The findings of the recent BD employment survey in the UK, revealing that 22% of British architects are unemployed, certainly makes for unpleasant reading, but it is important to look beyond the upsetting numbers to figure out what they mean.
Much more than a simple number showing the rate of UK unemployment, a closer look at the results highlights problems, exposes trends, and dispels myths – from the assumed truth that London is an employment “oasis” to the supposed strength the profession has shown in this economic crisis.
Read more analysis of the survey results, after the break…
In 1975 Brian Eno and the artist Peter Schmidt came out with a deck of cards designed to help artists and musicians push through creative blocks by offering alternative scenarios, methods, and perspectives. They called the set Oblique Strategies.
Think of them as a way to Dada your brain from the everyday realism in front of you to something more abstract. But this then takes you back to an alternate reality you couldn’t have experienced otherwise. They are traveling without moving. They have also been compared to the ancient Chinese book of divination, the Yi-jing, or Book of Changes. They are to be used in cases of creative emergencies.
Just a couple of years ago, if you wanted to make something look trendier, you put a bird on it. Birds were everywhere. I’m not sure if Twitter was what started all the flutter, but it got so bad that Portlandia performed a skit named, you guessed it, “Put a Bird on It.” (“What a sad little tote bag. I know! I’ll put a bird on it.” Etc.)
It turns out architects have been doing the same thing, just with trees. Want to make a skyscraper look trendy and sustainable? Put a tree on it. Or better yet, dozens. Many high-concept skyscraper proposals are festooned with trees. On the rooftop, on terraces, in nooks and crannies, on absurdly large balconies. Basically anywhere horizontal and high off the ground. Now, I should be saying architects are drawing dozens, because I have yet to see one of these “green” skyscrapers in real life. (There’s one notable exception—BioMilano, which isn’t quite done yet.) If—and it’s a big if—any of these buildings ever get built, odds are they’ll be stripped of their foliage quicker than a developer can say “return on investment.” It’s just not realistic. I get why architects draw them on their buildings. Really, I do. But can we please stop?
Find out why it’s not a good idea to put trees on skyscrapers, after the break…
At the close of the 19th century, the funding of architecture was enriched by a new paradigm: that of the wealthy patron and philanthropist, who financed buildings through a sense of moral and social duty. This resulted in a number of grand public buildings, spanning cultural, educational and political institutions: the Museum of Modern Art, Carnegie Music Hall, a huge number of Carnegie Libraries and even the UN Headquarters would not have been possible without the generosity of these men.
Where are gifts like these today? Are there modern versions of people like Carnegie and Rockefeller? In the 21st century, an age of encroaching corporatism and “the one percent”, it might be easy to believe that this form of construction funding is dead. This interpretation, however, does not reflect the reality at all. In fact, the recent history of the ‘wealthy patron of architecture’ is more interesting than you might think, and is rooted in the lessons learned from the pioneers of the past century.
Discover more about the fate of the architecture patron after the break.
Light matters, a monthly column on light and space, is written by Thomas Schielke. Based in Germany, he is fascinated by architectural lighting, has published numerous articles and co-authored the book „Light Perspectives“.
Today we have permanent media façade installations worldwide that call for attention. With size, tempo, colour and brightness they stand up as individuals within the urban nightscape. Many of them send out their luminous messages in a broadcast mode. For this reason, neighbours, on occasion, demand an intense dialogue with regard to content and form of the media façade, especially as it’s often unclear whether light installations are architecture or advertisement.
However, in the same way a good book requires a storyteller, media facades demand curators to arrange exciting stories that fit into the site and suit the client. The following four examples show how media facades reflect the story of the buildings themselves – see them all, after the break…
“Although Mr. Ito has built a great number of buildings in his career, in my view, he has been working on one project all along, — to push the boundaries of architecture. And to achieve that goal, he is not afraid of letting go what he has accomplished before.” — Yung Ho Chang, Member of the Pritzker Jury for 2013
Toyo Ito has been announced as the Pritzker laureate for 2013. Ito is the thirty-seventh recipient of the Pritzker Prize and its sixth Japanese recipient.
The Pritzker jury applauded Ito for his ability to synthesize many architectural languages and functionalities in the expression of one personal “syntax,” inspired by the organic structures found in nature and the sensual nature of the human user.
Calling him a “creator of timeless buildings,” the Pritzker Jury further praised Ito for “infusing his designs with a spiritual dimension and for the poetics that transcend all his works.” Among those works, the Jury singled out his Sendai Mediatheque, whose innovative use of structural tubes “permitted new interior spatial qualities,” TOD’S Omotesando building in Tokyo, “where the building skin also serves as structure,” and Tokyo’s Tama Art University Library as particularly inspiring.
In response to the accolade, the highest award in the profession of architecture, Ito humbly expressed that, with each project, he only becomes more “painfully aware of [his] inadequacy, and it turns into energy to challenge the next project.” For that reason, Ito professed, “I will never fix my architectural style and never be satisfied with my works.”
Read more of the Jury’s selection of Toyo Ito as the 2013 Pritzker Laureate, after the break…
Until his third year of high school, Toyo Ito’s passion was not architecture, but baseball.
Fortunately for us all (and almost assuredly for the Pritzker laureate himself), he soon switched career paths.
Born in Seoul in 1941, Ito moved to Japan at the tender age of two. From the age of 12 (when his father died) to the time he went to University, Ito was part of the family business: making miso (bean paste). However, upon attending The University of Tokyo from 1965-1969, architecture became his life work.
Read more on the life and work of Toyo Ito, the 2013 Pritzker Laureate, after the break…
This article was written by Armen Karaoghlanian for Interiors, an online journal run by Armen and Mehruss Jon Ahi, published on the 15th of each month, in which films are analyzed and diagrammed in terms of space. It has been revised and re-published with permission.
Michael Haneke, known for his cold, disturbing and bleak films, such as Funny Games (1997), Caché (2005) and The White Ribbon (2009), goes for a little compassion with his latest, Oscar-nominated film Amour (2012). The film, which explores the private life of a married couple, Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant) and Anne (Emmanuelle Riva), is a meditation on how individuals cope with the loss of a loved one.
Haneke sets his film within a single location, a Parisian apartment, which was constructed in a soundstage. The filmmaker, who often obsesses over the sound and production design in his films, had complete freedom with the construction of this space. In The Hollywood Reporter, we learn about how specific he was with the design of the space itself. “The crew had to install and reinstall the parquet floor to make sure it creaked just right.” In lieu of shooting on actual locations, Michael Haneke recreated an entire location according to his specifications to create the space he desired for his film.
Read more about how the spaces in Amour allow for the story to unfurl, after the break…
Back in 2006, we saw that there was a very strong generation of young architects that weren’t part of the traditional circle of printed publications. So, we had this crazy idea that we could create a platform to give those architects the exposure they deserved, spreading the knowledge and innovations they were producing to the rest of the world. At a time where Web 2.0 shifted how media was produced and consumed, we saw an opportunity to embrace the web for to achieve this goal.
Very soon we realized that we were on the right track: that we were making available to the world a whole new corpus of architecture knowledge, having a positive impact on the speed of innovation in our field, and generating a new, virtuous circle.
Then in 2008, the world entered the urban era with more than 50% of its population living in cities, 3 billion people, a number that is expected to double by the year 2040. This growth is expected to happen particularly in parts of the world where architecture is required the most, and we understood that our global exchange of knowledge was part of that dynamic.
Our mission is to improve the quality of life of the next 3 billion people that will move into cities in the next 40 years, by providing inspiration, knowledge and tools to the architects who will have the challenge to design for them.
In the span of five years, we went from an idea to the most visited architecture web site in the world, with over 7 million monthly readers, and a staff of over 50 people working in 9 different countries. This is our story.
This article, which originally appeared on Bullett Media, is by writer Matthew Newton. Newton has written for The Atlantic, Esquire, Forbes, and Guernica, and is currently at work on No Place for Disgrace, a collection of nonfiction stories based on the faded promise of the American suburbs. You can follow him on Twitter @newtonmatthew.
In November of 1977, filmmaker George A. Romero arrived with cast and crew at Monroeville Mall, a sprawling indoor shopping center located in the suburbs east of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The young director, who by that time had established himself as a pioneer in the horror genre, was set to start production on his latest film, Dawn of the Dead, a sequel to his 1968 cult classic Night of the Living Dead. Once again Romero’s slow-shuffling ghouls — starved as always for brains and entrails, meaty thigh bones and plump jugulars — would be unleashed on bumbling humans ill-prepared for a world gone rotten.
This time around, however, Romero, who in Night of the Living Dead touched on issues of race in the civil-rights era, had plans to skewer a new social dilemma: the rise of the American consumer. And to properly lampoon the nation’s burgeoning shop-till-you-drop culture, Romero needed the ideal backdrop.
Read more of Matthew Newton’s take on the immortality of the shopping mall, after the break…
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released an extensive new publication that serves as a guide for low-income, minority, tribal and overburdened communities to build smart, environmentally just, and equitable developments using strategies that are accessible and affordable. The guidelines build upon precedents of past successes within struggling communities, whether these struggles are in the face of discrimination, social or economic prejudices, or environmental injustice. The EPA identifies seven common elements that have been illustrated in in-depth case studies of communities that have struggled with those very issues. By targeting community groups, governmental agencies, private and non-profit partners, regional and local planners and residents of these communities, the EPA’s smart growth guide for “Creating Equitable, Healthy and Sustainable Communities: Strategies for Advancing Smart Growth, Environmental Justice, and Equitable Development” seeks to bring access to valuable information about the inherent possibilities to creating healthful, sustainable, and prosperous communities under a variety of circumstances.
Join us after the break for a breakdown of the EPA’s findings and how they address equitability in community development.
Marika Shioiri-Clark is an architect who uses design to empower global change and battle inequality. While attending Harvard for her Masters in Architecture, she co-founded the non-profit MASS Design Group and began working on what would become the the Butaro Hospital in Rwanda. In this article, which originally appeared on GOOD as “Building a Rwandan Wall”, she explains the process by which the hospital was built and defends claims that the project, led by a group of Western architects, was somehow colonialist in nature.
As she puts it: “In a place like Rwanda, it’s not neo-colonialist to work on high-quality design projects as long as you’re deeply and authentically engaged with the community. In today’s world, it’s more neo-colonialist to assume that African people don’t want well-designed buildings and spaces.”
Read about Ms. Shiori-Clark’s experiences, and the delicate balance that must be struck between local knowledge and innovative techniques, after the break…
As Mr. Betsky asserts, “Robots, connected computers, miniaturization, and etherization are taking the work out of both the social and the physical sphere.” But isn’t this just a fantasy because this has not yet happened on a large enough scale to produce a true paradigm shift? Or, if the shift has happened, then where is everybody rushing off to on the Monday morning commute? And what are all those buildings jammed in-between the roads for? Most of them seem to be for work as opposed to play.
We may all float in and out of working networks as we move around, untethered to carpeted cubicles, telecommuting, flex-timing, logging in at all hours, but we are still and will primarily be working in places designed by architects—often without access to sunlight, fresh air, or nature of any sort.
“While [...] everyone would like to be as sustainable as Copenhagen, creating true sustainability in a mega-city is a totally different story.”
In this article, which originally appeared in The Dirt, Jared Green explores how mega-cities - expanding and merging with other cities, fast becoming endless cities – must focus their growth in a productive, sustainable way. Expanding on the theories of Ricky Burdett, a Professor of Urban Studies at the London School of Economics, he explores which mega-cities are doing growth right (Bogota, London) and which are only headed towards increased inefficiency and inequality.
Read more about our endless cities – and how limiting them is the key to sustainable development – after the break…
The following article is by Simon Henley of Henley Halebrown Rorrison (HHbR). His column London Calling will look at London’s every-day reality, its architectural culture, and its role as a global architectural hub.
As a city, London is more than ever an architectural capital for propagating and consuming design culture. It has the highest concentration of architectural practices of any city in the world. Publications, exhibitions, events and a variety of pop-ups, pavilions and charrettes (not to mention the ever more popular pecha-kuchas) also attest to the fact. Schools like the Architectural Association (AA) in London’s Bedford Square have formed the minds of a number of world stage “star” architects.
Then there’s the skyline itself – stuffed with transplanted talent. Renzo Piano‘s Shard, the city’s new spire that stands high above the rest. Uruguayan Rafael Viñoly‘s controversial Walkie-Talkie, which swells by the day. Herzog & de Meuron‘s current work at The Tate Modern. John Nouvel’s shopping mall at St Paul’s, and the many 1980s American corporate buildings for commercial giants in The City of London by SOM, KPF and HOK.
Reflecting on this state of affairs of ‘high end architectural culture’ versus ‘high end commissioning culture’, one cannot help but see a curious chasm in London. In some ways, we are still today very much like the Victorians. Great inventors who leave it to the rest of the world to move our inventions forward.
Is London truly the world capital of architecture? Or a metropolitan trading post, an exporter of architectural ideas? Read more of Simon Henley’s take, after the break…
Today, ArchDaily turns 5 years old! We’ve already shared with you our special doodle of the day and the 20 Most Visited Projects of ArchDaily history - now, let’s look back at the 5 posts that most caught your attention these past five years. From the ever-pressing topic of work/life balance to an underground Data Center lair, these five posts offer us a snapshot of what’s important to architects today. Enjoy!
The 5 Most Read Posts in ArchDaily history, after the break….
As you might have heard, ArchDaily is celebrating our 5th birthday today! We decided it was time to get a bit nostalgic and look back at the projects of yesteryear, the ones that struck a chord with you, our ArchDaily readers, and helped us get to where we are today.
So, with no further ado, the 20 most visited projects in ArchDaily history! Beginning with….
See our 20 most popular projects of all time, after the break…
Today, in honor of International Women’s Day, we want to take a look at one of the most pressing issues facing architecture today: the lack of women architects. Articles abound about the what of gender inequality in architecture – in the UK, for example, only 21% of architects are women, and they earn 25% less than their male counterparts – but strikingly few discuss the how of lessening that gender gap.
Read the opinions of two prominent female architects, and provide your own, after the break…
Looking back on architectural history, you could be forgiven for thinking that women were an invention of the 1950’s, alongside spandex and power steering – but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Big names like Le Corbusier, Mies, Wright and Kahn often had equally inspired female peers, but the rigid structure of society meant that their contributions tended to be overlooked. In honor of International Woman’s Day 2013, we take a look at the 10 greatest overlooked women in architectural history.
Read the full list after the break…
“There’s a price on everything in New York, and the air is no exception.” - Ross F. Moskowitz, Strock & Strock & Lavan
All of us are familiar with the practice of buying and selling property in the form of land, residential and commercial space, but the buying and selling of the air surrounding these spaces is a concept well-understood by few. With the recovery of the condominium market in New York City, residential development is at an all-time high, and this means taller and even more luxurious towers are fighting each other tooth and nail for the best possible views of the city. Because of this, the price of air above and around these potential developments is becoming more and more expensive, since a room with a view is worth a whole lot more than one without. Is it possible that these empty, vertical pockets are now worth more than the ground below them?
Read more about New York City’s air rights to find out. (more…)