Inside France’s “Modernity, Promise or Menace?” – Special Mention Winner at the Venice Biennale 2014
This year’s French Pavilion stood out as one of the best pavilions in the Giardini, communicating a clear, engaging thesis and receiving a Special Mention from the jury.
Curator Jean-Louis Cohen poses four questions throughout four galleries, demonstrating the contradictions that fill the story of modernity and architecture in France. The ambivalent responses of architecture to the original promise of modernity is shown through the juxtaposition of a continuous cinematographic montage (playing simultaneously throughout all four galleries) and large-scale objects.
Watch an excerpt from Teri Wehn Damisch’s film and read the curator’s statement after the break. For a virtual tour of the space designed by Paris-based firm Projectiles, follow this link. And make sure to keep an eye out for our video interview with curator Jean-Louis Cohen (coming soon).
Yesterday the Frick Collection announced its plans for a 6-story extension to its gallery in New York, designed by Davis Brody Bond. This article by Robin Pogrebin in the New York Times outlines the details of the extension, as the Frick adds itself to the list of post-recession cultural building projects – a list which includes the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and Miami‘s Pérez Art Museum. The article also outlines the challenges the Frick will have in expanding its landmarked 1914 building. Read the article in full here.
The top prize in CANactions‘ 2014 Youth Competition has been awarded to Valentyn Sharovatov of Unika Architecture & Urbanism, for his ”Extrasmall Shopping Mall”, a design for a miniature shopping center on a tight site on Lviv. CANactions is Ukraine‘s largest architectural event, running since 2008.
The design by Sharovatov activates a neglected public square, using the draw of cafes and retail to regenerate this small corner of Lviv. More on the design after the break.
Aedas, BIG, 3XN, & Ten Others Named to Van Alen Institute’s International Council of Architecture & Urban Design
The Van Alen Institute, an organization dedicated to advancing innovation in architecture and urban design, has announced the launch of an International Council of leading architects, planners and designers who will meet bi-annually to “identify and investigate issues facing cities internationally.” The thirteen firms chosen — who represent over 17 cities and 10 countries— include firms as renowned as Aedas, BIG, and Jan Gehl Architects. See all 13, after the break.
Paint company AkzoNobel has announced plans to fund a global research project by OMA which will investigate the link between color and economic development. The project is part of AkzoNobel’s wider ‘Human Cities’ initiative, which they say “highlights our commitment to improving, energizing and regenerating urban communities across the world.”
The announcement was made at the Venice Architecture Biennale last week. Read on for more on the research initiative.
Architecture for Humanity, the non-profit responsible for propagating designers and designs around the world that “give a damn,” has named its latest Executive Director. After co-founders Kate Stohr and Cameron Sinclair announced their decision to step down in September of last year, the organization began a global search for the person who would replace them. Today, the Board of Directors has announced the appointee: Eric Cesal, an experienced designer and author of the memoir/manifesto Down Detour Road: An Architect in Search of Practice who first joined Architecture for Humanity in 2006 as a volunteer on the Katrina reconstruction program and later established and led Architecture for Humanity’s Haiti Rebuilding Center in Port-au-Prince from 2010 to 2012.
David Chipperfield has been selected by Selfridges to remodel their flagship London store, creating a new 4,600 square metre accessories department and creating a new entrance to the Eastern side of the building. The additions by Chipperfield are part of the store’s larger 5-year, £300 million project which also includes work by Gensler to better connect the original 1909 building by Daniel Burnham with the later addition behind.
Chipperfield’s addition will aim to improve the store’s presence on Duke Street, which will act as a secondary entrance to the building’s primary public face on Oxford Street, with the new accessories department planned to open in 2016.
A team of students from Eindhoven University are to build a forty metre high model of Antonio Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia. The project, which follows the completion of the world’s biggest ice dome last year, will be constructed from pykrete and reinforced with wood fibres. Impressively, the 1:4 scale model will be built in only three weeks. Thin layers of water and snow will be sprayed onto large, inflated molds. The pykrete (water mixed with sawdust) will be immediately absorbed by the snow before freezing. According to the organisers, “the wood fiber content makes the material three times as strong as normal ice, and it’s also a lot tougher.” Find out more about the project here.
The International Union of Architects (UIA) has announced that it will award its Gold Medal to the Chinese born American architect and 1983 Pritzker Laureate, Ieoh Ming Pei.
By bestowing the most prestigious of the UIA’s awards on Pei, whose “life and work spans the history of modern architecture over five continents for more than sixty years,” the UIA recognizes ”his unique style, his timeless rigor, and his spiritual connection to history, time and space.”
Pei will receive the UIA Gold Medal at the awards ceremony at the UIA World Congress of Architecture in Durban, South Africa on August 6th 2014.
Check out IM Pei’s works here on ArchDaily:
- AD Classics: Le Grand Louvre
- AD Classics: JFK Presidential Library
- AD Classics: Bank of China Tower
- AD Classics: East Building, National Gallery of Art
- AD Classics: Luce Memorial Chapel
- AD Classics: Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University
- AD Classics: Everson Museum
After winning the design competition for Germany‘s tallest apartment tower in January, Frank Gehry‘s project for the building on Alexanderplatz has already run into problems over fears that the 150-metre building could be too heavy for its site. The German edition of the Local is reporting that Berlin‘s Senate has placed the plans on hold because of the building’s proximity to the U5 branch of the U-Bahn tunnel, which it fears could be crushed under the weight.
More on the story after the break
An expert on the Middle Eastern construction industry has said that architects working in Qatar are worried about the future of their projects, following the allegations sparked by a Sunday Times report last week of corruption during the country’s 2022 World Cup bid. With many people calling for Qatar to be stripped of the event or for the bidding process to be re-run, there is a chance that Qatar might have to pull the plug on many of its major projects.
Speaking to the Architects’ Journal Richard Thompson, the Editorial Director of the Middle East Economics Digest, said “A lot of people out here are watching it nervously.”
Read on for more of the comments made by Thompson
The £1.2 billion Shell Centre development in London, masterplanned by Squire & Partners, has been awarded planning permission after being called in for review by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles. Featuring 8 towers of up to 37 storeys which will sit alongside the existing 27-storey Shell Tower, the scheme was granted permission by the local council last year but was called in for review over fears that it could threaten the UNESCO Heritage status of the area around Westminster.
However, despite being awarded planning once again, opponents of the scheme have said they will continue to fight it, and have threatened to mount a judicial review of the scheme.
Read on after the break for more on the controversy
Developing countries have the highest demand for steel-reinforced concrete, but often do not have the means to produce the steel to meet that demand. Rather than put themselves at the mercy of a global market dominated by developed countries, Singapore’s Future Cities Laboratory suggests an alternative to this manufactured rarity: bamboo. Abundant, sustainable, and extremely resilient, bamboo has potential in the future to become an ideal replacement in places where steel cannot easily be produced.
Imagine standing on a glass platform with Chicago 1300 feet directly below. Suddenly, the glass holding you begins to crack. This actually happened to Alejandro Garibay at the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) just last week. Luckily, Garibay wasn’t hurt, but the occurrence begs the question: how safe is glass - the most common material used in skyscrapers nowadays - really? Karrie Jacobs At Fast Company – Design, asked materials experts to find out “The Truth Behind Building With Glass.”
The awards ceremony for the 14th International Architecture Exhibition have just wrapped and the results are in!
Rem Koolhaas, the director of the Biennale, Paolo Baratta, president of the Biennale, and the jury presented the awards for Lifetime Achievement and International Participations. The jury recognized that the Biennale was a tremendous opportunity to produce and share knowledge about modernity — especially praising its role in uncovering and dissecting new areas of influence in the architecture world.
The Golden Lion for Best National Participation went to Korea for “Crow’s Eye View: The Korean Peninsula” The jury cited Korea’s “extraordinary achievement of presenting a new and rich body of knowledge of architecture and urbanism in a highly charged political situation.”
Chile received the Silver Lion for a National Participation for “Monolith Controversies”. The jury said, “Focusing on one essential element of modern architecture – a prefabricated concrete wall- it critically highlights the role of elements of architecture in different ideological and political contexts.”
The Silver Lion for best research project in the Monditalia section went to Andrés Jaque/Office for Political Innovation for “Sales Oddity. Milano 2 and the Politics of Direct-to-home TV Urbanism.”
Venice Biennale 2014: “Towards A New Avant-Garde” Explores the Emergence of a New Generation of Radical Italian Design
Writing about radical architects from the 1960s and 70s, the acerbic American critic Michael Sorkin wrote: “Some chose the resistance of advocacy planning and community defense, carrying on the identification with the oppressed. Many took to the woods, back to nature, to study communitarianism and to live a life of virtuous simplicity. Others wondered about the architectural equivalent of rock and roll.” Replace communitarianism with open source, or rock and roll with science fiction, and he could just as well be describing a group of young Italian architects working today. The practitioners of the 1970’s, especially in Italy, transformed their profession but ultimately failed to realize their utopias. What might this new generation achieve?
Towards a New Avant-Garde, an installation and series of discussions at the opening weekend of the Venice Architecture Biennale, will confront the work and approaches of past masters like Superstudio, Archizoom, and the Global Tools group with new, speculative, and politically-charged projects by groups like Itinerant Office, IRA-C, and Snark.
Virginia Commonwealth University has officially broken ground this week on the Markel Center, the building that will house VCU’s Institute for Contemporary Art. Designed by Steven Holl Architects, the Institute is sited at a busy intersection at the edge of the Richmond campus, and will serve as a gateway between city and university. Inspired by the metaphysical idea of multiple timelines occurring simultaneously, the building will have four galleries which can host individual exhibitions at the same time, or link up to host a single, unified show.
A team lead by Arup has developed a method of designing and 3D Printing steel joints which will significantly reduce the time and cost needed to make complex nodes in tensile structures. Their research is being touted as “a whole new direction for the use of additive manufacturing” which provides a way of taking 3D printing “firmly into the realm of real-world, hard hat construction.”
Aside from creating more elegant components which express the forces within each individual joint - as you can see in the above photo – the innovation could potentially reduce costs, cut waste and slash the carbon footprint of the construction sector.
Read on for more on this breakthrough