"Space, lines, light and sound" are the essential components of the experience of architecture and the most profound buildings have captured these moments through thoughtfully orchestrated design. Recently, architects that have designed churches with these primary elements in mind have come under criticism by the Vatican for diverting from the traditional form and iconography of churches. According to a recent article in The Telegraph, Massimiliano and Doriana Fuksas' design for a church in Foligno, Italy has been labeled as problematic by the parish and Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, head of the Vatican's Pontificial Council for Culture for its resemblance to a museum instead of a place of worship - based on traditional Catholic values placed on the altar and imagery. Regardless of the Vatican's criticism of the aesthetic approach of architects that break with tradition, this seems more of an issue of miscommunication between the architects and the congregations that have commissioned the projects that are being criticized.
Women for Women International (WfWI) is a global NGO that has supported the construction of the Women's Opportunity Center, to be opened shortly, in Kayonza Rwanda. The Center, design by Sharon Davis Design, is an environmentally friendly, multi-use facility that will become a support mechanism for the education of women and the support and advancement of the community in the region. The WOC is an element of WfWI's mission to address poverty and the effects of genocide through education and self-empowerment. The facility is part community gathering space, part education center where women can attain job training and learn new skills, and use services to find employment or start their own businesses.
The Make It Right organization, Brad Pitt's LEED and Cradle-to-Cradle inspired efforts to bring sustainable homes to communities in need, is probably best none for its much publicized work in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans in the post-Hurrican Katrina climate. But the breadth of this organization's work stretches beyond this community rebuilding project. Make It Right has worked within several disadvantaged communities in an effort to build sustainable and supportive homes and neighborhoods through the development of residences, community centers and infrastructural elements, and by providing training and counseling.
MIR is working in Newark, New Jersey bringing residences to disabled veterans; in Kansas city, Montana the organization is rebuilding a blighted community within the neighborhood of Manheim Park; and most recently is partnering with Sioux and Assiniboine Native American tribe members to build sustainable homes on the Fort Peck Reservation in Montana.
MoMA's new exhibition, Le Corbusier: An Atlas of Modern Landscapes focuses on the way in which Le Corbusier focused on the world of architecture. It explores both his most famous architectural projects, as well as the means by which he was able to realize them. Through a collection of early watercolors, drawings and photographs, curatorJean-Louis Cohen provides a peak into Le Corbusier's journeys and developments as an architect, how he explored the world and what he drew from his travels and observations.
Last year interdisciplinary architecture firm Höweler + Yoon Architecture were announced the winners of the Audi Urban Future Award for the project Boswash:Shareway 2030. The City Dossier in Boston, held this May, was organized as a series of workshops between Höweler + Yoon Architecture and Audi experts in developing steps to realize aspects of the Boswash: Shareway vision. Part research project, part feasibility study, part road map to the future of mobility - the focus of the workshops is to propose a pilot project that can be tested in the proposed region of Boston - Washington.
We featured the project last year as it highlights how the landscape of urban development has changed. The focus of "Shareway" is the string of high-density metropolitan areas, their suburbs and ex-urbs along I-95 between Boston, MA and Washington, DC. The I-95 corridor caters to some fifty million inhabitants, many of whom commute into metropolitan areas for work. Mobility and transportation are critical to the economic vitality of these urban areas; "Shareway" proposes an intentionally re-engineered "highly orchestrated and deliberately produced platform from which we might imagine alternate paths, different trajectories, or new cultural dreams" whereby imagining an "alternate life for the road" is imagining a new American Dream.
Read on for more on the progress of this project after the break.
The Mapdwell Project is a collaborative effort of researchers, academics, and professionals from MIT from a range of fields - design, building technology, engineering, environmental sciences, finance, and computer sciences - to develop a community resource of research-driven and tested information of sustainable practices.
The fundamental goal of Mapdwell is to deliver a tool that enables communities to make informed decisions about how to incorporate sustainable practices into their lifestyles through community awareness, and access to information about energy efficiency and smart development.
The World Trade Center Complex in Lower Manhattan is slowly progressing, now more than a decade after 9/11. The Memorial was unveiled on the ten-year anniversary of 9/11, while the Freedom Tower is well on its way to completion, proudly displaying the spire that was mounted just a few weeks ago. The site still is - and will be for many years to come - a maddening array of construction equipment, scaffolding and cranes that are working busily at the various components of WTC's rebuilding. Yet while all this development is moving forward, the cost of the construction is ballooning.
According to an article in The Observer, the site now boasts one of the most expensive office buildings in the world - the Freedom Tower - and one of the most expensive parking garages in history - the Vehicle Security Center. And to add to this grandiose display of New York City's perseverance over tragedy, Santiago Calatrava's Transit Hub - Port Authority's PATH station to New Jersey - has become an exceedingly controversial point of contention for its skyrocketing budget, now reported at $3.47 billion still two years away from completion. This may be one of the most expensive transportation hubs in the world, considering that its passenger volume does not justify this expense as much as its location might.
For the 2012 Venice Biennale, Swiss architect Valerio Oligiati curated a collection of images selected from well-known architects. The concept of the collection - "Pictographs - Statement of Contemporary Architects" - were inspirational images that have guided the work of these architects. These images portray a wide range of subjects that represent the basis of the architects' work from inspiring images to diagrammatic interpretations of concepts to details and materials. The collection will be assembled into a book that will contain a total of 44 "musees imaginaires".
In an effort to address the changing priorities of sustainable development, a group of international scientists at the UN identified six goals that achieve a holistic view of the development and nourishment Earth's life support systems. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) were launched with the intention of addressing problems of environmental sustainability as it pertains to poverty eradication, citing that these two problems need to be addressed in unison as they will "increasingly become serious barriers to further human development", says Professor David Griggs of Monash University (AU) according to the International Council of Scientists.
More after the break.
As cited by the research of scientists at the UN and supported by the International Council of Scientists, current trends indicate that humans are altering the natural balances that exist in the atmosphere, oceans, waterways, forests, ice sheets and biodiversity. These changes undermine the stability of Earth systems that allow for continued human development. Climate scientists have already made it clear that changes in the atmosphere have contributed to the unpredictable and severe weather systems that have caused damage all over the world. These scenarios are escalating in their damage and their frequency thereby uprooting stable cities and making future development more challenging.
In this video. Cathleen McGuigan, editor-in-chief of Architectural Record, discusses gender within the professional setting, specifically within the world of architecture at the Harvard GSD. As she begins, she addresses the question that most people have when such a topic is approached. "Why are we still talking about this?" McGuigan lays out the position of women in architecture and the rational that still supports inequality, however subconscious, within the profession. Referencing Sheryl Sandberg's new book Lean In, McGuigan shows how this topic is still unresolved and still needs to be discussed in the public forum.
For this architect, there is an indiscernible line between art installation and building. Alexander Brodsky studied architecture in Moscow, while working on art installations and drawings both independently and in collaborations with other artists. Brodsky admits that his career path was unconventional, that he felt unready to take on the responsibility of building. Instead, Brodsky's approach to architecture is through the lens of art: occupiable, room-sized installations that test spatial and sensory boundaries.
Belatchew Arkitekter has presented a concept for transforming high-rise towers into power-generating factories. The Swedish firm's proposal involves covering a Stockholm skyscraper with "electricity-generating bristles". The tower in question is Henning Larsen's Söder Torn tower on Södermalm in Stockholm. Belatchew has designed a wind farm that will top the existing building with a 16-story extension, covering the facade with "hairy-looking plastic straws designed to move with the wind".
Join us after the break for more details and images of this proposal.
New York City's Midtown East will be facing a rezoning in the near future, bringing a dozen office towers into the already crowded neighborhood. To help the Bloomberg Administration address the issues that may arise with this move, the city has hired sustainable real estate development firm, Jonathan Rose Co.; Dutch Urban Planning firm, Gehl Architects; and the global civil engineering firm, Skanska. The different firms will be working to develop the streetscape to be known as the East Midtown Public Realm Vision Plan which is scheduled for release later this year.
Foster + Partners has been selected to developed a proposal for a low energy, high-density residential community in Islington, London. The site is a 1980s business park that is to be regenerated into a residential zone of two towers and a landscaped park. The project will incorporate the arera's planned high-rise buildings and is ultimately set to provide a new landmark for the city.
Young entrepreneurs gravitate to places where they can become the founders of a revitalized culture; where land is cheap and available and innovation is uninhibited by a status quo. Detroit, Michigan has become one of those places. The media gives us a portrayal of a wasteland, a post apocalyptic landscape of dilapidated homes and infrastructure. But there is plenty opportunity for start-ups to redefine Detroit's future. That it why young innovators and risk-takers are needed to bring new energy and awaken new markets within the city. A recent article by Chuck Salter for Fast Company identifies six entrepreneurs who have started businesses in Detroit. They vary from grassroots campaigns to inform people of opportunities within the city to small scale enterprises that bring retail and infrastructure to the downtown area and surrounding neighborhoods.
Atlantic Cities recently wrote about this project by Schema Design that was initially produced as a result of a call for projects for the Urban Data Design Challenge. The intention of the challenge was to use various methods of data visualization to develop insight into public transit in three cities: Philadelphia, Zurich and Geneva. Join us after the break to watch the videos.
Bike sharing has become a staple for urban commuting in city's all over the world. Since its reintroduction into urban culture in the 1990s, it has taken on many forms. Today it is being optimized to serve dense cities to help alleviate traffic congestion, provide people with more transportation options, and to encourage a healthy way of commuting. An article by the Earth Policy Institute by Janet Larsen marks the exponential progress of bike-sharing programs, noting innovative solutions in cities across the world that make the programs safer, more accessible and more streamlined.
Now in its 14th year, the Cooper-Hewitt National Design MuseumDesign Awards recognizing outstanding achievement across a variety of disciplines in the design community. The awards were established to "promote design as a vital humanistic tool in shaping the world". This year the recipients will be honored at a gala in October during National Design Week in New York City. The goal of recognizing this achievements is to reinforce the idea that "everything around us is designed" and the potential for innovation and creation is present across all types of development. The winners of this year's design awards were selected based on excellence, innovation and public impact.
Join us after the break for a look at the 2013 Winners.