Galvanizing a Legacy: FAT’s Final Built Work is Unveiled

© Dave King / Channel 4 Television

The scaffolding has come down, revealing the first glimpse of FAT‘s extraordinary A House For . Designed in collaboration with British ceramic artist Grayson Perry and commissioned by Alain de Botton’s alternative holiday rental project Living Architecture, the house will be the final built work that FAT complete. The bejewelled two bedroom dwelling, topped with a shimmering golden copper alloy roof and clad in glinting green and white tiles, sits in the rolling landscape of Essex – Charles Holland (FAT) and Perry’s home county. Adorned with sculptures integrated into a wider narrative that spatially recounts the life of a fictional character called Julie, the barn-like shape, bold colours and decoration has not simply garnered widespread attention but has also captured people’s curiosity.

Find out more about the project in an interview with the architect after the break.

Video: Inside Steven Holl’s Reid Building at Glasgow School of Art

Steven Holl Architects, in collaboration with Spirit of Space, have created two short films of the recently completed Seona Reid Building at Glasgow School of Art. The film series explores the complementary contrast of the new Reid Building and Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s 1909 building (which recently suffered a devastating fire), where “each work of architecture heightens the integral qualities of the other.”

The first film takes the viewers on a “poetic climb” up and through the building’s social circuit, which “purposefully encourages inter-disciplinary activity, with the hope to inspire positive energy for the future of art.” The second film unpacks the design of the Reid Building in a conversation with design architects and Chris McVoy.

Video: Charles Jencks on the 2014 Venice Biennale

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In this extended by the Architectural Review, Charles Jencks provides an in-depth description of the 2014 Venice Biennale and critiques his former student Rem Koolhaas’ overall curation and theme: Fundamentals.

Arguing that the previous thirteen Biennales have, “more or less, tried to predict what is going to happen over the next five years,” ”Rem Koolhaas has changed the paradigm:” Rem’s Biennale is about “the past of the present”. Jencks, who describes Koolhaas as ”the Corbusier of our time”, suggests that his Biennale is about analysis rather than total synthesis. He has, however, “shown that research can be creative.”

Sam Jacob & Wouter Vanstiphout on Curating “A Clockwork Jerusalem”

The Mound. Image © James Taylor-Foster

The British Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Biennale takes the large scale projects of the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s and explores the “mature flowering of British Modernism at the moment it was at its most socially, politically and architecturally ambitious but also the moment that witnessed its collapse.” The exhibition tells the story of how British modernity emerged out of an unlikely combination of interests and how “these modern visions continue to create our physical and imaginative landscapes.” To those who know the UK‘s architectural heritage, this cultural and social history is delivered in a way which feels strangely familiar, whilst uncovering fascinating hidden histories of British modernity that continue to resonate in the 21st century.

We caught up with Sam Jacob, co-founder of FAT Architecture (of which this exhibition is their final project), and , partner at Rotterdam-based Crimson Architectural Historians, outside the British Pavilion to discuss the ideas behind, and significance of, A Clockwork Jerusalem.

© James Taylor-Foster

Video: Alvaro Siza Denounces Architecture’s “Hyper-Specialization”

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In this video, produced by Hugo Oliveira, Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza denounces the ”hyper-specialization” of architecture, outlining its academic roots as well as its practical implications for practice. Siza mentions how, in Portugal, a law was considered to limit architects to their specific specialities – exterior architects could not design interiors, for example. According to Siza, this tendency towards “hyper” or over specialization is unfortunate, as it gives rise to the segmentation of the discipline into subcategories - interior architecture, exterior architecture, , etc. - that undermine collaboration and team work.

Also make sure to check out the first part of this interview, where Siza discusses the obsolescence of buildings.

“Design Mind” Witold Rybczynski Discusses His Latest Work

Photo by Michael Cooper

While most of the profession looks forward, author Witold Rybczynski is focused on the past. Named 2014′s “Design Mind” by the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum earlier this month, Rybczynski writes about historical buildings to give a better understanding of modern architecture. In a recent with the New York Times, Rybczynski talks about his latest book “How Architecture Works: A Humanist’s Toolkit,” the dangers of “celebrity” architecture, and his favorite non-designer chair. Check out the full interview here.

Winka Dubbeldam: “My Ideal City” of the Future

Courtesy of Archi-tectonics

believes there is power in the people. 

As a public intellectual, she has invested her efforts in researching the concept of “bottom-up” and “systems” design at academic institutions like Columbia, Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania – where she now serves as chair of the department of architecture. As principal of the New York-based firm, Archi-Tectonics, she demonstrates how these concepts work in both theory and practice.

In between the consistent cadence of client meetings and academic functions, Winka has been vocal about the future of cities, traveling overseas and giving TED Talks. Her most recent project revolves around a bilingual website, Mi Ciudad Ideal (My Ideal City), which has led her to Bogotá, Colombia where she is leading efforts to crowdsource and document the opinions of hundreds of thousands of urban residents in hopes to better understand what makes the “Ideal City.” ArchDaily recently caught up with Winka to discuss the project’s foundation and how it works.

AD Interviews: Francisco Aires Mateus

Aires Mateus - founded by brothers and partners, Manuel and – is an acclaimed contemporary practice that upholds the strong tradition of Portuguese architecture. We recently had the chance to interview one of the partners: Francisco Aires Mateus.

Francisco Aires Mateus has been a professor in Portugal and Norway. Currently, he teaches at the University of Lugano and has given lectures and seminars in Spain, the United Kingdom, Argentina, Mexico, Canada, Chile, Japan, and many other countries.

Aires Mateus has been awarded with the FAD Award on several occasions, and has also been a finalist for the Mies van der Rohe Award.

Projects by Aires Mateus on ArchDaily:

Alcácer do Sal Residences 

Cabanas no Rio

Santo Tirso Call Center

Sines Center for the Arts

Casa na Areia

House in Leiria

House in Aroeira

Building in Lagoa das Furnas

Thanks to the FAD Universidad Finis Terrae for making this interview possible.

Talking With Thom

Four Towers In One (Competition). Image Courtesy of Morphosis

Despite what you may think, Thom Mayne isn’t the “bad boy” of architecture – at least, not according to Thom Mayne. He sees himself more as a skilled negotiator than a starchitect (a phrase he hates) – after all, he reasons, how else would he have completed so many buildings? In this , originally published on Metropolis Magazine‘s Point of View blog as “Q&A: Thom Mayne,” Andrew Caruso and Mayne discuss Morphosis, SCI-ARC, the early days of his career, and his architectural ethos.  

Andrew Caruso: Your professional career began in the discipline of planning. What led to the shift toward architecture and your eventual partnership with Jim Stafford?

Thom Mayne: I started working at the Pasadena redevelopment agency doing low cost , and that’s where I met Jim [Stafford]. Coming out of USC, I had no background about Mies, Khan or Corbusier, for example. USC was very strong in being anti-historical, looking forward instead of backward. I was essentially naive.

Jim was a year ahead of me at USC and had part of the older regime at the school. When I met him at the planning agency, he started introducing me to history. I got fascinated by [Paul] Rudolph; and then it just took off. Jim guided me through this thought process, reestablishing me in the tradition of architecture.

Landscape Design In Our Time of Climate Change

Erie Canal Harbor Buffalo, NY. Image Courtesy of Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects

In this article, which originally appeared in Metropolis Magazine’s Point of View Blog as “Q&A: Kim Mathews and Signe Nielsen,” Susan Szenasy interviews the principals of Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects about how climate change has re-focused today on three important issues: Research, Redevelopment, & Resiliency.

In this season of Architecture’s Lean In Moment, I’m asking principals of three successful female-owned firms in architecture, graphic communication, and here landscape architecture, to talk about the work they do, how they connect with their clients (usually in the messy public realm), how they hone their skills and add to their knowledge base—all to provide the essential design services that they set out to do as idealistic young practitioners.

Here the principals of the New York firm, Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects, Kim Mathews, RLA, ASLA and Signe Nielsen, RLA, FASLA, talk about the evolution of their profession, their commitment to teaching, writing, lecturing, their research-informed work, as well as the new appreciation of design in the public realm. The firm’s new Green Team reports here regularly on topics like the importance of soil composition, working within the urban infrastructure, and waterfront remediation and redevelopment in a time of climate change.

Why China’s Copy-Cats Are Good For Architecture

Wangjing SOHO: Northwest Aerial © Zaha Hadid Architects

When we see another Eiffel Tower, idyllic English village, or, most recently, a Zaha Hadid shopping mall, copied in , our first reaction is to scoff. Heartily. To suggest that it is – once again – evidence of ’s knock-off culture, its disregard for uniqueness, its staggering lack of innovation. Even I, reporting on the Chinese copy of the Austrian town of Halstatt, fell into the rhetorical trap: “The Chinese are well-known for their penchant for knock-offs, be it brand-name handbags or high-tech gadgets, but this time, they’ve taken it to a whole other level.”

Moreover, as Guy Horton has noted, we are keen to describe designers in the West as “emulating,” “imitating,” and “borrowing”; those in the East are almost always “pirating.” However, when we allow ourselves, even unconsciously, to settle into the role of superior scoffer, we do not just do the Chinese, but ourselves, a disservice: first, we fail to recognize the fascinating complexity that lies behind China’s built experimentation with Western ideals; and, what’s more, we fail to look in the mirror at ourselves, and trouble our own unquestioned values and supposed superiority. In the next few paragraphs, I’d like to do both.

In Conversation With: Will Alsop

© Antonio Olmos

Architecture begins with ideas—and, for , sometimes with a painting. This is the first in a series of conversations with internationally prominent architects conducted by Sanam Samanian and Alex Bozikovic. The British iconoclast gives an overview of his creative process: why he’s bored by the details of building; why we shouldn’t think of architecture as a “profession”; and why we should think of architecture as a way to make life more joyous.

Read the captivating interview with Will Alsop, after the break…

A Candid Conversation with Frank Lloyd Wright

by JOHN AMARANTIDES, 1955. ”The Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)”

If you only know Frank Lloyd Wright for his classic works - Fallingwater and the Guggenheim among them – and not for his bristly personality, then you’re in for a treat.

WNYC has just released a candid they recorded with Wright in 1957, two years before his death, in his Plaza Hotel apartment (where he’d moved to oversee construction of the Guggenheim, which he’d been working on for 14 years). The conversation covers a wide range of topics – from Wright’s quirky personal views on American culture to the significance of architecture for mankind. Some gems from the interview include: 

On the Guggenheim and its critics:  “You’re going to be awakened to the beauty of that thing [a picture, a painting] from a new point of view. And it’s going to be so enlivening and refreshing, that it will make some of these painters quite ashamed of the protest that they issued against it.”

More quotes from Frank Lloyd Wright, after the break…

Exclusive Interview: Plasma Studio on Xi’an International Horticultural Expo

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In conjunction with our recent coverage of the Xi’an International Horticultural Expo, we would like to share Aidan Flaherty’s with Holger Kehne, co-principle of Plasma Studio and GroundLabPlasma Studio, GroundLab and LAUR Studio worked together to win this international competition with a 37-hectare master plan for the International Horticultural Expo, a 5,000SM Exhibition Hall, a 4,000SM Greenhouse, and a 3,500SM Gate Building. The project initiated the re-development of a large area between the airport and the center of the ancient city of Xi’an – known as the home of the Terracotta Army of the Qin Dynasty.

The Expo opened in the spring of 2011 and welcomed more than 16 million visitors before it closed in the fall of 2011. The Expo park will remain as a new contemporary addition to the Xi’an region. The particularities of this legacy plan are currently underway. Holger Kehne discusses his firms’ unique design methodologies and multidisciplinary approach while working on this large-scale project. Read the interview after the break.

Video: Richard Meier on Creating Public Spaces

Richard Meier recently discussed his perspective on creating public spaces. He expands on his experiences of designing numerous buildings across the globe and their importance in relation to public spaces. He discourses how the Getty Center in LA fosters a special environment for all activities, whether it be viewing the entire city or participating in cultural activities – the surroundings of the building are just as important as the structure itself. He also comments on the significance of the square that is encompassed on one side by his Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art, and its destination as a mecca for teenage skateboarders and the seniors that come to watch the youths. Interestingly enough, his talk emphasizes the places that surround the architecture, the idea that the intent is not about making a building or monument, it is about creating a place and making a statement. This in turn makes for a much more exciting architectural experience – because it is the spaces that objects make that we inhabit.

Be sure to check out our recent with here.

Reference: Web of Stories, DI

AD Recommends: Frank O. Gehry by Franco Raggi, 1981

Our friends from Abitare recently published their 500 issue!

For the occasion, they republished an old with Frank O. Ghery, conducted by Franco Raggi in 1981.

You can read the full interview at Abitare.