Think about the city or town where you live. How long does it take you to get to the grocery store on foot? Is your school or work close enough to walk to? What about a public park, a doctor’s office, a daycare, or any other places that you visit on a daily basis? While some cities have already considered what it means to live near all of these necessities, others are revamping their urban planning strategies and designing their neighborhoods to be more pedestrian-friendly with the concept of a “15-Minute City”.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has approved a comprehensive plan to transform Champs-Élysées, the city's most famous avenue. Though the €250m makeover will not happen before the French capital hosts the 2024 Summer Olympics, the proposal aims to turn a 1.2 mile stretch of central Paris into an expansive garden. The proposal includes reducing space for vehicles, turning roads into pedestrian green areas, and creating tunnels of trees to improve air quality.
Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, has unveiled plans for a 100-mile long linear city called The Line. Announcing the project in a new video, the city would include a series of walkable communities for a million people with no cars or streets. The project locates essential facilities within a five-minute walk of housing, connected "modules" linking the Red Sea coast with north-west Saudi Arabia as part of the NEOM city-state.
Whether as a retrospective, a collection of contemporary works, or a compilation of prospects for the future - and all the other possibilities in between -, architecture and urban planning exhibitions have played an important role in shaping the future of cities over the decades. These events are often open to the public, reaching many people who don't necessarily have a background in the field, thus providing great environments to explore a collective view of the future of architecture and cities.
This year, architecture’s highest honor, the Pritzker Prize, has been granted to Grafton Architects, a Dublin-based architectural firm mainly ran by female partners Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara. For the first time ever in its 42-year history, due to the constraints set by Covid-19 global pandemic, the organizers of the Pritzker Prize decided to use Livestream the award ceremony. Having reached the end of 2020, ArchDaily has summed up what current and previous Pritzker Prize winners have accomplished during this turbulent year.
This article was originally published on Common Edge.
In 2012, the Yale School of Architecture held a conference on the topic of drawing. It posed a couple of provocative questions: Was the study and practice of architecture already beyond it? Was it is even necessary to draw in order to be an architect? Mark Alan Hewitt’s new book, Draw in Order to See (ORO Editions), is a resounding affirmation that not only must architects draw, they cannot help but do so—it’s like breathing. The connection between the hand and the eye, between a soft pencil and a toothy sheaf of paper, is how architects, in fact, “see.”
Foster + Partners Unveils Lusail Towers in Qatar, a Landmark Project for a New Central Business District in the City
Foster + Partners has revealed its latest project for Qatar, a 1.1 million-square-meter landmark development consisting of four high-rise buildings. Part of a larger masterplan also designed by the architects, to be completed ahead of the 2022 Football World Cup in Qatar, Lusail Towers is envisioned as a “catalyst for a new central business district in the city”.
Snøhetta Introduces New Transformative Architectural and Landscape Features to Austin's Blanton Museum of Art
Transforming the typical artistic experience, Snøhetta proposed a design to renovate the Blanton Museum of Art at The University of Texas at Austin. The comprehensive grounds remodeling seeks to “unify and revitalize the museum campus, […] through architectural and landscape improvements”. Construction is scheduled to begin in early 2021 and conclude by late 2022.
I know what you are wondering and the answer is medium and circumcised. These are just a couple of characteristics that play a part in determining the outcome of Cyberpunk 2077, the most anticipated video game release of 2020 (and possibly ever) by CD Projekt RED. As a player, you experience the main storyline through a genderfluid avatar named V. The game’s namesake stems from a science fiction genre that at its core presents a dystopian hyper-capitalist society intended as a reflective critique of contemporary life—think Philip K. Dick’s work or Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One novel. There are plenty of well-documented issues pertaining to the game, from its perpetuation of techno-orientalism in science fiction to a buggy release resulting in too much attention on the phallic options described above. The game’s criticism of contemporary culture mostly falls flat but inadvertently it has some scathing things to say about architecture.
In November of 2020, Foster + Partners announced a collaboration with the robotics design company Boston Dynamics. Together, the two have been developing a robot called Spot, which is intended to capture and monitor progress in construction sites. The robot boasts the dexterity to climb stairs, avoid obstacles, and traverse rough terrain, allowing it to monitor building sites and collect data quickly and easily. In this way, designers and contractors can remedy errors rapidly and at minimal cost, ensuring that projects progress according to their set timeframes and budgets. With manual data collection, errors might be noticed at a much slower rate and communication between contractors may suffer as well. Thus, Spot optimizes construction monitoring and on-site collaboration.
A “floodscape” could be seen as a contradiction in terms: Flood spreads wherever gravity leads it, covering the familiar topography with a dark, gray, and uniform blanket. In that regard, flood is amorphous, as it can distort and temporarily erase forms and features from the visible landscape—nothing that could be described as a “scape” in the sense of articulated and meaningful scenery.
But when the boundaries of a flood are not just defined by the quantity or the velocity of water but also by landforms and structures carefully designed and placed to influence and shape the “disaster,” the result can be considered as a landscape, physically and culturally defined by flood.
NORD Architects and BBP Arkitekter Win Competition to Design Copenhagen's New "Food Culture" Public School
NORD Architects and BBP Arkitekter recently won the competition to design and build a new public school in one of Copenhagen's most dense urban districts. The challenge of the design was to create a structure that properly fits in the already complex context, complementing the district's "high urban density, postindustrial heritage, and vital infrastructure".
GRAFT and Brandlab have created a prototype for an ultra-fast charging station for E.ON Drive in Europe. The extendable system of modules was made to adapt to different sites and parking conditions. Reimagining the stopover for the future, the project focuses on user experience and integrated design as filling stations evolve over time. The design features a steel skeleton roof structure that can be customized with diverse panel materials, photovoltaics and responsive lighting.
According to Pliny, Roman Emperor Tiberius’s doctors instructed their charge to consume a fruit of the Cucurbits family each day. To grow these melon and cucumber fruits year-round on his home island of Capri, Tiberius directed construction of specularia: “[He] had raised beds made in frames upon wheels, by means of which the Cucumis were moved and exposed to the full heat of the sun; while, in winter, they were withdrawn, and placed under the protection of frames glazed with mirror-stone.”
The first-ever sliding window system for skyscrapers by Swiss company Air-Lux has already proven itself under stringent US testing conditions. Just why it is the first to be suitable for high-rise buildings, with their enormous wind loads, is explained here.
Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) has won the design competition to build Tower C at Shenzhen Bay Super Headquarters Base, in China. The winning design is a multi-dimensional vertical city of two naturally-lit towers that respond to the city's urban intersections.
The Colosseum will undergo a renovation with a new, retractable floor platform. In ancient Rome, thousands gathered to watch enslaved gladiators, criminals, and wild animals fight to the death. These fighters and caged animals would emerge from the ground through secret tunnels beneath the arena’s wooden and sand-covered floor. Colosseum director Alfonsina Russo told the Times that the plan is to host concerts and theater productions on the new floor.
Many initiatives around the world have lately focused on ways to improve the urban environment through the actions of their inhabitants, be it in designing, building, or managing projects. Open-source urbanism is a collaborative approach that seeks to enhance the citizens' capacity for change.
An in-depth look at the concept of open-source urbanism is happening nowadays, and one can find many different definitions and approaches to it. But overall, open-source urbanism can be defined as the co-production of open-source common urban assets.
Dallas is home to a high concentration of structures by world-renowned architects. With some of the most iconic architecture per square mile of any American city, Dallas boasts designs by six Pritzker Prize Laureates, all within close distance to the up and coming Arts District. From Norman Foster’s Opera House to Thom Mayne’s Museum of Nature and Science, these projects are emblematic of a larger city-wide design culture.
Situated on Ticino's rocky peaks are the historic Medieval Castles of Bellinzona: Montebello, Sasso Corbaro, and Castelgrande. And while all three castles and their fortifications have become part of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites, it is not only the ancient walls that leave visitors enchanted, but the gateways that leads to them.
Architectural photographer Simone Bossi decided to solely capture the castle's entrance, displaying how a dialogue between the organic forms of nature and refined man-made walls can be as majestic as a historic fortress.