The Rubens at the Palace Hotel in Victoria, London, has unveiled the city’s largest “living wall” – a vertical landscape, composed of 16 tons of soil and 10,000 plants, designed to reduce urban flooding. Taking two months to construct and covering a 350 square foot area, the 21 meter high wall will beautify the cityscape year round with seasonal flowers such as strawberries, butter cups and winter geraniums.
Because of the lack of absorbent surfaces in the Victoria area of London, the Victoria Business Improvement District (BID) decided to step in with the design of this incredible wall that combats urban flooding with special water storage tanks. Designed by Gary Grant of Green Roof Consultancy, these tanks can store up to 10,000 liters of water that are then channeled back through the wall to nourish the plants. Not only will the wall do a great job of keeping the surrounding streets flood-free, it boosts the area’s green appeal and attracts wildlife into the dense urban environment.
Better known for his books and television documentaries, which address the importance of philosophy in our daily lives, Alain de Botton is founder of “Living Architecture,” a company which rents holiday homes designed by renowned architectural practices like: MVRDV, NORD, Jarmund/Vigsnaes, David Kohn Architects and Peter Zumthor. It was while writing the book “The Architecture of Happiness” that the Swiss/British philosopher had this idea. He has also been designated honorary fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects, in acknowledgement of his services to architecture.
Hugo Oliveira: Architects like Alison and Peter Smithson believed that they could transform people’s lives for the better through architecture. Is this sort of innocence important?
Alain de Botton: The Smithson’s ambition is terrific. The problem is that architects can’t change the world until they become developers. At the moment, the best of our architects are merely hired jesters designed to enliven the egos and bank balances of large property developers.
In July the Office for Metropolitan Architecture’s (OMA) competition proposal for a mixed-use development in the heart of downtown Santa Monica was recommended by City Council members after they “seemed genuinely wowed by OMA’s theatrically-terraced design.” City officials have since voted to re-evaluate the recommendation over concerns of a lack of affordable housing in the development, as well as issues “related to design [and] economics.” They have also invited Related California, a team comprising of BIG, Koning Eizenberg Architecture, and Rios Clementi Hale Studios, to revise its original proposal that was shortlisted in March of this year.
Architects: Dionne Arquitectos + Posada Arquitectos
Location: Cholula de Rivadavia (San Pedro Cholula), Puebla, Mexico
Architect In Charge: Fred Dionne, Juan Ignacio Posada
Collaborators: Rodrigo Martínez, Elizabeth Cortes, Antonio Carpio, Francisco Baxin, Hugo García.
Construction: Posada Arquitectos
Project Year: 2012
Photographs: Patrick López Jaimes, Courtesy of Dionne Arquitectos
“While artists work from the real to the abstract, architects must work from the abstract to the real.“
Taking on no easy task, Steven Holl has set out to define Architecture, with a capital “A” – in just four words. His article, featured in the Critics Page of The Brooklyn Rail, is part of a series of short writings by artists and architects. Read What is Architecture? by Steven Holl.
UPDATE: Minutes ago Tokyo was announced as the host of the 2020 Olympics. Zaha Hadid’s design to become the Olympic stadium.
Today the International Olympic Comitee (IOC) will choose the city that will host the 2020 Olympics, with Madrid, Tokyo and Istanbul competing for the important event. The three cities just finished their presentations in Buenos Aires, Argentina, including presidents and royal members. As we await for the results, we present you the three stadiums designed to host the Olympics in each city.
More information and images:
In the latest video from Nowness, director Thomas Rhazi documents the complicated architectural scene in China – focusing on how the country holds onto its identity despite the “frenetic” pace of its expansion and globalization. Shaway Yeh sums up the situation nicely: “what does China really look like, what does China represent? No one knows, because it’s a place that’s still in flux, it’s constantly reshaping.” Lyndon Neri, however, points to Pritzker Prize winner Wang Shu as a possible answer, saying that he “created something quite amazing in Ningbo, it had a new way of looking at a building in a Chinese way… what he actually did was a modern interpretation of Chinese architecture.” No matter where you stand on China’s modernization, the video is a beautiful depiction of the historical meeting the modern.
The Center for Architecture + Design and the Seed Fund announced the winners of the Reimagine. Reconnect. Restore What if 280 came down?…, a competition that explored the idea of removing San Francisco’s 280 Freeway, north of 16th Street, in an
The Getty’s Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in L.A. hosted A. Quincy Jones: Building for Better Living at UCLA’s Hammer Museum and Contemporary Architecture from Southern California (formerly known as A New Sculpturalism) at MOCA Geffen for the better part of this summer. These two exhibits, on view until September 8 and 16 respectively, give us insight into Los Angeles’ past and present architectural legacies. They take on fundamentally different challenges. One uncovers a prolific and primary history of a modernist architect, the other attempts to capture and catalogue an unwieldy and unstable present.
Read on after the break for reviews of both exhibitions…
In 2003, BOLLES + WILSON won a national competition that gained them commission of the new Luxemburg National Library (BnL Bibliothèque Nationale de Luxembourg). After years of hibernation, the 39,000 square meter library will break ground in 2014.
Follow us after the break for more analysis on the library…