"It's quite evident that you're prepared to abandon traditional ways of sitting," Bernard Keeffe exclaims as he collapses into a bright yellow beanbag in Norman Foster's home. "For years," he continues, "people have thought that if they sat down they would have to sit on a chair, but now you have demonstrated that this is not necessary!" In this lengthy 1971 interview with Lord Foster, drawn from the archives of Thames TV, Keeffe questions the practice's early hi-tech approach to architecture in the context of a landscape in which buildings were becoming "ever more complicated."
Architecture, as both a profession and the built environment, currently finds itself at a crossroads in trying to adapt to a world in constant flux. Cities and its people face continuous socio-economic, political and environmental change on a daily basis, prompting a necessary rethink in the evolution of sustainable urbanization. With a focus on housing, society and cultural heritage, RIBA’s International Conference, Change in the City, aims to offer insight into the “New Urban Agenda” and how architects can play an interdisciplinary role in future urban development.
Speaking in an interview ahead of the conference, Norman Foster is a strong advocate for a careful consideration of what aspects of urban life need to be prioritized when designing cities of the future. For an increasingly global society, Foster stresses the need for architecture to surpass buildings and tackle its greatest obstacle – global warming, honing in on its roots and factors involved to create viable urban solutions.
Now in its 20th year, Berlin-based firm TOPOTEK 1 has been an enterprising player in the field of landscape architecture and public design, with a portfolio of projects that emphasize the social and formal roles that landscape assumes within built work. Largely responsible for the firm’s success this far is the man at the helm, Martin Rein-Cano, who has served as one of the founding partners since 1996.
Founded in 1996 by Buenos Aires-born Martin Rein-Cano, TOPOTEK 1 has quickly developed a reputation as a multidisciplinary landscape architecture firm, focussing on the re-contextualization of objects and spaces and the interdisciplinary approaches to design, framed within contemporary cultural and societal discourse.
The award-winning Berlin-based firm has completed a range of public spaces, from sports complexes and gardens to public squares and international installations. Significant projects include the green rooftop Railway Cover in Munich, Zurich’s hybrid Heerenschürli Sports Complex and the German Embassy in Warsaw. The firm has also recently completed the Schöningen Spears Research and Recreation Centre near Hannover, working with contrasting typologies of the open meadow and the dense forest on a historic site.
WOHA's first exhibition in Latin America, Garden City Mega City: WOHA's Urban Ecosystems presents over two decades of WOHA's international designs. With its inauguration at the Museum of the City of Mexico during the MEXTRÓPOLI International Festival of Architecture and City, the exhibition proposes the introduction of biodiversity and lively public spaces into vertical, climate-sensitive highrises within megalopolises.
The exhibition features sixteen intricate architectural models, an immersive video installation and large-scale drawings and images that show WOHA's proposals for vertical communities in the tropical megacities. PLANE-SITE documented the exhibition's opening along with the points of view of various MEXTRÓPOLI contributors and city officials.
This article is part of our new series "Material in Focus", where we ask architects to share with us their creative process through the choice of materials that define important parts of the construction of their buildings.
Casa Restelo was designed by Portuguese studio João Tiago Aguiar - architects. The 225 square meter project consists of the expansion of a 50's residence in the Restelo neighborhood, an area of semi-detached houses. For this project they also completely renovated the exterior facades, keeping the current look in mind while creating a new interpretation of the patterns inspired by traditional Portuguese tiles. We talked with the architect João Tiago Aguiar to know more about the material choices and the challenges of this project.
In a recent interview presented in collaboration with PLANE—SITE, architect Christian Kerez and curator Sandra Oehy speak about Incidental Space, their exhibition for the Swiss Pavilion in the Giardini at the 2016 Venice Biennale.
Kerez explains, “what we tried to do for this year’s Swiss Pavilion at the Venice Biennale is to really make a building, actually—to build a space, to offer an experience of architecture. Basically, a space at the Biennale doesn’t have to be very functional. You don’t have to live there; you don’t have to work there. It’s really about experience. This is also about the question, how much can you imagine? How can you create a space with the utmost architectonical complexity?”
In an interview with the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), Bjarke Ingels reflects on the design of skyscrapers, noting how "sculpture is fine, but if its arbitrary it's not as interesting." Architects, Ingels argues, have the problem of "skilled incompetence:" the notion that they "already know the answer before [they've] even heard the question." This prevents them "from questioning the question, or having the question rephrased, or elaborating on the question, or even listening for the question – because [they] already know the answer."
Beatriz Colomina and Mark Wigley, Curators of the 2016 Istanbul Design Biennial, Discuss "The Design of the Species"
"Design always presents itself as serving the human," state Beatriz Colomina and Mark Wigley, "but its real ambition is to redesign the human." Their curatorial statement for the 3rd Istanbul Design Biennial, which will open later this year and is themed around the title Are We Human? The Design of the Species: 2 Seconds, 2 Days, 2 Years, 200 Years, 200,000 Years, brims with reflective and often prescient statements such as this. All that will be encompassed by this Biennial, they say, will revolve around one pressing provocation: that design itself needs to be redesigned.
If one thing is certain, this Biennial will not come off as a 'trade show'. Wigley (New Zealand) and Colomina (Spain)—both Professors of Architecture at US institutions (Columbia and Princeton, respectively), theorists, writers, and critics—have exerted a profound influence on architectural discourse and pedagogy over the course of their careers. This Biennial, on the other hand, serves as their first formal foray into the world of 'design' – a field which few architects actively engage with.
In this exclusive interview with ArchDaily the curators discuss their intentions, criticise the traditional 'Biennial' model, and describe how they—alongside Andrés Jaque and the Office for Political Innovation—intend to spatialise the show against the backdrop of Istanbul – one of the great nexus of the world. Here, they also formally announce the launch of an Open Call for two-minute films.
In an exclusive thirty minute-long discussion with Kevin Roche, described in this interview as "arguably the greatest living architect you've never heard of," Monocle's Steve Bloomfield hears about his early years in practice through to the evolution of his design philosophy over a career which has spanned five decades.
As part of OMA co-founder Rem Koolhaas' sixth interview with Charlie Rose, the Rotterdam-based Architect discusses why the Dutch port-city is his practice's base – and why he switched from journalism and scriptwriting to architecture. In the discussion, of which four snippets have been made available, Koolhaas also explains why he feels that smart technology has a "sinister dimension," and on how he—and his practice—have a tendency to "resist aesthetic."
Michael Bierut Talks Architecture, Graphic Design, and How to (Every Once in a While) Change the World
Graphic designers are the masked superheroes of the design world. They shape the way people interact with everyday objects, often at a subconscious level, and create identities for events, services and businesses. Michael Bierut, with his familiar designs for Saks 5th Avenue, New York City parking signs, Verizon, Billboard, and most recently, Hillary Clinton’s much talked-about campaign logo, is a prime example of a man looking out for public aesthetic good. Now, with the release of his book, "How To use graphic design to sell things, explain things, make things look better, make people laugh, make people cry, and (every once in a while) change the world," and a retrospective exhibition of his works coming to a close this weekend at the School of Visual Arts, Bierut’s mask has been lifted.
Last month a Kickstarter campaign launched by the Real Estate Architecture Laboratory (REAL) reached its funding target: the Real Review, an independent bi-monthly magazine which intends to "revive the review as a writing form" to a general readership within the architectural sphere, will soon be a reality. ArchDaily sat down with editors Jack Self and Shumi Bose to discuss how the project came into being and what this—the flagship publication of REAL—will look like when its first issue is published in early 2016.
In an exclusive half-hour interview with Lord Norman Foster, Monocle's editor-in-chief Tyler Brûlé discusses matters of urban planning and "big-thinking emerging economies" with "one of the world’s most innovative and revered architects." Foster, who turned eighty years of age this year, has been the recipient of some of the world's most prestigious architecture awards – from the Pritzker Prize, the Stirling Prize, the AIA Gold Medal and the Prince of Asturias Award (Spain). Over the years, Foster's practice have become world-renowned experts in high-density transit design (namely, airports) – a focus of Brûlé's questioning.
“We as a profession have to encourage young architects to understand that the technology they’re using is merely a tool. They have to understand how to build the building that they’re creating, but also understand that this place is going to affect somebody. So what can we do to make it a place that—in a sense—I want to be a part of, that I want to attach to?”
“Something I always tell my students is that it’s important to fail on a continuous basis—and I’m not talking about the grade. I mean it’s in the spirit of risk, that you have to be willing to free yourself from a set of preconceptions in order to get to this new place. And if failing constitutes making mistakes in order to learn from these mistakes, then you have achieved an enormous amount. In fact, you’re only able to move forward because of this new-found knowledge.”
“I think one generational shift that’s going on has to do with the interest in architecture students to be involved in the community. Students see architecture not just as a profession, like medicine or law, they see it as a kind of service profession, on the order of social work or social science, where they understand that the work they do affects communities and real people, so they want to involve the communities from the beginning in their design process.”
“Students who enter schools of architecture today are entering it at a very young age, perhaps when their total world experience and awareness is relatively narrow, and they’re making the decision to become a practicing architect, and putting aside those studies—general ed., liberal arts studies—that might actually, in the end, make them more contributing architects. […] Fewer and fewer people are having that basic liberal arts, general ed. knowledge in the profession. And it’s a serious problem.”