The Cultural Landscape Foundation recently launched its newest documentary as part of the ongoing Oral History series, this time focusing on the ideas and career of Laurie Olin, a recipient of the National Medal of the Arts and one of the greatest landscape architects of our time. Olin’s influential work as a practitioner, educator and author over the past forty years has helped to guide the future of landscape architecture and shape urban life around the world.
São Paulo: 5 Grandes Construções (Sao Paulo: 5 Great Buildings) highlights the Martinelli Building, Banespa, MASP, COPAN and Unique. Clearly inspired by ”Chicago – Five Great Buildings,” by Al Boardman, the video uses simple, fluid lines to represent and reveal each building’s unique form.
Chris Baribeau of Modus Studio is the exemplar of a “community builder.” With a mantra that moves beyond the building and believes the architect to be responsible for the creation of healthy and thoughtful places, Baribeau and his Fayetteville-based practice have built works that transcends ordinary design. Embodying everything in which drives Modus Studio, the award-winning Eco Modern Flats serves as a prime example of community-based, sustainable design.
In the latest of NOWNESS‘ spectacular videos, Ole Scheeren – a former partner at OMA and now principal of Büro Ole Scheeren in Beijing – reflects on the past decade he has spent in China overseeing construction of the CCTV Headquarters. He muses over the delicate balancing act that Western architects maintain when they work in China, simultaneously bringing change to the city and allowing the city to change who they are and how they see the world. In this context, where change is “something that you are immediately and instantly confronted with” he believes that the CCTV Building is “both confrontational and complicit”.
It has been a long road for Foster + Partners‘s team since first taking on the design for Apple’s new campus in 2009. Four years later, despite the criticism and budget concerns, plans for Apple’s corporate headquarters have been approved by Cupertino’s planning commission. A recent video from the Cupertino City Council reveals some insight into the design decisions, including statements by Sir Norman Foster. As Foster states in the video, CEO Steve Jobs called him “out of the blue” in 2009 and said, “It’s Steve: Hi Norman, I need some help.”
Powerful video projectors at an affordable price have opened the path for a young, impressive art form: 3D video mapping, a means of projection that uses the architecture itself as the screen. Artists and researchers initiated the movement, developing a new visual language to interpret architecture. Later, marketing adopted this technique for branding, with large-scale projections on skyscrapers; political activists have also initiated dialogues, turning ephemeral light interventions into eye-catching ways to point out and address urban design issues.
More on the ways artists and groups develop this visual language for urban storytelling, after the break…
Tourists in India dutifully make the rounds, visiting the spectacular temples, palaces, and forts the country has to offer. But, even when they’re practically under their feet, people often forget about stepwells, the massive subterranean (up to ten stories) structures that dot the Indian landscape.
As this video explains, stepwells, first constructed around 300 CE, were born out of a need to dependably collect and store water. They boast highly complex circulation and ornamentation, and over the years have evolved to function also as community centres and temples. But, as architecture journalist Victoria Lautman has pointed out, with the spread of industrialisation and drought (not to mention widespread demolition), stepwells are slowly becoming derelict.
In one of the latest short films from Nowness, director Matthew Donaldson explores the home of Ruth and Richard Rogers in London’s Chelsea. What appears to be a typical Georgian terrace from the outside, complete with “a resplendent facade in London brick with uniform windows and smart stucco”, opens up into a bold, colourful and homely series of internal spaces that could only belong to Richard Rogers.
Kyoto-based architects Kentaro Takeguchi and Asako Yamamoto of Alphaville Architects have completed a small guest house for tourists visiting the sacred Koyasan (Mt. Koya) in Wakayama Prefecture, Japan. The 96 m2 (1,033 ft2) building contains bedrooms, capsule-style dormitory rooms, a bar, and lounge. Between the bar, hallway, and lounge, 2 x 4 and 2 x 6 timber frames are exposed inside at varying intervals to act as partitions
This video was provided by JA+U.
Spirit of Space has shared with us their most recent collaboration with Phil Enquist of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill: Art in the City. Pairing powerful quotes with imagery from the Chicago’s most prominent works, the film “expresses the vitality and vibrance that public art can bring to the urban environment by experientially including the viewer in the making of place.” As Spirit of Space describes, “The art is a reflection of the City, the art becomes a part of the City, the art is instrumental in making the City.”
Featured works include Picasso’s sculpture for Daley Plaza, along with Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate and Jaume Plensa’s Crown Fountain in Millennium Park.
This Parisian ghost town in Tianducheng, China has become the archetype of China’s architectural copycat culture. Brought to light by the folks at The Atlantic Cities, this short video by German filmmaker Caspar Stracke accounts for an average day in this faux-Parisian development where less than 10,000 residents call home.
For more about China’s copycat culture, read Why China’s Copy-Cats Are Good For Architecture.
Captured by JA+U, this short film takes you on a tour through a 2011, Kazuyo Sejima & Associates-designed office space in Shibaura, Tokyo. Open and transparent, the five double-height, split-level floors are designed to visually connect movement throughout the building, from the ground level public cafe to the generous outdoor terrace on the fifth floor.
With the help of crowdfunding, Luke Shepard journeyed with a friend through 36 cities in 21 countries over the course of three months to capture over 20,000 images of some of Europe’s greatest structures. The end product resulted in a four-minute film entitled Nightvision, which aims to inspire appreciation for the “brilliance and diversity of architecture found across Europe”.
The list of buildings featured in this film can be found on Shepard’s site here.
Why Sustainability Has Nothing to Do with Architecture and Everything to Do with Integrity: A Lecture by Alejandro Aravena
At a lecture he delivered in April this year the 4th Holcim Forum 2013 in Mumbai, Pritzker Jury member and Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena approached sustainability from an unconventional angle. The key to achieving the “Economy of Sustainable Construction” (the title of this year’s Holcim Forum), Aravena claims, requires two things: “in this generation, more psychiatrists; in the next generations, more breasts.”
Yes, psychiatrists and breasts. How did Aravena come to this conclusion? Through his firm ELEMENTAL’s work in the earthquake- and tsunami-damaged Chilean city of Constitución, he realized that their biggest challenge for reconstructing and initiating changes in the built environment lay in the lack of integrity among decision-makers. In the lecture, Aravena proclaims: ”sustainability is nothing but the rigorous use of common sense.” By outlining a general list of points (established throughout years of designing an array of different projects in Chile and abroad), he reveals that projects that are truly ground-breaking or innovative, can and should, in fact, be traced back to general precepts that transcend sophisticated notions of architecture and the role of the architect.
Aravena contends that a person’s capacity to hold a particular view in private but abandon that view when it comes time to do business is the greatest testament to our (architects, politicians, developers, etc) endemic lack of integrity. “Integrity is, by it’s very definition, to be just one… Integrity is achieved when you are secure, and security comes from bonding.” It’s one thing to believe in the importance of building sustainably; it’s another thing to say “but business is business” while abandoning what one believes to be essential to effect change.
To a certain extent, it has been ably demonstrated that many of the hurdles barring truly sustainable practices spring from basic economic constraints. Until “sustainable” construction is cheaper than accepted and entrenched construction methods, we cannot reasonably expect that alternative practices can stand a chance at becoming commonplace. “There’s not doubt that there is a value in sustainable construction, but the way things are today we must pay a higher cost to achieve that value.” And so, through the provision of psychotherapy for the current generation, and with the focus on bonding between parent and child, it is Aravena’s hope that the improvement of the current state of affairs resides in a basic, undeniable form of education that is separate from a technical understanding of the practice of architecture and building. In stepping back and considering a much larger and formative issue, he concludes that ”the way to lower carbon emissions is through oxytocin.”
Urban explorer The Unknown Cameraman takes us inside an abandoned Futuro House, one of the roughly hundred that were constructed in the 1960s/1970s. Shot around “various undisclosed locations in New Jersey” the video shows the futuristic saucer-shaped prefabricated dwelling made of fiberglass-reinforced polyester plastic. Matti Suuronen, the Finn who conceived of the hatched house, thought of it as the ideal ski cabin (that could be plopped down and easily removed, regardless of the roughness of a given terrain).
Juan Herreros is one of the most influential Spanish architects practicing today. Executing a delicate balance between his role defining the practice of architecture with work in the academy, he has not only overseen the construction of significant built projects, but also teaches at School of Architecture of Madrid and is a Full Professor at GSAPP Columbia University in New York. It was recently announced that his winning proposal for the Munch Museum/Deichman Library competition was given the green light. The museum will house the world’s largest collection of Edvard Munch artworks and is scheduled to open in 2018.
Herreros strives to highlight architecture’s multi-faceted, multi-disciplinary nature by revealing the complex relationships that lie behind individual projects—undergirded by what Herreros identifies as a “technical culture” (see the exhibition Dialogue Architecture that he curated at the last Venice Biennale).
Together with Iñaki Abalos he founded Abalos&Herreros in 1984. In 1992 they founded the International Multimedia League (LMI), an organization that contributes to the simpliﬁcation and intensiﬁcation of artistic practice. Since 2006 he practices with the firm Herreros Arquitectos a collaborative office that has won numerous competitions and commissions. His projects can be found around the world and range from schemes for public spaces to designs for houses.
“Something unique about [our] studio is that, given the difficulties of doing research in architecture today and the usefulness of the “research applied to architecture” concept, we maintain two open, integrated lines of work: one line maintains small projects, very quick, very immediate; and the other is related to the large projects, generally the result of international competitions around the world.”
Check out a full transcript of our interview with Herreros after the break…
Not long ago we sat down with Ada Tolla and Giuseppe Lignano of LOT-EK—a New York City- and Naples-based architectural design studio. Known for their work with shipping containers, they discuss the learning curve they have endured by using objects that fall outside of the typical materials specified in manuals. LOT-EK also explains that they have been influenced by the freedom exercised in contemporary art. In their attempt to look at the world through “different eyes,” they find that networking is indispensable since it “makes what [they] do relevant” and opens them up to new opportunities.
Widely acclaimed for the work on projects such as PUMA City, Pier 57 and Sanlitun South, LOT-EK has been practicing since 1993. Tolla and Lignano also teach at Columbia University’s GSAPP in New York, and at the MIT’s Graduate Department of Architecture, in Cambridge, MA.
Hear what they have to say about running a practice, studying architecture and balancing their projects in an increasingly globalized system in our interview. And check out LOT-EK’s projects on ArchDaily:
In this interview by Hugo Oliveira, Álvaro Siza presents his ideas on the link between obsolescence and quality in architecture, and the role that a design’s flexibility plays in this relationship. He argues that the convent is perhaps the best example of a typology which is both fit for purpose and very flexible, allowing myriad other uses when its lifespan as a convent has ended. He also laments the current tendency to design a building for a very short period of time – intended to last only as long as it is needed for its original function. He links this tendency back to the Futurists of the early 20th century, where the idea was that “each generation makes its own environment which is later destroyed”, an idea he dismisses since “it also allows you to build badly because it only needs to last twenty years”.
You can see how Siza creates this flexibility in his own work by looking at his past projects featured on ArchDaily: