Shigeru Ban (born August 5th 1957) is a Japanese architect who won the 2014 Pritzker Prize for his significant contributions in architectural innovation and philanthropy. His ability to re-apply conventional knowledge in differing contexts has resulted in a breadth of work that is characterized by structural sophistication and unconventional techniques and materials. Ban has used these innovations not only to create beautiful architecture but as a tool to help those in need, by creating fast, economical, and sustainable housing solutions for the homeless and the displaced. As the Pritzker jury cites: “Shigeru Ban is a tireless architect whose work exudes optimism.”
Lasting for close to two decades now, the annual Serpentine Gallery Pavilion Exhibition has become one of the most anticipated architectural events in London and for the global architecture community. Each of the previous eighteen pavilions have been thought-provoking, leaving an indelible mark and strong message to the architectural community. And even though each of the past pavilions are removed from the site after their short summer stints to occupy far-flung private estates, they continue to be shared through photographs, and in architectural lectures. With the launch of the 18th Pavilion, we take a look back at all the previous pavilions and their significance to the architecturally-minded public.
ArchDaily just reached 1 million followers on Instagram! To celebrate, we’re featuring 25 new Instagram feeds to follow. As with parts one, two and three of our Instagram round-up, we’ve selected a varied group of accounts which includes architecture photographers like Laurian Ghinitoiu, whose stunning images have appeared on ArchDaily countless times, and prominent architecture firms like Mad Architects, MVRDV, Sou Fujimoto and OMA. We’ve also added well-curated feeds on certain subjects like socialist_modernism, and perfectly symmetrical buildings via symmetrical_monsters which are sure to inspire you.
If you’re looking for daily inspiration, these feeds are definite must-follows.
The War Over Water: This Dystopian City Design Was Inspired by Current Trends in Resource Extraction
It’s the year 2036 in Generic City, a gloomy place where once mighty skyscrapers are lucky to be in decrepit condition, if they haven’t already been swallowed by the ever-increasing number of sinkholes appearing throughout the city. But the city is not lifeless: a constant hum echoes about the city, a well-choreographed churning motion in pursuit of one central activity. In this city, the world’s most precious commodity—not gold, not diamonds, not even black gold but just simple, fresh water is under the total control of a mega-corporation named Turquoise. The people are ruled by an oppressive autocracy and life is divided between the haves and have-nots. Life revolves around access to water.
Is this the opening paragraph of the latest dystopian novel? No, but it might be Joshua Dawson’s interpretation of our troubling future. With CÁUSTICO, an ode to the growing tradition of “speculative design fiction” pioneered by countercultural avant-gardists of the 1960s (think Archigram, Superstudio and Archizoom) Dawson exaggerates the implications of current social phenomena for the purposes of rhetoric. While the truthfulness of his vision is a little on the improbable side, the work is an eye-opening narrative on the increasing scarcity of fresh water. At the same time, Dawson’s dystopic vision opens a conversation about the relationship of the architect with utopianism, while his representational techniques brings up the question of what exactly the work of the architect entails.
For more than 3 decades now, the annual TED Conference and its many affiliated events have served as an important platform for, as their tagline puts it, "ideas worth spreading," and has inspired countless people through its fast paced thought-provoking presentations. Founded in 1984 by architect and graphic designer Richard Saul Wurman, there have been many architecture presentations throughout the conferences—but there are even more inspirational talks which aren't necessarily about architecture. Here we've compiled 21 of the best TED Talks in recent years which, while not strictly about architecture, will certainly appeal to the architectural mindset. Covering a variety of topics such as creativity, art, productivity, technological advancements, and the science of cities and the natural environment, these videos will inspire you to become a better architect.
Which non-architectural TED talks have inspired you? Don't forget to share further recommendations in the comments below!
Making the decision to pursue architecture is not easy. Often, young students think that they have to be particularly talented at drawing, or have high marks in math just to even apply for architecture programs. Once they get there, many students are overwhelmed by the mountainous tasks ahead.
While the path to becoming an architect varies from country to country, the average time it takes to receive a Masters in Architecture is between 5 and 7 years, and following that is often the additional burden of licensure which realistically takes another couple of years to undertake. Knowing these numbers, it’s not particularly encouraging to find out that the average architect does not make as much as doctors and lawyers, or that 1 in 4 architecture students in the UK are seeking treatment for mental health issues. These are aspects which architecture needs to work on as an industry. However, beyond these problems, there are still many fulfilling reasons to fall in love with the industry and become an architect. Here are just some of them.
In 2014, Syrian architect Marwa al-Sabouni won the Syria category of the UN Habitat Mass Housing Competition for a housing scheme she developed for the city of Homs, her hometown. Now over two years later, Thames and Hudson has published her book Battle for Home: The Vision of a Young Architect in Syria. Throughout all of these events, al-Sabouni has remained in Syria. As the Guardian puts it: “As bombs fell around her, Syrian architect Marwa al-Sabouni stayed in Homs throughout the civil war, making plans to build hope from carnage.”
In this TEDSummit video, Al-Sabouni argues “that while architecture is not the axis around which all of human life rotates... it has the power to... direct human activity” She believes that the Old Islamic cities of Syria were once harmonious urban entities which advocated for co-habitation and tolerance through their intertwining. However, she posits that over the last century, beginning with French colonization, the Ancient towns were seen as un-modern and were gradually “improved” with elements of modernity: “brutal unfinished concrete blocks, aesthetic devastation and divisive communities that zoned communities by class, creed, or affluence.” This urban condition, she argues, is what created the conditions for the uprising-turned-civil war.
Why should I even have an online portfolio?
A portion of working in architecture includes having to market yourself and your skills. "One minute networking" is a skill that many architects learn in order to be successful in the creative field, but having the gift of gab requires you to put your money where your mouth is. If you have an online portfolio which is accessible with just an internet internet connection and a digital device capable of viewing it, your work is always conveniently available during your networking conversations. It's also helpful for sharing your work in online conversations: while a pdf of your print portfolio can really only be sent by email, practically every messaging app or direct messaging service built into social networks will allow you to send a link, allowing you to take advantage of an opportunity even when you weren't expecting one to arise. Finally, if you make it right your website can even do some of the advertising and networking for you.
The most important thing to remember is that like your resume or print portfolio, an online portfolio is a tool to help you advance your career, so it must be useful towards your goals. Therefore instead of asking yourself why you should have an online portfolio, you should ask yourself what those goals are, and how your online portfolio can be optimized to help you achieve them.
Now that we've gotten that question out of the way, here are 8 other questions to ask yourself:
1. All black.
2. Black with a bit of grey.
3. Black with a bit of white.
4. Match different shades of black.
Done. Go home.
All jokes aside, there has never been a set uniform in the architecture profession. The truth is, there are a large variety of different architectural practices, and one’s attire to do architectural work often depends on each firm’s unique culture. There are corporate firms composed of hundreds of people in office blocks where “corporate” clothing is expected, or there are atelier style firms where jeans and a simple shirt are more appropriate for the design-build.
The architecture world is unique in that we are expected to be creative like artists, execute like engineers, negotiate like businessmen, and make like craftsmen but at the same time are asked to discover our own unique style and approach. Hybridity and improvisation abounds in architecture, which is definitely reflected in our fashion choices. In general though, the architect’s wardrobe is governed by four key words: eccentric, professional, relaxed and... well, still largely black. Here we’ve profiled a few tips on how to dress by these four qualities.
Rio de Janeiro is a city of sights and sounds. As diverse as its people is the collection of impressive architecture found in Brazil’s second most populous city—from Eurocentric historical architecture to 20th century regionalist modern marvels, not to mention the city’s growing crop of contemporary cultural venues. The combination of mountainous terrain, lush rainforest, and the ocean inspires many to create lively and unique architecture.
In preparation for the 2016 Summer Olympics, the city has enlisted a crop of internationally renowned architects including Santiago Calatrava, whose work joins Rio's existing masterpieces from architects such as Oscar Niemeyer. But apart from its "Capital A" Architecture, the city of Rio is home to thousands of residents living in the now-famous favelas—interesting subjects of inquiry for those interested in the concept of spontaneous urban growth. There’s a building for just about every architecture fan visiting Rio this year or anytime in the future.
In this video entitled Building Between, Marlon Blackwell advocates for a kind of regionalism which isn’t as divisive as “regionalism.” As a 24-year resident of Arkansas, he recalls his work and process in a place which he states is both “an environment of natural beauty and a place of real constructed ugliness”—showing the nuanced and self-critical awareness of place beyond the utopian glorification of genius loci which earlier this year earned him the 2016 Cooper Hewitt National Design Award in Architecture.
Margot Krasojevic Proposes Trolleybus Garden that Generates Electricity From the Movement of Vehicles
Far from the common dismissal of Margot Krasojevic’s work as (in her own words) “parametric futurist crap,” her work has always revolved around concepts of sustainability. As she explained to ArchDaily last year, she aims to focus on the ways that sustainable technology “will affect not just an architectural language but create a cross disciplinary dialogue and superimpose a typology in light of the ever-evolving technological era.” For the second project in a series of three proposals for the city of Belgrade Serbia, the architect is proposing a “Trolleybus Garden” that functions as a waiting shelter and park while simultaneously harnessing kinetic movement to produce electricity.
Working in architecture is always a challenging experience in which you just never know what might happen next. That said, there are a number of things we can collectively relate to as a part of this industry. Here we've created a list of things we're all too familiar with—whether that relates to finishing projects, working with clients, or just dealing with people that totally don't even know what goes on in architecture. Which ones did we miss?
At the recently concluded Moscow Urban Forum, Renier de Graaf shared his opinion on a range of topics, from UK’s Brexit and the EU identity to OMA’s work in Russia, particularly in shaping the recent growth of Moscow. De Graaf is a partner at OMA and as director of the firm’s Think Tank, AMO, he produced The Image of Europe, an exhibition hoping to portray a “bold, explicit and popular” European Union. Thus, it comes as no surprise that De Graaf, along with Rem Koolhaas, is particularly outspoken about the recent events within the European Union.
Following a successful pilot launch in Boston and $1 million in venture backing, a startup company called Getaway has recently launched their service to New Yorkers. The company allows customers to rent out a collection of designer “tiny houses” placed in secluded rural settings north of the city; beginning at $99 per night, the service is hoping to offer respite for overstimulated city folk seeking to unplug and “find themselves.” The company was founded by business student Jon Staff and law student Pete Davis, both from Harvard University, out of discussions with other students about the issues with housing and the need for new ideas to house a new generation. From that came the idea of introducing the experience of Tiny House living to urbanites through weekend rentals.
Inspired by the notion of micro-housing and the powerful rhetoric of the Tiny House movement, initiatives like Getaway are part of a slew of architectural proposals that have emerged in recent years. Downsizing has been cited by its adopters as both a solution to the unaffordability of housing and a source of freedom from the insidious capitalist enslavement of “accumulating stuff.” Highly developed and urbanized cities such as New York seem to be leading the way for downsizing: just last year, Carmel Place, a special micro-housing project designed by nARCHITECTS, was finally completed in Manhattan to provide studio apartments much smaller than the city’s current minimum regulation of 400 square feet (37 square meters). Many, including Jesse Connuck, fail to see how micro-housing can be a solution to urban inequality, yet if we are to judge from the early success of startups like Getaway, micro-architecture holds widespread public appeal. Isn’t user satisfaction the ultimate goal of architecture? In that case, it’s important to investigate the ingenuity behind these undersized yet often overpriced spaces.
Today, thanks to our partnership with Sketchfab, we take you on a virtual tour of some of the most breathtaking historic fortresses across Europe. The design of castles and fortress complexes are particularly interesting because of their strategic siting and defense mechanisms. As strongholds of territorial claim, fortress complexes are meant to be self-sustaining in times of conflict and contain not only defense fortifications but a suite of supporting structures such as chapels, schools, and housing. This effectively turns fortress complexes into a village within a village. These richly detailed scans hosted on Sketchfab allow us to see in detail the urban planning strategies of different historic periods and places.
For a more immersive experience, all of these models can be viewed on a virtual reality headset such as Google Cardboard.
Architecture is a broad field of practice, an industry where individual personalities are embraced as intrinsically part of the job. We’re all architects and we all live for design but we’re quite a varied bunch. Here we’ve cheekily compiled a list of the 21 different architects you’ll meet at some point in your career.
In the autumn of 2014, Piotr Bednarski, a Warsaw-based architectural photographer, visited the municipality of Novi Beograd (New Belgrade), a planned city built in 1948 which constitutes one of Belgrade Serbia’s 17 municipalities. There, he quickly fell in love with the gritty Communist-era architecture of the area. He writes:
In Warsaw, where I'm from, most of the residential buildings from the Communist era [have been] turned into kitschy, colorful blocks… Seeing the dense, raw and, desolate modernist architecture, and rediscovering the atmosphere of my childhood made me fall in love with Novi's neighborhood. I saw people from different social backgrounds living peacefully in one place.
Since that initial trip, Piotr has made multiple return visits to capture the city in a variety of thought-provoking ways, showing long span views of the city, the streetscape, and even the view from inside people’s apartments. He believes that there is much to uncover in Novi Beograd, and that his story with New Belgrade is not yet finished.