Have We Reached the “End of Architecture”?

2014 / Absorbing Modernity: 1914-2014 . Image © . Image Courtesy of la Biennale di Venezia

This year’s Venice Biennale, curated by OMA’s Rem Koolhaas, is “interested in the banal”. In an article in the Financial Times’, Edwin Heathcote discusses the paradox between exploring generic modernism at an event which celebrates the individual. Heathcote raises interesting questions about the extent to which world architecture has developed in modernity, ultimately arguing that, “in a way, architecture is over.” You can read the article, which neatly investigates the curatorial rationale behind this year’s Biennale, in full here.

Venice Biennale 2014: “M9″ to Discuss the Links Between Cultural Institutions and Urban Regeneration

Museum facing south. Image © Sauerbruch Hutton

This year at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale, the Collateral Event M9 / Transforming the City will unveil an influential urban regeneration project planned for the heart of Venezia Mestre. Envisioned by British-Berlin practice Sauerbruch Hutton, the competition-winning design will be a new “multifaceted and encyclopedic” cultural center of “international appeal” that showcases the “fundamental” 100 years that “revolutionized the world.”

The will pair a complete architectural presentation of the project alongside the political motives behind it and an overview of the site’s history as an attempt to spark a “theoretical digression on the links between cultural institutions and urban-regeneration projects.”

More about the project, after the break…

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Four Teams to Envision Proposals for D.C. “Bridge Park”

Artist Rendering. Image Courtesy of THEARC

The four teams moving on to stage three of Washington D.C.’s 11th Street Bridge Park competition has been announced. Selected from over 80 qualified design firms from across the U.S., the following multidisciplinary teams will receive $25000 stipends to envision a new civic space spanning the Anacostia River by early September:

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Venice Biennale 2014: Estonia to Showcase the Act of Placemaking

An interior view of the pavilion. Image © Johanna Jõekalda, Johan Tali, Siim Tuksam

The rise of the internet has radically changed how we inhabit space. Thus, for the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale, Estonia’s pavilion will focus on how this change is applied to the practice of architecture. Titled Interspace, the exhibition will be a single room that digitally showcases the physical act of placemaking.

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Happy Birthday Sir Norman Foster

Sir Norman Foster, arguably the leader of a generation of British architects, turns 79 today. Foster gained recognition as early as the 1970s as a key architect in the high-tech movement, which continues to have a profound impact on architecture as we know it today.

Foster’s architecture is remarkably diverse; he has designed skyscrapers, offices, galleries, airports, , parliament buildings, city masterplans and even a spaceport. Yet his work is unified by one theme, identified in the jury citation for his 1999 Pritzker Prize: “from his very first projects, it was evident that he would embrace the most advanced technology appropriate to the task”. It is this devotion to the latest architectural technology that earned him his place in the high-tech movement, with buildings such as the Willis Faber & Dumas headquarters and the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts.

Since these early successes, his practice Foster + Partners has been prolific, earning Foster two Stirling Prizes, an RIBA Gold Medal, an AIA Gold Medal and a knighthood in addition to his Pritzker Prize. Designs such as the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank, The Gherkin in London, The Hearst Tower in New York and Masdar City have ensured that Foster has secured his place as one of the greatest architects of the 21st century. On the occasion of Sir Norman Foster’s birthday, we invite you to look at some of the outstanding projects from his exceptional career.

Happy Birthday, Toyo Ito!

© Yoshiaki Tsutsui

Pritzker Laureate Toyo Ito (June 1, 1941) turns 73 today. Renowned for flexible spaces that appeal to the human senses, Ito draws inspiration from the organic forms of nature, prioritizing fluidity between the natural world and the built form in his designs. Ito’s oeuvre defies definition; each of his many works, from the Odate Dome to White U to his masterwork Sendai Mediatheque, is extremely unique. We invite you to explore the The Life and Work of Toyo Ito.

KCAP Wins Joint First Prize in Eteläpuisto Park Tampere Competition

Dock View. Image © KCAP Architects & Planner

KCAP Architects & Planners has recently won a shared first place title in the Eteläpuisto competition for the city of Tampere, Finland. The competition brief specified that entries were required to create an “urban residential area and provide for programs suitable for the city structure and for the landscape.” Recreational access to the nearby lake shore was required, as was enabling access to Tampere’s Hämeenpuisto Esplanade. KCAP’s residential park proposal was chosen unanimously by the competition jury from six total entries.

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Orizzontale’s Recycled Keg Wall Wins YAP MAXXI

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Just as the 2014 winners of the Young Architects Program (YAP) in Chile and Korea were announced this week, the architecture collective of Orizzontale was crowned victorious for the program’s edition in Rome.

The winning scheme, dubbed “8 1/2,” will be a translucent wall of recycled beer kegs and an inhabitable timber podium that will be used as a stage for summer events within the confines of the MAXXI piazza. Shaded during the day and illuminated at night, the glass wall is intended to inspire people to rest, play, watch and listen.

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The Sprawled Desert City of Phoenix Sets Sights on Walkability

Light Rail crossing Tempe Town Lake. Image © CC Flickr User Alan Stark

When the profit-driven bulldozing of virgin desert quickly transformed into unfinished ghost towns in 2008, the city of Phoenix, , reset their sights on a more sustainable and desirable way of living: walkable communities. With the establishment of the city’s first light rail, the once car-centric communities of its urban core have turned into swaths of pedestrian havens. This has not only improved the city’s desirability, but has also been good for business. See how else Phoenix is trying to “pull off an urban miracle” and reverse it’s sprawled image here on Fast Company.

Grupo Talca Wins 2014 YAP Chile with “Wicker Forest”

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Grupo Talca’s four meter “Wicker Forest” has been announced as winner of the annual Young Architects Program (YAP) in Chile. Designed as an inhabitable landscape of wicker sticks, the red forested structure will “catch particles dragged by the wind, while providing shade and movement” to the visitors of CONSTRUCTO upon completion in Santiago next year.

Grupo Talca is the fifth winner of YAP Chile, following the commission of UMWELT’s “climatically responsive container for artwork.” You can find more images of the Wicker Forest, after the break…

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Do New Buildings In London Have Shard Envy?

© Malcolm Chapman

This interesting article by Oliver Wainwright at the Guardian reveals the trend in recent London architecture for “Shardettes” – smaller and usually cheaper imitations of Renzo Piano‘s famous design which Wainwright says “has become a beacon for designers bereft of inspiration.” Highlighting four angular, glazed buildings that are either recently or partially constructed, he questions the quality of these miniature imitations and asks “is this Shardenfreude frenzy something to be welcomed?” You can read the full article here.

Happy Birthday Frei Otto!

Courtesy of mytum.de

Frei Otto, German architect and structural engineer turns 89 today. The 1972 Munich Olympic Stadium is perhaps his best known work. The pioneering tensile structure, which stood in considerable contrast to the strict, authoritarian stadium that was its predecessor, was meant to present a different, more compassionate face for Germany. Today, Frei Otto is still active in practice, working alongside architects such as Pritzker prize winner Shigeru Ban on the Japanese Pavilion at . Thanks for your contributions and Happy Birthday Mr. Otto!

NCARB Endorses Licensure for US Architects Upon Graduation

© CC Flickr User Raja Sambasivan

The U.S. National Council of Architectural Registration Boards () has released a statement endorsing upon graduation from accredited programs. Though the release did not specify a definite plan of action, the announcement acknowledges the benefits of restructuring U.S. so that “rigorous internships and examination requirements” are all fulfilled during the education process.

Envisioned by NCARB’s “Licensure Task Force,” the “new path” concept overhaul will move forward by identifying schools interested in participating in the program. A Request for Information will be sent out later this year, followed by a Request for Proposal process in 2015.

Though many U.S. architects have seemingly longed for news such as this, others argue that there are drawbacks to licensure upon graduation. Let us know your thoughts in the comment section after the break.

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Venice Biennale 2014: Russia to Assemble Expo of Urban Ideas from Past Century

Apocalyptic panorama for “Ark-Stroy” booth, 2014, Evgeny Katin (Bang! Bang! Studio) / Courtesy — Strelka institute for media, architecture and design

True to the country’s experimental past, ’s participation for the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale will expose the continued relevance of historical urban ideas by applying them as solutions for contemporary needs. Titled Fair Enough, the will be presented as an international trade show of ideas, a “marketplace of urban invention” that is both “made in Russia and open to the world.”

The full curatorial text, after the break…

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Moon Ji Bang Wins Inaugural MMCA Young Architects Program in South Korea

YAP Korea 2014: Shinseon Play / Moon Ji Bang. Image Courtesy of MoMA

The Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1 has announced a partnership with the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA) in Seoul that has expanded the international Young Architects Program (YAP) to South Korea. Just as YAP presents opportunities for emerging architects to design and build temporary installations in New York, , and Istanbul, YAP Korea will offer the MMCA’s outdoor Museum Plaza as the summer installation site.

Already, a winner has been chosen from 26 submissions to serve as the inaugural YAP Korea installation. With completion planned for July 8, winning team Moon Ji Bang (Threshold) is amidst the final preparations for mystical, mythology-inspired installation that will transcend visitors from the daily hustle into a cloud-like landscape of air balloon structures.

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Proposal for New York Skyscraper Cantilevers Lobby Over Its Neighbors

Section Rendering. Image ©

The typical skyscraper is a nondescript tower constructed of a steel frame and glass curtain wall. Architects from the firm Fundamental are challenging this convention with “ Tomorrow,” a proposal that earned them a runner-up place in Metropolis Magazine’s Living Cities Competition. This progressive design weds revolutionary structural technology with a unique programmatic layout to draw people from all walks of life to the city of New York.

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Video: A Rare Look Inside North Korea’s Largest City

A screenshot from the GoPro City Tour of Pyongyang. Image Courtesy of YouTube

Singaporean Aran Pan is one of the only people in the world to have filmed Pyongyang, North ’s largest (and perhaps most inaccessible) city. The video, captured via a GoPro attached to the windshield of a vehicle, is part of Pan’s project “DPRK 360°,” an initiative to document and reveal the people and landscapes of the secretive country.

When discussing the project’s beginnings with The Huffington Post, Pan said “ has always intrigued me. We know so little about what’s on the ground and all the images coming out from the state seem to show little of the life inside. I wanted to find out for myself and share what I see while I’m there.”

Watch Pan’s video, after the break.

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David Beckham’s Plan for Miami Stadium Sparks Argument

The original plans for a stadium at PortMiami are now unlikely to be built. Image © 360 Architecture and

Plans to build a new soccer stadium in Miami have generated an argument this week between David Beckham, current city officials, and past city officials. The stadium, which will be home to a new MLS team owned by ex-superstar Beckham, was originally proposed to occupy a site at PortMiami, with a design drawn up by Arquitectonica and 360 Architects. However, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez had concerns over the location, and earlier this month convinced Beckham and his group to consider an alternative location, a disused boat slip between the American Airlines Arena and Museum Park.

Now a group including former mayor Manny Diaz and Alexander Cooper, the masterplan designer for Museum Park have issued a statement condemning the new plans and saying they are “not in harmony with the vision of Miami as a world class city with parks and open areas available for all.”

More on the row after the break

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