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International Symposium for Social and Humanitarian Architecture

00:00 - 5 April, 2014
International Symposium for Social and Humanitarian Architecture

Next Month, the Mackintosh School of Architecture (The Glasgow School of Art) will host its first International Symposium for Social and Humanitarian Architecture, ‘Clean Conscience Dirty Hands’, in the new Reid Building by Steven Holl Architects. The symposium focuses on the limited resources intrinsic to the provision of social and humanitarian architecture and the impact of such scarcity on the ability of organisations to ‘harness’ the learning from each built project through documentation, discussion and dissemination. As such, it seeks to provide both a locus and a forum for like-minded organisations engaged in social and humanitarian building projects, in order to capture and disseminate good practice in both a UK-based and overseas context.

Venice Biennale 2014: French Pavilion to Debate Modernism's Successes and Failures

00:00 - 5 April, 2014
Venice Biennale 2014: French Pavilion to Debate Modernism's Successes and Failures, Though his Unite d'Habitation remains popular, many other mass housing projects inspired by Le Corbusier were less successful. Image © Vincent Desjardins
Though his Unite d'Habitation remains popular, many other mass housing projects inspired by Le Corbusier were less successful. Image © Vincent Desjardins

With Le Corbusier casting a long shadow over the last century of France's architectural history, it is not surprising that, faced with Rem Koolhaas's theme of 'absorbing modernity' at the 2014 Venice Biennale, the country might have a unique reaction.

Jean-Louis Cohen's initial proposal for the French Pavilion, titled "Modernity: Promise or Menace?" reflects this history: “since 1914 France has not so much 'absorbed' modernity as it has shaped it with significant contributions made by French architects and engineers in order to meet the requirements of different segments of society. As is the case in many countries, modernity has had to come face to face with social reform and by doing so it has made great dreams such as quality housing and community services for all partially come to fruition. But this encounter has come about in a original way, also generating considerable anxiety.”

Read on after the break for more about the themes explored by the French Pavilion

Simplicity, Structural Clarity & Sustainability: How SOM Remains a Global Leader

01:00 - 5 April, 2014
Simplicity, Structural Clarity & Sustainability: How SOM Remains a Global Leader, For a relatively large practice, SOM Chicago rarely feels like one. Pictured here are the several dozen architects and engineers that make up the firm, including representatives from two in-house groups: the Chicago Structures Group and so-called "Research Gang," under the direction of "maker" Bill Baker. Image © Tim Klein
For a relatively large practice, SOM Chicago rarely feels like one. Pictured here are the several dozen architects and engineers that make up the firm, including representatives from two in-house groups: the Chicago Structures Group and so-called "Research Gang," under the direction of "maker" Bill Baker. Image © Tim Klein

Originally posted under the title "Well-Oiled Machine" on Metropolis Magazine, this fascinating article by Ian Volner profiles the international behemoth that is SOM, exploring how the practice has remained so prominent - and relevant - after 78 years, and what it is that stylistically unites a practice spread across five continents with more than 10,000 buildings to their name.

Frank Lloyd Wright called them the “Three Blind Mies.” Louis Skidmore, Nathaniel Owings, and John O. Merrill were the architectural troika whose namesake firm—founded in Chicago in the mid-1930s—became something like the Julia Child of postwar design, delivering European sophistication to middle America at midcentury. Through hundreds of buildings in cities all across the country (and, later, around the world) the office turned the stringent aesthetic of German master builder Ludwig Mies van der Rohe into an architectural metonym for big business. Whether you look at rows of sleek glass skyscrapers and see grace and economy, or only the “thousand blind windows” of Allen Ginsberg’s monstrous “Moloch,” it’s no stretch to say that you have Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) to thank for them.

More on SOM's huge influence after the break

In Drawings, The Historical Trajectory of Soviet Architecture

01:00 - 5 April, 2014
Yakov Chernikhov, Factory building, Ca. 1931, Drafting pen, ink and pencil, 298 x 248 mm. Image Courtesy of the Tchoban Foundation
Yakov Chernikhov, Factory building, Ca. 1931, Drafting pen, ink and pencil, 298 x 248 mm. Image Courtesy of the Tchoban Foundation

This article by Ross Wolfe, originally posted on Metropolis Magazine as "Cultural Divide: The 'Paper Architecture' of the USSR" explores the complexity of various Soviet architecture movements through the lens of paper architecture.

In the history of 20th-century Russian architecture, there exists a central struggle. In one corner, the Constructivists, champions of light, airy, and functional buildings that drew their power from the social and aesthetic revolutions of the 1920s; in the other, the Stalinist architects, whose thuggish hybrids and clumsy pastiche became the predominant vernacular throughout the Soviet republics. The latter, as we know, eventually came out on top. 

Things are rather more complicated, of course, as an recent exhibition at Berlin's Tchoban Foundation argued. Architecture in Cultural Strife: Russian and Soviet Architecture in Drawings, 1900-1953 brings together a total of 79 unique architectural delineations that chart a historical trajectory running from the twilight years of the Romanov dynasty up to Stalin’s death by the midcentury.

Read on for more about the multiple movements that made up the whole of Soviet architecture.

Renovation and Extension At St Monica's College / Branch Studio Architects

01:00 - 5 April, 2014
Renovation and Extension At St Monica's College / Branch Studio Architects, © Nils Koenning
© Nils Koenning

© Nils Koenning © Nils Koenning © Nils Koenning © Nils Koenning +33

ARC / BERNASKONI

01:00 - 5 April, 2014
ARC / BERNASKONI, © BERNASKONI / Yuri Palmin
© BERNASKONI / Yuri Palmin
  • Architects

  • Location

    Nikola-Lenivets, Kaluga Oblast, Russia
  • Project Team

    Boris Bernaskoni, Alexander Schamenkov, Stas Subbotin, Ksenia Trofimova
  • Contractor

    Alexey Kleymenichev, Srub fm
  • Area

    72.0 sqm
  • Project Year

    2012
  • Photographs

Kavel K / Carve

01:00 - 5 April, 2014
Kavel K / Carve, © Marleen Beek
© Marleen Beek

© Marleen Beek © Marleen Beek © Marleen Beek © Marleen Beek +30

  • Architects

  • Location

    The Hague, The Netherlands
  • Carve Team

    Elger Blitz, Mark van der Eng, Thomas Tiel Groenestege, Emma Kaul, Thijs van der Zouwen, Hannah Schubert
  • Area

    1650.0 sqm
  • Project Year

    2014
  • Photographs

Social Housing / Vous Êtes Ici Architectes

01:00 - 5 April, 2014
Social Housing  / Vous Êtes Ici Architectes, © 11H45
© 11H45

© 11H45 © 11H45 © 11H45 © 11H45 +30

  • Architects

  • Location

    Passage des Patriarches, 75005 Paris, France
  • Architect in Charge

    A. Becker, J. Paulré, P. Pflughaupt
  • Area

    1500.0 sqm
  • Project Year

    2014
  • Photographs

Definitions Series: Risk, at the Storefront for Art and Architecture

00:00 - 4 April, 2014
Definitions Series: Risk, at the Storefront for Art and Architecture, L.A. Architects at Venice Beach, 1980. Left to right: Frederick Fisher, Robert Mangurian, Eric Owen Moss, Coy Howard, Craig Hodgetts, Thom Mayne, and Frank Gehry. Photo by Ave Pildas
L.A. Architects at Venice Beach, 1980. Left to right: Frederick Fisher, Robert Mangurian, Eric Owen Moss, Coy Howard, Craig Hodgetts, Thom Mayne, and Frank Gehry. Photo by Ave Pildas

Thom Mayne, Eric Owen Moss, Stephen Phillips and Eva Franch i Gilabert will be discussing on the “institutionalization” of “experimentation” and cultural politics and power of taking risks.

Apartment/Conference Kredytowa / Maciej Kurkowski + Maciej Sutula

01:00 - 4 April, 2014
Apartment/Conference Kredytowa / Maciej Kurkowski + Maciej Sutula, © Paulina Sasinowska, Maciej Kurkowski and Maciej Sutuła
© Paulina Sasinowska, Maciej Kurkowski and Maciej Sutuła

© Paulina Sasinowska, Maciej Kurkowski and Maciej Sutuła © Paulina Sasinowska, Maciej Kurkowski and Maciej Sutuła © Paulina Sasinowska, Maciej Kurkowski and Maciej Sutuła © Paulina Sasinowska, Maciej Kurkowski and Maciej Sutuła +17

Video: Three Courtyards House / Miguel Marcelino Architect

00:00 - 4 April, 2014

Vertical Patio House / Estudi NAO

01:00 - 4 April, 2014
Vertical Patio House / Estudi NAO, © José Hevia
© José Hevia

© José Hevia © José Hevia © José Hevia © José Hevia +20

  • Architects

  • Location

    Barcelona, Spain
  • Project Architects

    Francesc Puig Esteban, Anna Fumadó Ciutat
  • Budget

    312.000 euros
  • Project Area

    216.0 m2
  • Project Year

    2013
  • Photography

    José Hevia

Las Margaritas Social Center / Dellekamp Arquitectos + TOA Taller de Operaciones Ambientales + Comunidad de Aprendizaje

01:00 - 4 April, 2014
Las Margaritas Social Center  / Dellekamp Arquitectos + TOA Taller de Operaciones Ambientales + Comunidad de Aprendizaje, Courtesy of TOA Taller de Operaciones Ambientales
Courtesy of TOA Taller de Operaciones Ambientales

© Lara Becerra © Lara Becerra © Lara Becerra Courtesy of TOA Taller de Operaciones Ambientales +21

  • Architects

  • Location

    Las Margaritas, San Luis Potosi, Mexico
  • Dellekamp Team

    Architect: Derek Dellekamp. Team: Jachen Schleich, Jérémie Dagaud, Miguel Ortigão, Rita Sarzedas.
  • TOA Team

    Emiliano García, Lara Becerra, Juan Rovalo, Brenda Solano, Simon Béquillard
  • Collaborating Team

    Comunidad de las Margaritas, habitantes de la comunidad, Federico López Ortega, David de la Torre
  • Workshop Organizers

    Jorge Kanahuati, Dulce Robles, Joana Moreno, Cristina Hernández, Juan Pablo Zetina, Valentina Vega, Mariana Rocha, Mariel Calderón
  • Funds

    Columbus de México, Transformadora Ciel, Wirikuta Fest, Dominique Berho Fernández, René Becerra, Lourdes Berho Corona, Rita Sarzedas, Familia Ramljak Furszyfer, Aida, Gladys Díaz, Roberto Fuerte, Gilda, Ivana, Leo, Josué Lee Cavero, Cynthia Mojica, Gaby Sembradora, YGU
  • Project Area

    258.0 m2
  • Photography

Villa Kavel 01 / Studioninedots

01:00 - 4 April, 2014
Villa Kavel 01 / Studioninedots, © Peter Cuypers
© Peter Cuypers

© Peter Cuypers © Peter Cuypers © Peter Cuypers © Peter Cuypers +43

  • Architects

  • Location

    Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • Architects in Charge

    Albert Herder, Vincent van der Klei, Arie van der Neut en Metin van Zijl.
  • Area

    379.0 sqm
  • Project Year

    2014
  • Photographs

Lancaster Campus of History / Centerbrook Architects and Planners

01:00 - 4 April, 2014
Lancaster Campus of History / Centerbrook Architects and Planners, © Peter Aaron/Esto Photographics
© Peter Aaron/Esto Photographics

© Peter Aaron/Esto Photographics © Peter Aaron/Esto Photographics © Peter Aaron/Esto Photographics © Peter Aaron/Esto Photographics +16

The BIG U: BIG's New York City Vision for "Rebuild by Design"

00:00 - 4 April, 2014
The BIG U: BIG's New York City Vision for "Rebuild by Design", Render for The BIG U, "The Harbor Berm," an elevated path through the park. Image Courtesy of rebuildbydesign.org
Render for The BIG U, "The Harbor Berm," an elevated path through the park. Image Courtesy of rebuildbydesign.org

Yesterday BIG, along with 9 other teams including OMA and WXY, unveiled their proposals for "Rebuild by Design," a competition which tasks teams with improving the resiliency of waterfront communities through locally-responsive, innovative design. Each proposal was required to be "flexible, easily phased, and able to integrate with existing projects in progress." As Henk Ovink, the Principal of "Rebuild by Design" as well as the Senior Advisor to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan, stated: "Rebuild by Design is not about making a plan, but about changing a culture." The winners will be announced later this spring. 

BIG's proposal, The BIG U, is rooted in the firm's signature concepts of social infrastructure and hedonistic sustainability. It envisions a 10-mile protective system that encircles Manhattan, protecting the city from floods and storm water while simultaneously providing public realms specific to the needs of the city's diverse communities. Bjarke Ingels states: "We asked ourselves: What if we could envision the resilience infrastructure for Lower Manhattan in a way that wouldn’t be like a wall between the city and the water, but rather a string of pearls of social and environmental amenities tailored to their specific neighborhoods, that also happens to shield their various communities from flooding. Social infrastructure understood as a big overall strategy rooted in the local communities.”

More on the BIG U, after the break...

SANE Architecture's Taichung City Cultural Centre: Entry in the Future Project Awards 2014

01:00 - 4 April, 2014
Terrace View. Image Courtesy of SANE architecture
Terrace View. Image Courtesy of SANE architecture

SANE architecture, an experimental studio based in Paris, have recently been recognised in the MIPIM Architectural Review Future Project Awards 2014 for the Taichung City Cultural Centre. The practice, who focus on "researching the Sane and the Insane in architecture", were tasked with imagining an architecture and an urban space unique to Taiwan's climate and the culture of Taichung, a cultural library and municipal arts museum that "synergizes" art, education and recreation.

Belly House / Tomohiro Hata Architect and Associates

01:00 - 4 April, 2014
Belly House / Tomohiro Hata Architect and Associates, © Toshiyuki Yano
© Toshiyuki Yano

© Toshiyuki Yano © Toshiyuki Yano © Toshiyuki Yano © Toshiyuki Yano +23