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Culture Lab Detroit Dialogue: Architecture and Nature: Designing for Today’s Urban Landscape

Panelists: Sou Fujimoto, Japanese architect, renowned for his synthesis of nature and architecture & Walter Hood, landscape architect, specializing in the public realm and urban environment

SelgasCano in Conversation with Hans Ulrich Obrist, Smiljan Radić and Sou Fujimoto

Last month, as part of their Park Nights event series, COS assembled Spanish architects José Selgas and Lucía Cano (SelgasCano) at their new pavilion for the Serpentine Gallery in London's Hyde Park to discuss the concepts behind their design and the history of the Pavilion Commission with Serpentine directors Julia Peyton-Jones and Hans Ulrich Obrist. They were joined by Chilean architect Smiljan Radić, designer of the 2014 pavilion, and Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto, designer of 2013's, in an hour long conversation moderated by Sarah Ichioka. 

Video: selgascano, Sou Fujimoto and Smiljan Radic on the 15 Year History of the Serpentine Pavilion

A prelude to Serpentine Park Nights, selgascano, Sou Fujimoto and Smiljan Radic sat down with Serpentine Directors Julia Peyton-Jones and Hans Ulrich Obrist to discuss the concepts behind the design of the 2015 Serpentine Pavilion and the history of the commission. The conversation, moderated by Sarah Ichioka, marks the 15th anniversary of the Serpentine Pavilion

From Tokyo to Milwaukee: Sou Fujimoto and His Impact on Students at the University of Wisconsin

With the award of the $100,000 Marcus Prize to Sou Fujimoto in 2013, graduate students at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s School of Architecture were offered the rare opportunity to learn from one of Japan's most respected architectural practitioners. Through a semester-long connection to the studio - which he led alongside University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Associate Professor Mo Zell - Fujimoto and his students have realized a small architectural installation on an unused lot in Milwaukee's East side entitled faBRICK.

In this interview conducted in Tokyo last year, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee student Robert Guertin speaks with Fujimoto about the ideas and themes of his work. In an attempt to shed light on the influence he had in the design of faBRICK, his answers are presented alongside images of the resulting installation.

Construction of the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee's faBRICK Pavilion. Image © Courtesy of University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Architecture Construction of the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee's faBRICK Pavilion. Image © Courtesy of University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Architecture The University of Wisconsin Milwaukee's faBRICK Pavilion. Image © Courtesy of University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Architecture Assembly method of the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee's faBRICK Pavilion. Image © Courtesy of University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Architecture

Sou Fujimoto, Peter Cook and Benedetta Tagliabue Among WAF 2015 Judges

From November 4-6, the 2015 World Architecture Festival (WAF) will take place in Suntec in central Singapore, featuring three days of conferences, exhibitions and lectures, in addition to the awards ceremony. As the world’s largest architectural festival and awards event, the WAF awards honor exceptional architecture from around the globe across 30 categories. Over 70 judges attend the festival and critique the submitted projects. Among this year’s “superjurors” are Peter Cook, Sou Fujimoto, Benedetta Tagliabue, Manuelle Gautrand,  Charles Jencks, and Kerry Hill.

All entries must be submitted by May 22nd to be considered for the WAF awards. Shortlisted projects will compete for category prizes on the first two days of the festival. On the third (and last) day, the category winners will present their projects to the “super-juries,” which will select the World Landscape, Future Project and Completed Building of the Year. 

Past winners have included  Zaha Hadid ArchitectsBIGSnøhetta and Vo Trong Nghia. Prizes for small projects, use of wood and use of color will also be awarded.

Video: Sou Fujimoto's Polyhedral Naoshima Pavilion Opens in Japan

Tokyo-based French architect and filmmaker Vincent Hecht has captured the opening of Sou Fujimoto’s polyhedral Naoshima Pavilion on the Kagawa shoreline in Japan. The inhabitable, seven-meter, white stainless steel structure is part of the 2016 Setouchi Triennale. Watch the video above for a closer look.

Call For Entries: World Architecture Festival 2015

Now in its eighth year, the forthcoming 2015 World Architecture Festival Awards (WAF) will take place in Suntec in central Singapore following three days of intensive live presentations and judging. Following a $180 million modernisation programme, the redesigned space will host WAF’s soundproofed crit rooms, auditorium and Festival Hall Stage. Entries are now invited from architects and designers for the 2015 edition of what is described as "the biggest architectural awards programme in the world." The awards are expected to attract more than 750 entries, around half of which will be shortlisted into thirty categories. The closing date for entries is the end of May, and shortlisting will take place in early June.

This year’s 'superjurors' include Royal Gold Medallist Sir Peter Cook (UK), Sou Fujimoto (Japan), Benedetta Tagliabue (Spain), Charles Jencks (UK/US), Kerry Hill (Singapore) and Manuelle Gautrand (France).

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

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. 

Sou Fujimoto Named WSJ’s Architecture Innovator of the Year

The Wall Street Journal has named Sou Fujimoto the “Architecture Innovator of the Year.” The 43-year-old Japanese architect, who first gained international acclaim in 2008 with the completion of the Hokkaido Children’s Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation, has been lauded by the magazine for his “future primitive” structures that are, as Fujimoto’s believes, creating opportunities to explore “more possibilities” for daily life. 

“Fujimoto’s goal isn’t just to make spaces—the basic function of architecture—but to make people relate to spaces in new ways,” stated WSJ author Fred Bernstein. 

In response to Fujimoto’s selection, WSJ has published a comprehensive article about Fujimoto’s life and work. You can read the article, here

Sou Fujimoto Constructs Inhabitable Nomadic Structure for Parisian Art Fair

Over the weekend, Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto exhibited an inhabitable sculpture of stacked and suspended aluminum cubes as part of the FIAC art fair in the Parisian Jardins des Tuileries’ gardens. The installation, “Many Small Cubes” is his first project in Paris and was commissioned by the Philippe Gravier art gallery as an exploration of nomadic structures and Sou Fujimoto’s concept of bringing architecture closer to nature. 

"The floating masses of Many Small Cubes creates a new experience of space, a rhythm of flickering shadows and lights like the sun filtering through leafy trees,” described Sou Fujimoto.

Japanese and Chilean Architects Collaborate to Design Houses for the Ochoalcubo Project

Ochoalcubo (Eight-Cubed) is a pioneering project in Chile that seeks to unite leading Chilean and Japanese practices with ground-breaking architecture. The collaborative enterprise was started by Eduardo Godoy, a design impresario who began working in Chile in the 1980s and who has always been a strong advocate for innovative design and architecture in the country. For a nation that boasts more than forty individual schools of architecture, the ever growing number of professionals seems to have had a relatively small impact on Chilean cities. Faced with the seemingly infinite landscape of 'cookie-cutter housing' in the suburbs, Godoy implemented Ochoalcubo in order to provide opportunities for young professionals, alongside fostering a new kind of appreciation for the profession itself. With a large number of architects having taken part in the first stage, including Smiljan Radic (designer of the 2014 Serpentine Pavilion), the third and fourth stage of what is certainly one of the world's largest active architectural laboratories will be launched in the coming days.

See images from all sixteen proposals from third and fourth stages of the Ochoalcubo project, including those by SANAASou FujimotoKengo KumaAlejandro Aravena and Atelier Bow Wow, after the break.

City As A Vision: Tribute to Michel Ragon

Architects have always questioned what the cities of the future will look like. In the 1960s and 70s, one of the most prominent advocates of this field of "futurology" within architecture was historian and critic Michel Ragon. In an upcoming exhibition entitled City As A Vision, the FRAC Centre pays tribute to Ragon by presenting both historical and prospective urban concepts by architects throughout the last fifty years.

Superstudio Monumento Continuo, New New York, 1969 © Archive Superstudio, Florence. Image Courtesy of FRAC Centre Jozef Jankovic Železničná stanica Kúty, zvlášť pre českú a slovenskú dráhu, 1974 Collection Frac Centre, Orléans. Image Courtesy of FRAC Centre Günther Domenig et Eilfried Huth Ragnitz, 1969 - 2001 Collection Frac Centre, Orléans. Image Courtesy of FRAC Centre OMA Qianhai Port City, Concept of masterplan, 2010 © OMA. Image Courtesy of FRAC Centre

New Images Released of Krumbach, Austria's Famous Bus Stops

What happens when seven internationally acclaimed architects are invited to design sculptural bus stops for a tiny Austrian village of 1000 inhabitants? Collaborating with local architects and utilizing local materials to design the pavilions, Alexander Brodsky, Rintala Eggertsson, Ensamble Studio, Architecten de Vylder Vinck Taillieu, Smiljan Radic, Sou Fujimoto, and Wang Shu's Amateur Architecture Studio worked with Austria's Verein Kultur Krumbach to carry out the BUS:STOP project and usher in a unique new facet of culture to Krumbach. We brought you images of the design proposals earlier, and now we have photos of the incredible results: Hufton + Crow has just released a stunning new set of images showcasing the completed bus stops. 

Hufton + Crow's brilliant photography captures the inimitable originality and sensational quality of the uniquely crafted pavilions embedded within the Austrian landscape. Immerse yourself in Krumbach and check out the latest images after the break.

© Hufton + Crow © Hufton + Crow © Hufton + Crow © Hufton + Crow

BUS:STOP Unveils 7 Unusual Bus Shelters by World Class Architects

A year in the making, Krumbach in Austria has unveiled seven eye-catching bus shelters which have turned the world's gaze on the tiny village. Designed by internationally renowned architects such as Wang Shu, Sou Fujimoto and Smiljan Radic, who worked in collaboration with local architects and craftsmen, the whimsical structures will put the village of 1000 residents on the map.

Curator Dietmar Steiner praised the commitment of those involved, saying "the entire project succeeded because it was supported in the most generous fashion by more than 200 people." This included the architects, who took up their projects for little more than a free holiday in the area and the chance to engage in an unusual challenge. However, BUS:STOP was not merely a vanity project: Verena Konrad, Director of vai Vorarlberger Architektur Institut, noted that the project was important for "the successful connection of infrastructure and mobility for the rural area."

See images of all 7 shelters after the break

Smiljan Radic’s BUS:STOP design. Image © Yuri Palmin Architecten de Vylder Vinck Taillieu’s BUS:STOP design. Image © Yuri Palmin Rintala Eggertsson Architect’s BUS:STOP design. Image © Yuri Palmin Amateur Architecture Studio’s BUS:STOP design. Image © Yuri Palmin

Solo Houses: When Architects Are Given Carte Blanche

French developer Christian Bourdais has enlisted eight architects to develop vacation homes on a 50-hectare nature reserve about two hours south of Barcelona. So far, so normal. However, each participant in the "Solo Houses" experiment was given what every architect dreams of (and hardly ever receives): carte blanche. The results, from the likes of Sou Fujimoto, Pezo von Ellrichshausen, and more, are stunning. See them all after the break... 

Casa Faustino / Didier Faustino. Image © by-encore.com, via Solo Houses Casa Johnston Marklee / Johnston Marklee. Image © by-encore.com, via Solo Houses Casa Office KGDVS / Office KGDVS. Image © by-encore.com, via Solo Houses Casa Pezo / Pezo von Ellrichshausen. Image © Cristobal Palma

Zaha Hadid’s 2020 Olympic Stadium to Be "Scaled Down"

UPDATE: The Washington Post reports that Japan's minister of education, Hakubun Shimomura, has announced a plan to trim the budget proposed for the Olympic stadium (now expected to cost $3 billion) designed by Zaha Hadid Architects. While he did not reveal the details of the scale-down, he maintained that the "design concept will be kept." 

Pritzker Prize laureate Fumihiko Maki has rallied together a number of Japanese architects - including Sou Fujimoto, Toyo Ito and Kengo Kuma - to oppose the massive scale of Zaha Hadid’s competition-winning National Stadium. Planned to be Tokyo’s main venue for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic games, Hadid’s 290,000 square meter stadium is accused of being “too big and too artificial” for the surrounding context. 

Sou Fujimoto Designs "Structural Waterfall" for Miami

The Miami Design District, an 18 square-block neighborhood between Miami’s downtown and South Beach, has announced that the facade of its new mixed-use retail building will be designed by Sou Fujimoto. The two-floor, 17,000 square foot structure, which will feature "an elongated series of glass fins extending from the rooftop down to the open courtyard," will create unique pedestrian arcades covered by a "structural waterfall."

The Miami Design District, owned by Miami Design District Associates, aims to combine commerce with high-quality design, fashion, art and architecture, and has chosen Fujimoto on the merit of his past award-winning works, from House N in Tokyo, to the Musashino Art University & Library, to - most recently - his design of the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion in London. 

Sou Fujimoto Designs New Wing for Germany's Kunsthalle Bielefeld

Sou Fujimoto has unveiled three design proposals for an extension to Philip Johnson’s Kunsthalle Bielefeld in Germany. Since its completion in 1968, the museum has built a reputation for hosting temporary exhibitions. However, with the construction of the new wing, Kunsthalle Bielefeld will expand their services to accommodate a contemporary art gallery. 

Read on to review Sou Fujimoto’s three proposals...