This Artist is Using Kickstarter to Fund a Floating Bridge to New York's Governor's Island

11:30 - 21 May, 2016

This article was originally published on Metropolis Magazine as "Citizen Bridge, NYC's First Floating Bridge, Reaches Kickstarter Goal."

Governors Island is a small, pedestrian-only island to the south of Manhattan and to the west of Brooklyn. It’s just across from Red Hook, the Brooklyn neighborhood known to many a Manhattanite as the home of New York’s only Ikea. To get there, you have to take the East River Ferry—that’s the only option. No subway, no bus, no rail. But it wasn’t always that way.

Nancy Nowacek is a Red Hook-based artist whose vision, since 2012, has been to create an alternative way to reach this backyard of New York City. She has always had a close relationship with the waterfront, but many, she suggests, do not.  “It’s really hard to get to the water’s edge from most points inland,” she says. “It’s not a part of the New York that the kids in my building...live in, nor many others who live a few miles away geographically, but experientially are a world away.”

"An Alignment of Missions": Why MIT Will Be a Major Player in the 2016 Venice Biennale

10:10 - 16 May, 2016

Brutalism and Culture: How St Peter's Seminary is Already Shining in its Second Life

09:30 - 8 May, 2016
Brutalism and Culture: How St Peter's Seminary is Already Shining in its Second Life, Built in 1966, St. Peter’s Seminary is hidden away in a forest 20 miles outside Glasgow. Image Courtesy of Courtesy Tom Kidd / Almay via Metropolis Magazine
Built in 1966, St. Peter’s Seminary is hidden away in a forest 20 miles outside Glasgow. Image Courtesy of Courtesy Tom Kidd / Almay via Metropolis Magazine

Gillespie, Kidd & Coia's celebrated St Peter's Seminary—once voted Scotland's best modern building—has for too long been a victim of fate, left to decay after it was abandoned just 20 years after its completion. Fortunately, plans are well underway to restore the building. This article, originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "Ruin Revived," explains how even in its ruined state, the dramatic brutalist structure is already showing its value as a cultural destination.

Modernist architecture, it used to be said, was inadequate because the machined materials of modern buildings wouldn’t lend themselves well to picturesque ruination. What, minus the taut skins of glass and plaster, could these stark, boxlike carcasses possibly communicate to future generations?

St. Peter’s Seminary in Cardross, Scotland, is a forceful rejoinder to that jibe. Built in 1966 and abandoned 20 years later, the seminary has settled into a state of pleasing decrepitude. Glass and plaster are long gone. The concrete remains largely intact but stained, spalled, and spoiled. Entire roofs and staircases have caved in. The only fresh signs of life are the aprons of graffiti draped all over the “interiors.” Yet, the sense of the place lingers, its noble forms still remarkably assertive—jutting forth from the dense surrounding forest—and optimistic.

8 Architecture Books to Read This Spring

09:45 - 3 May, 2016
8 Architecture Books to Read This Spring

For the architecture-obsessed reader, it can sometimes be tough to keep up with the publishing world. With architecture-related interests spanning from photography to philosophy, new books are released at an alarming rate and it can be difficult to spot the good from the bad. Fortunately, the good folks at Metropolis Magazine are here to help. In this article, excerpted from their list of 50 Architecture and Design Books to Read This Spring, Metropolis editors select the top architecture titles to come out this year to give you a helping hand in rounding out your reading list.

Why Aravena's Open Source Project is a Huge Step Toward Better, Cheaper Housing for Everyone

09:50 - 29 April, 2016
Why Aravena's Open Source Project is a Huge Step Toward Better, Cheaper Housing for Everyone

This article by Paperhouses founder Joana Pacheco was originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "Aravena's Small Step, Open Source's Big Leap."

When Alejandro Aravena was awarded the Pritzker Prize earlier this month, he made a remarkable and significant announcement: he had published the plans of four of his social housing projects on his website, for anyone and everyone to study and use.

Through the work of his firm Elemental, Aravena is known for his interest in incremental, participatory housing design: a common-sense way of working within financial restraints and a cornerstone of Elemental’s studio work. The motto—focus first on what is most difficult to achieve, what cannot be done individually, and what will guarantee the common good in the future—resulted in a “half a house.” First introduced over a decade ago, the model consists of an expandable 40 square-meter (431 square-feet) container with basic infrastructure (partitions, structural and firewalls, bathroom, kitchen, stairs, a roof) built-in and added to over time. It is not only an achievement from a conceptual and project management standpoint, but also an aesthetically open and diverse project. From this one idea stemmed 100 variations.

What The Demolition of OMA's Netherlands Dance Theatre Says About Preservation in Architecture

16:00 - 17 April, 2016
What The Demolition of OMA's Netherlands Dance Theatre Says About Preservation in Architecture, OMA's Netherlands Dance Theatre was demolished at the end of last year. Image © Hans Werlemann via Metropolis Magazine
OMA's Netherlands Dance Theatre was demolished at the end of last year. Image © Hans Werlemann via Metropolis Magazine

At the end of 2015, OMA’s first major commission, the Netherlands Dance Theater (NDT) was swiftly demolished. The once-praised building was reduced to dust and debris within a few months, without drawing much attention from the architecture world. Koolhaas had heard rumors about the demolition of the NDT over the last decade, but did not expect the lack of public outcry. “There was almost nothing, almost zero,” he said.

Using the NDT as a case study, Metropolis Magazine takes a look at how the early works of our most lauded architects are treated when they are no longer fit for purpose, and asks how we decide on the role preservation plays in the architectural profession. Is the demolition of the NDT a sign of lack of respect for OMA? Or is it a more general sign of our current era of rapidly changing styles and a need for larger buildings? Read the full story by Metropolis Magazine, here.

The Destruction of Memory: A Documentary on the War Against Cultural History

10:15 - 17 April, 2016

This article was originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "The Destruction of Memory, A Documentary."

"Part of war and conflict has always been the collateral damage. Buildings have fallen in the path of military objectives, but, [...] in this war, buildings aren't destroyed because they're in the way of a target. The buildings are the target." As the narrator of The Destruction of Memory so eloquently explains, the destruction of culture—of buildings, books, and art—is often not an accidental consequence of conflict. As we can see by the actions of ISIS in Iraq and Syria today, the destruction of cultural artifacts is part and parcel of a conscientious strategy to target and destroy the collective memory, history, and identity of a people.

Here's How Dubai Plans to Become the Design Capital of the Middle East

09:30 - 13 April, 2016
Here's How Dubai Plans to Become the Design Capital of the Middle East, London-based architecture firm Foster + Partners has designed a central community space for the district, due to be completed in 2018. Image Courtesy of Dubai Design Week
London-based architecture firm Foster + Partners has designed a central community space for the district, due to be completed in 2018. Image Courtesy of Dubai Design Week

In recent years, it's been no secret that Dubai has been attempting to diversify its industries, as the city moves on from being an oil-based economy. In this article, originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "Dubai: Making a Creative Capital from Scratch," Ali Morris investigates how the city is building its own design district to rival London or New York - and doing so despite starting from almost nothing.

In cities where a faded industrial area exists, a creative community often follows. It’s a well-established cycle of urban regeneration that has played out in Berlin, London, and New York. Attracted by cheap rent and large, empty spaces, the creatives come, building up areas with independent cafés and stores before inevitably being priced out of the market by the very gentrification they helped to bring about.

So what happens in a city so young that it doesn’t have a dilapidated area for the creatives to occupy? When the city in question is Dubai, which was still just a desert fishing settlement until around the 1960s, you build it from scratch, of course. With the second part of a three-phase build unveiled last year, Dubai Design District (known as d3) is a sprawling 15.5-million-square-foot (1.4 million square meter) development located in a desert plot on the eastern edge of the city. Circled by multilane highways and located between downtown Dubai and a wildlife reserve, d3 has been masterminded as a framework from which to grow and sustain a new design ecosystem.

Ali Al-Sammarraie assembled his "Detritus Wall" installation using refuse cardboard and wood. Image Courtesy of Dubai Design Week The Dubai Design District (d3) is planned as a creative neighborhood within reach of the city’s downtown. Image Courtesy of Dubai Design Week One of the installations constructed by local designers for the inaugural Dubai Design Week in 2015, "Yaroof" by Aljoud Lootah references the traditional form of fishing in the area. Nylon ropes strung on octagonal frames also call to mind arabesque motifs. Image Courtesy of Dubai Design Week The installation "Earth Hives" by Emirati artist and designer Latifa Saeed and Syrian-born designer Talin Hazbar reexplores the legacy of terra-cotta craft in the UAE. Image Courtesy of Dubai Design Week +8

How Peter Zumthor and His Protégé Gloria Cabral Built a Connection Beyond Language

09:30 - 5 December, 2015
How Peter Zumthor and His Protégé Gloria Cabral Built a Connection Beyond Language, Cabral examines a model of the tea chapel. Image Courtesy of Gloria Cabral and Peter Zumthor/Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative
Cabral examines a model of the tea chapel. Image Courtesy of Gloria Cabral and Peter Zumthor/Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative

In May last year, the Rolex Mentors & Protégés initiative announced a surprising partnership in its name: Paraguayan architect Gloria Gabral was to spend a year working alongside the famously elusive Swiss master Peter Zumthor. The differences between the two architects - from the languages they spoke to the age of their respective careers - were obvious from the outset. But as explored in this article by Paul Clemence, originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "Intuitive Connection," over the past year they've been discovering that the things that they have in common run far deeper.

It was an unlikely pair. He is a well-established architect with a long career, working out of a small town tucked deep in the mountainous Graubünden canton in Switzerland; she is at the beginning of a promising career in Asunción, Paraguay’s capital and largest city. They did not even share a common language, yet they connected through something more binding than the spoken word: an intuitive sense of space—and their work ethic.

Paul Goldberger: "Frank Gehry Really Doesn’t Want To Be Remembered as Somebody Who Just Did a Few Iconic Buildings"

09:30 - 2 December, 2015
Guggenheim Bilbao (1997). Image © Ivan Herman (ivan-herman.net) licensed under CC BY-ND 3.0
Guggenheim Bilbao (1997). Image © Ivan Herman (ivan-herman.net) licensed under CC BY-ND 3.0

After he achieved celebrity status at the turn of the millennium, in recent years the conversation around Frank Gehry has switched tones, going from near-universal admiration to widespread controversy. Yet according to Paul Goldberger, whose biography of Gehry was released in September, both adoration and critique of the architect might engender an overly simplistic interpretation of his long and storied career. In this interview originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "Q&A: Paul Goldberger on Frank Gehry's Life and Work," Goldberger delves into the many ways Gehry has been misunderstood over the years, and how his work, his psyche, and the interplay between the two have made him one of the most conversation-worthy architects of a generation.

Frank Gehry isn’t just the world’s foremost architect; he is, by all public standards, also one of our greatest living artists. Paul Goldberger’s new biography (his first), Building Art: The Life and Work of Frank Gehry, acknowledges the architect’s celebrity status but doesn’t acquiesce in it. Rather, Goldberger interrogates the peculiar psyche and restless contradictions of the man to shed light on the motivations behind the architecture. Metropolis editor Samuel Medina speaks to the newly minted biographer about defying genre conventions, unpacking the ambiguities of Gehry’s work, and giving reporters the finger.

Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, 2003. Image © Gehry Partners, LLP The very first sketch Gehry made of the design for the Guggenheim Bilbao. Image Courtesy of Gehry Partners Fondation Loius Vuitton, Paris (2014). Image © Todd Eberle New World Center, Miami (2011) . Image © Wikimedia user Alexf licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 +10

Chicago's Overlooked Postmodern Architecture

16:00 - 28 November, 2015
Chicago's Overlooked Postmodern Architecture, Harold Washington Library Center by Hammond, Beeby & Babka. Image © flickr user juggernautco, licensed under CC BY 2.0
Harold Washington Library Center by Hammond, Beeby & Babka. Image © flickr user juggernautco, licensed under CC BY 2.0

Postmodern architecture has largely been overlooked in recent years, left behind by current fashion, but not quite old enough to gain the attention of preservationists. Even in the architectural hot spot of Chicago, postmodern buildings tend to go unnoticed in favor of the Miesian towers and Prairie Style houses. ArchDaily’s own feature of notable Chicago buildings was noticeably lacking a postmodern example. To correct this oversight Metropolis Magazine has compiled a collection of Chicago’s most noteworthy examples of Postmodernism.

Toronto Takes Top Spot in Metropolis Magazine's Livable Cities Ranking

08:00 - 14 August, 2015
Toronto Takes Top Spot in Metropolis Magazine's Livable Cities Ranking, First Place in the Metropolis list of world's most liveable cities: Toronto. Image © Flickr CC user Robert (username: mamonello)
First Place in the Metropolis list of world's most liveable cities: Toronto. Image © Flickr CC user Robert (username: mamonello)

How do you compare cities? It's difficult to collapse millions of individual subjective experiences into a single method of comparison, but one popular technique used in recent years has been to judge a city's "livability." But what does this word actually mean? In their 2015 ranking of the world's most livable cities, Metropolis Magazine has gathered together a group of experts on city planning, urban life, tourism and architecture to break down "livability" into the categories they think matter and draw upon Metropolis' considerable urban coverage to produce one of the most thorough attempts to rank world series yet attempted. Find out the results after the break.

Jan Gehl on the Global Need for Liveable Cities

09:30 - 13 August, 2015
Jan Gehl on the Global Need for Liveable Cities, Celebrated architect-planner Jan Gehl has worked with the Copenhagen city council to improve the Danish capital's pedestrian-and-cycle networks. Image © Flickr CC user Thomas Rousing
Celebrated architect-planner Jan Gehl has worked with the Copenhagen city council to improve the Danish capital's pedestrian-and-cycle networks. Image © Flickr CC user Thomas Rousing

As a founding partner of Gehl Architects and a consultant to cities such as Copenhagen, London and New York, Jan Gehl has been one of the most influential figures in the drive towards more liveable and healthier cities for over four decades. In this interview, first published by Metropolis Magazine as "Q&A: Jan Gehl on Making Cities Healthier and the Real Meaning of Architecture," Gehl discusses what makes a city healthy and why the need for healthy cities is a unifying worldwide phenomenon.

Mikki Brammer: You're often associated with the idea of making cities "healthier." What do you mean by the term?

Jan Gehl: I’m neither the first, nor the only one, to point out that in the past 50 years we have practiced city planning that invites people to be inactive in their lives. You can spend your entire life behind steering wheels, or computers, or on sofas, and in many cases you don’t have to move a muscle from morning to night. This, of course, has been identified as something that is very dangerous for mankind.

Why Urban Planners Need to Think Twice About "Aging in Place"

12:00 - 9 August, 2015
Why Urban Planners Need to Think Twice About "Aging in Place", Meramec Bluffs Retirement Community in Missouri.. Image © Wikimedia user Luke Smith
Meramec Bluffs Retirement Community in Missouri.. Image © Wikimedia user Luke Smith

In many western countries, the demographic pyramid is beginning to look inverted, as elderly populations grow and increasingly few children are born at the other end of the scale. How, asks Metropolis Magazine, does society provide for the growing ranks of the retired and newly elderly? Elderly care scandals and and discomfort with the idea of retirement communities has led to a search for ways to care for senior citizens in their own homes. Urban planning expert Deane Simpson, however, warns against accepting the idea of what he calls "aging in place" entirely uncritically: his exploration of the way current retirement communities function goes into the social motivations behind care homes and the United States' elderly communities, and discusses the future of retirement for the emerging baby-boomer generation of retirees. Read the full story over at Metropolis Magazine here.

Steven Holl, Tod Williams and More Reflect on the Importance of the Emerging Voices Award

12:00 - 7 August, 2015
Steven Holl, Tod Williams and More Reflect on the Importance of the Emerging Voices Award, Tarlo House, Sagaponack, NY, 1979 by Tod Williams Associates, 1982 Winner. Image © Norman McGrath. Courtesy Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects
Tarlo House, Sagaponack, NY, 1979 by Tod Williams Associates, 1982 Winner. Image © Norman McGrath. Courtesy Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects

Every year, the Architectural League of New York honors the rising stars of architecture with the Emerging Voices Award, a title offered only to the most promising professionals. Long known as a predictor of long-term career success, the award has been given to architects who have later become some of the best in the world, including Steven Holl, Toshiko Mori, and Tod Williams. For a recent article entitled 10 Emerging Voices Winners on the Program's Lasting Influence, Metropolis Magazine asked some of the award's most illustrious winners to discuss how their trajectories were changed by the award, and how they changed architecture.

How The Architectural League Gave a Platform to 30 Years of Emerging Voices

12:30 - 5 August, 2015
How The Architectural League Gave a Platform to 30 Years of Emerging Voices, The Aqua Tower in Chicago by Jeanne Gang, who won the 2006 Emerging Voices award. Image © Wikimedia user Peace01234
The Aqua Tower in Chicago by Jeanne Gang, who won the 2006 Emerging Voices award. Image © Wikimedia user Peace01234

Since 1982, The Architectural League of New York's Emerging Voices awards have helped to launch hundreds of careers and consistently picked out the best and brightest in architecture. To highlight the release of a new anthology of the work of Emerging Voices' luminaries, Metropolis Magazine spoke with the League’s director, Rosalie Genevro, and the program director, Anne Rieselbach, about the mission of the Emerging Voices awards. The interview covers the changing criteria and contexts of the awards, adapting to a new form of voice in the information age and some of the award's most successful alumni. Read the full interview, including inside information on how the selection process works, over at Metropolis Magazine here.

Rem Koolhaas on Prada, Preservation, Art and Architecture

09:30 - 31 July, 2015
Rem Koolhaas on Prada, Preservation, Art and Architecture, The Fondazione Prada in southern Milan houses the fashion brand’s namesake arts foundation, established by Miuccia Prada and Patrizio Bertelli more than two decades ago. Opened in May, the walled-in compound is a small city of culture, with a series of revitalized industrial buildings linked by de Chirico–like “streets” and piazzettas. Image © Bas Princen - Fondazione Prada
The Fondazione Prada in southern Milan houses the fashion brand’s namesake arts foundation, established by Miuccia Prada and Patrizio Bertelli more than two decades ago. Opened in May, the walled-in compound is a small city of culture, with a series of revitalized industrial buildings linked by de Chirico–like “streets” and piazzettas. Image © Bas Princen - Fondazione Prada

With the opening of the Fondazione Prada art galleries in May, OMA showed a different side to their practice, one focusing on preservation and assemblage rather than the iconography and diagrammatic layout that many associate with the firm. In this interview, originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "Koolhaas Talks Prada," Rem Koolhaas explains the reasoning behind this new approach, and how they attempted to avoid falling into the clichés of post-industrial art spaces.

When the Fondazione Prada opened its doors to a new permanent home in Milan dedicated to contemporary culture, it not only placed the Italian city firmly at the forefront of today’s global art world, but also introduced an ambitious new way of thinking about the relationship between architecture and art. The location—an original 1910 distillery in a distinctly gritty part of the city—comprised seven spaces including warehouses and three enormous brewing cisterns with a raw industrial quality that the architects, Dutch firm OMA, retained while adding three new buildings made of glass, white concrete, and aluminum foam. One, the centrally located Podium, is intended for temporary shows, while another—still under construction—is a nine-story tower that will house the foundation’s archives, art installations, and a restaurant. The third, a theater with a mirrored facade, features folding walls that allow the building to open onto a courtyard. In total, the collection of buildings provides nearly 120,000 square feet of exhibition space, more than twice that of the new Whitney Museum of American Art. Metropolis correspondent Catherine Shaw visited the site with Pritzker Prize–winning architect Rem Koolhaas to find out more about the challenges of creating a new cultural paradigm.

OMA’s approach to the exhibition pavilions is eclectic, though undeniably modern. (Note the Miesian detail of the vertical beam affixed to the building envelope). Image © Bas Princen - Fondazione Prada The Fondazione’s inaugural exhibition, the Serial Classic, explores questions of authenticity and imitation in classical antiquity. The lifesize sculptures are mounted on an intricate flooring system designed for the exhibition and composed of travertine, brushed aluminum, and perspex—all exposed along the edges. Image © Attilio Maranzano The gilded exhibition hall is the central focal point of the Fondazione. Called the Haunted House, the structure’s blank utilitarian features are draped in gold leaf, an ostensibly spontaneous extravagance that Koolhaas post-rationalizes on functionalist grounds. The building towers above the rest of the campus’s open-air spaces and warehouses, which all can be taken in from the Haunted House’s balconies. Image © Bas Princen - Fondazione Prada The Fondazione encompasses a veritable townscape consisting of warehouse hangars interwoven with the new buildings. The former are subtly spruced up, indicated by the linear orange markings repeated on their exterior. Elevation changes in the ground variegate the pedestrian’s experience of the compound while demarcating the Fondazione’s important nodes, such as the cinema clad in a mirrored veneer. Touches likes this lend the complex a haunting, almost surrealist dimension. Image © Bas Princen - Fondazione Prada +9

How Chile's Bahá'í Temple Uses High Technology to Create a Spiritual Space

09:30 - 29 June, 2015
How Chile's Bahá'í Temple Uses High Technology to Create a Spiritual Space, © Bahá’í Temple of South America
© Bahá’í Temple of South America

Now nearing completion just outside SantiagoHariri Pontarini Architects' Bahá'í Temple of South America is currently one of the most significant religious construction projects in the world. In this article, originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "Sacred Structure," Guy Horton relates how - despite being in progress for almost a decade already - the design has changed remarkably little from the initial design sketch, using the latest technology to create a spiritual and emotional space.

For the last few years, in the Andean foothills just outside Santiago, Chile, a mysterious orb-like structure has been slowly rising under construction cranes. The new Bahá’i Temple of South America will be the first of its kind on the continent when it opens in 2016. It has been a historic journey for the Bahá’i faith in this part of the world—Bahá’i first arrived in Chile in 1919—and a patient journey for the architects, engineers, and builders who have brought the temple to life through a decade-long process of innovation.

The engineering firms were key to keeping the integrity of the architectural form. Even in the final stages, Gartner Steel and Glass came up with a new approach that eliminated the sub-frame, saving over $850,000. Image Courtesy of Guy Wenborne It's been over a decade since the architects of South America's first Baha'i Temple sketched out its design. “The shape never changed from what it was on the computer in 2003,” says Doron Meinhard, project manager and associate-in-charge of Hariri Pontarini Architects. Image Courtesy of Guy Wenborne © Bahá’í Temple of South America The interior surface of the nine “sails” (above) is marble, the exterior is cast glass developed by artist Jeff Goodman. He took great care, using lab-grade borosilicate to avoid any thermal stress. SGH then put the material through rigorous testing: subjecting it to freeze and thaw cycles, and submerging it fully in water. Then, because the 2,000 panels on each of the sails are all unique, the seismic load on every single one had to be tested. Image Courtesy of Justin Ford +8