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Metropolis Magazine: The Latest Architecture and News

The Paris Researcher Pioneering a New Way to Recycle Building Materials

08:00 - 18 August, 2019
The Paris-based designer and researcher Anna Saint Pierre is rethinking architectural preservation through her Granito project, which was awarded the Best Conscious Design prize at this year’s WantedDesign Brooklyn.. Image © Anna Saint Pierre/Rimasùu
The Paris-based designer and researcher Anna Saint Pierre is rethinking architectural preservation through her Granito project, which was awarded the Best Conscious Design prize at this year’s WantedDesign Brooklyn.. Image © Anna Saint Pierre/Rimasùu

Anna Saint Pierre's Granito project is harvesting the ingredients for new architectural building blocks from demolished structures.

Rapid urban change comes and goes without many even noticing it. Entire slices of a city’s history disappear overnight: What was once a wall of hewn stone is now fritted glass and buffed metal. The building site is always, first, a demolition site.

This is the thread that runs through Granito, a project by the young French designer and doctoral researcher Anna Saint Pierre. Developed in response to a late-20th-century Paris office block due for a major retrofit, one involving disassembly, it hinges on a method of material preservation Saint Pierre calls “in situ recycling.” Her proposal posits that harvesting the individual granite panels of the building’s somber gray facade could form the basis of a circular economy. “No longer in fashion,” this glum stone—all 182 tons of it—would be dislodged, pulverized, and sorted on-site, then incorporated into terrazzo flooring in the building update.

The Top 10 Design Cities of 2019

04:00 - 18 August, 2019
The Top 10 Design Cities of 2019, Skanderberg Square / 51N4E, Anri Sala, & Plan en Houtgoed. Image Courtesy of Filip Dujardin
Skanderberg Square / 51N4E, Anri Sala, & Plan en Houtgoed. Image Courtesy of Filip Dujardin

Design trends are often the result of foreign cultural influences, avant-garde creations, and innovative solutions for people's ever-evolving needs. Although the design world seems like one big mood board, some cities have managed to outshine the rest with their recent projects.

As part of their annual Design Cities Listing, Metropolis Magazine has highlighted 10 cities across 5 continents with intriguing projects that have harmonized contemporary urbanism with traditional and faraway influences.

Planning For (In)Justice: Toni Griffin’s Mission to Foster Equitable Cities

08:00 - 11 August, 2019
Planning For (In)Justice: Toni Griffin’s Mission to Foster Equitable Cities, Planner and educator Toni Griffin walks down her block in Harlem. Image © Naima Green
Planner and educator Toni Griffin walks down her block in Harlem. Image © Naima Green

Griffin founded the consultancy Urban Planning for the American City, which she complements with her pedagogical work at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design.

Since its emergence with the cultural turn in the 1970s and ’80s, spatial justice has become a rallying cry among activists, planners, and plugged-in architects. But as with many concepts with academic origins, its precepts often remain elusive and uninterrogated. Though some of this has changed with the advent of city- and place-making discourse, few are doing as much to lend articulation, nuance, and malleability to spatial justice as Toni Griffin. A Chicago native, Griffin practiced architecture at SOM for nearly a decade before leaving the city to work as a planner in Newark and Washington, D.C., among other municipalities. In 2009, she founded the consultancy Urban Planning for the American City, which she complements with her pedagogical work at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. There, she runs the Just City Lab, which, through research and a host of programs, aims to develop, disseminate, and evaluate tools for enhancing justice—and remediating chronic, systematized injustice—in America’s cities. But what form could justice take in the U.S. context, and how can architects and designers help? Metropolis spoke with Griffin about how focusing on inclusivity and embracing interdependence and complexity are parts of the answer.

‘T’ Space’s New Exhibit Celebrates the Overlooked History of an Influential Female Architect and Educator

06:00 - 10 August, 2019
‘T’ Space’s New Exhibit Celebrates the Overlooked History of an Influential Female Architect and Educator, © Susan Wides via Metropolis Magazine
© Susan Wides via Metropolis Magazine

Architect and educator Astra Zarina wasn’t just the teacher of Tom Kundig, Ed Weinstein, and Steven Holl (who designed ‘T’ Space); she was also an advocator for public spaces, cohesive urbanity, and the communities that these attributes fostered. ‘T’ Space’s newest exhibit Rome and the Teacher, Astra Zarina celebrates Zarina’s life and teachings in the context of recognizing overlooked pedagogical figures, particularly women. A recent article by Metropolis Magazine describes this exhibit in detail and with it, Zarina’s own life story.

A Brutalist Landmark and Skateboarding Mecca in London Is Restored

04:00 - 4 August, 2019
Courtesy of Richard Battye/FCBStudios
Courtesy of Richard Battye/FCBStudios

The Southbank Centre's famous Undercroft was a global destination for skateboarders, though it was threatened by closure and decay.

On the morning of Saturday, July 20, a wall of temporary construction fencing on the south bank of the River Thames was torn down, unveiling a 4,300-square-foot landscape of virgin concrete flooring. The space slopes in sections, culminating in L-shaped barriers and a white plywood wall, which, by the end of the 20th century, was covered in triumphant graffiti. This is the Undercroft, the open-ended subterranean space of the Brutalist Southbank Centre. It’s also the oldest, and among the most famous, consistently skateboarded space in the world.

Yasaman Esmaili’s Architectural Work Engages with Communities Around the World

07:00 - 17 July, 2019
Yasaman Esmaili’s Architectural Work Engages with Communities Around the World, Hikma Religious and Secular Complex. Image © James Wang via Metropolis Magazine
Hikma Religious and Secular Complex. Image © James Wang via Metropolis Magazine

Though born in Tehran and remaining deeply inspired by her native Iran, architect Yasaman Esmaili has worked on projects all around the world. These primarily include humanitarian and crisis intervention works that deeply engage the local communities in which they are situated. A recent article by Metropolis Magazine discusses these projects in depth, as well as Esmaili’s story and inspirations.

Olson Kundig's Innovative Office Renovation and Expansion

10:00 - 13 July, 2019
Olson Kundig's Innovative Office Renovation and Expansion, Olson Kundig's Pioneer Building office blends historical detailing with modern accents. Image © Andrew Pogue via Metropolis Magazine
Olson Kundig's Pioneer Building office blends historical detailing with modern accents. Image © Andrew Pogue via Metropolis Magazine

Olson Kundig is one of the quintessential Seattle-based architectural practices, with a focus on creativity, experimentation, and craftsmanship that has allowed them to expand on a global scale over the past few decades. This expansion has necessitated office improvements and renovations throughout the years, the most recent of which occurred in 2018. As explored in a recent article by Metropolis Magazine, this 2018 expansion reflected key values of collaboration and flexibility, expressed through the firm's unique visual and kinetic language.

Ian McHarg's Legacy Spurs "Design With Nature Now" Initiative 50 Years Later

10:00 - 29 June, 2019
Ian McHarg's Legacy Spurs "Design With Nature Now" Initiative 50 Years Later, McHarg promoting his book in 1969. Image Courtesy of the Architectural Archives, University of Pennsylvania
McHarg promoting his book in 1969. Image Courtesy of the Architectural Archives, University of Pennsylvania

Fifty years have passed since the publication of influential landscape architect Ian McHarg’s book, Design With Nature in 1969. Throughout the United States, an environmental movement was taking place, into the center of which McHarg’s book was thrust. The 1970s and ‘80s were a time of much landmark legislation surrounding ecological concerns, and McHarg argued that landscape architecture alone was able to integrate all the disparate fields involved.

New Plan Aims to Revamp Midtown Detroit, the City’s Cultural Hub

04:00 - 28 June, 2019
New Plan Aims to Revamp Midtown Detroit, the City’s Cultural Hub, © Agence Ter, Akoaki, rootoftwo, and Harley Etienne
© Agence Ter, Akoaki, rootoftwo, and Harley Etienne

© Agence Ter, Akoaki, rootoftwo, and Harley Etienne © Agence Ter, Akoaki, rootoftwo, and Harley Etienne © Agence Ter, Akoaki, rootoftwo, and Harley Etienne © Agence Ter, Akoaki, rootoftwo, and Harley Etienne + 12

A team composed of international and local studios and individuals—Agence Ter, rootoftwo, Akoaki, and Harley Etienne—was recently chosen to revitalize the 83-acre area.

Over the course of the 20th century, across a series of administrations and economic contexts, Midtown Detroit grew into one of America’s largest (or densest) cultural districts, with over 12 major institutions, such as the Detroit Institute for the Arts (DIA) and the College for Creative Studies. But you wouldn’t know it, even if you were there—the nine-block, 83-acre area is a mish-mash of styles spanning Beaux Arts, Modernism, and Brutalism, and has a certain sense of placelessness. The area feels architecturally disjointed, illegible, and fails to translate the vibrancy of each institution into the broader public space.

How Herman Miller's GreenHouse Inspired the Construction of Sustainable Buildings in the US

08:30 - 24 June, 2019
How Herman Miller's GreenHouse Inspired the Construction of Sustainable Buildings in the US, Herman Miller GreenHouse (interior), William McDonough, Holland, Michigan, 1995. Image Courtesy of Herman Miller Archives
Herman Miller GreenHouse (interior), William McDonough, Holland, Michigan, 1995. Image Courtesy of Herman Miller Archives

While the United Statesgreen-building industry was still relatively slow in the early 1990’s, Herman Miller, who are known for their architectural experimentation, decided to construct a new facility for Simple, Quick, Affordable (SQA), a company that bought used office furniture to refurbish them and sell them to smaller businesses. To do so, they chose to build sustainably, a design approach that was not yet utilized in the region.

Designed by New York architect William McDonough, the 295,000 sq ft building (approx. 90,000 sqm) was built in Holland, Michigan in 1995. The facility’s design qualities, such as storm-water management, air-filtering systems, and 66 skylights, helped set the standards for the U.S. Green Building Council LEED Certification.

The New York Botanical Garden Opens Expansive Show on Roberto Burle Marx

10:00 - 23 June, 2019
The New York Botanical Garden Opens Expansive Show on Roberto Burle Marx, The “Modernist Garden” section of the exhibition. Courtesy NYBG
The “Modernist Garden” section of the exhibition. Courtesy NYBG

This article was originally published on Metropolismag.com.

Material Artistry Meets Modern Forms with SO-IL

04:00 - 3 June, 2019
Material Artistry Meets Modern Forms with SO-IL, CTF Museum under construction within the existing KPF development. Image Courtesy of SO-IL
CTF Museum under construction within the existing KPF development. Image Courtesy of SO-IL

As a firm which has already won major awards, worked on culturally significant projects on a large scale, and generally achieved substantial success and recognition in just over 10 years, SO-IL seem to straddle a line between being an “emerging” and an “established” practice. Florian Idenburg and Jing Liu founded SO-IL (Solid Objectives-Idenburg Liu) in 2008 and have since gained a reputation for modern, clean-lined designs, but often with a unique material twist.

MINI LIVING - Breathe, SO-IL. Image Courtesy of SO-IL Kukje Gallery. Image © Iwan Baan Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art, SO-IL. Image © Iwan Baan The 30-foot-tall glass tubes in the CTF facade. Image Courtesy of SO-IL + 5

How Two Getty Initiatives Are Saving Global Modernist Heritage

10:00 - 2 June, 2019
How Two Getty Initiatives Are Saving Global Modernist Heritage, Courtesy Joe Belcovson for the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. ImageIn 2012, the Getty Conservation Institute founded its Conserving Modern Architecture Initiative (CMAI), with the Getty Foundation’s Keeping It Modern grant following two years later. Working synergistically, the two programs are dedicated to supporting new methods and technologies for the conservation of Modernist buildings. Louis Kahn’s Salk Institute for Biological Studies (1965) in La Jolla, California, has been the beneficiary of both CMAI and Keeping It Modern.
Courtesy Joe Belcovson for the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. ImageIn 2012, the Getty Conservation Institute founded its Conserving Modern Architecture Initiative (CMAI), with the Getty Foundation’s Keeping It Modern grant following two years later. Working synergistically, the two programs are dedicated to supporting new methods and technologies for the conservation of Modernist buildings. Louis Kahn’s Salk Institute for Biological Studies (1965) in La Jolla, California, has been the beneficiary of both CMAI and Keeping It Modern.

This Article was originally published on Metropolismag.com.

The Conserving Modern Architecture Initiative (CMAI) and Keeping It Modern grant are dedicated to supporting new methods and technologies for the conservation of Modernist buildings.

The Impact of the "Happiness Industry" on Architecture

10:00 - 19 May, 2019
The Impact of the "Happiness Industry" on Architecture , "Lava dwellers” in Kalapana State Wayside Park on the island of Hawaii. Image © John Sanphillippo
"Lava dwellers” in Kalapana State Wayside Park on the island of Hawaii. Image © John Sanphillippo

Although The Architecture of Happiness did not gain momentum after its publication in the mid-2000s, the ideology of architecture and well-being has remained a topic of intrigue until today. To further explore this ideology, the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA), with the curation of Francesco Garutti, have put together an exhibition that explores how the “happiness industry” has controlled every aspect of contemporary life after the 2008 financial crash.

Our Happy Life, Architecture and Well-being in the Age of Emotional Capitalism is a non-archival show that exhibits work from architects, artists, and photographers. Metropolis’ Samuel Medina spoke to Garutti to discuss the notion behind the exhibition, social media, and architecture’s new spaces of meaning.

10 Buildings That Helped Define Modernism in New York City

08:00 - 18 May, 2019
211 East 48th Street, Midtown East, William Lescaze, 1934. Image © Mark Wickens
211 East 48th Street, Midtown East, William Lescaze, 1934. Image © Mark Wickens

Greater Refuge Temple, Harlem, Costas Machlouzarides, 1966. Image © Mark Wickens Monsignor Farrell High School, Staten Island, Charles Luckman Associates, 1962. Image © Mark Wickens The “Bubble House” (1969) on East 71st Street is one of the city’s most idiosyncratic Modern buildings. Its convex apertures are surprisingly operable, swiveling open from the side. Image © Mark Wickens Tribeca Synagogue, William N. Breger, 1967. Image © Mark Wickens + 12

This Article was originally published on Metropolis Magazine here.

The story of architectural Modernism in New York City goes beyond the familiar touchstones of Lever House and the Seagram Building.

Eighty-five years on, the little white town house on East 48th Street by William Lescaze still startles. With its bright stucco and Purist volumes, it pulls the eye away from the do-nothing brownstones on one side and the noirish sub-Miesian tower on the other. The machined rectitude of its upper floors, telegraphed by two clumsily large spans of glass block, is offset by the freer plastic arrangement of the bottom levels. Le Corbusier’s five points are in evidence (minus the roof garden), suggesting an architecture ready to do battle. Built in 1934 from the shell of a Civil War–era town house, this was the first Modernist house in New York City, and its pioneering feeling for futurity extended to its domestic conveniences. (A skeptical Lewis Mumford noted its central air-conditioning.)

Los Angeles' Hospitality Industry is All About Adaptive Reuse

06:00 - 12 May, 2019
Los Angeles' Hospitality Industry is All About Adaptive Reuse , Imperial Western Beer Company . Image Courtesy of Jessica Sample via Metropolis
Imperial Western Beer Company . Image Courtesy of Jessica Sample via Metropolis

Los Angeles’ booming hospitality industry has provoked many designers to develop fresh, state-of-the-art spaces that fascinate citizens and visitors of the contemporary city. However, some designers are experimenting with abandoned structures, merging historic buildings with contemporary features. The relatively new design trend of adaptive reuse, which was a novelty in the early 2000’s, has now become an in-demand practice in LA, standing front and center in the restaurant / hotel industry.

To dig deeper into why Los Angeleshospitality industry is embracing historic buildings, Metropolis Magazine spoke with key hospitality designers and developers in the city such as Historic Resources Group, 213 Hospitality, and Design, Bitches, to learn more about their take on adaptive reuse.