During the 2012 World Architecture Festival held in Singapore, we had the opportunity to interview Richard Hassell, one of the founders of the highly acclaimed practice WOHA.
We were excited about this interview, as I have been very interested on WOHA’s work after featuring them extensively at ArchDaily, given their approach to the important issues of density and sustainability in South Asia, mixing particular programmatic needs with the local identity.
The Singaporean firm was started in 1994 by Wong Mun Summ (Architect from the National University of Singapore) and Richard Hassell (Architect from the University of Western Australia), and has been involved in projects that range from tall residential towers, to hotels, commercial buildings, transport infrastructure, and also urban research projects such as their vision for Singapore 2050.
In this interview Richard digs deeper into how WOHA operates and his views about the profession.
WOHA’s work has been recognized with important awards, including the RIBA Lubetkin Prize (2011), several RIBA International Awards (2010 and 2011), the World Architecture Festival Awards (2009 and 2010) and the prestigious Aga Kahn Award for Architecture (2007).
WE Architecture is a young firm based in Copenhagen, Denmark. Started by partners Marc Jay and Julie Schmidt-Nielsen in 2009, the practice is focused on public competitions and consultancy, along with teaching at the Royal Danish Academy. The partners studied in Denmark, but shaped their professional career working abroad in New York and Barcelona.
The firm maintains a young spirit, working with architect from around the world, never more than 12 people. WE Architecture acknowledges the role of the architect in a collaborative and diverse society, incorporating not only architecture on their practice, but also planning, logistics, engineering, and economy. With this multi disciplinary approach, the firm provides services that go from construction management on maintenance operations to advising families who have recently bought a house.
Interview by Soledad Undurraga.
Projects by WE Architecture at ArchDaily:
During the World Architecture Festival, held this October in Singapore, we had the opportunity to interview one of the UK’s most succesful landscape architects: Andrew Grant. On the occasion, the project, Gardens by the Bay, in collaboration with Wilkinson Eyre Architects, was awarded the World Building of the Year Award.
Andrew Grant, who was recently named Royal Designer for Industry, formed Grant Associates in 1997. The practice has been focused on the blurry boundary between architecture and nature, using landscape design as a tool for sustainable innovation on different scales, from sub-regional planning to the smallest detail of a new landscape.
A perfect example of this is the Cooled Conservatories at the Gardens by the Bay project, where architecture and nature become one to produce a naturally breathing machine.
More about Gardens by the Bay in the following video:
During the past few days, we have received many e-cards from the offices, architects and photographers that are part of the ArchDaily network. Images from their offices, new buildings, ongoing projects, and even a video, are part of the many xmas greetings we selected to share with you.
After the break, 85 architectural ways of saying: Merry Christmas!
After complications from a previous kidney condition Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer has passed away at Rio de Janeiro’s Samaritano Hospital.
For 104 years, Oscar Ribeiro de Almeida Niemeyer Soares (December 15, 1907 – December 5, 2012) lived a life of “intensity.” Born in Rio de Janeiro, he is best known for helping to design the United Nations Headquarters in New York in 1947 and for designing much of the city of Brasilia. As he described his style: “I consciously ignored the highly praised right angle and the rational architecture of T-squares and triangles in order to wholeheartedly enter the world of curves…” He received the Pritzker Prize in 1988.
Niemeyer was one of those few architects who is recognized and admired by people from all walks of life, especially by those in his native Brazil, where he is considered an icon. Indeed, always motivated to design for his fellow man, Niemeyer was a Brazilian first, and an architect second.
In Niemeyer’s words: “It is important that the architect think not only of architecture but of how architecture can solve the problems of the world. The architect’s role is to fight for a better world, where he can produce an architecture that serves everyone and not just a group of privileged people.”
More about the legacy of the Master of Brazilian Architecture:
- AD Interviews: Oscar Niemeyer
- Infographic: Oscar Niemeyer’s timeline
- Oscar Niemeyer Complete Works
- Tribute to Oscar Niemeyer – by Lord Norman Foster
- Oscar Niemeyer, My Dear Old Friend – by Vinicius de Moraes
- Video: Niemeyer Cultural Center
- Niemeyer’s Sambadrome
- Cathedral of Brasilia by Oscar Niemeyer
- “Tranquilo com a vida”, listen to song composed Oscar Niemeyer
I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of Oscar Niemeyer. He was an inspiration to me – and to a generation of architects. Few people get to meet their heroes and I am grateful to have had the chance to spend time with him in Rio last year.
To honor the great Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, who died today, we’ve selected few of his inspiring quotes. Take a moment to read his words, which truly advocate architecture’s higher purpose, and remember the great work he accomplished…
Perhaps his most famous quote, which not only describes his work but also his way of life: “I deliberately disregarded the right angle and rationalist architecture designed with ruler and square to boldly enter the world of curves and straight lines offered by reinforced concrete. […] This deliberate protest arose from the environment in which I lived, with its white beaches, its huge mountains, its old baroque churches, and the beautiful suntanned women.”
More after the break:
A few months ago we informed you about a competition to re develop the massive “wedding-cake” style building at 425 Park Ave in NY, near Mies’ Seagram Building and SOM’s Lever House. The objective of the developer, L&L Holding, was to turn this project into the next iconic building of the city, and for that they invited a group of eleven renowned practices, including ten Pritzker laureates.
The shortlist was announced in October, and included OMA, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, Zaha Hadid Architects and Foster + Partners, which was later announced as the winner of the competition a few weeks ago.
Over the last days, the presentations of the architects to the clients appeared on YouTube, and now we have the opportunity to see these interesting group of architects doing a fundamental part of their work. In the videos we see each architect using their own presentation style, either a PPT, video or just physical boards, connecting it to the practice’s research and discourse, projecting their passion about certain features of their projects and engaging with the client around their main objective: to turn this into an iconic project.
Four videos that take us further into how we understand projects, showing insights that we often don’t have access to, turning the competition into a particular moment of architecture this year.
Zaha Hadid Architects, OMA and Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners presentations after the break:
During the 13th Venice Biennale we had the chance to interview the team behind San Rocco: Matteo Ghidoni, Giovanni Piovene and Pier Paolo Tamburelli.
San Rocco is a very particular architecture magazine, described by its creators as something that “does not solve problems. It is not a useful magazine […] is neither serious nor friendly”, a curated selection of writings around particular topics related to the current state of architectural thinking and criticism. San Rocco has a five year plan, a limited time frame where 20 editions will be published with topics that range from “Scary Architects” and “Collaborations”, to “What’s wrong with the primitive hut” or “Houses for billionaires”.
During the 13th Venice Biennale, San Rocco was present in two exhibits at the Arsenale, including the launch of their project “Book of Copies” at the “Museum of Copying” exhibit curated by FAT. ”Books of Copies” is an online database comprised of images that can be copied in order to produce architecture. As such, “Books of Copies” are receptacles of a collective form of knowledge that we can provisionally call “architecture”. During the Biennale, visitors can photocopy and remix their own magazines.
We had the chance to interview Catalonian architect Jordi Badia at the Vogadors: Architectural Rowers exhibit at the 13th Venice Biennale.
Jordi Badia is the principal of BAAS, the Spanish practice founded in 1994 with a strong background in public buildings. Remarkable examples of this office are the Tanatorio de León and the Can Framis Museum.
Jordi graduated from the ETSAB (Barcelona School of Architecture) in 1989, where he is has been an associate lecturer since 2011. He is also a Professor at the Architectural Projects Department of the Escuela técnica superior de arquitectura at UIC.
Projects by Jordi Badia BAAS at ArchDaily:
- Can Framis Museum (2008)
- CAP Salt 2 (2008)
- Workspace in a former coal bunker (2007)
- Sant Boi de Llobregat (2007)
- Day Care, Kindergarten and Primary School (2006)
- Tanatorio Municipal de León (2000)
The 13th Venice Biennale, which closes its doors on November 27th, sparked an interesting debate during its opening given the highly political focus of some of the exhibitions, which for some diverged from architecture itself and entered on a discussion on its own.
In this context we find Vogadors: Architectural Rowers, the Catalan and Balearic Islands Pavilion curated by Jordi Badia and Félix Arranz, an exhibit that focused on the built project which uses the common ground theme to define the new generation of Catalonian architects: David Sebastian and Gerard Puig, SMS arquitectos, Arquitecturia, Jaime Ferrer, Meritxell Inaraja, Blancafort Reus Arquitectura, Núria Salvadó and David Tapias, Francisco Cifuentes and Bosch.Capdeferro Arquitectures (more details about the projects).
In the exhibit, nine projects from this generation are displayed in high detail, including extensive drawings, textures, constructive systems, videos of the buildings in use, and other forms of representation that put the visitors closer to the origins of the project, the relation with the site and the inhabitants, the research and most specially, the tradition.
And tradition is what closes the exhibit, presenting the works of the masters of Catalonian architecture such as Enric Miralles, as their influence is the common ground that the new generation shares. Looking back to understand the present and the future, as a rower who advances looking backwards reflected on Jorge Oteiza’s quote “He who forges ahead creating something new does so like an oarsman, moving forward but back-paddling, looking behind him, towards the past, towards what exists, so as to be able to reinvent its underpinnings.”
The exhibit, taking place at the Isola San Pietro between the Arsenale and the Giardini, extends its reach and presence thanks to a joint venture with Spanish publishing house Gustavo Gili, with the digital editions of the Vogadors catalog available at the iBook Store or at the GG website.
More fromt he curators after the break:
The Dutch Pavilion, built in 1954 by Gerrit Thomas Rietveld, is used by curator Ole Bouman (Director of the NAI) and designer Petra Blaisse (Insise Outside) to question how existing buildings can be reanimated, and how our profession can inject a new boost of imagination to give new value to ever growing number of vacant structures sitting dormant around the world.
“We are not going to hang Objets d’Art, exhibit works or stage events. We are responding to the vacant architecture itself. One single mobile object occupies the space for three months and emphasizes the building’s unique qualities. This object will flow through the interior, re-configure its organization and create new rooms along the way. Through relatively simple interventions the experience of light, sound and space will be manipulated so that new perspectives emerge.”
- Petra Blaisse
Text fromt the curator after the break:
Panavision, the Uruguay exhibit for the 13th Venice Biennale, features the works of the new generation of Uruguayan architects, using their Pavilions as a common ground, a place rather than an exhibit, where the focuses, approaches, tools, worries, emphasis and strategies of these practices converge. More details from the curators after the break:
A few days ago we had the chance to attend the Audi Urban Future Awards, where 5 young and innovative practices presented their visions on the future of mobility for five of the world’s most intense urban regions: Boston/Washington Area (USA), Mumbai (India), Sao Paulo (Brasil), Istanbul (Turkey) and the Pearl River Delta region (China).
The Audi Urban Future Award went to Höweler + Yoon and their proposal for BosWash, a new mega region that connects commuters and center through a new intelligent infrastructure, a project that Audi has committed to push forward.
These regions deal with the most important issues that cities are facing in the urban era: the dilemma between density and sprawl, opportunities, transportation, long term versus fast growth, energy, infrastructure, and as we have seen in the last days, the natural environment.
In the following videos we will see the thorough diagnostics of the cities presented by the architects, along with a short description of their projects. Their proposals will be featured in a following article.
Istanbul, Mumbai, Perl River Delta and Sao Paulo after the break:
Only weeks after revealing their designs for 425 Park Ave., soon to be New York’s latest “Iconic” Building, Foster + Partners have now taken a stab at one of New York’s oldest iconic buildings: Grand Central Station.
Yesterday, at the MAS 2012 Summit, Norman Foster was one of three architects to present his re-imaginings of the station, which turns 100 this February. Unfortunately, it hasn’t borne its age well. Designed to support 75,000 people a day, Grand Central, one of the world’s busiest transport hubs, routinely handles about ten times that much (and even a million on peak days). With the upcoming LIRR East Side Access and plans to re-zone the area, now is the time to re think this building’s future.
Foster + Partners has developed tremendous expertise in transit programs, having designed some of the world’s largest airports, viaducts, subway stations – even a spaceport (perhaps there’s no better example of their facility for tackling enormous infrastructure challenges than their proposal for the Thames Hub). That expertise shows in their vision for Grand Central, which eases accessibility and mobility by widening concourses, improving entrances, enlarging public spaces, and reconfiguring streets in favor of pedestrian traffic – bringing, in their words, “clarity back to Grand Central Terminal.”
More about this project from Foster + Partners after the break:
OMA has shared with us their proposal for the 425 Park Avenue competition, organized by New York City developer L&L Holding Co to replace the existing, ageing tower with a new state-of-the-art, LEED-certified skyscraper. The competition was awarded to Foster + Partners, as reported earlier.
The competition also included Atelier Christian de Portzamparc, Ateliers Jean Nouvel, Herzog & de Meuron, KPF, Maki and Associates, Renzo Piano Building Workshop, Richard Meier, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners and Zaha Hadid Architects; and all the projects will be presented today at the MAS NY Summit.
OMA’s project was led by partners Shohei Shigematsu and Rem Koolhaas. Shohei is in charge of the NY office, where he has been researching strategies for towers in NY and other areas, including a skyscraper in Madison Park, a mixed-use project in Jersey and the Bicentennial Tower in Mexico.
More information after the break:
Starting today, “Matter @ Context: Contemporary Chilean Architecture” will feature an interesting group of Chilean practices whose work represent the new architecture of the country.
The Exhibit Organized by the Universidad Finis Terrae de Chile and the Illinois Institute of Technology will be on display at the Crown Hall, IIT, until October 22nd. A lecture, with Alberto Moletto, Ignacio Volante and Felipe Assadi, will take place on the 16th at 6PM. The book “Matter @ Contex” published by UFT will also be launched at the event.
More about the curation and images of the selected projects after the break: