Public spaces play a significant role in organizing the life of every community but defining what differentiates them from other spaces within the city is not an easy task. Once these spaces start to settle into the collective memory of the local communities, they become key elements that concentrate the mental image of a city. While this process usually happens with urban spaces, monuments and isolated architectural elements can also become markers for the urban life of an area. So, what happens when dramatic events like fires, war, or even the pandemic alter that image?
Although the term may seem recent, the concept of biophilia has been used for decades in architecture and design. The guiding principle is quite simple: connect people inside with nature to promote their well-being and quality of life. With all the ongoing design trends that have consolidated as a result, the demand has focused on organic materials that emulate outdoor environments. Among all the options, wood is one of the most popular materials to bring nature indoors, not only because of its functionality, but also due to its multiple physiological and psychological benefits.
Photography is often likened to a visual language. The “most literary of the graphic arts”[i] is after all a formal system with commonly accepted structure and recognizable motifs.
The degree to which a building engages with the culture or the landscape of a place is primarily controlled by the design intent i.e. the architectural concept and the success of its implementation. Photography reveals relations but it does not build them in the first place. Even in the extreme case where a structure is consciously designed to differentiate and separate itself from any sort of environment, cultural or natural, it is still inevitably situated into a context and perceived as part of it.
From my very first attempt at photographing architecture in December 1995 I realized that I wanted both building and landscape to narrate a common story and form an inseparable whole. There are two key processes at work when I photograph architecture as a component of its surrounding landscape: one directed inwards and one directed outwards, and they take place simultaneously.
"Nature and Structure Connect to Transform Our Landscapes and Even Our Climate": Marc Mimram on His New Bridge in Austria
Whether figuratively or in an urban context, bridges are a strong symbol and often become iconic projects in cities. Building bridges can mean creating connections, new opportunities. But they are also fundamental pieces of infrastructure that solve specific issues in an urban context. As these involve highly technical equipment, with complex constructions and overwhelming bold structural requirements, they require projects that do not need full integration between architecture and engineering and, in many contexts, is a type of projects that architects are not so involved with. Marc Mimram Architecture & Engineering is a Paris-based office comprised of an architecture agency and a structural design office. In its project portfolio, there are several bridges, as well as various other project typologies. We spoke with Marc Mimram about his latest project in Austria, the bridge at Linz, photographed by Erieta Attali.
"We all have to change our way of thinking now. I want to change my architecture to be even more kind to nature," says Kengo Kuma in this Louisiana Channel interview, where he shares his thoughts on the pandemic's impact on architecture and the environment. The architect discusses the collective responsibility towards nature and the importance of designing buildings and cities that allow for and encourage outdoor activities.
At the dawn of photography the city could only be recorded as a virtually empty stage by a camera lens too slow to fix for posterity the vitality of urban life. Even before the new art of photography – literally writing with light – was announced in 1839 in Paris, the City of Light, Daguerre had pioneered street photography by capturing a view of the Boulevard du Temple through the double aperture of his window and his camera lens. This first urban daguerreotype. captured perfectly the city’s architecture, but this man soon to be famous for portraiture left us scarcely a trace of the bustling traffic of that spring 1838 morning, all human presence was vanquished, save a blurry pair of men, a shoe shiner and a customer, who remained still long enough to be captured as a smudge on the otherwise pristine scene. By the end of the century the camera was able to capture motion even below the threshold of human perception, making it a tool for the scientific study of human and animal locomotion.
Peru is home to a wide range of new cultural architecture. Strongly tied to the country’s megadiverse geography, Peru’s modern projects reinterpret past building techniques. Taking inspiration from the vernacular and varied landscapes, these contemporary buildings arise from long traditions rooted in ancient cultures and civilizations.