Saturday, March 31, 2007

Today's archidose #78

REEF Model 6, originally uploaded by cs@sf.

IwamotoScott's entry -- titled Reef -- for the MoMA/PS1 Young Architects Program competition. Many more images in cs@sf's Flickr set and on YouTube.

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Friday, March 30, 2007

Richard "Priztker" Rogers

As is probably known by most people that read this page, Richard Rogers has been announced as the 2007 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate. This means he joins an elite list of past recipients, receives a medal in a ceremony in London on June 4, and gets $100,000 spending money. More coverage can be found at ArchNewsNow, yesterday and today.


Rogers is a fitting recipient, known for technologically-minded buildings -- the Centre Pompidou (with Renzo Piano), Lloyd's of London, and Channel 4 Headquarters -- and ecologically-minded theories of architecture and urbanism. Rather than pepper this post with images of these or other well-known projects, I thought I'd show images of an unbuilt submission for a 2004/5 competition for the British Antarctic Survey’s Hally VI research station in Antarctica, found here. Enjoy.








Today's archidose #77

Australia_2006_0301, originally uploaded by marco 2000.

The Council House 2 Building in Melbourne, Australia by DesignInc. More information at Inhabitat.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007


If the Tribune's coverage is any indication, Chicago has Spire frenzy, as Santiago Calatrava unveiled the "final" design of the 2000' tower on Monday. While my schedule doesn't permit a long post on the design, at first glance Calatrava has made improvements on the second scheme by shaping the tower's profile as it rises, giving it more of a curved -- rather than straight -- taper. The plan also includes improvements to the long-neglected DuSable Park east of Lake Shore Drive and a pedestrian bridge across LSD.

See the evolution (pardon the quality of the latest; it's a still from a video, the only source available with a similar view to the others):

July 2005 > > January 2007 > > March 2007

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Today's archidose #76

The Alhambra, originally uploaded by fdo h.

The Alhambra in Granada, Spain. (See this week's dose for another project in Granada.)

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Monday, March 26, 2007

Today's archidose #75

DSC01176, originally uploaded by hellothomasbrown.

The Phoenix Central Library by Will Bruder.

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Book Review: Introducing Foucault

Introducing Foucault by Chris Horrocks and Zoran Jevtic

This brief, illustrated introduction to one of the most influential intellectuals of the 20th century begins with a quote by Foucault himself: "Do not ask who I am and do not ask me to remain the same." Immediately the reader is confronted by the fact that what they learn about Foucault will be incomplete, as well as somewhat enigmatic.

With his endearing popularity in academia, this introduction is a fitting start before one tackles one of his well known treatises -- Madness and Civilization, The Order of Things, or Discipline and Punish -- that seem to pop up as references in many contemporary texts. Author Horrocks gives insight into Foucault's life and his ideas, allowing the reader to see the intersection of the two, especially the way his ideas arose and evolved over the course of his life. With Jevtic's illustrations, Foucault is humanized, though also critiqued. Horrocks points out flaws on occasion (the "lazy argument" of asking why prisons fail), and he also presents the critiques of intellectuals, like Jean-Paul Sartre and Noam Chomsky, who were challenged by Foucault's approach to history.

Foucault's ideas, positions, and terminologies are, needless to say, difficult. Rather than dumb these down, though, Horrocks admirably condenses some of these down to what can fit in a cartoon bubble. While readers obviously won't finish this short book with a complete understanding of Foucault and his ideas, they will feel acclimated to his ideas enough to take on one of his books, knowing full well that the text's author was neither omniscient nor without an insatiable thirst for both knowledge and pleasure.

Nazarí Wall Intervention in Granada, Spain by Antonio Jiménez Torrecillas

Nazarí Wall Intervention in Granada, Spain by Antonio Jiménez Torrecillas

A 19th-century earthquake destroyed a large section of the Nazarí wall in Granada, Spain. This void was intact until only last year when Antonio Jiménez Torrecillas's design for an intervention in the wall was completed. Visible from Granada's most famous locale, the Alhambra, the new intervention is a skilled balance of old and new, stitching together something long neglected.

While local and national heritage regulations gave the architect the freedom to design an addition that is easily identifiable as such, they also dictated that the new wall be capable of demolition in the future without damaging the original construction. With the old foundation still in place, this required designing special foundations that kept the old ones and designing a wall that is stable but also demountable. The architect chose granite slabs to accomplish the last, dry stacking them in a manner that creates interest both inside and out.

Two small openings on either side of the 40 meter (130 foot) wall allow access from one side of the wall to the other, via a narrow passageway between the two stacked granite walls. This surprising gap was influenced by "old military fortifications, the spirit of secret passageways and night patrols." Torrecillas wanted visitors "to negotiate a world of light and darkness that is a part of the myth of underground Granada." Combined with the numerous apertures in the two walls, this space captures something of that essence without immediately recalling any specific historical form.

The intervention in Nazarí wall is but one piece of the larger design. It also includes the preservation of the landscape surrounding the area -- seen as a buffer for continued urban development -- and the restoration of the nearby chapel of San Miguel Alto. Lastly, site work includes paving refurbishment and a new staircase parallel to the wall itself. This last, along with the access through the new wall, points to how the wall -- long seen as something that separates -- here connects places and times.

(Thanks to Eric M. for the heads up.)

Saturday, March 24, 2007

CCTV Rises

CCTV Headquater Construction., originally uploaded by KonradS.

Flickr member KonradS has a series on the construction of OMA's CCTV Headquarters that should be worth checking every now and then. In the image above, CCTV's "bent skyscraper" is on the right and its auxiliary TVCC building is on the left. More information on the project here (click the Beijing Manifesto).

(via noticias arquitectura)

Not Like the Others

One of these is not a real project for Manhattan. Which one?




(All spotted at Curbed)

Today's archidose #74

IMG_1478 by céd.
"Bibliothèque municipale de St-Bruno, Grenoble." Architect unknown.

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Friday, March 23, 2007

Death by Architecture

It has come to my attention that Death by Architecture has redesigned and relaunched their web page, and on first glance it looks impressive. It's always been a great source for competitions and now has some strong articles. Go check it out.


Death by Architecture can be found in the sidebar under Architectural Links::online journals. Thanks to Mario for the head's up.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Today's archidose #73

Fix Ortho
Fix Ortho by ken mccown.
Fix Restaurant by Graft, located in Las Vegas's Bellagio Casino.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007


This makes me wonder if I should give up mine:

That selling price might have been a steal, as Amazon's price for a used copy (as of posting) of Zumthor Works is $2,474.73. For those without that sort of cash, the first edition of Zumthor's Thinking Architecture (which I also own but might just have to part with) is only $974.73.

(via PartIV)

Today's archidose #72

sydney opera house
sydney opera house by F.j.
Detail of Jørn Utzon's Sydney Opera House.

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Monday, March 19, 2007

Three More Lectures

For those of you in the New York area, here's a few more City College lectures from the departments of Urban Design, Landscape Architecture, and the School of Engineering. As you can see, the lectures focus on politics and the environment, situating these as concerns within the larger school and the above programs in particular. Lectures are free and open to the public.

Thursday, March 22
David Orr
Rumors of Unfathomable Things:
Climate Change, the Design of Arts, and the Human Prospect

Monday, March 26
William Morrish
Refloat NOLA and DC:
Mercy, Mercy, Me, The Ecology

Thursday, March 29
Suzana Sawyer
Suing Chevron Texaco:
Capitalism, Contamination, and Forming a Class in the Ecuadorian Amazon

Book Review: The Anthropology of Space and Place

The Anthropology of Space and Place: Locating Culture edited by Setha M. Low and Denise Lawrence-Zuniga

Space and place are words that architects use without second thought to their exact meanings, even though they mean many things to many people. Architects tend to focus on the former (which I will do here), thinking that space is created and defined by buildings, by walls, ceilings, floors, columns, as well as landscape and other elements. Solid-void diagrams and the Nolli map are classic examples of how architects see the world: solid and void, mass and space.

But for the anthropologist space is not so simple, so physical. It is a complex and basically indefinable thing created not only by the physical parts of the world but the abstract parts also: the movement and interactions of people, the flow of goods and information, the power structures limiting all these, and the meanings inscribed upon space through action, memory, and writing. Even this description doesn't touch upon all the ways space is created, and neither does this collection of essays on the anthropology of space and place. Of course, this reader doesn't attempt to be exhaustive. Rather it illustrates the variety of ways academics attempt to decode how space and place are created via people's interactions with each other and their environment.

The editors break down the twenty essays into six sections: embodied spaces, gendered spaces, inscribed spaces, contested spaces, transnational spaces, and spatial tactics. Naturally, the essays weren't written to neatly fit into these categories, so overlap occurs frequently, something acknowledged by the editors. For both those new to the subject and academics within the profession (the clear audience for the book), this parcelization helps anchor the various essays and also give an indication of what's important and where things are headed, for society as well as for the field.

Bookended by Edward T. Hall's seminal -- though now outdated -- essay on Proxemics and Setha M. Low's recent piece on gated communities, we can see how much (or little) things have changed in the last 35 years, from the spaces immediately surrounding us being created by our cultural history to the spaces around us created by fear and class, race, and ethnic distinctions. The essays in between give great breadth to the subject, making clear that an understanding of space and its creation cannot be limited to walls and roofs, or even the aspects presented here. An understanding must encompass a wide range of interactions on multiple scales in multiple places, a difficult task for an architect, but one that is more and more necessary every day.

Two Projects in Norway by PUSHAK

In response to the country's phenomenal natural beauty, Norway has undertaken on a National Tourist Routes project, "designed to touch the hearts and souls of tourists by showcasing magnificent scenery in a harmonious and non-exploitive way." By 2015, eighteen sections of highway, or 1,850 kilometers (1,150 miles), are scheduled to become tourist routes. While these routes reward the journey, they also entice the traveler with destinations -- new and old, natural and man-made -- and places to just stop, relax, and take in a view.

As part of the Norwegian Public Roads Administration's efforts, numerous amenities, rest stops and other facilities have been commissioned for locations along the routes. Two of these commissions were awarded to four young women, the youngest architects for any of the commissions, who go by PUSHAK. Their design for Lillefjord (top two images) is a hybrid structure, a bridge and rest stop in one. This duality is carried into the design, where the steel structures is expressed on the outside and a wood cladding creates an inviting "interior" to the bridge.

PUSHAK's design for Snefjord is a bit more playful, composed of seemingly randomly-placed boxes on one of Norway's most northern shores. The tapered section allows water and snow to shed off the top, while also directing the gaze outwards towards specific points of interest. Further, the sloped back allows one to lean back comfortably, and it allows two persons or groups to use each box at once while they retain some privacy.

In each case the architects are using steel and wood in economical means, recalling the desire for harmony and non-exploitative means. Each sits gently upon its site, letting nature flow underneath via its function (bridge) or design (raised). They're simple yet creative responses that don't steal the show from the scenery though don't recede into nothingness either.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Who Da Tastemakers?

According to Forbes Magazine, these are the Top 10 Tastemakers -- those "most influencing our culture" -- in architecture (# press mentions -- perhaps a deciding factor in the creation of the list, it's not clear -- in parentheses):

Top L-R: David Adjaye (198), Enrique Norten (66), Norman Foster (496), Thom Mayne (91), James Corner (3)
Bottom L-R: Diller and Scofidio (60), Zaha Hadid (325), Robert Fox, Jr. (7), Sejima and Nishizawa (68), Ben Van Berkel (71)

According to the article, these ten "pioneer new building techniques, cross cultures and blur boundaries between architecture, art, landscape design and urban planning. They impact more then just aesthetics; they're changing the way we live." Citing United Nations' estimates that, "by 2015, there will be 21 megacities with populations over 10 million," the magazine gives architects the responsibility of: "managing this growth and finding innovative ways to maximize scarce space and resources."

Given that Frank Gehry, Richard Meier, Daniel Libeskind, and Santiago Calatrava are mentioned in the article but aren't on the list, it appears that "starchitects" won't be the ones taking on this responsibility. It's the "not yet household names" that will (somehow) deal with this situation, even though architects -- at least in the United States -- account for a tiny fraction of what's built.

Regardless, the article accurately reflects the need for architects to redefine what they do: dealing with landscape and urban design as well as building design, dealing with social and political concerns as well as formal ones, thinking about their responsibilities in an increasingly crowded and environmentally damaged world. In many ways they hit the nail on the head, but does the list accurately reflect these concerns? To me, the list reflects the usual formal emphasis rather than the ones the magazine is calling for.

(via Archinect)

Friday, March 16, 2007

Today's archidose #71

Wetland_01 by ReallyLucky.
The Hong Kong Wetland Park by the Architectural Services Department.

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Reminder: Amartya Sen

Here's a reminder for those in New York to attend tonight's annual Lewis Mumford lecture of the Urban Design Program at City College. Nobel Prize winning economist Amartya Sen will talk about the Urbanity of Calcutta. Click image for larger view, details.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Today's archidose #70

void by twoeightnine.
I.M. Pei's East Building of Washington, D.C.'s National Gallery of Art.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Banana Architects

A few weeks ago I heard about Banana Republic's new advertising campaign that features "architects at work." I have yet to come across their print ads, but the other day I saw these displays at their Rockefeller Center store.

Gawker interviewed an architect about the portrayal of architects in these ads. "Frankie" said, "in my experience no architects dress like that - the Liebeskind [sic] eyeglasses and black turtleneck/blazer, German expressionist style is still the bottom line at most nyc offices. Most people are executing variations on this basic Sprockets-y theme."

To me, it doesn't really seem to matter which profession Banana Republic uses as a backdrop (or in the case of the windows "frontdrop") for their M.O.R. clothes, as long as it appeals or relates to their target demographic. It is interesting, though, how the symbols of architecture -- some mythic, some anachronistic -- are used to connote who is wearing them; take away these objects and it could be practically anybody or, to paraphrase Frankie, anybody but architects.