In the latest of NOWNESS‘ spectacular videos, Ole Scheeren – a former partner at OMA and now principal of Büro Ole Scheeren in Beijing – reflects on the past decade he has spent in China overseeing construction of the CCTV Headquarters. He muses over the delicate balancing act that Western architects maintain when they work in China, simultaneously bringing change to the city and allowing the city to change who they are and how they see the world. In this context, where change is “something that you are immediately and instantly confronted with” he believes that the CCTV Building is “both confrontational and complicit”.
Think traffic is bad now? One billion cars are already on the road today and another billion is expected to join in the coming decade. Pollution and stressful commuting is at an all time high, empowering many politicians and bicycle activists to declare war on the multi-billion dollar car industry which has profoundly impacted city development worldwide.
Bikes vs. Cars is a feature-length, in-progress film that hopes to be part of the global movement by shedding light on the city’s car-centric past and bike-friendly future. Learn more and join the cause at the Bikes vs Cars Kickstarter Campaign website.
For more, read “Why Cycle Cities Are the Future.”
The list of architects that have collaborated with Zhang Xin’s development company, SOHO China, reads like the roster of an architectural dream team (which includes Zaha Hadid, Yung Ho Chang, Bjarke Ingels, Kengo Kuma, Kazuyo Sejima, Herzog & de Meuron, Thom Mayne, David Adjaye, Toyo Ito and others). So it’s no surprise that the self-made billionaire lectured to a packed house at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design last Thursday. Xin spoke about her commitment to and love of design, explaining that her company’s mission is to bring a variety of architectural languages to China. And though SOHO’s projects are certainly experimental, Xin contends that her developer mindset actually helps meliorate the architect’s propensity to take the experiment too far—all without sacrificing the impressive and iconic forms of SOHO’s building portfolio.
Watch Zhang Xin link her practice in real estate to larger global issues and catch a glimpse of two Zaha Hadid-designs currently under construction: Wangjing SOHO and Sky SOHO.
Doris Sung, from DO|SU Studio Architecture, has done a really interesting work experimenting with software, building mediums and metals, and nature in her designs. Last year, we published ‘Bloom’, which was displayed at the Materials and Application Gallery in Los Angeles.
Iwan Baan’s curiosity for the built environment has led him to be one of the world’s most preeminent photographers whose skills are in constant demand by architectural elites worldwide. Constantly on the move, Baan has found himself documenting fascinating testaments to human ingenuity. From the informal vertical community of Torre David in Caracas to the floating Niagara slum of Makoko, Baan’s encounters with thriving communities in some of the most unexpected places has led him to believe that there is “no such thing as normal” and humans can truly adapt to anything.
Janette Sadik-Khan demonstrates how paint, lawn chairs and a bit of imagination can quickly transform city streets, creating immediate public and commercial vitality. Sadik-Khan, listed as one of Business Insider’s “50 Women Who Are Changing the World,” is responsible for re-purposing 26 acres of dense New York City car lanes into pedestrian-friendly space. “More people on foot is better for business,” she says. Despite commanding a two billion dollar budget, her economical approach as commissioner of NYC’s Department of Transportation are testaments to her design sensitivity, relying on rapid-testing and regular iteration to expand the city’s public domain.
The view was produced by Taller de Casquería; Luis Rodriguez Carnero plays the protagonist.
From the architect. Through travellings, point perspectives, a main character and a plot trick, the film creates a catalogue of experiences that open up a path to describing architectural spaces without conventional cliches, without still photos, and amplifies the importance of the human scale in the communication of architecture.
You can see more of the house here.
32BNY in collaboration with Spirit of Space has released its fifth videopolemic, entitled Firminy: José Oubrerie. In this video José Oubrerie, a French architect and protégé of Le Corbusier, currently teaching at the Knowlton School of Architecture at Ohio State University, remembers his time working for Corbu, working on the Church in Firminy.
32BNY was launched in February 2013 as a website dedicated to the potential of cinematic architectural discourse. Previous videopolemics included Steven Holl and Sanford Kwinter on Lebbeus Woods, Vito Acconci on Art and Architecture, Drawing as Thought, and Existential Sensitivity: Jeffrey Kipnis and Steven Holl. Although 32BNY admit they do not know what the terms ‘cinematic architectural discourse’, or ‘videopolemic’ mean, they are undeterred from their exploration. You can find out more about them and their work on their website.
In the year 1940, Armour Institute and Lewis Institute merged in Chicago to create the Illinois Institute of Technology. The merging of these two schools called for a new master plan for the university, and Mies van der Rohe was commissioned for the job. Mies’ plan for the IIT campus was one of the largest projects he ever conceived and he developed it for twenty years. Today the campus contains 20 of his works, including the famous Crown Hall. Enjoy the video and don’t forget to check our AD Classics on the IIT Master Plan and Buildings.
Last year, we showed you two short videos on the progress of this new flea market in Barcelona. This time, prompt made a small documentary on the old market of Encants Vells, the construction and the transfer to the new market Encants Barcelona Fira de Bellcaire, designed by b720 Fermín Vázquez arquitectos. We can also see the opinion of everyone involved in the project, from the customers and workers of the old market, to the mayor of Barcelona and the architect.
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.
The Triennale is open until December 1st, full programme here. Check the rest of the videos below:
In his TedxTalk, Australian-born, Tasmanian-raised architect Ross Langdon begins by reading from the book The Rabbits, a children’s tale which depicts Australia’s colonizers as an invasive, destructive species: rabbits. “I realized I didn’t want to be a rabbit any more,” Langdon explains. “So I thought it might be better to be like a chameleon, able to adapt and change and blend with our environment, rather than conquer it.”
It was this impetus that drove Langdon, who had worked for John McAslan and David Adjaye in London, and even started his own London-based firm, Regional Associates, to Uganda, where he was completing an HIV Center; unfortunately, Landon and his partner, Elif Yavuz, were among the victims killed in the siege of the Westgate Shopping Centre this weekend. According to the Architect’s Journal, the “couple had relocated to be closer to Nairobi’s hospitals because Yavuz – who worked as a vaccines researcher in Tanzania for the Clinton Foundation – was expecting her baby within two weeks.”
To remember Langdon’s life and work, we’ve included the video of his TedxTalk, which closes with the inspiring philosophy behind “chameleon” architecture. In Langdon’s words: ”We believe that to create architecture that is born of the place, in both developing and developed worlds, that we need to source materials locally, we need to use construction methods that are available locally, wherever possible, to recycle, to upcycle, and to be resourceful, and, most importantly, be present in order to discover beauty in unexpected places.”