Arquitectura à Moda do Porto: Episode 8 – The Skylights of Porto

We have teamed up with Building PicturesFilipa Figueira and Tiago Vieira to feature weekly episodes of their series “,” which highlights ’s most significant buildings over the last two decades.

The series launched in 2013 and is composed of 10 episodes, each focusing on a different theme: light, stairs, balconies, nature, , doors, windows, skylights, pavements and structures.

Last week we featured the series’ seventh episode about Porto’s windows, and now we present Episode 8 – Skylights. Read the producers’ description of the latest episode after the break.

“Spanning the Future” Documentary Traces the Life and Work of Frei Otto

Aviary at the Munich Zoo. Image Courtesy of Atelier Warmbronn

Frei Otto: Spanning the Future,” a documentary profiling the internationally renowned architect and engineer Frei Otto, has been in production since 2012. Otto, who was named the 2015 Pritzker Prize laureate on Tuesday evening (following his death on Monday night), first gained international recognition half a century ago as a pioneer in designing tensile structures using metal frames and lightweight membranes.

Video: Frei Otto’s German Pavilion at Expo 67

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Last night German architect Frei Otto was selected as the 2015 Pritzker Prize Laureate, the second German to win the award and the first to receive the award posthumously. The video above shows the impressive construction process of Otto’s German Pavilion at the 1967 International and Universal Exposition in Montreal (although unfortunately without sound).

Covering an area of 8,000 square meters, the pavilion featured a large, steel mesh web suspended over eight steel masts, which were located at irregular intervals and supported by anchored cables located outside of the structure.  A transparent polyester fabric was then placed over the mesh roof, creating a tent.  The whole construction took only six weeks.

Architecture Documentaries To Watch In 2015

Microtopia (2013) /

Following our top 40 Architecture Docs to Watch in 2014 and our favourite 30 Architecture Docs to Watch in 2013, 2015 is no exception! Our latest round up continues to feature a fantastic range of and documentaries telling the tales of unsung architectural heroes and unheard urban narratives from around the world. This entirely fresh selection looks past the panoply of stars to bring you more of the best architectural documentaries which will provoke, intrigue and beguile.

From a film which explores one man’s dream to build a cathedral (#4) and a simultaneous history of and vision of Rotterdam’s future (#7), to a tour of the world’s last surviving squatter town in Copenhagen (#14) and A Short History of Abandoned Sets in Morocco (#16), we present – in no particular order – thirty freshly picked documentaries for you to watch in 2015.

Arquitectura à Moda do Porto: Episode 6 – Walking Through the Doors of Porto

We teamed up with Building PicturesFilipa Figueira and Tiago Vieira to feature weekly episodes of their video series “,” which highlights Porto’s most significant buildings over the last 20 years.

The series was launched in December 2013 and is comprised of 10 episodes, each focusing on a different theme: light, stairs, balconies, nature, textures, doors, windows, , pavements and structures.

Last week we presented the series’ fifth episode on Porto’s textures, and now we present Episode 6 – Doors. Read the producers’ description of the video after the break.

Arquitectura à Moda do Porto: Episode 5 – the Varied Textures of Porto

We teamed up with Building PicturesFilipa Figueira and Tiago Vieira to feature weekly episodes of their video series “,” which highlights ’s most significant buildings over the last 20 years.

The series was launched in December 2013 and is comprised of 10 episodes, each focusing on a different theme: light, stairs, balconies, nature, textures, doors, windows, skylights, pavements and .

Last week we presented the series’ fourth episode on Porto’s natural environment, and now we present Episode 5 – Textures. Read the producers’ description of the video after the break.

Video: Architect Rob Quigley on the 35-Year Struggle to Build the San Diego Library

“Big things don’t happen overnight,” says architect Rob Quigley, speaking to Breadtruck Films, “and civic buildings certainly don’t happen overnight.” The words ring true in the context of Quigley’s San Diego New Central Library, which opened in 2013 following a protracted 17 year period of design and construction. After conceiving of the design in 1996, Quigley’s plans for the library were “put on the back burner” when planning authorities chose to halt construction on the project in favor of a new ballpark. Construction eventually recommenced years later, in what has since been described as “absolutely a surreal experience.”

In this Quigley describes the driving force of “creating an architecture that responds honestly and authentically to who we are,” and how the library has come to be a “symbol of [San Diego]‘s commitment to learning and literacy.” 

Don’t Sell Yourself Short: Architects Address Social Polarization in Chile

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With almost half of the world’s wealth owned by 1% of the population, the spatial and physical effects of this inequality are becoming more pronounced in the world’s cities, and mitigating this polarization of society is an increasingly pressing issue. A new project led by the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, in collaboration with Architects without Borders and Emergency Architecture & Human Rights.DK, is addressing this issue in Chile, with a development project proposal for Santiago’s largest unofficial settlement.

“Polarization of society is a global problem and this project presents a unique solution that could be applied in many places,” explains Borys Wrzeszcz, a Polish architect who started the project after returning from an exchange program in . “The idea is to keep the entire existing urban structure, fulfilling the inhabitants basic needs by providing water, electricity and the possibility to build multistory – and to do all this in the cheapest way and be fully compatible with inhabitants’ wishes and without any damage to existing green spaces.”

Wrzeszcz is joined by Chilean architect Jorge Lobos and Katrine Lotz, the Institute Leader of the Department for Architecture, Urbanism & Societal Change at the Royal Danish Academy. Watch the short film above to learn more about the group’s “Polarization of Chilean Society Prevention Project.”

Video: vPPR on Working in a Male-Dominated Industry

© Crane.

Fresh from their appearance on the AJ’s Emerging Woman Architect of the Year shortlist, London-based vPPR Architects spoke to Crane.tv about working in a male-dominated industry as a practice helmed by three women. “Our identity stands out, so it’s easy for people to remember us,” said co-founder Catherine Pease. “We do bring something different to the company than three male directors.”

Another of the firm’s co-founders Tatiana von Preussen described ’s overall approach to design as being “interested in clusters of buildings… in a way it’s not really so much about the certain sector.”

“It’s more about the approach to different kinds of use,” von Preussen said, “…the spaces in and around them and how these two things relate to each other.”

Arquitectura à Moda do Porto: Episode 2, Climbing the Stairs of Porto

ArchDaily has teamed up with Building PicturesFilipa Figueira and Tiago Vieira to feature weekly episodes of their series “Arquitectura à Moda do Porto,” which highlights Porto’s most significant buildings over the last two decades.

The series launched in 2013 and is comprised of 10 episodes, each focusing on a different theme: light, stairs, balconies, nature, textures, doors, windows, skylights, pavements and structures.

Last week we featured the series’ first episode about Porto’s shimmering lights, and now we present Episode 2 – Stairs. Read the producers’ description of Episode 2 after the break.

Video: ZAO/standardarchitecture’s Zhang Ke on “Contemplating Basics”

In conjunction with “Contemplating Basics,” the 35th Aedes Architecture Forum’s exhibition of work by Beijing-based ZAO/standardarchitecture, Reframe presents an interview the firm’s founder, Zhang Ke, and Dr Eduard Kögel, an Urban Planner and critic from Berlin.

Since its establishment in 2001, has produced a diverse portfolio of projects responding to the specific nature and local culture of their sites, and mediating between traditional values and contemporary means of production. Keenly engaged with social issues, Ke recognises the importance of designing in a manner that is cognisant of broader context and bridges the gap between tradition and modernity.

“Every generation of course needs to go back to the original questions… ‘Okay, what architecture can grow out of this place in our time, and with our interaction with the local people and local techniques?’” he asks, “The results could be striking but the departure point is basic.”

ZAO/standardarchitecture has been responsible for large urban museums and small scale rural interventions alike, adopting in all cases this democratic approach to design.

“I learnt neither to look up nor to look down,” Ke said, “But to look straight in the eye, which means that you truly respect the culture.”

Video: Alison And Peter Smithson On Housing

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In 1970 the followed architects Alison and Peter Smithson through the construction of their seminal housing project, Robin Hood Gardens (London). The impact of their architecture continues to resonate well into the 21st century, most recently in the British Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Biennale. Robin Hood Gardens was demolished in 2013, bringing an end to the Smithson’s utopian vision. Listen to Alison Smithson explain the European Housing Condition (as the vision stood in 1970), the state of British infrastructure as it was, and hear Peter Smithson discuss the impetus for their most famous collective housing project.

Video: Olafur Eliasson Gives Advice to Young Creatives

“Be very sensitive to where you are, in what times and in what parts of the world, and how that constitutes the artistic practice,” says Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson in this recent video from Louisiana Channel. In Advice to the Young, Eliasson deliberates on creative practice, urging young artists to take risks and produce meaningful work. “Just because you think about a work of art,” says Eliasson, “it is not necessarily a work of art.” Most recently, Eliasson has made headlines for his immersive exhibition Riverbed at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art which explores the intersection between nature and the built environment. Revered as one of the world’s leading sculptural and installation artists, Eliasson is adamant that the practice of working with art remains to be “very fierce, very strong and very robust.”

Video: The Glass House / Workshop “filming architecture”

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In a three day pilot workshop, students from the Architecture and Urbanism School of Mackenzie Presbyterian University in São Paulo took part in an introduction to architecture filmmaking. Coordinated by architects Gabriel Kogan and Pedro Kok, the group spent a day at Lina Bo Bardi‘s Glass House in São Paulo following theoretical and technical lectures.

The idea was to recreate – now in moving images – an iconic photograph of the site  by exploring issues of representation, transparency, interior/exterior, promenades, ways of living and the tectonics of this architectural masterpiece.

The Top Places To Watch Architectural Lectures Online

Louis I. Kahn lecturing at the ETH Zurich (Switzerland). Image © Peter Wenger

As we enter December and the holidays draw nearer (and we might be looking forward to a little extra time on our hands), we’ve gathered together some of our favourite sources for watching architectural online. Ranging from Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel’s famous American Architecture Now interviews with Frank Gehry in 1980 and Robert Venturi and Denise Scott-Brown in 1984, to Sir Peter Cook speaking at Frankfurt’s Staedelschule in 2012, these open-source films provide invaluable insights into architects and architects throughout recent history.

Check out our favourite sources after the break.

Video: Sheppard Robson Underlines Importance of Hand Sketching

Our friends at Crane.tv have brought you the personal insights of Dan Burr and Lee Bennett of Sheppard Robson on the innumerable merits of hand sketching in the design process. The architects describe the process of designing within a team and communicating ideas to clients through simple and powerful visuals. Explaining their current projects, the two discuss the various roles of computer generated drawings versus hand drawings, and the instrumental value a single drawing could have in shaping a client-designer relationship, or the entire trajectory of a project.

Lee Bennet muses, “When you’re working with a computer, there’s a machine in the way. When you’re drawing, its an instant connection between your brain and the paper, and there’s something kind of instant about it, and magical.”

Video: Paulo Mendes da Rocha’s Cais das Artes / Pedro Kok

This video by architecture photographer, Pedro Kok, takes us behind the scenes of the construction of the Cais das Artes (Quay of Arts) building in Brazil. Located in the southeastern coastal city of Vitória, the building was designed by Paulo Mendes da Rocha in collaboration with METRO Arquitetos.

The video was produced for La Triennale di Milano’s exhibition, “ – Technique and Imagination,” and captures – through impeccable shots – the work that went into constructing the enormous cultural complex.

Video: Alvaro Siza Denounces Architecture’s “Hyper-Specialization”

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In this , produced by Hugo Oliveira, Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza denounces the ”hyper-specialization” of architecture, outlining its academic roots as well as its practical implications for practice. Siza mentions how, in Portugal, a law was considered to limit architects to their specific specialities – exterior architects could not design interiors, for example. According to Siza, this tendency towards “hyper” or over specialization is unfortunate, as it gives rise to the segmentation of the discipline into subcategories - interior architecture, exterior architecture, landscape architecture, etc. - that undermine collaboration and team work.

Also make sure to check out the first part of this interview, where Siza discusses the obsolescence of buildings.