The Oslo Architecture Triennale opened to the public last week, under the title “Behind the Green Door – Architecture and the desire for sustainability”. Rotor, the curators of the Triennale, collected over 600 objects carrying claims of sustainability from over 200 architecture offices, companies and environmental organizations across the world (read our interview with Rotor about the curation).
Experts from different fields share with us which the objects from the collection caught their attention and why. In this first part Kjetil Trædal Thorsen (Snøhetta co-founder), Carolyn Steel (architect, author of The Hungry City and TED speaker), Karl Otto Ellefsen (Dean of Oslo School of Architecture and Design) and Arjen Oosterman (ARCHIS, Volume Magazine) tell us their what they think. From glass technology to filter light, to locally produced food and more.
ArchDaily got the chance to briefly speak with Pritzker-prize winning Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto de Moura when he (along with the Porto Metro Authority) received the Veronica Rudge Green Prize in Urban Design at the Harvard Graduate School of Design earlier this month. His design for the Metro system in Porto, Portugal garnered high praise from the jury, with member Rahul Mehrotra explaining that the project “shows generosity to the public realm unusual for contemporary infrastructure projects.” Upon receipt of the award, the head of the Porto Metro, João Velez Carvalho, thanked Souto de Moura for his efforts in this “urban revolution” and touted Porto as a destination in which people actively and enthusiastically seek out the architecture of Souto de Moura and fellow Portuguese architect Alvaro Siza.
Souto de Moura spent a few moments with us to describe both the challenges and rewards of working on a project that saw the completion of 60 new stations constructed in 10 years within the sensitive fabric of the city of Porto—a UNESCO World Heritage site.
ArchDaily: What is your opinion of architecture prizes?
Eduardo Souto de Moura: I won’t be modest, I like describing my opinion about them because the profession is so tough and difficult that is it complicated to achieve a high level of quality. So when you’re awarded a prize it’s like a confirmation of your effort. But the other thing is that a project is not the act of an individual, it’s a collective act. When there’s a prize, the press and the people, the “anonymous people,” go see the project and talk about it, critique it. That’s what gives me the motivation to continue in the profession. And every time it gets more difficult.
Iman Ansari: More than any other contemporary architect, you have sought a space for architecture outside the traditional and conventional realm. You have continually argued that modern architecture was never fully modern and it failed to produce a cognitive reflection about the nature of architecture in a fundamental way. From your early houses, we see a search for a system of architectural meaning and an attempt to establish a linguistic model for architecture: The idea that buildings are not simply physical objects, but artifacts with meaning, or signs dispersed across some larger social text. But these houses were also part of a larger project that was about the nature of drawing and representation in architecture. You described them as “cardboard architecture” which neglects the architectural material, scale, function, site, and all semantics associations in favor of architecture as “syntax”: conception of form as an index, a signal or a notation. So to me, it seems like between the object and the idea of the object, your approach favors the latter. The physical house is merely a medium through which the conception of the virtual or conceptual house becomes possible. In that sense, the real building exists only in your drawings.
Peter Eisenman: The “real architecture” only exists in the drawings. The “real building” exists outside the drawings. The difference here is that “architecture” and “building” are not the same.
ArchiLab started as an instance to question the practice of the architect, the diversification of the field, as well as the new urban challenges of our changing, globalized world. Founded by Marie-Ange Brayer (Director of the FRAC) & Frédéric Migayrou (Deputy Director of the MNAM-Centre Pompidou), it has shaped the architectural debate and served as a launch platform for many architects.
Architecture now overlaps with the sources of molecular biology, even in processes of replication, transcription and translation of genetic material. In this way, architects can introduce complex models based on processes involving the self-generation of matter and incorporating programmatic, social, material and environmental variables. Control of these processes turns hybridization into a new architectural order.
In this interview the founders tell us more about the mission and role of ArchiLab, and also about the curation.
The exhibit of ArchiLab includes works by forty architects, designers, fashion designers and artists that are pushing forward architecture in this area. It will also include two symposiums on October 24th-25th.
“To be an architect has been a life-long dream. Little did I know when asked at the age of 14 ‘what do you want to do when you grow up?’ I said I wanted to be an architect. After 50 years I am still learning all what that means. Working together with so many people has been enormously gratifying. Being an architect means being a member of a fantastic team.”
- Richard Meier
This year Richard Meier & Partners Architects celebrates the 50th Anniversary of Richard Meier’s prolific architecture career. And, as Richard describes in the above quote, his team has been fundamental in achieving this important milestone. Given this, we decided to interview the partners of RMA’s NY office: Reynolds Logan, Bernhard Karpf, and Dukho Yeon.
In this video you will learn more about these partners, their career at RM&PA, and the projects they are currently working on.
You can also watch our interview with Richard Meier here.
The Oslo Architecture Triennale, will start in just a few days under the title “Behind the Green Door – Architecture and the desire for sustainability”. ArchDaily had the chance to talk with Rotor, the curators of the Triennale, who have collected over 600 objects carrying claims of sustainability from over 200 architecture offices, companies and environmental organizations across the world.
Most of all, we wanted to find out: what truly counts as “sustainable”? Read the complete interview after the break:
Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, the architectural firm behind Apple’s iconic 5th Avenue store, has returned to the tech brand to design their latest store in Palo Alto, California.
Although the new store maintains the glass storefront typical of Apple, the new store – which will be the prototype for stores opening next year in Portland, Oregon and Aix-en-Provence, France – distinctively features a “floating” roof design as well as a stone wall that hides half the store.
The store’s opening may be in preparation for the increase in sales that will follow the unveiling of two new iphone models (today, purportedly).
More info on the new Apple store design, after the break…
In this article, which originally appeared in Metropolis Magazine’s Point of View Blog as “Q&A: Edwin Chan,” Iman Ansari interviews Edwin Chan, a design partner at Frank Gehry architects for 25 years, about Gehry and the many significant cultural and institutional projects he worked on before starting his own practice, EC3.
Iman Ansari: When we look at the work of Frank Gehry or Thom Mayne, as LA architects, there is a certain symbolic relationship to the city evident in the work: the industrial character of these buildings and elements of the highway or automobile culture that tie the architecture to the larger urban infrastructure, the scale of the projects, as well as the conscious use of materials such as metal, glass or concrete. But as freestanding machine-like objects sitting at the heart of the city these buildings also embody certain ideals and values that are uniquely American, such as individualism, and freedom of expression. In your opinion how is Frank Gehry’s work tied to Los Angeles or the American culture?
Edwin Chan: Absolutely. I think Frank’s work definitely has DNA of LA as a city. We talk about the idea of a democratic city a lot, and coincidentally Hillary Clinton mentioned that in her speech recently saying: “We need a new architecture for this new world, more Frank Gehry than formal Greek,” because it’s the expression of democracy. In that sense you could think about the building embodying certain type of values that are manifested architecturally.
We’ve recently covered the topic of prison design on a number of occasions – more specifically the work of Architects, Designers and Planners for Social Responsibility, led by Raphael Sperry. ADPSR is campaigning to have the AIA forbid its members from designing prisons; however, we have previously questioned the effectiveness of this tactic, with other professionals, such as engineers, often willing to design prisons in the absence of architects. In another article on the topic, we suggested that the problem lies not with the ethics of architects, but with the US prison system itself.
This raised the question of how architects might actually change the system – are we stuck with the political landscape we are given, or are we capable of leveraging our expertise to make positive changes to society?
It turns out that Deanna VanBuren of FOURM Design Studio is doing exactly that. Through her designs, as well as workshops and events with the public and with prisoners, VanBuren is championing restorative justice: a form of incarceration centered around rehabilitation rather than punishment. We interviewed VanBuren to find out how she is encouraging people to accept restorative justice above punishment.
Read on after the break for the full interview.
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.
While the final products of OMA’s oeuvre are well-documented and widely published, a large portion of the Dutch firm’s work goes unrecognized and relatively unnoticed: the contextual, solution-oriented research undertaken by AMO. OMA’s lesser-known twin, AMO is vital to OMA’s approach, allowing the firm to delve into a world of context and explore possibilities beyond the built form.
It was with this in mind that we sat down with Reinier de Graaf, a partner at the firm. In addition to the building and masterplan projects he also manages on the OMA side of things, de Graaf has been the director of AMO since 2002, overseeing a diverse portfolio of projects. Over the past few years, AMO’s energies have fueled the creation of the curriculum at Strelka; a “roadmap” for a de-carbonized power grid for the EU; and an exhibition that celebrated the architect as civil servant.
From our very first question (what is OMA’s mission?), de Graaf answered with his characteristic aversion to “general terms,” explaining that “[OMA's] mission is to explore unexpected subjects [...] without a preconceived mission.”
Juan Herreros is one of the most influential Spanish architects practicing today. Executing a delicate balance between his role defining the practice of architecture with work in the academy, he has not only overseen the construction of significant built projects, but also teaches at School of Architecture of Madrid and is a Full Professor at GSAPP Columbia University in New York. It was recently announced that his winning proposal for the Munch Museum/Deichman Library competition was given the green light. The museum will house the world’s largest collection of Edvard Munch artworks and is scheduled to open in 2018.
Herreros strives to highlight architecture’s multi-faceted, multi-disciplinary nature by revealing the complex relationships that lie behind individual projects—undergirded by what Herreros identifies as a “technical culture” (see the exhibition Dialogue Architecture that he curated at the last Venice Biennale).
Together with Iñaki Abalos he founded Abalos&Herreros in 1984. In 1992 they founded the International Multimedia League (LMI), an organization that contributes to the simpliﬁcation and intensiﬁcation of artistic practice. Since 2006 he practices with the firm Herreros Arquitectos a collaborative office that has won numerous competitions and commissions. His projects can be found around the world and range from schemes for public spaces to designs for houses.
“Something unique about [our] studio is that, given the difficulties of doing research in architecture today and the usefulness of the “research applied to architecture” concept, we maintain two open, integrated lines of work: one line maintains small projects, very quick, very immediate; and the other is related to the large projects, generally the result of international competitions around the world.”
Check out a full transcript of our interview with Herreros after the break…
Nikos Salingaros is unafraid of a controversial statement. A professor of Mathematics and Urban theory, he has been using his scientific approach to study architecture and urban environments for years, and has come to a conclusion: Modernism is just about the worst thing that happened to architecture.
As Salingaros explains, not only is it impossible to have any “Green” architecture within a modernist framework, but, moreover, Modernism encourages us to deny our biologically-evolved senses and embrace an unnatural, inhuman built world – and why? Because there’s a whole lot of money and power behind those “modernist boxes.” As Salingaros puts it:
“Architectural Education ever since the Bauhaus, and continuing to the present day without interruption, teaches students to interpret built forms according to very peculiar abstract criteria, and not through their own biologically-evolved senses and cognitive intelligence. This is radical training in sensory denial: desensitizing people so that their interpretation of the world can be defined by others with an agenda.”
I interviewed Salingaros to get to the bottom of his theories and understand his anti-Modern crusade. Read it all, including Salingaros’ incendiary takes on Architecture education, sustainability, and urban planning, after the break…
Not long ago we sat down with Ada Tolla and Giuseppe Lignano of LOT-EK—a New York City- and Naples-based architectural design studio. Known for their work with shipping containers, they discuss the learning curve they have endured by using objects that fall outside of the typical materials specified in manuals. LOT-EK also explains that they have been influenced by the freedom exercised in contemporary art. In their attempt to look at the world through “different eyes,” they find that networking is indispensable since it “makes what [they] do relevant” and opens them up to new opportunities.
Widely acclaimed for the work on projects such as PUMA City, Pier 57 and Sanlitun South, LOT-EK has been practicing since 1993. Tolla and Lignano also teach at Columbia University’s GSAPP in New York, and at the MIT’s Graduate Department of Architecture, in Cambridge, MA.
Hear what they have to say about running a practice, studying architecture and balancing their projects in an increasingly globalized system in our interview. And check out LOT-EK’s projects on ArchDaily:
Sam Jacob and his firm, FAT, challenge what we conceive as architecture. Using both history and contemporary theory, his practice channels ideas to networks of people with similar interests—seemingly infiltrating all corners of the architecture profession (and beyond). Taking pride in the expression of architecture outside its traditional means, Jacob says, “Lack of success in terms of square meters you build, as fast as possible, is no problem at all. We’ve had opportunities to think, opportunities to invent our own ways of making architecture.”
At last year’s Venice Biennale, we asked Sam Jacob about his Museum of Copying—an interesting subject since architecture is, in essence, an unending series of iterations (check out the interview here). As a writer/critic/architect, he teaches at the AA, blogs at Strange Harvest and Dezeen, tweets @_SamJacob, and oversees architecture, art and installation projects at FAT.
FAT was founded in London in the 1990s and is led by Sean Griffiths, Charles Holland and Sam Jacob, each of whom are committed to developing architectural culture both through practice and through design research at institutions including Yale and the Architectural Association.
Read the transcript of our interview with Sam Jacob after the break….
Highly regarded as both an academic and practitioner, Wolf Prix is an architect’s architect. He’s also a Guinness World Record holder. (The Busan Cinema Center boasts the world’s longest cantilever roof). We sat down with the Austrian architect and learned that not only does he welcome the unforeseeable results of rule-breaking, but he also borrows models of strategy and organization from soccer:
“Of course nowadays the architect as a single genius is over. I think we have to learn how to communicate and work in a team. Therefore, I just rearranged the organization of our office along the idea of the football team, FC Barcelona. Barcelona plays a beautiful game, very clever and very intelligent—they always play in a triangle system and then Messi or Xavi breaks the rules and plays street football with unforeseeable rules. This is the way we work in our office and this is the way that we design.”
He founded COOP HIMMELB(L)AU in 1968 (with Helmut Swiczinsky) and in 1980 the office published “Architecture Must Burn!” a manifesto which extolled the virtues of an architecture “that bleeds, exhausts, that turns and even breaks.” From its inception the office has pushed the boundaries of practice through its use of complex forms, communicated using a variety of media and materials. Their projects represent an embrace of imbalance, disquiet, distortion, fragmentation and chaos.
The title of one of his latest lectures (“In two days tomorrow will be yesterday”) aptly encapsulates Prix’s approach to time and space.
He gained international recognition when his firm’s work was featured in the 1988 MoMA show “Deconstructivist Architecture.” The show marked what curator Philip Johnson described as the “pleasures of unease” and highlighted the work of six other architects in addition to COOP HIMMELB(L)AU— Zaha Hadid, Rem Koolhaas, Frank Gehry, Peter Eisenmann, Bernard Tschumi and Daniel Libeskind. The curators brought together this diverse group of architects to showcase the commonalities between projects that harnessed previously unexplored potentials of the modern movement.
“We always wanted to get through with our radical ideas. No compromising on one hand; on the other hand, if you build large projects you have to think in real terms as well.”
Prix’s architecture has employed advances in technology to create public spaces that challenge tradition and convention. COOP HIMMELB(L)AU’s more recent projects include The Busan Cinema Center, Musée des Confluences, BMW Welt, and Dalian International Conference Center. He has taught at the Universität für angewandte Kunst (University of Applied Art) in Vienna, Harvard University, the Architectural Association, Columbia University and other prominent schools of architecture.
Since we’re in Denver for the AIA National Convention, we seized upon the opportunity to interview Mickey Jacob, FAIA, managing principal at Urban Studio Architects and the President of the AIA for 2013. We sat down with Jacob to get his opinion on some important issues facing the architecture profession today.
On this year’s conference theme (Building Leaders), Jacobs explained, “I want to create better opportunities for architects to take on leadership roles, and once we do, we elevate the public awareness of the importance of architecture.” He also gives his advice for students and emerging professionals, encouraging young architects to, “share your creativity, share your energy, share your leadership ability.”
Since ArchDaily started, we have interviewed close to two hundred architects to understand the diversity of our profession, and to give you insights from the most successful practices in the world.
Here is a round up with excerpts from some of these interviews, focusing on advice for the young architects.