Workplace design has undergone a radical transformation in the last several decades, with approximately seventy percent of today’s modern offices now converted to open plans. However, despite growing concerns over decreases in worker productivity and employee satisfaction, the open office revolution shows no sign of slowing down. The open office model has proliferated without regard for natural differences in workplace culture, leading to disastrous results when employees are forced into an office that works against their own interests. If we are to make offices more effective, we must acknowledge that ultimately, design comes out of adapting individual needs for a specific purpose and at best, can create inviting spaces that reflect a company’s own ethos.
How will technology that began in Silicon Valley change global urbanism and the elements of architecture? In this video from the 2014 Venice Biennale, inventor, designer and entrepreneur Tony Fadell discusses technology and its emerging impact on architecture with Rem Koolhaas. As a co-founder of Nest Labs, Fadell played a major role in developing the first Apple iPod and has taken his knowledge of interactive user interface with him to change one of the most basic interface elements in our homes – the thermostat. With adaptive technologies becoming increasingly prevalent in our daily lives, Koolhaas discusses the potential ramifications of technological architecture with concerns ranging from privacy to individual freedoms and more.
Many have come to associate drones with the looming unmanned aircraft deployed in the defense industry, but as technology continues to improve drones have gotten smaller and progressively less expensive. Consumers can now purchase their very own drone for as little as $600 or less and the technology is already proving to be useful for a wide variety of purposes, including possible uses for architects in everything from site analysis to construction.
However, this technology could have much broader consequences on not only the airspace above our streets, but also in how we design for increasing civilian and commercial drone traffic. Just as other technologies such as cars and security surveillance have shaped our urban infrastructure, so too will an emerging network of infrastructure for pilotless technology. Particularly as drones become ever more precise and nimble, opportunities arise for their increased use in urban areas. If these devices can be programmed to learn from repeated maneuvers with the use of cameras and sensors, it is not unrealistic to say that they could soon learn how to navigate through increasingly complex vertical cities. But if drones become fixtures of our urban environment, what impact will they have on exterior spaces? And could they become as ubiquitous in our city’s skies as cars on our streets?
Earlier this month the New York Times published an editorial written by Steven Bingler and Martin Pederson in which the two discuss how and why architects need to reevaluate the profession. The article centers on how today’s architecture can adequately meet the needs of its intended users without acknowledging their input and asks “at what point does architecture’s potential to improve human life become lost because of its inability to connect with actual humans?”
As with any commentary on the very nature of contemporary architecture, criticism abounds and has prompted a scathing response by Architect Magazine writer Aaron Betsky, who claims that the New York Times ought to be above such "know-nothing, cliché-ridden reviews of architecture" and ridicules certain excerpts of Bingler and Pederson's text, saying "I am not making this up." Betsky takes the opportunity to argue instead that “Architecture... is either the dull affirmation of what we have, or it is an attempt to make our world better."
Read on after the break for more on the New York Times article and the opposing views
With a site defined by its varied and abundant trees, hk+b Architecture made preserving the scenic landscape and greenery a conscious decision in designing the CPSCL Regional Agency in Tunisia. The choice to maintain as much of the context of the site as possible allows future employees in the building the opportunity to work in an environment seemingly embedded in the countryside. Another important choice in defining the building’s exterior form was the characteristic sloping roofs of the city of Béja.
Despite being born in the same era, Expressionism embodies an entirely different architectural sensibility to other proto-modernist movements like the Bauhaus. Its complex forms marked the creation of what we know as the modern metropolis and became one of the iconic architectural styles of the Roaring Twenties. Throughout Europe, over 1,000 expressionist buildings remain standing, yet many are forgotten and not properly preserved.
For the past four years, Niels Lehmann and Christoph Rauhut have been working to document these surviving expressionist landmarks, following their previous book “Modernism London Style.” Their new book, “Fragments of Metropolis – Berlin” presents 135 remaining expressionist buildings in Berlin and the surrounding area, and with your help this incredible collection documenting the landmarks of expressionism will be published, with colorful photography and detailed maps revealing their exact locations. Follow this link to become a supporter and learn more, or continue after the break to see a selection of images from the book.
As the continent with the fastest growing population in the world, African frontiers will soon become attractive areas for urban settlements and the potential for conflicts arising from colonial borders may inhibit necessary economic growth. Colonialism’s legacy continues to spark conflict revolving around arbitrary borders established by Europeans in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries with no regard for ethnic, linguistic, and religious disparities across the continent. These decisions resulted in the separation of cultural communities within each nation and the creation of political boundaries that often did not reflect shared civil interests. Consequently sub-Saharan Africa has experienced sustained conflicts in the years following independence, resulting in diminished potential for further economic development in many regions. Today, border disputes have led to a rise in separatist movements in numerous countries, but African governments are hesitant to abandon the colonial borders to avoid further disruptive conflicts.
As political approaches to this issue continue to be extremely contentious, an architectural intervention at the urban scale proposed by Sebastian Irarrazaval Arquitectos may be the key to a prosperous cultural and economic future for Africa. In their concept for an ideal African city, Sebastian Irarrázaval and his team have conceptualized their solution as a network of trans-border cities. This set of “bi-national urban entities” will serve to erase the old colonial borders and "will reintegrate the continent as it was prior to European domination when cultural and economic exchange flourished."
Find out how the proposal aims to address some of Africa’s longest-standing social and political problems after the break
Azerbaijan has recently unveiled the design of “Treasure of Biodiversity,” its dedicated pavilion for Expo Milano 2015, marking the first time the country has participated at a Universal Exposition. Designed by Italian firm Simmetrico Network, the pavilion aims to reflect the unique cultures and landscapes of Azerbaijan while acting as a model of sustainable design. Complete with biospheres and undulating walls, the pavilion’s unique form takes cues from the central Expo theme of “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life,” and hopes to engage visitors with the values of protected biodiversity.
Colorful lights dance across translucent panels, illuminating the backdrop of Toronto’s glowing downtown high-rises. In their three-dimensional interactive installation entitled AMAZE, design and research laboratory UNSTABLE has created a multisensory experience like no other. Complex branching passageways challenge visitors to find their own path through the ever-changing structure, as if wandering through a vivid psychedelic dream. Becoming an integral part of the installation, visitors are met with dynamic shadows of the crowd and the urban landscape beyond before finding their way out of the maze.
Ray Eames (December 15, 1912-August 1988) is best known for her personal and artistic collaboration with Charles Eames, and together, their innovative designs shaped the course of modernism. Although Charles often gave the firm its public face (particularly in the male-oriented world of mid-century design), the two designers are almost always discussed as a couple and every project that their office pursued was in fact a team effort. When asked about any particular piece of furniture, for example, Ray always maintained that she contributed to the details of the design in a “million ways” and considered the overall form of each project in a critical fashion, emphasizing the collaborative nature of not just their partnership, but their entire office.
With their winning competition entry for Hungary's Sziget festival, one of Europe's leading music festivals, Studio Nomad created an installation to draw visitors back to nature. Their mirrored pavilion is a simple approach that creates a powerful experience for visitors, as more than 1200 reflective plastic sheets create shards of reflections which appear to fragment the surrounding forest.
Jean Prouvé’s Demountable House, a rare early example of a prefabricated housing concept, was fully assembled and on display to the public last week at Art Basel Miami 2014, just in time for the design's 70th birthday. The display was part of Swiss luxury brand Bally's tour of the original 1944 structure, with its next and final stop scheduled for Design Shanghai in 2015. This fascinating time lapse video reveals the full construction process and gives us an inside look into how each component of the house comes together, from the floor boards to the structure of the roof, to the final exterior cladding. Check out the video above to see Prouvé's structure come together, or see images below of the completed structure.
To celebrate the first anniversary of our US Materials Catalog, this week ArchDaily is presenting a three-part series on "Material Masters," showing how certain materials have helped to inspire some of the world's greatest architects.
Mies van der Rohe, famous for his saying “less is more,” was one of the preeminent modernist architects, well known for pioneering the extensive use of glass in buildings. His works introduced a new level of simplicity and transparency, and his buildings were often referred to as "skin-and-bones" architecture for their emphasis on steel structure and glass enclosure. In addition to Mies van der Rohe, glass was a major influence for many architects of the modernist movement and reshaped the way we think about and define space. Today, glass has become one of the most used building materials, but its early architectural expression is perhaps best exemplified in the works of Mies.
In an era in which architectural style is constantly recycled and reinterpreted, how do we know which ideas are original and which characteristics reveal deeper functions? In a recent article by Rowan Moore from The Guardian, architect Farshid Moussavi discusses fashion, function, and physical space as they relate to the concepts of her latest book The Functions of Style, which examines style in architecture beyond external appearance with a belief that style is rooted in a building's organizational ideas. Consequently, says Moore, each of Moussavi’s works are unique and do not rely on repeating trademark artistic moves. To learn more about how Moussavi’s philosophy is embodied in her most recent works, along with her belief in the power of physical space in a virtual world, read the full article on The Observer here.
Paris-based firm 1024 architecture has created Vortex, a generative light sculpture located within the Darwin Ecosystem Project’s green building in Bordeaux, France. The “architectural fragment” consists of scaffolding, raw wood, and twelve lines of LED light. With colored LED lights appearing to shoot across the structure, a new spatial experience is created, which also informs viewers about energy consumption within the building.
Learn more about the structure and 1024 architecture after the break.
Bauhaus, the school of design established by Walter Gropius in Weimar in 1919, has arguably been the most influential of any institution in shaping the trajectory of modern architecture. Out of this single school came an entire movement that would have lasting effects on architectural pedagogy and the design of everything from buildings to road signs. Born out of a larger cultural movement following Germany’s defeat in World War I which left the country ripe for regrowth without the previous constraints imposed by censorship, the core of Bauhaus philosophy were the principles of craftsmanship and mass production, which allowed for the movement’s rapid proliferation and a production model that would later inform contemporary design companies such as Ikea. Check out the infographic from Aram below to learn more about the movement, tracking the school from its origins in Weimar, via its canonical Gropius-designed home in Dessau, to its continuing legacy today.
In this video from Crane TV, Italian architect and designer Gaetano Pesce talks about his philosophy of art and architecture as an expression of reality. His philosophy raises the question of whether architecture itself should become symbolic of its time and place or express an idea in the way that art often can. Beyond a symbolic nature, Pesce also suggests that architecture could be humorous or act as an extension of artistic expression. “Architecture is the king or queen of the arts,” he says, summarizing his beliefs.
Last week we brought you another video from Crane TV on Vito Acconci, which explored why the goal of architecture is not always a completed building. As another architect who blurs the lines between buildings and art, Pesce’s unbuilt projects are an important tool through which he continually seeks new discoveries to prompt further design innovations.