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Metropolis Magazine

A Glimpse of the Forward-Thinking, Humorous Work of Cedric Price

09:30 - 22 April, 2017
A Glimpse of the Forward-Thinking, Humorous Work of Cedric Price, Cedric Price's "Potteries Thinkbelt" project. Image Courtesy of Canadian Centre for Architecture
Cedric Price's "Potteries Thinkbelt" project. Image Courtesy of Canadian Centre for Architecture

Samantha Hardingham's recently-published work, A Forward-Minded Retrospective: Cedric Price Works—1953-2003, traces the architect's career through a comprehensive collection of his drawings and renders. The exhaustive two-volume work acknowledges Cedric Price not just as the entertaining novelty he is often regarded as, but as a great mind who was ahead of his time. While the vast majority of work produced during his lifetime was never built, Hardingham draws out the radical genius behind such projects as the hybrid office complex-highway "Officebar," a zoo restaurant whose column-less interior paved the way for its later conversion to a giraffe habitat, and many others—built and unbuilt.

In addition to the uncanny future forecasting expressed in many of Price's works, they are also known for serving as inspiration for the functionalist designs of Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers, making them necessary to a complete understanding of the modern architectural canon. In an article on Metropolis Magazine, Samuel Medina takes a whistle-stop tour of some of the most intriguing works presented in Hardingham's new book.

The Website Behind the "Post-Digital" Drawing Revolution

09:30 - 18 April, 2017
The Website Behind the "Post-Digital" Drawing Revolution, Depicting Spaces. Image Courtesy of Tom Grillo
Depicting Spaces. Image Courtesy of Tom Grillo

This article was originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "Inside The Digital Platform Championing Post-Digital Drawing."

Digital technologies were supposed to kill the drawing. And in an obvious way they did, with CAD displacing hand draughtsmanship long ago. But drawing is more than mere delineation—measured construction drawings—or even the rendering, which has devolved into a mere marketing tool. Indeed, as Sam Jacob writes, it constitutes a fundamental “architectural act” that lies at the core of the discipline’s self-understanding.

Jacob describes a new “post-digital” mode of drawing that incorporates narrative cues, art historical allusions, and software-enabled collage techniques. It recalls Mies’s sparse one-point perspectives and de Chirico’s metaphysical paintings as well as the affected irreverence of Postmodernism. It’s a style popularized by blogs such as KoozA/rch, which was founded by architect Federica Sofia Zambeletti three years ago. We spoke to Zambeletti about the resurgence of architectural drawing and how the style could soon exhaust itself.

This sketch by the architect and noted yacht designer Lujac Desautel attempts a synthesis of Miesian space and David Hockney’s representational style. The drawing, along with many others of its type, was featured on KooZA/rch, a popular blog curated by designer Federica Sofia Zambeletti. Image Courtesy of Lujac Desautel / KOOZA:RCH Built In A Day, Creating Narratives of Horizontality Based On A Speculative Fiction. Image Courtesy of David Verbeek Mixed Realism Meets Flatness and Symbolism. Image Courtesy of Nowadays Office Evoking Memories, An architecture of Desire. Image Courtesy of Gustav Düsing & Max Hacke / KooZA/rch +14

Could Electric Cars Turn Gas Stations Into the Community Hubs of the Future?

09:30 - 15 April, 2017
Could Electric Cars Turn Gas Stations Into the Community Hubs of the Future?, Courtesy of Ennead Architects/Ennead Lab
Courtesy of Ennead Architects/Ennead Lab

One general trend in today's Information Age involves the absolute transmutation of downtime into productivity or engagement of any kind, however meaningless. We hear it all the time: we have lost our ability to be still. However, as a team at Ennead Lab has observed, some of the same technologies that are causing this shift in routine also have the potential to open new, empty pockets of time in our daily lives, and affect the built spaces with which we interact. 

Tasked with designing an electric car charging station for a development in Shanghai, Ennead realized that the five hours required to fill up a single standard charge necessitate a place for customers to wait. In an article on Metropolis Magazine, they show that the promise of transportation-less people to stick around in one place for such a period of time opens up a host of possibilities for what could fill the latency period; the Shanghai project, however, focuses on the opportunity to create a civic space. The team has imagined the modern "gas station" as a vertical charging tower that calls upon the functionality of urban parking elevators in the 20th century, this time clad in reflective silver to serve as a beacon for customers in search of a charge. Rather than standalone charge-park towers, the projects are integrated into a system that encourages patrons to walk to neighboring zones to eat, shop, and socialize while they wait. 

11 Architecture, Design and Urbanism Podcasts to Start Listening to Now

07:15 - 5 April, 2017
11 Architecture, Design and Urbanism Podcasts to Start Listening to Now

It can sometimes feel as if the world is divided into two camps: those who do not listen to podcasts (probably because they don’t know what a podcast is) and those who listen to podcasts, love podcasts, and keep badgering their friends for recommendations so they can start listening to even more.

Unlike other media, it’s notoriously difficult to discover and share podcasts – even more so if you’re looking for a podcast on a niche subject like architecture, design or urbanism. To help you in your hour of need, Metropolis’ Vanessa Quirk (author of Guide to Podcasting) and ArchDaily’s James Taylor-Foster (whose silvery tones you may have heard on various architecture and design audio stories) have come together to compile this list of eleven podcasts you should subscribe to.

Is "Post-Digital Drawing" the Next Stage in the Hand vs Computer Debate?

16:00 - 1 April, 2017
Is "Post-Digital Drawing" the Next Stage in the Hand vs Computer Debate?, <a href=‘http://www.archdaily.com/801629/garage-house-fala-atelier/58538399e58ece1f960000f8-garage-house-fala-atelier-collage'>Garage House / Fala Atelier</a>. Image Courtesy of Fala Atelier
Garage House / Fala Atelier. Image Courtesy of Fala Atelier

Currently on display at the MoMA in New York is Zaha Hadid's concept painting for her seminal unbuilt project, The Peak in Hong Kong. The piece was made in 1991, on the edge of the digital revolution in architectural drawing fueled at its heart by the popularization of 3D CAD programs. The painting for The Peak arguably came at the end of the period of architectural drawing for its own sake, and the beginning of a period of scalable, scrollable renderings meant to show the real world. It only makes sense that this new software for image creation would usher in a new style of drawing with a function very different to the previous era: tool and process inherently constrain design by imposing a predetermined agenda for the user's interaction with them. 

During this digital period, architects like Lebbeus Woods and Michael Graves, known for their mastery in the art of hand drawing, pushed back against the dominant narrative of hyperrealism in architectural drawing. However, according to Sam Jacob's latest article for Metropolis Magazine, we may be entering an age of "post-digital" representation. In the post-digital, architects return to the convention of drawing, but create new methodologies by reevaluating and appropriating the digital tools of the last few decades. Current techniques within this practice have leaned heavily towards the collage, but research into what post-digital drawing could mean continues in firms and universities.

Why Herzog & de Meuron's Hamburg Elbphilharmonie Is Worth Its $900 Million Price Tag

09:30 - 26 March, 2017
Why Herzog & de Meuron's Hamburg Elbphilharmonie Is Worth Its $900 Million Price Tag, Designed by Herzog & de Meuron, the Elbphilharmonie is a unique presence in Hamburg’s cityscape. Image © Maxim Schulz
Designed by Herzog & de Meuron, the Elbphilharmonie is a unique presence in Hamburg’s cityscape. Image © Maxim Schulz

This article was originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "Will Elbphilharmonie Be Hamburg’s Guggenheim?"

So much has already been written about Hamburg’s undeniably excellent Elbphilharmonie, which formally opened in January but has been publicly accessible, in part, since November. The chatter has mostly revolved around the same two talking points—the building’s on-the-tip-of-your-tongue shape and its fantastic price tag. In addressing the former, critics have called attention to the hall’s resemblance to an iceberg, an outcrop, a ship, circus tents, or the Sydney Opera House. And as for the costs, totaling $900 million, they point out how the project hemorrhaged cash, even if they have inadvertently exaggerated the figures. Having momentarily lost control of the narrative, the city felt compelled to set the record straight in time for the inaugural performance: The building cost just three—not ten!—times the initial budget.

The building’s facade incorporates 2,200 flat and curved panes, which contain millions of chrome-coated dots that reduce solar gain. Image © Iwan Baan © Iwan Baan The walls of the main auditorium are covered in what the architects call a “white skin” made up of 10,000 gypsum fiberglass panels. Image © Iwan Baan The red-brick base, which was previously a warehouse for cocoa, contains various facilities, including a garage and a music education center, while the upper glass volume comprises luxury apartments and a hotel and spa, in addition to the new music venues. Image Courtesy of Herzog & de Meuron +11

These Intricate Architectural Models Will Change How You See Their Famous Full-Size Counterparts

09:30 - 19 February, 2017
These Intricate Architectural Models Will Change How You See Their Famous Full-Size Counterparts, © James Ewing, Courtesy Columbia GSAPP
© James Ewing, Courtesy Columbia GSAPP

This article was originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "Kenneth Frampton on the Art & Artifice of Architectural Models."

For decades, students at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, & Preservation signed up for Kenneth Frampton’s legendary class, Studies in Tectonic Culture. The course tasked students with creating realistic representations of buildings “as a pedagogical exploration of the history of architectural tectonics”—and the models long spilled into the hallways of the architecture school before being hidden away in the archives.

Now, the Arthur Ross Architecture Gallery has decided to pull some of these models out from obscurity and display them in a whole new light for the show Stagecraft: Models and Photos, which opened February 9th. Produced during the 1990s and early 2000s, the models are of significant 20th-century buildings around the world, from Frank Lloyd Wright’s Samuel Freeman House to Peter Zumthor’s St. Benedict Chapel.

"The Cloud" by Studio Fuksas Brings a Touch of Modern Baroque to Rome's Rationalist EUR Neighborhood

09:30 - 14 February, 2017
"The Cloud" by Studio Fuksas Brings a Touch of Modern Baroque to Rome's Rationalist EUR Neighborhood, © Moreno Maggi
© Moreno Maggi

This article was originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "Studio Fuksas' Controversial (Yet Striking) Convention Center Opens At Last."

Despite its evocatively fluffy name, “The Cloud” (Nuvola in Italian) has been one of the most seriously discussed and debated architectural projects in Italy in the last decade. Even after its opening in October 2016, the building continues to generate controversy over its cost (an estimated €353 million, or $390 million) and the delays its construction incurred.

The EUR Convention Center, as it’s officially known, is the largest new building to be built in Rome in more than 50 years—a flicker in time for the Eternal City, perhaps, but not an inconsiderable span either. The design was hatched by Massimiliano and Doriana Fuksas in 1998, but it languished on the drawing boards for nearly two decades after that. In that time the city elected five different mayors and had three temporary commissioners. It also weathered a number of corruption scandals.

© Moreno Maggi © Moreno Maggi © Moreno Maggi Passages and access to the Cloud. Image © Moreno Maggi +14

A Look at Pierre Chareau, the Mysterious Man Behind the Maison de Verre

09:30 - 11 February, 2017
A Look at Pierre Chareau, the Mysterious Man Behind the Maison de Verre, Pierre Chareau (French, 1883-1950) and Bernard Bijvoet (Dutch, 1889-1979), Maison de Verre, 1928-1932. Image © Mark Lyon
Pierre Chareau (French, 1883-1950) and Bernard Bijvoet (Dutch, 1889-1979), Maison de Verre, 1928-1932. Image © Mark Lyon

This article was originally published on Metropolis Magazine as "New Retrospective Glimpses the Man Behind the Maison de Verre."

Pierre Chareau was an architect whose buildings have almost all been demolished; an interior designer whose designs have all been remodeled; and a film set designer whose films you cannot see. These are not the most auspicious circumstances on which to mount a retrospective, but an ongoing exhibition at the Jewish Museum, imaginatively designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R), attempts it nonetheless.

Chareau, who is best known for his one surviving building, the Maison de Verre in Paris, defies neat classification. Without any sort of architectural training, he worked briefly as a furniture designer for a British firm then struck out on his own, creating an idiosyncratic corpus of furniture, interior designs for life and cinema, and even several homes.

The second-floor balcony of the house that Pierre Chareau designed for Robert Motherwell in East Hampton, New York, 1947. Image Courtesy of Miguel Saco Furniture and Restoration, Inc., New York Table and bookcase (MB960), c. 1930, designed by Pierre Chareau, walnut and black patinated wrought iron. Image © Ken Collins, image provided by Gallery Vallois America, LLC An installation view of the exhibition Pierre Chareau: Modern Architecture and Design. The exhibition design was executed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Image Courtesy of Will Ragozzino/SocialShutterbug.com Pierre Chareau, Office, 1924, pochoir print; 8 13/16 x 10 x 7/16 in. Private Collection. Image © John Blazejewski, Marquand Library, Princeton University +11

How a Retired 88-Year-Old Solar Design Pioneer Became one of 2017's "Game Changers"

09:30 - 2 February, 2017
How a Retired 88-Year-Old Solar Design Pioneer Became one of 2017's "Game Changers", Knowles’ research into environmental conditions and theories about solar envelope zoning prefigured the parametric tools architects and planners use today. This scheme for an L.A. row-housing project demonstrates how dense developments—both low- and high-rise—could still provide equity in terms of natural sunlight. Image Courtesy of Ralph Knowles
Knowles’ research into environmental conditions and theories about solar envelope zoning prefigured the parametric tools architects and planners use today. This scheme for an L.A. row-housing project demonstrates how dense developments—both low- and high-rise—could still provide equity in terms of natural sunlight. Image Courtesy of Ralph Knowles

This article was originally published by Metropolis Magazine as part of their 2017 Game Changers issue. You can read about all of their 2017 Game Changers here.

I meet architect and educator Ralph Knowles on an unseasonably warm autumn day, even for Southern California. He greets me in shirtsleeves (his shirt is a tropical pattern of vines and branches) and leads me to a seat on the balcony of his condo. The building—a retirement community—is fairly new, but mature oak trees line the quiet street. As we talk about his career, the California oaks form a poignant backdrop. For more than five decades, Knowles, 88, has argued for an architecture that hews closely to nature’s forces and rhythms.

William McDonough on Sustainability: "Carbon Is Not the Enemy"

09:30 - 25 January, 2017
William McDonough on Sustainability: "Carbon Is Not the Enemy", William McDonough + Partners and Aecom's <a href='http://www.archdaily.com/231211/nasa-sustainability-base-william-mcdonough-partners-and-aecom'>NASA Sustainability Base</a> in California. Image © William McDonough + Partners
William McDonough + Partners and Aecom's NASA Sustainability Base in California. Image © William McDonough + Partners

This article was originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "Why Architects Must Rethink Carbon (It's Not the Enemy We Face)."

Metropolis editor in chief Susan Szenasy sits down with William McDonough—the designer, author, and developer of Cradle to Cradle design—to understand why we must begin to employ a new language regarding carbon and sustainable design.

Susan Szenasy: Your article in Nature, “Carbon is Not the Enemy,” really caught my attention. You're redefining how we think about carbon, what it is, and what we should be looking for. It seems like a new phase that you're leading us to. How did you come up with this idea, that there needs to be a new language on carbon? Can you trace back your thought process?

William McDonough: [With the UN’s Climate Change Conference in Paris in 2015,] everybody kept saying, "Oh, we have to do this, to reduce our carbon 20% by 2020." Well, when you think about that Susan, it's absurd. What you're telling us is what you're not going to do. You’re going to reduce your badness by 20% by 2020? That would be like getting in a taxi and saying to the driver, "Quick, I'm not going to the airport." It doesn't tell us what you're going to do.

Why "Darling" Architects Who Came Up Under Recession Are Doubling Down on Budget

09:30 - 8 January, 2017
Why "Darling" Architects Who Came Up Under Recession Are Doubling Down on Budget, The new Manetti Shrem Museum at the University of California, Davis. Image © Iwan Baan / SO-IL and Bohlin Cywinski Jackson
The new Manetti Shrem Museum at the University of California, Davis. Image © Iwan Baan / SO-IL and Bohlin Cywinski Jackson

This article was originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "The Build Up."

This November, the Manetti Shrem Museum on the University of California, Davis, campus opened to the public. Designed by New York City–based SO-IL with the San Francisco office of Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, the museum pays homage to the agricultural landscape of California’s Central Valley with an oversize roof canopy. The steel members of the 50,000-square-foot (4,650-square-meter) shade structure, nearly twice the size of the museum itself, reference the patterning of plowed fields and create a welcoming outdoor space for visitors. It is both expressive and practical, but getting that balance wasn’t easy.

SO-IL, founded by Florian Idenburg and Jing Liu in 2008, has a portfolio filled with smaller projects, installations, and exhibition-related work. The Manetti Shrem Museum is easily the firm’s largest work to date, demanding a rigorous design-build process while maintaining a strong conceptual vision. In short, it required architecture.

"Hardcore Heritage": How RAAAF is Redefining Historical Preservation

09:30 - 5 January, 2017
"Hardcore Heritage": How RAAAF is Redefining Historical Preservation, Rendering of Deltawerk 1:1. Image Courtesy of RAAAF | Atelier de Lyon
Rendering of Deltawerk 1:1. Image Courtesy of RAAAF | Atelier de Lyon

This article was originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "'Hardcore Heritage': RAAAF Reveals Its Latest Experiment in Historical Preservation."

In the practice of historic preservation, there is often a temptation to turn a building into an object on display—meticulously restored, unchanging, physically isolated—in order to remove it from the flow of history. The multidisciplinary Amsterdam-based studio Rietveld-Architecture-Art-Affordances (RAAAF) situates itself in opposition to this method of dealing with architectural remnants. Instead, it proposes to make history tangible by altering these decaying structures in a way that makes their stories plainly visible. The practice has a name for this approach—"hardcore heritage."

How to Design School Restrooms for Increased Comfort, Safety and Gender-Inclusivity

09:30 - 15 November, 2016
Northwood Elementary School in the Mercer Island School District. Image © Benjamin Benschneider
Northwood Elementary School in the Mercer Island School District. Image © Benjamin Benschneider

This article was originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "Why Architects Must Rethink Restroom Design in Schools."

"Gang style" bathrooms, in which rows of stalls are installed opposite rows of wash basins and designated only for males or for females, have been de rigueur in educational facilities for the last hundred years. They involve predictable plumbing, mechanical exhaust, and fixture costs. Short doors and divider walls allow for the passive monitoring of behavior.

Relinquishing this traditional bathroom model is daunting, since individual toilet rooms can significantly increase costs through additional plumbing, ductwork, ventilation, partitions, doors and hardware. These designs many times require additional space, trigger further ADA compliance, and invalidate some USGBC LEED points. Moreover, school districts typically have limited budgets, established facilities, and deep-rooted social practices.

The Next Great Public Spaces Will Be Indoors. Are Architects Prepared?

09:30 - 10 November, 2016
The Next Great Public Spaces Will Be Indoors. Are Architects Prepared?, Oslo Opera House by Snøhetta. Image © Snøhetta
Oslo Opera House by Snøhetta. Image © Snøhetta

This article by Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, the cofounder of Snøhetta, was originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "Opinion: The Next Great Public Spaces Will Be Indoors."

Maybe with the sole exception of railway stations, public space is generally understood as outdoor space. Whether in the United States or in Europe, especially now with heightened concerns around security, there seems to be this determined way of privatizing everything that is indoors, even as we are increasingly aiming to improve access to public space outdoors. But in the layered systems of our cities of the future, we will need to focus on the public spaces that are found inside buildings—and make them accessible.

Steven Holl on Combining Heritage and Modern Healthcare Design at His Maggie's Centre Barts

09:30 - 8 November, 2016
Steven Holl on Combining Heritage and Modern Healthcare Design at His Maggie's Centre Barts, Courtesy of Steven Holl Architects
Courtesy of Steven Holl Architects

This article was originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "Q&A: Steven Holl."

For twenty years, Maggie's Centres have been providing cancer treatment to patients within thoughtful, beautiful spaces designed by renowned architects like Rem Koolhaas, Frank Gehry, and Zaha Hadid. Steven Holl's Maggie's Center Barts, located adjacent to St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in central London, is slated to open at the end of this year. While the design has been somewhat controversial in the UK due to its contemporary nature, the cancer care facility incorporates innovative lighting, sustainable materials, and a compact structure in a way that is—according to the architect—entirely complementary to its historical neighbors. We spoke with the renowned architect to learn more about the project and what it has meant to him over the past four years.

Metropolis Magazine Asks: Could Refugees "Save" America’s Rust Belt?

08:00 - 5 November, 2016
Metropolis Magazine Asks: Could Refugees "Save" America’s Rust Belt?, Detroit. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/vandermolen/16036412239/'>Flickr user vandermolen</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/'>CC BY-NC 2.0</a>
Detroit. Image © Flickr user vandermolen licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

The "Rust Belt," a region of north central United States, is well known as an area where once thriving industrial cities have declined in economic health and population. As a result, many of the region's cities have been subject to grand proposals that aim to fix these city's problems--but could such schemes also provide a way to intervene in other serious global issues? In a recent article, Metropolis Magazine’s Web Editor and former ArchDaily Managing Editor Vanessa Quirk argues that refugees could reinvigorate such cities, describing how refugees are “boosting American’s legacy cities,” but simultaneously “encountering resistance from residents.”

The World's Most Creative Neighborhoods: Metropolis Names Mumbai, Lagos and Lisbon Among Top Ten

09:31 - 2 October, 2016
The World's Most Creative Neighborhoods: Metropolis Names Mumbai, Lagos and Lisbon Among Top Ten, Avenidas Novas in Lisbon. Image © <a href='https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lisboa_Avenida_Novas.jpg'>Wikimedia user Cruks</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en'>CC BY-SA 3.0</a>
Avenidas Novas in Lisbon. Image © Wikimedia user Cruks licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

From Yaba in Lagos to the suburb of Bandra in Mumbai, Metropolis Magazine provides a scenic tour around the world’s “most creative” neighborhoods. Spread across ten rapidly growing cities like Cape Town and Turin, the article provides a comprehensive glimpse into these lesser discussed hubs of creativity.