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…)
Gary Card is an illustrator, set designer and prop-maker. His bright and broad aesthetic has lent itself to a wide range of high profile brands including Topshop, Comme des Garcons, Adidas, COS and Nike. For the festive season, Card designed an electric christmas tree, inspired by the Vauxhall Ampera, installed at King’s Cross filling station until January. While we get a glimpse of his studio, viewing a multitude of diverse past projects, Card debates the pros and cons of his work and delves into the origin of his odd affinity for the colour purple.
The WUHAO Curated Shop is a modern approximation of a classical Chinese garden, located in one of Beijing’s richest historical districts. Having shown at Beijing Design Week and the Milan Furniture Fair, WUHAO offers a contemporary vision of the classical Chinese garden while also nurturing the work of emerging Chinese designers and international talents. Founder and curator Isabelle Pascal shares her first encounter with the ancient courtyard and explains how the experience inspired the collections she curates today.
Never is the value of architecture so poignant, as when it becomes a tool to facilitate learning, development and exploration. Inspired by this video, which presents three new schools in Concord, New Hampshire that physically embody the educational philosophies of independence, collaboration, and creativity, we spoke with HMFH Architects to delve further into this vital question: how can architecture help children develop the early skills, creativity and inquisitiveness needed to become the independent and inspired adults of future generations? Find out after the break.
The Biomuseo, or Museum of Biodiversity, in Panama City is Frank Gehry’s first project in Latin America. The building, situated on the mouth of the Panama Canal , is a colourful design of metal-plated canopies sustained by concrete columns. It will house eight galleries and tell the story of Panama’s diverse biological culture and its global impact. It is projected that, once finished, the 4000 m2 space will play a significant role in Panamanian society, culture and education. Here, one of the museum’s exhibit coordinators, Darien Montañes, explains the work involved in bringing a project of this scale to life.
As we shared with you earlier last month, Danish architectural firm, CEBRA, in partnership with Ski Travel Agency Danski, is working on a new project of epic proportions: the world’s largest Skidome. Skidome Denmark will be shaped rather like a snow-flake, with three 700m, criss-crossing arches (the tallest one reaching 110 m high). While a structure that size is hard to wrap one’s head around, this cool new video gives a great idea of the Skidome’s awesome scale.
More info and images of the World’s Largest Skidome, after the break…
Welsh industrial designer Ross Lovegrove interviews Japanese artist Mariko Mori ahead of her first exhibition in London in 14 years. The exhibition, at the Royal Academy of Arts, will showcase previously unseen pieces from the past 11 years as well as new work. Both Lovegrove and Mori share a futuristic aesthetic – with much of their work also inspired by nature and history. Speaking in Lovegrove’s studio, the pair discuss themes in Mori’s upcoming exhibition, the links between science and art and the nature of our future.
Located on the edge of Cerklje, an alpine town in Slovenia, the Hayrack Apartments have beautiful views due to the courtyard opening onto a view of the surrounding mountains. Designed by OFIS Arhitekti, their video highlights the character of the social apartments as they were sold to the Slovenian Housing Fund for young families at a price of 900 EUR/m2 which is extremely cheap. he concept of the façade is taken from the hayrack system – wooden beams following traditional details and patterns. Traditionally farmers use the beams to store grass and corn, on the housing one can store flowers or other balcony decoration. Apartments are of different sizes – from 30m2 studio flats up to four room apartments of 80m2.
Glithero are a progressive London-based practice made up of designers, Tim Simpson and Sarah van Gameren, who met and studied at the Royal College of Art. Their latest work, entitled ‘Lost Time’, was recently unveiled at Design Miami. Created in collaboration with Perrier-Jouët, the installation takes inspiration from the Art Nouveau movement and a trip to the Champagne region of France, where they were invited into the Perrier-Jouet cellars in Epernay. In the past year Glithero has presented solo shows in London, Paris and Rotterdam, as well as exhibitions in Milan, Berlin and Basel. In 2011 the studio was shortlisted for the Brit Insurance Award and the Dutch Design Awards. Filming the installation, we gain an insight into its creation and into Glithero’s design ethos.
Global Architectural Development is an award-winning practice based in Istanbul and New York. Though the majority of their projects are based in Turkey, the practice is truly global, with work in Paris, Libya and the United States. GAD’s projects have been exhibited at the Miami Bienal, the Musuem of Architecture in Rotterdam and the Royal Art Academy in London. Here, Gokhan Avcioglu principal and founder of GAD, discusses the complexity of maintaining Istanbul’s rich architectural history while also creating modern buildings.
A few months ago we informed you about a competition to re develop the massive “wedding-cake” style building at 425 Park Ave in NY, near Mies’ Seagram Building and SOM’s Lever House. The objective of the developer, L&L Holding, was to turn this project into the next iconic building of the city, and for that they invited a group of eleven renowned practices, including ten Pritzker laureates.
The shortlist was announced in October, and included OMA, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, Zaha Hadid Architects and Foster + Partners, which was later announced as the winner of the competition a few weeks ago.
Over the last days, the presentations of the architects to the clients appeared on YouTube, and now we have the opportunity to see these interesting group of architects doing a fundamental part of their work. In the videos we see each architect using their own presentation style, either a PPT, video or just physical boards, connecting it to the practice’s research and discourse, projecting their passion about certain features of their projects and engaging with the client around their main objective: to turn this into an iconic project.
Four videos that take us further into how we understand projects, showing insights that we often don’t have access to, turning the competition into a particular moment of architecture this year.
Zaha Hadid Architects, OMA and Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners presentations after the break:
New York, San Fran, Chicago…Columbus, Indiana. Which of these doesn’t go with the others? Well, according to the AIA, none. Columbus, Indiana, a small town of about 44,000 has been ranked by the AIA as the nation’s 6th most architecturally important city, right after Washington DC.
So what’s so special about Columbus? Apparently, a 1950s philanthropist by the name of J. Irwin Miller took it upon himself to foot the bill for any new public building in the city. The result? Today, Columbus has more than 70 buildings designed by internationally renowned architects – including I.M. Pei, Eliel Saarinen, Eero Saarinen, Richard Meier and Harry Weese.
Check out a Video on Columbus “The Athens of the Prairie,” after the break…
Visit the Kickstarter Campaign here.
A small group of students and architect Tobias Holler of sLAB Costa Rica at the New York Institute of Technology, have teamed up to design and build a communal recycling center for Nosara, Costa Rica – a city that is facing grave problems with sanitation and illegal dumping of garbage on beaches and in wildlife areas. Construction started last summer after a Kickstarter campaign that raised $15,000 helped provide expenses and costs associated with housing the students that assisted with the construction. A relaunch of the Kickstarter campaign will provide the project with additional funds to bring the students back to accelerate the pace of construction. The funds also support the documentary by Ayana de Vos, whose film follows the progress of the project and features waste management and sustainability in Costa Rica.
Join us after the break for more. (more…)
If you missed Design Like You Give A Dam: LIVE! - the Architecture for Humanity event of panel discussions and workshops at the Autodesk Gallery in San Francisco - you must check out this short video.
The event brought together people from all walks of life from all corners of the globe, united by one simple idea: design can better human life.
As ArchforHumanity co-founder Cameron Sinclair explained of the event: “We had architects from Medellin, Colombia talk about how to prevent violence through architecture. We had thoughtful leaders who have come from small towns in the Midwest that were devastated by tornadoes that galvanized their community and rebuilt them. We had lawyers that talked about how to create a better justice system – really looking at the human experience within the built environment. [...] The thing about this conference is that we don’t just show you ideas, we show you how those ideas get built.”
Check out videos of the Conference’s Panel Discussions, after the break…
Above is a video by OFIS Arhitekti featuring their Shopping Roof Apartments project in Slovenia. With the initial task from the client to build a new shopping mall on the plot of the existing one, their project cleverly proposed use of the shopping roof for additional volume-as new apartments. The organization of the housing and the envelope of the apartments open towards mountain views and the sun. Therefore the front, wooden facade is mostly transparent with panoramic windows.
If you’re at all immersed in the design world, you already know the name of Danish-American furniture designer Jens Risom. And, if you know Jens Risom, you most certainly know the mid-century, pre-fab house he designed and built on an isolated island 13 miles off the coast of New England.
The house, which has stood on Block Island for 45 years with relatively little renovation, despite the island’s notoriously powerful gales of wind, defies the stereotype that pre-fabricated buildings can’t be built to last (or beautifully designed). Indeed, Risom only attempted the venture because of the “personal freedom” that pre-fabrication afforded him. As he explains: “Architecture, to me, is the most beautiful of the arts. But I watched my father [an architect] struggle with the challenges, what was to me an enormous drawback: The architect did not fully drive the end product. I always knew that I wanted to design, but only [if I could] create products over which I had total control.”
More on this extraordinary home and its designer, after the break…
OFIS Arhitekti shared with us a video they put together for their project, Alpine Hut. Situated in a small Alpine village, part of Triglav national park with very strict rules of construction and architectural design, the client bought the site together with existing construction permit for the generic project. Basically, the main task was to give the hut a new look, create a new veranda around the house and position the openings towards the views and increasing its sustainability.
David Adjaye, the British architect chosen to design Washington DC’s Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, is currently one of the UK’s most successful talents. This year he topped the PowerList 2013, naming him Britain’s most influential black figure, coming in ahead of Olympic star Mo Farah and actor Idris Elba. The award, he says, is a double edged sword. In this film Adjaye reflects on its significance and and as a result explores wider themes of history heritage and culture within the arts.
One of the centers of cultural and civic life, the 1111 Lincoln Road project by Herzog & de Meuron is featured in the video above, made by Elizabeth Priore. This project was chosen as it has changed people’s perception about what a utilitarian structure can be; and has ignited conversations worldwide about its design and use. This garage has reshaped the urban fabric of the city and people are going there to get married, relax, and enjoy a cocktail. The video is a Semifinalist in the $200,000 FOCUS FORWARD Filmmaker Competition and is in the running to become the $100,000 Grand Prize Winner. More information after the break. (more…)
Peter VonDeLinde, Marc Ofsthun, and Christian Korab, an architectural film studio team based out of Minneapolis, recently created an amazing short film on Frank Gehry‘s newly expanded Weisman Art Museum. Gehry’s 11,000 sq.ft. expansion showcases his sculptural talent featuring its stainless steel facade curving out from the entrance. This video was produced in conjunction with the Weisman featured in the January/February 2012 issue of Architecture Minnesota magazine.
Chika Kijima Architect’s Office + O.F.D.A. transformed a cluster of three existing homes into this work/live haven for a pair of musicians. The naturally lit interiors of the single-story Overlapped House features a studio, kitchen, hall, ample amounts of storage and a well-buffered sleeping quarters.