Earlier this week, we announced the completion of the world’s narrowest house in Warsaw, Poland. The Keret House was first conceived as a seemingly impossible vision of the Polish architect Jakub Szczesny of Centrala, who first presented the idea as an artistic concept during the WolaArt festival in 2009. Now, three years later, the vision has become a reality and is drawing a significant amount of international attention to the city of Warsaw.
Built between two existing structures from two historical epochs, the narrow infill is more of an art installation that reacts to the past and present of Warsaw. Although the semi-transparent, windowless structure’s widest point measures only 122 centimeters, it’s naturally lit interior doesn’t seem nearly as claustrophobic as one would think.
The Keret House will serve indefinitely as a temporary home for traveling writers, starting with Israeli writer Etgar Keret.
Images and the architects’ description after the break…
Following Hurricane Sandy’s devastating path through the Caribbean, up the Atlantic and into the East Coast of the United States, hundreds of communities are in need of immediate relief and facing the daunting challenge of rebuilding. In effort to help, Architecture for Humanity and the American Institute of Architects (AIA) are mobilizing their teams to provide instant assistance and plan for the long term reconstruction efforts. Professional design and construction volunteers from both organizations will be working together to help households, schools, heath facilities, small businesses and local government rebuild in the coming days and weeks. However, relief and reconstruction cannot happen without your support. Learn how you can help after the break. (more…)
As per usual, Zaha Hadid has been making headlines this week, starting with the release of her newly constructed Galaxy SOHO project in central Beijing and followed by an outpour of recognition within the world of architecture for her 62nd Halloween birthday. Well now, the Dame is making waves in an entirely different territory, as Glamour Magazine has announced Hadid as the “Woman of the Year 2012”.
The magazine centered around fashion, beauty and gossip, has labeled the first female Pritzker Prize laureate as “The Lady Gaga of Architecture”. Glamour praised Hadid’s tenacious demeanor that allowed her to succeed in a “man’s job” and become “one of the most accomplished architects on earth”.
Read Glamour’s complete tribute here.
A few days ago we had the chance to attend the Audi Urban Future Awards, where 5 young and innovative practices presented their visions on the future of mobility for five of the world’s most intense urban regions: Boston/Washington Area (USA), Mumbai (India), Sao Paulo (Brasil), Istanbul (Turkey) and the Pearl River Delta region (China).
The Audi Urban Future Award went to Höweler + Yoon and their proposal for BosWash, a new mega region that connects commuters and center through a new intelligent infrastructure, a project that Audi has committed to push forward.
These regions deal with the most important issues that cities are facing in the urban era: the dilemma between density and sprawl, opportunities, transportation, long term versus fast growth, energy, infrastructure, and as we have seen in the last days, the natural environment.
In the following videos we will see the thorough diagnostics of the cities presented by the architects, along with a short description of their projects. Their proposals will be featured in a following article.
Istanbul, Mumbai, Perl River Delta and Sao Paulo after the break:
It’s not often that a project requires you to bulk up on your haggling skills.
Then again, it’s not often that a project requires you to re-invent the African Mud Hut either. But that was exactly the task presented to Karolina and Wayne Switzer, participants of the Nka Foundation’s “10×10 Shelter Challenge” to design and build a 10 by 10 feet shelter deep in the heart of Ghana.
The pair, who just completed their project this month, were dependent upon the local community to make the shelter a reality, and had to learn early on how to communicate with the locals – not just to negotiate prices for materials and labor, but to overcome the local stigma associated with mud architecture (usually only used by the very poor).
The result was a contemporary, durable shelter built with a construction method inspired by local tradition: the pounding of the fufu root, a diet staple for the community, which uncannily paralleled the pounding of fresh soil into the forms. Hence the local’s name for the structure: “Obruni fufu” (white man’s fufu).
If you’re interested in getting involved in the 10×10 Challenge (open to students and graduates of design, architecture, art, or engineering, until October 2013), check out the Nka Foundation’s website, www.nkafoundation.org, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Full description of the project, after the break….
Architect, designer and theoretician Gae Aulenti (1927-2012) died late Wednesday night in her Milan home at the age of 84. The Palazzolo della Stella native will always be remembered as being one of the few well recognized women that worked in Italian postwar design. Throughout her career, Aulenti’s multi-faceted talent contributed greatly to the evolution of art, architecture and design.
continue reading for more…
Jeanne Gang is about to make her New York debut, as the Chicago-based architect just unveiled the latest project planned to border New York City’s beloved High Line. The 180,000 square-foot office tower with ground level retail will replace an existing, disused meatpacking plant along 10th Avenue between 13th and 14th streets. It will feature a “gem-like”, glass facade that is intelligently shaped to avoid the disruption of light, air and views from the High Line.
Dubbed the Solar Carve Tower, the mid-rise structure is currently pending city approval and is planned for completion in 2015.
Continue after the break for the architects’ description. (more…)
A few days before the wrath of Sandy, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) broke ground on what will be the first net zero energy school in New York City and the Northeast U.S. Located on a 3.5-acre site on Staten Island, at the intersection of Crabtree Avenue and Bloomingdale Road, P.S.62 Richmond will serve 444 pre-kindergarten through fifth grade students. When completed in Fall of 2015, the cutting-edge primary school will harvest as much energy from renewable on-site sources as it uses on an annual basis.
Learn more after the break… (more…)
Lebbeus Woods, the American architect, artist, and theorist, died yesterday at the age of 72.
Woods may be best known for his radical re-imaginings and re-constructions of cities in crisis. While most of Woods’ politically-charged, fantastical sketches were too fantastical to be built, many have been displayed in Art Museums across the globe; the last exhibit occurred just this March at the Friedman Benda Gallery in New York City. His only built project, the Light Pavilion of the “Sliced Porosity Block,” commissioned by his longtime friend Steven Holl, was completed and opened this year.
In his blog, Woods described the Pavilion as a space “designed to expand the scope and depth of our experiences. That is its sole purpose, its only function. If one needed to give a reason to skeptics for creating such experimental spaces in the context of this large urban development project, it would be this: our rapidly changing world constantly confronts us with new challenges to our abilities to understand and to act, encouraging us to encounter new dimensions of experience.”
Indeed, it is this quality that characterizes all of Woods’ works. As Geoff Manaugh, the author behind BLDGBLOG , puts it: “Woods’s work is the exclamation point at the end of a sentence proclaiming that the architectural imagination, freed from constraints of finance and buildability, should be uncompromising, always. One should imagine entirely new structures, spaces without walls, radically reconstructing the outermost possibilities of the built environment. If need be, we should re-think the very planet we stand on.”
More on Woods’ life and career, after the break…
For the Venice Biennale, a group of 20 Peruvian architects (with no state support) presented a reflection on one of the most interesting territorial projects in South America. After 80 years in construction, a 20km tunnel connecting the Amazon to the dry region of the Pacific Andes has been completed, a tremendous infrastructure project that will turn this region into a new fertile land.
The “Olmos Transandino Project” will be ready in early 2013, and will attract more than 250,000 people with agriculture jobs (you can see more at Build it Bigger). However, despite this incumbent massive migration, there is no urban planning project on the country’s agenda, leaving one big question still to be answered: what should this territory, with its new urban quality, be like? That’s what a group of 20 architects from different backgrounds and ages set out to present at the “Yucun or Inhabitat the Desert” exhibit at the Biennale.
Each office worked on a 25ha site for three months, coordinating with their “neighbours” to create a unified urban fabric, which is represented with 1:1000 models.
The most important part of the firms’ research was their historical investigation into the region’s ancient Moche culture, a civilization that built astonishing abobe cities, as well as the first irrigation systems, 2,000 years ago. Inspired by Moche traditions, the firms generated a plan that would provide a sustainable future to this new territory.
More from the curator of the exhibit after the break:
MONU – magazine on urbanism is a unique bi-annual international forum for artists, writers and designers that are working on topics of urban culture, development and politics.
This new issue of MONU is dedicated entirely to the topic of “Next Urbanism” – meaning the urbanism of the cities of the so-called “Next Eleven” or “N-11″, which include eleven countries: Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, Turkey, South Korea, and Vietnam. These countries have been identified as growing into, along with the BRICs – Brazil, Russia, India, and China – the world’s largest economies in the 21st century. Next to interviews with Saskia Sassen and with the Nigerian-born architect Kunlé Adeyemi, and a series of contributions that discuss Next Urbanism in general, we feature eleven articles that focus specifically on the cities of each of the Next Eleven countries.
Despite strong opposition from preservationists and architects world-wide, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has announced his decision to support the demolition of Bertrand Goldberg’s Prentice Women’s Hospital. In a op-ed piece released by the Chicago Tribune, Emanuel supported his stance by arguing that Northwestern’s new biomedical research facility would “bring 2,000 jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in investment” to Chicago. Emanuel believes Goldberg’s “vision is alive in Chicago beyond one building” and allowing Northwestern to build the new medical center is crucial in keeping Chicago at the forefront of scientific innovation.
Emanuel stated, “Chicago’s architectural legacy is part of a larger story of a city that has been a trailblazer from the beginning and remains on the forefront of design and dance, medicine and manufacturing. To honor that legacy and build on it for the next generation of Chicagoans, we cannot simply preserve the past: we must promote opportunity for the future.”
In return, Northwestern has committed to “include a Chicago architect in its design process, adhere to the city’s minority hiring requirements, preserve other historic buildings and ensure public safety around the new building.”
The redevelopment of Sydney’s an inner-city waterfront precinct of Barangaroo is making progress, as the Barangaroo Delivery Authority (BDA) has announced the five teams shortlisted for the master planning services for Barangaroo Central. The project will complete the long term vision for Barangaroo, which was masterplanned by Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners, by forming the “heart of the site” that will be the transition along the waterfront walk from the southern urban and commercial spaces to the natural form six hectare of the Headland Park.
The full shortlist includes: (more…)
Tadao Ando and the Japan Sport Council (JSC) have announced the eleven finalists who will compete in the final round of the international competition for the New National Stadium Japan. With the reconstruction, the National Stadium hopes to attract world-class events with the world’s largest spectator capacity and the world’s finest hospitality. The new stadium is already committed to hosting the 2019 Rugby World Cup and is slated for competition in 2018.
Tadao Ando describes: “Our wish is to see a stadium designed by someone who shares this earth, with wisdom and technology that looks to the future of out planet.”
The finalists after the break… (more…)
Maybe Sandy, the colossal hurricane that has barreled across the East Coast this week, will finally get the message across: ”We are all from New Orleans Now.”
Thanks to climate change, America’s coastal cities, and particularly New York, have become increasingly vulnerable to nature’s wrath. Over two years ago, MOMA asked five architects to come up with a redesign of lower Manhattan that would prevent damage in the event of major flooding. Barry Bergdoll, the Curator of the “Rising Currents” exhibit, put it to the architects this way: “Your mission is to come up with images that are so compelling they can’t be forgotten and so realistic that they can’t be dismissed.”
Unfortunately, they were. As the many images from traditional news sources and social media users reveal, Sandy’s damage has been extensive – and perhaps, in many ways, preventable.
It often takes tragedy to instigate change. Let’s hope that Sandy will finally get the conversation of New York’s vulnerable urban landscape on to the table.
More images of Sandy’s damage, as well as plans from MOMA’s “Rising Currents” Exhibit, after the break…
Architects: Massimiliano and Doriana Fuksas
Location: 401, rue le Titien 34000 Montpellier, France
Year: 2007-2012: competition 2007, won competition April 2007, building site January 2010, Inauguration September 2012
Project Team: Damon Belusco (project leader), Michele D’Arcangelo, Nicola Cabiati (model), Ana Gugic (interiors)
Client: Région Languedoc-Roussillon
Contractors: GFC – structure, SMAC – façades, BARSALOU – frames
Consultants: ALTIA – Acoustics, NEVEUX-ROUYER – Landscape Architects, ALMA Consulting – Kitchen design
Net surface: 23,600 sq.m.
Gross surface: 25,736.80 sq.m.
Area surface:16,500 sq.m.
It began with the relocation of the Zappos Headquarters, now owned by Amazon, from its offices in Henderson, Nevada, to the former city hall in downtown Las Vegas: an idea to transform the struggling part of downtown Las Vegas into a vibrant community with economic opportunities for young professionals along with an incentive for a variety of companies to build their foundations providing jobs and income for the city. Despite America’s association with the Las Vegas strip, the downtown has a metro area dominated by unemployment, foreclosure and bankruptcy. Zappos CEO Tony Hseih saw this area, filled with vacant lots, liquor stores and motels, as an opportunity to develop something new and enriched that could foster an economy, bring young professionals and inspire natural growth of community and industry. Hseih’s Downtown Project aims to develop a community by listening to what people want and need from their physical environment, that is also dense, diverse and inspires economic growth.
Join us after the break for more. (more…)
Eric Höweler and J. Meejin Yoon of Höweler + Yoon Architecture have been announced as winners of the Audi Urban Future Award 2012, an international architecture competition focused on the future of urban mobility in the five metropolitan regions Boston/Washington, Istanbul, Mumbai, Pearl River Delta, and São Paulo. With “Shareway”, the Boston firm’s winning proposal called for the reinvention of the Boston-Washington, D.C., metropolitan region called “Boswash”.
Höweler+Yoon Architecture was one of the five architectural offices that were selected for the competition. Other participating firms were Superpool (Istanbul), CRIT (Mumbai), Node Architecture & Urbanism (Pearl River Delta), and Urban-Think Tank (São Paulo).
We had the chance to interview the practices and ask them about the role of the architect in our society. We also talked to Eric Höweler about this project during the awards ceremony, video coming soon.
Project Description by Höweler+Yoon Architecture: (more…)