Win Tickets to the IDEAS CITY Conference Next Week in NYC

Courtesy of The New Museum

Next week, the New Museum in New York will kickstart the annual IDEAS CITY Festival on Thursday, May 28th. Themed after Italo Calvino‘s “The Invisible City,” the three-day event will “explore questions of transparency and surveillance, citizenship and representation, expression and suppression, participation and dissent, and the enduring quest for visibility in the city” through a number of platforms, such as panels discussions, poetry slams, mobile art installations, workshops, exhibitions and most notably the transformation of ’s Bowery neighborhood into a “temporary city of ideas.”

Interested in attending? Five of our readers have the chance to win tickets to the festival’s opening conference. Enter the sweepstakes below for a chance to watch a screening of Mannahatta: Studies for an Opera about Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs, listen to Bjarke Ingels discuss the relevance of literary speculation, and much more (the full conference schedule).

All those who will be in New York City on May 28th are eligible to participate. Follow the instructions to enter below.

Mecanoo Breaks Ground on Spanish Palace of Justice

Courtesy of

Mecanoo has broke ground on its “Palace of Justice” courthouse in a residential area of Córdoba, Spain. The first-prize winning proposal of an international design competition in 2006, the project was significantly delayed by the area’s economic instability. Slated for completion in 2017, the building aims to unify the neighborhood’s mix of contemporary and historic influences while providing essential public services for the region.

Sou Fujimoto-Led Team Selected to Design Ecole Polytechnique Learning Centre in Paris

Courtesy of Sou Fujimoto Architects, and Nicolas Laisné Associates

With an idea based on “flexibility, mingling and openness,” Sou Fujimoto Architects, Manal Rachdi OXO Architects and Nicolas Laisné Associates have been announced as winners of a restricted competition to design a new Ecole Polytechnique learning center at . The winning scheme, chosen over four finalists, will consolidate six institutions under one roof: Ecole Polytechnique, Institut Mines-Telecom, AgroParisTech, ENSTA ParisTech, ENSAE ParisTech and Institut d’Optique (IOGS).

Spotlight: Hans Hollein

Mobiles Büro, aufblasbares Bürogebäude, 1969 . Image © Gino Molin-Pradl

Described by Richard Meier as an architect whose “groundbreaking ideas” have “had a major impact on the thinking of designers and architects,” Austrian artist, architect, designer, theoretician and Pritzker Prize laureate Hans Hollein worked in all aspects of design, from architecture to furniture, jewelry, glasses, lamps – even door handles. Known in particular for his museum designs, from the Abteiberg Museum in Mönchengladbach to the Museum of Modern Art in Frankfurt to ’s Haas House, Hollein’s work manifests a unique, fascinating take on 1950s Modernism.

Frank Lloyd Wright and Fay Jones on the Web: The Value of Online Exhibitions

Alexander Residence (Raheen) Swimming Pool. Image © Fay Jones Collection, Special Collections, University of Arkansas Libraries

Yesterday afternoon, I was able to visit the University of Arkansas exhibition “Fay Jones and : Organic Architecture Comes to Arkansas” – without purchasing a ticket or leaving my apartment. This extensive exhibition on the life and development of these two notable architects was made possible through a collaboration between University of Arkansas Libraries’ Special Collections and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art Library and Archives. Exhibitions such as this are part of a broader movement in recent years towards making archived content more easily accessible to the public through web platforms. The concept of the , however, is still in its infancy and there remains significant room for innovation.

Defensive Architecture Creates Unlivable Cities

"Anti-homeless" spikes installed in Manchester. Image © Christopher Thomond via the Guardian

To many, the harsh turns the modern city has taken are not apparent. We see benches and bus stops that masquerade as shelters, but Guardian writer Alex Andreou’s sudden plunge into homelessness opened his eyes to the hostile realities of these and other structures. In “Anti-Homeless spikes: ‘Sleeping rough opened my eyes to the city’s barbed cruelty’,” he sheds some light on misconceptions about homelessness and explains the unfortunate trend of designing unlivable architecture to deter those affected.

From pavement sprinklers to concrete sidewalk spikes, the modern city is littered with defensive techniques, discouraging the homeless from habitation and encouraging instead an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality to make spaces more comfortable for others. However Andreou argues that the dehumanizing effects of these harsh gestures affect everyone, acting as physical manifestations of society’s intolerance and making public spaces that bit less welcoming for us all – homeless or not. Read the full article, here.

UNESCO Reveals Winning Scheme For The Bamiyan Cultural Centre In Afghanistan

Winning Entry: Exhibition Space. Image Courtesy of

, in collaboration with the Afghan Ministry of Information and Culture, have announced the winning proposal for the Bamiyan Cultural Centre. An Argentina-based team, lead by Carlos Nahuel Recabarren alongside Manuel Alberto Martínez Catalán and Franco Morero, were selected from 1,070 design entries from 117 countries. Prepatory work on implementing their scheme, entitled Descriptive Memory: The Eternal Presence of Absence, “will start immediately” close to the boundaries of the Bamiyan World Heritage site.

See the winning entry and the four runners-up after the break.

Colgate University Agrees to Fund David Adjaye’s $21 Million Arts Center

© , Courtesy of Colgate University

Colgate University has agreed to fund Adjaye Associates’ proposed $21 million Center for Art and Culture planned for its campus in , New York. The project, initially unveiled last March, will be comprised of three interlocking volumes of flexible art galleries alongside a parcel-long sculpture courtyard that cuts through the site.

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 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, 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

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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 ’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

© SCAPE / Landscape Architecture +

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.