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.
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.
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.
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.
It’s fair to say Eileen Gray’s E-1027 French villa hasn’t lived a charmed life: It has survived desecration by Le Corbusier, target practice by the Nazis, a stint as drug den and orgy destination, and near dereliction. However, of late, the infamous house’s future is looking more optimistic: Cap Moderne, a non-profit dedicated to rehabbing and opening the building as a cultural destination, recently launched a crowdfunding campaign to continue the building’s restoration. Over the last few years, the conservationists’ work had focused on the recreation of the building’s Eileen Gray–designed furniture. The latest efforts focus on a particular dining alcove. How that alcove—and the entire house—lost its furniture and fell into disrepair is a long story, with many twists and turns.
One of the few incontrovertible truths to emerge from the 16th International Architecture Exhibition, which opened in Venice on May 26 and runs through November 25, is that sensitivity and skill in making architecture do not necessarily transfer to the work of organizing an architecture exhibition.
In Metropolis Magazine's latest - and last - installment in their annual design cities review, the focus is not on output or culture but on cities themselves as the point of inspiration. For the designers surveyed, these were the cities that made their hearts beat a little faster; the ones that remained in their minds and wormed their way into their work.
As August draws to a close and our holidays - be they from work or school - already start to feel like distant memories, perhaps it's a good moment to reflect on our faith in what we do. Sometimes design affords us the ability to oversee massive and exciting change. Sometimes projects don't work out, despite our best efforts. And sometimes, design isn't as capable of making change as we believe it to be. This week's stories touched on our faith in design in a range of ways, from the literal (such as the bright churches of Kerala) to the more abstract (how much good taste in fast food design actually equates to good tastes.) Read on for this week's review.
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.