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Interview: The Latest Architecture and News

AD Interviews: Juan Herreros

01:00 - 10 July, 2013

Juan Herreros is one of the most influential Spanish architects practicing today. Executing a delicate balance between his role defining the practice of architecture with work in the academy, he has not only overseen the construction of significant built projects, but also teaches at School of Architecture of Madrid and is a Full Professor at GSAPP Columbia University in New York. It was recently announced that his winning proposal for the Munch Museum/Deichman Library competition was given the green light. The museum will house the world’s largest collection of Edvard Munch artworks and is scheduled to open in 2018.

Herreros strives to highlight architecture’s multi-faceted, multi-disciplinary nature by revealing the complex relationships that lie behind individual projects—undergirded by what Herreros identifies as a “technical culture” (see the exhibition Dialogue Architecture that he curated at the last Venice Biennale).

Together with Iñaki Abalos he founded Abalos&Herreros in 1984. In 1992 they founded the International Multimedia League (LMI), an organization that contributes to the simplification and intensification of artistic practice. Since 2006 he practices with the firm Herreros Arquitectos a collaborative office that has won numerous competitions and commissions. His projects can be found around the world and range from schemes for public spaces to designs for houses.

“Something unique about [our] studio is that, given the difficulties of doing research in architecture today and the usefulness of the “research applied to architecture” concept, we maintain two open, integrated lines of work: one line maintains small projects, very quick, very immediate; and the other is related to the large projects, generally the result of international competitions around the world.”

AD Interviews: Juan Herreros AD Interviews: Juan Herreros AD Interviews: Juan Herreros AD Interviews: Juan Herreros + 5

Check out a full transcript of our interview with Herreros after the break…

Why China's Copy-Cats Are Good For Architecture

00:00 - 9 April, 2013
Why China's Copy-Cats Are Good For Architecture, Wangjing SOHO: Northwest Aerial © Zaha Hadid Architects
Wangjing SOHO: Northwest Aerial © Zaha Hadid Architects

When we see another Eiffel Tower, idyllic English village, or, most recently, a Zaha Hadid shopping mall, copied in China, our first reaction is to scoff. Heartily. To suggest that it is - once again - evidence of China’s knock-off culture, its disregard for uniqueness, its staggering lack of innovation.

Even I, reporting on the Chinese copy of the Austrian town of Halstatt, fell into the rhetorical trap: “The Chinese are well-known for their penchant for knock-offs, be it brand-name handbags or high-tech gadgets, but this time, they’ve taken it to a whole other level.” Moreover, as Guy Horton has noted, we are keen to describe designers in the West as “emulating,” “imitating,” and “borrowing”; those in the East are almost always “pirating.”

However, when we allow ourselves, even unconsciously, to settle into the role of superior scoffer, we do not just the Chinese, but ourselves, a disservice: first, we fail to recognize the fascinating complexity that lies behind China’s built experimentation with Western ideals; and, what’s more, we fail to look in the mirror at ourselves, and trouble our own unquestioned values and supposed superiority.

In the next few paragraphs, I’d like to do both. 

In Conversation With: Will Alsop

01:00 - 25 March, 2013
© Antonio Olmos
© Antonio Olmos

Architecture begins with ideas—and, for Will Alsop, sometimes with a painting. This interview is the first in a series of conversations with internationally prominent architects conducted by Sanam Samanian and Alex Bozikovic. The British iconoclast gives an overview of his creative process: why he's bored by the details of building; why we shouldn't think of architecture as a “profession"; and why we should think of architecture as a way to make life more joyous.

Read the captivating interview with Will Alsop, after the break...

A Candid Conversation with Frank Lloyd Wright

00:00 - 2 March, 2013
A Candid Conversation with Frank Lloyd Wright, Frank Lloyd Wright by JOHN AMARANTIDES, 1955. ”The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)”
Frank Lloyd Wright by JOHN AMARANTIDES, 1955. ”The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)”

If you only know Frank Lloyd Wright for his classic works - Fallingwater and the Guggenheim among them - and not for his bristly personality, then you're in for a treat.

WNYC has just released a candid interview they recorded with Wright in 1957, two years before his death, in his Plaza Hotel apartment (where he’d moved to oversee construction of the Guggenheim, which he'd been working on for 14 years). The conversation covers a wide range of topics - from Wright's quirky personal views on American culture to the significance of architecture for mankind. Some gems from the interview include:

On the Guggenheim and its critics: “You’re going to be awakened to the beauty of that thing [a picture, a painting] from a new point of view. And it’s going to be so enlivening and refreshing, that it will make some of these painters quite ashamed of the protest that they issued against it.”

More quotes from Frank Lloyd Wright, after the break...

Exclusive Interview: Plasma Studio on Xi’an International Horticultural Expo

13:00 - 23 February, 2012
© Aidan Flaherty
© Aidan Flaherty

In conjunction with our recent coverage of the Xi’an International Horticultural Expo, we would like to share Aidan Flaherty’s interview with Holger Kehne, co-principle of Plasma Studio and GroundLab. Plasma Studio, GroundLab and LAUR Studio worked together to win this international competition with a 37-hectare master plan for the International Horticultural Expo, a 5,000SM Exhibition Hall, a 4,000SM Greenhouse, and a 3,500SM Gate Building. The project initiated the re-development of a large area between the airport and the center of the ancient city of Xi’an – known as the home of the Terracotta Army of the Qin Dynasty.

The Expo opened in the spring of 2011 and welcomed more than 16 million visitors before it closed in the fall of 2011. The Expo park will remain as a new contemporary addition to the Xi’an region. The particularities of this legacy plan are currently underway. Holger Kehne discusses his firms’ unique design methodologies and multidisciplinary approach while working on this large-scale project. Read the interview after the break.

AD Recommends: Frank O. Gehry by Franco Raggi, 1981

14:37 - 15 March, 2010

Our friends from Abitare recently published their 500 issue!