The career of Gottfried Böhm (born January 23, 1920) spans from simple to complex and from sacred to secular, but has always maintained a commitment to understanding its surroundings. In 1986, Böhm was awarded the eighth Pritzker Prize for what the jury described as his "uncanny and exhilarating marriage" of architectural elements from past and present. Böhm's unique use of materials, as well as his rejection of historical emulation, have made him an influential force in Germany and abroad.
Responding in part to recent debates on how big data will affect our built environments, Synthesis Design + Architecture have teamed up with IBM Watson Analytics to design an interior feature wall for the Watson Experience Center in San Francisco. The project, named Data Moiré after the dizzying patterns created by overlapping sets of lines, uses data from the influence of mobile phones on monthly consumer spending to create a precise screen material that defines the wall.
In a recent TED Talk, architect Siamak Hariri takes the audience inside his design process for the Bahá'í Temple of South America. Responding to an open call in 2003 to design the last of the faith's continental temples in Santiago, Chile, Hariri recalls a moment as a student at Yale when he learned about the transcendent power of architecture, a moment he tried to recreate in the twelve-year project.
There’s a lot that the presence of skyscrapers can say about a city. They can be indicators of anything from wealth to modernization to density, or a combination of all three, depending on where you look. This potential to observe trends in a city through the height of its buildings makes data on those buildings valuable to a multitude of industries, so companies like Emporis conduct and distribute research on topics like the newest, tallest, and most expensive buildings in the world. Keep reading to find out about the ten tall cities that are home to the largest number of skyscrapers—as defined by Emporis' definition of a building that is 100 meters or more.
During his frequent travels to Seoul, Hong Kong- and Singapore-based photographer Raphael Olivier noticed a new trend taking the South Korean capital: a crop of geometric, concrete buildings of all genres. He calls the new style Neo-Brutalism, after the modernist movement that proliferated in the late 1950s to 1970s, in which raw concrete was meant to express a truth and honesty. Olivier's observation led him to capture the phenomenon in a personal photo series—a photographic treasure trove of these projects which, when taken as a whole, uncovers a cross-section of this trend in the city's architecture.
How much effort are you willing to put in to attract that special someone? The humble Japanese pufferfish, just twelve centimeters long when un-puffed, almost certainly has you beat. To attract the best fish in the sea, male pufferfish spend at least seven 24-hour days completing an intricate mating ritual that involves swimming their bodies into and through the seafloor to form ridges and trenches in the sand. If they pause too early, the entire ordeal gets washed away by currents.
Samantha Hardingham's recently-published work, A Forward-Minded Retrospective: Cedric Price Works—1953-2003, traces the architect's career through a comprehensive collection of his drawings and renders. The exhaustive two-volume work acknowledges Cedric Price not just as the entertaining novelty he is often regarded as, but as a great mind who was ahead of his time. While the vast majority of work produced during his lifetime was never built, Hardingham draws out the radical genius behind such projects as the hybrid office complex-highway "Officebar," a zoo restaurant whose column-less interior paved the way for its later conversion to a giraffe habitat, and many others—built and unbuilt.
In addition to the uncanny future forecasting expressed in many of Price's works, they are also known for serving as inspiration for the functionalist designs of Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers, making them necessary to a complete understanding of the modern architectural canon. In an article on Metropolis Magazine, Samuel Medina takes a whistle-stop tour of some of the most intriguing works presented in Hardingham's new book.
One general trend in today's Information Age involves the absolute transmutation of downtime into productivity or engagement of any kind, however meaningless. We hear it all the time: we have lost our ability to be still. However, as a team at Ennead Lab has observed, some of the same technologies that are causing this shift in routine also have the potential to open new, empty pockets of time in our daily lives, and affect the built spaces with which we interact.
Tasked with designing an electric car charging station for a development in Shanghai, Ennead realized that the five hours required to fill up a single standard charge necessitate a place for customers to wait. In an article on Metropolis Magazine, they show that the promise of transportation-less people to stick around in one place for such a period of time opens up a host of possibilities for what could fill the latency period; the Shanghai project, however, focuses on the opportunity to create a civic space. The team has imagined the modern "gas station" as a vertical charging tower that calls upon the functionality of urban parking elevators in the 20th century, this time clad in reflective silver to serve as a beacon for customers in search of a charge. Rather than standalone charge-park towers, the projects are integrated into a system that encourages patrons to walk to neighboring zones to eat, shop, and socialize while they wait.
If you're reading this, you likely work in the design world, and as a result you may have heard of Scrum. It’s a design method originally introduced by Hirotaka Takeuchi and Ikujiro Nonaka in the 1980s to describe a process for product development, and later formalized for software development by Jeff Sutherland in 1995. It relies on the organization of a team and its tasks around the principles of focus and flexibility: focus on a singular task within a given time period, and flexibility in response to changing client demand, user feedback, and design challenges. Scrum keeps a project on schedule with the Sprint, where the entire team is working towards one important milestone within set dates, and continuously communicating potential impediments to hitting the deadline.
As a young boy, Santiago Calatrava's fascination with light in his native Valencia fueled his determination to draw, design, and eventually build. His Ciudad de Artes y Ciencias (City of Arts and Sciences) is a perfect example of the influence of the Valencian sun on the architect's work. The seven cultural buildings define a formal vocabulary all their own, with a dynamism between blanched curves and rhythmic visual patterns. So bright it almost glows on clear days, the materiality of the structures emphasizes the ability of light to outline the spatial relationships between Calatrava's shapes, and shift them as the sun moves through the sky.
In his most recent photo series, Sebastian Weiss has captured the tendency of the shapes of the City of Arts and Sciences to "complement each other and even merge to a harmonic unity," as the photographer himself puts it. The photos were originally featured on his Instagram, @le_blanc, and develop a new way of looking at the oft-photographed tourist spot. His images imagine the complex as a pulsating "light-space installation" of equally systematic and creature-like forms in constant conversation with one another. The series gives the sense of looking at different sections of a particularly beautiful beast—its ribs, underbelly, horns, etc.—captured within the complex's shallow pools.
This Underground Bathhouse on the Korean Border Questions Architecture's Role in Geopolitical Tension
Since 1953, the 160-mile (260 kilometer) strip of land along the Korean Peninsula's 38th parallel has served as a Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea. The DMZ is more than a border; it's a heavily guarded, nearly four-mile-wide (6 kilometer) buffer zone between the two countries. Each military stays behind its own country's edge of the zone, perpetually awaiting potential conflict, and access to the interior of the zone itself is unyieldingly limited. Apart from the landmines and patrolling troops, the interior of the DMZ also holds thriving natural ecosystems that have been the subject of studies on what happens when wildlife is allowed to flourish in the absence of human contact.
In a competition that asked participants to design an underground bathhouse near the Kaesong Industrial Park, a (currently suspended) cooperative economic project that employs workers from both North and South Korea, research initiative Arch Out Loud imagined a DMZ that accommodates non-military structures that are typically seen as out of place in areas of such sensitivity and tension. The winning proposal by Studio M.R.D.O and Studio LAM utilizes the performative element of a bathhouse, where visitors are both audience members and actors, to the address the tensions—both geopolitical, from its surrounding environment, and personal, from the related emotions visitors carry with them—between both groups.
At a time when so much of what we do happens online, there is a lot we can learn from tracking the way we use the web. Alexa is an Amazon company that sells data insights from millions of Internet users aimed at business owners (we'll save the data ethics discussion for a different day). A selection of Alexa's data is available to the public, with the company presenting a list of sites with the highest average daily visitor and pageview counts—including a list of the biggest websites in the architectural world, from yours truly on down.
But which is the most popular architectural firm, school, or individual building? Continue reading to find the top architecture websites for each category based on Alexa's count of the past month's traffic—there may be some surprises!
Currently on display at the MoMA in New York is Zaha Hadid's concept painting for her seminal unbuilt project, The Peak in Hong Kong. The piece was made in 1991, on the edge of the digital revolution in architectural drawing fueled at its heart by the popularization of 3D CAD programs. The painting for The Peak arguably came at the end of the period of architectural drawing for its own sake, and the beginning of a period of scalable, scrollable renderings meant to show the real world. It only makes sense that this new software for image creation would usher in a new style of drawing with a function very different to the previous era: tool and process inherently constrain design by imposing a predetermined agenda for the user's interaction with them.
During this digital period, architects like Lebbeus Woods and Michael Graves, known for their mastery in the art of hand drawing, pushed back against the dominant narrative of hyperrealism in architectural drawing. However, according to Sam Jacob's latest article for Metropolis Magazine, we may be entering an age of "post-digital" representation. In the post-digital, architects return to the convention of drawing, but create new methodologies by reevaluating and appropriating the digital tools of the last few decades. Current techniques within this practice have leaned heavily towards the collage, but research into what post-digital drawing could mean continues in firms and universities.
Maybe it's a result of long studio hours, the fact that architectural thinking tends to seep into every aspect of life, or a combination of other factors—but it's certain that architects have a culture all their own. Weird obsessions feel so commonplace in our closed social circles that it's easy to forget how bizarre some of our little quirks can appear to people on the outside. If you're an architect with a friend whose architectural knowledge pretty much stops at the Franks (Gehry and Lloyd Wright), here are some secret thoughts about you that they might be harboring.
The architectural legacy of the Rockefeller family in Manhattan is well-known, most obviously demonstrated in the slab-like Art Deco towers of the Rockefeller Center and the ever-expanding campus of the MoMA. But in a city that is filled with landmarks and historic buildings, it's easy for even the most remarkable projects to go unrecognized. Philip Johnson's Rockefeller Guest House in Manhattan was completed in 1950, just one year after the construction of his better known Glass House in New Canaan. The Glass House is an obvious cousin to the later guest house: both feature largely empty glass and steel boxlike forms, where structural work is exposed and celebrated.
7 Architectural Solutions for Asylum Seekers Shown by the Finnish Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale
The 2016 Venice Biennale may have officially closed in November, but many of its constituent parts continue to have a life beyond the confines of Venice. From Border to Home, the exhibit hosted by the Finnish Pavilion, showcased the results of an international architecture competition between October and November of 2015 that called for residential solutions for asylum seekers that offer both short-term shelter for refugees and long-term impact on the surrounding community. Three winners and four honorable mentions were featured in the exhibition, accompanied by a blog that offered sustained dialogue on the topic from architects around the world. On March 21st, Finland's contribution to the Biennale will finally be concluded with a review of the Biennale's themes and a seminar on the pavilion, hosted in Helsinki. Read on to find out more about the winners and four mentions from the competition that were featured in Finland's From Border to Home pavilion.
One of two islands in the Parisian Seine, the Île de la Cité is largely known to tourists as little more than the location of such popular destinations as the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Sainte Chapelle—a fate that belies the island's 2000-year history as the center of Paris. However, now there are plans underway to restore the whole island to its former importance: under Philippe Bélaval, the French Centre for National Monuments has selected Dominique Perrault Architecture to design a 25-year masterplan, titled Mission Île de la Cité, to bring back the island’s relevance as something more than a dissonant collection of tourist destinations.
Experimentation in architecture is what propels the discipline forward. In an ideal scenario, once a project gets as far as the planning stage, large amounts of careful research and collaboration between the architect, contractor, and client contribute to a smooth execution of an exploratory idea, and ultimately a successful end product. But it’s not uncommon for even the most skilled architects to design work that has a misstep somewhere along the line, whether it has to do with shrinking budget, unforeseen contextual changes, lack of oversight, or anything in between. In some way, the projects here all fall into the second category of failed experiments, but some have also become potential models for revitalization of existing buildings, rather than (less sustainable) demolition and reconstruction. Read on to discover what went wrong in these notable disasters.