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Spotlight: The Latest Architecture and News

Spotlight: William McDonough

Sometimes referred to as “the leading environmental architect of our time,” in his roles as architect, designer, author, educator and social leader, William McDonough (born 20 February 1951) has provided a renewed look at the things that we make and their impact on both our bodies and the world. Through his Cradle to Cradle philosophy, McDonough’s buildings are designed to function for a predetermined lifespan, after which they can be broken down into their various parts whose core elements can be used anew to solve a different design problem.

Spotlight: Louis Kahn

Louis Kahn (February 20th 1901 – March 17th 1974) was one of the United States' greatest 20th century architects, known for combining Modernism with the weight and dignity of ancient monuments. Though he did not arrive at his distinctive style until his early 50s, and despite his death at the age of just 73, in a span of just two decades Kahn came to be considered by many as part of the pantheon of modernist architects which included Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe.

Salk Institute. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/dreamsjung/3021667238/'>Flickr user dreamsjung</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/'>CC BY-SA 2.0</a> Kimbell Art Museum. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/43508230@N00/3720242013/'>Flickr user grabadonut</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/'>CC BY-SA 2.0</a> National Assembly Building of Bangladesh. Image © <a href='https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:National_Assembly_of_Bangladesh,_Jatiyo_Sangsad_Bhaban,_2008,_8.JPG'>Wikimedia Commons user Lykantrop</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en'>CC BY-SA 3.0</a> Exeter Library (Class of 1945 Library) . Image via Wikimedia (Image from United States Library of Congress in public domain. Author Carol M Highsmith) + 17

Spotlight: Félix Candela

Every work of art is an interpretation of the world, of what you are thinking; a realization of your perception which creates and attempts a different world. In the end, a work of art is merely an offering to art.

Mexican-Spanish architect Félix Candela (Jan 27, 1910 – Dec 7, 1997) was known for redefining the role of the architect in relation to structural problems, and played a crucial role in the development of new structural forms of concrete. His famous experimentation with concrete gave rise to projects like the Los Manantiales restaurant in the Xochimilco area of Mexico City and the Cosmic Rays Pavilion for the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

Spotlight: Gottfried Böhm

The career of Gottfried Böhm (born January 23, 1920) spans from simple to complex and from sacred to secular, but has always maintained a commitment to understanding its surroundings. In 1986, Böhm was awarded the eighth Pritzker Prize for what the jury described as his "uncanny and exhilarating marriage" of architectural elements from past and present. Böhm's unique use of materials, as well as his rejection of historical emulation, have made him an influential force in Germany and abroad.

Neviges Mariendom. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu Neviges Mariendom. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu Bensberg Town Hall (1963-1969) in Bensberg,Germany. Image © <a href=‘https://www.flickr.com/photos/seier/3301293417’>Flickr user seier</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en'>CC BY 2.0</a> Neviges Mariendom. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu + 10

Spotlight: Thom Mayne

The principal architect of LA firm Morphosis, Thom Mayne (born January 19, 1944) was the recipient of the 2005 Pritzker Prize and the 2013 AIA Gold Medal, and is known for his experimental architectural forms, often applying them to significant institutional buildings such as the New York's Cooper Union building, the Emerson College in Los Angeles and the Caltrans District 7 Headquarters.

Emerson College Los Angeles. Image © Iwan Baan Perot Museum. Image © Iwan Baan Cooper Union Building. Image © Iwan Baan Bill & Melinda Gates Hall. Image © Roland Halbe + 16

Spotlight: David Chipperfield

David Chipperfield in 2012. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/br1dotcom/7886397506'>Flickr user br1dotcom</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/'>CC BY-SA 2.0</a>
David Chipperfield in 2012. Image © Flickr user br1dotcom licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The career of British architect David Chipperfield (born 18 December 1953) has spanned decades and continents as an architect, designer and professor. Since 1984, he has been at the helm of David Chipperfield Architects, an award winning firm with over 180 staff at offices in London, Berlin, Milan, and Shanghai. Chipperfield is an honorary fellow of the American Institute of Architects and Germany's Bund Deutscher Architekten, and was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2004. In 2012, Chipperfield curated the Venice Biennale of Architecture under the theme Common Ground.

Neues Museum. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/stijnnieuwendijk/4230574853'>Flickr user stijnnieuwendijk</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/'>CC BY-NC-ND 2.0</a> The Hepworth Wakefield Gallery. Image © Wojtek Gurak Museo Jumex. Image © Simon Menges Museum of Modern Literature. Image © Ute Zscharnt + 15

Spotlight: Oscar Niemeyer

Cathedral of Brasília. Image © Gonzalo Viramonte
Cathedral of Brasília. Image © Gonzalo Viramonte

Oscar Ribeiro de Almeida Niemeyer Soares Filho, or simply Oscar Niemeyer, (December 15, 1907 – December 5, 2012) was one of the greatest architects in Brazil's history, and one of the greats of the global modernist movement. After his death in 2012, Niemeyer left the world more than five hundred works scattered throughout the Americas, Africa, and Europe.

Niterói Contemporary Art Museum. Image © Gili Merin Oscar Niemeyer International Cultural Centre in the Principality of Asturias, Spain. Image © Iñigo Bujedo-Aguirre National Congress of Brazil. Image © Andrew Prokos Cathedral of Brasília. Image © Gonzalo Viramonte + 25

Spotlight: Charles and Ray Eames

Charles (June 17, 1907 – August 21, 1978) and Ray Eames (December 15, 1912 – August 21, 1988) are best known for their personal and artistic collaboration, and their innovative designs that shaped the course of modernism. Their firm worked on a diverse array of projects, with designs for exhibitions, furniture, houses, monuments, and toys. Together they developed manufacturing processes to take advantage of new materials and technology, aiming to produce high quality everyday objects at a reasonable cost. Many of their furniture designs are considered contemporary classics, particularly the Eames Lounge & Shell Chairs, while the Eames House is a seminal work of architectural modernism.

Spotlight: Clorindo Testa

Bank of London and South America. Image © Federico Cairoli
Bank of London and South America. Image © Federico Cairoli

Relatively unknown outside his home country, Clorindo Testa (December 10, 1923 – April 11, 2013) was one of Argentina’s most important 20th-century architects. Consistently defying categorization, Testa had a hand in two of Buenos Aires’ most iconic buildings, the Bank of London and South America, and the National Library, as well as many others throughout his long career. Characteristically enigmatic, Testa would only ever acknowledge Le Corbusier as an influence, saying, “I never paid attention to other architects.” As a former colleague Juan Fontana described, Testa spoke the language of brutalism with an Argentine accent.

Spotlight: Adolf Loos

Adolf Loos (December 10, 1870 – August 23, 1933) was one of the most influential European architects of the late 19th century and is often noted for his literary discourse that foreshadowed the foundations of the entire modernist movement. As an architect, his influence is primarily limited to major works in what is now Austria and the Czech Republic, but as a writer he had a major impact on the development of 20th century architecture, producing a series of controversial essays that elaborated on his own architectural style by decrying ornament and a range of social ills. Adolf Loos’s minimalist attitudes are reflected in the works of Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, and many other modernists and led to a fundamental shift in the way architects perceived ornamentation.

Spotlight: Steven Holl

As the founder of Steven Holl Architects, Steven Holl (born December 9, 1947) is recognized as one of the world's leading architects, having received prestigious awards for his contributions to design over the course of nearly forty years in practice, including the prestigious Alvar Aalto Medal in 1998, the AIA Gold Medal in in 2012, and the 2014 Praemium Imperiale. In 1991, Time Magazine named Holl America's Best Architect. He is revered for his ability to harness light to create structures with remarkable sensitivity to their locations, while his written works have been published in many preeminent volumes, sometimes collaborating with world-renowned architectural thinkers such as Juhani Pallasmaa and Alberto Pérez-Gómez.

Linked Hybrid. Image © Iwan Baan       Sliced Porosity Block. Image © Hufton+Crow Nanjing Sifang Art Museum. Image ©  SHU He Campbell Sports Center. Image © Iwan Baan       + 26

Spotlight: Ricardo Bofill

Ricardo Bofill (born 5 December 1939), a graduate of the Barcelona University School of Architecture and the School of Geneva, and the founder of interdisciplinary firm Taller de Arquitectura, is renowned for his extensive body of work and ever-changing design aesthetic. His career has spanned over 50 years, encompassing more than 1000 buildings in cities ranging from Lisbon and Boston to Tokyo and St. Petersburg. His architectural approach has evolved over the decades and has permeated dozens of countries worldwide.

The Factory. Image © Ricardo Bofill Xanadú. Image © Ricardo Bofill Walden 7. Image © Ricardo Bofill Maritxell Sanctuary. Image © Ricardo Bofill + 16

Spotlight: Lina Bo Bardi

Sesc Pompéia. Image © Pedro Kok
Sesc Pompéia. Image © Pedro Kok

Lina Bo Bardi (December 4, 1914 – March 20, 1992) was one of the most important and expressive architects of 20th century Brazilian architecture. Born in Italy as Lina Achillina Bo, she studied architecture at the University of Rome, moving to Milan after graduation. In Milan, Bo Bardi collaborated with Gio Ponti, and later become editor of the magazine Quiaderni di Domus.

With her office destroyed in World War II Bo Bardi, along with Bruno Zevi, founded the publication A Cultura della Vita. As a member of the Italian Communist Party, she met the critic and art historian Pietro Maria Bardi, with whom she would move permanently to Brazil.

Sesc Pompéia. Image © Pedro Kok São Paulo Museum of Art (MASP). Image © Pedro Kok São Paulo Museum of Art (MASP). Image © Pedro Kok Sesc Pompéia. Image © Pedro Kok + 9

Spotlight: Minoru Yamasaki

World Trade Center / Minoru Yamasaki Associates + Emery Roth & Sons. Image <a href='https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Twin_Towers-NYC.jpg'>via Wikimedia</a>. Part of the Carol M Highsmith Archive donated to the Library of Congress and placed in the public domain
World Trade Center / Minoru Yamasaki Associates + Emery Roth & Sons. Image via Wikimedia. Part of the Carol M Highsmith Archive donated to the Library of Congress and placed in the public domain

Minoru Yamasaki (December 1, 1912 – February 7, 1986) has the uncommon distinction of being most well known for how his buildings were destroyed. His twin towers at the World Trade Center in New York collapsed in the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, and his Pruitt-Igoe complex in St. Louis, Missouri, demolished less than 20 years after its completion, came to symbolize the failure of public housing and urban renewal in the United States. But beyond those infamous cases, Yamasaki enjoyed a long and prolific career, and was considered one of the masters of “New Formalism,” infusing modern buildings with classical proportions and sumptuous materials.

Spotlight: Ma Yansong

Founder of the innovative architecture firm MAD Architects, Ma Yansong (born 26 November 1975) has helped to give China a name in the international architecture scene. The first Chinese architect to receive a RIBA fellowship, Ma explores contemporary architecture in relation to traditional eastern values of nature, resulting in buildings that are complex and contextually aware, but sometimes even surreal.

Harbin Opera House. Image © Iwan Baan Absolute Towers. Image © Iwan Baan Courtesy of MAD Architects Harbin Opera House. Image © Hufton+Crow + 13

Spotlight: Rem Koolhaas

With the extensive list of acclaimed alumni of his firm, OMA, it is not a stretch to call Rem Koolhaas (born 17 November 1944) the godfather of contemporary architecture. Equal parts theorist and designer, over his 40-year career Koolhaas has revolutionized the way architects look at program and interaction of space, and today continues to design buildings that push the capabilities of architecture to new places.

Seattle Central Library / OMA + LMN. Image Courtesy of OMA Maison Bordeaux. Image © Hans Werlemann, courtesy OMA Fondazione Prada. Image © Bas Princen Casa da Musica. Image © Philippe Ruault + 39

Spotlight: Zaha Hadid

In her lifetime, Pritzker prize-winning architect, fashion designer and artist Zaha Hadid (31 October 1950 – 31 March 2016) became one of the most recognizable faces of our field. Revered and denounced in equal measure for the sensuous curved forms for which she was known, Hadid rose to prominence not solely through parametricism but by designing spaces to occupy geometries in new ways. Despite her tragically early death in March of 2016, the projects now being completed by her office without their original lead designer continue to push boundaries both creative and technological, while the fearless media presence she cultivated in recent decades has cemented her place in society as a woman who needs just one name: Zaha.

Heydar Aliyev Center. Image © Hufton+Crow Vitra Fire Station. Image © Wojtek Gurak Bergisel Ski Jump. Image © Hélène Binet Antwerp Port House. Image © Hélène Binet + 36

Spotlight: SANAA

Founded in 1995 by architects Kazuyo Sejima (born 29 October 1956) and Ryue Nishizawa (born 7 February 1966), SANAA is world-renowned for its white, light buildings grounded in the architects’ Japanese cultural origins. Despite the white exteriors, their architecture is far from modernist; the constant incorporation of ambiguity and doubt in SANAA’s buildings is refreshing and playful, taking the reflective properties of glass and brightness of white to a new level.

Grace Farms / SANAA. Image © Dean Kaufman Louvre Lens / SANAA. Image © Julien Lanoo Glass Pavilion at the Toledo Museum of Art / SANAA. Image © Iwan Baan New Museum / SANAA. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu + 12