For Hamburg-based photographer Sebastian Weiss, buildings are dramatis personae, or "characters". Inspired by Ash Amin and Stephen Graham's 1997 book The Ordinary City, in which the authors described the city as the "theater of life", this photo-essay of architectural landmarks in the French cities of Arcueil, Nanterre, and Paris examines the personalities of public buildings.
Paul Andreu: "I Would Only Take On a Project if the Ideas Were Mine. Otherwise, I Am Not Interested."
For 40 years, Paul Andreu was among the world's foremost airport design experts. Reflecting on this before the turn of the millennium, he stated that architectural historians of the future might consider the 1990s as “the age of the air terminal.” But shortly after this, he left the arena of airport design to focus on other large projects, many of them in China. In this interview, the latest of Vladimir Belogolovsky's “City of Ideas” series, Andreu explains why he made the switch and shares his thoughts on how good architecture is made—saying it often depends more on what you don't tell your client than what you do.
Paul Andreu: Before we start, I must explain something. I am an architect and engineer. For a long time I was not an independent architect but worked at and then was the head of airport works at Aéroports de Paris Ingénierie or ADPi, a subsidiary of Aéroports de Paris (ADP). This public establishment is not only in charge of the planning, design, and operation of three Paris-region airports, but is also involved in airport works all around the world, as well as other large-scale architectural projects. First, we did airports in France, then in the Middle East and Africa, then in China and all over Asia, and then we developed projects in other parts of the world. Most of the time we developed our projects from concept all the way through construction; although once we did just the concept for Kansai airport on a specially built island in the Bay of Osaka. As you know, it was designed by Renzo Piano and I consulted for him on function and circulation aspects.
The time has come for architects, across the globe, to register for their .archi domain names. This year has seen the launch of a entirely new range of domains which explicitly indicate the field of business a particular domain name points to; .archi, the new extension reserved exclusively for architectural bodies, is one such. Not only will it differentiate architects from other fields but, perhaps more importantly, will also help internet users find architects when browsing the web. The development of this domain extension, which has been supported by the International Union of Architects (UIA), will mean that only academically qualified architects and their affiliates will be able to use .archi.
Paul Andreu, designer of the Shanghai Pudong International Airport and the Taiyuan Archaeological Centre, alongside Corinne Vezzoni, have both pledged their support of the new domain name in an advertising campaign by the regulating body Starting Dot.
Click here to register a .archi domain name or find out more after the break...
This week, with the help of our readers, our Architecture City Guide is headed to Beijing. Beijing has a range of architectural styles, but the three most prevalent are the traditional imperial style (the Forbidden City), the “Sino-Sov” style (boxy structures built between the 1950s and 70s), and lastly the explosion of a modern corporate style that is punctuated with Starchitect buildings like OMA’s CCTV TV Station HQ. We put together a list of 12 modern/contemporary buildings that we feel provides a good starting point. It is far from complete. There are dozens of other great buildings that are not our list, and we are looking to add to the list in the near future. Please add your favorites in the comment section below so we can add them on the second go around. Again thank you to all our readers who sent in their suggestions and photographs. The city guides would not be possible without your help.
This week, with the help of our readers, our Architecture City Guide is headed to Paris. For centuries Paris has been the laboratory where innovative architects and artists have come to test their ideas. This has created a city that has bit of everything. Where the architecture of some cities seems to undergo phases of punctuated equilibrium, Paris’s architectural fossil record gives an impression of gradualism; all the missing links are there. This makes it easy to trace the origins of the most contemporary ideas throughout history. Nothing seems to come out of nowhere. If you look around you kind find the design’s inspiration running through the city’s Roman, Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Rocco, Neo-Classical, Empire, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Modern, Post-Modern, and Contemporary Architecture. Seen in another context, many of Paris’s buildings might seem out of place, but the bones of this city support the newest iterations on the oldest and most profound questions. The 24 contemporary designs that comprise our list probably should not be viewed outside of this context, even though that is the stated goal of some of the designs.
As the most visited city in the world and arguably the capital of culture, it is impossible to capture the essence of Paris in 24 modern/contemporary designs. Our readers supplied us with great suggestions, and we really appreciate the help and use of their photographs. The list is far from complete and we realize that many iconic buildings are not yet on the list. We will be adding to it in the near feature, so please add more in the comments section below.