London is the world’s most expensive city to build in, but the reasons may surprise you. The city is well known for its high cost of living despite being far less crowded than cities such as Tokyo and New York. In fact, commercial real estate in London’s West End costs nearly twice as much as similarly sized spaces on New York’s Madison Avenue.
This video from the Economist reveals how these high costs arise thanks to the city’s historic infrastructure. Vast networks of underground tunnels, unexploded World War II bombs, ancient Roman ruins, and narrow medieval roads all make construction in the city a highly specialized endeavor. These difficulties, combined with strict historical preservation regulations drive up costs even more. However, architects and developers are not deterred, and are willing to pay high prices for the privilege of building in London.
Inspired by an article written by Michael Hebbert in 1993, Chris Bevan Lee’s forty minute documentary explores the elevated post-war infrastructural redevelopment of the City of London, fragments of which still stand across the square mile today. The Pedway: Elevating London examines London planners’ attempt to build an ambitious network of elevated walkways through the city that largely never saw completion. In a carefully produced film those ’pedways’ that remain are photographed and discussed as symbols of a utopia that almost was.
Imagine yourself standing at a glowing threshold between reality and make believe, watching as mythical creatures dash across trees and into other dimensions. Imagine a world where the glimmer of fairies is reflected on a forest floor illuminated by trees of all colours; a world where a sea of stars transforms into an imaginary wolf, standing sentinel over its fairy tale universe. This enchanted world exists, thanks to the creatives at Moment Factory. In their Foresta Lumina video mapping project, they create a narrative installation set in the mysterious backwoods of Quebec, Canada. Find out how they add a little fantasy to ordinary reality after the break.
Have you ever treated a famous city like your very own sketchbook? Claire and Max of Menilmonde did just that. The duo re-envisioned the buildings and monuments of Paris by capturing the lower stories through video and sketching imaginary additions in a project that viscerally challenges pre-conceived attitudes towards iconic structures. Take a walk through the City of Love and experience it anew as a work of art.
Our friends at Crane.tv have brought you the designers of a fascinating new addition to Azerbaijan’s booming architectural landscape. Istanbul based design firm Autoban undertook the immense challenge to design the entire interior of Baku, Azerbaijan’s Heydar Aliyev International Airport. Following the commitment that “architecture and interior design should tell the same story,” the firm drew inspiration from the structure and form of the building, one of many that, thanks to such stars as Zaha Hadid’s Heydar Aliyev Center and HOK’s Flame Towers, is putting Baku on the global architectural map. Valuing hospitality and the beauty of experience, Autoban designs a terminal that encourages the soaring building to embrace the intimate human scale.
Five of history’s most iconic modern houses are re-created as illustrations in this two-minute video created by Matteo Muci. Set to the tune of cleverly timed, light-hearted music, the animation constructs the houses piece-by-piece on playful pastel backgrounds. The five homes featured in the short but sweet video are Le Courbusier’s Villa Savoye, Gerrit Rietveld’s Rietveld Schröder House, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House, Philip Johnson’s Glass House and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater.
Steven Holl Architects, in collaboration with Spirit of Space, have created two short films of the recently completed Seona Reid Building at Glasgow School of Art. The film series explores the complementary contrast of the new Reid Building and Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s 1909 building (which recently suffered a devastating fire), where “each work of architecture heightens the integral qualities of the other.”
The first film takes the viewers on a “poetic climb” up and through the building’s social circuit, which “purposefully encourages inter-disciplinary activity, with the hope to inspire positive energy for the future of art.” The second film unpacks the design of the Reid Building in a conversation with design architects Steven Holl and Chris McVoy.
Umbrellium is a team of architects, designers, commercial experts, producers and creative technologists that create and commercialise participatory products and services that empower people to transform their cities. This video is about Assemblance, where Kinetic sensors and lasers allow for a truly interactive light experience.
Construction is underway for OMA’s Taipei’s Performing Arts Center! The project, started back in 2012, has generated a buzz in the architecture community for its peculiar form. Conceived as a number of theaters intersecting as a group of three simple geometries, the Performing Arts Center will provide flexible stage space to host experimental theater and art performances. This video—filmed by a drone—shows some of the preliminary structure that has already been erected. The building is expected to be completed in 2015.
Lightning doesn’t strike twice in the same place – or so goes the saying. But if you’ve ever watched a skyscraper in a storm, you probably know that this saying isn’t exactly true. What might be a little more rare is lightning striking three places at once, but thanks to this amazing timelapse video by Craig Shimala we now know that this too is possible, as the lightning rods on Chicago‘s Willis Tower, Trump Tower and John Hancock Center are all hit simultaneously (keep an eye out at the 36-second mark, and see the still image after the break). Perhaps the most amazing thing of all is that this is the second time Shimala has recorded this exact occurrence – you can also see his video from 2010 after the break.
In this extended interview by the Architectural Review, Charles Jencks provides an in-depth description of the 2014 Venice Biennale and critiques his former student Rem Koolhaas’ overall curation and theme: Fundamentals.
Arguing that the previous thirteen Biennales have, “more or less, tried to predict what is going to happen over the next five years,” ”Rem Koolhaas has changed the paradigm:” Rem’s Biennale is about “the past of the present”. Jencks, who describes Koolhaas as ”the Corbusier of our time”, suggests that his Biennale is about analysis rather than total synthesis. He has, however, “shown that research can be creative.”
In this TEDxTalk, the follow up to his popular TED Talk, “The Walkable City,” urban planner Jeff Speck delves more deeply into his “General Theory of Walkability.” The theory maintains there are four ground rules for increasing pedestrian traffic in urban areas: walking must be safe, comfortable, interesting, and – most importantly – there must be a reason to walk in the first place. Counterpointing this with America’s fixation with accommodating the automobile, Speck shows us how beneficial a pedestrian city can be, both functionally and aesthetically.
In this video from our friends at Spirit of Space, Daniel Libeskind talks about his installation for the Venice Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Biennale, entitled ‘Sonnets in Babylon’. The installation deals with drawing, an act that Libeskind believes is “the foundational art, and the mystery and the magic of all buildings and cities.” To Libeskind, drawings are akin to religious materials, communicating meaning without the use of a fixed language and each with its own power to shape the way we understand the world around us. At the end he gives a hint as to why he is so attached to drawings: ”I drew for many years before I even built a building. But I based those buildings that I built on the drawings I made… Every drawing is also a tool for the future.”
As part of “Time Space Existence” at the Venice Biennale — the exhibition which has brought over 100 architects, including Norman Foster, Eduardo Souto de Moura, and Ricardo Bofill, together — the young Spanish architect, Alejandro Beautell, presents the installation: “about architecture_without capital letters.”
Beautell’s video, which explores his recent works completed in the Canary Islands (including ArchDaily 2014 Building of the Year, St. John Baptist Chapel), provokes the viewer to consider the essence of architecture, smaller scales, and the tradition inherent in the architectural profession.
Enjoy the video above and make sure to revisit Beautell’s stunning Building of the Year, the St. John Baptist Chapel.
The Pre-Fabricated Skyscraper & The Clean-Tech Utopia: Two Game-Changing, Sustainable Proposals in China
How can the city be reinvented to save the world? Chinese business magnate Zhang Yue and Finnish professor Eero Paloheimo are two men with very contrasting answers to this loaded question. Zhang Yue’s answer puts trust in pre-fabricated, high-density vertical development, whereas Paloheimo envisions a built-from-scratch, clean-tech sprawling utopia. Their grand ideas, met with both skepticism and excitement, are documented in a new film by Anna-Karin Grönroos. To watch the trailer and learn more about the bold proposals, continue after the break.
One of the 100 architects and offices taking part in the “Time Space Existence” exhibition, running parallel to the Venice Biennale, Studio MK27‘s Marcio Kogan has contributed to the exhibition with five videos that, often comedically and/or dramatically, portray the daily lives of the residents of his works.
Produced by Pedro Kok and Gabriel Kogan, the above video, titled That was not my dream, shows Casa Redux, a house located in Itatiba, Brazil.
The narrator tells the story of the house and how his ex-wife fell in love with its sober, cool and modern lines (as she simultaneously fell out of love with him). As the video lovingly captures each detail and material of the home, the narrator, critical of the house and of modern architecture in general, asks: ”Who would want that kind of house – cold, dull, lifeless?”