Today marks the 45th birthday of Joshua Prince-Ramus. Receiving a bachelor of arts in philosophy from Yale, Prince-Ramus graduated from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design in 1996. He was one of the founding principals of OMA’s New York office, eventually buying out Rem Koolhaas’s share of the company in 2006 to form a separate office entirely: REX. Prince-Ramus continues as head of the firm to this day.
Renowned architect, theorist and educator Peter Eisenman turns 82 today. Eisenman initially rose to fame in the late ‘60s, as part of the New York Five, a group that shared an interest in the purity of architectural form. Eisenman’s work, whether built, written or drawn, is characterized by Deconstructivism, with an interest in signs, symbols and the processes of meaning-making always at the foreground. As such, Eisenman has at times been a controversial figure in the architectural world, professing a disinterest in environmental sustainability.
When someone is in the public eye as much as Frank Gehry, it’s easy for them to be misrepresented in the media. Fortunately, this interview by Architectural Record’s editor-in-chief Cathleen McGuigan sets the record straight: Gehry doesn’t consider himself as an artist, and he doesn’t think of architecture as sculpture (despite what he once said). He is however hugely influenced by the way artists work, inventing ways to make things when it might otherwise be thought impossible. That’s why he’s always the one to “jump off the cliff”, as he puts it. You can read the full interview here.
Since we spend most of our waking hours in buildings, shouldn’t they be designed to encourage a healthy lifestyle? It turns out there are many ways in which architects can design spaces that encourage us to exercise as part of our daily routine. Likewise there are many design features that often dissuade people from physical activity. For example, while a dark or secluded staircase may be off-putting, centrally located and open staircases tend to be used even more than elevators. Find out how buildings can serve as our personal trainers in this article from Fast Co. Design, “How To Keep Our Buildings From Making Us Fat.”
Having an office with a view may be more than just a symbol of seniority. New findings show that there are public health benefits associated with working by a window, Fast Co Design reports. An interdisciplinary group of architects and medical researchers compared workers exposed to natural light with those who aren’t, and found that window workers sleep, on average, 46 minutes more a night. They also scored better on self-report health and sleep surveys. Learn more about the study in the full article, “Workers in Windowless Offices Lose 46 Minutes of Sleep a Night,” at Fast Co Design and start convincing your boss that it’s time you had a window office!
One of the latest installations at London’s Serpentine Gallery, where Smiljan Radic recently unveiled an ethereal pavilion, is Marina Abramović’s performance installation entitled 512 Hours. Creating what has been described as “the simplest of settings” in one of the gallery’s large spaces, the artwork employs Abramović’s most frequently used material: herself. Coupled with the audience and a selection of common objects, the constantly changing sequence of events on display is the very first live installation by the artist displayed in the UK. Upon arrival, visitors are asked leave their baggage (including mobile phones, cameras and any other electronic equipment) behind in order to enter the exhibition. Find out more about what you can expect from it here.
The sky is not always the limit when it comes to building vertically – rather, elevator technology is often the restricting factor when it comes to skyscraper height. With current technology, a single elevator can travel approximately 500m before the weight of the rope becomes unsupportable. This means that ascending a mile-high (1.6km) tower would require changing elevators up to 10 times. However, UltraRope, a recently unveiled technology by Finnish elevator manufacturer KONE, may change the heights of our cities. A new hoisting technology that will enable elevators to travel up to one kilometer, UltraRope doubles the distance that is currently possible.
In an article for The Guardian, “The new lift technology that will let cities soar far higher,” Rory Hyde looks at the current limitations of elevator technology, how its development over the years has shaped our cities and the impact that UltraRope could have skyscraper design. Read the whole piece, here.
In 2011, the Tribeca-based design duo of James Ramsey and Dan Barasch proposed a radical project to transform an abandoned subterranean trolley terminal in Manhattan‘s Lower East Side into an underground park filled with natural light and vegetation, eventually proving their design with a full size mock-up of their design for light-capturing fiber-optic tubes. Since then, they haven’t had nearly the same level of publicity – but that doesn’t mean they aren’t still working. This article by The Architects’ Newspaper catches up with Ramsey and Barasch as they attempt to make their $50 million project a reality by 2018. Read the full article here.
IE School of Architecture and Design announces IE SPACES FOR INNOVATION Prize for young architects and designers worldwide, seeking to attract top architecture and design talents to invite them to take part in the IE Master in Design for Work, Retail and Learning Environments starting next February 2015.
According to Will Doig of NextCity, world renowned contemporary artist Damien Hirst has received planning permission to build a town from scratch on the British coastline. Working alongside Rundell Associates the project, which has been dubbed “Hirst-on-Sea” near the town of Ilfracombe, will consist of 75 affordable homes built over the next ten to fifteen years. Most famous for his 2007 diamond-studded skull entitled For the Love of God and, more ubiquitously, glass cases containing sharks and cows preserved in formaldehyde, Doig wonders that, “given Hirst’s history, it’s hard to imagine he’s not trying to make some sort of statement.” Time will tell as to what that might be.
The Irish pavilion’s response to the theme of the 2014 Venice Biennale captures the tumultuous history of the Ireland‘s past hundred years through ten infrastructural projects which highlight the country’s progress. Ireland’s relationship to the theme of “Absorbing Modernity” was colored by their independence from the United Kingdom in the early 1920s, with modernism and infrastructure seen as the way to leave this past behind. The pavilion examines the outcomes of this approach, with Ireland treated as “a launch-pad and testing ground” for everything from concrete infrastructure to data centers. Read the curators’ take on their pavilion after the break.
If you are in Berlin in August, make sure to check out the exhibition “Lina Bo Bardi: Together” at The Deutsche Architecture Zentrum, dedicated to the legacy of the famed Italian-born Brazilian architect, and focusing on her “capacity to engage with every facet of culture and to see the potential in all manner of people.” More on the exhibition after the break.
The potential solution to smog and pollution may be hovering right over our heads, now that Students at the University of California – Riverside have designed a pollution reducing rooftop tile. According to their calculations, cladding one million rooftops with the tiles could remove 21 tons of nitrogen oxides — daily. Currently the Los Angeles area spits out 500 tons of nitrogen oxides a day, so the tiles are just one piece of the puzzle in reducing pollution – however the students are imagining their nitrogen-oxide-eating Titanium Dioxide compound in exterior paints, concrete and more. To see all the possibilities, read the full article here.
Frank Gehry, renowned for his often enormous public works projects, is turning his attention to something on a smaller scale: a campus for the non-profit organization CII (Children’s Institute Inc.) in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Watts. Perhaps best known for Watts tower, the architecture of Watts is shaped by limited income and the need to deter vandalism. according to the LA Times Gehry’s intervention will hopefully be a tipping point for a neighborhood desperate to change not just its aesthetic but its future. Read the full article about the project here.
This summer, ArchitectureBoston gives readers a reason to linger in their hammocks a little longer and drift away into the world of architecture and design. The new issue contains extensive and insightful suggestions for book lovers looking to build a personal library of new and important titles. Read on for more information.
The House of Lords has announced that the proposal to appoint a ‘Chief Architect’ in the UK, one of the major recommendations of this year’s report by Terry Farrell, will be discussed by the UK’s minister for architecture Ed Vaizey and Housing and Planning minister Brandon Lewis. The proposal was among 60 recommendations made by the Farrell Review at the end of March. Other proposals due to be discussed by ministers are a the idea of establishing a Place Leadership Council and design review panels for infrastructure projects. More after the break…
In an article for the New York Times Rachel Donadio examines Masterworks vs. the Masses. From the Louvre in Paris to London’s British Museum, Florence’s Uffizi to the Vatican Museums, the increasing surge of visitors to these international cultural nodes “has turned many museums into crowded, sauna-like spaces.” Balancing everyone’s right to be “nourished” by cultural experiences with protecting and preserving the works of art in question is a very real problem. According to Donadio, ”even when the art is secure, the experience can become irksome.” With some museums seeing annual visitors of up to 6.7 million visitors (British Museum), addressing the issues faced by institutions that are a victim of their own success is becoming more and more pressing. Read the article in full here.