In 1970 the BBC followed architects Alison and Peter Smithson through the construction of their seminal housing project, Robin Hood Gardens (London). The impact of their architecture continues to resonate well into the 21st century, most recently in the British Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Biennale. Robin Hood Gardens was demolished in 2013, bringing an end to the Smithson’s utopian vision. Listen to Alison Smithson explain the European Housing Condition (as the vision stood in 1970), the state of British infrastructure as it was, and hear Peter Smithson discuss the impetus for their most famous collective housing project.
According to the BBC, Frank Gehry’s Biomuseo in Panama City, Steven Holl’s Sifang Art Museum in Nanjing, and BIG’s Danish National Maritime Museum in Helsingør are among the top eight greatest museums recently completed. Do you agree? Let us know which recently completed museums tops your list in the comment section after the break and review the BBC’s complete selection here.
The RIBA and the BBC have partnered to screen a series of interactive online films in the final week leading up to the announcement of the 18th RIBA Stirling Prize. As the UK’s most prestigious architecture award, given annually to “the architects of the building that has made the greatest contribution to the evolution of architecture over the past year,” the shortlist has garnered worldwide attention. Although the ultimate decision lies in the hands of a jury, headed by British architect Spencer de Grey, the BBC will host a public vote which is available as of today.
Zaha Hadid has been featured in a 30-minute BBC Secret Knowledge film based on Kazimir Malevich: The Russian Revolutionary: Zaha Hadid on Kazimir Malevich. One of Hadid’s greatest influencers, the Russian painter and theoretician inspired the Dame’s AA graduation thesis which transformed Malevich’s 1923 Arkitekton model into a 14-story hotel that stretched across London’s Hungerford Bridge. You can watch the film online (here) through September 16.
Are Brutalist buildings, once deemed cruel and ugly, making a comeback? Reyner Banham‘s witty play on the French term for raw concrete, beton brut, was popularized by a movement of hip, young architects counteracting what they perceived as the bourgeois and fanciful Modernism of the 1930s. Though the use of raw concrete in the hands of such artist-architects as Le Corbusier seems beautiful beneath the lush Mediterranean sun, under the overcast skies of northern Europe Brutalist architecture earned a much less flattering reputation. Since the 1990s, however, architects, designers, and artists have celebrated formerly denounced buildings, developing a fashionably artistic following around buildings like Erno Goldfinger‘s Trellick Tower, “even if long-term residents held far more ambivalent views of this forceful high-rise housing block.” To learn more about this controversial history and to read Jonathan Glancey‘s speculation for its future, read the full article on BBC, here.
The BBC’s Tony Hall has announced that Zaha Hadid will be presenting a 60-minute Secret Knowledge film based on Kazimir Malevich. The Russian painter and theoretician, who founded the Suprematist movement, inspired Hadid’s AA graduation thesis which transformed Malevich’s 1923 Arkitekton model into a 14-story hotel that stretched across London’s Hungerford Bridge. Hadid will be one of many influential art leaders enlisted to participate in the program, which intends to place the arts on “center-stage.”
Architect’s Journal has reported on an embarrassing – and controversial – fumble from the BBC. Not only has the media outlet been criticized for “largely ignoring women architects in its series The Brits Who Built the Modern World,” but it’s now come under fire for an image (appearing at the beginning of episode 3) in which Patty Hopkins is photoshopped out of a group that includes her husband Michael Hopkins, Norman Foster, Richard Rogers, Nicholas Grimshaw, and Terry Farrell.
The six architects are featured in RIBA’s tie-in-exhibition; however, as the series chose to focus on the five male architects, the photographer removed Ms. Hopkins from the shot (unbeknownst to the BBC).
Lucy Mori of KL Mori Business Consulting for Architects told Architect’s Journal: ‘I am shocked that women’s contribution to architecture has again been “airbrushed” from this populist history programme.”
BBC’s Sarah Montague interviews Renzo Piano, the mastermind behind London’s most controversial and newest skyscraper: ‘The Shard’. Prior to the interview, Montague spotted Piano blending into the crowd during the opening of the 310-meter skyscraper “spying” on the onlookers. When asked about this moment, Piano revealed the great advice he received from the prominent Italian film director Roberto Rossellini upon the completion of the Pompidou Center in Paris: “You do not look at the building, you look at the people looking at the building.” It was during this moment that Piano observed “surprise” and “wonder, but not fear” amongst the onlookers – a reaction he seemed to be content with.
Despite Piano’s attempt to refrain from controversy, it is hard to avoid when your design intends to celebrate a “shift in society” as does the ‘Shard’. Change tends to stir mixed emotions and spark debate. However, being part of this “human adventure” as an architect is what Piano finds most rewarding. He states: “You don’t change the world as an architect, but you celebrate the change of the world.”