The emergence of China on the global economic stage has been discussed at nauseum in myriad publications. But this emergence has had an impact on the world of architecture, providing a testing ground where architects can experiment with new ideas about sustainability and urban growth. These new ideas have been realized in recently completed structures, and more are just beginning construction or have been proposed for the future. More on these new buildings after the break.
The recession that began in 2007 technically ended in 2009, but you wouldn’t know it from visiting Detroit. The capital of U.S. auto manufacturing has been hit particularly hard, and stories of its plight during the economic downturn abound. Less reported, though, are the ideas and proposals put forth to return this city to its former glory. The urban renewal projects proposed are some of the latest in a long line of design projects that attempt to bring renewed prosperity and well being to the downtrodden sections of cities throughout the world. More on urban renewal and Detroit after the break.
To visit the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, a 30-kilometer ring that surrounds the Chernobyl nuclear plant, is a haunting, sobering experience. Located north of Kiev, on the border between the Ukraine and Belarus, Chernobyl is the site of the worst nuclear power plant disaster in history. The disaster occurred in 1986, and since then the power plant and Exclusion Zone surrounding it have been off-limits for human inhabitants. But earlier this year, Ukraine opened the Exclusion Zone to tourists, highlighting the interest in this area and the possibilities it provides for rebuilding. More on the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone after the break.
Prefabricated design has been around since at least the 1940’s, but has lately seen resurgence in popularity. By assembling off-site, prefab gives homebuyers attractive alternatives to the standard residential developments that have become commonplace. While prefabricated homes are not without their disadvantages, they are an interesting component of the post-housing bubble residential market. More on prefab design after the break.
The most influential decision in sports in the last twenty-five years was not made by a general manager, coach, or athlete. In fact, it wasn’t even made on a field, pitch, court, or rink. Instead, this decision originated in the office and on the drafting tables of the architecture firm HOK. The architects and engineers decided, going against three decades of stadium designs, some of which were their very own, to not create another generic multi-sport indoor arena for the next Baltimore Oriole park. Rather, they designed a stadium that was considerate of its context, integrated beautifully within the city, and invited the citizens of Baltimore to enjoy watching their Orioles play. More on stadium design and Oriole Park after the break.
Any trip to Athens, Greece would not be complete without a visit to the Acropolis, the purest remaining form of what the Greeks thought architecture should be. And yet, if you stopped by a few weeks ago, you might have been surprised to find large banners proclaiming support for a communist trade union adorning the Acropolis hill. These banners are the most visible and literal signs of the Greek debt crisis affecting the historic landmarks in the country, but they are not the ones doing the most damage. That honor goes to the drop in tourism that Greece has experienced since the beginning of the global recession and runs through the country’s fiscal problems to the present. More on how the debt crisis is affecting historical landmarks after the break.
When one mentions the architecture of Germany during World War Two, the first ideas that come to mind are not the possibilities for new growth in the 21st century. But that is exactly what the Nazi bunkers that were built provide for us today. In Berlin, these bunkers are a monolithic and often oppressive reminder of the past, but are also ripe for intelligent thought about what they can be used for in the future. More information and images after the break.