The State of Connecticut and the University of Connecticut (UConn) have invested $2 million to create a masterplan for the UConn campus that will include a new science building and residence hall. The masterplan will be chosen from among three finalists – Michael Dennis & Associates, NBBJ and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill - and then subject to numerous public meetings in which professors, staff, students and community members will be encouraged to provide their input.
Learn more after the break…
Designers & Books editors Stephanie Salomon and Steve Kroeter sat down with Denise Scott Brown for a conversation centered around Learning from Las Vegas, the seminal work penned by Scott Brown, Robert Venturi, and Steven Izenour in 1972. The must-read interview reveals some fantastic insight into Scott Brown’s personal and professional life – her unending love of neon (one which led her to Las Vegas), her distaste for the “tyranny of white paper” (which gravely afflicted the design of the first edition of Learning from Las Vegas),as well as her – rather surprising – position on awarding group creativity. Read the full interview here and check out some select quotes from the interview, after the break.
A recent topic that has been receiving attention among architects is the issue of designing prisons. The increased awareness of the problem has been spearheaded by Raphael Sperry, founder of Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility, who has been campaigning to have the AIA forbid members from designing execution chambers or solitary confinement units. At the other end of the scale, Deanna VanBuren, a principle of FOURM Design Studio and a member of ADPSR herself, has championed ‘restorative justice’, an approach to the justice system which emphasizes rehabilitation and reconciliation in order to prevent people from re-offending.
Now Glen Santayana, a student at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, has used his thesis project to add to this debate, designing PriSchool – a prison which both integrates with a school of criminology and is embedded within the community. Could this radical approach to prison design really be an answer to the stretched prison system in the US (and elsewhere)? Read on after the break to find out more.
New York Times architecture critic Michael Kimmelman puts forward his opinion on what should be done about the new breed of supertall residential buildings threatening to place Central Park ”inside the world’s biggest chessboard”. While he accepts that they may be an important factor in bringing wealth (and tax revenue) to New York, he offers some simple changes in legislation that could protect the city’s famous skyline from abuse by high-power development firms. Read the full article here.
About 40% of the area of Hamburg, the second largest city in Germany, is made up of green areas, cemeteries, sports facilities, gardens, parks and squares. For the first time ever, the city has decided to unite them together via pedestrian and cycle routes. It’s all part of the “Green Network Plan,” which aims to eliminate the need for vehicles in Hamburg over the next 20 years.
According to city spokeswoman Angelika Fritsch, the project will help to turn the city into a one-of-a-kind, integrated system: “Other cities, including London, have green rings, but the green network will be unique in covering an area from the outskirts to the city centre. In 15 to 20 years you’ll be able to explore the city exclusively on bike and foot.”
More details, after the break.
2013 was a year of stories that were intriguing, exciting, disappointing and – sometimes – downright hilarious.As is traditional at this time of year, many critics are rounding up their highlights of the past 12 months.Perhaps the most entertaining of the roundups is Olly Wainwright’s of the Guardian; Wainwright took 10 big stories from this year and twisted them into new year’s resolutions – offering up helpful advice such as “don’t be afraid of copying“, “be nice to skateboarders“, and the Walkie-Scorchie inspired “don’t melt things”. Other critics, though, had more sensible suggestions for what went right and wrong in 2013 – read on after the break to find out more.
In an interview with Spanish newspaper El País, Lu Wenyu defends her husband Wang Shu for solely receiving the Pritzker Prize in 2012. Despite the fact that the couple co-founded Amateur Architecture Studio and have worked side by side ever since, Wengyu maintains that her husband would have shared the Prize with her – she just didn’t want it.
She confides to El País: ”In China, you lose your life if you become famous. I want a life and I prefer to spend it with my son. Over there I don’t accept interviews. And not in English-speaking countries either [...] I’m happy to be able to do architecture that I believe helps our towns and cities to be better. I’m convinced that to talk about this awakens interest in others – not being famous.” Read the full interview at El País
“Architectural education is very abstract.” Virginia Tech professors and Rural Studio alumni Keith and Marie Zawistowski sat down to talk about the importance of a hands-on experience, suggesting a fundamental restructuring of curriculums. With projects such as the Masonic Ampitheater, they — together with their students — set out to prove that somethings are simply solved by building. Read the full article here, “What Architecture Schools Get Wrong”.
New information has been released — along with a series of renders — seven months after the New York City Council approved Cornell University’s two million square foot technology campus in Roosevelt Island. Envisioned as “a campus built for the next century,” Cornell Tech’s first set of buildings has tapped into the talent of some of the most respected architecture firms in the city: Morphosis‘ Pritzker Prize-winning Thom Mayne, Weiss/Manfredi Architecture, Handel Architects, and Skidmore Owings & Merrill.
New images of the buildings, after the break…
David Adjaye has been selected to design what will be the centerpiece of the largest redevelopment project in Africa’s history. The British architect, who spent his childhood growing up in Uganda, recently presented the vision alongside designer and Made in Africa Foundation co-founder Ozwald Boateng Obe and CEO Chris Cleverly.
The 65-hectare vision, which is aimed to redevelop the Naguru and Nakawa areas of Uganda’s capital city, will include everything needed for a functioning, vibrant micro-city: affordable homes, educational facilities, office space, shopping and entertainment centers, and more. Adjaye’s contribution will be a massive office complex made up of 10, conoidal towers that form a circular, public plaza at its center.
As part of their coverage of the Global Agenda Council on Design and Innovation, Grasp Magazine interviewed Joi Ito, director of MIT‘s Media Lab. He voices his opinion that current strategies for masterplanning do not work, as designers struggle to reliably “predict and cause a future to occur” (a better approach is to enable and empower innovation on a grass-roots level); that designers need to find the right balance between intuition and data; and that new technologies should not just improve existing systems, but preferably overhaul them entirely. You can read the full article here.
Foster + Partners has unveiled a scheme that aims to transform London’s railways into cycling freeways. The seemingly plausible proposal, which was designed with the help of landscape firm Exterior Architecture and transportation consultant Space Syntax, would connect more than six million residents to an elevated network of car-free bicycle paths built above London’s existing railway lines if approved.
“SkyCycle is a lateral approach to finding space in a congested city,” said Norman Foster, who is both a regular cyclist and the president of Britain’s National Byway Trust. ”By using the corridors above the suburban railways, we could create a world-class network of safe, car free cycle routes that are ideally located for commuters.”
In this interview with Grasp Magazine Tim Brown, the CEO of IDEO, explains his belief that in order to develop solutions to the complex problems found in cities, the only successful approach is from the bottom-up. In order to make this possible, he says, we need to democratize the design process by encouraging and empowering more people to engage in design, by operating with ‘codes’ rather than ‘blueprints’ which invite further contribution. Platforms like Kickstarter are one way that this process is already in motion. You can read the full article here.
Architectural photographer Victor Enrich has shared with ArchDaily a series of 88 images — one for every key in the classical piano — exploring the various formal possibilities of the NH Deutscher Kaiser Hotel in Munich, Germany. “I found it beautiful,” says Enrich, “to connect two distinct artistic disciplines such as photography and computer graphics with the piano.” See further illustrations and read a full description of his thought process following the break.
Laboratorio de Arquitectura Dominicana (LAD) has been selected to curate the Dominican Republic’s first pavilion for the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale. Developed by Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo and inspired by Mussolini’s 1942, the “exhibition will explore modern attitudes and local narratives around the 1955 Fair of Peace and Fraternity of the Free World.”
UPDATE: REM’s Kickstarter campaign was successfully funded!
There are only three days left for you to help fund the most highly-anticipated documentary film about the legendary Rem Koolhaas: REM. Directed by the architect’s son, Tomas Koolhaas, the film will explore an unprecedented perspective on what gives Koolhaas’ work function and purpose: how it is used by people. Learn more and donate to Koolhaas’ campaign here on Kickstarter.