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Venice Biennale 2012: Aircraft Carrier / Israeli Pavilion

© Nico Saieh

The Israeli pavilion at the 13th Venice Architecture Biennale, titled Aircraft Carrier, deals with the dramatic changes in Israeli architecture since 1973, and the American influences that made them possible.

Curators Erez Ella, Milana Gitzin-Adiram and Dan Handel defined four major architectural phenomena that demonstrate these changes – Signals, Emporiums, Allies and Flotillas – and invited five leading Israeli and international artists and architecture photographers to reflect on them. Participants include Portuguese photographer Fernando Guerra (Check out an interview with Guerra here!), along with , Florian Holzherr, Nira Pereg and Jan Tichy. Continue after the break for more.

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Venice Biennale 2012: Märkli Architekt

© Nico Saieh

The term “common ground” claims something shared: relationships between people and things. This installation intends to awaken an appropriate sense within the soul of the visitor.

Pierres Vives / Zaha Hadid Architects

© Helene Binet

Architects: Zaha Hadid Architects
Location: ,
Project Architect: Stephane Hof
Design Local Architect: Blue Tango
Execution Local Architect: Chabanne et Partenaires
Project Area: 35,000 sqm
Project Year: 2012
Photographs: Helene Binet

Video: Rem D Koolhaas, United Nude


The Dutch architect and creative director reveals how a broken heart led him from architecture to shoe design, and the story behind the name of his company, United Nude.

The Shard: A Skyscraper For Our Post-9/11 World?

The Shard, by Renzo Piano, towers over the London skyline.

When the Twin Towers came down 11 years ago (almost to the day), the world was struck numb. Even New Yorkers, who felt the trauma rumble through their veins, couldn’t get past the initial disbelief: how can this be happening? How can something so big, so invincible, actually be so vulnerable?

Hundreds of comments have been hurled at Renzo Piano’s “Shard,” the massive, reflective skyscraper that hulks over the London skyline – it’s big, no, huge; it’s out of the context of its Victorian neighborhood; its exclusive price tag could only be footed by Qatar royalty (as it is) – but few, beyond writing off the tower as a symbol of arrogance or hubris, have stopped to consider its impetus.

For that, we must look at the Shard in the context of . Only then can the Shard be understood for what it is: the amplification and perfection of the glass tower Piano began in post-9/11 , a utopian vision that stands defiantly in defense of the city itself.

What Architects Do Doesn’t Count

Yesterday, a good friend of mine wrote “It doesn’t count, unless it’s built.”

I read this, and thought. “I completely agree with this”. And, then my head began to hurt. More.

Because, what does that say about my work? (I don’t mean the obvious reference to my lack of built work the last few years). No, I mean in general, my work isn’t about a built project. It’s about a vision of an unbuilt project. Or more specifically, my work is about visualizing an as yet realized building. My work isn’t a physical thing that you can order from Amazon. My work is not a thing at all. It’s a path to a thing.

I meet with a client. I listen to them describe their idea of this thing that doesn’t exist yet, and then I begin to work. I slowly use the tools of my trade to bring into focus an image of what that idea can become. It’s a poetic endeavor really; making these images of forms and light that point towards someone else’s hopes for their future. It’s a translucent profession, not an opaque craft.

more after the break

Piano’s Progress

© Renzo Piano Building Workshop

In honor of Renzo Piano’s 75th (gasp!) birthday, we offer an update on his latest projects.  The septuagenarian has several large-scale works in various stages of construction scattered across the world, and has celebrated the opening of others within this past year.  While we have been continuously following the conceptualization, construction and completion of the Shard, Renzo’s talent is sweeping across major cities both in the States and Europe, including: a satellite museum in ; a cultural hub for Athens; an urban cultural catalyst for Santander, an interior renovation for Los Angeles; a recently completed museum wing for Boston; plus, a redeveloped brownfield site turned science center for Trento, Italy.  No matter the project location, scale, or program, Piano’s  ability to craft an architecture with a sense of lightness, strong attention to detail and overall aesthetic elegance sets him in a very particular category of the profession.

So, here’s to a happy 75th and 75 more years of great architecture, Renzo!

More after the break.

Voelklip / SAOTA

Courtesy of

Architects: SAOTA – Stefan Antoni Olmesdahl Truen Architects
Location: Voelklip, Hermanus,
Project Year: 2009
Photographs: Courtesy of SAOTA

Courtesy of AAUPC Agence Patrick Chavannes + G.C.A. Design Consulting
Courtesy of AAUPC Agence Patrick Chavannes + G.C.A. Design Consulting

Nanjing Ecological and Technological Island / AAUPC Agence Patrick Chavannes + G.C.A. Design Consulting

Located on the Yangzi River to the north-east of Nanjing in Jiangsu Province, the proposal for the Nanjing ecological and technological island, by AAUPC Agence Patrick Chavannes + G.C.A. Design Consulting…, consists of a development strategy for the Yangzi

Parque de Bombers in Gavà / Mestura Arquitectes

© Pedro Pegenaute

Architects: Mestura Arquitectes
Location: Gavá, Barcelona, Spain
Project Year: 2008
Photographs: Pedro Pegenaute

Liselotte Rauner School / Léon Wohlhage Wernik Architekten

© Christian Richters

Architects: Léon Wohlhage Wernik Architekten
Location: ,
Project Year: 2011
Project Area: 8,350 sqm
Photographs: Christian Richters

Courtesy of Santa Fe University of Art and Design and the Santa Fe Art Institute
Courtesy of Santa Fe University of Art and Design and the Santa Fe Art Institute

‘Ricardo Legorreta and Santa Fe’ Tribute Event

Santa Fe University of Art and Design and the Santa Fe Art Institute recently announced the Ricardo Legorreta Tribute event, a weekend of activities across the city honoring Legorreta’s influence on Santa Fe design. Taking place October 19-20, the event…

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Venice Biennale 2012: Le quattro stagioni. L´architecttura del Made in Italy da Adriano Olivetti alla Green Economy / Italy Pavilion

© Nico Saieh

The theme of the 13th International Architecture Exhibition, Common Ground, seems particularly apposite in describing the sense of rapport and relationship that is one of ’s primary characteristics in the development of cultural research and inquiry. This relationship has always been attained through reference to and an exchange between not only the purview of the contemporary, but also the past and our always compellingly tangible history.

Robins Way / Bates Masi Architects

Courtesy of

Architects: Bates Masi Architects
Location: Amagansett, , USA
Photographs: Courtesy of Bates Masi Architects

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Venice Biennale 2012: hands have no tears to flow / Austria Pavilion

hands have no tears to flow / Austrian Pavilion © Günter

The Austrian Pavilion for the 2012 Venice Biennale is a collaboration of Wolfgang Tschapeller, Rens Veltman and Martin Perktold, a team that consists of interdisciplinary fields of study, thought and action from architecture and art.  The contribution, entitled “Hands have no tears to flow. Reports from / without Architecture”  invites visitors to comprehend architecture as a social and cultural phenomenon and to experience it from different perspectives and views.  It explores this year’s theme, Common Ground, with a discourse on the sociopolitical function of architecture.  The exhibit will be on view at the Biennale until November 25th.

Neubau Bürogebäude / spado architects

© Kurt Kuball

Architects: spado architects
Location: , Austria
Design Team: Hannes Schienegger, Elisabeth Spieß
Project Year: 2011
Photographs: Kurt Kuball

AD Round Up: Pavilions Part I

© Iwan Baan

For today’s Round Up we have some great pavilions previously featured in ArchDaily. Here’s five you can’t miss: Hypar Pavilion at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts by Diller Scofidio + Renfro with FXFowle or Brittlebush designed by Simon De Aguero. Check out the Plastique Fantastique Installations, these giant plastic bubble installations which take on different shapes in different cities, immediately snatch people’s attention and create a temporary focal point in the city centers. Don’t miss Matthieu Gelin & David Lafon’s, “A Canopy and a Pavilion” at Porte des Lilas. Finally, revisit one of our AD Classics: Barcelona Pavilion by the great Mies van der Rohe.

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Venice Biennale 2012: Voices / Malaysia Pavilion

© Nico Saieh

The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.
- Ludwig Wittgenstein, 1921)

The limits of our minds are reflected by the limiting capacity of our language. All the world we know is shaped by our external circumstances, which can be expressed through thoughts and outward expressions – our voices. The voice is typically regarded as a vocal manifestation; but it can also be visual and literal.