Madrid is unfathomable. If the city itself is immense, it´s examples of interesting architecture are overwhelming. For over a half a century, Madrid has been an experimental laboratory for modern and contemporary architecture in Spain. With numerous examples of innovative and experimental architecture, as well as many failures, few of which are valued and recognized. This selection seeks to show archetypal examples of architecture that have transcended time; it does not intend to be an exhaustive list of the city´s architectural works. Many will think that the list lacks important buildings and personally, I couldn´t agree more. That is perhaps the beauty of Madrid: there is a diversity of opinion, there are thousands of sites to see, the city surprises you with every step you take.
In all but the most optimistic architect's career, there will be moments you come across doubts and insecurities about our profession. It is in these moments where the wisdom of the greats who have come before us can help provoke the inspiration needed to face the challenges proposed by architecture and urbanism.
Needing an architectural pick-me-up? Check out some advice from Alejandro Aravena, Álvaro Siza, César Pelli, Francis Kére, Jeanne Gang, Norman Foster and Paulo Mendes da Rocha after the break.
Humanity has become obsessed with breaking its limits, creating new records only to break them again and again. In fact, our cities’ skylines have always been defined by those in power during every period in history. At one point churches left their mark, followed by public institutions and in the last few decades, it's commercial skyscrapers that continue to stretch taller and taller.
But when it comes to defining which buildings are the tallest it can get complicated. Do antennas and other gadgets on top of the building count as extra meters? What happens if the last floor is uninhabitable? The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) has developed their own system for classifying tall buildings, measuring from the “level of the lowest, significant, open-air, pedestrian entrance to the architectural top of the building, including spires, but not including antennae, signage, flag poles or other functional-technical equipment.” Using this system more than 3,400 buildings have been categorized as over 150 meters tall.
What did Pritzker Prize winner Frank Gehry get when he designed the Stata Center, an exuberantly whimsical academic complex for MIT? A very large check, plus a major lawsuit, alleging negligence and breach of contract due to rampant leaks, mold, cracks, drainage problems and sliding ice. Sometimes the most inspired designs can go awry. And when they do, some clients lawyer up. Here are 9 fascinating examples.
A diversity of approaches and locales is the calling card of American based, Argentinian born architect César Pelli (born October 12, 1926). The common thread of Pelli’s work is a strong sensitivity to place and environment. Beginning his solo career with the Pacific Design Center (1975) in Los Angeles, and shifting through the World Financial Center (1988) (now Brookfield Place) in New York, to the Petronas Towers (1996) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and the now under-construction, Transbay Transit Center and Salesforce Tower in San Francisco, each project is a unique response to context.
In this wide-ranging video, drone videographer Ian Wood captures the diversity of the built environment in Los Angeles, featuring architectural gems on equal footing with freeways and freight trains. The buildings and locations featured in the video span over a century of architectural history in LA, and cover the region’s vast geography, including such icons as Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House, Cesar Pelli’s Pacific Design Center, Eric Owen Moss’ Stealth building, and Morphosis’ recently completed Emerson College Los Angeles.
But what truly sets this video apart is how it highlights the many murals spread throughout the city. Often utilizing otherwise blank facades facing parking lots and alleys, these murals are nonetheless an integral part of LA’s urban fabric, as illustrated in this video. Sadly though, as Wood notes on the video description, there were many more murals that vanished before he was able to get them on video.
"Form ever follows function." "Less is more." Architects have long been providing us with inspirational quips and reflections on our profession. And now, thanks to our friends at Princeton Architectural Press, you can win a set a notebooks that feature the compelling words of Le Corbusier, R. Buckminster Fuller, and Cesar Pelli. The gold-stamped, gridded notebooks are a companion to Laura Dushkes' best-selling book The Architect Says.
Read on to find out how you can win a set of The Architect Says Notebooks!
This week we are taking our Architecture City Guide to South Beach. Miami’s architectural styles range from austere corporate architecture, as it has the largest concentration of international banks in the United States, to colorful and playful architecture that reflects its beach and Latin American culture. Architecture lovers can’t miss Miami Beach’s Art Deco District or its old Spanish heritage. We have put together a list of 12 contemporary buildings that range from a small park pavilion to the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. There is plenty more to see in Miami so please add your “must not miss” in the comment section below.
Architecture City Guide: Miami list and corresponding map after the break!
The La Defense is a 160 ha business district in the west of Paris, currently under a renewal plan to strengthen its place among the great international business districts. The plan is managed by the EPAD (The Public Establishment for Installation of La Défense), an organization formed by local authorities, government and neighbors focused on developing the La Defense for the best interests of its 20.000 residents and 150.000 inhabitants in floating population.
The renewal includes several high rise sustainable towers. One of this towers, the Tour Signal, entered an international closed competition for teams of architects/investors/developers, on which EPAD didn’t impose a site. The candidates were thus able to choose their sites either from among the entrances to the business district (South Gate and West Gate), either from sites subject to demolition operations. The Tour Signal will thus endow the business district with a new landmark in 2013.
And a few days ago, the winner was announced: Ateliers Jean Nouvel, project shown on the video above.
More pictures of the Jean Nouvel proposal, and the rest of the candidates/finalists after the jump.