explain such basics can be hard to find.
Geared towards young and aspiring architecture students, a new youtube channel, Themodmin, provides short, free tutorials on how to get the most out of your sketches in their series Architecture Daily Sketches. Covering topics from lineweight to perspective to adding people to your drawings, the videos follow a simple format that is easy to follow. Watch a few of the videos below and head over to their youtube page here for more tutorials.
In the past two weeks, it seems all the big stories have been emerging from London: this week, the crowning tower of the City of London’s skyscraper cluster, a restrained design by Eric Parry Architects, was unveiled; last week, it was the Chelsea Stadium plans by Herzog & de Meuron that grabbed attention; and almost as if to demand attention for a brief that wouldn’t otherwise make headlines, at the start of the month Will Alsop’s aLL Design unveiled a characteristically outlandish residential tower in Vauxhall.
The resulting conversations from our readers touched on everything from the coherence of London’s future skyline to Will Alsop’s design lineage. Read on to find out what they had to say in the latest installment of our "ArchDaily Readers Debate" series.
How much editing is acceptable in architectural photographs? And what if those edited photographs are the basis of judging a design competition? Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin explored these questions in a recent column after an altered photo led to a Design Excellence Award from the Chicago chapter of the AIA. The building in question, the El Centro campus of Northeastern Illinois University designed by Juan Moreno, was one of five recipients of the chapter's honor award, the highest level of recognition. But one of photos submitted to the award jury had been digitally altered by the photographer to remove a prominent row of large air handling units on the roof that marred one of the best views of the building.