In the last few weeks, a number of reactionary architectural commentators have come out of the woodwork to denounce what they see as the currently negative direction of contemporary architecture. They claim that architecture needs to be “rebuilt” or that it is “imploding.” From their indications, architecture is on life-support, taking its last breath. The critique they offer is that contemporary architecture has become (or always was?) insensitive to users, to site conditions, to history—hardly a novel view. Every few years, this kind of frontal assault on the value of contemporary architecture is launched, but the criticisms this time seem especially shallow and misplaced. Surveying the contemporary global architecture scene, I actually feel that we’re in a surprisingly healthy place, if you look beyond the obvious showpieces. We’ve escaped from the overt dogmas of the past, we’ve renewed our focus on issues of the environment and social agency, we’re more concerned than ever with tectonics and how to build with quality. But the perennial critics of contemporary architecture appear not to have examined that deeply, nor that thoughtfully either. And unfortunately the various rebuttals to their critiques, ostensibly in support of modern and experimental architecture, have been ham-handed and poorly argued.
Danica O. Kus
Mainly known outside of his home country for his design of the 2014 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, architect Smiljan Radić (born June 21, 1965) is one of the most prominent figures in current Chilean architecture. With a distinctive approach to form, materials, and natural settings, Radić mostly builds small- to medium-sized projects that flirt with the notion of fragility.
In many parts of the world, more women have architectural degrees than men. However, this fact hasn’t translated past university into the working world as women continue to be underrepresented across nearly all levels of practice.
The conversation regarding women in architecture gained tremendous traction back in 2013 with the petition for Denise Scott Brown to be recognized as the 1991 Pritzker Prize winner, alongside her husband and the consequent rejection of that request by Pritzker. The Architectural Review and Architect's Journal have, since 2015, jointly presented awards to the exceptional female practitioners as part of their Women in Architecture Awards program. The swelling of these movements have helped to promote not only the role but also the recognition of women in architecture.
To honor renowned Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer’s birthday (December 15, 1907), Slovenian photographer Danica Kus published a series of black and white photographs highlighting Niemeyer’s surviving architecture. The architect, who passed in 2012 at the age of 104, is considered one of the greatest modernist architects of the 20th century.
Kus’ photographs accentuate the hyperbolic curves characteristic of Niemeyer’s design, while also highlighting the geometric harmony of rectilinear elements. In an exclusive interview with ArchDaily before his death, Mr. Niemeyer described his personal definition of architecture: “In my opinion, architecture is invention. And under this prism is how I do my projects, always searching for beautiful, expressive, different and surprising solutions.” This photo series encompasses the subtleties of Niemeyer’s premier works and spans his career.
Located just south of the city’s hip Kreuzberg neighborhood and only fifteen minutes by bike from the city center, the disused former Nazi complex—with its terminal, hangars, and massive airfield—occupies nearly 1,000 acres of prime real estate in the ever-growing German capital. In any other metropolis, this land would have been snatched up by a developer years ago, but in Berlin, creative reuse has prevailed over conventional narratives of redevelopment.
Construction is an exercise in frugality and compromise. To see their work realized, architects have to juggle the demands of developers, contractors, clients, engineers—sometimes even governments. The resulting concessions often leave designers with a bruised ego and a dissatisfying architectural result. While these architects always do their best to rectify any problems, some disputes get so heated that the architect feels they have no choice but to walk away from their own work. Here are 6 of the most notable examples:
In this latest photoseries, architectural photographer Danica O. Kus takes her lens inside New York City’s SeaGlass Carousel, designed by WXY Architecture + Urban Design with artist George Tsypin. Completed in summer 2015, the 2,575 square foot nautilus-shaped pavilion has become a new attraction within a Piet Oudolf-designed landscape in Battery Park, drawing in visitors with an immersive LED and audio experience inspired by bioluminescent organisms found deep within the ocean.
Architectural photographer Danica O. Kus has shared with us new images of BIG’s VIA 57 West. Having opened earlier this year, the “courtscraper” has already been the recipient of several awards, including its unanimous victory of the 2016 International Highrise Award last week. This new photoset takes us inside the public and private spaces of the 32-story building, including interior shots of the lobby, lounge, pool and the residential units.
Check out the full set after the break.
At the 2016 Venice Biennale, Peter Zumthor has put his designs for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) on display for the professional community. Inside the Arsenale building, a model of the tar-pit-inspired building has been suspended to float within a curving display of textile artworks by Christina Kim, while a soundtrack by Walter De Maria – “Ocean Music,” written in 1968 – provides a rhythmic backdrop for the installation.
Continue for more on the exhibit, featuring images by photographer Danica O. Kus.
Opened in January 2015, the Philharmonie de Paris was designed by Jean Nouvel, though he later distanced himself from the project. The concert hall, a 2400 seat venue, seeks to "invent a model all its own," according to the Philharmonie de Paris website. It breaks from the pack of concert halls by mathematically creating a more intimate space -- "the distance between conductor and the farthest spectator is only 32 metres (compared to 48 metres at the Salle Pleyel for a smaller audience)." The architect worked with various acoustic experts to "develop a bold system of cantilevered balconies and floating clouds, combining envelopment, intimacy and spaciousness." Here we see the project as photographed by Danica O. Kus. Read on for the full set.
Spanish architects SelgasCano have been selected to design the 2015 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, which has become one of the top-ten most visited architectural and design exhibitions in the world. The Pavilion will stand in Kensington Gardens during the summer and serving as a multi-purpose social space.
The award-winning studio is led by José Selgas and Lucía Cano and will be the first Spanish architecture practice to design a Serpentine Pavilion, with AECOM once again providing the engineering and technical design services. Although designs will not be revealed until February 2015, SelgasCano had this to say about designing the pavilion:
This is an amazing and unique opportunity to work in a Royal Garden in the centre of London. Both aspects, ‘Garden’ and ‘London’, are very important for us in the development of this project. We are in the middle of a garden, a ‘Royal’ garden indeed, once divided in two and separated by a Serpentine. That garden clings in the middle of London. Garden and London (which best defines London?) will be the elements to show and develop in the Pavilion. For that we are going to use only one material as a canvas for both: the Transparency. That ‘material’ has to be explored in all its structural possibilities, avoiding any other secondary material that supports it, and the most advanced technologies will be needed to be employed to accomplish that transparency. A good definition for the pavilion can be taken from J. M. Barrie: it aims to be as a ‘Betwixt-and-Between’.
Architecture photographer Danica O. Kus has shared with us images of Frank Gehry's recently completed Fondation Louis Vuitton. Labeled as a "late-career triumph" by Los Angeles Times critic Christopher Hawthorne, the sailed glass structure teeters on the edge of a Parisian water garden in Jardin d’Acclimatation. For a closer look at the building's much-discussed structure, check out all of Kus' images after the break.
Mirroring the Serpentine Galleries of London, the Naomi Milgrom Foundation has announced its own yearly pavilion commission for the city of Melbourne. Sited in the Queen Victoria Memorial Gardens, the premier "MPavilion" will be designed by Sean Godsell, opening October 6th of this year. The pavilion will host a variety of community events, including art installations and performances, over a four month period. It remains to be seen whether the MPavilion will have a lasting impact on the architectural culture of the city, as some critics have pointed out. To learn more about this now annual commission, visit this article from infolink.
Although previously unknown except in his native Chile, architect Smiljan Radic has recently received international attention for his design of this year’s pavilion for London’s Serpentine Galleries. His latest and largest undertaking yet, a winery outside of Santiago, has been featured in this article by the New York Times. And now, his Mestizo Restaurant has been named one of the seven most outstanding 21st century projects in the Americas. If you're unfamiliar with Radic's unique works, we’ve compiled a round-up of some of our favorites for you to explore, including his Serpentine Pavilion, Copper House 2, the Mestizo Restaurant, a bus stop for the town of Krumbach, Austria, and his renovation of the Chilean Museum for Pre-Columbian Art. Enjoy!
Architecture photographer Danica O. Kus has shared with us images of the 2014 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, designed by Chilean architect Smiljan Radić. For a closer look at this unusual pavilion, inspired by Oscar Wilde's short story The Selfish Giant, check out all of Ms. Kus' images after the break.