In an excellent essay for the Architectural Review, Charlotte Skene Catling deftly ties together a number of recent debates in the field of morality in architecture, from the false accusations aimed at Zaha Hadid by critic Martin Fuller to recent debates over whether architects have any responsibility to tackle poverty, an ostensibly political issue. Taking aim at one article in particular - in which Dan Hancox argues that architects such as Urban Think Tank who engage in humanitarian work are often ‘fetishizing poverty’ – Catling dissects the work of many of those in the field to find that they in fact do vital work to connect the top-down and bottom-up approaches that would otherwise never meet in the middle. Or, as Urban Think Tank’s Alfredo Brillembourg says, in opposition to the horizontal city of the 19th century or the vertical city of the 20th, “the 21st century must be for the diagonal city, one that cuts across social divisions.” Click here to read the article in full.
Just days after revealing that the Pinnacle has finally been scrapped, the City of London‘s Head of Design Gwyn Richards has told BD that three new skyscrapers are soon to be submitted for planning on nearby sites. Though Richards did not reveal the architects of the three towers, he singled out one of the plans as “a very considered response from an architect I have the utmost respect for,” adding “I have worked very closely with him and there’s a mutual respect. It’s a good example of cooperation between architect and planner to come up with a building that hopefully the public will see the value in.”
The east-west orientation of the newly opened High Line at the Rail Yards allows you to “ride off” into the sunset along the rails. This view – nearly identical to that of the shot we shared this morning – is looking west along 30th Street towards the Hudson River.
This past Sunday, New York celebrated the opening of the High Line’s final section. More playful and untamed than its counterparts, the elevated park’s northernmost segment seems to have pleased the critics. As Paul Goldberger explained, the High Line at the Rail Yards is “stunningly refreshing” and “gives you an altogether new, relaxed, low-key way of being on the High Line.” You can read Goldberger’s take on the new portion of the High Line here on Vanity Fair.
As a professor of architecture at the Royal Institute of Technology and often cited for his contributions to Nordic Classicism, Swedish architect Gunnar Asplund (September 22 1885 – 20 October 1940) was a notable theorist on the most important architectural challenges of his time, first exemplified by his lecture entitled “Our architectonic concept of space.”
Seattle based firm goCstudio have designed a wood-fired floating sauna, a project resonant with the culture of the Pacific Northwest. Aiming to begin construction in spring of 2015 and open in summer, the firm has recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the building of their first model. Easily transportable and accessible by kayak, the floating sauna fits within the dimensions of a standard size trailer. Providing a space of refuge and revitalization, along with a uniquely interactive way to experience the landscape of Seattle, the project, named “wa_sauna“, requires $43,000 to become a reality. Learn more about the project and how you can help at the firm’s Kickstarter page, here. More images after the break.
Building on the model set forth by Rebuild by Design, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Rockefeller Foundation have announced a $1 billion National Disaster Resilience Competition. The two-phase competition invites communities affected by natural disasters to compete for funds that will help them recover from prior disasters and improve their ability to withstand future threats. See if your community complies with the competition rules here.
As part of an international competition, Narrowminded Architects teamed up with BOM Architects to identify and solve central functional deficiencies in a proposal for a new Marrakech Central Bus Terminal. Together, the architects found that obsolete infrastructure, unclear orientation, hazardous traffic density, rampant pollution, and confusing overlaps between vehicular and pedestrian flow were all contributing factors in the inefficiencies and hindered advancement of the terminal. Thus, with the intent to create a timeless environment that could flourish in Marrakech’s future morphological developments, the proposal adopted a strategy to thoroughly address each individual issue.
New York-based Deborah Berke Partners has been selected to design a $30 million headquarters for Indiana-based diesel engine manufacture Cummins. Planned for downtown Indianapolis on the former four-acre site of Market Square Arena, the project will provide office space for up to 400 employees, as well as ground-floor retail, parking and public green space. Berke was chosen over SHoP Architects and Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects.
FuturArc, a bimonthly journal that promotes the enhancement of sustainable architecture in Asia, have launched their annual contest to generate ideas for innovative and sustainable design. The contest is split into two, with the FuturArc Prize and the FuturArc Green Leadership Award rewarding sustainable design in both unbuilt and built projects. Read on after the break to find out more about both competitions.
The Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) has appointed Hernan Diaz Alonso as the Los Angeles architecture school’s new Director beginning September 2015. Alonso, principal of Xefirotarch and educator widely credited for spearheading the transition of SCI-Arc to digital technologies, will succeed architect Eric Owen Moss who has served as the school’s director since 2002. Continue after the break to watch Alonso’s “New Director Presentation” and preview a selection of his work.
Peter Smithson (18 September 1923 – 3 March 2003), the acclaimed British architect often associated with New Brutalism, would have turned 91 today. He attended the school of architecture in Newcastle, but left to serve in the war in India and Burma. After returning to complete his degree in 1948, he enrolled in the Royal Academy architecture school. In 1950 he set up his own practice with his wife Alison, and the two went on to become some of the most influential British architects of the mid-20th century.
Alongside a number of recent articles that explore the rise of the urban property developer and the subsequent “threat” to the built environment, Oliver Wainwright of The Guardian explores at length how developers are “exploiting planning authorities and ruining our cities.” In discussion with Peter Rees, former Chief Planning Officer for the City of London and responsible for the financial district’s monuments of today, Wainwright discusses the lack of accountability of the vast majority of urban developers. While local councils attempt to secure the next iconic development for their area many planners, authorities and developers are locked in a battle over the built fabric of our cities. Read the article in full here.
The cost of living in New York has skyrocketed over the years, causing one of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s biggest challenges to be the integration of affordable housing. Considering this, architecture critic Michael Kimmelman has spotlighted a plan that suggests trading parking lots for micro housing units. Envisioned by three young architects at the Institute for Public Architecture, the “9×18” scheme has the potential to transform the city by capitalizing on outdated zoning regulations that would unleash more than 20.3 million square feet of usable space. Read more here on the New York Times.
Oliver Colvile, chairman of the UK‘s All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Excellence in the Built Environment, has proposed that UK Members of Parliament should be invited to an architecture workshop to improve their understanding of the built environment. The workshop would be jointly run by the APPG and the Farrell Review, and could include activities such as designing a virtual town or an architectural sightseeing tour along the Thames. More on the proposal after the break.
New York real estate executive Daniel Levy of CityRealty has unveiled a proposal to connect Brooklyn’s waterfront to Manhattan with a $75 million “East River Skyway.” According to Levy, the high-speed gondola could shorten commutes to just four minutes and move more than 5,000 people per hour, while relieving congestion on ferries, subways and bridges. “[The Skyway] would be a relatively inexpensive and quickly deployable solution,” said Levy. “It is essential to adapt New York City’s transportation system to serve residents in these booming areas.” Levy will present the project in an effort to harness support at the Brooklyn real estate summit on Tuesday.
Shelia Kennedy has been awarded the 2014 Berkeley-Rupp Prize, a $100,000 prize presented biannually to a “distinguished practitioner or academic who has made a significant contribution to promoting the advancement of women in the field of architecture, and whose work emphasizes a commitment to sustainability and the community.” Kennedy is a principal of Boston’s KVA Matx and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s first-ever female Professor of the Practice of Architecture who is internationally renowned for her explorations of material innovation in the fields of architecture and urbanism.
From the organizers: On Thursday, 18 September 2014, more than 120 designers and multidisciplinary agents descend upon Ljubljana for the opening week of BIO 50, the Biennial of Design. Over the course of four days, they will unveil the results of a six-month long collaborative process, offering perspectives on possible futures for design. The awards for best collaboration will be presented by the BIO 50 jury comprising industrial designer Konstantin Grcic, design critic Alice Rawsthorn and designer and professor Saša J. Mächtig. Before the opening, the talk with Alice Rawsthorn, Justin McGuirk and Jan Boelen will be organized.
Brought together by the experimental framework that shaped BIO 50, eleven groups tackled the themes of Affordable Living, Knowing Food, Public Water Public Space, Walking the City, Hidden Crafts, The Fashion System, Hacking Households, Nanotourism, Engine Blocks, Observing Space and Designing Life, creating specific projects to be implemented during the Biennial and beyond.
Following a period of intense research, where collaboration and learning were fundamental values, the outcomes are widely diverse, ranging from a series of household appliances developed under the same principles that shape open-source software to a garden pavilion developed with the local residents to encourage new discussions about food. Other outcomes include a performative experiment that challenges the way one experiences walking in the city, as well as a multipurpose engine that doubles as a survival tool in a dystopian vision of the future.
A group of alumni from the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture have launched a petition on change.org to incorporate the school “as an independent subsidiary as required by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) to ensure this irreplaceable treasure is perpetuated.” The school is currently at risk of losing its accreditation due to a recently enacted HLC law that requires colleges and other institutions to be accredited separately from the organizations that sponsor them. The Frank Lloyd Wright School is currently funded as a part of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, which supports both of the school’s campuses, and preserves collections of Wright’s work.
“The School is a vibrant, rigorous, and fully accredited contemporary school of architectural design (offering an HLC- and NAAB-accredited M.Arch degree) that fills an irreplaceable niche as an alternative to conventional architectural education, a mandate set forth by Frank Lloyd Wright at its founding in 1932,” states the petition, which currently has over 400 signatures. Among the signatures are Mecanoo’s Francine Houben and Finnish architect Juhani Pallasmaa, who wrote: “Having stayed at Taliesin West for five months as a Scholar in Residence, I have deeply understood the great potential of the School.”
Learn more and sign the petition on change.org.