Wang Shu (born November 4, 1963) is a Hangzhou-based architect and dean at the China Academy of Art, known for his thoughtful resistance to what he considers “professionalized, soulless architecture.” His honoring of local tradition, environment, and craftsmanship saw him become the first Chinese citizen, and one of the youngest people overall, to receive the Pritzker Prize in 2012 for "an architecture that is timeless, deeply rooted in its context and yet universal.”
Architecture, as a profession and discipline, has come a long way since Vitruvius. It continues to evolve alongside culture and technology, reflecting new developments and shifting values in society. Some changes are conscious and originate within the field of architecture itself, made as acts of disciplinary or professional progress; others changes are uncontrollable, arising from architecture's role in the wider world that is also changing. Below are just some of the changes that have taken place in recent decades:
BIG are known for unconventional buildings that often raise the question “how were they able to do that?” Such is the case for BIG’s Honeycomb, a luxury eight-story condominium currently under construction in the Bahamas. The project’s hallmark is its hexagonal façade made up of private balconies, each with its own glass-fronted outdoor pool. The façade was also the project’s greatest engineering challenge, with each balcony (including pool water) weighing between 108,000 and 269,000 pounds (48,000-122,000 kilograms) while cantilevering up to 17.5 feet (5.3 meters) from the structure. Tasked with this challenging brief were DeSimone Consulting Engineers, who previously worked with BIG on The Grove. Read on for more detail on the Honeycomb’s innovative engineering.
Sketches of scale figures can be seen as an architectural signature. These miniature stand-ins for human life not only bring scale and understanding to a sketch, they also offer a glimpse into the architect’s personality. Some designers automatically go for realistic, anatomically correct people, while others have more abstract interpretations of the human body. But what exactly do these predilections say about their illustrator? Read on to find out:
New year, new me! Or perhaps for architects, new Moleskine, new me? While a lot has happened in the world of architecture this year, it’s just as important to reflect on your own personal architectural practices. Whether 2017 ushers in the start or end of a degree, a new job, a new project, or just more architectural life as usual, there’s no better time to make a resolution or two. As we approach the calendar change, here are 22 ideas for how you could improve yourself in the new year.
Narrative has a powerful place in architecture, and some of the most enduring narratives come in the form of fairy tales. A recent series by Places Journal brings the two directly together, exploring “the intimate relationship between the domestic structures of fairy tales and the imaginative realm of architecture.” The curation team reflects this duality, with the diverse collection put together by writer Kate Bernheimer and architect Andrew Bernheimer. Read on for a quick look at four new additions to the series released by Places Journal this week.
Our experience of information is changing. We now consume more and more information digitally, with much of this being non-textual. Videos, photos and GIFs have become commonplace, with technology allowing these mediums to be as easily shareable as text. This gives way to another trend: the increase in the number and accessibility of online platforms. Not only is more information being digitized, but more dynamic ways of digitization are being developed; multimedia articles and online exhibitions, for example, hope to provide a more engaging way of sharing information.
New typologies in architecture generally arise in two ways. The first is through a reevaluation of existing typologies that cater to familiar programs such as housing, schools, or healthcare. This is done in an effort to improve on the norm and to challenge accepted architectural notions, as seen for example, in the work of Moshe Safdie and OMA. The other is when an entirely new program, site condition, or client emerges and forces the invention of a new typology simply through their design requirements.
For his Master’s degree project at the University of Alcalá in Spain, Saúl Ajuria Fernández has envisioned the essential civic building of the future: the Urban Droneport. Located in what Ajuria has identified as a “disused urban vacuum” in Madrid, Spain, the Urban Droneport “allows and optimizes the transport of goods with Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems in urban areas” - in other words, drone-delivered packages.
Have absolutely no idea what to get your architecturally-predisposed friend or family member? Or perhaps you think you’ve managed to decipher their Moleskine-toting, coffee-drinking veneer and know just the perfect gift? Perhaps, even, you are the architecturally-predisposed family member, looking for a convenient way to show others what to get you. Either way, architects have rapidly evolving and often incredibly niche tastes that can be hard to shop for. But worry no longer, the secret guide to what and what not to give architects this holiday season is here:
A longer version of this article, written by current ArchDaily intern Sharon Lam, was originally published in Salient, the magazine of the Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association, titled "In the Shadow of the Kowloon Walled City."
It is the 1970s in Hong Kong, and you are eleven years old. Early one evening, you go out to a nearby neighborhood for dinner with your family. A five-minute walk from your primary school, it is also a place you frequent with your friends. The food here is good and especially renowned for its fishball noodle soup, which is what you always get. You’ve been here so often that navigating the subterranean corridors to the noodle stand is easy, and you know where to step to avoid the ceilings that drip the most. Your bowl of noodles arrives and you slurp them down, unaware of the fact that over the next couple of years this very neighborhood will peak in its population and its infamy, and remain even decades later as one of the most remarkable social anomalies in recent history.
At its peak, the Kowloon Walled City was home to 33,000 people in just two hectares of land—the size of about two rugby fields—making it the densest place on Earth at the time. It was a hastily put together conglomerate of tiny apartments, one on top of the other, caged balconies slapped onto the sides and connected through a labyrinth of damp, dark corridors. All the while, the rest of Hong Kong went about as normal, seemingly unaffected by the crime and squalor within the Walled City.
Fairy chimneys, also known as hoodoos or tent rocks, are spooky looking spires of rock that range from the height of an average person to over 40 meters. While recently on assignment creating one of his time-lapse videos for Turkish Airlines, photographer and filmmaker Rob Whitworth captured the fairy chimneys found in the Cappadocia region of Turkey in all their eerie charm.
Previously we had a look at some of the strange habits of top architects. From drinking on the job to polyphasic sleeping, it turns out famous architects are a bunch of weirdos. But what about the rest of us? It’s not just the famous architects who are weirdos—it’s simply impossible to spend such long periods of time on the job without picking up a few strange habits along the way. Whether it’s the way we work, the way we interact with buildings, or things that don’t even seem odd until a non-architect points them out, those in architecture have some pretty strange habits.
Watch Harvard GSD Celebrate Zaha Hadid in this Discussion Including Patrik Schumacher and Elia Zenghelis
In October, the Harvard Graduate School of Design (Harvard GSD) hosted “Zaha Hadid: A Celebration,” an evening of presentations and discussion around the extraordinary work and life of the late Zaha Hadid. Six months on from Hadid’s sudden passing in March, the Dean of Harvard GSD, Mohsen Mostafavi, introduced the event as the appropriate time to focus on creative recognition and “an evening of incredible celebration and enjoyment.”
[In New York] there’s this math problem: 1.8 million small households and only one million suitable apartments. – Mimi Hoang, principal of nArchitects
Last year, nArchitects released a trailer that teased the development of their winning adAPT NYC entry, Carmel Place (formerly known as My Micro NY). The competition sought to address the need for small household apartments in New York City. Now in a newly released video, the full story of the city’s tallest modular tower comes together in smooth timelapse to a dainty piano soundtrack.
Today we live in a rapidly aging society. The shift in the population pyramid means that traditional healthcare systems need to be reimagined in order to efficiently support an increasing senior population. This added pressure on healthcare is significant--the number of older adults in the US alone requiring long-term healthcare support is set to increase from 15 million to 27 million by 2050. By partnering with designers, healthcare providers can create valuable responses to address these growing needs.
One building typology that expresses this designer-provider partnership are centers for healthy living (CHL). CHLs help to bridge the gap between the senior living and healthcare sectors, and go beyond simple clinic or exercise spaces. Taking a more holistic approach, they seek to become accessible destinations for programs that nurture wellness while providing a sense of place and community.
In a new downloadable report, Perkins Eastman have explored this typology in great depth by investigating existing CHLs. Through spatial and market research, case studies and user surveys, their findings identify strategies for improving upon the CHL model in the future. Read on for our summary of their discoveries.
Audience sightlines, accessibility and acoustics all make theater seating a hugely precise art. As part of their set of online resources for architects and designers, the team at Theatre Solutions Inc (TSI) have put together a catalog of 21 examples of theater seating layouts. Each layout is well detailed, with information on the number of seats, the floor seating area and row spacing. These layouts fall under three general forms; to supplement this information, alongside TSI's diagrams we've included the pros and cons of each type, as well as examples of projects which use each format. Read on for more.
Update: We've added links to help you find these books for purchase and, in 5 of 8 cases, tracked down a way you can read them online for free!
Quality over quantity, so the saying goes. With so many concepts floating around the architectural profession, it can be difficult to keep up with all the ideas which you're expected to know. But in architecture and elsewhere, the most memorable ideas are often the ones that can be condensed textually: “form follows function,” “less is more,” “less is a bore.” Though slightly longer than three words, the following lists a selection of texts that don’t take too long to read, but impart long-lasting lessons, offering you the opportunity to fill gaps in your knowledge quickly and efficiently. Covering everything from loos to Adolf Loos, the public to the domestic, and color to phenomenology, read on for eight texts to place on your reading list:
New from the Belgian-Indonesian vlogging architect duo #donotsettle comes “6 Things You Don't See From Architecture Media (Until You Visit Them).” Known for their user-oriented architecture videos, in this video they present something slightly different to the usual, using a quick tour across several international cities to visit buildings by the likes of Herzog & de Meuron, Unstudio and OMA to demonstrate to viewers all of the experiential aspects of architecture that are often lacking in architecture media.