Renzo Piano On ‘Civic Duty’ In Our Cities

President Giorgio Napolitano and Renzo Piano (2012). Image Courtesy of La Repubblica

In The New Yorker’s latest Postcard from Rome Elizabeth Kolbert talks to Renzo Piano in his Senate Office at the Palazzo Giustiniani, just around the corner from the Pantheon. Piano, who was named a Senator for Life by Italian President Giorgio Napolitano in September 2013 (when he was 75 years of age), immediately “handed over the office, along with his government salary, to six much younger architects.” He then “asked them to come up with ways to improve the periferie - the often run-down neighborhoods that ring Rome and ’s other major .” Kolbert attests to Piano’s belief in the power of museums and libraries and concert halls. For him, ”they become places where people share values [and] where they stay together.” “This is what I call the civic role of architecture.”

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Rem Koolhaas and Dasha Zhukova: “Art Partners” Reinventing Moscow’s Garage Museum

February Cover . Image ©

Rem Koolhaas and art philanthropist Dasha Zhukova will be gracing the WSJ. Magazine’s February cover as “art partners” embarking on a transformation that will turn a ruined Brezhnev-era Communist landmark – the Vremena Goda in Moscow’s Gorky Park – into the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art’s new home. “The building is basically a found object,” said Koolhaas, regarding his “raw” design and intent to preserve the structure’s decay. “We are embracing it as it is.”

The museum’s new home will “challenge the white-cube tradition of Western museums,” says Zhukova. A double layer of polycarbonate plastic will encase the intact structure so it appears as a translucent box hovering six feet above ground. Commissioned artworks will be presented on a backdrop of “raw brick and broken tiles.” Learn more about the Garage’s design, here, and read the WSJ. Magazine’s full report, here.

The Berlage’s Master of Science in Architecture and Urban Design: Architectural Education in the Age of Global Practice

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In the second decade of the twenty-first century, the built environment continues to be redefined on an unprecedented scale by global shifts of culture, economy, and geopolitical structures. Cities and countrysides are transforming differently from country to country; national and local governments continue to define specific legal frameworks impacting building practice; and value systems and social norms remain strongly bound to culture. At the same time, different regions around the world deal with similar changes, from urban sprawl and rapid urbanization to the consequences of an aging population and the lifestyle challenges of the middle class.

In the last two decades the spread of professional skills and new technologies around the world expanded the market for international design services. The looming new role of global professionals raises crucial questions regarding the knowledge and expertise of architects and urban designers: How can we learn from different cultures of building all over the globe? How can designers perform within the clash of cosmopolitanism and localism?  Which design strategies and research approaches mediate between international and local conditions? How can a globally oriented designer engage with local mores and trades? Do practitioners who operate internationally have an ethical duty to assist in transferring new skills to local architects? These considerations underscore how globalism is affecting every practitioner, even those who never leave their home nations.

Drawings, technologies, clients, and workforces flow easily between networked continents and cultures. Yet designers are often confronted with the intractability of local circumstances. How can architects and urban designers critically contribute to the construction of a borderless, cosmopolitan culture that transcends national borders and identities?

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Call For Entries: RIBA Norman Foster Travelling Scholarship 2015

Call For Entries: 2015. Image Courtesy of

The 2015 RIBA Norman Foster Travelling Scholarship has launched and is inviting applications from schools of architecture around the world. A £6,000 grant will be awarded to one student by a panel of judges which will include Lord Foster and the current President of the , Stephen Hodder. First established in 2006, the scholarship is now in its eighth year and is designed to fund international research on a topic related to the survival of our towns and cities in a location of the student’s choice.

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Registration Now Open: AIA Convention 2015

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Registration is now open for AIA Convention 2015, one of the largest and annual gatherings of architects and design professionals in the US. This year’s much-anticipated schedule includes: President Bill Clinton’s day one keynote address, 300+ career-changing workshops, seminars, tours, and led by visionaries, grassroots champions, change agents, and rising stars. A dynamic expo floor turned into a temporary built environment with hundreds of exhibitors, first looks, and surprises. All the details can be found, here. ArchDaily will see you there!

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Open Call: POP-UP 2015

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The Small Project Practitioners (SPP) invites architects and architecture students to submit design ideas to the 2015 SPP Small Project Design Competition – POP-UP 2015: “A Safe Space.” In this unique design competition, submitters are asked to design a discreet, compact and efficient shelter for the homeless. The fully constructed and completed winning design will be donated to the local non-for-profit partner, The Mad Housers, for use by their clients and program participants.

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Taliesin West Reconstructed as Largest Frank Lloyd Wright LEGO® Model

© Andrew Pielage Photography

Architectural LEGO® artist Adam Reed Tucker has summoned a team of kids to help him rebuild Taliesin West as the largest Frank Lloyd Wright LEGO® structure in history. Unveiled this past Thursday, the eight by four foot model was comprised of more than 180,000 standard LEGO® parts. Tucker spent 40 hours researching and studying the project, 120 hours designing and 260 hours constructing the final model. , nestled in Scottsdale, Arizona’s Sonoran desert, was the winter home of Wright and is home of the School of Architecture. It remains one of the most visited Wright sites in the world.

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Society of Architectural Historians 68th Annual International Conference

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The (SAH) will hold its 68th Annual International Conference in Chicago, , from April 15–19, 2015, with the theme “Chicago at the Global Crossroads.” SAH will celebrate its 75th anniversary during the conference, which includes lectures by Jeanne Gang and Blair Kamin, as well as roundtables and 36 paper sessions covering topics in architecture, art and architectural history, preservation, landscape architecture, and the built environment. SAH is committed to engaging both conference attendees and local participants with public programming that includes over 30 architectural tours, a plenary talk, and a half-day seminar addressing Chicago’s waterways and neighborhoods. Register at sah.org/2015.

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Architect Wanted to Revamp London’s National Maritime Museum

National Maritime Museum. Image © Flickr CC User Visit

London’s National Maritime Museum is looking for an architect to revamp its West Central Wing building. As the Architects’ Journal first reported, the 1807 Daniel Asher Alexander-designed structure will be given £2 million to upgrade its facilities and establish new galleries, as well as connect the West Central Wing to the museum’s BDP and Rick Mather-designed Neptune Court podium via a bridge. All requests to participate are due January 20, 2015. Find more details, here.

Snøhetta’s Illustrated Travel Guide for Oslo

Illustration by Jorunn Sannes via Vogue.com

Sleek, contemporary, and unapologetically eclectic, the work of Norwegian firm Snøhetta is as diverse as it is synonymous with modern Scandinavian design. Spanning everything from architecture and master planning to installation art and product and packaging design, Snøhetta’s projects are characterized by the marriage of efficiency, quirky charm, and an eye for beauty. Offering a broad selection of suggestions for visitors to Oslo, Snøhetta’s guide to the nation’s capital is no different. Reflecting the favorite attractions of architects, artists, and brand designers from within the firm, the guide includes a windowless barjazz-punk band, and the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet, even encompassing the work of Oslo-based design contemporary, Element Arkitekter, in Lærernes hus. Read the rest of the seven selections here.

California Breaks Ground on America’s First High Speed Rail

Proposed Statewide Alignment Map. Image Courtesy of Rail LA

California has broke ground on America’s first line in Fresno, six years after voters first approved an almost $10 billion bond act to fund the project. However, along with celebrations comes skepticism; according to an NPR report, fears of the project’s failure have risen due to the rail line only having a fifth of its funding and that its nearly three-hour journey will still take longer than a flight connecting Los Angeles to San Francisco. Despite this, supporters are optimistic that the line will be up and running by 2030. The state will be relying on private investment and revenue from the state’s greenhouse-gas fees to secure the remaining $55 billion needed to complete the $68 billion project.

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Built Nostalgia: Why Some Are Lamenting the Death of the Mall

Inside the now abandoned White Flint Mall. Image © Flikr CC License / Mike Kalasnik

We have all visited places that linger with us long after we leave them, often drawing us back through the memories we made there. When recalling this memory of place, however, we rarely consider malls to be evocative of such powerful emotional connections. A recent article from The Huffington Post argues that these common shopping centers can incite some of the deepest nostalgia. “Why I’m Mourning The Death Of A Mall” delves into the connection between malls and their inherent qualities of independence, community, and growth, and encourages us to view them from a different perspective, as our increasingly technology-centric society may make the mall a thing of the past. Read the article, here.

Bill Clinton to Deliver Keynote Address at 2015 AIA Convention

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The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has announced that former president , founder of the Clinton Foundation, will give the keynote address on May 14 at the 2015 National Convention in Atlanta. Learn more, after the break, and view the convention’s complete schedule, here.

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When Does A Restoration Become A Replica?

‘Lost View’ – photograph of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s library (taken 2nd April 2014). Image © Robert Proctor

 

Following the unfortunate series of events that saw the Glasgow School of Art’s (GSA) iconic Mackintosh Library devastated in a fire in May of last year, a leading Scottish architect has stated that he is “seriously against the idea of remaking the library” as a replica of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s original acclaimed design. Talking to the Scottish Herald, Professor has stated that “there is actually no way you can replace it as it was [as] there was 100 years of age and patina that you would have to replicate.” Furthermore, he believes that it would not be something that “Mackintosh would do,” citing the expansion of “his work in the years between each part of the Mackintosh Building being built [in 1899 and 1909]” as justification. It is his feeling that “the former library had essentially become a museum [and] not a viable working room for students and staff.”

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Four Shortlisted for Sessay Sports Pavilion

One of four shortlisted proposals (click to view them all). Image Courtesy of The Architects’ Journal

Sutherland Hussey, Faed Brown Architects, Daykin Marshall Studio, and Gibson Thornley Architects have been announced as finalists in the -backed competition for a new community hub and sports pavilion for the Sessay Cricket Club in . The four shortlisted competitors, selected from over 80 entrants, will be reviewed by a judging panel on January 8. A winning team is expected to be announced shortly after.

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Demolished: The End of Chicago’s Public Housing

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NPR journalists David Eads and Helga Salinas have published a photographic essay by Patricia Evans alongside their story of ’s public housing. Starting with Evans’ iconic image of a 10-year-old girl swinging at Chicago’s notorious Clarence Darrow high-rises, the story recounts the rise and fall of public housing, the invisible boarders that shaped it and how the city’s most notorious towers became known as “symbols of urban dysfunction.” The complete essay, here.

Ada Louise Huxtable: “A Look at the Kennedy Center”

Kennedy Center. Image Courtesy of Wikipedia

Architecture critic Alexandra Lange recently stumbled upon “On Architecture” – an Audible.com collection of over 16 hours of ’s best writings from the New York Times, New York Review of Books, the Wall Street Journal and more. Displeased with the narration, Lange has taken it upon herself to read Huxtable’s 1971 New York Times critique “A Look at the Kennedy Center” in honor of its “many famous witticisms.” Give it a listen, here.

Why Spaces Shouldn’t Be Described as “Masculine” or “Feminine”

The interior design of bedrooms is often described as “feminine”. Image © robinimages2013 via Shutterstock

What is the most misused word in the world of architectural writing? Could it be “iconic”? What about “innovative”? The staff over at Curbed have a nomination: referring to spaces as either “masculine” or ”feminine.” In an op-ed published last month, they write that “the people who write about decor and design need to stop describing spaces with gendered terms,” arguing: “Let’s say two spaces were written up in a decor blog, and one was described as masculine, and the other feminine. Which would have white walls? Which would have raw concrete floors? … If these have fairly easy answers, it’s because we’re in the realm of stereotype.”

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