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ArchDaily's 2019 Building of the Year Awards are Now Open for Nominations

18 February, 2019 - 17:40

2018 marked a banner year for ArchDaily. Our global audience has continued to grow in leaps and bounds, taking advantage of the nearly 40,000 new articles and 4300 projects added to our site. We are proud and excited to reach readers in every corner of the world, and we savor the opportunity to continue sharing the inspiration, knowledge, and tools needed to design a positive urbanizing world.

We recently shared with our readers the trends that will define the field of architecture in 2019. We are able to confidently identify these trends, not just because of our experience in reporting on them but also due to our data-driven approach. We are committed to listening to and sharing the interests of our readers - and no effort exemplifies this better than our annual Building of the Year awards.

The 2019 edition of BOTY, presented in partnership with Unreal Engine, is a particularly exciting one for ArchDaily, as it marks ten consecutive years of our flagship award program. With the Building of the Year award, we ask you, the reader, to share in the responsibility of recognizing and rewarding the projects making an impact in the profession. In sharing your opinion, you become part of an unbiased and representative network of jurors and peers that have been dedicated to elevating the most relevant projects in the profession of the past decade.

Over the next three weeks, your collective wisdom will whittle the more than 4,000 projects published in the last year to just 15 stand-outs––the best project in each category on ArchDaily.

This is your chance to reward the architecture you love by nominating your favorite for the 2019 Building of the Year Awards!

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Towards Openness

18 February, 2019 - 15:00
Towards Openness
Li Hu, Huang Wenjing
ar+d (Applied Research + Design), February 2018

Paperback | 6-3/4 x 9 inches | 288 pages | English | ISBN: 978-1940743226 | $35.00

Publisher Description:
Drawn from keen observation of the rapidly changing social economic landscape of China, and using OPEN projects as case studies, Towards Openness is a symphony of seven built projects and six idea chapters which are intriguingly interwoven to offer an in-depth examination of OPEN’s unique practice and the critical thinking underlying their work, work that actively engages with the rapid transformation of the society, with unwavering hope for a better future.

Towards Openness offers a unique approach to understanding the transformational power of architecture, presenting a humanistic approach to architecture in relation to nature, touching upon our fundamental sensitivity as human beings to go far beyond the boundaries of nations. This book challenges the preconceived and often prejudicial notions of what Chinese architecture ought to be, by providing a fresh perspective on contemporary architectural practice in China through the innovative work of OPEN.dDAB Commentary:
OPEN Architecture was founded by Li Hu and Huang Wenjing in New York City in 2003, and five years later they established a Beijing Office. In the ensuing decade the studio has realized just over a half-dozen impressive projects in China: Gehua Youth and Cultural Center (2012), Beijing No.4 High School Fangshan Campus (2014), Stepped Courtyards (2014), HEX-SYS (2015), Tsinghua Ocean Center (2016), Pingshan Performing Arts Center (2018), and UCCA Dune Art Museum (2018). I use the word impressive to describe the seven projects that make up Towards Openness in regards to their size, their diversity, and the quality of their designs, especially the way the architects shape outdoor and interstitial projects. The scale and diversity of their projects arises largely from their settings, the country in the midst of the largest and quickest modernization and urban migration in history.

Inserted between the seven projects are six sections that illuminate OPEN's take on China's urbanization this century. Articulated as text and drawings on yellow pages, these inserts take on phrases constructed around the practice's name – OPEN city, OPEN community, OPEN system, OPEN nature, OPEN institution, OPEN future – making them a mix of manifesto and branding. These illustrations culminate in the OPEN CITY, an aerial perspective of OPEN's built and unbuilt projects in a compact seaside context (also visible on the cover). This imaginary city captures the creativity of OPEN's designs, but it also conveys just how much their compositions of solids and voices are shaped by the Chinese urban context of large parcels and larger populations.Spreads:

Author Bios:
LI Hu is founding partner of OPEN Architecture, visiting professor at the Tsinghua University School of Architecture, former partner of Steven Holl Architects, and director of Columbia University GSAPP’s Studio-X Beijing. HUANG Wenjing is founding partner of OPEN Architecture, visiting professor at Tsinghua University.Purchase Links:
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Sources of Modern Architecture

17 February, 2019 - 15:00
Sources of Modern Architecture: A Critical Bibliography
Dennis Sharp
Granada Publishing, 1981 (Second Edition)

Hardcover | Page Size inches | # pages | # illustrations | Languages | ISBN: 0246112182 | $X.00

Publisher Description:
This unique guide to the literature of modern architecture has been completely revised, expanded and redesigned for its second edition.

The first section is devoted to books and articles on individual architects and to one or two influential critics and painters. This section is arranged alphabetically. After a brief biography each part is arranged in date order with the books and articles written
by the person appearing first; then follow the books and monographs on the individual and by other writers, and finally articles on the individual. The subject bibliography is concerned with general works on modern architecture and theory. The last section is devoted to books concerned with national trends and a selective list of magazines, related to the Modern Movement in architecture.dDAB Commentary:
If Sources of Modern Architecture -- first published in 1967 and then revised and enlarged in 1981 -- were released in the same form today it would carry the subtitle "A Bunch of Dead White Male Architects." The cover displays twelve of them, including Frank Lloyd Wright, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and Le Corbusier. Inside are dozens more (with quite a few I've never heard of ... Jaramir Krejcar, anyone?), with most accompanied by portraits just like the cover. With these portraits rather than photos of their buildings or even covers of their books (this is a bibliographic book, after all), the book draws attention to the who as much as the what. Fifty years ago, the fact they were in the majority white men (only two women are included: Alison Smithson and Denise Scott Brown, but only Smithson is pictured and both are included alongside their male partners) was no biggie, but the lack of diversity in the field is an issue today, when women make up the majority of architecture students but don't get registered or advance to the level of partner in the same numbers, and when the stats around architects of color are just as depressing.

Featuring this book was prompted by The Ordinary, a book about books I reviewed a few days ago. I have very few such books, but a few years ago I was prompted to buy a used copy of Sources of Modern Architecture as a means of finding books and other resources on modern architecture for a book I was writing. This "critical biography" by the late Dennis Sharp was helpful in terms of biographical information but it was so far out of date, and included many foreign-language books, that the bibliography did not do me much good. (Sharp's Twentieth Century Architecture: A Visual History was more helpful for my research.) Considering its publication dates, this is hardly a surprise. But would a book like this make sense today, when Wikipedia and other online resources are the go-to references on architects? No, unless it were critical in myriad ways to make it both relevant and helpful to scholars of architecture.Spreads:

Author Bio:
Dennis Sharp (1933-2010) was best known as an author, teacher and critic, with countless articles, books, exhibitions, events and magazines to his name. He helped set up Docomomo International and worked tirelessly to save modern buildings from demolition. He maintained an architectural practice throughout his working life.Purchase Links:
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Architecture as Cultural Identity: A Town in Bolivia Gets Bold & Bright

15 February, 2019 - 20:00
[ By SA Rogers in Architecture & Cities & Urbanism. ]

Whether you love it or hate it, the divisive architectural style taking over the Bolivian city of El Alto is certainly a departure from the norm, injecting bold shapes and colors into an otherwise average cityscape. Local architect Freddy Mamani, who has spent the last 18 years developing the signature style he calls “Nuevo Andino” (“New Andean”), felt that El Alto was too “monochrome.” Each of his buildings is like a unique sculptural work of art aiming to enliven the city and pay homage to ancient indigenous motifs of the area.

To understand and appreciate Mamani’s daring design decisions, it helps to know a little about the area’s history. El Alto is a the second-largest city in Bolivia outside the capital city of La Paz, and one of its fastest-growing urban centers. As millions of people have moved in from rural areas, El Alto has rapidly developed architecture and infrastructure to accommodate them. Most of the city’s residents are Amerindian, identifying as Aymara, an indigenous nation in the Andes and Altiplano regions whose ancestors lived in the area long before becoming subjects of the Inca in the 15th century and later the Spanish in the 16th century.

Centuries of colonization can wreak havoc on indigenous cultures, suppressing them (often violently) in the name of assimilation. The colors and forms of the Aymara spring back to life in a way that simply can’t be ignored through Mamani’s work. Locally, the buildings he has erected – as well as those inspired by his work – are referred to as “cholets,” reclaiming a derisive word combining “chalet” and “cholo” often used to dismiss the indigenous population in Latin American countries.

Each of these “cholets” has commercial space on the ground floor for shops, restaurants and services, while the second floor hosts a gathering space, the third offers apartments and the fourth contains the residence of the building’s owner. They all feature exaggerated geometries, asymmetrical proportions and the lines and motifs found in the ruins of the ancient Aymara city of Tiwanaku, a UNESCO World Heritage Site located about 37 miles away. Mamani has completed about 70 of these buildings in El Alto and 100 more across Bolivia.

While observers from around the world have sometimes derided the buildings with words like “ugly,” “rotten” and “gruel,” Mamani’s cholets simply weren’t made for them and don’t require their approval. Brash design choices may not be for everyone, but as many cities continue to homogenize and lose their cultural identities, some fight back against bland one-size-fits-all trends. And in El Alto, that has meant drawing in travelers who come just to take in the uniqueness of the city.

Dezeen has more information on this fascinating architectural style, including an interview with Freddy Mamani.

Photography by Yuri Segalerba

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12 February, 2019 - 15:00
Concrete: Case Studies in Conservation Practice
Catherine Croft, Susan Macdonald (Editors)
Getty Publications, January 2019

Paperback | 8-1/2 x 10-1/2 inches | 208 pages | 183 illustrations | English | ISBN: 978-1606065761 | $59.95

Publisher Description:
This timely volume brings together fourteen case studies that address the challenges of conserving the twentieth century’s most ubiquitous building material—concrete. Following a meeting of international heritage conservation professionals in 2013, the need for recent, thorough, and well-vetted case studies on conserving twentieth century heritage became clear. This book answers that need and kicks off a new series, Conserving Modern Heritage, aimed at sharing best practices.

The projects selected represent a range of building typologies, uses, and sizes, from the high-rise housing blocks of Le Corbusier’s Unité d’Habitation and public buildings such as London’s National Theatre to small monuments like the structures at Dudley Zoological Gardens and a sculpture by Donald Judd. The projects also represent a range of environmental and economic contexts. Some projects benefit from high levels of heritage protection and access to funding, while others have had to negotiate conservation with stringent cost limitations. All follow a rigorous conservation approach, beginning with a process of investigation and diagnosis to identify causes and target repairs, balanced with conservation requirements to preserve significance.
dDAB Commentary:
Last month a modern masterpiece in concrete entered the news, when Berthold Lubetkin's daughter said that "perhaps it's time to blow [the Penguin Pool at London Zoo] to smithereens." The 1934 structure by Lubetkin, with structural engineering by Ove Arup, has intertwining, paper-thin ramps that exploited the potential of reinforced concrete at the time. Sasha Lubetkin's call for its demolition arose from the pool having sat empty since the penguins were moved to a larger habitat in 2004. It was the innovative concrete that caused the penguin exodus: the concrete surfaces led to an infection, "bumblefoot," on the feet of the birds. So concrete drew attention to the small structure and its inhabitants, and concrete led to its irrelevance. While most innovative applications of reinforced concrete from the modern era eventually required technical attention (the Penguin Pool was restored in the 1980s), the circumstances of the bumblefoot seem unforeseeable. But reactions to Sasha Lubetkin's words (one architect said tearing it down would be "vandalism") point to the beloved nature of modern architecture in concrete and the myriad technical issues that accompanied such buildings.

Although the Penguin Pool is not one of the 14 "case studies in conservation practice" in Concrete, the book does include the Dudley Zoological Gardens, also designed by Lubetkin and his firm, Tecton, with Ove Arup. A few of the other impressive and varied case studies in Concrete are the Listening Mirrors in Denge, the rotating Villa Girasole in Verona, Oscar Niemeyer's Church of Saint Francis of Assisi in Belo Horizonte, Le Corbusier's Unité d'Habitation in Marseille, and even an outdoor Donald Judd sculpture in England. There is a diversity of function, geography, and form, equating to an equal diversity of conservation issues arising from the use of reinforced concrete. A common format for each case study presents background on the buildings and then allows Croft and Macdonald to delve into some highly technical information on research, analysis, and conservation efforts. Aiding them are lots of photographs that illustrate both the deterioration and the fixes. The conservation of innovative modern structures in reinforced concrete is very niche, but for practitioners dealing with such buildings Concrete is a must.Spreads:

Author Bios:
Catherine Croft is director of the Twentieth-Century Society and editor of C20 Magazine. Susan Macdonald is head of Buildings and Sites at the Getty Conservation Institute and oversees the Conserving Modern Architecture Initiative.Purchase Links:
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Project Bunker Makes a Tiny Home out of a Diesel Oil Tank

8 February, 2019 - 20:00
[ By SA Rogers in Architecture & Houses & Residential. ]

People convert all kinds of unlikely objects into homes: sheds, shipping containers, school buses and even decommissioned wartime bunkers. These creative reclaimed homes can range from tiny to surprisingly spacious, but rarely are they quite as micro-sized (and round) as one particular project by Argentinean architect Martín Marro.

“Bunker” began as an exploration of Marro’s memories of his childhood home, which was converted from a 1940 service station. The architect sought to reconstruct not the physical space itself, but rather how he remembers it looking and feeling through the eyes of a child. As part of this venture, Marro found an old diesel tank with which to fulfill an unusual vision.

From outside, the bright yellow tank still looks just as it did when it was in use. But open the door and you’ll find an unexpected sight: an incredibly compact dwelling complete with a lounge chair, bed, television, lighting and storage space. Photographs of his own architectural projects are fixed to the rounded walls.

Mimicking a tank that stood outside his childhood home, the micro house essentially compacts Marro’s memory of the experience into a portable dwelling. “I transformed it into a bunker-cabin for then to seal it and perpetuate it, capturing time, thinking that the space I make present is an archeology of the future,” he says.

The “Bunker” cabin was initially put on display outside Marro’s actual childhood home before traveling to the #mac2018 contemporary art fair in the city of Córdoba-Argentina.

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Architectural League of New York Announce Winners of the 2019 Emerging Voices Program

8 February, 2019 - 13:00

The Architectural League of New York has announced the winners of it's 2019 Emerging Voices, an award given annually to eight individuals/practices based in the US, Canada, or Mexico. The Emerging Voices program, which is now in its 37th year, seeks to spotlight the distinctive design voices with the potential to influence the field of architecture. 

The Emerging Voices award program has long been considered one of the most prestigious in North American architecture; a large portion of the 250 awarded practices are now well-known internationally. 

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Representation Matters: 31 Black Women Architects Forging the Future of Architecture

8 February, 2019 - 09:00

By amplifying the discussion of black women, it is perceived that finding them in the academic and professional universes is still a not widely common situation, due to a deeply unequal historical process. In the recognition of the spaces conquered by the professional partners, going beyond the limits of [social and economic] inequality and racial discrimination becomes a path to tread, in an attempt to achieve, equally, the spaces that feminism in its universality has managed to occupy. The opportunities that didn’t reach us, generated a disparity in the absence of black professionals, in a course that, unfortunately, still known as elitist and segregator. 

What can be concluded is that it has visibly become a great advance for all of us, to know those that are towards the recognition of our voice in the spaces, academics and professionals [and who traditionally didn’t contemplate them]. As a memory of black consciousness, are represented here some of the 31 black architects that stand out among the various spheres in architecture and urbanism. 

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Stackable School Desks: Multifunctional Designs for Rural Mexican Schools

7 February, 2019 - 20:00
[ By WebUrbanist in Design & Furniture & Decor. ]

Stacking chairs have long been a space-saving staple of offices, homes and schools, but getting a complex shape like a desk to stack up is a challenge — one these designers decided to take on for a very specific and practical application.

Studio Nos redesigned the traditional children’s school desk to make it affordable, durable, lightweight and able to be put away when not in use. The result of their efforts is a brightly colorful and interconnected chair-and-desk system with a number of nifty features.

The conical chairs stack for storage while a backrest allows students to hang their bags and backpacks. A slot underneath, meanwhile, provides a place to store books and other school supplies.

The top addition can be taken off, too, not just to store but also to make space and change up seating configurations. All in all, the seat-and-top set gets the job done and looks good while doing it, then comes apart as needed.

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Universal Design: Creating Better Buildings & Cities for All

6 February, 2019 - 20:00
[ By SA Rogers in Architecture & Cities & Urbanism. ]

Conventional design only welcomes a certain type of person: the one arbitrarily deemed “normal.” It’s easy for designers, or even the casual observer, to define the most typical user of a space as one who requires no modifications in order to access it. But “normal” doesn’t really exist, and you can’t necessarily tell by looking at someone whether they’re having a lot of trouble heaving open a heavy door, struggling to mount stairs, feeling confused by a complex access system or excluded from using it altogether. In that sense, the appearance of being “typical” is useless, just like the space you’ve created is to a large segment of people who might otherwise want or need to participate. That’s where Universal Design comes in.

The Disability Act of 2005 defines Universal Design as “the design and composition of an environment so that it may be accessed, understood and used to the greatest possible extent, in the most independent and natural manner possible, in the widest possible range of situations, without the need for adaptation, modification, assistive devices or specialized solutions, by any persons of any age or size or having any particular physical, sensory, mental health or intellectual ability or disability.” In electronic systems, it also means designing “any electronics-based process of creating products, services or systems so that they may be used by any person.”

In 1997, a group of architects, product engineers, engineers and environmental design researchers developed seven principles of Universal Design to help guide their professions in meeting these goals. To summarize:

  • The design is useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities.
  • The design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities.
  • Use of the design is easy to understand, regardless of the user’s experience, knowledge, language skills, or current concentration level.
  • The design communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the user’s sensory abilities.
  • The design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions.
  • The design can be used efficiently and comfortably and with a minimum of fatigue.
  • Appropriate size and space is provided for approach, reach, manipulation, and use regardless of user’s body size, posture, or mobility.

Universal Design doesn’t necessarily set out to create a “one size fits all” solution, but rather to push the boundaries of “mainstream” products, services and environments to include as many people as possible, and provide the ability for customization to minimize the difficulties of particular users. That may sound like a tall order, but the key is that no single designer can ever successfully pull it off alone.

How to Begin Making Spaces More Inclusive

To start, Universal Design means going beyond legal accessibility requirements to serve as many people as possible without segregating those with different needs. Putting it into action might mean altering a building that has stairs at the front entrance and an accessible entrance in the back to offer a single entrance for everyone to use. Most of the time, this can be done without affecting the overall integrity of the design. After all, most able-bodied people don’t mind walking up a ramp instead of using stairs. This approach to design works for “virtually” everyone, but there are also ways to accommodate the people who tend to fall through the cracks implied in this statement.

Whereas Universal Design relates to the final product, “inclusive design” relates to the process of designing, testing and refining it. It asks who can interact with a given environment in its current state, and who is left out – and then involves those people in the process of creating something better. The contributions of the people who need these variations the most are integral to a successful result.

Inclusive design is “a methodology that enables and draws on a full range of human diversity,” says designer Kat Holmes, author of a book on inclusive design called “Mismatch.” Ideally, the two approaches would work together to produce objects, experiences and spaces that are accessible to the greatest possible number of people. (By the way, many disability justice activists prefer use of the word “accessible” to describe the resulting spaces rather than “handicap.”)

Examples of Universal Design Prodel Residence, France

So what does all this mean in the real world? Often, the changes required to accommodate and include more people are simple. Placing standard electrical receptacles higher on the walls, selecting wider doorways that can fit wheelchairs and people of all sizes, making entrances flat, installing louver door handles and creating storage spaces that are within reach of people of all heights are some examples offered by the Accessible Society. When more than one option is available for a design feature, choose the one that’s the most inclusive – or lead the charge in demanding a new one.

But Universal Design also means adapting both existing architecture and new building projects to recognize the vast array of abilities, limitations and differences that exist within our communities. To really embrace it, designers, architects and planners must challenge their assumptions of what the “normal” usage of a space will be, particularly since so many disabilities can be invisible to the casual observer. Here are some examples of what that can look like.

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“Architecture Should be About What It Can Do, Not What it Can Look Like”: In Conversation with Michel Rojkind

6 February, 2019 - 09:00
Nestle Application Group / Rojkind Arquitectos . Image © Paul Rivera Nestle Application Group / Rojkind Arquitectos . Image © Paul Rivera

Born in 1969 in Mexico City, Michel Rojkind was educated in the 1990s at the Universidad Iberoamericana, while also performing as a drummer in Aleks Syntek’s popular rock band la Gente Normal. He opened his practice Rojkind Arquitectos in 2002. Among his most representative built works are Foro Boca for the Boca del Rio Philharmonic Orchestra in Veracruz, a newly expanded film complex Cineteca Nacional in Mexico City, a pair of factory additions for the Nestlé Company in Queretaro, and the Nestlé Chocolate Museum in Toluca, all in Mexico. We spoke about how his architecture engages with people, why architects should assume roles that extend beyond architecture, and the importance of generosity and not worrying about designing everything 100%.

The following excerpt from my interview with Rojkind completes a series of conversations that I conducted in Mexico City while preparing my exhibition “Something Other than a Narrative” from the Architects’ Voices and Visions series at Facultad de Arquitectura Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, UNAM.

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43 Cities Hosting the 2019 Open House Festival

4 February, 2019 - 14:10
Dublin, Ireland. Image © Shutterstock Dublin, Ireland. Image © Shutterstock

Open House Worldwide has published their 2019 calendar, detailing the 43 cities set to take part in the international event. The festival, founded in 1992, is the world’s longest-established, largest, and fastest-growing network of urban architecture festivals for the public. Open House offers a simple yet powerful concept: to democratize urban architecture through free access to public and private buildings over a 48-hour period.

Newcomers to the 2019 family include Brno (Czech Republic), Tallinn (Estonia), Valencia (Spain), and Naples (Italy). By 2020, it is anticipated that 50 cities will take part in the event, which reaches nearly one million people globally each year. Previously, ArchDaily has attended and covered Open House events in London, Dublin, and Belfast, all of which are returning for the 2019 edition.

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9 Lessons For Post-Architecture-School Survival

4 February, 2019 - 07:00

We’ve already talked about this. You’re preparing your final project (or thesis project). You’ve gone over everything in your head a thousand times; the presentation to the panel, your project, your model, your memory, your words. You go ahead with it, but think you'll be lousy. Then you think just the opposite, you will be successful and it will all be worth it. Then everything repeats itself and you want to call it quits.  You don’t know when this roller coaster is going to end. 

Until the day arrives. You present your project. Explain your ideas. The committee asks you questions. You answer. You realize you know more than you thought you did and that none of the scenarios you imaged over the past year got even close to what really happened in the exam. The committee whisper amongst themselves. The presentation ends and they ask you to leave for a while. Outside you wait an eternity, the minutes crawling slowly. Come in, please. The commission recites a brief introduction and you can’t tell whether you were right or wrong. The commission gets to the point.

You passed! Congratulations, you are now their new colleague and they all congratulate you on your achievement. The joy washes over you despite the fatigue that you’ve dragging around with you. The adrenaline stops pumping. You spend weeks or months taking a much-deserved break. You begin to wonder: Now what?

The university, the institution that molded you into a professional (perhaps even more so than you would have liked), hands you the diploma and now you face the job market for the first time (that is if you haven’t worked before). Before leaving and defining your own markers for personal success (success is no longer measured with grades or academic evaluations), we share 9 lessons to face the world now that you're an architect.

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Norman's Architecture Adventure

1 February, 2019 - 15:00
Norman's Architecture Adventure
Joshua P. Sanabria
GoArchitect, October 2018

Hardcover | 8-1/2 x 8-1/2 inches | # pages | # illustrations | English | ISBN: 978-1732945104 | $24.99

Publisher Description:
Norman is a young boy who wants to be an architect just like his mom. One day he goes on an unexpected adventure and along the way explores his imagination, meets new friends, and learns about the joy of architecture.

Through gorgeous illustrations and a relatable story Norman's Architecture Adventure teaches children how having an imagination is the greatest adventure anyone can have. Nothing holds Norman back, he sees what could be and he creates it. He is unrestricted by age, ethnicity, or preconceptions.
dDAB Commentary:
Norman is a young child whose mother is an architect. Like anybody his age, Norman is impatient, so much so that instead of waiting for his mother to take him on "an adventure," he heads out for his own adventure ― all alone. Or so it seems. As Norman wanders about a construction site, the workers are anything but human: an architect (not his mother but clearly an architect given the suit and roll of drawings) is a robot, ironworkers are "giggling gorillas," painters are "pompous penguins." They are hints that something else, something imaginative is going on. What that is I won't say here, even as it's unlikely that the intended audience for this picture book ― the kids whose parents would read it to them before bed ―  would read this blog.

The setting for Norman's adventure may be decipherable by the cover and the couple spreads included here. The glass and steel building with diagonal bracing is Norman Foster's Hearst Tower in New York City. When Foster's tower was completed a decade ago, I was not a fan; I called it one of the ugliest buildings in New York because it was an insensitive addition to the 1928 stone base and it was far less elegant than most Foster buildings before it, particularly in regard to the oversized diagonals. In the ensuing years I've warmed up to the tower, realizing how the thickened diagonal lines allow the building to stand out as buildings along 57th Street tower over it; and I got to go on my own adventure inside the building with some friends, seeing the atrium and office floors firsthand on a tour. My point here is that I can sympathize with the author's decision to have Norman play in and around Hearst Tower; its atrium teases at people who enter the lobby, while the diagonals and "bird beaks" on the exterior make passersby wonder what it's like to work inside the tower. But of course writing this commentary makes me wonder, which Norman is going on an adventure in the book?Spreads:

Author Bio:
Joshua Sanabria is CEO of GoArchitect, an independent publisher of design and leadership books that foster curious and creative confidence. Josh lives in California and enjoys bringing architecture to life through sketching, writing, and creating software.Purchase Links:
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Reading the Road: River of 11,000 Glowing Books Flows Down City Street

31 January, 2019 - 20:00
[ By WebUrbanist in Art & Installation & Sound. ]

Thousands of books spanned from sidewalk to sidewalk in Ann Arbor’s Literature vs Traffic installation, creating a space for quiet reflection on the value of pedestrian-friendly public spaces and the absence of noise pollution. The intersection of Liberty and State, a major juncture in this college town, was closed down for a day and night to allow the work to be deployed and enjoyed.

Volunteers attached small lights to the books, which were gifted back out to the community when the project was wrapped up — visitors were encouraged to take books with them when they left, leaving the streets clean and empty by midnight.

Luzinterruptus is a Spanish design collective that is traveling the world, collecting volumes in each location for these city-specific installations. The proximity to Motor City was particularly apt in this case, too.

“We want literature to take over the streets and to become the conqueror of all public places, offering passersby a traffic-free area that will, for a few hours, surrender to the humble might of the written word,” explain the designers. “Thus, a place in the city usually dedicated to speed, pollution, and noise, shall turn, for one night, into a place of peace, quiet, and coexistence, lighted by the soft dim light issued from the book pages.”

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Cutting Matta-Clark

31 January, 2019 - 15:00
Cutting Matta-Clark: The Anarchitecture Investigation
Mark Wigley
Lars Müller Publishers in collaboration with CCA and Columbia GSAPP, June 2018

Paperback | 6-1/2 x 9-1/2 inches | 528 pages | 813 illustrations | English | ISBN: 978-3037784273 | $39.00

Publisher Description:
The Anarchitecture group show at the fabled 112 Greene Street gallery – an artistic epicenter of New York’s downtown scene in the 1970s – in March 1974 has been the subject of an enduring discussion, despite a complete lack of documentation about it. Anarchitecture, a collective challenging all conventional understandings of architecture, has become a foundational myth, but one that remains to be properly understood. Cutting Matta-Clark investigates the group through extensive interviews with the protagonists and a dossier of all the available evidence.

Stemming from a series of meetings, organized by Gordon Matta-Clark and reflecting his long-standing interest in architecture, the Anarchitecture exhibition was conceived as an anonymous group statement in photographs about the intersection of art and building. But did it actually happen? It exists only through oblique archival traces and the memories of the participants.

This publication features unpublished archival evidence; The dossier is subjected to ever deeper forensic analysis – cutting into both the concepts and the cuts to see what the elusive, mysterious, seductive, yet viral word Anarchitecture offers us today.
dDAB Commentary:
Gordon Matta-Clark, who died way too young in 1978 at the age of 35, is a favorite of architects, if for no other reason than the way used buildings as canvases. But were the buildings that he sliced up before they were demolished the art? Or was it the photographs documenting the relatively short lives (relative to the time span of the buildings he cut up) of his interventions? Or going further, was it his preparatory notes and sketches? One answer, filtered through Mark Wigley's thorough yet circuitous and at-times perplexing investigation of a 1974 exhibition that involved Matta-Clark is yes, his art was all of these things. The buildings are gone, but the photographs (the primary way people become familiar with and envision his art) remain as do the preparatory materials and other artifacts in the archives of the Canadian Centre for Architecture, which Wigley raided for his forensic investigation.

The exhibition that is the subject of Wigley's book -- and the source of its perplexity -- is Anarchitecture, a group show at 112 Greene Street in New York's SoHo area in 1974. Turns out there is voluminous evidence of the exhibition's preparation and promotion but none that it ever took place. What was the exhibition like? What is the meaning of its name and how did it end up labeling Matta-Clark's art to such a great degree? And did it actually happen? The show and the mystery surrounding it is are excuses for Wigley's scouring of CCA's archives, unearthing of "evidence," and interviews with "accomplices," but they also allow him to run through many of Matta-Clark's artworks (especially the famous Splitting) that led up to the Anarchitecture show, as he does in the book's first section. While following Wigley's prose is for die-hard Matta-Clark fans, the hundreds of illustrations make for a revealing look at an artist who still holds our attention, even though he's now been dead longer than he lived.Spreads:

Author Bio:
Mark Wigley is professor of architecture at Columbia University. He was born in New Zealand, trained there as an architect then as an architect then as a scholar, and is based in New York.Purchase Links:
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How Smart Home Technology Could Change Architecture

30 January, 2019 - 20:00
[ By SA Rogers in Architecture & Houses & Residential. ]

Whether you’re an early adopter or believe smart technology could invite a host of new headaches into our most private spaces, connectivity and automation are coming for us all. We’re still in the beginning phases of a revolution in the way architecture is designed, built and used, from virtual-reality-enhanced concept development and robotic construction to new levels of hands-free home control with potential to improve the quality of many users’ lives.

Sometimes smart home technology can influence the overall form of the house – like the central wooden block that holds the “life line” of electric panels, air conditioning units, audio visual systems and more within 42mm Architecture’s Pool House, pictured above – but often the effect is less visible from the outside.

Unprecedented Flexibility Baitasi House of the Future by Dot Architects Baitasi House of the Future by Dot Architects Baitasi House of the Future by Dot Architects

A company that produces smart home technology commissioned Dot Architects to build “Baitasi House of the Future,” an experimental house located in a historic hutong area of Beijing. Part of the home’s layout is inspired by the architects’s belief that “the boundary between home and society is blurred by the rise of the sharing economy, nomad workers and technology,” leading to fragmented lives that can’t be served by a conventional fixed layout.

Movable modules within the home controlled by a smart TV system slide around to offer four different layout options, shifting the entire house from a three bedroom home to a small office. Even the facade opens up to connect the living space to the outdoors. Some transforming furniture and other elements the home still have to be assembled by hand, but the process is largely automated.

Smart “switchable glass” via Smart Film Malaysia

Privacy concerns around glass architecture could soon disappear thanks to curtains that close or glass facades that switch from transparent to opaque at the touch of a button. That could make large expanses of glazing much more popular for all sorts of applications, allowing for a lot more natural daylighting, enjoyment of views and a sense of connection to the outdoors. It could also make sort of completely transparent bathroom designs sometimes seen in modern Japanese houses a little more palatable to the average Westerner.

Integrating Universal Design

One common reaction to the proliferation of smart technology is a snarky comment about how lazy humans are becoming. Can’t we open doors, turn on lights, pause the television and adjust the curtains with our own two hands? Well, no. Many of us can’t. We live in a world that has long prioritized the young and able-bodied at the expense of everyone else, assuming most people can easily get up stairs, reach typical countertop height to perform tasks, grip objects and see where we’re going.

Conventional approaches to everything from floor plans to kitchen sinks exclude a sizable percentage of the general population. The alternative, a movement called Universal Design, argues that all built environments should be designed to meet the needs of all people who wish to use them. That includes changing both the physical form of structures and how we access them – including the integration of automated processes, sensor technology and artificial intelligence.

Todd Stabelfeldt, a tech CEO who’s been paralyzed from the neck down since he was eight years old, says his life changed for the better with Apple’s 2013 release of iOS 7, which incorporated an accessibility feature called Switch Control that allows people with limited mobility to control their iPhones. The following year, the ability to summon Siri by voice gave Todd even more freedom and autonomy. Recently, he starred in an Apple commercial demonstrating how Siri and Apple’s HomeKit technology help him get around his own home. The video is fittingly entitled “Convenience For You is Independence for Me.”

As AI continues to develop, we could soon see smart environments that don’t just respond to our commands in order to adjust things to our needs and preferences, but do so automatically.

Open-Source, Augmented Reality & Robotics WikiHouse components

Access to open-source architecture is playing a central role in the development of smart homes like the Baitasi House of the Future, which features an extension constructed using the WikiHouse platform. WikiHouse provides downloadable online templates that can be used to build houses using wooden components cut on CNC milling machines, easily slotting together.

“Based on the strategy of minimal intervention, we used the WikiHouse system for the only new-built structure on site,” says Dot Architects. “It is lightweight and digitally fabricated. This faster and cleaner construction process suites the crowded and noise-sensitive neighborhood very well.”

Honda’s Smart Home

Honda’s Smart Home looks like the kind of low-cost contemporary urban housing you can find in just about any city in the United States, but on the inside, it’s a showpiece of smart technology that produces more energy via solar panels than it consumes. Everything from the music to the lights to the blinds is controlled through an iPad app – but most importantly, the plans are all open-source, ensuring that the success of the house can be replicated for the common good.

Robots prefabricate load-bearing timber modules at ETH Zurich Virtual reality devices by Fologram augment the construction process

When actions like moving walls, transforming the opacity of glazing and gaining unprecedented control over climate control capabilities are possible through smart technology, it follows that the process of building construction will soon be carried out in similar ways. Recent advances in technology have already democratized the design process to a large degree, allowing clients to see what a renovation might look like with the use of 3D virtual overlays, for example. Augmented reality could help living, breathing, non-robotic workers construct complex designs. Integrated AI systems could soon connect digital renderings, 3D printing, robotic construction and other high tech ways of designing and building, transforming and potentially automating every step of the process down to the final aesthetic touches.

Blurring Lines Between Architecture and Transit The SYMBIOZ House by Renault The SYMBIOZ House by Renault

Concepts like the SYMBIOZ house and car combo by Renault envision a near future in which higher end, privately owned autonomous vehicles take a place of honor right in the center of the home, integrating into the living space instead of being relegated to a garage. The emissions-free, all-electric car becomes a room within a room to make the transition between home and travel more seamless and comfortable. The car can even act as an energy generator in case the power goes out.

But you don’t have to live in a brand new structure that practically puts your car on an altar in order to benefit from a connection between smart cars and smart homes. For example, Ford is working on integrating its cars with the Amazon Echo and the Wink smart home platform, allowing users to control home systems while still en route or check your car’s diagnostics from the comfort of your couch. Ultimately, as cities evolve, smart infrastructure and integration with automated vehicles could revolutionize public transit as well, using location, weather data and traffic monitoring to make getting from your door to your destination more efficient than ever.

This is also the reason why Honda got into the smart home game in the first place. The auto manufacturer believes that automation between buildings and vehicles should be seamless, and that developing efficient and clean technologies for both is integral to fighting climate change.

A Greater Need to Keep Up with Change

There’s (at least) one big caveat to all of this, very real privacy concerns aside. Technology is constantly changing, and it can quickly feel out of date. Anyone who owns a car with its own circa 2010 built-in GPS system has experienced firsthand how features like this can become redundant and obsolete within a matter of months after they’re installed.

A much higher level of cross-compatibility standards will be necessary to make sure smart home devices from different manufacturers are able to work with each other, like Honda’s Smart House energy management system meshing with smart dishwashers from Bosch and refrigerators from KitchenAid. But systems will also have to be built with frequent upgrades in mind, which requires a level of flexibility and adaptability a lot of architecture can’t currently accommodate. Embracing change as a constant (and preparing for the end of a structure’s usability) must extend to the ways in which we design and build everything around us. And just as importantly, smart home technology needs to be egalitarian, integrated into housing that’s legitimately affordable rather than a feature that’s only accessible to the wealthy.

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[ By SA Rogers in Architecture & Houses & Residential. ]

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City Unseen

30 January, 2019 - 15:00
City Unseen: New Visions of an Urban Planet
Karen C. Seto, Meredith Reba
Yale University Press, September 2018

Hardcover | 9 x 10 inches | 268 pages | 188 illustrations | English | ISBN: 978-0300221695 | $35.00

Publisher Description:
Seeing cities around the globe in their larger environmental contexts, we begin to understand how the world shapes urban landscapes and how urban landscapes shape the world. Authors Karen Seto and Meredith Reba provide these revealing views to enhance readers’ understanding of the shape, growth, and life of urban settlements of all sizes—from the remote town of Namche Bazaar in Nepal to the vast metropolitan prefecture of Tokyo, Japan.

Using satellite data, the authors show urban landscapes in new perspectives. The book’s beautiful and surprising images pull back the veil on familiar scenes to highlight the growth of cities over time, the symbiosis between urban form and natural landscapes, and the vulnerabilities of cities to the effects of climate change. We see the growth of Las Vegas and Lagos, the importance of rivers to both connecting and dividing cities like Seoul and London, and the vulnerability of Fukushima and San Juan to floods from tsunami or hurricanes. The result is a compelling book that shows cities’ relationships with geography, food, and society.
dDAB Commentary:
I remember the first time I saw the Keyhole technology, what eventually became Google Earth. A friend who got his hands on it showed it to me and I was blown away at being able to pan and zoom around the globe so effortlessly; I recall it being hard to pull me away from it. Now, roughly 20 years later, the ability to see satellite imagery of any spot on the globe at any time on any device is taken for granted, as if we all have the right to see the earth from space. But as Karen Seto and Meredith Reba put it in their introduction to City Unseen, "with access [to satellite imagery] comes responsibility – to make more informed decisions about how to design, plan, construct, and operate cities in better, healthier, more sustainable ways." They have assembled satellite imagery of 100 places around the globe as an expression of that responsibility.

The 100 places are put into three chapters that focus on the landscapes around cities, more detailed views of urban agglomerations, and the way "demand for urban resources is changing landscapes." But first is "views from space," a chapter that explains why, for instance, the cover image (of Detroit, Michigan) looks the way it does. By combining visible and nonvisible wavelengths of light in various ways, Seto and Reba are able to emphasize certain characteristics, which they spell out in the text alongside the images. The choices of location, time, scale, and wavelengths of light combine to create an illuminating if often dour depiction of how we inhabit the earth. But it's also powerful. Two nighttime satellite images one day apart draw attention to the island-wide power outages that plagued Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria – just one of many examples where satellite data holds deeper meanings.Spreads:

Author Bio:
Karen C. Seto is the Frederick C. Hixon Professor of Geography and Urbanization Science at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. Meredith Reba is research associate at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.Purchase Links:
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MK:U International Design Competition

30 January, 2019 - 08:00
U International Design Competition, images Luke Hayes MK:U International Design Competition, images Luke Hayes

The MK:U International Design Competition seeks world-class design teams for a new model university in the Oxford to Cambridge innovation arc.

Beloved by architects as the most original and successful of the mid-twentieth century’s wave of ‘New Towns’, and famously ‘different by design’, Milton Keynes (MK) has successfully reinvented itself as a ‘Smart City’ and is a key contributor to the United Kingdom’s knowledge economy.

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Adapting Cities to Sea Level Rise

29 January, 2019 - 15:00
Adapting Cities to Sea Level Rise: Green and Gray Strategies
Stefan Al
Island Press, November 2018

Paperback | 8 x 9 inches | 160 pages | 150 illustrations | English | ISBN: 9781610919074 | $35.00

Publisher Description:
In 2012, Hurricane Sandy floods devastated coastal areas in New York and New Jersey. In 2017, Harvey flooded Houston. Today in Miami, even on sunny days, king tides bring fish swimming through the streets in low-lying areas. These types of events are typically called natural disasters. But overwhelming scientific consensus says they are actually the result of human-induced climate change and irresponsible construction inside floodplains.

As cities build more flood-management infrastructure to adapt to the effects of a changing climate, they must go beyond short-term flood protection and consider the long-term effects on the community, its environment, economy, and relationship with the water.

Adapting Cities to Sea Level Rise, by infrastructure expert Stefan Al, introduces design responses to sea-level rise, drawing from examples around the globe. Going against standard engineering solutions, Al argues for approaches that are integrated with the public realm, nature-based, and sensitive to local conditions and the community. He features design responses to building resilience that creates new civic assets for cities. For the first time, the possible infrastructure solutions are brought together in a clear and easy-to-read format.dDAB Commentary:
It seems like it wasn't so long ago that architects, landscape architects, and urban designers were designing for sustainability in an effort to keep carbon emissions from increasing global temperatures to the generally agreed upon ceiling of 2 degrees Celsius. But this decade resiliency has usurped sustainability this decade, since at least Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the strong impacts of climate change being felt each year since, and the realization that the carbon already released into the atmosphere will move us past that 2-degree scenario anyways. Therefore designers of the built environment must deal with the impacts of climate change (rising waters, sever weather occurrences, water shortages, etc.), as well as designing energy-efficient buildings, landscapes that clean the air and water, and cities that prioritize walking over driving. With this in mind, it's no surprise to see a book guiding designers and decision makers in one aspect of the crisis we find ourselves in: adapting cities to rising sea levels.

Pulling from a number of international case studies, Stefan Al's abundantly illustrated book walks through the various strategies that designers and cities can consider now and in the coming years as rising sea levels pose a threat to waterfront developments. After an introduction that summarizes clearly how we got into this situation and broadly what can be done about it, Al hones in on four cities (Rotterdam, New York City, New Orleans, Ho Chi Minh City) and examines their strategies for dealing with storm surges, coastal flooding, and the like. (Recent news illustrates how implementing these strategies is both slow-moving, highly contested, and even politically vexing.) The second part of the book presents various "local strategies" of the four types outlined in the introduction: hard-protect strategies, soft-protect strategies, store strategies, and retreat strategies. No one strategy is universally ideal, and in many cases multiple strategies can be used in one place. Al's clear, consistent diagrams mean that politicians and other decision makers -- not just designers -- can understand how the strategies work and what would be the best fit(s) for their situation.Spreads:

Author Bio:
Stefan Al, PHD, is an architect, urban designer, and infrastructure expert at global design firm Kohn Pedersen Fox in New York. He is a native of the Netherlands, a low-lying country that would not exist without flood protection.Purchase Links:
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