To celebrate its 75th anniversary, Finnish design company Artek showcases its latest lighting project, “White,” devised by the company’s design director Ville Kokkonen. Since forming in 1935 by husband and wife team Aino and Alvar Aalto – the father of modern Scandinavian design – the company has stayed true to its original values of producing modern furniture that is humane and inspired by nature. Here, Kokkonen talks us through Artek’s collaboration with Comme des Garçons and tells us why their new Bright Light is actually good for your health.
On August 15th, 2007 a powerful earthquake hit the region of Ica, Perú, destroying the small Maria Auxiliadora School. The first responders left after a matter of months, but the damage remained. Resources were shuffled to the big cities, and the small school waited, for years, for the authorities to take on the reconstruction. They never did.
And so, with help from Architecture for Humanity Design Fellow, Diego Collazo, and with funding from the Happy Hearts Fund and the SURA Group, the community decided to take the school’s – and their children’s – future into their own hands. This SEEDoc, the latest installment of inspirational mini-documentaries from the Design Corps and SEED (Social Economic Environmental Design), tells their story.
More after the break…
While we were in Beijing, we had the opportunity to visit an architect who we have been following for quite some time: Ma Yansong, founder of MAD.
Ma Yansong graduated from the Beijing Institute of Civil Engineering and Architecture, and went to Yale thanks to the AIA Scholarship for Advanced Architecture Research, where he received his masters degree in Architecture in 2001. Afterwards, Ma Yansong worked at Zaha Hadid’s office in London, and started MAD in 2004.
His strong research background is mixed with a deeper understanding and interpretation of traditional Chinese architecture, inspired by urban typologies such as the hutong and the siheyua. This can be seen in projects such as the Hutong Bubble, the Wooden Sculpture Museum (under construction) and the recently opened Ordos Art & City Museum. MAD’s vision for Beijing 2050 is a bold proposal that opens up debate, challenging what the future of the CBD (Central Business District, an area populated by tall generic buildings) could be.
Another interesting project is his Absolute Towers in Canada (2006-2012). Not only did the project make Ma Yansong the first Chinese architect to build abroad, it also put his practice on the map.
Projects by MADat ArchDaily:
modeLab‘s videos from both Introduction to Processing and Algorithmic Design in Grasshopper webinars are now posted online. The Introduction to Processing webinar covered the basics of writing programs in Processing’s Java-based syntax as well as developing user influenced behaviors. The Algorithmic Design in Grasshopper webinar focused on creating algorithms using lists and transformations in Grasshopper. To view these videos, and all 10 courses they launched last year, which is comprised of 125 videos, please visit here.
Jonas Eliasson, Director of the Centre for Transport Studies at Sweden’s Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), takes a stab at one of the largest problems in big cities: traffic congestion. In this TEDx, Eliasson discusses techniques that urban planners and policy makers can use to help mediate the problems caused by rush hour commutes by car. Contrary to most other suggestions we see, Eliasson’s solution does not involve any plans to widen sidewalks, encourage public transportation and create bike lanes; rather, this suggestion is more policy oriented.
During the 2012 World Architecture Festival held in Singapore, we had the opportunity to interview Richard Hassell, one of the founders of the highly acclaimed practice WOHA.
We were excited about this interview, as I have been very interested on WOHA’s work after featuring them extensively at ArchDaily, given their approach to the important issues of density and sustainability in South Asia, mixing particular programmatic needs with the local identity.
The Singaporean firm was started in 1994 by Wong Mun Summ (Architect from the National University of Singapore) and Richard Hassell (Architect from the University of Western Australia), and has been involved in projects that range from tall residential towers, to hotels, commercial buildings, transport infrastructure, and also urban research projects such as their vision for Singapore 2050.
In this interview Richard digs deeper into how WOHA operates and his views about the profession.
WOHA’s work has been recognized with important awards, including the RIBA Lubetkin Prize (2011), several RIBA International Awards (2010 and 2011), the World Architecture Festival Awards (2009 and 2010) and the prestigious Aga Kahn Award for Architecture (2007).
New York’s Garment District, consisting of 18 blocks in the west side of midtown, was the city’s most well known industries in the boom of the 1920s through the early 50s. The influx of immigrants and the geography of New York City made it a natural hub for manufacturing and trading activity. The work began in small workshops and at home in crowded tenements and eventually grew out of these crammed space into factories and warehouses. The industry inadvertently transformed Seventh Avenue into rows of skyscraper factories that faithfully abided to New York City’s zoning regulations. The 125 loft buildings all shared the pyramidal forms due to step-back laws governing design.
Now, The Skyscraper Museum in New York City is celebrating this neighborhood and its influential development of business, industry and architecture and the mark that it left on the city with an exhibition called URBAN FABRIC. It is curated by Andrew S Dolkart, the Director of the Historic Preservation Program, and will be running through February 17th.
Learn more and watch the curator’s lecture after the break.
After collaborating with Rick Joy on projects all over the US for over three years, Matías Zegers went back to Chile and founded Matías Zegers Architects. Last year, this Guest Pavilion, located in the Casas del Bosque winery in the Casablanca Valley, was finished. Cristobal Palma has filmed this beautiful video, showing how the simple yet very powerful house overlooks the vineyards.
You can check some more videos by Cristobal Palma at ArchDaily:
Launched in 1930 by Battista “Pinin” Farina, the Italian car design firm Pininfarina is now run by the founder’s grandson Paolo Pininfarina. The company has partnered with all the big hitters over the years including Ferrari and Rolls-Royce and since 1986 Pininfarina Extra, headed up by Paolo Trevisan, has widened the Group’s design scope to reach anything from the Eurostar to Lavazza coffee machines. Often collaborating with other heritage brands such as Scotch whisky label Chivas, much importance is placed on striking a balance between history and innovation. Visiting the HQ in Cambiano, Italy, we interview Pininfarina and Trevisan to discover why they see problems as opportunities and how this ethos has spurred their success despite Europe’s current economic climate.
Mayeul Akpovi shared with us a time lapse video he made, which goes through a sequence of experiences and places, highlighting the day and night life of the big city. ‘Paris in Motion’ includes about 3500 photos as he successfully creates a video, accompanied by music, which draws you in and fast forwards through time.
WE Architecture is a young firm based in Copenhagen, Denmark. Started by partners Marc Jay and Julie Schmidt-Nielsen in 2009, the practice is focused on public competitions and consultancy, along with teaching at the Royal Danish Academy. The partners studied in Denmark, but shaped their professional career working abroad in New York and Barcelona.
The firm maintains a young spirit, working with architect from around the world, never more than 12 people. WE Architecture acknowledges the role of the architect in a collaborative and diverse society, incorporating not only architecture on their practice, but also planning, logistics, engineering, and economy. With this multi disciplinary approach, the firm provides services that go from construction management on maintenance operations to advising families who have recently bought a house.
Interview by Soledad Undurraga.
Projects by WE Architecture at ArchDaily:
This Swiss-Danish artistic couple create decorative sculptures and installations known for their humour and subversion. Ronnie Yarisal and Katja Kublitz met at Central Saint Martins in London and after graduating moved to Berlin where they have started a family. Their most recent exhibition at Gerhardsen Gerner Gallery in Berlin focuses on exploring material, sexual and spiritual desire through ornamental pieces. Here we film at their home and studio, exploring why investing in both love and art can be a risk.
During the World Architecture Festival, held this October in Singapore, we had the opportunity to interview one of the UK’s most succesful landscape architects: Andrew Grant. On the occasion, the project, Gardens by the Bay, in collaboration with Wilkinson Eyre Architects, was awarded the World Building of the Year Award.
Andrew Grant, who was recently named Royal Designer for Industry, formed Grant Associates in 1997. The practice has been focused on the blurry boundary between architecture and nature, using landscape design as a tool for sustainable innovation on different scales, from sub-regional planning to the smallest detail of a new landscape.
A perfect example of this is the Cooled Conservatories at the Gardens by the Bay project, where architecture and nature become one to produce a naturally breathing machine.
More about Gardens by the Bay in the following video:
This minimalist elementary school, located in Kumamoto and designed by Japanese architects Kazuhiro Kojima and Kazuko Akamatsu (CAt), is designed to seamlessly connect the indoor and outdoor space. Within the building, individual classrooms and spaces are loosely formed by L-shaped walls that feature foldable doors and flexible components. An abundance of courtyards and airy walkways are just some of the highlights, along with a wood deck activity space found on top of the roof.
As the 2012 Jencks Award winner, Rem Koolhaas charts the evolution of his ideas and built projects in this lecture provided by RIBA. He describes a double life split between practice and theory, two ventures reflected by his studios, OMA and AMO, the Office of Metropolitan Architecture and the Architecture Media Organization. Enjoy!
The lecture is chaired by Charles Jencks, designer, author and broadcaster.
In this TEDxRamallah, Palestinian Architect Saud Amiry – who works in architectural restoration on Palestinian buildings – discusses her journey as someone finding a path for herself. Although she speaks about her nationality and her family’s refugee history, her focus is on learning how to find the things that are fulfilling in one’s life in the face of challenges. Her sense of humor and passion is inspiring. Not only is she an architect working in a field for which she has a passion, she has also stumbled upon the role of an author, having written “Sharon and my Mother–in-Law: Ramallah Diaries”, which is an account of living under Israeli occupation. Even in the dire political circumstances of of her refugee status, Amiry finds humor under tragic circumstances.
More about Amiry after the break…
Shohei Shigematsu is the director of internationally renowned architecture firm OMA in New York. He has been a driving force in conceptual projects such as the Universal headquarters in Los Angeles, the Whitney Museum extension in New York, the China National Museum and Prada Epicenters for Shanghai and London. Here we visit the New York offices to discuss urban planning, his latest project with Marina Abramovic and the role of architects in society.