Bosco Verticale by Boeri Studio has won the 2014 International Highrise Award, deeming it to be the “most beautiful and innovative highrise in the world.” Selected from a competitive shortlist of towers by Rem Koolhass, Steven Holl and Jean Nouvel, the forested highrise was praised by the jury for bringing 800 trees and 14 thousand plants to the Milan skyline.
“The Vertical Forest is an expression of the human need for contact with nature,” stated jury president Christoph Ingenhoven. “It is a radical and daring idea for the cities of tomorrow, and without a doubt represents a model for the development of densely populated urban areas in other European countries.”
The Pazzi Chapel is a landmark of architecture in the city that was once the cradle of the Italian Renaissance: Florence. Located in the Santa Croce church complex (the largest Franciscan church in the world), the chapel was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi - the goldsmith-turned-architect who dedicated his life to engineering the dome of Florence’s Santa Maria del Fiore. It is “a prime example of 15th-century architectural decoration in grey pietra serena sandstone, colourful maiolica, and terracotta.”
550 years have taken their toll on this structure and its decoration. Concern for the state of the loggia of the chapel is now so great that the non-profit institution in charge of the church’s administration – the Opera di Santa Croce – have raised 50% of the funds needed to carry out a restoration, set to begin in early 2015. They are now looking to crowdfunding to source the remaining half ($95,000) and, in so doing, are inviting people from around the world to become part of the 720-year-long history of Santa Croce.
Fundamentals, the title of the 2014 Venice Biennale, will close its doors in a matter of days (on the 23rd November). From the moment Rem Koolhaas revealed the title for this year’s Biennale in January 2013, asking national curators to respond directly to the theme of ‘Absorbing Modernity 1914-2014’, there was an inkling that this Biennale would be in some way special. Having rejected offers to direct the Biennale in the past, the fact that Koolhaas chose to act not only as curator but also thematic co-ordinator of the complete international effort, was significant. This announcement led Peter Eisenman (one of Koolhaas’ earliest tutors and advocates) to state in one interview that “[Rem is] stating his end: the end of [his] career, the end of [his] hegemony, the end of [his] mythology, the end of everything, the end of architecture.”
Adam Nathaniel Furman, architect and winner of this year’s Blueprint Award for Design Innovation, is currently undertaking his tenure as the recipient of the 2014/15 Rome Prize for Architecture at the British School at Rome. His ongoing project, entitled The Roman Singularity, seeks to explore and celebrate Rome as “the contemporary city par-excellence” – “an urban version of the internet, a place where the analogical-whole history of society, architecture, politics, literature and art coalesce into a space so intense and delimited that they collapse under the enormity of their own mass into a singularity of human endeavour.”
In this short essay inspired by the work of Dietrich C Neumann, an architectural historian at Brown University (Providence, RI USA), Furman examines what would have been “the tallest building in the world [...] housing Italy’s new Parliament, lecture halls, meeting rooms, a hotel, library, enormous sports facilities, lighthouse, clock, astronomical observatory, telegraph and telephone stations, [reflecting] sunlight off its acres and acres of white Carrara marble.” In the shadow of Italian Fascism, Mario Palanti saw an opportunity to transform the skyline of the Italian capital by pandering to the egotistical ambitions of a dictator. Ultimately the extent of his vision was matched only by his failure.
With just over two weeks left in the 14th Venice Biennale of Architecture, Paolo Baratta, President of La Biennale, is hosting a one day conference on the intersection between archives, exhibitions and digital integration. Focusing on the themes of the ”dissipation of memory” and the “vulnerability of digital data” in an age of ever-changing technological platforms, the conference is the third in a series of archive-themed events hosted at the Giardini in the Biennale Library, and will feature a screening of Digital Amnesia, a documentary on the lifespan of archival technology, along with a round table discussion with leading archivists and curators from around the world. Panelists include the Mirko Zardini, Director and Chief Curator from the Canadian Centre for Architecture, archive superintendents from three Italian provinces, professors from three Italian universities, and Debora Rossi, the chief archivist for the Venice Biennale.
The event will be live streamed on the Biennale website Today (November 7th) from 10:00am to 6:00pm Central European Time.
Construction is entering into the final stages for Expo Milan 2015, with just over six months left in the five-year build. A quick fly through shows the centrepiece Italian Pavilion nearing structural completion, with national and corporate pavilions making steady progress. The video is the fifth in a series of drone-led tours of the site, created in partnership between Expo Milan and Telecom Italia.
Find out more and watch the remaining four videos after the break
AM3 Architetti Associati has been awarded first prize in a competition to design a new boarding school in Malles (Bozen, Italy). The proposed building takes full advantage of the landscape, opening onto views towards Mount Stelvio and the Mustair Valley. Drawing inspiration from this unique context, AM3 crafts a design that integrates opportunities for active participation between building and land, and student with nature.
In partnership with La Sapienza University, Progetto Forti and Rome municipality, Young Architects Competitions (YAC) is launching a competition to redesign one of the treasures of Rome: Forte Portuense.
How can former military architecture be transformed into a leisure time and cultural focal point? The aim is to look for ideas worth triggering urban redevelopment, social cooperation and tourism.
This architecture will become part of a network of leisure time facilities a hair’s breadth away from the very core of Rome.
SoNo Arhitekti’s design for the Slovenian Pavilion has been chosen to represent the country at the 2015 Milan Expo. One of 142 participants, Slovenia’s pavilion will be based on the slogan, “I FEEL SLOVENIA. Green. Active. Healthy.”
The common thread in the exhibition manifests itself through a series of interactive and architectural elements throughout the pavilion. As the architects describe, “Five prismatical structures, positioned on the geometrically and dynamically designed surface, whose shape is reminiscent of a cultivated field, will represent Slovenian diverse geographical landscape and symbolize fundamental ideas of sustainable development.”
Studio Ricatti has revealed their design for a new university in the Arcispedale San’Anna in Cona-Ferrara Italy. In a competition hosted by the University of Ferrara, the firm was awarded second place for the proposal, which was characterized by clarity of form, efficient flow, and a balance between intimate and social spaces.
More about the winning entry, after the break.
Jury chairman Winy Maas has announced three projects by Arup, Studio Tamassociati and Elemental as winners of the 2014 Zumtobel Group Awards. With a goal to promote innovations for sustainability and humanity in the built environment, the awards represent three categories: Applied Innovations, Buildings and Urban Developments & Initiatives. This year’s winners were selected from 15 nominees, shortlisted from a competitive pool of 356 submissions.
The winning projects are marked by their innovative and ground-breaking character: “The voting to find the number one project was very close in all three categories, because in each case we were able to choose from among a large number of heterogeneous projects of high quality,” Described Maas. “One key criterion for the jury this year was the innovation factor, both in a technical sense and with a view to planning and participation processes as well as ecological and social challenges.”
See the winning projects, after the break.