“Architecture does not change anything. It’s always on the side of the wealthy. The important thing is to believe that it can make life better.” -- Oscar Niemeyer
As much as we'd care to deny it, Niemeyer makes a valid point here. Architecture is almost always "on the side of the wealthy"; the profession, as it has existed for about a century, rarely changes anything; and yet - and yet - it can make life better. If only for a select few.
But what if architecture could make life better for the many. What if good-quality, life-bettering architecture were open-source and available to download off the internet? For free?
The University of Chicago has chosen Bing Thom Architects to design a new home for the Chicago Booth Asia Executive MBA Program in Hong Kong. The center will begin construction in October 2014 on Mount Davis, a heritage site that was originally used as a military encampment for the British Army in the 1940s and then a detention center.
Last night, the facade of Rem Koolhaas' critically-acclaimed skyscraper - De Rotterdam - became the screen for the largest video mapping project ever displayed in Europe. The A15 Project, an initiative of Natuur & Mielieu, re-envisions the A15, the Netherlands' busy highway, into a "sustainable highway." Check it out in the video above!
Building Trust is a non-profit charity founded in 2010. Last month, we featured one of the schools they have worked on in Thailand, and they now have a number of sustainable design and build projects in Cambodia during 2014, including a health center, a school, a wildlife conservation project and housing.
It’s official: Taipei has been selected as the 2016 World Design Capital (WDC). This doesn’t come by surprise, as back in August they were the only city selected by International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID) to move onto the competition’s final round.
The city campaigned under the slogan “Adaptive City: Design in Motion,” focusing on how design can improve the living standards of their citizens. To strengthen their campaign, officials proposed 20 projects under the “Public Policy by Design” program that intended to strengthen the connection between designers, the public and funders. Over 600 workshops have already been conducted, encouraging collaboration between the city’s top officials and design professionals, and many more are scheduled to take place.
"When you find a piece of stone which is three or four hundreds years old, then you understand the notion of time as more than what we can experience as human beings. At that moment the old thing might be beautiful, it might be ugly. It doesn't matter, but it gives you a sense of profound time, and then you understand your history and ancestors that lived in a different world, different from the one we are in now."-Yung Ho Chang
Located in Beijing’s Yuanming Yuan Park, next to the ruins of the mixed-style Baroque Palace, Yung Ho Chang's office is in an ancient wooden dwelling, surrounded by vegetable gardens grown by the architects of the studio.
In this conversation, Yung Ho, who established China’s first independent architectural office, Atelier FCJZ in 1993, laying the foundation of contemporary practice in China, talks about his story, describing a Beijing which has disappeared as well as the contemporary Beijing and its "New Beijing Sky." He talks about architecture using references from movies, literature, art and artists, describing his approach to architecture in accordance with his philosophy of life.
This four part series (originally published on Aggregate’s website) examines the Gherkin, the London office tower designed by Foster + Partners, showing how the urban icon engaged and leveraged perceptions of risk. In part one, author Jonathan Massey introduced the concept of "risk design” to describe how the Gherkin’s design managed the risks posed by climate change, terrorism, and globalization. In parts two and three, Massey examined the building’s treatment of risks associated with climate change and terrorism. In this final installment, Massey concludes by addressing the building’s engagement with risks posed to the City of London by globalization.
Unlike New York and other cities in which zoning codes entitle landowners to some kinds of development “as of right,” the City of London regulates property development through case-by-case review by planning officers, who judge how well the proposed construction conforms to City-wide plans and guidelines regarding factors such as building height, development density, access to transit, and impact on views and the visual character of the area. In order to develop the Gherkin, the property owners and Swiss Re had to secure planning consent from the City Corporation through its chief planning officer, Peter Wynne Rees. The review and permitting process that culminated in the granting of planning consent in August 2000 spanned the planning office as well as the market, the courts, and the press. Rees brokered a multilateral negotiation so intensive that we could almost say the building was designed by bureaucracy. Part of that negotiation entailed imagining and staging risk: climate risk, terrorism risk, and, especially, the financial risks associated with globalization.