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Crafting Urban Life in Three Dimensions: An Interview with Adam Snow Frampton by James Schrader

01:00 - 20 May, 2014
Crafting Urban Life in Three Dimensions: An Interview with Adam Snow Frampton by James Schrader, Footbridge in Central, Hong Kong. Image by Adam Frampton
Footbridge in Central, Hong Kong. Image by Adam Frampton

The following are excerpts from one of 41 interviews that student researchers at the Strelka Institute are publishing as part of the Future Urbanism Project. In this interview, James Schrader speaks with Adam Snow Frampton, the co-author of Cities Without Ground and the Principal of Only If, a New York City-based practice for architecture and urbanism. They discuss his work with OMA, the difference between Western and Asian cities, his experiences opening a new firm in New York, and the future of design on an urban scale.

James Schrader: Before we get to future urbanism, I thought it would be interesting to look a bit into your past. Could you tell me about where your interest in cities came from? Were there any formative moments that led to your fascination with cities?

Adam Snow Frampton: I was always interested in cities, but not necessarily exposed to much planning at school. When I went to work at OMA Rotterdam, I was engaged in a lot of large-scale projects, mostly in the Middle East and increasingly in Asia, where there was an opportunity to plan cities at a bigger scale. In the Netherlands, there’s not necessarily more construction than in the US, but there is a tradition of thinking big and a tendency to plan. For instance, many Dutch design offices like OMA, West 8, and MVRDV have done master plans for the whole country.

House in Dawanglu / Tsutsumi & Associates

01:00 - 20 May, 2014
House in Dawanglu / Tsutsumi & Associates, © Misae Hiromatsu
© Misae Hiromatsu

© Misae Hiromatsu © Misae Hiromatsu © Misae Hiromatsu © Misae Hiromatsu +14

5 Architects Envision New Port of Kinmen

00:00 - 16 May, 2014
5 Architects Envision New Port of Kinmen, First Prize: Junya Ishigami + Associates (Japan). Image Courtesy of Kinmen Harbor Bureau
First Prize: Junya Ishigami + Associates (Japan). Image Courtesy of Kinmen Harbor Bureau

The culmination of an international competition for Kinmen County has resulted in five winning and honorable mention schemes that promise to use architecture as a means of elevating the county’s national identify as a maritime gateway. Responding to the need for expansion and the desire to establish the port as a tourism and recreation destination, the Kinmen Harbor Bureau challenged architects to a two-stage competition for an energy-smart, low-carbon, and possibly expandable port that could host a variety of passenger services. 

Preview the winning results, after the break...

Aimé Patisserie / LUKSTUDIO

01:00 - 15 May, 2014
Aimé Patisserie / LUKSTUDIO, © Peter Dixie
© Peter Dixie

© Peter Dixie © Peter Dixie © Peter Dixie © Peter Dixie +15

  • Architects

  • Location

    Huaihai Middle Road 697 Long Unit (North Gate), 697弄 Huaihai Middle Road, Huaihai Road Middle Section, Huangpu, China, 200000
  • Design Team

    Christina Luk, Mavis Li, Wesley Shu, Scott Baker, Jaycee Chui
  • Area

    63.0 sqm
  • Project Year

    2014
  • Photographs

ZHOUSHI Culture & Sports Center / UDG YangZheng Studio

01:00 - 4 May, 2014
ZHOUSHI Culture & Sports Center / UDG YangZheng Studio, © Su Shengliang
© Su Shengliang

© Su Shengliang © Su Shengliang © Su Shengliang © Su Shengliang +31

  • Architects

  • Location

    Kunshan, Suzhou, Jiangsu, China
  • Architect in Charge

    Yang Zheng, Zhang Yu
  • Design Team

    Team:Zhou Song、Liu Yanlin、Zhong Kai、Qian Qian
  • Area

    31387.0 sqm
  • Project Year

    2013
  • Photographs

City of Imagination: Kowloon Walled City 20 Years Later

00:00 - 2 May, 2014

Twenty years ago, one of the world’s most unusual and unexpected pieces of architecture was razed to the ground: Hong Kong’s Kowloon Walled City, the most densely populated area on earth. Squalid, dark, and labyrinthine, the informal city was not only a hotbed for organized crime, but also a vibrant community of commerce and hope. Now, the Wall Street Journal has released this short documentary, bringing the city back to life and revealing why it holds a special place in world culture today.

Fuzhou Wusibei Thaihot Plaza / Spark Architects

01:00 - 1 May, 2014
Fuzhou Wusibei Thaihot Plaza / Spark Architects, © Shu He
© Shu He

© Shu He © Shu He © Shu He © Shu He +30

  • Architects

  • Location

    Fuzhou, Fujian, China
  • Project Director

    Jan Felix Clostermann Team: Mingyin Tan, Christian Taeubert, Jian Yun Wu, Ben de Lange, Emer Loraine, Wang Haiyan Leo Micolta, Cary Cheng Client: Thaihot Group
  • Area

    300000.0 sqm
  • Project Year

    2014
  • Photographs

Vanke New City Center Sales Gallery / Spark Architects

01:00 - 28 April, 2014
Vanke New City Center Sales Gallery  / Spark Architects, © Shu He
© Shu He

© Shu He © Shu He © Shu He © Shu He +23

  • Architects

  • Location

    Nanjing, Jiangsu, China
  • Project Director

    Stephen Pimbley
  • Area

    800.0 sqm
  • Project Year

    2014
  • Photographs

The Pinch Library And Community Center / Olivier Ottevaere + John Lin

01:00 - 25 April, 2014
The Pinch Library And Community Center / Olivier Ottevaere + John Lin, Courtesy of Olivier Ottevaere + John Lin
Courtesy of Olivier Ottevaere + John Lin

Courtesy of Olivier Ottevaere + John Lin Courtesy of Olivier Ottevaere + John Lin Courtesy of Olivier Ottevaere + John Lin Courtesy of Olivier Ottevaere + John Lin +37

  • Architects

  • Location

    Yunnan, China
  • Project Team

    Crystal Kwan (Project Manager), Ashley Hinchcliffe, Connie Cheng, Johnny Cullinan, Jacky Huang
  • Area

    80.0 sqm
  • Project Year

    2014
  • Photographs

    Courtesy of Olivier Ottevaere + John Lin

The Forbidden City Red-wall Teahouse / CutscapeArchitecture

01:00 - 25 April, 2014
The Forbidden City Red-wall Teahouse / CutscapeArchitecture, © Wang Yi
© Wang Yi

© Zhang Hetian © Wang Yi © Wang Yi © Wang Yi +24

  • Architects

  • Location

    Beijing, China
  • Architect in Charge

    Hong ZHANG, Hetian ZHANG
  • Design Team

    Cheng ZHANG, Hongbin PAN, Cheng LIAN, Ziyue LIU, Penghao AN, Jihua SUN, Jie JING, Xiaowei HAN
  • Area

    280.0 sqm
  • Project Year

    2014
  • Photographs

Chinese Firm 3D Prints 10 Homes in 24 Hours

00:00 - 17 April, 2014
Chinese Firm 3D Prints 10 Homes in 24 Hours, Workmen assembling one of Winsun's printed walls.  Image courtesy of Wall Street Journal
Workmen assembling one of Winsun's printed walls. Image courtesy of Wall Street Journal

Winsun New Materials, a construction firm based in Suzhou, China, has successfully built ten small-scale houses using a massive 3-D printer. The 22 foot tall machine uses glass fibers and cement to produce building elements, such as walls, in successive layers. Winsun estimates that their printing process is approximately half as costly as traditional construction methods. Acknowledging China’s strict environmental policies, the company also has plans to use scrapped construction materials to print future buildings. You can read more about this ongoing project in this article from the Wall Street Journal.

Chinese to Build "Dubai 2.0" in Kenya

00:00 - 14 April, 2014
Chinese to Build "Dubai 2.0" in Kenya, The new city is planned for land South-East of Kenya's Capital, Nairobi. Image © Flickr CC User DEMOSH
The new city is planned for land South-East of Kenya's Capital, Nairobi. Image © Flickr CC User DEMOSH

As reported by Kenya's Daily Nation newspaper, a group of Chinese investors has revealed plans for a new city in Kenya that will "match the splendour of Dubai". Though the investors are still resolving details with the Kenyan government, the city is planned for an area in Athi River, around 30km south-east of Nairobi, and is billed as a Chinese-controlled economic zone. At this early stage, the plans feature at least 20 skyscrapers. You can find more details of the proposal here.

Architecture Studio in Wujigeng Building / ISO workshop

01:00 - 14 April, 2014
Architecture Studio in Wujigeng Building / ISO workshop, © Yao Li
© Yao Li

© Yao Li © Yao Li © Yao Li © Yao Li +15

  • Architects

  • Location

    Nanjing, Jiangsu, China
  • Architect in Charge

    Qi Wei
  • Area

    2000.0 sqm
  • Project Year

    2013
  • Photographs

Tianjin Qiaoyuan Bridge Culture Museum / Sunlay

01:00 - 12 April, 2014
Tianjin Qiaoyuan Bridge Culture Museum / Sunlay, Courtesy of Sunlay
Courtesy of Sunlay

Courtesy of Sunlay Courtesy of Sunlay Courtesy of Sunlay Courtesy of Sunlay +18

  • Architects

  • Location

    Tianjin, China
  • Design Team

    Zhang Hua
  • Area

    2220.0 sqm
  • Project Year

    2008
  • Photographs

    Courtesy of Sunlay

Basketball Stadium in Dongguan / gmp architekten

01:00 - 11 April, 2014
Basketball Stadium in Dongguan / gmp architekten, © Christian Gahl
© Christian Gahl

© Christian Gahl © Christian Gahl © Christian Gahl © Christian Gahl +11

  • Architects

  • Location

    Dongguan, Guangdong, China
  • Design

    Meinhard von Gerkan and Stephan Schütz with Stephan Rewolle
  • Project Manager

    Katina Roloff
  • Client

    Dongguan Civil Construction Administration Office
  • Seats

    14,730
  • Area

    60600.0 sqm
  • Project Year

    2014
  • Photographs

Kangka Zhouzhuang Tourist Resort Aquatic Club / UDG China

01:00 - 11 April, 2014
Kangka Zhouzhuang Tourist Resort Aquatic Club / UDG China, © Yao Li
© Yao Li

© Yao Li © Yao Li © Yao Li © Yao Li +15

  • Architects

  • Location

    Zhouzhuangzhen, Kunshan, Suzhou, Jiangsu, China, 215325
  • Architect in Charge

    Qian Qiang, Li Xiaojian, Bernd Lederle, Feng Haihua, Li Chencheng, Bi Yifei, Tanase yo shoji, Satoshi Morita, Chen Hongbin, Simone De Gradi
  • Area

    1800.0 sqm
  • Photographs

The Architecture of Kowloon Walled City: An Excerpt from 'City of Darkness Revisited'

01:00 - 10 April, 2014
The Architecture of Kowloon Walled City: An Excerpt from 'City of Darkness Revisited', Courtesy of 'City of Darkness Revisited'
Courtesy of 'City of Darkness Revisited'

In light of the release of a second, revised edition of City of Darkness -- the authoritative text on Kowloon Walled City, which you can help Kickstart here -- authors Greg Girard and Ian Lambot have shared an excerpt from City of Darkness Revisited

The early phases of the Walled City were characterised by predictable building typologies and the buildings were constructed on the principle of squatters’ rights, with random construction on spots of available land by whoever got there first. Alleyways and passages evolved – unplanned – into the established ‘map’ of the City, which would remain until it came down. A basic electric supply existed, increasingly burdened by illegal connections that frequently overloaded the system, and the few standpipes supplied the only water. As the need to accommodate the ever growing residential and commercial populations forced it to in the 1960s, the building typology of the Walled City made the leap from two- to three-storey residential structures to taller, six- to seven-storey ones. This represented an important threshold, because at these greater heights the buildings unavoidably became more complex and required greater labour to realise, reinforced concrete, more investment, and so on. They also required a different way of living. Water had to be transported up to the higher floors by hand. Likewise the propane gas canisters that furnished fuel to cook or heat water.

Courtesy of 'City of Darkness Revisited' Courtesy of 'City of Darkness Revisited' Courtesy of 'City of Darkness Revisited' Courtesy of 'City of Darkness Revisited' +10

The Screen / Li Xiaodong Atelier

01:00 - 9 April, 2014
The Screen / Li Xiaodong Atelier , © Martijn de Geus
© Martijn de Geus

© Martijn de Geus © Martijn de Geus © Martijn de Geus © Martijn de Geus +20

  • Architects

  • Location

    Ningbo, Zhejiang, China
  • Architect in Charge

    Li Xiaodong
  • Design Team

    Martijn de Geus, Jerry Hau, Ying Xin, Renske van Dam
  • Cost

    8 million RMB
  • Area

    600.0 sqm
  • Project Year

    2013
  • Photographs