Visiting architectural masterpieces by the greats can often feel like a pilgrimage of sorts, especially when they are far away and hard to find. Not everyone takes the time to visit these buildings when traveling, which makes getting there all the more special. With weird opening hours, hard-to-reach locations and elusive tours we thought we’d show a selection from our archives of masterpieces (modernist to contemporary) and what it takes to make it through their doors. Don’t forget your camera!
Sabrina joined the Archdaily team as a News Intern on May 2017. A Part 1 graduate from the University of Edinburgh School of Architecture, Sabrina has experience as a speaker for TEDxEdinburgh and at Zaha Hadid Architects in London. She currently runs a student drawing platform VOLUME64 on her year out before returning to Edinburgh for her M.Arch in September.
Polish architect, designer, and sculptor Oskar Zieta has unveiled his latest project: the arched NAWA pavilion on an island in Wroclaw, Poland. The pavilion forms part of the European Capital of Culture celebrations following the theme of “Metamorphoses of Culture” and was unveiled in June. The lightweight steel elements that make up the parametrically designed sculpture are made in a unique method called FiDU, a metal-inflating process created by Zieta during his PhD studies in ETH Zurich. Though Zieta has used FiDU successfully for various products (many exhibited in the Salone del Mobile in Milan), the NAWA Pavillion is the first project of this size to use the technology entirely, and is thus coined as “a manifesto of FiDU."
Street Artist Misha Most have finished a gargantuan project – a 10,800 square meter mural set to be the world's largest in Vyska, Russia. The giant mural, titled “Evolution-2” covers the facade of the "Stan-5000" industrial complex from the oldest Russian manufacturer, Vyksa Steel Works. The mural project was chosen in the course of the "Vyksa 10000" open competition and is part of the ArtOvrag urban art festival curated by Sabina Changina and Russian creative studio Artmossphere. Artmossphere is known for curating various art projects, exhibitions, and festivals connected with street art with both established and upcoming street artists.
The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has released an official statement on design for fire safety following the tragic Grenfell Tower fire on June 14. The causes and aftermath of the catastrophic fire, which ravaged 27 storeys of the council estate in the London borough of North Kensington are currently under investigation, with a team of 250+ working on operations including recovering and identifying victims (the death toll has risen to 80+) according to recent reports from the BBC and the Met Police. The aluminium-composite cladding Reynobond PE - identified as one of the main reasons for the fire’s spread up the building’s façade has sparked outrage over failed safety regulations and debate over the lack of responsibility behind the building’s (and many others) construction overall. Further fire safety tests revealed the cladding to be present in up to 60 similar council estates with more being urged to submit samples for testing.
For a quick summary, we’ve covered some key points from each of the 3 sections addressed RIBA's statement below:
They exist for a reason.
Coined by Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown in Learning from Las Vegas, “Ducks” are buildings that project their meaning in a literal way . No architectural metaphors here - they are exactly what they look like. Many emerged alongside interstate highways, a lone doughnut or dinosaur punctuating the road trip across America. Places like Las Vegas and Macau have built their identity in the kitsch and literal language of architecture – with the duck a strong contributor. Though they get relegated to one of the weird forays of the postmodern era, ducks still make current-day appearances (like the Chicago Apple Store’s recent Macbook roof). Are they fun, kitschy, or just plain ugly? Love them or hate them, ducks have a light-hearted presence in our architectural history. Below are 9 weird and wonderful examples of buildings that make no apologies for being exactly what they are:
Architectural research initiative Arch Out Loud has released the winners of the Tenancingo Square Mediascape international open-ideas competition aimed to engage architects with the topic of human trafficking. The competition challenged participants to reimagine the town square of Tenancingo, Mexico in response to the prevalent issues of sex trafficking existing in the area. “With proposals from both regional designers and designers from other parts of the world, the competition brought forth a large variety of approaches to an extremely sensitive, but immediate, societal problem” Arch Out Loud said in a statement. “Being the first architectural competition to address human and sex trafficking, Arch Out Loud hopes that the culmination of this exploration is only the beginning of the field’s examination of its’ role in the matter.”
MVRDV have broken ground on a 3,700 square meter creative office project in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Named “Salt,” the new flexible workspace is part of the Minervahaven port redevelopment located on the city’s harbor. Conceived as a response to the lack of flexible workspaces in Amsterdam, Salt aims to provide small, high-quality offices geared towards the demands of creative industries. The building contributes to Minervahaven’s ambition to redefine itself as the city’s new creative hub.
Architectural photographer Julien Lanoo is known for his storytelling. His documentary-style photographs of the built environment range from Adjaye Associates' Aishti Foundation, OMA’s CCTV and the Oslo Architecture Triennale to name a few. Now the photographer has released a short film: introducing Canadian-Ghanaian architect Akwasi McLaren as he tells the story behind building his eco-lodge in the Cape 3 Points region of Ghana. Broken down into 3 chapters, “Knowledge, Wisdom, and Understanding” follows McLaren’s journey from designing his parents’ hotel in Ghana as a student to building his beloved lodge on the beach, to his hopes of sharing the valuable skills of ecological building and craftsmanship to cities.
Taking a page from its own products, Chicago’s new flagship Apple Store will have what appears to be a MacBook-inspired roof topping its entrance. Videos from the Chicago Tribune and Twitter surfaced earlier last week detailing its roof installation complete with a white apple logo. The Foster + Partners design will offer unobstructed views towards the Chicago river as a tribute to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie-style homes outside the city.
International architecture non-profit Shelter Global has just announced the winners of its third annual Dencity Competition, highlighting innovative solutions that will improve living conditions for over 1 billion slum dwellers worldwide. The goal of the competition is to foster new ideas on how to spread awareness and handle the growing density of unplanned cities .
Russian architecture office Blank Architects have won a competition to design the Rzhevskaya Metro Station in Moscow, Russia. The open international competition searched for proposals to design three stations along the capital’s new metro line: "Rzhevskaya," "Sheremetyevskaya," and "Stromynka." Blank Architects is one of three architecture offices winning proposals for each station, with AI Architects chosen to design "Sheremetyevskaya" station and Map Architects winning "Stromynka." Designed as a sequence of arches and topped with a transparent pavilion, the proposal creates a dialogue between monumental and light elements - a modern addition to the city’s architectural identity.
Aedas has unveiled their Phase II designs of Hengqin Headquarters Complex in Zhuhai, China. The site is located on an island that sits near the Lotus Bridge linking Zhuhai to Macau, overlooking some of the largest casino resorts across the river.
The complex is set to be an integrated cultural tourism-oriented complex with two high-rise Grade-A office towers and a series of retail, banquet, entertainment and leisure venues. The form of the main buildings is said to have taken inspiration from the traditional Chinese symbol of two dragons chasing for a pearl, meant to symbolize good fortune and happiness:
What makes the color black so enticing for architects? Projects made in black concrete are both striking and complex in their design and are gaining widespread appeal in contemporary projects, both public and private. What we don’t know is just how hard it is to create black concrete in the first place. We spoke with Attilio Panzeri & Partners who have mastered the craft - and here’s what we learned:
Hong Kong based architecture firm Cheongvogl has won an international competition to build the Yeoui-Naru Ferry Terminal in Seoul, South Korea. Founded by Judy Cheung and Christoph Vogl in 2008, the international practice aspires to “touch human hearts with poetic senses” through their projects. With that in mind, their winning design impressed an illustrious jury including architects Ryue Nishizawa (SANAA, Nishizawa, and Associates) and Alejandro Zaera Polo of APML. Using an approach called “Poetic Pragmatism” – the design aims to enhance the flatness and monochrome characteristics of the Han River site through its architecture. The masterplan connects the entire design to the city’s existing infrastructure while creating a sense of place along the riverbank.
Powerhouse Company have won a competition to create a new mixed-use hub in Eindhoven, Netherlands. For the competition, Powerhouse teamed up with landscape architects ZUS and developer Amvest to design a trio of skyscrapers forming the winning proposal for a new urban plaza, called “District E”. The 70,000 square meter proposal will be located next to Eindhoven Station.
The Naomi Milhave Foundation have released OMA‘s first renders and drawings for their upcoming MPavilion which is set to take shape this fall in Melbourne, Austrailia. The counterpart to the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion in London, the MPavilion is now in its fourth year. Comprising static and dynamic elements, OMA’s proposal allows for multiple configurations that can generate unexpected programming, echoing the ideals of the typology of the amphitheater. Following the idea of the traditional amphitheater, OMA’s design will be “itself built to perform” as a space for public debate, design workshops, music and arts events.
The international Prix Versailles Committee has announced the recipients of its annual awards celebrating built commercial architecture. The awards were held at the UNESCO World Headquarters, with recipients hailing from 6 regions around the world. Chaired by the Mayor of Versailles François de Mazières, the international jury included architects Manuelle Gautrand, Toyo Ito, Wang Shu, and acclaimed chef Guy Laroche.
The 12 World Titles are awarded in 4 top categories: stores, shopping malls, hotels and restaurants. The winners were selected from a diverse range of 70 regional winners already present in the ceremony.
Check out the gallery of the 12 winners below:
A team of architects from Florence, Italy have won CAMBOO’s bamboo design competition showcasing the material for its strong and sustainable construction qualities. Held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, the CAMBOO festival sought to find an innovative design for a landmark pavilion as a centerpiece during the event. Architects Roberto Bologna, Fernando Barth, Chiara Moretti and Denny Pagliai beat out 125 entries with their winning “Hyperbamboo” pavilion, which was chosen for its “intelligent and well thought out use of bamboo as a construction material.”