Through our interview program, I’ve had the chance to meet with some of the world’s most renowned architects, while creating a moment to share their views about the profession with our readers.
During the 2011 AIA National Convention, I had the chance to meet Kengo Kuma, one of Japan’s most recognized architects, whose work I admire. His recent works use subtle elements with a powerful structural expression, and interesting spatial results for different programs of various scales.
Established in 1990, Kengo Kuma & Associates have become known for their expressive use of materiality and deep connection with nature. The mid-sized firm is involved in a wide spectrum of work, ranging from private residences, to Buddhist temples and art museums. Kengo Kuma & Associates consist of two offices located in Tokyo and Paris.
Principle Architect Kengo Kuma is a professor at the Graduate School of Architecture at the University of Tokyo. His goal is to recover traditional Japanese design and reinterpret it for the 21st century. Inspiration of light and nature guides the design process and influences his unique explorations with glass, wood, concrete and stone. Kuma strives to create architecture that coexists with the natural environment and works in harmony with the human body.
Kengo Kuma has won a multitude of competitions and received many awards, including the prestigious Architecture Institute of Japan Award (1997) and most recently the Spirit of Nature Wood Architecture Award (2002) and the AIA Honorary Fellowship (2011). Major works include the Kirosan Observatory, Water / Glass, Toyoma Center for Performing Arts, Stone Museum and Bato-machi Hiroshige Museum. Recent works include the Mesh / Earth terrace house, the Yusuhara Wooden Bridge Museum and the Suntory Museum of Art.
Projects by Kengo Kuma & Associates at ArchDaily:
A few months ago I had the chance to visit and interview Architecture Research Office (ARO), just after they were announced as the recipients of the prestigious 2011 Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award for Architecture.
I was eager to meet this practice and share their projects at ArchDaily, especially because of the diversity of their work. Not only do they work at different scales (from master plans and institutional buildings, to a small recruiting station in Times Square), but they also strongly focus on research, with projects such as Rising Currents or Five Principles for Greenwich South -projects that invited other firms in a collaborative effort to share ideas for a strategic development of Manhattan- moving between a design practice and a research lab.
The firm was founded in 1993 and has become very influential in the NY area. It is led by Stephen Cassell, Adam Yarinsky and Kim Yao. I had the chance to sit down with the three of them for this interview, where they tell us about recent and ongoing projects. They share their views on innovation, collaboration and how to run a practice which is both what we know as the traditional practice, and a laboratory.
ARO projects at ArchDaily:
- Institute for Computational and Experimental Research in Mathematics, Brown University
- Hudson River Education Center And Pavilion
- R House
- Princeton Architecture School
- MV House
And more to come in the next days!
Credits: JC Labarca (camera), JP Barrera (editing).
Video: Pabellon Ultraligero Centrifugo / Clavel Arquitectos at the Shenzhen Biennale, by Cristobal Palma
Architectural photographer Cristobal Palma shared with us another clip of the Pabellon Ultraligero Centrifugo installation by Clavel Arquitectos, on view at the Shenzhen Civic Square. This is part of a series of installations for the 2011 Shenzhen & Hong Kong Bi-City Urbanism / Architecture Biennale, open until February 18th, 2012.
More videos by Cristobal Palma at ArchDaily:
During these days we have received close to a thousand seasonal greetings from architects, photographers and editorials around the world. We are very grateful to have collaborated with an amazing group of professionals, who mixed creativity and humor on their e-cards.
Enjoy a selection of these e-cards, including this nice Ginger Bread Vitra Haus, along with Snøhetta, SOM, Richard Meier, BIG, CEBRA, and more!
Architectural photographer Cristobal Palma has shared with us this video of the Chilean Pavilion at the 2011 Shenzhen & Hong Kong Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture.
“Gimme Shelter!”, designed and curated by Sebastián Irarrázaval and Hugo Mondragón, features projects and architectural innovations developed by local architects during emergencies and natural catastrophes in the last years.
The poetic expression of these emergency landscapes has also oriented the construction of the Chilean pavilion. To achieve this, we chose to overturn the conventional relationships of the elements that comprise it: mattresses positioned vertically become screens for projecting images; security cones and water bottles, cut up and then reassembled, become lamps; emergency tape and water bottles become tensors and counterweights. Once this mechanism was set in motion, we provocatively introduced certain conventionally used forms: a massive bed with mattresses placed in the center of the pavilion, and a window display with large water drums and dispensers at the far end of the pavilion, promising visitors a bit of rest and relief.
For the exhibition, we selected architectural works, visual pieces and technological innovations that experimented with the concept of the essential and the ingenious in precarious contexts. On the other hand, and in keeping with the project mechanism put into action through the formalization of the pavilion, we also decided to select projects that exhibited a certain degree of disruption to some element of the cultural or material patrimony of Chile.
More videos by Cristobal Palma at ArchDaily:
Architecture photographer Fernando Guerra (FG+SG) posted this short video of the renowned Portguese architect and Pritzker laureate (1992) Alvaro Siza, while working and singing to The Beatles. He looks quite inspired!
Architectural photographer Cristobal Palma shared with us this short clip of the Ultra Light Village installation by Clavel Arquitectos, on view at the Shenzhen Civic Square. This is part of a series of installations for the 2011 Shenzhen & Hong Kong Bi-City Urbanism / Architecture Biennale, open until February 18th, 2012.
More videos by Cristobal Palma at ArchDaily:
The last part of our Brazilian day, commemorating the 104th birthday of the renowned Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer and the launch of ArchDaily Brasil: An exclusive interview with Mr Niemeyer himself.
- How did you start your office?
My office in Copacabana -the only one that I have- was opened and organized to meet, since the early 50s, the ever growing demands.The last 13 years I have been the only architect here “at work”; the initial stage of the projects is done by me, up to the basic project, and then I trust its development by other architecture offices, specially the ones directed by my colleague and friends Jair Valera and my dear granddaughter, Ana Elisa.
- For you, what is Architecture?
In my opinion, architecture is invention. And under this prism is how I do my projects, always searching for beautiful, expressive, different and surprising solutions.
Since the day we started ArchDaily back in 2008, we have stuck to our mission to become a hub of opportunities for architects, and to improve the profession by making architectural knowledge available to architects around the world.
To help keep you architecturally inspired, a passionate team of architects works hard every day to bring our readers from around the world the latest news, projects and any information that is relevant to the architecture world. Working on a global scale has required that we focus on broader aspects of the architectural world. While this has its obvious advantages, it can neglect one of the most important elements an architect has to deal on a daily basis: context.
We know that local issues and national contingencies have more weight over projects than global trends. While the Internet turned us into global citizens, it is now a tool that allows us to connect with the local in an unprecedented way. And at ArchDaily we wanted to provide our readers with the local information that is relevant to them.
We decided to start with Brazil, the cradle of one of the most powerful movements in architecture. The works by the Brazilian modern masters can be resumed into powerful structures with humble details, a constant that is now seen among the new generation of talented architects, who respect that tradition but are still able to innovate and give identity to Brazilian architecture. The country is also facing an unprecedented growth, and will host two of the largest events in the coming years, the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Olympics in Rio de janeiro, posing several challenges for architects and urbanists. In this context the local architecture scene has developed interesting projects in different scales, from where several lessons can be learned.
ArchDaily Brasil will have a special focus on everything that is happening in the country related to architecture, mixed with a selection of the best projects to keep Brazilian architects inspired and connected to a global network. Our editorial team of Brazilian architects and correspondants throughout the country strive to keep you informed in the best way possible, interviewing local architects, covering events and lectures, news, etc.
We’d love to hear your feedback about ArchDaily Brasil, please leave any ideas, suggestions or recommendations in the comments section.
And stay tuned for more exciting news from ArchDaily.
Architecture is all about passion. Sometimes it can be very complex, slow, even painful… but our passion will make us push until the end, to see our creations come to reality no matter what. This passion turns into an entrepreneurial spirit, collaboration and the desire to use our knowledge to influence our society and to improve our built environment. For me, one of the best living examples of the passionate architect is the Brazilian master Oscar Niemeyer.
Today the master turns 104 years old, and he is still working at his office in Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro, from where we interviewed him, delivering projects in Brazil and around the world. So passionate about his work, that he can’t stop.
Devoted to architecture and women, he was able to express his passion for both.
mountains/waves/women = curves
It is not the right angle that attracts me. Nor the straight line, tough, inflexible, created by man. What attracts me is the free, sensual curve. The curve I find in the mountains of my country, in the sinuous course of its rivers, in the waves of the sea, in the clouds of the sky, in the body of the favorite woman. Of curves is made all the universe.
- Oscar Niemeyer
National Technical University of Athens, School of Architecture
Cipher City, 01-07 April 2012
In today’s world of amplified social interaction and connectivity there is a need for the built environment to evolve beyond its current relatively static state. In 2012, Cipher City takes place in one of Europe’s most historical and ever-changing cities, Athens, offering a direct engagement with design models characterized by action. In the capital of Greece, where innovation has been always a force of creativity, the workshop will be hosted by the NTUA School of Architecture.
In its urban context, Athens presents a challenging mixture of historical diversity and current developing territories in the outskirts of the city. The act of reaching from one place to another in a continuous and fluid way therefore becomes the starting point in developing working kinetic prototypes energised by motion on horizontal planes. The workshop aims to bring out the dynamic qualities of the seemingly inanimate urban surroundings, such as urban paths, sense of orientation, topography, and bridge these with the animate qualities of the human body. During this process, participants will have the opportunity to experience the historical, contemporary, and geographical diversity of Athens during studio trips, while challenging the conventional design approach in order to break the dichotomy between the building and the urban realm. Capable of responding to external stimuli, the proposed structures will apply the concepts of motion and real-time reaction to various parameters.
OMA recently completed their first building in London. The new 21,000sqm building is located in the narrow medieval alley of St Swithin’s Lane, in the heart of the City, a dense context where OMA’s precise intervention is able to blend and become an active urban piece.
The building, thanks to its structural steel design, is lifted from the ground exposing new situations, connections and views, detonator of a new streetscape where the public realm is as important as the office space above.
You can see Rem Koolhaas and Ellen van Loon discussing this project on a video posted earlier at ArchDaily.
More information courtesy of OMA after the break:
Project: Rothschild Bank Headquarters
Client: NM Rothschild & Sons
Location: St Swithin’s Lane, City of London
Site: New Court, enclosed in cluster of buildings, adjacent to the 17th century St. Stephen Walbrook church; with main entrance on the narrow St. Swithin’s Lane
Program: Office headquarters: 13,000m2
Partners in charge: Rem Koolhaas, Ellen van Loon
Istanbul Technical University Faculty Of Architecture
Connected Tower, 24-30 March 2012
The second edition of AA Istanbul Visiting School 2012, “Connected Tower”, in collaboration with Istanbul Technical University (ITU), will act as a continuation and augmentation of its first version, “Crafted Tower”. The school will amplify the concept of verticality in a city which is continuously being populated by towers, altering its skyline and urban fabric.
“Connected Tower” will tackle the challenge of radically decomposing the tower in order to liberate it from its current fixed typology dominated by the repetition and segmentation. Istanbul presents itself as a crucial model in this challenge, due to the increasing high-rise construction during recent years in specific parts of the city. Therefore, taking the existing architectural characteristics of the high-rise buildings and their urban implications in Istanbul, “Connected Tower” aims to set the tower free from its existing binary axioms – building and city, circulation and habitation, structure and skin. The tower here becomes an extreme testing ground where it can evolve from being a solitary type to a novel vertical system described with the qualities of adaptation, integration, and fluidity. The design process highlights learning from the integrated nature of biological systems in order to infuse vertical systems with adaptive, multi-functional qualities. The generation of differentiated verticality is carried out by algorithmic design processes in various computation platforms. The creations in the digital world are tested and realized with digital fabrication processes involving various CNC methods, leading to the production of physical prototypes of various scales. In relation with the agenda, a series of lectures by leading academics and professionals will be organized as part of the public events of the School.
The new 4-stories tall building is organized around two patios with different spatial qualities, that create new intimate spaces in the campus. The building is cladded in corten steel, a material chosen to age with the building, contrasting with the combination of concrete and light wood to give a more intimate character to the interior spaces, patios and circulations.
Thanks to this video by architectural photographer Cristobal Palma we are able to see dynamic aspects of the building in use, such as the the windows, which play a key role bringing indirect light to the classrooms and allowing for cross ventilation through the patios.
More videos by Cristobal Palma at ArchDaily:
During the 2009 AIA Convention in San Francisco, I had the chance to see a very interesting group of architects, Emerging Voices. That group, in my opinion, represented the new generation of US architects who are advancing the profession with new ideas and innovative projects. Several of those architects have already been interviewed and featured on ArchDaily, but it took me a while to finally meet one of them: Philip G. Freelon. We met during the 2011 AIA Convention in New Orleans, where I had the opportunity to interview him. I really liked this interview, where Philip shares valuable insights on running a firm and his views on the role of the architect.
Update: President Obama announced his appointment of Philip G. Freelon, FAIA to the US Commission of Fine Arts.
Founded in 1990 by Philip G. Freelon, FAIA, The Freelon Group has established a strong reputation for the innovative integration of technology and design excellence. The firm’s diverse portfolio has received nearly forty AIA design awards at the national, regional, state and local levels. Freelon is comprised of a forty-five person professional staff in Durham, North Carolina.
Along with Vice President Timothy F. Winstead, Philip has become a nationally recognized expert in museum, higher education, and science/technology planning and design. Their work “focuses on research and education, health and well-being, the advancement of understanding between disparate cultures, and the creative expression of the arts.
Freelon has completed major intuitional projects all over the United States. They are currently designing three behavioral healthcare facilities for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and the Durham County Health and Human Services Complex.
The Freelon Group projects at ArchDaily:
- International Civil Rights Center and Museum Historic Preservation and Renovation
- Harvey B Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture
- Anacostia Library
- Biomanufacturing Research Institute and Technology Enterprise (BRITE) Facility
- North Carolina A&T State University Proctor School of Education
Currently, Ashoka is looking for outstanding entrepreneurs that can improve our world by focusing on 20 challenges, some of which are very related to our profession:
- You want to meet the huge need for affordable, high quality homes – 25 million in India alone – by leveraging both business and social entrepreneurs.
- You are passionate about low income communities gaining access to market-based affordable housing and a dignified life.
- You want to create a complete ecosystem where housing is not just about four walls and a roof but about a place called home – where family, community life, business and sustainability originate.
- You see the huge potential of design to shape a better world.
- You will lead a global network of designers and creatives who will transform the development of products, services, processes, and strategies for the good of society.
- With a designer’s toolkit, you will work at the intersection of social entrepreneurship and science, technology, sociology, philosophy, and engineering.