Last week, Frank Gehry inaugurated his first building in Australia, with the formal opening of the Dr Chau Chak Wing Building at the University of Technology in Sydney (UTS). As his first in the country, the building therefore offers an opportunity for a whole new corner of the world to weigh in with their opinions on the polarizing style of the world’s foremost love-him-or-hate-him architect.
The resulting media flurry has provided a number of entertaining responses, both positive and negative. After the break, we round up some of the most amusing.
The architecture of containment is a fascinating area. The spartan utilitarian spaces of prisons are among the most highly considered, sophisticated and expensive there are. It’s unusual for designers to create spaces for people who experience it against their will (well, mostly) and it is a tricky balance between creating sensitive, positive places for rehabilitation and community expectations about what punishment should look like. There are different approaches around the world: the US take a particular stance; the Norwegians have another. Hollywood, of course, has its own interpretation. And it is not concerned by such trivialities as the Geneva Convention.
Architectural space as we know it is left largely empty even when it is inhabited. We have become accustomed to this empty space, take it for granted, and most likely could not imagine a life in which we are forced to occupy only the space that we use. Through cataloguing our everyday activities and analyzing our body movements, Stavros Gargaretas of Why Factory studio at TUDelft sought to examine the question of ultimate space efficiency with a project entitled “The Evolving Room: Inhabiting Zero Wasted Space.” The work was completed under the supervision of Ulf Hackauf, Adrian Ravon and Huib Plomp, along with Why Factroy founder Winy Maas and won TUDelft’s Best Graduation Project of the Faculty of Architecture award.
Held in 1933 on a ship in the Mediterranian, the fourth CIAM congress and Le Corbusier’s subsequent Athens Charter (La Charte d’Athenes) are widely regarded as a defining period in Modernist urban planning, a moment when architects came to an agreement on what the future of our cities should look like. But how correct is this interpretation? Edited by Evelien van Es, Gregor Harbusch, Bruno Maurer, Muriel Perez, Kees Somer and Daniel Weiss, a significant new 480-page book, “Atlas of the Functional City - CIAM 4 and Comparative Urban Analysis” examines the congress in depth. In the following excerpt from the book’s introduction, Daniel Weiss, Gregor Harbusch and Bruno Maurer examine the commonly accepted history of the congress, finding that support for the underlying principles of Modernism was perhaps not so unanimous after all.
Just over two years have passed since the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Thanks to an 89% vote by Sandy Hook’s residents in favor of demolishing the old building the site now sits empty – awaiting the construction of Svigals + Partners‘ design for a replacement building which is not only tasked with being a high level teaching facility, but also with sensitively addressing the collective trauma which inevitably remains a part of the site’s history.
With such a challenging history to the site, how is it possible to balance the emotional needs of a community with the functional needs of an educational institution? We spoke to Jay Brotman AIA, a partner at Svigals, to find out.
After two weeks of nominations and voting, we are pleased to present the winners of the 2015 ArchDaily Building of the Year Awards. As a peer-based, crowdsourced architecture award, the results shown here represent the collective intelligence of 31,000 architects, filtering the best architecture from over 3,000 projects featured on ArchDaily during the past year.
The winning buildings represent a diverse group of architects, from Pritzker Prize winners such as Álvaro Siza, Herzog & de Meuron and Shigeru Ban, to up-and-coming practices such as EFFEKT and Building which have so far been less widely covered by the media. In many cases their designs may be the most visually striking, but each also approaches its context and program in a unique way to solve social, environmental or economic challenges in communities around the world. By publishing them on ArchDaily, these buildings have helped us to impart inspiration and knowledge to architects around the world, furthering our mission. So to everyone who participated by either nominating or voting for a shortlisted project, thank you for being a part of this amazing process, where the voices of architects from all over the world unite to form one strong, intelligent, forward-thinking message.
When Sheila O’Donnell and John Tuomey, who practice in partnership as O’Donnell + Tuomey, were named as this year’s recipients of the RIBA Royal Gold Medal, a palpable collective satisfaction appeared to spread throughout the profession. No one could find criticism in Joseph Rykwert and Níall McLaughlin’s nomination, nor the ultimate choice of the RIBA Honours Committee, to bestow the award upon the Irish team. Their astonishingly rigourous body of work, compiled and constructed over the last twenty five years, has an appeal which extends beyond Irish and British shores. A robust stock of cultural, community and educational projects, alongside family homes and social housing projects, leaves little doubt about the quality, depth and breadth of their mutual capabilities and the skill of those that they choose to collaborate with.
Read the conversation with the Gold Medallists after the break.
Workplace design has undergone a radical transformation in the last several decades, with approximately seventy percent of today’s modern offices now converted to open plans. However, despite growing concerns over decreases in worker productivity and employee satisfaction, the open office revolution shows no sign of slowing down. The open office model has proliferated without regard for natural differences in workplace culture, leading to disastrous results when employees are forced into an office that works against their own interests. If we are to make offices more effective, we must acknowledge that ultimately, design comes out of adapting individual needs for a specific purpose and at best, can create inviting spaces that reflect a company’s own ethos.
Founded in 1993, Berlin-based practice Barkow Leibinger has become known for a research-based approach to design that fully explores the possibilities offered by tools, fabrication techniques and materials. In the following essay, adapted from his contribution to Barkow Leibinger’s monograph Barkow Leibinger: Spielraum, art critic Hal Foster examines the historic context of the practice’s work and the influences that have shaped their production.
One origin myth of modern architecture involves the voyaging of German designers like Walter Gropius to North American cities such as Buffalo, where they first saw in situ the industrial structures, such as grain elevators, that they had already proposed as models for functionalist buildings in Europe. The partnership of Frank Barkow and Regine Leibinger is a new variation on this old theme of international encounter: in the late 1980s the American Barkow and the German Leibinger met at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD, where Gropius had once presided as chair). In the literature on the office, this encounter is taken as a primal scene: Frank Barkow, the rangy man from Montana, impressed by the huge infrastructural projects and the great land art of the American West (e.g., hydroelectric dams, in the first instance, Spiral Jetty by Robert Smithson, in the second), meets Regine Leibinger, the sophisticated daughter of the innovative director of TRUMPF, the designer-manufacturer of laser-cut tools based near Stuttgart (which is also where a classic of European modernism, the Weissenhof Siedlung, is located). After training at the GSD, under the chairmanship of Rafael Moneo, the two young architects set up a practice in Berlin, in 1993, at a time when the new Europe came to represent what the old America once did: an expanded horizon for ambitious building.
“We have to try to work with scale and memory. I think in the last twenty years the main problem is that we lost the 归宿感 [sense of belonging]. The people here have been moving from house to house for a long time, the result is that we don’t have a feeling of home… even if you are staying in a nice house or villa you don’t consider it as an ideal or permanent home where you could stay. This might be considered the problem. More than ten years ago we used to have that feeling, the sense to belong to a specific space. We used to live in neighbourhoods where we had a social background, a community, now you don’t have any community, you don’t see the neighbors any more. Now Chinese people are becoming lonely, they are losing that feeling and becoming ‘homeless’.” - Zhang Lei, Nanjing, 2013
The winners of matterbetter’s international Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (MH17) Memorial and Park ideas competition have been announced. Attracting 293 submissions worldwide, the competition hoped to inspire a new memorial park and public space, free from the political overtone, at the Marine Establissement site in the center of Amsterdam that could be used as a place for remembrance, ceremonies, recreation, and private gatherings in honor of MH17’s victims.
MH17 was a scheduled international passenger flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur that was shot down near the Ukraine–Russia border on July 17, 2014, killing all 283 passengers and 15 crew members on board. You can view all 10 winning proposals, after the break.
Selected as one of Metropolis Magazine’s Game Changers for 2015, Ila Bêka and Louise Lemoine are altering the face of architectural criticism thanks to one simple premise: you don’t need to be an expert to have an opinion on the buildings you live with every day. In the following profile, originally published by Metropolis as “Game Changers 2015: Ila Bêka and Louise Lemoine,” Veronique Vienne uncovers what it takes to instil such a simple idea with both subtle poignancy and razor-sharp wit.
If walls could talk, what stories would they tell, not only about our intimate selves but also about our cultural assumptions, our social interactions, and the values we cherish most? Short of getting the inside story directly from walls, filmmakers Ila Bêka, 45, and Louise Lemoine, 33, strike up conversations with that other silent cast: the people who sweep the rooms, wash the windows, fix the leaks, and change the light bulbs.
“Our goal is to democratize the highbrow language of architectural criticism,” says Bêka, an architect and filmmaker trained in Italy and France. “Free speech on the topic of architecture is not the exclusive property of experts.”
In 1954 British sculptor Henry Moore was commissioned to design and install a large wall relief into Joost Boks’ new bouwcentrum (Construction Centre) in the Dutch city of Rotterdam. The project, pieced together with approximately 16,000 hand-carved Dutch bricks, stands as the sculptor’s only work completed in the humble material. In a short documentary film produced by ARTtube, architectural historian Wouter Vanstiphout narrates the fascinating story behind Wall Relief No.1.
On show until April 5th at the Grounds for Sculpture in New Jersey, Michael Graves: Past as Prologue celebrates the fifty-year career of one of the United States’ best-known and prolific architects. Graves is known for his unapologetic postmodernism which often divides opinion the profession. However in this review of the exhibition, originally published by Metropolis Magazine as “Shape Shifter,” Samuel Medina finds that while it is easy to criticize in Graves’ design style, it is hard to find fault with the noble intentions underlying his work.
“It’s been fifty years of more is more,” says Karen Nichols, a principal of Michael Graves & Associates, reiterating an aphorism Graves has taken a liking to in recent years. She is standing in front of an exhibition board in the retrospective, Michael Graves: Past as Prologue, which is currently on show at the Grounds for Sculpture in New Jersey. Nichols joined the firm in 1977, precisely the time when her employer made the fateful and rather lucrative pivot towards Postmodernism. The text on the exhibition wall behind her pinpoints The Big Break to the same year, depicting it with two like-minded projects. The first is the built Plocek House (1977), which originated the hide-the-keystone game Graves has been playing ever since. The other, the unrealized scheme for the Fargo-Moorhead Cultural Center Bridge (1977–1978), intended to enlighten the twin midwestern communities with a dose of the Enlightenment architect Claude Nicolas Ledoux’s architecture parlante.
To hear Nichols (and Graves) tell it now, it’s as if Graves were always more Venturian than Venturi, from his earliest neo-Corbusian villas, up through the pedimented temple he built for Disney in 1988. The truth is, Graves—the Cubist, the classicist, and the caricaturist—has always had a hard time saying “No.”
In light of the recent opening of Mons International Congress Xperience (MICX), Daniel Libeskind hosted a private tour through the conference center, explaining his thinking behind the building’s expressive form. The experience was captured on this short film by Spirit of Space with the intention to open the discussion up to a larger audience.
The building, an important new landmark in the Belgium city of Mons, is described by Libeskind as “an expression of contrasting geometric forms.” Aside form providing function and “lively” spaces for auditoria and conference use, the building aims to be “a hinge between the old city and the new.”
More than ever, the media shapes architecture. The controversial Helsinki Guggenheim competition is as much about the use and exploitation of contemporary media as it is about design. The competition organisers are hugely proud to have over 1,700 entries to tweet about, but informed critics are less impressed. Has quantity ever guaranteed quality?
The competition has certainly created an impact. Some celebrate this, while others feel it has been detrimental to the profession, with so much unpaid time invested resulting in a low-level contribution to museum design.
Meanwhile, the spectre of Frank Gehry’s Bilbao Guggenheim, an “iconic” building that gave the American foundation so much positive publicity when it opened in 1997, haunts the Helsinki project. Finnish politicians hope for a similar success, a Sydney Opera postcard effect in this remote corner of the earth.
In the late 20th and early 21st centuries, one of the major changes within cities around the world has been the rise of so-called “privately-owned public space,” a development which has attracted the attention of many urbanists and is still being widely debated. However, for MONU Magazine, the increasing prevalence (and arguably, acceptance) of such privately owned spaces for public use gives us an opportunity to discuss another aspect of public space: interior urbanism. With the rise of the shopping mall and the increasingly diverse functions required by buildings such as libraries, interior spaces now resemble exterior public spaces more and more.
The following interview is an excerpt from the 21st issue of MONU Magazine, in which MONU’s Bernd Upmeyer and Beatriz Ramo interview MVRDV founder Winy Maas, discussing the concept of interior urbanism in the work of MVRDV, in particular in their Rotterdam Markthal, Glass Farm and Book Mountain projects.