Many have come to associate drones with the looming unmanned aircraft deployed in the defense industry, but as technology continues to improve drones have gotten smaller and progressively less expensive. Consumers can now purchase their very own drone for as little as $600 or less and the technology is already proving to be useful for a wide variety of purposes, including possible uses for architects in everything from site analysis to construction.
However, this technology could have much broader consequences on not only the airspace above our streets, but also in how we design for increasing civilian and commercial drone traffic. Just as other technologies such as cars and security surveillance have shaped our urban infrastructure, so too will an emerging network of infrastructure for pilotless technology. Particularly as drones become ever more precise and nimble, opportunities arise for their increased use in urban areas. If these devices can be programmed to learn from repeated maneuvers with the use of cameras and sensors, it is not unrealistic to say that they could soon learn how to navigate through increasingly complex vertical cities. But if drones become fixtures of our urban environment, what impact will they have on exterior spaces? And could they become as ubiquitous in our city’s skies as cars on our streets?
John Quinlan Terry, one of Prince Charles' preferred architects, is being recognized on the UK’s 2015 New Year Honours list and awarded the Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for his services in classical architecture. The Queen’s annual awards will also be honoring architect Cecil Balmond, former deputy chairman of UK Arup, with the Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE). Former City Planning Officer and professor Peter Wynne Rees, who oversaw the realization of the Gherkin and highly disputed Walkie Talkie, will also receive a CBE for his services. Katharine Heron, professor of Architecture University of Westminster, has been selected to receive a Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for her services to architecture and higher education.
At ArchDaily, we take great pride in bringing our readers the best selection of architectural projects and news stories around, but another big part of our editorial mission also involves giving architects access to the knowledge that will help them improve the lives of future urban dwellers. As the year draws to a close, each of the editors at ArchDaily has personally selected their favorite articles from the past year which complement this editorial mission. These articles may not be the ones that garnered the most attention or views, but we think they are vital nonetheless.
Our top 14 of 2014 includes coverage of crucial events, like the attention-grabbing competition that broke almost every record going, and an architectural model that redefined the idea of political protest; it features profiles of people who are redefining the profession, including both one of the world's most famous architects who had one of his greatest years yet, and a woman who spends most of her time working with sewage; and it includes insightful histories, such as how communist architecture developed in the mid-twentieth century, and how that period is now defining architecture in a modern-day communist superpower. Read on to find out which articles made our list as the best of the past year.
http://www.archdaily.com/583185/the-14-best-articles-of-2014AD Editorial Team
With Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro in attendance, Frank Gehry presented the model for the future National Center for Social Action Through Music building in Lara state. The project is Gehry’s second in Latin America, following the recently inaugurated Biomuseo in Panamá.
To be located in Barquisimeto, Venezuela’s fourth most populated city, the National Center for Social Action Through Music forms part of the National Network of Youth and Children’s Orchestras and Choirs of Venezuela, more commonly known as “El Sistema.” Founded in 1975 by orchestra director José Antonio Abreu, El Sistema is now funded by the government and provides musical training and education for children from impoverished backgrounds. The Adjkm-designed Simon Bolivar Complex for Social Action is also part of El Sistema.
Pemba, a small Tanzanian island off of Africa's Eastern coast, is undergoing something of a construction boom. With half of the population aged under 30 and a culture in which a man must build a house before he can get married, a wave of new informal housing is sweeping the island. Historically, construction methods used by the islanders have been problematic: traditional wattle & daub construction typically survives for just 5-7 years; its replacement, bricks made of coral, not only require large amounts of energy to extract but have a devastating effect on the environment; and modern cement bricks most be imported at high costs.
Sensing an opportunity to help the islanders at a critical time in their development, Canadian NGO Community Forests International is promoting a solution that combines the economy and sustainability of wattle & daub with the durability of masonry: Interlocking Stabilized Compressed Earth Blocks (ISCEBs). Find out how this simple technology can help the island community after the break.
To paraphrase an old adage, "behind every great building is a great architect." According to Swiss-based Kosmos Architects, a less familiar version of this might say "beside every great building is a perfectly mixed cocktail." The firm has revealed a scientifically (un)proven link between alcohol and architecture: ramps, for instance, are often built at an inclination of five to seven degrees, a statistic that correlates to the alcoholic percentage of an average beer. Furthermore, a steep forty-degree roof incline designed to throw off snowfall matches the forty percent alcohol content of vodka used in Arctic climates to keep out the winter chill.
Kosmos Architects has published a series of twelve illustrated postcards, linking iconic buildings with their appropriate drink. A Manhattan for Mies, a Blue Blazer for Zumthor, and a Smoky Martini for Herzog & de Meuron all belong to the series 'Good Drinks & Good Buildings,' a booze-soaked comparison of architecture and alcohol, just in time to ring in 2015.
What's insideSOM's martini? Find out after the break
Earlier this month the New York Times published an editorial written by Steven Bingler and Martin Pederson in which the two discuss how and why architects need to reevaluate the profession. The article centers on how today’s architecture can adequately meet the needs of its intended users without acknowledging their input and asks “at what point does architecture’s potential to improve human life become lost because of its inability to connect with actual humans?”
As with any commentary on the very nature of contemporary architecture, criticism abounds and has prompted a scathing response by Architect Magazine writer Aaron Betsky, who claims that the New York Times ought to be above such "know-nothing, cliché-ridden reviews of architecture" and ridicules certain excerpts of Bingler and Pederson's text, saying "I am not making this up." Betsky takes the opportunity to argue instead that “Architecture... is either the dull affirmation of what we have, or it is an attempt to make our world better."
Read on after the break for more on the New York Times article and the opposing views