AD Interviews: Will Bruder / Will Bruder Architects

A self-trained American architect residing in Phoenix’s urban desert, Will Bruder, FAIA, has built a reputation for being one of ’s most prized place-makers. For more than 40 years, Bruder has refined his craft with the completion of over 500 commissions ranging from large-scale civic and cultural projects to private residences and multi-family housing.

Trained first as a sculptor with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Bruder pursued the of building with an architectural apprenticeship under Paolo Soleri and Gunnar Birkerts. In 1974, Bruder opened his first studio in Arizona, Will Bruder Architects, where he still serves as a community-based architect and student mentor, while often participating in a number of visiting chairs and lectures at universities nationwide.

His most notable project is the Burton Barr Central Library; not only has the structure played a significant role in the evolution of downtown Phoenix, but it serves as an exemplar of Bruder’s heightened awareness of movement, materiality and light.

Learn more about Bruder’s design philosophy in the interview above and check out his projects on ArchDaily:

Interview: Ma Yansong on “Silhouette Shanshui” at the Venice Biennale

MAD Architects‘ “Silhouette Shanshui” – which lies somewhere between an installation and a model – is currently on display at the 14th Venice Biennale. The inspiration for the project is the firm’s Nanjing Zendai Himalayas Center, a master plan with an overall area of 560,000 sqm that challenges how modern development is typically thought of in . According to Ma Yansong, the founder of MAD Architects, the city-scale urban project is already underway with 13 towers under construction.

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AD Interviews: European Architects on the Mies van der Rohe Award

The European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture - Mies van der Rohe Award is one of the most important and prestigious prizes for architecture within Europe. First established in 1987, the prize is awarded every two years, and a look at the projects over the years offers unique insight into the development of architecture across Europe. To better understand the significance and uniqueness of the award we spoke with two previous award winners – Kjetil Trædal Thorsen and Craig Dykers from Snøhetta and Dominique Perrault from Dominique Perrault Architecture – as well as Peter Cachola Schmal, an architect, critic and the director of DAM, the German Architecture Musuem, and Josep Lluís Mateo of Mateo Arquitectura and a professor of Architecture and Projects at ETH-Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule/ Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich.

“This is the special thing about the Mies jury, that they do visit the top 5 projects, and see first-hand what this piece of architecture is about. And then they vote, which means the jury really knows what they’re voting about,” Peter Cachola Schmal noted.

“It’s a prize for a project, rather than a prize for an architect,” Kjetil Trædal Thorsen added.

Read on after the break for more on the and to see what the architects had to say about the importance of archives…

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AD Interviews: Yuri Grigoryan / Project Meganom

At the III Moscow Urban Forum, we had the chance to sit down with Russian architect Yuri Grigoryan, the co-founder of Project Meganom and the director of education at the Strelka Institute. Grigoryan also led the team that prepared the research project, “Archeology of the Periphery,” a key part of the forum that focused on the challenges and strategy for developing Moscow’s metropolitan area.

Sitting above the “Archeology of the Periphery” exhibition, Grigoryan told us what he thinks the role of an architect should be in society, what it’s like to lead a firm and the importance of innovation. “Architects have two very important roles. One is to do the architecture and to be good in architectural design. And the second role is to build the bridge between architecture, research and society,” he told us.

If you enjoy this interview make sure you check out our interview with both Grigoryan and Alexei Komissarov, the Moscow Government Minister and Head of the Department of Science, Industrial Policy and Entrepreneurship of Moscow, on the Forum and “Archeology of the Periphery.”

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Artist Mark Lascelles Thornton On His Completed Masterwork: “The Happiness Machine”

All 8 panels of The Happiness Machine. Image © Mark Lascelles Thornton

Over a year ago, we shared a work-in-progress drawing project that captured our imagination with its combination of huge size and meticulously small details. Now, “The Happiness Machine,Mark Lascelles Thornton‘s 8-foot by 5-foot, three year long project is complete, after over 10,000 hours of painstaking work.

Lascelles Thornton, a self-taught London-based artist who describes himself as “one of those kids that was drawing before I was talking,” created the artwork as a response to the global financial crisis, focusing on themes of socio-economics, consumerism, globalism, resource shortages, urbanism and architecture. We spoke to Lascelles Thornton about his artwork, discussing the themes of the piece and the commitment – or, as he describes it, “emotional engineering” – required for such a colossal undertaking.

For the full interview – and detailed images of the drawing – read on after the break

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Wicker Man: An Interview with Salvador Gilabert of EMBT

The Spanish Pavilion at the 2010 Expo

As one of EMBT‘s Directors, Salvador Gilabert has helped guide the realization of some of the practice’s biggest projects in recent years – including as project director of Spain’s 2010 Shanghai Expo Pavilion and the recently completed Barajas Social Housing Block.

Last month, he took a week out of his schedule to lead a project at Hello Wood, where – with an energy and intensity that was almost out of place in the relaxing surroundings of the Hungarian countryside – he led a group of students to construct an ambitious, screw-free elevated platform that emerged from a cluster of trees and offered views of the setting sun. ArchDaily caught up with Salvador Gilabert during the week to find out more about his work.

Read on after the break for the full interview

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Interview with Qi Xin of Qi Xin Architects and Engineers

Olympic Park Siheyuan / . Image © Pier Alessio Rizzardi

Architecture is not important. You can make a microclimate or situation, but you cannot have more influence about life or the urban situation, it’s just a very small operation you are working on, and you cannot control the situation of the city.. But even if you are just working on a single object here, you can always try to have more or less a positive influence on the city, you can always contribute in your way to the city, to the citizens. But in a larger view it’s not that important; it’s you or somebody else. The people are happy or not, their happiness is not relying on your architecture.” – Qi Xin, Beijing, 2013

Shedding light on topics from China‘s rapid urbanization to the issue of copycat architecture, this interview of Chinese architect Qi Xin conducted by Pier Alessio Rizzardi questions the role of architecture in Chinese society, and reveals the mindset of the modern Chinese architect. Qi Xin’s answers challenge many of the myths surrounding Chinese architecture, often through one-line gems such as “what is permanent for Chinese people is the spirit, not material,” and “the most important thing is that we don’t know where we are going… we are making the future cities.”

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AD Interviews: Eric Bunge / nArchitects

At the New Cities Summit – held last year in São Paulo – we caught up with Eric Bunge of New York-based practice nArchitects outside of Oscar Niemeyer’s Ibirapuera auditorium. The summit’s theme was centered on the future of cities and Bunge was presenting his firm’s My Micro NY project, which was the winning design of former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg’s adAPT NYC competition. “We’re kind of influenced by New York itself as a microcosm. Our project looks a little bit like a microcosm of the skyline. We’re interested in this idea of re-inventing what micro is and how much of New York you can inhabit,” Bunge said regarding the project.

According to Bunge, housing is based on regulation and therefore one of the most constrained things to design. “I think we can reinvent housing,” he told us.

Watch the full interview to learn more about Bunge’s thoughts on reinventing housing, the inspiration behind his My Micro NY project and how he strives to address in his projects.

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AD Interviews: Rahul Mehrotra / RMA Architects

On his recent visit to Santiago, we caught up with Rahul Mehrotra, founder of -based RMA Architects and a professor of Urban Design and Planning at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. Mehrotra is known for his advocacy work in Mumbai and has carried out projects on a myriad of scales including interior design, architecture, urban design, conservation and planning. His projects include everything from a house on a tea plantation to a campus for NGO Magic Bus, the KMC Corporate Office in Hyderabad and housing for mahouts and their elephants. Mehrotra has also written and lectured extensively on architecture, conservation and urban planning in Mumbai and India.

“I think that the most important issue facing architects and architecture–generally, around the world–is the question of inequity,” Mehrotra told us. “I think architecture is a deadly instrument in hardening the boundaries between the communities in society. It hardens thresholds very easily; we don’t realize it.” In the full interview, Mehrotra speaks more on inequity, what architecture means to him and how his practice and teaching inform each other.

In Focus: The Architectural Applications of Zinc

The Roof Of Stonehenge - Custom Zinc Panels Fabricated By . Image © Peter Cook

Many times, the most innovative minds in architecture aren’t the architects themselves. They can come in the form of students, researchers and in this case – providers. We recently asked VMZINC, a company that provides material solutions for architects, a few questions about the use of zinc in architecture, the Stonehenge Visitors Center and more. 

AD: How do you create intricate shapes with zinc, as seen in the roof at the Stonehenge Visitors Center?

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Renzo Piano Explains How To Design the Perfect Museum

The new Whitney Museum building, seen from the West Side Highway in July. Image © Paul Clemence

In the following article, originally published on Metropolis Magazine as Q&A: Renzo Piano, Paul Clemence talks with the Italian master of museum design about the design process and philosophies that have brought him such tremendous success in the field – from sketching, to behaving with civility, to buildings that ‘fly’, Piano explains what makes the perfect museum.

There’s a reason why Renzo Piano is known as the master of museum design. The architect has designed 25 of them, 14 in the US alone. Few architects understand as well as Piano—along with his practice, the Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW)—what board directors, curators, and even the visiting public needs and wants in a cultural institution like a museum. When I spoke with Donna de Salvo, chief curator of the Whitney Museum of American Art, whose new downtown digs were authored by RPBW she remarked on the how the curators’ input was often incorporated into the final building design. “Our curators and the architects had an ongoing dialogue throughout the design of this building,” de Salvo says. “The physical needs of the art were a priority for Renzo and his team, down to the most seemingly minute detail. Our curatorial voice was central to the discussion and has given us a terrifically dynamic building, a uniquely responsive array of spaces for art.”

But what often goes unmentioned is how well Piano’s buildings, particularly his museums, connect to their surroundings. The buildings not only perform well, but they integrate themselves into the life of the city, as if they have always been there. From Beaubourg to The New York Times Building, they fully embrace the space and energy of their urban contexts. Now, as two of his newest and very high-profile museum projects near completion—the renovation and expansion of the Harvard Art Museums (due to open this Fall) and the Whitney Museum of Art (expected to be in use by Spring 2015)—I had a chance to meet with Piano at his Meatpacking District office to talk about the creative process, criticisms, contemporary architecture, and “flying” buildings.

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AD Interviews: Barkow Leibinger / Kinetic Wall at the Venice Biennale

The room dedicated to the Wall at the 2014 Venice Biennale’s “Elements of Architecture” exhibition traces the development and evolution of walls over time, starting with archaic walls and ending with Barkow Leibinger’s “Kinetic Wall.”

It was here that we caught up with the Kinetic Wall’s architects, Frank Barkow and Regine Leibinger, to learn more about the vision and thought process that went into the design of this expanding and retracting elastic wall.“It’s very ephemeral, very light, but an idea of a kind of maybe not too far away future, that’s spatial. It changes the space that we’re standing in by moving back and forth. It has a kind of front, it has a back, it’s a little tongue-in-cheek,” Barkow explained.

A series of motorized points extend and retract the wall’s translucent synthetic material, creating peaks and valleys. Two layers of gridded fabric produce a moiré effect, “a second scale of movement, that is translucent/ephemeral,” according to a project description on Barkow Leibinger’s website.

If you enjoyed this video interview make sure you check out the rest of our 2014 Venice Biennale coverage, here.

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AD Interviews: Diébédo Francis Kéré / Kéré Architecture

Award-winning African architect Diébédo Francis Kéré is renowned for his cross-cultural approach to architecture. Although his office, Kéré Architecture, is based in Berlin, many of his projects are carried out in his native West African country Burkina Faso, where he is known for incorporating local and talent into his designs.

“I am working between two continents or between two cultures. And what I’m doing is trying to bridge the gap,” Kére told us at the opening of the 2014 Venice Biennale. Kére has carried out projects such as School Library Gando, Centre for Earth Architecture and the National Park of Mali.

In this interview, Kéré explains his two-continent approach to architecture, what architecture means to him and what “absorbing modernity” means for Burkina Faso.

AD Interviews: Andrew Maynard / Andrew Maynard Architects

At the World Architecture Festival, we sat down with , co-director of Australian architecture firm Andrew Maynard Architects.

Maynard is known for his polemical projects, like CV08 robot, which wanders through the suburbs, consuming houses and replacing them with trees and other natural vegetation. “It’s got nothing to do with trying to achieve a built outcome, it’s about actually reacting against the economic machine,” Maynard said, regarding his polemical work.

He is also known for his interaction with media and discussion of critical issues such as Work/life/work balance, which became one of ArchDaily’s top 5 most read pieces ever. In this interview, Maynard tells us about his firm’s “intentionally small size,” how he approaches innovation, and the theory behind his polemical projects.

Andrew Maynard Architects are the brains behind projects such as Butler House, Vader House, Tattoo House and Hill House.

AD Interviews: Pedro Alonso, Curator of the Chilean Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Biennale

We had the chance to sit down with , one of the curators of the Chilean pavilion “Monolith Controversies,” at the 2014 Venice Biennale, to learn more about the concept and inspiration behind the Silver Lion-winning pavilion. “We were interested in demonstrating that architects didn’t absorb modernity, but rather, they supplied it. The ones who absorbed it were the workers and the people,” Alonso told us, outside of a replica of a Chilean apartment – the entrance to the Pavilion. “The absorption of modernity has to do with the pieces we are exhibiting. For example, this apartment, the apartment of Mrs. Silvia Gutiérrez in Viña del Mar, which is an exact replica – object by object- of the 518 things that make up her living room.”

Enter Gutiérrez’s apartment and the rest of the Chilean pavilion in the full interview with Alonso. And don’t forget to check out additional pictures and text from the curators in our coverage of the pavilion here.

AD Interviews: Keith Griffiths, Chairman of Aedas, on Appoaching Densification in London

Keith Griffiths. Image Courtesy of Aedas

Following the recent announcement of Aedas’ demerger into two separate companies - one retaining the Aedas name and the other now known as  - we spoke to Keith Griffiths, Chairman of Aedas’ global board and a practicing architect for close to three decades. The company, which was recently ranked by the Architects’ Journal as the 5th largest and most influential practice in the world, have now moved their head office to London’s Chandos Place and are championing a new approach to urban regeneration in the UK’s capital. Alongside discussing how an international practice of Aedas’ scale successfully operates, Griffiths offered his insight into how the future looks for European cities based on a tried and tested Asian model of densification.

To find out how Aedas approach sustainability in flourishing Asian markets, as well as the significance of the ‘urban hub’ typology for London’s metropolitan future, read the interview in full after the break.

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Interview with Rocco Yim of Rocco Design

Guanzhou Museum. Image Courtesy of Rocco Design

In the ancient culture identity is a touch of spatiality. Our use of space is psychological, you line up sequences of courtyards and buildings in order of importance so it prepares your mood, they get a sense of anticipation. We could reuse this spatially in today’s different types of buildings to achieve different purposes, but it originates from the past — that makes it Chinese.” – Rocco S. K. Yim, Hong Kong, 2013

On the 38th floor of the AIA Tower, ’s office faces the bay, from which you see the quintessential view of the city: the Hong Kong skyline. is the founder of Rocco Design Architects Limited (founded in 1982) and responsible for the design of iconic buildings like the International Finance Centre in Hong Kong. In this conversation he talks about the importance of the density created and supported by the urban flow in , and his unique point of view on iconic architecture in relation to ancient culture.

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Interview with Jean-Louis Cohen, Curator of the French Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Biennale

On the morning that accepted a Special Mention for its exhibition “Modernity: Promise or Menace?” at the Venice Biennale, Curator Jean-Louis Cohen spoke to us about the questions raised within, on, and around the walls of the French Pavilion. Standing in front of a model of the farcical Villa Arpel from Jacques Tati’s famous film “Mon Oncle,” Cohen explained that France didn’t just absorb modernity (as Rem Koolhaas proposed) but that France inspired modernity, providing different expectations, promises and, as the title suggests, menaces.

For more images and curatorial texts check out our coverage of the pavilion here.