In his forthright and insightful essay, designer/author/Doors of Perception director John Thackara discusses problems with today’s design completions and offers up some compelling suggestions for change.
Complaints range from moralistic, “competitions are too often staged for wrong or unclear reasons;” to humanistic, “attention is usually focused on the thing rather than on the person or team behind the thing;” to mundane, “there is seldom enough time in the judging process to assess entries adequately.” I assume such complaints are obvious to anyone on the judging-side of the design competition world, and that saying all this out loud might come off as obnoxious, but as a recent architecture school graduate I appreciate Thackara’s full disclosure. Knowledge is power, y’all. Likewise, Thackara’s proposed redesigns range from pragmatic, “get real: Insist on external partners and a live context,” to idealistically postmodern, suggesting competitions “ask entrants to create platforms and contexts in which diverse groups of people may co-design the systems, institutions and processes that shape our daily lives.” As reasonable as the suggestion may be, allusions to leftist, Los Angeles School-style activism might cause some readers to lose interest.
To read Thackara’s essay, follow this link.
Emporio Baglione is a restaurant in a trendy and nice neighborhood. The entrance was designed as a continuation of the promenade as a square of interconnection between public and private sectors.
Architect: Rocco, Vidal+arquitetos
Location: Sao Paulo, Brazil
Project Team: Giovana Oliva , Alexandre Salles
Structure Engineer: Pedro Paulo Maciel Engenharia
Electrical Engineer: Grau Engenharia
Lighting: Foco Luz e Desenho
Photographs: Courtesy of Rocco, Vidal+arquitetos
Last summer, we shared SHoP’s 270,000 sqf office and research building for Botswana, Africa, a winning proposal that surpassed 17 international competitors. The Innovation Hub is a huge investment for the Botswanan government as an attempt to diversify its ecomony which is primarily based upon diamond extraction to move toward a more “knowledge-based economy.” A lot is at stake for this $50 million project. With thousands of sqf of office space to fill, many wonder if the building and its location can attract the latest researchers; yet, SHoP’s initiative to create an environmentally friendly haven attempts to do just that. “The goal was to create an incubator to invite new startups and other companies into Botswana,” says SHoP principal William Sharples, “and get the country into another economic line besides just diamonds.”
More about the project after the break.
A joint venture between the Australian Institute of Architects (NSW Chapter) and the NSW Architects Registration Board, Sydney is now gearing up for the 2011 Sydney Architecture Festival, the 10 day celebration of architecture that commences with an opening party at Customs House Sydney on October 20th and will end on October 30th.
Australia’s only Architecture Festival stimulates debate and offers fresh perspectives about what constitutes good architecture and design and how to create a sustainable, healthy and culturally rich built environment. The 5th annual event offers the chance to engage with ideas and architectural inspirations from around the world, and this year promises several new and exciting ways to engage in conversations about our city with events in venues across Sydney – tours, talks, workshops, exhibitions, lectures, films and children’s activities. More event description after the break.
First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ Sanctuary / Constantine George Pappas AIA Architecture/Planning
Architect: Constantine George Pappas AIA Architecture/ Planning
Location: Rochester, Michigan, United States
General Contractor: Frank Rewold and Sons, Inc.
Project Area: 21,000 gross sq ft
Project Year: 2010
Photographs: David Rose
The new documents confirm Foster + Partners as the architects, working with ARUP North America and Kier & Wright, a local civil engineering firm that has worked on Apple’s current campus and buildings for other tech companies (eBay, Nvidia, Cisco, Netflix and Sun, among others).
About the program:
- An Office, Research and Development Building comprising approximately 2.8 million square feet for up to 13,000 employees
- A 1,000 seat Corporate Auditorium
- A Corporate Fitness Center
- Research Facilities comprising approximately 300,000 square feet
- A Central Plant
- Associated Parking
It’s a pretty amazing building. It’s a little like a spaceship landed. It’s got this gorgeous courtyard in the middle… It’s a circle. It’s curved all the way around. If you build things, this is not the cheapest way to build something. There is not a straight piece of glass in this building. It’s all curved. We’ve used our experience making retail buildings all over the world now, and we know how to make the biggest pieces of glass in the world for architectural use. And, we want to make the glass specifically for this building here. We can make it curve all the way around the building… It’s pretty cool.
- Steve Jobs
The round shape has also been cited as an important part of the campus’ security (better perimeter control) and to improve internal circulations.
It’s interesting to see that the objectives of the project are focused on reducing the use of electricity by generating its own energy on an on-site Central Plant, provide open green spaces “for Apple employees’ enjoyment” and to “exceed economic, social, and environmental sustainability goals through integrated design and development”. It seems Jobs choose the right firms for this.
By looking at the drawings it seems that the project is ready to go, and now it’s waiting for city approval. The city has revealed that they are very likely to approve the project, so it seems everything is on route for an opening in 2015.
Drawings and renderings after the break:
The American Institute of Architects, San Francisco chapter (AIA San Francisco) and Center for Architecture + Design present the eighth annual Architecture and the City festival, the nation’s largest architectural festival showcasing tours, films, exhibitions, lectures, family programs and more. Taking place every September 1-30, the month-long celebration offers individuals an unparalleled opportunity to engage with the local architectural community, explore the crossroads of planning and contemporary culture, and experience design in a myraid of ways throughout the city. More information about select events after the jump.
Prefabricated design has been around since at least the 1940’s, but has lately seen resurgence in popularity. By assembling off-site, prefab gives homebuyers attractive alternatives to the standard residential developments that have become commonplace. While prefabricated homes are not without their disadvantages, they are an interesting component of the post-housing bubble residential market. More on prefab design after the break.
Architect: Erdy McHenry Architecture
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Structural Engineer: The Harman Group
Mechanical Engineer: PHY Consulting Engineers
Civil Engineer: Pennoni Associates, Inc.
General Contractor: Intech Construction
Project Area: 170,000sqf
Project Year: 2009
Photographs: Peter Kubilus, Roger Swingle, Tommy Holt
This house had been sitting on the market for a few years, in short sale. SPACE Architecture + Planning‘s clients, looking for a family home with plenty of room for the kids, fell in love with it and its unusually large yard and lot (for Chicago). This landmark presented several challenges, least of which was the outdated interior and poorly planned living spaces.