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These Are the World’s 25 Tallest Buildings

08:00 - 10 May, 2017

Humanity has become obsessed with breaking its limits, creating new records only to break them again and again. In fact, our cities’ skylines have always been defined by those in power during every period in history. At one point churches left their mark, followed by public institutions and in the last few decades, it's commercial skyscrapers that continue to stretch taller and taller. 

But when it comes to defining which buildings are the tallest it can get complicated. Do antennas and other gadgets on top of the building count as extra meters? What happens if the last floor is uninhabitable? The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) has developed their own system for classifying tall buildings, measuring from the “level of the lowest, significant, open-air, pedestrian entrance to the architectural top of the building, including spires, but not including antennae, signage, flag poles or other functional-technical equipment.” Using this system more than 3,400 buildings have been categorized as over 150 meters tall. 

Interview With Thom Mayne: “I Am a Pragmatic Idealist”

09:30 - 9 May, 2017
Interview With Thom Mayne: “I Am a Pragmatic Idealist”, Emerson College Los Angeles, 2014. Image © Iwan Baan
Emerson College Los Angeles, 2014. Image © Iwan Baan

For many observers, Thom Mayne might easily be considered the most unpredictable personality in architecture. Once labeled the “bad boy of architecture” by critics—a moniker which he has, at times, enthusiastically adopted and even encouraged—Mayne's actions in the architecture world can range from something as responsible as designing one of the United States' most sustainable university campuses to something as outrageous as proposing one of the world's tallest towers in a revered Austrian mountain town. In this interview, the latest from Vladimir Belogolovsky's “City of Ideas” series, Mayne discusses his ideas, his past statements on architecture, and where he thinks the profession will go next. The interview was originally published by the Berlin-based SPEECH Magazine.

Diamond Ranch High School, 2000. Image © Brandon Welling The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, 2006. Image © Iwan Baan Bill & Melinda Gates Hall, 2014. Image © doublespace photography Four-Towers-in-One competition proposal for Shenzhen. Image Courtesy of Morphosis +34

AD Classics: Kafka's Castle / Ricardo Bofill Taller de Arquitecturas

04:00 - 9 May, 2017
AD Classics: Kafka's Castle / Ricardo Bofill Taller de Arquitecturas, © Ricardo Bofill
© Ricardo Bofill

Standing on a rise overlooking the Spanish Mediterranean coast, there is an odd structure which could easily be mistaken for an vast pile of forgotten blocks. Kafka’s Castle, built in 1968, was one of the earlier projects completed by Ricardo Bofill, a Spanish Postmodern architect known for apartment buildings as monumental as they were thought-provoking. While his later work indulged in Postmodern historicism, the modular and mathematically-derived Kafka’s Castle was an unabashed break from any local or global tradition – as much the case now as it was in the 1960s.

© Ricardo Bofill © Ricardo Bofill © Ricardo Bofill Once the physical model of Kafka’s Castle was completed, RBTA managed to condense all necessary construction information into only five drawings. Image© Ricardo Bofill +19

BIG Changes on the Horizon for Bjarke Ingels and His Firm

14:15 - 8 May, 2017

“The greatest thing about being an architect,” pronounced Bjarke Ingels, “is that you build buildings.”

"See You in Court!": 9 of Architecture’s Nastiest Lawsuits

09:30 - 8 May, 2017
© <a href=‘https://www.flickr.com/photos/diversey/16868722144/'>Flickr user diversey</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en'>CC BY-2.0</a>
© Flickr user diversey licensed under CC BY-2.0

What did Pritzker Prize winner Frank Gehry get when he designed the Stata Center, an exuberantly whimsical academic complex for MIT? A very large check, plus a major lawsuit, alleging negligence and breach of contract due to rampant leaks, mold, cracks, drainage problems and sliding ice. Sometimes the most inspired designs can go awry. And when they do, some clients lawyer up. Here are 9 fascinating examples.

#donotsettle Gives a Critical Tour of Perkins+Will’s Shanghai Natural History Museum

09:30 - 7 May, 2017

In #donotsettle’s latest escapade, architect Kris Provoost scrutinizes Perkins+Will’s Shanghai Natural History Museum. The boyishly charming and ever-inquisitive vlogger presents a unique POV tour of the unusual building situated in the middle of the Jing'an Sculpture Park.

Over a soundtrack of slick house music, Provoost offers up tidbits that cannot be gleaned from a photo. As he approaches the structure, he points out topographical aspects, the relationship of the structure to its context, and various construction details. The rapid-fire architectural observations are often punctuated by brief cross-sectional sketches that augment the experiential commentary.

© James and Connor Steinkamp © James and Connor Steinkamp © James and Connor Steinkamp © James and Connor Steinkamp +5

Louis Kahn and Renzo Piano: The Harmony Between Each Legend’s Kimbell Museum Wing

09:30 - 6 May, 2017

Louis Kahn’s Kimbell Art Museum is a masterclass in natural lighting, with thin-shelled concrete vaults that feature subtle openings to reflect light into the galleries below. While Kahn’s wing of the Fort Worth Museum opened in 1972, in 2013 a second Renzo Piano-designed pavilion was added to the complex. Piano was selected to design the addition because he had worked for Kahn as a budding architect, and the homage to his former mentor is evident in the building’s similar layout and use of translucent glass panels. In this video, architect-photographer Songkai Liu takes viewers on a serene stroll through the museum’s campus. Time-lapses and pans of Kahn’s concrete are juxtaposed with the clean details of Piano’s glass in a soothing exploration of the two complementary projects.

8 Models of Memorial Architecture from Different Cultures

09:30 - 5 May, 2017
8 Models of Memorial Architecture from Different Cultures

In most architecture projects, the input of the end user of the space is an important consideration; but what if those users are no longer living? Memorial architecture for the dead is a uniquely emotional type of design and often reveals much about a certain culture or group of people. Especially in the case of ancient tombs, archaeologists can learn about past societies’ customs and beliefs by examining their burial spaces. The personal nature of funerary spaces and monuments conveys a sense of importance and gravity to viewers and visitors, even centuries after the memorials were created.

The list of 3D models that follow, supplied by our friends at Sketchfab, explores memorial spaces and artifacts that span both space and time, representing a variety of cultures and civilizations.

Be a Voyeur in Christian Grey’s Revamped “50 Shades” Penthouse With This 3D Model

09:30 - 4 May, 2017

The interplay of tantalizing eroticism continues within Christian Grey’s luxury tower in the recently-released film sequel, Fifty Shades Darker. In the first film, Grey’s plush apartment played an integral role in undressing the personas of Anastasia Steele, who liberates herself from her chaste existence, and Christian, who exposes the seething and fiery carnal desires and fetishism behind his glorified masculine beauty, charm, and appearance.

Grey's penthouse, which resonates with his unyielding and intimidating Heathcliff undertones in the first part of the trilogy, turns over a new leaf in the sequel. There is ambient warmth in the penthouse; nevertheless, the high level of sophistication prevails in his penchant for singular tastes and fastidiously-selected objects and it remains unapologetically lush.

Peter Cook is Concerned By Contemporary Drawing Culture, And Here's Why

04:00 - 4 May, 2017
Peter Cook is Concerned By Contemporary Drawing Culture, And Here's Why

In the sixth episode of GSAPP Conversations, Jarrett Ley (a current GSAPP student) speaks with Sir Peter Cook. They discuss architecture as a tool for shaping radical thought, the relationship of the current political climate in Britain, Europe, and the United States on architectural education and practice, and how the most interesting contemporary architectural projects appear to stem from "unknown architects in smaller countries."

We Are Approaching "The End of Work." How Will This Change Our Housing?

09:30 - 3 May, 2017
We Are Approaching "The End of Work." How Will This Change Our Housing?, As the American Dream dies, we must rethink our suburbs, homes, and communities. Seen here: ,L’Abri de la Bourgeoisie, after L’Abri du Pauvre, Claude-Nicolas Ledoux, 1804, from Atlas of Another America, Park Books, 2016. Image Courtesy of Keith Krumwiede
As the American Dream dies, we must rethink our suburbs, homes, and communities. Seen here: ,L’Abri de la Bourgeoisie, after L’Abri du Pauvre, Claude-Nicolas Ledoux, 1804, from Atlas of Another America, Park Books, 2016. Image Courtesy of Keith Krumwiede

This article was originally published by The Architect's Newspaper in their April 2017 issue and on their website titled "As the American Dream dies, we must rethink our suburbs, homes, and communities." It is part of a series of articles that mark the AIA National Convention in Orlando that took place at the end of April.

Americans define themselves through work; it builds character, or so we believe. The American Dream is premised on individual achievement, with the promise that our labor will be rewarded and measured by the things we collect and consume. For many, the sine qua non of the dream, our greatest collectible, is the single-family house. Of all our products, it is the one we most rely upon to represent our aspirations and achievements.

5 Daily Newsletters To Help You Power Through Your Architecture Job

04:00 - 3 May, 2017
5 Daily Newsletters To Help You Power Through Your Architecture Job

How do you start your day? Chances are that between opening your eyes, getting out of bed, heading for a cup of coffee and brushing your teeth, you're part of the majority of people who check their email within 15 minutes of the alarm clock sounding. It's a pretty intense way to begin the day, so we thought we'd share some daily email newsletters that lift our spirits, make us wiser, and give us the positive energy needed to tackle a long day's work. The best part is that you never stop learning.

Iranian Case Study: Can We Build For The Future Without Forgetting About The Past?

09:30 - 2 May, 2017
Iranian Case Study: Can We Build For The Future Without Forgetting About The Past?, © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/novecentino/512652036/'>Flickr user novecentino</a> licensed under <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/">CC BY-SA 2.0</a>
© Flickr user novecentino licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Taking a taxi from Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport into the city, one cannot help but look at the seemingly random distribution of buildings along the road; an array of mismatched concrete blocks, worlds away from the images of Sheik Lotfollah Mosque that typically adorn the covers of Iran travel guides. “My observations about architecture in Iran are like that of many other countries that have changed in terms of architectural characteristics; Iran has changed too,” says Tehran-based architect, M. Reza Karfar. “Now we are in a time where everything is mass produced and we are just using and using, but not making memories with anything. That sense of belonging will, of course, go away. You see a 50 or 60, or 200-year-old house that just gets demolished and replaced by a 4 or 5-story building, and in 5 years they will demolish that 4 to 5-story building too.”

Not to say that Iran should be an exhibit for tourists, only consisting of beautiful tiled buildings, but this fear of memories fading in disappearing public spaces is one that, despite the numerous historical sites preserved around the country, is noticeable in Iran’s big cities. And while the subject is particularly pertinent in Iran, as Karfar points out this phenomenon is not unique to just one country. As a result, Iran might offer something of a case study for other countries around the world. 

In the Swedish City of Järfälla, Ten Radical "Superbenches" Are Unveiled as Community Incubators

04:00 - 2 May, 2017
In the Swedish City of Järfälla, Ten Radical "Superbenches" Are Unveiled as Community Incubators, Core / Philippe Malouin, Ali Bar Chair / Max Lamb, and Spring Break / Soft Baroque. Image © Jezzica Sunmo
Core / Philippe Malouin, Ali Bar Chair / Max Lamb, and Spring Break / Soft Baroque. Image © Jezzica Sunmo

Sweden is home to the world’s longest public bench. At 240 feet (around 72 meters) in length, the Långa Soffan (“long sofa”) was installed by the citizens of Oskarshamn in 1867 to overlook its rather unspectacular harbour, which opens toward the Baltic Sea. The function of this bench was not for passing time and taking in the coastal views, however; in times gone by it was rhythmically occupied by the wives of sailors awaiting their husband’s return from sea voyages. It allowed people to gather under a sense of common melancholy and collectively recall the smiles of their distant spouses before the ocean’s broad, blue canvas.

The Architecture of Some of the World's Oldest Continuously Inhabited Cities

09:30 - 1 May, 2017
The Architecture of Some of the World's Oldest Continuously Inhabited Cities

What’s so great about the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world? Probably the fact that their societies have been evolving in one unbroken series of eras, with ever-changing values and styles that have, among other things, given rise to architectural memories of their long histories. These cities aren’t like the archeological sites we visit to see how people lived thousands of years ago; they are the exact places people lived thousands of years ago, places where people are still living today, with their rich histories buried under layers of paint and concrete instead of earth.

With ancient cities found in regions around the world, the variety of architectural treasures that can be found in these cities is vast. To give you a taste of their diversity, here is a selection of 18 of the oldest continually inhabited cities from various regions of the world, ranging from youngest to oldest, with a small snippet of their various architectural puzzles. 

© <a href='https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Berat.jpg'>Wikimedia user Joonas Lytinen</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en'>CC BY 2.0</a> © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/dziecienocy/5039948774'>Flickr user dziecienocy</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/'>CC BY-SA 2.0</a> © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/worak/907175079'>Flickr user worak</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/'>CC BY 2.0</a> © <a href='https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gopuram-madurai.jpg'>Wikimedia user Nataraja</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/1.0/deed.en'>CC BY-SA 1.0</a> +20

Art or Architecture? 13 Projects That Blur The Boundary

09:30 - 30 April, 2017
Art or Architecture? 13 Projects That Blur The Boundary

Whether architecture is a form of art or not has often been a controversial topic of conversation within the architecture world. If one goes by the general definition of the word "art," architecture could potentially fit within the umbrella term: "the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power." As anyone involved in the architectural discipline probably knows, there is an abundance of varying definitions of the word "architecture," so whether its primary purpose is to achieve beauty or to organize space is evidently up for discussion.

Ask Jay A. Pritzker, founder of the Pritzker Prize, and he may say that "architecture is intended to transcend the simple need for shelter and security by becoming an expression of artistry." Ask The Guardian's Jonathan Jones and he may tell you that "architecture is the art we all encounter most often, most intimately, yet precisely because it is functional and necessary to life, it's hard to be clear about where the 'art' in a building begins." But this ambiguity is part of what makes the field of architecture challenging and exciting. To celebrate this complicated aspect of architecture, below we have collected a list of just some of the works that could be seen as art, architecture or both, depending on who’s looking, to provide some context to those blurry boundaries.

© James Dow © Florian Holzherr Courtesy of Studio Olafur Eliasson © Anders Sune Berg +14

Immerse Yourself in Architectural Spaces Worldwide With the NYT's Daily 360

10:30 - 29 April, 2017
Immerse Yourself in Architectural Spaces Worldwide With the NYT's Daily 360, via The New York Times Daily 360
via The New York Times Daily 360

With 360 camera technology, the ability to transport people into a space through film has become all the more immersive. Viewers are able to turn the viewport in every direction to see the whole scene, or even to put on a headset for a more natural way of viewing a scene. Of course, this has important implications for viewing architecture, which many believe has become too image based, and therefore two-dimensional. 360 videos leave no corners conveniently hidden, as a traditional video or image would, perhaps providing a fuller picture of a place - could this perhaps open up a more human-scale understanding of space?

The New York Times have treated their Facebook followers to some great architectural insights through their Daily 360, getting more than their money’s worth out of their 360 camera equipment. Some of these must-see videos include a dance rehearsal taking place in the Guggenheim Museum’s rotunda, as well as an aerial view of La Paz, Bolivia. Read on to take a peek into the richness of earth’s urban spaces:

TED Talk: The Designer of Chile's Bahá'í Temple Explores Sacred Spaces in a Secular Time

09:30 - 28 April, 2017

In a recent TED Talk, architect Siamak Hariri takes the audience inside his design process for the Bahá'í Temple of South America. Responding to an open call in 2003 to design the last of the faith's continental temples in Santiago, Chile, Hariri recalls a moment as a student at Yale when he learned about the transcendent power of architecture, a moment he tried to recreate in the twelve-year project.

© Asamblea Espiritual Nacional de los Bahá'ís de Chile + Hariri Pontarini Architects © Asamblea Espiritual Nacional de los Bahá'ís de Chile + Hariri Pontarini Architects © Daniela Galdames © Daniela Galdames +5