Iwan Baan

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The Power of Photography: How Images Continue to Shape the Built Environment

09:30 - 12 October, 2015
The Power of Photography: How Images Continue to Shape the Built Environment, © Iwan Baan for New York Magazine
© Iwan Baan for New York Magazine

In a culture dominated by smartphones and Instagram, with estimates that over one trillion photographs will be taken this year alone, it might seem impossible for photographs to make and shape issues in the ways they once did. Despite this, images still steer debates with shocking resiliency and, with luck, become iconic in their own right. As architecture is synonymous with placemaking and cultural memory, it is only logical that images of the built environment can have lasting effects on the issues of architecture and urbanism. It's never been easier for photographs to gain exposure than they can today, and with social media and civilian journalism, debates have never started more quickly.

Critics Take On "The State of the Art of Architecture" in Chicago

09:30 - 9 October, 2015
An image from Iwan Baan's Chicago photo essay. Image © Iwan Baan
An image from Iwan Baan's Chicago photo essay. Image © Iwan Baan

Last week, the Chicago Architecture Biennial opened to over 31,000 visitors and much fanfare, and for good reason - it is the largest architecture event on the continent since the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, featuring over one hundred exhibitors from over thirty countries. With a theme as ambiguous as "The State of the Art of Architecture," and with the hope of making the biennial, according to directors Joseph Grima and Sarah Herda, "a space for debate, dialog and the production of new ideas," the event was sure to generate equally wide-ranging opinions. Read on to find out what the critics had to say about the Biennial.

Happy World Architecture Day!

11:45 - 5 October, 2015

Created by the Union International des Architects (UIA) in 2005, World Architecture Day is celebrated on the first Monday of October with the aim of reminding the world about the collective responsibility of architects in designing our future cities and settlements.

This year, the UIA has selected “Architecture, Building, Climate” as the theme of the day, seeking to highlight the essential role that architecture, design and urbanism have in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. With international climate treaty negotiations set to happen later this year, the “UIA members, working bodies and partners will mobilize on 5 October to promote actions and solutions that apply the enormous power of architecture and urban design in coping with global climate change, one of the greatest challenges of our time.”

Through small actions architects can collectively make a big difference and create significant changes. To celebrate World Architecture Day, we have rounded up a selection of projects that have taken steps towards the challenge of protecting our environment.

When the Strange Meets the Familiar: Saunders Architecture on Fogo Island

04:30 - 5 October, 2015

Fogo is a small, rocky outcrop off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada, with a population of just over 2000 people. Its sub-arctic natural landscape of lakes, rivers and mountains is interspersed by eleven small settlements and has now become the scene for a collection of follies, studios and residences designed by Norwegian practice Saunders Architecture. Most recently, Fogo's rocky wilderness and contemporary architectural interest—reminiscent of the land around Todd Saunders' current home city of Bergen—has been captured in a one-hour documentary film directed by Marcia Connolly and Katherine Knight, entitled Strange & Familar: Architecture on Fogo Island.

Spotlight: Bjarke Ingels

05:30 - 2 October, 2015
Spotlight: Bjarke Ingels, ©  Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan

Danish architect Bjarke Ingels (born 2 October 1974) is often cited as one of the most inspirational architects of our time. At an age when many architects are just beginning to establish themselves in professional practice, Ingels has already won numerous competitions and achieved a level of critical acclaim (and fame) that is rare for new names in the industry. His work embodies a rare optimism that is simultaneously playful, practical, and immediately accessible.

Diller Scofidio + Renfro to Design the Tianjin Juilliard School in China

14:10 - 1 October, 2015
Diller Scofidio + Renfro to Design the Tianjin Juilliard School in China, The Juilliard School; New York / FXFowle + Diller Scofidio + Renfro Architects. Image © Iwan Baan
The Juilliard School; New York / FXFowle + Diller Scofidio + Renfro Architects. Image © Iwan Baan

Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) has been selected to design the new Tianjin Juilliard School. The same practice that expanded Juilliard's New York home in 2009, DS+R plans to build the new facility in Tianjin by 2018. The project has already received preliminary approval of a graduate degree program from China’s Ministry of Education.

Once complete, the new school will offer a Master of Music degree from Juilliard in the areas of orchestral performance, chamber music performance, and collaborative piano; a pre-college program; an instrumental training program; adult education; and public performances and exhibits.

MASS Design Group to Propose “Bauhaus of Africa” at UN Summit

09:30 - 25 September, 2015

In designing and building multiple successful public buildings in central Africa and around the world, MASS Design Group has employed and guided thousands of local craftsmen, curating the building process to inspire dignity. Now, they wish to help the African people obtain the skills necessary to guide the process themselves. At the United Nations Solutions Summit this Sunday Christian Benimana, a program director for the non-profit design studio, will present plans for what they are calling the “Bauhaus of Africa”: three “African Design Centers” to be built over the next 10 years in strategic locations throughout the continent. The design centers will house an education program tasked with training a new generation of African architects - a workforce certain to be indispensable as Africa enters a period of unprecedented urban growth.

Interview: Elizabeth Diller on the Design of The Broad in Los Angeles

12:39 - 24 September, 2015

The Broad has officially opened its doors in downtown Los Angeles. Taking four years to complete, the highly anticipated, 120,000-square-foot building houses a prominent collection of postwar and international contemporary art owned by billionaire philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad. During the press preview, VernissageTV caught up with the building's architect, Elizabeth Diller of Diller, Scofidio + Renfro, to gain a better understanding of The Broad's “veil over the vault" concept. 

Critical Round-Up: Diller Scofidio + Renfro's Broad Museum

09:30 - 24 September, 2015
Critical Round-Up: Diller Scofidio + Renfro's Broad Museum, © Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan

After teasing the general public by offering the press and 3,000 lucky local citizens with a preview day six months ago, the Broad Museum has finally opened its doors. Designed by Highline architects Diller, Scofidio + Renfro, the museum took four years and $140 million to build, adding its presence to LA’s architectural Broadway, Grand Avenue. With its visually striking facade given the tough task of responding to its enigmatic neighbor, Frank Gehry’s perennially polarizing Walt Disney Concert Hall, the building was sure to attract the attention of the critics, and they rose to the challenge in their droves. Read on to find out what five critics thought of the building dubbed “the veil over the vault.”

© Jeff Duran - Warren Air © Iwan Baan © Iwan Baan © Iwan Baan +6

RIBA Awards 2016 Royal Gold Medal to Zaha Hadid

05:20 - 24 September, 2015
RIBA Awards 2016 Royal Gold Medal to Zaha Hadid, Zaha Hadid, recipient of the 2016 RIBA Gold Medal. Image © Mary McCartney
Zaha Hadid, recipient of the 2016 RIBA Gold Medal. Image © Mary McCartney

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) have revealed that Dame Zaha Hadid will receive the 2016 Royal Gold Medal — the first sole woman to be awarded the UK's highest honour for architects in her own right. Previous female winners (Sheila O’Donnell in 2015, Patty Hopkins in 1994, and Ray Eames in 1979) were each recognised alongside their husbands and practice partners.

Given in recognition of a lifetime’s work, the RIBA Royal Gold Medal is approved personally by Her Majesty The Queen and is awarded to those who have had a significant influence "either directly or indirectly on the advancement of architecture." Other notable Royal Gold Medallists include Frank Gehry (2000), Lord Norman Foster, Baron of Thames Bank (1983), Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1959), Le Corbusier (1953), and Frank Lloyd Wright (1941). The medallists' names are engraved into the marble wall at the RIBA's headquarters in London.

5 Top Firms Respond: What Do You Look for in Job Applications?

09:30 - 14 September, 2015
5 Top Firms Respond: What Do You Look for in Job Applications?

Often, all that is needed for that big break in your career is getting experience at the right firm. But getting your foot in the door is daunting, especially if your ideal firm is one where thousands of other architects are applying constantly, regardless of whether a vacancy has been advertised. In this article originally posted on The Architect's Guide, Brandon Hubbard reaches out to some of the world's top architecture firms (Zaha Hadid Architects, Snøhetta, Perkins+Will, BDP and Callison) to find out how you can maximize your chances in the application process.

I recently reached out to several of the world’s top architecture firms and asked them a series of questions on what they look for in potential architecture job applicants.

After my discussions with these firms I discovered a common theme in how they acquire many new hires. As I covered in a previous article, Want a Great Architecture Job? Don't Send a Resume, many new employees are found through personal references and word of mouth.  Developing these relationships within the architecture community is essential for a successful career.

The questions are structured to cover the various steps of the architecture job application process, from the first point of contact to the interview.

Why Ecosystem Services Will be the Next Frontier in Livable Cities

09:30 - 12 September, 2015
Land Sparing of Tokyo's Yoyogi Park. Image Courtesy of Flickr CC user spektrograf
Land Sparing of Tokyo's Yoyogi Park. Image Courtesy of Flickr CC user spektrograf

While the term “ecosystem services” may sound like a corporate antithesis to the course of natural order, it is actually an umbrella term for the ways in which the human experience is favorably altered and enhanced by the environment. Ecosystem services are therefore an important factor in creating cities which provide the maximum benefit to their residents with the minimal harm to their environment.

Aiming to find out how city planning can affect the provision of these ecosystem services, a new study published in Frontiers in Ecology and Environment by researchers at the University of Exeter's Environment and Sustainability Institute and Hokkaido University's Division of Environmental Resources evaluates the repercussions of rapid and fragmented urbanization and the possible detriment to ecosystem services and human well-being. In particular, the study is concerned with approaches to land-use and the outcomes they yield on the environment. Studied are two opposing tactics: a “land-sharing,” sprawl model (think Atlanta or Houston), or “land-sparing,” tight-knit urbanism (think New York or Tokyo).

Bjarke Ingels Talks Tech, Entrepreneurship and Modernism in this Podcast with Prehype

08:00 - 10 September, 2015
Bjarke Ingels Talks Tech, Entrepreneurship and Modernism in this Podcast with Prehype, The Danish Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo 2010, exemplary of Bjarke Ingels' entrepreneurial approach to architecture. Image © Iwan Baan
The Danish Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo 2010, exemplary of Bjarke Ingels' entrepreneurial approach to architecture. Image © Iwan Baan

Prehype, a venture development firm, has released its latest in a series of podcasts by partner Henrik Werdelin, featuring Danish architect Bjarke Ingels. Having worked with Prehype on investments into tech development, Bjarke Ingels discusses his experiences and perspectives on the industry, drawing parallels between entrepreneurship, tech development and architecture.

Preview DS+R’s New Stanford Art & Art History Building with Images by Iwan Baan

08:00 - 9 September, 2015
Preview DS+R’s New Stanford Art & Art History Building with Images by Iwan Baan, © Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan

Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) has shared initial photos by Iwan Baan of their new McMurty Building for Art & Art History at Stanford University, which will be officially unveiled to the public on October 6. The 100,000 square foot building will open for the 2015 fall semester, and allow students studying art history and students practicing fine arts to work together under the same roof for the first time at Stanford. See and read more about the soon-to-be opened project after the break.

Carnal Hall at Le Rosey / Bernard Tschumi Architects

03:00 - 9 September, 2015
Carnal Hall at Le Rosey / Bernard Tschumi Architects, © Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan

© Iwan Baan © Iwan Baan © Iwan Baan © Iwan Baan +27

The Broad Museum / Diller Scofidio + Renfro

11:00 - 31 August, 2015
The Broad Museum / Diller Scofidio + Renfro, © Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan

© Jeff Duran - Warren Air © Iwan Baan © Iwan Baan © Iwan Baan +20

Brad Pitt: "I Get This Well of Pride" Over Make It Right's New Orleans Work

14:00 - 22 August, 2015
The Float House / Morphosis, Make It Right. Image © Iwan Baan
The Float House / Morphosis, Make It Right. Image © Iwan Baan

Ten years ago this month, Hurricane Katrina swept through the Gulf coast of the US, hitting New Orleans the hardest. Two years after the wake of this destruction, after seeing the city's lack of rebuilding progress firsthand, Hollywood star and architecture enthusiast Brad Pitt launched Make It Right, a project set to build 150 houses designed by 20 internationally renowned architects.

Over the past eight years, Make It Right has not only helped to rebuild the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans—the area struck the hardest by the disaster—but has also began to spread its work to Missouri, Montana, and New Jersey, with more projects coming soon. While the non-profit organization has had success in its endeavors, it has simultaneously faced a great deal of criticism.

In a recent interview with NOLA, Pitt discusses some of these criticisms, reflecting on the growth of the organization, and the changes it has made. Find out about Pitt’s evolving perspective, after the break.

Frank Gehry-designed duplex. Image © Chad Chenier Photography / Make It Right Duplex house. Image Courtesy of Atelier Hitoshi Abe Lower Ninth Ward, New Orleans. Image © Irina Vinnitskaya Flow House. Image Courtesy of William McDonough + Partners +7

Excerpt: Conversations with Architects in the Age of Celebrity

08:30 - 18 August, 2015
CCTV Headquarters in Beijing by OMA. Image © OMA / Philippe Ruault
CCTV Headquarters in Beijing by OMA. Image © OMA / Philippe Ruault

No matter what you think of it, these days there is no denying that a celebrity culture has a significant effect on the architecture world, with a small percentage of architects taking a large portion of the spotlight. Questioning this status quo, Vladimir Belogolovsky's new book "Conversations with Architects in the Age of Celebrity" interrogates some of these famous architects to find out what they think of the culture which has elevated them to such heights. In this excerpt from the book's foreword, Belogolovsky asks how we got into this celebrity-loving architectural culture, and what it means for the buildings produced.

Not to be confused with other kinds of stars, the most popular of architects are identified as “starchitects.”* Is this a good thing? The notion of starchitecture is hated wholeheartedly by most of the leading architectural critics. They run away from addressing the issue because they think it has nothing to do with professional criticism. But what do the architects think? One of the architectural megastars, Rem Koolhaas, was astonishingly self-effacing in an interview for Hanno Rauterberg’s 2008 book Talking Architecture:

“I think what we are experiencing is the global triumph of eccentricity. Lots of extravagant buildings are being built, buildings that have no meaning, no functionality. It’s rather about spectacular shapes and, of course, the architects’ egos.”