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Theory: The Latest Architecture and News

The Building That Moved: How Did They Move an 11,000-Ton Telephone Exchange Without Suspending Its Operations?

In November 1930, in Indiana, United States, one of the great feats of modern engineering was executed: a team of architects and engineers moved an 11,000-ton (22-million pound) telephone exchange without ever suspending its operations either basic supplies for the 600 employees who worked inside.

Exploring the History of the Ideal Renaissance Cities

The concept of an “ideal city” is something that is often talked about today, as we look towards the future and think about what aspects of urban life we feel are most important for residents to thrive in a healthy community. However, ideal cities were conceived during the Italian Renaissance, as planners and architects prioritized rationale in their designs focusing on human values, urban capacities, and the recursive waves of cultural and artistic revolutions that influenced large-scale planning schemes.

A General Agreement for the Practice of Contemporary Architecture

This article was originally published on Common Edge.

In this week's reprint, author Andrés Duany presents a series of statements from today's architectural world. He considers that these understandings are the product of our times, a direct reaction and a consequence of the observed patterns.

Carmen Espegel: "The History of Modern Movement Must Be Reread, It Still Contains Hidden Information"

Spanish architect, Carmen Espegel's work is embodied in three complementary areas: academic, research, and professional activity. Espegel was part of espegel-fisac arquitectos studio for twenty years as a founding partner and currently leads espegel arquitectos. Her research approach has focused mainly on housing, women in architecture, and architectural criticism.

Why Do We Keep Building Waiting Rooms?

This article was originally published on Common Edge.

Pretty much everyone hates waiting rooms. Here are four statistics about them from a survey administered by Software Advice, an Austin, Texas-based consultation group: 80% of respondents said being told the accurate wait time would either completely or somewhat minimize their frustration; 40% said they would be willing to see another physician if it meant a shorter waiting time; 20% would be willing to pay an extra fee for quicker service; and 97%—virtually all of us!—are frustrated by wait times. And now, waiting rooms, in addition to being some of the dreariest places on earth, have become one of the easiest places in the world to get sick.

'Body Absent', a Temporary Memorial to Raise Awareness About Human Rights

Human Rights Day is celebrated every year on the 10th of December. After visiting numerous sites that commemorate the scenes of regrettable crimes against humanity and violence, one common observation can be made: the place of memory is not only a building. In fact, it is more about the encounter, the appropriation, and the gesture.

Children's Scale: A Brief History of Kid's Furniture

Montessori Kindergarten in Xiamen / L&M DesignPhoto: 1931, Kaunas, Lithuania. Two children working on reading/writing words at Maria Varnienė's Children's House. The child on the left is Stasys Ragaišis, who later became a medical doctor.. Image via @montistory101Mi Casita Preschool and Cultural Center / BAAO + 4Mativ Design Studio. Image © Lesley UnruhPeter Keler - Puppenwagen, 19xx. Image via Wikimedia+ 53

Children's furniture is all furniture –fixed or mobile– that is designed according to the ergonomic guidelines and anatomical dimensions of children specifically. Following this definition, we can identify two types of furniture: (1) those that facilitate a relationship between the caregiver and the child, and (2) those that allow the child to use them independently.

The big difference between these two types is that the first has dimensions that mainly adapt to the ergonomics of the adult, while the second is designed to meet the ergonomic needs of the child at each stage of their development. Since the growth of children occurs relatively quickly, it is common for the furniture of this second group to be multifunctional or even extendable.

Modern Architects Stink at Lying. Luckily, That’s Fixable

This article was originally published on Common Edge.

Apart from dressing like an undertaker, wearing black-rimmed circular glasses, and driving Swedish cars, modern architects’ most conspicuous trait is their aesthetic honesty, which is dangerous. Sincerity leaves little room for imagination.

What Can Design do in Chile's Social Crisis? Nothing.

This article was originally published in ArchDaily en Español last October 30, twelve days after the social crisis in Chile escalated. Some ideas of the analysis may feel outdated since some structural reforms were recently announced, but the author decided to keep the original spirit of the piece.

A 4 cent fair increase for the Metro in Santiago sparked mass fare-dodging protests in Chile starting on October 6. Alongside spontaneous street demonstrations, the protests spilled into widespread violence across Santiago during the following days until October 18. That day, the Metro network collapsed, the riots multiplied across the city, and looting and fires were out of control. That night, President Sebastian Piñera declared a state of emergency.

Santiago during the largest march recorded in Chile last October 25, 2019. Image © Nicolás ValenciaSantiago during the largest march recorded in Chile last October 25, 2019. Image © Nicolás ValenciaPlaza Italia square, Santiago's symbolic gravity center, during the largest march recorded in Chile last October 25, 2019. Image © Nicolás ValenciaPlaza Italia square, Santiago's symbolic gravity center, during the largest march recorded in Chile last October 25, 2019. Image © Nicolás Valencia+ 5

Call for Submissions: Dennis Sharp CICA Awards for Architectural Criticism 2020

The International Committee of Architectural Critics CICA is pleased to announce an invitation to publishers, editors, curators and authors to submit their publications for consideration for the 10th CICA Awards 2020 by 30th November 2019. Award winners will be announced during the UIA XXVII World Congress of Architecture to be held in Rio de Janeiro from July 19th to 23rd, 2020.

The Awards fall into four categories:

“Bruno Zevi CICA Book Award”
For published books on architectural criticism, theory and history
“Pierre Vago CICA Journalism Award”
For an article

Layered Landscapes Lofoten: Understanding of Complexity, Otherness and Change

Layered Landscapes Lofoten — Understanding of Complexity, Otherness and Change adresses today’s most urgent issues about living together in landscapes and territories under severe pressure and transformation. The landscape holds essential information about our common history, ecology and social behavior — both rational and cognitive experience, and even hidden enigmas. The authors suggest how an open and unbiased approach to the landscape enables us to understand and operationalize knowledge and theory into valid proposals and projects for the future — not primarily through the traditional and habitual idea of the architectural object, but rather in contact with a global, collective

Open Call - Critical Discourses Essay Contest - Home|any|more|?

For more than 20 years, The Arhitext Design Foundation has been developing editorial and cultural projects that raise awareness of the national and international state of architecture, urbanism, design and visual arts. The most important projects of the Foundation are the Arhitext Magazine and the Bucharest Triennale, dedicated to the Central and Eastern European region. In October 2019, the Foundation, in partnership with the Romanian Order of Architects and the "Ion Mincu" University of Architecture and Urbanism will organize the third edition of the Bucharest Triennale East Centric Architecture. The main topic of this edition, HOME|any|more|?, proposes an interrogative approach

Why Nature Should be a Co-Author in Architectural Projects

Dealing with the context of a project’s site is an essential part of architecture, be it by denying or incorporating preexisting elements and the environment’s conditions in the design. However, understanding what lies around as an active agent of the decisions and space organization goes beyond simply considering the good views, natural ventilation, solar orientation, etc; it is about seeing these conditions as co-authors.

These cases are most notable when practices think of the architecture's surrounding environment as an active agent.