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Interviews: The Latest Architecture and News

Cho Min-suk of Mass Studies on Ephemeral Architecture and Crisis in Korea

Seoul is considered one of the most densely-populated and over-priced cities in the world, reaching a staggering $ 80,000 per square meter. The extreme conditions of the city have forced local architects to operate, design, and build framing the city's urban issues, traditions, and history. This approach by architects has created the the theoretical basis of “The Condition of Seoul Architecture”, a publication by multidisciplinary practice TCA Think Tank which sees the point of view of 18 innovative South Korean architects. In this interview, Pier Alessio Rizzardi, founder of the practice, interviewed Chi Min-suk of Mass Studies, explaining his point of view on ephemeral architecture and what influences the studio's work the most.

“To Work at Different Scales is the Architect's Wisdom”: Ricardo Bofill Interviewed for the Time Space Existence Video Series

In their recent interview for the Time Space Existence video series, Plane-Site, through the support from the European Cultural Centre, interviewed Spanish architect Ricardo Bofill. The series will be exhibited in the biennial exhibition in Venice, opening May 21-22, 2020.

Kliment Halsband Architects on Its New Ugandan Surgical Facility

This article was originally published on Common Edge.

Ambulatory surgical procedures are routine in the U.S., but that’s not the case for most of the world. According to Dr. Michael Marin, head of surgery at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, 5 billion people have no access to safe and affordable surgery procedures, a reality that in 2010 led to nearly 17 million deaths across the globe. In search of a new model for surgical facilities that could serve local communities—a model that would be independent and self-sustaining, outside of the context of large urban hospital complexes—Dr. Marin reached out to Kliment Halsband Architects in New York, a firm that had no experience in healthcare design. Recently I talked to firm principal Frances Halsband about how the project came about, and what she and her team learned in the process.

© Bob Ditty © Bob Ditty © Bob Ditty © Bob Ditty + 11

Architectural Softwares: Tips on How to Choose and Discover the Right Programs

Courtesy of The Midnight Charette
Courtesy of The Midnight Charette

The Midnight Charette is an explicit podcast about design, architecture, and the everyday. Hosted by architectural designers David Lee and Marina Bourderonnet, it features a variety of creative professionals in unscripted conversations that allow for thoughtful takes and personal discussions. A wide array of subjects are covered with honesty and humor: some episodes provide useful tips for designers, while others are project reviews, interviews, or explorations of everyday life and design. The Midnight Charette is also available on iTunes, Spotify, and YouTube.

This week David and Marina discuss software in design and architecture. It's not as boring as it sounds! The two cover the more pragmatic and specific issues and the more conceptual ones: everything from what programs you need to know to design and to get hired different offices; how to learn programs; balancing technical skillsets with conceptual thinking; why working in the computer is both advantageous and dangerous; 2D drafting versus 3D modeling; things to consider when choosing a software; the failures of successes of BIM programs for employers and employees; key issues to consider before transitioning to BIM; what BIM programs are best (Revit or ArchiCAD) for small and large offices and which project types (the more office-focused and BIM-focused conversation starts at 37:30) and workflows between different programs. If you have any questions or advice about portfolios or any other design-related topics, leave a voicemail at The Midnight Charette hotline: 213-222-6950.

Carlo Ratti Discusses Architectural Innovation and the Shenzhen Biennale

Carlo Ratti can be considered one of the great architectural innovators of our time. The founder of Carlo Ratti Associati, and Director at the MIT Senseable City Lab, Ratti champions the power of new technologies to transform both how we live, and how we design. The act of “convergence” is central to Ratti’s architectural outlook, whether it be the convergence of bits and atoms, or natural and artificial, or human and technology. Moreover, he believes that this convergence can reframe the design process, and engage citizens in discussions on what kind of city they want to live in.

2015, CRA Cloud Cast. Image © Carlo Ratti Associati 2008, CRA Digital Water Pavilion . Image © Claudio Bonicco 2015, CRA Cloud Cast. Image © Pietro Leoni 2008, CRA Digital Water Pavilion . Image © Ramak Fazel + 12

Ricardo Bofill: “Why Are Historical Towns More Beautiful Than Modern Cities?”

To the uninitiated, Ricardo Bofill might come across as something of a chameleon. Comparing the post-modernism of his projects in Paris of the 1980s, his recent glass-and-steel towers, and the stark stoicism of his own home and studio which he renovated in the 1980s, one would be forgiven for thinking that there is no consistent thread present throughout his work. However, as Bofill reveals in this interview from Vladimir Belogolovsky's 2016 “City of Ideas” series, his designs are actually rooted in concepts of regionalism and process which, while recently popular with the architectural community at large, have underpinned his architectural mind since his twenties.

La Fabrica, Sant Just Desvern, Barcelona, 1975. Image Courtesy of Ricardo Bofill Walden-7, Sant Just Desvern, Barcelona, 1975. Image Courtesy of Ricardo Bofill The Pyramid, Spanish-French Border, 1976. Image Courtesy of Ricardo Bofill Les Espaces D´Abraxas, Le Palacio, Le Théâtre, L´Arc New Town Of Marne La Vallée Region Of Paris, France, 1982. Image Courtesy of Ricardo Bofill + 80

Erieta Attali: "I Create Images That Capture an Identity of Place"

Architecture is mostly known through representations. Even today, when traveling is no longer rare or just for the rich, buildings and places are mostly disseminated and appreciated through images. In that sense, photography has been—and still is—paramount to architecture. The following interview delves into Erieta Attali’s work and the relationship to both architecture and landscape through the lens of her camera. With over two decades of experience, shooting and teaching all over the world, the Israeli photographer reflects on the origins and evolution of her renown practice.

Stéphane Beel on Architecture and Technology

Past, Present, Future is an interview project by Itinerant Office, asking acclaimed architects to share their perspectives on the constantly evolving world of architecture. Each interview is split into three video segments: Past, Present, and Future, in which interviewees discuss their thoughts and experiences of architecture through each of those lenses. The first episode of the project featured 11 architects from Italy and the Netherlands and Episode II is comprised of interviews with 13 architects from Spain, Portugal, France, and Belgium.

The goal of the series is to research these successful firms and attempt to understand their methods and approaches. By hopefully gaining a clearer picture of what it means to be an architect in the 21st century, the videos can also serve as inspiration for the next generation of up-and-coming architects and students as they enter the field.

Courtesy of Stéphane Beel Architects Courtesy of Stéphane Beel Architects Courtesy of Stéphane Beel Architects Courtesy of Stéphane Beel Architects + 28

"We Can Find Ways for Buildings to Talk to Each Other": In Conversation with Eran Chen

By Pavel Bendov. Image © ODA Architecture By Forbes Massie. Image © ODA Architecture By Pavel Bendov. Image © ODA Architecture By Imagen Subliminal. Image © ODA Architecture + 39

New York-based architect Eran Chen (b. 1970) was born and grew up in Be'er Sheva, Israel where his Polish-born grandparents, Holocaust survivors, settled right after World War Two. Early on the original long Polish surname was abbreviated to short Chen, which is pronounced “Khen.” In Hebrew, it stands for charm. After four years in the army, following high school, Chen studied architecture at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem, the top architecture school in the country. Upon graduation in 1999, he ventured to New York to gain professional experience. He was hired by Perkins Eastman, a global New York-based giant of over 1,000 architects. In just a few years Chen was made the youngest principal in the company to oversee the design of his own diverse projects, including several competition-winning entries. By then he got married, became a father, a licensed architect, and settled in the city that he now calls home. In 2007, Chen decided to strike on his own. He focused on working with developers on residential projects, mainly in New York, as well as other major cities in the US and around the world. Many of Chen’s projects are situated in dense urban places. They are about reinventing the familiar living typology of buildings as extruded boxes. We met at the architect’s busy Manhattan office of over 100 young, ambitious architects helping Chen to make our cities more livable. We discussed his concept of vertical urban village and the truly democratic idea that every apartment, no matter where it is positioned in the building, can be turned into a penthouse.  

“Buildings Have their own Philosophical Backgrounds”: In Conversation with Nikoloz Lekveishvili and Natia Lekveishvili of TIMM Architecture, Tbilisi, Georgia

© TIMM. Esta Sales Office (in progress) – Istanbul, Turkey 2017 © TIMM. Rike Information Center (Competition entry 2 nd prize) – Tbilisi, Georgia 2019 © TIMM. Market + Office tower (stayed as a proposal) – Izmir, Turkey 2016 © TIMM. SALES OFFICE 1 (in progress) – Istanbul, Turkey 2017 + 48

Nikoloz Lekveishvili (b. 1986), originally from Tbilisi, Georgia, has left his country in 2004 for his bachelor studies to Istanbul Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University and to get Master of Architecture at Politecnico Di Milano. He then practiced architecture in Italy, Germany, Turkey, and India until 2017, when he was attracted back to his home country by emerging economic opportunities and bustling creative scene in this former Soviet republic in the Caucasus. Nikoloz has started his practice, TIMM Architecture the same year together with his younger sister, Natia Lekveishvili (b. 1989) who has graduated from Georgian Technical University in 2012 and worked in local architectural and design-build firms.

The partners’ studio is located in the heart of old Tbilisi in the same building where their parents, architecture professors and practitioners, lead their own research-based office known for documenting historical monuments in the region. We met with Nikoloz and Natia at their studio which also serves as an architectural salon where young architects and students are welcome. In the following conversation, the architects spoke about a journey of emotions, transitioning from light to darkness, being interested in Kintsugi, traces of time, treating buildings like human beings, and of the importance of being selfish in order to create architecture that’s unique and personal.

The Importance of Communication and Context in Enrique Sobejano's Work

Past, Present, Future is an interview project by Itinerant Office, asking acclaimed architects to share their perspectives on the constantly evolving world of architecture. Each interview is split into three video segments: Past, Present, and Future, in which interviewees discuss their thoughts and experiences of architecture through each of those lenses. The first episode of the project featured 11 architects from Italy and the Netherlands and Episode II is comprised of interviews with 13 architects from Spain, Portugal, France, and Belgium.

Konigshof rendering. Image Courtesy of Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos Montblanc exterior view. Image Courtesy of Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos Espacio Andaluz de Creación Contemporánea. Image © Roland Halbe Arvo Part Centre. Image © Roland Halbe + 41

Thomas Fisher on The Ethics of Architecture and Other Contradictions

This article was originally published on Common Edge.

Why don’t architects often consider the ethics of what they do? Thomas Fisher’s new book, The Architecture of Ethics, digs into this topic in great depth and with engaging insight. At the recent AIA convention in Las Vegas, I sat down with Fisher—former dean of the University of Minnesota College of Design, and now a professor in urban design at the school, as well as director of the Minnesota Design Center—to talk about his book and the ethical dimension of designing and building in the context of contemporary practice.

“One Day All the Dreamers Will Get Together to Build a Fantastic World”: In Conversation with Massimiliano and Doriana Fuksas

© Archivio Fuksas. ImageShenzhen Airport © Archivio Fuksas. ImageRhike Park in Tbilisi New Rome EUR. Image © Leonardo Finotti © Studio Fuksas. ImageNew Milan Trade Fair + 15

Italian architects Massimiliano and Doriana Fuksas were both born and grew up in Rome. Both graduated from La Sapienza University – he in 1969, she a decade later. He started his studies as a painter, she initially persued the history of art. In the early 60s, Massimiliano assisted Giorgio De Chirico and after graduation worked for Archigram in London and then for Henning Larsen and Jørn Utzon in Copenhagen. He started his first practice, the GRANMA in 1967. Doriana joined him in 1985 and became an equal partner in 1997. Subsequent offices were opened in Paris (1989) and in Shenzhen (2004). In 2000, Massimiliano Fuksas served as the Director of the 7th Venice Architecture Biennale under the theme "Less Aesthetics, More Ethics." The duo’s most recognized built works include Museum of Graffiti in Ariege, France; Shenzen Bao'an International Airport; EUR Convention Centre in Rome; New Milan Trade Fair, Rho-Pero; Zenith Music Hall in Strasbourg; and Peres Peace House in Jaffa, Tel Aviv. I met with the architects during their recent visit to New York where so far, they completed only one project, Armani 5th Avenue Flagship Store. We discussed how they start again with every project, their preoccupation with the future, and why buildings should try to become something else.