Disappointed that most architecture is built for the privileged, rather than society, Shigeru Ban has dedicated much of his career to building affordable, livable and safe emergency shelters for post-disaster areas. As described by TED:
Long before sustainability became a buzzword, architect Shigeru Ban had begun his experiments with ecologically-sound building materials such as cardboard tubes and paper. His remarkable structures are often intended as temporary housing, designed to help the dispossessed in disaster-struck nations such as Haiti, Rwanda, or Japan. Yet equally often the buildings remain a beloved part of the landscape long after they have served their intended purpose.
This Parisian ghost town in Tianducheng, China has become the archetype of China’s architectural copycat culture. Brought to light by the folks at The Atlantic Cities, this short video by German filmmaker Caspar Stracke accounts for an average day in this faux-Parisian development where less than 10,000 residents call home.
For more about China’s copycat culture, read Why China’s Copy-Cats Are Good For Architecture.
You asked, an expert Arup engineer has answered!
In the first of our video series with Arup, structural engineer Matt Clark addresses ArchDaily reader Hannah Worthington’s inquiry, submitted via our facebook page: “How do you work out the structural capacity of a tree branch to build a tree house?”
Dying to get your question answered in the next “Ask Arup” video? Ask away in the comments below.
Want to learn more from the experts at Arup? Check out Arup’s must-read site: Arup Connect.
With the help of crowdfunding, Luke Shepard journeyed with a friend through 36 cities in 21 countries over the course of three months to capture over 20,000 images of some of Europe’s greatest structures. The end product resulted in a four-minute film entitled Nightvision, which aims to inspire appreciation for the “brilliance and diversity of architecture found across Europe”.
The list of buildings featured in this film can be found on Shepard’s site here.
Since its opening in 2001, the ever inspiring Jewish Museum in Berlin has experienced the addition of the Studio Daniel Libeskind designed Glass Courtyard in 2007, and The Academy which was recently completed and opened in 2013. With the museum as the focus and inspiration driving these two recent additions, Spirit of Space took this opportunity to provide us with another look at this emotionally moving masterpiece. From the very beginning, Libeskind believed the extension to the museum was about establishing and securing an identity within Berlin, which was lost during WWII. In cinematic form, their film attempts to express the uneasy sequential essence of Libeskind’s work.
Miguel has shared with us another video, in a short-film format, with architecture as protagonist. The m.poli kiosks, designed by Brut Deluxe, were commissioned by the city of Madrid for temporary street fairs. More than 200 units sit in the outskirts of the city when unused, creating an abandoned suburbia-like landscape that serves as the stage for the short film.
Why Sustainability Has Nothing to Do with Architecture and Everything to Do with Integrity: A Lecture by Alejandro Aravena
At a lecture he delivered in April this year the 4th Holcim Forum 2013 in Mumbai, Pritzker Jury member and Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena approached sustainability from an unconventional angle. The key to achieving the “Economy of Sustainable Construction” (the title of this year’s Holcim Forum), Aravena claims, requires two things: “in this generation, more psychiatrists; in the next generations, more breasts.”
Yes, psychiatrists and breasts. How did Aravena come to this conclusion? Through his firm ELEMENTAL’s work in the earthquake- and tsunami-damaged Chilean city of Constitución, he realized that their biggest challenge for reconstructing and initiating changes in the built environment lay in the lack of integrity among decision-makers. In the lecture, Aravena proclaims: ”sustainability is nothing but the rigorous use of common sense.” By outlining a general list of points (established throughout years of designing an array of different projects in Chile and abroad), he reveals that projects that are truly ground-breaking or innovative, can and should, in fact, be traced back to general precepts that transcend sophisticated notions of architecture and the role of the architect.
Aravena contends that a person’s capacity to hold a particular view in private but abandon that view when it comes time to do business is the greatest testament to our (architects, politicians, developers, etc) endemic lack of integrity. “Integrity is, by it’s very definition, to be just one… Integrity is achieved when you are secure, and security comes from bonding.” It’s one thing to believe in the importance of building sustainably; it’s another thing to say “but business is business” while abandoning what one believes to be essential to effect change.
To a certain extent, it has been ably demonstrated that many of the hurdles barring truly sustainable practices spring from basic economic constraints. Until “sustainable” construction is cheaper than accepted and entrenched construction methods, we cannot reasonably expect that alternative practices can stand a chance at becoming commonplace. “There’s not doubt that there is a value in sustainable construction, but the way things are today we must pay a higher cost to achieve that value.” And so, through the provision of psychotherapy for the current generation, and with the focus on bonding between parent and child, it is Aravena’s hope that the improvement of the current state of affairs resides in a basic, undeniable form of education that is separate from a technical understanding of the practice of architecture and building. In stepping back and considering a much larger and formative issue, he concludes that ”the way to lower carbon emissions is through oxytocin.”
Alix Bossard shares this must-watch video that outlines Le Corbusier’s five revolutionary principles of modern architecture. Using gorgeous motion design, the video briefly introduces us to everything from le Modulor to Villa Savoye and Les Cités Radieuses. Enjoy this two-minute recap of the career of one this century’s most influential architects.
Urban explorer The Unknown Cameraman takes us inside an abandoned Futuro House, one of the roughly hundred that were constructed in the 1960s/1970s. Shot around “various undisclosed locations in New Jersey” the video shows the futuristic saucer-shaped prefabricated dwelling made of fiberglass-reinforced polyester plastic. Matti Suuronen, the Finn who conceived of the hatched house, thought of it as the ideal ski cabin (that could be plopped down and easily removed, regardless of the roughness of a given terrain).
Legendary American architect Steven Holl has collaborated again with Spirit of Space to produce two short videos on the recently completed Campbell Sports Center in New York City. While always compelling to hear an architect discuss a project, these videos integrate the architect’s narration with different dynamic shots of the building’s detail and context, thus truly immersing the viewer in the project.
The first video (above) features Steven Holl and senior partner Chris McVoy explaining the project’s inspiration, design concept and program; simultaneously, the filmmakers take us into the space and show how the new athletic facility is being used by the student athletes. The second, shorter, video (after the break) shows the building in the city, revealing the fascinatingly complex relationship between the passing subway cars, the field hockey players, the movement of shadows and the building itself.
See the second video, after the break…
Building a skyscraper? Forget about steel and concrete, architect Michael Green says build it out of wood. As he details in this intriguing talk, it’s not only possible to build safe wooden structures up to 30 stories tall (and, he hopes, higher), it’s necessary.
Read more about Green’s ‘Case for Tall Buildings’ here and share your comments below.
On the occasion of James Turrell‘s new site-specific installation at the Guggenheim, the American artist joined Michael Govan, Director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and co-curator of James Turrell: A Retrospective, in conversation about the different aspects of the artist’s singular oeuvre on view in three concurrent exhibitions in Houston, Los Angeles, and New York.
Imagine a pervious asphalt that not only significantly reduces noise pollution, but saves millions in maintenance and repairs by its ability to self-heal. Well, this type of super-asphalt is not far from being distributed world-wide as experimental micromechanic pioneer Erik Schlangen of Delft Technical University has been studying the material’s potential on a test track in The Netherland’s for the past few years.
Basically, with the introduction of small steel wool fibers, Self Healing Asphalt is capable of repairing micro-cracks and significantly extending the service life of roadways by self-healing through induction heating. Similarly, Schlangen is leading the research on Self Healing Concrete, where by infusing concrete with a harmless limestone-producing bacteria that feeds off of calcium lactate – a component of milk – the material has the potential to self-heal micro-cracks in the presence of rainwater.
A few weeks ago, investors, business leaders, real estate developers, politicians, architects, urban planners, landscape architects, experts in transportation, innovation, engineers, economists, financiers, community organizers, scientists, artists, students and those with an active interest in urban development gathered in Prague to attend the reSITE Conference. As part of the conference, Cecil Balmond– formerly of Arup Engineers and currently leading Balmond Studio in London — led a two-stage international design competition workshop to imagine the future mobile event pavilion. (Stay tuned, we’ll be posting these results soon!)
Our media partner sat down with Balmond and asked him a few questions relating to the design competition workshop. In the interview, Balmond speaks about his work with pavilions and their importance as catalysts not only for architecture, but also for the city at large. With the opportunity to experiement with materials and systems of assembly, pavilions have informed his work on larger structures. Hear what Balmond is focusing on in his research-based practice and find out more about his collaborative projects in the video.
A little over thirty years ago, Shanghai was a fairly dense, mid-rise city with no skyscrapers. Now, Shanghai has been transformed into a global metropolis with over 4,000 skyscrapers – twice as many as New York. In an attempt to capture the “diversities and eccentricities of the metropolis that is Shanghai beyond the famous skyline,” photographer Rob Whitworth and urban identity expert JT Singh joined forces to create ‘This is Shanghai.’
To mark the occasion of World Refugee Day on June 20th, the IKEA Foundation announced an important new collaboration with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the Refugee Housing Unit to design a new type of shelter which will replace the outdated tents currently in use in refugee camps worldwide.
As you’d expect from IKEA, the result is a flat-packed, modular design (ideal for cheaply transporting to refugee camps) that can be assembled in 4 hours. Though it is expected to cost about twice as much, it will last much longer than the tents, which must be replaced roughly every six months – a particularly important improvement, as the average family stays in a refugee camp for 12 years.
The design also carries a number of other advantages, such as increased space and privacy, better temperature control and enough solar energy to power a light in the evening. The design is currently being tested in Ethiopia before being deployed worldwide, however, this is not the end of IKEA’s collaboration with UNHCR. These shelters are just the first part of a long-term collaboration which will hopefully provide healthcare and education – and ultimately a better quality of life for the world’s refugees.
More coverage of architecture’s involvement in refugee aid, after the break.
Zaha Hadid Architects worked together with design offices Kollision, CAVI and Wahlberg to create the interactive installation ‘Parametric Space’ for the exhibition ‘Zaha Hadid – World Architecture‘, which is on view at the Danish Architecture Centre through September 29, 2013. The installation is a fully parametric space that reacts to the visitors’ movements by changing shape and expression. Learn more after the break.