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Vladimir Belogolovsky

VLADIMIR BELOGOLOVSKY is the founder of the New York-based non-profit Curatorial Project. Trained as an architect at Cooper Union in New York, he has written five books, including Conversations with Architects in the Age of Celebrity (DOM, 2015), Harry Seidler: LIFEWORK (Rizzoli, 2014), and Soviet Modernism: 1955-1985 (TATLIN, 2010). Among his numerous exhibitions: Anthony Ames: Object-Type Landscapes at Casa Curutchet, La Plata, Argentina (2015); Colombia: Transformed (American Tour, 2013-15); Harry Seidler: Painting Toward Architecture (world tour since 2012); and Chess Game for Russian Pavilion at the 11th Venice Architecture Biennale (2008). Belogolovsky is the American correspondent for Berlin-based architectural journal SPEECH and he has lectured at universities and museums in more than 20 countries. Belogolovsky’s column, City of Ideas, introduces ArchDaily’s readers to his latest and ongoing conversations with the most innovative architects from around the world. These intimate discussions are a part of the curator’s upcoming exhibition with the same title which premiered at the University of Sydney in June 2016. The City of Ideas exhibition will travel to venues around the world to explore ever-evolving content and design.

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Paul Andreu: "I Would Only Take On a Project if the Ideas Were Mine. Otherwise, I Am Not Interested."

09:30 - 7 March, 2017
Charles-de-Gaulle airport, Terminal 1, Paris, 1967-1974. Image © Paul Maurer
Charles-de-Gaulle airport, Terminal 1, Paris, 1967-1974. Image © Paul Maurer

For 40 years, Paul Andreu was among the world's foremost airport design experts. Reflecting on this before the turn of the millennium, he stated that architectural historians of the future might consider the 1990s as “the age of the air terminal.” But shortly after this, he left the arena of airport design to focus on other large projects, many of them in China. In this interview, the latest of Vladimir Belogolovsky's “City of Ideas” series, Andreu explains why he made the switch and shares his thoughts on how good architecture is made—saying it often depends more on what you don't tell your client than what you do.

Paul Andreu: Before we start, I must explain something. I am an architect and engineer. For a long time I was not an independent architect but worked at and then was the head of airport works at Aéroports de Paris Ingénierie or ADPi, a subsidiary of Aéroports de Paris (ADP). This public establishment is not only in charge of the planning, design, and operation of three Paris-region airports, but is also involved in airport works all around the world, as well as other large-scale architectural projects. First, we did airports in France, then in the Middle East and Africa, then in China and all over Asia, and then we developed projects in other parts of the world. Most of the time we developed our projects from concept all the way through construction; although once we did just the concept for Kansai airport on a specially built island in the Bay of Osaka. As you know, it was designed by Renzo Piano and I consulted for him on function and circulation aspects.

Charles-de-Gaulle airport, Terminal II, modules A & B, Paris, 1972-1982. Image © Labo ADP Charles-de-Gaulle airport, Terminal II, modules A & B, Paris, 1972-1982. Image © Labo ADP New airport of Jakarta, Sukarno-Hatta, Indonesia, 1977-1985. Image © Labo ADP National Centre for the Performing Arts (Opéra de Pékin), Beijing, China, 1999-2007. Image © Paul Maurer +69

Emilio Ambasz: “I Detest Writing Theories, I Prefer Writing Fables”

09:30 - 24 January, 2017
Casa de Retiro Espiritual. Image Courtesy of Emilio Ambasz
Casa de Retiro Espiritual. Image Courtesy of Emilio Ambasz

While many of the pioneers of green architecture could arguably be criticized as technocratic and dry, this has never applied to Emilio Ambasz. His concept of “green over gray” has been pushing the debate around sustainability forwards since the 1970s, but alongside this concept he has developed a critical approach to architectural meaning and form-making which competes with many of architecture's more poetic practitioners. Ahead Vladimir Belogolovsky's upcoming exhibition of Ambasz's work, “Emilio Ambasz: Architecture Toward Nature,” which is on show at the Singapore's Urban Redevelopment Center from February 6th – 28th, here Belogolovsky shares his interview with the architect – the latest interview in his “City of Ideas” column.

Vladimir Belogolovsky: I read that you knew you wanted to be an architect at an early age and when you were 11, you even dared to propose an exhibition on American architecture in Buenos Aires. What was it that prompted your initial interest in architecture?

Emilio Ambasz: I was interested in architecture since I was nine, I think. I am a person of steady ideas. Once I have an idea that’s it, I persist. I wanted to become an architect and that led to my applying to Princeton. I sent my application with a wax seal telling them that I went to bed every night with the idea of wanting to be an architect and woke up every morning with this idea…

Banca degli Occhi in Venice-Mestre. Image Courtesy of Emilio Ambasz Fukuoka Prefectural International Hall. Image Courtesy of Emilio Ambasz Casa de Retiro Espiritual. Image Courtesy of Emilio Ambasz Ospedale dell’Angelo in Venice-Mestre. Image Courtesy of Emilio Ambasz +36

Interview with Álvaro Siza: “Beauty Is the Peak of Functionality!”

09:30 - 11 January, 2017
Interview  with Álvaro Siza: “Beauty Is the Peak of Functionality!”, Fundação Iberê Camargo. Image © Fernando Guerra | FG + SG
Fundação Iberê Camargo. Image © Fernando Guerra | FG + SG

Throughout the 60-year career of Álvaro Siza, his work has continuously defied categorization--having variously been described as “critical regionalism” and “poetic modernism,” with neither quite capturing the true essence of Siza's intuitive architecture. In this interview, the latest in Vladimir Belogolovsky's “City of Ideas” series, Siza discusses those attempts to categorize his work, his design approach and the role of beauty in his designs.

Vladimir Belogolovsky: Your student, Eduardo Souto de Moura said, “Siza’s houses are just like cats sleeping in the sun.”

Álvaro Siza: [Laughs.] Yes, he meant that my buildings assume the most natural postures on the site. There is also a reference in that to the human body.

Auditorium Theatre of Llinars del Valles . Image © Fernando Guerra | FG + SG Fire Station in Santo Tirso. Image © Joao Morgado - Architecture Photography The Building on the Water / Álvaro Siza + Carlos Castanheira. Image © Fernando Guerra | FG + SG Boa Nova Tea House. Image © Samuel Ludwig +33

Sergei Tchoban: “We Cannot Avoid Looking At Architecture; Architecture Should Be Beautiful”

10:30 - 29 December, 2016
Sergei Tchoban: “We Cannot Avoid Looking At Architecture; Architecture Should Be Beautiful”, Music- & Lifestyle Hotel nhow, 2010, Berlin. Image © Thomas Spier
Music- & Lifestyle Hotel nhow, 2010, Berlin. Image © Thomas Spier

After receiving his education at the Repin Institute for Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in St. Petersburg, Sergei Tchoban moved to Germany at the age of 30. He now runs parallel practices in both Berlin and Moscow, after becoming managing partner of nps tchoban voss in 2003 and co-founding SPEECH with Sergey Kuznetsov in 2006. In 2009, the Tchoban Foundation was formed in Berlin to celebrate the lost art of drawing through exhibitions and publications. The Foundation’s Museum for Architectural Drawing was built in Berlin in 2013 to Tchoban’s design. In this latest interview for his “City of Ideas” series, Vladimir Belogolovsky spoke to Tchoban during their recent meeting in Paris about architectural identities, inspirations, the architect’s fanatical passion for drawing, and such intangibles as beauty.

Villa in Wasiljewo, 2009, near Saint Petersburg. Image © Aleksey Naroditsky Museum for Architectural Drawing, 2013, Berlin. Image © Roland Halbe Actor Galaxy, 2015, Sotchi. Image © Aleksey Naroditsky Expo Pavilion Milan, 2015, Milan. Image © Aleksey Naroditsky +45

Interview with Neil Durbach: “You Don't Want to do the Same Thing Again; You Want to do Better!"

09:30 - 14 December, 2016
Interview with Neil Durbach: “You Don't Want to do the Same Thing Again; You Want to do Better!", Holman House (2004). Image © Peter Bennetts
Holman House (2004). Image © Peter Bennetts

Alongside Camilla Block and David Jaggers, Neil Durbach of Durbach Block Jaggers has carved out a unique place in Australian architecture. Known primarily for their carefully sculpted modernist houses, the firm's architecture is simultaneously rich in architectural references and thoroughly original. In this interview, the latest in Vladimir Belogolovsky's “City of Ideas” series, Durbach explains the true inspirations behind their work, why these inspirations have little to do with the public descriptions of their projects, and why for him, the intention of all of his architecture “is to win Corb’s approval.”

Vladimir Belogolovsky: You came to Australia while the Sydney Opera House was still under construction. Does this mean you were here even before going to the US?

Neil Durbach: Yes, I first came to Australia as an exchange student while still in high school.

VB: So you have seen the Opera under construction then. How special was that? Did that building change anything in particular in you?

ND: Well, at that time I wanted to be an artist. A friend took me on a boat to see it. It was kind of staggering... And I thought – you know, this is much more interesting than art. And I felt – maybe architecture is what I should pursue.

Commonwealth Place (2002). Image © John Gollings North Bondi Surf Life Saving Club (2013). Image © John Gollings Roslyn Street (2009). Image © Anthony Browell UTS Thomas St Building (2014). Image © Anthony Browell +42

Interview with WOHA: “The Only Way to Preserve Nature is to Integrate it into Our Built Environment”

09:30 - 25 November, 2016
Interview with WOHA: “The Only Way to Preserve Nature is to Integrate it into Our Built Environment”, PARKROYAL on Pickering, Singapore. Image © Patrick Bingham-Hall
PARKROYAL on Pickering, Singapore. Image © Patrick Bingham-Hall

Driven by the hyper-density of the city-state from which they operate, WOHA have emerged as Singapore's quintessential architects. Combining a locally-specific approach to climate control and spatial planning with an international approach to form and materials, their work holds lessons that can be instructive to architects in all climates. In this interview, the latest in his “City of Ideas” column, Vladimir Belogolovsky speaks to WOHA founders Wong Mun Summ and Richard Hassell about their environmental approach and the future of our global cities.

Newton Suites, Singapore. Image © Patrick Bingham-Hall SkyVille@Dawson, Singapore. Image © Patrick Bingham-Hall SkyVille@Dawson, Singapore. Image © Patrick Bingham-Hall Oasia Hotel Downtown, Singapore. Image © Patrick Bingham-Hall +24

Jeanne Gang: “Without an Intellectual Construct Life is Boring”

09:30 - 3 November, 2016
Jeanne Gang: “Without an Intellectual Construct Life is Boring”, Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership, Kalamazoo, Michigan, 2014. Image © Hedrich Blessing. Photographer Steve Hall
Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership, Kalamazoo, Michigan, 2014. Image © Hedrich Blessing. Photographer Steve Hall

Jeanne Gang, the founder of Studio Gang Architects, has made a name for herself as a designer who can design both show-stopping skyscrapers and sensitive small-scale buildings. From her breakout 2009 Aqua Tower project, to the hypothetical “Polis Station” proposal presented at last year's Chicago Architecture Biennial, Gang has established herself as perhaps Chicago's leading architect.

Gang is also included as part of Vladimir Belogolovsky's ongoing City of Ideas exhibition tour, representing Chicago among 9 other significant architects, each from a different global city. With the exhibition currently in Gang's home city at the Chicago Design Museum until February 25th, here as part of his City of Ideas column on ArchDaily Belogolovsky presents a shortened version of the interview featured in the exhibition.

Aqua Tower, Chicago, 2009. Image © Hedrich Blessing. Photographer Steve Hall Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership, Kalamazoo, Michigan, 2014. Image © Iwan Baan Writers Theater, Glencoe, Illinois, 2016. Image © Hedrich Blessing. Photographer Steve Hall WMS Boathouse at Clark Park, Chicago, 2013. Image © Hedrich Blessing. Photographer Steve Hall +55

Bijoy Jain: “Architecture Is Not About an Image, It Is About Sensibility”

10:10 - 26 October, 2016
Bijoy Jain: “Architecture Is Not About an Image, It Is About Sensibility”, MPavilion, Melbourne, Australia (2016). Image © John Gollings
MPavilion, Melbourne, Australia (2016). Image © John Gollings

Bijoy Jain, the founder of Indian practice Studio Mumbai, has long been well-known for his earth-bound material sensibilities, and an approach to architecture that bridges the gap between Modernism and vernacular construction. The recent opening of the third annual MPavilion in Melbourne, this year designed by Jain, offered an opportunity to present this architectural approach on a global stage. In this interview as part of his “City of Ideas” series, Vladimir Belogolovsky speaks with Bijoy Jain about his design for the MPavilion and his architecture of “gravity, equilibrium, light, air and water.”

Ahmedabad Residence, Ahmedabad, India (2014). Image Courtesy of Studio Mumbai Copper House II, Chondi, Maharashtra, India (2012). Image Courtesy of Studio Mumbai Carrimjee House, Kankeshwar, Alibuag, Maharashtra, India (2014). Image Courtesy of Studio Mumbai Tara House, Kashid, Maharashtra, India (2005). Image Courtesy of Studio Mumbai +51

Paulo Mendes da Rocha: “Architecture Does Not Desire to Be Functional; It Wants to Be Opportune”

10:00 - 4 October, 2016
Paulo Mendes da Rocha: “Architecture Does Not Desire to Be Functional; It Wants to Be Opportune”, Museu Brasileiro de Escultura (MuBE), 1995. Image © Nelson Kon
Museu Brasileiro de Escultura (MuBE), 1995. Image © Nelson Kon

Paulo Mendes da Rocha is one of Brazil's most celebrated architects. And, in spite of the fact that very little of his work can be found outside São Paulo, his “Paulista Brutalism” is revered worldwide, earning him the Pritzker Prize in 2006 and, just last week, the Royal Institute of British Architects' Gold Medal. In light of the RIBA Gold Medal news, as part of his “City of Ideas” column, Vladimir Belogolovsky here shares an interview conducted with Mendes da Rocha in 2014. The interview was conducted in Mendes da Rocha's office in São Paulo with the help of Brazilian architect Wilson Barbosa Neto acting as translator, and was originally published in Belogolovsky's book, “Conversations with Architects in the Age of Celebrity.”

Vladimir Belogolovsky: In your short text "The Americas, Architecture and Nature," you say that “for Brazilians and Americans in general, the historical experience begins with the modern world. There is a difference between rebuilding old cities in Europe and building new cities in the Americas.” Could you elaborate this thought?

Paulo Mendes da Rocha: Of course, there is a difference in attitude when one builds in such a new place as Brazil or the American continent in general as opposed to Europe. The landscapes are different, cities are different, cultures are different. How can you compare St. Petersburg in Russia and Vitória, my hometown, in Brazil?

Paulistano Athletic Club, 1957. Image Courtesy of Paulo Mendes da Rocha Paulistano Athletic Club, 1957. Image Courtesy of Paulo Mendes da Rocha Capela de São Pedro, 1999. Image © Cristiano Mascaro Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, 1998. Image © Nelson Kon +27

Ricardo Bofill: “Why Are Historical Towns More Beautiful Than Modern Cities?”

10:20 - 13 September, 2016
Ricardo Bofill: “Why Are Historical Towns More Beautiful Than Modern Cities?”, La Muralla Roja, Alicante, 1973. Image Courtesy of Ricardo Bofill
La Muralla Roja, Alicante, 1973. Image Courtesy of Ricardo Bofill

To the uninitiated, Ricardo Bofill might come across as something of a chameleon. Comparing the post-modernism of his projects in Paris of the 1980s, his recent glass-and-steel towers, and the stark stoicism of his own home and studio which he renovated in the 1980s, one would be forgiven for thinking that there is no consistent thread present throughout his work. However, as Bofill reveals in this interview from Vladimir Belogolovsky's “City of Ideas” series, his designs are actually rooted in concepts of regionalism and process which, while recently popular with the architectural community at large, have underpinned his architectural mind since his twenties.

Vladimir Belogolovsky: Your office, a former cement factory, La Fabrica, built back in late 19th century here in Barcelona is fascinating. Would you say it is a manifesto project and is it a work in progress for you or is it finished?

Ricardo Bofill: No, this is not a manifesto. This place is my home. I have lived and worked here for over 40 years. It is not finished and it will never be finished. I think architecture can never be finished. It always needs more work. We started this project by doing demolition, destruction, and deconstruction work first. I loved this place when I first discovered it because it was never planned or designed. Instead, it developed over many years, expanding and rebuilding every time new technology was introduced. It was an homage to industry. The factory reminded me of vernacular architecture. It was industrial vernacular that attracted me. Also there were so many surreal moments such as stairs and bridges going nowhere and arches and porticos in the most unexpected places… I started with a very romantic idea to bring nature into this industrial place. There are plants everywhere. There is a whole ecological layer planted on top of the original industrial complex.

La Fabrica, Sant Just Desvern, Barcelona, 1975. Image Courtesy of Ricardo Bofill Walden-7, Sant Just Desvern, Barcelona, 1975. Image Courtesy of Ricardo Bofill The Pyramid, Spanish-French Border, 1976. Image Courtesy of Ricardo Bofill Les Espaces D´Abraxas, Le Palacio, Le Théâtre, L´Arc New Town Of Marne La Vallée Region Of Paris, France, 1982. Image Courtesy of Ricardo Bofill +80

Project Meganom's Yuri Grigoryan: “Freedom is When You Realize that Anything is Possible”

09:30 - 12 August, 2016
Project Meganom's Yuri Grigoryan: “Freedom is When You Realize that Anything is Possible”, Barn, Nikolo-Lenivets, Kaluga District, Russia, 2006. Image © Yuri Grigoryan
Barn, Nikolo-Lenivets, Kaluga District, Russia, 2006. Image © Yuri Grigoryan

Yuri Grigoryan founded Project Meganom in 1999 in Moscow with his partners Alexandra Pavlova, Iliya Kuleshov, and Pavel Ivanchikov. Together, the group all graduated from Moscow’s Architectural Institute, MArchI in 1991, the year of the Soviet Union’s collapse, and then practiced at the studio of Moscow architect Alexander Larin. Today Project Meganom is headed by Grigoryan, Iliya Kuleshov, Artem Staborovsky, and Elena Uglovskaya, and keeps in close contact with the theoretical side of architecture: Grigoryan teaches at his alma mater and until recently he was the Director of Education at Strelka Institute, founded in 2009 under the creative leadership of Rem Koolhaas, while in 2008 the practice was involved in the Venice Architecture Biennale with their San Stae project for curator Yuri Avvakumov's “BornHouse” exhibition. All of this gives Grigoryan an interesting overview of Russia's unique architectural context. In this interview from his “City of Ideas” column, Vladimir Belogolovsky speaks with Grigoryan about the issues facing Russian architecture and how Project Meganom has responded to those challenges.

Vladimir Belogolovsky: You travel often and participate in student critiques in the West and in Russia. Do you notice any particular difference in approaches?

Yuri Grigoryan: First, the West is not homogeneous. For example, in the late 1980s, during what was then a very rare trip to the USA I had a chance to visit some of the leading studios and schools. I remember how during our visit to the IIT in Chicago the students would sit and methodically place four pieces of paper, forming laconic spaces precisely following Mies van der Rohe’s principles. That was very strange and I did not see any influences coming from outside of that particular school of thought. I could say the same about Russia. At the height of the Constructivist movement, the teachings of our great educators Nikolai Ladovsky and his students Ivan Lamtsov and Mikhail Turkus at Vkhutemas lead to the situation where the figure of a teacher lost its meaning; it was replaced with methodology that was to be obeyed as if it were a sort of religion.

Barn, Nikolo-Lenivets, Kaluga District, Russia, 2006. Image © Yuri Grigoryan Theater Mercury, Moscow, 2006. Image © Marco Zanta Molochny Lane residential building, Moscow, 2003. Image © Yuri Palmin Theater Mercury, Moscow, 2006. Image Courtesy of Project Meganom +15

Interview with Zvi Hecker: “Good Architecture Cannot Be Legal; It Is Illegal!”

09:30 - 30 May, 2016
Interview with Zvi Hecker: “Good Architecture Cannot Be Legal; It Is Illegal!”, Heinz-Galinski School Berlin, Germany, 1995. Image © Michael Krüger
Heinz-Galinski School Berlin, Germany, 1995. Image © Michael Krüger

Throughout the course of his career, the forms present in Zvi Hecker's work have undergone significant changes – from the rigidly geometric shapes of his early work such as his Ramot Polin housing and Synagogue in the Negev Desert, to his more freeform recent works like the Jewish School he designed in Berlin. Hecker, though, sees all of his works as both consistent with each other and individual, describing himself as “an artist whose profession is architecture.” In this interview from his “City of Ideas” column, Vladimir Belogolovsky speaks with Hecker about his inspirations and the ideas that underpin his career.

Vladimir Belogolovsky: I visited the Heinz-Galinski school here in Berlin where your original idea came from the pattern of sunflower seeds; it was not the first time you used it. Could you talk about your fascination with the sunflower, and why you think it is a good guiding principle for a building?

Zvi Hecker: Well, one can’t qualify it as a blueprint for every building. This one was the first Jewish school built in Berlin after the Holocaust. Coming from Israel, I wondered—what could I bring to the children of Berlin? A flower is a natural present and a sunflower is a common flower in Israel. What began as a sunflower evolved into a series of continuously changing images. Already in the construction stage, it looked to some like a kind of a small city with winding streets and courtyards, not really a building. Later on when the schematic model of the load-bearing walls was made, we were surprised to find out that “pages of an open book” were hidden in our design. We didn’t realize it earlier—in Hebrew, school is Beth-Sefer, which literally means “house of the book.”

Spiral Apartment House, Ramat Gan, Israel, 1989. Image © Zvi Hecker Spiral Apartment House, Ramat Gan, Israel, 1989. Image © Zvi Hecker Ramot Polin Housing, Jerusalem, Israel, 1975. Image © Rudolf Klein Synagogue in the Negev Desert, Military Academy, Israel, 1969. Image © Zvi Hecker +39

Interview with Toshiko Mori: “Rather Than Working With Forms, We Work With Forces”

10:00 - 25 April, 2016
Interview with Toshiko Mori: “Rather Than Working With Forms, We Work With Forces”, Newspaper Café in China. Image © Iwan Baan
Newspaper Café in China. Image © Iwan Baan

As a Japanese immigrant who has spent much of her life in the United States, the architecture of Toshiko Mori occupies an interesting space: on one hand, the material and tectonic culture of Japan is, as she puts it, her “DNA.” On the other hand, her work clearly draws inspiration from the Modernists of 20th century America, and most notably from Mies van der Rohe. In this interview from his “City of Ideas” series, Vladimir Belogolovsky speaks with Mori (his former architecture professor) about materials, details, and the inspiration behind her work.

Vladimir Belogolovsky: You came to the US as a teenager with your parents from Japan in the 1960s. Were you interested in art early on back in Japan or was it something that you discovered already here?

Toshiko Mori: I was already interested in art as a child, always drawing, painting, making sculptures and models. I continued doing that here.

Syracuse Center for Excellence, Syracuse, NY. Image © Iwan Baan House in Columbia County, NY with Antony Gormley sculpture. Image © Iwan Baan Extension to Marcel Breuer's House in Connecticut II. Image © Paul Warchol Cultural Center in Senegal (Thread: Artists’ Residency + Cultural Center). Image © Iwan Baan +57

Interview with Peter Eisenman: "I Am Not Convinced That I Have a Style"

10:00 - 11 April, 2016
Interview with Peter Eisenman: "I Am Not Convinced That I Have a Style", The City of Culture in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Image © Eisenman Architects
The City of Culture in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Image © Eisenman Architects

As one of the most revered and often reviled architects of the latter part of the 20th century, Peter Eisenman has courted controversy throughout his 50-year career, often attempting to distance himself from the work of his contemporaries and standing in firm opposition to popular trends. In this interview, Eisenman elaborates on his beliefs about architecture and the new direction he has taken in recent years – while simultaneously pulling no punches when discussing the work of others, including Rem Koolhaas, Richard Meier, and even his younger self.

The interview is a shortened version of the latest of three interviews with Peter Eisenman (from October 2003, June 2009, and February 2016) that comprise the upcoming book by Vladimir Belogolovsky “Conversations with Peter Eisenman.” The book, published by Berlin-based DOM Publishers will be presented during the opening days at the 15th Venice Architecture Biennale in late May this year.

The City of Culture in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Image © Eisenman Architects The City of Culture in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Image © Eisenman Architects The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin, Germany. Image © Eisenman Architects The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin, Germany. Image © Vladimir Belogolovsky +39

Interview with James Wines: "The Point is to Attack Architecture!"

10:30 - 9 March, 2016
Interview with James Wines: "The Point is to Attack Architecture!", BEST Products Indeterminate Façade building (1974). Image © SITE
BEST Products Indeterminate Façade building (1974). Image © SITE

As the founder of SITE, an architecture firm most widely-known for their seminal series of stores for BEST in the 1970s, James Wines has become something of an anomaly in the field of architecture: originally an artist, his approach of creating architecture as a form of cultural criticism struck a chord almost universally, delighting critics and the public alike. In this interview, the latest in Vladimir Belogolovsky's “City of Ideas” column, Wines explains the ideas behind those early designs and how his subsequent works have continued that thread of ideas.

Vladimir Belogolovsky: You were born in Oak Park near Chicago, a town known for its many houses designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Were you aware of them early on and did this fact play a particular role in your interest in architecture?

James Wines: Even as a child, I was very aware of Wright as the generator of really “different” kinds of buildings. Subliminally, this exposure to a neighborhood of masterworks must have played a major role in shaping my aesthetic choices in life. I was born and lived in Oak Park until my first year of high school. My mother seemed to dislike Wright-designed houses and, since her aesthetic tastes were very much molded by middle-American conservatism, she actually felt that his houses had ruined the neighborhood. [Laughs.]

BEST Products Notch Building (1977). Image © SITE Competition entry for Frankfurt Museum of Modern Art (1983). Image © SITE Highway 86 at the 1986 World Expo in Vancouver. Image © SITE Antilia ‘Vertiscape” Tower proposal (2003). Image © SITE +47

Interview with Asymptote Architecture: “We Are Spatial Engineers”

10:30 - 19 February, 2016
Interview with Asymptote Architecture: “We Are Spatial Engineers”, Yas Viceroy Hotel Abu Dhabi, UAE, 2010. Image Courtesy of Asymptote Architecture
Yas Viceroy Hotel Abu Dhabi, UAE, 2010. Image Courtesy of Asymptote Architecture

Founded in 1989, Asymptote Architecture is one of those rare practices that gained their initial notoriety despite the fact that in the early years of their practice most of their designs went unbuilt. As a result, only in the last decade or so have the practice's futuristic and parametric forms truly been tested as physical architecture, with projects such as the Yas Viceroy Hotel in Abu Dhabi. In this installment of his “City of Ideas” column,Vladimir Belogolovsky speaks with Asymptote founders Hani Rashid and Lise Anne Couture about their inspirations, the creation of space and whether architecture can ever be thought of as solving problems.

Vladimir Belogolovsky: I noticed little arrows at your reception saying, “Administration” to the left, “Picabia” to the left, “Studio 2” to the left, “Duchamp” to the right…What are these things?

Hani Rashid: These are the names we have attributed to our meeting spaces using the names of the influences that are acting on us, our cultural ghosts. For example, the room we are now in is “Constant” referring to the great visionary Constant Nieuwenhuys but also a play on “constant” as a verb meaning something is always happening here. [Laughs.] And this naming system also serves to remind us that the work that we do here is not only about the “business” of designing buildings but more importantly, it has to do with the nature of our thinking and a shared passion in this office for developing new and insightful ideas.

The HydraPier Pavilion, Haarlemmermeer, The Netherlands, 2002. Image Courtesy of Asymptote Architecture Steel Cloud, Los Angeles West Coast Gateway Competition, 1989. Image Courtesy of Asymptote Architecture Carlos Miele Flagship Store, New York, 2003. Image Courtesy of Asymptote Architecture 166 Perry Street Condominium, New York, 2006-10. Image Courtesy of Asymptote Architecture +41

Interview with Yona Friedman: “Imagine, Having Improvised Volumes ‘Floating’ In Space, Like Balloons”

10:30 - 27 January, 2016
Interview with Yona Friedman: “Imagine, Having Improvised Volumes ‘Floating’ In Space, Like Balloons”, © Yona Friedman
© Yona Friedman

At 92 years of age, for his entire career Yona Friedman has occupied an unusual spot within the architecture world; his signature concept, the Ville Spatiale which he first proposed in 1956, combines the top-down megastructural thinking visible in later projects such as Archigram's Plug-In City with a total freedom for occupants to design and build their own homes within the structure. In this installment of his “City of Ideas” column, Vladimir Belogolovsky interviews Friedman at his home in Paris to talk about the Ville Spatiale and his theories of mobile and improvised architecture.

Interview with Enrique Norten: "Architecture is Not a Competition of Strange Objects"

11:30 - 5 January, 2016
Interview with Enrique Norten: "Architecture is Not a Competition of Strange Objects", Rutgers Business School, Piscataway, New Jersey. Image © Peter Aaron
Rutgers Business School, Piscataway, New Jersey. Image © Peter Aaron

Founded in 1986 in Mexico City, Enrique Norten's practice TEN Arquitectos is not known for a signature style, preferring to make each project a modernist-infused response to its own specific conditions. Nonetheless, they have become one of the most widely-recognized architectural practices emerging from Mexico, with projects throughout North America. In the latest interview in his "City of Ideas" column, Vladimir Belogolovsky speaks with Norten in New York to find out how the architect's past has influenced his current design work, and to discuss the future trajectory of architecture.

Vladimir Belogolovsky: How busy are you now, what kind of projects are you working on?

Enrique Norten: Fortunately, we are very busy. Half of our work is for such clients as cultural institutions, education, and government. The other half is for private clients – developers and homeowners. TEN Arquitectos maintains around 75 to 85 architects between our two offices in Mexico City and here in New York, from where we are working on projects in many major cities in the US and now in Toronto, and in the Caribbean. Two thirds of the work is handled by our Mexico City office, from which we work on projects all over Mexico and in Central America.

The new Acapulco City Hall. Image Courtesy of TEN Arquitectos CENTRO University, Mexico City. Image © Luis Gordoa Mercedes House, New York City. Image © Evan Joseph Habita Hotel, Mexico City. Image © Luis Gordoa +23