When New York City architect Curtis B. Wayne first started talking about “The Fourth Architecture,” it was clear he was not doing so to make friends. You do not write manifestos to make friends. You write them because of some perceived urgency, because the time is right.
As a long-standing practitioner, radio host, and graduate of Cooper Union and Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, he already has a lot of friends. What he’s interested in is saving architecture from the current orthodoxy of form-making over substance, or “sculpture you can live in.” “We are too wise for this,” writes Wayne.
In fact, I can go further. Judging from the little red book that has finally emerged from Wayne’s brain, appropriately titled, The Shape of Things that Work: The Fourth Architecture, I’m almost certain he set out to piss people off. But not without a purpose.
Sociologist Saskia Sassen‘s researches and writes about the social, economic and political dimensions of globalization, immigration, and networked technologies in cities around the globe. Her books and writings—published in over sixteen languages—have sustained the interests of architects and planners who seek to better understand the city via the systemic conditions that find expression in the reality of urban space.
Now actively involved in teaching Columbia University, we caught up with Sassen at the Arquine Congress in Mexico City, where she shared some interesting views on the role of architects, her contemplations on the future of the city, and her thoughts on the impact of the internet on the city.
Check out a full transcript of our interview with Sassen after the break.
Colorado’s Biennial of the Americas has invited artists and architects from across the Americas to participate in the second edition of Draft Urbanism: a citywide exhibition that examines the evolving relationship we have with our cities. This year, four architects – plan:b arquitectos (Colombia), Pezo von Ellrichshausen (Chile), June14 Meyer-Grohbrügge&Chermayeff (New York/Berlin), and Alex Schweder (New York) – were commissioned to each design and build a large-scale installation that address site-specific urban challenges and key planning issues presently facing downtown Denver.
With urban challenges ranging from Denver’s over abundance of surface parking lots to the effects of an 8-lane thoroughfare that splits the downtown core, these four installations aim to portray a deep understanding of the city’s history while proposing innovative ways in which art can address our urban future.
Read on to learn about the installations and view a short film for each by Cristobal Palma.
In this article, which originally appeared in Metropolis Magazine’s Point of View Blog as “Q&A: Kim Mathews and Signe Nielsen,” Susan Szenasy interviews the principals of Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects about how climate change has re-focused landscape architecture today on three important issues: Research, Redevelopment, & Resiliency.
In this season of Architecture’s Lean In Moment, I’m asking principals of three successful female-owned firms in architecture, graphic communication, and here landscape architecture, to talk about the work they do, how they connect with their clients (usually in the messy public realm), how they hone their skills and add to their knowledge base—all to provide the essential design services that they set out to do as idealistic young practitioners.
Here the principals of the New York firm, Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects, Kim Mathews, RLA, ASLA and Signe Nielsen, RLA, FASLA, talk about the evolution of their profession, their commitment to teaching, writing, lecturing, their research-informed work, as well as the new appreciation of design in the public realm. The firm’s new Green Team reports here regularly on topics like the importance of soil composition, working within the urban infrastructure, and waterfront remediation and redevelopment in a time of climate change.
This article was written by Seattle-based designer and critic Evan Chakroff.
Lexington Kentucky’s Miller House is a built manifesto: an ambitious proposal for the future of suburbia in an age of unprecedented urbanization. Despite its pedigree – designed and built by Le Corbusier protégé José Oubrerie – and despite its (appropriate) selection as a “masterwork” by Kenneth Frampton, the project remains somewhat unknown and the architect underappreciated.
The house should absolutely occupy a place in the canon of great residential architecture. The complex composition alone should inspire myriad formal readings, but more importantly the house represents a model for communal life amid continuously-shifting family structures. It’s a radical rejection of a suburban lifestyle that has become socially, economically, and culturally unsustainable.
Three months ago, Commander Chris Hadfield captured the attention of millions by recording a cover of David Bowie’s Space Oddity – entirely on board the International Space Station. The video was the culmination of five months of social media efforts to raise awareness and interest in current space programs worldwide, and it certainly seems that Hadfield succeeded in piquing the interest of at least a few future astronauts.
But for architects, something else probably stands out in the video: the ISS seems an extremely clinical and uncomfortable environment to live in for five months. The reasons for this are obvious: it is a highly controlled engineered environment; sending luxuries into orbit is expensive; the astronauts are there to work, and after all they are trained to cope in stressful and uncomfortable environments. However, with proposals for longer missions, such as a manned trip to Mars, as well as the continued promise of commercial spaceflight on the horizon, the design of living spaces outside of our own planet may soon become an issue which architects must get involved in.
Read on to find out about the challenges of architecture in space, after the break.
Since Baron Georges-Eugène Haussmann began his comprehensive redesign of central Paris in the mid-nineteenth century, the Hausmann Plan has been a topic of discussion for architects, planners and social theorists. The network of wide, open boulevards lined by regular (and regulated) neoclassical buildings has come in and out of favor over the years, and now is one of the key factors in the city’s popular reputation as a beautiful city.
Now though, a different set of academics have entered the conversation to offer a new way of looking at the Haussmann Plan: a group of mathematical physicists from the CEA Institute of Theoretical Physics in Gif-sur-Yvette have collaborated with a group of social scientists to analyze the changes of the Haussmann Plan using sophisticated network theory, as reported by BBC Worldwide.
Find out about their study’s findings after the break
Back for its fourth year, the creative camp Hello Wood was held last month in Hungary, set in the countryside north of Lake Balaton. At Hello Wood, 120 young designers and architects worked with leading experts to create installations which approach issues of society and community in architecture, ideas encompassed by this year’s motto “Step Closer!” Twelve teams had one week to create these installations using timber as their primary material, with the projects being judged and a winner awarded at the end of the week.
Read on to find out about the installations, and which one was judged the winner, after the break
Inspiring builders of all ages, MoMA has released their first storybook, following the adventures of a young, New York City architect and his architect grandfather: Young Frank and Old Frank. The creative pair – with matching bow ties, straw boater hats and, of course, Le Corbusier-inspired glasses – optimistically views the world as an endless supply of inspiration and possibilities. Everything, from macaroni to old boxes, inspires them to create – especially after discovering the works of Frank Gehry and Frank Lloyd Wright at The Museum of Modern Art. Young Frank, Architect was written by the renowned children’s author and illustrator Frank Viva. More information can be found here on MoMA.
The Architects’ Journal recently announced its call for entries for the “AJ Writing Prize,” its annual search for “the best new architectural writer.”
Back in 2011 (how did I miss this?) they published a treatise on the qualities of good architectural writing penned by one of the prize’s judges, architect Alan Berman. Now, please consider that I am butchering his essay by removing this quote from the stream of his thinking, but, that being said, this paragraph stands out:
Architectural writing should aid everyone’s understanding of buildings and assist architects to design better ones. This is not to say that it should be an instruction manual or ignore the importance of the myriad intellectual endeavours which explore the human predicament –about which architects should always be conscious. Rather it is to say that architectural commentary should aim for clarity and precision of expression by means of lucid terminology and simplicity of structure.
This strikes me as a very technical and precise way of producing writer’s block. If this is the extent of good architectural writing, or writing that is in the service of architecture, then “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”
Beginning with Charles McKim, William Mead, and Stamford White and concluding with Michael Arad, Makers of Modern Architecture, Volume II examines the people behind the work at the forefront of 20th and early 21st century architecture. Critic Martin Filler masterfully integrates each person’s unique biography and distinctive character into the architectural discussion. Here is his revealing profile of Michael Arad, the young architect whose design for the National September 11 Memorial at Ground Zero brought him into the national spotlight. It was originally published on Metropolis Mag’s Point of View Blog.
I wept but about what precisely I cannot say. When I first visited Michael Arad’s newly completed National September 11 Memorial of 2003–2011 at Ground Zero, which was dedicated on the tenth anniversary of the disaster—the ubiquitous maudlin press coverage of which I had done everything possible to ignore—it impressed me at once as a sobering, disturbing, heartbreaking, and overwhelming masterpiece. Arad’s inexorably powerful, enigmatically abstract pair of abyss-like pools, which demarcate the foundations of the lost Twin Towers, came as an immense surprise to those of us who doubted that the chaotic and desultory reconstruction of the World Trade Center site could yield anything of lasting value.
Yet against all odds and despite tremendous opposition from all quarters, the design by the Israeli-American Arad—an obscure thirty-four-year-old architect working for a New York City municipal agency when his starkly Minimalist proposal, Reflecting Absence, was chosen as the winner from among the 5,201 entries to the Ground Zero competition—became the most powerful example of commemorative architecture since Maya Lin’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial of 1981–1982 in Washington, D.C.
Imagine driving your car into a sizable aluminum pod and being shot 800 miles per hour through an elevated, shotgun-like barrel to arrive at a city 400 miles away within 30 minutes. According to Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and co-founder of Tesla Motors, Californians will be doing this within the next decade.
Nearly a year after mentioning the possibility of a hyper-speed transit system and voicing discontent over the state’s “expensive, slow and impractical” high-speed rail proposal, Musk has unveiled a detailed synopsis of his solar- and wind-powered “Hyperloop.” The idea, originally inspired by the vacuum tubes used to transport checks at bank drive-throughs, has the potential to revolutionize mass transit. (more…)
Gensler, who recently topped out on the world’s second tallest skyscraper in Shanghai, have just released a report outlining the keys to designing a successful workplace. Using their custom ‘Workplace Performance Index’ they surveyed 2035 office workers in the US to find out what makes employees happy and productive in their workplace.
One surprising result which they uncovered is that, in opposition to the trend of workplaces being designed to encourage collaboration, workers are actually spending more time on focused, individual tasks than they were 5 years ago. Consequently, over 50% of respondents said that they were distracted by others when they needed to focus. What’s more, the survey found that when employees could not focus individually, collaborative work was also less productive.
Read on after the break to find out more results from the survey
There is an intimate connection between people, power, poverty and place and there is no better city in the world to see this than Detroit. With the impending bankruptcy we cannot lose sight of the human issues that face our city.
For decades money and power have moved away from Detroit’s center. The complex reasons for this are well known so there is no need to rehash them here. Even in the face of city government’s failure to manage its assets properly, this is changing. There is slow and halting movement back to the center.The movement back to the center is a good thing for many reasons. It will help bolster the tax base and that is the basic financial problem the city faces. But more importantly it will create a stronger spatial connection between power and poverty that we haven’t had in this region for a century.
Power will see poverty and poverty power. They will feel each other’s existence. They will see the humanity of each side and be nudged to recognize the shared responsibility caring for this shared place. This is how successful vital, dense urban cities operate. There is an acceptance of diversity on all levels. Barriers are reduced and human interaction encouraged. This is how creativity is bred. Exposure to diverse people, places and ideas excite and promote the imagination and a sense of the common good that includes everyone.