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Excerpt: Conversations with Architects in the Age of Celebrity

CCTV Headquarters in Beijing by OMA. Image © OMA / Philippe Ruault
CCTV Headquarters in Beijing by OMA. Image © OMA / Philippe Ruault

No matter what you think of it, these days there is no denying that a celebrity culture has a significant effect on the architecture world, with a small percentage of architects taking a large portion of the spotlight. Questioning this status quo, Vladimir Belogolovsky's new book "Conversations with Architects in the Age of Celebrity" interrogates some of these famous architects to find out what they think of the culture which has elevated them to such heights. In this excerpt from the book's foreword, Belogolovsky asks how we got into this celebrity-loving architectural culture, and what it means for the buildings produced.

Not to be confused with other kinds of stars, the most popular of architects are identified as “starchitects.”* Is this a good thing? The notion of starchitecture is hated wholeheartedly by most of the leading architectural critics. They run away from addressing the issue because they think it has nothing to do with professional criticism. But what do the architects think? One of the architectural megastars, Rem Koolhaas, was astonishingly self-effacing in an interview for Hanno Rauterberg’s 2008 book Talking Architecture:

“I think what we are experiencing is the global triumph of eccentricity. Lots of extravagant buildings are being built, buildings that have no meaning, no functionality. It’s rather about spectacular shapes and, of course, the architects’ egos.”

AD Round Up: Awesome Airports

AD Classics: Dulles International Airport / Eero Saarinen. Image © MWAA
AD Classics: Dulles International Airport / Eero Saarinen. Image © MWAA

If there is a universal truth, it is that nobody likes spending time in an airport. This article from the Financial Times corroborates this fact, pointing out that, no matter how well-designed a terminal is, people make every effort to leave it as soon as possible. While the novelty of air travel has worn off since its inception in the 20th century, the work devoted to designing airports has only increased. We’ve collected some of our favorite terminals we'd actually love to get stuck in, including works by Eero Sarinen, SOM, Fentress, J. Mayer H., KCAP, Paul Andreu, bblur architecture and 3DReid, Corgan Associates, De Bever, and Studio Fuksas. Enjoy!

J. Mayer H. Chosen to Design Karlsruhe's Anniversary Pavilion

In a design competition hosted by the German city of Jubilee, J. Mayer H. Architects and Rubner Holzbau have won the commission for a temporary event pavilion which will be erected in Castle Park in March of 2015 to celebrate the 300th Anniversary of the founding of the city of Karlsruhe.

Hasselt Court of Justice / J. Mayer H. Architects + a2o architecten + Lens°Ass architecten by Hufton+Crow

The Hasselt Court of Justice will be one of the two high-rise buildings that are part of the restructured former railway station. The site will include a park, public buildings, offices, hotels and urban residential blocks. Designed by J. Mayer H. Architects, along with a2o architecten and LensºAss architecten, the courthouse references in the design process refer both to the image of the “tree”, the hazelnut trees in the City of Hasselt’s coat of arms, and steel structures in the once industrial- and Art Nouveau-influenced area.

Hufton+Crow have shared with us these amazing photos of the project. More after the break.

© Hufton+Crow © Hufton+Crow © Hufton+Crow © Hufton+Crow

New Institute Building for FOM / J. Mayer H. Architects

Designed by J. Mayer H. Architects, the new, modern college seminar building for FOM Hochschule für Oekonomie & Management University of Applied Sciences gGmbH will include approximately 1,400 student seats, office units, underground parking and a spacious, green campus. The innovative building also features an extraordinary exterior façade with curved cantilevered balconies. More images and architects’ description after the break.

'Schaustelle' Temporary Pavilion / J. Mayer H. Architects

Courtesy of J. Mayer H. Architects
Courtesy of J. Mayer H. Architects

Designed by J. MAYER H., the ‘Schaustelle’ or ‘show site’ will be a temporary pavilion and platform for the four collections housed at the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich, Germany. The temporary closure has been seen as an opportunity that will give rise to a makeshift exhibition building – the Schaustelle. Set up to hold exhibitions, workshops, talks, performances, film screenings and video installations, and much more, the scheme has been initiated by the Pinakothek der Moderne Foundation. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Seeing the Building for the Trees by Sarah Williams Goldhagen

© Javier Orive
© Javier Orive

This article, recently seen on The New York Times, was kindly shared with us by the author Sarah Williams Goldhagen. A REVOLUTION in cognitive neuroscience is changing the kinds of experiments that scientists conduct, the kinds of questions economists ask and, increasingly, the ways that architects, landscape architects and urban designers shape our built environment. This revolution reveals that thought is less transparent to the thinker than it appears and that the mind is less rational than we believe and more associative than we know. Many of the associations we make emerge from the fact that we live inside bodies, in a concrete world, and we tend to think in metaphors grounded in that embodiment.

In Progress: Georgia Rest Stop / J. MAYER H. Architects

© J. MAYER H., Jesko Malkolm Johnsson-Zahn
© J. MAYER H., Jesko Malkolm Johnsson-Zahn

Architect: J. MAYER H. Architects Location: Georgia Project Team: Jürgen Mayer H., Paul Angelier, Jesko Malkolm Johnsson-Zahn, Marcus Blum, Guy Levy Architects on Site: Kobulieli and Partners / Ltd.”Alioni 99” Preliminary Design: 2009 Completion: 2011 Clients: JSC Wissol Petroleum Georgia / Socar Georgia Petroleum Photographs: J. MAYER H., Jesko Malkolm Johnsson-Zahn

'$H!T HAPPENS': An innovative traveling exhibit curated by Juergen Mayer H.

Why Berlin? Once an industrial center and later a city divided, Berlin’s walls fell years ago, and its gates have since remained open for experimentation. The city attracts artists and designers from around the world to its former factory buildings, transformed into studios and galleries. Berlin’s streets foster potential for what is new, perhaps more than any other place today. It has become an avant-garde capital for design in an unlikely locale, inviting international talent in the overlapping disciplines of art, architecture, industrial and product design.

J. Mayer H. Architects’ Metropol Parasol new photos

© Javier Orive
© Javier Orive

Last week we told you about J. Mayer H. Architects’ Metropol Parasol recent opening. Today, photographer Javier Orive shared with us some great photos of the redevelopment of Plaza de la Encarnación in Sevilla. Check them out after the break.

J. Mayer H. winner proposal for Audi Urban Future Award

Courtesy of J. Mayer H.
Courtesy of J. Mayer H.

This morning, we featured BIG’s proposal for the Audi Urban Future Award. Now, we show you the winning proposal by German architect J. Mayer H. More images and architect’s description after the break.

SBC - Sarpi Border Checkpoint by J. Mayer H. Architects

© J. Mayer H. Architects
© J. Mayer H. Architects

J. Mayer H. Architects shared with us some images of this customs checkpoint, situated at the Georgian border to Turkey, at the shore of the Black Sea. With its cantilevering terraces, the tower is used as a viewing platform, with multiple levels overlooking the water and the steep part of the coastline, as well as for patrol officers keeping an eye on the border. In addition to the regular customs facilities, the structure also houses a cafeteria, staff rooms and a conference room. The building welcomes visitors to Georgia, representing the progressive upsurge of the country.

RE.FLECKS exhibition

The RE.FLECKS exhibition presents panels J. MAYER H. has derived from data-protection patterns. Developed by chance in print shops around 1900, the patterns were used as an envelope lining to protect the confidential content inside.

Sonnenhof by J. MAYER H. Architects ready for Construction

© Courtesy of J. MAYER H. Architects
© Courtesy of J. MAYER H. Architects

A ceremony on April 16th marked the official groundbreaking of “Sonnenhof”, a landmark development designed by J. MAYER H. Architects consisting of four new office and apartment buildings extending over several allotments in the historic center of Jena, Germany.

New Apartmenthouse Johannisstraße / J. Mayer H. Architects

Property development group Euroboden is building a unique apartment house at Johannisstraße in Mitte, Berlin’s downtown district. J. MAYER H. Architects’ design for the building, which will soon neighbor both Museum Island and Friedrichstrasse, reinterprets the classic Berliner Wohnhaus with its multi-unit structure and green interior courtyard.

More images and description after the break.