Sketch for Syria, a project initiated by by Marco Ballarin and Jacopo Galli at IUAV, Venice, has brought together 150 architects from 26 nations in a large-scale effort to "imagine, trace and share possible scenarios" for Syria, following the recent devastation of the lives of its citizens and a significant amount of its architectural heritage.
In response to the United Nations' (UN-ESCWA) drafting of an agenda on July 14th, 2016 to consider ways of reconstructing the country, this drawing project has attracted contributions from the likes of Álvaro Siza, Philippe Rahm, Peter Wilson, and Francisco Aires Mateus.
As urban areas develop, each city forms a unique structural logic. With this structure usually conceived on an ad-hoc basis, political terms such as “metropolitan area” and “neighborhood” are not always useful when analyzing and comparing the performance of cities. In a quest for new analytical tools, Robin Renner has devised an anatomically-based classification system in his new book Urban Being: Anatomy & Identity of the City. Through a thoughtful investigation of existing urban areas from around the globe using satellite images and personal experiences, Urban Being offers an insight into how transportation networks and streetscapes can be best organized to promote a healthy metropolitan environment.
Renner’s analysis ranges from macro-regions that can even cross country borders to the defined spaces between arterial roads in cities, which he calls "urban cells." As the neighborhoods and units in which inhabitants reside, urban cells are important when examining the identity and efficiency of a city. They are defined by both their physical properties and the actions that take place inside of them. Below is a small sample of how Renner analyzes urban cells from the book.
As urban environments become denser, more expensive and, on occasion, less desirable, creative minds are creating novel ways to escape the hustle, bustle, and tumult of the city. Fernando Abellanas, a designer based in Valencia, has gone to new extremes in his search for solitude. Positioned beneath a traffic bridge somewhere in the Spanish city, a hidden studio comprises a shelf, a chair, and a small desk – all anchored to the concrete undercarriage of the bridge by means of rails and rollers. Movable, the "room" becomes both impenetrable and isolated by the turn of a hand crank.
Contrary to how Hollywood movies portray the quintessential architect—creative, sensitive, and virtually flawless—architects are a diverse bunch of fallible people. This stems from the fact that the study and practice of architecture are wrought with several “perils.” Architecture school is a beast, if not the profession at large, and it essentially reinvents the psyche of its students by simultaneously breaking them down and building them up—say hello to unresolved issues!
While this process produces bright intellectuals with a deep understanding of architecture’s place in society, it can also end up shaping architects into pretentious snobs. Young architects invariably graduate with a distinct outlook on life. Pair that with a largely thankless job and architects soon discover that they can only relate to other architects. Rare friends who bravely stand by an architect through thick and thin deserve a strong pat on the back because architects, despite their innumerable charms, exhibit several incredibly annoyingtraits. The following is a compilation of eight complaints that non-architect friends and partners have against their architect counterparts:
If you ever have those moments where you take a step back from your life and feel like you’ve suddenly fallen into a scene from a movie, you may appreciate the subreddit/r/AccidentalWesAnderson. Director, producer, screenwriter, and actor Wes Anderson is well known for creating scenes in his films that blur the lines between the real and the unreal. His extreme symmetry and restricted color palettes can often give the impression of a surreal, self-contained world. The purpose of the Accidental Wes Andersonsubreddit is for users to post photos of real-world architecture and scenes they’ve stumbled upon that look like they could be stills from one of Anderson’s movies, with Redditors finding Anderson-esque scenes around the globe in everything from bathrooms to staircases to city streets. Even a viewer unfamiliar with Anderson’s films can browse the collection of photos and easily understand his aesthetic. Below is just a small selection of some of the most evocative photos to be found on the subreddit.
Currently, virtual reality and 360-degree video are somewhat niche tools, but they are rapidly gaining in popularity. These immersive technologies give architects a means to better decipher a client’s expectations—everything from a building’s natural lighting to the choice of tile backsplash can be actively assessed at any point in the design and construction process. This transformative technology has already been fully incorporated into some practices. ArchDaily interviewed Henning Larsen’s Chief Engineer of Sustainability Jakob Strømann-Andersen to better understand the current and future applications of virtual immersion in architecture.
Having read and collected all these comments, it is clear that most of our readers agree that what is currently taught about materials and building processes is not enough. The vast majority of them admit that they have acquired this knowledge through fieldwork, years after having graduated. So once again we ask: if material knowledge is so important for the development of our profession, why is it not a fundamental part of the programs in universities around the world?
However, some of our readers contest this view, stating that architects don't have to know everything, and that we can't sacrifice good design to the constraints that impact the construction process. They base their arguments on the presence of specialists, to whom we should go whenever necessary, in a cohesive and collaborative process between the different disciplines.
Review the best comments received and join the discussion below.
This article was originally published on the blog of the Chicago Architecture Biennial, the largest platform for contemporary architecture in North America. The 2017 Biennial, entitled Make New History, will be free and open to the public between September 16, 2017 and January 6, 2018.
Form follows function—that has been misunderstood. Form and function should be one, joined in a spiritual union.
Frank Lloyd Wright may have famously said these words in 1908, but he was by no means the first to embody them. In fact, the deeper sense of unity that Wright sought in Modern architecture had existed centuries before his time as a guiding principle for Native peoples all over the world.
Ancient Romans mixed lime and volcanic rock to form a mortar, a precursor to modern reinforced concrete. This made engineering marvels like Rome’s Colosseum possible—still standing more than 2,000 years after its construction.
Today, this versatile material is evolving further: Precast concrete, which is formed and cured in factories before being installed onsite, is bringing about a new wave of architecture that streamlines the building process while reaching toward big, complex ideas.
http://www.archdaily.com/877871/how-one-concrete-manufacturer-helps-architects-reduce-project-costs-with-an-in-house-design-teamAngus W. Stocking, L.S.
The people of Manchester, UK, recently gained access to an entirely new way to access local news and engage with their city: OtherWorld, a pilot news experiment from startup studio Like No Other and Google’s Digital News Initiative. OtherWorld uses Bluetooth and cutting-edge beacon technology to deliver geo-located news directly to your smartphone for free, without installing an app. Referred to on the OtherWorld website as “living media,” as users walk around the city and pass by story locations, a silent notification will pop up on their phones, disappearing again as they walk out of range. Because the news you see on OtherWorld is directly related to the space you’re currently occupying, the system ensures that the news you’ll see is relevant to you. This unobtrusive method allows users to choose whether and how they will engage as well as adding an evanescent, elusive quality to the stories; you could walk right by and miss one if you aren’t paying attention.
In this way, OtherWorld illustrates the layers of our cities that are often invisible to us, bringing them into focus and allowing a deeper level of exploration into even a familiar city neighborhood. Focusing on stories that involve a real-world experience, users could become aware of an event nearby, a volunteer opportunity, a public meeting, or any number of other possibilities—thereby involving themselves in the public space and public realm in a way they would not have otherwise been able to.
In 2017, many of the world's cities have become potpourri time capsules of architecture. We live in an eclectic era in which a 19th-century industrial loft, post-war townhouse, and brand new high rise condominium are all comparably desirable properties. This increasingly varied urban landscape—and the appetite for variety of the people who live there—makes it more difficult than ever for new architecture to grab the public's attention.
To combat this, architects often attempt to produce an "iconic" work: a building whose design is so so striking that it attracts even a layperson's focus. Sometimes this ambition pays off as timeless, and sometimes it irreversibly pock-marks the skyline. What follows is a collection of attention grabbing structures. Will they be remembered as eccentric landmarks or glaring eyesores? You decide.
Nestled in the verdant seaside hills of the Pacific Palisades in southern California, the Entenza House is the ninth of the famous Case Study Houses built between 1945 and 1962. With a vast, open-plan living room that connects to the backyard through floor-to-ceiling glass sliding doors, the house brings its natural surroundings into a metal Modernist box, allowing the two to coexist as one harmonious space.
Like its peers in the Case Study Program, the house was designed not only to serve as a comfortable and functional residence, but to showcase how modular steel construction could be used to create low-cost housing for a society still recovering from the the Second World War. The man responsible for initiating the program was John Entenza, Editor of the magazine Arts and Architecture. The result was a series of minimalist homes that employed steel frames and open plans to reflect the more casual and independent way of life that had arisen in the automotive age.
Perhaps nothing can kill a project budget or give an owner heartburn quite like costly code fixes during (or in the worst case, after) construction. As architects, we do our best to navigate construction codes during design, but there’s no denying their complexity. Projects have to comply with multiple different codes at both the federal and local levels; different codes sometimes even contradict one another, leading to headaches for the design team.
However, a new website and mobile app hopes to make understanding and complying with building codes easier for architects and designers. “The solution we provide is a search engine tailored for architecture,” explains Scott Reynolds, co-founder of UpCodes. With his background in architecture, Reynolds has partnered with his brother Garrett Reynolds—who has a PhD in machine learning—and through UpCodes, the pair to ease some of that building code-driven frustration.
In this six-minute-long video, Vox makes the argument that the primary reason behind the recent resurgence of streetcar systems—or proposals for streetcars, at least—in the USA is not because of their contributions to urban mobility, but instead because of the fact that they drive and sustain economic development. As it uncovers the causes for the popular failure of the streetcar systems in cities such as Washington DC, Atlanta, and Salt Lake City (low speed and limited connectivity, mostly) it asks why an increasing number of American city governments are pushing for streetcars in spite of their dismal record at improving transit. Is it solely due to their positively modern aesthetic? Are streetcars destined to function as mere “attractions” in a city’s urban landscape? Or is the real objective something more complex?
Last month I went on an enlightening trip to Mexico City, during which I had a chance to meet with half a dozen leading Mexican architects and critics. Those meetings included insightful conversations with Miquel Adrià, Tatiana Bilbao, Victor Legorreta, Mauricio Rocha, and Michel Rojkind among others (many of which will also feature in future installments of City of Ideas). I asked them many different questions, but two were consistent: “who would you name as Mexico’s best architect at this moment?” and “what one building built in the capital over the last decade is your favorite?” All of my interviewees pointed to Alberto Kalach (born 1960) and his Vasconcelos Library (2007). My Conversation with Kalach took place the next day after visiting the library on the rooftop of another one of his iconic buildings, Tower 41 overlooking Bosque de Chapultepec, Mexico City’s Central Park. We spoke about books, libraries, and his idea of buildings as inventions.
In this series of images, photographer Rasmus Hjortshøj has captured the Kolumba Museum by renowned architect Peter Zumthor in Cologne, Germany. The museum, constructed atop the ruins of a Gothic church destroyed during World War II, was a response to a competition that aimed to protect the remains of the Gothic work and create a space to house the art collection of the archbishopric of Cologne. In his winning design, Zumthor fused the existing ruins with modern architecture ideal for religious art in an elegant and minimalist way.
With his photographs, Rasmus Hjortshøj offers a tour of Zumthor's design, portraying the building within its urban context, while examining the architect's dedication to detail.
I attended graduate school, in geography, in Tucson, Arizona, in the late 1990s. Tucson draws fame from a number of things, including its Mexican-American heritage, its chimichangas, its sky islands, and its abundant population of saguaro cacti.
Plenty of things about Tucson, though, are perfectly, achingly ordinary.
Perhaps the most ordinary thing about Tucson led me to develop something halfway between a hobby and an academic pursuit. On occasion, whether for sport or research, friends and I used to go “sprawl-watching.” We were not exactly, say, Walter Benjamin strolling through the arcades, embracing the human pageantry of Paris. But we did our best to plumb Tucson’s depths.