The architecture world has been abuzz over news that a Chinese construction company plans to build the world’s tallest building— and to do it in just 90 daysusing a proprietary prefabrication technique.
After the project was announced, we reached out to Christian Sottile, the Dean of the School of Building Arts at the Savannah College of Art and Design,who gave us his takeon why the project is a terrible step for architecture and urban living.
But not everyone is skeptical about Sky City One.Stan Klemanowicz, an architect and planner in Los Angeles with Project Development Associates, reached out to tell us why the project is actually revolutionary. He has allowed us to publish his response to Mr. Sottile’s critique.
Read Sottile’s and Klemanowicz’s conflicting opinions, after the break…
As if architects in Spain weren’t struggling enough – what with the Crisis closing half the country’s studios and putting over 25% of Spanish architects out of work - a new law could now render Spanish architects effectively unnecessary.
A preliminary document reveals that, if passed, The Law of Professional Services (LSP) will modify labor regulations in order to allow engineers, or really any one “competent” in construction, to take on the work of architects:
“Exclusivity is eliminated. Architects or engineers with competency in construction will be able to design and direct projects, including residential, cultural, academic or religious buildings. [...] If a professional is competent enough to execute one building’s construction, it is understood that he/she will also be capable of executing other kinds of buildings, regardless of its intended use.”
Unsurprisingly, Spanish architects have risen up against the law, mobilizing both physical protests as well as social media campaigns. Even Pritzker-Prize winner Rafael Moneo has offered his opinion on the matter…Hear what Moneo has to say, after the break…
The Pritzker Prize has finally released their official statement in response to the petition Harvard graduate students Arielle Assouline-Lichten and Caroline James wrote, proposing that Denise Scott Brown retroactively receive recognition for the Pritzker Prize that her husband, Robert Venturi, won in 1991.
Lord Palumbo, the Chair of The Pritzker Architecture Prize, has responded that this would be impossible due to the way that Pritzker Juries deliberate: “Pritzker juries, over time, are made up of different individuals, each of whom does his or her best to find the most highly qualified candidate. A later jury cannot re-open, or second guess the work of an earlier jury, and none has ever done so.”
The letter goes on to suggest that Ms. Scott Brown is, however, still eligible for a Pritzker of her own; it also thanks Assouline-Lichten and James for “calling directly to our attention a more general problem, namely that of assuring women a fair and equal place within the profession. [...] one particular role that the Pritzker Jury must fulfill, in this respect, is that of keeping in mind the fact that certain recommendations or discussions relating to architectural creation are often a reflection of particular times or places, which may reflect cultural biases that underplay a woman’s role in the creative process. Where this occurs, we must, and we do, take such matters into account.”
Read the full letter, after the break…
We have rounded up some of the reactions to this afternoon’s news that Denise Scott Brown would not retroactively receive recognition for the Pritzker Prize that her husband, Robert Venturi, won in 1991.
— Cameron Sinclair (@casinclair) June 14, 2013
Are we satisfied? No.
— Alexandra Lange (@LangeAlexandra) June 14, 2013
Venturi won Pritzker in 1991. Jury that year: J. Carter Brown, Gio. Agnelli, Ada Louise Huxtable, Legorreta, Nakamura, Roche, Rothschild
— ChristopherHawthorne (@HawthorneLAT) June 14, 2013
The Pritzker denies a public effort to recognize Denise Scott Brown. She tells me what she thinks of the decision. http://t.co/mNTCtk4wFO
— Carolina A. Miranda (@cmonstah) June 14, 2013
Read more tweets after the break…
Architects and city planners are becoming more and more familiar with the health effects of our built environment. This to-the-point infographic, designed by Chris Yoon, cites a few ways in which mid-20th century city planning trends have contributed to a growing obesity problem in the United States. This data has alarmed scientists, planners and city officials into stressing the importance of redesigning the physical spaces so as to encourage physical activity and healthy choices.
Immediately after Hurricane Sandy hit the North American Eastern seaboard last October, New York City embarked on a debate to find ways in which the city could protect itself from future storms that climate scientists predict will escalate in frequency. Engineers, architects, scientists from myriad disciplines came up with internationally inspired proposals, including sea walls, floating barrier islands, reefs and wetlands, to apply to this particular application. Diverse in scope, the ideas have gone through the ringer of feasibility and have left many wondering if we should we build to defend or build to adapt.
On Tuesday, NYC Mayor Bloomberg announced a plan that includes $20 billion worth of both: a proposal of removable flood walls, levees, gates and other defenses that would be implemented with adaptive measures, such as marshes, along with the extensive flood-proofing of homes and hospitals.
What does this plan entail and what can we imagine for the future of NYC? Find out after the break.
The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has unveiled the 2013 RIBA National Award winners, a shortlist of 52 exemplars in design excellence from the UK and EU that will compete for the prestigious RIBA Stirling Prize. This year’s award winners were selected from practices of all sizes and projects of all scales, ranging from a beautifully-crafted chapel in the back garden of an Edinburgh townhouse to the innovative yellow-roofed Ferrari Museum in Italy. Notably, one third of the UK winners are exceptionally designed education buildings.
The 43 UK buildings that have won an RIBA National Award are:
Over the last two weeks, the world has witnessed history unfold in a small park in the heart of Istanbul, Taksim Square. What started out as a peaceful protest to save Gezi Park and its trees from destruction has turned into a country-wide (and, to some degree, worldwide) movement that rejects the ever-increasing autocratic tendencies of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The urban policies and projects that PM Erdogan and his government have been loutishly implementing in Istanbul offer only a few examples of the way this government has manifested its undemocratic attitudes. In that regard, it would be misleading to consider the protest over Taksim and Gezi Park as an isolated incident. Instead, development over Istanbul’s quintessential square constitutes the last straw in a series of neo-liberal policies, themselves the result of a century of history, that have shaped Istanbul over the course of the last decade.
More after the break…
We have entered an era of ‘modernization’, led by the Western world. In our times of unprecedented demographic expansion, infrastructural development is racing to meet demand with supply. As architects and designers, we have been pressured to embrace consumerism. Globalization has been adopted as a solution to the problem. Developing countries have equated economic prosperity and success to the adoption of ‘contemporary architecture’ in a bid to demonstrate leadership and innovation. And voila, we have a palette of sleek buildings to meet the population’s needs, as well as to “modernize” our landscape. Surely, mimicking the formula of technologically advanced countries will project us into the public eye.
Well it certainly does, but not necessarily in a positive way. It is creating a global architectural uniformity as designs promoted by Western ‘architectural gurus’ are being replicated around the world. We are neglecting vibrant contextual elements and hence constructing a generic world lacking humane facets of design. Would it not be a tragedy if Paris, Venice and Barcelona all looked similar? Would we not mourn the vibrancy of Parisian streets around the Eiffel Tower, the romanticism of Venetian waters and the monumental Sagrada Familia that dominates the skies of Barcelona? Do we really want a world that is basically a mirror image of the US?
More after the break…
In this interview by Hugo Oliveira, Álvaro Siza presents his ideas on the link between obsolescence and quality in architecture, and the role that a design’s flexibility plays in this relationship. He argues that the convent is perhaps the best example of a typology which is both fit for purpose and very flexible, allowing myriad other uses when its lifespan as a convent has ended. He also laments the current tendency to design a building for a very short period of time – intended to last only as long as it is needed for its original function. He links this tendency back to the Futurists of the early 20th century, where the idea was that “each generation makes its own environment which is later destroyed”, an idea he dismisses since “it also allows you to build badly because it only needs to last twenty years”.
You can see how Siza creates this flexibility in his own work by looking at his past projects featured on ArchDaily:
In 1961, Phyllis Richman, a student at Brandeis University, was considering applying to the Harvard Graduate School of Design’s Department of City and Regional Planning. The response from Professor Doebele, which you can read above, was to question the validity/practicality of her desire to enter into higher education, being, as she would surely be, a future wife and mother.
While today it sounds almost quaint in its blatantly sexist assumptions, Ms. Richman’s letter remains, unfortunately, all too relevant. In her article for The Washington Post, Richman says: “To the extent, Dr. Doebele, that your letter steered me away from city planning and opened my path to writing [a career Richman later describes as "remarkably well-suited to raising children"], one might consider that a stroke of luck. I’d say, though, that the choice of how to balance family and graduate school should have been mine.”
She’s absolutely right, of course; the decision was hers and hers alone to make. However, there’s no avoiding that Richman eventually found success in a job that allowed her to live flexibly as a professional and parent. How many women, and for that matter men, can claim that of architecture? How many architects are convinced, just like Ms. Richman, to pursue success in other, more flexible careers?
More about Richman’s letter, and where Denise Scott Brown comes in, after the break…
In addition to honoring renowned architect Ray Kappe with a Lifetime Achievement Award, the Los Angeles Business Council has awarded thirty-one county projects for their design excellence, sustainability and community impact at the 43rd annual LA Architectural Awards.
The 2013 Los Angeles Architectural Award Winners:
For me, university was about finding the confidence to explore creativity, the notion of self, and determining my own measurements of expectation. Last year I wrote an article entitled “10 things you don’t get taught in architecture school,” which provided advice on how to succeed in an academic setting. Having now graduated, the following article is reflective of my first 2 years working full time in architecture.
My experience in the office so far has required another round of self-configuring: repositioning the value of free thinking, redetermining the notion of self within the larger context of someone else’s expectations, and managing my objectives with those of others. The measurement of success is no longer determined by me, but by various organisational objectives and requirements.
Essential to the journey of finding my current job, I have initiated substantial life changes that include establishing a career strategy, reevaluating how I position myself in the field of architecture, and questioning who I am as an individual and what I want to contribute to the profession.
After the break, the 10 things most responsible for my obtaining a job in architecture…
In a crowed auditorium in central Los Angeles on Sunday, Swiss architect Peter Zumthor sat down with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) director Michael Govan to kickstart the opening of The Presence of the Past: Peter Zumthor Reconsiders LACMA. The hour-long discussion, captured in the video above, began with an insightful overview of Zumthor’s most famous works before moving to an in-depth conversation about the underlying ideas that drive Zumthor’s design for the highly anticipated LACMA overhaul.
The project – already six years in the making and yet still in its schematic phase – plans to replace LACMA’s aging cluster of three pavilions with an elevated, 21st century facility. A detailed project summary, alongside images captured from Zumthor’s 6 ton, concrete exhibition model, is available for you to review here on ArchDaily. Enjoy! (more…)
Today, SANAA (Sejima & Nishizawa and Associates) unveiled plans for a 400,000 square-foot building in Jerusalem that will form a new, interdisciplinary downtown campus for the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design. The competition-winning proposal, designed by the 2010 Pritzker laureates in collaboration with Israel’s Nir -Kutz Architects, features an array of stacked horizontal slabs that react to the area’s topography and surrounding context in order to create a series of outdoor terraced viewing platforms and multi-level interior spaces where students and teachers can meet, study and display their work.
More on the new SANAA-design downtown campus after the break…
The title “intern” should be banished from the profession of architecture. It’s about time. It has run its course. It’s outmoded and contributes to a culture of exploitation in the guise of opportunity. Frankly, it makes us look so nineteenth century.
More importantly, I’m tired of seeing articles decrying the state of interns every summer when “intern season” kicks in. Can we just be done with this? It’s depressing. Don’t exploit the interns! Pay the interns! No free labor! Class action lawsuit! Solidarity! FU pay me! All very well and good. However, if labor laws and ethics have not fixed the problem, maybe getting rid of the title will. It’s just a title, but it sets a bad precedent.
In the latest episode of his 99% Invisible podcast, Roman Mars bravely takes on a very sensitive topic: the design of prisons which contain execution chambers or house prisoners in solitary confinement. More specifically, the podcast discusses whether architects have a moral duty to decline these commissions and whether, as a profession, architecture should have a code of ethics which prevents registered architects from participating in such designs.
He compares architecture to the medical profession, where the American Medical Association imposes an ethical code on its members which all but forbids them from taking part in execution by lethal injection, based on medicine’s general aim of preservation, rather than destruction of life. The American Institute of Architect’s ethical code is both generic and meager in comparison: “Members should uphold human rights in all their professional endeavors.”
“Space, lines, light and sound” are the essential components of the experience of architecture and the most profound buildings have captured these moments through thoughtfully orchestrated design. Recently, architects that have designed churches with these primary elements in mind have come under criticism by the Vatican for diverting from the traditional form and iconography of churches. According to a recent article in The Telegraph, Massimiliano and Doriana Fuksas’ design for a church in Foligno, Italy has been labeled as problematic by the parish and Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, head of the Vatican’s Pontificial Council for Culture, for its resemblance to a museum instead of a place of worship – based on traditional Catholic values placed on the altar and imagery. Regardless of the Vatican’s criticism of the aesthetic approach of architects that break with tradition, this seems more of an issue of miscommunication between the architects and the congregations that have commissioned the projects that are being criticized.
More on this after the break.
After four years of high-brow debate, the demise of the controversial Hirshhorn ‘Bubble’ has been confirmed. The decision, made by Smithsonian Secretary G. Wayne Clough and Undersecretary Richard Kurin, comes shortly after the Hirshhorn board’s split vote resulted in the resignation of director Richard Koshalek – the man behind the ‘Bubble’.
The pavilion, which has already gotten the “cloud” nickname because of its shape and lightness, is generated through a three-dimensional steel grid of about 40 centimetre modules which morphs on each side. The structure is broken to allow people access as well as to generate different uses around, below and upon it.
More pictures and the architect’s statement after the break.
“Our research integrates computational form-finding strategies with biologically inspired fabrication“, claims the ‘about’ page of MIT Media Lab’s Mediated Matter Group. Though this may sound like run-of-the-mill architectural boasting, you are unlikely to find any more exemplary combination of scientific research, digital design and biomimetic construction than their recently completed Silk Pavilion.