In a recent article published by the Financial Times, architect and public speaker Michael Pawlyn delves into how biomimicry can be applied to architecture in order to solve design problems and create a more sustainable future. Even in very early examples, biomimicry has been critical in the development of architecture, for example when Filippo Brunelleschi studied eggshells to create a thinner and lighter dome for his cathedral in Florence. In a modern example, biomimicry has been utilized—through the examination of termite mounds—to create cool environments without air conditioning in warm climates such as in Zimbabwe.
Financial Times: The Latest Architecture and News
Is ornament seeing a resurgence in architectural design? Writing for The Financial Times, Edwin Heathcote examines the rising phenomenon of decoration as a growing element of contemporary architectural design. Describing FAT and Grayson Perry's recently completed 'kitsch' abode 'A House for Essex' Heathcote justifies the assimilation of decoration into the central design philosophy, thus creating an entirely new aesthetic category. "The building sits somewhere between outsider art, high culture and the most sophisticated postmodernism," Heathcote explains, adding that its decoration "is not just applied as a layer but subsumed into the architecture."
In an article for the Financial Times (FT), writer and historian Simon Schama examines world conflict zones and the efforts to protect some of the world’s most vulnerable architectural and cultural sites. If history is a measure, then Schama's study of William “Basher” Dowsing - an Englishman who, in the winter of 1643, "made it his personal mission to obliterate as much as he possibly could of sacred art in the churches and colleges of East Anglia" in the name of religion - is pertinent now more than ever.
In an article for the Financial Times, Edwin Heathcote asks "what are design museums actually for?" Noting that we are living through a "boom time" for the typology, Heathcote argues that when we are overwhelmed by design in our day to day lives, what will fill these spaces? London's Victoria & Albert Museum sprouted from the legacy of the 1850 Great Exhibition, where the concept of a design museum originated, as an attempt to "display the fruits of Britain’s industrial revolution." Ironically in the very same museum in 2013, curator Kieran Long acquired a print of the world's first 3D printed gun for the permanent collection. Will the ubiquity of 'design' soon negate the need for dedicated spaces? Read Heathcote's conclusions in full here.
Still rebuilding after the catastrophic tsunami of 2011, Toyo Ito, Kazuyo Sejima, and other notable Japanese architects, have teamed up on the "Home for All" project to provide community-focused housing to disaster-stricken communities. While the architect-driven initiative seems to be a success, Edwin Heathcote of the Financial Times asks in this exquisitely well-written article: are a set of "starchitects" the right team for the job? (Spoiler: Yes)