At ArchDaily, we think that Bjarke Ingels is one of the most inspiring architects practicing today. Having found success at a relatively young age, Bjarke has never shied away from embracing his YES IS MORE philosophy. His conspicuous enthusiasm for the potential of architecture and design sets him apart from his peers. And it is precisely this go-to attitude that has allowed him to overcome some of the significant limits that face many young architects today. An impressive portfolio of both built and upcoming projects shows that his approach to design, though sometimes criticized, is profoundly impacting the social environment of architecture.
On running an office, Bjarke says that “you have the opportunity and the responsibility to create the work environment that you would like to work in.” He has modeled his firm as a type of organism that is able to adapt to growth and change. In the interview, Bjarke explains that not only does his own role constantly evolve, but that the success of BIG is contingent on the invaluable contributions of his partners. BIG is more than just Bjarke.
We also asked him to define architecture (“the art and science of making sure that our cities and buildings actually fit with the way we want to live our lives”), and to give students advice about pursuing a career in architecture. Be sure to read the full interview after the break.
During the Shenzhen Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture, we had the opportunity to speak with David Gianotten, partner-in-charge of OMA’s Hong Kong office. Gianotten launched the Dutch firm’s Asian headquarters in 2009, where he supervises major projects such as the Shenzhen Stock Exchange and the Taipei Performing Arts Centre.
Standing outside of the recently completed Stock Exchange headquarters, he answered our questions about urbanization, innovation and the intricacies of running an office in an environment with such rapid urban growth. Shenzhen has proven an experiment of economic openness and is a vivid example of China’s recent growth. The city’s skyline is practically a physical graph of an upward-trending economy, with buildings designed by nearly every internationally renowned architecture firm. But OMA’s Shenzhen Stock Exchange building stands apart from the rest not only because of its impeccable construction (a rarity in the fast-paced building booms of Chinese cities), but also because it houses the institution that lists China’s biggest companies.
The 254 meter tower is an elegant structure that combines pure volumes with an exoskeleton grid clad in translucent glass. It represents a characteristic OMA-approach to innovative architectural solutions, made possible by extensive programmatic and technical research.
Read the full interview (which includes Gianotten’s insights on the study of architecture, the role of architects, and the importance of simplicity when communicating complex innovation) after the break.
In the following interview, which originally appeared in Zawia#01:Utopia (published December 2013), Sir Peter Cook, one of the brilliant minds behind Archigram, sits down with the editors of Zawia to discuss his thoughts on utopia – including why he felt the work of Archigram wasn’t particularly utopian (or even revolutionary) at all.
ZAWIA: It is perhaps difficult to discuss our next volume’s theme – “utopia” – without first starting with archigram and the visions that came out of that period. How do you view the utopian visions of archigram during that specific moment of history in relation to the current realities of our cities and the recent political and social waves of change ?
PETER COOK: Actually… at the time I was probably naive enough to not regard it as Utopian.
In the following article, originally published in Polish in theDecember 2013 issue of A&B, Ewa Szymczyk interviews Vicente Guallart, the Chief Architect of Barcelona since 2011 as well as the founder of Guallart Architects and IAAC (Institute of Advanced Architecture in Catalunya). Szymczyk questions Guallart about his experience in urban design, asking: how can you measure a city’s success?
Ewa Szymczyk: When measuring the contemporary city’s success we typically use economic measures. In this sense Barcelona ranks very high, being a top tourist destination and managing its budget in times of global crisis. But there are many other ways to measure its success. What in your opinion makes a city a good city? Isn’t it much more than economic prosperity?
Vincente Guallart: A good city is a place where the citizens live well. So the best measure for a good city is how the citizens live. The truth is that the city is a physical representation of a social agreement. If you think for instance about Phoenix in Arizona, maybe people live there the way they want and the way they like to live. Obviously there are also questions related to cost. I mean, questions related to environmental and economic costs. Therefore the cost of a city like Phoenix is very different from the cost of a city like Hong Kong, which is the densest city and probably the most efficient urban structure in the world. So the question is the economic efficiency and also the quality of life of the citizens. And the best way to know is to ask citizens how happy they are to live in a place like this. The truth is that if you are a citizen of Barcelona you are quite happy. We have been evaluating this over the past few years and the average rating is seven out of ten. So that is in general very good! The people are proud to live in a place like this.
Last month we had the chance to attend to the III Moscow Urban Forum, an instance where urbanists, architects, city mayors, the real estate industry and the citizens of Moscow had an open dialogue related to the future of the city under the theme “Megacities: Success Beyond the Centre”. The forum was organized by the Government of Moscow, who invited global urban planning gurus with experience in developing suburbs, to discuss how to resolve the problems of deprived outskirts, how to transform “dead” zones in towns into socially beneficial areas for work and leisure, how make a city environmentally sound and comfortable for living at a low cost, and how to create a transport system that is convenient for its citizens.
During the forum we had the opportunity to talk and interview with some of these city makers, which will be published in the next days.
To better understand where is Moscow going and why its new periphery is an important object of study, we talked with Yuri Grigoryan and Alexei Komissarov.
Yuri is the cofounder of the renowned Russian firm Project Meganom and the Director of Education at Strelka, who guided the team that prepared the research project “Archeology of the Periphery”, a central part of the forum.
Alexei Komissarov is the Moscow Government Minister and Head of the Department of Science, Industrial Policy and Entrepreneurship of Moscow, a department that oversees the conversion of old industrial zones into creative and technological cluster.
The firm was founded in 1984 after Francine and a group of fellow students at the Delft University of Technology won a competition for a social housing complex. Since then the firm has developed a unique language with a special focus on the expression of materials, a strong relation with context, technical expertise, and the precise resolution of details, as can be seen in the TU Delft Library, the La Llotja Theatre and Congress Centre, the Montevideo Building, and the recently opened Birmingham Library, currently the largest library in Europe.
The firm’s logo, a falling diver ”represents a free spirit and unlimited creativity” according to @Mecanoo__.
In this interview Francine explains the challenges of designing a library, a program currently undergoing quick and constant evolution, and shares her experience running the practice.
Currently, the firm is directed by Francine and technical director Aart Fransen, joined by partners Francesco Veenstra (watch Mies.UK interview), Ellen van der Wal, Paul Ketelaars and Dick van Gameren. Mecanoo has projects under construction all around the world, including the Wei-Wu-Ying Center for the Arts in Kaohsiung (Taiwan, see watch construction video), the Dudley Municipal Center in Boston (USA) and the Shenzhen Cultural Center (China).
Projects by Mecanoo at ArchDaily:
Francesco Veenstra, one of six partners at the Dutch practice Mecanoo and Lead Architect on a number of major projects in the United Kingdom, recently spoke to Mies. UK about the practice’s approach to design and their unique take on sustainability. Having recently completed a major public building in Birmingham (which was put to the vote and won the AJ’s 2013 Building of the Year), and with more in the pipeline, the practice’s international outlook is growing. How has the practice’s design methodology and core ideas influenced this success? Read more after the break.
Mies. UK recently spoke to Roger Stephenson OBE, Managing Partner at Manchester based stephenson:ISA Studio, about his award winning practice’s approach to “using craft in a contemporary way”. The office most recently completed an addition to Chetham’s School of Music, winning the 2013 RIBA Regional Building of the Year Award, RIBA National Award, and the RIBA Regional Award. This project is the latest in a long list of innovative buildings that are part of a ”rigorously coherent, contextually progressive architecture” that has made the practice one of best known regionalist design offices in the UK.
Read the interview in full, and watch a three minute tour of Chetham’s School of Music, after the break.
“When you find a piece of stone which is three or four hundreds years old, then you understand the notion of time as more than what we can experience as human beings. At that moment the old thing might be beautiful, it might be ugly. It doesn’t matter, but it gives you a sense of profound time, and then you understand your history and ancestors that lived in a different world, different from the one we are in now.”-Yung Ho Chang
Located in Beijing’s Yuanming Yuan Park, next to the ruins of the mixed-style Baroque Palace, Yung Ho Chang’s office is in an ancient wooden dwelling, surrounded by vegetable gardens grown by the architects of the studio.
In this conversation, Yung Ho, who established China’s first independent architectural office, Atelier FCJZ in 1993, laying the foundation of contemporary practice in China, talks about his story, describing a Beijing which has disappeared as well as the contemporary Beijing and its “New Beijing Sky.” He talks about architecture using references from movies, literature, art and artists, describing his approach to architecture in accordance with his philosophy of life.
ArchDaily recently got the chance to speak to Stephen Hodder, current President of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) at his practice in Manchester. Best known as the recipient of the inaugural RIBA Stirling Prize in 1996 (for the Centenary Building), Hodder was educated at the University of Manchester’s School of Architecture, he’s perhaps best known as the recipient of the inaugural RIBA Stirling Prize in 1996 for the Centenary Building and was awarded an MBE for services to architecture in 1998.
Having been officially in the role for only two months, Hodder spent some time with us discussing his hopes for the next two years. Find out why he described himself as a fan of Scandinavians and prog-rock after the break…
Aires Mateus - founded by brothers and partners, Manuel and Francisco Aires Mateus – is an acclaimed contemporary practice that upholds the strong tradition of Portuguese architecture. We recently had the chance to interview one of the partners: Francisco Aires Mateus.
Francisco Aires Mateus has been a professor in Portugal and Norway. Currently, he teaches at the University of Lugano and has given lectures and seminars in Spain, the United Kingdom, Argentina, Mexico, Canada, Chile, Japan, and many other countries.
Aires Mateus has been awarded with the FAD Award on several occasions, and has also been a finalist for the Mies van der Rohe Award.
Projects by Aires Mateus on ArchDaily:
Thanks to the FAD Universidad Finis Terrae for making this interview possible.
David Zahle, a partner at Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and Lead Architect on the recently opened Danish National Maritime Museum, spoke to Mies. UK earlier this year. The practice, widely known for its creative approach to the issue of sustainability (sustainability should be experienced rather than hidden), recently won an an international competition to design a new Waste-to-Energy plant in Copenhagen.
Read more and watch the interview after the break…