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Exhibition: What Models Can Do

A new exhibition in Germany looks at the history of the architectural model in contemporary art. It begins with a legendary model by Charles Simonds, covers the 1990s with Ludger Gerdes, Hermann Pitz and Thomas Schütte, and ends up in the present day with Alicia Framis, Hinrich Sachs and Carlos Garaicoa.

AD Classics: Wohnhaus Schlesisches Tor (Bonjour Tristesse) / Álvaro Siza Vieira + Peter Brinkert

Bonjour Tristesse is a social housing project designed by Portuguese Architect Álvaro Siza Vieira. Located in Berlin, the project was Siza’s first built work outside of his native country.  Siza’s design offers a meaningful precedent in urban densification, demonstrating a delicate balance between contextual awareness, creative freedom, and progressive vision.

Project site before construction. Image © Flickr user Hen's March © Flickr user Humberto Marum © Flickr user lortnoc © Flickr user jaime.silva

House 9,74 x 9,74 / f m b architekten

Courtesy of f m b architekten Courtesy of f m b architekten Courtesy of f m b architekten Courtesy of f m b architekten

Arup's Latest Solar Panels Produce Energy From Algae

A view behind the BIQ House Solarleaf panels.  Image via GOOD. Image
A view behind the BIQ House Solarleaf panels. Image via GOOD. Image

Architects have been experimenting with the potential of building envelopes for years. Now, Arup has an interesting, Zumtobel Group Award-nominated proposal: the Solarleaf bioreactor. Developed in collaboration with SSC Strategic Science Consult GmbH and Colt International GmbH, this thin, 2.5 x .07 meter panel, when attached to the exterior of a building, is capable of generating biofuel - in the form of algae - for the production of hot water. More efficient than electricity and more sustainable than wood, algae is ideal kindling for producing heat, especially since it can be grown on-site. Moreover, the water in which the algae grows also collects solar energy, providing an additional supply of heat. More details on this sustainable innovation, after the break. 


© Dorfmüller/Kröger/Klier
© Dorfmüller/Kröger/Klier

© Dorfmüller/Kröger/Klier © Dorfmüller/Kröger/Klier © Dorfmüller/Kröger/Klier © Dorfmüller/Kröger/Klier

Gerstäckerstreet / KBNK

© Carsten Brügmann
© Carsten Brügmann
  • Architects: KBNK
  • Location: Gerstäckerstraße 9, 20459 Hamburg, Germany
  • Area: 6450.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2012
  • Photographs: Carsten Brügmann

© Carsten Brügmann © Carsten Brügmann © Carsten Brügmann © Carsten Brügmann

Gehry's Berlin Skyscraper May Be Too Heavy for Alexanderplatz

After winning the design competition for Germany's tallest apartment tower in January, Frank Gehry's project for the building on Alexanderplatz has already run into problems over fears that the 150-metre building could be too heavy for its site. The German edition of the Local is reporting that Berlin's Senate has placed the plans on hold because of the building's proximity to the U5 branch of the U-Bahn tunnel, which it fears could be crushed under the weight.

More on the story after the break

Administrative Headquarters RBSUM / KBNK

© Dorfmüller/Kröger/Klier
© Dorfmüller/Kröger/Klier

© Dorfmüller/Kröger/Klier © Dorfmüller/Kröger/Klier © Dorfmüller/Kröger/Klier © Dorfmüller/Kröger/Klier

Spotlight: Frei Otto

© Ingenhoven und Partner Architekten, Düsseldorf
© Ingenhoven und Partner Architekten, Düsseldorf

German architect and structural engineer Frei Otto (31 May 1925 – 9 March 2015) was well known for his pioneering innovations in lightweight and tensile structures. Shortly before his death in 2015 he was awarded the Pritzker Prize and prior to that he was awarded the RIBA Royal Gold Medal in 2006. Much of his research in lightweight structures is as relevant today as when he first proposed them over 60 years ago, and his work continues to inform architects and engineers to this day.

German Pavilion, Expo ’67. Image © Atelier Frei Otto Warmbronn Diplomatic Club Heart Tent. Image © Atelier Frei Otto Warmbronn Aviary at the Munich Zoo. Image © Atelier Frei Otto Warmbronn Japan Pavilion, Expo 2000. Image © Atelier Frei Otto Warmbronn

Park Linné / kister scheithauer gross architekten

  • Architects: kister scheithauer gross architekten
  • Location: Eupener Straße, 50933 Cologne, Germany
  • Design/responsible partner: Prof. Johannes Kister
  • Design Team: Ruth Hofmann, Astrid Kunz, Magdalena Mazurkiewicz
  • Area: 24309.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2014
  • Photographs: Yohan Zerdoun

© Yohan Zerdoun © Yohan Zerdoun © Yohan Zerdoun © Yohan Zerdoun

Tempelhof Airport Plans Denied by Berlin Voters

A plan to build 4,700 homes on the site of Berlin's Tempelhof Airport was blocked by voters this weekend. The airport, which was built in the 1920s and has a long history as a key site during World War Two and the Cold War, was closed in 2008 and there has since been a debate over what to with the vast site, including a 2011 competition to transform it into a park and other facilities, and an outlandish unofficial plan in 2009 to create a 1km high mountain on the site.

However perhaps the the most popular idea has also been the simplest: in 2010, the airport was opened to the public without any changes, and become an impromptu urban park popular with kite-flyers and roller-bladers who circle the site's runways.

Read on for more on the story

Bauhaus Masters' Houses Restored, Now Open to Public

The Bauhaus school of design has made an indelible mark on the world of architecture, one that is still felt almost seventy years after its closing. After moving the school from Weimar to Dessau in 1925 to avoid confrontation with the Nazis, founder Walter Gropius designed a series of semi-detached homes for the design masters teaching at the Bauhaus. This small neighborhood, nestled in a pine forest near the school building itself, was an idyllic home for the likes of Lyonel Feininger, Oskar Schlemmer, and Gropius himself. They were abandoned in the 1930s as Germany plunged into war, and suffered years of damage from military conflict and neglect. Renovations to the houses began in 1990, and now, 24 years later, the Bauhaus meisterhäuser have been completely reopened.

GRAFT + Kleihues+Kleihues Design Work/Live Housing in Berlin

GRAFT and Kleihues+Kleihues has teamed up with Genossenschaft für urbane Kreativität (Cooperative for urban Creativity) to realize a complex of five towers centered around working and living in Berlin, Germany. Titled “Eckwerk,” the new complex is set to rise within the confines of an existing viaduct, whose shape and materiality served as the project’s main source of inspiration. 

J. Mayer H. Wins Competition to Design Berlin "Experience Center"

J. Mayer H. has won an invited competition to design “Volt Berlin,” a new “shopping and urban experience” center near Berlin’s Alexanderplatz. The winning scheme offers a variety of experiential offerings, including multi-brand shopping, an indoor skydiving and event space, and a 7,500 square meter hotel, all within a single cubed complex whose organization is based off an uneven grid. 

  • Architects: J. Mayer H. Architects
  • Location: Alexanderplatz, 10178 Berlin, Germany
  • Architect in Charge: Jürgen Mayer H.
  • Competition Team: Christoph Emenlauer, Simon Kassner, Bart van den Hoven, Mehrdad Mashaie, Mael Kang, Paul Angelier, Julien Sarale
  • Area: 29500.0 sqm
  • Photographs: J. Mayer H.

Burkhardt Leitner constructiv exhibition / Ippolito Fleitz Group

© Zooey Braun © Zooey Braun © Zooey Braun © Zooey Braun

Parking Garage / Birk Heilmeyer und Frenzel Architekten

Ernsting's family is branch enterprise of the textile industry based in the Coesfeld Lette (Westphalia). Continuous growing of the enterprise led to new buildings, which supplement the existing distribution centre of Santiago Calatrava and Bruno Reichlin from the early 1980s. Architect Johannes Schilling added another distribution centre in 1999. The company’s new service centre designed by David Chipperfield was completed in 2001. All buildings are situated in a green campus, for which the Belgian landscape architect Peter Wirtz is responsible.