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James Taylor-Foster

James is ArchDaily's European Editor-at-Large, based between London, Venice, and Rotterdam.

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In the Swedish City of Järfälla, Ten Radical "Superbenches" Are Unveiled as Community Incubators

04:00 - 2 May, 2017
In the Swedish City of Järfälla, Ten Radical "Superbenches" Are Unveiled as Community Incubators, Core / Philippe Malouin, Ali Bar Chair / Max Lamb, and Spring Break / Soft Baroque. Image © Jezzica Sunmo
Core / Philippe Malouin, Ali Bar Chair / Max Lamb, and Spring Break / Soft Baroque. Image © Jezzica Sunmo

Sweden is home to the world’s longest public bench. At 240 feet (around 72 meters) in length, the Långa Soffan (“long sofa”) was installed by the citizens of Oskarshamn in 1867 to overlook its rather unspectacular harbour, which opens toward the Baltic Sea. The function of this bench was not for passing time and taking in the coastal views, however; in times gone by it was rhythmically occupied by the wives of sailors awaiting their husband’s return from sea voyages. It allowed people to gather under a sense of common melancholy and collectively recall the smiles of their distant spouses before the ocean’s broad, blue canvas.

Spotlight: James Stirling

08:00 - 22 April, 2017
Spotlight: James Stirling, Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart, Germany (1977–1984), 1984. Alastair Hunter, photographer. Image Courtesy of Canadian Centre for Architecture
Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart, Germany (1977–1984), 1984. Alastair Hunter, photographer. Image Courtesy of Canadian Centre for Architecture

British architect and Pritzker Laureate Sir James Stirling (22 April 1926 – 25 June 1992) grew up in Liverpool, one of the two industrial powerhouses of the British North West, and began his career subverting the compositional and theoretical ideas behind the Modern Movement. Citing a wide-range of influences—from Colin Rowe, a forefather of Contextualism, to Le Corbusier, and from architects of the Italian Renaissance to the Russian Constructivist movement—Stirling forged a unique set of architectural beliefs that manifest themselves in his works. Indeed his architecture, commonly described as "nonconformist," consistently caused annoyance in conventional circles.

University of Cambridge History Faculty. Image © <a href='https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:History_Faculty_University_of_Cambridge.jpg'>Wikimedia user Solipsist</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/deed.en'>CC BY-SA 2.0</a> Clore Gallery, Tate Britain, London. Image © <a href='https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Clore_Gallery_London_Dec07.JPG'>Wikimedia user Elekhh</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en'>CC BY-SA 3.0</a> The Florey Building at Queen's College, Oxford University. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/seier/5107210108'>Flickr user seier</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/'>CC BY 2.0</a> Department of Engineering at the University of Leicester. Image © <a href='https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Leicester_University_Engineering_Building_2.jpg'>Wikimedia user NotFromUtrecht</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en'>CC BY-SA 3.0</a> +13

Spotlight: Jørn Utzon

08:00 - 9 April, 2017
Spotlight: Jørn Utzon, Sydney Opera House. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/lutherankorean/2652730156'>Flickr user lutherankorean<a/> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/'>CC BY-ND 2.0</a>
Sydney Opera House. Image © Flickr user lutherankorean licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Pritzker Prize winning architect Jørn Utzon (9 April 1918 – 29 November 2008) was the relatively unknown Dane who, on the 29th January 1957, was announced as the winner of the "International competition for a national opera house at Bennelong Point, Sydney’." When speaking about this iconic building, Louis Kahn stated that "The sun did not know how beautiful its light was, until it was reflected off this building." Unfortunately, Utzon never saw the Sydney Opera House, his most popular work, completed.

Bagsværd Church. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/seier/5958688179/'>Flickr user seier</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/'>CC BY 2.0</a> Kuwait National Assembly. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/xiquinho/3447464666/'>Flickr user xiquinho</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/'>CC BY-SA 2.0</a> Utzon's Home on Mallorca. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/drzimage/475618855/'>Flickr user drzimage</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/'>CC BY-SA 2.0</a> Sydney Opera House. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/jimmyharris/114537716/'>Flickr user jimmyharris</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/'>CC BY 2.0</a> +17

Think You Know Swiss Architecture? Think Again.

04:00 - 3 April, 2017
Think You Know Swiss Architecture? Think Again., "Which vernacular building or spatial situation do you find inspiring for your approach to architecture?". Image © S AM Schweizerisches Architekturmuseum / Swiss Architecture Museum
"Which vernacular building or spatial situation do you find inspiring for your approach to architecture?". Image © S AM Schweizerisches Architekturmuseum / Swiss Architecture Museum

In one of his 1922 travel essays for the Toronto Star Ernest Hemingway wrote, in a typically thewy tone, of “a small, steep country, much more up and down than sideways and all stuck over with large brown hotels built [in] the cuckoo style of architecture.” This was his Switzerland: a country cornered in the heartland of Europe and yet distant from so much of its history. A nation which, for better or worse and particularly over the course of the 20th Century, has cultivated and become subject to a singularly one-dimensional reputation when it comes to architectural culture and the built environment.

Smarch / Project: Trash Gap - Compos(t)ition / Location: Bern (BE). Image © Smarch. Courtesy S AM Schweizerisches Architekturmuseum / Swiss Architecture Museum Bayer Klemmer / Project: Drying Tower Burgweiherweg / Location: St. Gallen (SG). Image © Christoph Hurni. Courtesy S AM Schweizerisches Architekturmuseum / Swiss Architecture Museum Atelier Archiplein / Project: Gneiss Quarry /  Location: Tessin. Image © Stefano Zerbi. Courtesy S AM Schweizerisches Architekturmuseum / Swiss Architecture Museum Baserga Mozzetti / Project: Stable / Location: Valle di Blenio (TI). Image © Giovanni Buzzi. Courtesy S AM Schweizerisches Architekturmuseum / Swiss Architecture Museum +17

Spotlight: Hans Hollein

11:30 - 30 March, 2017
Spotlight: Hans Hollein, Büro + Fabriksgebäude, Tainan, Taiwan, 2005-2008. Image © Atelier Adam Chen
Büro + Fabriksgebäude, Tainan, Taiwan, 2005-2008. Image © Atelier Adam Chen

Described by Richard Meier as an architect whose "groundbreaking ideas" have "had a major impact on the thinking of designers and architects," Austrian artist, architect, designer, theoretician and Pritzker Prize laureate Hans Hollein worked in all aspects of design, from architecture to furniture, jewelry, glasses, lamps—even door handles. Known in particular for his museum designs, from the Abteiberg Museum in Mönchengladbach to the Museum of Modern Art in Frankfurt to Vienna's Modernism.

Büro + Fabriksgebäude, Tainan, Taiwan, 2005-2008. Image © Atelier Adam Chen VULCANIA Centre Européen du Volcanisme, Auvergne, Frankreich, 1994-2002. Image © Atelier Hans Hollein / Sina Baniahmad Kerzengeschäft Marius Retti, Wien, Österreich, 1964–1965. Image © Franz Hubmann Haas Haus, Geschäftshaus, Wien, Österreich, 1985-1990. Image © Atelier Hans Hollein / Sina Baniahmad +47

"Are.na" is an Online Tool for Contextualizing the Internet – Here's Why It's Useful to Architects

07:00 - 27 March, 2017
"Are.na" is an Online Tool for Contextualizing the Internet – Here's Why It's Useful to Architects, "The intention behind Are.na is to build a platform that helps people continually recontextualize information into new ideas and help us all understand the vast amount information we face on a daily basis". Image © Are.na
"The intention behind Are.na is to build a platform that helps people continually recontextualize information into new ideas and help us all understand the vast amount information we face on a daily basis". Image © Are.na

Outside of our familiar feeds, social or otherwise, the Internet can be a daunting place. While information and interaction have never been easier, developing ways to get a handle on the quantity and pace of this crowded, if not valuable, world can often be difficult – it’s all too easy to find your digital life unintentionally isolated. In the architectural sphere, shared knowledge and a broad understanding of history and contemporary practice are all-important; discourse and conversation even more so. Are.na, a platform for collaborative and independent research, provides a new lens when surfing, capturing and contextualizing the content of the Internet.

'Channels' on Are.na. Image © Are.na 'Blocks', as shown in this 'Channel', can be hyperlinks or text. Image © Are.na Picasso's 'Constellation Drawings' (1924) shown here as a 'Block' with eight other connections. Image © Are.na This 'Channel' comprises entirely of text-based 'Blocks'. Image © Are.na +12

Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta Named 2017 Pritzker Prize Laureates

10:00 - 1 March, 2017
Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta Named 2017 Pritzker Prize Laureates

Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta have been named as the laureates of the 2017 Pritzker Prize. Their projects emphasize materiality and craft – considered use of color, transparency (and thereby light) define an oeuvre which ranges from public buildings to houses, a kindergarten and a winery.

The three architects—all of whom are Spanish Catalan and originate from Olot, Girona (where they are all presently based)—have worked collaboratively together as RCR Arquitectes since 1988; they simultaneously graduated in Architecture from ETSAV, the School of Architecture in Valles (Escola Tècnica Superior d’Arquitectura del Vallès) a year prior. This 39th incarnation of the Prize represents the first instance in which three architects have been recognized at once, and only the second time—following Rafael Moneo in 1996—that Spanish practitioners have been honored.

Introducing GSAPP Conversations' Inaugural Episode: "Exhibition Models"

09:30 - 24 February, 2017
Introducing GSAPP Conversations' Inaugural Episode: "Exhibition Models"

We are pleased to announce a new content partnership between ArchDaily and Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) in New York City.

GSAPP Conversations is a podcast series designed to offer a window onto the expanding field of contemporary architectural practice. Each episode pivots around discussions on current projects, research, and obsessions of a diverse group of invited guests at Columbia, from both emerging and well-established practices. Usually hosted by the Dean of the GSAPP, Amale Andraos, the conversations also feature the school’s influential faculty and alumni and give students the opportunity to engage architects on issues of concern to the next generation.

Benjamin Bratton on Artificial Intelligence, Language and "The New Normal"

06:30 - 9 February, 2017
Benjamin Bratton on Artificial Intelligence, Language and "The New Normal", Benjamin Bratton introducing The New Normal in Moscow. Image © Egor Slizyak
Benjamin Bratton introducing The New Normal in Moscow. Image © Egor Slizyak

Benjamin Bratton, Professor of Visual Arts and Director of the Center for Design at the University of California, San Diego, is the new Programme Director at Moscow's Strelka Institute. The New Normal is based on the premise that "something has shifted. [...] We are making new worlds faster than we can keep track of them, and the pace is unlikely to slow."

Have our technologies have advanced beyond our ability to conceptualize their implications? "One impulse," the course advocates, "is to pull the emergency brake and to try put all the genies back in the bottle." According to Bratton, this is hopeless. "Better instead to invest in emergence, in contingency: to map The New Normal for what it is, and to shape it toward what it should be."

Understanding Grafton Architects, Directors of the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale

04:00 - 18 January, 2017
Understanding Grafton Architects, Directors of the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale, UTEC / Grafton Architects. Image © Iwan Baan
UTEC / Grafton Architects. Image © Iwan Baan

“When you read Love in the Time of Cholera you come to realize the magic realism of South America.” Yvonne Farrell, Shelley McNamara and I were in a corner of the Barbican Centre’s sprawling, shallow atrium talking about the subject of their most recent accolade, the Royal Institute of British Architects inaugural International Prize, awarded that previous evening. That same night the two Irish architects, who founded their practice in Dublin in the 1970s, also delivered a lecture on the Universidad de Ingeniería and Tecnologia (UTEC)—their “modern-day Machu Picchu” in Lima—to a packed audience in London’s Portland Place.

Farrell and McNamara, who together lead a team of twenty-five as Grafton Architects, are both powerful thinkers, considered conversationalists and unobtrusively groundbreaking designers. For a practice so compact, their international portfolio is exceptionally broad. The first phase of the UTEC in the Peruvian capital, which began following an international competition in 2011, represents the farthest territory the practice have geographically occupied. The project is, in their words, a “man-made cliff” between the Pacific and the mountains – on one side a cascading garden, and on the other a “shoulder” to the city cast from bare concrete.

Venice Isn't Sinking, It's Flooding – And It Needs to Learn How to Swim

06:00 - 3 January, 2017
Venice Isn't Sinking, It's Flooding – And It Needs to Learn How to Swim, Acqua Alta in Piazza San Marco (2016). Image © James Taylor-Foster
Acqua Alta in Piazza San Marco (2016). Image © James Taylor-Foster

“Will you look at that? St. Mark’s Square is flooded!” An Australian day tripper is astonished. “This place is actually sinking,” her friend casually exclaims. They, like so many I’ve overheard on the vaporetti, are convinced that the Venetian islands exist on a precipice between the fragility of their current condition and nothing short of imminent submersion. With catastrophe always around the corner a short break in Venice is more of an extreme adventure trip than a European city-break. If it were true, that is.

Monocle 24 Explores Architectural White Elephants

10:00 - 8 December, 2016

Cities across the world are full of white elephants – something which ArchDaily has recently explored. In the latest episode of Section DMonocle 24's weekly review of design, architecture and craft, the team examine similar cases from the unfinished Palestinian Parliament to redundant projects in Belgrade. This edition also looks at the RIBA's new International Prize, which was awarded this year to Grafton Architects for their University of Engineering and Technology building in Lima.

Courtesy of Monocle 24
Courtesy of Monocle 24

After Belonging Agency On the Emergence of New Patterns of Living

04:00 - 15 November, 2016

In this film, presented in collaboration with +KOTE, the After Belonging Agency—Carlos Minguez Carrasco, Ignacio Galán, Alejandra Navarrese Llopis, Lluís Alexandre Casanovas Blanco, and Marina Otero Verzier—narrate a walkthrough of In Residence, one of the two core exhibitions at this year's Oslo Architecture TriennaleAfter Belonging – A Triennale In Residence, On Residence, and the Ways We Stay in Transit.

The Long(ish) Read: "Ornament and Crime" by Adolf Loos

04:00 - 2 November, 2016
The Long(ish) Read: "Ornament and Crime" by Adolf Loos, Villa Müller (1930), Czech Republic / Adolf Loos
Villa Müller (1930), Czech Republic / Adolf Loos

Welcome to the fourth installment of The Long(ish) Read: an AD feature which presents texts written by notable essayists that resonate with contemporary architecture, interior architecture, urbanism or landscape design. Ornament and Crime began as a lecture delivered by Adolf Loos in 1910 in response to a time (the late 19th and early 20th Centuries) and a place (Vienna), in which Art Nouveau was the status quo.

Loos used the essay as a vehicle to explain his distain of "ornament" in favour of "smooth and previous surfaces," partly because the former, to him, caused objects and buildings to become unfashionable sooner, and therefore obsolete. This—the effort wasted in designing and creating superfluous ornament, that is—he saw as nothing short of a "crime." The ideas embodied in this essay were forerunners to the Modern movement, including practices that would eventually be at core of the Bauhaus in Weimar.

Experience "The Form of Form" at the 2016 Lisbon Architecture Triennale in 360°

04:00 - 12 October, 2016

The 2016 Lisbon Architecture Triennale, which opened last week, is comprised of a constellation of exhibitions and satellites. One such show—eponymously named The Form of Form—is both an exhibition and a structure in itself – a sequence of rooms designed collaboratively by Mark Lee of Johnston Marklee, Kersten Geers of Office KGDVS, and Nuno Brandão Costa. If "one of architecture’s fundamental legacies is its own form," the curatorial statement declares, "this exhibition [builds] a dialogue that challenges notions of authorship and the limits of form."

The Form of Form (4th Lisbon Architecture Triennale) / Johnston Marklee, Nuno Brandão Costa & Office KGDVS

09:45 - 10 October, 2016
The Form of Form (4th Lisbon Architecture Triennale) / Johnston Marklee, Nuno Brandão Costa & Office KGDVS, © Tiago Casanova
© Tiago Casanova

© Tiago Casanova © Tiago Casanova © Tiago Casanova © Tiago Casanova +32

Monocle 24 Reports From the 2016 Oslo Architecture Triennale, After Belonging

04:00 - 21 September, 2016
Monocle 24 Reports From the 2016 Oslo Architecture Triennale, After Belonging, After Belonging – 2016 Oslo Architecture Triennale. Image © David Jiménez Iniesta, Ma Ángeles Peñalver Izaguirre, Javier Jiménez Iniesta (Studio Animal)
After Belonging – 2016 Oslo Architecture Triennale. Image © David Jiménez Iniesta, Ma Ángeles Peñalver Izaguirre, Javier Jiménez Iniesta (Studio Animal)

In the latest edition of Section DMonocle 24's weekly review of design, architecture and craft, Henry Rees-Sheridan visits Oslo to speak to Hanna Dencik Petersson, Director of the 2016 Oslo Architecture Triennale, and Alejandra Navarrete Llopis and Ignacio González Galán – two members of its curatorial team, the After Belonging Agency. The show explores the concept behind the exhibitions of the Triennale, what it means to be located in Norway's capital, and how the event's trajectory is both a symptom and cause of Oslo’s development as a design city. ArchDaily's James Taylor-Foster weighs in on After Belonging's significance.

Review: "REM" – A Retroactive, Redacted Study of the World’s Greatest Living Architect

11:15 - 14 September, 2016
Review: "REM" – A Retroactive, Redacted Study of the World’s Greatest Living Architect, Rem Koolhaas, the eponymous protagonist of "REM". Image © Tomas Koolhaas
Rem Koolhaas, the eponymous protagonist of "REM". Image © Tomas Koolhaas

In the canon of great Dutch architects sit a number of renowned practitioners, from Berlage to Van Berkel. Based on influence alone, Rem Koolhaas—the grandson of architect Dirk Roosenburg and son of author and thinker Anton Koolhaas—stands above all others and has, over the course of a career spanning four decades, sought to redefine the role of the architect from a regional autarch to a globally-active shaper of worlds – be they real or imagined. A new film conceived and produced by Tomas Koolhaas, the LA-based son of its eponymous protagonist, attempts to biographically represent the work of OMA by “expos[ing] the human experience of [its] architecture through dynamic film.” No tall order.

Mark – a homeless man, filmed in Seattle Public Library (USA). Image © Tomas Koolhaas CCTV (China). Image © Tomas Koolhaas De Rotterdam (The Netherlands). Image © Tomas Koolhaas Seattle Public Library (USA). Image © Tomas Koolhaas +17