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.
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.
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.
Architects: SHINE Architecture + TAarquitectura Location: León, México Design Team: Salvador Ferreiro, Minche Mena, Michael Smith, Rubén Vázquez, José Zermeño Photographs: Courtesy of SHINE Architecture
This exhibition presents the predicament for architects working on a large scale in cities scarred by the twentieth-century approach to urbanism. It is shown through the example of a major master plan for the Slussen area of Stockholm, designed by Jean Nouvel (Ateliers Jean Nouvel) and Mia Hägg (Habiter Autrement).
“The city of the twentieth century was the result of a series of sector-based decision that were dominated by ideologies bound up with function and urgency. Time-honored cities were disregarded, brutalized, traumatized, invaded, and asphyxiated by combustion engines and their exhaust fumes. Pedestrians were pushed aside, driven back to narrow footpaths.”
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.
Venice Biennale 2012: Inhabitable Models / Eric Parry Architects, Haworth Tompkins, Lynch Architects
Inhabitable Models presents the work of three practices -Eric Parry Architects, Haworth Tompkins, Lynch Architects- who find their common ground in an engagement with London, as a city of found fragments. Perhaps uniquely among world cities London exists as a series of largely unplanned, independent, layered fragments which nonetheless come together for a host of legal, political, and economic practicalities. In responding to this conception of London, each practice seeks to resist the temptation of “hallmark” architecture in favor of one which is contextually sensitive and rigorously place-specific. Indeed, the practices’ appreciation of the fragmentary and unplanned applies both to the London that they find, as well as to the London they leave behind.
The World Architecture Festival is only a few weeks away. This intense architecture event will take place in Singapore on Oct 3rd-5th, a city where architecture is everywhere, as you can see on the above video.
SCI-Arc Trustee Frank Gehry and his wife, Berta, have donated $100,000 to the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc). The noteworthy contribution will go towards the establishment of the Gehry Prize, which will be annually awarded to the best thesis projects selected by critics and jurors at the Graduate Thesis Weekend hosted in September. The first Gehry Prize will be awarded at the 2012 graduation ceremony on September 9th. The entire school community, including students, faculty, staff, administration and board, is extremely appreciative of this extraordinary gift to SCI-Arc,” said SCI-Arc Director Eric Owen Moss. “Thanks to this contribution, we can warranty that SCI-Arc’s advocacy for architecture as a rousing, speculative adventure will endure.” The Pritzker Prize laureate’s generous giving hasn’t been the only thing making headlines lately. Check out the latest on Gehry’s controversial design for the Eisenhower Memorial in Washington and the details on his new partnership with Facebook mogul Mark Zuckerberg. Via SCI-Arc
Politicians caught on camera say the darndest things. Like – if you’re Esperanza Aguirre, President of Madrid – that architects “should be killed.” The Politician was unknowingly recorded while speaking with the Mayor of Valdemaqueda, a municipality of Madrid, about their town hall. The building, known as Casa Consistorial de Valdemaqueda (1998), designed by Paredes Pedrosa, was an award-winner at the Spanish Biennale of 1999. Their conversation (translated by yours truly) went as follows: Mayor: The town hall? Oh, that thing. Well, it’s gotten prizes, president. Architecture prizes. Esperanza Aguirre: That’s the only positive thing that’s come from the Crisis, that that’s all over. I have never seen anything uglier. Mayor: You don’t like it? Esperanza Aguirre: How could I like it, hidden at the end of a plaza like this! Mayor: Well, because they’re the architects of the Community. Esperanza Aguirre: Well, they should be killed. Mayor: They’ve gotten awards. Esperanza Aguirre: Mario, it’s so stupid (addressing a person next to her). Do you know why we should have the death penalty? I dislike architects because their crimes last longer than their own own lives. They die and leave us with this. Find out what Ms. Aguirre has had to say for herself since, and take a peek at the original video footage after the break …
Storefront for Art and Architecture is opening up its fall exhibition season starting September 25th with ‘Past Futures, Present, Futures’. The exhibition, which will be up until November 17th, presents 101 unrealized proposals for New York City, with 101 reenactments by invited artists, architects, writers, and policy-makers to create alternative visions for the present and future of the city. The exhibition is curated by Eva Franch and designed by Leong Leong. An opening reception will take place on September 25, 2012 from 7pm to 9pm. For more information, please visit here.
Norwegian-based architecture firm, Snøhetta, has just been announced the winner for the Ordrupgaard competition to design an underground extension to the existing museum in Denmark. In addition to the necessary gallery space to hold the Ordrupgaard’s expanding French collection, Snøhetta’s proposal creates a new solution for landscape and building integration. By adapting existing buildings, and adding landscape elements, the proposal maintains the existing entrance to the building, designed by Zaha Hadid, and creates a circulation new route which the public comfortably flow through as they visit the different exhibition halls. Hadid’s building was originally conceived as a continuous flow of spaces between building, galleries, and gardens, so Snøhetta’s newest addition will build upon such a foundation. “The solution has a dominant gentleness which contrasts the complicated challenge that the brief set,” explained the architects. The jury unanimously selected Snøhetta’s proposal, Himmelhagen, and we’ll keep you updated as the project progresses.
A few months ago, in a little Bavarian town, far far away, an architect, by the name of Peter Zumthor (you may have heard of him), was asked to design a gate. Zumthor designed a transcendent, transparent structure, and unveiled it to the town. Upon seeing the marvel, the townspeople said it looked like a pair of “Glass Underpants.” And there our story ends.
Your first instinct may be to blame those uncouth Bavarians. But, like Jody Brown did in an excellent blog post, you could also fault Zumthor. Zumthor couldn’t “sell” his gate, because, like many an architect, he speaks “architect,” not “human.”
Roman Mars, on the other hand, is fluent in both. A population geneticist who went to college at age 15, Mars jumped off the science boat to follow his passion: radio. His show on architecture and design, 99% invisible, has become a sleeper hit, earning over $170,000 in a record-breaking Kickstarter campaign.
Its popularity comes down to its story-driven approach, which opens your eyes to the 99% of our reality that goes un-noticed: a building’s unknown history, a detail’s un-obvious purpose, a place’s hidden treasures. Through its stories, 99% invisible lives in the place where the “human” and the “architect” meet.
And, be you architect or nay, it hooks you from the start.
For the second part of our new series “Disruptive Minds,” which features people who are challenging the norm in Architecture and Design, we wanted to find out how (and why) Mars – neither a designer nor an architect himself – got so good at talking about design. Read on to discover how Mars uses sound to express space; how his show makes him see everything differently, even a cardboard box; and what’s in store for 99% invisible after its massive Kickstarter success.
Your show is about architecture and design, and yet you are neither an architect nor a designer yourself. In fact, you started out as a scientist (a population geneticist, to be exact) before becoming a radio show producer. So why, since you showed no inclination towards design in your past, do you think it was design that “unlocked” 99% invisible?
Well, I wouldn’t say I had no inclination for design in my past. I’d thought that it was incongruous that I had this show, and then someone reminded me that I named my boy Mazlo, but instead of M-a-s-l-o-w, which is who he’s named after, I spelled it M-a-z-l-o, because typographically I liked it better. So, even though it was never my job, it was always my thing. So in a way it was the culmination of a lot of interests.
But, the main thing about design that really works for me, as a person who does stories on the radio, is that there’s a process involved, and when there’s a process, there’s a story. It’s also a great lens to view all of human activity, and human activity is exactly what we’re here to talk about on the radio – so it just kind of works. It’s both my interest in the minute details of fonts and type and stuff but also the grand scheme of things of what we try to do in radio.
Eduardo Souto de Moura’s structure overlooks the old buildings in front of the Arsenale from the waterfront, on the path leading to Alvaro Siza’s structure that we featured yesterday. This structure is an exploration of material, building systems and language. The facades frame views of these old buildings, reinterpreting the existing landscape, according to the will of the viewer. According to Souto de Moura “geography becomes how we want it to be. This it the great leap of the modern movement, and as a result of postmodernism”.
The installation “reflects the evolving relationship between interior and exterior, the gradual opening up of options, and their dependance and influence on the architectural language”. More photos after the break:
BOLLES + WILSON recently received an ‘International Architecture Award 2012‘ for their design of a new headquarter for a concrete plant in Erwitte, Germany. The building, which is highlighted by an optimal concrete beam, is a combination of the existing vertical cement silo complimented by a new horizontal administration deck. The deck hovers, cantilevering dramatically over green fields (entrance side) and also symmetrically out over a re-naturalized cement quarry (wildlife protection zone). More images and architects’ description after the break.
Despite unique climate challenges in the city of Keelung, Taiwan, the design for the Joint Office Building and Passenger & Cargo Terminal by de Architekten Cie. is an example of how one can naturally ventilate the building during the winter and shoulder seasons. This ambition reduces the energy consumption of the building dramatically and increases thermal comfort and delight. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Architects: Brewster Hjorth Architects
Location: Wagga, Australia
Area: 3500.0 sqm
Project Year: 2010
Photographs: Christian Mushenko