In an age where almost every conceivable subject has spawned its own reality series – be it Dancing On Ice or Hillbilly-Hand-Fishing - PBS’s new show, Cool Spaces!, aims to stimulate the public’s curiosity by engaging us in the story behind some of North America’s most interesting public buildings. The AIA sponsored show, which is hosted by Boston-based architect Stephen Chung, departs from usual architecture-related television shows, which tend to focus on makeovers of private homes. Not only will this show look at public buildings, but it will also examine the people whose lives it has affected, the places that have shaped it, and the mind of the architect who brought all of these things together to design it.
Read more about the series and see a sneak preview after the break…
“The architect has to continue doing what he or she has done for the last 5,000 years, which is to make objects of great beauty, which uplift the spirits of whoever commissions them or occupies them or sees them. But, increasingly, [the architect] has to take on two other things, which is: to make things in such a way that they are part of an environmental whole; but also to be much more conscious of what the social impacts are of the decisions the architect may make. [...] The architect, unless they want to wipe themselves out and become aesthetes, has to deal with these big issues.” – Ricky Burdett
As the world becomes increasingly urbanized, there lies an important question ahead of us. There can be no doubt that cities will grow, but how can we make sure that they grow sustainably and – what’s more – equitably?
To get to the bottom of these important questions, we spoke with Ricky Burdett, a professor of Urban Studies at the London School of Economics (where he directs the program LSE Cities), the author of The Endless City, and one of the world’s leading experts in urban planning. Not only was he the Chief Advisor of Architecture and Urbanism at the London 2012 Olympics, but he is also a founder of the Urban Age Project, an interdisciplinary investigation into the future of cities. We caught up with Burdett while he was in Chile, invited by CREO Antofagasta to advise on the development of Chile’s sprawled-out city of Antofagasta.
Burdett had so much to share about his varied experiences that we’ve decided to split this AD Interview into two. Part I (above) covers Burdett’s conception of what architecture is/should be; the London Olympics; and his strong opinion on the state of architecture in England today.
The second part of this interview, which you can see after the break, explores Burdett’s work studying urban environments – including the Urban Age project; the secrets to sustainable, equitable growth (for more on Burdett’s take on this, read Jared Green’s article “The Rise of the Endless City“); and how architects and policy makers must work together if we are to design cities that serve the greater social and environmental good.
When emigrating from Germany in 1938 to head Chicago’s Armour Institute, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was challenged with two tasks: first reform the schools curriculum to his “back-to-basics” approach and then develop plans for a newly expanded 120-acre campus for the creation of Illinois Institute of Technology, a product of the Armour Institute and Lewis Institute merger. Mies was able to exceed both challenges and the outcomes have had a lasting influence on Chicago and modernism for the past 75 years. In celebration of this legacy and Mies’ 127th birthday, IIT complied this comprehensive video that features Mies’ contribution to the modern landscape of their campus and city.
The Young Architects Program is an annual collaboration between The Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1 that fosters innovative design research and promotes emerging talent. Besides New York, it has now international versions in Istanbul, Rome, and Santiago.
The Garden of the Forking Paths, designed by Beals & Lyon Architects is the latest winner from YAP_Constructo, in Santiago, Chile. Cristobal Palma shot this beautiful video on this pavilion in the park.
Question: What does Snoop Dogg, John Cleese, Lucy Liu and Jeff ‘The Dude’ Lebowski have in common? Simple, they have all, at some point in time, hung out in the living room of the space-age Sheats Goldstein Residence designed by Frank Lloyd Wright-disciple, John Lautner.
Read more about this amazing house and its unique owner after the break… (more…)
Skyhouse is a house in the sky, a residential penthouse located at the summit of one of the earliest surviving skyscrapers in New York City and situated within the incomparable vertical cityscape of Lower Manhattan. The project involved the construction of a set of unique living spaces inside a decorative penthouse structure which had never before been used as a residence… The spaces of this residence and the vistas channeled through it ascend and descend through all four levels of the penthouse structure and into the three-dimensional cityscape surrounding it in every direction.
One of Toyo Ito’s most iconic building is undoubtedly the Sendai Mediatheque. The latest Pritzker laureate completed the building in 2001, a cultural media center allowing complete visibility and transparency to the surrounding community.
French director Richard Copans made this documentary on the Sendai Mediatheque that you can’t miss. You can watch part II and III after the break. And don’t forget to check our complete coverage on the 2013 Pritzker Prize winner.
Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) recently held a lecture featuring performance artist Marina Abromović alongside OMA principle Shohei Shigematsu in the anticipation of the Marina Abromović Institute for the Preservation of Performing Art (MAI) 2014 opening. In the lecture, Shigematsu speaks about the process in which they transformed a former theater in Hudson, New York, into a structure that’s capable of assisting the institute’s mission to develop new kinds of performance, while functioning as a space for preserving and hosting historic performance pieces. Shigematsu references OMA’s history of designing spaces that combine architecture and art, such as the Quebec National Museum and a recent collaboration with Kanye West.
More on this discussion after the break…
Fernando Romero is part of the new generation of young Mexican architects that have reshaped the profession in a country with a longstanding tradition.
Fernando studied at the Universidad Iberoamericana, and shortly after graduating went to Europe, ending up working at OMA where he became a project leader of the Porto House of Music (1996-1999). In 2000, he went back to Mexico where he established his own firm FR-EE which as of today has built more than ten million square feet, with offices in New York and Mexico City, and many on-going projects.
The practice has a strong focus on research, and the process of each building is the result of an integrated workflow with a multidisciplinary team. These processes are documented on a series of publications by the firm, including You Are the Context , launched at the Guggenheim a few months ago.
Some of his recent works include the G20 International Convention Center, the iconic Soumaya Museum and the Jumex Tower.
In this interview, Fernando shares with us his views on architecture, the role of the architect, and how he has setup this particular type of practice.
Intrigued by the hexagonal plan and complex structure of Shigeru Ban’s Centre Pompidou Metz in France, ANTIVJ visual artists Simon Geilfus and Yannick Jacquet, and composer Thomas Vaquié transformed the building’s undulating facade into a digital spectacular with a light show that “abolishes notions of scale by contrasting micro-architecture with human construction”. The piece was loosely inspired by the research of deep-sea expert Peter A. Rona, whose work explores the fascinating marks left by unknown, hexagonal-shaped sea creature called Paleodictyon Nodosum, which Rona believes is designed to cultivate bacteria.
Learn more and watch the making of after the break…
House T, designed by Hiroyuki Shinozaki Architects, is a unique two person house and office located in Tokyo, Japan. Considering the house is only accessible by a narrow alley and is surrounded on all sides by other buildings, the space was a major challenge for this design. However, the house turned out to be surprisingly airy and open thanks to having only one central column supporting catwalk floors that frame the limited space instead of occupying it. Each floor can be navigated using 4.6 foot tall openings and floors are connected by a stair or ladder, one of which leads to a roof terrace. Take a look at this video by JA+U and our earlier article for a better understanding of this novel space! (more…)
Charles and Ray Eames, the husband and wife duo, left an indelible mark on furniture design and modern architecture. Their work has been highly regarded for its invention and regard for the principles of modernism. This TEDx Talk, delivered by their grandson Eames Demetrios, humanizes these idolized designers – bringing family, and their early struggles as designers to the forefront of the conversation.With a collection of rarely seen footage, the TEDx Talk reveals Charles and Ray’s relationship and life prior to designing the famous Eames Chair.
More after the break, including a vintage video interview with the Eames.
Alastair Parvin, co-founder of WikiHouse gave his TED Talk last week (one of the many architecturally relevant talks at TED 2013). Although the video of his latest talk is not yet available, to whet your appetite we present you with his speech from last year at TED@London. In it he explains the conditions of architectural and material culture that led to the foundation of WikiHouse, an open source database of house designs that can be manufactured with a CNC cutter and assembled in a day.
Parvin says: “If design’s great project in the 20th century was actually the democratization of consumption… I believe design’s great project in the 21st century is the democratization of production.” Last year, the WikiHouse project was one winner of TED’s City 2.0 Awards.
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?