Two New Books Claim Le Corbusier was a “Militant Fascist”

, by Willy Rizzo. Photos via Le Journal de la Photographie. Image © Willy Rizzo

Shocking allegations have surfaced in two new books that claim Le Corbusier was a “militant fascist.” Although the architect’s connections with a collaborationist regime in France have been known for some time, the authors claim new evidence reveals the depths of his sympathy toward Nazi activity.

A Look at China’s “Nail Houses”

© Reuters / Image via The Atlantic

China‘s rapid growth has led to some unusual situations; shocking images of so-called “” continue to circle the internet, depicting defiant homeowners refusing to give up their homes for low compensation in the name of “progress.” Standalone homes, and even some graves, are being surrounded by high-rise development and roadways, as land disputes play out in court. The Atlantic has just published a fascinating round-up of these peculiar situations. You can view them all, here.  

David Chipperfield Disowns Milan’s Museum of Culture Over “Floor War”

© Oskar Da Riz Fotografie via MUDEC

The poor quality and laying of stone flooring in Milan‘s newly completed Museum of Culture has led its architect, David Chipperfield to dissociate himself with the building. Blasting officials for skimping on materials, the British architect is demanding his name be removed from the project, claiming the building is now a “museum of horrors” and a “pathetic end to 15 years of work” due to the low quality flooring. 

On the contrary, ’s council says the material decision was made in the “interests of the taxpayers,” further claiming that, according to councillor Filippo del Corno, Chipperfield has been “unreasonable and impossible to please.” 

Opposition Mounts Against David Chipperfield’s Nobel Center in Stockholm

© David Chipperfield Architects

’s City Museum (Stadsmuseet) has spoke out against David Chipperfield’s competition-winning Nobel Center, saying the design is good but not at its proposed location. The museum, whose mission is to “preserve the city’s cultural heritage,” does not believe the new center should be build along the city’s Blasieholmen, as its site is “one of the few parts of the city that still allows close interaction with the old port.”

Furthermore, the City Museum strongly urged against the ’s plans to demolish the site’s three historic structures – an 1876 Axel Fredrik Nystrom-designed Customs House and the city’s last two remaining wooden harbor warehouses built in the early 1900s. Agreeing, the Liberal Party (Folkpartiet) has also spoke up, saying the proposal is “too big” and does not take “sufficient” consideration of the cultural environment and cultural heritage.

Koolhaas Denounces Plagiarism Rumors Surrounding Zaera-Polo’s Princeton Resignation

Elements of Architecture. Image © Nico Saieh

This past October Alejandro Zaera-Polo abruptly resigned from his position as Dean of ’s School of Architecture amidst plagiarism rumors. The resignation, requested by University President Christopher Eisgruber, was the result of Zaera-Polo’s removal of citations from his contribution to the “Facade” section of the Elements of Architecture exhibition at the 2014 Venice Biennale.

Claiming the rumors to be “demonstrably false,” Zaera-Polo has issued a “clarifying statement” outlining the purpose of his Biennale text to be polemic, and nonacademic, therefore it did not breach “any moral, ethical, or other applicable standards.” An email in support of Zaera-Polo sent by Rem Koolhaas to Eisgruber three days before the resignation has also released, denouncing any wrongdoing from Koolhaas’ perspective as the Biennale’s director.

Read Koolhaas’ email, Zaera-Polo’s clarification statement and a response from Princeton in full, after the break.

Egypt Unveils Plans for “New Cairo”

© Flickr CC User garyjd

In an effort to combat the economic conditions that have plunged one-fourth of its population into poverty, Egypt’s ambitious development plan for a massive new capital city is soon to be underway. Roughly the size of New , the privately-funded city hopes to become the new administrative center, as well as a bustling metropolis of shopping, housing, and tourist destinations to generate economic activity. Plans were solidified at a foreign investment conference where the official project details were unveiled on March 13 in Sharm el-Sheikh.

Read on after the break for more on the $45 billion plan.

Fate of Paul Rudolph’s Orange County Government Center to be Decided Tomorrow

Orange County Government Center by © New York Times - Tony Cenicola

Tomorrow legislators are due to decided the fate of Paul Rudolph’s Orange County Government Center. The midcentury icon, listed on the World Monuments Fund’s global watch list, has been the center of a prolonged debate challenging its right to be preserved. 

“The plan is to gut Paul Rudolph’s Orange County Government Center, strip away much of its distinctive, corrugated concrete and glass exterior and demolish one of its three pavilions, replacing it with a big, soulless glass box,” says architecture critic . “[The legislators] can do the right thing Thursday. They can overturn the veto and reconsider demolition.” More on Kimmelman’s call to save the Rudolph landmark, here

Reinier de Graaf on Cultural Amnesia and the “Fall” of the Berlin Wall

Throughout his article, de Graaf’s argument is illustrated with images of lively scenes from 1980s East , challenging the common misconception that life on the other side of the Wall was bleak. Image © Lutz Schramm/Wikipedia

“Twenty-five years after the Berlin Wall’s demise, it is as though a large part of the twentieth century never happened,” writes OMA principle Reinier de Graaf in his article for Metropolis Magazine “The Other Truth”. “An entire period has been erased from public consciousness, almost like a blank frame in a film.” Through the course of the article, de Graaf outlines how the West has rewritten the history of the cold war, erasing the “other truth” that existed for nearly half a century in East Berlin, the USSR, and other soviet-aligned states – a truth that we forget to our peril. It may not be immediately architectural, but the essay provides an interesting look into the political thoughts of de Graaf who, as the principle of one of architecture’s most prominent research organizations in AMO, has an important influence on the profession’s understanding of the wider world. Read the article in full here.

Mayor Rejects Sou Fujimoto’s Taiwan Tower Over Fears of Soaring Cost

© Architects

Taichung Mayor Lin Chia-lung has temporarily “pulled the plug” on Sou Fujimoto’s ambitious Taiwan Tower, saying he would rather pay a penalty for breaking the contract than spend an estimated NT$15 billion to realize the “problematic” project.

The Banyan tree-inspired tower was hoped to become the “Taiwanese version of the Eiffel Tower,” as well as a model for sustainable architecture by achieving LEED Gold with its energy producing features. Its steel superstructure, which proposed to hoist a triangular section of the Gateway Park’s greenbelt 300-meters into the air, intentionally had “no obvious form” and was to be perceived as a natural phenomenon.

Archiculture Interviews: Michael Dukakis

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Following the highly anticipated world premiere of Archiculture (watch here!), Arbuckle Industries is now releasing over 30 never-before-seen full length interviews with some of the industry’s leading influencers, all discussing the profession and how we are or should be training the next generation of designers. The first of the series featured Columbia’s Kenneth Frampton on whether or not architecture should be considered a luxury. Now, this most recent installation delves into just how policy makers can affect the built environment, interviewing politician and former Governor of Michael Dukakis.

US, Canada and Mexico Agree to Recognize Architect Credentials

New York-based architect Richard Meier’s 180-meter “Reforma Tower” planned for City (click image for more)

A tri-national agreement between the United States, Canada and Mexico will now allow architects to work across borders in North America. As reported by the US National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), in conjunction with the Canadian Architectural Licensing Authorities (CALA) and the Federacion de Colegios de Arquitectos de la Republica Mexicana (), representatives from the architectural regulatory authorities in all three countries have agreed to mutually recognize architect credentials.

New York’s $4 Billion Train Station Takes Shape

Screenshot. Image © Bedel Saget/The New York Times

Santiago Calatrava’s head-turning World Trade Center Transportation Hub has assumed its full form, nearly a decade after its design was revealed. In light of this, the New York Times has taken a critical look at just how the winged station’s budget soared. “Its colossal avian presence may yet guarantee the hub a place in the pantheon of civic design in New York. But it cannot escape another, more ignominious distinction as one of the most expensive and most delayed train stations ever built.” The complete report, here.

Gehry Sides with MAD, Defends Lucas Museum from Critics

Courtesy of Lucas Museum of Narrative Arts

With criticism forcing progress on MAD’s “mountainous” Lucas Museum to come to a standstill, Frank Gehry has released a statement on the Tribune urging critics to “take the proper time to review” the museum before dismissing it.

“Chicago is a great city for architecture and has historically supported innovative, forward-looking work. There is a natural impulse to deride a project in the early stages of design, particularly one that has a new shape or expression. This is not a new concept,” says Gehry, citing that both the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao and Los Angeles Walt Disney Concert Hall were shrouded in criticism before becoming “great assets to their mutual cities.”

Paris’ City Council Rejects Herzog & de Meuron’s 180-Meter “Triangle Tower”

© Herzog & de Meuron

Widening the debate on whether or not should preserve its 19-century skyline or “embrace innovation,” Parisian city council members have rejected the controversial, 180-meter “Triangle Tower” designed by Herzog & de Meuron. Despite the 83-78 vote, the fight carries on; Mayor Anne Hidalgo has declared the veto to be invalid and hopes a new round of balloting will rule in favor of the tower. Though, in a city that fears of loosing its “existing urban fabric to skyscrapers,” it seems unlikely that the tower will be built. 

Chipperfield’s Musée des Beaux-Arts Nixed for Being too Costly

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The French government has cancelled its £8 million contribution towards the £43 million Musée des Beaux-arts by David Chipperfield Architects, causing the Reims’ mayor to “shelve” the museum for being too costly. As reported by the Architects’ Journal, the funds will be reallocated towards the redevelopment of a recently closed sports complex. The museum, originally awarded to Chipperfield following an international competition, was intended to be built on an excavation area and display mediaeval relics. You can review the design, here

AD Interviews: Nanne de Ru / Powerhouse

At the ARKIMEET event in Istanbul, Turkey, we had the chance to catch up with Nanne de Ru, a co-founder of Powerhouse Company and the current director at The Berlage Center for Advanced Studies in Architecture.

“I think architectural thinking is quite often about how to manage complexity,  how to manage the complexity of different stakeholders — an architect is a mediator between those different demands.  And operates quite often in similar ways,” he said on the connection between architecture and . “I think what and architecture have in common is the need for strategy and for thinking and to design strategies.”

Check out some of Powerhouse Company’s designs below and watch the full video above to see what else de Ru has to say about politics, empathy and education in architecture.

Gehry’s Eisenhower Memorial Gets a Break

Courtesy of Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission

The National Capital Planning Commission has granted preliminary approval to a modified version of ’s controversial Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial design, which removed two of the stainless steel tapestries to clear views towards the Capitol. The project, which has remained stagnant since 2011, has been shawled in turmoil largely due to criticism regarding its “grandiose” design and focus on Eisenhower as a boy. The vote will now advance Gehry’s design to the Commission of Fine Arts for approval.

More images of the revised design, after the break.

Labour Minister Endorses UK-Wide Architecture Festival and More Competitions

Helen Goodman MP proposed a -wide festival of architecture instead of another festival in London, which already hosts a number of architecture and design festivals annually including the Camden Create Festival which began just this year. Image © KSR Architects

The UK‘s Shadow Culture Minister Helen Goodman has outlined a number of ideas that she would like to put into practice should her party win the next general election, reports the Architects’ Journal. The proposals, made at last week’s Labour Party Conference in Manchester, include increasing the number of open architecture competitions held in the UK and holding a major UK-wide annual festival of architecture. Read on after the break for more on Goodman’s proposals.