From the Publisher. Christoph Gielen’s aerial views offer a look at America’s most aberrant and unusual sprawl forms in ways we usually don’t get to see them: from far above the ground—a vantage point that reveals both the intricate geometry as well as the idiosyncratic allure of these developments. Here, encountering sprawl becomes an aesthetic experience that at the same time leaves us with a sense of foreboding, of seeing the “writing on the wall”. At once fascinating and profoundly unsettling, these photographs detail the potential ramifications of unchecked urbanization. When these settlements were developed, neither distance from work place nor gasoline prices much mattered in determining the locations of new constructions. These places are relics from an era that was entirely defined by a belief in unlimited growth, of bigger is better. The startling extent of those practices, and their inherent wastefulness, come to light in Gielen’s pictures—as if looking at a microcosm of non-sustainability through a giant magnifier.
Contributing essays by Johann Frederik Hartle, Galina Tachieva, Srdjan Jovanic Weiss, Susannah Sayler and Edward Morris contextualize Gielen’s work by focusing on a range of aspects, from aesthetics to climate change and futurology. They also examine why taking a closer look at these places is particularly crucial at this juncture, when we are faced with a new wave of building booms in developing nations such as in China.
The following is an excerpt from Sean Lally’s The Air from Other Planets, A Brief History of Architecture to Come. The book introduces the reader to an architecture produced by designing the energy within our environment (electromagnetic, thermodynamic, acoustic, and chemical)– an architecture that exchanges walls and shells for a range of material energies that develop its own shapes, aesthetics, organizational systems, and social experiences. Energy becomes its own enterprise for design innovation; it becomes the architecture itself.
One of architecture’s primary acts is to define the spatial boundaries that organize and hold specified activities within them. The behavioral properties of the materials used to make that boundary not only influence the physical characteristics of that space (maximum height, span, aperture sizes), but also determine how the human body perceives and senses those boundary changes (opacity, transparency, acoustics), which then informs the behaviors and movements of the individuals using the space. This definition of boundaries is one that architects have continually tested and subverted as new materials, construction methods, and social trends have emerged over the centuries. It follows that if energy could be controlled and deployed as physical boundaries that define and organize spaces that the human body can detect and recognize, wouldn’t that be architecture? These new building materials would only need to demonstrate that they could absorb the “responsibilities” of boundaries—able to determine spatial hierarchies, provide security, hold aesthetic value, etc.—for them to be called architecture. Current trends just on the periphery of the discipline that could make this a possibility only need to be integrated through the lens of the architect to see their potential.
Gasp! What provokes this reflex that leaves one short of breath? More than just a sudden turn of events, for discourse to move from gossip to scandal there have to be stakes. Reputations, profits, and history-by-the-winners are on the line.
In 1939, architect George W. Stoddard understood these stakes well when writing his apology to the AIA Board of Directors. “There are times in every man’s life when he does things on the spur of the moment that he later regrets,” Stoddard implored after flouting a professional ban on advertising. The popular newspaper tabloid from following decades trafficked in one form of scandal surrounding the crime of regrettable deeds: originating in the private sphere and then splashed in the public one. These stories trade in schadenfreude while simultaneously performing in the interest of public good.
Stoddard’s delinquent act barely raises the contemporary pulse. Today, shocking headlines proliferate. If scandal shapes and reflects the historical moment, what does this de-sensitization say about our current condition? Many artists and architects operate fully conscious of an anaesthetized public. Thresholds 43: Scandalous seeks to investigate the relevance of scandal in creative practice. Content should confront a history of devious schemes, spectacular headlines, and pulp fictions by engaging them in critical conversation.
Scandal, we believe, is the red flag of every cultural movement. Sin segues into standards. Take Corbusier’s Plan Voisin and subsequent tower in the park offshoots, or Mapplethorpe’s The Perfect Moment that opened a new era of artistic provocations concerning public funding and censorship. This potential for transition, from shocking to ubiquitous, leads the editors of Thresholds to subvert a pursuit of the ‘goods’ and instead ask: what is ‘bad’? How does scandal emerge from or act counter to institutional and social contracts? How do changing forms of media, from the catchy hashtag to the news alert, incite slander or even revolution? Why does scandal destroy some while elevating others? Which sites are labeled crime scenes?
Submission Deadline: April 30, 2014
Thresholds is an annual, peer-reviewed journal that accepts original material for publication.
Thresholds is looking for three types of content: Scholarly articles, projects, and shorts.
1. Scholarly articles: Text should be in English, limited to 3,000 words, and formatted in accordance with the Chicago Manual of Style. Images should be included separately at 300 dpi print quality, with captions and credits.
2. Projects: Image-based content of creative practices formatted for print publication. Thresholds is formatted with an individual page size of 6.5” x 9.5” (portrait) and spread size of 13” x 9.5”.
3. Shorts: Brief creative content, such as a sketch, rant, or overheard, to serve as a break between featured articles and projects. Guidelines are open.
Submissions should include a cover letter, contact information and brief bio of under 50 words for each author. Text as MS Word, images as TIFF files. All material should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org
More info can be found here.
Nathan Friedman and Ann Lui, Editors
Thresholds, MIT Architecture
77 Massachusetts Ave, Room 7-337
Cambridge, MA 02139
From the publisher. March 2014 issue of a+u is focused on photographs of architectural models by Spain-based photographer Hisao Suzuki.
Based on the essence of architects’ thinking expressed in the images, 70 photographs of models by 25 architects are categorized into “Inception”, “Organization”, “Blooming” and “Experiential”. We also asked six architects – Arata Isozaki, Christian Kerez, Ryue Nishizawa, Kazuyo Sejima, Fabian Asunción (former architect at EMBT), Bijoy Jain – to talk about what models mean to their ways of creating architecture. Each photo is accompanied by photographer’s story from the photo shoot.
ArchDaily is happy to announce a new development in our partnership with The Architectural Review. Each month, AR’s editor, Catherine Slessor, will weigh in with a thematic introduction to the subjects addressed in their current issue. Up now: public space. Is it on the brink of extinction? And, if so, how can we reclaim it?
Just over 20 years ago, Mike Davis and Michael Sorkin predicted the end of public space as we knew it. ‘America’s cities are being rapidly transformed by a sinister and homogeneous design’, they wrote at the time. ‘A new kind of urbanism – manipulative, dispersed, and hostile to traditional public space – is emerging both at the heart and at the edge of town in megamalls, corporate enclaves, gentrified zones, and pseudo-historic marketplaces.It marked the beginning of the realisation that public space was being stealthily privatised and commodified; the historic freedoms of the agora and the piazza replaced by the patrolled and proscribed confine of the theme park and shopping mall.
The Unpublishables, an independent architectural fanzine based in the UK, seeks to offer a platform for young architects – as well as designers and makers – to publish their own writing. About to launch their second edition, the zine has provided an outlet for ideas of young people who have the commitment and vision to develop their own design philosophies, polemics and research outside of full-time education or employment.
From the publisher. The development of industry and culture in the modern period has created architecture suited for the particular system. As the industry declines, followed by the population shift, the original purpose of these buildings has been lost. Instead of demolishing them and rebuilding from scratch, many have been renovated to serve as the bases for revitalizing the regions.
February 2014 issue of a+u introduces 10 works that take advantage of the architectural system derived from their original function and are enabled to assume new roles in the society.
JA92 takes a retrospective glance at the architecture of 2013. 49 works were chosen from cities around the world including Japan with the focus on architecture’s relationship with environment and cultural background.
Also included are essays by Hitoshi Abe, Anton Garcia-Abril and TYIN.
From the publisher. In the past three year, the January issue of A+U has focused on 100 works of architecture built in a certain country since 2000 From those selected works , we have witnessed the country’s as well as the era’s distinctive traits. Following Switzerland the Netherlands and Germany, this year we are featuring Spain and Portugal.
In OASE’s 91st edition, Building Atmospheres, the elusive craft of creating, capturing and understanding ‘atmosphere’ in architecture is explored in a carefully chosen collection of themed essays by Peter Zumthor, Juhani Pallasmaa and philosopher Gernot Böhme. Zumthor, famous for his 1996 text Atmospheres, identifies and discusses “a series of themes that play a role in his work in achieving architectonic atmosphere”. Alongside this, the OASE team have visited his studio and interviewed him about the current relevance of his writing and how he captures ‘atmosphere’ in his design process.
Launched in September 2013 by students at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Open Letters is a print experiment that tests the epistolary form as a device for generating conversations about architecture and design. The project stems from an earnest curiosity about what people have to say to each other about architecture, landscapes, cities, ideas, history, practice, experience and learning.
New issues are released every other Friday, each presenting one open letter, i.e. a letter addressed to a particular party, but intended for publication, about any topic relating to the design disciplines. Past correspondents have written to mentors, chairs, trees, mystical creatures, those in need of advice and to NCARB. All issues can be read online.
From the Publisher. JA91 is a special issue devoted to the architectural model. Today, with the advance of simulation technology, architects possess wide -ranging tools for verifying and communicating their ideas, tools that are, moreover, easy to use. Still, many architects continue even now to construct models in various phases of the process from concept design to realization.
The latest issue of one of our favorite magazines, A+U, has just arrived to the ArchDaily office from Japan. This issue’s main theme is “Norwegian Architecture Toward Sustainability,” in which you can find projects previously featured by AD, like the amazing Trollstigen National Tourist Route by Reiulf Ramstad Architects, Rintala Eggertsson’s Seljord Watchtower and Høse Bridge, Jektvik Ferry Quay by Carl-Viggo Hølmebakk, Helen & Hard’s Vennesla Library and Culture House, the Statoil Regional and International Offices by a-lab and many more. Full info + content after the break.
From the Publisher. From his early days as one of the “New York Five,” Richard Meier has been a central figure in contemporary architecture; this updated 2013 trade edition of the XL version is published in the occasion of the firm’s 50th anniversary. With the Getty Center and more recent buildings such as the Jubilee Church in Rome, Meier has established a reputation for expanded the horizons of contemporary American architecture while maintaining his rigorously rational approach to design and detailing. Known for carefully conceived grid plans and frequent use of white, Meier is a master of light, space, and volume, able to adapt his style to very different circumstances and locations.
We recently received the latest issue of Mark Magazine. This issue’s main theme is “Into the Wild, Breaking new ground in Pioneertown”. In this edition you can find in depth previously featured projects by AD, like Torus by Norisada Maeda, The Umeå Art Museum or the work of Australian practice, Lyons. Full info after the break.
Written by James WP Campbell and featuring stunning photography by Will Pryce, “The Library: A World History” (published by Thames & Hudson 2013) explores the evolution of libraries in different cultures and throughout the ages. It investigates how technical innovations as well as changing cultural attitudes have shaped the designs of libraries from the tablet storehouses of ancient Mesopotamia to today’s multi-functional media centres.
Read on for some insights from the book and more of its beautiful photography
Turn the bend and the foreignness of the thing reveals itself, with its gunmetal-colored facade, surfaces jutting at oblique angles, and curves and lines that suggest automotive racing streaks or cooling pipes at a power-generation facility. It would fit right in with a fleet of Star Destroyers blasting some unfortunate rebel ship with turbolasers. — The Atlantic Cities’ John Metcalfe, describing Zaha Hadid’s Library and Learning Center in Vienna
When architecture and Sci-Fi are mentioned in the same breath, it’s usually only to achieve an amusing, surface-level comparison. Zaha’s library? A “Star Destroyer.” OMA’s Casa da Música? A Sandcrawler. And while these unlikely likenesses certainly speak to Sci-Fi’s hold on architecture’s imagination, they don’t really delve into the potential Sci-Fi holds as a source of architectural inspiration.
Enter CLOG: SCI-FI. As does each issue of CLOG, SCI:FI “slows things down,” taking a good-hard look at architecture and science fiction’s long, fascinating relationship. And while it certainly provides many entertaining meanders into comics, literature, and film (including a peek into 2001: A Space Odyssey by ArchDaily contributors INTERIORS), SCI:FI really shines when it’s digging below the surface, exploring how both architecture and sci-fi reveal the dilemmas, fears, and desires of our society today.