Which building is better, the duck or the ornamented shed? More importantly, what kind of architecture does the average American prefer? In their landmark 1972 publication Learning From Las Vegas, Denise Scott Brown and Robert Venturi probed these questions by turning their back on paternalistic modernism in favor of the glowing, overtly kitsch, and symbolic Mecca of the Las Vegas strip. From a chance encounter during a meeting in the Library of Fine Arts at the University of Pennsylvania and shared trips to the strip to critically shaping a new generation of architects, discover the hidden details of the romance and city that defined postmodernism in this latest episode from 99% Invisible.
Following a clandestine interaction following a meeting to discuss the destruction of the 1890 Library of Fine Arts at the University of Pensilvania—where Scott Brown and Venturi taught—the pair discovered their shared interest in the historic and ornamental. Both were fond of decorative architecture and soon began sharing research and even teaching alongside one another. After relocating from the University of Pennsylvania to Berkley, Scott Brown stumbled upon the neon sea of the Las Vegas strip. “‘Is this love or is this hate?” Scott Brown remembers asking herself. “Las Vegas was a place people voted for with their feet…hey went there in droves.” In 1966, she invited Venturi for a visit.
The pair spent four days taking pictures, driving the strip and, ultimately, falling in love. Scott Brown would eventually propose to Venturi and move back to the east coast where they would both take up positions at Yale. Still enamored with the city, Scott Brown and Venturi planned a twelve-week-long studio in Las Vegas where they made notes, conducted interviews, drew maps, took photos, walked the strip, and attended casino openings.
Scott Brown and Venturi compiled the work of their student’s with the help of teaching assistant Steven Izenour in 1972 to form the seminal Learning from Las Vegas. Their book asked architects to step down from their corporate towers and consider the everyday places people enjoy, to embrace Main Street instead of the Champs-Élysées.
Perhaps the most famous inclusion in the publications was the discussion of the duck and the ornamented shed—a building symbolic of its program constructed by a modernist block that required signage to express its meaning. Venturi and Scott Brown wanted to make buildings legible. Thus, not every structure needed a sign or symbolic form but desperately needed to communicate beyond the impotent glazed modernist tower filling American cities.
While the book was a call to arms for the following postmodern movement, Scott Brown has noted that Learning from Las Vegas is less about the strip itself and more about critically engaging the everyday. But, perhaps we could say the book is as much about architecture as it is about love.
How can we plan a better city? The answer has confounded architects and urban planners since the birth of the industrial city. One attempt at answering came in the form of a spectacular modernist proposal outside of Amsterdam called the Bijlmermeer. And, as a new two-part episode by 99% Invisible reveals, it failed miserably.
There is no female pronoun for architect in Italian, so a new project, Architette, was born aiming to professionally promote the female title in Italian. The project's objective consists of monitoring all-male juries and conferences, mentoring young generations on the ground to advocate for a more heterogeneous and fair professional landscape, where women can be an inspirational reference in architecture.
The project had been widely covered in the media and it opened a broad, intense, public debate on the use of the feminine term for the profession. Francesca Perani decided to keep the discussion alive and, with 16 other collaborators, she founded the collective editorial team RebelArchitette backing professional women in architecture, advocating both the use of the feminine term and the promotion of female role models in architecture. The promotion of the feminine term, targetting mainly architecture students and young professionals is also one of its focal points.
The collective, RebelArchitette, developed the online digital book ARCHITETTE = WOMEN ARCHITECTS / 1⁄2 Here We are! which delivers a powerful, international, and engaging cultural project. The first section explores 183 architectural studios, from the 1800s to the present day, looking at award-winning architects to lesser-known, yet inspirational profiles. This non-profit project will be completed with the online publication of 365 biographies of women architects from all over the world to coincide with the opening of Biennale Architettura, in Venice, Italy 2018 (26th May - 25th November).
The choice of profiles is based on constant, active search for investigation of dynamic women architects, each notable for inspiring, distinctive features: producing outstanding architecture, achieving academics results, exploring new architectural paths, working in problem areas, engaging with equality, social and environmental issues, or even spearheading the attainment of architect licences for women. All biographies are edited following a pattern: academic studies, experiences, studio’s most prominent projects and awards, to better represent the progression and choices that guide a successful professional. Women-driven studios showcased in the selection feature single female architects, couples (woman+man), all female teams. The reason behind this selection is to break the stereotype of studio where women are relegated to a supporting role in a male-dominated show.
The project is intended to be both a source of inspiration for young professional women in design and a directory available to anyone who is interested in a fairer representation of the work of women in architecture (such as journalists, professional bodies, event or jury organizers, academics).
RebelArchitette - Editorial Team: Founder and curator: Francesca Perani Editing Managers: Anna Serafini, Claudia Manenti, Caterina Pilar Palumbo, and Ilenia Perlotti Editing team: Giulia Baroni, Laura Belotti, Silvia Carrara, Martina Colombari, Martina Ottaviano, Elena Fabrizio, Mary Kaldani, Giusy Paterno, and Tatiana Vinciguerra Press releases: Marta Brambilla Translation: Giovanna Bosis and Domenica Bona Divisare head curator: Domenica Bona
The Dubai-based firm, X-Architects, have found inspiration in the cultural and architectural heritage of Islam for their new design. The Revelation Mosque, a +2500 square meter project, aims to create a new "heart of the neighborhood" in Abu Dhabi, UAE. In creating a generous urban void among a towering context, the proposal offers an immersive escape from everyday life, where the public (regardless of religion) can gather, communicate, and interact with one another.
The design of the large, asymmetric dome has three core functions. Its form both references traditional Mosque typologies and symbolizes the Jabal Al Noor, a spiritual mountain where the Quran was said to have been revealed. Its simple plan maximizes the public space at the street level, aiming to draw visitors in and point towards the Qibla direction for prayer. While the stepped, spiral facade floods the interiors with a soft glow of diffused light. A water feature wraps around the dome's front as the Minaret organically rises at its back, emphasizing the concept of an urban oasis where the architect hopes the building can “connect the earth with the sky.”
The main prayer space has distinct cave-like qualities in its irregular, textured concrete walls, where domes are concealed within domes. This imagery continues into the public entrances that are carved into the facade at strategic points, “to generate an active social public space in the middle of the dense urban fabric.” A footbridge gives access to the central dome over the recessed topography, which itself creates a shaded amphitheater; all decisions made to maximize the potential for social interaction on the outside while maintaining a peaceful setting for prayer on the inside.
Specializing in the merge of Arab culture and modern design, X-Architects undertake research that supports the contextual sensitivity showcased in their work. The practice has several projects currently under construction, with the Revelation Mosque scheduled to be built soon.
Design Team: Ahmed Al-Ali, Farid Esmaeil, Cristian Vivas, Marija Krsmanovic, Piyush Bajpai, Yazeed Obeid, Samar Halloum, Abdullah Bashir, Nazish Khushrudin, Mina Eldaba, Staffan Svensson, Micro Urban, Hala Al Juboori, Emerson Angeles
One year after the launch of Resilient by Design's Bay Area Challenge, the final nine design concepts have been selected. The Bay Area Challenge launched with a call to action to "bring together local residents, community organizations, public officials and local, national, and international experts to develop innovative solutions that will strengthen our region's resilience to sea level rise, severe storms, flooding, and earthquakes." The idea formulated as a “blueprint for resilience” that can be replicated and utilized locally and globally. Other urban challenges will also be addressed, including housing, transport, health and economic disparity as a means of not just protecting the current regions, but strengthening them.
The elite, collaborative teams include world-renowned designers like BIG, Mithun and HASSEL+.
Read on for more about each of the final design concepts.
The Estuary Commons: People, Place, and Path Forward
All Bay Collective
San Leandro Bay
From the architects -
To protect local neighborhoods and restore native habitats, All Bay Collective reimagines the shoreline of San Leandro Bay with the creation of Estuary Commons. Through the construction of ponds, landforms, and expanded streams, the communities of Deep East Oakland, Alameda, and San Leandro will not only be able to adapt to sea-level rise and groundwater flooding, but will also have a network of flourishing greenways to enjoy for generations to come. The All Bay Collective worked closely with eight community organizations to move community groups from the margins to the center of the design and planning process.
City of San Francisco: Bayview-Hunters Point, Dogpatch, and Potrero Hill
From the architects -
Islais Creek - Hyper-Creek is a vision for the area where ecology and industry co-exist in harmony.
The BIG + ONE + Sherwood unveiled six proposed pilot projects, developed together with stakeholders and local communities, to kickstart a long-term process toward realizing the overall vision. At the center of their proposal is a large park with a restored tidal creek system and soft shoreline shares the area with maritime functions, light manufacturing, and logistics that have formed the area’s economic backbone for decades. The park plays an important role in building physical and social resilience: it retains, conveys and cleans water, protecting the surrounding neighborhoods while providing amenities and benefits to the community.
Elevate San Rafael
San Rafael, Marin County
From the architects -
Elevate San Rafael is a new paradigm for responding to complex environmental change and simply what needs to be done: occupy higher elevations and raise the quality of life and social connection for everyone. It proposes evolving the city by combining time-tested approaches to coastal adaptation with a moral, financial, and infrastructural agenda for large-scale preparation.
The Grand Bayway
San Pablo Bay, Sonoma & Napa County
From the architects -
State Highway 37, a low-lying commute route that skirts the northern edge of San Pablo Bay, is both traffic-choked and increasingly flooded due to sea level rise. Sitting atop a precarious levee that confines an immense but compromised marsh complex, Fraser Shilling has observed, “the highway has the dubious distinction of constricting both traffic and tidal flows”. The project considers a new future for this highway as an elevated scenic byway, creating an iconic “front door” to a vast ecological open space previously known to few. Accessible to bikes, runners, kayaks, campers, and fishermen, the Grand Bayway will become a Central Park for more 21st century sensibilities in rapidly expanding North Bay communities.
Collect & Connect - Resilient South City is a proposal to create more public green space and continuous public access along South San Francisco’s Colma Creek, aiming to reduce the impacts of flooding, mitigate against sea-level rise vulnerability, restore native flora and fauna, and create more amenity and healthy lifestyle opportunities by connecting a continuous public corridor from the Orange Memorial Park to a new public park at the shoreline.
Designing Our Own Solutions
P+SET (Permaculture and Social Equity Team)
Marin City, Marin County
From the architects -
The Permaculture and Social Equity Team proposed a social design process to build community capacity in leading the challenges of coastal adaptation and resiliency planning. The team was invited to implement their process in Marin City by Shore Up Marin, an environmental justice, and resiliency planning organization. Out of the process grew a capacity building program, resulting in an inspiring People’s Plan to authentically reflect the aspirations and intentions of the resident community. An intergenerational cohort expanded existing knowledge for assessing and addressing risks, developing near and long-term strategies with a prioritized set of projects to be partially implemented as early as this summer.
Unlock Alameda Creek
Alameda Creek, Alameda County
From the architects -
Unlock Alameda Creek is an implementable project that links Alameda Creek with its historic baylands. By reconnecting sediment flows from Alameda Creek to the marshes and mudflats at the Bay’s edge, the proposal creates protective ecological infrastructure that adapts to sea level rise. It provides a sustainable supply of sediment to bay marshes and mudflats for sea level rise adaptation, reconnects migratory fish with their historic spawning grounds, and introduces a network of community spaces that reclaim the creek as a place for people, building an ethos and awareness around our public sediment resources.
The ouR-HOME sea level rise response projects are linked to the health and financial well-being of residents that have been traditionally shut out of opportunities to improve health and family wealth. Small lot housing, a community land trust, social impact bonds and community infrastructure combine to lower the cost of entry to home ownership. Green infrastructure proposals to bring the ‘marsh to Main Street’ with a horizontal levee, and plant 20,000 trees to filter air and water, are strategies that can be implemented through existing local job and career programs – benefiting the people in North Richmond.
The “Sponge” is a concept for using nature and natural systems as a primary tool for climate adaptation and resiliency in the South Bay, inspired by both the historic function of the region’s inter-tidal marshlands as flood protection, as well as by the remarkable efforts to restore the South Bay Salt Ponds. The potential of a large-scale assemblage of remnant marshlands, newly restored salt ponds and newly constructed wetlands as the core component of a regional flood protection strategy is at once radically innovative, but also resonant with the South Bay landscape today. In addition to addressing climate adaptation, the South Bay Sponge can give the landscapes of the South Bay a powerful and legible identity.
Havana is often referred to as a time machine that transports visitors to a particular moment in history, seemingly frozen in time. While it is a city that boasts an exhaustive timeline of imported styles, Havana in the present day is not defined by a singular historical era—either in its political climate or in its architectural zeitgeist.
Over the decades, the Cuban Revolution has had powerful domestic and international repercussions. In particular, it transformed Cuba’s relationship with the United States. But efforts to improve diplomatic relations have gained momentum in recent years, with the teetering lift of the embargo that exacerbated a David and Goliath situation and left a lasting economic impact on the Cuban people. Havana’s skyline has hardly altered since the fall of the Soviet Union, and the city became shut off from the rest of the world, having to rely heavily on its own resources. Today, the government in Havana occupies the gap between the last stance of post-Cold War communism, and the looming influence of Capitalism, a situation which reveals itself in the variety of distinct architectural styles. These seven sites in the island nation’s capital best explain the story about where Havana has been, and offer a prediction as to where it may head next.
The Cuban National Schools of Arts, imagined by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, and designed by Rocco Porro, are perhaps the most outstanding architectural achievements of the Cuban Revolution. The visual arts building, arguably the most provocative, was also a metaphor for Cuba’s past, present, and future. As you walk down the curved corridors, it’s impossible to see what lies beyond. The loss of time and direction became a metaphor for this new chapter in Cuban history. This building embodied both the excitement and apprehension within this new revolution with its idiosyncratic structures. This school was a true product of the revolution for another reason—the all-brick structures were influenced by the US embargo which caused Cuba to experience a shortage of steel. Unfortunately, Castro’s dream was quickly abandoned and the schools lost funding. They were deserted while under construction and still stand in ruins to this day.
Known by locals as "La Espada de Rusia," meaning "the Russian sword," the Soviet-era embassy is a looming reminder of Cuba’s relationship with the former USSR. Although the constructivist tower and surrounding compound now belong to Russian diplomats and represent a progressive political change, “The Russian Sword” still heavily dominates the city skyline.
Christopher Columbus Cemetery
Established in 1876, the Cementerio de Cristobal Colón was designed around a central cathedral, inspired by the Florence Cathedral. The cemetery is organized by a grid of central avenues and smaller side streets which arranges the space according to rank and social status. The wealthy and notable graves occupy prominent streets, and the lower class is regulated to the outskirts of the site. Walking through Colón Cemetery is like walking right through chapters of Cuban history, with more than 500 major mausoleums and family vaults built in styles ranging from renaissance, to neoclassical, and even art deco. More than 800,000 people are buried there, and because the real estate is hard to come by, after three years, bodies are exhumed and put into storage to make room for more interments.
Old Havana, the place where Camila Cabello famously left half her heart, is located in the city center where specific moments of architectural history and a hesitation towards modern progress are perhaps the most evident. Layers of the diverse imported styles make it a museum of sorts, and reveal brightly colored art nouveau, art deco, neoclassical, Spanish baroque, and Moorish buildings that line the narrow streets and open up into heavily used public plazas. This area is perhaps the most picturesque and well-known representation of Cuban architecture and culture.
Coppelia is another mark Castro left on Cuba, representing his interest in the modernist style and his love for ice cream. Built on the site of a former hospital, the building itself is one of the world’s largest ice cream parlors and features five massive white granite discs annexed to one great helicoidal staircase. The space is contained under one large roof with colored glass and wooden panels to divide up seating areas. This state-run parlor looks like a spaceship that crashed into a forest of palm trees, and serves 35,000 customers each day.
Hotel Habana Libre
The Hilton Hotel, which opened in 1958, was once a symbol of capitalism. It was a place where Americans could escape to a foreign land, while still being afforded the luxury of a cheeseburger, or an air-conditioned suite. It represented a shift in Cuba’s alliances and a place where international investors were invited with open arms. However, after being open for only six months, Castro closed down this symbol of American influence, converted it into his provisional headquarters, and invited other Latin American leaders to hold posts there as well. His office was set up in room 2324 and was where he filmed press conferences and announcements. Now, the hotel has been returned to its original use, and is currently called the Habana Libre.
Revolution Square, the city’s civic center which now sits as a large parking lot, is another reminder of the Cuban Revolution. The site features landmarks including the famous Jose Marti Memorial, a place where Castro once stood and addressed his people. The edge of the site is held by other Soviet-era buildings which have been transformed into monuments through welded artwork depicting Che Guevara and Castro’s confidant, Camilo Cienfuegos.
Location: Spijkerkade 33, 1021 JS Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Lead Architect: Bjarne Mastenbroek
Area: 4850.0 m2
Project Year: 2016
Other Participants: Theo Tulp
Client: Hamer & Spijker
Text description provided by the architects. SeARCH has designed a new residential building of 120 studio apartments for students or young professionals, located right beside our own offices on the Spijkerkade in Amsterdam North.
The district, originally an industrial area, is undergoing very rapid transformations. In the urban redevelopment process, creative industries are finding their place in the former factories and warehouses, creating a new dynamism in the North. With the development of new transport links from the City Centre district to North district, such as a new metro line and a pedestrian bridge, the area is in need of new housing. Therefore this was the ideal location for this residential complex.
The individual studios are fully furnished, prefabricated concrete modules, which are stacked on the building site in six layers of 20 units.
On the ground floor the modules have extra height to be used as the entrance of the housing building, the concierge office, postal boxes, bicycle storage, Laundromat and a communal lounge. The complex is built in a U shape around a central garden and terrace with barbecue, open to all residents.
The façade is made of COR-TEN steel elements added to the prefab modules to create circulations and private balconies with a view towards the IJ River. It reveals its unique color after rainy days and enhances the industrial character of the building.
Text description provided by the architects. The village of Shicang, whose residents belong to a Hakka ethnic group, is located in a narrow valley in the south of Songyang Country. The Hakka are also referred to as ‘guests’, since they migrated here as refugees from northern regions in the past centuries. They have retained their special status until today, which is characterized by the strong internal cohesion of the group.
The name of the village of Shicang can be translated as stone storage, which in turn refers to a legend, according to which there were able to supply themselves. Greedy inhabitants allegedly broke open the cave, which consequently lost its ability to produce grain. In place of the grain, it was afterwards only possible to find stones.
To commemorate this story, which gave the village its name, Xu Tiantian developed a building that takes up the local construction of bridges and residential buildings. Coarsely hewn stones are layered in a wild lattice to create massive walls that continue the slope on the edge of the village out into the landscape. The architecture is connected with the landscape by means of various sequences of spaces both inside and out.
An existing irrigation channel was guided over the roof and provides water, which, on particular days, is sprayed by nozzles to create a water curtain on the inside. By means of a linear opening in the roof, sunlight falls on the water curtain, where a rainbow forms. This temporary phenomenon attracts visitors, who then enliven neighboring villages as well.
The museum itself has no controlled access and only exhibits copies of, in part, several-hundred-year-old Hakka indentures. The inspiration from the local legend situates the museum, with which both craftsmanship and material culture have been revitalized.
Text description provided by the architects. Located in the central square of Nha Trang City, the building stands out among regular square blocks. The façade area is quite narrow, so the architect has transformed the monotonous glasses into colorful "walles". A part of elevation space is used as a place to plant trees, as a result, it creates "green" balconies, brings the comfort feelings to the users. The façade area is quite narrow but the land plot is such a corner plot so the whole room is designed to receive direct natural wind and sunlight. All rooms come with sea views.
From the perspective of architects, we always want a building that impresses visitors from viewing angles, feelings to the use which need to be most comfortable and convenient. Reducing the construction cost and operation of the building are also paid attention, so all the materials in the building are purely local materials, solar cells that provide adequate hot water for all the rooms, lighting system, there are 100% of rooms receiving direct lighting, so it minimizes the use of electricity.
After the research process on climate in Nha Trang, we shall offer solutions as follows: The South elevation will suffer the least impact from the sun, so the architectural solution will extend the entire doors toward this direction. Similarly, the hotel rooms are also facing the south for enjoying the wind and natural light. Due to narrow elevation (7m) with the large height (60m), so the building toward the east and south (main view) is processed in the form of connection, transition, and interference, to relieve the sense of proportion and townhouse form for the building.
In all hotel rooms, the building elevation is inspired by a traditional roof (sloped roof tiles) and stylized in combination with green tree pots that are arranged sequentially in a chain to create a crystal form for covering the entire building with more than 120 pots cleverly arranged throughout the entire elevation. Therefore, when in the room, visitors will feel the light and green trees in combination with the views through the windows like a house, eliminating the feelings of dryness and facilitating the intimate relationship.
Located just a few hundred meters from the checkpoint to Jerusalem and a mile from the centre of Bethlehem, the Walled-Off Hotel (a play on Waldorf) project features works of art and artistically designed rooms — it serves as a habitable way to raise funds and awareness, too.
Now, the hotel has released a set of works depicting the West Bank barrier and other regional art pieces by Banksy, rendered in miniature and only available to those who visit (most are not available online).
Many of these are framed as works of “anticipatory art,” designed to foreshadow a better future of trust and interconnection in the region.
“The gift shop is situated towards the back of the hotel and sells items created exclusively for the Walled Off by Banksy. It should not be confused with the ‘Banksy Shop’ next door – which has nothing to do with Banksy at all,” note the proprietors. “All profits from sales go towards sustaining the hotel and social projects.”
With the fresh move by the Trump White House of the U.S. embassy, travelers are assured they will be safe, but also warned to use caution and pay attention to current events before traveling. And, of course: exit through the gift shop.
For some people, decorating your home comes naturally. You just have an eye for detail, and eye for what complements one another, and an eye for simply what works. For others, though, decorating can be a challenge, and one small mistake can turn an attractive look into something you’re embarrassed to show off. If you’re just beginning to decorate your home, or if decorating just isn’t in your blood, here are six beginner tips for decorating your home that will make the entire process easier on you.
Pick a style or theme.
Your home should have one overall style or theme that is consistent from room to room. For instance, you cannot go French style in the living room and then futuristic Jetsons in the kitchen—it simply won’t work! Instead, think of the style that you absolutely love and then use that to start decorating your home. This way, you will have an idea of what colors, furniture, and other décor items would make sense for your space, and you’ll be able to narrow down your options so you’re not so overwhelmed.
Choose complimentary colors.
Your walls are going to say a lot for the look of your room, so you want to make sure you’re picking complimentary colors and not just sticking to one solid look. For instance, lighter colors will make a space feel bigger, but you can always compliment that color with one wall that’s painted darker. This creates and abstract in the home but helps give the room some character. Most paint companies will offer you swatches of what colors work well together. This way you don’t have to try and figure it all out on your own.
Test the paint first.
Before you buy gallons of paint in a color you love from a swatch you saw at a paint store, you should first buy a sample of the paint and use it on a wall in your home. You’ll be surprised at how much a color can change from a paint swatch to a full wall, and you may just find that you don’t like the way it looks when it’s there. Doing it this way will save you from overspending and will help you make the right overall decision.
When it comes to putting your furniture in your space, you should first think about what’s functional. For instance, if your living space is tiny, then opting for an oversized sectional may not be the best idea. Instead, try to focus on what would work in the space from a functional level. Obviously, you don’t want to overcrowd your space with too much furniture, and you don’t want to pick something that simply doesn’t work with the flow of your home. Using a virtual room app can help you find the best layout of your space without the physical activity of moving your furniture around.
Don’t overdo it.
When you have a theme or style for your home, it’s also important not to overdo it. For instance, if you have a love for pigs, putting pigs all over your home is not the best move to make. After all, chances are you make get sick of it after a while, and then you’ll just be starting from scratch. If you have a theme for your home, be sure the décor pieces are subtle so that it adds to the space but doesn’t overwhelm those who step inside. Visiting this home décor blog will help you fine-tune your decorating skills and make the most of your space.
Keep patterns simple.
Once you land on a color, you’ll have other items you’ll need to choose, such as couches, chairs, rugs, curtains, etc. All of these items will have colors or patterns of their own, and this is where design can become overwhelming and troublesome. When it comes to patterns, you want to keep things simple. For instance, if your couch has a pattern on it, you want to use solid colors for your rug and your curtains. If you have too many different patterns happening in one room, it will create an uneven balance that simply doesn’t work in your favor.
Decorating your home doesn’t have to be stressful or complicated. Instead, if you start slowly and learn the basics, you’ll have an easier time finding what works best for your space and what compliments your style.
A notorious red light district and black market before it was swept and shut down by authorities in 2005, the cavernous space beneath an overpass in Yokohama sat empty for years until a social redevelopment project gave it a new lease on life. The Koganecho Centre is a complex of cultural spaces tucked between the concrete columns, which act to unify the disparate architectural styles of the individual buildings. Not only has the project made the space functional again for residents of Japan’s second most populous city, it’s given a new identity to a district that was flailing.
Understanding the value of this adaptive reuse project requires knowing a little of Koganecho’s history. The area was razed to the ground by American B-29s during World War II, and the black market sprung up among the ruins. It quickly gained an international reputation after William S. Burroughs extolled the virtues of its drugs. At its peak, it contained 257 shops, many controlled by gangs. It may not have been legal or safe, but nobody could say it wasn’t vibrant. After police wiped it out, Koganecho became a ghost town.
It was art that would bring it back to life, albeit in virtually unrecognizable form. The Koganecho Area Management Center worked with the City of Yokohama and the Keikyu railway company to create an urban renewal project that makes use of the existing structures. Koizumi Atelier, Nishikura Architectural Design Office, Workstation, Contemporaries and Studio 2A were the firms invited to design five structures: a meeting space, an open-air piazza, an artist’s atelier, an art gallery and a cafe. Together, the new buildings occupy a 328-foot stretch beneath the overpass.
Some of them are set squarely within the space between the columns while others are inserted at angles, built around the concrete structures. Some look lightweight and impermanent with corrugated metallic walls, and some as solid as the bridge itself. Jagged rooflines, warm wood steps, large windows and textured surfaces imbue the new complex with warmth and character.
To venture deeper into each one of these structures and learn more about the project, check out this profile on Domus.
C.F. Møller Architects have collaborated with Kristin Jarmund Architects and Rodeo Architects in the design of a new urban realm at Oslo Central Station in Norway, comprising a square, hotel, and high-rise building. The scheme seeks to create an attractive recreational area around the transport hub, connecting different areas and terrain differences in an organized, efficient flow.
Located at the intersection of three urban districts, the scheme seeks to underline the meeting of special characteristics and qualities of the distinctive areas. Described as an “urban life generator," the scheme is designed to handle a large influx of transport users while remaining an attractive place to dwell.
While buildings account for 100% of the existing site’s area, the proposal seeks to give 50% of the site to publically accessible urban space. At ground level, the scheme establishes a “continuous landscape” linking the area with the river Akerselva while eliminating level differences.
Meanwhile, two new buildings will stand on a common base with the new square, comprising a hotel to the west, and office building to the east. Various terrace rings function as roof gardens and vantage points for views across the city while showcasing life inside the buildings through large window apertures.
For the scheme’s development, the architectural team worked in collaboration with Bollinger & Grohmann Engineers and Transsolar.
C.F Møller and MT Højgaard have unveiled their vision of a new Railway Quarter in Aarhus, Denmark, transforming the area into a car-free urban district. Covering 1,180,000 square feet (110,000 square meters) of new construction, the area will predominantly contain residential buildings up to six stories high, as well as retail and recreational areas.
A wall could look as flat as flat gets until street artist Peeta gets his hands on it with a can of spray paint, distorting its surface, confusing its perspective with three-dimensional illusions. Sometimes, the effect is so convincing, you can’t tell which windows are real and which ones are painted, or whether some elements of the composition really are popping out beyond the wall. Hint: if you think they are, like in the case of the windows on the green-roofed building below, you’re probably wrong.
Peeta – real name Manuel Di Rita, a resident of Venice, Italy who’s been painting graffiti since 1993 – has really upped his game over the last few years. A member of Padova-based EAD crew and New York City-based FX and RWK crews, Peeta also works on canvas and with actual 3D sculpture in PVC, bronze, acrylic resin and fiberglass. His experience with sculptural media really shows in his newest murals, which take the familiar forms of letter-based street art and manipulate them into abstract creations.
“Today, through my anamorphic works I redesign the volumes of any kind of surface involved, thus causing with my paintings a temporary interruption of normality by altering the perception of familiar contexts and so raising a different understanding of spaces, and consequently, of reality as a whole,” says Peeta.
“Metaphorically, I want to neutralize preconceptions and urging the emergence of new perspectives. Anamorphism totally embodies the intent, always pivotal in my production, to reveal the deceptiveness of human perception, the fallacy of narrow and fixed points of view through visual tricks which, proceeding from the attempt to confer a three-dimensional semblance on a pictorial representation, ultimately reveal their will to deceive.”
Peeta’s works have popped up – literally – all over the world, from China to Oregon to Barcelona. Give him a follow on Instagram @peeta_ead to keep up with his anamorphic works and occasionally get some interesting backstory on particular pieces.
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