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Architecture Biennale Venice 2012: Questions without answers

Presentation of The EU City manifesto by The Why Factory
Presentation of The EU City manifesto by The Why Factory

Text and photographs: Jaakko van ‘t Spijker As opposed to what certain critics and commentators have suggested about the opening week, they actually were there, the exhibitors with sociopolitical engagement asking relevant questions, at the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale opening. What was lacking, however, were outspoken conclusions; the risky and exciting part of taking position after having made interesting observations. Where were the architectural mavericks, the polemical daredevils and provocateurs, to stir up and the debate and bring it further? It was in the Japanese pavilion that questions were asked as well as answered.

World Football Museum 'Crystal Ball' / AVP Arhitekti + Sangrad

Designed by AVP Arhitekti + Sangrad, the intention for the World Football Museum ‘Crystal Ball’ is to reaffirm Qatar’s worldwide position through a landmark to become a symbol of future architectural design. As a standard within the sustainability and energy renewable field, they take advantage of the natural resources and latest technology in structural design, façade materials and functionality of the whole development. This results in low energy consumption and aims for a zero-carbon emission solution. More images and architects’ description after the break.

'Harry Seidler: Architecture, Art and Collaborative Design' Exhibition

Harry Seidler's Julian Rose House, Wahroonga, Sydney, 1949-50
Harry Seidler's Julian Rose House, Wahroonga, Sydney, 1949-50

Curated by Vladimir Belogolovsky, the ‘Harry Seidler: Architecture, Art and Collaborative Design’ travelling exhibition will be starting its world tour October 4 in Tallinn, Estonia and will then travel to 6 more places in Europe, North America, and Australia until mid-January 2015. Celebrating the ninetieth anniversary of the birth of Harry Seidler, the first leading Australian architect to fully express Bauhaus principles of the twentieth century, the exhibition identifies his distinctive place and hand within and beyond modernist design methodology. The fifteen featured projects—five houses and five towers in Sydney, and five major commissions beyond Sydney—focus on Seidler’s lifelong creative collaborations, a pursuit he directly inherited from Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius, with progressive artistic visionaries. For more information, including all dates and venues, please visit here.

Beach Walk House / SPG Architects

  • Architects: SPG Architects
  • Location: Fire Island, New York
  • Participant Designers: Caroline Sidnam, Eric Gartner
  • General Contractor: Kenneth E. Larson Construction
  • Landscape Architect: Robin Key Landscape Architecture
  • Area: 4637.5 ft2
  • Project Year: 2011
  • Photographs: Jimi Billingsley & Daniel Levin

© Jimi Billingsley & Daniel Levin © Jimi Billingsley & Daniel Levin © Jimi Billingsley & Daniel Levin © Jimi Billingsley & Daniel Levin

Escaravox / Andrés Jaque Architects / Andres Jaque Architects

  • Architects: Andres Jaque Architects
  • Location: Matadero Madrid, Paseo de la Chopera, 14, 28045 Madrid, Madrid, Spain
  • Project Team: Ruggero Agnolutto, Fernando Arocha, Ángela Bailén, Almudena Basabe, Elisa Bua, Álvaro Carrillo, Catalina Corredor, Roberto González García, Michal Just, Jorge López Conde, Marco Marcelletti, Paola Pardo, Khristian Serena, Patrycja Stal, Dagmar Stéeova, Silvie Talackova
  • Structure: BOMAINPASA
  • Equipment: Juan Carlos Lafuente, Álvaro Zamora
  • Photographs: Miguel de Guzmán

© Miguel de Guzmán © Miguel de Guzmán © Miguel de Guzmán © Miguel de Guzmán

T.S.R.Building / Jun’ichi Ito Architect & Associates

  • Architects: Jun’ichi Ito Architect & Associates
  • Location: Minatu-Ku Tokyo, Japan
  • Architect In Charge: Jun’ichi Ito, Naoko Ito
  • Collaborate Architect: Kaoru Yuzawa
  • Structure Design: Jo Ko, Yoichi Chiba
  • Equipment Design: Kazuhiro Endo, Shou Takahashi, Naohisa Yamashita
  • Area: 1805.56 sqm
  • Project Year: 2008
  • Photographs: Naoomi Kurozumi

© Naoomi Kurozumi © Naoomi Kurozumi © Naoomi Kurozumi © Naoomi Kurozumi

Islamic Cemetery in Altach / Bernardo Bader

  • Architects: Bernardo Bader
  • Location: Altach, Vorarlberg, Austria
  • Area: 0.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2012
  • Photographs: Adolf Bereuter, Nikolaus Walter, Peter Allgäuer, Bernardo Bader

© Adolf Bereuter © Adolf Bereuter © Adolf Bereuter © Nikolaus Walter

Indimmo Roeselare Office / Buro II & Archi+I

© Indimmo Roeselare © DSP Fotostudio © Indimmo Roeselare © DSP Fotostudio © Indimmo Roeselare © DSP Fotostudio © Indimmo Roeselare © DSP Fotostudio

Axiom Town Headquarter Complex / MBAD Arquitectos + X Architects

The design for the Axiom Town Headquarter Complex by MBAD Arquitectos + X Architects aims to have good urban quality, a young and smart-casual feel, an outstanding look, and an innovative solution to all functional and operational objectives. In order to achieve these desired workspace qualities, the concept includes integrating the landscape with the building and blurring the edge between the interior and the exterior. The architectural edge becomes an active edge not only between the immediate interior and exterior of the building, but also between the interior and the created exterior space within the building while also forming the program spaces. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Terunobu Fujimori Architect

The sophisticated designs by Terunobu Fujimori (1946) are fascinating: archaic, eccentric, poetic, and ecological, almost all of them are made of simple, traditional materials such as earth, stone, wood, coal, bark, and mortar. His architecture appeals to primordial instincts, promising warmth and protection. His structures serve as role models for a generation of young international architects who value a mode of building that is ecological, historically aware, and sustainable.

Venice Biennale 2012: Common Ground/Different Worlds / Noero Architects

As a contribution to the 13th Venice Architecture Biennale, Noero Architects showcase two powerful works of art in their exhibition Common Ground / Different Worlds to reveal that architects, and artists alike, work to reinterpret, reinvent and transform preexisting ideas and forms. However, Jo Noero, Principle of Noero Architects, believes that the “difference between good and bad work lies in an understanding of that which is shared and common and the ability to transform these ideas into forms and spaces which are both useful and satisfying within the community in which the work is located.”

Noero spent six months hand drawing a 1:100 plan of the historic shack settlement in Port Elizabeth, known as the Red Location District, as a protest against contemporary architecture’s abandonment of the plan, which Noero describes as the common ground for all architects. Featured alongside the 9m-long drawing is the artwork Keiskamma Guernica, a tapestry made by fifty women from the Hamburg Women’s Co-operative from the Eastern Cape that reinterprets Picasso’s Guernica to illustrate their anger towards AIDS/HIV’s impact on South Africa. The featured film above, titled “Red Location Precinct”, supplements the exhibition by revealing the surrounding context of the district and taking viewers inside the Museum of Struggle, the digital library, an archive and an art gallery that are all part of a complex, designed by Noero Architects, that honors the settlement’s turbulent past and provides surrounding community with opportunities for education, employment, and artistic expression. Continue after the break to learn more.

Keiskamma After Geurnica | 7.8×3.5m Tapestry | Mixed Media | Various Hand Stitched Textiles | The Keiskamma Trust | Hamburg Women’s Co-operative
Keiskamma After Geurnica | 7.8×3.5m Tapestry | Mixed Media | Various Hand Stitched Textiles | The Keiskamma Trust | Hamburg Women’s Co-operative

Social Health Centre / Estudio Lavín

Courtesy of Estudio Lavín S.L.
Courtesy of Estudio Lavín S.L.

Architects: Estudio Lavín S.L. Location: Isora, Spain Design Team: Alejandro Lavín Della Ventura, Francisco Miguel Lavín Della Ventura Project Year: 2011 Photographs: Courtesy of Estudio Lavín S.L.

AD Round Up: In Progress

Habitat ITESM Leon / SHINE Architecture + TAarquitectura

Courtesy of SHINE Architecture
Courtesy of SHINE Architecture

Architects: SHINE Architecture + TAarquitectura Location: León, México Design Team: Salvador Ferreiro, Minche Mena, Michael Smith, Rubén Vázquez, José Zermeño Photographs: Courtesy of SHINE Architecture

Courtesy of SHINE Architecture
Courtesy of SHINE Architecture
Courtesy of SHINE Architecture
Courtesy of SHINE Architecture
Courtesy of SHINE Architecture
Courtesy of SHINE Architecture
Courtesy of SHINE Architecture
Courtesy of SHINE Architecture

Venice Biennale 2012: Copycat, Empathy and Envy as Form Makers / Cino Zucchi Architetti

© Nico Saieh
© Nico Saieh

The International Jury of the 13th Venice Architecture Biennale has awarded Cino Zucchi Architetti (CZA) a special mention for their installation, Copycat. Empathy and Envy as Form Makers. Their contribution is based on the notion that “we are all a bit copycats”, understanding that cultures are propagated by following “infectious” processes that combine imitation and innovation. CZA presents a collection of “almost-alike” objects and images with the idea that “similarity” rather than “originality” is where people find common ground.