Connor Walker

SCI-Arc Parodies “Poor Door” Housing Design

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In 2008, a group of students from SCI-Arc put out a proposal for a series of mixed income city housing projects for Dubai. In their design, wealthy residents would live in apartments on the building’s perimeter, with natural daylight and views of the city, while low-income housing tenants would live in the core of the building, isolated from “the upper class.”  The proposal was a parody aimed at the classist design of residential development in Dubai, but what unsettled the students was that their proposal generated almost no controversy. Inspired by the recent approval of a similar ‘poor door’ in a project in New York, this article from the LA Times covers that parody, and shows that both at home and abroad, residential design is slipping towards socio-economic segregation.

Spotlight: Santiago Calatrava

. Image Courtesy of http://en.wikiarquitectura.com/

Today is the 63rd birthday of world renowned architect, engineer, and artist Santiago Calatrava Valls. Calatrava is well known for his neofuturist style and his wild feats of engineering. The Milwaukee Art Museum, his first building in the United States, is famous for its shading “wings” that open and close in response to the position of the sun. His complex of buildings in his native Valencia is also a frequent pilgrimage site for architecture enthusiasts. 

Syrian Refugee Camp Becoming Impromptu City

Aerial View of Zaatari Refugee Camp. Image Courtesy of Wikimedia

As the Syrian civil war continues to rage, more and more Syrian citizens are emigrating across the border to refugee camps in Jordan.  While these camps were intended to be temporary, the sheer number of people they support and the uncertainty of when the Syrian crisis will end has leant them a sense of permanence.  This article from the New York Times takes a look at how Syrian refugees are prompting urban development and what this means for the future of refugee camp design.

Competition Entry Proposes Colorful Duo of Museums for Budapest

Exterior of the Architecture Museum. Image ©

Italian design firm IaN+ has put forth their vision for a pair of museums along the Dòzsa Gyorgy Boulevard in Budapest, Hungary for the Liget Budapest International Competition. Connected by a central foyer, the two exhibition spaces will be based on a common grid of structural concrete walls whose cells will form galleries. One of these museums will be devoted to , the other to architecture, and each building, while similar in appearance, is designed to best accommodate the work they will display.

Melbourne to Launch Its Own Serpentine Pavilion

2013 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion / Sou Fujimoto. Image © Danica O. Kus

Mirroring the Serpentine Galleries of London, the Naomi Milgrom Foundation has announced its own yearly pavilion commission for the city of Melbourne. Sited in the Queen Victoria Memorial Gardens, the premier “MPavilion” will be designed by Sean Godsell, opening October 6th of this year.  The pavilion will host a variety of community events, including art installations and performances, over a four month period.  It remains to be seen whether the MPavilion will have a lasting impact on the architectural culture of the city, as some critics have pointed out. To learn more about this now annual commission, visit this article from infolink.

SURE Wins Competition with “Endless City” Skyscraper

© SURE

Recently winning first place in a Skyscapers and SuperSkyscapers Competition, SURE Architecture has put forth a daring new proposition for a London skyscraper design. Their proposal, titled “The Endless City in Height,” does away with the traditional notion of stacking floors on top of each other. Rather, this innovative design incorporates two street-sized ramps that wind their way up the exterior of the tower, creating extensions of the city streetscape that rise and coil vertically into the skyline.

Junya Ishigami + Associates Win Competition to Design World Peace Pavilion in Copenhagen

Exterior. Image ©

Svendborg Architects and junya.ishigami+associates have won first place in the HOPE foundation’s House of Peace Competition. The competition brief calls for a monumental architectural installation to be built in the city harbor of Copenhagen, one that will endure as a lasting symbolic form devoted to world peace. The firms’ winning entry is a floating, cloud-like structure that seems almost to hover over the harbor’s horizon.

Tokyo’s Modernist Gem, Hotel Okura, To Be Demolished

Courtesy of Wikipedia

Talk about Modernist Japanese architecture, and you can hardly fail to bring up Tokyo‘s Hotel Okura. Built in 1962 under the design direction of Yoshiro Taniguchi, Hideo Kosaka, Shiko Munakata, and Kenkichi Tomimoto, the hotel has long been a landmark not only for the city, but for Japan. Now, however, the hotel’s owners have decided that the main building for the hotel will be demolished in September of 2015, with a new hotel taking its place. To learn more – including how to sign the petition for preservation – keep reading after the break.

AD Round Up: Smiljan Radic

Copper House 2 / Smiljan Radic. Image © Cristobal Palma / Estudio Palma

Although previously unknown except in his native Chile, architect Smiljan Radic has recently received international attention for his design of this year’s pavilion for London’s Serpentine Galleries. His latest and largest undertaking yet, a winery outside of Santiago, has been featured in this article by the New York Times. And now, his Mestizo Restaurant has been named one of the seven most outstanding 21st century projects in the Americas. If you’re unfamiliar with Radic’s unique works, we’ve compiled a round-up of some of our favorites for you to explore, including his Serpentine PavilionCopper House 2, the Mestizo Restaurant, a bus stop for the town of Krumbach, Austria, and his renovation of the Chilean Museum for Pre-Columbian Art. Enjoy!

Olson Kundig Designs Rooftop Play Space in South Korea

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In collaboration with client Shinsegae, Olson Kundig Architects has designed a 20,000 square foot roof in Uijeongbu, South Korea.  Sitting atop the ninth floor of a twelve story department store, the park acts as a playground for children and a cultural center for the community.  The project follows a rising trend: placing green spaces on top of buildings in urban areas to create safe and secluded public places.  This particular garden uses entirely native species and incorporates sculptures by the artist Do-Ho Suh.

Drone Captures OMA’S Taipei Performing Arts Center Under Construction

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Construction is underway for OMA’s Taipei’s Performing Arts Center! The project, started back in 2012, has generated a buzz in the architecture community for its peculiar form. Conceived as a number of theaters intersecting as a group of three simple geometries, the Performing Arts Center will provide flexible stage space to host experimental theater and art performances. This video—filmed by a drone—shows some of the preliminary structure that has already been erected. The building is expected to be completed in 2015.

AD Round Up: Happy Bastille Day!

Nova Green / . Image © Vincent Monthiers

The fourteenth of July is Bastille Day, a day that commemorates the start of the French Revolution.  Named for the fortress prison that was stormed by revolutionaries on July 14th, 1789, Bastille Day is celebrated globally both by France and her former colonies, as well as many cities in the US.  In honor of this historic date, we’ve compiled some of our favorite French projects from the past few years.  In this round up you’ll find classics such as the Villa dall’Ava by OMA, as well as fantastic works like Nova Green by Agence Bernard Bühler, Pontivy Media Library and Louviers Music school by Opus 5 architectes, Platform Architecture’s Aquitanis Headquarters, L’Atoll Angers by Antonio Virga Architecte and AAVP Architecture, a Parking Attendant’s Pavilion by Jean-Luc Fugier, Kengo Kuma’s Aix en Provence Conservatory of Music, and Origami by Manuelle Gautrand ArchitectureJoyeux quatorze juillet!

AD Round Up: Awesome Airports

AD Classics: Dulles International Airport / Eero Saarinen. Image © MWAA

If there is a universal truth, it is that nobody likes spending time in an airport. This article from the Financial Times corroborates this fact, pointing out that, no matter how well-designed a terminal is, people make every effort to leave it as soon as possible. While the novelty of air travel has worn off since its inception in the 20th century, the work devoted to designing airports has only increased. We’ve collected some of our favorite terminals we’d actually love to get stuck in, including works by Eero Sarinen, SOM, Fentress, J. Mayer H., KCAP, Paul Andreu, bblur architecture and 3DReid, Corgan Associates, De Bever, and Studio Fuksas. Enjoy!

Why Don’t Architects Sign Their Buildings?

Courtesy of Peter Knaup

It is a curious fact that architects do not put their signature on buildings. While even a novice architecture enthusiast can pick out a Frank Gehry building in any given city, there is no physical statement within that building identifying Frank Gehry as the designer. But why not? This article by Planetizen asks explores this interesting question.

Happy Birthday Michael Graves

Courtesy of & Associates

Today is the 80th birthday of renowned architect Michael Graves.  Famous for his bold, symbolic references to classical architecture and his use of geometry, Graves is also known as one of the New York Five. His work bridged the abstraction of Modernism and the Postmodernism of the current era.

Graves started his own practice in 1964 in Princeton, New Jersey, and has taught at Princeton’s school of architecture for more than 40 years.  A prolific architect, Graves has also met with considerable success as an industrial designer, producing products for companies such as Target and Black & Decker. He is highly decorated, having won such prestigious honors as the Nation Medal of the Arts (1999), the AIA Gold Medal (2001), and the Driehaus Prize for Classical Architecture (2012).  On the anniversary of his birth, we invite you to look over our collection of some of his best work and check out our video interview with him, after the break.

World Interior of the Year Award Announces Best Interiors of 2014

Civic, Culture + Transport Category: Cine Times/ One Plus Partnership Limited. Image Courtesy of Jordan Lewis/INSIDE Festival

The INSIDE World Festival of Interiors has announced the nominations for their Interior of the Year award for 2014. This award is an international honor that covers nine categories. This year’s 60 nominations span the architectural spectrum, from schools to airports, and include well-known firms, such as MAKE Architects and a21 Studio.

The nominees will compete against each other from October 1st to the 3rd at the World Architecture Festival in Singapore (see this year’s architecture shortlist here). More on the interior nominees, after the break.

Organic London Skyscraper Grows as Residents Recycle

Exterior View. Image Courtesy of Chartier Corbassons architectes

Inspired by vegetative growth and the bamboo scaffolding of Asia, Thomas Corbasson and VS-A have proposed a conceptual project for an organic skyscraper for London that will incorporate waste produced by its occupants. The building will rise vertically as more and more of the glass and paper needed for construction is discarded by building residents. It is estimated that enough recycled material for the building’s façade could be produced within a year. The project earned a special mention in a recent Skyscapers and SuperSkyscapers Competition.

Denton Corker Marshall To Design First 21st Century Pavilion in Venice’s Giardini

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Australia’s new pavilion for the 2015 Venice Art Biennale will be, in the words of featured artist Fiona Hall, “a minefield of madness, badness, and sadness in equal measure.” Designed by firm Denton Corker Marshall, (who also designed the Stonehenge Visitor Centre), the project will replace the 25 year old temporary pavilion designed by Phillip Cox and will be the first building constructed on the Giardini in two decades.