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Architects and Our Right to Fail

The architecture world is a very different place compared to what it was ten years ago - a fact that is all too obvious for today's young architects, who bore the brunt of the financial crisis. But how can recent graduates harness such rapid change to make a positive impact? This article written by ArchDaily en Español's Nicolás Valencia explores the impact of the financial crisis on architecture in the Global South and in particular in the Spanish-speaking world, finding that it may be the inalienable right of the architect "to give yourself room to fail or to quit."

For some years now, three figures have been floating around that are worrisome to Chilean architects and architectural students: every year 48 architectural schools enroll 3,500 students and give degrees to another 1,400 in a completely saturated market. The future appears bleak, the professional internships are depressing, and among those who already have degrees, we're all too familiar with the exploitative offices that not only offer their employees zero contracts (or health insurance of any kind, all the while praying that nobody gets injured) but also make them work much more than they agreed to with paltry salaries and labor unions that have seen better days. Meanwhile at the universities, talking about money in studios, or about flesh and blood clients, has become a taboo subject. “Students, don't let money tarnish the beauty of the discipline” they tell you. Of course, not only does it not get tarnished, but we've gotten to the point where many don't even know how much to charge for a plan drawing, let alone for an actual project.

"Baby Rems" and the Small World of Architecture Internships

The world of architecture is small. So small in fact, that Rem Koolhaas has been credited with the creation of over forty practices worldwide, led by the likes of Zaha Hadid and Bjarke Ingels. Dubbed “Baby Rems” by Metropolis Magazine, this Koolhaas effect is hardly an isolated pattern, with manifestations far beyond the walls of OMA. The phenomenon has dominated the world of architecture, assisted by the prevalence and increasing necessity of internships for burgeoning architects.

In a recent article for Curbed, Patrick Sisson dug into the storied history of internships to uncover some unexpected connections between the world's most prolific architects. With the help of Sisson's list, we've compiled a record of the humble beginnings of the household names of architecture. Where did Frank Gehry get his start? Find out after the break.

Renzo Piano's pavilion at Louis Kahn's Kimbell Art Museum. Image © Robert Laprelle Jeanne Gang worked on OMA's Maison Bordeaux. Image © Hans Werlemann, courtesy OMA Mies van der Rohe worked on Behren's AEG Turbine Factory. Image © Flickr CC user Joseph The Guaranty Building in Buffalo, New York by Louis Sullivan. Image Courtesy of Jack E. Boucher

Shigeru Ban on Growing Up, Carpentry, and Cardboard Tubes

He may have risen to prominence for his disaster relief architecture and deft use of recyclable materials, but Shigeru Ban describes his idiosyncratic use of material as an "accident." Speaking to The Wall Street Journal, the 2014 Pritzker Prize Laureate recalls turning to cardboard tubes as a matter of necessity. "I had to create a design for an exhibition," Ban told the newspaper, "But I couldn't afford wood. Instead, I used the many paper tubes from rolls of drafting paper that were lying around. The tubes turned out to be quite strong." The most prominent of Ban's cardboard tube structures is Christchurch's Cardboard Cathedral, built in the aftermath of an earthquake that devastated the city in early 2011. Read WSJ's full interview with Ban here.  

Dear Martha: An Open Letter to the Pritzker Prize Committee

As the Pritzker Jury begins its deliberations for the 2015 Pritzker Prize, this is a critical time of year for shaping the landscape of architectural debate for the coming year and beyond. The following is an open letter to Martha Thorne, the Executive Director of the Pritzker Prize, from Conrad Newel, author of the popular blog Notes on Becoming a Famous Architect.

Archiculture Interviews: Shigeru Ban

“An earthquake doesn’t kill people, the collapse of a building kills people.” In Arbuckle Industrieslatest interview released following their world premiere of Archiculture, architect humanitarian Shigeru Ban clearly delineates “natural” disasters as a product of mankind, rather than nature. Hear the Pritzker laureate’s thoughts on designing for minorities, disasters, and the importance of travel in the video interview above. 

Material Masters: Shigeru Ban's Work With Wood

To celebrate the first anniversary of our US Materials Catalog, this week ArchDaily is presenting a three-part series on "Material Masters," showing how certain materials have helped to inspire some of the world's greatest architects.

Shigeru Ban’s portfolio is a strange dichotomy, split between shelters for natural disaster refugees and museums commissioned by wealthy patrons of the arts. Even stranger is the fact that, in both cases, Ban’s material palette frequently incorporates recycled cardboard, paper, and old beer crates. The Pritzker prize laureate is unique in this regard, and so great is his predilection for recycled paper tubes (originally formwork for concrete columns), that he has become known as the “Paper Architect.” His work receives media attention worldwide for the unorthodoxy of its construction materials. Yet Shigeru Ban is not concerned with unorthodoxy, but with economy. It is for this reason that, when paper tubes are deemed unsuitable, Shigeru Ban constructs his buildings in wood. Inspired by the architectural tradition of his native Japan, Ban is not only the "Paper Architect," but also one of the most famous architects working in wood today.

Shigeru Ban Included Among Foreign Policy's 100 Leading Global Thinkers

Shigeru Ban has been included in Foreign Policy Magazine's 100 Leading Global Thinkers of 2014, dubbing this year's Pritzker Prize Laureate as "architecture's first responder." The annual list recognizes the 100 people whose ideas and actions have had the greatest impact on the outcome of world events, and this year 'disruption' is the buzzword; acknowledging a tumultuous year, the list focuses on the people who, for better or worse, "smashed the world as we know it."

Arthur Andersson on Timeless Materials & Building "Ruins"

Tower House . Image © Art Gray
Tower House . Image © Art Gray

Material Minds, presented by ArchDaily Materials, is our new series of short interviews with architects, designers, scientists, and others who use architectural  in innovative ways. Enjoy!

Arthur Andersson of Andersson-Wise Architects wants to build ruins. He wants things to be timeless - to look good now and 2000 years from now. He wants buildings to fit within a place and time. To do that he has a various set of philosophies, processes and some great influences. Read our full in-depth interview with Mr. Andersson, another revolutionary "Material Mind," after the break. 

Tower House . Image © Art Gray Tower House . Image © Art Gray Tower House . Image © Art Gray Stone Creek Camp. Image © Art Gray

Live from Amsterdam: Pritzker Prize Award Ceremony with Shigeru Ban

The 2014 Pritzker Prize Ceremony to honor laureate Shigeru Ban is taking place today in Amsterdam at 17:00 UCT.

Shigeru Ban's "Kooky" Architecture: Just What the World Needs?

British writer Tim Abrahams finds Shigeru Ban's architecture "kooky, Middle Earthy, Hobbity" – an opinion which earns him the title of "idiot" in the eyes of newly appointed Architecture for Humanity Executive Director Eric Cesal. In an article for the Boston Review, Stephen Phelan uses the pair's opposing opinions to illustrate the Pritzker Prize winning architect's perceived failures and successes. Read his very engaging take, here.

Shigeru Ban Designs Temporary Pavilion for the World Cup

In honor of the World Cup (which starts today), the Brazilian Embassy in Tokyo, Japan, has invited Shigeru Ban, this year's Pritzker Laureate, to build a temporary pavilion.

Spotlight: Frei Otto

© Ingenhoven und Partner Architekten, Düsseldorf
© Ingenhoven und Partner Architekten, Düsseldorf

German architect and structural engineer Frei Otto (31 May 1925 – 9 March 2015) was well known for his pioneering innovations in lightweight and tensile structures. Shortly before his death in 2015 he was awarded the Pritzker Prize and prior to that he was awarded the RIBA Royal Gold Medal in 2006. Much of his research in lightweight structures is as relevant today as when he first proposed them over 60 years ago, and his work continues to inform architects and engineers to this day.

German Pavilion, Expo ’67. Image © Atelier Frei Otto Warmbronn Diplomatic Club Heart Tent. Image © Atelier Frei Otto Warmbronn Aviary at the Munich Zoo. Image © Atelier Frei Otto Warmbronn Japan Pavilion, Expo 2000. Image © Atelier Frei Otto Warmbronn

Ban, Kimmelman, Others Speak at "Cities for Tomorrow"

On April 21st, ArchDaily tweeted about watching keynote speaker Shigeru Ban kick of the Cities for Tomorrow conference in New York. In his first appearance since winning the Pritzker Prize, he addressed how we should approach urban planning and development today with architecture critic Michael Kimmelman. To watch videos - of Ban as well as speakers such as  Vishaan ChakrabatiShaun Donovan, and Janette Sadik-Kahn discussing the future of our cities - click here.

Sold! 100 Design Relics from Niemeyer, Le Corbusier, FLW and More

UPDATE: The auction has concluded and more than £5.6 million was made. Find out how much the famous, architect-designed relics went for after the break.

Next week, a rare collection of over 100 relics designed by some of architecture’s most significant practitioners from the last two centuries will be auctioned off at the Phillip’s in London. Ranging from a full-scale paper tea house by this year’s Pritzker laureate Shigeru Ban to the Peacock chair designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for Tokyo’s Imperial Hotel, the items being showcased and sold are an ode to the ideas in which have had a profound impact on our built environment. 

An exhibition of the items, appropriately titled “The Architect,” is already underway, prior to the auction on April 29. 

Works by Gerrit Rietveld, Le Corbusier and Oscar Niemeyer are all available for purchase. Read on for a preview of the highlighted items...

The Pritzker-Profit Connection: Shigeru Ban's Works Gaining Value in NYC

A recent article from The New York Times confirms something we've all long-suspected. A Pritzker translates into big bucks. Demand for Shigeru Ban's Manhattan buildings has soared since his awarding of the prize. The New York Times reports that page views of the Metal Shutter Houses, for example, have quadrupled on the listings site Why? The Pritzker name carries weight:

Jury Member Juhani Pallasmaa On Finding Less "Obvious" Pritzker Laureates

Last week, while the ArchDaily team was in Mexico City for the Mextrópoli Conference, we caught up with Pritzker Jury member Juhani Pallasmaa and asked him to shed some light onto the recent winners of one of architecture's highest honors. Watch Pallasmaa, a renowned Finnish architect and professor, explain what motivates his approach for recognizing architects in a world with "so much publicity."

"The Pritzker jury has now, for at least 5 years, tried to select architects who are not the most obvious names because there is so much publicity in the architectural world and we'd rather try to find architects who have not been published everywhere else..."

VIDEO: Charlie Rose Interviews Tom Pritzker and Shigeru Ban

Charlie Rose sits down with Tom Pritzker and 2014 Pritzker laureate Shigeru Ban to discuss the importance of architecture, the purpose of the Prize and the significance of Ban’s selection. The discussion starts at 40:00, following coverage on the Malaysian Airline’s tragedy.

Pritzker Juror Alejandro Aravena on Shigeru Ban: Virtuousity in Service of Our Most Urgent Challenges

The following is Alejandro Aravena's response to the Shigeru Ban's Pritzker winAravena is the executive director of the firm ELEMENTAL S.A and a member of the Pritzker Jury who selected Ban as this year's Pritzker Laureate.

Shigeru Ban has expanded the field of architecture in unexpected ways. He has proved that the inspired artist and the skilled designer is not inevitably condemned to work for a privileged elite, but that innovation can take place while working for the majority, particularly those historically underserved, forgotten or neglected. In order to do that, he redefined the approach to deal with difficult, urgent and relevant challenges, replacing professional charity by professional quality. Ban has shown that no matter how tough the circumstances or scarce the means, good design far from being an extra cost carries the added value of sharp efficiency, power of synthesis and an uplifting feeling.