The use of light can lead to very diverse feelings: a ray of sunlight calls attention; glare overpowers; the nocturnal sky fascinates, while a dense dark forest arouses fear. Religions have made use of these experiences to convey the mystic aspects of their respective deities — accordingly, so too do their erected buildings.
After the break, an exploration of the different approaches for using light as a vehicle of symbolic meaning and spiritual experience in religious spaces.
Last week, Patrik Schumacher, Zaha Hadid’s right-hand man, attempted to mandate the boundaries of Architecture in a social media post worthy of a Millennial. The tone was prescriptive and characterized by a liberal application of caps lock. In an ideal world, it might have been collectively ignored, but the discussion sprawled across multiple Facebook threads and inspired a broad media response (not to mention this one). I offer you a very reductive abstract: Architecture’s contribution to society is form, not political correctness and not art, which lacks a function beyond itself. A fair bit of the ensuing banter on Schumacher’s Facebook wall draws, then erases, then rehashes the distinction between art and architecture. With more than a hint of indignation, he specifically denounces the winners of the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale. He was not on the roster. Injured dignities aside, the commentary allowed a pervasive and omnipresent question within our discipline to resurface in the digital forum: What do architects offer that no one else can?
Revista Unidade recently announced their international competition “The Unknown Porto”. The main goal is to convert an industrial ruin into a service station, serving the national road of Portugal.
Registration for the competition will end May 17 and the jury…
Foster + Partners, with Heller Manus Architects, has been commissioned to design a two tower, two million square foot mixed-use development in San Francisco. The expansive “First and Mission” will be marked by a 605-foot “world class condominium” tower – which will be the tallest residential project on the West Coast – and a 850-foot “large floor plate office tower.” Together they will add more than a million square feet of flexible office and commercial space, as well as 650,000 square feet of residential units to the Transbay Area.
Architects: Rueda & Vera Arquitectos
Location: Calle 8, Guayana City, Venezuela
Architect In Charge: Henry Rueda, Henrique Vera Project Director: Arq. Henry Rueda
Design Team: Gabriella Titone, Natercia Fernandes, Roberto García, Mariana Yanes, Mariana Fernández, Gabriela Hernández, Raúl Cabrera, Rockman Vargas
Area: 596 sqm
Photographs: Antonio Chagín | ACH Imagen Digital
Qatar says the World Cup projects are “on track,” but the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), which has been investigating worker deaths in the Gulf Emirate for the last two years, vehemently disagrees. To date there have been 1200 worker deaths associated with the on-going World Cup projects. A scathing report, issued by the ITUC on March 16, claims that unless significant improvements are made to working conditions on World Cup-related sites at least 4000 more migrant construction workers could lose their lives. This would mean that those construction sites are “on track” to kill 600 workers per year, or at least 12 per week until the ribbons are cut and the fireworks are set off.
At a FIFA executive committee meeting held in Zurich on March 20, FIFA president Sepp Blatter stated, “We have some responsibility but we cannot interfere in the rights of workers.” Likewise, local FIFA organizing committee in Qatar says workers are not their responsibility. Zaha Hadid said the same.
However, given the increasing chorus of headlines along the lines of “The Qatar World Cup is a Total Disaster” they may have to say something stronger on the issue at some point — or have the image of their architecture tarnished. Of course we all know that what they mean is that legally it is not their responsibility. But does that mean they should be sitting back, not even attempting to influence change?
Get all the facts on the situation of the Qatar construction workers, after the break…