Last week, the 2014 Serpentine Pavilion opened in London‘s Hyde Park. The Serpentine Pavilion program invites architects who are yet to work in the UK to create a temporary installation at the gallery’s grounds for one summer, and this year it was the turn of Chilean architect Smiljan Radic, who rarely builds outside his native country and is arguably the least well-known architect in the Pavilion’s 14 year history.
Always a highlight in London’s architectural calender, critics almost line up to write their reviews. This year, they are almost entirely unanimous: Radic’s pavilion is, unquestionably, weird. But they’re also unanimous on another judgement: it may be one of the best Serpentine Pavilions yet.
Read on after the break to find out what the critics said about this year’s design
The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has published a report which it hopes will influence government policy writers in time for the general election next year. The report outlines the RIBA’s stance on a wide variety of architectural issues, from planning policy, to school building, to designing healthy cities.
The report hopes to build on the recommendations made by the Farrell Review, which among many other things recommended the appointment of a chief architect to advise the government, as well as an overhaul of the current planning system. However, in one sense the RIBA report goes further than the Farrell Report by saying that the government should implement a defined architecture policy, pointing to the success of such policies in countries such as Denmark.
Read on after the break for more on the report’s recommendations
Russian practice Project Meganom have won a competition to redesign the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow. Their winning entry seeks to transform the museum complex into a hive of cultural activity, preserving the institution’s world class art collection whilst “actively engaging with the surrounding territory as a potential space for exhibition, dialogue, and communication.” The project focuses less on the provision of new areas but rather provides a single unified platform for a series of discordant parts, tying together all the elements of the environment into one cohesive design – “from buildings and monuments to benches and navigation.”
The Winner(s) will be selected by the Jury, which includes participants from Fast Company, Metropolis Magazine, Columbia GSAPP, and even our very own Editor-in-Chief, David Basulto. However, a public competition “EyeTime” will also decide a winner; to vote for your favorite entrant, please download the competition app here.
Browse all the finalists here!
Our friends at The Creators Project have shared with us an awesome video of the latest MoMA PS1 installation: Hy-Fi. Designed by The Living, who have – in a fascinating move – recently been acquired by Autodesk, the tower’s many organic, biodegradable bricks are grown from a mushroom root in five days, with no energy required and no carbon emissions. In fact, the tower will be composted after MoMA PS1′s summer program is over. Learn more about this ingenious tower from the creator David Benjamin in the video above. And check out more images of the tower after the break.
Software giant Autodesk has acquired forward-thinking design studio The Living, headed by David Benjamin. The Living will become the latest addition to Autodesk’s research network, in a move which Benjamin says “will enable The Living to do more of what we are already doing and super-charge it.”
Among the practices which Autodesk could have bought, The Living may at first glance seem like a counter-intuitive choice; the practice most recently made news with the opening of their ‘Hy-fi’ installation at MoMA PS1 last Friday. Why would a company that produces software be interested in the work of a studio that grows bricks out of mushrooms? Isn’t that all a bit too… biological? Not exactly. Read on after the break to find out what Autodesk has up its sleeve.
In our technology-obsessed age we tend to forget where materials actually come from. But in their first exhibition on materials, WOOD, the Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam not only overviews wood’s uses from World War I trenches to daily tools, but also reminds us where wood comes from, tracking wood’s manmade and natural “cycles” of destruction and reconstruction. WOOD is curated by Dan Handel, in cooperation with exhibition designers Jannetje in ‘t Veld and Toon Koehorst and is showing until October 8th of this year – learn more at the website here.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has launched an international design competition to redevelop and extend its 1966 headquarters in Geneva. The new facilities, a 25,000 square metre office block and 700-space underground car park will replace a series of smaller additions, hastily constructed in response to various health crises in the years after the main building was completed.
In addition, the new building will facilitate a redevelopment of the original building, housing extra staff while work on the Jean Tschumi-designed building is carried out.
Read on for more details on the competition
“Nearly half of London’s population lives east of Tower Bridge yet they are served by only two fixed road river crossings,” says Colin Stanbridge, Chief Executive of London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI). This is the infrastructural predicament which has sparked the LCCI’s “Bridge East London” campaign, a proposal for bridge linking Beckton and Thamesmead at Gallions Reach, which is aided by a design by HOK.
The proposal was unveiled on Monday, the 120th anniversary of the opening of Tower Bridge. Designed to allow clear passage for both ships underneath and aircraft taking off or landing at City Airport above, the bridge also features a segregated cycle path, adding a much needed - and entirely safe – river crossing for London’s growing number of cyclists.
More on the bridge after the break
“They’ve got the mall. They’ve got the food court. Now they’ve got the multiplex.” Rowan Moore’s latest piece for the Guardian discusses the collaged plight of London’s British Museum as Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) complete a large extension of exhibition spaces. Describing it as a “composite Foster-Rogers” building, Moore argues that “a strange distribution of space” coupled with “an inattention to the cultural complexities of the modern museum” have led to “a void, wrapped in a void, with another void to the side.” Although he states that “there are many things to like about RSHP’s building”, the total compilation of spaces, extensions and interventions have led to a museum more like a mall than a house of culture.
After choosing British firm BDP to design its masterplan (over proposals from Mecanoo and seven others), Copenhagen’s Bispebjerg hospital has now announced the all-star shortlists of firms who will compete to design two of the hospital’s new buildings.
The “New Hospital and Mental Health Bispebjerg” is a complex 10-12 year project involving the construction of new buildings, the preservation/renovation of listed buildings, and the mergers of the current Frederiksberg and Bispebjerg Hospitals and the Mental Health Centre Copenhagen with the Children’s Mental Health Centre Bispebjerg. All construction will occur while the hospitals remain in operation and at full capacity.
Learn more about the project – including the architects vying to design its new buildings – after the break.
By the late 1960s, two dynamics were shaping a new urban reality in Italy: on the one hand, TV was heavily influencing Italian society, becoming an intrinsic part of daily life; on the other, the social tension resulting from student protests and accelerated immigration had begun to impact cities in a chaotic way. These dynamics paved the way for Milano Due, a new town on the outskirts of Milan, which promised a new, idyllic type of urbanism.
The complex, although traditional in appearance with its red pitched roofs, put into practice modern concepts: its 2,600 apartments, which had access to amenities for education and entertainment, were arranged around a giant artificial garden/lake and were connected via an elevated circulation system. Below ground, the complex housed the studios of the first private TV channel in Italy, a fact that would shape the lives of the inhabitants of Milano Due and eventually all of Italian society.
This interesting urban phenomena is analyzed by Andrés Jaque / Office for Political Innovation in “SALES ODDITY: Milano 2 and the Politics of Direct-to-Home TV Urbanism,” a project that was part of the Monditalia section at the Venice Biennale and was awarded the Silver Lion for the Best Research Project. According to the jury “The project presents critically a fundamental aspect of modern societies: how the power of media occupies other social spaces, both physically and politically. It is based on innovative research combining surveys and interviews with planners and residents and re-appropriation of the mass media language. While based on an Italian case, this issue is present in many international contexts dominated by contemporary technological and neo-liberal cultures.”
Dossier, trailer, and more photos of the project by Miguel de Guzmán, after the break:
SALES ODDITY. Milano 2 and the Politics of Direct-to-Home TV Urbanism
by Andrés Jaque / Office for Political Innovation
Zaha Hadid’s Heydar Aliyev Center has beaten out seven shortlisted designs to win London Design Museum’s Designs of the Year Awards. The shortlisted proposals - from a portable eye examination kit to Volkswagen’s XL1 CAR – will remain on view at the museum through August 25.
Not only is Ms. Hadid the first woman recipient in the Awards’ seven year history, but the center is the first architecture project to be lauded: ”It’s beautiful, it’s inspiring, it’s the clear vision of a singular genius and we thought it was a remarkable piece of work,” jury member Ekow Eshun noted.
Other nominated architecture projects included: NLE Architects’ Makoko Floating School, The Turbulences FRAC Centre by Jakob + Macfarlane Architects, and the interior remodeling of the St. Moritz Church by John Pawson. See more stunning images of the Heydar Aliyev Center here.
Architecture photographer Danica O. Kus has shared with us images of the 2014 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, designed by Chilean architect Smiljan Radić. For a closer look at this unusual pavilion, inspired by Oscar Wilde’s short story The Selfish Giant, check out all of Ms. Kus’ images after the break.
The Moscow Metropolitan is the second busiest metro line in the world, transporting 2.4 billion passengers a year. However despite this, it is a long way short of being the most extensive, with Beijing, Shanghai, London, New York, Tokyo, and Madrid all surpassing it in terms of total track length.
In order to rectify this, in 2012 Moscow launched an ambitious expansion plan, aiming to add over 150km of tracks and 70 new stations by 2020. For the first time, they have launched a competition to design two of these new stations in the South-West of the city, in the Solntsevo and Novo-Peredelkino Districts.
Read on for more about the Moscow Metro and the competition
The controversial Mount Pleasant development in London has sparked another row this week, as campaigners accused Mayor Boris Johnson of “compromising his neutrality” over the 681-home scheme which he has called in to review personally. Though he is supposed to remain neutral until the hearing, last week Johnson remarked in a speech that the development “will be a wonderful place to live.” However many have expressed concern over the design, including Thomas Heatherwick, who lives locally and called the scheme “empty, cynical and vacuous.” Read all the details at BD Online.
This weekend, at the AIA‘s national conference in Chicago, Russell A Davidson was elected the AIA’s 2016 president. Davidson, who served as the AIA’s Vice President in 2012-13 and president of AIA’s New York State chapter in 2007, will be joined by William J Bates and Francis M Pitts as Vice presidents, and John A Padilla as AIA Secretary.
In addition to electing its next leaders, the AIA also adopted a new board structure, which will see it add a new body, the ‘Strategic Council’, which will inform the Board and other Institute bodies of important professional issues.
More on these developments from the AIA National Conference after the break
A new report from Christopher Leinberger and Patrick Lynch at The George Washington University School of Business has unexpectedly named Washington D.C. the most walkable city in the U.S., trumping expected favorites like New York, which ranked second.
Respectively rounding out the top five were Boston, San Francisco, and Chicago. Although a mere 2.8 percent of the population is estimated to walk to work, the report’s authors believe the results are indicative of urban development moving away from automobile dependency and sprawl - an event they consider as significant as Frederick Jackson Turner declaring the “closing of the frontier” in 1893.