Germany’s contribution to the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale scrutinizes the architecture of representation, its crisis, and potential cessation. Aside from the universal ambition of modernism to break with the past, Germany has undergone a number of decisive political and societal breaks during the last hundred years. Through the question of how the nation “(re)builds and represents itself through architecture, we are able to discuss the friction between national identity and architecture expression—however, architecture is not only a mirror to ideology, but a constituting reality and societal context.”
Mirroring the Serpentine Galleries of London, the Naomi Milgrom Foundation has announced its own yearly pavilion commission for the city of Melbourne. Sited in the Queen Victoria Memorial Gardens, the premier “MPavilion” will be designed by Sean Godsell, opening October 6th of this year. The pavilion will host a variety of community events, including art installations and performances, over a four month period. It remains to be seen whether the MPavilion will have a lasting impact on the architectural culture of the city, as some critics have pointed out. To learn more about this now annual commission, visit this article from infolink.
This time-lapse video, entitled “Above LA,” is Chris Pritchard’s love letter to Los Angeles. Filmed over the course of two years, Pritchard sought out locations to showcase the city in a way people rarely get to see – from above. Some of the views were easy to seek out, while others involved some exploratory hiking and trespassing. He encourages “everyone – lifelong Angelenos, transplants, visitors – to hit the trails, drive the mountain roads, find a reason to get on top of a high-rise. From the basin to the valley, this city offers so many opportunities to rise above and look down. Never stop exploring.”
Tod Williams and Billie Tsien have been awarded the National Medal for Arts by the National Endowment for the Arts. The duo, known for projects such as the Barnes Foundation and for the controversy surrounding the demolition of their 2001 American Folk Art Museum last year, will be rewarded for their “deliberate and inspired designs” as well as their services in teaching. The medals will be awarded to them by President Obama in a ceremony on July 28th. Also receiving a medal will be Johnpaul Jones of Washington DC firm Jones & Jones, who will be the first Architect to receive the National Humanities Medal in the Award’s 17-year history. Find out more about the awards at World-Architects.
Dutch architect Winy Maas has been selected as the curator for the Strelka Institute’s 2014-2015 academic year. One of the co-founders of Rotterdam-based firm MVRDV, Maas also lectures and teaches all over the world, most recently serving as a visiting professor of architectural design at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and as a professor of architecture and urban design at Delft University of Technology.
Over the course of nine months, graduate students at the Strelka Institute studied the urban landscape of Moscow and the daily routines of its inhabitants, focusing “on new, little-noticed, and as-yet unresolved contradictions.” The main goal of the projects was to come up with solutions that could be applied in practice.
The research projects, collectively entitled “Urban Routines,” were presented at the end of this past June at the graduate show. Program director David Erixon said that while the theme might seem naive, “when you start looking at seemingly trivial things in a new way they are not so trivial anymore.” For details about the individual research projects – covering Cars, Retail, Dwelling, Offices, and Links - keep reading after the break.
The results of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Future Trends Survey for June show that the Workload Index among UK practices increased slightly to +34 (from +33 in May) with confidence levels amongst RIBA practices about the level of future workloads remaining “very strong and widespread across the whole of the UK”. Whereas last month’s survey showed Wales and the West with the brightest outlook, this month’s survey saw Scotland top the index with a balance figure of +50, the East Midlands and East Anglia tailing closely behind with a figure of +48. Workload forecasts from practices of all sizes are optimistically reporting positive balance figures.
Today is Eduardo Souto de Moura’s 62nd birthday. With over 60 buildings worldwide, Souto de Moura is known for his thoughtful use of colors and materials. Although often described as a “Miesian” architect, de Moura provides local and original interpretations of Mies van Der Rohe’s modernist style.
Born in Porto, Souto de Moura enrolled at the School of Fine Arts in Porto, studying sculpture and later transferring to architecture at the University of Porto – a decision he credits to a meeting with the artist Donald Judd. While still a student, Souto de Moura interned in the studio of Álvaro Siza, where he worked for five years until starting his own practice in 1980, following Siza’s advice. Although his first major commission was the Cultural Center of Porto, his early career included mostly private homes. Later, de Moura was commissioned for larger public buildings, such as the the Braga Municipal Stadium (2004), the Burgo Tower (2007), and the Casa das Histórias Paula Rego (2008).
The Australian Institute of Architects‘ International Area Committee Jury has announced the recipients of its 2014 international awards, given to projects completed by Australian architects overseas. The biggest winners on the night were Denton Corker Marshall, who in addition to winning the Award for Public Architecture with their Stonehenge Visitor Centre also received commendations for public architecture and commercial architecture.
BVN Donovan Hill dominated in the field of interior architecture, scooping both the award and a commendation in the category. Kerry Hill Architects also achieved the same result in the residential category. Read on after the break for the full list of awards and commendations.
In an article for London’s Royal Academy of Arts Magazine entitled Plane Sailing, Zaha Hadid discusses the influence of Russian Suprematist painter Kazimir Malevich on her own design work. In Hadid’s early work, such as The Peak Blue Slabs (1982/83), the visual connections to Malevich’s strict, regular shapes and lines are evident.
After years of rebuilding from the devastating earthquake that hit the city in February 2011, the city of Christchurch in New Zealand has announced an open competition to design a memorial to the 185 people that lost their lives in the tragedy. The $3.5 million memorial will be situated in the city center on the banks of the Ōtākaro-Avon River, and is expected to be “a thoughtfully designed space where small groups or individuals can pay respect to those who died,” but will also “comfortably fit a crowd of around 2,000 people” to host an annual memorial gathering, as well as other events.
More details after the break
Talk about Modernist Japanese architecture, and you can hardly fail to bring up Tokyo‘s Hotel Okura. Built in 1962 under the design direction of Yoshiro Taniguchi, Hideo Kosaka, Shiko Munakata, and Kenkichi Tomimoto, the hotel has long been a landmark not only for the city, but for Japan. Now, however, the hotel’s owners have decided that the main building for the hotel will be demolished in September of 2015, with a new hotel taking its place. To learn more – including how to sign the petition for preservation – keep reading after the break.
The Italian Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Biennale looks at the country’s architecture through the lens of “grafting,” or the transferring of new ideas onto preexisting realities and structures.
Architect and Pavilion curator Cino Zucchi associates grafting with “the great capacity to interpret and incorporate preceding states through continuous metamorphoses.” He opens and closes the Italian Pavilion with two physical grafts: a large rusted steel arch and a bench sculpture. The first room of the exhibit begins with a study of modernization in Milan, followed by series of collages of contemporary projects in Italy. A video of Italian urban environments concludes the exhibit.
See images of the Pavilion and read a description from the curator after the break.
The government of New South Wales have announced plans for Sydney’s largest program of urban renewal since the 2000 Summer Olympics. The proposal seeks to utilise and regenerate a series of former docklands from the area of Blackwattle Bay, through the Sydney Fish Market, Rozelle Bay and Rozelle Rail Yards, to White Bay Power Station (a protected building).
Jane Duncan, an Architect based in the English county of Buckinghamshire, has been elected as the 76th President of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). Taking over the reigns from current President Stephen Hodder in September 2015, Duncan will become only the third female President after beating fellow candidate Oliver Richards (by a majority of 52% of the vote) to the institute’s highest position. According to the Architects’ Journal, only 16.7% of RIBA members voted in the election.
The US Architecture Billings Index (ABI) continued showing significant improvement in June, jumping to 53.5 from 52.6 in May, and hitting new records in the Projects Inquiry and Design Contracts indexes.
As the American Institute of Architects (AIA) reports, the new Projects Inquiry Index surged to 66.4, its highest level in the year to date. In addition, the AIA’s new Design Contracts Index hit 55.7 – its highest mark since the indictor starting being measured in October 2010.
“The recent surge in both design contracts and general inquiries for new projects by prospective clients is indicative of a sustainable strengthening across the construction marketplace,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “With the first positive reading since last summer in billings at institutional firms, it appears that design activity for all major segments of the building industry is growing. The challenge now for architecture firms seems to be finding the right balance for staffing needs to meet increasing demand.”
A breakdown of regional highlights, after the break…
The Rhode Island School Of Design, Brown University and the University of Applied Sciences Erfurt, Germany collaborated on a passive “fabric” house for the 2014 Solar Decathlon Europe (which just wrapped up this month – see the winners here). In the following article, originally published on Metropolis Magazine, Martin Pedersen reviews the remarkable house.
This summer’s 2014 Solar Decathlon Europe is well underway in France, where a solar-powered village of twenty sustainable homes designed and built by college students from all over the country, has emerged on the grounds of the Palace of Versailles. Students from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Brown University, and the University of Applied Sciences Erfurt, Germany, have teamed up for Techstyle Haus, an 800-square-foot house that’s not only a model of energy efficiency but an elegant piece of design as well.