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The 9 Most Controversial Buildings of All Time

It is now just over a year since the unveiling of Zaha Hadid's Al-Wakrah Stadium in Doha, Qatar, and in the intervening twelve months, it seems like the building has never been out of the news. Most recently, remarks made by Hadid concerning the deaths of construction workers under Qatar’s questionable working conditions created a media firestorm of legal proportions. Hadid’s stadium has been widely mocked for its ‘biological’ appearance, not to mention the fact that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, for which the stadium will be built, has encountered a storm of controversy all of its own.

The criticism surrounding Al Wakrah has prompted us to look far and wide for the world’s most debated buildings. Could Al Wakrah be the most controversial building of all time? Check out ArchDaily’s roundup of nine contenders after the break.

Find out which buildings top our controversial list after the break

Latest New Yorker Cover Addresses Ferguson Rift With Saarinen's Iconic Arch

With their latest cover, The New Yorker is addressing the tragic unrest in Ferguson which has followed Monday's decision not to indict the officer who shot Michael Brown in August, using an image of Eero Saarinen's iconic Gateway Arch. The image, designed by Bob Staake, shows the arch divided, black on one side and white on the other in reference to the racial tensions that underpin the dispute. "At first glance, one might see a representation of the Gateway Arch as split and divided," says Staake, "but my hope is that the events in Ferguson will provide a bridge and an opportunity for the city." To read more about the ideas behind Staake's design, visit The New Yorker's website.

Understanding St Louis: The Activism of Bob Hansman

For the past few weeks, events in Ferguson, Missouri have prompted many debates over what can or should be done to ease tensions in this suburb of St Louis. But Bob Hansman, a professor at the Washington University in St Louis, is taking a different approach: understanding it first. This interview with Hansman, originally published on the Washington University in St Louis Newsroom, unearths a few of the issues that have made some areas of St Louis so severely dispossessed.

It’s 10am, and Bob Hansman is on a bus addressing students, brandishing a St. Louis guidebook like a prosecutor at trial.

“Today isn’t this,” he growls. “Get ready.”

Discover more about the work of Hansman after the break.

Drawings from Famous Architects' Formative Stages to be Exhibited in St. Louis

Zaha Hadid, The World (89 Degrees), 1984. Image Courtesy of Kemper Art Museum
Zaha Hadid, The World (89 Degrees), 1984. Image Courtesy of Kemper Art Museum

As a student of architecture, the formative years of study are a period of wild experimentation, bizarre use of materials, and most importantly, a time to make mistakes. Work from this period in the life of an architect rarely floats to the surface - unless you're Zaha Hadid or Frank Gehry, that is. A treasure trove of early architectural drawings from the world's leading architects has recently been unearthed from the private collection of former Architectural Association Chairman Alvin Boyarsky. The collection is slated to be shown at the Kemper Art Museum, Washington University, St. Louis, as a part of the exhibition Drawing Ambience: Alvin Boyarsky and the Architectural Association from September 12th to January 4th, 2015. 

Take a look at the complete set of architects and drawings for the exhibition after the break.

Bernard Tschumi, #4 K Series, 1985. Study for La Case Vide: La Villette, Folio VIII, 1985. Image Courtesy of Kemper Art Museum Lebbeus Woods, Center for New Technology, Montage 1, 1985. Image Courtesy of Kemper Art Museum Alex Wall, Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), The Pleasure of Architecture, 1983. Image Courtesy of Kemper Art Museum Coop Himmelblau, Super Spaces, c. 1969. Image Courtesy of Kemper Art Museum

PXSTL / Freecell Architecture

  • Architects: Freecell Architecture
  • Location: 3713 Washington Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63108, USA
  • Architect in Charge: Freecell Architecture
  • Area: 2400.0 ft2
  • Project Year: 2014
  • Photographs: Courtesy of Freecell Architecture

Courtesy of Freecell Architecture Courtesy of Freecell Architecture Courtesy of Freecell Architecture Courtesy of Freecell Architecture

Freecell Wins Competition to Transform St. Louis Vacant Lot into Cultural Destination

Freecell Architecture has been announced as winner of the urban design-build competition, PXSTL. Organized by the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts and the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis, PXSTL challenged US artists, architects and designers to propose a small-scale intervention for a vacant lot in the St. Louis Grand Center cultural district that could possibly spark large-scale urban transformation. 

Among 60 candidates and three shortlisted finalists, Freecell's winning proposal "Lots" was selected for its “innovative design and approach to the space as a gathering catalyst, hosting social and cultural activities to bring focus on activities of people unifying a community.” The project intends on activating audience engagement by hosting a series of concerts, dance performances, community celebrations, film screenings, and art exhibitions.

Read on for more about “Lots”...

PXSTL Competition Finalist Proposal / Freecell Architecture

Freecell Architecture's proposal for the PXSTL Competition was recently announced one of the three finalists by the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts and the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University. Participants were asked to reimagine a vacant lot in St. Louis’ Grand Center cultural district while exploring the critical role arts and culture play in creating vibrant, growing communities. The competition aims to demonstrate how small-scale interventions can spur large-scale urban transformation, and Freecell's proposal was selected for their ability to visualize Grand Center’s long-term vitality, emphasizing community engagement, interactive elements, and cross-disciplinary collaboration among St. Louis’ many cultural organizations. More images and information after the break.

St. Louis Public Library / Cannon Design

© Timothy Hursley
© Timothy Hursley
  • Architects: Cannon Design
  • Location: 1301 Olive Street, St. Louis, MO 63103, USA
  • Design Principal: George Nikolajevich, FAIA
  • Project Year: 2012
  • Photographs: Timothy Hursley

© Timothy Hursley © Timothy Hursley © Timothy Hursley © Timothy Hursley

'Future of Cities' Daniel Libeskind Lecture

Taking place this coming Tuesday, April 2nd at 6:30pm, Daniel Libeskind, one of the most celebrated architects working today, will be delivering the 'Future of Cities' lecture as part of the Assembly Series at Washington University in St. LouisHis presentation, sponsored by the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts and the Architecture Student Council, is free and open to the public and will take place in Graham Chapel. Well known for his Jewish Museum in Berlin, the museum’s radical, strikingly asymmetrical design, is a true icon for the city and the country of Germany. He has received numerous awards including the 2001 Hiroshima Art Prize - an award given to an artist whose work promotes international understanding and peace, never before given to an architect. Fore more information, please visit here.

Building Pulitzer Colloquium

Taking place February 8-9, the Building Pulitzer Colloquium, which is free and open to the public, will bring together key participants in the design and construction of this iconic building. The colloquium will provide unique insight into the extraordinary collaboration and dedication required to realize this project. Hosted by the The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts and Washington University in St. Louis, the event focuses on how this building, designed by an internationally recognized architect, was completed. Topics will include the working structure between Tadao Ando’s office and the St. Louis-based team, the realization of Ando’s design intent through the translation of American methods of construction, and the creation of a work environment that fostered construction excellence. More information on the event after the break.

Video: Wang Shu Interviewed in St. Louis

Two days before lecturing at Washington University’s Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, Wang Shu was announced as the recipient of the 2012 Pritzker Prize. In this interview, Wang Shu discusses his work with architectural historian Robert McCarter, the Sam Fox School’s Ruth and Norman Moore Professor of Architecture, and Seng Kuan, assistant professor of architecture. The interview takes place in the University’s Mildred Land Kemper Art Museum, designed by Pritzker laureate and former WUSTL professor, Fumihiko Maki.

Bob Cassilly, an influential St. Louis sculptor dies at 61

Photo by Frank Peters - http://www.flickr.com/photos/fwp/
Photo by Frank Peters - http://www.flickr.com/photos/fwp/

An important St. Louis, Missouri scupltor lost his life this week. 61 year old artist and entrepreneur Bob Cassilly died in a construction accident on Sunday September 26th at the site of his most recent project, Cementland.

Terrace View Cafe / Studio | Durham Architects

  • Architects: Studio | Durham Architects
  • Location: 808 Chestnut Street, St. Louis, MO 63101, USA
  • Architect: Studio | Durham Architects
  • Project Year: 2009
  • Photographs:  Steve Hall at Heidrich Blessing, Christian Sauer

©  Steve Hall at Heidrich Blessing ©  Steve Hall at Heidrich Blessing ©  Steve Hall at Heidrich Blessing ©  Steve Hall at Heidrich Blessing

Material Landscapes / Liane Hancock

© Melissa Kaseman
© Melissa Kaseman

Material Landscapes is an exhibition that recently opened at the Sheldon Art Gallery in St. Louis, Missouri. The show is curated by Liane Hancock, Assistant Professor at Louisiana Tech University.  It features materiality in contemporary landscape architecture through projects by a group of national and international landscape architects.

AD Classics: Gateway Arch / Eero Saarinen

  • Architects: Eero Saarinen
  • Location: St. Louis, Missouri, USA
  • Architect: Eero Saarinen
  • References: Wikipedia / Gateway Arch
  • Project Year: 1965

AD Classics: Gateway Arch / Eero Saarinen AD Classics: Gateway Arch / Eero Saarinen AD Classics: Gateway Arch / Eero Saarinen AD Classics: Gateway Arch / Eero Saarinen

The Pruitt-Igoe Myth: An Urban History

© The Pruitt-Igoe Myth
© The Pruitt-Igoe Myth

At a screening of The Pruitt-Igoe Myth: An Urban History in New York City, a man in front of me wondered aloud “Do you think there are more urban planners, or St. Louis people here?”  The film’s crowd drew heavily from both and also attracted people with interests in social housing, modernism, racial tensions, architecture, and documentary films.  Prior to the screening, the crowd was easily divided into two groups: those with an interest in Pruitt-Igoe as a case study, and those with a personal connection to St. Louis city’s triumphs and struggles.  By the end of the show, The Pruitt-Igoe Myth left every viewer knowledgable about the city’s past, as well as invested in St. Louis’ future.  More after the break.

Exhibition: "American City: St. Louis Architecture"

Jewel Box / 1936 / William C.E. Becker
Jewel Box / 1936 / William C.E. Becker

The Missouri Botanical Garden presents a photographic exhibition documenting many of St. Louis’s most architecturally impressive structures. View “American City: St. Louis Architecture” on display Friday, June 10 through Sunday, Aug. 21 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily in the Garden’s Ridgway Visitor Center. The exhibit is included with Garden admission. “American City: St. Louis Architecture” features over 70 large-scale color images by award-winner architectural photographer William Zbaren, including the iconic Linnean House conservatory and Museum Building at the Missouri Botanical Garden. The images are from the new architectural monograph, “American City: St. Louis Architecture: Three Centuries of Classic Design,” by Zbaren and architectural writer Robert Sharoff. The book – the first new monograph on the city since the 1920s – depicts 50 of the city’s most architecturally significant structures and is available at the Missouri Botanical Garden’s Garden Gate Shop. For more information on the exhibition please click here. And check “Seven Amazing Structures You Kidn’t Know Were In St. Louis” images after the break.

AD Classics: AD Classics: Wainwright Building / Adler & Sullivan

  • Architects: Adler & Sullivan
  • Location: Saint Louis, Missouri, United States
  • Architect: Louis Sullivan & Dankmar Adler (Adler & Sullivan)
  • References: Donald Hoffman, Robert Twombly
  • Project Year: 1891
  • Photographs: University of Missouri

© University of Missouri AD Classics: AD Classics: Wainwright Building / Adler & Sullivan © University of Missouri © University of Missouri