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Brutalism and Collective Living in Europe, Through the Lense of Stefano Perego

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Residential Building in Paderno Dugnano (1990, Milan, Italy). Image © Stefano Perego

Although there is much conflict surrounding the term Brutalist, there are certain constants and patterns within the movement that offer a concrete idea of the movement and its place in contemporary architecture.

The buildings that adhere to Brutalism—an off-shoot of the Modern Movement that erupted between 1950 and 1970— stand out in part to their constructional sincerity- that is, keeping no secrets about the materials that went into their creation, their bold geometry, and the asperity of their textures and surfaces. Reinforced concrete is the predominant material in Brutalist works thanks to its prominent and dramatic texture, which is put on full display.

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Redefining Domestic Spaces of the Future: 14 Projects in Europe

Unconstrained by the dogmas of established offices, new architectural practices can often challenge building norms and redefine living standards. The Young European Architecture Festival (YEAH!) is an event dedicated to highlighting these new and emerging practices and bringing their contributions to the built environment into focus. Many of these practices are challenging and redefining typologies of residential architecture. They are building upon ideas such as cooperative housing schemes, community-initiated developments, and circular economy. Others are exploring local identities and resources as a way to reinvigorate the profession while creating respectful and regionally relevant works of architecture.

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The World's First Solar Biennale and Energy Show Exhibition Opens in Rotterdam on September 9

The Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, opens The Energy Show and the Solar Biennale on Friday, September 9, 2022. In collaboration with The Solar Biennale designer and curator Matylda Krzykowski and solar designers Marjan van Aubel and Pauline van Dongen, the exhibition presents a series of projects that explores the sun's meaning and possibilities in society, the environment, and design. With Europe in the midst of an energy crisis, The Energy Show and the Solar Biennale is an opportunity for designers and the general public to examine the transition to solar energy and technology as we move towards a post-carbon future.

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Paul Clemence Captures Ateliers Jean Nouvel 's Completed Tours Duo in Paris

Jean Nouvel's recently completed towers, Tours Duo, redefined the Parisian skyline. Captured by Paul Clemence in his latest photo series, the project by Ateliers Jean Nouvel creates a singularity in relation to the rails that lead into the city's heart and define the Avenue de France. Established as a landmark on the East side of Paris and considered to be the city's future, Tours Duo is a mixed-use project that completes and modifies the unfinished context of this part of the city.

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UNStudio Designs Tower in Germany, Focusing on Environmental and Social Sustainability

Incorporating the Environmental, social, and corporate governance objectives, the 45,000 m2 Office Tower in the Europaviertel in Frankfurt aims to be one of Germany's most sustainable office buildings. Designed by UNStudio in partnership with Groß & Partner in collaboration with OKRA landscape architects, the project focuses on environmental and social sustainability as an integral part of Frankfurt's green network. The ecological agenda includes a low-carbon load-bearing structure and recyclable construction materials. The architecture program offers a public urban space to add value to its surroundings to encourage communication and gathering.

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How are Cities Adapting to Heatwaves in the Face of Climate Change

The climate crisis has made heat waves more likely and more intense around the world. In the northern hemisphere, the record-breaking temperatures are putting millions of people in danger. During the last months, recurring heatwaves have been affecting Central and Western Europe, causing wildfires, evacuations, and heat-related deaths. In the United States, local leaders are also urging caution, while densely populated cities in Asia are announcing strategies for coping with the extreme temperatures.

Cities are on the front lines of this public health emergency. People living in urban areas are among the hardest hit when heatwaves happen, partly because of urban heat islands. This is a phenomenon that occurs when cities replace the natural land cover with dense concentrations of surfaces that absorb and retain heat, like pavements and buildings. Heat risk levels also vary by neighborhood, with less affluent and historically marginalized sectors being the most affected due to the density of the population, limited access to cooling systems, and the limited availability of green urban spaces.

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JDS + Coldefy + Carlo Ratti Associati + NL Architects + Ensamble Studio to Renew New EU Parliament Building in Brussels

The European design team integrated by architectural firms JDS Architects, Coldefy, Carlo Ratti Associati, NL Architects, and Ensamble Studio has been announced as the winner of the international design competition for the renewal of the Paul-Henri SPAAK Building, the European Parliament plenary building in Brussels, Belgium.

Ecological Control and the Garden City: Utopia for Whom?

At the turn of the 19th century, a British publishing house would release a book written by an English urban planner – a book with an optimistic title. The title of this book was To-morrow: A Peaceful Path to Real Reform, later reprinted as Garden Cities of To-morrow. The English urban planner in question was Ebenezer Howard – and this book would lay the foundations for what would later become known as the Garden City Movement. This movement would go on to produce green suburbs praised for their lofty aims, but it would also produce satellite communities that only catered to a privileged few.

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Barcelona Prepares Climate Shelters to Keep Residents Cool During the Summer Months

Cities across the Northern Hemisphere are preparing for the upcoming summer months, which are expected to be warmer and drier than average. The European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts warns about temperatures rising above the norm in central and southern Europe this summer. Similarly, the forecast for the Unites States predicts hotter weather and below-average rainfall likely to fuel a megadrought. This poses threats for citizens, especially in larger cities, where heat-absorbing asphalt and waste heat generated by energy use create a “heat-island” effect. It translates to temperatures being up to 10°F (5.6°C) warmer in cities compared to the surrounding natural areas.

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How the Renaissance Influenced Architecture

After a prolonged period known as the Middle-Ages, a growing desire to both study and mimic nature itself began to emerge, with an inclination to discover and explore the world. Between 1400-1600 A.D. Europe was to witness a significant revival of the fine arts, painting, sculpture, and Architecture. The ‘Renaissance’, meaning ‘rebirth’ in French typically refers to this period of European history, although most closely associated with Italy, countries including England and France went through many of the same cultural changes at varying timescales.

Prior to the dawn of the Renaissance, Europe was dominated by ornate and asymmetrical Gothic Architecture. Devoured by the plague, the continent lost approximately a third of its population, vastly changing society in terms of economic, social and religious effect. Contributing to Europe’s emergence into the Renaissance, the period ushered in a new era of architecture after a phase of Gothic art, with the rise of notions of ‘Humanism’. The idea of attaching much importance to the essence of individualism. The effect of Humanism included the emergence of the individual figure, greater realism and attention to detail, especially in depictions in art.

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2021-2022 Best Emerging Young Architects & Designers in Europe Announced

The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies and The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design have announced the winners of the "Europe 40 under 40" program for 2021-2022. The selection gathers emerging architectural and design talents spread across Europe from Albania, Austria, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, The Netherlands, and Turkey.

During these challenging times, it is crucial to keep insightful visions alive. Presenting Europe’s most hopeful personalities in the fields of architecture and design is what gives us hope for a better tomorrow”, explains the official brief. Providing an insight into the architectural scene in Europe, the program initiated by The European Centre highlights the next generation of young architects, landscape architects, urban planners, and industrial designers currently under the age of 40, who will impact future living and working environments, cities, and rural areas.

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Esch 2022 Celebrates One of Europe’s Most Stunning Industrial Turnarounds

For quaint riverfront views, historical fortifications, and castles, head to Luxembourg. For sky-high remnants of the steel industry, there’s the country’s second largest city, Esch-sur-Alzette. Suffering, until recently, from the 1970’s steel manufacturing exodus, Esch, 10 miles to the northeast of the border of France, is emerging as an unexpected cultural mecca, where industrial infrastructure is being converted en masse into cultural and learning space. This rebirth is being celebrated thanks to a generous flow of cash via its designation as Esch2022: Esch-sur-Alzette European Capital of Culture 2022 (Kaunas, Lithuania and Novi Sad, Serbia, also named European Capital of Cultures this year, share the designation for 2022). For Esch, the title comes with $54.8 million in funds from EU, national, local, and private sources.

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What’s the Matter with American Cities?

This article was originally published on Common Edge.

For frequent travelers to Europe, it is frustrating to see the increasingly different urban conditions on the other side of the Atlantic. In Europe, cities are largely appreciated and embraced, and have turned into high-quality environments for inclusive and sustainable living. Copenhagen’s bike lanes—and, not too far away, Oslo’s car-free downtown—elicit admiring blog posts and articles on this side of the pond at a steady clip. Holland’s pedestrian- and bike-friendly urban designs attract their own share of starry-eyed fans. Berlin is holding a referendum to exclude cars from its inner city, an area larger than Manhattan. In Madrid, the mayor who restricted cars from accessing the city center did lose reelection, but her successor was forced to halt his efforts to rescind those policies by a groundswell of popular fury.

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The Graphic Novel as Architectural Narrative: Berlin and Aya

The comic strip, la bande dessinée, the graphic novel. These are all part of a medium with an intrinsic connection to architectural storytelling. It’s a medium that has long been used to fantasise and speculate on possible architectural futures, or in a less spectacular context, used as a device to simply show the perspectival journey through an architectural project. When the comic strip meshes fiction with architectural imagination, however, it’s not only the speculation on future architectural scenarios that takes place. It’s also the recording and the critiquing of the urban conditions of either our contemporary cities or the cities of the past.

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