House Housing: An Untimely History of Architecture and Real Estate in Nineteen Episodes is the first public presentation of a multi-year research project conducted by the Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture at Columbia University. Installed in the second-floor apartment of Columbia’s Casa Muraro in Venice and staged as an open house, the exhibition responds unsolicited to the proposal by Rem Koolhaas, curator of the 14th International Architecture exhibition, that architecture focus on its “fundamentals.” House Housing replies by considering architecture’s economic fundamentals, which locate housing at the center of the current economic regime, with the United States as an influential node in a transnational network.
In architecture, economic fundamentals are built from the ground up. The laws of real estate—relating to the acquisition of land, the financing of construction, the cost of building maintenance and services, profit from rent or resale, the value of equity, or the price of credit—inexorably shape any building component (like a window) and any building type (like a house). They are visible even in the residential work of such singular figures as Frank Lloyd Wright, not least because the Greek oikos, or household, forms the root of the word “economy” itself. But look closely and you will see that what seems fundamental, basic, or natural is, like any other law, a historical artifact permanently under construction and subject to change.
House Housing narrates nineteen brief episodes from across the last one hundred years in a mixture of domestic media, from phonograph to television, answering machine to iPad, converting the apartment into a whispering, humming history machine. Though they mainly focus on the continental United States, the discrete episodes are excerpts from global processes. Their artifacts range from houses designed by figures as well-known as Frank O. Gehry to seemingly ordinary gated communities in Florida. Their untimeliness is twofold. First, these episodes return us to financial matters widely discussed in the immediate aftermath of the 2008 foreclosure crisis but now largely abandoned by mainstream discourse. Second, the historical episodes disclose surprising repetitions of themes, tendencies, and actions. This reminds us that the economic infrastructures on which architecture rests are the outcome of such repetitions, rather than an a priori, natural ground.
Title: House Housing: An Untimely History of Architecture and Real Estate in Nineteen Episodes
Organizers: GSAPP Columbia Univeristy
From: Thu, 05 Jun 2014
Until: Fri, 06 Jun 2014
Venue: Casa Muraro
Address: Dorsoduro, Sestiere di Dorsoduro, 30100 Venice, Italy
Daniel Libeskind has unveiled designs for Vanke’s first ever overseas pavilion for the 2015 Milan Expo. Clad in a self-cleaning, air purifying, metalized tile, which was designed by Libeskind in collaboration with the Italian company Casalgrande Padan, the “red serpentine-like” structure reinterprets the traditional Chinese Shitang (dining hall).
Roma-based Nemesi & Partners has designed a 13,000 square meter “urban forest” that will serve as the Italian Pavilion at the 2015 Milan Expo. Enveloped within an intricate, branch-like skin, the six-story lattice structure will be made from 900 panels of “i.active BIODYNAMIC” cement that will “capture” air pollutants and convert them into inert salts.
Architects: Genius Loci Architettura
Location: Via Don Lorenzo Perosi, Scandicci Florence, Italy
Architects In Charge: Stefano Boninsegna, Andrea Grassi, Enrico Santi, Silvia Trentanove
Design Team: Antonio Romano, Filippo M. Messeri, Paola Portone, Michele Zanella
Area: 9,000 sqm
Photographs: Pietro Savorelli
The winning design for the Austrian pavilion of the 2015 Milan Expo has been announced. Following the Expo’s theme of “Energy for Life,” team.breathe.austria’s winning proposal focuses on social change for environmental protection. The enclosed, rectangular pavilion will be planted with an abundance of native Austrian vegetation. Titled “breathe,” the project will produce enough oxygen to sustain 18,000 people by the hour and advocates for a healthier bond between the urban and natural environment.
Greenhouse Talks, an auxiliary public lecture series to the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale, will take place on Thursday, June 5th and Friday, June 6th between 9:00 and 11:00am. During each session, an international panel of professionals – including the founder of MAD Architects, Ma Yansong, and the director of AMO, Reinier de Graaf – will discuss a topic pertaining to Rem Koolhaas‘ chosen theme for the Biennale: Fundamentals. The first day of discourse will focus on the future of the architectural profession, investigating the potential influence of the market crisis and the intersection of architecture with other disciplines. The second will reflect on the representation of architecture, considering the Western practice of exhibiting architecture projects in museums, institutes, and biennial events and what this practice’s adoption might mean for the East. For the full list of panel members and event details, read on after the break.
The honor of designing Thailand’s pavilion for the 2015 Milan Exposition has officially been awarded to The Office of Bangkok Architects (OBA). The firm’s winning design incorporates the Expo’s theme of “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life” with the agrarian and religious qualities that define the Kingdom of Thailand. Located centrally on the Expo’s main avenue, the pavilion will be adjacent to a canal that will be used as a part of the exhibition, relating back to Bangkok’s informal title as the “Venice of Asia.”
Paris-based X-TU has envisioned a more cohesive, sustainable market where food is not only grown and harvested, but sold and consumed on the spot. Serving as the French pavilion for the 2015 Milan Expo, X-TU’s competition-winning scheme will celebrate the country’s “rich genetic heritage” and future in innovative food production with a timber “fertile market” that supports the growth of the produce it sells.
Yesterday, Monditalia - one of the three exhibitions currently being prepared for this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale - tweeted out a neat little graphic showing the number of architects, per inhabitant, in 36 countries around the world.
The graphic shows that Italy has a shockingly high percentage of architects in its population: for every 414 Italians, one is an architect. According to the graphic, Portugal, Denmark, Germany, Belgium, Spain, and Greece all have ratios of less than 1,000 to one. Of course, there are plenty of other architect-heavy places missing from the list; not even mentioned in the graphic is Chile, a country that – according to its latest census - has one architect per 667 inhabitants, nor Mexico which has about 724 inhabitants per architect. On the other end of the spectrum, China has only one architect for every 40,000 persons.
Placing sixth in the competition to design the Romanian Pavilion for the 2015 Milan Expo, Collective East Architects offered a “simple and powerful landmark” that focuses on the history of Romania’s agriculture. Serving as an “attractor and orientation mark,” the structure was conceived by repeating a traditional Romanian pattern that “transformed the pavilion into a sculptural object with a powerful national identify.” From a distance, the facade appears “introverted and impenetrable;” as viewers move closer, the building begins to expose its contents, revealing a level of detail one would expect in a “jewelry museum.”