Studio Banana TV Interview with Ma Yansong / MAD architects

Beijing-born architect has become an important, emerging voice to a new generation of architects. Shortly after establishing MAD architects in 2004, his practice earned worldwide attention (2006) by winning an international competition to design a residential tower near Toronto, expected to be completed in the summer of 2012. In this interview with Studio Banana TV, Yansong discusses a few of his latest works, including MAD’s first museum completed last year in Ordos, Inner Mongolia. Continue reading for more information. (more…)

Women in Architecture: Toshiko Mori presents her work

, FAIA, founder and principal of Toshiko Mori Architect, discusses her work, including the Darwin D. Martin House Visitors Center. The lecture begins with a 15 minute documentary “A Girl is a Fellow Here: 100 Women Architects in the Studio of ”, produced by the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation.

“Toshiko Mori: Role Models and Paradigm Shift: Frank, Paul, Marcel and Me,” part of the Women of Architecture series, is a collaboration between the National Building Museum and the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation to celebrate Women’s History Month.

Reference: DI, National Building Museum 

Alturas de Macchu Picchu: Martín Chambi – Álvaro Siza at work

Siza sketching at Macchu Picchu, , 1995. © Andreia Soutinho

In 1995, Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza packed a few changes of clothes, some poetry books and a single sketchbook as he set forth to Peru. These few items were all he needed to record and interpret his voyage, allowing him to integrate his investigations into his architecture. More than a half a century earlier, Peruvian photographer Martín Chambi ventured into the peaks of Macchu Picchu were he captured a famous series of portraits of the ancient Inca ruins. His project was more political, it acted as a re-appropriation of the site by its locals, but the tools of Chambi and Siza are the same: the production of images to define a reality.

The Canadian Center for Architecture (CCA) presents Alturas de Macchu Picchu: Martín Chambi – Álvaro Siza at work – an exhibit featuring thirty-five original sketches by Álvaro Siza alongside the historic 1920s photographs by Martín Chambi, now on view at in the CCA’s Octagonal Gallery until April 22, 2012. Continue reading for more information.

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Pratt Institute presents two Public Exhbitions on the Work of Theoharis David

Allegra GSP Sport Center © Charalambos Artemis

Tonight in Brooklyn, – Architect, alumnus and longtime Pratt Architecture Professor Theoharis David, FAIA, will deliver a lecture which will be introduced by visionary architect Lebbeus Woods reflecting on David’s 43 years as a teacher through the work of his former students, many of whom have gone on to become accomplished architects and teachers. The lecture will be followed by an opening reception for “Built Ideas: A Life of Teaching, Learning, and Action,” an exhibition of models, photos, and concept drawings by David that will be on view at The School of Architecture through March 30. The Pratt’s Department of Exhibitions are also presenting “An Architect Drawing,” an exhibition of drawings and texts from David’s architectural experiences through September 28.

Tonight’s lecture is open to the public; however please note that seating priority is reserved for members of the Pratt community at 5:30PM and members of the public will be admitted at 5:50PM. Continue reading for more information.

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Wang Shu by Alejandro Aravena

Ningbo Museum of History, photo © Iwan Baan

We had the exclusive opportunity to interview Pritzker Prize Jury Alejandro Aravena about ’s work and the reasons of his selection as the 2012 Pritzker Prize laureate, where he cites extracts of conversations with the Chinese architect.

Wang Shu’s outstanding architecture may be the consequence of being able to combine talent and intelligence. This combination allows him to produce masterpieces when a monument is needed, but also very careful and contained architecture when a monument is not the case. The intensity of his work may be a consequence of his relative youth, but the precision and appropriateness of his operations talk of great maturity.

Consider Ningbo Museum of History: it is so powerful, so overwhelming that it deserves to be called a masterpiece. You don’t visit the building; you are hit by the building. I remember having felt the same only a few times in my life, like when visiting Kahn’s Parliament in Bangladesh or his Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad. Being “hit” by a building happens very rarely in architecture, because that kind of impact tends to belong more to music or film, where the experience of a piece can be extremely moving and touching to the point of altering the mood in a deep positive way. Unfortunately this cannot be transmitted by photographs.
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Frank Lloyd Wright appears on “What’s My Line?” in 1956

This June 3, 1956 clip of the Long-running CBS game show What’s My Line? has been making its rounds on the internet for quite sometime now. As it just recently popped up on Dwell’s twitter feed, we knew it must be featured on ArchDaily for our readers who may have not seen it yet, as it is a classic and features the 89-year-old “World Famous Architect” . Just as any good architect would do, Wright critiques the poor acoustical qualities of the space as a blindfolded all-star panel (such as Arlene Francis and Peter Lawford) attempts to guess his professional title.

Reference: Mediabistro

Interview: Glenn Murcutt Talking Heads

In this interview, between Australian Architect Glenn Murcutt and Peter Thompson for ABC TV’s Talking Heads program, Murcutt reveals his three rules in life: simplicity, simplicity, and “of course, simplicity”.  He speaks openly about his upbringing and childhood, about his inspirations and how he has grown and developed his passions as an architect.  He has recieved the 2002 Pritzker Prize and 2009 AIA Gold Medal.

Follow us after the break for the rest of the interview. (more…)

Herman Hertzberger awarded the 2012 RIBA Gold Medal

The Royal Institute of British Architects () has selected the internationally acclaimed Dutch architect as the Royal Gold Medalist of 2012. Hertzberger established his firm Architectuurstudio HH in 1958 and since has made significant contributions to the world of modern architecture. He is not only an architect, but a teacher and published writer. Hertzberger has won a great many competitions, has been made an honorary member of several cultural bodies and has been awarded international architecture prizes, both for individual projects and for his oeuvre as a whole. Continue reading for more information on Hermam Hertzberger and the video above.  (more…)

Video: Richard Rogers in conversation with RIBA President Angela Brady

President Angela Brady discusses design in 2012 with British architect Richard Rogers. Together, they discuss the important issues surrounding housing and cities, both agreeing that “intensification is critical”. Homes built within a compact city are said to be five times more efficient than those built outside the city. This realization is an important fact that should guide government officials, builders and architects to work together towards more intelligent and beneficial growth patterns.

Reference: RIBA, DI

Video: Bjarke Ingels featured as a CNN “Next Lister”

Dr. Sanjay Gupta of ’s “The Next List” features the bold and innovative ideas of Bjarke Ingels, focusing on the West 57th project that is transforming Manhattan skyline. Ingels states, “In the picture, architecture is the art and science of making sure that our cities and buildings fit the way we want to live our lives.” The video also features comments from Robert A. M. Stern, Dean at Yale School of Architecture, and Douglas Durst, the developer of West 57th. Check it out!

Reference: CNN

The AIA Elevates 105 Members and Six International Architects to the College of Fellows

The 2012 Jury of Fellows from the American Institute of Architects () have elevated 105 members to its prestigious College of Fellows, an honor awarded to those who have made a significant contribution to architecture and society on a national level while achieving a standard level of excellence. The 2012 Fellows will be honored at an investiture ceremony at the 2012 National Convention and Design Exposition in Washington, D.C.

Continue reading for more information and the complete list of newly honored Fellows. (more…)

Portuguese architect Paulo David selected as 2012 Alvar Aalto Medal recipient

© FG + SG Fernando Guerra

Paulo David has been announced as the eleventh recipient of the – a prestigious honor awarded to an architect or architectural firm that has provided significant contributions to the field of architecture. “In an era where the profession is obsessed with computer-generated patterns, ‘design’ in many practices has become greatly interested in manipulating forms rather than place making and the making of architecture.” The jury honors David for his ability to create timeless architecture that plays a significant role in his hometown island of Madeira. David’s respect for history, time, place, culture and technology has allowed him to stand out from the current trend of “desperately interesting architecture” and create a new, meaningful layer within the historic volcanic landscapes of Madeira.

Continue reading to learn more. (more…)

Practice 2.0: Championing the young architect’s career, a lesson from technology startups

ICON's 20 Young Architects, photo via anarchitecture

By David Fano and Steve Sanderson, edited by Julie Quon

A well-known and often cited truism of architecture notes that forty (as in years) is considered young for an architect and most don’t start hitting their stride until they’re seventy. This may partially explain why well-known architects seem to live forever… they’re simply too busy to die. What is often omitted from this narrative is how the architects spent the first twenty (or so) years of their careers as freshly minted graduates prior to being recognized by their peers in the profession as “making it”.

If you approach any architect about their early-career experience in the profession you will get slightly different versions of the same story. They are all, in essence, about paying your dues.

  1. Taking a low-paying position for an A or B-list architect, where the compensation for long hours is the privilege of anonymous design on important projects, and in return a few hours are spent outside of the studio (usually with a group of similarly indebted classmates) on open design competitions that pay trifle stipends.
  2. Taking a low-paying adjunct teaching position, ideally in a design studio, where compensation for long hours is the privilege of working on your design interests with students in order to become a part of the elite tastemakers and to one day be shortlisted for an exclusive cultural competition.
  3. Taking a slightly better paying position with a corporate firm and spending your hours outside of work designing kitchens and bathrooms for wealthy friends and family with hopes that their social reach is broad enough to lead to additional commissions that will one day be substantial enough to make a living.
  4. Taking a slightly better paying position with a corporate firm and slogging through the incredibly tedious intern development and professional registration process in order to move up the corporate hierarchy. The goal is to eventually become a principal or partner with an established firm or even break off on your own with some of the established firm’s clients.

In each of these scenarios, the only path to a significant commission is to spend the few hours outside of these paying jobs in the pursuit of establishing credibility and reputation through exposure in architectural publications. In any case, it seems that around the age of forty is when all of this hard work finally begins to pay off with consistent commissions. For the vast majority that never succeed by following these models, there is usually a ‘pivot’ (in startup terms, a change in approach) that leads to a stable corporate position, a full-time teaching post, or an exit from the profession altogether (we did the latter, see Fed’s post). The difficulty of ‘being’ an architect is branded about in schools (oftentimes by people with little to no actual experience in the field) as a source of pride, a perverse hazing ritual intended to weed out all but the most dedicated adherents to the ideals of architecture as a pure form of expression, a rationale which further reinforces architecture as an intellectual pursuit for the privileged (that topic is for another post).

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53 Questions by Luca Farinelli

based architect and writer, Luca Farinelli, has met with 22 architects, critics and historians between February and August of last year to present them with an identical sequence of questions revolving around clichés and recurring themes within architectural discourse. Each meeting was captured on video, generating an interesting compilation of 265 answers by some of the most well-known architecture professionals. The first interviews, published in Log 23 this past fall, included Emilio AmbaszPeter EisenmanSteven HollBjarke Ingels and Thom Mayne. Check out Farinelli’s website and visit Anyone Corporation for more information.

Reframing the Stats About Architecture

© ArchMen - Fotolia.com

Architecture press is buzzing with recent Bureau of Labor Statistics reports on unemployment and self-employment figures for those in the architecture field. The media have taken this data and made a plentitude of fearful predictions about the dark future of the architecture profession: there are more too many graduates, seemingly few positions, higher educational requirements and less prestige for the profession as a whole. They paint a somewhat dismal picture, both for those entering the field and those in mid-career, who are looking to start a firm.

The BLA Statistics and a recent study from Georgetown University’s Center on Education offer the following as signs of difficulty and doom:

  • Licensing requirements (for architects) include not only a professional degree in architecture (4-6 years of schooling), but also at least 3 years of practical work, training, and passing all divisions of the Architect Registration Examination
  • Architecture graduates face stiff competition, especially for jobs in the most prestigious firms
  • Undergraduate architecture students are facing 13.9 percent unemployment rates
  • About 21 percent of architects are self-employed—almost 3 times the proportion for all occupations

While these statistics could take one down a road of despair, there is more to the story. The reality is that the architecture field has naturally changed with a changing world. All professions are undergoing a profound evolution on several fronts: demographic, education and economic. These changes are not all bad, and actually may provide the basis for optimism.

Demographics

“Architecture was historically a gentleman’s profession,” said Michael Porter, AIA during an interview we conducted for Success by Design. He went on to say, “Even as recently as 50 years ago, architects were almost always male, came from wealthy families and pursued the career as a symbol of philanthropy more than for financial gain.”

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Video: Toguchi Lecture / Peter Bohlin

American architect Peter Bohlin, FAIA discusses his life work and design philosophy at the 2011 September Chapter Meeting, held in the Cartwright Auditorium at Kent State University. Bohlin founded Bohlin Cywinski Jackson in 1965 and has since gained a reputation for creating exceptional designs that are committed to the individuality of place and user. Bohlin has been awarded over 500 regional, national and international awards for design. In 2010, he received the national AIA Gold Medal, the highest award given by the institute. Enjoy the lecture and view ArchDaily’s exclusive interview with here.

Bohlin Cywinski Jackson projects at ArchDaily:

Reference: AIA Akron

Learning from Ricardo: an unpublished recent talk with Ricardo and Victor Legorreta by Carlo Ezechieli

San Antonio Library, Texas / Photo by John W. Schulze via flickr - http://www.flickr.com/photos/gruenemann/

In memory of Ricardo Legorreta (May 7, 1931 – December 30, 2011), Carlo Ezechieli (Ph.D., Adjunct Professor of Architecture Politecnico di Milano, Principal of CE-A Architects) has shared with us his story of discovering Ricardo Legorreta’s work and his recent interview with Ricardo and his son, Victor Legorreta.

The first time I came in contact with Ricardo Legorreta’s work, was back in 1998. Of course I was familiar with his name, particularly due to Kenneth Frampton’s “Critical Regionalism” writings, but I actually did not know much about his architecture. One day I happened to visit the Camino Real Hotel in D.F. which, according to my hosts, it was something that had to be seen, although none of us was really knew what architect had designed it. I was totally amazed. The entrance, an extraordinary space, was filled up by the sound and movement of an unconventional fountain that resembled the ocean waves. The interior was a huge, astounding introverted and essential translation of Pre-Hispanic monumental spaces. I was surprised to learn, later on, that this very contemporary building dated back to 1968 and was completed when Legorreta was not even 40.

I did not have many chances to meet Ricardo privately, nevertheless I believe that the few meetings we had, were sufficient to learn something really important from him in terms of ethics, approach to work and, eventually, attitude towards life in general. Ricardo Legorreta was the author of incredible works and was a great innovator exactly because he was able to move and orient himself, with complete freedom, within the coordinates of a culture and a tradition that he knew deeply and to which he felt he belonged totally. He did this always avoiding “architect’s” bizarre and unneeded brain-waves and remembering “not to take oneself too seriously”. A set of values, too often forgotten, that emerge from his narration in this interview and which finds full continuity in his son Victor. His death, last December 30, leaves a deep sense of sorrow and loss.

Continue reading for Ezechieli’s exclusive interview with Ricardo and Victor Legorreta. 

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An Architectural Christmas

Vitra, Ginger bread Vitra Haus

During these days we have received close to a thousand seasonal greetings from architects, photographers and editorials around the world. We are very grateful to have collaborated with an amazing group of professionals, who mixed creativity and humor on their e-cards.

Enjoy a selection of these e-cards, including this nice Ginger Bread Vitra Haus, along with Snøhetta, SOM, Richard Meier, , CEBRA, and more!

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