Archaeological endeavors aimed at exploring the civilizations of the past have revealed a commonality across the world. A form of architecture developed independently on every continent. Evidence shows that Neolithic communities used fertile soils and alluvial clay to construct humble abodes, creating humankind’s first durable and solid building material. Earth architecture was born at a very early age in human history. The techniques soon suffered a gradual decline as lifestyles changed, cities grew, and industrialized materials flourished. Does earth architecture have a place in the 21st-century world?
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This article was originally published on Common Edge.
The Natural History Museum Of Lille in France will undertake a significant architectural transformation for its 200th anniversary. Snøhetta, selected to restore and modernize the complex, with a transdisciplinary team featuring the scenographer Adeline Rispal and the landscape architects of Taktyk, imagines a renovation that will support the city's ambition to combine urban renewal with the preservation of the city's historic architecture. Planned for completion in 2025 and with a total of 7,500 m², the restoration will accommodate flexible exhibition areas, more extensive storage, and gardens.
The 2022 Biennale of FRAC in the Centre-Val De Loire Region, France, is exhibiting the work of 55 women for its third edition entitled Infinite Freedom, A World for a Feminist Democracy. The fair showcases pieces from the Center Pompidou and the Cité de l'architecture et du Patrimoine collection and brings special guests such as architect Anna Heringer and Journalist and Director Rokhaya Diallo. From September 2022 to January 1st, 2023, female artists, architects, and politicians will gather to discuss and create a new definition of inclusive and plural democracy in the city, architecture, design, and art.
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.
A few months ago, French architect Renée Gailhoustet was awarded the 2022 Royal Academy Architecture Prize. As housing challenges continue to embattle Paris and other French cities today, Gailhoustet was a timely choice, her body of work in the Paris suburbs – stretching back to the 1960s – still functioning today as compelling case studies to a social housing approach that concurrently embraces community and has a uniqueness of form.
Jeanne Gang, Studio Gang's founder, has been named the 2023 recipient of the Charlotte Perriand Award by The Créateurs Design Awards. From skyscrapers to museums, including the Aqua Tower - the tallest woman-designed building in the world at the time of its completion- and the recently opened Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts, Gang has demonstrated her dedication to creating and implementing better practices in sustainable reuse, ecological biodiversity, and social equity. Jeanne Gang, the first woman architect to get the Charlotte Perriand prize, joins the CDA AWARDS laureates list along with Sir David Adjaye and Tadao Ando.
Jean Nouvel's recently completed towers, Tours Duo, redefined the Parisian skyline. Captured by Paul Clemence in his latest photo series, the project by Ateliers Jean Nouvel creates a singularity in relation to the rails that lead into the city's heart and define the Avenue de France. Established as a landmark on the East side of Paris and considered to be the city's future, Tours Duo is a mixed-use project that completes and modifies the unfinished context of this part of the city.
Hard times bring people together. In recent years we have seen how collective work can be a driving force to help those affected by natural or man-made disasters. After a disaster or displacement, a safe physical environment is often essential. Therefore, the need for coordination becomes a key factor in assisting people in times of need.
What would it mean to design buildings that exceed the economic accountings of liberal biopolitics, that instead offer an entirely different rationale for supporting health? In the years that Michel Foucault conceptualized the term biopolitics, he was part of a constellation of researchers and architects who developed care praxes that defined the value of life and its maintenance through a desire-based calculus. The welfare state institutions of architect Nicole Sonolet in particular—mental hospitals, public housing complexes, and new village typologies built mainly in postwar France and postcolonial Algeria from the 1950s to the 1980s—were designed not only to support but to center the needs of people often excluded from design processes. Sonolet’s mental health centers for residents of Paris’s 13th arrondissement, in particular, were key projects for discovering a design practice tied to the provision of care for its own sake.
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