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

by Paul Rudolph © 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 Michael Kimmelman. “[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 Taichung 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

-based architect Richard Meier’s 180-meter “Reforma Tower” planned for Mexico 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 (), in conjunction with the Canadian Architectural Licensing Authorities (CALA) and the Federacion de Colegios de Arquitectos de la Republica Mexicana (FCARM), 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 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 Chicago 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

© David Chipperfield Architects

The French government has cancelled its £8 million contribution towards the £43 million Musée des Beaux-arts by David Chipperfield Architects, causing the ’ 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 ’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.

Reinier de Graaf: Mayors Should Not Rule The World

London City Hall, centre of operations for Mayor Boris Johnson. Image © Flickr CC User alh1

This weekend, the first planning session of the Global Parliament of Mayors took place in Amsterdam: a platform for from across the world, triggered by Benjamin Barber’s book: If Mayors Ruled the World: Dysfunctional Nations, Rising Cities.

In this book the current political system and its leaders is dismissed as dysfunctional. Defined by borders and with an inevitable focus on national interests, they are not an effective vehicle to govern a world defined by interdependence. Mayors, presiding over with their more open, networked structure and cosmopolitan demographics, so the book argues, could do it better.

It is of no surprise that this book has been welcomed by the same political class as the one it praises: mayors. As was apparent during the first planning session of the GPM: a conference about mayors, for mayors, attended by mayors, moderated by mayors and hosted by a mayor, all triggered by a book about mayors.

I recognize many of the book’s observations. Many mayors are impressive figures and time appears to be on their side. Nation states (particularly the large ones) have an increasingly hard time and, in the context of a process of globalization, cities, and particularly small city-states, increasingly emerge victorious. Cities have first-hand experience with many of the things that occur in globalization’s wake, such as immigration and cultural and religious diversity, and are generally less dogmatic and more practical in dealing with them.

So far so good.

Los Angeles Rids Itself of Helipad Requirement, Opens City to “Bolder” Skyline

Los Angeles, California. Image © Wikimedia Commons / Pintaric

Helicopter landing pads will no longer be required atop new buildings in Los Angeles, California. The rule’s elimination, which was announced yesterday by the city’s mayor and fire chief, allows architects the freedom to break away from LA’s “boxy” skyline. “I want to see innovative design,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said. “I want to see good design, but we’re going to take the handcuffs off of you when we ask you to do that. I want neighborhoods to look good, and I want our buildings to look iconic.” You can read more about the change, here.

Alcohol and Urbanism, a Case Study: Breaking New York City’s Open Container Law

Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. Image © Rennie Jones

If there is one thing to be learned from the unsuccessful prohibition period of the 1920s, it is that we, the people, will go to great lengths to exercise our right to drink alcohol in the company of others. Our determined forefathers could have simply enjoyed a small-batch bathtub brew in the comfort of their own homes, but instead they established a system of secret places to congregate and consume collectively, even under threat of federal prosecution. Though it is no longer a felony to consume alcohol, New Yorkers are still pushing the legal limits of drinking with others, challenging the open container laws that prohibit public drinking.

Drinking is a recreational activity. It is a means of stepping beyond the realm of normal perception and seeing things differently, in the metaphorical sense (though sometimes a literal one). It is an act of recreation and repose, the parallel of peering at passerby from a park bench. In City, as in most of the , it is illegal for any person to possess an open container of an alcoholic beverage in any public place, “except at a block party, feast or similar function for which a permit has been obtained.” Rarely do individuals have the resources for a block party or occasion for a full-scale public feast. More likely, they simply seek to crack open a can with neighbors on their front steps or with friends in Central Park, thereby enjoying a beverage in one of the country’s most vibrant and diverse public spheres for a mere penance. Unfortunately, that is not a legal option. Even the outdoor space we own is not completely open to our discretionary use: a resident cannot drink on his own stoop because it is “a place to which the public or a substantial group of persons has access.”

Toyo Ito and Fumihiko Maki Petition Against Zaha Hadid’s Tokyo Olympic Stadium

© ZHA

Though it seemed a compromise was met last October, when Japan’s minister of education, Hakubun Shimomura announced plans to reduce the cost and scale of the Zaha Hadid-designed Tokyo Olympic Stadium, the debate rages on.  

Pritzker laureates Toyo Ito and Fumihiko Maki have launched an online to “defend the ginko tree-lined landscape of blue sky and Jingu Outer Gardens” from the construction of Hadid’s “oversized” stadium. 

The petition (now with more than 13,000 signatures) urges the Sports Council, who hand selected Hadid’s winning design alongside Tadao Ando, to reconsider upgrading the existing Meiji Jingo Gaien Stadium and the gardens surrounding it. This solution, they believe, is a more affordable and sustainable alternative that would prevent the relocation of nearby residents. 

Take a tour though Zaha Hadid’s 2020 Olympic Stadium and share your thoughts about the design (and petition), after the break…