Data-driven design has been a holy phrase in architecture for some time now. The ability to refine and apply information on any range of topics, from movement to sun paths to air quality, hold enormous potential to positively impact design not just for one party but for all. Decisions can be made faster, buildings can be built better, inhabitants can be made more comfortable.
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Nike's New York flagship store, primely located on Fifth Avenue, is perhaps the closest thing to a temple in the digital age. At a massive 68,000 square feet, it commands attention and symbolically dwarfs even its skyscraper surroundings. The exterior facade features a grid of undulating glass that casts glimmering shadows both inside and out. Inside, a tractor-beam type installation hangs from the ceiling, giving the space-age flavor. There's no set ritual or tradition like in the temples of old, but sneakerheads might certainly feel they've found their heaven on earth.
Every famed design movement has an interesting story of how it managed to influence architecture and design through the years. Despite their impact, not all movements began with the same principles they managed to ultimately lead with, and Bauhaus is no exception. The clean-cut modernist archetype, which has pioneered modern architecture for a century now, was once an experimental design institution of expressionism, unbound creativity, and handcraft, bridging the styles of Art Nouveau and Arts and Crafts with Modernist designs.
Months Before Opening Day, the Promised - and Sold - High-Tech Utopia of Hudson Yards is Still Just a Dream
This article was originally published on Metropolis Magazine as "Hudson Yards Promised a High-Tech Neighborhood — It was a Greater Challenge Than Expected."
There’s something striking about the command center of America’s largest private real estate development, Hudson Yards, in that it’s actually pretty boring. The room—technically known as the Energy Control Center, or ECC for short—contains two long desks crammed with desktop computers, a few TV monitors plastered to the wall, and a corkboard lined with employee badges. The ceiling is paneled; the lighting, fluorescent. However, New York’s Hudson Yards was once billed as the country’s first “quantified community”: A network of sensors would collect data on air quality, noise levels, temperature, and pedestrian traffic. This would create a feedback loop for the developers, helping them monitor and improve quality of life. So where is the NASA-like mission control? Data collection and advanced infrastructure will still drive parts of Hudson Yards’ operations, but not (yet) as first advertised.
The public will soon have the opportunity to experience the vulnerability and awe of briefly inhabiting an animal domain at the “Reverse Zoo,” LABIOMISTA. Translating to “mixture of life,” the 60-acre project is spearheaded by Belgian artist Koen Vanmechelen and is set to open in 2019.
The Insignificance of Aesthetics: An Exhibition at Vitra Design Museum Adds a Context of Urgency to the Works of Victor Papanek
This article was originally published on Metropolis Magazine as "Design Provocateur: Revisiting the Prescient Ideas of Victor Papanek".
“Today industrial design has put murder on a mass-production basis,” declared Victor Papanek, design provocateur and critic, from the podium of a design-activist happening in 1968. “By designing criminally unsafe automobiles that kill or maim,” he roared, “by creating a whole new species of permanent garbage to clutter up the landscape, and by choosing materials and processes that pollute the air we breathe, designers have become a dangerous breed.”
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.
London architecture today, for all the big-hitters that dominate the headlines (Foster, Rogers, Heatherwick), finds its richness in small studios. Peter Barber leads one such studio, where for the past 30 years he has led the development of some of the city’s most sensitive housing and housing developments.
On a small strip of land between the Emscher River and the Rhine Herne Canal in Germany sits a rest stop whose colorful appearance belies its radical purpose. The structure’s artful design consists of pipes leading from two toilets and the Emscher (the most polluted river in Germany) that converge at a small community garden and drinking fountain. The garden is, in fact, a manmade wetland that collects, treats, and cleans the effluence from the toilets and river—making it drinkable.
Hokkaido-born Sou Fujimoto’s breakout masterpiece, the playful and cloud-like 2013 Serpentine Pavilion says a lot about who Fujimoto is and how he thinks about architecture. But even more so do the 100-plus sometimes painstakingly refined, sometimes roughly executed exploratory models that dot the minimalist gallery space of Japan House Los Angeles. This, his retrospective show, Futures of the Future, neatly reflects on Fujimoto’s career, which began when he opened his own Tokyo-and-Paris-based firm in 2000.
Johnston Marklee has rapidly become one of the US’ most exciting practices. After years of completing sensitive and complex domestic-scaled works in Los Angeles, the office vaulted to prominence after being selected to curate Chicago’s 2017 architecture biennial. Since then they’ve completed and embarked on numerous significant projects - none more so than the Menil Drawing Institute.
This article was originally published on Metropolis Magazine as "Opinion: We Can't Go on Teaching the Same History of Architecture as Before."
Architectural students of my generation—the last of the baby boomers, starting college in Europe or in the Americas in the late 1970s—had many good reasons to cherish architectural history. Everyone seemed to agree at the time that the Modernist project was conspicuously failing. Late Modernist monsters were then wreaking havoc on cities and lands around the world, and the most immediate, knee-jerk reaction against what many then saw as an ongoing catastrophe was to try and bring back all that 20th-century high Modernism had kicked out of design culture: history, for a start. I drew my first Doric capital, circa 1979, in a design studio, not in a history class (and my tutor immediately ordered me to scrape it, which I did).
Allied Works has, since their founding in 1994, become known for their portfolio of delicately balanced and civic-minded works. Their Clyfford Still Museum in Denver has in particular been recognized in numerous awards and publications - but may perhaps be overshadowed by their most recent built work.
The National Veterans Memorial and Museum, located in Columbus, Ohio elevates what might have been a staid and somber program into a public space with an urban outlook. The museum, composed of intersecting white concrete bands, opens onto a lustrous landscape (designed by OLIN) and connects the formerly neglected riverfront to the small city’s downtown.
Kanye West is, according to Kanye West, a reformed man. After months of making headlines over his bizarre political views, he stated on Wednesday that, “my eyes are now wide open and now realize I’ve been used to spread messages I don’t believe in. I am distancing myself from politics and completely focusing on being creative !!!”
While this most likely means a return to his music career, this statement could also indicate a renewed interest in his design projects. The rapper’s interest in architecture is more than just a passing one; he’s collaborated with noted architects such as Jacques Herzog and Rem Koolhaas and has declared on multiple occasions his desire for everything to be “architected.”
On its outskirts, you'd be forgiven for assuming that Columbus, Indiana is a suburban American town like any other. But travel downtown and you're suddenly greeted with an unexpected variety of modern architecture. The small midwestern city has for the past half-century been a kind of laboratory for contemporary architecture, attracting designers as diverse as Kevin Roche and IM Pei. Children attend school in a building designed by Richard Meier, congregants attend services in a church designed by Eliel Saarinen.
This article was originally published on Metropolis Magazine as "Why Architects Need to Get Dirty to Save the World."
Of all the terrarium-like experiments included in Lydia Kallipoliti’s The Architecture of Closed Worlds: Or, What Is the Power of Shit? (Lars Müller/Storefront for Art and Architecture), Biosphere 2 is the most infamous. A steel-and-glass structure baking in the Arizona desert, it represents the hope and hubris of re-creating Earth on Earth. The project was launched by an alternative living group with a taste for theater, and tanked by disastrous management by Steve Bannon (yes, him). As such, it illustrates the risky arc that courses through Kallipoliti’s 300-page volume—visions of utopia bending toward ultimate failure.
Medellin’s renaissance is one for architecture’s storybooks. After decades of mundane violence, the city today is not only (comparatively) peaceful but a world-class architectural hub. Indeed, many cite the city’s urban development as a factor in its rebirth. But Medellin’s success sometimes overshadows that of neighbouring (and capital) city, Bogota.