Almost a century after the iconic aesthetic emerged, Art Deco is finally having its comeback. As seen in new projects, interior spaces, and furniture around the globe, the glitz and glam that makes us long for the Roaring 20s of the early 20th century is now giving us a small taste of the Roaring 20s revival in the 21st century. As the distinct identity of Art Deco architecture and design has continued to inspire the world, what can we expect from new designs, and the preservation of existing ones?
B.S. in Architecture and Master of Architecture from Ohio State Knowlton School. Master of Science in Real Estate Development at Columbia University. Senior Contributor at ArchDaily. New York, NY. Interested in strategic development of cities at the intangible scale.
Almost two decades ago, in the downtown corridor of Columbus, Ohio, the century-old landmarked Lazarus Building underwent an extensive renovation to save the department store and restore it to its former glory. Sixty million dollars went into its restoration and transformation into a retail and office complex. During the construction, workers recycled nearly 5,000 pounds of steel, 2,000 pounds of concrete, and significant amounts of carpeting, ceiling tiles, and various wood- keeping 22,000 pounds of debris out of Ohio’s landfills. They also saved more than $25 million dollars by implementing this rigorous recycling process.
“Can you help me design my residential tower? It's 30 stories and located in Brooklyn, New York.” ChatGPT’s response may be surprising. Given that the bot has no architectural experience, and is certainly not a licensed architect, it was quick to rattle off a list of considerations for my building. Zoning codes, floor plan functionality, building codes, materiality, structural design, amenity spaces, and sustainable measures were just a few of the topics ChatGPT shared information about.
Architecture has the power to transform cities. Whether through the innovative use of materials, collaboration with other architecture firms to realize neighborhood master plans, or transforming public transportation for an entire population, design can significantly influence and impact how we interact with the places we live. In an exclusive interview with ArchDaily, Alan Pullman of Studio One Eleven talks about his firm’s vision for the future of Los Angeles and its approach to architecture and urban planning.
Cities that rely on the use of private cars experience a variety of problems- long commutes to and from work, endless traffic jams, and an increase in pollution. While it seems like cars are the most reliable option to take us from place to place, city planners are frequently promoting the benefits of public transit, and the development of communities that are centered around many forms of public transportation. Many cities are growing faster than they were initially planned. As a result, roadways have expanded, land is being transformed into massive parking lots, and connections between communities are growing farther apart.
Countries around the world have urban, suburban, and rural problems- and it’s all connected by the problem itself. There are too many highway systems. In some cities that are notoriously known for their traffic jams, like Los Angeles, Minneapolis, and Atlanta, there are almost five miles of road per every 1000 residents. This has also impacted how some forms of public transit, like rail cars and busses, operate, significantly reducing their efficiency. So why do we build these superhighways, and how can we fix their congestion?
It’s true that all trends are circular, and what was once seen as old and outdated becomes new and modern again- in fashion, music, art, and especially architecture. From the mid 20th century, brutalist architecture rose in popularity before reaching its peak in the mid-1970s, when it was disregarded for being too stylistic and non-conforming to the needs of clients who wanted their buildings to feel timeless. But the love for these concrete beasts is facing a resurgence, and a renewed appreciation for this architectural style is on the rise.
Natural light is one of the most critical elements in architecture. Although unbuilt and difficult to control, it plays a crucial part in defining how space is perceived in terms of scale, textures, materiality, and overall atmosphere. Natural light also impacts the emotions people feel in a space, whether lack of light makes us feel fear and anxiety or ample light makes us feel safe and ethereal. As much as light impacts architecture, architecture also impacts light. Through framing vistas, creating 3D massings that cast sculptural shadows, and carving voids from solids that create unique light projections, many architects have mastered design techniques that utilize light in a way that seamlessly integrates it within a building- and perhaps one of the best to do this was the Venetian architect, Carlo Scarpa.
We’re all familiar with the plot of a movie that occurs in a city still standing in a post-apocalyptic era. The streets are empty, except for a few survivors who wander aimlessly, searching for signs of life. Buildings begin to crumble and rust away after years of neglect, public transportation sits idle, and overgrown weeds spring from the cracks in the unmanaged sidewalks and streets. The scene feels eerie because we can’t imagine letting our physical environment sit in decay. It seems impossible that our built environments where we live and work each day suddenly fall silent. It’s a city without a pulse.
For every car that drives on the road, we need to find a place to put it- but are parking garages the answer? Parking garages are often seen as the antithesis of people-friendly urban planning. Large gray boxes are used solely to store cars that make temporary visits and seem like a poor use of space, especially in cities where land comes at a premium. Because of these garages, urban cores have quickly been transformed into parking districts, where vehicle storage dominates the aesthetic of a business district. Building codes only contribute to the problem, where the number of spaces is passed down as a mandate, even spreading out into suburban areas. Parking garages are everywhere- flanking shopping malls, connecting to residential towers, and surrounding sporting venues.
In 1950, the famous Le Corbusier was asked to design the new state capital of Chandigarh for Punjab following its separation and recent independence. The opportunity to create a new utopia was unparalleled- and is now seen as one of the greatest urban experiments in the history of planning and architecture. The city employed grid street patterns, European-style thoroughfares, and raw concrete buildings- the zenith of Corbusier’s ideals throughout his career. But what is lesser known about the ideation and realization of Chandigarh, was the woman who brought her experience of designing social housing across Africa to the project. For three years, working alongside Corbusier, and helping him design some of the best-known buildings in Chandigarh, was Jane Drew.
When Airbnb began nearly 15 years ago, it offered a new and innovative solution to book short-term stays without any hassle. By renting out a spare room or an entire apartment, it provided an alternative to traditional hotel models which were often overpriced and overbooked. Airbnb now faces many critics as the company quickly grew, offering hundreds of thousands of stays around the globe, but not without a handful of negative experiences. Now, planners and policymakers are beginning to see the effects of the abundance of Airbnb listings and how it impacts a growing housing crisis.
When people describe the modernist movement as a whole, they broadly reference the steel and glass skyscrapers which dot many of our cities’ skylines, or more specifically, the International Style that once emerged from Europe after World War I. The International Style represented technological and industrial progress and a renaissance of social constructs that would forever influence the way that we think about the use of space across all scales. Often designed as politically charged buildings seeking to make a statement towards totalitarian governments, many architects who influenced the style moved to the United States after World War II, paving the way for some of the most iconic buildings and skyscrapers to be built in the 20th century.
Over the last few years, bike share systems experienced a renaissance as the pandemic forced a hard decline in other forms of public transportation like trains and commercial flights where people wanted to avoid close contact with strangers. While ridership is now on a slow decline, since much of the “normal life” aspects have returned, many people continue to see bike shares as a viable means of transportation, lured by the ease and affordability of getting from place to place.
Airbnb has long been a reliable way to find a homestay. Since its inception in 2008, the site has hosted more than 7 million homes around the world where travelers can stay in a room, or rent an entire house out for themselves. Recently, many cities have been cracking down on short-term stays, citing safety issues, false listings, and rising property prices which push people out of their homes when housing becomes used just for Airbnb rentals. What are cities doing about these issues? What is Airbnb doing to help remediate them? And will Airbnb be viable for much longer?
Suburbs have experienced a sort of renaissance over the last decade. During the COVID-19 pandemic, people fled urban cores in favor of open space and decentralized amenities. For some people, the word “suburb” or “suburbia” flashes images of manicured lawns and rows of identical homes, but what makes a successful suburb may have more in common with cities than you might think.
New York City is one of the most exciting places in the world. As an epicenter for the arts, media, and culture, New York has a rich history and a promising future, told mainly through its architecture. Perhaps more known for iconic buildings like the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building, or even mega-tall residential towers like 432 Park Avenue that have been on the rise, New York also has an abundance of buildings that tell a different story about the history of the Big Apple.