What do the Eiffel Tower, the Empire State Building, the Kremlin, and the Burj Khalifa have in common?
Elevators from the Otis Elevator Company. The company, which is celebrating its 160th anniversary today, has an interesting history: it was founded in 1853, the year Elisha Otis invented the elevator safety brake. Before Otis’ invention, buildings rarely reached seven stories (elevators were considered just too dangerous to implement).
But it was Otis’ elevator that would allow for the creation, and proliferation of, the skyscraper – an explosion that would for ever alter the 20th and 21st century skylines.
Read more about the Otis Elevators influence on skyscraper design (and how Otis performed a death-defying feat to increase the invention’s popularity), after the break…
Inspired by a childhood spent filming planes at LAX with an 8-millimeter videocamera, New York photographer and former Berkeley architecture student Jeffrey Milstein has turned his fascination for aviation into a career. Typically known for photographing the underbellies of aircrafts, Milstein’s latest series captures the artistic composition and elaborate array of patterns formed by airports and only seen from above. He describes this series as revealing “the patterns, layering and complexity of cities, and the circulation patterns for travel, such as waterways, roads, and airports that grow organically over time much like a living organism.”
More of Milstein’s photography after the break…
On May 2, Russia’s preeminent Mariinsky Theatre will celebrate the grand opening of a new, 851,575 square foot addition on a neighboring site, just west of the company’s original 1860 theatre and 2006 concert hall, in the heart St. Petersburg. Designed by Toronto-based Diamond Schmitt Architects, Mariinsky II will be one of the largest theatre and concert venues in the world, providing a 2000-seat auditorium, state-of-the-art production facilities, and naturally lit rehearsal rooms, along with a rooftop amphitheatre and terrace.
WEISS / MANFREDI has been announced as winner of the international competition to design a new College of Architecture and Environmental Design for Kent State University in Ohio. The New York-based practice, in collaboration with the local architect of record Richard L. Bowen & Associates, was one of four national finalists selected from a competitive list of 37 applicants.
The winning proposal, dubbed the Kent State Design Loft, transforms the notion of a continuous studio loft into a three-tiered structure that opens to the city, connects to the public esplanade and surrounding landscape, and provides an abundance of creatively designed, flexible learning spaces that can be easily transformed to accommodate design crits, exhibitions and events.
“We are captivated by the potential for this project to become an innovative incubator for the arts and an internationally legible destination for the University,” said Marion Weiss and Michael Manfredi.
The architect’s project description after the break…
An intense gender debate has been making headlines after Denise Scott Brown called for Pritzker to “salute the notion of joint creativity” and retrospectively acknowledge her role in Robert Venturi’s 1991 Pritzker Prize during an AJ Women in Architecture luncheon in late March. Since, nearly 2,000 advocates have passionately rallied in Brown’s support by signing an online petition created by Harvard’s GSD Women in Design Group. Among the signatures include architects Zaha Hadid, Farshid Moussavi and Hani Rashid, along with MoMA senior curator of architecture and design Paola Antonelli, architecture photographer Iwan Baan, Rice School of Architecture dean Sarah Whiting, and Berkeley College of Environmental Design dean Jennifer Wolch.
Responding to the outrage, Martha Thorne, executive director of Pritzker Prize, promised to “refer this important matter to the current jury at their next meeting”, respectfully pointing out that this presents an “unusual situation” considering each Laureate is chosen annually by a panel of independent jurors who change over the years.
More on the controversy after the break…
There’s no denying that London’s airport capacity is insufficient (to put it mildly) – not just for its current needs, but, most worryingly, for the future. Nor are architects ignorant to the situation; in the last few years we’ve published proposals from the likes of Foster+Partners, Zaha Hadid Architects, Beckett Ravine, and Grimshaw Architects, offering their own unique perspectives on what could be done.
However, for all the proposals (some emphasizing new off-shore airports, others on bulking up infrastructure or existing facilities), it’s hard to untangle what’s actually being done towards making these ideas reality. To clarify the situation, and lay our doubts at rest, we spoke with Ricky Burdett, one of the commissioners of the newly created Independent Airports Commission.
In the video above, Burdett, a renowned architect and professor of Urban Studies at the LSE (who has previously served as architecural advisor for both the 2012 London Olympics and the Mayor of London, 2001-2006), explains the political situation in the UK that has been preventing action, and describes how the Independent Airports Commission has been assembled in order to help the government through this process.
More info on this controversial commission, after the break…
Just to be clear.. this was after all our April Fools ;)
We know a good idea when we see it. That’s why as soon as we heard about Google Nose we decided to call our friends at Google and work something out between us. Google has the power to bring you the scent of food, animals, and all sort of things. But what about buildings? That’s where we come in.
You won’t have to travel to Sydney to smell the Opera House. Or fly thousands of miles to Pisa to catch the smell of “leaning”. Starting today, you will be able to smell every building in the world from your computer. So far, we’ve been trying Google Nose with the following:
- High Line Park on a rainy day (smells like wetness)
- Any of our AD Classics (smell old)
- Kumutoto Toilets (smells like crustaceans… what were you thinking?)
- Burj Khalifa (smells like gold)
- Barbie Shanghai Store (smells like cotton candy)
We only have one problem. There are probably dozens… or even hundreds of buildings worldwide! So we do need your help. Prepare your noses and get out there. Smell those buildings and share your scents with us in the comments. We will do our best to replicate the smells and share them with the world.
“Originally seen to reflect the democratic attributes of a powerful civic expression – authenticity, honesty, directness, strength – the forceful nature of Brutalist aesthetics eventually came to signify precisely the opposite: hostility, coldness, inhumanity. [...] Separated from its original context and reduced in meaning, Brutalism became an all-too-easy pejorative, a term that suggests these buildings were designed with bad intentions.” - “BRUTAL”/“HEROIC” by Michael Kubo, Chris Grimley and Mark Pasnik
Brutalism, an architectural movement that peaked in the 1960′s, inspired the development of countless governmental buildings in Washington DC as well as across the world. Though Brutalism’s original intentions may have been good, many believe that the actual manifestation of these buildings was not and consider them to be little more than an eyesore on the District’s landscape. One such concrete structure, the FBI’s J. Hoover Building, is currently facing possible redevelopment as the government has decided to relocate FBI headquarters and given the private sector the rare opportunity to transform this so-called “monolith” into a new kind of monument.
More on the Hoover Building after the break…
Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Growing Power, a Chicago-based urban agriculture organization, announced recently the formation of Farmers for Chicago, a program that will transform vacant south-side Chicago lots into productive urban farms. The program will make available up to five acres of city-owned vacant lots for urban farming activity and “help expand the supply chain for local neighborhood-level food production and wholesale,” “improve community access to healthy food, help participants to supplement their incomes, and to foster workforce training.”
Read more about Farmers for Chicago after the break.
The Integrated School of Building, the not-for-profit institute in the city of Chicago, recently launched ‘Submit a 10′, a new lean course proposal system open to anyone, worldwide, interested in delivering courses through InSB. A 10 is either a 10 slide presentation (slideshare.net), or (up to) 10 minute video (youtube.com), or both, delivering an opportunity for quick and efficient learning to the public. In order to retain the best faculty, develop and deliver the best courses, and to meet current and ever-changing market demands in our industry globally, these speed sessions will fall under the broad categories that are Architecture, Engineering, Construction, Project Delivery, Urbanism, Real Estate, Interior Design, or Trades. For more information, please visit here.
Prefabrication has long been heralded as a possible way to infill New York’s vacant sites; however, it has only recently become a solid practical solution rather than an experimental concept. Riding the crest of the wave of new prefabricated housing is GLUCK+ (formerly Peter Gluck & Partners), in collaboration with developers Jeffrey Brown and Kimberly Frank. Together they have begun construction on one of New York’s first prefabricated steel and concrete residential buildings.
Read more about this and New York’s recent wave of prefabricated buildings after the break…
“Assess: Chile at Columbia” is an initiative led by the Latin Lab at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation’s (GSAPP) of Columbia University that discusses, in several formats, the state of contemporary cities in the southern country by addressing the question: who cares for Chilean cities?
This project aims to raise questions and skip external, often patronizing understandings of Chilean practices. To do so, “Assess: Chile at Columbia” invites Chilean scholars who— closely in touch with both national practices and international debates in the fields of architecture, public space, and urban projects—are uniquely positioned to initiate a critical conversation.
Distinguished Chilean scholars Luis Eduardo Bresciani, Romy Hecht, and Rodrigo Pérez de Arce selected three projects to represent each of the aforementioned categories in the exhibition Answers form Architecture, Public Space and Urban Projects, to be held on the 100 Level of Avery Hall. This show will inform the Conference “Who cares for Chilean cities?,” at which renowned US-based scholars Saskia Sassen, Stan Allen, and Iñaki Ábalos will assess the topics and works presented by their Chilean peers, opening up a further discussion moderated by GSAPP faculty Clara Irazábal, Galia Solomonoff, and Enrique Walker.
Re-zoning midtown would ultimately lead to the demolition of the corporate steel and glass skyscrapers, which preservationists argue are emblematic of the cutting edge modernism that swept 1950′s America. However, landlords contest that – for the most part – they are poorly built copycats of seminal landmarks such as the Seagram and Lever buildings and are not particularly significant or suited for modern needs.
More information after the break..
During a speech at the AJ Women in Architecture luncheon in London last week, postmodern icon Denise Scott Brown requested to be acknowledged retrospectively for her role in Robert Venturi’s 1991 Pritzker Prize, describing Pritzker’s inability to acknowledge her involvement as “very sad”.
Although at the time of the award Brown had co-partnered their practice Venturi Scott Brown and Associates for over 22 years and played a critical role in the evolution of architectural theory and design alongside Venturi for the over 30 years, as well as co-authored the transformative 1970’s book Learning from Las Vegas, her role as “wife” seemed to have trumped her role as an equal partner when the Pritzker jury chose to only honor her husband, Venturi.
More information and an online petition after the break…
Are you an architect, architecture critic, historian of architecture or otherwise involved with architecture and design? Have you always wanted to give a TED Talk? Can you recap 30 years of architecture?
To celebrate the 30th anniversary of TED, the 2014 conference will include several talks that look back on three decades of advances in a handful of fields. Until June 30, 2013, we are seeking proposals for an 18-minute, multimedia presentation that will take the TED audience through the most important developments in the past 30 years of architecture and suggest where the field is going – or needs to go – in the future.
More details after the break…
Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh has recently invested $350 million dollars of his own money into downtown Las Vegas, where the new Zappos’ headquarters will soon call its home. Working in the vein of companies like Google and Apple, Hsieh and the head developer of the new campus, Zach Ware, have worked together on making a workspace environment in which creativity – and, consequently, inconvenience – is built into the design itself:
“‘Our goal is not to create an office space that you take photos of and you say ‘Wow, that’s beautiful,” says Ware. ‘We’re incredibly function-oriented.’ Zappos’ core focus is on company culture and the relationships between employees. To enhance that, as odd as it sounds, parts of the office are deliberately inconvenient.”
Read Max Nisen’s article on Zappos’ “inconvenient,” new headquarters after the break…
As the stunning images from Hufton + Crow show, the tower’s disparate volumes (generated from gradual centripetal vectors) gently converge towards each other and then bend apart to create an elegant “metallic curving arc that slowly lifts and accelerates skywards into [...a] dramatic vertical geometry.”
Read More about CMA CGM Headquarters, after the break…
The Canada Council for the Arts and the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) has announced “Arctic Adaptations: Nunavut at 15″ as winner of a national juried competition to represent Canada at the 2014 Venice Biennale in Architecture. Lateral Office of Toronto will organize and curate an exhibition designed to celebrate the 15th anniversary of Canada’s largest but least populated northern territories, known for its pristine arctic wilderness and Inuit lifestyle.
Read more about Canada’s contribution to the Biennale after the break.