Presenting architects in conversation with creative figures, Architecture Foundation’s headline annual lecture in collaboration with the Barbican will see architect Sam Jacob in conversation with Dutch visual artist Madelon Vriesendorp.
Sam Jacob: The Latest Architecture and News
Sam Jacob Studio harbours a long-held fascination with Half-Timbering. In this essay, Jacob examines the historical, cultural, and aesthetic roots of the style.
It’s fair to say that “Mock Tudor”—that black and white facade treatment—has a less than glowing reputation. Take these sneering lines from John Betjeman’s Slough, for instance:
It’s not their fault they often go / To Maidenhead / And talk of sports and makes of cars / In various bogus Tudor bars.
(Perhaps those very same bars that Martin Freeman’s character in The Office notes have “a sign in the toilet saying: Don’t get your Hampton Court”.) “Mock Tudor” is often accused of “bogus”-ness, of lacking authenticity, of fakeness, and many other types of architectural sin.
Currently on display at the MoMA in New York is Zaha Hadid's concept painting for her seminal unbuilt project, The Peak in Hong Kong. The piece was made in 1991, on the edge of the digital revolution in architectural drawing fueled at its heart by the popularization of 3D CAD programs. The painting for The Peak arguably came at the end of the period of architectural drawing for its own sake, and the beginning of a period of scalable, scrollable renderings meant to show the real world. It only makes sense that this new software for image creation would usher in a new style of drawing with a function very different to the previous era: tool and process inherently constrain design by imposing a predetermined agenda for the user's interaction with them.
During this digital period, architects like Lebbeus Woods and Michael Graves, known for their mastery in the art of hand drawing, pushed back against the dominant narrative of hyperrealism in architectural drawing. However, according to Sam Jacob's latest article for Metropolis Magazine, we may be entering an age of "post-digital" representation. In the post-digital, architects return to the convention of drawing, but create new methodologies by reevaluating and appropriating the digital tools of the last few decades. Current techniques within this practice have leaned heavily towards the collage, but research into what post-digital drawing could mean continues in firms and universities.
9 years ago today, ArchDaily launched with a challenging mission: to provide inspiration, knowledge and tools to the architects tasked with designing for the 3 billion people that will move into cities in the next 40 years. Over these 9 years, as we have developed innovative approaches to help architects tackle the urban challenges facing our world, our work has brought us into contact with some of the most creative and respected architects in the world. To help us celebrate our 9th birthday, we asked 9 architects who are renowned for their creative and imaginative abilities to create drawings inspired by our logo, to show the world what ArchDaily means to them.
The inaugural show at the new London Design Museum, Fear and Love, presents a collection of "reactions to a complex world." Featuring eleven specially-commissioned installations designed by the likes of OMA/AMO, Hussein Chalayan, Andrés Jaque and Metahaven, the spatial context which frames them is the work of Sam Jacob Studio.
This edition of Section D, Monocle 24's weekly review of design, architecture and craft, is dedicated to plants and gardens and specifically their role in architecture, urban life, and the design of the workplace. The episode considers the history of London’s urban greenery and the role of plants in landscape architecture touching upon, in conversation with Sam Jacob, the latest in London's green infrastructure: Heatherwick Studio's proposed Garden Bridge across the River Thames. It also traces the lineage of semi-private squares in Georgian London to Ebenezer Howard's Garden City movement in the late 19th and early 20th centuries – all approaches discussing how best to unite the built environment with the natural world.
Sto Werkstatt have announced that Sam Jacob Studio will be creating "a unique installation" for their London gallery space that will "explore the exchange of information between digital and physical worlds." Entitled One Thing After Another, the project has its origins with what Jacob considers the most mundane, yet essential form, of architecture: the garden shed. The structure will be 3D-scanned to create a digital copy which will then be processed and scaled to fabricate a new CNC’d version from Verolith, a lightweight type of volcanic stone made of 90% perlite.
London-based practice Sam Jacob Studio, led by a former partner of FAT, have installed a 1:1 replica of a standing sarsen stone from the Avebury stone circle in the centre of the British New Town of Milton Keynes. The 'MK Menhir', situated on a Porte Cochère on the city's Midsummer Boulevard, has been (CNC) milled from hard-coated foam using data from a 3D scan of the original stone. It has been given an iridescent tint using techniques similar to those used to spray paint a car.
The Real Estate Architecture Laboratory (REAL) have today announced a Kickstarter campaign in preparation for the launch of their flagship publication, the Real Review. Produced by an independent team of editors and designers, this bi-monthly magazine intends to "revive the review as a writing form" to a general readership within the architectural sphere and its orbital subjects.
The Real Review will be "a printed object of exceptional quality, featuring engaging texts by leading international commentators," alongside providing "a highly visible platform for emerging writers." Confirmed authors at this time include, among others, Assemble, Pier Vittorio Aureli (Dogma, AA), Reinier de Graaf (OMA), Sam Jacob (Sam Jacob Studio), and a rostra of journalists including the Financial Times' architecture critic Edwin Heathcote.
A Clockwork Jerusalem, the exhibition showcased in the British Pavilion at last year's Venice Biennale, will make it's UK debut at London's Architectural Association (AA) next month. Commissioned by the British Council and curated by Sam Jacob, co-founder of FAT, and Wouter Vanstiphout, partner at Dutch practice Crimson Architectural Historians, the exhibition shines a light on the large scale projects of the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s by exploring the "mature flowering of British Modernism at the moment it was at its most socially, politically and architecturally ambitious - but also the moment that witnessed its collapse."
In an interview with Core77 Sam Jacob, formerly of FAT and now principal at Sam Jacob Studio, has "always pursued an idea of design practice as a combination of criticism, research and speculation that all feed directly into the design studio." This approach has allowed his ideas to "cross-fertilize, find connections and directions that make the practice stronger, more agile and able to respond intelligently to the problem at hand." Jacob, who is also a Visiting Professor at Yale and the University of Illinois at Chicago whilst simultaneously director of the Night School at London's Architectural Association, recently saw the end of FAT's final project: the curation of the British Pavilion (alongside Dutch architect and academic Wouter Vanstiphout). In the UK, former partner Charles Holland is bringing a collaborative project with artist Grayson Perry to completion in Essex.
Read more and see some of Jacob's drawings after the break.
In June of this year seven architecture students came together to film the vernissage of the Venice Biennale. Undaunted by the unrelenting Venetian sun and the prospect of being faced by some of the world's greatest living architects and curators, the team - spanning four nationalities - spent three days feverishly talking to anyone and everyone (in between pasta and espresso breaks). Having built up a comprehensive picture of the opening days of the Biennale in a series of short, uninhibited filmed interviews, Mies. TV proudly presents their alternative, slightly shaky coverage of the 2014 Venice Biennale.
Watch short interviews with the likes of Jacques Herzog (Herzog + de Meuron), Daniel Libeskind, Patrik Schumacher (Zaha Hadid Architects), Sir Peter Cook (CRAB Studio), Wolf D. Prix (Coop Himmelb(l)au), Sam Jacob (FAT), and ArchDaily's very own Editor-in-Chief - David Basulto - after the break.
The scaffolding has come down, revealing the first glimpse of FAT's extraordinary A House For Essex. Designed in collaboration with British ceramic artist Grayson Perry and commissioned by Alain de Botton’s alternative holiday rental project Living Architecture, the house will be the final built work that FAT complete. The bejewelled two bedroom dwelling, topped with a shimmering golden copper alloy roof and clad in glinting green and white tiles, sits in the rolling landscape of Essex - Charles Holland (FAT) and Perry’s home county. Adorned with sculptures integrated into a wider narrative that spatially recounts the life of a fictional character called Julie, the barn-like shape, bold colours and decoration has not simply garnered widespread attention but has also captured people’s curiosity.
Find out more about the project in an interview with the architect after the break.
The British Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Biennale takes the large scale projects of the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s and explores the "mature flowering of British Modernism at the moment it was at its most socially, politically and architecturally ambitious but also the moment that witnessed its collapse." The exhibition tells the story of how British modernity emerged out of an unlikely combination of interests and how "these modern visions continue to create our physical and imaginative landscapes." To those who know the UK's architectural heritage, this cultural and social history is delivered in a way which feels strangely familiar, whilst uncovering fascinating hidden histories of British modernity that continue to resonate in the 21st century.
We caught up with Sam Jacob, co-founder of FAT Architecture (of which this exhibition is their final project), and Wouter Vanstiphout, partner at Rotterdam-based Crimson Architectural Historians, outside the British Pavilion to discuss the ideas behind, and significance of, A Clockwork Jerusalem.
Sam Jacob and his firm, FAT, challenge what we conceive as architecture. Using both history and contemporary theory, his practice channels ideas to networks of people with similar interests—seemingly infiltrating all corners of the architecture profession (and beyond). Taking pride in the expression of architecture outside its traditional means, Jacob says, “Lack of success in terms of square meters you build, as fast as possible, is no problem at all. We’ve had opportunities to think, opportunities to invent our own ways of making architecture.”
At last year’s Venice Biennale, we asked Sam Jacob about his Museum of Copying—an interesting subject since architecture is, in essence, an unending series of iterations (check out the interview here). As a writer/critic/architect, he teaches at the AA, blogs at Strange Harvest and Dezeen, tweets @_SamJacob, and oversees architecture, art and installation projects at FAT.
FAT was founded in London in the 1990s and is led by Sean Griffiths, Charles Holland and Sam Jacob, each of whom are committed to developing architectural culture both through practice and through design research at institutions including Yale and the Architectural Association.
Read the transcript of our interview with Sam Jacob after the break….