OMA’s Taipei Performing Arts Center (TPAC) Tops Out

Courtesy of OMA; by Philippe Ruault

OMA‘s Taipei Performing Arts Center (TPAC) has topped out in a ceremony including Taipei’s mayor Hau Lung-pin, and OMA’s Partners in charge of the project, Rem Koolhaas and David Gianotten. Even in its current skeletal state, the rigidly geometric form is clearly expressed with it’s central cube supporting three protruding auditoriums, two cubic and one spherical. The design of the TPAC is in many ways experimental, incorporating a looped public path which shows off the building’s backstage areas, and flexible auditoriums which can even be combined, offering extraordinary stage spaces that allow performances which would be impossible in any other .

Ahead of the topping out ceremony we spoke to partner in charge David Gianotten, who explained the building’s design concepts and the challenges (or rather, surprising lack of challenges) in the construction, and told us “you will only understand it when you have seen it. It’s super exciting, we encourage everybody that loves architecture to come and see it because it’s spectacular.”

Read on after the break for the full interview

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Heatherwick Exhibitions Set to Tour US and Asia

Heatherwick Studio’s 2010 Shanghai Expo pavilion. Image © Daniele Mattioli

Thomas Heatherwick is set to expand his international reputation in the coming year, thanks to two exhibitions that will tour the United States and East Asia, reports the Architects’ Journal. The US exhibition, titled “Provocations: The Architecture and Design of Heatherwick Studio” will tour Dallas, LA and New York from September 2014 to October 2015. The Asia exhibit is yet to be formally announced, although it is believed it will begin in Singapore in Spring 2015. Read on after the break for more details of the exhibitions.

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Video: House Housing – “An Untimely History of Architecture and Real Estate”

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House Housing, “An Untimely History of Architecture and Real Estate in Nineteen Episodes”, was recently exhibited at Columbia University’s Casa Muraro in Venice. Staged as an “open house” organised and funded by the Buell Center, the responded unsolicited to Rem Koolhaas’s call to exhibitors at the 2014 Venice Biennale to focus on Fundamentals by exploring housing in nineteen “discrete episodes.” In narrating these episodes, brought together from across the last one hundred years in a mixture of domestic media, the exhibition brought together a collection of excerpts from global processes.

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Martin Filler Admits Mistake in his Critique on Zaha Hadid

Courtesy of ZHA

Last week Zaha Hadid filed a libel lawsuit against critic Martin Filler, after Filler’s review of Rowan Moore’s book “Why We Build: Power and Desire in Architecture” for the Review of Books included a scathing section on Hadid. In the article Filler said she had shown “no concern” for the death of construction workers in Qatar, where she designed a stadium for the 2022 World Cup. Now, Filler has admitted to a significant error in the article he wrote, The New York Times has reported. In an amendment to his article Filler acknowledges that the quotes he used from Hadid were taken out of context and had “nothing to do” with the Qatar stadium she designed. Read Filler’s full statement in the New York Times article, here.

SXSW Eco Names 15 “Place By Desgn” Finalists

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South by Southwest Eco (SXSW Eco) has announced the finalists in its second annual “Place by Design” , which celebrates “cutting-edge ideas in the reinvention of public space.” Held from the 6th-8th of October, the offshoot of the SXSW festival explores cutting edge solutions to the challenges of sustainability.

The Place by Design finalists include high profile proposals such as New York‘s +Pool or the Lowline, but also some lesser-known initiatives such as Dublin‘s temporary Granby Park. Read on after the break to see all 15 finalists.

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Al Jazeera’s Rebel Architecture: Episode 2, “The Traditional Future”

The second episode of Al Jazeera’s new series “Rebel Architecture” features Pakistani architect Yasmeen Lari, who has built over 36,000 houses since 2010 for those affected by Pakistan’s floods and earthquakes. Rather than using the mass-produced housing designs offered by international organizations, Lari implements traditional building techniques and local materials. In this 25-minute episode she returns to the Sindha Valley region to see how her homes survived floods in 2013 and helps villagers in Awaran district who were hit by the 2013 Balochistan earthquake.

Watch the full episode above and read on after the break for a full episode synopsis and a preview of upcoming episodes…

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Japanese and Chilean Architects Collaborate to Design Houses for the Ochoalcubo Project

Ochoalcubo (Eight-Cubed) is a pioneering project in Chile that seeks to unite leading Chilean and Japanese practices with ground-breaking architecture. The collaborative enterprise was started by Eduardo Godoy, a design impresario who began working in Chile in the 1980s and who has always been a strong advocate for innovative design and architecture in the country. For a nation that boasts more than forty individual schools of architecture, the ever growing number of professionals seems to have had a relatively small impact on Chilean cities. Faced with the seemingly infinite landscape of ‘cookie-cutter housing’ in the , Godoy implemented Ochoalcubo in order to provide opportunities for young professionals, alongside fostering a new kind of appreciation for the profession itself. With a large number of architects having taken part in the first stage, including Smiljan Radic (designer of the 2014 Serpentine Pavilion), the third and fourth stage of what is certainly one of the world’s largest active architectural laboratories will be launched in the coming days.

See images from all sixteen proposals from third and fourth stages of the Ochoalcubo project, including those by SANAASou FujimotoKengo KumaAlejandro Aravena and Atelier Bow Wow, after the break.

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Frank Lloyd Wright School Facing Loss of Accreditation

The Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture’s Main Campus at West. Image © Flickr User: lumierefl

The Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture is currently at risk of losing its . The school has been cited as no longer meeting requirements by the Higher Learning Commission, a non-profit group whose approval is a prerequisite for the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB)’s accreditation process. Founded in 1932 by Frank Lloyd Wright himself and still operating out of his campuses at Taliesin West and Taliesin, the school must now decide how best to meet HLC requirements, or risk losing the ability to confer Masters of Architecture degrees on its students.

Read on after the break to find out why the school faces this risk, and their plans to combat it

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RIBA To Launch Retrospective of Edwin Smith’s Photography

To coincide with the opening of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)’s new Architecture Gallery at their headquarters in London’s Portland Place, the first major retrospective of Edwin Smith will open next month. Smith, one of Britain’s foremost 20th century photographers, was considered a master of capturing the essence of the places, landscapes and buildings he documented over an extensive career. The exhibition, entitled Ordinary Beauty, will display over a hundred carefully curated black and white images from a collection of over 60,000 negatives and 20,000 prints donated by Olive Cook, Smith’s widow and collaborator, to the RIBA Library.

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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, , Kahn took advantage of the peaceful surroundings and natural light when he designed the 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 other 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

© | FG+SG

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.

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 PWFERRETTO / ESOU Architects

PWFERRETTO, a practice split between London and Seoul, have won second place in a 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 (2009)

In this 2009 lecture titled “Fabricating Ideology and Architectural Education,” 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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