The Xi’an Expo 2011 has officially opened and, as expected, the international horticultural event has attracted a staggering 200,000 in just the first weekend! We’ve been covering the Expo beginning with Plasma Studio + GroundLab’s conceptual design, and we have been featuring updates about the project over the course of the last few months. The Expo embodies the idea of transformation as the site was formerly a sandpit where the water was severely degraded during the 1980s. Efforts over the past two decades have restored the ecosystem and now the Expo is able to demonstrate what can be accomplished through the use of the most advanced technology, ideas, and materials. As we reported earlier, the 37 ha complex includes three buildings that are interconnected with a dynamic landscape of unfolding paths and networks of water, circulation and foliage.
More images after the break. (more…)
Writers’ Theatre recently announced the hiring of Studio Gang Architects to design a new home in Glencoe, Illinois. The award-winning Chicago firm (architects of the impressive Aqua Tower) will provide research and development concepts for the theatre’s current site located in downtown Glencoe. A Writers’ Theatre committee comprised of artists, board and staff conducted a thorough search for an architect, including local, national and international firms, for the project.
“After a rigorous process, we found in Jeanne an architect who embraces, understands and celebrates Writers’ Theatre. We look forward to working with Jeanne and her team to develop ideas of what Writers’ Theatre could be. We are confident that working with Studio Gang is the right match for the organization and for our community,” said Artistic Director Michael Halberstam. “Jeanne has a vision of architecture that is derived from her own equivalent of the word and artist: the material and the environment. It is my belief that Studio Gang offers the opportunity for people to arrive encountering a world class piece of architecture and leave having experienced a world class evening of theatre.”
Created in 1988 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Japan Art Association and to honor the late Prince Takamatsu, the Praemium Imperiale awards recognize lifetime achievement in the arts in categories not covered by the Nobel Prizes.
A complete list of the 2011 Praemium Imperiale Laureates can be found after the break.
With over a million people watching Atlantis’ trip to the International Space Station, today marked the 135th and final lift off of NASA’s Space Shuttle Program. A monumental occasion or as NASA commentator said, a “sentimental journey into history”, the end of America’s 30-year shuttle program also opens the door to ask, what is next for the future of space travels?
We are sharing with you Foster + Partners design for The New Mexico Spaceport Authority Building, currently under construction and set for 2011 completion. Winning an international competition in 2006 with team members URS Corporation and SMPC Architects, Foster + Partners created a design concept fit for the first private spaceport in the world. A sinuous shape, the building morphs from the landscape creating interior spaces that seek to capture the drama and mystery of space flight itself, articulating the thrill of space travel for the first space tourists.
Renderings and construction photographs following the break.
The Architectural Association and Foster + Partners are pleased to announce the award of the Foster + Partners Prize, which is presented annually to the AA Diploma student whose portfolio best addresses the themes of sustainability and infrastructure. The recipient is selected jointly by the AA and Foster + Partners at the end of each academic year. This year’s prize has been awarded to Aditya Aachi, of Diploma Unit 7, for his project Haiti Simbi Hubs. The project proposes sanitation infrastructure for Haiti and draws on the unprecedented need for cooperation between the Haitian Government and NGOs to combat cholera outbreaks. Read more at Foster + Partners.
Log 22: The Absurd gets serious about the seemingly irrational side of architecture. Guest edited by Michael Meredith of MOS, this special thematic issue identifies the funny, ugly, contradictory, and more fuzzy realms of architecture, disavowing the purported orderliness of disciplinary presumptions to uncloak the implausibility at its core (maybe even its origin) and present new possibilities for experimentation. Sketches, tweets, a book of exorcisms, a comic, and a special DVD are presented alongside critical and provocative essays on hoarding, disaster, failure, and bowlers (as in hats).
Log 22 features: Sylvia Lavin on architecture’s accommodation of hoarding; Jacques Rancière on the conundrums of art and life; and Lucia Allais on Superstudio’s “Salvages of Italian Historic Centers,” a 1974 project presented here for the first time in English. Also in the issue: Mark Jarzombek on Bruno Taut’s attack of seriousness; David Foster Wallace on Kafka’s funniness; Amanda Reeser Lawrence on the self-influence of James Stirling; Caroline O’Donnell on Karl Rosenkranz’s aesthetic of ugliness; and K. Michael Hays and Marrikka Trotter on fictions in recent architecture.
Plus: a comic by Jimenez Lai; a spectrum of social orderliness by Jeffrey Kipnis; an overlooked Donald Judd project; machines by François Roche; tweets from the Bauhaus; a DVD by MOS; and much more. Please visit www.anycorp.com for further information and a complete list of contributors.
The 2011 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion by Pritzker laureate Peter Zumthor was unveiled today. A design that ‘aims to help its audience take the time to relax, to observe and then, perhaps, start to talk again – maybe not’, the materials are significant in aiding the design which emphasizes the role the senses and emotions play in our experience of architecture.
Zumthor added that ‘the concept for this year’s Pavilion is the hortus conclusus, a contemplative room, a garden within a garden. The planted garden enclosed by this dark structure was conceived by the influential Dutch designer Piet Oudolf.
The building acts as a stage, a backdrop for the interior garden of flowers and light. Through blackness and shadow one enters the building from the lawn and begins the transition into the central garden, a place abstracted from the world of noise and traffic and the smells of London – an interior space within which to sit, to walk, to observe the flowers. This experience will be intense and memorable, as will the materials themselves – full of memory and time.’
More info after the break:
The Academy of Art University, the nation’s largest private accredited art and design university, continues to grow their Landscape Architecture program. Earlier this year the University announced the addition of the School of Landscape Architecture with an accredited Associate’s (AA) and Bachelor’s (BFA) degree programs as well as continuing art education courses. Now the Academy of Art will additionally launch both a 3-year and 4-year MFA degree program. For more information about the new MFA program click here.
The New York City Design Commission held the 29th Annual Awards for Excellence in Design earlier this week at the recently renovated Museum of the Moving Image. Eleven public projects received this honor of distinction, which range from an animal shelter and a salt shed to a children’s museum and a library. Selected by an 11 member jury from hundreds of submissions the recipients ‘exemplify the highest standard of design’. A complete list of winners can be found following the break.
“You’re not going to find any of Ai Weiwei’s work being shown in Beijing”, said each Beijing gallery representative. That’s because the artist and agent provocateur has been detained for 80 days now was released today, from what the government is saying was based on “economic charges”. The name “Ai Weiwei” has joined a long list of sensitive words in this country, and associating yourself with the artist has become tantamount to asking for trouble. Just ask the Chinese curator who was questioned by authorities after putting Ai Weiwei’s name under a blank wall in Beijing’s Incident Art Festival.
While Beijing’s lively art scene might currently be scrubbed clean of Ai Weiwei’s work, there’s one thing that’s a little difficult to “harmonize” away, as it’s known here. In 1999, Ai Weiwei began moving into the world of architecture, establishing his own architecture studio called FAKE design four years later. So Ai Weiwei’s artistic vision continues to stand in the form of buildings across the nation’s capital. The most concentrated of these is the artist district of Caochangdi, a few kilometres north of the more commercial art district called 798. It’s also the location of the artist’s studio and where he headed straight to after his release.
More after the break. (more…)
Check out this crazy project we found headed by Armin Blasbichler with 21 students from the School of Design and Crafts at the University of Innsbruck. The task challenged the students (known as Blasbichlers Twentyone) to analyze a local bank and exploit the bank’s weaknesses by planning a robbery. According to Blasbichler, planning this robbery builds upon key aspects of an architectural mind such as the ability to constantly re-imagine and re-think. In a broader scope, the project questions the value of this kind of immaterial architecture to see whether “architecture itself [is] of any monetary value.”
Back in February we shared with you that part of President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address focused on highlighting future plans for making American businesses more energy efficient. The Better Buildings Initiative (BBI) that the President proposed would invest in innovative clean energy technologies, aiming to increase energy efficiency in commercial by 20 percent in the next ten years.
The recently released analysis from the USGBC along with their partners Real Estate Roundtable and the Natural Resources Defence Council concluded that indeed President Obama’s BBI will create over 114,000 jobs. 77,ooo of these new jobs would be a direct result from a tax incentive encouraging building retrofits. The analysis also concluded that there would be the potential for business to save $1.4 billion dollars in energy bills due to the retrofit projects that are spurred by the tax incentive.
For the full report of the analysis from released by the USGBC click here.
Honk Kong – Shenzhen Boundary Crossing Point and Passenger Terminal Competition: Vote for your favorite!
In September 2008, HKSARG and SMPG jointly announced the implementation of a new BCP at Liantang/Heung Yuen Wai in the north-eastern New Territories of Hong Kong and Luohu in Shenzhen to serve the cross-boundary goods vehicles and passengers travelling between Hong Kong (HK) and Shenzhen (SZ) East. The new BCP will connect with the Shenzhen Eastern Corridor and provide an efficient access across the boundary to the SZ East, Huizhou, various cities in Guangdong East, and the adjacent provinces such as Fujian and Jiangxi.
The Competition was launched and started registration since 21 December 2010, and the submission of entries was closed on 21 March 2011. A total of 159 valid entries from various countries and regions were received, comprising 86 Professional Group entries and 73 Open Group entries. To invite the public to express their preference among the finalist entries, the finalist entries are exhibited in the roving exhibition in Hong Kong and Shenzhen, and are displayed in the competition website from 1 June to 5 July 2011.
The Jury in the 2nd adjudication will consider the public opinion when selecting the awarded entries. Click here and vote for your favorite!
Today the AIA New York Chapter will award Daniel Libeskind, AIA, with the 2011 Medal of Honor. The 144th Annual Meeting, which is open to the public, will take place at the Center for Architecture. The Medal of Honor has been given to a member or firm for distinguished work and high professional standing. Beginning in 1917 this award is the highest honor and past recipients include Louis Skidmore (1949), Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1958), Toshikio Mori (2005) and David Childs (2010).
For more information or to attend click here.
Several hundred guests joined Daniel Libeskind in a ceremony last Friday as he laid the foundation stone of the Kö-Bogen building along with Dusseldorf’s Lord Mayor Dirk Elbers, investor Kurt Zech of Zech Group, and project developer Stefan H. Muehling. The stainless steel foundation stone, designed by Libeskind, will be visibly integrated into the facade of the building.
The new 432,300 sqf mixed use building is scheduled for completion in 2013 will house both office and retail space in downtown Dusseldorf. The design of Kö-Bogen intends to naturally blend landscape into the building space through geometry, permeated cuts in the facade, the green courtyards, and green roof system. All of these elements are ‘part of a new environment that bridges urban space with park space’.
Last week the Internet and architecture blogs went crazy after Steve Jobs presented the new Apple Campus to the city of Cupertino, California.
Rumors about Foster + Partners (an office with a high expertise on work environments) working with Apple on this new campus appeared on December last year on a Spanish newspaper, but there was never an official confirmation (or denial). But given that the actual project fits with the information we received from an anonymous tipster last December, it seems it could be right:
“I recently got a tour of Norman Foster’s office in London and saw some images of the Apple Campus design. I believe the main building will be a large donut shaped building with all the offices and labs surrounding a large garden. It was a very pure form which connects to some of the recent Apple stores, but I was surprised that it didn’t really scream Apple to me. Of course it could have been a very preliminary design that wasn’t fully resolved yet. Anyway, I just thought I would pass on some info.”
During Steve Job’s presentation to the city of Cupertino we could see this round building, and Jobs outlined several facts on how this new campus for 12,000 people will improve the 98-acre site, such as taking parking underground to reduce the footprint, increasing landscaping from 20% to 80%, and planting more trees (3,700 now, 6,000 in the future). It even includes its own natural gas based energy generation plant (as seen on the drawings) with the electrical grid as backup.
As for the 4-story round building, Jobs said:
“It’s a pretty amazing building. It’s a little like a spaceship landed. It’s got this gorgeous courtyard in the middle… It’s a circle. It’s curved all the way around. If you build things, this is not the cheapest way to build something. There is not a straight piece of glass in this building. It’s all curved. We’ve used our experience making retail buildings all over the world now, and we know how to make the biggest pieces of glass in the world for architectural use. And, we want to make the glass specifically for this building here. We can make it curve all the way around the building… It’s pretty cool.”
We reached Steve Jobs over the past weekend to get more details about the project and he said that he wasn´t interested in presenting the project on ArchDaily at this time, possibly because the project still needs to be approved by the city. We hope to bring you more details later on, so you can have an informed opinion.
More images from the presentation after the break.
(Amsterdam) The C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40) released two landmark reports on June 7th that underline the critical role played by cities in confronting climate change. The complementary reports were published to coincide with the C40 Cities Summit being held this year in Sao Paulo, Brazil (May 31 – June 2). Representatives of the core C40 cities are attending the event with delegates from cities affiliated with the global climate group and a host of international experts to discuss strategies for building a low carbon future. The C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group releases two complementary reports to help megacities mitigate and adapt to climate change impacts. Arup produces one of the reports that details how cities are already confronting climate change and highlights opportunities for action.
We have been covering the fluctuating Architecture Billing Index for several months, anxious to see steady improvement in our economy and our profession’s field. In the month of April, a survey was included in the Billings Index and the AIA recently released the findings. As John Schneidawind reported, almost two-thirds of the surveyed architects reported at least one stalled project due to lack of financing, despite record low interest rates.
More after the break. (more…)
Back in 2009 when Norway’s Kunt Hamsun Center was unveiled, the faceted volume topped with an a-typical vertical grass roof gained international attention for its reinterpretation of Nordic aesthetics complimented by Holl’s fascination with interior light quality. This year, Holl + Oslo-based LY Arkitekter, have been awarded the prestigious 2011 Byggeskikkprisen for their collaboration on the project; rising above over 90 submitted buildings. The prize, which is granted by the Norwegian government for outstanding architecture, was presented by Local Government and Regional Development Minister Liv Signe at the Norwegian Design and Architecture Center in Oslo. “The Hamsun Center is a piece of original architecture that is deeply moving on many levels and meets all of its functions in exceptionally exciting and unique ways,” said the jury. “It both provokes and delights through its strong, clear and non-traditional form, and it finds its natural place in the dramatic skyline of the northern landscape.”
The community based winning design for the 2011 Young Architects Program at the P.S.1, “Holding Pattern” by Interboro Partners, shared photographs of the installations canopy raising which took place last Thursday at MoMA. The New York firm, formed by Tobias Armborst, Daniel D’Oca, and Georgeen Theodore, were able to creatively accomplish the design within the Young Architects Program’s budget and program requirements, stretching the funds to essentially serve two purposes; as the materials will be recycled, donating the objects such as ping pong tables, benches, and flood lights, to the community at the end of the installation. ”Holding Pattern” will welcome visitors beginning June 19th.
New Yorkers can’t get enough of James Corner Field Operations with Diller Scofidio + Renfro‘s High Line as millions meandered along the refurbished rail tracks enjoying spectacular views of the skyline. And yet, the opening of the High Line in 2009 offered a mere preview of the project’s total grandeur as parts two and three of the 1.45 mile project were still to come. Today, the second phase of the High Line has opened to the public – a section which stretches from West 20th up to West 28th Street. This segment includes a hovering frame that will display people’s silhouettes against the evening sky, an elevated pathway which brings visitors to the level of the trees’ canopy, and a Great Lawn which will be perfect for sun-bathing and a summer time picnic.