Virtual Reality: Coming to an Architecture Office Near You

With an entry cost of less than $20 (for anyone who owns a smartphone), Google Cardboard could be the that gets people experimenting with . Image © Google via the Google Cardboard Website

Virtual Reality. It’s an old term, even an old technology, but it carries new weight – and it’s coming to architecture, soon. Its prevalence will be a result of its near universal accessibility; the experience can now be powered by the modern cell phone. It’s probably on your desk, in your pocket – you may even be reading on a virtual reality engine right now. The price point to participate, thanks to Google Cardboard and a device you already own, is less than twenty dollars.

Google Cardboard might be considered a wearable, but don’t think Google Glass and shiver. As it stands, the technology is more inline with a smart-tv or peripheral, not something to be worn in public. Before we get into what it is, let’s talk about what it can do. We as designers have gotten very good at showing what a space might look like, but in many ways we have come no further in demonstrating what a space feels like.

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Playing with Balance and the Balance of Play: Hello Wood’s 2014 Camp

Cornwalk / Ákos Juhász + Dániel Eke. Image © Tamás Bujnovszky

A shortened version of this article by ArchDaily’s Managing Editor Rory Stott appears in HW 1-5, a book by the organizers of Hello Wood about the camp’s first five years.

Arriving at Budapest’s international airport on a warm Saturday in July, I confess to being unprepared for my week ahead at Hello Wood 2014. Hungary was the third country and the fourth city I had been in in 72 hours, and thanks to this (uncharacteristically) chaotic week, I hadn’t had the chance to research anything about the camp. All I knew was what could be learned from the photos of the 2013 camp which I had published almost a year earlier: that is, that the camp is held in an idyllic rural setting, presumably a significant distance from Budapest; and that the quality of work seems unusually high for a week-long architecture workshop, presumably indicating a serious, focused atmosphere at the camp.

The first of these assumptions was absolutely right. But the second could hardly be more wrong. In fact the atmosphere at the camp was so far from being serious that by Tuesday, Gábor Betegh – a friend of the organizers and coincidentally Cambridge University’s new Laurence Professor of Ancient Philosophy - told me how fascinating it was to compare the “centripetal madness” of the philosophers he knows to the “very centrifugal madness” of the architects at the camp. This remark was made in response to one of the team leaders screeching like a monkey from the top of his team’s half-completed tower.

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The Life Of Dalibor Vesely: Teacher, Philosopher, Acclaimed Academic

Dalibor Vesely (1934-2015) at the AA, , in 2013. Image © Valerie Bennett

Dalibor Vesely, a celebrated architectural historian, philosopher and teacher, died this week in London aged 79. Over the course of his teaching career, which spanned five decades, he tutored a number of the world’s leading architects and thinkers from Daniel Libeskind, Alberto Pérez-Gómez and Robin Evans, to Mohsen Mostafavi and David Leatherbarrow.

Vesely was born in Prague in 1934, five years before the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia. Following World War II, he studied engineering, architecture, art history and philosophy in Prague, Munich, Paris and Heidelberg. He was awarded his doctorate from Charles University (Prague) having been taught and supervised by Josef Havlicek, Karel Honzik, and Jaroslav Fragner. Although later he would be tutored by James Stirling, it was the philosopher of phenomenology Jan Patočka who, in his own words, “contributed more than anyone else to [his] overall intellectual orientation and to the articulation of some of the critical topics” explored in his seminal book, Architecture in the Age of Divided Representation, published in 2004.

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Video: Olympiapark München / Frei Otto

Pritzker laureate Frei Otto was best known for his tensile structures. A prime example Otto’s ingenuity, the 1972 Olympic Stadium in Munich was a collaborative work with that connected the park’s main programs – the natatorium, gymnasium and main stadium – with a whimsical, lightweight canopy structure that mimicked the “rhythmic protrusions” of the Swiss Alps. Watch the Spirit of Space short film above to see the project in its current state and learn more about the pioneering structure, here.

Corporate Dystopia: Liam Young Imagines a World in which Tech Companies Own Our Cities

What if the manufacturers of the phones and social networks we cling to became the rulers of tomorrow’s cities? Imagine a world in which every building in your neighborhood is owned by Samsung, entire regions are occupied by the ghosts of our digital selves, and cities spring up in international waters to house outsourced laborers. These are the worlds imagined by self-described speculative architect, in his latest series of animations entitled ”New City.” Read on after the break to see all three animations and learn more about what’s next in the series.

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Venice Biennale 2016: 5 Proposals Shortlisted for Australian Pavilion

The Pool / Aileen Sage and Michelle Tabet . Image Courtesy of

The Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) has revealed the five proposals shortlisted for at the Australian Pavilion at Venice’s 2016 Architecture Biennale. The announcement comes following a two-stage presentation and selection process judged by the Venice Biennale Commission, currently helmed by AIA Immediate Past President Paul Berkemeier.

The 2016 Biennale will mark the inaugural exhibition within Australia’s new pavilion at Venice, designed by Denton Corker Marshall and slated for a May 2015 opening.

Read more about the shortlisted projects after the break.

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Review: ‘All Of This Belongs To You’ – Civic Urbanism At London’s Victoria & Albert Museum

A neon sign in the V&A’s grand entrance introduces the ‘All of This Belongs to You’ . Image © Peter Kelleher / Victoria & Albert Museum

The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), named after the Queen and Her Consort, has its foundations in the Great Exhibition of 1851 amidst the wealth, innovation and squalor of the Industrial Revolution. Britain was flooded by prosperity which allowed for the development of major new institutions to collect and exhibit objects of cultural significance or artistic value. The institute’s first director, Henry Cole, declared that it should be “a schoolroom for everyone,” and a democratic approach to its relationship with public life has remained the cornerstone of the V&A. Not only has it always been free of charge but it was also the first to open late hours (made possible by gas lighting), allowing a more comprehensive demographic of visitor.

Their latest exhibition, which opens today, seeks to realign the museum’s vast collection and palatial exhibition spaces in South Kensington with these founding concepts. The interventions of All of This Belongs to You attempt to push the V&A’s position as an extension of ’s civic and cultural built environment to the fore, testing the museum’s ability to act as a 21st century public institution. To do this in , a city where the notion of public and private is increasingly blurred, has resulted in a sequence of compelling installations which are tied together through their relevance either in subject matter, technique, or topicality.

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6 Politically Motivated Cities Built From Scratch

Image of the planned new capital of , masterplanned by SOM. Image Courtesy of SOM

Threatening to end Cairo’s 1,046 year dominance as the country’s capital, earlier this month the government of Egypt announced their intentions to create a new, yet-to-be-named capital city just east of New Cairo. The promise of the more than 270 square mile ‘new New Cairo’ has attracted headlines from around the world with its sheer scale; a $45 billion development of housing, shopping and landmarks designed to attract tourism from day one, including a theme park larger than Disneyland. And of course, the plans include the promise of homes – for at least 5 million residents in fact, with the vast number of schools, hospitals and religious and community buildings that a modern city requires – making the new capital of Egypt the largest in history.

The idea of building a new capital city has appealed to governments across history; a way to wipe the slate clean, stimulate the economy and lay out your vision of the world in stone, concrete and parkland. Even old Cairo was founded as a purpose built capital, although admittedly urban planning has changed a little since then. It continues to change today; see the full list of different ways to build a totally new city after the break.

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eVolo Announces 2015 Skyscraper Competition Winners

First Place: “Essence ” / BOMP (Ewa Odyjas, Agnieszka Morga, Konrad Basan, Jakub Pudo). Image Courtesy of eVolo

From 480 submitted projects from around the world, three winners and 15 honorable mentions have emerged at the top of eVolo’s 2015 Skyscraper Competition. Recognizing innovative highrise designs of the future, the competition emphasizes the role of , material, spatial organization, and their combined contribution to the natural and built environments. This year’s winners showed exceptional promise in adaptive vertical communities, and explored their ideas through imaginative and resourceful means.

Check out the winners and honorable mentions, after the break.

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6 Ways to Repurpose the Chicago Spire “Hole”

Beacon / Solomon Cordwell Buenz. Image Courtesy of magazine

With Santiago Calatrava’s unfulfilled Chicago Spire amounting to just a (costly) depression along the Chicago River, what was to be the second-tallest building in the world certainly has not established the legacy it intended. However, following the site’s relinquishment to local developers Related Midwest, it may yet have a meaningful impact on its community. Six Chicago-based firms of various disciplines have developed designs to make use of the “hole” by injecting a public program into the abandoned site.

Check out the inventive proposals, with ideas from firms including UrbanLab and Solomon Cordwell Buenz, after the break.

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“Superstructure”: 11 Projects That Defined Kiev’s Soviet Modernism

Pavilion “Transport”, from the of Achievements of the National Economy of USSR. Image Courtesy of Valentyn Shtolko

Around the globe, the post-war years were a period of optimism and extreme experimentation. On both sides of the cold war’s ideological divide, this optimism found its greatest expression, architecturally speaking, in modernism - but of course, the particular circumstances of each city offered a unique spin on the modernist project. According to the curators of “Superstructure,” an exhibition presented at Kiev’s Visual Culture Research Center from January 28th to February 28th, the utopian architectural works of Kiev represented ”an attempt to transform the city into the environment for materialization of artistic thinking – in contrast to the strict unification of city space by typical construction and residential blocks.” Architects such as Edward Bilsky and Florian Yuriyev, often working in collaboration with artists such as Ada Rybachuk and Volodymyr Melnychenko attempted to create projects that were a complete synthesis of architecture and art – an approach to design that often didn’t sit well with the Ukrainian authorities of the time.

Featuring research by Alex Bykov, Oleksandr Burlaka and Oleksiy Radynski, “Superstructure” examined the projects which were typical of this particular cultural moment in Kiev. After the break, we present this research, and a selection of images from the exhibition.

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Chandigarh Under Siege: Le Corbusier’s Capitol Complex Threatened by Housing Development

’s Palace of the Assembly in the foreground facing the High Court in the background. Image © Flickr CC user Eduardo Guiot

Dr. Vikramāditya Prakāsh is a professor at the University of Washington and the founder of the Chandigarh Urban Lab. In the following article he discusses the past, present and future of Le Corbusier’s vision for Chandigarh, explaining the reasons behind the petition he started against a new residential development to the North of the city.

Le Corbusier’s famous Capitol Complex in Chandigarh, India is about to be ruined by the construction of a gaggle of towers to its immediate north. The new project, called ‘TATA Camelot’, is being developed by TATA Housing, the real estate wing of TATA Group, a major multinational and one of ’s largest industrial companies. TATA Camelot’s 27 proposed towers, each between 13 and 36 storys tall, will not only destroy the architectural and urban design integrity of the Capitol, they will also disrupt the fragile Himalayan ecology of the area. In the contest between development and preservation, it is the larger public good and the long term perspective of the ecological that must be prioritized.

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The World’s Tallest Buildings Throughout History

Burj Khalifa. Image © Flickr CC user Colin Capelle

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.

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Morphosis Unveils Plans for 381-Meter-Tall Skyscraper in Vals

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Morphosis Architectshighly 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. 

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Never Built New York: Projects From Gaudí, Gehry and Wright that Didn’t Make it in Manhattan

Sketches by Gaudí on the left, with Joan Matamala’s drawing of the building on the right. Image Courtesy of 6sqft

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;  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.

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Serpentine Gallery Reveals SelgasCano’s Colorful Design for 2015 Pavilion

Serpentine Pavilion designed by SelgasCano 2015, day view. Image © Steven Kevin Howson / SelgasCano

The Serpentine Gallery has unveiled SelgasCano‘s designs for the 2015 Serpentine Pavilion in , 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.

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Tim Franco Captures the Overscaled Urbanization of Chongqing

© Tim Franco

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 ’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 – 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.

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ARCHIZOO: Illustrated Architectural “Animals” from Federico Babina

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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. 

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