In Detail: Chipperfield’s Nobel Centre for Stockholm

View towards Nybrokajen. Image ©

As we announced earlier, David Chipperfield Architects’ modest proposal for the Nobel Center’s new home in has been announced as the winning submission of the Nobel Foundation’s prestigious international competition. Lauded by the jury for its “lightness and openness,” Chipperfield envisioned the glass and stone proposal to “convey dignity” and embody the ideals of the Nobel Prize so it may serve as inspiration for generations to come.

Detailed drawings, images and quotes from the architect, after the break… 

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VIDEO: In Boston, Reclaiming the Craft of Brick

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Our friends at Mecanoo have shared a fascinating mini-documentary exploring the complex brickwork on display in their latest project in Boston’s Dudley Square, the Dudley Municipal Center(nearing completion). Called “Boston Bricks with a Dutch Touch,” this documentary features interviews with everyone involved in the project – from construction workers to architects – and focuses on the difficulty of using in this elaborate manner. Enjoy the video above and check out some fantastic images after the break.

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INTERIORS: True Detective

Courtesy of INTERIORS Journal

Interiors is an online film and architecture journal, published by Mehruss Jon Ahi and Armen KaraoghlanianInteriors runs an exclusive column for ArchDaily that analyzes and diagrams films in terms of space. Their Official Store will carry exclusive prints from these posts.

The first season of Nic Pizzolatto’s , the product of creator/writer Nic Pizzolatto and director Cary Fukunaga, focuses on Detective Rustin Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) and Detective Martin Hart (Woody Harrelson) as they search for clues on a grisly murder case. The series takes place in Louisiana in three distinct time periods; 1995, 2002 and 2012. Each time period has a distinct look, as characters and their surroundings change and evolve over time.

Cary Fukunaga, who comes from feature films such as Sin Nombre (2009) and Jane Eyre (2011), has always employed a distinct visual style in his work. In The Guardian, he discussed his approach to the direction of the show, noting that “one of my priorities as director was to defend craft despite the constraints on my time and budget.” In addition, he notes that he looked for specific moments in which he would treat the visual side of the medium with the same importance as the dialogue.

In the fourth episode, “Who Goes There,” he does just that, as he employs a lengthy, complex shot that brings the audience closer to the characters’ experience. This edition of INTERIORS will spatially break down that shot, revealing just how complex it was.

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AD Interviews: Jeanne Gang / Studio Gang Architects

If you don’t know , here’s the short and impressive bio: she received her Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Illinois and then went on to Harvard’s GSD for her masters degree. After working at OMA (where she participated in projects such as the Maison à Bordeaux), Jeanne founded Studio Gang in 1997. She has since become a MacArthur Fellow and was 2011′s Fast Company Master of Design. So it was particularly exciting to sit down with Jeanne at the 2013 World Architecture Festival in Singapore.

The work of Studio Gang is very broad, from private residences to community facilities, from small pavilions to an 82-story tower. But all of them have follow a clear line: careful attention to the materials, and a constant research leading to innovations in terms of sustainability and fabrication.

Projects such as the recently honored WMS Boathouse add to Studio Gang’s consistent presence in Chicago’s new architecture, which also includes the stunning Aqua Tower and other projects that serve local communities (such as the new venue for the Writers’ Theater and Lincoln Zoo South Pond Pavilion). Yet she also displays a commitment to her city’s heritage, as can be seen in her proposal for Prentice Hospital.

Be sure to watch our interview with Jeanne Gang and check out Studio Gang’s projects on ArchDaily.

VIDEO: Extreme Sustainability in the Congo

MASS has just released the third video in their Beyond the Building series, which examines how architecture and design can positively impact our world, beyond buildings (check out the first video here and the second here). The latest – “Ilima: Beyond Sustainability” – explores MASS’s collaboration with the African Wildlife Foundation as well as local masons to build a primary school in the rural Congolese village of Ilima, where, due to its remote location, practically all must be sourced locally.

For more information on MASS’s work in Congo, follow the project’s manager, Andrew Brose, via the hashtag #AndrewinIlima on Facebook and Twitter, and make sure to add your thoughts to how architecture can go #beyondthebuilding as well.

Foster and Gehry Reveal Designs for Battersea Power Station

“The Skyline” on “The Electric Boulevard” / Foster + Partners. Image Courtesy of

As phase three of London’s Battersea Power Station regeneration, Foster + Partners has collaborated with Gehry Partners to design the 42-acre development’s primary entrance. Together, the duo has envisioned “The Electric Boulevard” – a massive gateway connecting the Northern Line Extension station to the Power Station, which will be formed by an undulating Foster-designed tower known as “The Skyline” and Gehry’s five-building “Prospect Place.”

Housing more than 1,300 homes and over 350,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, the boulevard is expected to become one of London’s most distinguished high streets.

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A Theory of Architecture Part 3: Why Primitive Form Languages Spread

“the architectural establishment continues to ignore indigenous building cultures and the human value of what they represent. For example, traditional building and urban geometry in sub-Saharan Africa is now revealed to be essentially fractal, thus revising our customary (and totally erroneous) conception of those cultures as mathematically under-developed.” Image of El Molo Hut, Lake Turkana, Kenya.. Image Courtesy of shutterstock.com

As you may have seen, ArchDaily has been publishing UNIFIED ARCHITECTURAL THEORY, by the urbanist and controversial theorist Nikos A. Salingaros, in serial form. However, in order to explain certain concepts in greater detail, we have decided to pause this serialization and publish three excerpts from another of Salingaros’  books: A THEORY OF ARCHITECTURE. The first excerpt explained the difference between “Pattern Language” and “Form Language,” while the second established how these languages can combine to form the “Adaptive Design Method.” The following, final, excerpt distinguishes between viable, complex form languages that have evolved over time and primitive, “non-languages” that have come to dominate the 20th century due to their iconic simplicity (and despite their non-adaptive characteristics).  

Independently of their technological achievements, all groups of human beings have developed a richly complex spoken language. Differences arise in specificities, in the breadth of vocabulary for concepts important to that culture, and in their transition to a written language, but those do not affect the general richness of the language. Every language’s internal structure has to obey general principles that are common to all languages. A primitive language or non-language, by contrast, is characterized by the reduction or absence of such internal complexity and structure. The complexity of human thought sets a rather high threshold for the complexity that any language has to be able to express through combinatoric groupings.

Turning now to architecture, a viable form language is also characterized by its high degree of internal complexity. Furthermore, the complexity of different form languages has to be comparable, because each form language shares a commonality with form languages on a general meta-linguistic level. A primitive form language severely limits architectonic expression to crude or inarticulate statements.

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In Drawings, The Historical Trajectory of Soviet Architecture

Yakov Chernikhov, Factory building, Ca. 1931, Drafting pen, ink and pencil, 298 x 248 mm. Image Courtesy of the Tchoban Foundation

This article by Ross Wolfe, originally posted on Metropolis Magazine as “Cultural Divide: The ‘Paper Architecture’ of the USSR” explores the complexity of various movements through the lens of paper architecture.

In the history of 20th-century Russian architecture, there exists a central struggle. In one corner, the Constructivists, champions of light, airy, and functional buildings that drew their power from the social and aesthetic revolutions of the 1920s; in the , the Stalinist architects, whose thuggish hybrids and clumsy pastiche became the predominant vernacular throughout the Soviet republics. The latter, as we know, eventually came out on top. 

Things are rather more complicated, of course, as an recent exhibition at Berlin’s Tchoban Foundation argued. Architecture in Cultural Strife: Russian and Soviet Architecture in Drawings, 1900-1953 brings together a total of 79 unique architectural delineations that chart a historical trajectory running from the twilight years of the Romanov dynasty up to Stalin’s death by the midcentury.

Read on for more about the multiple movements that made up the whole of Soviet architecture.

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The BIG U: BIG’s New York City Vision for “Rebuild by Design”

Render for The BIG U, “The Harbor Berm,” an elevated path through the park. Image Courtesy of rebuildbydesign.org

Yesterday BIG, along with 9 teams including OMA and WXY, unveiled their proposals for “Rebuild by Design,” a competition which tasks teams with improving the resiliency of waterfront communities through locally-responsive, innovative design. Each proposal was required to be “flexible, easily phased, and able to integrate with existing projects in progress.” As Henk Ovink, the Principal of ”” as well as the Senior Advisor to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan, stated: “ is not about making a plan, but about changing a culture.” The winners will be announced later this spring.

BIG’s proposal, The BIG U, is rooted in the firm’s signature concepts of social infrastructure and hedonistic sustainability. It envisions a 10-mile protective system that encircles Manhattan, protecting the city from floods and storm water while simultaneously providing public realms specific to the needs of the city’s diverse communities. Bjarke Ingels states: “We asked ourselves: What if we could envision the resilience infrastructure for Lower Manhattan in a way that wouldn’t be like a wall between the city and the water, but rather a string of pearls of social and environmental amenities tailored to their specific neighborhoods, that also happens to shield their various communities from flooding. Social infrastructure understood as a big overall strategy rooted in the local communities.”

More on the BIG U, after the break…

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AD Interviews: Winka Dubbeldam

At last week’s Mextrópoli conference we spoke with about the challenges of architecture education. We also asked her to elaborate on why she thinks architecture should embrace industrial design tools. Watch the short clip to hear Winka’s thoughts on making technology a more integral part of our built environment.

Winka Dubbeldam, Assoc. AIA, is the founder and principal of Archi-Tectonics, and is Professor and Chair of the Graduate Department of Architecture at PennDesign, Philadelphia. 

AD Classics: Kresge Auditorium / Eero Saarinen and Associates

Kresge Auditorium at MIT, , Massachusetts © Jorge Salcedo / Shutterstock

Kresge Auditorium, designed by Finnish American architect Eero Saarinen, was an experiment in architectural form and befitting the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s focus on technology and innovation. This feat of sculptural engineering serves as a meeting house and is part of the cultural, social, and spiritual core of MIT’s campus. Kresge Auditorium is one of Saarinen’s numerous daring, egalitarian designs that captured the optimistic zeitgeist of Post-war America.

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AD Interviews: Brendan MacFarlane / Jakob + MacFarlane

Paris-based architect Brendan MacFarlane, of the firm Jakob + MacFarlane, spoke to us during our visit to the FRAC Centre in Orléans for the ArchiLab 2013 exhibition and conference. MacFarlane, who studied at Sci-Arc in the 80s and later received a degree from Harvard’s GSD, successfully combines theory and form, placing him among the few architects that have been able to harmonize this balance.

’s special and precise handling of the grids generates projects that, while outwardly complex, are actually deceivingly so. Based not on strong computational muscle but actually a more simple deformation of grids, their projects can appear nearly impossible or too complex to realize. Yet they are able to make these buildings a reality.

Along with his partner Dominique Jakob, the duo’s consistent methodology doesn’t rely on constant innovation. MacFarlane posits that “sometimes it’s about doing something simple that’s kind of obvious.“ This has yielded a stylistic variety that evades singular typecasting.

They are not afraid to combine existing structures with their proposals–in fact, they welcome it. What they do is strategic: a kind of rational deformation of otherwise uniform and uncomplicated geometry, with the computer acting as a tool (but not a generative one).

Be sure to check out the interview, as well as Jakob + MacFarlane‘s projects on ArchDaily.

The Battle for the Skies Over London

Courtesy of CPAT / Hayes Davidson / Jason Hawkes

In response to the recent study by New London Architecture, which found that there are currently over 230 tall buildings either planned or under in London, an argument is brewing over the UK capital’s sudden, seemingly uncontrolled, growth.

The most vocal reaction to all of this has come from Rowan Moore, architecture critic for The Observer, who has teamed up with the Architects’ Journal to launch a campaign calling for more rigorous planning and public consultation when it comes to tall buildings. The campaign has support from 80 signatories, a list that reads like a ‘who’s who’ of British architecture, including architects, planners, politicians, developers and artists as well as a range of civic societies.

Read on for more reaction to ’s tall building boom.

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First 3D Printed House to Be Built In Amsterdam

“The building industry is one of the most polluting and inefficient industries out there,” Hedwig Heinsman of Dus Architects tells The Guardian‘s Olly Wainwright, “With 3D-printing, there is zero waste, reduced transportation costs, and everything can be melted down and recycled. This could revolutionise how we make our cities.”

Working with another Dutch firm, UltimakerDus Architects have developed the KamerMaker (Room Maker), a 3D Printer enough to print chunks of buildings, up to 2x2x3.5 meters high, out of hotmelt, a bio-plastic mix that’s about 75% plant oil. The chunks can then be stacked and connected together like LEGO bricks, forming multi-story homes whose designs can be adapted according to users’ needs/desires. For Dus’ first project, they’ve taken as inspiration the Dutch canal house, replacing hand-laid bricks with, in Wainwright’s words, “a faceted plastic facade, scripted by computer software.”

So far, only a 3m-high, 180-kg sample corner of the future canal house has been printed; moreover, the blocks will need to be back-filled with lightweight concrete, meaning it’s not yet as biodegradable as its creators would like. However, its game-changing potential is already provoking much interest in the public; over 2,000 people have come to visit the site, including Barack Obama. Learn more at The Guardian and in the video above.

AD Classics: Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute / Philip Johnson

© Ezra Stoller/Esto

The Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute is a Modern masterpiece and revolutionary precedent of American museum design.  Located in Utica, New York, it was the first of many influential cultural facilities designed by Philip Johnson.  Also known as the Museum of Art, the structure represents a stylistic turning point in Johnson’s career, marking the end of his loyalty to the International Style and the beginning of his experimentation with Neo-Classicism.

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The Latest Illustration from Federico Babina: ARCHIPORTRAIT

Toyo Ito. Image Courtesy of

Federico Babina, the illustrator behind the extremely popular ARCHIST and ARCHICINE, has just released his latest project: ARCHIPORTRAIT, “an artistic representation of 33 architects, in which the faces and the expressions are made of their architecture.” As Babina says, “The intent is to display the likeness, personality, and even the mood of the protagonist through his aesthetic.”

See all the portraits – from Corbu to Foster to Gehry and more – after the break.

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The Indicator: Thank You, Patrik Schumacher

“Architects are in charge of the FORM of the built environment, not its content. We need to grasp this and run with this despite all the (ultimately conservative) moralizing political correctness that is trying to paralyse us with bad conscience and arrest our explorations…” – . Above, the MAXXI Museum by Zaha Hadid Architects. Image © Iwan Baan

First off, I would like to thank Patrik Schumacher for taking to Facebook on March 17 at 9:45pm to let off steam — thus starting a meaningful discussion on the role of the architect in society and culture. We could deconstruct it line by line, but I don’t think that will yield much in the way of enlightenment. What I take from it is that architecture creates form and should be free to do so without being restricted by ethical or moral imperatives to be social or political. But, as Benjamin Bratton remarked in reply to Schumacher, “To set the political to one side and at the same time make grandiose claims for how architectural form can in fact ‘remake civilization’, is a self-defeating program.”

Perceptions on the role of architecture in society can easily fall along class, race, and national lines. Coming from a place of privilege, it is easy to assume an apolitical, form-making agenda for the profession. The argument that architecture has nothing to do with the social domain, or the “content” as Schumacher calls it, is an argument for political conservatism, a hands-off, sink or swim argument for social Darwinism, that limits the range and impact of high architecture. Why can’t the best and most challenging forms of architecture penetrate through all social strata? Why shouldn’t it serve the poor? And why shouldn’t this be one criteria among others for judging the value of architecture?

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eVolo Skyscraper Winner 2014 Transforms Korean ‘Hanok’ Into Impressive High-Rise

Visualisation. Image ©

Vernacular Versatility, recently awarded first place in the 2014 eVolo Skyscraper Competition, seeks to adapt traditional Korean architecture into a contemporary mixed-use high-rise. The vernacular design of the Hanok, the “antonym of a western house” and epitome of the Korean style, has disappeared from every town. Extensive urban development in the 1970s led to a boom in modern apartment dwellings and, consequently, a loss of established Korean vernacular architecture. Yong Ju Lee’s proposal aims to reimagine the Hanok in one of the country’s busiest districts, drawing people’s attention to and stimulating their interest in traditional architecture with the intention that “it will eventually be absorbed into people’s everyday lives”

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