Architecture is bigger than itself.
The future will pose tremendous challenges to how architecture and cities are conceived, requiring comprehensive and scalable solutions, often found outside of what we traditionally call “architecture”. So after hundreds of interviews with architects that we’ve conducted, we realized that in order to confront these challenges we needed to expand our focus. For the first time, we invited to our office an “architect” of life, Andrew Hessel, co-chair of the Biotechnology and Bioinformatics Program at Singularity University and leader in the field of synthetic biology (the design of life through the use of information technology).
Andrew’s work focuses on designing viruses with the potential to cure cancer; however, he is fascinated by the ways in which genetic engineering could actually help human beings shape their environment, and how biotechnology will allow us to merge the natural and built worlds:
“We don’t live in nature any more – we put boxes around it. But now we can actually engineer nature to sustain our needs. All we have to do is design the code and it will self-create. Our visions today – if we can encapsulate them in a seed – [will] grow to actually fulfill that vision. [...] One day, who knows, maybe we’ll plant a seed and grow a sky scraper, that has all the nutrients it needs to stay warm, to literally react to our environment, maybe even keep an eye on us, protect us, nurture us. It’s just all in the design.”
What if we really could “plant” and “grow” a house? What if we could use modified trees as street lamps? Clearly, this disrupts the way we traditionally conceive of architecture, but it also opens many doors for a more sustainable future.
Andrew has recently joined Autodesk as a researcher for “creating platforms for imagining, designing, and creating molecular and living systems”. Autodesk is entering the nanoscale engineering business and exploring into software for printing tissue and 4D materials. So, if the company that produces the most used tools for the architecture industry is now exploring and making these new worlds accessible, why shouldn’t architecture embrace it?
In this jaunty little clip, Louis Kahn stresses the importance of honoring your materials to a group of students at the University of Pennsylvania.
Estonia-born in 1901, Louis Kahn had a steadfast belief that all materials had their own destiny and wouldn’t tolerate any attempt to deviate from that. During the age of clean modernism and the use of cutting edge materials, his architecture was often dismissed for being overly symbolic and heavily venerating buildings of the past. Influenced by the arid nature of many of his sites, Kahn’s buildings often took the form of cavernous brick shells with large geometrical cut outs, which he would like to describe them – in his bizarre Kahn-way - as ruins in reverse.
Here are a few of Kahn’s intriguing brick creations:
While in Mexico City, we had the chance to visit Michel Rojkind ’s office in La Condesa to interview him and jam on his recording studio hidden in the architecture workshop. We have been big fans of Michel’s work, the result of constant investigation and iteration pushed by by the collaborative character of his studio and multiplied by Michel’s passion for architecture.
Michel is part of a fantastic new generation of Mexican architects that brings fresh ideas to a context with a strong tradition. He started his architecture studies while also being the drummer of a well known Mexican rock band, graduating from the Universidad Iberoamericana in 1994. Between 1999 and 2002 he worked with Isaac Broid and Miquel Adriá on Adriá+Broid+Rojkind Arquitectos, and he started his own studio Rojkind Arquitectos in 2002.
Since then, the firm has been on a strong path of innovation and exploration of architectural programs and building techniques, successfully translating the complex forms of these new ideas into realities that can be built with local manufacturing skills.
Michel is very good at communicating his ideas, something very important to deliver the vision he has for his projects, but he is also very good at transmitting his passion, something that anyone who has been on his lectures will agree, inspiring young architects to demonstrate that it is possible to run the kind of studio that you want to run, despite all the problems and frustrations you will face along the way.
Recent projects by Michel Rojkind at ArchDaily:
Two Izu retirees hired architects Yoshiharu Tsukamoto and Momoyo Kaijima to design them a home equipped with a neighborhood bookshop and cafe. The Japanese practice stepped up to the challenge and constructed an elegant, curved structure whose white walls and wooden ceiling hug the hundred degree undulating street on which its located and embraces the wooded forest it backs to. The home – which features two bedrooms, a kitchen, cafe, bookshop and atelier – is accessed beneath a bridged part of the structure and organized as a sequence. Take a tour through this interesting space with this short video made by JA+U Magazine.
Produced by Omar Kakar of OHM Studio Collaborative, the video above features the motto of Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, “Starting from small things”. The film begins to grasp the view of a man’s goal to “recover the traditional Japanese building.” From philosophy of nature and materiality to personal taste in film and music, Kuma travels to San Diego to share his influences and insight on the world of architecture with design students from Woodbury School of Architecture as part of their 2012 lecture series. Kuma takes you on a tour of the inspirational Salk Institute by Kahn, while mentioning a few of his favorite works. An Archdaily interview with Kuma can be viewed here.
1960’s Chicago: cars zooming down Lake Shore Drive, crowds heading into the Opera House, people observing artworks in the Art Institute, and Chicagoans laying around Grant Park on a sunny day. These are just a few of the scenes captured by amateur filmmaker Margaret Conneely in her film The City to See in ’63. The people, neighborhoods, and architecture of Chicago are all captured in this well-crafted 12-minute, 16mm color film taped in 1962.
The film captures some key architectural sites in Chicago, including the construction of Marina City. In addition, there are clips of a few buildings that no longer exist such as the Chicago Sun-Times building, demolished in 2004; White Sox Park, demolished in 1991; and the first McCormick place, wrecked in 1967.
Conneely also covers different neighborhoods of Chicago including Lincoln Park, Logan Square, Garfield Park, and old Maxwell Street.
Steven Holl Architects collaborated with Spirit of Space to create two short films that capture the essence of Chengdu’s newest sustainable micro-city: Sliced Porosity Block. Shaped by the distribution of natural light, this multi-use complex of five sun-carved concrete towers defines itself by the formation of three large public valleys that, not only supports a hybrid of different functions, but anchors the building into the surrounding urban fabric.
View an intimate account of these poetic spaces in the film above and then discover the ideas that inspired them in a conversation with Steven Holl below. The interview also includes an exclusive take on Holl’s post-completion thoughts of Lebbeus Woods’ last built installation: the Light Pavilion.
More information and images of Sliced Porosity Block can be found here on ArchDaily.
The Creators Project released two new documentaries this week which feature the brightest new minds in design and architecture. The first piece investigates the work of Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and interdisciplinary design firm behind NYC’s High Line and Lincoln Center, and more. The second piece introduces us to the digital deviants OKFocus behind their new alpha-channel video experience for Tanlines’ “Not The Same.” The first video is above and the second video can be viewed after the break. (more…)
BBC’s Sarah Montague interviews Renzo Piano, the mastermind behind London’s most controversial and newest skyscraper: ‘The Shard’. Prior to the interview, Montague spotted Piano blending into the crowd during the opening of the 310-meter skyscraper “spying” on the onlookers. When asked about this moment, Piano revealed the great advice he received from the prominent Italian film director Roberto Rossellini upon the completion of the Pompidou Center in Paris: “You do not look at the building, you look at the people looking at the building.” It was during this moment that Piano observed “surprise” and “wonder, but not fear” amongst the onlookers – a reaction he seemed to be content with.
Despite Piano’s attempt to refrain from controversy, it is hard to avoid when your design intends to celebrate a “shift in society” as does the ‘Shard’. Change tends to stir mixed emotions and spark debate. However, being part of this “human adventure” as an architect is what Piano finds most rewarding. He states: “You don’t change the world as an architect, but you celebrate the change of the world.”
How can a small 420 square foot apartment transform into eight comfortable rooms? It takes smart design solutions that incorporates modulation and interior planning that conforms to everyday needs in an increasingly competitive environment of living space. Founder of Treehugger.com, Graham Hill takes the viewer on a tour of his “Life Edited” apartment that provides a sustainable living solution to compact apartments in urban environments like New York City. This apartment provides all the amenities necessary with some additional effort of converting rooms to fit everyday needs. Interested in seeing this apartment transform into a living room, bedroom, kitchen, dining room and guest room? Join us after the break to find out.
32BNY, in collaboration with Spirit of Space, has relaunched a website in a corner of the internet structured as a videopolemic to explore architectural discourse in a revolutionary way. The first video in the series is a tribute to the late Lebbeus Woods. Woods was an aggressive philosophical thinker of architecture and space. He launched worldy ideas into his architecture through imaginative leaps – exploring politics, society, ethics and the human condition as it pertained to architectural space in the form of vivid and dynamic drawings. His work has inspired his contemporaries to think outside of the physical space of architecture. Steven Holl and Sanford Kwinter discuss some of his ideas and philosophies through his quotes and inspirations. The video serves as a reminder, and to some a guide, as to how to build upon the philosophy of architecture beyond the physical.
More on the video after the break.
Above is a video created by A4 Studio which features three of their projects located in the shore of the biggest lake of Middle-Europe, Lake Balaton. The Club 218 and Sio Plaza are two of the three projects in the film that have been published on Archdaily. All projects featured here are very modern works and emphasize A4 Studio’s creative design methodology. The architectural gestures of these projects is shown in detail as a child is shown moving in and around the buildings on a scooter.
Grimshaw Architects shared with us their construction update video on the Reading Station redevelopment, which consists of the existing station facilities being enhanced with two new entrances and by the addition of a new transfer bridge over the tracks, designed to accommodate a 100% uplift in passenger growth. One of the major interchanges of the south east, and one of the busiest stations outside London, it is also the Great Western Main Line’s biggest constraint in terms of performance and capacity in its current form.
Located in the heart of Valle del Elqui, a narrow valley stretched in between the Andes Mountains in Chile, the Elqui Domos Hotel by architect Rodrigo Duque Motta is known for its wooden-structured cabins that provide translucent fabric domes, enabling an truly unique experience that encourages a close connection with nature. This experience is highlighted in this time lapse video by James Florio, in which he includes over 6 months, 23,000+ photos and 300GB of time-lapse.
Back when I was an architecture student I was very impressed by the early works of French architect and urban planner Edouard François, which introduced new ways to understand the relation between nature and architecture.
Edouard has always been an innovator, experimenting with green façades and constantly challenging the housing typology, making architecture a response of the times (which otherwise, as he mentions, would be just construction). These aspects, how to push innovation with clients and into the market, are discussed with Edouard in this interview, recommended to young architects who could learn from his experience running his practice.
Edouard studied at the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris and the Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées, and has taught around the world. His work and career have been highly recognized, being appointed with the RIBA International Fellowship in 2011 and Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French Minister of Culture in 2012.
Works by Edouard François at ArchDaily: