JP Morgan Chase announced this week that they had hired Foster + Partners to design their new global headquarters in New York. The project, located in midtown Manhattan, will replace the existing 1960s SOM design for the US investment bank.
This is not the first time Foster + Partners have been called in to handle a corporate headquarters project: the office is also responsible for the designs of the nearby Hearst Tower, Apple’s Campus in Silicon Valley, and the Stirling Prize-winning Bloomberg HQ in London.
Architecture, unlike other aspects of culture (such as fashion or music), can only really be experienced and understood in person. For highly branded companies, designing a new building can be a prime opportunity to signal taste and values - but also creates an interesting architectural conundrum. While the buildings will be inhabited (nearly 24/7) by company employees, they’re also very much populated by the imaginations of people across the globe. What is it like to be in these places?
Danish office 3XN has unveiled finalized designs for their Sydney Fish Market project after announcing their attachment to the project last June. The scheme, which is expected to begin construction in 2019, combines the traditional working market program with contemporary features and is intended to establish a strong public connection to the waterfront at Blackwattle Bay.
Kanye West is, according to Kanye West, a reformed man. After months of making headlines over his bizarre political views, he stated on Wednesday that, “my eyes are now wide open and now realize I’ve been used to spread messages I don’t believe in. I am distancing myself from politics and completely focusing on being creative !!!”
While this most likely means a return to his music career, this statement could also indicate a renewed interest in his design projects. The rapper’s interest in architecture is more than just a passing one; he’s collaborated with noted architects such as Jacques Herzog and Rem Koolhaas and has declared on multiple occasions his desire for everything to be “architected.”
The story of the Hastings Pier is an improbable one. Located in Hastings - a stone's throw away from the battlefield that defined English history - the pier was first opened to the promenading public in 1872. For decades the structure, an exuberant array of Victorian-era decoration, entertained seaside crowds but by the new millennium had fallen out of disrepair. In 2008 the pier was closed - a closure that became seemingly irreversible when, two years later, it burnt down.
It’s easy to feel jaded about modernism. What started as a radically rational and analytical approach to design - one not beholden to the architectural traditions of place or history - has become a smokescreen behind which designers and developers alike can hide. The language of logic (genuine or not) is a shield against criticism and satisfies questions about the bottom line. The border between minimalism and a value-engineered bare minimum has been blurred to the point of invisibility.
Architecture is a profession deeply dependent on the visual. It’s imagined, sold, critiqued and consumed almost entirely on the strength (or lack thereof) of drawings. We pick and prod at images presented at angles we’ll never be able to see, admiring the architectonic qualities of elements we’ll never actually experience.
If the surest sign of summer in London is the appearance of a new pavilion in front of the Serpentine Gallery, then it’s perhaps fair to say that summer is over once the pavilion is taken down. The installations have gained prominence since its inaugural edition in 2000, acting as a kind of exclusive honor and indication of talent for those chosen to present; celebrated names from the past names include Zaha Hadid, Rem Koolhaas, and Olafur Eliasson.
After a season packed with significant architecture news, Melbourne has announced the opening of the 2018 MPavilion designed by Carme Pinós. The pavilion is widely considered to be the southern hemisphere’s answer to the Serpentine Pavilion, and has featured designers such as Rem Koolhaas, Bijoy Jain, and Amanda Levete.
This year’s design, from Spanish architect Carme Pinós, takes its inspiration from origami, with wings opening out to welcome the city into the pavilion itself. The roof, made of two distinct halves, is perched upon three mounds incorporating public seating.
In a creative scene that is already bursting with talent and innovation, Atelier Deshaus' works in China stand out. Their projects, often renovations of existing spaces, do not follow particular rules of style set by others or even themselves. Yet they are united in their subtle and enigmatic take on the experience of space in the ever-changing urban environments in China.
House Vision China 2018 has opened with 10 futuristic residential designs by architects like Penda, Open Architecture and MAD. Located outside the Bird's Nest stadium in Beijing's Olympic Park, House Vision is a cultural research project initiated with the concept of “new life in the future”. Together with architects and enterprises, the exhibition aims to build cultural research around the future home at a 1:1 ratio. House Vision features a range of home designs, from a shelter for life on Mars to a Living Garden.
It’s well understood that a sense of place is an essential value for people, architecture, and cities. Everyone from designers to planners to city governments speak breathlessly of the power of places to transform cities for the better - but it’s not clear what placemaking really means.
It's no secret that post-modernism has, in recent years, experienced something of a revival. The much-maligned movement's exhuberant and joyful take on architecture is perhaps a solace in difficult moments. Or, for the more jaded among us, perhaps it simply lends itself to Instagram.
That said, it's not quite the postmodernism that took off in the 60s. Post postmodernism is also concerned with history and context, but with contemporary spins made possible by new technologies. Installations and other temporary typologies also bring with them a fresh perspective, preserved forever on the internet for our vicarious enjoyment. But perhaps most crucially, it is no longer so wholly a reaction against the hegemony of modernism; something that the original postmodernists were fixated with. Today's postmodernism can be at once joyful and reserved, vernacular and high-tech.
Robert Venturi - and the postmodernist movement he helped to form - was occasionally a divisive figure. For hardcore modernists, the referencing of prior styles was an affront to the future-facing architecture they had tried to promote. For traditionalists, the ebullient and kitschy take on classicism was an insult to the elegance of the past.