Graphic artist and designer Martin Vargic of Halcyon Maps has created a fascinating set of infographics that showcase both the cultural typologies of each continent’s architecture as well as the evolution of its tallest buildings throughout history. Exploring the progression of height differences of the tallest buildings in Europe, North America, Asia, Africa, South America, and Oceania, Vargic’s visually-striking charts detail 5,000 years of building history, from ancient to modern times.
Check out the charts, after the break.
Morphosis Architects’ highly anticipated plans for a new luxury hotel in Vals has been unveiled. The proposal, selected by 7132 Ltd (and denounced by the jury) following an international competition, was lauded by the client for its “minimalist approach” that will “help the hotel blend with the mountain landscape at the existing resort campus.”
The ultra-thin, 381-meter-tall tower will be one of three Pritzker laureate-designed projects at the 7132 resort, joining Peter Zumthor’s Therme Vals Spa and Tadao Ando’s Valser Path, which is slated for completion in 2017.
More images and a response from Tadao Ando, after the break.
Ever since its unprecedented skyward growth in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Manhattan has been an icon of construction all over the world, with recent estimates concluding that the island contains some 47,000 buildings. However, as with all construction, completed projects are just the tip of the architectural iceberg; Manhattan is also the home of many thousands of unloved, incomplete, and downright impossible proposals that never made it big in the Big Apple.
Of course, the challenges of New York are indiscriminate, and even world-renowned architects often have difficulties building in the city. After the break, we take a look at just three of these proposals, by Antoni Gaudí, Frank Lloyd Wright and Frank Gehry, courtesy of 6sqft.
The Serpentine Gallery has unveiled SelgasCano‘s designs for the 2015 Serpentine Pavilion in London, revealing a brightly-colored “chrysalis” structure created from a double skin of ETFE membrane wrapped in webbing. The Madrid-based duo were announced as the project’s designers in December, joining the prestigious list of past pavilion designers which includes SANAA (2009), Jean Nouvel (2010), Peter Zumthor (2011), Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei (2012), Sou Fujimoto (2013), and last year’s designer Smiljan Radić, among many others.
More on the pavilion, and SelgasCano’s statement after the break.
These days, many of China‘s largest urban areas are easily recognizable to people from all over the world, with the skylines of coastal mega-cities such as Shanghai and Beijing taking their place in the global consciousness. Far less known though is the inland city of Chongqing - another of China’s five top-tier “National Central Cities” – where in 2010 the Chinese government embarked on a plan to urbanize a further 10 million of the region’s rural population, with around 1,300 people now moving into the city every day.
Since his first visit to the city in 2009 photographer Tim Franco has been on a mission to document the rapid change in what he believes is “maybe the most widely unknown megacity in the world.” The result is Metamorpolis, a forthcoming photographic book by Franco with text by British journalist Richard Macauley, which documents the colossal scale of development juxtaposed against the people of Chongqing – many of whom still live an incongruous rural lifestyle among the concrete sprawl. Read on after the break for more images from the book and an interview with Franco about the experience of documenting one of the world’s fastest-growing cities.
An architectural “Paraidolia,” Federico Babina has uncaged the ARCHIZOO. Recalling images from his childhood, Babina has imagined a creative series of zoo animals rendered in familiar architectural forms.
“When I was a child I wanted to be an architect and now that I’m an architect I would like sometimes go back to my childhood,” says Babina. “Our mind is capable of collecting, record and store millions of images. One thing that always interests me is the association that we can do between these images.”
View the ARCHIZOO, after the break.
“If we look at architecture from a cultural point of view, we see we are in a special moment where we are trying to figure out our identity. I think we are too focused on how to transform old Chinese architecture into contemporary architecture; but in no way can you transform it, you can see it with your own eyes. For instance you cannot transform a Roman building into today’s buildings! Sometimes you have to forget about history to create contemporary and unique architecture.”
- Zhu Pei, Shenzhen, 2013
Public/Private, the Spring 2015 issue of ArchitectureBoston (out now) examines current trends in how we view public and private space and the effect these have on architecture. Tackling spaces as diverse as social space, the workplace, residential life, transportation, or civic territory, the issue examines what happens when notions of public an private space intersect. In the following article, originally published under the title “Quiet, please,” Laura Wernick FAIA explores the need for enclosed, private spaces within educational facilities.
I walk by William Rawn’s Cambridge Public Library extension twice a day on my way to and from work. I love the transparency of the south façade. It is sharp and crisp, and I can see right through to all of the exploring, socializing, reading, and working taking place within. When I go into the library for research or study, however, I tend to move quickly away from the openness of the new building into the old one. I find a semi-enclosed quiet spot away from the crowds, turn off social media, and get to work.
A casual observer might be forgiven for wondering how Thomas Heatherwick has developed such a reputation among architects. A scan of the works of Heatherwick Studio reveals relatively few completed buildings, and many of those that do make the list are small projects: kiosks, retail interiors, cafés. Indeed, to the average Londoner he is probably better known as the designer of the new homage to the iconic red Routemaster bus and as the creator of the wildly popular cauldron for the London 2012 Olympics - both unveiled in a year in which Heatherwick all but officially became the state-approved designer of 21st century Britain.
A look at the website of Heatherwick Studio sheds some light on this conundrum. With projects separated into “small,” “medium” and “large,” it is clear that a progression in scale is mirrored by a progression in time, with many of the smallest projects completed in the Studio’s early years, and most of those in the “large” category either recently completed or (more frequently) still on the drawing board. Their most recently completed project is also one of their largest, a “Learning Hub” for Nanyang Technical University in Singapore. How does a design studio that made its name in small projects adapt to such scale? ArchDaily spoke to Thomas Heatherwick about the Learning Hub and the increasing size of his projects to find out.
It’s a well-known fact that architects, almost without exception, love the 1982 film Blade Runner. Architects also love scale models. So what could possibly be more exciting than seeing photos of the model shop of the film? Enter this Imgur album of 142 photos from behind the scenes, posted earlier this week by user minicity. After the break, check out our selection of images of the Tyrell Corporation’s imposing pyramidal fortress, among other things, under construction.
Few in the twentieth century straddled the demarcation between design and architecture as effortlessly – or as successfully – as Ray and Charles Eames. For the Eameses, the distinction was artificial and unhelpful; useful creative thought emerged from a process-based method of problem solving, design solutions addressed and resolved specific needs, and success could be effectively measured by an object’s ability to do its jobs. But while the Eameses were famously weary of design’s historical tendency toward “creative expression,” their work exhibited none of the abject sterility threatened by a devotion to extreme functionalism. They found that delight was itself utilitarian, and an object’s capacity to produce pleasure for its user allowed for the consideration of aesthetics as one metric of serviceability. From this belief in the unity of performance and perception emerged some of the century’s most iconic designs: Case Study House #8, the Molded Plywood Lounge Chairs, and the 670 & 671 Eames Lounge and Ottoman.
The forthcoming An Eames Anthology, edited by Daniel Ostroff and published by Yale University Press, chronicles the careers of Ray and Charles Eames in their pursuits as designers, architects, teachers, artists, filmmakers, and writers. As Ostroff attests, with over 130,000 documents archived in the Library of Congress, the Eameses were nothing if not prolific; this volume, accordingly, is not comprehensive so much as representative, curated to reflect the breadth of interests and accomplishments of the pair.
In preparation for a 1949 lecture at the University of California, Los Angeles on “Advice for Students,” Charles made the following notes on inspiration, methodology, and career strategy. They are excerpted here from An Eames Anthology:
In their notes on the selection of Frei Otto as the 2015 Pritzker Prize Laureate, the jury described him as an architect that took his work beyond the boundaries of the discipline, as an architect who was also a “researcher, inventor, form-finder, engineer, builder, teacher, collaborator, environmentalist, [and] humanist.”
To learn more about Otto’s multidisciplinary approach to architecture as well as his emphasis on experimentation, we turned to an interview he did with Juan María Songel in 2004, published in the book A Conversation with Frei Otto. In the interview, Otto discusses numerous topics of interest and relevance to architecture in the 21st century, and in particular the importance of experimentation and research, declaring: “Productive research must be brave!”
The 2015 Fairy Tales competition, hosted by Blank Space, has drawn to a close with four winners and 11 honorable mentions emerging victorious. Now in its second year, the competition attracted over 1,200 entries from 65 countries and challenged participants in a number of fields to design architectural projects inspired and accompanied by fictional stories.
Check out the winning designs after the break.
“I must reorganize the environment of man by which then greater numbers of men can prosper,” says Buckminster Fuller in this rare interview on the Geodesic Life with Studs Terkel (recorded in 1965 and 1970). Animated by Jennifer Yoo and produced by Blank and Blank, this interview has been brought to life as the first of “The Experimenters” mini-series that features rare interviews with Bucky, Jane Goodall, and Richard Feynman focusing on science, technology and innovation.
The Moscow International Business Center (Also known as Moskva-City) was meant to be Russia’s ticket into the Western world. First conceived in 1992, the district at the edge of Moscow’s city center is intended to contain up to 300,000 inhabitants, employees and visitors at any given moment and, when completed, will house over 4 million square meters of prime retail, hotel and office space to create what the Russian government desired most from this project: an enormous financial district that could dwarf London’s Canary Wharf and challenge Manhattan. Twenty three years later though, Moscow-based real estate company Blackwood estimates that as much as 45% of this new space is entirely vacant and rents have plummeted far below the average for the rest of Moscow. The only press Moskva-City is attracting is for tenants like the High Level Hostel, a hostel catering to backpackers and other asset-poor tourists on the 43rd floor of the Imperia Tower, with prices starting at $25.50 for a bed in a six-person room. This is not the glittering world of western high finance that was envisioned back in the post-Soviet 90s; but what has it become instead?
This past October Alejandro Zaera-Polo abruptly resigned from his position as Dean of Princeton’s School of Architecture amidst plagiarism rumors. The resignation, requested by University President Christopher Eisgruber, was the result of Zaera-Polo’s removal of citations from his contribution to the “Facade” section of the Elements of Architecture exhibition at the 2014 Venice Biennale.
Claiming the rumors to be “demonstrably false,” Zaera-Polo has issued a “clarifying statement” outlining the purpose of his Biennale text to be polemic, and nonacademic, therefore it did not breach “any moral, ethical, or other applicable standards.” An email in support of Zaera-Polo sent by Rem Koolhaas to Eisgruber three days before the resignation has also released, denouncing any wrongdoing from Koolhaas’ perspective as the Biennale’s director.
Read Koolhaas’ email, Zaera-Polo’s clarification statement and a response from Princeton in full, after the break.
Las Vegas vs The Landscape: Photographer Michael Light Exposes the Terraforming of the American Dream
“Nestled into the desert landscape that defines Nevada’s visage,
Ascaya feels as if it were shaped by the elements.
Where stone rises up to meet the sky, there is a place called Ascaya.”
- The Ascaya promotional website
Not quite, according to Michael Light’s soon-to-be released book, Lake Las Vegas/Black Mountain. Covering the advance of suburban Nevada into the desert, this two-part book looks at Lake Las Vegas, a then-abandoned victim of the 2008 real estate crash which has since emerged from the other side of bankruptcy, and nearby Ascaya, a high end housing estate that is still in the process of being carved into Black Mountain. Light’s photography doesn’t so much question the developers’ summary as it does, say, blast it, scar it, terrace it and then build a large housing development on the remains. Featuring beautifully composed aerial shots of the construction sites and golf courses covering the desert, the book is a clear condemnation of the destructive and unsustainable development in Nevada. Much more than that, though, Light is highlighting a wider philosophy behind developments like Ascaya and Lake Las Vegas that fundamentally fail to connect American society with the American landscape in a non-destructive way.
Housing is one of the most persistent challenges faced by the construction industry, and over the course of decades certain trends rise and fall, as entrepreneurial housing providers carve out new niches to provide for expanding populations and changing demographics. Originally published by BuzzBuzzHome as “The Rise and Fall of The Mail-Order House,” this article explores the craze of so-called “catalogue homes” – flat-packed houses that were delivered by mail – which became popular in North America in the first decades of the 20th century.
The testimonials make it sound effortless: building your own house is no sweat.
In the front pages of a 1921 Sears Roebuck catalogue for mail-order homes, a resident of Traverse City, Michigan identified only by the pseudonym “I Did Not Hire Any Help” wrote to the company: “I am very well pleased with my Already Cut House bought off you. All the material went together nicely. In fact, I wish I had another house to put up this summer. I really enjoyed working on such a building, and I do not follow the carpenter trade either.” It’s estimated that more than 100,000 mail-order homes were built in the United States between 1908 and 1940. It was the IKEA of housing, but instead of spending an afternoon putting together a bookshelf, buyers would take on the formidable task of building a house. Or, more commonly, get a contractor to do it. Homebuyers would pick a design of their choice out of a mail-order catalogue and the materials – from the lumber frame boards to the paint to the nails and screws – would be shipped out to the closest railway station for pickup and construction.