James Ewing


Tate Library at Ethical Culture Fieldston School / Architecture Research Office

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The Artist-Architects Who Believed Their Psychedelic Designs Would Promote "Death Resistance"

This article was originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "These Architects Sought to Solve the Ultimate Human Design Flaw—Death."

Shusaku Arakawa and Madeline Gins—visual artists, conceptual writers, self-taught architects—believed that, through a radical recalibration of the built environment, humans could solve the ultimate design flaw: death. (Your move, Norman Foster.)

Arakawa and Gins completed five projects in their lifetimes—three in Japan, two in America—and to call them unconventional is a gross understatement. There’s an acid trip of a park; an eye-poppingly colorful, plucked-from-Pixar apartment building; and doorless lofts with bumpy, uneven flooring. Rather than whimsy or quirkiness, their ethos—dubbed Reversible Destiny—aimed to seriously promote longevity by activating and stimulating the body and mind.

Arakawa and Madeline Gins Drawing for "Container of Perceiving," 1984. Image © Estate of Madeline Gins/ Nicholas Knight / Columbia GSAPPReversible Destiny Office (Interior), Site of Reversible Destiny, Yoro Park, Gifu, Japan (1997). Image © 1997 Estate of Madeline Gins. Reproduced with permission of the Estate of Madeline Gins; Courtesy the Site of Reversible Destiny Yoro ParkArakawa and Gins's Bioscleave House (Lifespan Extending Villa), in East Hampton, New York (2008). Image © 2008 Estate of Madeline Gins. Reproduced with permission of the Estate of Madeline Gins; Courtesy Dimitris YerosReversible Destiny Lofts – In Memory of Helen Keller (interior: Kitchen and Sphere room), Tokyo (2005). Image © 2005 Estate of Madeline Gins. Reproduced with permission of the Estate of Madeline Gins; Courtesy Masataka Nakano+ 16

The World's Most Expensive Buildings

If the Great Pyramid were to be built today, it would cost between 1.1 and 1.3 billion US dollars, according to a cost estimate by the Turner Construction Company—not surprising, considering how that is roughly the same amount of money that it took to build the Trump Taj Mahal or the Petronas Twin Towers. Complicated structural requirements, delayed work timelines, complex building programs, the need for good earthquake or typhoon proofing, the use of advanced mechanical and electronic systems, and costly materials and finishes can all add up to the eventual cost. But sometimes—and especially in cases in which governments or powerful clients set out to beat existing records such as the “tallest building in the world”—money is spent for no real reason except for an unabashed display of wealth, power or strength.

Emporis, the renowned global provider for building data, has compiled a list of the top 200 money-guzzlers from recent years, and not surprisingly, a lot of high-rises have made the list. Read on to see the top 20.

Architect Sues SOM for Stealing One World Trade Center Design

Architect Jeehoon Park has filed a lawsuit against Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), claiming the design of New York City’s One World Trade Center was stolen from a project he developed as a graduate student at the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1999.

The lawsuit states that the 104-story One World Trade bears a “striking similarity” to his 122-story “Cityfront ‘99” tower, which also featured a glass facade of inverted triangular planes.

Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei Examine the Threat of Surveillance on Public Space in New Installation

The latest collaboration between architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron and artist Ai Weiwei may be called Hansel & Gretel, but it brings to mind just as much another literary classic: George Orwell’s 1984.

The immersive, site-specific installation, located within the expansive Wade Thompson Drill Hall at New York’s Park Avenue Armory, places visitors in a darkness-cloaked environment, where your every move is tracked and monitored by motion sensors, image captures and a team of surveillance drones. The work is a not-so-subtle interpretation of the expanding role of surveillance in modern-day society and the changing dynamics between the public and private realms. 

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One World Trade Center / SOM

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9 Projects Selected for AIA Education Facility Design Awards

William Rawn Associates / The Berklee Tower. Image © Robert Benson Photography
William Rawn Associates / The Berklee Tower. Image © Robert Benson Photography

The American Institute of Architects (AIA)'s Committee on Architecture for Education (CAE) has announced the winners of its CAE Education Facility Design Awards, which honor educational facilities that “serve as an example of a superb place in which to learn, furthering the client’s mission, goals, and educational program, while demonstrating excellence in architectural design.”

A variety of project designs, such as public elementary and high schools, charter schools, and higher education facilities, were submitted to the Committee, many of which incorporated “informal and flexible spaces for collaboration and social interaction adjacent to teaching spaces,” as well as staircases with amphitheater or forum designs.

Find out which projects received awards, after the break.

12 Projects Win North American Copper in Architecture Awards

The Copper Development Association (CDA) has announced its selections for the 2015 North American Copper in Architecture Awards (NACIA), now in their eighth year. The awards celebrate stellar projects that incorporate copper in their designs. The 12 award-winning works span three categories and include educational, residential and healthcare buildings in addition to historic landmarks.

Winners were selected by a panel of industry professionals based on their overall design, incorporation and treatment of copper, and distinction in either innovation or historic restoration. 

Kansas Statehouse Inner Dome Copper Restoration / Treanor Architects. Image © Treanor ArchitectsMassachusetts General Hospital Paul S. Russell, MD / Leers Weinzapfel Associates. Image  Orchard Willow Residence / Wheeler Kearns Architects. Image © Steve Hall - Hedrich BlessingHarvard University Tozzer Library / Kennedy & Violich Architecture. Image © John Horner+ 13

AIA Names Top 10 Most Sustainable Projects of 2015

Ten projects have been named the top examples of sustainable and ecological design by the AIA and its Committee on the Environment (COTE) for the year 2015. Now in its 19th edition, the COTE Top Ten Awards program recognizes projects that adhere to the highest integration of natural systems and technology to produce spaces that positively impact their surroundings and minimize their environmental footprints.

All of the projects will be honored at the 2015 AIA National Convention and Design Exposition in Atlanta. See this year's top ten sustainable designs, after the break.

New Orleans BioInnovation Center / Eskew+Dumez+Ripple. Image © Timothy HursleyUniversity Center / Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. Image © James EwingSweetwater Spectrum Community / Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects. Image © Tim GriffithHughes Warehouse Adaptive Reuse / Overland Partners. Image © Dror Baldinger+ 21

APA Awards: James Ewing's Matrimandir Photograph Places First for Architecture

Brooklyn based architectural photographer James Ewing has placed first in the American Photographic ArtistsAPA Awards for architecture. The image, as Ewing describes, “was created to describe the verdant landscape that surrounds the Matrimandir and the community of Auroville.”

“The land was in an advanced state of desertification when the Auroville project was started in the 1960s. Heavy erosion had removed most of the topsoil and left a barren scorched earth. Through many years of careful engineering and land management Auroville has created a lush, wooded, garden city. I sought out an elevated vantage point that allowed me to present the building in context with its landscape. The building without the landscape would only be half of the story. The cyclists in the foreground show scale and provide a contrast between the familiar low-fi technology of the bicycles and the fantastic sci-fi form of the Matrimandir itself.”

The New School University Center / Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

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  • Architects: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
  • Area Area of this architecture project Area:  375000 ft²
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year:  2014
  • Manufacturers Brands with products used in this architecture project
    Manufacturers: Solid State Luminaires

Henry W Bloch Executive Hall at University / BNIM + Moore Ruble Yudell

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Hudson River Education Center And Pavilion / Architecture Research Office

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