New York City now has three buildings by Steven Holl – Higgins Hall Insertion at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn (2005), Campbell Sports Center for Columbia University in Upper Manhattan (2013), and Hunters Point Community Library in Long Island City, Queens that will open its doors to the public on September 24th. The event coincides with publishing Holl’s new book Compression with the Library’s abstracted image on its cover; it is the fifth volume of the architect’s written manifesto, 30-years-in-the-making series by Princeton Architectural Press. The new building, the size of the nearby landmarked Pepsi-Cola red neon sign, is a robust concrete parallelogram distinguished by softly outlined multi-story glazed cut-outs. It sits prominently on a new public promenade just feet away from the East River, directly across the United Nations complex in Midtown Manhattan and the southern tip of the Roosevelt Island with its Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park memorial by Louis Kahn. The new building is at once an iconic reference point, visible from Manhattan’s East Side and the ferries, and although it took nine years to finish, its completion is a positive sign of New York’s commitment to public projects being designed by our best architects.
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London/Malta-based Mizzi Studio, led by founder Jonathan Mizzi, are at the forefront of the growing trend of micro-architecture. As exemplified by their recent commission for the design of nine kiosks across London’s Royal Parks, the firm has a passion for the fusion of craft and technology, and in particular, the large, invisible forces of economy, sustainability, and psychology that converge on such small spaces and structures.
During the World Architecture Festival in Amsterdam, ArchDaily sat down with Sanjay Puri who discussed his starting point, the architectural possibilities presented in India, and the oppositions faced by architects in his country. He also spoke of the importance of building in your context and not copying the past or the built environment in other parts of the earth.
Cities’ greatness should be judged by whether they have succeeded in accumulating extraordinary works of architecture. They can be fantastic for their food, music, or lifestyle overall, but if there is no architecture, they are hard to grasp, they are not anchored, not grounded, not memorable… not real, in a way. Maybe I am a maximalist but there are a number of cities that I visited with just one goal in mind – to see a single extraordinary building. For the record, these cities are Fort Worth, Bilbao, Valencia, San Sebastian, Guangzhou, Sydney, and Kuala Lumpur, among others. The last one on this list has acquired its instantly recognizable image in 1996, when the 88-story Petronas Twin Towers have risen high above it. These unique buildings remained the world’s tallest until 2004. This iconic structure was designed by Argentine-American architect César Pelli who passed away last week at the age of 92.
As the founder of SITE (Sculpture in the Environment), an architecture firm most widely-known for its seminal series of buildings for the BEST discount-store chain in the 1970s, James Wines (b. 1932, Oak Park, Illinois), originally an artist, introduced his unique approach of practicing architecture as a form of cultural criticism. It struck a chord by delighting the public and infuriating many architects and critics for corrupting architecture with his witty ideas. His buildings were among the first to engage nature head-on, both for pure delight and to raise environmental issues.
Having been raised in a mountain context, Tom relates strongly with the landscape and its natural elements, acknowledging the weathering of materials as something valuable and poetic. In this conversation, Tom explains the importance of context in each project, particularly the contrast and dispersion of buildings as a meaningful response to the landscape. He also addresses the importance of technology and communication as part of a new design process that we must all start to integrate, as well as open source initiatives.
Keep reading to see the video and complete interview.
"If You Can’t Do Beautiful Things You Are Doomed": in Conversation with Zhang Li of Atelier TeamMinus
I live in a bubble. I hop from conversation to conversation with architects who live in their own bubbles. I bounce from one bubble to the next. These bubbles are formed by the gross misalignments and discrepancies between what these architects say and what they do. I like venturing into their fascinating minds; they form the mythology of architecture that I love to inhabit. In the following interview Beijing-based architect, educator, and critic Zhang Li helped me to diagnose these discrepancies. He said, “No matter how moral, how ethical, how correct you are if you can’t do beautiful things you are doomed… Architecture is great because it is beautiful.”
Zhang Li graduated from Tsinghua University in Beijing and taught at prestigious European and American universities. He has been a Professor of Architecture and Chair of the Architecture Department in the School of Architecture, Tsinghua University, China’s most prestigious university. His 50-person practice Atelier TeamMinus was founded in 2001. Since 2012, the architect has been serving as the Editor-in-Chief of the leading Chinese monthly magazine World Architecture. The following is an excerpt from our recent conversation at his Beijing studio.
Last week ArchDaily attended the 2016 World Architecture Festival in Berlin. We chatted with Sir Peter Cook and asked him about the current state of global affairs (Brexit, the US election, etc). He explained how his experience and work has influenced a career that has spanned over five decades, and reminds us of the inspiring power of architecture.
Peter Cook: You have to understand that I'm a very particular kind of animal both politically and in my general opinions. I'm what I would call a creative cynic. I'm an old person and I've seen a lot of not very good things happen. On the other hand I was privileged as a child to have free education and free college.
Ahead of this weekend's symposium “THE DEBATE”—which will take place in Kotor, Montenegro and will present the results of the Project Solana Ulcinj for the national and international audience of the KotorAPSS (Kotor Architectural Prison Summer School)—we present an interview with Bart Lootsma, co-curator of the Montenegro Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale.
The exhibition "Project Solana Ulcinj," co-curated by Lootsma and Katharina Weinberger and commissioned by Dijana Vucinic and the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism, features four proposals for the re-use/re-purposing/re-programming of a former industrial site in Montenegro. With an eye on not only sustainability, but also natural and economic viability, four firms proposed different spatial strategies to transform what Lootsma calls an "unreal man-made artificial and abstract landscape."
Video: Daily Life, Daily Tao – Jingyu Liang Discusses the Chinese Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale
In this interview, curator Jingyu Liang of Approach Architecture Studio discusses the concept behind "Daily Design, Daily Tao – Back to the Ignored Front," the theme of the Chinese Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale. Responding to 2016 Biennale director Alejandro Aravena's overall theme of "Reporting From the Front," the pavilion takes an introspective look at China's own architectural front, and the impact that the country's ongoing development boom has had on Chinese architecture.
We recently sat down with Amale Andraos, co-founder of WORKac, about her past year as the new dean of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP). Appointed as the University’s dean in September 2014, Andraos has made steps to improve the program’s connectivity within itself and challenge students and faculty with considering the role of discourse in architecture.
Kéré Architecture’s “Place for Gathering” exhibition at the Chicago Architecture Biennial creates a meeting place at the entrance to the Chicago Cultural Center. Made from a locally sourced material (wood), the exhibition emits a fresh, natural smell, and creates a place for people to meet, connect and share “differing cultural narratives, traditions and aspirations," writes Kéré in the official Chicago Biennale Guidebook.
Selected by ArchDaily Editors as one of their favorite exhibitions at the Biennial, “Place for Gathering” is based on two themes that are central to the work of Francis Kéré: “maximizing local resources and facilitating the exchange of ideas and knowledge." Listen to Kéré explain the inspiration and philosophy behind the exhibition in the video above.
During the 2015 Moscow Urban Forum, city experts from different regions and countries united to exchange practices, projects, and trends. The event fueled discussion on the city of Moscow, which is currently working on its expansion plans, new transport infrastructure, and a series of urban initiatives that are having a positive impact on the quality of life in the city.
Sou Fujimoto Architects' "Architecture is Everywhere" was among the ArchDaily editors' favorite exhibitions in the Chicago Architecture Biennial. The thought-provoking, entertaining collection of mundane objects truly embraced the idea that the public—not solely architects—should be included in the Biennial's celebration of architecture.
Before the fruits of architectural labor are realized, we rarely revel in the seeds cultivated in the minds of architects. It's hard to capture these formative ideas, much less present them in a way that seizes the satisfying moment in which architecture is "found."
The deceiving simplicity of displaying "found architecture" actually imparts a deeper, thoughtful lesson, which Fujimoto has inscribed on an accompanying placard "Architecture could come into being from anywhere. I believe fostering that architecture-to-be into real architecture itself is also architecture."
A few weeks ago, during the opening of the Chicago Architecture Biennial, we eagerly awaited our opportunity to speak with Joseph Grima, the co-artistic director of the first Chicago Architecture Biennial. In an exhibition with such an open theme, we wanted to understand the driving forces behind the assembly of the participants, in addition to how the city of Chicago itself influenced decisions in the planning of this largest gathering of architecture in North America. Watch the video above and read a transcript of Grima's answers below.
Earlier this year we had the chance to interview Spanish-born architect Santiago Calatrava in his New York apartment. Trained first as a structural engineer, he has designed and completed over 50 projects, which include bridges, transportation hubs, theaters and even a skyscraper. Calatrava has built a career through public architecture, and thanks to open competitions he has received commissions for mostly large-scale, cultural and transport projects. Many cities around the world—from Europe to the US and Asia and beyond—can proudly lay claim to the structurally dramatic projects that Calatrava has dreamed up.
His architectural explorations fuse engineering and art, and result in impressive structures that are honest in revealing the forces at play. In this respect, he is a pioneer; when working on his earliest projects, he didn’t have access to software and tools that are ubiquitous today.
We asked him about his definition of architecture, his high-profile commission for the World Trade Center Transportation Hub, and the challenges he has faced while running his practice. The WTC hub is one of Calatrava's most-anticipated projects in New York; though its inherent complexity has resulted in a long construction period, he has created a project rich in not only form, but also in spatial quality.
Some of Calatrava's projects use an almost modern-day gothic vocabulary—where big spans, vaults and thin lines define large spaces. Other works, such the St. Nicholas Cathedral in New York, mobilize larger masses and big, stacked walls.
Watch the interview above to learn how Calatrava sees the intersection of art and architecture.