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AD Essentials: 3D Printing

This article is part of ArchDaily Essentials, a series of articles which give you an overview of architecture's most important topics by connecting together some of our best articles from the past. To find out more about ArchDaily Essentials, click here; or discover all of our articles in the series here.

AD Essentials: China

This article is part of ArchDaily Essentials, a series of articles which give you an overview of architecture's most important topics by connecting together some of our best articles from the past. To find out more about ArchDaily Essentials, click here; or discover all of our articles in the series here.

AD Essentials: Postmodernism

This article is part of ArchDaily Essentials, a series of articles which give you an overview of architecture's most important topics by connecting together some of our best articles from the past. To find out more about ArchDaily Essentials, click here; or discover all of our articles in the series here.

By the mid point of the twentieth century, the clean lines of the International Style and the stripped utilitarianism of functionalism were becoming increasingly common in American and European cities. Created out of a wholesale rethink of core modernist values, Postmodern architecture came as part of a philosophical shift that was just as all-encompassing as the Modernism it sought to replace; aiming to revive historical or traditional ideas and bring a more contextual approach to design. A critical elite who never really left modernism often condemned postmodernism as tacky, regressive or pandering to popular opinion; but after something of a resurgence of modernism in recent years, what’s the value of postmodernism to contemporary thinking?

AD Essentials: Modernism

This article is part of ArchDaily Essentials, a series of articles which give you an overview of architecture's most important topics by connecting together some of our best articles from the past. To find out more about ArchDaily Essentials, click here; or discover all of our articles in the series here.

The world that Modernism was born from is no longer a world that we recognize, yet Modernism - as a style and a philosophy - still dominates so much of architectural discourse today. At its brightest the movement's original utopian ideals still shine through, and the appreciation for simplicity and material still forms a hold on the popular consciousness of much of the world. But after nearly a century since the founding of the Bauhaus, the Chicago Tribune Competition, and the publication of Le Corbusier's Vers Un Architecture, many of the most basic principles of Modernism have come into question, and its most controversial contributions are being re-evaluated. How can we understand Modernism now, and how should we use it?

AD Essentials: Sustainability

This article is part of ArchDaily Essentials, a series of articles which give you an overview of architecture's most important topics by connecting together some of our best articles from the past. To find out more about ArchDaily Essentials, click here; or discover all of our articles in the series here.

When the term “sustainability” is brought up in architectural discourse, everyone seems to have a different opinion on the matter. Sustainability is wrought with controversy politically, economically, socially and pedagogically, and while the definition has shifted over time, many new branches of design have developed from sustainability with the aim of driving progressive and innovative change in the world. But what exactly is sustainability, and how do we encounter it in the architectural world?

Introducing ArchDaily Essentials

Since it was founded in 2008, ArchDaily has gotten pretty big. At over 18,000 projects and over 33,000 total articles (to date), the number of pages, images and words that collectively form the ArchDaily website is mind-boggling. In our newsroom you'll often hear references to "the iceberg" - in other words, what you see on the homepage is just a fraction of ArchDaily, while the rest lurks beneath the surface, waiting to be discovered. As editors, one of our biggest challenges is to help you discover it.

We already have a few methods in place to enable this: on our Facebook page we often post older articles or projects that have proven to be popular in the past, and one of the biggest benefits of our recent platform upgrade has been a new, multifaceted search for projects that allows you, for example, to look for "Brick Houses in the United States by Frank Lloyd Wright" and narrow 18,000 projects down to just three.

This week, we're launching a series of articles that we hope will do something similar for some of our most informative and thought-provoking news and editorial articles: ArchDaily Essentials.

4 Ways Technology Can Improve Architecture for (and by) the Blind

Seven years after waking up without sight, San Francisco-based architect Chris Downey is helping to revolutionize the built environment with interactive technologies optimized for the blind. One of the world's leading blind architects, Downey intrinsically understands the issues facing blind and visually impaired people worldwide. As a consultant to a variety of organizations serving to advance universal access, Downey has played an integral role in the development and integration of new, non-invasive technologies designed to assist the blind. 

In a recent article in Dwell, Downey illustrates the various technologies currently being tested and implemented in San Francisco - a city notorious for its topographical challenges to differently abled residents. See four takeaways from Dwell's interview with Downey on how technology can help bridge the gap between architecture and universal access after the break.

"Baby Rems" and the Small World of Architecture Internships

The world of architecture is small. So small in fact, that Rem Koolhaas has been credited with the creation of over forty practices worldwide, led by the likes of Zaha Hadid and Bjarke Ingels. Dubbed “Baby Rems” by Metropolis Magazine, this Koolhaas effect is hardly an isolated pattern, with manifestations far beyond the walls of OMA. The phenomenon has dominated the world of architecture, assisted by the prevalence and increasing necessity of internships for burgeoning architects.

In a recent article for Curbed, Patrick Sisson dug into the storied history of internships to uncover some unexpected connections between the world's most prolific architects. With the help of Sisson's list, we've compiled a record of the humble beginnings of the household names of architecture. Where did Frank Gehry get his start? Find out after the break.

Renzo Piano's pavilion at Louis Kahn's Kimbell Art Museum. Image © Robert Laprelle Jeanne Gang worked on OMA's Maison Bordeaux. Image © Hans Werlemann, courtesy OMA Mies van der Rohe worked on Behren's AEG Turbine Factory. Image © Flickr CC user Joseph The Guaranty Building in Buffalo, New York by Louis Sullivan. Image Courtesy of Jack E. Boucher

The Top 10 Most Impactful Skylines

Emporis, a German company that collects and distributes information on construction and the built environment, has released a ranking of the world’s 100 most visually impactful skylines, using statistical analysis to address a topic often made frustratingly subjective by civic pride. 

To create the rankings, Emporis used data from its archives to determine the number of high-rise buildings in the cities it studied, and applied a points system that gave each building a numerical value determined by the number of floors it has. To standardize their ranking process, the points system ignores spires and other ornament, and does not include television or antenna towers, masts, bridges, or similar architecture. 

Of the top 10 most impactful skylines, seven are in Asia, while North and South America combined have the other three. Notably, cities filled with rich architectural history fail to make the list, or fall surprisingly low in the rankings; London is number 44, Paris is ranked 66, and Rome does not make the cut. 

To see the top ten skylines, read on after the break, and click here to see Emporis' complete list.

7 Ways to Be a More Effective Architect

As every architect knows by now, the profession has a problem with its work culture. Incubated in universities and perpetuated once graduates reach practice, the tendency to overwork is currently the subject of much discussion - but while there may be hints that change is afoot, it's unlikely to take place overnight. In the meantime, what can a stressed-out architect do to reduce their work hours to something more reasonable? Originally published by ArchSmarter, this post explores how to become a more effective architect - allowing you to win back some of that lost time by maximizing efficiency and minimizing unnecessary work. 

“What’s that smudge in the middle of your drawing? Is that part of your concept?” the juror asked me.

“Um... ” I replied as I squinted at the drawing. “I think that’s from my nose. I haven’t slept in like... two days. I konked out while I was coloring,” I answered sheepishly.

“Good for you,” the juror said. “Nothing like an all-nighter to make you feel alive. It’s good practice for when you’re out working in the real world.”

Beyonce's Curves Inspire Elenberg Fraser's Design for Melbourne Tower

Beyonce's Ghost has inspired plans for a curvaceous, 226-meter-tall in Melbourne. Designed by Elenberg Fraser, the dubbed "Premier Tower" has received planning permission and will be built at 134 Spencer Street, adjacent to the Southern Cross station.

According to the architects, the mixed-use project's "complex form" was shaped by climatic restraints and after Beyonce's moving body seen in her recent music video Ghost. It is set to rise 68-stories on a stepped podium in the city's central business district. Once complete, it will house 660 apartments, a 160-room hotel, and retail space. 

© Elenberg Fraser © Elenberg Fraser © Elenberg Fraser © Elenberg Fraser

From Mackintosh to Saint-Donatien, Can We Really Afford to Set History on Fire?

On 23 May 2014, a fire swept through the Glasgow School of Art, destroying its iconic library. The cause of the fire was reported to be a projector exploding in the basement of the building and catching a piece of foam, leading to a bigger fire that rapidly ascended the building. The fire was extinguished after four and a half hours thanks to the efforts of over sixty firefighters and thankfully no lives were endangered - however, considerable damage was made to an irreplaceable historic building.

The building was built between 1897 and 1909 and designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Scotland’s influential architect who brought the art nouveau touch to 20th century Britain which influenced design across Europe. As such, the fire that ruined the Mackintosh Building of the Glasgow School of Art in was a reminder of our historical heritage and how crucial it is to preserve it and keep it safe from fire.

The Role of Tradition and Innovation in the City

This article was written by Rodrigo Bitencourt and Gláucia Dalmolin, and translated from Portuguese by Rodrigo Bitencourt.

The city and civilization are concomitant phenomena. The city can be seen as a receptacle that both accommodates and transmits civilization. In fact, as man differs from other creatures in his ability to learn indefinitely, his perfectibility (ants that lived six thousand years ago had the same features of current ants: they are confined to a narrow range of behaviors dictated by their genetic programs), he acquired the power to extrapolate nature and thus build in his own way, creating history. As every human life is unique and no one can predetermine how it will be carried out, it could be said that the human being bears a historical duality: the individual history, or education, and the collective history, or culture.

“City of Light”: The Story of Willem Dudok’s De Bijenkorf Rotterdam

Produced by Dutch journalist Peter Veenendaal, City of Light is a documentary that covers the design, construction, and social effects of Willem Marinus Dudok’s De Bijenkorf in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. De Bijenkorf opened in Rotterdam in 1930, and after barely surviving the Second World War, it was destroyed in 1960 to make way for a Metro Station and a new store designed by Marcel Breuer and largely forgotten. City of Light presents Dudok’s shopping center as an important model for retail architecture that came about during the formative years of the shopping mall, and includes interviews with historians, former employees, and local enthusiasts to bring the building back to life.

Despite being relatively unknown today, Dudok’s De Bijenkorf was important not only for the architectural community, but also for the city of Rotterdam. In Veenendaal’s documentary, architectural historian Herman van Bergeijk remarks that at the time of its construction, De Bijenkorf was the “largest and most modern department store in Europe." The store was immensely popular with locals; according to the video over 70,000 people visited on opening day to explore the building, and over time, it became an icon of Rotterdam's growing commercial success.

Live on the Edge with OPA's Casa Brutale

In our article for this cliff-hanging project by Modscape published last year, we said that all it really needed was James Bond and an invisible Aston Martin in the garage. Well, the images presented by OPA (Open Platform for Architecture) for their new project offer us James Bond and a (sadly visible) Ferrari. Perhaps it's not quite what we expected, but either way it's a big step forward for the super-villains lair market: Casa Brutale gives us wall-to-wall water and concrete set into cliffs above the Aegean Sea in what OPA promises will be a literally ground-breaking development.

© OPA Works © OPA Works © OPA Works © OPA Works

Sex and Real Estate, Reconsidered: What Was the True Story Behind Mies van der Rohe's Farnsworth House?

Unidentified woman, perhaps Edith Farnsworth, at Farnsworth House. Undated.  [BACK] Gorman’s Child Photography. Courtesy and copyright of Newberry Library, Chicago, Illinois.
Unidentified woman, perhaps Edith Farnsworth, at Farnsworth House. Undated. [BACK] Gorman’s Child Photography. Courtesy and copyright of Newberry Library, Chicago, Illinois.

In 1951, Mies van der Rohe completed a house in Plano, Illinois that was the epitome of his modernist ideals; with a steel structure surrounded entirely by glass walls the building perfectly connected the user with its idyllic natural setting, and it was - and is - venerated as a masterwork. A lesser-known story about the work is how its owner Dr Edith Farnsworth attempted to sue her architect, in a story of bitterness and unrequited love - but even less well-known, argues Nora Wendl, is the story of what really happened. In this excerpt from her essay "Uncompromising Reasons for Going West: A Story of Sex and Real Estate, Reconsidered," published in Thresholds issue 43: "Scandalous," Wendl examines the overblown and dubious assertions made about Farnsworth's intentions, finding that the truth may be much more simple: perhaps the Farnsworth House is just not a pleasant place to live.

“I have decided to speak up.”

Such is the threshold between a private affair and a public scandal: one person speaks. These are also the opening lines to “The Threat to the Next America,” which appears in the April 1953 issue of House Beautiful. Penned by editor Elizabeth Gordon, the article describes an unnamed, but “highly intelligent, now disillusioned, woman who spent more than $70,000 building a 1-room house that is nothing but a glass cage on stilts.”[1] Gordon warns readers of a design movement sweeping the nation:

Something is rotten in the state of design—and it is spoiling some of our best efforts in modern living. After watching it for several years, after meeting it with silence, House Beautiful has decided to speak out and appeal to your common sense, because it is common sense that is mostly under attack. Two ways of life stretch before us. One leads to the richness of variety, to comfort and beauty. The other, the one we want fully to expose to you, retreats to poverty and unlivability. Worst of all, it contains the threat of cultural dictatorship.[2]

Farnsworth House, south façade and terrace. Undated.  [BACK] Gorman’s Child Photography. Courtesy and copyright of Newberry Library, Chicago, Illinois. Farnsworth House, interior. Undated.  [BACK] Gorman’s Child Photography. Courtesy and copyright of Newberry Library, Chicago, Illinois. Farnsworth House, looking northwest from the interior of screened-in porch, furnished by Farnsworth. Undated.  [BACK] Gorman’s Child Photography. Courtesy and copyright of Newberry Library, Chicago, Illinois. Farnsworth House, exterior, view of south façade and east end of terrace with Farnsworth’s sculptures. Undated.  [BACK] Gorman’s Child Photography. Courtesy and copyright of Newberry Library, Chicago, Illinois.

Michael Graves on Discovering Architecture, the Rewards of Practice and the Most Important Element of Design

When he passed away in March, Michael Graves left a design legacy stretching back 50 years and encompassing some of the most dramatic changes in architecture of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. In this interview, conducted in 2012 for her new e-book "Celebrity Designers: 50 Interviews on Design, Architecture, and Life," Maria Spassov quizzes Graves on his career, from the first moment he decided to be an architect to what he believes to be his greatest achievement.

When did you first discover your love of architecture?

As a young boy, the thing I could do best was draw. My mother was very nervous that I would try to become a fine artist. She knew it would be difficult to make a living as an artist. Therefore, she encouraged me to find a career path that incorporated drawing, and she suggested engineering or architecture. I asked her what an engineer did, and after she told me, I decided I would be an architect, because I knew I didn’t want to do engineering. I was probably eight years old.

Strook Creates Colorful Street Murals with Recycled Wood

Discarded planks, doors, floorboards and furniture become colorful geometric faces in Stefaan De Croock’s street murals in Belgium. De Croock (also known as Strook), preserves the color and texture of the scavenged wooden pieces, cutting them into geometric shapes and piecing them together to form colossal faces. 

"The whole process of making such a recycled artwork is really interesting; the search for wood, cutting and making the pieces, placing and building it,” Strook said. “I really like working with the old patina of discarded wood. It’s like a footprint of time; every piece has it own story and comes together in a new composition and forms a new story.”

View photos and learn more about two of his recent projects – Elsewhere and Wood & paint – after the break.

Elsewhere. Image © www.strook.eu Wood & Paint. Image © www.strook.eu Wood & Paint. Image © www.strook.eu Wood & Paint. Image © www.strook.eu