Concrete Love: The Böhm Family

This year’s Goethe Documentary Film Prize winner is Concrete Love: The Böhm Family. The German film, directed by Maurizius Staerkle-Drux, follows the daily routine of 93-year old architect Gottfried Böhm, documenting interactions with his family (and colleagues) and the inspiration for his work. It delves into the lifelong fervor Böhm has developed for design, family, and life. The jury acclaims, “the film tells a multi-layered tale of love, the passion for architecture and four generations of German history. With sensitive observations, intimate interviews and stirring filmic explorations of an extraordinary architectural legacy, the film creates a lasting impression of the buildings and the people.”

Bingler and Pederson’s Critique of Architecture for the New York Times Sparks Controversy

Somewhat ironically, the New York Times’ own building is designed by none other than “celebrity architect” Renzo Piano. Image © Ritu Manoj Jethani via Shutterstock

Earlier this month the New York Times published an editorial written by Steven Bingler and Martin Pederson in which the two discuss how and why architects need to reevaluate the profession. The article centers on how today’s architecture can adequately meet the needs of its intended users without acknowledging their input and asks “at what point does architecture’s potential to improve human life become lost because of its inability to connect with actual humans?”

As with any commentary on the very nature of contemporary architecture, criticism abounds and has prompted a scathing response by writer Aaron Betsky, who claims that the New York Times ought to be above such “know-nothing, cliché-ridden reviews of architecture” and ridicules certain excerpts of Bingler and Pederson’s text,  saying “I am not making this up.” Betsky takes the opportunity to argue instead that “Architecture… is either the dull affirmation of what we have, or it is an attempt to make our world better.”

Read on after the break for more on the New York Times article and the opposing views

“Fragments of Metropolis”: An Exploration of Berlin’s Expressionist History

© Niels Lehmann & Christoph Rauhut

Despite being born in the same era, Expressionism embodies an entirely different architectural sensibility to other proto-modernist movements like the Bauhaus. Its complex forms marked the creation of what we know as the modern metropolis and became one of the iconic architectural styles of the Roaring Twenties. Throughout Europe, over 1,000 expressionist buildings remain standing, yet many are forgotten and not properly preserved.

For the past four years, Niels Lehmann and Christoph Rauhut have been working to document these surviving expressionist landmarks, following their previous book “Modernism London Style.” Their new book, “Fragments of Metropolis – Berlin” presents 135 remaining expressionist buildings in Berlin and the surrounding area, and with your help this incredible collection documenting the landmarks of expressionism will be published, with colorful photography and detailed maps revealing their exact locations. Follow this link to become a supporter and learn more, or continue after the break to see a selection of images from the book.

INABA Frames Empire State Building with Animated “New York Light” Installation

© Zhonghan Huang

From the architect.

This holiday season, wedged between two City icons – the Flatiron and Empire State building – stands the #NewYorkLight public art installation by Brooklyn-based INABA. A magnificent place to experience the Manhattan grid, the installation frames a unique and uninterrupted view of the skyline due to the clearing of Madison Square Park.

OMA Tops Out on Beaux Arts Museum in Quebec

Aerial. Image © MNBAQ, Idra Labrie

Architects: OMA
Location: Discovery Pavilion of the Plains of Abraham, 835 Avenue Wilfrid-Laurier, Québec, QC G1R 5H8,
Architect In Charge: Shohei Shigematsu
Year: 2016
Photographs: MNBAQ, Idra Labrie, OMA / Luxigon, Provencher-Roy, OMA

Spotlight: Ray Eames

Ray and Charles Eames. Image Courtesy of Eames Office

(December 15, 1912-August 1988) is best known for her personal and artistic collaboration with Charles Eames, and together, their innovative designs shaped the course of modernism. Although Charles often gave the firm its public face (particularly in the male-oriented world of mid-century design), the two designers are almost always discussed as a couple and every project that their office pursued was in fact a team effort. When asked about any particular piece of furniture, for example, Ray always maintained that she contributed to the details of the design in a “million ways” and considered the overall form of each project in a critical fashion, emphasizing the collaborative nature of not just their partnership, but their entire office.

DO Architects Develop “Rolling Homes” Prototype for Lithuania

© DO Architects

According to DO Architects, cylindrical housing is the way of the future. Proposed for a seaside site near the Baltic Sea in Svencelė, the Lithuanian practice has developed an experimental neighborhood of 12 single family “rolling homes” that promise seclusion, an uninterrupted connection to nature and three stories of efficiently laid out modern interiors.

Adidas Selects COBE to Design “Rhombus-Shaped” Flagship Building in Germany

© COBE

Danish architects COBE have won an international competition to design the Adidas Group’s “Meet & Eat” flagship building at their “World of Sports” headquarters in . The 11,000-square-meter “rhombus-shaped” structure is envisioned as a “distinctive landmark” that will provide the campus with a “flexible and user-friendly” public conference center, employee restaurant and showroom.

“The adidas brand has always been known for technique and functionality, and we have designed a building that reflects and encapsulates these values,” says Dan Stubbergaard, Founder and Creative Director at COBE. “Adidas Meet & Eat will house many functions, both internal and public, and therefore we have created a design that above all is multifunctional and flexible. A design that allows for the building to change and adjust to the different social contexts that the building will house.”

SCAPE and Rogers Partners Design New Public Gateway for Mississippi River Waterfall

© + Rogers Partners

SCAPE / Landscape Architecture and Rogers Partners have envisioned a new public gateway for the Mississippi River’s “one true waterfall” – St. Anthony Falls in downtown . Named after being the city’s original site for its 19th-century water supply and fire-fighting pumping stations, “Water Works” is designed to “weave” together heritage ruins, local ecology, and recreational systems into a “coherent civic space” on four-acres of Central Riverfront. 

FR-EE / Fernando Romero EnterprisE Reveals Latin American Art Museum for Miami

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On the heels of President Barack Obama’s recent decision to reform US immigration policy, FR-EE / Fernando Romero EnterprisE has released designs for a new Latin American Art Museum (LAAM) in . The four-story museum, characterized by elongated, cantilevering terraces and sculpture gardens, hopes to become “the most significant institution for displaying Latin American art in America.” Continue reading to learn more.

Designs Unveiled for Foster + Partners’ “Health Education Campus” in Cleveland

© , Courtesy of Case Western Reserve University

Foster + Partners has submitted plans for a new “Health Education Campus” in , Ohio. The 485,000-square-foot quadrangle building is designed to foster collaboration between the students of Case Western Reserve University and the Clinic on the medical campus’ existing 11-acre parcel at East 93rd Street between Euclid and Chester Avenues.

Farshid Moussavi on Style, Function, and Physical Space

© Architecture

In an era in which architectural style is constantly recycled and reinterpreted, how do we know which ideas are original and which characteristics reveal deeper functions? In a recent article by Rowan Moore from The Guardian, architect Farshid Moussavi discusses fashion, function, and physical space as they relate to the concepts of her latest book The Functions of Style, which examines style in architecture beyond external appearance with a belief that style is rooted in a building’s organizational ideas. Consequently, says Moore, each of Moussavi’s works are unique and do not rely on repeating trademark artistic moves. To learn more about how Moussavi’s philosophy is embodied in her most recent works, along with her belief in the power of physical space in a virtual world, read the full article on The Observer here.

1024’s “Vortex” Installation Unites Environmental Analysis and Art

Courtesy of

Paris-based firm 1024 architecture has created Vortex, a generative light sculpture located within the Darwin Ecosystem Project’s green building in Bordeaux, France. The “architectural fragment” consists of scaffolding, raw wood, and twelve lines of LED light. With colored LED lights appearing to shoot across the structure, a new spatial experience is created, which also informs viewers about energy consumption within the building.

Learn more about the structure and 1024 architecture after the break.

Video: Gaetano Pesce on Architecture as Art

In this video from Crane TV, Italian architect and designer Gaetano Pesce talks about his philosophy of art and architecture as an expression of reality. His philosophy raises the question of whether architecture itself should become symbolic of its time and place or express an idea in the way that art often can.  Beyond a symbolic nature, Pesce also suggests that architecture could be humorous or act as an extension of artistic expression. “Architecture is the king or queen of the arts,” he says, summarizing his beliefs.

Last week we brought you another video from Crane TV on Vito Acconci, which explored why the goal of architecture is not always a completed building.  As another architect who blurs the lines between buildings and art, Pesce’s unbuilt projects are an important tool through which he continually seeks new discoveries to prompt further design innovations.

“Jellyfish Barge” Provides Sustainable Source of Food and Water

Exterior View. Image © Matteo De Mayda

With the earth’s population increasing at an exponential rate, sustainable agriculture and access to clean water are becoming desperately important. Cristiana Favretto and Antonio Giraridi of Studiomobile recognize this and have proposed a solution. Dubbed the Jellyfish Barge for its shape and translucency, this floating greenhouse is capable of growing its own food hydroponically and producing up to 150 liters of fresh drinking water per day. Even more beneficial is its low-cost, easy-to-assemble design that can be implemented in a variety of locations. Learn more about how this fascinating project works, after the break.

Defining Place: Alternative Urban Futures from The Neighbourhood

Courtesy of The Neighbourhood

3D printing technology is quickly emerging as a technology that could be applied at the scale of the built environment. But could we use 3D printed materials to create engaging urban spaces that are constantly changing? Creative communications agency, The Neighbourhood, has imagined speculative architecture based on 3D printed materials.

SANAA’s First US Commission Since Pritzker, “The River” Underway in Connecticut

Exterior view of The River. Image Courtesy of Grace Farms and

“The River,” SANAA’s first US commission since winning the 2010 Pritzker Prize, is currently underway in Connecticut. Designed by the Japanese practice in collaboration with OLIN, the meandering and almost transparent building will be built on a 75-acre preserve as a multi-use platform for events and initiatives put on by the community of New Canaan and non-profit Grace Farms Foundation.

“We are thrilled that Grace Farms will begin welcoming the public in autumn 2015,” Sharon Prince, president of the Grace Farms Foundation stated. 

Three OMA-Designed “Park Grove” Towers to Rise in Miami

© Bloom

OMA is set to realize their first commercial residential project in the US: Park Grove. Planned to rise alongside the Biscayne Bay in ’s Coconut Grove, in close proximity to BIG’s “Grove” residences at Grand Bay, the three-tower luxury residential project will be the last building allotted for the “walkable” Floridan neighborhood.