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Mark Magazine #42

What better place to explore inventive homes and innovative architects than a country with a housing crisis? Mark #42 head to Poland, where theylook at an architecture scene in transition, checking in on a 152 cm wide house by Centrala and a drive-in home by Robert Konieczny. Elsewhere, Shintaro Fujiwara and Yoshio Muro discuss the challenges of the Japanese architect, and we visit ‘weird Austin’ to discover a house by Bercy Chen that literally emerges from the bush.

BUILDING: Louis I. Kahn at Roosevelt Island / Barney Kulok

In September 2011 Barney Kulok  was granted special permission to create photographs at the construction site of Louis I. Kahnʼs Four Freedoms Park in New York City, commissioned in 1970 as a memorial to Franklin D. Roosevelt. The last design Kahn completed before his untimely death in 1974, Four Freedoms Park became widely regarded as one of the great unbuilt masterpieces of twentieth-century architecture. Almost forty years after having been commissioned, it is finally being completed this year, as originally intended. 

LE CORBUSIER REDRAWN: The Houses / Steven Park

Le Corbusier (1887-1965) was the most significant architect of the twentieth century. Every architecture student examines the Swiss master's work. Yet, all too frequently, they rely on reproductions of faded drawings of uneven size and quality. Le Corbusier Redrawn presents the only collection of consistently rendered original drawings (at 1:200 scale) of all twenty-six of Le Corbusier's residential works. Using the original drawings from the Le Corbusier Foundation's digital archives, architect Steven Park has beautifully redrawn 130 perspectival sections, as well as plans, sections, and elevations of exterior forms and interior spaces. 

Original Copies: Architectural Mimicry in Contemporary China / Bianca Bosker

A 108-meter high Eiffel Tower rises above Champs Elysées Square in Hangzhou. A Chengdu residential complex for 200,000 recreates Dorchester, England. An ersatz Queen’s Guard patrols Shanghai’s Thames Town, where pubs and statues of Winston Churchill abound. Gleaming replicas of the White House dot Chinese cities from Fuyang to Shenzhen. These examples are but a sampling of China’s most popular and startling architectural movement: the construction of monumental themed communities that replicate towns and cities in the West.

Todd Saunders: Architecture in Northern Landscapes

Swiss architecture and design publisher Birkhäuser has released a monograph of Todd Saunders’ work. Based in Bergen, Norway, award-winning Canadian architect Todd Saunders has built work in Norway, Finland and Canada. Todd Saunders: Architecture in Northern Landscapes covers his work over the last decade. The simple yet powerful aesthetic of the book mirrors the elegance of Saunders’ own architectural style and compliments the potency of the natural settings in which his work is often situated.

Architectural Design: Human Experience and Place - Sustaining Identity

Human Experience and Place: Sustaining Identity is the latest title in the successful and prestigious Architectural Design (AD) series. Officially launched at the Sustaining Identity Symposium in London’s Victoria & Albert Museum at the end of November, this issue features both well-known and emerging practices worldwide.

By drawing on examples from across the world, this issue of AD demonstrates that, in a time of commercial globalisation, it is possible for architects, designers and engineers to create outstanding buildings that retain a sense of local identity, both in terms of cultural heritage and the conservation of the environment.

Torre David: Informal Vertical Communities / Urban-Think Tank & Iwan Baan

Torre David, a 45-story skyscraper in Caracas, has remained uncompleted since the Venezuelan economy collapsed in 1994. Today, it is the improvised home to more than 750 families living in an extra-legal and tenuous squat, that some have called a “vertical slum.”

Urban-Think Tank, the authors of Torre David: Informal Vertical Communities, spent a year studying the physical and social organization of this ruin-become home. Richly illustrated with photographs by Iwan Baan, the book documents the residents’ occupation of the tower and how, in the absence of formal infrastructure, they organize themselves to provide for daily needs, with a hair salon, a gym, grocery shops, and more. 

CLOG: National Mall

Nearly a million people crowded the National Mall yesterday to witness the second swearing-in of President Barack Obama. The Mall was transformed - from the oft-trampled, dusty track of land separating the Capitol from the Lincoln Memorial - into a space of civic pride and participation. It’s moments like these that reveal to us the latent potential of the National Mall, and it’s important symbolic value as our Nation’s “backyard.”

The National Mall has suffered decades of over-use and under-funding, but has recently come back on the National agenda. With many projects underway - and soon to be underway - now is the time to consider: What is the National Mall? What is its value? And how should it be designed for the future? With informative graphics, varied insights, and interesting case studies, CLOG: National Mall a

Read our review of CLOG: National Mall, after the break...

MAS Context #16: Production

MAS Context #16: Production; Cover by David Sieren
MAS Context #16: Production; Cover by David Sieren

The new issue of MAS Contexta quarterly publication released by MAS Studio takes on the daunting issue of production and consumption impacting cities through the lens of a handful companies operating out of Chicago.  Production and consumption have a negative connotation in today's atmosphere of sustainability and conservation but architecture is fundamentally a celebration of the craft of inventing, designing and making.   MAS Studio, in collaboration with Chicago-based collective The Post Family, looks critically at the social, environmental, and political implications of consumer culture while celebrating the excellence of production.

Instigations Engaging Architecture, Landscape, and the City / Mohsen Mostafavi and Peter Christensen

The creative imagination is not solely based on the intuitive capacities of individuals. One of the tasks of design education is to help provide the tools, techniques, and methods that enhance constructed imagination. At the same time, the modes and practices of design need to confront the challenges of our contemporary societies. The commitment to societal engagement through design excellence is at the core of the pedagogy at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. 

Book Presentation and Signing of Wiel Arets: Autobiographical References

The Graham Foundation of Chicago will host a book presentation and signing of Wiel Arets: Autobiographical References, a new book edited by Robert McCarter and designed by Irma Boom exploring the notion of ‘A Wonderful World’. The event will take place Friday, February 1st at 6:00pmCST. The evening will begin with a discussion and debate between Arets and McCarter, introducing the book’s origins as well as the work of Wiel Arets Architects, after which signed copies of the publication will be available for purchase. More information after the break.

2013 ARCHIPEDIUM Architectural Calendar

Archipendium 2013 architecture shows great examples of modern architecture around the world. Altogether 365 different architectural offices are featured, among others BIG Bjarke Ingels Group, Chaix & Morel, COOP HIMMELB(L)AU, David Chipperfield, Delugan Meissl, Eisenman Architects, Foster+Partners, gmp von Gerkan, Marg und Partner, Graft, Jean Nouvel, King Kong, Massimiliano Fuksas, MVRDV, OMA, Steven Holl Architects, Tony Fretton, UNStudio and Zaha Hadid. In order to get an authentic overview of modern architecture the architects found themselves faced with the choice of projects and contents. 

Rendering / CLOG

Every month, the publication CLOG takes on “a single subject particularly relevant to architecture now.” It’s not a quick look at something trendy, but rather an in-depth look, from multiple perspectives, at the issues that are affecting - and will continue to affect (and even alter) - architecture as we know it today.

CLOG: Rendering is, in my opinion, the best issue yet. Through dozens of fascinating, concise articles and a handful of illustrative, quirky images, it takes on an enormous question often over-looked in the architectural world: what is a rendering? An alluring device to win over a jury or public? A realistic depiction? Or perhaps it’s an entity unto itself...

Rendering examines how the rendering has become a means of deception - not just for the public, but for ourselves - becoming an aesthetic end-product rather than the representation of an idea in-progress. But at the same time, the rendering is our best tool for entering into the “real” world, for communicating what we do to the public at large. 

Is there a way to marry these opposing characteristics? What should the future of rendering be? CLOG takes these questions head-on. More after the break...

Jarmund / Vigsnæs Arkitekter

Jarmund / Vigsnæs AS Architects MNAL  was established in 1996 by Einar Jarmund and Håkon Vigsnæs. Alessandra Kosberg became partner in 2004. The firm is located in Oslo, Norway. JVA works in a wide architectural range with commissions mainly in Norway, but also in other European countries. The majority of their finished work are public buildings and housing projects. JVA also are involved in urban planning and building interiors; aiming to cover all corners of the architectural field. They focus on the independent concept for every single project, avoiding general stylistic approaches. Priority is given to early participation in creative programming and an attentive relation towards the surroundings.  

Wang Shu: Imagining the House

Courtesy of Lars Müller Publishers
Courtesy of Lars Müller Publishers

Wang Shu’s design process always begins with an intense study of the location. The architect spends as long as possible on the site, absorbing its atmosphere. He then produces drafts in the form of hand-drawn sketches, creating them in relatively quick succession. Imagining the House follows this process in various buildings. Photographic documentation of the locations elucidate Shu’s on-site research. The reproductions of drawings in this book demonstrate how the designs change and become more concrete over the course of the process. The book provides unique insights into the work of an architect who has hitherto received little attention in Europe, thereby addressing a considerable omission in the publishing world.

Adaptation: Architecture, Technology, and The City / INABA

Adaptation Publication via INABA
Adaptation Publication via INABA

Adaptation: Architecture, Technology and the City is a publication that is a result of the collaboration between INABA and Free that brings interviews and art works into a conversation about the advancement of digital technology and its place in the built environment. The publication is a fascinating study into the dialogue between technological advancements in transportation and communications and the tangible environment with which is inextricably linked.

DETAIL Concept: Housing for Seniors

The average age of the population in Western societies is rising steadily, sometimes faster than the age the individuals actually feel. Senior citizens, who are often full of vitality, have diverse conceptions of life. These are met by increasingly differentiated alternatives offering residential environments suitable for the later years of life. The designation of corresponding building projects as 50+ solutions can however give rise to a clash between the strategy of the housing industry and the target group’s perception of itself. Although the elderly generally wish to live in their own four walls for as long as possible, they tend to avoid considering the various available options. 

Sou Fujimoto: Sketchbook

The works of Sou Fujimoto resist any form of conventional categorization. This young Japanese architect stands for unconventional buildings that cannot be described by standard criteria and definitions such as inside/outside or public/private. Clear divisions such as between floor levels and rooms are shattered by his complex ground plans and interlocking structures which—in a reference to the idea of the cave—he describes as “Primitive Future.” With this approach he creates forms that are committed to a playful interaction between user and space. Alongside private residences, such as the well-known N House, his library for Musashino Art University has achieved particular recognition. In addition he was represented at the 2010 Venice Biennale with a design for a house.