As August draws to a close and our holidays - be they from work or school - already start to feel like distant memories, perhaps it's a good moment to reflect on our faith in what we do. Sometimes design affords us the ability to oversee massive and exciting change. Sometimes projects don't work out, despite our best efforts. And sometimes, design isn't as capable of making change as we believe it to be. This week's stories touched on our faith in design in a range of ways, from the literal (such as the bright churches of Kerala) to the more abstract (how much good taste in fast food design actually equates to good tastes.) Read on for this week's review.
Slow Moves in Fast Food
With the opening of Ross Barney Architects’ sleek new McDonald’s flagship in Chicago (replacing a much loved post-modernist building from the brand), fast food has been on the mind. Brands have increasingly been abandoning or updating their corporate design standards to build locations that seem less fast food and more high brow. But changes in design don’t necessarily signify changes in product or delivery - so how much is actually on the line?
The big question here isn’t how fast food is modernizing: it’s whether design is a signifier of change or if it’s simply a distraction.
Foster + Partners
It was an up and down week for Foster + Partners. The good news: approval has gone through through for a tower in Budapest, despite a recent city-wide cap on building heights (no more than 65 metres, according to the new edict.) The Hungarian city has recently cracked down on towers in an effort to preserve the historic cityscape.
The firm was also heavily featured in the program for this year's Open House London (set to take place 22-23 September), which released their catalogue this past Tuesday. Projects from the firm that are open to view include the recently completed Bloomberg Europe HQ (shortlisted for the 2018 RIBA Stirling Prize), London City Hall, and the firm's own office. If you're in the capital, be sure to book quickly: reservations are limited and spaces are going fast!
But not everything has come up roses for the "Britain's Most Successful Architect." The firm's joint proposal with FR-EE for Mexico City's new airport hit a roadblock this week as the country’s president-elect called for a public referendum to determine the fate of the project. This isn’t the first project from a major design firm to undergo public review in the last few months - only time will tell if things will take off.
Point and Shoot
World Photography Day may have been last Sunday, but with the last days of summer upon us there are still more than enough excuses to get outside. Those starting out in photography already know: it’s more challenging to choose the right lens than it is to take a good photo. If you’re looking for advice, then look no further than this guide to lenses for architectural photography. Or, if you’re more interested in the wider perspective, perhaps an overview of drone photography might suit your needs better. No matter your needs or interests, we’ve got you covered.
Speaking of drones, Ennead released drone coverage of their construction site for their Shanghai Planetarium project, currently set to open in 2020. Check out the progress (set to some very dramatic mood music), here.
Finnish-American (and father-son) architects Eliel and Eero Saarinen marked a joint birthday this past Monday (145 and 108 years, respectively.) Their familial relationship may be an unusual coincidence and major point of interest, but their influence architecture is far from shared. From the academic impact of Michigan’s Cranbrook Academy to the sweeping hyperbolas of the TWA terminal, the work of both designers continues to echo through architectural practice today.
Bookmark it for the Weekend
Revisit the weird and wonderful churches of Kerala, as photographed by Stefanie Zoche. The structures, which are a riot of colour and cheerful postmodernism, show a buoyancy not often seen in religious architecture. In short, the perfect cap to a long week.