Wade Zimmerman


Spotlight: Christian de Portzamparc

04:30 - 5 May, 2019
Spotlight: Christian de Portzamparc, Philharmonie Luxembourg, Luxembourg. Image © Wade Zimmerman
Philharmonie Luxembourg, Luxembourg. Image © Wade Zimmerman

Born on the 5th of May 1944 in what was at the time the French Protectorate of Morocco, French architect Christian de Portzamparc had doubts about continuing with architecture while studying in the 1960s, questioning modernist ideals and the discipline's lack of freedom compared to art. Instead, he spent a decade attempting to understand the role of architecture, before returning triumphantly with a new model of iterative urban design that emphasized open neighborhoods based around landmark "poles of attraction" and a varied series of high-profile commissions that combine a sense of purpose and place.

The French Embassay, Berlin. Image © <a href=',_Mitte,_Pariser_Platz,_Botschaft_Frankreich.jpg'>Wikimedia user Jörg Zägel</a> licensed under <a href=''>CC BY-SA 3.0</a> Philharmonie Luxembourg, Luxembourg. Image © <a href=''>Flickr user borkurdotnet</a> licensed under <a href=''>CC BY 2.0</a> Chateau Cheval Blanc Winer, Saint-Émilion. Image © Erik Saillet La  Musée Hergé, Louvain-la-Neuve. Image © Nicolás Borel + 17

Christian de Portzamparc Selected as 2018 Praemium Imperiale Laureate

12:00 - 11 July, 2018
House of Dior, Seoul. Image © Nicolás Borel
House of Dior, Seoul. Image © Nicolás Borel

French architect Christian de Portzamparc has been named the 2018 laureate of the the Praemium Imperiale Arts Award for Architecture. The prize, given by by the Japan Art Association (JAA), recognized de Portzamparc for his “imaginative architectural style...known for its distinctive features such as bold designs, an artistic approach and the creativity that comes from his work as a watercolor painter.”

Musée de la Romanité de Nîmes / 2Portzamparc – Elizabeth de Portzamparc

00:00 - 14 June, 2018
Musée de la Romanité de Nîmes / 2Portzamparc – Elizabeth de Portzamparc, © Nicolas Borel
© Nicolas Borel

Courtesy of 2Portzamparc-Elizabeth de Portzamparc Architect © Serge Urvoy © Serge Urvoy © Serge Urvoy + 39

10 Exuberant Will Alsop Works

08:00 - 26 May, 2018
Courtesy of aLL Design
Courtesy of aLL Design

The late British architect Will Alsop was noted for his exuberant and irreverent attitude that took material form in his expressive, painterly portfolio of educational, civic, and residential works. At the ripe age of 23, he was awarded second place in the 1971 Centre Georges Pompidou. From there, he went on to work for the ever humorous Cedric Price before establishing his practice with John Lyall, and eventually many others, in the early 1980s. With a career spanning almost fifty years, here are ten iconic works from an architect who never missed an opportunity to play.

© <a href=''>Wikimedia user April Hickox</a> licensed under <a href=''>CC BY 2.0</a> Courtesy of aLL Design Courtesy of aLL Design Courtesy of aLL Design + 13

Christian de Portzamparc: “No One But an Architect Can Solve the Problems of the Contemporary City”

09:30 - 7 July, 2017
Christian de Portzamparc: “No One But an Architect Can Solve the Problems of the Contemporary City”, Luxembourg Philharmonie, Luxembourg, 2005. Image © Wade Zimmerman
Luxembourg Philharmonie, Luxembourg, 2005. Image © Wade Zimmerman

Of the Pritzker Prize’s illustrious list of laureates, the 1994 winner Christian de Portzamparc is perhaps the least covered by the media. However, this relatively low profile belies the subtle and insightful understanding of architectural and urban issues that in many ways puts him decades ahead of the curve – with the sociologically-led principles he has been developing since the early 1980s now becoming widely popular in architectural circles. In this interview, the latest in Vladimir Belogolovsky’s “City of Ideas” column, Portzamparc explains the journey that led to this unique take on architecture.

Paris Opera Ballet School, Nanterre, 1987. Image © Nicolas Borel Credit Lyonnais Tower, Lille, 1995. Image © Wade Zimmerman Cidade das Artes, Rio de Janeiro, 2013. Image © Hufton + Crow Suzhou Cultural Center Proposal, Suzhou, 2017. Image © Christian de Portzamparc + 69

Can Anyone Win in Architecture Criticism? An Appeal for a "New Sincerity"

09:30 - 9 November, 2015
Can Anyone Win in Architecture Criticism? An Appeal for a "New Sincerity"

In the mid-1980s, after literature had long been held hostage by postmodernist irony and cynicism, a new wave of authors called for an end to negativity, promoting a "new sincerity" for fiction. Gaining momentum into the 1990s, the movement reached a pinnacle in 1993 when, in his essay E Unibus Pluram: Television and U.S. Fiction, pop-culture seer David Foster Wallace, a proponent of this "new sincerity," made the following call to action: “The next real literary ‘rebels’ in this country might well emerge as some weird bunch of anti-rebels, born oglers who dare somehow to back away from ironic watching, who have the childish gall actually to endorse and instantiate single-entendre principles... These anti-rebels would be outdated, of course, before they even started. Dead on the page. Too sincere. Clearly repressed. Backward, quaint, naive, anachronistic. Maybe that’ll be the point. Maybe that’s why they’ll be the next real rebels. Real rebels, as far as I can see, risk disapproval. The old postmodern insurgents risked the gasp and squeal: shock, disgust, outrage, censorship, accusations of socialism, anarchism, nihilism. Today’s risks are different. The new rebels might be artists willing to risk the yawn, the rolled eyes, the cool smile, the nudged ribs, the parody of gifted ironists, the ‘Oh how banal.'"

Architecture, ever in debt to the styles and ideas of other art forms, could learn a thing or two now from the resuscitation of American fiction at the turn of the millennium. It too is enduring an identity crisis, mired by pessimism and uncertainty - a reality made painfully clear this past January when a New York Times Op-Ed by Steven Bingler and Martin C. Pedersen, How to Rebuild Architecture, divided camps and made the design world fume. In the editorial, the authors spoke vehemently of an architectural profession that has become mired by egos and been disconnected from public needs. Things quickly got ugly, critics wrestled with critics and subsequently the public got involved. What no one seemed to take into account is that this type of hounding is at the core of the problem. In its current landscape the discipline has struggled with its past, been deferential to its present, and wrestled with the uncertainty of its future. In a moment when we have become addicted to despondency, can anyone win?

Adjaye Associates' Sugar Hill Development Offers a Different Model for Public Housing

06:00 - 28 October, 2015

In discussion with Calvin Tomkins for a 2013 profile in The New Yorker, David Adjaye spoke intensely on the significance of his Sugar Hill Development. “Context,” said Adjaye, “is so important, not to mimic but to become part of the place. I wanted a building that acknowledges its surroundings.” The recently-completed project is the brainchild of Ellen Baxter, leader of Broadway Housing Communities (BHC), a non-profit that has made strides to create innovative housing schemes in Upper Manhattan’s Washington Heights neighborhood. In an era where mixed-used developments are routine, Sugar Hill adds new dimensions to the typology by uniting affordable apartments, an early childhood education center, offices for the BHC, and the Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling.

In conjunction with their full building review written by Rob Bevan, The Architectural Review has produced this video which introduces the broader public to the tenants, allowing us to better understand the building’s use, intentions, and the design philosophy.

Sugar Hill Development / Adjaye Associates

09:00 - 5 October, 2015
Sugar Hill Development / Adjaye Associates, © Ed Reeve
© Ed Reeve

© Ed Reeve © Ed Reeve © Wade Zimmerman © Wade Zimmerman + 51