Le Corbusier stated in his seminal text, Towards a New Architecture, that “...man looks at the creation of architecture with his eyes, which are 5 feet 6 inches from the ground.” Logical and rational codes such as this form the standard for much of architectural production - but of course, these "norms" are as constructed as architecture itself. This particular standard is especially irrelevant when designing for children, for whom the adult-centric assumptions of architecture do not and should not apply.
The apple of every athlete's eye, the Olympic Games direct the gaze of the world onto one host city every two years, showcasing the best that sport has to offer across both summer and winter events. In a haze of feel-good anticipation, the general buzz around the city before during the four week stretch is palpable, with tourists, media and athletes alike generating contributing to the fervour. With almost an almost exclusively positive public response (the majority of Olympic bids are met with 70% approval or higher), the Games become an opportunity for a nation to showcases their culture and all it has to offer. At first glance, it's an opportunity you'd be a fool to miss.
Yet as the dust settles, these ‘lucky’ host cities are often left with structures that lack the relevance and function of their initial, fleeting lives. Empty aquatics centers, derelict running tracks and rarely-used stadiums have become as much a trademark of the Games as the Rings, with the structural maintenance and social implications burdening former hosts for years to come. In recent years, fewer cities have been taking part in the bidding process, suggesting that the impact of the Games is beginning to catch up with the excitement. As many as 12 cities contended for the honor of hosting the 2004 games; only two were put forward for 2024/28.
London-based architecture collective Assemble is set to transform an outdoor courtyard at A/D/O in Brooklyn into a ‘model factory’ to explore utopian ideals of work. The Turner Prize-winning architects will use their first site-specific installation in the U.S. entitled ‘A Factory As It Might Be’ to depict a vision of how society should build and function using abundant, malleable materials.
This November, the Manetti Shrem Museum on the University of California, Davis, campus opened to the public. Designed by New York City–based SO-IL with the San Francisco office of Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, the museum pays homage to the agricultural landscape of California’s Central Valley with an oversize roof canopy. The steel members of the 50,000-square-foot (4,650-square-meter) shade structure, nearly twice the size of the museum itself, reference the patterning of plowed fields and create a welcoming outdoor space for visitors. It is both expressive and practical, but getting that balance wasn’t easy.
SO-IL, founded by Florian Idenburg and Jing Liu in 2008, has a portfolio filled with smaller projects, installations, and exhibition-related work. The Manetti Shrem Museum is easily the firm’s largest work to date, demanding a rigorous design-build process while maintaining a strong conceptual vision. In short, it required architecture.
Assemble, a London-based collective who "work across the fields of art, design and architecture to create projects in tandem with the communities who use and inhabit them," have been announced as the winners of the 2015 Turner Prize – Europe’s most prestigious contemporary visual art award. Their nomination was a surprise to many, not least because an architect (or architecture collective, in this case) has not been shortlisted before. Previous winners—some of whose work has intersected with the world of architecture—include Gilbert & George, Anish Kapoor (known for the Orbit at the 2012 London Olympic Games), Antony Gormley, Damien Hirst, Gillian Wearing and Grayson Perry (a collaborator on FAT's final built work).
LocationChichester, Chichester, West Sussex, United Kingdom
LocationAlbion Buildings, Clerkenwell Rd, London EC1R 5EN, United Kingdom
The Real Estate Architecture Laboratory (REAL) have today announced a Kickstarter campaign in preparation for the launch of their flagship publication, the Real Review. Produced by an independent team of editors and designers, this bi-monthly magazine intends to "revive the review as a writing form" to a general readership within the architectural sphere and its orbital subjects.
The Real Review will be "a printed object of exceptional quality, featuring engaging texts by leading international commentators," alongside providing "a highly visible platform for emerging writers." Confirmed authors at this time include, among others, Assemble, Pier Vittorio Aureli (Dogma, AA), Reinier de Graaf (OMA), Sam Jacob (Sam Jacob Studio), and a rostra of journalists including the Financial Times' architecture critic Edwin Heathcote.
For this week's editions of Section D, Monocle 24's weekly review of design, architecture and craft, and The Urbanist, their weekly "guide to making better cities," the Monocle team investigate the how the act of playing can shape design and the role of luck in our cities.
In Section D, David Plaisant meets artist Simon Terrill at the new Brutalist Playground, currently on display at the RIBA in London. Terrill, along with Assemble, have reimagined a concrete childrens' playground from one of the UK's Brutalist housing estates, in foam – plus more. In this week's edition of The Urbanist, Andrew Tuck explores the role of luck (and misfortune) in our cities, from how architects apply the philosophy of feng shui to their work to a Brazilian district that it was given the name of Boa Sorte ('good luck' in Portuguese). The show also visits Moore – the city dubbed as "tornado alley of Tornado Alley" – in Oklahoma, US, to understand how best to build in such intense climactic environments.
Listen to both episodes after the break.
An exploration of "post-war design for play," The Brutalist Playground by Assemble and artist Simon Terrill has opened to the public at RIBA's Architecture Gallery. The immersive installation draws on a number of historic London estates - Churchill Gardens, Pimlico; the Brunel Estate, Paddington and the Brownfield Estate in Poplar - where playgrounds were once made from concrete and cast into sculptural forms to offer children an abstract landscape for play. Now deemed unsafe, these playgrounds no longer exist. Thus, The Brutalist Playground was envisaged to explore play, "the Brutalist way."
Images of the complete installation, after the break.
Starting June 10, the RIBA will present The Brutalist Playground - an exhibition that is part sculpture, part architectural installation, which invites people of all ages to come and play, the Brutalist way. Occupying the entire Architecture Gallery, the immersive landscape is a new commission by Turner Prize nominated design and architecture collective Assemble and artist Simon Terrill. It explores the abstract concrete playgrounds that were designed as part of Brutalist housing estates in the mid-twentieth century, but which no longer exist. They became playgrounds unsuitable for play.
Assemble, a collective of artists, designers and architects based in London, have been shortlisted for the Turner Prize - the UK's foremost annual award for British visual artists. Much to the delight and surprise of members of the profession, this young collaborative team are the first spatial designers to be recognised by this prize in its three decade history, leading Sam Jacob to assert that they "represent something different: a validation of the belief that there are other ways of doing things." The four nominees for the award also include London artist Bonnie Camplin and German-born Nicole Wermers.
The great schools of architecture have been around since time immemorial, or at least that's how it can often feel. In London, a city particularly dense with institutions of this calibre, this is perhaps felt more acutely. How, then, do you develop an entirely new school in this tightly packed environment which has the potency and capacity to compete? Will Hunter, former executive editor of the London-based Architectural Review, began a process to do just this with an article in 2012. Following this, he set up the ARFA—Alternative Routes For Architecture—in order to explore different models for architectural education, calling upon professionals and academics to contribute to a series of informal discussions.
“When the tuition fees in the UK escalated to around £9000 per year in 2013, it got me thinking about different models for architectural education,” Hunter recalls. The casual meetings held around this time gradually become more serious until, “at a certain point, we decided to test them: to make a school.” The project gathered momentum from that point on and now, two years later, the London School of Architecture (LSA) are preparing to take in their first ‘trailblazing cohort’ of postgraduate students.
The Playing Field, a 450-seat "high tech Tudor theatre" in the heart of the British city of Southampton, represented a major collaboration between the city’s arts organisations and was realised through a collaborative effort between engineers Structure Workshop and Assemble Studio, the London based practice known for innovative interventions within the public realm. Their Cineroleum, coupled with a bold renovation of a yardhouse, are part of a small canon of cultural buildings designed to temporarily reimagine the urban landscape on a small scale.
The Cineroleum, a self-initiated project built in 2010 by London based practice Assemble Studio, transformed a derelict petrol station into a "hand-built" cinema on one of capital's busiest roads. Aimed at raising awareness to the wider potential for reusing the 4,000 empty petrol stations across the UK for public use, the adapted structure on Clerkenwell Road was "enclosed by an ornate curtain" strung from the "roof of the petrol station's forecourt. Described as an "improvisation of the decadent interiors that greeted audiences during cinema’s golden age," classic infusions of cinematic iconography were integrated into a space built from only cheap, reclaimed or donated materials.
LocationStratford, London E15, UK
The shortlisted projects in the competition to design a new art gallery for Goldsmiths College at the University of London have been revealed. The project will see a new 400 square metre gallery created in the back of what was formerly a Victorian bath-house, and is now the college's Grade-II listed art studios. Six shortlisted practices were given six weeks to design a gallery which works with the existing industrial structures - including the building's old water tanks.
The designs will now be judged by Goldsmiths' competition jury, a panel which includes David Chipperfield and sculptor Antony Gormley.
Read on after the break for details of all six proposals
The winners of the 2013 Interior Design Excellence Awards and the Great Indoors Awards have been announced, showcasing an innovative range of projects from around the world. We've rounded up some of the best of these award-winning interiors just for you, including: the origami-inspired, timber battens of Assemble Studio; the fantastic basketry of the Cinema Center in Matadero de Legazpi, by Churtichaga & Quadra Salcedo Architects; OHLAB's golden Relojería Alemana; El Equipo Creativo's PAKTA Restaurant of looms; and Breathe Architecture's rebellious metallic and wooden Captain Melville. Enjoy!