Lebbeus Woods was an architect’s architect. Artistically uncompromising, unapologetically theoretical, and, in his own way, marvelously optimistic, Lebbeus’ death last month deeply saddened the architectural community.
In a world where computers are making architecture an increasingly technical profession, Lebbeus provoked architects to consider – what is architecture’s purpose? And, more importantly, what is it’s potential? As Woods’ friend Thom Mayne told The Los Angeles Times, “Architecture wasn’t what he did. It’s who he was. There is no other Lebbeus.”
Today, Wolf D. Prix, the oft-controversial figure, published his own eulogy to Woods, an architect and friend he held in high-esteem. Unlike the “Lady-Gaga-aesthetics,” that prevail in architecture today, Prix says, Woods’ forms were always new, profound, and impactive. Prix claims that Woods’ unique drawings”conquered the drawing boards of innumerable students and architects and [...] put the question about the contents of a future architecture into the foreground.”
“Lebbeus was the living proof of Derrida’s theory that often a small sketch can have more influence on the world than a large building.”
You can read all of Wolf D. Prix’s “For Lebbeus Woods” after the break…
It is projected that by the year 2050, nearly 80% of the earth’s population will reside in urban centers. With fears of overcrowding and land scarcity, the need to evolve our agriculture is one of the primary challenges we face in the 21st century.
A solution? Vertical farming. The innovative concept, which was first pioneered by Columbia University professor Dickson Despommier, is a promising solution that many of the world’s most populated cities are starting to consider. As of now, the land-scarce Republic of Singapore is leading the way with the opening of the world’s first commercial vertical farm, featuring 3.65-hectares of stacked vegetables in the northwestern district of Lim Chu Kang.
Continue reading to learn more… (more…)
By James P. Cramer. Reprinted, with permission, from DesignIntelligence. If you like this article, you may also enjoy In Defense of an Architecture Education, which claims that, despite economic stagnation, the profession is still worth pursuing, and Thoughts on Architectural Education, a collection of observations and frustrations from an Architecture student.
You could argue that architectural education is pretty good the way it is. In fact, it is most likely the best that it has ever been. But it’s not good enough. Just as architects and designers need to deliver more value in the future, the education that supports and gives birth to the future of the profession needs to prove its relevance.
It is the profession’s responsibility to support the evolution of higher education. Human capital is in jeopardy. We have a talent supply problem as we look to the horizon.
There is a changing nature in the work of design. In this context many educators acknowledge that higher education has not kept up with the big changes taking place in the design professions. Who has? Change and uncertainty face all of us. Finger pointing is not going to advance us to a higher place. It is time for architects and educators to adopt a learning, non-blaming approach to change.
Find out the 12 steps that will help provide design students, educators and professionals the best opportunities for success today, after the break…
Our friends from CEBRA just shared the news of their next endeavor for designing a skidome in Randers, Denmark. Serving as more than a series of complex slopes for those to enjoy, the project will become the largest skidome in the world. When viewed in isolation, the massing’s gentle curves and minimalistic exterior treatment read as a subtle strategy to incorporate the slopes; yet, only when seen at the city scale does the project’s 1,000,000+ sqf (including a hotel, restaurant and shops) allow the viewer to understand the project’s potential urban presence.
More after the break. (more…)
Panavision, the Uruguay exhibit for the 13th Venice Biennale, features the works of the new generation of Uruguayan architects, using their Pavilions as a common ground, a place rather than an exhibit, where the focuses, approaches, tools, worries, emphasis and strategies of these practices converge. More details from the curators after the break:
Architects are used to designing within the parameters of clients’ needs… but it’s not everyday you design for your client’s breed.
That was the task proposed by Kenya Hara, the design director of Muji, when he enlisted 12 big-name architects to design architectural environments that would ”change the way humans interact with their dogs.” Each of the architects were paired with a particular breed - Kazuyo Sejima of SANAA with the Bichon Frise, Shigeru Ban with the Papillon, Atelier Bow-Wow with the Dachshund, Sou Fujimoto with the Boston Terrier, Kengo Kuma with the Pug, etc – not for any architect-animal resemblance (that, according to Hara, “would frankly be a little rude“), but to provide the designers with a clear design brief.
More about Architecture for Dogs, after the break…
Only a few weeks after Oscar Niemeyer’s hospitalization, the renowned architect has been admitted, once again for dehydration, to the Samaritan’s Hospital of Rio de Janeiro.
According to the Associated Press, the 104-year old is in stable condition following the insertion of a gastric tube. The hospital statement says Niemeyer’s ”lucid and breathing without the aid of machines.” No release date has yet been set.
Story via the Huffington Post
The bold, yet seemingly simplistic geometric structures designed by architects Mauricio Pezo and Sofia von Ellrichshausen of Pezo von Ellrichshausen are turning heads internationally, as the Chilean firm has been announced as the recipient of the fourth annual Spotlight Award. Presented by the Houston-based non-profit Rice Design Alliance (RDA), the international award spotlights “exceptionally gifted” architects during the early phase of their professional careers. (more…)
Millennium Partners and Argent Ventures are moving forward with their plan to transform 4.47 acres of vacant parking lots surrounding Hollywood’s iconic, mid-century Capitol Records Building into a transit-oriented, mixed-use development. Located on the famous intersection of Hollywood and Vine, the Millennium Hollywood Project will feature two residential buildings reaching heights up to 585 feet, designed by Handel Architects, that are grounded by a High Line-inspired public space by James Corner Field Operations.
With the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) currently on public review, the New York-based developers are hoping to get city approvals underway in early 2013.
Continue reading to learn more… (more…)
German-American architect Helmut Jahn of Murphy/Jahn Architects has been announced as this year’s recipient of Chicago’s AIA Lifetime Achievement Award. Following his arrival to the U.S. more than 40 years ago, the Chicago-based architect has been lauded by some of the industry’s best for continuously breaking new ground with his postmodern steel-and-glass structures. Some of his most notable works include the SONY Center in Berlin and the University of Chicago Campus.
The film above, shared with us by our friends at Black Spectacles, captures the essence of Helmut Jahn’s work through images, videos and peer interviews with Jeanne Gang, FAIA, John Ronan, AIA, Ron Krueck, AIA, Werner Sobek and Franz Schulze.
After months of following the David Wright House‘s brushes with demolition, we’re happy to report that an anonymous, preservation-friendly buyer has bought the house.
According to Real Estate Agent Robert Joffe, who represented the sellers (the developers who wished to split the Frank Lloyd Wright house down the middle), the new owner intends to preserve and restore the home. It sold for its asking price of $2.38 million dollars.
The Pheonix City Council was slated to vote on the house’s landmark designation tomorrow; however, the vote will probably be delayed in light of the sale. As Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio shared with The Pheonix Business Journal, “The next steps are for me and the Mayor to sit down and get some direction from the purchaser in regards to a long-term vision for the property.”
Which is no bad thing – in Pheonix, landmark designation only saves a building for three years. Assuming that the buyer is indeed preservation-minded, the house will be saved for generations to come: the best outcome we could have hoped for for this unusual Wright gem.
Twenty cities from across the U.S. are competing for nine million dollars in grant money that could fund their innovative solution to some of the major urban challenges that face our communities today. These Top 20 finalists were selected from 305 teams, formed by mayors, architects and local professionals, representing a city of 30,000 or more residents that responded to Mayor Bloomberg’s Mayors Challenge with a bold idea that could potentially make our government more efficient, solve a serious problem, or improve city life.
The five boldest ideas with the greatest potential for impact will win funding as well as national and local recognition. The winning city will receive a $5,000,000 grand prize and four other cities will receive $1,000,000 to help implement their ideas.
The Top 20 finalists are… (more…)
In April, Mayor Villaraigosa and City Council Member Huizar announced an international design competition to redesign the historic, 80-year-old Sixth Street Bridge in Los Angeles. The decision to launch the competition came after engineers warned that the bridge was at risk of failing during a major earthquake due to a degenerative structural problem known as “concrete cancer”. After careful consideration and entertaining the idea of constructing a replica of the 1932 icon, the city committed to moving forward with a major redesign. In mid-October, the national infrastructure firm HNTB, along with team members Michael Maltzan Architecture and AC Martin Partners, were announced as winners of the international competition.
Continue reading to learn more… (more…)
When we introduced you to the Bancroft School in September, the topic of one of the SEED Network’s awesome mini-documentaries, or SEEDocs, the revitalization project was still in development. However, this Saturday’s ground-breaking ceremony means that this innovative community complex will soon be a reality.
The building, which was an elementary school from 1904 until it fell into disrepair and closed in 1999, is located in one of Kansas City’s most neglected, lower income neighborhoods: Manheim Park. However, thanks to the joint-efforts of the Make It Right Foundation, BNIM Architects (the AIA’s 2011 Firm of the Year), and the Historic Manheim Park Neighborhood Association, the once asbestos-ridden school will soon be the center of a revitalization project to transform the urban landscape.
More on the Bancroft Project, after the break…
“As whenever disaster strikes, it will be many days before the full impact of the storm is brought to light, and which communities will be in largest need of design support as the broader reconstruction effort proceeds. However we are not waiting for water to recede before preparing a reconstruction campaign.” – Cameron Sinclair, Architecture for Humanity co-founder
Since Hurricane Sandy struck New York and New Jersey last week, Architecture for Humanity volunteers have been in action – not just aiding in the recovery efforts, but also analyzing how/where long-term reconstruction efforts will need to be focused. Indeed, Architecture for Humanity’s co-founder, Cameron Sinclair, has already published the organization’s 5-point strategy for long-term reconstruction in the areas most severely impacted by Sandy.
Architecture For Humanity’s strategy for reconstruction (and more information on how you can get involved), after the break….
Winner of an international competition in 2009 after the rejection of a proposal from brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, the Valparaíso Cultural Center designed by HLPS arquitectos was finished last year with an impressive result. Today we have this great video Cristobal Palma just shared with us, shot a couple of months ago.
You can check some more videos by Cristobal Palma at ArchDaily:
Earlier this week, we announced the completion of the world’s narrowest house in Warsaw, Poland. The Keret House was first conceived as a seemingly impossible vision of the Polish architect Jakub Szczesny of Centrala, who first presented the idea as an artistic concept during the WolaArt festival in 2009. Now, three years later, the vision has become a reality and is drawing a significant amount of international attention to the city of Warsaw.
Built between two existing structures from two historical epochs, the narrow infill is more of an art installation that reacts to the past and present of Warsaw. Although the semi-transparent, windowless structure’s widest point measures only 122 centimeters, it’s naturally lit interior doesn’t seem nearly as claustrophobic as one would think.
The Keret House will serve indefinitely as a temporary home for traveling writers, starting with Israeli writer Etgar Keret.
Images and the architects’ description after the break…