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.
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
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 inside SOM‘s martini? Find out after the break
Architects: ASW Architekci Ankiersztajn Stankiewicz Wroński
Location: Stawna, Poznań, Poland
Architects In Charge: Michał Ankiersztajn, Dariusz Stankiewicz, Jarosław Wroński, Martyna Antczak-Galant, Michał Karykowski, Anna Waligórska Dzik, Anna Matylla-Włodarczyk, Maja Olszanowska, Łukasz Brzozowski
Area: 5970.0 sqm
Photographs: Fotoarchitektura Anna Gregorczyk
Nationwide Children’s Hospital has selected NBBJ to design their $85 million Livingston Ambulatory Center in Columbus, Ohio. The six-story, 200,000-square-foot center will serve more than 100,000 patients annually. It will feature modular and flexible units centered around shared employee workspaces. Construction will begin in February.
The Liget Budapest Competition has recently announced its winners, and Kengo Kuma and Associates has taken home honorable mention for their House of Hungarian Music design. Conceived as a house in the woods, the proposal seeks to embed itself in the landscape, having a low impact on the natural environment while becoming a focal point of Budapest’s urban environment.
Ricardo Porro, the leading architect behind Cuba’s National Art Schools - one of the largest architectural achievements of the Cuban Revolution – has died of heart failure in Paris at the age of 89. After spending nearly a half a century in exile, Porro lived long enough to see his two arts schools reemerged on the world stage as “crown jewels of modern Cuban architecture.”
“When I received this commission, I thought there had not been a good expression of revolution in architecture,” Porro said in a 2011 interview with The Atlantic. “I wanted to create in that school the expression of revolution. What I felt at that moment was an emotional explosion.” Read the full New York Times obituary, here.
From Frank Gehry giving the finger and claiming that today’s architecture is 98% “pure shit,” to the Guggenheim Helsinki competition receiving 1,715 entries and becoming the most popular architecture competition in history, 2014 has been an eventful year. The following 20 stories were the most read of the year, generating discussion among readers and provoking interesting comments. Ranging from lighthearted lists (25 Free Architecture Books You Can Read Online) to articles analyzing how future cities might look (Hamburg’s Plan to Eliminate Cars in 20 Years), here are the top 20 stories of 2014.