Reflections on Architecture, Society and Politics brings together a series of thirteen interview-articles by Graham Cairns in collaboration with some of the most prominent polemic thinkers and critical practitioners from the fields of architecture and the social sciences, including Noam Chomsky, Peggy Deamer, Robert A.M. Stern, Daniel Libeskind and Kenneth Frampton.
Michael Sorkin: The Latest Architecture and News
Reflections on Architecture, Society and Politics: Social and Cultural Tectonics in the 21st Century
In addition to hosting the world’s largest architectural awards program, the World Architecture Festival (WAF) also features three days of conferences, architect-led city tours, documentary screenings, live crit presentations and networking opportunities. To be held at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, WAF will take place from November 4-6.
A major component of WAF is the opportunity to learn and expand one’s knowledge of current issues facing architecture and urbanism. Inspired by Singapore’s upcoming 50th anniversary as an independent country, the theme of this year’s conference series is 50:50, looking back on how architecture and urbanism have changed during the last 50 years, as well as forward on what may change or stay the same in the next 50 years to come. The conference will center around three key topics: Designing for Tomorrow; Imagining the Future; and Cities and Urbanism, featuring talks by Michael Sorkin, Peter Cook and Manuelle Gautrand, among many others.
The World Architecture Festival (WAF), the world’s largest architectural festival and awards event held annually in Singapore, has announced the theme of this year's program: 50:50. The theme is inspired by Singapore’s upcoming 50th anniversary as an independent country, and will look back on how architecture and urbanism have changed during the last 50 years, as well as forward on what may change or stay the same in the next 50 years to come.
The organisers behind The Next Helsinki, an 'anti-competition' masterminded by architect and critic Michael Sorkin, have highlighted a number of entries from 217 international submissions. Launched as an alternative to the controversial, "imperialised" Guggenheim Helsinki project, the call for ideas asked architects, urbanists, artists, and environmentalists to imagine how Helsinki and its South Harbour could be transformed for the maximum benefit of the city’s residents and visitors. It "sought to ask first if a massive foreign museum was the highest and best use for public resources, especially in an aspiration-focused egalitarian social democracy like Finland."
See a shortlist of eight entries that, according to the jury, "reflect the variety and depth of the submissions" after the break. "These entries are not to be viewed as refined and final proposals, but rather ideas."
The organisers behind The Next Helsinki, a competition masterminded by architect and critic Michael Sorkin, have announced that they have received over 200 international entries. Launched as an alternative to the controversial Guggenheim Helsinki project, the competition called upon architects, urbanists, artists, and environmentalists to imagine how Helsinki and the South Harbour site allotted to the proposed museum could be transformed for the maximum benefit of the city’s residents and visitors.
In an article for Metropolis Magazine, Zachary Edelson speaks to architect and critic Michael Sorkin about The Next Helsinki - a competition set up "to inquire as to whether this very valuable site in this wonderful city can’t somehow be leveraged beyond a franchise museum building." The esteemed jury, replete with distinguished artists and architects (many of whom are Finnish), is not just "a counter-competition" to the recent Guggenheim competition: "we’re trying to raise the question of whether a big foreign institution is the most logical way to prompt the arts to flourish at the community level." Read Sorkin's comments about the Finns' attitude to their city and his thoughts on the shortlist of the recent Guggenheim competition in full here.
Aside from attracting a huge level of media interest, the record-breaking competition to design the Guggenheim Museum's planned outpost in Helsinki also generated a significant level of criticism - not least from Michael Sorkin and his collaborators, who launched a counter-competition seeking alternative suggestions for how the site could be used. In this article, originally published on Metropolis Magazine as "'We Mean to Be Provocateurs': Michael Sorkin on the Next Helsinki Competition," Zachary Edelson interviews Sorkin on his reaction to the Guggenheim's shortlist, his hopes for his own competition, and the critical role that museums play in the worlds of both art and architecture.
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation is famous for its Fifth Avenue museum, but its 1997 Frank Gehry-designed Bilbao outpost famously catapulted its small Basque host city to new levels of international renown. The city’s tourism revenue quickly helped recoup the museum’s extensive costs: $100 million for design and construction, subsidies towards a $12 million annual budget, $50 million for an acquisitions fund, and $20 million to the Guggenheim for its name, curatorial services, and the use of parts of its collection. Within three years, visitors’ spending had garnered $110 million and by 2013 more than 1 million had entered the gleaming metallic structure. Many have tried to replicate Bilbao’s success but opposition against such massive expenditures always looms. In this case, it has manifested in a rival competition led by New York-based architect and writer Michael Sorkin and titled The Next Helsinki.
ArchDaily is continuing our partnership with The Architectural Review, bringing you short introductions to the themes of the magazine's monthly editions. In this post, we take you back to AR's June 2014 issue, which examines the state of architectural criticism in our age of online media and ever-present PR. Here, AR Editor Catherine Slessor argues that "more than ever, architecture is in need of provocative, engaging and entertaining critics."
Ambrose Bierce, the great 19th-century satirist and author of the The Devil’s Dictionary, once defined a critic as ‘a person who boasts himself hard to please because nobody tries to please him’. Critics occupy a curiously parasitical position in the modern cultural milieu, and an architecture critic perhaps especially so. But in an age when architects can easily find obliging PR minions to dispense their gospel and biddable publishers to churn out infinite, anodyne oeuvres complètes, who still needs critics and criticism?
"In an era of incompetent nation states and predatory transnationals, we must ratchet up local self-reliance, and the most logical increment of organisation (and resistance) is the city." This is how Michael Sorkin, writing in Aeon Magazine, explains his hypothetical plan to radically change the landscape of New York City, bringing a green landscape and urban farming into the former concrete jungle.
The plan, called "New York City (Steady) State", produced over six years by Sorkin's Terreform Research Group, is not designed simply for aesthetic pleasure; it's not even an attempt to make the city more sustainable (although sustainability is the key motivation behind the project). The project is in fact a "thought-experiment" to design a version of New York that is completely self reliant, creating its own food, energy and everything else within its own borders.
Read on after the break to find out how New York could achieve self-reliance
On December 17, 2011, the New York Chapter of the AIA held a panel discussion about the Occupy Wall Street events that have spurred people from all over the country into political involvement. The discussion featured nine panelists with introductory remarks from Lance Jay Brown and Michael Kimmelman and closing remarks by Ron Shiffman (all listed below). It focused on aspects of the built environment, public spaces and how they reflect the way in which people assemble.
Follow us after the break for more about this discussion, including video.