A while ago I had the chance to meet one of the architects whose work I highly admire: Sou Fujimoto.
This Japanese architect based in Tokyo, Japan, established his firm Sou Fujimoto Architects back in 2000. He graduated from the Department of Architecture at the University of Tokyo in 1994, and has been a lecturer at Kyoto University since 2007. With a solid history in residential and cultural projects this firm has consistently shown a unique and innovative play of spatial qualities within its building designs, pushing the limits of housing and space conventions.
He defines his architecture under the concept of Primitive Future (as seen on his book), better described by himself as “a sort of primitive situation that relates to the human cave habitation but at the same time creating something new for the future”. This explains very well his works, specially in his recently completed library and museum for the Mushashino Art University. On our article you can watch a video of Sou explaining the challenges of designing a library on the information age.
You can check other works by Sou Fujimoto recently featured on ArchDaily:
One of the most interesting projects I’ve seen in a while, the Musashino Art University Museum & Library proposes a new relation between the user and the books, surrounded and sheltered by them. We had the chance to ask Sou Fujimoto about the challenge of designing this program in the information age, as you can see on the above video.
More info after the break:
The 2011 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion by Pritzker laureate Peter Zumthor was unveiled today. A design that ‘aims to help its audience take the time to relax, to observe and then, perhaps, start to talk again – maybe not’, the materials are significant in aiding the design which emphasizes the role the senses and emotions play in our experience of architecture.
Zumthor added that ‘the concept for this year’s Pavilion is the hortus conclusus, a contemplative room, a garden within a garden. The planted garden enclosed by this dark structure was conceived by the influential Dutch designer Piet Oudolf.
The building acts as a stage, a backdrop for the interior garden of flowers and light. Through blackness and shadow one enters the building from the lawn and begins the transition into the central garden, a place abstracted from the world of noise and traffic and the smells of London – an interior space within which to sit, to walk, to observe the flowers. This experience will be intense and memorable, as will the materials themselves – full of memory and time.’
More info after the break:
Last week the Internet and architecture blogs went crazy after Steve Jobs presented the new Apple Campus to the city of Cupertino, California.
Rumors about Foster + Partners (an office with a high expertise on work environments) working with Apple on this new campus appeared on December last year on a Spanish newspaper, but there was never an official confirmation (or denial). But given that the actual project fits with the information we received from an anonymous tipster last December, it seems it could be right:
“I recently got a tour of Norman Foster’s office in London and saw some images of the Apple Campus design. I believe the main building will be a large donut shaped building with all the offices and labs surrounding a large garden. It was a very pure form which connects to some of the recent Apple stores, but I was surprised that it didn’t really scream Apple to me. Of course it could have been a very preliminary design that wasn’t fully resolved yet. Anyway, I just thought I would pass on some info.”
During Steve Job’s presentation to the city of Cupertino we could see this round building, and Jobs outlined several facts on how this new campus for 12,000 people will improve the 98-acre site, such as taking parking underground to reduce the footprint, increasing landscaping from 20% to 80%, and planting more trees (3,700 now, 6,000 in the future). It even includes its own natural gas based energy generation plant (as seen on the drawings) with the electrical grid as backup.
As for the 4-story round building, Jobs said:
“It’s a pretty amazing building. It’s a little like a spaceship landed. It’s got this gorgeous courtyard in the middle… It’s a circle. It’s curved all the way around. If you build things, this is not the cheapest way to build something. There is not a straight piece of glass in this building. It’s all curved. We’ve used our experience making retail buildings all over the world now, and we know how to make the biggest pieces of glass in the world for architectural use. And, we want to make the glass specifically for this building here. We can make it curve all the way around the building… It’s pretty cool.”
We reached Steve Jobs over the past weekend to get more details about the project and he said that he wasn´t interested in presenting the project on ArchDaily at this time, possibly because the project still needs to be approved by the city. We hope to bring you more details later on, so you can have an informed opinion.
More images from the presentation after the break.
Last night we had the honor of attending the 2011 Pritzker Prize Ceremony in Washington D.C., where Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto de Moura received this important recognition.
This was the third time we attended the event (after 2009 in Buenos Aires and 2010 in New York) and it was a special evening, not only because of the renowned architects attending the event, but also for the presenting speech by President Barack Obama. Obama, a friend of the Pritzker family, delivered a short but interesting speech to Souto de Moura and the architects. Obama’s interest in architecture goes way back as we’ve heard him state that he thought he could be an architect, but as he said at the speech “I expected to be more creative than I turned out, so I had to go into politics instead”.
It’s worth mentioning that Obama referred to the Pritzker Prize as the Nobel of architecture, a common comparison that puts the importance of this recognition in context.
After several mentions to architecture, his hometown Chicago, Mies (his campaign HQ was in a Mies building), Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Jefferson’s Monticello, he mentioned that architecture is about “creating buildings and spaces that inspire us, that help us do our jobs, that bring us together, and that become, at their best, works of art that we can move through and live in. And in the end, that’s why architecture can be considered the most democratic of art forms“.
About Souto de Moura’s work he mentioned that it was “effortless and beautiful”, and he highlighted the fact that the Braga Stadium was a democratic building, as he not only served the audience but people on the outside.
After Obama and Lord Palumbo (chairman of the Pritzker jury) Eduardo Souto de Moura accepted his recognition, and said something very interesting that made me understand contemporary Portuguese architecture. He developed his work during the 1974 revolution in Portugal, after which the country required to give housing to millions of people. At that time post modernism was starting strong in the country, but that wasn´t the way to do housing (with columns and arches), which led to a late modernism that we see on his works, which in my opinion became a legacy to the new generation of Portuguese architects. More photos after the break:
I first learned about Preston Scott Cohen’s work when I read about the Goodman House, a simple and elegant operation of a concrete shell housing an ancient Dutch barn frame. But after further investigation, I was surprised to see a constant spatial and formal research of his work, that we have witnessed in the latest three public buildings from his office and featured on ArchDaily.
On one side we have the Nanjing Performing Arts Center, a curved roof related to the surroundings with a tower that anchors the project on the extended landscape. Also in China, the Taiyuan Museum (under construction) continues the geometric explorations with a tessellated surface that wraps a series of different spaces which alternate with courtyards that maintain a relation with the exterior.
When we visited Preston in Boston for this interview we had the chance to see a preview of his latest work, the Tel Aviv Museum of Art (also shown during construction at AD), recently completed and now in final preparations to receive the art pieces and finally be open to the public. The exterior geometry of the building has a dynamic look, due to the changing shadows, while the interior features a careful use of natural light in the exhibitions spaces thanks to a lightfall that crosses the building.
Preston is also the Chair of the Department of Architecture of Harvard GSD, a role that allowed us to talk about the challenges of architectural education.
Our profession is very particular. We react very fast to current issues with our ideas, yet our buildings can take quite some time to be erected. For example, the project of the Shenzhen Stock Exchange building by OMA in China was the physical image of the new Chinese economy back in 2006. Five years later this new economy has taken the world by storm yet the building is still under construction.
Also, the exchange of knowledge in the age of information has made our profession move at an unprecedented speed, and thanks to the Internet the new ideas are not coming from the usual centers (New York, Milan, London) but rather from Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe.
In this new panorama, architectural education has to move faster, and smarter. It’s not about teaching how to use the latest tools, bur rather how to be part of a new world.
When we visited Preston Scott Cohen, Chair of the Architecture Department at Harvard GSD, we asked him about the challenges that architectural education is facing today, such as how our field is expanding to work on areas that were totally out of our scope until a few years ago.
With more than 120 architecture schools in the US, there are several perspectives about this. It would be great if you could tell us your opinion about this important matter.
During the 2011 AIA Convention in New Orleans we had the chance to sit down and talk with Steve McDowell, Principal and Director of Design of BNIM, the 2011 Architecture Firm of the Year. BNIM was founded over 40 years ago with a commitment to design excellence. Currently at the top of their game the Kansas City, Missouri headquartered firm has worked with high profile architects such as Steven Holl to produce the multi-award winning Block Building expansion for the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, they have contributed to advancing education of building sustainability with their innovative design of the Omega Center for Sustainable Living, which is the first project in the world to achieve both ‘Living’ Status and LEED Platinum, and BNIM’s scope of work also includes more rural projects such as the Midwest Retreat.
Steven Holl shared, “We selected BNIM Architects because of their focus on innovation, impeccable reputation and stature, but we got much more from them. With the exacting level of care and commitment to Architecture, the collaboration was the best our firm has experienced.”
BNIM’s excellence in design and sustainability has been acknowledge by receiving over 300 design awards on the local, regional, and national level. Their 7 COTE Top Ten Green awards, 3 GSA Design Excellence Awards, 20 honor and design excellence awards by seven different AIA Chapters, and two National AIA Honor Awards is a testament to their process of integration and collaboration with clients and consultants, creating designs that reflect a balance of people, planet and prosperity.
Additional projects by BNIM featured on ArchDaily include:
Today, the Pritzker Prize laureate has been announced: Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto de Moura.
The 58-year-old architect based in Porto worked on his earlier years at Alvaro Siza’s office, another Pritzker Laureate (1992), and opened his own practice in 1980. Since then he has completed over sixty buildings, most of them in Portugal, and also in Spain, Italy, Germany, United Kingdom and Switzerland.
Along his works we find iconic projects such as the impressive Braga Stadium (2004) and the recent Casa das Histórias Paula Rego.
“During the past three decades, Eduardo Souto de Moura has produced a body of work that is of our time but also carries echoes of architectural traditions. His buildings have a unique ability to convey seemingly conflicting characteristics — power and modesty, bravado and subtlety, bold public authority and a sense of intimacy —at the same time.”
- Lord Palumbo, Chairman of the jury
More projects by Eduardo Souto de Moura after the break:
The building, located in Porto, was described by the Pirtzker jury as “…two buildings side by side, one vertical and one horizontal with different scales, in dialogue with each other and the urban landscape.” Souto de Moura commented that “a twenty story office tower is an unusual project for me. I began my career building single family houses.”
More photos of the Burgo Tower after the break:
Portuguese architectural photographer Fernando Guerra FG + SG has shared with us some photos of the Casa da Musica subway station designed by the 2011 Pritzker Laureate Eduardo Souto de Moura for the city of Porto, his hometown, right next to Rem Koolhaas acclaimed building.
More photos after the break.
The role of the editor, the index of a more and more multidimensional society, the democratization of media, the use of media to create design and collaborative practices.
Next Tuesday (March 8th) at 12:30PM we will be participating at the Borderless: Design and digital platforms panel at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, with the MIT Social Media Group.
Looking forward to see you there!
More info at the GSD website.
Founded by Eugene Kohn, William Pedersen, and Sheldon Fox, on July 4th 1976, Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF) has a reputation as one of the world’s preeminent architecture practices. Focusing on design excellence coupled with collaboration and dialogue, KPF encourages an open exchange of ideas throughout the creative process both within the firm and between clients.
The firm’s diverse portfolio of scale, type, and location (projects are located in 35 countries), is a direct reflection of their 500+ staff that are from 43 different countries, and speak more than 30 languages. They have also been amongst the leaders in promoting high-performance design, obtaining environmentally responsible affordable solutions.
Gene Kohn serves as Chairman of KPF and also teaches at the Harvard Business School, since 2006. Teaching one of their most popular courses, Real Estate Development, Design and Construction, where he concentrates on communicating to students the value of design in business, specifically its relationship to real estate. Most recently Mr. Kohn received the Soane Foundation Honors and the 2010 Alumni Award of Merit by the University of Pennsylvania, the highest University wide award presented to Alumni of Penn.
Bill Pedersen serves as the Principal Design Partner of KPF. His design philosophy embraces the relationship between internal and external elements, focusing on the connection of the building and its surrounding community. KPF’s work evokes response by drawing together the past and the present, striving to embody both memory and invention.
The firm has received seven AIA National Honor Awards: 333 Wacker Drive in Chicago, Illinois (1984); the Procter & Gamble World Headquarters in Cincinnati (1987); Westendstrasse 1/DG Bank Headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany (1994); the World Bank in Washington D.C. (1998); the New Academic Complex, City University of New York/Baruch College (2003); the Gannett/USA Today Headquarters in Virginia (2005), and One Jackson Square in New York (2011), which they will receive at the National Convention in New Orleans this May.
KPF projects recently featured at ArchDaily:
As we reported last week, Interboro Partners’ “Holding Pattern” was selected as the winner of the 2011 YAP organized by the MoMA and the MoMA P.S.1. As usual, and in order to extend the debate, we are presenting you the running entries.
We present you “Bag Pile” by NY-based firm FormlessFinder. The proposal is based on a series of arches constructed by filling geo textile tubes with gravel and sand at the botton, and recycled foam piles at the top. The heavy elements at the bottom secure the arches, while providing thermal mass to cool down the yard. FormlessFinder’s approach is very different from past installations, on which “temporary” is translated into lightweight elements.
More about Bag Pile after the break: