Construction has commenced on Pei Cobb Freed & Partners’ 61-story condominium tower in Boston’s historic Back Bay. The $700 million development will be the tallest residential building in the city, and the tallest tower to rise since the 1976 John Hancock Tower, also designed by Pei Cobb Freed.
“The project allows us to consider once again how a tall building, together with the open space it frames, can respond creatively to the need for growth while showing appropriate respect for its historic urban setting,” says Henry Cobb of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners.
Paolo Venturella Architecture has been commissioned to design a proposal for an Italian office building. The inventive structure uses existing contextual information, such as the grid of the city and an abandoned soccer field on which it sits, to drive its parametric design. The resulting building not only makes use of an otherwise forgotten plot of land, but fits precisely into the urban fabric of the existing city layout, using its grid to shape the building.
In an article for Metropolis Magazine, Zachary Edelson speaks to architect and critic Michael Sorkin about The Next Helsinki - a competition set up "to inquire as to whether this very valuable site in this wonderful city can’t somehow be leveraged beyond a franchise museum building." The esteemed jury, replete with distinguished artists and architects (many of whom are Finnish), is not just "a counter-competition" to the recent Guggenheim competition: "we’re trying to raise the question of whether a big foreign institution is the most logical way to prompt the arts to flourish at the community level." Read Sorkin's comments about the Finns' attitude to their city and his thoughts on the shortlist of the recent Guggenheim competition in full here.
Update: Last week, Hadid and the New York Review of Books agreed to a settlement agreement, with Hadid accepting the apology of the New York Review of Books and, in conjunction with the settlement, donating an undisclosed sum of money to a labor rights charity. You can read the full joint statement at the end of this article.
For those that follow the ins and outs of architectural criticism, it will have been hard to miss the news this week that Zaha Hadid is suing the New York Review of Books, claiming that the critical broadside launched by Martin Fuller against Hadid in his review of Rowan Moore's book Why We Build was not only defamatory but also unrepresentative of the content of the book. Hadid's lawyers demanded a retraction of the review, which they claimed had caused Hadid "severe emotional and physical distress."
Hadid's lawsuit did manage to elicit an apology from Filler, but probably not the one she was hoping for: Filler posted a retraction admitting that his review confused the number of deaths involved in all construction in Qatar in 2012-13 (almost 1,000) with the number of deaths on Hadid's own Al Wakrah stadium (exactly zero). However, much of Filler's comments criticizing Hadid's cold attitude to conditions for immigrant workers in Qatar remain unaddressed.
Throughout the week, a number of other critics took this opportunity to pile more criticism on Hadid, unanimously agreeing that the lawsuit was a bad idea. Read on after the break to see the six reasons they gave explaining why.
National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Chile, National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Canada
Desarrollo y Construcción del Templo Bahá'í para Sudamérica Ltda.
Courtesy of Bahá’í Temple of South America
Nearly four years after the start of its construction, South America’s first Bahá’í temple is beginning to take shape. Designed by Canadian firm Hariri Pontarini Architects, the temple is being constructed at the foothills of the Andes in Santiago, Chile. The building is comprised of “nine translucent wings, rising directly from the ground, and giving the impression of floating over a large reflecting water pool,” describes the project’s website. Each wing is designed like a leaf, with a steel “main stem” and “secondary veins of steel” supporting its cast glass exterior. During the day, the cast glass will filter sunlight into the temple, while at night the temple’s interior lighting will produce a soft glow on the outside.
The structure’s steel columns are now fully self-supported on its concrete foundation, and the steel frames and interior marble panels of each of the nine wings have been completed. In October, the project reached an important milestone as the installation of the cast glass cladding began on the outside of the wings.
Aside from attracting a huge level of media interest, the record-breaking competition to design the Guggenheim Museum's planned outpost in Helsinki also generated a significant level of criticism - not least from Michael Sorkin and his collaborators, who launched a counter-competition seeking alternative suggestions for how the site could be used. In this article, originally published on Metropolis Magazine as "'We Mean to Be Provocateurs': Michael Sorkin on the Next Helsinki Competition," Zachary Edelson interviews Sorkin on his reaction to the Guggenheim's shortlist, his hopes for his own competition, and the critical role that museums play in the worlds of both art and architecture.
The reverberations of the Bilbao Effect, where a prize museum infuses a region with prosperity and global cache, have concentrated on an unlikely city: the Finnish capital of Helsinki.
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation is famous for its Fifth Avenue museum, but its 1997 Frank Gehry-designed Bilbao outpost famously catapulted its small Basque host city to new levels of international renown. The city’s tourism revenue quickly helped recoup the museum’s extensive costs: $100 million for design and construction, subsidies towards a $12 million annual budget, $50 million for an acquisitions fund, and $20 million to the Guggenheim for its name, curatorial services, and the use of parts of its collection. Within three years, visitors’ spending had garnered $110 million and by 2013 more than 1 million had entered the gleaming metallic structure. Many have tried to replicate Bilbao’s success but opposition against such massive expenditures always looms. In this case, it has manifested in a rival competition led by New York-based architect and writer Michael Sorkin and titled The Next Helsinki.
In memory of architect and arts administrator Deborah Norden, the Deborah J. Norden Fund is calling for proposals from students and recent graduates in the fields of architecture, architectural history, and urban studies for awards up to $5000 in travel and study grants. A program of The Architectural League of New York, participants must submit a maximum three-page proposal, which succinctly describes the objectives of the grant request and how it will contribute to the applicant’s intellectual and creative development. The deadline for submissions is April 16, 2015. For more information, please visit here.
BLUEPRINT is the latest exhibition on display at the Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York. Curated by Sebastiaan Bremer, Florian Idenburg and Jing Liu, the exhibition features 50 blueprints from participating artists and architects, ranging from as far back as 1961 to 2013.