Venice Biennale 2014: Romania Discusses Industrial Architecture as Generator of Modernity

Conceptual Cross Sections. Image Courtesy of the Romanian Pavilion

In Eastern Europe the assimilation of modernism proved a rather divergent process, correlated with tumultuous and contradictory socio-political events. The urban space suffered successive destructuring, caused by massive industrial insertions with direct impact at urban and demographic level.

Thus the Romanian Pavilion’s exhibition for the 2014 Venice Biennale, Site Under  will bring industrial architecture as generator of modernity into discussion. It suggests creating an initiatory journey from inter-war and socialist industrialization to post-industrial urban voids. Glory and void, past and present are mirrored and laid out to be contemplated, to raise awareness and be re-approached. Once industrial sites were closed down, the remaining locations became modern urban ruins, devoid of content, bare of utility, leaving behind an outer landscape, shattering and desolate.

(more…)

Three Teams Shortlisted to Masterplan New Finance Center in Moscow

Three teams have been chosen to advance in the third and final round of a competition to masterplan the new International Financial Center (IFC) in “New .” Once complete, the 460 hectare mixed-use development will add , housing and hotels, as well as commercial and social infrastructure to the area of Rublyovo-Arkhangelskoye. The finalists are…

(more…)

Tetra Shed: A Multi-Functional, Modular Building System Now Available

©

Remember Innovation Imperative‘s modular alternative to the “cuboid office?” Shortly after featuring it on ArchDaily interest for the innovative building system grew exponentially; you can now purchase your very own tetra shed® for $25,000 (price subject to decrease, contingent on demand). Each unit is customizable, expandable, fully insulated, and easily tailored to suit your climatic needs. Measuring at about 10 square meters, the units can be transformed into a garden office, spare bedroom, or even combined and stacked to create studio homes and boutique hotels. Continue after the break to learn more about the capabilities of the tetra shed®.

(more…)

The Top Architect-Designed Products of Milan Design Week 2014

Benedetta Tagliabue for Passoni Nature: Sofa ‘BOTAN’

This week marked the 53rd edition of the Salone Internazionale del Mobile in . Hundreds of exhibitors showcased an endless display of the latest international design products and home-furnishings. Among them included a variety of designed items envisioned by some of our favorite architects. Continue after the break to preview some of the most talked about architect-designed products featured this week at the Milan Design Week 2014.

(more…)

A Colorful Demolition: The Abandoned Interiors of Ghent’s Rabot Towers Revealed

© Pieter Lozie

In the 70s, towers were seen as the ideal solution for low-cost social housing. In the following decades, however, many of these towers became occupied by single people and the elderly rather than the young, low income families they were initially designed for. Today, though there may be many potential solutions, the most drastic solution is often pursued: knock them down and start again.

A great example is the Rabot towers in GhentBelgium. In the past, these three towers accommodated about 840 residents, but the quality and safety standards in the towers are no longer suitable for living. For example, one of the buildings has only one entrance hall and lift for 190 apartments over 17 floors. Since a total renovation and refurbishment of the towers would have been too costly, in 2009 the city and a company decided to demolish the three towers and replace them with 400 new apartments in a low-density masterplan. The of the first tower is now in progress. With the removal of the facade panels we get to see behind the building’s public face, revealing the many living room interiors, where the bright walls are framed by the tight rhythm of the window frames, almost like an abstract artwork. 

See more images of this “abstract artwork” after the break…

(more…)

Robert Hull, Co-Founder of the Miller Hull Partnership, Dies at 68

The Bullitt Center, the World’s Greenest Commercial Building. Image Courtesy of The Miller Hull Partnership

U.S. architect Robert Hull, FAIA, has passed away at 68 due to a stroke. Always to remembered by his peers as a “beloved colleague,” the Seattle-based practitioner, together with his business partner David Miller, was a national leader of sustainable design and architecture in the Pacific Northwest. You can review some of Hull’s work here and read The Miller Hull Partnership’s official , after the break.

(more…)

HENN Wins Competition to Design Wenzhou High-Rise

©

HENN has been selected to design a 160-meter, mixed-use tower for a new Central Business District in the eastern metropolis of Wenzhou. Located in close proximity to the Ou Jiang river, on the district’s southern edge, the Wenzhou Tower hopes to serve as the gateway to the new city development.

(more…)

Mexico City Shortlists Seven Architects for Major Airport Expansion

Zagreb Airport Competition Proposal / ZHA © Zaha Hadid Architects

Zaha Hadid, Norman Foster and Richard Rogers are among seven international practices listed to compete for a 5,000 hectare expansion that hopes to “alleviate severe congestion” at the Mexico City airport. With each team led by Mexican firms, the shortlisted architects, which also include SOM, Gensler, and Teodoro González de León with Taller de Arquitectura X, have been asked to envision a 70-gate, phased expansion capable of hosting 40-million passengers per year. A schematic has been provided by Arup. Completion of the first phases is tentatively planned for 2018. 

(more…)

Williamson Chong to Receive RAIC’s Emerging Practice Award

Frogs Hollow / Williamson Chong Architects. Image © Bob Gundu

First an Emerging Voices recipient, now a laureate of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada’s () ; Toronto’s Williamson Chong Architects has proved themselves to be one of Northern America’s most promising firms. Founded just three short years ago, the seven-person practice has been chosen to be the RAIC’s second Emerging Practice Award recipient for “consistently producing innovating projects that contain quality detailing and craftsmanship.”

(more…)

Herzog & de Meuron to Design One of Denmark’s Largest Hospitals

© Herzog & de Meuron

Herzog & de Meuron and Vilhelm Lauritzen Architects have been announced as winners of an international competition to design one of ’s largest hospitals: Nyt Hospital Nordsjælland. Selected ahead of six other practices, including BIG and C.F. Møller, Herzog & de Meuron’s nature-inspired proposal will provide the New North Zealand Hospital with a 124,000 square meter facility that serves 24 medical departments and provides over 660 beds. 

“The hospital organically reaches out into the wide landscape. Simultaneously its soft, flowing form binds the many components of the hospital,” described the architects. “It is a low building that fosters exchange between staff and patients, and it has a human scale despite its very large size.”

(more…)

Round-Up: Floating Architecture

Courtesy of NLÉ architects

If a Ted Talk by Koen Olthius, this article in the Guardian, and Brazil‘s pioneering plan (currently in the pipeline) are anything to go by, now may be the time for futuristic, floating cities to become a reality. With that in mind, we’ve taken the opportunity to gather the best examples of floating architecture already constructed, including: a low-cost floating school in Lagos; an entire floating neighborhood in Ijburg, Amsterdam; a trio of cultural buildings in Seoul‘s Han River; a set of hotels in a remote area of Cisnes, Chile; and finally a beautiful home on Lake Union in Seattle. Enjoy!

In Detail: Chipperfield’s Nobel Centre for Stockholm

View towards Nybrokajen. Image ©

As we announced earlier, David Chipperfield Architects’ modest proposal for the Center’s new home in Stockholm has been announced as the winning submission of the Nobel Foundation’s prestigious international competition. Lauded by the jury for its “lightness and openness,” Chipperfield envisioned the glass and stone proposal to “convey dignity” and embody the ideals of the Nobel Prize so it may serve as inspiration for generations to come.

Detailed drawings, images and quotes from the architect, after the break… 

(more…)

MVRDV Exhibits Furniture Series “Vertical Village” at Milan Design Week

Vertical Village in Milan. Image © Gili Merin

, in cooperation with the Belgian furniture label Sixinch, have designed a playful furniture series that imagines an antidote to the sprawled, generic urban growth of East Asia’s mega-cities. Each of the 77 large cushions in “Vertical Village” – currently on display at Milan’s Design Week – take the form of small, densely-packed houses, colorful alternatives to the horizontal, block-like residential buildings that currently dot East Asia’s skylines. From the :

“The Vertical Village – observation of the uncontrolled growth of Asian cities, which has lead to the disappearance of urban villages on a human scale, prompts the designers to develop a livable city model that promotes upward growth: a vertical village composed of small residential nuclei that ensure human relationships and, at the same time, leave room for green areas and gathering places. The installation is composed of 77 large cushions in the form of small houses, all different.”

(more…)

The Pritzker-Profit Connection: Shigeru Ban’s Works Gaining Value in NYC

Image © Karsten Moran for The New York Times

A recent article from The New York Times confirms something we’ve all long-suspected. A Pritzker translates into big bucks. Demand for Shigeru Ban’s Manhattan buildings has soared since his awarding of the prize. The New York Times reports that page views of the Metal Shutter Houses, for example, have quadrupled on the listings site Streeteasy.com. Why? The Pritzker name carries weight:

“In this second age of high-flying real estate, brand-name architecture and globe-trotting wealth, the identity of a designer has taken on ever-increasing value to ensure that a project’s multimillion-dollar homes stand out. Anyone can install waterfall showers and Wolf ranges. A Pritzker is harder to come by.”

“Though Mr. Ban’s Pritzker could make it costlier to hire him in the future, some developers find a laureate worth the expense. ‘You can save a lot on plans, because you only have to change 10 percent of the project, instead of 90 percent; the vision is just so complete,’ the developer Aby Rosen said. ‘And you also save a ton on the marketing. People want to write about these Pritzker projects, and an article is way better than an ad.’”

But what does it mean when architecture – particularly the architecture of a socially-conscious designer like Ban – becomes a brand-name item? As Laura Ilonemi writes, “the begins to perpetuate an environment that is unhealthy to architecture: too strong a divide is created between winners and non-winners of the same calibre. [...] Sought-after commissions, and other opportunities perhaps better suited to other candidates, may well go to winners, helping to reinforce the trend of ‘designer buildings’ in much the same vein as designer label consumer goods and products. ”

As one real estate agent, representing a resident of the Metal Shutter Houses, put it: “It’s like buying an Hermès bag but better.” Is, in the end, the Pritzker nothing more than a branding tool? Should it be more? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

David Chipperfield Architects To Design Nobel Prize’s New Home

David Chipperfield Architects has won the prestigious competition to design Stockholm’s new Nobel Centre in the Blasieholmsudden peninsula. The firm’s proposal – named Nobelhuset - beat out those by Swedish shortlisters Wingårdhs Arkitektkontor and Johan Celsing Arkitektkontor; the three had been selected from 12 high-profile entries (including the likes of BIG, OMA, and SANAA) in November of last year.

The jury unanimously chose Chipperfield’s design for the new headquarters, which will include exhibition spaces, meeting rooms, a library, restaurant, shop and a large auditorium where the annual Prize award ceremony will take place. Jury chair and Foundation executive director Lars Heikensten noted: “The jury finds the lightness and openness of the building very appealing and consistent with the Foundation’s explicit ambition to create an open and welcoming Centre for the general public.”

The Centre is planned to open in 2018. More images of Chipperfield’s winning proposal here.

VIDEO: In Boston, Reclaiming the Craft of Brick

YouTube Preview Image

Our friends at Mecanoo have shared a fascinating mini-documentary exploring the complex brickwork on display in their latest project in Boston’s Dudley Square, the Dudley Municipal Center(nearing completion). Called “Boston Bricks with a Dutch Touch,” this documentary features interviews with everyone involved in the project – from workers to architects – and focuses on the difficulty of using brick in this elaborate manner. Enjoy the video above and check out some fantastic images after the break.

(more…)

Happy Birthday Jørn Utzon

in front of the during construction, 1965. Image Courtesy of Keystone/Getty Images

Pritzker Prize winning architect Jørn Utzon, who died in 2008 aged 90, was the relatively unknown Dane who, on the 29th January 1957, was announced as the winner of the ‘International competition for a national opera house at Bennelong Point, Sydney’. When speaking about this iconic building, Louis Kahn stated that:

The sun did not know how beautiful its light was, until it was reflected off this building.

Unfortunately, Utzon never saw the Sydney Opera House, his most popular work, completed. Learn of his fascinating story, after the break.

(more…)

Support GA Collaborative’s Earthbag Projects in Rwanda: Building Community Through Creative Construction

Following the success of their first Masoro Village Project house, the non-profit design group GA Collaborative (GAC) has released a video and crowdfunding campaign for their latest prototype in . Like the previous GAC project, the first of its kind in , it too will be built of earthbags, providing the crew further experience with a low-cost and durable construction technique.

This building, a two-story structure for shared kitchen and toilet facilities, will be constructed this summer by the newly-formed builders’ cooperative Association Icyerekezo (“New Vision”). Donations to the project will help towards additional material tests, equipment rentals, wages for fifty workers and four student interns ($2.00/day/person), site infrastructure, and travel and temporary accommodation for one GAC member. For even more incentive to donate, the designers have paired up with StitchWorks, who are offering a series of bold textiles inspired by African fabric designs to donors.

Learn more in the video above, and support the Masoro Project here (more images after the break).

(more…)