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.
Architecture is a profession deeply dependent on the visual. It’s imagined, sold, critiqued and consumed almost entirely on the strength (or lack thereof) of drawings. We pick and prod at images presented at angles we’ll never be able to see, admiring the architectonic qualities of elements we’ll never actually experience.
This article was originally published on Metropolis Magazine as "Architecture You Can Smell? A Brief History of Multisensory Design."
What comes to mind when you encounter the term “sensory design”? Chances are it is an image: a rain room, a funky eating utensil, a conspicuously textured chair. But the way things actually feel, smell, even taste, is much harder to capture. This difficulty points to how deeply ingrained the tyranny of vision is. Might the other senses be the keys to unlocking broader empirical truths? Does the ocular-centric bias of art, architecture, and design actually preclude a deeper collective experience?
The Los Angeles-based firm, Rios Clementi Hale Studios, a transdisciplinary practice engaging in design from urban planning to product design, opened their new offices in the city's Crenshaw neighborhood. A recent article by Metropolis Magazine outlines the firm's design process in creating their new office layout to emphasize their aspirations as an established practice.
This article was originally published on Metropolis Magazine as "How a DIY Floating Universiity in Berlin Could Be An Unorthodox Prototype for Design Education."
On the north side of Tempelhofer Feld, an airport-turned-park in southern Berlin, lays a large ditch. Surrounded by lots and bungalows and noticeable only to those in the know, this 19th century basin holds rainwater drained from the airport’s defunct runways before it is fed into Berlin’s canal network.
The tale began with a simple idea - a toy that every child, regardless of age and ability, can play, dream, and learn with. But things turned out less than simple. Fights, lawsuits, and even a death all mark the road it took to make a now-ubiquitous toy a reality. The object in question? Lego.
It’s tales such as this one that Alexandra Lange explores in her new book, The Design of Childhood: How the Material World Shapes Independent Kids. Some may scoff at the seemingly trivial subject matter. Surely children, with their boundless imaginations and appetite for play, can discover ways to find fun in anything.
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.