Imagine forty-two, 33 meter high concrete tubes each with a diameter of 5.5 meters, with no open space to experience the volume from within. The brief from the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) for London-based Heatherwick Studio was to “reimagine the Grain Silo Complex at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront with an architectural intervention inspired by its own historic character,” calling for a “solution unique for Africa” in order to create “the highest possible quality of exhibition space for the work displayed inside.” Heatherwick’s response will be the creation of a “a new kind of museum in an African context.”
In a study of all development plans in London, the think tank New London Architecture has found that at least 236 buildings over 20 stories are currently either under construction, approved or awaiting approval in the capital – with over 80% of these projects yet to break ground.
The study, created to support an exhibition by NLA called “London’s Growing… Up!,” found that 80% of the new towers will be residential, and that the areas of greatest activity were in Central and Eastern areas of London, with 77% of these tall buildings in the City of London or the Boroughs of Tower Hamlets, Lambeth, Greenwich, Newham and Southwark.
Read on for more results of, and reactions to, the study…
As Rem Koolhaas completes the introductory press circuit for the 2014 Venice Biennale, we’re learning more about one of the most anticipated Biennales in recent memory. Here’s what we’ve gleaned from Oliver Wainwright’s revealing story in today’s Guardian:
1. Koolhaas has been asked to direct the Venice Biennale before, but hasn’t accepted until now. “I have been asked to direct it a number of times before, but I held out for two conditions: that I have a year and a half to plan it, and that I can sever all connections with contemporary architecture – which is not in particularly good health.”
The National Museum in Norway has been chosen to curate the Nordic Pavilion for the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale, in collaboration with the Museum of Finnish Architecture, the Swedish Centre for Architecture and Design in Stockholm, and architectural firm Space Group. The exhibition, “FORMS OF FREEDOM: African Independence and Nordic Models” will study modern Nordic architecture’s role in the liberation of East Africa during the 1960s and 70s.
UPDATE: In a press conference on Monday, Venice Biennale director Paolo Baratta and curator Rem Koolhaas expressed their commitment to using the event to highlight “things that architects can’t ignore.” These “Fundamentals” get back to the basic inventions of modernity, thus individual exhibitions will look to the “elementary particles of architecture.” Paying special attention to the developments of the past century, Baratta and Koolhaas hope that the event will serve as “a reference point and source of inspiration for architecture.”
The Biennale website has posted new images and an expanded description of the Biennale and its events:
“Fundamentals consists of three interlocking exhibitions – Absorbing Modernity 1914-2014, Elements of Architectureand Monditalia – that together illuminate the past, present and future of our discipline. After several architecture Biennales dedicated to the celebration of the contemporary, Fundamentals will look at histories, attempt to reconstruct how architecture finds itself in its current situation, and speculate on its future.”
Read on to learn more about architecture’s most celebrated exhibition.
Zaha Hadid’s unfortunate comments in response to worker deaths on construction sites for the 2022 World Cup has made Qatar the eye of a storm that has been raging globally for decades. But it’s not just about Qatar. This has been an issue for as long as there have been construction sites and for as long as poor people have swarmed to them for a chance at a better life.
Construction booms and migrant construction workers have always been two sides of the same equation, both dependent on the other, and, by the twisted logic of the global economy, both are the reason for the other’s existence. No migrant labor pool = no global city = no fantastic architecture, or something to this effect.
The migrant workers are the silent collaborators in global architecture, the invisible, faceless, “untouchables” who make the cost-effective construction of these buildings possible.
Joining the ranks of Sou Fujimoto (2013), Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei (2012),Peter Zumthor (2011),Jean Nouvel (2010),SANAA (2009),and more, little-known Chilean architect Smiljan Radic will be the fourteenth architect to design London’s Serpentine Gallery Pavilion. Renderings of his design reveal a semi-translucent, cylindrical structure that rests on large quarry stones.The pavilion, to open June 26th, will remain in Kensington Gardens for four months.
Although Radic has constructed little outside his home country, his work has gained attention due to its versatility and attention to context. If you’re unfamiliar, we recommend checking out Mestizo Restaurant, which similarly incorporates stone into its design, as well as his most recent. Julia Peyton-Jones, Director, and Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-Director, of the Serpentine Galleries explained their choice: “We have been intrigued by [Radic’s] work ever since our first encounter with him at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2011 [sic]. Radic is a key protagonist of an amazing architectural explosion in Chile. While enigmatically archaic, in the tradition of romantic follies, Radic’s designs for the Pavilion also look excitingly futuristic, appearing like an alien space pod that has come to rest on a Neolithic site. We cannot wait to see his Pavilion installed on the Serpentine Gallery’s lawn this summer.”
More info and images after the break…
Over a decade ago on a cycling trip across Europe, photographer Christopher Herwig stumbled upon a curious phenomenon that would become his obsession for years: bus stops. Curiously for a regime usually associated – both architecturally and otherwise – with uniformity and with sameness, the bus stops built by the Soviet Republic display remarkable diversity and creativity. Herwig made it his mission to photograph as many of these remarkable structures as possible, travelling through Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Russia; Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan; Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, and Abkhazia.
Now complete, Herwig has launched a Kickstarter to turn this remarkable collection of photographs into a limited edition book, which he describes as “the most mind-blowing collection of creative bus stop design from the Soviet era ever assembled.” Check out some of the images after the break.
Trimble Buildings Group have recently released SketchUp 2014, the latest version of its 3D modelling platform for architects, engineers, design and construction professionals. With “more than 30 million unique activations in the past year”, SketchUp is claimed to be the most widely used 3D modeling software in the world today. The latest incarnation of the simple tool features a new 3D Warehouse and some interesting integrations into the world of Building Information Modelling (BIM).
In honor of International Women’s Day, MASS Design Group has released the latest in their video series “Beyond the Building,” a visual exploration of the ways architecture impacts lives around the world (see the first in the series here). This episode tells the story ofMASS master mason Anne Marie Nyiranshimiyimana, better known as Kankwazi, one of the first and only female masons in her region of Rwanda, who learned her trade while working on the Butaro Hospital project. Her story is a perfect example of how architecture can empower and inspire women in communities across the world. In Kankwazi’s words: “it dignified me [..and] no amount of value can be assigned to dignity.” Enjoy the video above (the first of the series) and join the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtags #womensday and #beyondthebuilding.
In his talk at TEDx Vilnius, Koen Olthuis compares the cities of today with those at the turn of the 20th century: ”cities are not full, we just have to search for new space… they made elevators and built a vertical city. We have to do exactly the same, but our generation has to look at water.” With that in mind he looks at the top 10 reasons that floating cities are becoming a more popular idea, including: they provide solutions for topical issues such as flooding and sustainability; they can be used as ‘plug in’ travelling global amenities, useful for things like Olympic Stadiums; or could even allow us to rearrange urban areas.
The City of Montpellier has chosen Sou Fujimoto Architects, Nicolas Laisné Associés and Manal Rachdi Oxo architects’ “White Tree (L’Arbre Blanc)” as winner of the “Architectural Folie of the 21st Century” competition. Inspired by the city’s tradition of outdoor living, and the efficient properties of a tree, the mixed-use residential tower will feed off locally available natural resources as it rises 17-stories and connects the new and old districts of Montpellier.