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.
Video available at Youku for our Chinese readers.
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:
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.
Crane.tv visits British designer Tom Dixon in his shop in Portobello Dock. The designer of the iconic S-bend chair and Mirrorball light shares his disappointment at not becoming the next king of disco, and tells us what he’s learned about design from the chef of his restaurant, Dock Kitchen. Address: Wharf Building, Portobello Dock, 344 Ladbroke Grove, London, W10 5BU.
Watch this video tour of the Bacardi Building in Miami, Florida, by the grandson of the original founder. The building, built in 1962, became the headquarters of the company for fifty years and has become an iconic modernist symbol in the city with an additional building added to the property in 1970. The building is designed by Enrique Guitierrez. The unique facade of the building was designed by ceramic artist Francisco Brennand using 20,000 tiles. The building resonates with Miami’s culture and has become a landmark for nearby residents. Tito Bacardi, who is the tour guide in the video, explains with pride how its the company’s legacy has become intertwined with the architecture – a building that represented Bacardi’s relocation from Cuba to America. (more…)
Democratic By Design is a short film, produced by the General Services Administration and narrated by Luke Russert, that tackles the issue of federal architecture. Buildings designed for the government typically have a familiar aesthetic. Washington, DC, is dominated by Neoclassical Architecture, building on the connotations of ancient Greek and Roman fora and temples as a symbol of democracy. But they perpetuate a sense of dominance and formality. Most of these buildings – city halls, courthouses, agency headquarters – were built in the 18th and 19th century, yet they leave behind a legacy and association in the architecture of the federal government.
On the contrary, government buildings built in the mid to late 20th century, specifically after 1962, have a more varied vernacular. This can be credited to Daniel Patrick Moynihan, aide to President John F. Kennedy. His one page document outlined guidelines for public architecture – an effort to contextualize and modernism government buildings. This video brings his words to life via well-known architects who have have designed federal buildings.
Join us after the break for a look at some of these buildings. (more…)