Sir Christopher Wren (20 October 1632 – 25 February 1723) is one the most significant architects in British history, and was a recognized astronomer, scholar, and physicist-mathematician. Wren was classically trained at the University of Oxford in physics and engineering where he developed his interest in architecture. He is perhaps most famous for designing London's iconic St Paul's Cathedral, however he is credited with the design of dozens of other churches, government buildings, and hospitals in England. Wren was knighted in 1673.
The career of British architect David Chipperfield (born 18 December 1953) has spanned decades and continents as an architect, designer and professor. Since 1984, he has been at the helm of David Chipperfield Architects, an award winning firm with over 180 staff at offices in London, Berlin, Milan, and Shanghai. Chipperfield is an honorary fellow of the American Institute of Architects and Germany's Bund Deutscher Architekten, and was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2004. In 2012, Chipperfield curated the Venice Biennale of Architecture under the theme Common Ground.
As the founder of Steven Holl Architects, Steven Holl (born December 9, 1947) is recognized as one of the world's leading architects, having received prestigious awards for his contributions to design over the course of nearly forty years in practice, including the prestigious Alvar Aalto Medal in 1998, the AIA Gold Medal in in 2012, and the 2014 Praemium Imperiale. In 1991, Time Magazine named Holl America's Best Architect. He is revered for his ability to harness light to create structures with remarkable sensitivity to their locations, while his written works have been published in many preeminent volumes, sometimes collaborating with world-renowned architectural thinkers such as Juhani Pallasmaa and Alberto Pérez-Gómez.
Ricardo Bofill (born 5 December 1939), a graduate of the Barcelona University School of Architecture and the School of Geneva, and the founder of interdisciplinary firm Taller de Arquitectura, is renowned for his extensive body of work and ever-changing design aesthetic. His career has spanned over 50 years, encompassing more than 1000 buildings in cities ranging from Lisbon and Boston to Tokyo and St. Petersburg. His architectural approach has evolved over the decades and has permeated dozens of countries worldwide.
Henry Hobson Richardson (29 September 1838 – 27 April 1886) was known across North America as the father of the Romanesque Revival. Although he only lived to age 47, Richardson is revered across the northeast United States for his appreciation of classic architecture and is the namesake for Richardsonian Romanesque, a movement he pioneered. Richardson studied engineering at Harvard University, a discipline he abandoned in favor of his interest in architecture.
A new type of greenery has arrived in central London. Placed along the western façade of Westminster City Hall (known as Kingsgate Walk), a sprawling concrete frieze in relief depicts shimmering nocturnal birch trees photographed in forests from Beijing to London. Created using emerging technology, the relief was rendered through the concrete casting of a photograph by artist Rut Blees Luxemburg, a photographic artist and a reader in Urban Aesthetics at London's Royal College of Art. The textured surface of the frieze changes according to ambient light, creating a perplexing effect in the image from day to night.
Realized through a unique collaboration between artist Blees Luxemburg, London-based Lynch Architects and developer Land Securities as a part of Kingsgate, Silver Forest completes the major urban regeneration project for London Victoria in its new home in a public square adjacent to Westminster City Hall.
Find out more about the interdisciplinary partnership formed for Silver Forest after the break.
The south of France is known for its endless beaches, nineteenth century architecture, lush greenery, and monuments to its storied history. For nearly a decade, Le Festival des Architectures Vives (Festival of Lively Architecture) has been infusing contemporary architecture into the staid Southern French landscape through the creation of an array of artful temporary pavilions. Beginning in 2006 and 2013 respectively, the towns of Montpellier and La Grande Motte have played host to a series of structures designed to animate historical segments of the two cities. Founded with a mission to celebrate the seminal work of burgeoning architects, the festival aims to produce meaningful and interactive works designed to activate the historic centres of the two ageing cities.
Explore the bizarre and inspired installations of Le Festival des Architectures Vives after the break.
"Dear Architecture," writes Craig L. Wilkins, "I’ve been wondering why you don’t speak to me. Is it because you don’t see me? Are you ignoring me? Maybe it’s because you really don’t care for me; but whatever it is, you sure don’t. Speak, that is. At least, not to me." In his winning entry to 'Dear Architecture', a competition initiated by Blank Space (of Fairytale fame), Wilkins describes misgivings through the lens of a disenfranchised city dweller, illustrating a missed connection felt by one resident towards his surroundings.
Is ornament seeing a resurgence in architectural design? Writing for The Financial Times, Edwin Heathcote examines the rising phenomenon of decoration as a growing element of contemporary architectural design. Describing FAT and Grayson Perry's recently completed 'kitsch' abode 'A House for Essex' Heathcote justifies the assimilation of decoration into the central design philosophy, thus creating an entirely new aesthetic category. "The building sits somewhere between outsider art, high culture and the most sophisticated postmodernism," Heathcote explains, adding that its decoration "is not just applied as a layer but subsumed into the architecture."
After a meticulous multi-year restoration the Musée Rodin in Paris has reopened to the public. Dedicated exclusively to the work of Auguste Rodin, the state-owned museum has undergone a ground-up facelift designed to breathe new life into the ageing home of the artist's diverse body of work. Housed in an estate originally built in 1732 and open to the public since 1919, the comprehensive renovation has left no stone unturned, including a full structural and cosmetic overhaul. Project architect Richard Duplat was challenged to "recreate the atmosphere it must have had in Rodin’s day" while implementing current accessibility and safety standards, all with the goal to better represent Rodin's influential work.
Willem Marinus Dudok (6 July 1884 - 6 July 1974) was one of The Netherlands' most influential Modernist architects. Formally trained as an engineer, Dudok spent his formative years designing military barracks for the Dutch forces, and his time with the military has been credited with the development of his early linear style, though he was known to borrow elements from Frank Lloyd Wright's prairie school of architecture. Dudok's architectural legacy is undeniable: with a career spanning several decades, his portfolio encompasses nearly all civic buildings in Hilversum, along with a series of projects in Rotterdam, Utrecht, and Paris, among others.
More than forty years after Dudok's death, Dutch journalist Peter Veenendaal has produced two videos documenting the architect's best projects, both in Hilversum: Town Hall and the Sports Grandstand. Serving as sequels to Veenendaal's documentary "City of Light" which delved into Dudok's design for retailer De Bijenkorf in Rotterdam, the videos highlight Dudok's impressive eye for form and linearity.
Check out Veenendaal's videos and find out more about Dudok's influential architecture after the break
Since 1975, the Rotterdam-based Office for Metropolitan Architecture has produced some of the world's most provocative buildings. Led by Rem Koolhaas and his nine partners, the firm's most notable built projects include seminal works such as the CCTV Headquarters in Beijing, the Seattle Central Library, and Casa da Musica in Porto, Portugal. Known as one of the world's leading creators of boundary-pushing design, OMA's influence on the global architectural landscape is undeniable.
Among the firm's several hundred realized projects, however, many lesser known proposals were drafted but never constructed. Arguably a fundamental component of the OMA's practice, the unbuilt projects contain some of the firm's most outlandish and important ideas with incredible potential to influence architectural design worldwide. As a tribute to Koolhaas and OMA's continued pursuit of the unconventional, we've rounded up fifteen of OMA's most unusual unbuilt skyscrapers. Read on to find out which ones made the list.
Set in the depths of rural Hungary, Hello Wood has emerged from the landscape for its 2015 edition, entitled 'Project Village'. Since 2010, the Hungarian-led collective of architects, designers, students and artists have gathered from around the world to create temporary wooden installations. Now in its sixth year, Hello Wood was realized with the help of 150 volunteers from 30 countries, and co-curated by Johanna Muszbek, with the shared vision to build a series of community-driven pavilions. Together the teams created fifteen unique wooden pavilions, each centred on a different component of the architecture of a village.
Since the advent of the industrial revolution in the eighteenth century, materials experts have been in constant pursuit of the world's strongest materials. From stone to bricks, concrete to steel, innovation in building material has become a crucial element of architectural progression. For decades, steel has been considered the industry leader in building strength with applications in structures of all types. In a recent online documentary, researchers delved into the possibilities for alternatives to the strongest building materials on the market and arrived at some surprising results.
Could spider silk replace steel cables? Could carbon nanotubes become a substitute for rebar? Find out after the break.
In the late nineteenth century the rise of the industrial revolution inspired a counter-movement to reignite the production of handmade goods across the world. Led by classically trained artisans from rural England, the Arts and Crafts movement briefly swept Europe and North America on principles of celebrating high calibre and unique goods resulting in an array of furniture, textiles, wallpaper and architecture, among others.
More than a century later, the Arts and Crafts movement is in the midst of a renaissance led by 2015 RIBA Turner Prize nominees Assemble Studio. Founded under the moniker Granby Workshop, the newly formed Liverpool-based artisan collective aims to eliminate widespread dereliction in one of the city's most blighted boroughs through the replacement of objects that have, over time, been stripped away. Sustained through a crowd funding model, Granby Workshop has launched a broad collection of locally sourced, designed and assembled homewares available for purchase online.
'Defiance' manifests itself in many forms: riots in Baltimore, makeshift housing in Rwanda, Pink Floyd in Venice and plants growing where they ought not sprout. To defy the norm is an act of rebellion and in architecture, doubly so. In the third issue of LOBBY, the burgeoning magazine from London's Bartlett School of Architecture, the notion of defiance and its incarnations are investigated in a collection of essays, interviews and discussions with leading and emerging thinkers in urbanism and architecture. From Swiss master Mario Botta to Carme Pinós, former partner to Enric Miralles, this latest LOBBY investigates the act of defiance as a core tenet of architectural practice.
"When you put many children in a quiet box, some of them get really nervous," says Japanese architect Takaharu Tezuka, founder of Tezuka Architects. "In this kindergarten, there is no reason for them to get nervous. There is no boundary." Speaking at TEDxKyoto on his design for an open-air kindergarten in Tokyo, Tezuka discusses his playful and unorthodox approach to the creation of the eccentric building. The unconventional space blurs interior with exterior while accommodating a varied program of athletic, educational and relaxed space. According to Tezuka, the concept was based on a progressive philosophy employed by the school administration: "The principal says: if the boy doesn't want to stay in the room, let him go. He will come back eventually." On children, Tezuka's own philosophy is one of empowerment: "Don't control them. Don't protect them too much. They need to tumble sometimes. They need to get injured. That makes them learn how live in this world."
London is in the throes of an architectural identity crisis, compounded by a severe shortage of housing. While politicians and public figures debate various solutions to the city's design dilemmas, a London-based artist has conceived of a "satirical competition for architecture of the absurd." Known as A Folly for London, the free open-call for solutions to London's architectural conundrums was created in response to Arup and Heatherwick Studio's proposal for the yet to be built, and highly controversial, Garden Bridge.
Unlike traditional architectural competitions, A Folly for London sought to ignite debate on the current state of architecture in London. Presented with a distinctly British sense of humour, the competition received more than fifty entries. Winning proposals include the systematic burning of London's forests, construction of a massive inhabitable light bulb and the creation of a catacomb of submerged signature double-decker buses at the centre of the River Thames.
See the winners of "A Folly for London" after the break