How 5 California Colleges Approach Campus Design

Geisel Library at UC San Diego, designed by William Pereira. Image © Darren Bradley

In this article, originally published in 2 parts on as “Building a University: How 5 California Schools Approach Design” (Part 1 & Part 2), Sherin Wing investigates how different Californian universities utilize the design of their campus to express and enable their differing missions.

A school is more than just the sum of its intellectual records. Its legacy is very much tied to a physical place: its campus. More than a mascot or a symbol, the design of a campus and the buildings that form it greatly contribute to a university’s lasting identity.

The key, then, is how a school’s material identity advances its intellectual mission. For example, academic buildings often physically symbolize the type of scholarly exploration and research that takes place therein. Administrative centers, on the other hand, anchor the more idealistic work taking place in the lecture and science wings. At the same time, individual buildings can function collectively as didactic forums for the public, demonstrating such principles as energy and water-use efficiencies. Lastly, the circulation between the buildings themselves is important. Open green space, for instance, can accommodate crowds, lectures, and even protests, providing a counterpoint to the more stately, processional routes that crisscross a campus.

Clearly these are different, and at times conflicting, agendas. How are they ranked and pursued by individual universities? Five campus architects at different California universities reveal how similar factors work in concert to produce very different visions and results. For some the initial plan of a school continues to wield influence over future developments, while in other cases a commitment to architectural movements and types gives rise to an eclectic, flexible approach to campus design.

Find out how these 5 California Universities approach their architecture after the break

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What the Guggenheim Should Consider Before Building in Helsinki

The / Frank Gehry. Image © Flickr User: Iker Merodio

The Guggenheim is planning a new museum in Helsinki. The site is in the heart of the city, next door to the late 19th Century market hall and open-air market place, two minutes from Cathedral. The project, therefore, has great landmark potential for the city. And many Finns are lured by this very potential, wanting to increase tourism and put their capital city more evidently on the world map. There has also been discussion in the country’s main newspaper Helsingin Sanomat about how Finns should welcome a more joyous and fun architecture.

Destination-creation and architecture as entertainment are certainly strong themes of our times.  They were treated with great artistry by Frank Gehry with the Bilbao Guggenheim, opened in 1997. However, it’s important to remember that the Bilbao Guggenheim might best be considered a spectacular one-off. Mayors, politicians and world leaders have since sought, in perhaps too facile a way, to rebrand their cities and countries with iconic landmarks. There has been much talk of making cities “world class” through such architectural gestures, and yet much of this marketer’s fodder is wholly out of touch with what makes great architecture great.

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London Calling: The ‘Practical’ Architect

Thomas Heatherwick and Arup’s plans for a new, 367-meter long ‘Garden Bridge’ that will span the river from Temple to the Southbank (more renderings at http://www.archdaily.com/389848/thomas-heatherwick-designs-garden-bridge-in-/). Image Courtesy of Arup

Recently the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne pledged £30 million towards Thomas Heatherwick’s Garden Bridge over the Thames. It was an easy offer to make towards a conspicuous piece of design by the author of the 2012 Olympic flame. Contrast this with the Education Secretary Michael Gove’s remarks about the contribution that our profession might make to schools: “We won’t be getting Richard Rogers to design your school. We won’t be getting any award-winning architects to design it, because no one in this room is here to make architects richer.”

Together, these events indicate that our government does not understand our profession. Genius minds may be called upon to make exceptional contributions to a built environment that otherwise need not be exposed to such frivolity and impracticality. And yet, every day architects make practical decisions that lead to great buildings. It’s about time the politicians here in the and abroad listened to a very ‘practical’ profession.

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Sochi 2014: Asif Khan Greets Spectators with “Architectural Mount Rushmore”

Courtesy of Asif Khan Studio

The Olympics are in full swing and, although the “Coastal Cluster” of stadiums has attracted a considerable amount of attention, there is one demanding interaction from every spectator.  Built at the entrance of ’s Olympic Park is Asif Khan Studio‘s “MegaFaces,” a pavilion that “contorts itself to recreate 3D images of the faces of visitors relayed via digital face scans made in photo booths installed within the building.” 

Comprised of 11,000 actuators sitting underneath the cube’s stretchy fabric membrane, the installation allows for three, eight meter tall faces to emerge from the wall at a time (the faces that emerge from the side of the pavilion are enlarged by 3500%). According to the designers, this feature of the building “has been likened to a giant pin screen and a digital, architectural Mount Rushmore.”

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OPINION: DS+R Should Have Resigned from the MoMA Commission

© Flickr CC User Dan Nguyen

With all the controversy surrounding Diller Scofidio +Renfro (DSR) and MoMA’s decision to demolish the American Folk Art Museum to make way for expansion, DS+R has increasingly come under fire (indeed, even DS+R’s democratizing move to make the MoMA’s sculpture garden accessible to the public has provoked considerable ire). In the following article, which originally appeared on Metropolis as “Damage Control,” critic and author Martin Pedersen questions: why didn’t DS+R just walk away?

A few weeks ago, in the wake of MoMA’s decision to raze the Folk Art Museum, the estimable Christopher Hawthorne of the Los Angeles Times asked ; why (DSR) didn’t simply resign the commission, rather than recommend the demolition of a building designed by their (former?) friends. At the time, I was skeptical of the suggestion. But with the onslaught of negative publicity—which will continue up until the demolition of the building and perhaps well beyond—I’m beginning to think Hawthorne was right. And right not just from a moral, ethical and historic perspective.

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A Master Architect’s Surprising Obsession

Frank Lloyd Wright. Broadacre City Project. 1934–35. Model: painted wood. The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, ); Frank Lloyd Wright and Eugene Masselink at the exhibition Frank Lloyd Wright, American Architect. November 13, 1940–January 5, 1941. The Museum of Modern Art Archives, . Photo by Soichi Sunami

Frank Lloyd Wright—perhaps the most influential American architect of the 20th century—was deeply ambivalent about cities. For decades, Wright was seen as the prophet of America’s post-World War II suburban sprawl, yet the cities he imagined were also carefully planned, and very different from the disorganized landscapes that were often developed instead. Paradoxically, Wright was also a lifelong prophet of the race for height (think skyscrapers) that played, and continues to play, out around the world.

On view is Wright’s 1934­–35 manifesto project, “Broadacre City,” which embodied his quest for a city of private houses set in nature and spread across the countryside. He believed that advances in technology had rendered obsolete the dense cities created by industry and immigration in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Distributed along a rectilinear grid, these one-acre homesteads were to be combined with small-scale manufacturing, community centers, and local farming, and interspersed with parklands to form a carpet-like pattern of urbanization. Visitors of Frank Lloyd Wright and the City: Density vs. Dispersal will encounter the spectacular 12- by-12-foot model of Broadacre City, which merges one of the earliest schemes for a highway flyover with an expansive, agrarian domain. Promoted and updated throughout Wright’s life, the model toured the country for several years in the 1930s, beginning with a display at New York City’s Rockefeller Center. It is juxtaposed with the monumental models and drawings produced of his skyscraper visions: the six-foot tall model of his 1913 San Francisco Call Building; the model of his only built residential tower, the Price Tower, in Bartlesville, Oklahoma of 1952–56; and the eight-foot drawings of the Mile High tower project.

Frank Lloyd Wright and the City: Density vs. Dispersal celebrates MoMA’s recent joint acquisition of Wright’s extensive archive with Columbia University’s Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library and is now on view.

INTERIORS: The Monthly Zine Mapping Film’s Fascinating Spaces

Up, Issue 15. Image Courtesy of Interiors Journal

Originally appearing on Metropolis as A Pair of Artists Use Architecture to Study Film, Colin Warren-Hicks profiles “Interiors“, a monthly zine that analyzes important spaces in Films and TV through reconstructed architectural plans – and whose creators also contribute to Archdaily on a monthly basis

Can a good film director be a good architect? That’s the premise behind Interiors, a monthly online zine that critically investigates the link between film and architecture. Each issue breaks down, in architectural notation, a memorable set or scene from a movie or television series. (Lately, the subjects have expanded to include a Justin Timberlake music video and even a stage from Kanye West’s Yeezus tour.) The diagrams are accompanied by a lengthy essay that supplements the spatial analysis.

Read more about “Interiors” – and see a collection of plans produced for the journal – after the break

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Le Corbusier, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, and Their Flights of Fancy

(Left) Antoine de Saint-Exupéry in Alghero, Sardinia, May 1944, (Right) leaning against his Plan Voisin. Image © (Left) The John and Annamaria Phillips Foundation, (Right) Fondation

This article by Avinash Rajagopal, originally published in as ‘The Little Prince’ and Le Corbusier investigates the link between Le Corbusier and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, writer of The Little Prince.

On October 22, 1929, a French architect got on the inaugural flight of the Aeroposta Argentina, a pioneering airline service that flew from Buenos Aires to Asuncion del Paraguay, flown by a French co-pilot. The act of flying would deeply influence the creative output of both passenger and pilot.

The former, of course, was Le Corbusier. The latter was Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, later to be famous as the creator of The Little Prince (1943), the well-beloved tale of a planet-hopping, fox-befriending, flower-loving space child.

Read on after the break for more about the pair

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Should You Become a Global Architect?

From upper left: “Chicago Thaws Into Spring,” “Bustling Beijing,” “Approaching ” © Flickr User CC Stuck in Commons. Image

has brought with it many things: the ability to travel, to recognize familiarity in any city, and, most importantly for us, to create trans-continental opportunity in design. It has created a platform for young professionals that no other generation has been fortunate enough to encounter at this scale. If you want to be a Global architect, to chase the award-winning projects, to work side by side with inspiring people, to learn from them and be amongst those at the top of their game, you have to be proactive and seek these people out; in essence, you have to be willing to be mobile.

Relocating for a career is not for everyone and not without risks (those will be covered later); however, having the opportunity to travel to a new city and learn a new skill set is an amazing experience we were both fortunate and proactive enough to capitalize upon. If that’s the kind of experience you seek, then maybe being a Global architect is right for you. Read on to know for sure.

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Behind the Magic of Media Installations

At LAX, it was important to create “a positive experience after the stress of the departure experience,” says Melissa Weigel. Image Courtesy of

In this interview, originally published by Metropolis Magazine as “Q&A: Melissa Weigel of Moment Factory“, Leslie Gallery-Dilworth talks with Weigel about the challenges of devising multimedia installations for public spaces, as in their recent installation for the Bradley International Terminal at LAX.

Montreal’s Moment Factory, a new media and entertainment studio, is best known for creating and producing multimedia environments that combine video, , architecture, sound, and special effects. You may have seen their work at Cirque du Soleil, Madonna’s 2012 Superbowl Half Time Show, Disney’s E3 booth, or Jay Z’s Carnegie Hall debut. Perhaps you were there when they lit up the facade of the Sagrada Familia or Montreal’s Quartier des Spectacles district. Or maybe you saw that they were included in Apple’s recently launched 30th anniversary timeline.

Moment Factory was the main content provider for the interior concept and media features in the newly opened Bradley International Terminal at LAX, designed by Fentress Architects. It was a large collaboration consisting of several partners, including Mike Rubin with MRA International, Marcela Sardi of Sardi Design, Smart Monkey, Digital Kitchen, and Electrosonic with installation by Daktronics and Planar.

Reaction from passengers and the airport management at LAX has been, to put it most effectively, “WOW!” So was mine. That’s why I asked them to present the project at Dynamic Digital Environments-Master Class on Feb 11, at the Digital Signage Expo in Las Vegas. I produce this annual pre-conference education workshop and roundtable with architects and designers in mind. To preview our master class, I asked Moment Factory’s Melissa Weigel, senior multimedia director on Bradley International Terminal at LAX a few questions about the project.

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Case Studies in Coastal Vulnerability: Boston, Seoul, Hamburg, Bangladesh & New York

Water floods the Plaza Shops in Manhattan after Superstorm Sandy, 2012. Photo: Allison Joyce/Getty Images.

This article originally appeared in the latest issue of ArchitectureBoston as “Troubled Waters.“ 

The challenges of sea-level rise cross boundaries of all sorts: geographic, political, social, economic. Proposed mitigation strategies will also necessarily shift and overlap. Here, we present five case studies from across the globe that offer intriguing ways—some operational, some philosophical—to address the threats associated with climate change. Drawing on a research initiative focused on vulnerabilities in Boston, a team at Sasaki Associates developed these additional design-strategy icons to illustrate the layered approaches. They are adaptable, the better to meet the unique demands of each coastal community.

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Light Matters: 7 Ways Daylight Can Make Design More Sustainable

Kaap Skil, Maritime and Beachcombers’ Museum, Winner of the Daylight Award 2012. Image Courtesy of Mecanoo Architecten

Daylight is a highly cost-effective means of reducing the energy for electrical and cooling. But architectural education often reduces the aspect of daylight to eye-catching effects on facades and scarcely discusses its potential effects – not just on cost, but on health, well-being and energy.

This will explore the often unexplored aspects of daylight and introduce key strategies for you to better incorporate daylight into design: from optimizing building orientations to choosing interior surface qualities that achieve the right reflectance. These steps can significantly reduce your investment as well as operating costs. And while these strategies will certainly catch the interest of economically orientated clients, you will soon discover that daylight can do so much more.

More Light Matters with daylight, after the break…

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How to Preserve Post-War Modernism

The first worship service in the sanctuary of the Eero Saarinen-designed North Christian Church in Columbus, Ind., was held on March 8, 1964. Image © Flickr CC User the.urbanophile

This article by Carlos Harrison appeared in Magazine as Reinvention Reinvented: Hope for Modernism, and discusses the issues surrounding the (increasingly popular) drive to preserve post-war , including what we can learn from past successes and failures, and what it takes to preserve different types and styles of building. 

Columbus, Indiana, is something of a modern marvel. It boasts more than 70 buildings by some of the architecture world’s greats, including titans of Modernism such as Eero Saarinen, I.M. Pei, and Richard Meier. Schools, churches, a library, a post office, and even a fire station stand as examples of the distinctively diverse architectural styles spanning the decades from World War II through Vietnam.

Crisp lines, sharp angles, connected like Lego blocks. Nearby: a 192-foot spire aims toward the heavens like a laser.

Read on after the break for more about preserving modernism

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The Architecture of Alfred Hitchcock

Hitchcock on the set of Rope, with actors Jimmy Steward, John Dall, and Farley Granger. Image Courtesy of nai010 publishers

Originally appearing in Metropolis Magazine as “Hitchcock and the Architecture of Suspense,” this article by Samuel Medina reviews Steven Jacobs’ book The Wrong House: The Architecture of Alfred Hitchcock, which uses expert analysis and reconstructed floor plans to examine how the master created suspense with his sets.

In the films of Alfred Hitchcock, things happen, but the events that gave rise to them are easily forgotten. You quickly forget how A leads to B or, say, by what elaborate means Roger Thornhill ends up at Mt. Rushmore in North by Northwest. But as the French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard observed, the Hitchcockian cinema compels not with story, but with images—the open-palmed hand reaching for the door, the simulated fall down the staircase, the whorling retreat of the camera from a dead woman’s face. These stark snippets imbue the films with their uncanny allure and imprint themselves in the mind of the spectator much more effectively than any of the master’s convoluted plots.

Read on for more on the role architecture plays in Hitchcock’s films

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Why The Skycycle Would Never Work

Is this the answer to London’s cycle safety woes?. Image ©

Writing for Future Cape Town, this article by Julia Thayne – originally titled The Skycycle: A Plan for the People? - explores the proposal by Foster + Partners to build an elevated cycle highway above London’s, explaining why it is little more than an optimistic pipe-dream.

Headlines in London this November were grim. Six cyclist deaths in less than a fortnight. All but one cyclist killed in accidents involving trucks, buses, or coaches. People were understandably concerned. From 3,000 miles away, my mother sent me a fluorescent coat and another set of bike lights, and as a cyclist commuter, I avoided roundabouts that I had previously sailed through, noting that cars seemed to be driving more slowly and other cyclists thinking twice before flouting traffic laws.

In response to the deaths, the public and public sector alike launched a “cycling state of emergency.” Officers patrolled the streets to ticket both vehicles driving unsafely and cyclists disobeying road rules. A thousand citizens gathered for a candlelight vigil at the roundabout where three cyclists’ lives had been claimed. Another thousand staged a “die-in” outside of Transport for London’s headquarters, in which protesters lay down in the streets, using their bicycles to block traffic. Newspaper columns, magazine articles, and blog spots examined and re-examined the safety of cycling routes around London. Mayor Boris Johnson’s Cycle Superhighways (four blue-painted, supposedly safety-enhanced cycling routes around London) became a particularly contentious topic of discussion, as three of the six cyclist deaths during those two weeks (and of the 14 deaths thus far in 2013) had occurred on or near one of these routes.

From the conversation about cycling and safety, the Skycycle has emerged.

Read on for the problems with the Skycycle project (more…)

Common Sense in Sustainable Architecture

Elemental ultimately developed a system in which half of each building would be constructed in a first phase – and the other half in a later second phase: allowing residents to incrementally invest in their own homes, made possible through public funding. Photo: Elemental.

There are very few sceptics who would question the importance of increasing in architecture. The enhanced social value through better living conditions, physical value in a healthier and less-polluted environment, long-term monetary value via reduced operating and maintenance costs, and ethical value through fairness to future generations are self-evident.

But despite this agreement, the inertia of decision makers in finance and politics who are preoccupied with short-term cycles has slowed the pace of change, and distracts architects and engineers from focussing upon ways to integrate greater sustainable performance into their designs and projects.

The work of leading Chilean architects Elemental, led by Alejandro Aravena, on the implementation of the Holcim Awards-winning “Sustainable post-tsunami reconstruction master plan” for Constitución illustrates how the rigorous use of mere common sense can lead to significantly improved outcomes without generating higher costs. The city of more than 45,000 people is located 400km south of Santiago on the Pacific coast, with fishing and forestry as the principal industries. Constitución was almost completely destroyed by a tsunami in 2010. The tsunami first hit at the northernmost point of the city, with twelve-meter waves, then kept moving upstream through the river bed and hit the rest of the city with six-meter waves.

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In Defense of Open Source Design

Tatiana Bilbao’s design for . Image Courtesy of

The unspoken truth about housing today? Most of it is ugly – more accurately described as “developed” than “designed.”

What’s the difference? A housing development is bottom line-oriented; a housing design is human-centered. A housing development is made for the masses; housing design is typically envisioned for an individual client. But, at the end of the day, every house was at one point designed. In other words, development and design are merely made to oppose by developers and designers. They can be one and the same.

So how can we negotiate the difference between “development” and “design” – and effectively create better housing for the many without loss of individualism? Allow me to suggest an unlikely solution: making architecture open source.

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Photos of Eero Saarinen’s Abandoned Bell Labs

© Rob Dobi

This article by Samuel Medina originally appeared in , titled “Eero Saarinen’s Bell Labs, Now Devoid of Life” and features stunning photos of the abandoned leviathan by Rob Dobi.

At its peak, thousands passed through its massive, light-filled atrium. Today, Bell Labs Holmdel stands empty, all of its 1.9-million-square-feet utterly without life. An iconic example of the now-disparaged office park, the campus in central Jersey, was shuttered in 2007 and vacated soon after. Years later, it remains in an abandoned, if not unkept state. The grounds are cared for, the floors swept clean, and the interior plantings trimmed, however haphazardly. (That’s saying something; in the laboratory’s heyday, plastic shrubbery filled its glorious central hall.)

More about the building’s future, and more photos by Rob Dobi, after the break

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