Vanessa Quirk

Vanessa Quirk, the manager of editorial content at ArchDaily, is a writer who hails from New York. She studied English and Music at the George Washington University and Oxford University. When she's not thinking about the latest in Architecture and Urban Planning, she's either cooking or singing - often simultaneously. LinkedIn / @vmquirk

Spotlight: Peter Zumthor

at the Steilneset Memorial. Image © Andrew Meredith

Known for his sensuous materiality and attention to place, 2009 Pritzker Laureate Peter Zumthor (born April 26, 1943) is one the most revered architects of the 21st century. Shooting to fame on the back of The Therme Vals and Kunsthaus Bregenz, completed just a year apart in 1996 and 1997, his work privileges the experiential qualities of individual buildings over the technological, cultural and theoretical focus often favored by his contemporaries.

Why Budapest’s Contemporary Architects had to Go Underground to Find Success

Gellert Station / . Image © Tamás Bujnovszky

This article by ArchDaily’s former managing editor Vanessa Quirk first appeared on ArtsCultureBeat, the web magazine of Arts & Culture concentration at Columbia Journalism School’s MA program, titled “The Secret Life of Hungarian Contemporary Architecture.”

This time last year, Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orbán stood at a podium in a pristine new subway station. Raw concrete beams criss-crossed above him; state-of-the art, driverless trains stood silently beside him. It was the opening ceremony for Line 4, a subway line that due to delays, corruption, and disputes had been 40 years in the making.

“The people of Budapest began to accept the thought that only their grandchildren would use Budapest’s new Metro line, or not even them.” Orbán told the crowd. He recounted an old joke that embodied the cynicism that once surrounded the project: Chuck Norris had been on Metro Line 4.

Orbán credited the line’s completion, which occurred only a few weeks before the 2014 parliamentary elections, to “the solidarity and unity that was established in 2010 [when Orbán’s government took power] and has since been maintained.” He didn’t mention how, under his first government (1998 to 2002), he had withheld funds from the project, contributing significantly to its delay. Nor did he mention that his party had fought against the idea that the line, an expensive infrastructural project, needed architecture at all.

Today, though, the line’s stunning architecture is its most noticeable feature. Line 4 is not just a watershed achievement in ’s history, but also a symbol of what it takes to make contemporary architecture in today. Both literally and figuratively, contemporary architecture had to go underground.

Easter Eggs Designed By Architects

Egg by Marc Fornes & Theveryman. Image Courtesy of Faberge’s Big Egg Hunt

In honor of Easter Sunday, we decided to follow-up on the news of Faberge’s Big Egg Hunt and round-up some of the Easter eggs designed by the likes of Zaha Hadid, David Ling, Two One Two, and more.

Enjoy them all in the gallery after the break!

Infographic: The Pritzker Prize 1979 – 2015

Last week, Frei Otto was announced as the 40th recipient of the Pritzker Prize, the latest in a long line of talented architects (as well as the first architect to ever receive the Prize posthumously). Learn more about the Prize and its winners after the break!

Spotlight: Zaha Hadid

© Simone Cecchetti

Since winning the in 2004, the first woman and Muslim to do so, Hadid’s career has been on an exponential trajectory. Before the prize, Hadid was better known for her extraordinary sketch-paintings of unbuilt works; particularly, her competition-winning entries for “The Peak” in 1982 and the Cardiff Bay Opera House in 1994. Zaha’s “flying” forms were so revolutionary, that some questioned if they could even be made reality – hence why the Opera House was ultimately rejected, for supposed ”uncertainties.” Indeed, before 1994, the only built project she could boast was the complex, deconstructivist Vitra Fire Station.

Spotlight: Kenzo Tange

Courtesy of Wikimedia Common

Kenzo Tange (4 September 1913-22 March 2005), the Pritzker-Prize Winning Japanese architect who helped define Japan’s post-WWII emergence into Modernism, would have turned 101 today. Inspired by Le CorbusierTange decided to study architecture at the University of Tokyo in 1935. He worked as an urban planner, helping to rebuild Hiroshima after World War II, and gained international attention in 1949, when his design for the Hiroshima Peace Center and Memorial Park was selected. Tange continued to work in and theorize about Urban Planning throughout the 50s; his “Plan for Tokyo 1960″ re-thought urban structures and heavily influenced the Metabolist movement.

Spotlight: Eliel & Eero Saarinen

© Exothermic

Perhaps the most famous father-son duo in the architectural world, Eliel and Eero Saarinen share more than just a last name. The two designers both left profound influences upon the cities where they did their work, both were awarded AIA Gold Medals, and, rather uncannily, both share the very same date of birth. But, when it comes to their architectural stylings, that’s where the comparisons end. Find out more about both after the break.

Spotlight: Jean Nouvel

© Artribune

“My interest has always been in an architecture which reflects the modernity of our epoch as opposed to the rethinking of historical references. My work deals with what is happening now—our techniques and materials, what we are capable of doing today.”

Today is the 69th of the great French architect and designer, Jean NouvelThe winner of the Wolf Prize in 2005 and the Pritzker of 2008, Nouvel has attempted to design each of his projects without any preconceived notions, resulting in a variety of projects that – while strikingly different – always demonstrate an interesting use of light and shadow as well as a harmonious balance with their surroundings. More on the Pritzker-winning architect, after the break.

His variety of work can be seen in such acclaimed works as the Institut du Monde Arabe and the Fondation Cartier and. Nouvel also has a series of notable projects currently in the works, such as the New Louvre in Abu Dhabi and the National Art Museum of China.

In honor of his birthday, take a moment to revisit Nouvel’s previous works on ArchDaily.

Unified Architectural Theory: Chapter 8

Heydar Aliyev Center / Architects. Image © Hélène Binet

We will be publishing Nikos Salingaros’ book, Unified Architectural Theory, in a series of installments, making it digitally, freely available for students and architects around the world. The following chapter outlines architecture’s connection to biology, and how biology influences our perception of form. If you missed them, make sure to read the previous installments here.

The idea of a biological connection to architecture has been used in turn by traditional architects, modernists, postmodernists, deconstructivists, and naturally, the “organic form” architects. One might say that architecture’s proposed link to biology is used to support any architectural style whatsoever. When it is applied so generally, then the biological connection loses its value, or at least becomes so confused as to be meaningless. Is there a way to clear up the resulting contradiction and confusion?

Introducing “Potty-Girl,” The Architect of the Future?

“I look for inspiration (or opportunities) from people and places rather than looking for people and places to host my ideas.” — Julia King

Regardless of whether or not Shigeru Ban deserved to be awarded the profession’s highest prize this year (there are vociferous opinions on both sides of the issue), there is one thing that is certain: architecture is going through some serious growing pains. And perhaps no one encapsulates architecture’s shifting direction better than Julia King, AJ’s Emerging Woman Architect of the Year.

Pursuing a PhD-by-practice via the Architecture for Rapid Change and Scarce Resources (ARCSR) in the slums of India, Ms. King realized very quickly that the last thing these communities needed was architecture – or rather, what is traditionally considered “architecture.” After all, community-members were already experts in constructing homes and buildings all on their own. Instead, she put her architectural know-how towards designing and implementing what was truly needed: sewage systems. And so – quite by accident, she assured me - the title “Potty-Girl” was born.

In the following interview, conducted via email, I chatted with Ms. King about her fascinating work, the new paradigm it represents for  architecture, the need to forego dividing the “urban and rural” (she prefers ”connected and disconnected”), the serious limitations of architecture education, and the future of architecture itself. Read more, after the break.

Ticollage City / Costa Rica Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2014

Courtesy of Costa Rica Pavilion

Curated and commissioned by German Architect / Urbanist  and Dutch Anthropologist / Economist , Costa Rica’s first pavilion at the Venice Biennale focuses on a competition-winning project for the new Costa Rican Legislative Assembly, a project which illustrates the “vicious circle of social segregation and spatial fragmentation in the Greater Metropolitan Area of Costa Rica (GAM).”

Read the curators’ description and take a virtual tour of the Costa Rica Pavilion after the break.

Pinup2014′s Competition Winners Showcase the Creativity of Emerging Talent Today

Jury Winner_Emerging talents_AE Superlab_Infinicities. Image Courtesy of The Morpholio Project

The Morpholio Project has just announced the winners of the Pinup 2014 competition. Drawing from an impressive shortlist of finalists, the Jury  – which included participants from Fast CompanyMetropolis Magazine, Columbia GSAPP, and even our very own Editor-in-Chief, David Basulto – has chosen nine outstanding examples of studio, 3D-printed or unbuilt works that exemplify the best of today’s emerging talent.

Amy Azzarito, jurymember and Managing Editor at Design*Sponge ”was impressed by the number of entrants who chose to devote their time and creative energy toward addressing social problems on a global scale, demonstrating an empathetic understanding that as the world grows increasingly smaller, the problems of our neighbors are problems for which we all bear responsibility.”

Duann Scott, jurymember and Designer Evangelist at Shapeways added: ”The breadth and quality of the entrants was truly inspiring, making it very difficult to pick the winners, or to put it better, not pick more to be winners,” said .

Beyond the jury’s picks, a public competition and The Morpholio Project chose five additional winners. See them all, after the break.

Capturing Hong Kong’s Dizzying Vertical Density

© Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze

Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze is a French photographer who captures the dizzying heights and uncommon densities of . Inspired by “the geometry of the urban environment and the vivid lives it shelters,” Jacquet-Lagrèze has not only captured the verticality of Hong Kong’s built environment, but also compiled a new book, Vertical Horizon, “a photographic journey between the buildings of a relentlessly growing city.” See more of Jacquet-Lagrèze‘s images, and read an excerpt from Vertical Horizonafter the break.

Álvaro Siza’s Archives May Soon Belong to Canada

Image © Fernando Guerra | FG+SG

The archives of Álvaro Siza, whose drawings, sketches, and models have been exhibited in the most renowned cultural institutions around the world, may soon be transferred to the Canadian Centre for Architecture (Centre Canadien d’Architecture, ) in Montreal.

The architect confirmed on Wednesday to Portuguese paper PÚBLICO that he has been “in talks” with the CCA, as well as other un-named institutions from different countries, in order to “decide the future” of his archives.

VIDEO: Marcio Kogan’s Studio SC

Textures and Ants is one of five videos on display by Studio MK27 at the Palazzo Mora as part of the ”Time Space Existence“ exhibition, running parallel to the Venice Biennale.

Produced by Pedro Kok and Gabriel Kogan, the video shows Studio SC, a photography studio based in São Paulo and designed by Marcio Kogan.

Thousands of Inhabitants May Be Relocated As Chinese Bankers Eye Venezuela’s Torre David

© Vía ‘The Atlantic’

Torre de David (the Tower of David) - the world’s tallest slum and the subject of Urban-Think TankJustin McGuirk, and Iwan Baan‘s Golden Lion-winning Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2012 - is once again making headlines. Venezuelan newspaper TalCual reports that the Venezuelan government is in negotiations with Chinese banks interested in purchasing the building.

Tower of David is an unfinished financial skyscraper in downtown . Construction began on the tower in 1990, but the death of the principal investor in 1993 and the subsequent banking crisis that hit the country in 1994 froze construction; by the end of the year, the tower was in the hands of the state. Nevertheless, in 2007 two thousand homeless citizens took over and inhabited the skyscraper, making it the tallest vertical slum in the world.

Re-Thinking the Future 2014 Competition Awards BIG, UN Studio, HOK, and More

Honorable Mention, Public Building Built: Cineteca Nacional S. XXI / Rojkind Arquitectos. Image © Rojkind Arquitectos, photo by Paul Rivera

The winners of Re-Thinking the Future’s 2014 design competition – a competition that asked architects, designers, planners, and students from all over the world to submit “radical solutions for the present day problems” of climate change – have been announced. Requesting both built and conceptual works, the jury of 20 architects from firms such as SOM, AEDAS, and Perkins+Will evaluated the projects across a range of categories, from mixed-use and residential buildings to urban and landscape design.

See all the winners, including proposals from BIG, UN Studio, and HOK, after the break.

This Floating Platform Could Filter the Plastic from our Polluted Oceans

Courtesy of

“Plastic is an extremely durable material, taking 500 years to biodegrade, yet it’s designed to be used for an average of 5 minutes, and so it’s thrown away. Few know where this mass of junk will end up … in the oceans, killing and silently destroying everything, even us.”

Cristian Ehrmantraut has developed a prototype for a floating platform that filters the ocean and absorbs plastic. Located 4 km from the coast of , close to the center of the mega-vortex of plastic located in the South Pacific, the tetrahedral platform performs a kind of dialysis, allowing the natural environment to be recovered as well as energy and food to be produced.