The outcome of the 2012 United States presidential election will have global economic implications. In the midst of one of the most severe global recessions in history, policymakers around the world are waiting to see which way the United States will go this coming November. Will it stay the course of potential recovery—as yet incomplete—set by President Barack Obama? Or will it veer to the right into the still vague and undefined policies of challenger Mitt Romney?
For architecture specifically there is much at stake in this, the most expensive presidential race in history, where two contrasting visions of government’s role in the economy are boiling over. The Democrats advocate a course of continued federal investment and regulation to steer the country through rough economic waters they say were created by eight years of Republican policies. The Republicans point the finger and say Obama’s policies have not succeeded. They prioritize bringing down the deficit, reducing the size of the federal government and less regulation. Both sets of policies claim to be the answer to get the economy growing again.
Regardless of who wins the chances that economic growth will magically spring back to pre-recession levels are slim to non-existent. But whose policies would be more likely to at least make the long climb out of the well more tolerable?
Vote in our Presidential Poll after the break
Germany’s Leuphana University Lüneburg is venturing into global online learning with the launch of the Leuphana Digital School, a “cost-and-barrier-free” academic platform that offers collaborative web-based learning led by distinguished scholars and experts.
So-called social learning systems are radically changing the field of academic education and setting new standards for the communication of knowledge. Internationally distinguished scientists from the Columbia University New York, the Arizona State University, the London School of Economics, the Goldsmiths University of London, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the ETH Zurich, the Collegium Helveticum and the University of Zurich, the Sun Yat-Sen University Guangzhou and the City University Hong Kong, as well as leading experts from politics, media and economy will be advising students participating in Leuphana’s online-University, starting with the prototype course: “ThinkTank – Ideal City of the 21st Century”.
The Winners for this year’s coveted Curry Stone Design Prize, which awards talented designers who “harness their ingenuity and craft for social good,” have just been announced!
In honor of the fifth anniversary of the Prize, this year the five winners will share the $25,000 award equally. An awards ceremony will take place on November 15, 2012, at Harvard Graduate School of Design, followed the next day with a forum of presentations by the 2012 winners and panel discussions. The awards ceremony and daylong forum are free and open to the public.
A big congratulations go out to The Center for Urban Pedagogy, Jeanne van Heeswijk, Liter of Light, MASS Design, and the Riwaq Centre for Architectural Conservation! More info on these incredible organizations, after the break…
Thanks to the courtesy of ACME Studio, we are giving you the possibility to win a pen and card case based on Le Corbusier’s 1947 Modulor theory. Le Modulor, accentuates Le Corbusier’s theory on a black background with silver imagery and Ronchamp, an architect’s pencil features his signature drawing of a hand, a sign of “peace and reconciliation”.
All you have to do to participate is become a registered user (if you’re not one already) and answer the following question in our comments:
Le Corbusier used his Modulor in many buildings. Name three.
You have until Tuesday 30 to submit your answer. Winners will be announced and contacted next Wednesday 31. Good luck!
For the second time in our section, we propose a Peter Greenaway film. This one has not an obvious architectural name, however the way in which the director works with space results very attractive from an architects’ point of view.
The story occurs within no more than five locations and it is full of allegories through a strong use of lighting and colours. Enjoy a classic and let us know your comments!
Last year, thanks to a photo essay by architecture photographer Iwan Baan featured in the New York Magazine, the world became aware of a dramatic urban context in Caracas, Venezuela, the result of a lack of available housing: The Torre David (David Tower). The tower, built as the headquarters of the Confinanzas Group during the economic boom of the 90s, was left unfinished after the company went bankrupt in 1994, placing the building in a murky legal void where its ownership was put into question. Since 2000, the tower has suffered looting and decay; the public take-over culminated with the occupation of the tower by more than 2,500 people in 2007.
For over a year, Urban-Think Tank studied how the tower’s mixed-use occupation worked, with improvised apartments, shops, and even a gym on the terrace. The community operates under the strict rules imposed by the informal tenants, who have been accused by many Venezuelans of being nothing more than criminals.
Invited by curator Justin McGuirk, Urban-Think Tank recreated ‘Gran Horizonte’, a restaurant in the Torre de David, at the Arsenale of the Venice Biennale. The restaurant serves the same traditional food as the original, while photos by Iwan Baan reveals tenants’ day-to-day lives, immersing visitors into the tower.
The installation explores how the informal settlement works in ways the building’s architect never would have conceived, and posits that the informal dynamics found in emerging countries could serve as a vital source of innovation and experimentation for urban problems in our hyper-urbanized world.
The project has been highly controversial among the Venezuelan architecture community, as shown by the letters and articles in local newspapers reproduced at the installation, and on the Internet. Most of these letters’ authors claim that the project supports the illegal occupation and depicts a distorted image of Venezuela’s reality. But, on the other hand, the Venezuela Pavilion at the Biennale showed only cheerful paintings and images of propaganda, avoiding its purpose: to critically observe and stir debate. The controversy between the two visions only further highlights the current polarity in Venezuelan society, particularly on this issue of urbanization.
More from the architects after the break:
While Foster + Partners’ plan emphasized the need to alleviate the Terminal’s acute overcrowding (“designed to support 75,000 people a day, Grand Central, one of the world’s busiest transport hubs, routinely handles about ten times that much ”), SOM’s contemplates the potential for new zoning laws to increase population density, and thus sees itself as an answer to the future demand for public space.
The plan highlights three solutions: pedestrian corridors to alleviate circulation; additional levels of public space; and, most provocative of all, a circular pedestrian observation deck, which rises/lowers above Grand Central for a 360-degree panorama of the city.
More images and info from SOM, after the break…
Location: Bankowa, Katowice, Poland
Design Team: Dariusz Herman, Piotr Smierzewski, Wojciech Subalski
Area: 2,910 sqm
Structural Design: Jan Filipkowski, Joanna Jacoszek, Jerzy Rawski, Mariusz Staszewski
Collaborators: Rafal Sobieraj, Adam Kulesza, Jacek Moczała, Wojciech Słupczyński
Client: Consortium of the University of Silesia and University of Economics in Katowice
Photographs: Jakub Certowicz, Tomasz Zakrzewski
Architects: Cannatà & Fernandes
Location: Ovar, Portugal
Authors: Fátima Fernandes & Michele Cannatà
Team: Riccardo Cannatà, Dario Cannatà, Bruno Silva, Marta Lemos, Nuno Castro, Francisco Meireles, João Pedro Martins
Area: 5,271 sqm
Implantation Area: 2440.97 m2
Exterior Spaces: 3421 m2
Photographs: Luis Ferreira Alves, Dário Cannatà
Breadtruck Films shared with us their seven minute documentary on architect Jonathan Segal‘s ‘the charmer’. The project consists of a 19 unit residential complex in San Diego’s Little Italy neighborhood and recently won a 2012 project of the year award. By building on the tradition of the California courtyard apartments, he shows how architecture can create community and add a little charm to the neighborhood. The outdoor spaces at complex carry just as much importance with Segal as the buildings themselves. He believes that beauty and livability are crucial, and often overlooked, components of environmental design.
Co-sponsored by The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of The Cooper Union as part of the program put on by the Architectural League, Mike Taylor… of Hopkins Architects will be delivering a lecture on his current work at the
The ‘Forest Corridor’ proposal has won one of the 2nd prizes (Professional Category) in the Open International Competition for Noise Barrier/Enclosure organized by the Hong Kong Government. Designed by BREAD Studio, the project gives an alternative insight to the noise mitigation structure design in the dense urban environment of the city. More images and architects’ description after the break.