Neoliberal post-fordism poses a dramatic challenge to urbanism as we have come to know it since the early 20th century. The public planning process has become more and more an embarrassment and obstacle to urban and economic flourishing. It’s a relic of a bygone era. The high point of urban planning was the post-war era of socialist planning and re-construction of the built environment. With respect to this period we can speak about physical or perhaps ‘positive planning’, in the sense of governments formulating concrete plans and designs about what to build. This era has long gone as society evolved beyond the simple fordist society of mechanical mass production to our current post-fordist networked society. When a few basic standards were functionally separate, optimized and endlessly repeated, central planning could still cope with the pace of societal progress. The world we live in today is far too multi-faceted, complex and dynamic to be entrusted to a central planning agency. The old model broke apart as it could not handle the level of complexity we live with and our cities should accommodate. The decentralized information processing mechanism of the market was indeed capable of managing such levels of complexity and, for this reason, has effectively taken over all positive decision-making processes.
The movement towards gender equality in the architecture profession has been gaining attention for some time now, led in large part by surveys of the profession such as the AIA’s recent diversity study or of course the annual Women in Architecture survey by The Architectural Review and The Architects’ Journal. However, recently the debate around gender has taken on a different form; in a response to the AR's most recent survey published in RIBA Journal, for example, the curator of Turncoats and founder of the practices Interrobang and Studio Weave Maria Smith argues that it is time to move on to a more nuanced depiction of the problem. “I’d like to see a radical change in how this discussion is framed,” she says. “We must move away from generic indignation and start to properly interrogate why both men and women practice architecture the way they do.”
In light of this slow movement towards action in place of indignation, on International Women’s Day last month we asked our readers what exactly should be done to eliminate gender inequality in the field of architecture. The question provoked a broad and at times incredibly heated discussion - read on to find out what our readers had to say on the topic.
In an interview with the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), Bjarke Ingels reflects on the design of skyscrapers, noting how "sculpture is fine, but if its arbitrary it's not as interesting." Architects, Ingels argues, have the problem of "skilled incompetence:" the notion that they "already know the answer before [they've] even heard the question." This prevents them "from questioning the question, or having the question rephrased, or elaborating on the question, or even listening for the question – because [they] already know the answer."
The love affair between architecture and film has been well documented. From huge breathtaking sets to small spaces for intimate conversations, the architecture in a film often plays as strong a role as any character in translating the director’s vision to his/her audience. In constructing the environments of their narratives, the great filmmakers could even be considered architects in their own right—that's the claim presented in this video from the British Film Institute, which looks at the work of celebrated director Jean-Luc Godard and how the architecture in his films transforms to suit their tone. In pictures such as À bout de souffle (1960), Le Mépris (1963) and Week End (1967), Godard uses streetscapes to convey optimism or pessimism, uses walls to emphasize the emotional distance between lovers, and even includes a cameo from the particularly photogenic Villa Malaparte. Watch the video to learn more about the techniques used to achieve these moods.
This article was originally published on ArchSmarter.
These days, nearly every architect uses a computer. Whether it’s for 3D modeling, documentation or even creating a program spreadsheet, computers are well entrenched within the profession. Architects now need to know almost as much about software as they do about structures, building codes, and design.
As our tools become more powerful and sophisticated, we need to evolve and develop our working methods in order to stay competitive. I’ve written previously about how architects should learn to code. A lot of the problems we need to solve don’t fall within the capabilities of off-the-shelf software. We need to tweak and customize our tools to work the way we work. Creating our own tools and software is one way to do this.
That said, the reality is that not everyone has the time or the inclination to learn how to code. It’s time-consuming and you’ve got projects to run, show drawings to review, and buildings to design. Fortunately there are new tools available that deliver the power of programming without the need for all that typing.
Enter computational design and visual programming.
Matthew Simmonds, an art historian and architectural stone carver based in Copenhagen, is known as the creator of exceptionally beautiful miniature spaces hewn from stone – a number of which have been previously featured on ArchDaily. Drawing on the formal language and philosophy of architecture, his work "explores themes of positive and negative form, the significance of light and darkness and the relationship between nature and human endeavour." Here he shares four recent projects: Ringrone (Faxe Limestone, 2016, 61cm tall), Corona (Faxe Limestone, 2016, 30cm tall), Ararat: Study II (Faxe Limestone, 2016, 20cm tall), and Tetraconch (Limestone, 2015, 31cm tall).
In this article originally published by Archipreneur as "Space as a Service: Business Models that Change How We Live and Work," Lidija Grozdanic looks into the recent proliferation of coworking services - as well as the new kid on the block, coliving - to discuss how the sharing economy is redefining physical space as a highly lucrative part of the service industry.
Some of the most innovative and profitable companies in the world base their business models on commercializing untapped resources. Facebook has relied on its users to generate content and data for years, and organizations are starting to realize the value of gathering, processing, storing and taking action on big data.
In the AEC industry, some companies are discovering the hidden potential of excess energy that is generated by buildings, while others are looking to utilize large roof surfaces of mega-malls and supermarkets for harvesting solar energy. Airbnb has turned underused living units into assets, and allows people to generate additional income by renting out their homes to travelers.
The traditional notions of "private" and "public" space are eroding under the influence of a sharing economy and technological advancement. Space is being recognized as a profitable commodity in itself.
MVRDV and Traumhaus, a producer of low-cost, high-quality homes based on standardized elements, have teamed up to develop a 27,000 square meter project redeveloping former US Army barracks in Mannheim, Germany.
In recent years, it's been no secret that Dubai has been attempting to diversify its industries, as the city moves on from being an oil-based economy. In this article, originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "Dubai: Making a Creative Capital from Scratch," Ali Morris investigates how the city is building its own design district to rival London or New York - and doing so despite starting from almost nothing.
In cities where a faded industrial area exists, a creative community often follows. It’s a well-established cycle of urban regeneration that has played out in Berlin, London, and New York. Attracted by cheap rent and large, empty spaces, the creatives come, building up areas with independent cafés and stores before inevitably being priced out of the market by the very gentrification they helped to bring about.
So what happens in a city so young that it doesn’t have a dilapidated area for the creatives to occupy? When the city in question is Dubai, which was still just a desert fishing settlement until around the 1960s, you build it from scratch, of course. With the second part of a three-phase build unveiled last year, Dubai Design District (known as d3) is a sprawling 15.5-million-square-foot (1.4 million square meter) development located in a desert plot on the eastern edge of the city. Circled by multilane highways and located between downtown Dubai and a wildlife reserve, d3 has been masterminded as a framework from which to grow and sustain a new design ecosystem.
Zaha Hadid’s prolific, admired, and influential body of work led to hundreds of invitations to lecture around the world. Through her contemporaries’ heartfelt introductions, we can appreciate her groundbreaking architectural approach in a world which often appeared to be one step behind her ideas and enthusiasm.
Daniel Libeskind has unveiled plans for The Kurdistan Museum in Erbil, Iraq. With the building, Studio Libeskind seeks to create “the first major center in the Kurdistan Region for the history and culture of the Kurdish people.” The project was developed as a collaboration between the Kurdistan Regional Government (the KRG) and client representative RWF World. The 150,000 square-foot museum will feature exhibition spaces for both permanent and temporary exhibitions, a lecture theatre, state-of-the-art multimedia educational resources, an extensive digital archive of Kurdish historical assets, as well as community center and landscaped outdoor spaces for public use.
Using photogrammetry to capture and model existing buildings is a fantastic way to share cultural treasures with the world, and with VR features cropping up everywhere even enables us to give people virtual tours of a site of cultural significance from thousands of miles away. But beyond that, capturing a model of a building is also a great way to digitally preserve that structure at a given point in time - this technique is even being used by Harvard and Oxford to protect structures placed at risk by the ongoing wars in Syria and Iraq.
New images and information has been released regarding Santiago Calatrava's competition-winning design for Dubai's new "landmark" observation tower. Planned for a site in Dubai Creek Harbor, near the Ras Al Khor National Wildlife Sanctuary, the tower was inspired by the "natural forms of the lily and evokes the shape of a minaret, a distinctive architectural feature in Islamic culture."
"The building’s design is inspired by the Islamic tradition, evoking the same history that brought the world the Alhambra and the Mosque of Cordoba. These architectural marvels combine elegance and beauty with math and geometry," commented Calatrava. "The design of the tower of Dubai Creek Harbor is rooted in classical art and the culture of Dubai itself."
As one of the most revered and often reviled architects of the latter part of the 20th century, Peter Eisenman has courted controversy throughout his 50-year career, often attempting to distance himself from the work of his contemporaries and standing in firm opposition to popular trends. In this interview, Eisenman elaborates on his beliefs about architecture and the new direction he has taken in recent years – while simultaneously pulling no punches when discussing the work of others, including Rem Koolhaas, Richard Meier, and even his younger self.
The interview is a shortened version of the latest of three interviews with Peter Eisenman (from October 2003, June 2009, and February 2016) that comprise the upcoming book by Vladimir Belogolovsky “Conversations with Peter Eisenman.” The book, published by Berlin-based DOM Publishers will be presented during the opening days at the 15th Venice Architecture Biennale in late May this year.
The majority of our built environment is designed for people who hear, with little regard for how the hearing-impaired navigate a space. But what would a space look like if it were designed for the deaf? This video from Vox and Curbed focuses on Gallaudet University, the world’s only liberal arts institution for the deaf, and the ways the campus is tailored to the needs of its students. By analyzing what they refer to as “Deaf Space,” the university has been able to pinpoint techniques that not only make communication and wayfinding simpler for the deaf, but to produce spaces that function more effectively and comfortably for everyone. For more on the university and how its members are impacting the architecture world, read the full article over at Curbed here.
Over the past 20 years, many of the most renowned European cultural institutions - including ARTE France, Les Films d’Ici, the Louvre, the Ministry of Culture and Communication Department of Architecture and Heritage, Centre Pompidou, City of Architecture and Heritage, Musée d'Orsay and the Fundació Mies van der Rohe - have come together to produce more than 50 architecture documentaries devoted to the most significant achievements of architecture, its beginnings, and the latest creations of the great architects of today. Now, these videos are accessible to the public via the YouTube Channel ACB (Art and Culture Bureau).
Each documentary is approximately 26 minutes long, and focuses on the genesis and impact of a single building that has played a role in the evolution of architecture. Narration is in English, and many of the videos of newer buildings feature interviews with the architects themselves. Check out some of the videos below, or find the entire list here.
Japan-based Komatsu Seiten Fabric Laboratory has created a new thermoplastic carbon fiber composite called CABKOMA Strand Rod. The Strand Rod is a carbon fiber composite which is covered in both synthetic and inorganic fibers and finished with a thermoplastic resin. The material has been used on the exterior of Komatsu Seiten’s head office.
Of course, the top story in recent weeks has been the sudden death of Dame Zaha Hadid, who passed away last week in Miami. At just 65 years of age, and at the height of her powers as an architect, the news of Hadid’s passing was a shock to many and unsurprisingly was met with grief from many of our readers. Read on to see what tributes those readers left, along with opinions on other stories from recent weeks.