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Aaron Betsky: The Latest Architecture and News

Caroline Bos, David Adjaye, Li Xiaodong and Many Others to Speak at 2018 World Architecture Festival

16:00 - 26 July, 2018
Caroline Bos, David Adjaye, Li Xiaodong and Many Others to Speak at 2018 World Architecture Festival, The 2018 edition of WAF will be held in Amsterdam, 28-30 November.. Image Courtesy of WAF
The 2018 edition of WAF will be held in Amsterdam, 28-30 November.. Image Courtesy of WAF

After two years in Berlin, the World Architecture Festival will move their 2018 edition to Amsterdam for three days of talks, design presentations, and award ceremonies featuring cutting-edge contemporary works and some of the most prominent figures in architecture today.

The Greenhouse Talks: LIMBO SPACE

14:17 - 10 May, 2018
The Greenhouse Talks: LIMBO SPACE

The Embassy and General Consulate of the Kingdom of the Netherlands presents, in collaboration with Het Nieuwe Instituut: LIMBO SPACE, the third edition of the Greenhouse Talks. The event will take place on 25 May 2018, 9 to 11 am, at the InParadiso Café, just in front of the Giardini della Biennale’s entrance in Venice, during the days of preview of the 16th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia. 

Explore the Sacred Spaces of BBGK Architekci's Katyn Museum with This Video

12:00 - 11 August, 2017

In this video, BBGK Architekci take you into their recently completed Katyn Museum in Warsaw, Poland, a space dedicated to the events of the Katyn Massacre during World War II. Selected as a finalist for the 2017 EU Prize for Contemporary Architecture—Mies van der Rohe Award, the project bridges the divide between an existing historic structure and a new intervention through the use of material and the sequencing of sacred, powerful spaces.

Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture to Change Name with New Branding

12:15 - 27 April, 2017

Following a successful several-year long campaign to maintain its accreditation as an institute of higher learning, the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture has announced a name change and rebranding, as part of efforts stipulated by the Higher Learning Commission to distance itself from the larger Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. As a nod to the institution’s origins as Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin Fellowship, the school will now be known as the School of Architecture at Taliesin.

Why the Future of Civic Architecture Lies in Small-Scale Structures

09:30 - 19 August, 2016
Why the Future of Civic Architecture Lies in Small-Scale Structures, Richärd + Bauer’s Arabian Library in Scottsdale, Arizona, won an IIDA Metropolis Smart Environments Award in 2009 for its groundbreaking approach to both sustainability and community needs. The building’s form and rusted-steel cladding were inspired by slot canyons in the Arizona desert. Image Courtesy of Richärd + Bauer
Richärd + Bauer’s Arabian Library in Scottsdale, Arizona, won an IIDA Metropolis Smart Environments Award in 2009 for its groundbreaking approach to both sustainability and community needs. The building’s form and rusted-steel cladding were inspired by slot canyons in the Arizona desert. Image Courtesy of Richärd + Bauer

This article was originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "Good-bye Grand Structures: The Small-Scale Civic Architecture of Today."

The city hall of my current hometown, Scottsdale, Arizona, gives no hint of any sort of civic function to the boulevard on which it sits. You enter it from the parking lot in back. The only reason I have been there was as part of a team presenting our credentials in a design selection process. My other dealings with government have been online, via mail, or at suburban locations where I have gone to handle such matters as smog tests. I vote by mail.

The big push in American local, state, and federal government is to take everything possible online and off-site and to make whatever remains as minimal and anonymous as possible. The actual operations of government have long taken place in back rooms where politicians and bureaucrats have done the real work. Yet they were often encased in grand structures that gave us a sense of identity and pride in our government while also serving as open sites where we could encounter our civic agents and one another. As a result, we live with a heritage of civic monuments that proclaim our investment in deliberation and democracy, but we build very few, if any, such structures today. Instead, we are looking to get rid of whatever relics of such a history of civic architecture we can—the governor of Illinois would like to sell the James R. Thompson Center, designed by Helmut Jahn in 1982–85, and only the specificity of the grand classical edifices that predate that Postmodern monument prevents other politicians from trying the same. Civic buildings cost money to build and maintain, and their formal spaces sit empty most of the time.

Critical Round-Up: Did Aravena's 2016 Venice Biennale Achieve its Lofty Goals?

10:30 - 27 June, 2016
Critical Round-Up: Did Aravena's 2016 Venice Biennale Achieve its Lofty Goals?, The "Reporting the Front" exhibition/ curated by Alejandro Aravena at the 2016 Venice Biennale. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu
The "Reporting the Front" exhibition/ curated by Alejandro Aravena at the 2016 Venice Biennale. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu

The XV International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale opened its doors last month. Under the directorship of Chilean Pritzker Prize-winner Alejandro Aravena, “Reporting the front” asked architects to go beyond “business as usual” and investigate concealed built environments – conflict zones and urban slums, as well as locations suffering from housing shortage, migrations and environmental disasters. Clearly, the aim of this Biennale is to open the profession to new fields of engagement and share knowledge on how to improve people’s quality of life.

This stance that has been highly criticized by Patrik Schumacher, director of Zaha Hadid Architects, who believes that architects “are not equipped to [address these issues]. It’s not the best value for our expertise.” But is this a view shared by the rest of the design world and its critics? What are the limits and benefits of this “humanitarian architecture”? Read on to find out critics’ comments.

The "Reporting the Front" exhibition/ curated by Alejandro Aravena at the 2016 Venice Biennale. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu Gabinete de Arquitectura at the 2016 Venice Biennale. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu NLÉ's Makoko Floating School at the 2016 Venice Biennale. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu "OUR AMAZON FRONTLINE" / curated by Sandra Barclay and Jean Pierre Crousse. Peruvian Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu + 6

Critics Take On "The State of the Art of Architecture" in Chicago

09:30 - 9 October, 2015
An image from Iwan Baan's Chicago photo essay. Image © Iwan Baan
An image from Iwan Baan's Chicago photo essay. Image © Iwan Baan

Last week, the Chicago Architecture Biennial opened to over 31,000 visitors and much fanfare, and for good reason - it is the largest architecture event on the continent since the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, featuring over one hundred exhibitors from over thirty countries. With a theme as ambiguous as "The State of the Art of Architecture," and with the hope of making the biennial, according to directors Joseph Grima and Sarah Herda, "a space for debate, dialog and the production of new ideas," the event was sure to generate equally wide-ranging opinions. Read on to find out what the critics had to say about the Biennial.

Aaron Betsky Appointed New Dean of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture

00:00 - 26 January, 2015
Aaron Betsky Appointed New Dean of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, The Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture’s Main Campus at Taliesin West. Image © Flickr User: lumierefl
The Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture’s Main Campus at Taliesin West. Image © Flickr User: lumierefl

Critic, curator and educator Aaron Betsky has been announced the new dean of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. Betsky will assume his role immediately, taking over responsibilities regarding the School’s academic programs, personnel, students, finances, and character, as well as relations with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation’s broader programs.

“I am honored and humbled to have the opportunity to continue the work that for so long made Taliesin into a workshop for reinventing American architecture,” said Betsky. “I look forward to continuing its traditions and making the School into the best experimental school of architecture in the country.”

Betsky's appointment comes at a critical time, as Taliesin is at risk of losing its accreditation should the school fail to raise two million by the end of 2015. Read on to learn more.