Somewhere between 1914 and 1915, Le Corbusier designed the Maison Dom-Ino, a groundbreaking modular structure that replaced the heavy load-bearing walls with reinforced concrete columns and slabs. The open floor plan with minimal thin elements, coupled with large glass facades, would ensure healthy natural daylight for the interior spaces as well as desirable architectural transparency that could blur the boundaries between interior and exterior —at least metaphorically.
Romullo Baratto is an architect and urban planner, with a Masters in architecture and cinema from FAU-USP. Apart from ArchDaily, he also works as an independent photographer and filmmaker at studio Flagrante trying to explore the relations between movement and space through images. He was part of the curatorial team for the 11th São Paulo Architecture Biennial in 2017.
One of the most rewarding aspects of working with architecture publications is the possibility of meeting and becoming closer to the experts that are effectively transforming the discipline, either with built projects, research, experiments, theories, or even with works in other fields. In this sense, interviews perform a special role among all the different types of content published every day by ArchDaily, as we can get a closer insight into what some of the most distinguished and promising people have to say about the present and the future of architecture and cities.
With more than two hundred interviews published in our platforms, in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Chinese, conducted in various formats – video recordings, transcripts, interviews by e-mail, video calls, or even podcasts –, it's safe to say that 2020 was a year of intensive learning during which we have become, paradoxically, closer than ever before to an inspiring group of architecture professionals.
Most people are familiar with the concept of social and economic inequality, but although it affects a large part of the world's population, it is still somewhat abstract for many people. Photographer Johnny Miller intends to make it visible through his project Unequal Scenes, capturing images of spatial inequality from a very revealing perspective: aerial imagery.
The project started in South Africa, a country that is socially and spatially marked by apartheid, and now has been taken to Brazil to document scenarios in which extreme poverty and wealth coexist within a few meters, showing how distance is not only a measurement of physical length but can also imply more complex aspects, deeply rooted in our society.
Vão is a transdisciplinary architecture office based in São Paulo, Brazil, created in 2013 by Anna Juni, Enk te Winkel, and Gustavo Delonero. The office operates in a territory between fields, exploring multiple subjects and scales ranging from art installations to residential architecture, as well as cultural, commercial, and corporate facilities, seeking to dissolve or push the boundaries between disciplines to enhance architectural thinking and practice.
Recently we had the opportunity to talk with the team partners about some of the topics that shape the firm's approach and also look deeper into some of the group's best-known projects. You can read the interview below.
For the past few weeks, there has been concern that the Ginásio do Ibirapuera, an indoor sporting arena located in São Paulo, Brazil, designed by architect Ícaro de Castro Mello, may be converted into a shopping, entertainment, and gastronomic center. This could be the fate of the building, which is of notorious historical significance if the private sector sets in motion the financial modeling report for the Ibirapuera Park concession, articulated by the São Paulo State Government.
Led by architectural designers Khensani de Klerk and Solange Mbanefo, Matri-Archi is a collective based between Switzerland and South Africa that aims to bring African women together for the development of spatial education in African cities. Through design practice, writing, podcasts, and other initiatives, Matri-Archi focuses on the recognition and empowerment of women in the spatial field and architectural industry.
ArchDaily had the opportunity to talk to the co-directors of the collective on hegemonic space, informal architecture, technology, local idiosyncrasies, and the future of African and global cities. Read the full interview below.
A city's industrial past can leave unsettling imprints on the present. Large abandoned structures and forgotten facilities are very appealing not only to the voracious real estate market but also to the imagination of those who daydream about an unpromising past. Take the Ruhr valley, Germany's most populated urban area, and Europe's largest industrial region.
Compact living units have become the norm in most big cities across the globe. High density and the value of land in urban areas has made it mandatory for most developments to take full advantage of the buildable area. The result is homes that are increasingly smaller. Hong Kong is probably the most extreme case – with roughly three-quarters of the land preserved, the portion left for housing accommodates more than 7 million people in one of the densest urban environments on Earth.
We recently had the opportunity to talk with architect Gary Chang, founder of the Hong Kong-based Edge Design Institute, about his vision of compact living, small-scale architecture, flexibility, and the future of our cities.
Investing in virtual projects has probably never been more timely, after all, we have been partially deprived of contact with the concrete world. Exploring the singularities of the present moment and the power of online engagement, a group of architects from Angola started an ambitious work: pursuing a new identity for Angolan architecture.
Formed by Yolana Lemos, Kátia Mendes, Mamona Duca, Elsimar de Freitas, and Gilson Menses, Grupo BANGA is responsible for the project Cabana de Arte (Art Hut), which combines the efforts of young architects and artists from Angola in virtual works that seek to bring visibility to emerging professionals and bring architecture closer to people's daily lives.
Seeing from above – the aerial vantage point – is the illusion of knowledge. This was the idea of Frenchman Michel de Certeau, a historian who was interested in the everyday practices that occur on the ground, on the streetscape. In contrast to Certeau's view, satellite images can be a powerful tool to understand, predict, and strive for a better future for humankind. This is the mission of Benjamin Grant, founder of Overview, a platform that explores human activity on Earth through aerial imagery.
Interested in fostering "an experience of awe" through elevated vantage points of our world, Overview offers snapshots featuring traces of human activity on the surface of the planet. Photos of cities and other cultural artifacts join pictures of mesmerizing topography and natural beauty in an impressive archive of drone and satellite images. Awe abounds as we face not only some of the most impressive human endeavors seen from the sky, but also as we are confronted with the rather gruesome side-effects of our very existence on Earth.
Hungarian analyst and cartographer Robert Szucs shared with ArchDaily another of his series of maps, this time addressing the population distribution on Earth. A large blackboard, identifying only the geopolitical boundaries of countries and continents, reveals bright constellations, representing human agglomerations and the world's great voids.
Across the world, urban clusters have —to a greater or lesser extent— social and economic differences. Reflected in space, these imbalances of income and access to education, health, sanitation, and infrastructure generate ruptures more or less visible —although drastically felt.
Although a daily reality for some, socio-spatial inequalities can often go unnoticed. Photographer Johnny Miller states, "Discrepancies in how people live are sometimes hard to see from the ground... Oftentimes, communities of extreme wealth and privilege will exist just meters from squalid conditions and shack dwellings." Miller's photo series 'Unequal Scenes' seeks "to portray the most 'Unequal Scenes' in [the world] as objectively as possible."
Representation of the real world is, without any doubt, in the genesis of cinema, an art originated from photography, by creating a sequence to convey the impression of movement to the viewer. In fact, the earliest known film recording is from 1895, picturing the arrival of a train at Ciolat station in France, a trivial event in the daily life of 19th-century European cities.
However, even though tangible reality plays a big role in cinema, one cannot ignore that the fascination caused by this art comes, to a great extent, from its capacity to create imaginary worlds, to activate mental spaces, and to unleash emotions. In this sense, the real world may often provide insufficient fuel, inspiration, or background for the directors' and screenwriters' storytelling, so the art direction and scenic design teams are required to create other intangible realities that serve as a basis for the narrative.
GIS analyst and Hungarian cartographer Robert Szucs has shared an impressive collection of maps that bring together all the drainage basins of the world in vibrant colors. Titled Grasshopper Geography, the maps showcase the rivers and watercourses of the world, featuring the basins of selected regions, countries and continents.
Following the recommendations of public authorities and the WHO general guidelines towards the COVID-19 pandemic, The International Union of Architects, UIA, the Institute of Architects of Brazil, IAB and the Executive Committee UIA2020RIO have decided to postpone the 27th World Congress of Architects to July 2021. The announcement echoes several other events related to architecture that had to be postponed, including the Venice Biennale and the Salone del Mobile.
The recent success of Parasite, the award winning film directed by South Korean director Bong Joon Ho, has created a conversation around the emphasis of architecture and interior spaces in movies. This particular film does an excellent job of blurring the boundaries between the two disciplinary fields, to the point where the architecture is not just the background of the set, but it has been placed at the forefront of the storyline, and takes on the leading role in many scenes.