Graffiti, as an art form, has a complex relationship with gentrification. On one hand, it has engaged the streets and urban fabric as a canvas for people to express themselves culturally and socio-politically. This expression could be a form of rebellion by ethnic minorities and disadvantaged groups in certain neighborhoods, or it can build up a sense of cultural uniqueness and social expression, giving a neighborhood a positive character and attracting newcomers. However, over the years, the latter has been an agent of gentrification, spiking up property values to accommodate richer residents and alienating the native communities of those neighborhoods.
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The greenhouse is a commonplace architectural typology, a frequent fixture in a host of cities, built to shield plants from the elements — from excess heat or cold or to prolong the growing season of crops. Evidence of the presence of greenhouses in some form stretches as far back as the 1450s during the Korean Joseon dynasty, but it is in the 1700s that the greenhouse was born as a specific architectural form. Glassmaking improved, and thus the largely transparent, wide-span structures we know today were born. Nestled under the intricate iron metalwork of greenhouses are also wider stories — of control and undeserved wealth, and resistance.
Sumayya Vally, renowned architect and Principal of the Johannesburg/London-based studio Counterspace, won the competition to design the new Asiat-Darse pedestrian bridge in Vilvoorde, Belgium. Counterspace's design concept delved into the history and impact of Paul Panda Farnana, a significant yet under-appreciated figure in the city, who studied the intricate connections between past and future generations of migrant individuals and communities. "The studio has been praised for its research-led approach, which led to the discovery of Farnana and his work, and for shedding light on an otherwise overlooked, vital part of the city’s history". Construction on the Asiat-Darse pedestrian bridge is set to commence in April 2024, with an estimated completion date of December 2025.
"In Vivo": The Belgian Pavilion Investigates Relationship of Architects with Resources at the 2023 Venice Biennale
The Belgian Pavilion has announced its display for this year’s international architecture exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia. Curated by Bento and Venciane Despret, “In Vivo” concentrates on investigating the architect's new relationship with resources. The display challenges our extractivist production system by identifying and designing architectural alternatives using components obtained from live organisms and the imagery that goes along with them.
How Amsterdam Uses the Doughnut Economics Model to Create a Balanced Strategy for Both the People and the Environment
In 2020, in the midst of the first wave of lockdowns due to the pandemic, the municipality of Amsterdam announced its strategy for recovering from this crisis by embracing the concept of the “Doughnut Economy.” The model is developed by British economist Kate Raworth and popularized through her book, “Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist”, released in 2017. Here, she argues that the true purpose of economics does not have to equal growth. Instead, the aim is to find a sweet spot, a way to balance the need to provide everyone with what they need to live a good life, a “social foundation” while limiting our impact on the environment, “the environmental ceiling.” With the help of Raworth, Amsterdam has downscaled this approach to the size of a city. The model is now used to inform city-wide strategies and developments in support of this overarching idea: providing a good quality of life for all without putting additional pressure on the planet. Other cities are following this example.
When lockdowns first hit and retailers were forced to shut up shop, many took to the digital high street instead, with those investing hardest and quickest in their online personas invariably winning the battle for our bookmarks. As the world opened again, some kept both their physical and digital presence in a hybrid model, while others chose to remove themselves from bricks and mortar altogether.
From the Tbilisi Architecture Biennial to the Sharjah Architecture Triennial, architecture exhibitions are ever-increasing fixtures on cultural calendars around the contemporary world. New editions of architecture exhibitions rest on a foundation propagated by exhibitions of the past – and these historical expositions, to a great degree, have shaped the architectural discourse we have today. But as these exhibitions were born out of a western framework, African historical representations on the biennial and triennial architectural stage have often been reductive, with an assortment of cultures flattened into one, and distinct architectural styles meshed in an incoherent manner.
Whether an apartment building, house, storefront, office interior, or restaurant, Glenn Sestig’s architecture consistently reveals itself in tidy fragments of robust and determinately monumental geometry that tends to evoke urban qualities. His austere facades, colonnades, stair landings, and even reception desks and shelf displays appear to be quite hefty and substantial. And, in fact, every project, be it a small boutique or gallery, starts with rigorous planning – visual primary and secondary axes get established, circulation flow is laid out, and major anchors are identified before the architect moves on to addressing the appropriate materials, surfaces, and details. Every space is architecture first; its program and appearance will fit into it.
Architect Daniel Libeskind has revealed plans to transform the Boerentoren tower, located in the center of Antwerp, Belgium, into a new public cultural center. The Art Deco tower will be extended to house exhibition spaces, a panoramic viewing platform, a rooftop sculpture garden, and new restaurants and bars. According to the architect, the original features of the historical building will be preserved, while its landmark status will be enhanced through this intervention. If the plans are approved by the Flemish master builder, heritage and urban planning authorities, and the fire service, the building is due to open in 2028.
Shigeru Ban has just launched the office’s most recent project in Nieuw Zuid in Antwerp, Belgium. Named Ban, after its creator, and in collaboration with Bureau Bouwtechniek, the complex puts in place a 25-story residential tower and a separate building, creating a total of 295 residential units. During the breaking ground ceremony, the architect also inaugurated an exhibition of images highlighting his humanitarian work in conflict and disaster areas, in near proximity to the construction site.
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