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Featured: The Latest Architecture and News

AD Interviews: Bijoy Jain, Studio Mumbai

During the launch of the META Project in Chile, we had the chance to interview Bijoy Jain, founder of Studio Mumbai.

Infographic: The AIA History

Today, over 17,000 architects and designers, contractors and project managers, magazines and bloggers (including us) will converge on the Capital for the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) 144th National Convention, Design Connects. So let’s take a moment to reflect on this Association’s long history, intertwined with our nation’s history, and look at how it’s evolved to become both a vital resource for working/emerging architects and the voice of the architecture profession today.

Rossignol Global Headquarters / Hérault Arnod Architectes

© Gilles Cabella
© Gilles Cabella

Architects: Hérault Arnod Architectes Location: La Buisse, Saint Jean de Moirans, France Design Team: Jérôme Moenne-Loccoz, Alexandre Pachiaudi, Camille Bérar, Nicolas Broussous, Matthias Jäger Client: Skis Rossignol SAS Built Area: 11,600 sqm Completion: 2009 Photographs: André Morin, Gilles Cabella

© André Morin © André Morin © André Morin © André Morin + 18

DLAB | Green 02 workshop at the Architectural Association

DLab 2011 student work, Photo by Elif Erdine
DLab 2011 student work, Photo by Elif Erdine

AA DLab experiments thoroughly on the possibilities of digital design tools and rapid prototyping techniques as highly integrated systems of design development. It is an intensive computation and fabrication oriented workshop that is structured around a general theme in each consecutive edition.

Starting from 2012, DLab will be launched as a series where one of the most potent vehicles for emphasis in architecture, color, will take a twist and exist beyond the field of visual compositions and sensations, becoming the common denominator for the generation of diverse computational proposals. In 2012, DLab takes on the color of Green as the shade of meaning and the design vessel for a number of rigorous experiments carried out using algorithmic design methodologies and digital fabrication techniques.  Associated with the concepts of regeneration, emergence, and growth through its broad existence in nature, Green will serve as the inspiration for observing natural and biological structures of differing scales, followed by their abstraction and interpretation into elaborated design proposals. In this setup, Green surpasses being a representational/graphic instrument and stimulates creative processes of meaning, interpretation, and realization.

Arganzuela Footbridge / Dominique Perrault Architecture

© Georges Fessy / DPA / Adagp
© Georges Fessy / DPA / Adagp

Architects: Dominique Perrault Architecture Location: Parque de la Arganzuela, Madrid, Spain Engineering: MC2 – Julio Martínez Calzón (stucture) / TYPSA (mechanical engineering) Built area: Footbridge 150 m (section 1) 128 m (section 2) length, 5 to 12 m width Completion: 2010 Photographs: Georges Fessy, Ayuntamiento de Madrid

Pitfalls of Observational Studies

Clever Hans and the observer effect
Clever Hans and the observer effect

After showing two groups of schoolteachers a videotape of an eight-year-old boy, psychologists John Santrock and Russel Tracy found that the teachers’ judgment of the child ultimately depended on whether they had been told the child came from a divorced home or an intact home. The child was rated as less well-adjusted if the teachers thought he came from a home where the parents were divorced. This finding might seem inconsequential to the field of architecture, but for a profession that often relies on observational studies to evaluate a design’s effect on its users I argue that Santrock and Tracy’s study is one among many architects need to pay attention to.

An observational study*, like post-occupancy surveys, is a common method architects use to evaluate a design’s effect on its users. If done well observational studies can provide a wealth of valuable and reliable information. They do, however, have their pitfalls, most notably controlling for cognitive and selection biases. At the risk of limiting readership, I will illustrate these challenges by reviewing a specific observational study dealing with autism design. Although specific, the following example wrestles with the same difficulties that other observational studies in architecture wrestle with.

The Indicator: The Death of “The Death”

A few weeks ago, appearing on the heels of a Salon article by Scott Timberg, entitled, “The Architecture Meltdown”, GOOD Magazine published “Why ‘The Death of Architecture’ May Not Be Such a Bad Thing”. Penned by public interest advocate and writer, John Cary, the article offered a provocative corrective for architecture in the Great Recession. In fact, it seemed written for the purpose of provocation rather than offering real solutions.

The article, which I will break down by borrowing the language of Buddhism, conveyed Four Noble Truths: Architecture is suffering, There is a way to end the suffering, The way to end the suffering is to follow a new path, and The path is the “emergent” field of public interest design. This is how architecture can rise above the “meltdown” and save itself and the world.

Sounds simple enough, right? Let’s do it!

Infographic: The Serpentine Pavilion 2012 Update

With the recent release of the design for the 2012 Serpentine Pavilion by Herzog & de Meuron and collaborator Ai Weiwei, we’re bringing you the 2012 updated infographic, a cheat sheet for the 12 years of the Serpentine Pavilion. Read more about the new design here

Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei's Serpentine Gallery Pavilion design revealed

Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2012 Designed by Herzog & de Meuron & Ai Weiwei © 2012, by Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei
Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2012 Designed by Herzog & de Meuron & Ai Weiwei © 2012, by Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei

As we announced back in February, Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron and their Chinese collaborator Ai Weiwei will design this year’s Serpentine Gallery Pavilion at Hyde Park in London, a special edition that will be part of the London 2012 Festival, the culmination of the Cultural Olympiad. This will be the trio’s first collaborative built structure in the UK.

Back then, it was announced that their design will explore the hidden history of the previous installations (see all the previous pavilions in our infographic), with eleven columns under the lawn of the Serpentine, representing the past pavilions and a twelfth column supporting a floating platform roof 1.4 metres above ground, which looks like a reflecting water-like surface in the renderings. The plan of the pavilion is based on a mix of the 11 previous pavilions’ layouts, pavilions that are represented as excavated foundations from which a new cork cladded landscape appears, as an archeological operation.

Diagram © 2012, by Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei
Diagram © 2012, by Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei

AD Interviews: Márcio Kogan / Studio MK27

São Paulo native Márcio Kogan has become an internationally recognized Brazilian architect known for his minimal designs that are often contrasted by intricate materiality. His work has been highly praised by our readers, and he is in the top 5 of individual architects searches at our site. His houses and institutional projects respect the modern principles of Brazilian architecture, with a special care on the design of interior spaces and their details, resulting in a mix of tradition and contemporary design. My favorite? Paraty House (and its section!)

AD Interviews: Steven Ehrlich

Recently awarded the prestigious Maybeck Award by the AIA California Council (AIACC), Steven Ehrlich (FAIA, RIBA) has earned international recognition for his distinctive architecture and philosophy that has greatly influenced the architectural community. As the Design Principle of Ehrlich Architects, the Los Angeles-based architect is dedicated to the philosophy of Multicultural Modernism – a unique approach to architecture and planning that is centered on architectural anthropology; an idea that strives to identify and celebrate the uniqueness of each individual culture through design.

Steven Holl Architects Unveils VCU Institute for Cotemporary Art at Meulensteen Gallery

Courtesy of Steven Holl Architects
Courtesy of Steven Holl Architects

Steven Holl Architects have just unveiled Virginia Commonwealth University’s new Institute for Contemporary Art. With an inviting sense of openness, the building will form a gateway into the University, linking the city of Richmond to the campus. A dynamic architectural promenade will connect the building’s most important spaces, engaging visitors in a variety of changing perspectives. Flexible spaces throughout the building will be capable of accommodating a vast assortment of exhibitions and performances.

Continue after the break for more images and the architect’s project description.

Courtesy of Steven Holl Architects Courtesy of Steven Holl Architects Courtesy of Steven Holl Architects Courtesy of Steven Holl Architects + 20

AD Interviews: Winy Maas / MVRDV

We had the incredible opportunity to interview Winy Maas, the M in MVRDV, one the most influential contemporary practices, which has been able to push the boundaries of our field in different scales, from buildings to master plan, from construction to theory. In this interview Winy shares interesting thoughts on the role of the architect and how he runs this design/research practice.

Stickwork / Patrick Dougherty

Disorderly Conduct; Courtesy of Patrick Dougherty
Disorderly Conduct; Courtesy of Patrick Dougherty

Patrick Dougherty is best known for his sculptures that break down over time. You may have seen one of his temporary works without realizing it. Built primarily from tree saplings woven together, each sculptures is approximately a three-week construction project where Dougherty and his group of volunteers carefully create the habitat or environment of this a tangled web of all natural materials. Because the sculptures are made of organic matter they disintegrate, break down and fall apart, becoming part of the landscape once again. Most people see habitats and shelters in his work – which is what many of them are meant to be – but “castles, lairs, nests and coccoons” isn’t what usually comes to mind. In an interview with Dougherty for the New York Times, Penelope Green discusses his only permanent work and the origin of his interest in what is referred to as Stickwork, now available through Princeton Architecture Press.

Patrick Dougherty has made over 200 sculptures in the 25 years that he has been creating Stickwork. But his construction work began when he was 28, working for the Air Force in the health and hospital administration. He decided to buy property in North Carolina and build his own house from the materials on the site. Collecting fallen branches, rocks and old timber, Dougherty was able to construct his home, in which he still lives with his wife and son, with a few additions. By 36, Dougherty decided to return to school for sculpture and attended the art program at the University of North Carolina. His interest in what nature had to offer led him to develop his tangled sculptures. Each sculpture is different and depends greatly on the site. Each project is different and depends on the volunteers that participate and the public that never fails to stop and watch the sculptures being woven together.

View some of his projects after the break.

The Indicator: Moby, Part 2

Courtesy of Moby
Courtesy of Moby

I once saw a video of David Hockney discussing a Chinese landscape scroll. A provocative little art-geek film (or so it seemed at the time) entitled, ”A Day on the Grand Canal With the Emperor of China (or Surface Is Illusion but So Is Depth)”.

On the surface, the film’s subject is a 17th-century Chinese scroll painting. The depths, however, are personal and make the film more about the artist himself, a target for his projection. So, if surface is illusion but so is depth, then what we have is an interesting problem.

In this sense, he wasn’t trying to lay down any absolute truth or theory about Chinese landscape painting, or even himself. But merely his understanding at that moment in time—a moving target exploring another moving target. What would Hockney say about the scroll now?

When I first noticed Moby blogging about architecture, this film, long-buried in my art history memory, was one of the first reference points that came to mind. Like Hockney with the scroll, Moby is seemingly unrolling Los Angeles and winding his way through it’s weird little buildings and spatial complexities. The hills–and one does not always associate hills with Los Angeles–are uncannily similar to the hills in the Chinese scroll.

Lanyang Museum / KRIS YAO | ARTECH

Architect: Kris Yao | Artech Architects Location: Yilan County, Taiwan Clients: Yilan County Government Design Team: Glen Lu, Hua-Yi Chang, Fei-Chun Ying, Chih-Hao Chiang, Shun-Hui Chen, Tien-Kai Yang, Chii-Chang Jong, Christina Tseng, Lei Wang, Nina Yu, Jun-Ren Chou, Tien-Yu Lo Site Area: 39,426 sqm Total Floor Area: 12,472.74 sqm Completion: March 2010 Photographs: Jeffrey Cheng, Chi-Yi Chang

© Jeffrey Cheng © Jeffrey Cheng © Jeffrey Cheng © Jeffrey Cheng + 28

Facebook 500,000 Fans Giveaway: Moleskine - Inspiration and Process in Architecture

Our Facebook Fan Page has finally reached 500,000 fans, making it the largest architecture community in Facebook! To celebrate it, we partnered with Moleskine to host a fantastic giveaway.

Architectural Photographers: Christian Richters

© Christian Richters
© Christian Richters

Born in Munster – Germany and now based in Berlin, Christian Richters‘ working area is currently all over Europe, the USA and Asia, shooting projects for some renown architects like Bernard Tschumi, Toyo Ito, Zaha Hadid, UN Studio and David Chipperfield among others. He studied design and photography at the Folkwang Art School in Essen, but it was architecture that finally drove his career to the next level… And we are very lucky for that. He now works with VIEW Pictures, where you can check out his extensive portfolio of amazing architecture.

1. When and how did you start photographing architecture?

I have always been photographing – it started as a hobby when I was a young boy, and already then it was buildings, streets, industrial sites, ships which fascinated me.

After finishing my studies at Folkwang Art School in Essen, Germany, I initially mainly photographed historic architecture for books and magazines. In the early 1990s there was a shift towards contemporary architecture, and more and more architects were becoming my clients. This is what I am focussed on today, but I still maintain working on long-term historic projects for book publishers or NGOs.