How Serendipity Helped Make 22-Year-Old Pedro E Guerrero FLW’s Favorite Photographer

Robert Llewellyn Wright House. Image © 2014 Pedro E. Guerrero Archives

What does it take for a 22-year-old art school drop-out to start a lifelong professional relationship with “the greatest American architect of all time”? Originally published by Curbed as “How a 22-Year-Old Became Wright’s Trusted Photographer,” this article reveals that for Pedro E. Guerrero, it took some guts and a lot of luck – but once they were working together this unlikely pairing was a perfect match.

When Frank Lloyd Wright hired Pedro E. Guerrero to photograph Taliesin West in 1939, neither knew it would lead to one of the most important relationships in architectural history. Wright was 72 and had already been on the cover of Time for Fallingwater. Guerrero was a 22-year-old art school drop-out. Their first meeting was prompted by Guerrero’s father, a sign painter who vaguely knew Wright from the neighborhood and hoped the architect would offer his son a job. Any job.

Young Guerrero had the chutzpah to introduce himself to the famous architect as a “photographer.” In truth, he hadn’t earned a nickel. “I had the world’s worst portfolio, including a shot of a dead pelican,” Guerrero said later. “But I also had nudes taken on the beach in Malibu. This seemed to capture Wright’s interest.”

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Reflections on the 2014 Venice Biennale

(Central Pavilion): Ceiling. Image © David Levene

Fundamentals, the title of the 2014 Venice Biennale, will close its doors in a matter of days (on the 23rd November). From the moment Rem Koolhaas revealed the title for this year’s Biennale in January 2013, asking national curators to respond directly to the theme of ‘Absorbing Modernity 1914-2014’, there was an inkling that this Biennale would be in some way special. Having rejected offers to direct the Biennale in the past, the fact that Koolhaas chose to act not only as curator but also thematic co-ordinator of the complete international effort, was significant. This announcement led Peter Eisenman (one of Koolhaas’ earliest tutors and advocates) to state in one interview that “[Rem is] stating his end: the end of [his] career, the end of [his] hegemony, the end of [his] mythology, the end of everything, the end of architecture.”

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“Hypotopia”: Architecture as a Vehicle for Political Action

© Armin Walcher

In the wake of the global financial crisis, banking scandals and government bailouts have made countless news headlines around the world. With such large sums of taxpayer money being funneled to the troubled financial sector, ordinary individuals are left to wonder how it will affect their own lives. But how can an entire country rise up and make their voices heard when it is nearly impossible to understand the magnitude of such an injustice? In Austria, a group of innovative students from the Technical University of Vienna set out to answer this question and have taken to a new form of in order to make the consequences of one Europe’s largest financial scandals in recent history a tangible reality.

To demonstrate the €19 billion price tag of ’s recent bailout of Hypo-Alpe-Adria, students designed and built a scale model of a fictional city called “Hypotopia,” a portmanteau of the bank’s name and “utopia.” According to Lukas Zeilbauer, “while utopia stands for an ideal fictitious world, ‘hypo’ is a Greek word meaning under, beneath or bellow – so a change coming from the bottom, from the folk.” Embodying an idealistic society with plentiful renewable resources and public education for people of all ages, the model city would theoretically contain 102,574 inhabitants, making it the sixth largest city in Austria.

Read on after the break to find out how an architecture model has drawn international attention and propelled an entire country to take action.

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TED Talk: How MASS Design Group Gave the Word “Architecture” a Meaning in Rwanda

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In one of the eight talks that make up the TED Prize-winning City2.0, MASS Design Group Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer Alan Ricks explains how MASS designed and built the Butaro Hospital in Rwanda, in 2008 when ”there wasn’t even a word for ‘architect’” in Kinyarwanda, the national language. Now thanks in part to their work, and the commitment of the many MASS Design Fellows in the area, has a more formalized market for architectural services and even a new architecture program at Kigali Institute of Science and .

Through anecdotes and testimonials from others involved (including everyone from the hospital gardener to Rwanda’s Minister for Health), Ricks demonstrates that no matter what the context, architecture can and should find opportunities in the local environment that bring not only health benefits but also economic benefits, jobs and even dignity.

13 Projects Win Regional Holcim Awards 2014 for Asia Pacific

GOLD: “Protective Wing” Bird Sanctuary . Image © Holcim Foundation

Teams from Thailand and New York have received top honors in the 2014 regional Holcim Awards for Asia Pacific, an award which recognizes the most innovative and advanced sustainable construction designs. Among the top three winners are the “Protective Wing” bird sanctuary and a locally-adapted orphanage and library in Nepal.

The 13 recognized projects will share over $300,000 in prize money, with the top three projects overall going on to be considered for the global Holcim , to be selected in 2015.

The full list of Asia Pacific winners, after the break…

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The World’s 10 Tallest New Buildings of 2015

The following list, originally published on BuzzBuzzHome, is based on data from the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, the recognized authority on skyscraper height. 

With the number of officially “tall” buildings — at least 656 feet (200 meters) — doubling over the next ten years, and the number of “megatall” buildings — at least 1,969 feet (600 meters) — expected to jump from two to 10 by 2020, building construction around the world is literally reaching new heights.

Indeed, next year alone 10 new  of at least 1,110 feet (338 meters) will be completed. They are 2015′s tallest buildings…

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AD Interviews: Mohsen Mostafavi / Harvard GSD

During his recent trip to Chile, organized by the Harvard David Rockefeller Center For Latin American Studies, we caught up with the Dean of Harvard’s Graduate School of Design (GSD), Mohsen Mostafavi, to see what challenges he thinks are facing the future of architecture education and to learn more about his work on ecological urbanism.

“[Architecture is] both a singular discipline, but at the same time it needs to be a collaborative discipline. It’s at once focusing on disciplinary knowledge but at the same time trans-disciplinary practicing; therefore it means that architectural education has to find new venues for collaboration,” he said.

“I think the GSD is very well-positioned to address key societal issues today because first, we’re a very multidisciplinary school in the sense that we believe strongly both in the focus of individual disciplines like architecture, but also on the inter-relationship between architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning and urban design. ”

Watch the full interview above to see what else Mostafavi had to say about architecture school, the role of architecture in society and ecological urbanism.

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100 Resilient Cities: How the Rockefeller Foundation is Addressing Resiliency on a Global Scale

’s proposed Hoboken Waterfront for the “Rebuild by Design” competition, which focused on resilience, sustainability and livability. Image Courtesy of

Resiliency has become a keyword when it comes to city planning and development, so much so that former AIA president, Clark Manus, declared last year that “resilience is the new Green.” To address resiliency on a global level and help cities around the world become more resilient to social, economic and physical challenges, The Rockefeller Foundation kicked off its 100 Resilient Cities Challenge in 2013. Under the initiative,100 cities will be selected to be part of the challenge, where they will receive help and funding to hire a Chief Resilience Officer and assistance in developing and implementing a resilience strategy.

So far 33 cities have been selected and last week the first-ever Chief Resilience Officer summit was held in New Orleans. To learn more about the summit in New Orleans, the overall initiative, and how cities can become more resilient, we spoke with President of 100 Resilient Cities, Michael Berkowitz, who said: “When you think about what makes a resilient city, you have to think in holistic terms. The reality is that resilience building is a multi-sector, multi-level kind of enterprise.”

Read the full interview with Berkowitz after the break

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Get to Grips with Guggenheim Helsinki’s Record-Breaking Competition with this Infographic Video

By now, when the design competition for the Guggenheim Helsinki is mentioned, one number probably comes to mind: 1,715, the record-breaking number of submissions which the competition received. But how can this number be put into perspective? Why, with more numbers of course. Take 5,769 for example, which is the total height in meters of all the A1 presentation boards arranged vertically. Or take 18,336,780, the estimated value in Euros of all the work submitted.

Check out this great video from Taller de Casquería, which gives a rundown of all of the mind-blowing statistics generated by the competition, and concludes with this strong message to the Guggenheim itself: “These are incredible figures that show the impact that the Guggenheim Foundation has throughout the world… Guggenheim should document this to recognize their success in helping to shape a global community, dedicated to visual culture.”

AD Classics: Geisel Library / William L. Pereira & Associates

© Darren Bradley

The alien form of the Geisel Library at the University of California, seems befitting of a backdrop from a science fiction movie. The building occupies a fascinating nexus between brutalism and futurism that its architect, William Pereira, intrepidly pursued throughout his career. With its strong concrete piers and hovering glassy enclosures, the library beautifully occupies an ambiguous state between massiveness and levitation, as if the upper stories have only just been set into their base and can be lifted back out at any moment. The tension between these two conditions gives the library an otherworldly appearance and provides a startling statement about the generative and imaginative power of the architect.

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AR Issues: Architecture Has Nothing in Common with Luxury Goods

Courtesy of The Architectural Review

ArchDaily is continuing our partnership with The Architectural Review, bringing you short introductions to the themes of the magazine’s monthly editions. In this editorial from AR’s November 2014 issue, AR Editor Catherine Slessor uses the opening of Frank Gehry’s Fondation Louis Vuitton as occasion to examine the split that has developed within the architectural profession, musing “On how architecture can be either manifestation of vanity or source of social transformation.”

One of the most depressing illustrations of how far architecture has lost its grip on reality is Frank Gehry’s new handbag. Along with other selected ‘iconoclasts’ from the world of fashion, art and design, Gehry was tasked by French luxury goods purveyor Louis Vuitton to design a bespoke limited edition ‘piece’. Gehry’s new Fondation Louis Vuitton has just opened in Paris and he is the man of the hour, so it seems obvious that after designing a monumental repository for contemporary art, he should turn his hand to the trifling matter of a fashion accessory. The handbag is yours for £2490. The art museum is yours for around £100 million, though some speculate that it cost much, much more.

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ARCHILIFE: Hollywood Stars Chill Out in Modernist Masterpieces

Courtesy of

Federico Babina is back, this time bringing some cinematic life to the world’s most well known modernist interiors with ARCHILIFE. ”I have never liked the lack of life in the architectural representations that are often aseptic, clean and neutral,” explains Babina. “I often enjoy imagining what life would be like in these static images.”

The images show history’s most famous film stars living out their daily routines in some of our favorite homes, bringing “the banality of everyday life” to these myths of both Architecture and Cinema. “We are used to perceiving and reading architecture as a set of almost metaphysical spaces. In a similar way we see the actors as characters and not as people,” he says. “I wanted to try to reverse these patterns: to transform the interior into ‘houses’ and the actors into ‘people’.”

From Marilyn and Mies to Caine and Kahn, the stars get a home to match their temperament, in which to relax, watch TV, meditate – and yes, to clean and tidy too.

See the full set of 17 ARCHILIFE images after the break – and just in case you missed them, check out Federico Babina‘s other popular illustration sets: ARCHIWINDOWARTISTECTARCHISET, ARCHIMACHINE, ARCHIPORTRAITARCHISTARCHIBET and ARCHICINE.

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Chicago Biennial: “The State of the Art of Architecture” Will Feature Photo Series by Iwan Baan

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The inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial now has an official name, with co-directors Joseph Grima and Sarah Herda announcing “The State of the Art of Architecture” as the biennial’s theme last week. Taking its name from a 1977 conference organized in Chicago by Stanley Tigerman, which focused on the state of architecture in the US, next year’s Chicago Architecture Biennial will aim to expand that conversation into the “international and intergenerational” arena.

In addition to the new name, the Biennial also announced its first major project, a photo essay of Chicago by Iwan Baan, which will contextualize the many landmarks of the Chicago skyline within the wider cityscape and within the day-to-day life of the city.

Read on for more about the biennial theme and more images from Iwan Baan. 

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Video: Daniel Libeskind on Masterplanning Ground Zero

“Its an adventure, because it’s a highly political, highly emotional, highly complicated process, to get something built on the site which is about memory,” explains Daniel Libeskind. “It’s a day that changed the world… and architecture responds in constructing something that has sense for people, that has spirit.”

In this latest installment by the Louisiana Channel,  recounts his involvement and intentions behind the Ground Zero master plan. Rejecting the idea of building mega structures and exploiting the site’s real estate, Libeskind focused his efforts on the people of New York and using architecture as a means for healing.

Watch the video about to hear Libeskind’s story.

Winners Announced for Architecture for Humanity Vancouver’s “NEXT BIG ONE” Competition

“Modular Landscapes” was designed in response to the 2011 Japanese earthquake. Image Courtesy of Chapter

Architecture for Humanity Vancouver Chapter has unveiled the winners of “NEXT BIG ONE,” an open call for design solutions to high-magnitude earthquake and tsunami events that plague cities around the world. Project teams were challenged to propose a solution that ”can mitigate natural disasters while simultaneously providing community permanence.”

A jury comprised of leading architects and professionals from Architecture Research Office (Stephen Cassell), Perkins + Will (Susan Gushe), Bing Thom Architects (Eileen Keenan), Scott & Scott Architects (David Scott), and the City of Vancouver (Doug Smith) evaluated the projects. Entries were evaluated based on three key criteria: the exemplification of innovation in disaster design, promotion of community resiliency before and after disasters, and compliance with multi-hazard parameters for worst-case disaster scenarios.

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Winners Of The 2014 RIBA President’s Awards for Research Announced

Tom Bridgen: ‘The Protected Vista’ – Commendation – RIBA President’s Award for the Outstanding PhD Thesis. Image Courtesy of RIBA

The RIBA President’s Awards for Research, established to “promote and champion high-quality research and encourage its dissemination to the profession,” have announced the 2014 laureates. Spanning four categories – Master’s, PhD, University, and Practice-Located Research – the winning theses and projects highlight the need for research across the profession to nurture innovation and strategic thinking. Ruth Morrow, chair of the jury and Professor at Queen’s University Belfast, commented on the judging panel’s “disappointment” at the lack of entries submitted from outside London.

The disparity between the six London based schools and those in the rest of the (of which there are more than forty high-calibre institutions) continually makes itself manifest in RIBA student . In spite of this, half of the and commendations given this year are for students studying at schools outside the capital; the remaining half were awarded to students of The Bartlett (UCL). Morrow hopes that “next year, in the 10th anniversary year of the awards, that more universities and practices from across the nations and regions will submit entries.”

See this year’s winning and commended projects after the break.

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TED Talk: My Architectural Philosophy? Bring the Community Into the Process / Alejandro Aravena

“If there is any power in design, that’s the power of synthesis.”

In this TED Talk Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena, the founder of ELEMENTAL, speaks about some of the design challenges he has faced in and his innovative approaches to solving them. Emphasizing the need for simplicity in design, Aravena talks about three of his projects: the Quinta Monroy social housing project, through which he developed the “half-finished home” typology for governments to provide quality homes at incredibly low-prices; his “inside-out” design for the Pontifical Catholic University’s Innovation Center UC – Anacelto Angelini, which reduced energy costs by two-thirds; and lastly his masterplan for rebuilding a resilient coastline in Constitución Chile after the city was hit by the 2010 earthquake.

Aravena also emphasized the importance of community participation in his projects, saying: “We won’t ever solve the problem unless we use people’s own capacity to build.” Watch Aravena’s full talk above and take a peek at some of his key projects below.

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Light Matters: 7 Ways Lighting Can Make Architecture More Sustainable

Sustainable lighting at HDI Gerling Headquarters. Architects: ingenhoven architects, www.ingenhovenarchitects.com. Lighting design: Tropp Lighting, www.tropp-lighting.com. Image © Hans Georg Esch, www.hgesch.de

Sustainable lighting design offers various well-being and environmental benefits in addition to economic advantages for clients and users. Although provides a free lighting source,  for most spaces the amount and time of is not sufficient and electrical lighting is necessary. A focus on sustainability becomes essential for minimizing energy consumption and improving the quality of life. Even though efficiency has significantly increased with LED technology, electrical lighting is still more widely used. Often the ambition for renovations or new applications goes along with a higher quantity of lighting instead of finding a better lighting quality with an adequate amount of energy.

Read on after the break for ’ 7 fundamental steps to achieve sustainable lighting.

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