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Metropolis: The Latest Architecture and News

ETH Zurich’s HiLo Unit Raises the Bar for Sustainable Concrete Design

Dübendorf, Switzerland is something of hallowed ground for architectural technologists. There, on the shared academic campus of the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology and the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, public university ETH Zurich has conducted nearly a decade of engineering and construction experimentation at the ever-evolving NEST research building. In August, ETH Zürich unveiled its latest extension of the building, HiLo (short for high performance-low emissions)—a two-story modular addition to the chameleon structure that harnesses medieval building principles and contemporary digital methods to raise the bar for more sustainable applications of concrete.

9 Books Worth Adding to Your Winter Reading List

Courtesy Monacelli, Lars Muller, and Princeton Architectural Press
Courtesy Monacelli, Lars Muller, and Princeton Architectural Press

In this week's reprint, Metropolis editors have selected a variety of new and forthcoming architecture and design books, rounding up a compelling reading list for the season. The following titles range from monographs and theoretical inquires to essential knowledge works, from authors like Michael Sorkin, Robert A.M. Stern or Paul Dobraszczyk.

Tim Fendley Explains why Analog Wayfinding Tools Matter in a Digital World

If you have ever walked around the center of London you will have seen those yellow and dark blue panels featuring maps, local attractions, and walking times dotted along the streets and near bus and tube stops. Credited with redefining city wayfinding, Legible London, as the system is called, is now seen as the benchmark for making cities accessible and legible to residents, commuters, and visitors alike. And now Seattle has launched its own version of the London system, and Madrid will do so next year. Giovanna Dunmall asks Tim Fendley, the founder and CEO of Applied, the spatial experience design practice behind all these projects, why analog is often still so superior to digital, and what makes for good wayfinding.

A New Exhibition in Berlin Explores the Human Side of Architecture

Shape Tomorrow, a new exhibition at AEDES Architecture Forum in Berlin, is a reaction to both staid, self-serious architecture shows and to the staid, self-serious architecture profession. Taking the form of a miniature city, it turns buildings into named characters, encourages visitors to populate structures with miniature people, and leaves space for them to fill the room with their ideas and criticism.

The exhibition, on view through January 13, is the brainchild of German architect Matthias Hollwich, founder of New York-based HWKN—a burgeoning firm known for both its research and its sense of whimsy. The show centers on nine, 16-foot-tall white plaster towers whose glowing bases take on the forms of some of the firm’s playful, kinetic projects from around the world. These include 25 Kent, a fractured office building in Williamsburg, and Die Macherei, a jutting and terraced mixed-use business district in Munich.

Hong Kong’s New M+ Museum Is a Beautiful Study in Contradiction

In this week's reprint by Metropolis, author Mimi Zeiger explores the new M+ Museum in Hong Kong, finally open to the public. "Designed by Herzog & De Meuron, the impressive building asserts the city’s cultural ascendancy while also magnifying the region’s unescapable political tensions".

M+ Commission: Tong Yang-Tze . Image Courtesy of LOK CHENG, M+The Main Hall of the M+, supported by hefty structural concrete columns, opens to adjacent spaces via both narrow and cavernous apertures.. Image © KEVIN MAK COURTESY HERZOG & DE MEURONThe M+ is made up of two volumes forming an upside-down T shape. Its tower is clad with a giant LCD screen for art display, while its gallery-filled podium is topped by a planted roof.. Image © KEVIN MAK COURTESY HERZOG & DE MEURONThe second floor’s galleries project from the central atrium. A spiral staircase leads up to the rooftop sculpture garden. . Image © KEVIN MAK COURTESY HERZOG & DE MEURON+ 10

Cairo Modern Celebrates Egyptian Modernism and Raises the Alarm for Its Future

On view at the Center for Architecture in New York City, the exhibition features 20 projects in Cairo and a warning about the threatened future of Egypt’s Modernist heritage.

Cairo Modern, a new exhibition at the Center for Architecture in New York, features 20 demolished, extant, and proposed projects in Cairo dating from the 1930s to the 1970s and also shines a light on the wrecking ball-threatening Modern architecture here and elsewhere.

Understanding the Available City at the Chicago Architectural Biennial

In Metropolis this week, author Annie Howard explores Chicago's Architecture Biennial, which opened to the public on September 17th, showcasing a series of 15 site-specific interventions. Arguing that "a tour of the Damen Silos and a celebration of the Wall of Respect show a biennial struggling to achieve longer-term engagement with the city it calls home", the editor questions how much work is needed in order to make the city fully usable to its residents.

A Pioneering Exhibition Will Showcase Contemporary Indigenous Architecture

In this week's reprint from Metropolis magazine, authors Theodore (Ted) Jojola and Lynn Paxson talk about embracing “place knowing” as a process to understand building and planning, and highlight modern achievements in Pueblo architecture.

The Pueblo people of the Southwest have been stewards of their lands for millennia. In contrast to the colonial and territorial experiences of many tribal nations, the Pueblos avoided being displaced from their homelands. This prevented many of their places from being erased. As such, their ancient worldviews still remain at the core of their planning and design. Nothing is so important as their imprint on the expression of architecture, especially its form and function.

Six Initiatives Model Ways to Practice True Design Justice

In this week's reprint from Metropolis, author Leilah Stones explores how across the globe, architects, designers, and planners are redefining what it means to be an advocate in the design profession, listing 6 initiatives that practice design justice.

Melbourne’s National Gallery of Victoria Samples the Future

In this week's reprint from Metropolis, the National Gallery of Victoria, a thought-leading institution surveys the ever-expanding fields of speculative and critical design in Australia, through the work of Formafantasma.

Mies van der Rohe’s Neue Nationalgalerie Reopens with an Alexander Calder Exhibition

After being closed for six and a half years for a renovation by David Chipperfield Architects, the Berlin museum reopened Sunday, August 22.

A Pandemic-Conscious Blueprint for Architecture

In this week's reprint from Metropolis Magazine, authors Madeline Burke-Vigeland, FAIA, LEED AP, a principal at Gensler, and Benjamin A. Miko, MD, assistant professor of Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center explore how uniform standards applied across the built environment can protect our communities from COVID-19 and future pandemics.

The Transformation of Silo City Signals a New Future for Buffalo

This week's reprint from Metropolis explores the ongoing renovation and transformation of an iconic site in Buffalo, Silo City, in order to create ambitious residential and public projects.

13 Architecture and Design Books to Add to Your Reading List

Now that we are halfway through the year, what better time to prioritize your reading list? Whether you’re interested in the history of interior design, the relationship between architecture and health, or learning more about the 20th century’s forgotten architects, Metropolis editors have selected a variety of current and forthcoming titles that will be sure to get you through 2021.

Courtesy of MIT PressCourtesy of Intellect BooksCourtesy of Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design MuseumCourtesy of Monacelli Press+ 5

Reevaluating America’s Priorities: Digging into the Practice of Architecture in the United States

In this week's reprint from Metropolis, author Avinash Rajagopal "takes a broad look at American Design, digging into the practice of architecture, the resurgence of craft, quintessential building forms, and decaying infrastructure". Asking questions such as "what values do we hold dear? What harm have we caused, and who benefits from the work we do?" architects and designers across the United States explore the contextual consequences of the global challenges.

Materiality in a Post-COVID-19 World

In this week's reprint from Metropolis, Amanda Schneider, president of ThinkLab, the research division of SANDOW, explores how "designers can help create healthy, safe interiors with thoughtful surface and filtration selections". Asking how we can have sanitized surfaces, without having to deep clean them regularly, the author discusses the materiality of healthy safe interiors.

A Transformation in Pacoima, Los Angeles, Reveals the Potential of the City’s Overlooked Alleys

Courtesy of Trust for Public Land
Courtesy of Trust for Public Land

In a piece, originally published on Metropolis, author Lauren Gallow highlights an urban transformation in California, led by a group of local organizations and designers. The project "replaces a previously hazardous alley with play areas, public art, and native plantings", in order to reveal the untapped potential of the overlooked public realm.

Courtesy of Trust for Public LandCourtesy of Trust for Public LandCourtesy of Trust for Public LandCourtesy of Trust for Public Land+ 6

Three Adaptive Reuse Projects in North Carolina Reinvent Historic Mills

Adaptive reuse or the process of transforming an older building by reusing the structure and changing its original purpose, has gained relevance over the years especially because it allows a complete optimization of the performance of the existing built environment. In a piece, originally published on Metropolis, author Elissaveta Brandon explores how "architects and developers are transforming the staples of the South—located throughout a 120-mile region from Winston-Salem to Fayetteville—into infrastructure fit for today". Transforming historic mills into design hubs, and mixed-use complexes, the article highlights 3 examples from North Carolina.