A new hour long documentary for PBS’ series, Building the Great Cathedrals, explores the mystery of how, in the 15th century, Florentine architect Filippo Brunelleschi constructed one of the largest domes the world had ever seen. Winning what could be considered one of the earliest architectural competitions, Brunelleschi developed a unique system that allowed construction on the dome to occur while services were being conducted in the cathedral 100 metres below. The team in this episode model this freestanding structure in an attempt to understand just how Brunelleschi achieved such a feat of Renaissance engineering.
You can find out more about the film here. Please note that the film is only viewable through PBS within the USA. For those of you outside the USA, you can watch the 30 second preview above; for those in the USA, see the full video after the break…
The Italian furniture brand Arper recently reissued Lina Bo Bardi‘s signature Bowl Chair. The pioneering project of the Brazilian-Italian architect presents a more relaxed approach to “sitting” – one that was fairly radical when it was originally released in 1951. The reissue of the chair – presented at the Salone del Mobile 2013 – is a testament to the forward-thinking vision of the architect.
Arper, who worked in partnership with the Instituto Lina Bo e P.M. Bardi to produce the Bowl Chair, based the design on the original prototype drawings. The genius of the chair is in its simple execution: consisting of two loose parts – an upholstered shell on a metal structure – the seat remains free to move in all directions. It is a chair for living, not just for sitting, and (as with all of Bo Bardi’s works) places the human at the center of the design.
In this powerful interview, Jean Nouvel explains his relationship to Arabic architecture. Discussing his various projects in Arabic countries – such as his office tower in Doha or the Louvre Abu Dhabi - Nouvel discusses how he is influenced by and integrates the abstraction and geometry of traditional Islamic architecture into his modern designs. He also espouses a strong opinion on the understanding of context in architecture, saying: “I’m a contextual architect, but for me the context isn’t only the site. It’s above all a wider historical context – a cultural context… each time, building is trying to continue a history, and to take part in this history.” His architecture, he says, is about listening: “The architect is not meant to impose his own values or his own sensitivities on such general plans.” Video via Louisiana.
As an accompaniment to their ongoing Sensing Spaces Exhibition in London, the Royal Academy of Arts has produced six wonderful films interviewing the architects involved in the exhibition, unearthing what motivates and inspires them as architects, and what the primary themes of their exhibition projects are.
The above video features both Álvaro Siza and Eduardo Souto de Moura, who both designed their Sensing Spaces exhibits with the other in mind. Siza explains his preoccupation with the joints between the natural and the man-made through his Leça Swimming Pool complex, and the way the rock formations informed his interventions. He also introduces his one-time protégé Souto de Moura’s Braga stadium as expressing the same understanding of the natural and man-made.
See videos from the 5 other Sensing Spaces participants after the break
In an hour long documentary for PBS, Geoffrey Baer tours the USA in search of the ten buildings that “changed America.” From a state capitol designed by Thomas Jefferson to resemble a Roman temple to Henry Ford’s factory that first saw the Model T enter production, the film explores the “shocking, funny, and even sad stories of how these buildings were created.” Investigating places of worship, shopping malls, concert halls and skyscrapers this film is tipped as ”a journey inside the imaginations of the daring architects who set out to change the way we live, work, and play.”
Find out more about the film here. Please note that the film is only viewable within the USA.
Architectural photographer Yohan Zerdoun has sent us this lovely video that explores the Peres Center for Peace, by architects Massimiliano & Doriana Fuksas, in Tel Aviv. With a keen eye for detail and an understanding of the building’s human scale, Zerdoun sets up each shot so that the architecture – and its gorgeous context – can be truly appreciated. Enjoy!
Spanish architecture photographer Miguel de Guzmán has released a new video, just in time for Christmas. The video covers three light installations in Berlin designed by Brut Deluxe: the first, a huge light dome, the second consisting of five big three-dimensional light cubes, and the third, an artificial landscape built of 50 light shrubs. All of the installations are designed to create atmospheric spaces that can be entered and experienced. Check out more of his videos here, and some great pictures of the installations after the break…
In a profession all-too-often associated with and dominated by men, women have begun to carve a space for themselves in the architecture world – but still few are recognized as they deserve.
So Alice Shure and Janice Stanton, the founders of Amici Productions LLC, began work on a new documentary, Making Space: a visual register for future generations of architects that will document what is changing in architecture today and how these changes are affecting women.
After interviewing over 30 architects, Shure and Stanton selected five women, five “rising stars” to hi-light. The documentary will show their day-to-day lives as well as tell the stories of how they achieved success.
Thanks to a recent Kickstarter campaign, this project will soon be a reality. But to get your sneak peek into these five female pioneers, read on after the break.
Where does architecture and the automobile industry meet? Many architects, including Le Corbusier, have tried to understand how building construction can be more like car manufacturing, with mass-produced parts that can be easily assembled on site. Ford recently explored the idea at their Design with a Purpose: Built Tough panel discussion held at New York’s Center for Architecture. Click here to read The New York Times‘ coverage of the discussion, and check out ArchDaily editor-in-chief’s thoughts on cars and architecture here.
The view was produced by Taller de Casquería; Luis Rodriguez Carnero plays the protagonist.
From the architect. Through travellings, point perspectives, a main character and a plot trick, the film creates a catalogue of experiences that open up a path to describing architectural spaces without conventional cliches, without still photos, and amplifies the importance of the human scale in the communication of architecture.
You can see more of the house here.
In China’s effort to modernize its cities, it has used architectural mimicry – essentially “copy-cat architecture” as journalist and author Bianca Bosker puts it – to rapidly and substantially “adapt to the market” for urban development. Watch this video as Bosker describes the atmosphere of imitation that China has adapted to bring western architectural styles to its housing market. Bianca Bosker is the author of “Original Copies: Architectural Mimicry in Contemporary China”, in which she gives a tour of the various towns within major cities that have seen this rapid development. Cities like Hangzhou has its own imitation of Venice, which includes man-made canals, townhouses, and villas. Shanghai has its own version of Paris, Eiffel Tower included. And Beijing has an imitation of the London Bridge.
More after the break.
At 71, the 2013 Pritzker Prize winner Toyo Ito is not content with settling down just yet, at least not architecturally-speaking. Where many architects have established distinct styles, Ito is known for constantly shifting, experimenting, questioning and developing his approach to architecture. As one member of the Prtizker jury put it “he has been working on one project all along – to push the boundaries of architecture. And to achieve that goal, he is not afraid of letting go what he has accomplished before.”
In this video entitled Learning from Laureates - which comes courtesy of the good folks at ARCHITECT magazine - fellow experimentalist and Pritzker Prize recipient (not to mention 2013 AIA Gold Medalist) Thom Mayne gets to grips with Ito’s motivation. The pair of laureates converse via Skype examining the drive behind Ito’s evolutionary approach, before getting down to discussing how they think architecture is being affected by society’s biggest change yet – the advent of the post-digital age.
See more of Ito’s work along with some of our previous coverage after the break…
Architects and students worldwide are highly anticipating the Monday premiere of Archiculture - a documentary that offers a unique glimpse into the world of studio-based, design education through the eyes of five architecture students finishing their final design projects at Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute. The film, directed and produced by two architect-turned-filmmakers Ian Harris and David Krantz of Arbuckle Industries, features exclusive interviews with leading professionals, historians and educators to help create a crucial dialog around the key issues faced by this unique teaching methodology.
Eager to learn more, we sat down with director Ian Harris for an exclusive interview. Read the interview and share your thoughts after the break.
After years of production, the documentary film Archiculture is set to premiere at this year’s Newport Beach Film Festival, which will commence on April 25th. Highlighting a group of students amidst their final design projects, the film illustrates the strengths and perils of architectural education. Shigeru Ban, Thom Mayne, Ken Frampton and Phil Bernstein are some of the leading architects, educators and historians that will be featured in the film, offering insightful criticism about studio-based, design education as it exists today.
Check out the trailer above and continue after the break for more information.
In an age where almost every conceivable subject has spawned its own reality series – be it Dancing On Ice or Hillbilly-Hand-Fishing - PBS’s new show, Cool Spaces!, aims to stimulate the public’s curiosity by engaging us in the story behind some of North America’s most interesting public buildings. The AIA sponsored show, which is hosted by Boston-based architect Stephen Chung, departs from usual architecture-related television shows, which tend to focus on makeovers of private homes. Not only will this show look at public buildings, but it will also examine the people whose lives it has affected, the places that have shaped it, and the mind of the architect who brought all of these things together to design it.
Read more about the series and see a sneak preview after the break…
Following on from their previous ‘videopolemic’ tribute to Lebbeus Woods, 32BNY has released their second video featuring artist and designer Vito Acconci’s response to the question, “Is architecture art?”. Having straddled both architecture and art throughout his carrer, Acconci is cleary comfortable in discussing their relationship, as he talks passionately about the importance of putting people at the center of both. “Because architecture is used… it can possibly be misused, and once it is misused, I think, the user goes one step further…than the architect”.
More about Acconci after the break…
Intrigued by the hexagonal plan and complex structure of Shigeru Ban’s Centre Pompidou Metz in France, ANTIVJ visual artists Simon Geilfus and Yannick Jacquet, and composer Thomas Vaquié transformed the building’s undulating facade into a digital spectacular with a light show that “abolishes notions of scale by contrasting micro-architecture with human construction”. The piece was loosely inspired by the research of deep-sea expert Peter A. Rona, whose work explores the fascinating marks left by unknown, hexagonal-shaped sea creature called Paleodictyon Nodosum, which Rona believes is designed to cultivate bacteria.
Learn more and watch the making of after the break…
“The works of our artists, architects, and preservationists provide us with another language of diplomacy. A transcendent language that allows us to convey values that are at once uniquely American yet speak to all of humanity. Increasingly in this world, art and architecture help us maintain our sense of openness and liberation.” — Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, April 12, 2010
An embassy is much more than a building or a work of architecture; it functions as a symbolic representation of countries’ relationships to one another. It represents the universal language of diplomacy – “communicating values and ideals, extending well beyond any moment in time”. An embassy has the difficult task of representing two diametrically opposed concepts: security and openness. The former typically overpowers the latter in importance, which is most probably why when we think of foreign embassies, it conjures up images of stately monolithic buildings surrounded by tall fences and menacing guards or “bunkers, bland cubes, lifeless compounds”, according to Tanya Ballard Brown of NPR’s All Things Considered.
More on the design excellence of embassies after the break…