Laurian Ghinitoiu

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Fernando Martirena: "Contemporary Cuban Architecture is Alegal and Almost Non-Existent"

"What Are We Talking About When We Talk about Contemporary Cuban Architecture?" is the title of the article written by Fernando Martirena in Rialta Magazine that delves into the reality of architecture within Cuban society. Essentially, it receives so little attention that it might as well not exist. This prompted the birth of the Cuban Architecture Studios Group (Grupo de Estudios Cubanos de Arquitectura), of which Martirena is a member, a collective that aims to give modern Cuban architecture a platform and a voice.

ArchDaily sat down with Martirena to talk about the group and the state of architecture today in his native Cuba. 

Built Nature: When Architecture Challenges Human Scale

Going beyond human scale is not a novelty. For centuries, builders, engineers, and architects have been creating monumental edifices to mark spirituality or political power. Larger than life palaces, governmental buildings, or temples have always attracted people’s admiration and reverence, nourishing the still not fully comprehensible obsession with large scale builds.

Nowadays, some of the largest and most impressive structures relate less to religious or governmental functions and seem to be turning towards more cultural programs. Most importantly though, today’s grandiose works are generally and openly imitative of Nature.

© Tianpei Zeng© Kai WangCourtesy of THAD© Rasmus Hjortshoj+ 20

U House / Albor Arquitectos

Cortesía de Albor Arquitectos© Laurian GhinitoiuCortesía de Albor ArquitectosCortesía de Albor Arquitectos+ 47

Havana, Cuba
  • Architects: Albor Arquitectos
  • Area Area of this architecture project Area:  205
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year:  2020
  • Manufacturers Brands with products used in this architecture project
    Manufacturers: AutoDesk, CARBONE S.A., Cemento PORTLAND P-250 y P-350, Enscape 3D, Mapegrout Rápido, +4

Lahofer Winery / CHYBIK + KRISTOF

© Alex shoots buildings© Alex shoots buildings© Alex shoots buildings© Laurian Ghinitoiu+ 58

  • Architects: CHYBIK + KRISTOF
  • Area Area of this architecture project Area:  3842
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year:  2019
  • Manufacturers Brands with products used in this architecture project
    Manufacturers: Kingspan Insulated Panels, Lunawood, BTicino, Jika, Laufen, +17

Suhrkamp Ensemble Offices / Bundschuh Architekten

© Laurian Ghinitoiu© Laurian Ghinitoiu© Laurian Ghinitoiu© Laurian Ghinitoiu+ 37

How New York City's Architecture Has Responded to National Emergencies over the Last 20 Years

New York City is the pinnacle hybrid between the vibrant and granular neighborhoods that Jane Jacobs once envisioned and the sweeping urban innovations of Robert Moses. However, its diverse population has experienced hardship over the last twenty years, forcing the city into a recursive wave of self-reflection to reevaluate the urban strategies, design trends, and global transportation methods that it had grown so accustomed to. After the September 11th and Hurricane Sandy tragedies, the delicate balance between promoting a sense of individual culture and the strength in unity that New Yorkers are so often known for served as the lifeblood for revitalization. New York City has consistently handled adversity, by always rethinking, redesigning, and rebuilding this city for a better future.

Spotlight: Aldo Rossi

Ada Louise Huxtable once described him as “a poet who happens to be an architect.” Italian architect Aldo Rossi (3 May 1931 – 4 September 1997) was known for his drawings, urban theory, and for winning the Pritzker Prize in 1990. Rossi also directed the Venice Biennale in 1985 and 1986—one of only two people to have served as director twice.

Mojiko Hotel. Image © <a href='https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AMojiko_Hotel.jpg'>Wikimedia user Wiiii</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en'>CC BY-SA 3.0</a>Quartier Schützenstrasse. Image © <a href='https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ABerlin%2C_Mitte%2C_Zimmerstrasse_68-69%2C_Quartier_Schuetzenstrasse.jpg'>Wikimedia user Jörg Zägel</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en'>CC BY-SA 3.0</a>Bonnefantenmuseum. Image © James Taylor-FosterGallaratese Quarter / Aldo Rossi & Carlo Aymonino. Image © Gili Merin+ 8

In Praise of Tokyo: in Conversation With Junya Ishigami

In this short video by Louisiana Channel, Junya Ishigami talks about Tokyo and what he sees as the defining traits of the vibrant and diverse metropole. Discussing what he likes about the city, the renowned Japanese architect underlines Tokyo’s polycentrism and explains how being made up of different small town allows the city to preserve its very local characteristics.

Turin's Castello di Rivoli Tells a Story of the Region's History through Its Architecture

Castello di Rivoli / Andrea Bruno (Refurbishment). Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu
Castello di Rivoli / Andrea Bruno (Refurbishment). Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu

Given the sheer magnitude and influence of its recorded history, Italy as we know it is a surprisingly young country. For centuries, the region was divided between powerful (and sometimes warring) city-states, each with their own identity, culture, and, fortunes, and influence. Some are eternally famous. Rome is a cradle of history and heart of religion; cool Milan is a hub of contemporary fashion and design; Florence is synonymous with the Renaissance and all the epoch’s relationship to the arts.

Turin’s history is arguably less romantic. The small city in Savoy, a north-Italian region bordering France, has established an identity as an industrial powerhouse. It is home to FIAT and some of Italy’s finest universities; the streets are dotted with works by Nervi, Botta, and Rossi. But despite the design pedigree, perhaps nothing better illustrates the region’s faceted history better than Castello di Rivoli.

Castello di Rivoli / Andrea Bruno (Refurbishment). Image © Laurian GhinitoiuCastello di Rivoli / Andrea Bruno (Refurbishment). Image © Laurian GhinitoiuCastello di Rivoli / Andrea Bruno (Refurbishment). Image © Laurian GhinitoiuCastello di Rivoli / Andrea Bruno (Refurbishment). Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu+ 21

Cross Ventilation, the Chimney Effect and Other Concepts of Natural Ventilation

Sarah Kubitschek Hospital Salvador / João Filgueiras Lima. Image © Nelson Kon
Sarah Kubitschek Hospital Salvador / João Filgueiras Lima. Image © Nelson Kon

Nothing is more rational than using the wind, a natural, free, renewable and healthy resource, to improve the thermal comfort of our projects. The awareness of the finiteness of the resources and the demand for the reduction in the energy consumption has removed air-conditioning systems as the protagonist of any project. Architects and engineers are turning to this more passive system to improve thermal comfort. It is evident that there are extreme climates in which there is no escape, or else the use of artificial systems, but in a large part of the terrestrial surface it is possible to provide a pleasant flow of air through the environments by means of passive systems, especially if the actions are considered during the project stage.

This is a highly complex theme, but we have approached some of the concepts exemplifying them with built projects. A series of ventilation systems can help in the projects: natural cross ventilation, natural induced ventilation, chimney effect and evaporative cooling, which combined with the correct use of constructive elements allows improvement in thermal comfort and decrease in energy consumption.

Salone del Mobile. Milano Postponed to April 2021

In light of the coronavirus pandemic affecting the entire world, the board of the Salone del Mobile. Milano has decided to postpone the 2020 edition of the annual fair until next year. The international event will, therefore, take place from the 13th to the 18th of April 2021.