Rem Koolhaas’ latest project -The Prada Transformer- is not just a building, but also a statement on today´s state of architecture. Dubbed the anti-blob, this “object” rejects all common blobby shapes we have seen lately. Simple geometrical shapes (a circle, a cross, a rectangle and an hexagon) enclose a space that depending on its rotation results on different spaces suitable for fashion exhibitions, cinema, art exhibitions and other special events. Each face is the platform on which these activities take place, while also being served by the other faces enclosing the space.
© Iwan Baan
A few weeks ago we showed you part of the construction progress, which is already finished and opened in April 15th with a fashion exhibition (Waist Down – Skirts by Miuccia Prada, see video of animated skirts at the exhibition), that will be opened until May 31 when the Transformer will rotate into Cinema mode.
Architecture photographer Iwan Baan recently visited the Prada Transformer and shared with us this impressive photo set of the Transformer on Exhibition mode (see more after the break).
For me, search for the ultimate flexible space and the use of regular shapes puts several things in question. Transformable architecture is nothing new, but in times on which “mixed use” seems to be the 2nd typical characteristic of a building after “green”, this project makes a stand. No fancy shapes, no wind diagrams, no fancy structure, no shiny surfaces, no eye candy renderings. No blob. Just, a simple building.
Architects: HHF Architects + Ai WeiWei
Location: Salt Point, New York, USA
Design Team: HERLACH HARTMANN FROMMENWILER & AI WEIWEI with Tom Strub, Fumiko Takahama
Structural Engineering: Crawford & Associates, Hudson, NY
Construction Management: Crawford & Associates, Hudson, NY
Design year: 2006-2007
Construction year: 2007-2008
Client: Christophe W. Mao / Chambers Fine Art
Budget: US $321,700
Constructed Area: 373 sqm
Photographs: Iwan Baan
Parkour is a sport on which you have to go from one point of the city to another as efficiently and quickly as possible, overcoming any obstacles in your way: walls, fences, trees, etc. This has made Parkour THE urban sport, included in recent pop culture music videos.
Danish film maker Kaspar Astrup Schröder is currently finishing MY PLAYGROUND, a documentary on movement, tricking, freerunning and parkour, and its relation with the urban spaces. This documentary will features scenes with parkour masters Team Jiyo and interviews with urban planners, local politicians, architects and philosophers.
The trailer uses the Mountain Dwellings by BIG as playground for the traceurs. The film is expected to be premiered in the summer of 2009.
The 11th Venice Biennaleis just around the corner, starting on Sept 14th with a preview on Sept 11th-13th. I´m eager to see the pavillions and installations on the Biennale, specially because the title for this version is “Out There: Architecture Beyond Building” on which Aaron Betsky, the curator, says ” “will point the way towards an architecture liberated from buildings to engage the central issues of our society; instead of the tombs of architecture, which is to say buildings, it will present site specific installations, visions and experiments that help us figure out, make sense of and feel at home in our modern world”.
One of this installations is “AirXY: From Inmaterial to Rematerial” by M-A-D, an interdisciplinary design firm with primary expertise in branding and visual communications. From their authors: he airXY screen is folded to seem as if it had burst out of the wall behind. as visitors approach they notice what appears to be a giant checkerboard with a vertical line scanning from left to right. suggesting the surface of an interface, a desktop and a machine simultaneously, on further observation, the visitors see that the composition is, in fact, charting the passing of time along an XY axis divided into 24×60 units. in addition to the vertical line and rectangular XY units, tiny green abstract icons are floating across the screen, looking like runes, contemporary urban signs or the graphic language of circuit diagrams”.
More pictures after the jump.
¿Remember GreenPix, the 2,200 sqm LED media wall powered by solar panels we featured some months ago? Alexandra Lerman published a documentary about the GreenPix on which Simon Giostra, founder of Simone Giostra & Partners. Giostra explains the challenge to design and build this gigantic media wall, with the help of engineering experts ARUP.
Actually Giostra is trying to convince the chinese goverment to display user generated content on the media wall, which is currently under the curatory of the authorities. This will make if fully interactive.
You can also download a software -available for Mac and PC- to simulate the media wall on your computer using Quicktime videos.
Reminds me of the display on the stage where Beck played at the Oulands Festival in San Francisco last week.
Location: Lacoste, France
Project Completion Year: July 2006
Design Team: Eric Bunge, Mimi Hoang (Partners); Daniela Zimmer (Project Architect), Kazuya Katagiri, Takuya Shinoda, Shuji Suzumori / Fabrication by nARCHITECTS and SCAD (Jim Bischoff, Michael Gunter, Cindy Hartness, Michael Porten, Ryan Townsend, Troy Wandzel, with Natalie Bray and Sarah Walko)
Client: Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD)
Program: Ephemeral pavilions
Photographs: Daniela Zimmer & nArchitects
The 2008 Olympic Games aren´t just a gathering of athletes, it´s also a showcase of the most innovative buildings and technologies like GreenPIX, the Zero Energy Media Wall by Simone Giostra & Partners and ARUP, pictured above.
This curtain wall covers the front of the Xicui entertainment complex in Beijing, near the site of the 2008 Olympic Games. It features the worlds largest color LED display, powered by a photovoltaic system integrated into the glass curtain wall.
This Media Wall will showcase a selection of specially commissioned video installations and live performances by artists from China, Europe and the US, starting in May. Pictures, construction progress, diagrams and videos after the break.