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 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.

Weddle Gilmore, West 8 and Colwell Shelor Selected to Redesign Arizona’s Mesa City Center

Context. Image © , West 8 and Weddle Gilmore

Weddle Gilmore black rock studio, West 8 and Colwell Shelor Landscape Architecture have been selected to transform 19 acres surrounding Arizona’s Mesa City Hall into a unique civic space that will “capture and enhance the urbanizing momentum of Mesa’s downtown core.” Unanimously selected by the City of Mesa, over finalists Woods Bagot + Surface Design and Otak + Mayer Reed, the winning scheme plans to activate the public space with a series of flexible plazas and garden spaces centered around a distinct cooper shade structure.

More about the design and competition, after the break.

Video: Robert A.M. Stern on Designing Background Buildings and The Limestone Jesus

“We have lots of silly buildings being built, in my opinion. The buildings should not look like Lady Gaga,” stated Robert A.M. Stern in the latest installment by the Louisiana Channel.

Fifteen Central Park West, what many know to be the “world’s most powerful address,” was designed by Stern with one intention: to fill in the wall of Central Park West with a single, well articulated “background building” rather than a “twisting and turning isolated” structure. As Stern describes in the video above, the building, known as the “Limestone Jesus,” is praised in the real estate world for it’s high-priced apartments.

“Almost every building that is new has a built-in history. We are architects that build on the shoulders of the past. I think is is much more exciting to enter into a dialogue with the past and also to take things from the past and restudy them, their theme and variation. Architecture is made up of many languages in my view and if we have a modern language that is evolved but it doesn’t mean that the other languages can’t also continue to be spoken.”

BIG Reveals 20-Year Restoration Plan for Washington DC’s Smithsonian Campus

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Nearly a year-and-a-half since the announcement of their selection, BIG has unveiled plans for a massive, 20-year-long overhaul for the Smithsonian’s southern campus in the center of Washington DC. With an overarching goal to unite the site by dissolving the notable impediments and discontinuous pathways that plague the area, BIG plans to also expand visitor, education and gallery spaces, while updating aging and inefficient building systems. 

“Where today each museum is almost like a separate entity, in the future, it’s going to be a much more open, intuitive and inviting campus to meander around,” Bjarke Ingels explained.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory Develops 3D Printing Process at the Mircoscale

This electron backscatter diffraction image shows variations in crystallographic orientation in a nickel-based component, achieved by controlling the 3-D printing process at the microscale. Image Courtesy of ORNL

3D printing technology continues to advance, developing new applications which are particularly promising for the world of architecture. Now, researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have demonstrated a new manufacturing process that can create 3D printed metal components with an unprecedented degree of precision. For architecture, this could mean greater control over the customization of the smallest components in buildings, as well as more carefully engineered properties of the larger ones.

The new technique involves an additive process in which successive layers of material are laid down with computer control and fused to create an object of almost any shape. As technology has progressed, printers have been able to progressively increase their resolution, enabling the creation of smaller parts with smoother surfaces. ORNL has developed a process that precisely manages the solidification of metal parts in each layer on a microscopic scale. This enables them to better control local material properties, which can have a profound impact on the strength, weight, and function of 3D printed metal components.

Read on to learn more about how this manufacturing process could shape the future of .

Two Universities Win NCARB Award for Merging Practice and Education

“The Dean of Parsons: Design Education Must Change” (click image for article). Image Courtesy of Metropolis Magazine

The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards () has awarded Parsons The New School for Design and Clemson University the 2014 NCARB Award to aid the development of innovative programs that merge practice and education.

“The award honors innovative ways for weaving practice and academy together to address real-world architecture challenges,” says NCARB CEO Michael J. Armstrong. “The winning proposals for 2014 explore new paradigms of practice and move students from the theoretical to applied practices working with licensed practitioners.”

CTBUH Names One Central Park “Best Tall Building Worldwide” for 2014

One Central Park. Design architect: Ateliers Jean Nouvel. Collaborating architect: PTW Architects. Image © Murray Fredericks

This year’s title of “Best Tall Building Worldwide” has been awarded to One Central Park, in Sydney, Australia. The award, presented by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), was chosen after a year long selection process across 88 entries in four regions. Senior representatives of each of these four winners presented at the CTBUH Awards Symposium on November 6th at the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, and the winner was announced at the Awards Dinner following the Symposium. Read on after the break to learn more about the winning building.

Tengbom Prepares to Break Ground on New Trail Center in Kungälv

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Tengbom is preparing to break ground on their competition-winning proposal “Kotten” (The Pinecone) in the Fontin area of Kungälv municipality. Following the destruction of the old trail centre in a fire in 2013, Kungälv municipality arranged an architectural competition for a new, modern trail centre in the Fontin area.

Vincent Callebaut Designs Sustainable Mixed-Use Complex for Cairo

Perspective Towards a Courtyard. Image Courtesy of VCA

French firm Vincent Callebaut Architectures (VCA) has unveiled a new multi-use complex for in Cairo. Designed to obtain LEED Gold Plus standing, the building features a solar roof, green terraces, sky villas, and a vertical system of gardens and solar heating tubes. Composed of 1000 apartment units, the Gate Residence is also designed to include a health club and spa, fitness center, business center, restaurants and cafe, retail, and medical center.

Jean Prouvé’s Demountable House to be Exhibited at Design Shanghai 2015

Prouve House with Easy Armchair Chair and Committee Chair by Jeanneret. Image Courtesy of Forward

Marking the second edition of Design Shanghai, this year’s exhibition will take place March 2015 and will include over 300 exhibitors across three halls; Contemporary Design, Classic Design, and Collectible Design. Featured among the confirmed installations is Jean Prouvé’s Demountable House, a rare early example of prefabricated housing.

French architect Jean Prouvé is regarded as one of the twentieth century’s most influential designers, and is known for combining bold elegance with economy of means in a socially conscious manner. He is also recognized for his manufacturing firm, Les Ateliers Jean Prouvé, where he designed and produced lightweight metal furniture in collaboration with some of the most well known designers of the time. One such designer was Pierre Jeanneret, a Swiss architect and furniture designer who often worked with his more famous cousin, Le Corbusier.

Read on after the break to learn more about this year’s featured exhibition.

RIBA ARHITEKTI Creates Ceramic Mosaic for ETI Showroom

© Janez Marolt

Winner of a 2014 National Design Award for Best Interior of the Year, this showroom design by RIBA ARHITEKTI (Janja Brodar and Goran Rupnik), transforms an otherwise drab factory corridor into a surprisingly engaging space through the innovative re-use of materials. Tasked with converting part of an unused hallway into a showroom, the client’s expectations were initially quite modest and called for re-painting and designing presentation posters. However, while inspecting the production units in the factory, the architects began to imagine using the freely available materials in the building to create a more engaging visual narrative about the company itself.

Sheppard Robson Designs Rooftop Pavilion for Aldwych House

© Sheppard Robson

The Westminster City Council has granted planning permission to Sheppard Robson for a “dramatic” rooftop extension to ’s Aldwych House. The £15m project – situated within the Westminster Conservation Area – will add 8,500 square feet of high-quality office and reception space by installing a series of geometrical-folded forms on top of the landmark Midtown office building.

Bogle Architects Win “Architectural Project of the Year” for Laser Research Campus

Entrance. Image Courtesy of

Bogle Architects has won the 2014 Czech Architect Week “Architectural Project of the Year” award for their ELI (Extreme Light Infrastructure) Beamlines project in Prague, . The campus, designed as four separate structures connected within a landscaped setting, will be the first laser research and technology facility to involve scientists from the global research community for high-powered laser experimentation. 

Deutsche Post Towers Wins CTBUH 10 Year Award

Courtesy of Jahn

Deutsche Post Towers in Bonn Germany has received the 10 Year Award from the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH). Completed in 2002 and designed by Murphy/Jahn, Post Tower was a leader in introducing high performance design elements to create a more efficient and pleasant office environment, and has now been recognized by this unique award which rewards proven value and performance in a tall building over a period of 10 years since its completion, and offers a valuable look at the life of buildings long after the initial designs are realized. Read on after the break to learn more about the winning building.