In an effort to “unlock people’s imaginations” about Penn Station and Madison Square Garden, the Municipal Art Society (MAS) of New York has challenged Santiago Calatrava, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, SHoP Architects and SOM to propose four new visions that exemplify the potential of the highly disregarded area.
The challenge comes amidst a heated debate on whether or not the city should restrict Madison Square’s recently expired special permit to 10 years, rather than in perpetuity as the arena’s owners – the Dolan family – has requested. This would allow time for the city to “get it right” and come up with a viable solution for the arena and station that, as NYTimes critic Michael Kimmelman states, would not only “improve the safety and quality of life for millions of people but also benefit the economy”. Think Kings Cross in London. With a thoughtful mix of public and private investments, the crime-ridden station was transformed into a thriving cultural destination that benefited all parties.
More after the break…
Chicago is set to be the next U.S. city to park-ify on one of its abandoned rail-lines. First proposed back in 1997, the 2.7 mile, 13-acre Bloomingdale Trail and Park is proposed for a stretch of abandoned railway trestle dating from 1910, which has been lying unused since the turn of the century. And, even though it is already being compared to New-York’s High Line, the planners are adamant that the park will be an entirely different animal to its New York cousin.
Read more about Chicago’s unique proposal after the break…
What do MIT’s Building 20, the Ancient Greek Agora, 18th Century British teahouses, and early 20th century Parisian cafés have in common?
They were some of the most creative spaces in the world.
People who gathered there would interact. People, such as Socrates or Chomsky or Edison, exchanged ideas, argued about morals, and discussed technologies. They participated in an informal discourse driven by passionate involvement.
And these places, although for different reasons, fostered interaction by bringing people together and giving them a place to talk. As Jonah Lehrer put it, “the most creative spaces are those which hurl us together. It is the human friction that makes the sparks.”
The question, then, is how can contemporary architecture foster the same kind of creativity?
To learn more about architecture and its role in creativity and learning, keep reading after the break.
WEISS / MANFREDI has been announced as winner of the international competition to design a new College of Architecture and Environmental Design for Kent State University in Ohio. The New York-based practice, in collaboration with the local architect of record Richard L. Bowen & Associates, was one of four national finalists selected from a competitive list of 37 applicants.
The winning proposal, dubbed the Kent State Design Loft, transforms the notion of a continuous studio loft into a three-tiered structure that opens to the city, connects to the public esplanade and surrounding landscape, and provides an abundance of creatively designed, flexible learning spaces that can be easily transformed to accommodate design crits, exhibitions and events.
“We are captivated by the potential for this project to become an innovative incubator for the arts and an internationally legible destination for the University,” said Marion Weiss and Michael Manfredi.
The architect’s project description after the break…
Last week the UK’s Culture Minister Ed Vaizey announced that he was commissioning a review of the country’s architecture policy, to be led by Sir Terry Farrell along with a number of high profile advisors, including Thomas Heatherwick, Alison Brooks and Alain de Botton. According to Vaizey, the review, expected to be complete by the end of the year, “will be a rallying point for the profession.”
In his article in The Guardian, Olly Wainwright rather hopefully questioned: “might this year-long study result in an innovative new piece of legislative guidance – perhaps along the lines of Denmark’s architecture policy, introduced in 2007?” While Wainwright somewhat flatly concludes, “somehow, that seems unlikely,” there’s no doubt that the UK could only stand to gain from learning from Denmark’s innovative policy.
So what lessons could the UK (and the world) learn from the Danes? Read on after the break…
Arguably the biggest buzzword in urbanism right now is the ‘Smart City’. The idea, although certainly inclusive of eco-friendly practices, has even replaced “sustainability” as the major intent of cities planning for positive future development. Smart City thinking has been used successfully in countries as diverse as Brazil, the US, the UAE, South Korea, and Scotland (Glasgow just won a £24million grant to pioneer new schemes throughout the city).
But what exactly are Smart Cities? What benefit do they bring us? And, more importantly, how can we best implement them to secure our future?
The answer, in my opinion, lies in the hands of architects.
More on the potential of Smart Cities after the break…
An intense gender debate has been making headlines after Denise Scott Brown called for Pritzker to “salute the notion of joint creativity” and retrospectively acknowledge her role in Robert Venturi’s 1991 Pritzker Prize during an AJ Women in Architecture luncheon in late March. Since, nearly 2,000 advocates have passionately rallied in Brown’s support by signing an online petition created by Harvard’s GSD Women in Design Group. Among the signatures include architects Zaha Hadid, Farshid Moussavi and Hani Rashid, along with MoMA senior curator of architecture and design Paola Antonelli, architecture photographer Iwan Baan, Rice School of Architecture dean Sarah Whiting, and Berkeley College of Environmental Design dean Jennifer Wolch.
Responding to the outrage, Martha Thorne, executive director of Pritzker Prize, promised to “refer this important matter to the current jury at their next meeting”, respectfully pointing out that this presents an “unusual situation” considering each Laureate is chosen annually by a panel of independent jurors who change over the years.
More on the controversy after the break…
There’s no denying that London’s airport capacity is insufficient (to put it mildly) – not just for its current needs, but, most worryingly, for the future. Nor are architects ignorant to the situation; in the last few years we’ve published proposals from the likes of Foster+Partners, Zaha Hadid Architects, Beckett Ravine, and Grimshaw Architects, offering their own unique perspectives on what could be done.
However, for all the proposals (some emphasizing new off-shore airports, others on bulking up infrastructure or existing facilities), it’s hard to untangle what’s actually being done towards making these ideas reality. To clarify the situation, and lay our doubts at rest, we spoke with Ricky Burdett, one of the commissioners of the newly created Independent Airports Commission.
In the video above, Burdett, a renowned architect and professor of Urban Studies at the LSE (who has previously served as architecural advisor for both the 2012 London Olympics and the Mayor of London, 2001-2006), explains the political situation in the UK that has been preventing action, and describes how the Independent Airports Commission has been assembled in order to help the government through this process.
More info on this controversial commission, after the break…
During the 2012 World Architecture Festival, we had the opportunity to interview Chris Wilkinson and Jim Eyre, the directors of the UK firm Wilkinson Eyre Architects who received the World Building of the Year Award for their Cooled Conservatories at Gardens by the Bay.
Chris Wilkinson founded the firm in 1983, partnering with Jim Eyre in 1987. Since then, the practice has displayed their innovation through the informed use of technology and materials, applied to projects in areas as diverse as transportation, the arts, infrastructure, masterplanning, as well as commercial, industrial, retail, leisure, educational, cultural and residential buildings. The firm has also developed a tremendous expertise in bridge design, with more than 30 projects of this type.
A good example of their applied innovation is the Cooled Conservatories, where climate control for 20,000 sqm in a complex environment posed a tremendous challenge. The sustainable cooling strategy lead to the reduction of, with air conditioning, would have been an otherwise big carbon foot print.
For the 2012 Olympic Games, the firm designed the Basketball Arena, one of the biggest temporary venues erected for any Olympics, an iconic building that was the result of a tight budget and the requirement to recycle two thirds of the structure after the games.
More projects by Wilkinson Eyre Architects at ArchDaily:
Sustainability leader Hunter Lovins once called the building industry “dynamically conservative — it works hard to stay in the same place.”
But old habits cannot fully address new challenges. According to 350.org, fossil fuel corporations currently have in their reserves five times the amount of carbon that, if burned too quickly, may raise atmospheric temperatures to a catastrophic level where Hurricane Sandy-scale storms could become the norm. Quicker, deeper progress is imperative.
Architecture is an essential arena for sustainable innovation. Buildings represent about half the annual energy and emissions in the U.S. and three-quarters of its electricity. With the built environment growing — the U.S. building stock increases by about 3 billion square feet every year — architects have a historic opportunity to transform its impact for the better.
Keep reading to find out the 6 Steps architects can take to transform the profession, after the break…
“Originally seen to reflect the democratic attributes of a powerful civic expression – authenticity, honesty, directness, strength – the forceful nature of Brutalist aesthetics eventually came to signify precisely the opposite: hostility, coldness, inhumanity. [...] Separated from its original context and reduced in meaning, Brutalism became an all-too-easy pejorative, a term that suggests these buildings were designed with bad intentions.” - “BRUTAL”/“HEROIC” by Michael Kubo, Chris Grimley and Mark Pasnik
Brutalism, an architectural movement that peaked in the 1960′s, inspired the development of countless governmental buildings in Washington DC as well as across the world. Though Brutalism’s original intentions may have been good, many believe that the actual manifestation of these buildings was not and consider them to be little more than an eyesore on the District’s landscape. One such concrete structure, the FBI’s J. Hoover Building, is currently facing possible redevelopment as the government has decided to relocate FBI headquarters and given the private sector the rare opportunity to transform this so-called “monolith” into a new kind of monument.
More on the Hoover Building after the break…
Peter Rice has been described as both one of the best engineers and architects of the twentieth century. Unhappy with the role that engineers play in designing buildings, Rice dedicated his life to championing brave innovation and poetry through structure in a way that helped bridge the gap between engineering and architecture. His desire to work in tandem with architects, towards a shared vision, made him one of the most in-demand engineers of the twentieth century.
Read more about this amazing man and check out the video after the break… (more…)
Mayor Bloomberg’s controversial plans to rezone midtown New York, allowing for bigger and bolder skyscrapers, has found an unlikely ally in the form of environmentalists.
Re-zoning midtown would ultimately lead to the demolition of the corporate steel and glass skyscrapers, which preservationists argue are emblematic of the cutting edge modernism that swept 1950′s America. However, landlords contest that – for the most part – they are poorly built copycats of seminal landmarks such as the Seagram and Lever buildings and are not particularly significant or suited for modern needs.
More information after the break..
Architecture is quickly adopting the popular technology of robots. Although it is slightly hard to define what “robot” really means, for architecture, it tends to refer to anything from robot arms to CNC mills to 3D printers. Basically, they are programmable, mechanical, and automated instruments that assist in processes of digital fabrication.
So, what might robots mean for architecture? A more precise architecture which could contribute to a more sustainable building life cycle? More innovative design derived from algorithmic processes? A more efficient prefabrication process that could reduce the time and cost of construction?
Probably a mix of all three. But more importantly, what might robots mean for humans? Robotic replacement for the construction worker? Loss of local craftsmanship and construction knowledge? Maybe. But I might reformulate the question. Asking what robots mean for humans implies passivity.
What I ask, then, is what can robots do for humans?
Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh has recently invested $350 million dollars of his own money into downtown Las Vegas, where the new Zappos’ headquarters will soon call its home. Working in the vein of companies like Google and Apple, Hsieh and the head developer of the new campus, Zach Ware, have worked together on making a workspace environment in which creativity – and, consequently, inconvenience – is built into the design itself:
“‘Our goal is not to create an office space that you take photos of and you say ‘Wow, that’s beautiful,” says Ware. ‘We’re incredibly function-oriented.’ Zappos’ core focus is on company culture and the relationships between employees. To enhance that, as odd as it sounds, parts of the office are deliberately inconvenient.”
Read Max Nisen’s article on Zappos’ “inconvenient,” new headquarters after the break…
“The architect has to continue doing what he or she has done for the last 5,000 years, which is to make objects of great beauty, which uplift the spirits of whoever commissions them or occupies them or sees them. But, increasingly, [the architect] has to take on two other things, which is: to make things in such a way that they are part of an environmental whole; but also to be much more conscious of what the social impacts are of the decisions the architect may make. [...] The architect, unless they want to wipe themselves out and become aesthetes, has to deal with these big issues.” – Ricky Burdett
As the world becomes increasingly urbanized, there lies an important question ahead of us. There can be no doubt that cities will grow, but how can we make sure that they grow sustainably and – what’s more – equitably?
To get to the bottom of these important questions, we spoke with Ricky Burdett, a professor of Urban Studies at the London School of Economics (where he directs the program LSE Cities), the author of The Endless City, and one of the world’s leading experts in urban planning. Not only was he the Chief Advisor of Architecture and Urbanism at the London 2012 Olympics, but he is also a founder of the Urban Age Project, an interdisciplinary investigation into the future of cities. We caught up with Burdett while he was in Chile, invited by CREO Antofagasta to advise on the development of Chile’s sprawled-out city of Antofagasta.
Burdett had so much to share about his varied experiences that we’ve decided to split this AD Interview into two. Part I (above) covers Burdett’s conception of what architecture is/should be; the London Olympics; and his strong opinion on the state of architecture in England today.
The second part of this interview, which you can see after the break, explores Burdett’s work studying urban environments – including the Urban Age project; the secrets to sustainable, equitable growth (for more on Burdett’s take on this, read Jared Green’s article “The Rise of the Endless City“); and how architects and policy makers must work together if we are to design cities that serve the greater social and environmental good.
A big happy birthday goes out to Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969), who would have turned 127 years old today. Mies, who studied under Peter Behrens and was influenced by figures such as Walter Gropius and Le Corbusier, helped to develop the most enduring architectural style of the 20th Century: modernism.
Among his most famous accomplishments are his seminal Barcelona Pavilion; his work as the head of The Bauhaus school; and, after the Nazi ascension in Germany forced him to emigrate, his leadership at the Illinois Institute of Technology. During his 20 years at IIT, Mies developed what became known as ‘the second Chicago school of architecture’, a style of simplified, rectilinear high-rise buildings exemplified by projects such as 860-880 Lakeshore Drive and the Seagram Building. Mies’s minimalist style proved very popular; his famous aphorism ‘less is more’ is still widely used, even by those who are unaware of its origins.
To celebrate him we have changed our logo to a Mies doodle (above) and have rounded up our great Mies coverage of the past, including…
- For the visually-inclined - Infographic: Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe
- For the pop-culture fans - From Mad Men To Mies: Why Modernism Holds Sway
- For the Bauhaus enthusiasts - Infographic: The Bauhaus
- For those looking to buff up their Mies bookshelf - Thanks for the View, Mr. Mies
And, for the architecture purists, all of Mies’ works published on ArchDaily:
- AD Classics: Chicago Federal Center / Mies Van der Rohe
- Villa Tugendhat / Mies van der Rohe
- The Museum of Fine Arts Houston / Mies Van der Rohe
- Landhaus Lemke / Mies van der Rohe
- IBM Building / Mies van der Rohe
- Barcelona Pavilion / Mies van der Rohe
- IIT Master Plan and Buildings / Mies van der Rohe
- The Farnsworth House / Mies van der Rohe
- 860-880 Lake Shore Drive / Mies van der Rohe
- Restoration of Lake Shore Drive by Krueck + Sexton
- Seagram Building / Mies van der Rohe
- Neue National Gallery in Berlin / Mies van der Rohe
Brutalism. It’s the architecture movement that the public loves to hate, and architects dare to love. It’s also the latest topic tackled by CLOG, the quirky publication that takes a long slow look at what’s important in architecture now.
While Brutalism, a movement that reached its height in the 60s, may not seem a timely topic, nothing could be further from the truth. With Brutalism’s monolithic beasts reaching their not-so-golden golden years, the question to re-model (often prohibitively expensive, considering these projects’ complexity) or just demolish (as the public often begs for) is an urgent one – as the recent preservation debates over Paul Rudolph’s Orange County Building (successful) and Bertrand Goldberg‘s Prentice Women’s Hospital (not) reveal.
However, while this edition of CLOG of course mentions these debates, Brutalism shines in exploring the bigger questions these debates provoke: Why is Brutalism so loathed? What is it, really? And – can Brutalism be saved? Should it be?
Recently, cynicism has been circulating the professional world about what a degree from a particular university means. Although there are certainly some universities, or some degrees, that are valued over others, many contend that it really comes down to (or should come down to) what each candidate can bring to a potential employer.
So, a few weeks back, we conducted a poll on Facebook asking our readers: “Do employers put a lot of weight on what university you attended, or is it mostly about your portfolio?” The results indicate that you, as both candidates and employers, put more emphasis on the portfolios.
Architecture begins with ideas—and, for Will Alsop, sometimes with a painting. This interview is the first in a series of conversations with internationally prominent architects conducted by Sanam Samanian and Alex Bozikovic. The British iconoclast gives an overview of his creative process: why he’s bored by the details of building; why we shouldn’t think of architecture as a “profession”; and why we should think of architecture as a way to make life more joyous.
Read the captivating interview with Will Alsop, after the break…
The Ponte Tower is a residential high-rise in Johannesburg, South Africa with a unique history and now a promising future. It was designed by architect Manfred Hermer in the 1970′s to be one of the most desirable places to live in the city, with an iconic, hollowed out interior, three-story apartments and rooftop jacuzzis. Over time, however, the building fell into disrepair and instead of serving as an icon of extreme wealth and prosperity, it became an icon of poverty and indifference. In still racially-divided South Africa, this was marked by the moving out of whites and the moving in of a primarily black population as property values plummeted. It has been associated with high levels of crime, a lack of sanitariness and even suicides, thanks to the building’s hollow core.
Recently, however, the derelict Ponte Tower has received more attention from investors and the architect himself, who doesn’t necessarily want to restore the building to its former glory but wishes to at least make it a decent place to live. The introduction of stringent security has encouraged more open-minded, middle-class citizens to move in, hoping for a profitable return as the Ponte Tower continues to grow in terms of value. Watch this featured video for more on the building’s comeback and what it will mean for its current and future residents. (more…)