Neri Oxman is an architect and founder of MATERIALECOLOGY with the MIT Media Lab. Her work focuses on computational strategies for form finding; she chooses to define and design processes that generate form. She has published numerous papers and has contributed to various texts. Her work has also been featured at the MOMA for the exhibit “Design and the Elastic Mind“, which she designed four systems of processes. In this lecture posted by PopTech, Oxman discusses what the processes of nature can teach designers and how computational strategies defined by materials and the environment can expand the possibilities of the generation of form through algorithms and analysis.
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Over the past five years, the Make it Right Foundation in New Orleans has been realizing its commitment to build 150 affordable, green storm resistant homes for families living in the Lower 9th Ward. The foundation, established by Brad Pitt, has completed seventy-five homes with the time and efforts donated by local and international architects such as Gehry Partners, Morphosis, Kieran Timberlake, Pugh+Scarpa, and McDonough+Partners.
More on Make it Right and the homes after the break.
Last year, The Barnes Foundation - Albert Barnes collection of French Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, early Modern paintings and horticulture – began its move from its original location in Merion, Pennsylvania to a new building designed by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien in Philadelphia. Close to five years in the making, the “Gallery in a Garden” Barnes Foundation Building officially opened on May 19, 2012. The design was predicated on the arrangement of the galleries within the original building and a desire to invite new programs into the scheme, such as a garden and classrooms.
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Christopher Hawthorne’s article “Atlantic on the Move“, published in the Los Angeles Times, covers the transitions taking place along LA’s boulevards and one in particular: the 5600 block of Atlantic Avenue. Hawthorne reveals the changes taking place that are “reversing decades of neglect” among LA’s roadways. Among those that have promoted a cultural association with Los Angeles: traffic, congestion and miles of roadways. The article covers the small steps that take place over time via minor interventions that combine to change the face of the boulevards to more pedestrian and bike-friendly spaces for alternative modes of transportation.
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On May 11, 2011, the performance of Aeschylus’s Prometheus Unbound premiered on OMA‘s (Office for Metropolitan Architecture) stage set for the Greek Theatre in Syracuse, Sicily. The design consists of three transformable architectural devices that can be reinterpreted among the different spaces of the theater. These devices date back to 5th century BCE.
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International architectural practice Swanke Hayden Connell has won the international competition commissioned by Tahincioglu Gayrimenkul (Tahincioglu Real Estate) for the Palladium Tower in Istanbul, Turkey. The 49,500 sq meter tower will be situated on a 1.7 hectare site. The project is due for completion in 2014.
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Stantec’s design for the DjavafMowafaghian Centre for Brain Health at UBC, in Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada is envisioned as a translational research facility defined by present and future medical practices that collaborate under research and patient care. To achieve this, designers considered the intersections within the spatial dynamics of the facility to coordinate interactions between researchers and clinicians. The facility is 134,500 square feet and includes exam / consultation rooms, lab benches, a full conference centre, a brain tissue and DNA bank of samples collected from consenting patients, and patient and animal MRI capabilities.
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The Nardini Grappa Distillary was completed in 2004, designed by Massimiliano and Doriana Fuksas in Bassano del Grappa, Vicenza, Italy – the first impressions of the complex are two otherworldly inflated disks hover over a pool of water. Supported on stilts, the glass and steel envelope reflects the water below. Visitors stroll over paths that criss cross over the pool. A descending ramp leads into the 100-seat auditorium below, forming a natural canyon. Underwater lights illuminate the surface, creating a shimmer across the grounds of the distillery and reflected in the floating volumes above.
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The old red-brick building sporting a “BEER” sign may not look impressive, but what is going on inside certainly is. “The Plant” is an indoor vertical farm that triples as a food-business incubator and research/education space located inside an 87-year old meat packing factory in the Union Stockyards of Chicago, Illinois. The project was partly funded by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity with a $1.5 million grant. Browse through the Plant Chicago’s Flickr Photostream and you can watch the space steadily transform into an urban farm that will grow fresh produce, farm fresh fish, brew beer and produce kombucha all while recycling the waste of the facility to make it a Net-Zero Energy System.
How does it work? Follow us after the break to learn more.
When we last heard from David Lopez and his students at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) they were in the process of constructing a prototype of the Transitional Shelter for Disaster Relief in Haiti. The project started in a Design|Build studio in the Spring of 2011. Acquiring funds to prototype the design became a challenge. Students spent the summer and fall of 2011 completing the design and reaching out to organizations for donations and materials. WorldwideShelters.org and Whiting Turner Contracting Company gave critical donations that made it possible to begin construction.
Follow us after the break to catch up on the status of the project.
Here is a video interview, produced by Active Living Network, with famed author and social activist Jane Jacobs. In 1961, Jacobs published The Death and Life of Great American Cities, a bold response to the city planning strategies of her time and the proposals by planners such as Robert Moses. She used her real-world experiences and observations from her own street in the West Village of New York City to comment on how people interacted in neighborhoods – which areas were busiest, safest and most conducive to living. In this video, Jacobs gives insight into how cities can bounce back from the environment created by the automobile through simple and affordable means such as “tree planting, traffic taming and community events”.
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The PUC Building on 525 Golden Gate Ave, home of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, could have been just another government administrative building. But, the City and County of San Francisco, along with KMD Architects, embraced the design challenge of achieving LEED Silver status. Now nearing completion, the building is expected to exceed LEED Platinum requirements and has been dubbed the greenest building of its kind. The architects had humble goals for the architecture as well, which included creating an “urban room” among the civic buildings in the area, creating a healthy and pleasant environment in the interior workplace to promote performance, efficiency and comfort, and represent the best value possible for the city and county of San Francisco.
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Marcel Breuer, born in Hungary in 1902, was educated under the Bauhaus manifesto of “total construction”; this is likely why Breuer is well known for both his furniture designs as well as his numerous works of architecture, which ranged from small residences to monumental architecture and governmental buildings. His career flourished during the Modernist period in conjunction with architects and designers such as founder of Bauhaus Walter Gropius, Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe.
In 2009, Syracuse University’s Special Collection Research Center recieved a National Endowment for the Humanities grant with which it began creating the Marcel Breuer Digital Archive. The digital archive, available online, is a collaborative effort headed by the library and includes institutions such as the Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin, the Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau, the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich, Harvard University, the Archives of American Art at the Smithsonian Institution, the University of East Anglia, and the Vitra Design Museum. It is in the first phase, which includes Breuer work up until 1955, of digitzing over 30,000 drawings, photographs, letters and other related material of his work.
More about Marcel Breuer’s career and the archive after the break.
Just over four months ago, President Mikheil Saakashvili of Georgia announced a plan to build a new city named Lazika in the Anaklia Region of northwest Georgia. The news was driven by the desire to propel Georgia into a world market with an identity for the economic trade hub that its geographic location warrants. Aside from a promotional video and a few scattered images on various Georgian websites, little has been exposed about the master plan that will give birth to the economic engine on the coast of the Black Sea, which leaves many wondering if this new city will in fact be built to solve Georgia’s economic and social problems.
According to a New York Times article by Ellen Barry, On Black Sea Swamp, Big Plans for Instant City, interviews with Georgian citizens indicate a variety of opinions about the viability of this “Instant City”. While some are excited about the prospect of a city strewn with skyscrapers, advanced infrastructure, and glitzy hotels, others warn of the design challenges and flaws associated with building in the Anaklia Region, which Barry describes as “a stretch of marshy land”. But looking at the city from the perspective of urban design, many critics, from Lewis Mumford to Jane Jacobs will agree that the complex social, economic and political characteristics of a city develop over time, and most effectively when they occur organically after a series of trials and errors as a city develops its identity. Historically successful cities have acquired their identities not by spontaneous rapid growth but by the personalities of its citizens, planners, economists and politicians over many years. What is striking about this planning of Lazika, indicated by Barry’s report, is that “only one official is working on the planning of Lazika full time” with 10 to 15 part time workers, and the idea “came to President Mikheil Saakashvili just over four months ago while researching the China’s development”.
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On April 19th, architect Richard Meier, known for buildings such as The Athaneum, the Douglas House and thd Getty Center was honored with the 2012 Ellis Island Family Heritage Awards by the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation at Ellis Island in New Jersey. Meier was one of two recipients, the other former St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, whose grandparents emigrated through Ellis Island. Angela Lansbury was honored as well, having immigrated to America herself at the age of fourteen.
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Proposed by Knafo Klimor Architects, Agro-Housing was the winning project in Living Steel – Competition for Sustainable Housing (2007) for China. Part housing, part greenhouse, the proposal provides agricultural freedom to city dwellers. A combination of rural and urban amenities, the proposal is an exciting take on individual urban farming.
For a closer look at this innovative way of thinking about a sustainable urbanity, join us after the break.
Manhattan Mountain, by Ju-Hyun Kim, is a design speculation over five of the most debated plots of vacant land in New York City. Collectively known as SPURA, the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area, the five parking lots on the Lower East Side, just South of Delancey Street near the Williamsburg Bridge, were once the site of tenement housing until they were acquired by the Urban Renewal Plan in 1965 and demolished. Since then, the other lots that suffered a simular fate and have been developed into various iterations of low-income and mixed-use housing developments. But, for nearly 50 years these five sites have remained vacant as a continued debate rattles the community boards. As the debate rages on between low-income housing developments, mixed low-income and commercial housing, and strictly commercial housing, these five lots serve as parking. This is the largest undeveloped city-owned development south of 96th street.
Ju-Hyun Kim’s speculative proposal serves as an alternative to the current state of the land. Read on after the break.
CIVITAS, the organizer of the Reimagining the Waterfront, has announced the winners of the ideas competition for the design of the East River Esplanade between 60th and 125th in New York City bound by the East River to the East and the FDR Drive to the west. Joseph Wood of New Jersey, USA; Takuma Ono and Darina Zlateva of New York City, USA and Matteo Rossetti of Italy claimed first, second and third prize respectively. The competition aspires to bring to new and fresh ideas to the conversation about this waterfront, which over the years has had many issues of disrepair. Anyone who has attempted to bike down this path can appeal to just how unpleasant it can be – massive potholes that take up the whole path, traffic rushing by just a foot away just beyond a shoulder (which is not provided everywhere) and cobbled paths that create a bumpy ride. The proximity to the East River, and the views of Randall’s Island, Queens, Roosevelt Island and the Queensboro Bridge are its saving grace.
There have already been many talks about the state of the East River Esplanade, particularly that it stops abruptly at East 53rd street at the foot of the Queensboro Bridge and starts up again around East 38th street. Last summer MAS, an organization in NYC that advocates for intelligent urban planning, design and preservation, hosted a day-long charette to design an esplanade along the ConEd piers located between East 38th and East 41st Streets. MAS appealed to the community for ideas for “The Next Great NYC Waterfront” and worked alongside W Architecture and Landscape Architecture to produce a report, which can be found here. With CIVITAS’s competition, the issues are again acknowledged to continue brainstorming the future of the waterfront.
The Architect’s Newspaper reviewed the competition winners in an article by Tom Stoelker, which are imaginative and considered. The proposals of the winners and honorable mentions will be exhibited at the Museum of the City of New York between June 6th and September 2012 which will give the public access to some possibilities for the future of the East River Esplanade.
Join us after the break for more on the proposals.
The Kulturcampus designed for Frankfurt, Germany by Adjaye Associates rests on the idea of grouping a city’s most important cultural institutions into the heart of the city. The focus is on creating a micro-city on the city that is currently occupied by the University of Frankfurt, which will be vacated in 2014. This micro-city is intended to be diverse collection of uses that will provide a space of gathering for the adjacent neighborhoods of the campus.
Read on for more after the break.