There’s been a lot of buzz going around about the Pritzker jury dissing Denise Scott Brown, wife and co-partner to Robert Venturi. Back in 1991 they awarded the prize to Mr. Venturi, singular…not plural to include his better half. Seems they, a different jury, also dissed Wang Shu’s wife and co-partner, Lu Wenyu way back in 2012 by granting the prestigious prize to Mr. Wang without acknowledging who holds up “the other half of the sky”, as they say in Mandarin.
Context in architecture has become a subject bloated with discussion and debate over the years. And, as a matter of fact, it has come to matter very little in its formal and typological sense. Take, for instance, the fluid forms that compose Zaha Hadid’s hundreds of projects around the world, or Frank Gehry’s exploding compositions seen from South America to the unmistakable Guggenheim in Bilbao. The form architecture takes in these cases, and countless others, is in itself a deliberate disregard towards context in its literal sense.
But is this disregard for context a mistake? Observers would often say so, though I would like to disagree. It has become frequent that projects like these, largely formal and not politely accommodating their historic surrounding, actually take greater interest in social urban issues that have a direct impact on the city dwellers. Quite simply, successful architecture today is one that serves society culturally and practically, addressing tangible problems of 21st century cities and dealing with context in a solution-oriented manner, going beyond aesthetics (whose value is only temporary) and into future-invested urbanism. Case-in-point? My hometown: Beirut, Lebanon.
Cases from Lebanon on this new approach to context after the break…
The proposed Great Fen Visitor Center by Arrigoni Architetti …consists of three barns arranged on the edge between land and water in a clear orthogonal layout. Gathered around an open space, the buildings will represent the welcoming meeting point for
The Trimo Urban Crash competition asks students to design a unique modular space solution made from Trimo products and the products of their partners. This year, the aim was to encourage aspiring designers of urban space towards a bolder, more ambitious approach to understanding architecture and its place in the larger urban environment through the design of a creative urban meeting point – the Bike Base. Manus Leung from the Faculty of Built Environment at University of New South Wales, Australia and Kacper Krywult from the Faculty of Architecture / Warsaw University of Technology, Poland were announced as the overall winners for their project SHIFT. More images and information on the winners after the break.
Architects: Sommet & Asociados
Location: Santa Cruz, Bolivia
Architect In Charge: Sommet & Asociados
Design Team: Sebastián Fernández de Córdova Frerking, Erika Peinado Vaca Diez
Site Manager: Mariano Donoso Rea
Structural Calculation: Zelmar Ibañez Pedraza
Area: 818 sqm
Photographs: Sebastián Fernández de Córdova Frerking
Organized by ORLI (Operation Resilient Long Island), a student-led grassroots committee of architecture, interior design, and construction management students from New York Institute of Technology, the 3C Comprehensive Coastal Communities Competition aims to catalyze the discussion of rezoning towns that are…
Striving for a diverse and international response, Storefront for Art and Architecture recently launched the Competition of Competitions. The intent of the competition is to provide and deliver new and relevant forms of engagement and content to the economic, politic…
Architects: workshop apd, Beyer Blinder Belle
Location: Brooklyn, New York, United States of America
Design Team: Matthew Berman; Andrew Kotchen; James Krapp; Brook Quach; Tyler Marshall and Beyer Blinder Belle Architects and Partners LLP (Elizabeth Leber; Jean Campbell; Michael Tucker)
Engineer: Robert Silman Associates
Geotechnical Civil/Environmental: Langan Engineering
Lighting Designers: Tillett Lighting Design
Landscape Design: D.I.R.T. Studio
Area: 32568.0 ft2
Photographs: T.G. Olcott
Whole Foods has teamed up with New York’s local organic grower, Gotham Greens, to build the first commercial-scale greenhouse attached to a supermarket. The 20,000-square-foot greenhouse, expected to open in Brooklyn this Fall, will provide locally grown produce year-round to…
Architects: Estudi PSP Arquitectura, AiB estudi d’arquitectes
Location: El Catllar, Catalonia, Spain
Collaborating Architects (A I B ): Iñigo Solano, David Baró, Nicolás Aparicio, Marta Mulà, Luís Arredondo, Jordi Brunés, Gerard Cuartero-Betriu, Eduard Dalmau, Gerard Garcia, Estíbaliz Guitérrez, Jordi Pascual, Arne Schultz-Gambard, Enric Verdú, Sandra Vergara, Cristian Vivas.
Collaborating Architects (Psp): Josep Perez, Jordi Morató, Enric Palou, Rafel Montsonís, Fernando Morales, Coral Pallarés, Gemma Mercader.
Area: 74130.0 sqm
Photographs: Jose Hevia