The Bauhaus school of design has made an indelible mark on the world of architecture, one that is still felt almost seventy years after its closing. After moving the school from Weimar to Dessau in 1925 to avoid confrontation with the Nazis, founder Walter Gropius designed a series of semi-detached homes for the design masters teaching at the Bauhaus. This small neighborhood, nestled in a pine forest near the school building itself, was an idyllic home for the likes of Lyonel Feininger, Oskar Schlemmer, and Gropius himself. They were abandoned in the 1930s as Germany plunged into war, and suffered years of damage from military conflict and neglect. Renovations to the houses began in 1990, and now, 24 years later, the Bauhaus meisterhäuser have been completely reopened.
In 1994, a routine construction technique that has been practiced in Hong Kong for over 100 years caught the attention of photographer Peter Steinhauer - and led him to put almost a decade of work into capturing this unique urban phenomenon. The bamboo scaffolding and fabric wrappings he photographs serve the simple purpose of catching construction debris, but at a glance they look more like works by Christo and Jeanne Claude, the artists that have made their name wrapping buildings like the Reichstag in Berlin.
The resulting photos showcase the colossal towers of Hong Kong wrapped in brightly-colored fabric; their usually varied facades are made monolithic, like a plastic massing model rendered full-size. Steinhauer named his photo series “Cocoons” due to the effect they create over time: the buildings metamorphose under cover and emerge transformed.
Read on for more photos of these urban cocoons
The Mapo Oil Depot is a valuable industrial legacy of Seoul but has been forgotten for quite some time since its original purpose was terminated. In an era of economic growth in Korea, a fresh approach is needed regarding this industrial legacy, which, ironically can survive in having been forgotten.
“Ninety-five percent of the world’s designers focus all of their efforts on developing products and services for the richest 10% of the world’s customers.” - Paul Polak, Design for the 90% 
The vast majority of contemporary architectural practice today is service industry based, where a fee-paying client commissions a firm for a defined scope of services. Master of self-effacing cynicism Philip Johnson wryly accepted this structure, calling architects “high-class whores.” The recent surge of interest in designing for traditionally underserved communities, from groups such as Architecture for Humanity, MASS Design, Project H and Public Architecture challenges the traditional firm model. The Prizker Prize jury’s recognition of Shigeru Ban’s humanitarian designs highlights that high design and a socially conscious practice are not mutually exclusive.
Believing that architecture can alleviate societal ills and improve the quality of life for all people is not a new concept. Two eras, the 1920s and 1960s-70s, brought a social agenda to the forefront of the discourse. Hindsight reveals flaws of each. Modernism’s utopian visions for public housing and urban renewal are blamed for the detrimental impact of Post-WWII urban housing projects; participatory design in the 1960s and 70s is criticized for ceding expertise in the name of consensus, ending with projects that were no better than the status quo. Despite this, there are lessons to be learned from those who emphasized the social and humanitarian role of architecture.
Foster + Partners has been named the UK‘s biggest architecture practice for the third year running in the annual AJ100 run by the Architects’ Journal. The list of the top 100 architecture practices in the UK, based on the number of fully qualified architects employed, was announced at an awards ceremony last night in London.
In the past year Foster + Partners has almost doubled its lead at the top of the list, with its 290 architects putting it 87 ahead of second-place rival BDP, showing how the practice dominates the architecture world not just culturally, but also in terms of business size.
See the top 10 UK practices, as well as the results of the accompanying AJ100 Awards, after the break
The results of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Future Trends Survey for April show that confidence among UK practices remains high at a Workload Index of +35, the same as in March. The positive figures came from across the board, with practices of all sizes and from all regions of the UK predicting increased workloads in the near future. However, after last months’ survey showed Scotland as the region with the brightest outlook, the balance of power has shifted back to London, where architects reported the highest index of +45. Read on for more…
Robert A.M. Stern, founder of Robert A.M. Stern Architects and Dean of the Yale School of Architecture, is turning 75 today. Stern is a self-proclaimed modern traditionalist – and no, in his eyes, that is not an oxymoron. When asked about the seeming contradiction in a PBS documentary, he replies by musing, “Can one speak the local languages of architecture in a fresh way?” Unlike most, Stern sits on the fence between modernists and traditionalists. His work at both his firm and the Yale School of Architecture reflect his desire to connect these two polarized worlds. For more on Stern, continue reading after the break.
Studio Magazine has released their latest issue: POWER. The relationship between architecture and power has been the main character in the urban transformation with no space-time boundaries. In which way nowadays the pair Power-Architecture consciously or unconsciously transforms our cities and the spaces we inhabit?
Construction is slated to begin in August (2014) on an expansion project that will transform the lower level of Tadao Ando’s Pulitzer Arts Foundation building in St. Louis into a public space for exhibitions, new programs and artist-driven activities. Previously used as offices and storage, the two new galleries, also designed by Ando, will expand the Pulitzer’s programable space by nearly 50 percent. This will be the building’s first major renovation since opening in 2001. More information after the break…
Architects: Taller Estilo Arquitectura
Location: Merida, Yucatan, Mexico
Project Architects: Víctor Cruz Domínguez, Atahualpa Hernández Salazar, Luis Estrada Aguilar
Collaborators: Silvia Eugenia Cuitún Coronado, Pedro Manuel Quintal Ruz, Andrea Matilde Marrufo Ruiz
Project Area: 149 sqm
Photographs: Alberto Cáceres Centeno