Award-winning architect Steven Holl has expressed his dismay of modern-day architecture to Metropolis Magazine. Although Steven Holl Architects (SHA) have recently won the design competition of a gateway building at University College Dublin, and have completed new buildings in London, Houston, Virginia, and Richmond this past year only, the architect is convinced that regardless of all the success, “it’s not a great moment, there are a lot of bad architects”.
This article was originally published on Metropolis Magazine as "In His Latest Residential Building, OMA's Reinier de Graaf Doesn't Practice What He Preaches".
Last month in Stockholm, OMA partner Reinier de Graaf took a not-so-sly swipe at Bjarke Ingels: “I’m not a reincarnation of Harry Potter,” he said to a packed lecture theater at Stockholm’s KTH University.
Uruguay's architecture scene has long taken the backseat to those of its more popular neighbours. Brazil, to the north, has a modernist history that rivals (if not shades) that of its European peers; Chile, to the west, boasts an innovative climate for architecture unparalleled in the world today.
For this year's annual city listings, Metropolis Magazine took an unusual approach: they took the analysis to the streets, surveying nearly 100 design professionals across the globe to get their opinions. The result? A list that boasts not just the cities you'd expect (Milan, London, Berlin) but the under the radar powerhouses you might not have anticipated.
This article was originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "A Once-Maligned Concrete Megastructure in Seoul is Revitalized - Sans Gentrification".
Upon its completion in 1966, Sewoon Sangga, designed by prominent South Korean architect Kim Swoo-geun, was a groundbreaking residential and commercial megastructure consisting of eight multistory buildings covering a full kilometer in the heart of Seoul. Like other futuristic projects of the decade, it was conceived as a self-contained city, complete with amenities that included a park, an atrium, and a pedestrian deck. But construction realities crippled Kim’s utopian vision, compromising those features. By the late 1970s, Sewoon Sangga had shed residents and anchor retail outlets to newer, shinier developments in the wealthy Gangnam district across the river. Between Sewoon’s central location and plunging rents, the building became a hub for light industry—as well as illicit activity.
Architecture has always been multidisciplinary, demanding new expertise for each project and challenging designers to remain nimble. This seems more true now (and more embraced) than ever, with architects turning their eye towards technology, agriculture, data science - even to Mars.
This article was originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "The Skyscraper's Innovative Structure is Changing the Game for Earthquake Design".
You can’t define modern civilization without mentioning its cities. These urban settlements vary in culture, size and specialty, with certain areas becoming more significant throughout the development of a region. Historically, the size or population of a settlement was a general indicator of its importance—the bigger city, the more power it yields—however, with the large rural-to-urban migration of the last century, it has become harder to define what makes a city important. There are many types of urban landscapes, and for architects and planners it is vital to efficiently categorize settlement types in order to successfully develop designs and city plans. The following list provides four key definitions that have emerged in the last century.
One general trend in today's Information Age involves the absolute transmutation of downtime into productivity or engagement of any kind, however meaningless. We hear it all the time: we have lost our ability to be still. However, as a team at Ennead Lab has observed, some of the same technologies that are causing this shift in routine also have the potential to open new, empty pockets of time in our daily lives, and affect the built spaces with which we interact.
Tasked with designing an electric car charging station for a development in Shanghai, Ennead realized that the five hours required to fill up a single standard charge necessitate a place for customers to wait. In an article on Metropolis Magazine, they show that the promise of transportation-less people to stick around in one place for such a period of time opens up a host of possibilities for what could fill the latency period; the Shanghai project, however, focuses on the opportunity to create a civic space. The team has imagined the modern "gas station" as a vertical charging tower that calls upon the functionality of urban parking elevators in the 20th century, this time clad in reflective silver to serve as a beacon for customers in search of a charge. Rather than standalone charge-park towers, the projects are integrated into a system that encourages patrons to walk to neighboring zones to eat, shop, and socialize while they wait.
It can sometimes feel as if the world is divided into two camps: those who do not listen to podcasts (probably because they don’t know what a podcast is) and those who listen to podcasts, love podcasts, and keep badgering their friends for recommendations so they can start listening to even more.
Unlike other media, it’s notoriously difficult to discover and share podcasts – even more so if you’re looking for a podcast on a niche subject like architecture, design or urbanism. To help you in your hour of need, Metropolis’ Vanessa Quirk (author of Guide to Podcasting) and ArchDaily’s James Taylor-Foster (whose silvery tones you may have heard on various architecture and design audio stories) have come together to compile this list of eleven podcasts you should subscribe to.
Currently on display at the MoMA in New York is Zaha Hadid's concept painting for her seminal unbuilt project, The Peak in Hong Kong. The piece was made in 1991, on the edge of the digital revolution in architectural drawing fueled at its heart by the popularization of 3D CAD programs. The painting for The Peak arguably came at the end of the period of architectural drawing for its own sake, and the beginning of a period of scalable, scrollable renderings meant to show the real world. It only makes sense that this new software for image creation would usher in a new style of drawing with a function very different to the previous era: tool and process inherently constrain design by imposing a predetermined agenda for the user's interaction with them.
During this digital period, architects like Lebbeus Woods and Michael Graves, known for their mastery in the art of hand drawing, pushed back against the dominant narrative of hyperrealism in architectural drawing. However, according to Sam Jacob's latest article for Metropolis Magazine, we may be entering an age of "post-digital" representation. In the post-digital, architects return to the convention of drawing, but create new methodologies by reevaluating and appropriating the digital tools of the last few decades. Current techniques within this practice have leaned heavily towards the collage, but research into what post-digital drawing could mean continues in firms and universities.
This article was originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "An Incredible Journey into the New York City that Never Was."
Imagine the waters surrounding the Statue of Liberty were filled up with land. That you could walk right up to Lady Liberty herself, following a path from Manhattan’s Battery Park. Believe it or not, in 1911, this could have been.
In Never Built New York, authors Greg Goldin and Sam Lubell (foreword by Daniel Libeskind) describe with irony, and sometimes nostalgia, the most significant architectural and planning projects of the last century, projects that would have drastically changed the city—but never did.
This article was originally published by Metropolis Magazine.
For many years now, climate change has been a major concern for architects and engineers— and with good reason. After all, the built environment contributes to over 39% of all CO2 emissions and over 70% of all electricity usage in the United States. Several architecture and design-based initiatives aim to guide architecture away from environmentally harmful practice and towards a more sustainable approach. Architecture 2030, one such initiative, believes that to incite design change we must begin at its source: architectural education.
When it comes to urbanism these days, people’s attention is increasingly turning to Moscow. The city clearly intends to become one of the world’s leading megacities in the near future and is employing all necessary means to achieve its goal, with the city government showing itself to be very willing to invest in important urban developments (though not without some criticism).
A key player in this plan has been the Moscow Urban Forum. Although the forum’s stated goal is to find adequate designs for future megacities, a major positive side-effect is that it enables the city to organize the best competitions, select the best designers, and build the best urban spaces to promote the city of Moscow. The Forum also publishes research and academic documents to inform Moscow’s future endeavors; for example, Archaeology of the Periphery, a publication inspired by the 2013 forum and released in 2014, notably influenced the urban development on the outskirts of Moscow, but also highlighted the importance of combining urban development with the existing landscape.
Candles shaped like icebergs that melt to increase awareness for global warming. Reconstructions of Brutalist playgrounds. Geometric overalls with patterns representing the taste buds. These are just a few of the projects tackled by the young minds selected by Metropolis Magazine as their “7 Designers to Watch.” The list includes architects RAAF, LAB.PRO.FAB and Assemble Studio, alongside furniture designers, industrial designers and a design strategist.
This article from Metropolis delves into China’s urban development of many African cities, and the effect this has had on the architectural quality of those cities. Chinese contractors and architects are able to propel a city’s growth at lower cost and on schedule, but in doing so, they out-compete local companies and ignore cultural context. Is this an acceptable trade-off? Read the full article and decide for yourself.
The factory of the world has a new export: urbanism. More and more Chinese-made buildings, infrastructure, and urban districts are sprouting up across Africa, and this development is changing the face of the continent’s cities.
Or so says Dutch research studio Go West Project , who have been tracking this phenomenon for their on-going project about the export of the Chinese urban model to Africa. Since 2012, the group, made up of Shanghai-based architect Daan Roggeveen and Amsterdam-based journalist Michiel Hulshof, have visited six African cities to do research. Roggeveen and Hulshof recently released their preliminary report in an issue of Urban China, a magazine focusing on Chinese urban development.
In this interview with Daniel Libeskind, originally featured on Metropolis as Q&A: Daniel Libeskind on Italy, Product Design, and the State of Architecture Today, Paul Clemence talks to Libeskind about his perspective on Italian culture, its influence on his career, and his most recent foray into product design.
When you talk to Daniel Libeskind, no single question has a simple answer. From his days as a young musical prodigy (he played the accordion) to his directorship at Cranbrook Academy, not to mention his voracious passion for literature, the fascinating episodes of his life all come together, informing his approach to design and architecture. His career path is an unusual one. And while that is true for many architects, his is particularly interesting, where each twist and turn, no matter how ostensibly disconnected, seem to have always prepared him for his next step. Take his two highest profile jobs, the Jewish Museum in Berlin and the master plan for Ground Zero. The two are intrinsically linked—the museum’s official opening to the public in 2001 was originally scheduled on September 11. The project had taken 13 years of political maneuvering to realize. Similarly, Libeskind's World Trade Center site master plan was marred by a decade of delays and alterations, which threatened to blot out his original design intentions. One monumental task after the other, eerily similar in challenging circumstances, both offering the architect a rare opportunity to helm projects richly entrenched in emotion, symbolism, and historical significance.
Now as his career moves beyond these two important projects, the architect's connection to Italy is beginning to play a pivotal role in his work. He moved there after his time at Cranbrook, when he was looking for new career challenges. Libeskind has been back in America since he was commissioned the Ground Zero project, but he recently opened up a studio in Milan, where he, his wife, and son oversee the firm's forays in product design.
I caught up with Libeskind at his Lower Manhattan office overlooking Ground Zero to talk about Italy and his involvement in upcoming design fairs there, Milan Design Week and the Venice Architecture Biennale.