Yesterday afternoon, I was able to visit the University of Arkansas exhibition “Fay Jones and Frank Lloyd Wright: 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 online exhibition, however, is still in its infancy and there remains significant room for innovation.
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, 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 has agreed to fund Adjaye Associates’ proposed $21 million Center for Art and Culture planned for its campus in Hamilton, 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.
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.”
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 Architect Magazine 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
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.
From the architect.
This holiday season, wedged between two New York 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.
Ray Eames (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.
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.
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 Herzogenaurach. 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 / Landscape Architecture and Rogers Partners have envisioned a new public gateway for the Mississippi River’s “one true waterfall” – St. Anthony Falls in downtown Minneapolis. 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.
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 Miami. 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.
Foster + Partners has submitted plans for a new “Health Education Campus” in Cleveland, Ohio. The 485,000-square-foot quadrangle building is designed to foster collaboration between the students of Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Clinic on the medical campus’ existing 11-acre parcel at East 93rd Street between Euclid and Chester Avenues.
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.
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.
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.