David Basulto

Graduate Architect. Co Founder and Executive Editor of ArchDaily.com. Architecture geek.

Venice Biennale 2012: Vogadors, Architectural Rowers / Catalan and Balearic Islands Pavilion

© Nico Saieh

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).

© Nico Saieh

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:

Venice Biennale 2012: Re-Set / The Netherlands

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

© Nico Saieh

Text fromt the curator after the break:

Venice Biennale 2012: Panavision / Uruguay Pavilion

© Nico Saieh

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:

Audi Urban Future Initiative: The state of our urbanized world

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:

Foster + Partners re-imagines New York’s Iconic Grand Central Station

© Courtesy

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: 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:

425 Park Avenue: OMA’s proposal

View from Pepsi Cola Building © Courtesy of OMA

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, , 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:

Matter @ Context: Contemporary Chilean Architecture at the IIT

Matter @ Context

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 and the Illinois Institute of Technology will be on display at the Crown Hall, , 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:

AD Interviews: Norman Foster

is undoubtedly one of the most influential architects of our time. Since establishing his award-winning practice in 1967 – originally titled Foster Associates – the Pritzker Prize laureate has grown Foster + Partners into an international powerhouse, with project offices in more than twenty countries.

The Manchester native has become known for contributing well-designed, imaginative solutions to complex design problems, while remaining sensitive to the environment and embracing the highest technological standards. His diverse portfolio ranges from urban masterplans, public infrastructure, airports, civic and cultural buildings, offices and workplaces to private houses and product design.

As stated in the 1999 Pritzker Jury Citation, “Sir Norman Foster’s pursuit of the art and science of architecture has resulted in one building triumph after another, each one in its own way, unique.”

has received nearly 500 awards and citations for excellence and has won more than 86 national and international competitions. Some of Foster’s greatest achievements include receiving the 21st Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1999, the American Institute of Architects Gold Medal for Architecture (1994), the Royal Gold Medal for Architecture (1983), and the Gold Medal of the French Academy of Architecture (1991). In 1990 he was granted a Knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday Honors, and in 1999 was honored with a Life Peerage, becoming The Lord Foster of Thames Bank.

Check out the latest projects and news from Foster + Partners here on ArchDaily.

Venice Biennale 2012: Five North American Architects / Kenneth Frampton

© Nico Saieh

Almost two years ago, on November 13th 2010, I had the chance to attend to a very special seminar to celebrate the 80th birthday of Kenneth Frampton at Columbia’s GSAPP. During that intense day, five north american practices presented their work followed by an interesting debate: Rick Joy Architects, Stanley Saitowitz / Natoma Architects, Patkau Architects, Steven Holl, and .

For the 13th Venice Biennale, was invited to have his exhibit at the Arsenale, where the works of these five practices was presented on a series of videos, on a simple installation designed by Steven Holl.

While we don’t have the videos shown during the Biennale, we present you the full video of the seminar (almost 6 hours), made available online by the GSAPP.

YouTube Preview Image

More information about the “Five North American Architects as a Common Ground” videos shown at the Biennale:

Venice Biennale 2012: Museum of Copying / FAT

© Nico Saieh

The Museum of Copying, curated by British architect’s , was one of my favorite exhibitions at the Venice Biennale. The subject of copy in architecture has always interested me, in relation to how the series of copies in the form of iterations are what make architecture evolve. The concept is explored in this exhibit with three installations, starting with Villa Rotunda Redux, the iconic Palladio building copied (or reinterpreted?) through history now digitally fabricated and casted.

During the Biennale we had the chance to talk with Sam Jacob (@anothersam) from FAT, who explains us more about the Museum of Copying on this video (full interview coming soon!).

More about the Museum of Copying from the architects after the break.

AD Interviews: 5468796 Architecture & Jae-Sung Chon, Migrating Landscapes

We interviewed Winnipeg- based 5468796 Architecture (Johanna Hurme + Sasa Radulovic) and Jae-Sung Chon (Faculty of Architecture, University of Manitoba), the team that curated the “Migrating Landscapes” exhibit at the Canadian Pavilion for the 13th Venice Biennale. The Migrating Landscapes Oganizer (MLO) invited, through a national competition, young Canadian architects and designers from a wide range of cultural and educational backgrounds to create scale models of ‘dwellings’ and accompanying videos that draw on cultural memories.

More about the pavilion in our previous article.

AD App Guide: Morpholio Trace

ArchDaily’s Architecture App Guide will introduce you to web and mobile apps that can help you as an architect: productivity, inspiration, drafting, and more.

Today we introduce you Morpholio Trace, an intuitive  drafting tool that brings one of the most frequent tools from our desk to a mobile touch device: the tracing paper. The app, developed by our friends from The Morpholio Project, lets you draw on top of images (imported from your camera or other sources) as if you were using tracing paper. A collapsible menu provides you basic set of  tools (add more layers, choose from two colours, three widths, save) that enable you to to draft, sketch and review. No fancy fatures, just what you need. Functional minimalism that is not often found in many apps, related to the architectural background of Trace’s creators.

Trace, essential to any design or creative process, allows users to instantly draw on top of imported images or background templates, layering comments or ideas to generate immediate, intelligent sketches that are easy to circulate.  

I tested the app, which is available at the App Store, and it was very intuitive to use. I used it with both my fingers and with a my Pogo Sketch pen, and it was very easy to grab a photo, put a tracing paper on top of it, start sketching on different layers and send it via email.

The app won’t replace the good old tracing paper we have in our boards, but will rather extend its functions and make it more collaborative.

More info from the creators after the break.

AD Interviews: Renzo Piano – Part III

Part IPart II – Part III

We continue with the last part of our exclusive interview with .

Since first achieving international fame in 1978 with the Centre George Pompidou in Paris, Renzo Piano has become known as a prolific, Italian architect capable of achieving a masterful balance between art, architecture and engineering. His intellectual curiosity and problem-solving techniques have led him to develop a wide-ranging portfolio that successfully merges high technology with humane and comfortable environments.

Sophisticated, refined and elegant, the presence of ’s work is internationally celebrated. Originally born into a family of Italian builders, the Pritzker Prize-winning architect now leads a staff of 150 at his practice, Renzo Piano Building Workshop, from three locations – Genoa, Paris and .

Part III to be aired on Tuesday Sept 18th.

AD Interviews: Renzo Piano – Part II

Part I – Part II – Part III

We continue with the second part of our exclusive interview with Renzo Piano.

Since first achieving international fame in 1978 with the Centre George Pompidou in Paris, Renzo Piano has become known as a prolific, Italian architect capable of achieving a masterful balance between art, architecture and engineering. His intellectual curiosity and problem-solving techniques have led him to develop a wide-ranging portfolio that successfully merges high technology with humane and comfortable environments.

Sophisticated, refined and elegant, the presence of Renzo Piano’s work is internationally celebrated. Originally born into a family of Italian builders, the Pritzker Prize-winning architect now leads a staff of 150 at his practice, Renzo Piano Building Workshop, from three locations – Genoa, Paris and .

Watch Part III.

AD Interviews: Renzo Piano – Part I

Part I – Part IIPart III

Since first achieving international fame in 1978 with the Centre George Pompidou in Paris, Renzo Piano has become known as a prolific, Italian architect capable of achieving a masterful balance between art, architecture and engineering. His intellectual curiosity and problem-solving techniques have led him to develop a wide-ranging portfolio that successfully merges high technology with humane and comfortable environments. Sophisticated, refined and elegant, the presence of ’s work is internationally celebrated. Originally born into a family of Italian builders, the Pritzker Prize-winning architect now leads a staff of 150 at his practice, Renzo Piano Building Workshop, from three locations – Genoa, Paris and . Architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff of The Times described Piano’s work the best when he stated: “The serenity of his best buildings can almost make you believe that we live in a civilized world.” The next part of the interview will air on Monday Sept, 17th. Renzo Piano completed works featured on ArchDaily:

In Progress:

You can also read our editorials Piano’s Progress and The Shard: A Skyscraper for our Post 9/11 World?.

Speakers at the World Architecture Festival 2012

Judges and speakers at the

The World Architecture Festival is around the corner! On October 3rd-5th, hundreds of architects will gather in Singapore for an intense dose of architecture, in the form of panels, lectures, live crits, and more. You can see all the shortlisted projects here.

The speakers and judges list includes a long list of world renowned architects: Will Alsop (Alsop Architects), Neil Denari, Eva Castro (Plasma Studio), Ivan Harbour (Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners), Thomas Heatherwick, Enric Ruiz-Geli (Cloud 9), Wolf D. Prix (COOP HIMMELB(L)AU), Moshe Safdie, Ma Yansong (MAD), Chris Wilkinson and Jim Eyre (Wilkinson Eyre Architects), among many others.

Stay tuned for our live coverage of this important event.

AD Interviews: Sergei Tchoban & Sergey Kuznetsov (SPEECH) i-city at the Venice Biennale

During the opening of the 13th Venice Biennale, we had the chance to talk with Sergei Tchoban and Sergey Kuznetsov, partners at  SPEECH and curators of i-City, the Russian pavilion, awarded with a Special Mention at the Biennale.

i-City presents us the Strolkovo Innovation Center, a new development that aims to concentrate intellectual capital around five clusters (IT, Biomed, Energy, Space, Nuclear Tech), with projects by David Chipperfield, SANAA, OMA, Herzog & de Meuron, Stefano Boeri, SPEECH, Valode & Pistre architectes and Mohsen Mostafavi among others (more details about the project itself in a future article).

An interesting project, presented in detail with a big amount of information that remains invisible inside the space of the pavilion. A series of QR Codes wrap the inside of the pavilion spaces,  and all you can sense at first is light and space. At the entrance you are provided with a tablet, and you walk around the pavilion scanning these codes to obtain the information about Strolkovo.

On the lower level, a dark interior is perforated with peep holes that show images of former Soviet Scientific Towns, a legacy from the past that serves as background of the Strolkovo project.

AD Interviews: The Japan Pavilion at the Venice Biennale / Toyo Ito, Akihisa Hirata, Sou Fujimoto

During the opening of the Venice Biennale, we had the chance to sit down and talk with the curator and participants of the Japan Pavilion, awarded with the Gold Lion.

In the following videos you can see Toyo Ito, curator of “Architecture. Possible Here? Home-for-all”, along with collaborators Akihisa Hirata and Sou Fujimoto, discussing what Architecture means to them, the role of architects in our society, and how they approached the Biennale’s theme “Common Ground” on this particular exhibition, which reunites Japanese architects and an architectural photographer collaborating on the design of houses for those affected by the 2011 tsunami.

We thank the Japan Foundation for this interview.

and Sou Fujimoto videos after the break: