Minuscule clusters of visitors ascend a monumental stairway at the base of a spherical monument rising higher than the Great Pyramid of Giza. An arc of waning sunlight catches a small portion of the sphere, leaving the excavated entry portal and much of the mass in deep shadow. Bringing together the emotional affects of romanticism, the severe rationality of neoclassicism and grandeur of antiquity, Etienne-Louis Boullée’s sublime vision for a cenotaph honoring Sir Isaac Newton is both emblematic of the particular historical precipice and an artistic feat that foreshadowed the modern conception of architectural design. Rendered through a series of ink and wash drawings, the memorial was one of numerous provocative designs he created at the end of the eighteenth century and included in his treatise, Architecture, essai sur l’art. The cenotaph is a poetic homage to scientist Sir Isaac Newton who 150 years after his death had become a revered symbol of Enlightenment ideals.
Beyond representing his individual creative genius, Boullée’s approach to design signaled the schism of architecture as a pure art from the science of building. He rejected the Vitruvian notion of architecture as the art of building, writing “In order to execute, it is first necessary to conceive… It is this product of the mind, this process of creation, that constitutes architecture…” (1). The purpose of design is to envision, to inspire, to make manifest a conceptual idea though spatial forms. Boullee’s search was for an immutable and totalizing architecture.
BLOCK is a video game that "will breach the digital with the physical" and allow anyone to become an active participant in the future of Los Angeles. Described by FAST Co.Existas "Minecraft for real life" the gameplay, which also bears similarity to The Sims, is founded on understanding the interdependencies of city entities such as housing, shops, parks and infrastructure. The objective of the game is to both educate people and to generate user data for design patterns for the Los Angeles of 2050, producing the first database of a future city. BLOCK allows the player to understand the ecology of the urban realm (focusing on resources such as money, waste, and social capital) ultimately encouraging entrepreneurship "through the design of an ecological urbanism." Fundamentally, it allows for new opportunities to be conceived in the city.
Zaha Hadid Architects has been selected to design a new mathematics gallery in London’s Science Museum. Aimed to be the “world’s foremost gallery of mathematics,” as described by museum director Ian Blatchford, the £7.5 million state-of-the-art gallery will examine the ideas of mathematicians from the past 400 years in an effort to illustrate just how mathematics has helped shape our world.
“The design explores the many influences of mathematics in our everyday lives; transforming seemingly abstract mathematical concepts into an exciting interactive experience for visitors of all ages,” stated Hadid.
Despite architecture's continued evolution over the course of history, our use of structural materials has remained largely the same since the advent of modern building materials. This reality may be changing thanks to the development of new materials seeking the same kinds of adaptability often found in nature.
Adaptable architecture is becoming an increasingly viable endeavor as a result of recent developments in building technologies and materials. Masters research students Ece Tankal, Efilena Baseta and Ramin Shambayati at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia were interested in “architecture of transition” and have developed a new material system that utilizes a thermally responsive polymer as structural joints with their project, "Translated Geometries." Read on after the break to learn about how this new material system was developed and its potential for applications in architecture.
There's no doubt about it - cycling in cities is a big deal these days. But, while cycle lanes and bike-sharing schemes are all well and good for our cities, the cycling revolution hasn't yet brought us many examples of beautifully designed infrastructure to gawp at. This article, originally printed on The Dirt as "Do Elevated Cycletracks Solve Problems or Just Create More?" discusses two seemingly similar examples of high profile cycling infrastructure, examining why one is a success and the other a non-starter.
This year, two designs – one proposed and one built – for elevated cycletracks, which create bicycle highways above street level, have gained considerable media attention. They highlight questions at the heart of urban design: Should cities blend or separate transportation options? How can cities best mitigate the hazards created when cars, bikes, mass transit, and pedestrians mix? How can cities create low-cost transportation networks in increasingly dense urban cores?
Last week, the five teams competing for the Presidio Parkland project in San Francisco unveiled their proposals in a public meeting at the project site. The parkland, made possible by the replacement of an elevated highway by a new tunnel, will command stunning views of the San Francisco bay, including views of the Golden Gate bridge.
"This is a once-in-a lifetime opportunity to create and design new parklands," Executive Director of the Presidio Trust Craig said. "We are extremely pleased with the caliber of the work of the five design teams and look forward to hearing the public’s feedback on these early concepts."
Competing for the prestigious project are James Corner Field Operations, OLIN with Olson Kundig Architects, Snøhetta with Hood Design Studio, West 8, and CMG Landscape Architecture. A winner will be announced in January.
More than 500 years after it was built, Filippo Brunelleschi's dome of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, Italy, remains the largest masonry dome ever built. Leaving no plans or sketches behind, some of the secrets of its construction that Brunelleschi pioneered are still an enigma today. This short animation, presented by National Geographic and created by Fernando Baptista and Matthew Twombly, gives an idea of how the dome of the Duomo might have been built. Demonstrating the complexity of the task, made harder due to poor construction prior to Brunelleschi's commission, this film serves as a reminder of just how long it can take to create something timeless.
When you visit the galleries of GuggenheimHelsinki, you may have to bring a life vest. This submission to the Guggenheim Helsinki Design Competition floats the idea of a museum over water, traveling between the ports of St. Petersburg, Tallinn, and Helsinki. Proposed as a hypothetical submission to the worldwide contest, the team at OfficeUS delve into the notion of transience in the new world of architourism. The brief reads: "As a global freeport, the museum develops a completely new infrastructure, offering the strategic tax benefits of freeport art storage while enabling exhibitions of some of the most important pieces of modern art and design." Upcoming exhibits include (hypothetically) Olafur Elliasson, Yves Klein and Thomas Demand.
“Green architecture helps people live harmoniously with nature and elevates human life by embracing the powers of the sun, wind and water into living space. If the current way of thinking does not change, sooner or later citizens will actually live in concrete jungles,” Vo Trong Nghia says in this week’s episode of Al Jazeera’s Rebel Architecture series. An award-winning Vietnamese architect, Nghia is known for his sustainable and green designs as well as his work with bamboo. In this 25-minute episode, we follow Nghia on his mission to transform Vietnam’s attitude towards architecture and green spaces through his “Vertical Farming City,” and catch a glimpse of his project to implement low-cost housing solutions for Vietnam’s poorest communities in Mekong Delta.
Watch the full episode above and read on after the break for a full episode synopsis and a preview of upcoming episodes…
UPDATE: Submissions are now closed. We will contact the winner in the week.
Next month, the annual Greenbuild International Conference and Expo is coming to the Big Easy for three days of speakers and educational workshops that discuss sustainable architecture. If you haven’t booked your ticket already, here is a chance to attend the event free of charge!
reThink Wood is offering a full pre-paid pass to Greenbuild this year ($700 value) to one lucky ArchDaily reader. The winner will also be able to meet with architects on-site that are passionate about the green movement and reducing the environmental impact of buildings through innovative design with wood.
To win, just answer the following question in the comments section before September 26 12:00PM EST: "Which architecture firm(s) are doing the most innovative green designs with wood today?"
http://www.archdaily.com/546309/win-a-free-full-pass-to-greenbuild-from-rethink-woodAD Editorial Team