What Can We Learn from Lloyd’s?

© Flickr CC User Mark Kent

Following the news that Lloyd’s of London is planning to leave it’s Grade-I listed headquarters designed by Richard Rogers, has written an interesting article asking whether the Lloyd’s Building - along with some other more spectacular failures of ‘iconic’ commercial architecture – can teach us anything about how we ought to design buildings. He argues that while high-profile design serves developers well, tenants seem to prefer bland yet functional corporate buildings, leading Heathcote to ask: shouldn’t we be seeking something in between? You can read the article in full here.

Steven Holl Reflects on the Majesty of the Mackintosh

Following the devastating news that the Mackintosh School of Art’s iconic library was recently destroyed, Steven Holl - designer of the adjacent Seona Reid Building that opened earlier this year – reflects on the “magic” of what has been lost in an article for the Architectural Record. The Charles Rennie Mackintosh building, for Holl, “embodies a refreshingly direct conviction”, the sudden loss of which brought on a “deep sadness.” Placing it within a canon of architectural masterpieces, Holl gives insight to his emotional connections with this Glaswegian masterpiece: “the School of Art has an inner worth and a dignity beyond all measurable value.” Read the article in full here.

Exhibition: Five Proposals for the Future of the Atlantic Yards

Warehouse 623 Gallery is pleased to announce “Five Proposals for the Future of the Atlantic Yards“, an exhibition of alternative architectural schemes for the Atlantic Yards site. “Abstracts of New York”, a selection of photographs by Jean-Marc Bellaiche, will be shown concurrently.

In response to growing concerns about the direction that development of the Atlantic Yards might take and the potential impact on the surrounding communities, a group of architects exploring alternatives from a design perspective will present their work. The exhibition has been organized by architect Thomas Barry, principal of the -based design firm OPerA Studio, with contributed exhibits from five firms, including Joshua Zinder Architecture + Design (JZA+D); Amoia Cody Architecture; David Cunningham Architecture Planning; Matthias Altwicker and Farzana Gandhi; and OPerA Studio.

For more information please visit the exhibition’s official website.

Title: Exhibition: Five Proposals for the Future of the Atlantic Yards
Website: http://warehouse623.com/ATLANTIC-YARDS
From: Thu, 05 Jun 2014 
Until: Sun, 22 Jun 2014 
Venue: Warehouse 623 Gallery
Address: 623 Bergen Street, Brooklyn, NY 11238, USA

3rd Think Space Unconference / Money

The annual theme Money and its questions posed by the 2013 | 2014 guest curators Ethel Baraona Pohl & Cesar Reyes Najera will undoubtedly trigger conversations at the upcoming Unconference event. Conceived as a series of highly interactive sessions for a hundred participants, Money Unconference will enable thinkers, architects, participants, authors, winners, jurors and guest curators from the MONEY cycle to meet in person at Lauba, People and Art House in Zagreb, 11-13 June 2014.

Along with its unique approach in which new forums for thought are created via new design objects, in this cycle Think Space Programme is again leaning on historical discourse that normally takes the form of reflection through writing. As part of the 2013/2014 cycle of competitions, Think Space was calling for Money Papers in the following fields of inquiry: Territories, Culture & Society and Environment. Through a vast amount of proposals submitted from researchers, scholars, and practitioners, pieces holding several intriguing topics were selected based on abstracts submitted and complete papers are currenty undergoing the final evaluation proceedure. Selected ones will be published on Unconference Proceedings and presented by their authors in person.

Another asset to the Unconference Programme will be The Money Exhibition, presenting the awarded entries at Lauba, House for People and Art, continuing to be on display after the Unconference event. More information can be found here.

Title: 3rd Think Space Unconference / Money
Website: http://www.think-space.org/en/events/unconference2014/
From: Wed, 11 Jun 2014
Until: Fri, 13 Jun 2014
Venue: Lauba, People and Art House
Address: Prilaz baruna Filipovića 23, 10000, Zagreb,

How Will Architecture Respond to a “Boom” in UK University Spending?

Courtesy of University of

With the recent news that Dutch practice Mecanoo, along with Penoyre & Prasad, have been selected for a £200 million new engineering campus at the University of ManchesterAmanda Baillieu of BDOnline argues that they ”need to set their ambitions a whole lot higher.” Alongside’s Manchester’s announcement, universities in Sheffield, Newcastle and Oxford also recently announced a big investment in their campuses. The trick, Baillieu suggests, will be in ensuring the architecture is not “safe and office-like” (which fits universities’ “business-like” mindset). As we enter a “golden age” in university capital investment, educational architecture will be playing a central role. Read the article in full here.

House Housing: An Untimely History of Architecture and Real Estate in Nineteen Episodes

House Housing: An Untimely History of Architecture and Real Estate in Nineteen Episodes is the first public presentation of a multi-year research project conducted by the Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture at Columbia University. Installed in the second-floor apartment of Columbia’s Casa Muraro in and staged as an open house, the exhibition responds unsolicited to the proposal by Rem Koolhaas, curator of the 14th International Architecture exhibition, that architecture focus on its “fundamentals.” House replies by considering architecture’s economic fundamentals, which locate at the center of the current economic regime, with the United States as an influential node in a transnational network.

In architecture, economic fundamentals are built from the ground up. The laws of real estate—relating to the acquisition of land, the financing of construction, the cost of building maintenance and services, profit from rent or resale, the value of equity, or the price of credit—inexorably shape any building component (like a window) and any building type (like a house). They are visible even in the residential work of such singular figures as Frank Lloyd Wright, not least because the Greek oikos, or household, forms the root of the word “economy” itself. But look closely and you will see that what seems fundamental, basic, or natural is, like any other law, a historical artifact permanently under construction and subject to change.

House Housing narrates nineteen brief episodes from across the last one hundred years in a mixture of domestic media, from phonograph to television, answering machine to iPad, converting the apartment into a whispering, humming history machine. Though they mainly focus on the continental United States, the discrete episodes are excerpts from global processes. Their artifacts range from houses designed by figures as well-known as Frank O. Gehry to seemingly ordinary gated communities in Florida. Their untimeliness is twofold. First, these episodes return us to financial matters widely discussed in the immediate aftermath of the 2008 foreclosure crisis but now largely abandoned by mainstream discourse. Second, the historical episodes disclose surprising repetitions of themes, tendencies, and actions. This reminds us that the economic infrastructures on which architecture rests are the outcome of such repetitions, rather than an a priori, natural ground.

Title: House Housing: An Untimely History of Architecture and Real Estate in Nineteen Episodes
Website: http://house-housing.com/
Organizers: GSAPP Columbia Univeristy
From: Thu, 05 Jun 2014 
Until: Fri, 06 Jun 2014 
Venue: Casa Muraro
Address: Dorsoduro, Sestiere di Dorsoduro, 30100 Venice, Italy

Revised Renovation Plan Released for New York Public Library

The Public Library’s (NYPL) main building on Fifth Avenue, is a Beaux-Arts masterpiece designed by architects Carrère & Hastings. Image via Flickr User CC wallyg.

Details have been released on the New York Public Library’s (NYPL) plan to renovate its Mid-Manhattan branch, while creating more public space within its flagship Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. The news comes shortly after Foster + Partner’s redesign of the the Beaux-Arts landmark was scrapped due to concerns of a ballooning budget. The revised $300 million overhaul suggests a more affordable option of relocating Schwarzman’s main stacks beneath Bryant Park, while establishing a more campus-like connection with a fully renovated Mid-Manhattan branch. All the details, here.

The (Home-Grown) Threat to London’s Architectural Future

Some of London’s most recognizable designs have come from foreign architects – like Ernö Goldfinger’s Trellick Tower. Image © Flickr CC User Jim Linwood

With the London Festival of Architecture opening yesterday, this article in the London Evening Standard highlights just one of the many threads which make up this year’s theme: the importance of foreign talent in making up London‘s cosmopolitan architectural culture. From Adam Caruso to Zaha Hadid, many of the city’s biggest names have come from abroad to study and work in the UK, helping to make it one of the greatest centres for design in the world – but all this could be at risk from untenable prices and draconian new visa restrictions. You can read the full article here.

Have We Reached the “End of Architecture”?

2014 / Absorbing Modernity: 1914-2014 . Image © Rem Koolhaas. Image Courtesy of la Biennale di Venezia

This year’s Venice Biennale, curated by OMA’s Rem Koolhaas, is “interested in the banal”. In an article in the Financial Times’, discusses the paradox between exploring generic modernism at an event which celebrates the individual. Heathcote raises interesting questions about the extent to which world architecture has developed in modernity, ultimately arguing that, “in a way, architecture is over.” You can read the article, which neatly investigates the curatorial rationale behind this year’s Biennale, in full here.

Four Teams to Envision Proposals for D.C. “Bridge Park”

Artist Rendering. Image Courtesy of THEARC

The four teams moving on to stage three of Washington D.C.’s 11th Street Bridge Park competition has been announced. Selected from over 80 qualified design firms from across the U.S., the following multidisciplinary teams will receive $25000 stipends to envision a new civic space spanning the Anacostia River by early September:

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The Sprawled Desert City of Phoenix Sets Sights on Walkability

Light Rail crossing Tempe Town Lake. Image © CC Flickr User Alan Stark

When the profit-driven bulldozing of virgin desert quickly transformed into unfinished ghost towns in 2008, the city of Phoenix, , reset their sights on a more sustainable and desirable way of living: walkable communities. With the establishment of the city’s first light rail, the once car-centric communities of its urban core have turned into swaths of pedestrian havens. This has not only improved the city’s desirability, but has also been good for business. See how else Phoenix is trying to “pull off an urban miracle” and reverse it’s sprawled image here on Fast Company.

Do New Buildings In London Have Shard Envy?

© Malcolm Chapman

This interesting article by Oliver Wainwright at the Guardian reveals the trend in recent London architecture for “Shardettes” – smaller and usually cheaper imitations of Renzo Piano‘s famous design which Wainwright says “has become a beacon for designers bereft of inspiration.” Highlighting four angular, glazed buildings that are either recently or partially constructed, he questions the quality of these miniature imitations and asks “is this Shardenfreude frenzy something to be welcomed?” You can read the full article here.

Architects Compete to Design Goldsmiths’ New Art Gallery

Laurie Grove Baths. Image © Dr. Neil Clifton via Creative Commons

Harry Gugger Studio and 6a Architects are among six practices shortlisted in a competition to design a new art gallery at University in . Selected from 80 submissions, the final teams, which also include Assemble, Dow Jones Architects, HAT Projects and Jamie Fobert Architects, will now have six weeks to submit designs. Once complete, the 400 square meter gallery will be a “significant showcase for contemporary art” that serves a combination of curated exhibitions, residencies and research projects. It will be built behind the Laurie Grove Baths, a Grade II listed 19th-century municipal bath that is currently used as fine art studios.

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Lecture / Four Urban Models in China’s Accelerated Urbanization: Local Public Space Implications

China’s accelerated urbanization juxtaposes many local and global urban models in the contemporary urban space of the mega-city/metacity region. Since 1945 the global and local discourse on urban design and development has been dominated by four conceptual models. These four models, the metropolis, the megalopolis, the fragmented metropolis and the megacity/metacity have appeared in Asia with local characteristics and with special, hybrid characteristics. China’s rapid urbanization has been based on an equally rapid industrialization that has telescoped the historical development pattern of western nations into 60 years.

David Grahame Shane, Adjunct Professor at GSAPP, Columbia University will give a public lecture at Studio-X . A panel discussion will accompany this lecture, in which Wang Hui from URBANUS will introduce and discuss the Urban Models in China’s Accelerated Urbanization and public space.

Title: Lecture / Four Urban Models in China’s Accelerated Urbanization: Local Public Space Implications
Website: http://studiox-beijing.tumblr.com/post/86991134814/x-talk-025-four-urban-models-in-chinas
From: Tue, 03 Jun 2014 19:00
Until: Wed, 28 May 2014 21:00
Venue: Studio-X Beijing, GSAPP, Columbia University
Address: Andingmen Inner Street & Fangjia Hutong, Dongcheng, Beijing, China, 100009

BIG and Kilo Redesign Gropius’ Tableware Set

Courtesy of BIG

TAC tableware – designed in the 1960s by Walter Gropius and influenced by the Bauhaus style – has been given new life by BIG and the industrial design studio Kilo. The new tableware set features the heritage blue skylines of twelve cities, including Copenhagen, London, and New York. To check out the full set and spot the likes of Big Ben and the Statue of Liberty, head to the manufacturer’s website by clicking here.

The Future of Brick: Biodegradable And Bacterial

Brick Is The Featured Material In This Years Exhibit, But Is It Suitable For Housing? . Image Courtesy of The Living

MoMA’s PS1 exhibit in Queens is a showcase for young architects with lofty ideas. This year’s winning firm “The Living” designed “Hi-Fy” – a biodegradable brick tower. Although the idea might seem far-fetched for housing, the idea is gaining traction. North Carolina start-up bioMason, recently won the Cradle to Cradle Product Innovation Challenge for their “biodegradable bricks.” So Kieron Monks at CNN had to ask the question, would you live in a house made of sand, bacteria or fungi? Find out the benefits of these modern bricks here.

Exhibition / Knud Lonberg-Holm: The Invisible Architect

Radio Broadcasting Station / Photograph of Model / Detroit, 1925 / Vintage gelatin silver print / 4 7/8 x 6 7/8 inches (12.4 x 17.5 cm)

Ubu Gallery is pleased to present Knud Lonberg-Holm: The Invisible Architect, a debut exhibition devoted to this overlooked, yet highly influential, 20th Century modernist. Never-before-seen photographs, architectural drawings, letters, graphic design, and ephemera from Lonberg-Holm’s remarkably diverse career will be on view through August 1, 2014. The exhibition, which consists of selections from the extensive archive assembled by architectural historian Marc Dessauce, will solidify the importance of this emblematic figure in early 20th Century cultural and architectural history. Metropolis Magazine, the national publication of architecture and design, will publish an article on Knud Lonberg-Holm to coincide with this groundbreaking exhibition.

Born in Denmark, Knud Lonberg-Holm (January 15, 1895–January 2, 1972), was an architect, photographer, author, designer, researcher, and teacher. Lonberg-Holm’s early work in Denmark and Germany initially associated him with the Berlin Constructivist and Dutch De Stijl groups. An émigré to America in 1923, Lonberg-Holm was a fundamental correspondent with prominent European architects and their modernist counterparts in the U.S. The exhibition will feature a selection of letters to Lonberg-Holm from a pantheon of the European avant-garde including László Moholy-Nagy, , Theo Van Doesburg, Buckminster Fuller, Hannes Meyer, J.J.P. Oud, El Lissitzky, and Richard Neutra.

Title: Exhibition / Knud Lonberg-Holm: The Invisible Architect
Website: http://www.ubugallery.com/lonberg-holm-invisible-architect/#.U3-vKC9RG5t
From: Tue, 06 May 2014 
Until: Fri, 01 Aug 2014 
Venue: Ubu Gallery
Address: 416 East 59th Street, , NY 10022, USA

Mecanoo Selected for New Manchester University Building

The University’s existing Technology building, located at Sackville Street. Image © Flickr CC User Pete Birkinshaw

Mecanoo has been selected to design the new Engineering campus at the University of Manchester. At a value of £200 million, the project will be the largest ever completed by the Dutch Practice in the UK - slightly larger than the popular Library of Birmingham which they completed last year – and will involve both new build elements and a renovation of the University’s Grade-II Listed Oddfellows Hall. The new technology building is part of a larger £1 billion overhaul which the university aims to complete by 2020. You can find out more details at the Architects’ Journal.