Alberto Kalach: The Latest Architecture and News
Concrete, a material commonly used in the construction industry, is made of a binder combined with aggregates (or gravels), water, and certain additives. Its origins reach back as far as Ancient Egypt, when the construction of large structures created the need for a new kind of material: one which was liquid, featured properties of natural stones, could be molded, and communicated a sense of nobility and grandeur.
On November 22, 1988, one of the most important and revered figures in the history of Mexican and international architecture died in Mexico City. Luis Barragán Morfín, born in Guadalajara and trained as a civil engineer left behind an extensive legacy of published works, conferences, buildings, houses, and gardens that remain relevant to this day. While Barragán was known for his far-reaching research in customs and traditions, above all, the architect spent his life in contemplation. His sensitivity to the world and continued effort to rewrite the mundane has made him a lasting figure in Mexico, and the world.
Undoubtedly, Luis Barragán's legacy represents something so complex and timeless that it continues to inspire and surprise architects across generations. It is because of this that, 30 years after his death, we've compiled this series of testimonies from some of Mexico's most prominent contemporary architects, allowing them to reflect on their favorites of Barragan's works and share just how his work has impacted and inspired theirs.
Alberto Kalach: 'We Have Been Deforesting for Hundreds of Years & We Have Not Given Ourselves the Task of Recovering It'
Alberto Kalach is a Mexican architect whose career has focused on creating site-specific works that blend into the natural environment. In his most recent exhibition in Mexico City, Territories and Housing, Kalach shows a series of drawings that highlight his concern for the environment. In these drawings, we can see a master plan that proposes ways of living with an environmental conscience.
At first, books were kept in chests but as they became published in bulk they moved into the cupboard. The doors came off and the bookcase began to evolve. Today, bookcases can be integral architectural elements that shape space and, in some cases, even light. In celebration of International Day of the Book on April 23rd, ArchDaily compiled this round-up of architecturally, innovative bookcases.
Scroll down to see inventive architectural book storage from Alberto Kalach, ARCHSTUDIO, Toyo Ito, and more.
Last month I went on an enlightening trip to Mexico City, during which I had a chance to meet with half a dozen leading Mexican architects and critics. Those meetings included insightful conversations with Miquel Adrià, Tatiana Bilbao, Victor Legorreta, Mauricio Rocha, and Michel Rojkind among others (many of which will also feature in future installments of City of Ideas). I asked them many different questions, but two were consistent: “who would you name as Mexico’s best architect at this moment?” and “what one building built in the capital over the last decade is your favorite?” All of my interviewees pointed to Alberto Kalach (born 1960) and his Vasconcelos Library (2007). My Conversation with Kalach took place the next day after visiting the library on the rooftop of another one of his iconic buildings, Tower 41 overlooking Bosque de Chapultepec, Mexico City’s Central Park. We spoke about books, libraries, and his idea of buildings as inventions.
Seven projects have been named finalists in the second edition of the biennial Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize (MCHAP). Selected from a pool of 175 nominees, the chosen buildings represent the best built works of architecture realized in the Americas from January 2014 to December 2015. The inaugaral award, which was given to the best project from 2000-2013, was shared by Álvaro Siza's Iberê Camargo Foundation and Herzog & de Meuron’s 1111 Lincoln Road.
Continue after the break for the list of finalists.
On a recent trip abroad, architect and urban planner José Castillo was struck by a conversation with Mexico’s tourism attaché in Asia. Mexican tourism, the attaché remarked, has changed; it was the ancient pyramids and sandy beaches of the country that once drew visitors to it. Today however, architecture and design—and food—prevail.
The issue of food may be of little wonder. Mexican cuisine has indeed become more popular than ever in both the high and low ends of the culinary spectrum, and food in general is not only what one eats for dinner but also a hobby and an obsessive conversation topic. Yet for local design to come to the same level of acclaim and reputation is, at any rate, quite astonishing. It may be, though, that food and architecture are not so far apart. These are both highly creative and productive professions, as well as ones with a rich history, a theory, and many layers of tradition.
Wiel Arets, Dean of the College of Architecture at Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) and Dirk Denison, Director of the Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize (MCHAP), have announced the inaugural MCHAP shortlist – 36 “Outstanding Projects” selected from the 225 MCHAP nominees.
“The rich diversity of these built works is a testament to the creative energy at work in the Americas today,” said Arets. “When viewed alongside the innovative work by the MCHAP.emerge finalists and winner, Poli House by Mauricio Pezo and Sofia von Ellrichshausen which we honored in May, we see the evolution of a distinctly American conversation about creating livable space.” See all 36 winners after the break.