Michelangelo's sculptures. The ancient Greek temples. Castle interiors and palaces. The iconic Barcelona Pavilion of Mies van der Rohe. When we approach the history of architecture and sculpture, it is inevitable that we speak of marble. Originating from a chemical reaction in limestone when exposed to high pressures and temperatures for thousands of years, this notable material is a metamorphic rock generally found in regions where volcanic activity has occurred. Its extraction, by itself, is already a spectacle.
Stone: The Latest Architecture and News
Widely used in infrastructure, gabion walls are structures made of mesh metal cages filled with stones. These permeable walls use galvanized steel wire to withstand outdoor conditions.
Gottfried Böhm is a German architect who was awarded the Pritzker Prize in 1986. His father, Dominikus Böhm and his grandfather Alois Böhm were both architects, as well as three of his sons, among them, Peter Böhm. Few people know that he has two projects erected in Brazil, in Brusque and Blumenau - two cities highly influenced by German culture. Photographer Ronaldo Azambuja shared with us his series of photographs of the mother church Igreja Matriz São Luiz Gonzaga in Brusque. The text was written by Angelina Wittmann, architect, and researcher.
A collection of stones piled one on top of the other, dry stone is an iconic building method found just nearly everywhere in the world. Relying solely on an age-old craft to create sturdy, reliable structures and characterised by its rustic, interlocking shapes, the technique has deep roots that stretch back even before the invention of the wheel. Its principles are simple: stack the stones to create a unified, load-bearing wall. But the efficient, long-lasting results, coupled with the technique’s cultural significance, have lead to continued use and updated interpretations all the way to contemporary architecture today.
Bjarke Ingels Group’s “The Eleventh” has marked a major milestone, with the first of the scheme’s two twisting High Line towers topping out in Chelsea, Manhattan. New images show construction moving quickly along, with the taller 35-story tower now topped out, and work on the cladding steadily progressing.
The 400-foot-tall structure will twist alongside a second 300-foot-tall sister tower, standing out even amongst notable neighbors including Frank Gehry’s IAC Building, Jean Nouvel’s 100 11th Avenue and Foster + Partners’ 551 West 21st Street.
Anoma, headed by EDIDA-winning Indian artist Ruchika Grover, is a product design studio that explores the potential of natural stone. Its surfaces, sculptures, and installations, are created through a unique process, which combines digital manufacturing and traditional hand craftsmanship.
Apple’s Piazza Liberty Store, designed by Foster + Partners, has opened to the public in Milan, Italy. The scheme is located under an existing piazza close to the Corso Vittorio Emanuele, one of the most popular pedestrian streets in Milan.
The store is defined by a dramatic waterfall which surrounds the entrance while forming the backdrop to a large outdoor amphitheater. Piazza Liberty is the first Apple Store to be constructed in Italy following their retail design collaboration with Foster + Partners.
Foster + Partners has published photographs of their recently-opened Apple Store in Macau, intended as a “new oasis of calm” against the city’s buzz and excitement. The store, opened on June 29th, was designed in response to a brief calling for “an inviting, contemplative space, where technology, entertainment, and arts come together to make a positive contribution to the city.”
Apple Cotai Central was designed in a close collaboration between Foster + Partners and Apple’s chief design officer Sir Jonathan Ive, a collaboration which has previously produced Apple stores at Michigan Avenue in Chicago, and Regent Street in London.
Architecture requires patience. Seeing a building through from initial sketches to the first occupant is a process that in most cases takes years, sometimes decades. The various details required throughout the building process at times can be stressful, but the end result is nearly always worth the struggle. The finished form reflects the decisions made throughout the process, and thus becomes a contributing member to the surrounding environment.
If you are at the point in the process where you need a quick destresser, take a moment and watch land artist Pontus Jansson work his magic. The Swedish artist uses boulders and the surrounding nature to create balancing works of art.
Travel seven hours by car in a Southwest direction from Shanghai and you will arrive in Songyang County. The name is unfamiliar to many Chinese people, and even more foreign to those living abroad. The county consists of about 400 villages, from Shicang to Damushan.
Here, undulating lush green terraces hug the sides of Songyin river valley, itself the one serpentine movement uniting the lands. Follow the river and you will see: here, a Brown Sugar Factory; there, a Bamboo Theatre; and on the other side, a stone Hakka Museum built recently but laid by methods so old, even the town masons had to learn these ways for the first time, as if they were modern methods, as if they were revolutionary.
And maybe they are. Songyang County, otherwise known as the “Last Hidden Land in Jiangnan,” may look like a traditional Chinese painting with craggy rock faces, rice fields and tea plantations, but it has also become a model example of rural renaissance. Beijing architect Xu Tiantian, of the firm DnA_Design and Architecture, has spent years surveying the villages of Songyang, talking to local County officials and residents, and coming up with what she calls “architectural acupunctures.”
Often as architects we neglect how the buildings we design will develop once we hand them over to the elements. We spend so much time understanding how people will use the building that we may forget how it will be used and battered by the weather. It is an inevitable and uncertain process that raises the question of when is a building actually complete; when the final piece of furniture is moved in, when the final roof tile is placed or when it has spent years out in the open letting nature take its course?
Rather than detracting from the building, natural forces can add to the material’s integrity, softening its stark, characterless initial appearance. This continuation of the building process is an important one to consider in order to create a structure that will only grow in beauty over time. To help you achieve an ever-growing building, we have collated six different materials below that age with grace.