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Amazon's Seattle Headquarters / NBBJ

Amazon's Seattle Headquarters; Images © NBBJ
Amazon's Seattle Headquarters; Images © NBBJ

AD Interviews: The Japan Pavilion at the Venice Biennale / Toyo Ito, Akihisa Hirata, Sou Fujimoto

During the opening of the Venice Biennale, we had the chance to sit down and talk with the curator and participants of the Japan Pavilion, awarded with the Gold Lion.

In the following videos you can see Toyo Ito, curator of “Architecture. Possible Here? Home-for-all”, along with collaborators Akihisa Hirata and Sou Fujimoto, discussing what Architecture means to them, the role of architects in our society, and how they approached the Biennale’s theme “Common Ground” on this particular exhibition, which reunites Japanese architects and an architectural photographer collaborating on the design of houses for those affected by the 2011 tsunami.

We thank the Japan Foundation for this interview.

Akihisa Hirata and Sou Fujimoto videos after the break:

Chad Oppenheim Lecture at HD Boutique Expo

Chad Oppenheim, the founding principal of Oppenheim Architecture + Design, will deliver a lecture at the annual HD Boutique Exposition and Conference on September 12th from 11:15am-12:15pm. Taking place at the Miami Beach Convention Center, the boutique-style trade show is know for the best in hospitality design, architecture, operation, and development. Oppenheim’s design strategy is to extract the contextual essence from the building program – creating an experience that is dramatic and powerful. His landmark designs demonstrate a climatic response while strengthening the relationship between people and nature. During the event, he will be showcasing his designs that simultaneously solve complex challenges while engaging all the senses.

Venice Biennale 2012: The Most Political Biennale Yet

© Nico Saieh. Russia's Pavilion "i-city"
© Nico Saieh. Russia's Pavilion "i-city"

Of all the critiques of this year’s Biennale, there was one that was particularly hard to miss: “This event is an expensive danse macabre. In truth it is all hollow, arduous, exhausting, bleak and boring. It is no longer about lively discussion and criticism of topics in contemporary architecture, but rather about empty, conservative charged with feigned meaning.” Coop Himmelb(l)au’s Wolf D. Prix came under fire for this attack (especially when it was realized he didn’t even set foot at this year’s Biennale). And yet, had he written this critique for any other Biennale, he wouldn’t have been so far off. The Biennale is, after all, an expensive affair of prosecco-filled parties and, often, inaccessibly esoteric exhibits. Prix hedged his bets that this Biennale, with its fluffy-sounding name, “Common Ground,” would be just like its precedents. Unluckily for Prix, it wasn’t. In fact, it was probably the most politically-engaged Biennale yet. But its Gold Lion winners, including an informal settlement and post-Tsunami shelters, have made some architects ponder what has never been pondered of a Biennale before: Was this year’s Biennale too political, after all?

Bulowsvej / CEBRA

© CEBRA
© CEBRA

Our friends from CEBRA shared the latest on their newest education building.  After being awarded first prize for their proposal, CEBRA has created a school organized by three bands that respond to functional needs of the building.  These bands are manifested in a visual manner throughout the school, providing a recognizable way-finder for the children and flexibility for the school’s functions and pedagogical principles. More after the break. 

Studio for a Composer / Johnsen Schmaling Architects

© John J. Macaulay
© John J. Macaulay

Architects: Johnsen Schmaling Architects Location: Spring Prairie, Wisconsin, United States Project Year: 2011 Project Area: 500 sq ft Photographs: John J. Macaulay

© John J. Macaulay
© John J. Macaulay
© John J. Macaulay
© John J. Macaulay
© John J. Macaulay
© John J. Macaulay

The Recessionary Interviews: Spain's Manuel Ocaña

The Recession has provoked a variety of responses – disillusionment, frustration, woe. For those not inclined to wallow, however, it has also provided ample time to reflect on (and, if you’re Manuel Ocaña, rip apart) pre-Recession society. In our Recessionary Interviews, we talk to architects living and working where the Crisis has hit hardest. Last week, we spoke with architect Luis Pedra Silva, who offered us a realistic, and yet optimistic, take on the state of architecture in Portugal. This week, on the other hand, we bring you an outlook more incendiary than optimistic. Manuel Ocaña, the controversial Spanish architect behind the Manuel Ocaña Architecture and Thought Production Office, is far from impressed with how his home country has handled its economic boom and bust. “Spain,” he says, “used to be a sexy, fit and energetic country. Envy, inferiority complexes, greed, arrogance and pride soaked it in fat. It is currently suffering from moral obesity.” More on Manuel Ocaña’s take on Spain, including why Spanish architects are no better off than Vampires (or, worse still, MacDonalds employees), after the break…

Gallium Block / Cirakoglu Architecture

  • Architects: Cirakoglu Architecture
  • Location: METU Technopolis, Ankara, Turquía
  • Equipo de Diseño: Deniz Ciler Erkan, Oral Goktas, Bilge Ildiri
  • Diseño Estructural: Parlar Muhendislik, Gulsun Parlar
  • Diseño Mecánico: YMT Muhendislik, Melih Ozoner
  • Proyecto Eléctrico: Promete Muhendislik, Kemal Guravsar
  • Area: 14000.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2005
  • Photographs: Alisan Cirakoglu

© Alisan Cirakoglu © Alisan Cirakoglu © Alisan Cirakoglu © Alisan Cirakoglu

'Speculator' Exhibition / CRAB Studio

Speculating on the potential and possibilities to develop culture in the Gold Coast, professor Sir Peter Cook and Gavin Robotham, directors of CRAB Studio, investigated this idea through the making of a large hanging sculptural piece: The WRAP, and a set of drawings and watercolors. The result is a public art exhibition, ‘Speculator’ in collaboration with Bond University, in Contemporary Temporary Gold Coast Arts Gallery, Surfers Paradise, Australia. The ‘WRAP’ aims to inspire that architecture can be the catalyst for transformation. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Balcony Over Bronte / Luigi Rosselli Architects

  • Architects: Luigi Rosselli Architects
  • Location: Bronte, NSW, Australia
  • Design Team: Luigi Rosselli
  • Project Architect: Corrado Palleschi
  • Interior Design: Alexandra Donohoe
  • Builder: Sydcon Building Sevices
  • Structural Consultant: Rooney & Bye Consulting Civil & Structural Engineers
  • Landscape Architect: Susan Miles
  • Joiner: Corelli Joinery
  • Photographs: Justin Alexander

© Justin Alexander © Justin Alexander © Justin Alexander © Justin Alexander

Homerus Kwartier

© Thomas Mayer © Thomas Mayer © Thomas Mayer © Thomas Mayer

Yandex Saint Petersburg Office II / za bor architects

  • Architects: za bor architects
  • Location: Saint Petersburg, Russia
  • Architect in Charge: Arseniy Borisenko and Peter Zaytsev
  • Area: 3310.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2012
  • Photographs: Peter Zaytsev

© Peter Zaytsev © Peter Zaytsev © Peter Zaytsev © Peter Zaytsev

Artau Bureau / Artau Architecture

  • Architects: Artau Architecture
  • Location: rue Derrière l'Eau 15, 4960 Malmedy, Belgium
  • Area: 160.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2010
  • Photographs: Courtesy of Artau Architecture

Courtesy of Artau Architecture Courtesy of Artau Architecture Courtesy of Artau Architecture Courtesy of Artau Architecture

Green Greenberg Green House / New Theme

  • Architects: New Theme
  • Location: 9400 Flicker Way, Los Angeles, CA 90069, United States
  • Design Team: Beth Holden
  • Client: Jill Greenberg & Robert Green
  • Photographs: Alen Lin, Patricia Parinejad

© Patricia Parinejad © Alen Lin © Alen Lin © Alen Lin

Roca Barcelona Gallery / OAB

  • Architects: OAB
  • Location: C/ Joan Güell 211, Barcelona, Spain
  • Design Team: Borja Ferrater, Lucia Ferrater, Carlos Ferrater
  • Structure: Jordi Bernuz
  • Facade: Talleres INOX - Cricursa
  • Client: Roca Sanitario S.A.
  • Area: 0.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2009
  • Photographs: Alejo Bagué

© Alejo Bagué © Alejo Bagué © Alejo Bagué © Alejo Bagué

Pinnacle One Office Building / Make Architects

Located in Chengdu’s prosperous and rapidly expanding business district, the innovative office building design for Pinncale One by Make Architects will be an impressive addition to the growing urban landscape, known as the financial hub of Western China. Currently under construction, the new international Grade-A office tower forms part of the Chengdu Daci Temple Cultural and Commercial Complex, a mixed-use development by Sino-Ocean Land and Swire Properties. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Headquarters of the Local Police of Adeje / Estudio Lavín

Courtesy of Estudio Lavín S.L.
Courtesy of Estudio Lavín S.L.

Architects: Estudio Lavín S.L. Location: Adeje, Tenerife Island, Spain Design Team: Alejandro Lavín Della Ventura, Francisco Miguel Lavín Della Ventura Project Year: 2010 Photographs: Courtesy of Estudio Lavín S.L.

Courtesy of Estudio Lavín S.L.
Courtesy of Estudio Lavín S.L.
Courtesy of Estudio Lavín S.L.
Courtesy of Estudio Lavín S.L.
Courtesy of Estudio Lavín S.L.
Courtesy of Estudio Lavín S.L.
Courtesy of Estudio Lavín S.L.
Courtesy of Estudio Lavín S.L.