Getty Conservation Institute to Help Conserve Louis Kahn’s Salk Institute

© Liao Yusheng

The Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) is partnering with the Salk Institute to help develop techniques for conserving one of Louis Kahn’s finest works. Overlooking the Pacific coast in La Jolla, California, Kahn took advantage of the peaceful surroundings and natural light when he designed the Salk Institute site. However, these same marine elements also provide unique conservation challenges for the concrete and wood structure, particularly for its teak window walls, the Getty Trust reports.

Part of the GCI’s Conserving Modern Architecture Initiative, the project will determine the condition of the teak and develop recommendations for its treatment and long-term conservation. “Partnering with the Salk Institute on this conservation challenge will assist in developing new approaches for practitioners in conserving icons of modern architecture, which makes it a terrific project for us,” said Susan Macdonald, Head of Field Projects at the GCI.

Read on after the break to learn more about the conservation initiative.

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Invisible Solar Harvesting Technology Becomes Reality

Solar power with a view: MSU doctoral student Yimu Zhao holds up a transparent luminescent solar concentrator module. Image © Yimu Zhao

Solar harvesting systems don’t need to be glaringly obvious. In fact, now they can even be invisible, thanks to researchers at Michigan State University (MSU) who have developed a transparent luminescent solar concentrator (LSC) that can be applied to windows or anything else with a clear surface.

LSC technology is nothing new, but the transparent aspect is. Previous attempts yielded inefficient results with brightly colored materials, and as researcher Richard Lunt, an assistant professor of chemical engineering and science at MSU, puts it, “No one wants to sit behind colored glass.” To learn how Lunt and the rest of the research team achieved transparency, keep reading after the break.

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Fernando Guerra Captures Álvaro Siza’s First Project in China

© Fernando Guerra |

We are excited to share these exclusive photos taken by Fernando Guerra | FG+SG of Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza’s first project in China: .

Evoking the image of a dragon perched elegantly on water, the contours of the building seem to move gently in a perfect synergy between local symbolism and the subtle elements of Siza. Snaking around, the form escapes formal convention, emerging as an autonomous entity that contrasts with the orthogonal form of the factory complex. The delicate transition geometry of curves and bridges that connect the different spaces and pavements makes this project one of the most striking examples of Siza’s distinctive architecture. 

Through different shades, reflections and his unmatched composition of light and shadows, Fernando Guerra’s striking images show a poetic scene and the perfect relationship between the building and its environment. We can envision the changes and transitions that the white concrete building goes through as a result of its contact with the water throughout the day.

Read on after the break to see the exclusive images…

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Turkey Orders Demolition of Three ‘Illegal’ Residential Towers

Image via istanbulucuyorum.blogspot.co.uk

The Turkish Council of State has ruled that the OnaltiDokuz Residence, a trio of towers between 27 and 37 stories tall in Istanbul‘s Zeytinburnu district, must be demolished in a landmark ruling that could have major ramifications for the country’s planning system.

As reported by Oliver Wainwright in the Guardian, the Turkish Council of State ruled that the development “negatively affected the world heritage site that the Turkish government was obliged to protect,” possibly in reaction to comments made by UNESCO in 2010, who threatened to put the city on its list of endangered world heritage sites.

Read on after the break for more on the ruling

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PWFERRETTO Propose an “Active Monument” as Seoul’s Seosomun Memorial Park

Memorial Wall. Image Courtesy of / ESOU Architects

PWFERRETTO, a practice split between London and Seoul, have won second place in a competition to design the National Park and Memorial in the Republic of Korea’s capital. In materialising the boundary of the site into an “active monument” that reconnects the forgotten history of the park into “a memorial for the Catholic martyrs who lost their life fighting for their beliefs,” the design hinges around the site’s constant struggle between belonging and being excluded from the city it is a part of. This paradoxical “inclusive / exclusive” premise is the starting point for the designers’ conceptual approach.

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The Berlage Archive: Elia Zenghelis (2001)

In this 2001 lecture titled “Architecture is Propaganda,” seminal architect, educator, and co-founder of OMA Elia Zenghelis discusses the development of ideologies that shape architectural discourse vis-a-vis architectural education. Arguing that architectural education is motivated by religious, socio-political, and economic principles, Zenghelis makes the case that the war-torn 20th century has been an era of upheaval and conflict, resulting in the loss of historical context and a confused state for artists and architects. Proposing the idea that architecture is a servant of power, and is thus intrinsically intertwined with political and societal trends, Zenghelis urges a return to a contextualized understanding of architectural history in order for contemporary architects to develop a sensitive and nuanced approach to their practice. 

Discussing his relationships and collaborations with former students and colleagues Zaha Hadid, Rem Koolhaas, and Peter Eisenman, as well as the political and architectural legacy of such giants as Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe, Elia Zenghelis provides a compelling conversation about the inherent role of architecture in political discourse.

Don’t miss the other lectures in The Berlage Archive series

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The Chinese Dream: Original Architecture Not Included

Western-styled developments are increasingly popular in , such as this suburb of Shanghai. Image © Flickr CC User Brian Yap

Looking for your dream home? Picket fence, driveway (sedan included), basketball net, and terracotta pots complete with flowers in bloom, available now in the quiet neighbourhood of Rancho Santa Fe in Shanghai, China. According to this article in The Guardian, ”The Chinese Dream” is currently sweeping the People’s Republic, with Western planning models replicated with identical ineffective results. The article offers an intimate insight into the role of American architectural fetishism in modern China, and how the government is now fighting to curb the trend. Read the complete article here.

Why Not Hand A Hermit Crab a Shelter?

© Aki Inomata

How could hermit crabs teach us a lesson about world peace? In her project, titled, “Why Not Hand Over a “Shelter” to Hermit Crabs?” Japanese media design artist Aki Inomata is inspired by hermit crabs’ peaceable exchange of their shells, a metaphor for the peaceful exchange of land between countries. Exploring the theme further, she designs new shelters in the shape of world cities, and provides new homes for the crabs which represent the abstract perception of changing nationalities and identities.

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Rome Invites Ideas For Reuse of Europe’s Biggest Landfill Site

A major competition for reuse has just been announced for the Malagrotta Landfill, one of the European Union’s biggest landfill sites. After Malagrotta was closed in August 2013 due to its controversial size and negative impact on the surrounding community, the Municipality of Rome began a process of redevelopment through community engagement. Multi-displinary teams are tasked with a creating a proposal to reinvent the sprawling 240-hectare property while considering its original purpose. The competition is designed to begin a conversation on the long-term vision for the property.

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Alvaro Siza’s Taifong Golf Club Opens in Changhua, Taiwan

© Fernando Guerra |

Today, Pritzker Prize-winning architect Álvaro Siza and architect Carlos Castanheira will inaugurate the Taifong Golf Club, in Changhua, Taiwan. 

The two Portuguese architects began the recently-completed project in 2009. The clubhouse includes spaces for recreational and cultural events and activities. The building demonstrates a rich relationship between the landscape and local culture.

Architects: Álvaro Siza and
Local Partner | Project Management and Construction Supervision: Ho+Hou Studio Architects and Studio Base Architects
Images of the project—kindly shared with us by architecture photographer Fernando Guerra | FG+SG—can be seen after the break.

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Island with a View: Dutch Kitchen Incorporates Elegant Aquarium

Courtesy of Rene van Dongen

Amsterdam-based design firm Kolenik Eco Chic Design have released designs of their unique Ocean Kitchen, a transformative new take on residential space. The contemporary minimalist kitchen offers a moment of serenity to the viewer through the inclusion of a vast aquarium beneath the island’s countertop. Positioned as the architectural centerpiece of the space, the island in Ocean Kitchen gracefully animates the surrounding kitchen.

Immerse yourself in photos of Ocean Kitchen after the break.

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Japanese Artist Hand-Crafts Intricate Three Dimensional Paperscapes

© Katsumi Hayakawa

Japanese artist Katsumi Hayakawa’s “Paperworks” exhibition explores the impression of architectural density through delicate three-dimensional installations. The intricate sculptures were all hand-crafted piece by piece out of paper and glue, creating an awe-inspiring assemblage of multi-layered urban conditions at different scales. For more information and images, keep reading after the break.

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NBBJ Creates High Tech Shading System for Buildings

Courtesy of NBBJ

International architecture firm NBBJ has created Sunbreak, a new for user-controlled sunshades that will not only lower costs, but also give buildings a dynamic appearance throughout the day.

Technology currently exists for automatically regulating solar gains in buildings, but the downside to these systems is that they often lack manual controls, and one of the most common complaints heard from workers in modern office buildings is that they do not have enough control over their environment. Automatic sunshades go up or down based on the time of day but if it happens to be cloudy outside or if users want natural light in a room when the shades are down there may be nothing they can do.

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Thomas Phifer and Partners Wins Competition to Design Museum of Modern Art Warsaw

View inside the Forum. Image © Thomas Phifer and Partners

The Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw has announced that Thomas Phifer and Partners will be designing their new gallery space, after winning a against eleven selected practices. The new museum, the largest cultural project in recent Polish history, will also house the TR Warsawa Theatre. The proposal consists of two separate buildings housing the theater and museum, joined by a common forum that will serve both as entrance and public multi-use space.

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Self Build Association and Grand Designs Live Launches Open Ideas Competition

Courtesy of National Custom and Self Build Association

Is it possible to build low cost homes in the city that are both sustainable and easy on the eyes? Self Build on a Shoestring in the City, organized by the National Custom & Self Build Association and Grand Designs Live, is an ideas in its second year that seeks to answer this question by showcasing innovative designs for a group self build project in an urban location. More details after the break.

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Olafur Eliasson Creates an Indoor Riverbed at Danish Museum

Courtesy of Louisiana Museum of Modern

Blurring the boundaries between the Natural world and the Manmade in one wide, sweeping gesture, Danish-Icelandic Olafur Eliasson‘s first solo exhibit, aptly titled Riverbed, brings the Outdoors in.

Recreating an enormous, ruggedly enchanting landscape, complete with riverbed and rocky earth, the artist draws heavily from site-specific inspiration. The Louisiana Museum of Modern Art‘s location on the Danish coast lends a raw, elemental and powerful character that extends into the building as a major intervention, transforming into a work of art.

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Prisoners Designing Prisons: Restorative Justice in Action

Courtesy of CLOG

The design of prisons is a controversial topic for architects, but Deanna VanBuren takes a novel approach to the subject. Designing for a judicial system that advocates “restorative justice,” VanBuren works with felons, victims, and architects to create spaces where everyone can undergo a healing process following a crime. In a recent profile, the L.A. Times documents one of her design workshops with prisoners, demonstrating how this form of outreach can change the lives of those inside. Read the full story here. Also, be sure to check out our interview with Deanna VanBuren here!

Excavating the Sky: Syria’s Contemporary Landscape at Monditalia

Courtesy of Khaled Malas

From August 12-15, architects, filmmakers and activists from Syria and the Arab World gathered in the Arsenale at the 2014 Venice Biennale for “excavating the sky,” a four-day event focusing on Syria and the production of its contemporary landscape from before WWI until today. The event took place in the context of the Monditalia exhibition and one of its key components was a “displaced pavilion” in Syria – a recently dug well providing water for a community of 15,000 people.

“As you know, Syria is currently undergoing a profound, and often violent, transformation, much of which is difficult to fully comprehend. It is my belief that architecture does play a role in this conflict, and that architects, with their disciplinary tools, must act more meaningfully and creatively in these struggles in/of space,” Khaled Malas, a Syrian architect and organizer of “excavating the sky,” told ArchDaily. “The ‘displaced pavilion’, in the form of a water-well, is an active embodiment of these struggles and our responsible participation as a discipline amongst those who have suffered years of neglect followed by war.”

To represent the “displaced pavilion” at Monditalia, a banner with a drawing of the well was hung in the Aresenale.

Read on after the break to learn more about the key components of the event and the significance behind its name…

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