Daniel Portilla


PLASMA Studio Wins Competition to Relocate and Enhance Italian Railway Station

PLASMA Studio, in collaboration with Groundlab, won first prize in an international competition to masterplan the relocation of the Innichen/San Candido train station in North Italy. The project, now under construction, forms a new "Mobile Centre" that integrates a new public plaza, skate park, youth centre and more into a streamlined rail station that enhances connectivity throughout the town.

More information, after the break...

AA Bilbao Visiting School Open Lectures

The AA Bilbao Visiting School will take place from July 22nd to August 1st in the Alhóndiga Cultural Centre, Bilbao in Spain. Together with the academic activities, there are a series of open lectures that you can attend. The complete list after the break.

Films & Architecture: "Play Time"

This week we revisit a classic, a masterpiece by Jacques Tati. In the movie, Tati depicts modernism's problematic impact on the city and the way in which people interact within it.

The movie's carefully considered environment shows characteristics of the modernist movement at that time: repetition and regularity (the result of industrialisation) are represented from the smallest objects in the interiors to the larger scale of the city's urban plan. Enjoy this great movie and let us know your thoughts about Tati's take on modernism.

Serpentine Pavilion / Sou Fujimoto

This Thursday, the official opening of the Serpentine Pavilion, by Sou Fujimoto, took place in Hyde Park, London. It was the first time the public could interact with the structure.

The pavilion, which has already gotten its "cloud" nickname because of its shape and lightness, is generated through a three-dimensional steel grid of about 40 centimetre modules which morphs on each side. The structure is broken to allow people access as well as to generate different uses around, below and upon it. 

More pictures and the architect's statement after the break.

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Films & Architecture: "The Fall"

The Fall is a very visually powerful film. It is the result of a tremendous effort from its director Tarsem Singh, who travelled around the world in order to find the right locations for each scene. It is not only about the diversity of these spaces, but also the way that Singh is able to put all those elements together as part of a massive surrealistic world. 

Films & Architecture: "Dogville"

What if a movie is filmed in such a minimal way that your only reference is a plan view drawn on the floor. Then you would need to imagine all the missing information in a kind of mental extrusion of physicality. This is the way chosen by the Danish director Lars von Trier to represent a parable occurring in a fictional settlement in Colorado.

AA Bilbao Visiting School: "Computing topos II"

Films & Architecture: "24 City"

By the acclaimed director Jia Zhangke, 24 City cannot be considered a documentary, since actors perform in most of the scenes; however, this Chinese film realistically shows the dissociation between the rapid urban development and a population that seems to be victimized by globalisation.

The film is focused on the workers at Factory 420, a complex designed and deployed by the government for military purposes and used as a factory for producing and repairing mechanical elements for the army. This whole area became a city in itself, housing generations of factory workers. When the space is converted to 24 City, a complex to accomodate hundreds of luxury apartments, the entire site is demolished. 24 City tells the workers' stories in the midst of this transformation.

How should we consider these kinds of mono-functional cities and what could/should be their futures? Let us know in the comments below.

Films & Architecture: "Old Boy"

Films & Architecture: "Cloud Atlas"

Cloud Altas is the adaptation of David Mitchell's novel by the same name. It follows six different story-lines, each taking place in a different time period, ranging over hundred of years (from our past to future). Each era gets a careful development of space, and, as usual, the Watchowski Brothers show their unique way of imagining the city of the future.

In fact, the story lines were filmed separately: while Tom Tykwer was working on those stories that take place in the 1930's and 1970's, the Watchowski Brothers were filming all the futuristic ones (which take place in the year 2321). Several famous buildings were utilised - let us know if you recognise any of them. Enjoy and as always, comment!

Films & Architecture: "Underground"

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Underground is the condensed version of a 5-hour series (originally broadcast on Serbian television in the 90′s) which takes place in Yugoslavia, showing the country from the beginning of WWII through the Yugoslav Wars. This theatrical version, directed by Emir Kusturica, considered one of the master filmmakers of our time, utilises symbolic elements that require a strong knowledge of story to fully understand, and ends with a memorable finale, with the characters dancing on a floating island that separates them from the continent. This is an extraordinary film that we invite you to enjoy and comment on.

Films & Architecture: "The Fifth Element"

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Last week, our latest featured film showed New York in the ’60s - this time we move to the future, about 200 years from now. This film, directed and co-written by Luc Besson, shows a New York City with flying cars and technological systems applied all around the human environment.

Enjoy and let us know your thoughts of how our cities will look in the next century!

Films & Architecture: "North by Northwest"

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Our latest movie in our Films & Architecture series is another ’60s classic, this time by the master filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock. In North by Northwest we see a New York in the heyday of its architectural glory, with one scene taking place at a newly constructed United Nations building. In fact, the last scene takes place in a “house” that, under Hitchcock’s instructions, was meant to seem designed by Frank Lloyd Wright (in reality, the house was just another set design). The film shows a variety of urban spaces, and puts special emphasis on the contrast between the densities of urban and rural realms.

As always, enjoy and comment!

Films & Architecture: "The Cell"

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The Cell, by Tarse Singh, is a visually powerful film in which every set is carefully prepared in terms of color, composition and  atmosphere. Ranging from subtle scenes to really baroque ones, the film is loaded with surrealist, sophisticated  imagery that helps the viewer experience the story with the characters.

As usual we invite you to enjoy these films, let us know your comments, and propose more for the list!

Films & Architecture: "In Bruges"

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In the Belgian language “brug” means bridge, and it’s because of the amount of them in the European medieval city that it took its name. A ”fairy tale f***ing town” is how Harry (Ralph Fiennes), the foul-mouthed boss in In Bruges describes it. And indeed Bruges is a city full of fairy tale-like elements that weave through this crazy, sardonic, violent, and (in our opinion, awesomely) absurd movie.

Have you seen it? Do you know any other film fully linked to a specific city? Let us know in the comments below!

Urban Park of Palouriotissa Third Prize Winning Proposal / Groundlab + Clara Oloriz

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View of Environmental Centre / Open Cinema © Groundlab

The concept of the park is based on the existing and traditional terraces of Cyprus and, more specifically, Latsia.

These terraces not only allow for the management of the slope and water but link the project’s programme, as an environmental centre, to its spatial design. By consolidating the existing terraces, which define the park’s configuration, the terraces generate an intrinsic spatial relation between the park activities, the landscape and the views. Moreover, the terraces have been designed so a minimum amount of earth will be moved and so people with reduced mobility will have easy accessibility.

Films & Architecture: "Inception"

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This time we want to share a very contemporary film. An amazing story stunningly described by Christopher Nolan, in which dreams within dreams can be manipulated by “architects” who can construct an imaginary reality.

Imagine: being able, as architects, to create whole environments, just using our minds as the resource. Let us know your ideas in the comments below, and, while you’re at it, please let us know of some new films we can add to the list!

Films & Architecture: "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind"

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This week we will recommend you a really surrealistic film. ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’, directed by Michael Gondry is a movie that takes place in a future where medicine technics allow people to modify and delete some memories. These changes are reflected in the space perception of the characters. The scenes morph and human scale is shrunk, buildings disappear and daylight turns into absolut darkness in seconds.

Enjoy the movie and let us know your comments. Do you think architecture can be described through memories? Any ideas about our memories and space perception?