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Christian Richters


Is There a European Identity in Architecture?

“There is a certain tradition, history, and continuity that you can read in European architecture”
- Spela Videcnik, OFIS arhitekti

A product of context and history, Europe has influenced the architecture world in a way that perhaps no other continent has. The continent is the topic of the latest video from the Fundació Mies van der Rohe, produced in relation to their European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture, in which prize-nominated architects from 16 European cities are interviewed on what they believe brings them together, and what makes them different.

As a US citizen who has previously lived in Europe for two years, I was struck by the essential question prompted by the video: “Is there a European identity in architecture?” And if so, what exactly is it? To try to answer this question, I sat down with ArchDaily’s managing editor Rory Stott - a Brit - to debate differing perspectives.

2015 Prize Winner - Philharmonic Hall Szczecin / Barozzi / Veiga. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu Gym Hall TNW / NL Architects. Image © Luuk Kramer Metropol Parasol / J. Mayer H + Arup. Image © Javier Orive 2013 Prize Winner - Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre / Henning Larsen Architects & Batteriid Architects. Image Courtesy of Henning Larsen Architects

The Versatility of Corian, from Countertops to Railings

If there was a most radical decade of the last century, few would come close to topping the 1960s. From the Bay of Pigs to the Beatles, Marilyn Monroe to the moon landing, there was rarely a dull moment. The world of materials was also involved, seeing the invention of a polymer surface of acrylic resin and natural minerals that was easy to clean, scratch resistant, seamless, and hygienic. Better known as Corian, the surface developed by DuPont chemist Donald Slocum in 1967 was a material that met the tough challenges of modern living.

5 Takeaways From The RIBA's Report on the Architect-Client Relationship

Building projects are inherently complex: as projects progress, architects are joined by contractors, engineers, and myriad consultants. Architects, according to a recent report by RIBA, are considered the "spiritual leaders" of a building project. Cemented in this perception by a monopoly on design, architects continue to sit precariously atop project hierarchies despite a shifting landscape in building production. This begs the question: how can architects leverage this spiritual responsibility to translate into the best results for clients?

In their latest report Client & Architect: Developing the Essential Relationship, RIBA delves into the nuanced problem of connecting architecture to its owners, emphasizing the importance of a strong, functional and mutually educational relationship. Currently, architects have a tremendous opportunity to learn, improve and capitalize on understanding of clients, regardless of firm size, portfolio and established skills.

Read on to discover RIBA's findings from two years of client analysis

Train Control Centre Utrecht / ​de Jong Gortemaker Algra

  • Architects: ​de Jong Gortemaker Algra
  • Location: ​Bielsstraat 1, Utrecht, Netherlands
  • Project Team: ​Maurits Algra, Tycho Saariste, Karen Glandrup, Franke van den Broek, Mike Zelke
  • Area: 4480.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2015
  • Photographs: Christian Richters

© Christian Richters © Christian Richters © Christian Richters © Christian Richters

Dublin Dental Hospital / Mccullough Mulvin Architects

© Christian Richters © Christian Richters © Christian Richters © Christian Richters

AJ's 2015 Women in Architecture Survey Says “Pay Gap” is Slowly Closing

Now in its fourth year, the Architects' Journal's Women in Architecture survey is firmly embedded into the discussion of gender roles within the architecture profession. Collected from an anonymous cross-section of practitioners, clients, consultants, engineers, developers, PRs, and academics, the 2015 survey focused on the UK alone, and saw the number of participants soar to an unprecedented high of 1,104 respondents, 20% of whom were male. 

Results from previous years' surveys have sparked discussion amidst the architectural and mainstream media alike, and have been cited by RIBA and the UK government. The survey covers four main topics -- pay, practice, education, and children -- commencing with broader questions about discrimination before narrowing its aperture to more specific issues.  View the results of the 2015 survey after the break.

Messe Frankfurt – Tor Nord / Ingo Schrader Architekt

Courtesy of Ingo Schrader © Christian Richters Courtesy of Ingo Schrader © Christian Richters

World Photo Day: Christian Richters by Francine Houben

In honor of World Photo Day (August 19th) ArchDaily wanted to thank the photographers who bring to life the projects that we publish every day. So we asked architects to weigh in on the work of some of our most-appreciated architecture photographers. Here, Francine Houben of Mecanoo writes on behalf of Christian Richters. 

Sheikh Zayed Bridge / Zaha Hadid Architects. Image © Christian Richters Cite du Design / LIN Architects. Image © Christian Richters Block 16 / René van Zuuk Architekten. Image © Christian Richters Roosendaal Pavillion / René van Zuuk Architekten. Image © Christian Richters

Brick Awards Shortlist Unveiled

The Brick Development Association, representing the UK and Ireland, has unveiled its shortlist for the 2014 Brick Awards. The awards recognize excellence in design and construction using brick in 14 different categories.  Among the contenders are Zaha Hadid Architects' Serpentine Sackler Gallery , Universal Design Studio's Ace Hotel and Mecanoo's The Library of Birmingham. The winners will be announced on November 12.

See the full shortlist after the break:

Library of Birmingham / Mecanoo. Image © Christian Richters Serpentine Sackler Gallery / Zaha Hadid Architects. Image © Luke Hayes 4 Views / AR Design Studio. Image Courtesy of AR Design Studio Ace Hotel London / Universal Design Studio. Image © Andrew Meredith

Critical Round-Up: The 2014 RIBA Stirling Prize Shortlist

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has now announced the six projects that form this year's Stirling Prize Shortlist, the award that is the ultimate prize for any British building. As the RIBA's most publicly prominent award, the Stirling Prize is often a prime demonstration of the tension between architecture that is widely appreciated by the general populace, and that which is lauded by architectural critics and practitioners.

This year is no exception, with perhaps the country's highest-profile project in years - the Shard - just part of the controversy. What did the critics make of the RIBA's selection? Find out after the break.

Schuurman Group / Bekkering Adams Architects

  • Architects: Bekkering Adams Architects
  • Location: Fluorietweg 29, Boekelermeer, 1812 RR Alkmaar, The Netherlands
  • Project Architect: Juliette Bekkering, Monica Adams
  • Design Team: Frank Venhorst, Vincent Hector, Lukas Heiniger, Michel Leunis, Paul Michielsen, Sander van Schaik, Albert-Jan Vermeulen, Manuel Aust
  • Client: Schuurman Group
  • Area: 9105.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2008
  • Photographs: Digi Daan, Christian Richters, Jansje Klazinga

© Christian Richters © Digi Daan © Digi Daan © Digi Daan

RIBA Announces 2014 Stirling Prize Shortlist

The RIBA has announced the six projects that will compete for the 2014 Stirling Prize, the award for the building that has made the greatest contribution to British architecture in the past year. The six nominees will now be judged head to head for British architecture's highest honour, based on "their design excellence and their significance in the evolution of architecture and the built environment," with a winner announced on October 16th. See the full shortlist after the break.

Shortlist Announced for the World Architecture Festival Awards 2014

The World Architecture Festival has announced the shortlist for its 2014 awards, with almost 300 projects competing in the world's largest architectural awards program.

The shortlist includes the likes of Zaha Hadid ArchitectsOMAFoster + PartnersBIGWoods BagotKPFFarrellsPerkins + Will and Aedas, alongside many other smaller practices. Although the shortlist practices from over 50 countries, this year there is a noticable increase in entries from Asia – with the number of projects in ChinaMalaysia and Vietnam up by 87%, 71% and 140% respectively over last year.

The shortlisted projects will be presented live by the architects to international judging panels. After this, the winning projects in each of the 27 categories will go on for the World Building or Future Project of the Year award, judged by the festival's 'super-jury': Richard RogersRocco YimJulie EizenbergEnric Ruiz Geli and Peter Rich.

This year's festival, hosted once again at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, will take place from the 1st - 3rd of October, when the winning projects will be announced. You can book your festival pass here - and read on after the break for the full shortlist.

Oxley / LAUD Architects Inc. Image Courtesy of World Architecture Festival Danish Maritime Museum / BIG - Bjarke Ingels Group. Image © Rasmus Hjortshøj Library of Birmingham / Mecanoo. Image © Christian Richters  Jockey Club Innovation Tower / Zaha Hadid Architects. Image © Doublespace

RIBA Announces 2014 National Award Winners

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has announced the 44 buildings in the UK and 12 EU projects to win 2014 RIBA National Awards. The list includes instantly recognizable projects such as The Shard by Renzo Piano and Mecanoo's Library of Birmingham, but also rewards plenty of well-crafted smaller projects, for example Lens House by Alison Brooks Architects.

From this list of National winners, the RIBA will select the shortlist for the RIBA Stirling Prize, which will be revealed next month. See the full list of winners after the break.

Library of Birmingham / Mecanoo. Image © Christian Richters Tate Britain Renovation / Caruso St. John. Image © Helene Binet Manchester School of Art / Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios. Image © Hufton+Crow Danish National Maritime Museum / BIG. Image © Rasmus Hjortshøj

Light Matters: Mashrabiyas - Translating Tradition into Dynamic Facades

The delicate mashrabiya has offered effective protection against intense sunlight in the Middle East for several centuries. However, nowadays this traditional Islamic window element with its characteristic latticework is used to cover entire buildings as an oriental ornament, providing local identity and a sun-shading device for cooling. In fact, designers have even transformed the vernacular wooden structure into high-tech responsive daylight systems. 

Jean Nouvel is one of the leading architects who has strongly influenced the debate about modern mashrabiyas.  His Institut du monde arabe in Paris was only the precedent to two buildings he designed for the harsh sun of the Middle East: The Doha Tower, which is completely wrapped with a re-interpretation of the mashrabiya, and the Louvre Abu Dhabi museum with its luminous dome.

More mashrabiyas, after the break...

BURJ DOHA, Doha, Qatar (2002 – 2012). Architecture: Ateliers Jean Nouvel. Image © CSCEC BURJ DOHA, Doha, Qatar (2002 – 2012). Architecture: Ateliers Jean Nouvel. Image © CSCEC BURJ DOHA, Doha, Qatar (2002 – 2012). Architecture: Ateliers Jean Nouvel. Image © CSCEC LOUVRE ABU DHABI, Abu Dhabi, UAE (2007 – under construction) Architecture and image. Image Courtesy of Ateliers Jean Nouvel, Artefactory, TDIC, Louvre Abu Dhabi

Parking Garage / Birk Heilmeyer und Frenzel Architekten

© Christian Richters © Christian Richters © Christian Richters Courtesy of Birk Heilmeyer und Frenzel Architekten