Superspace Re-Imagines Prague’s Victory Square as a Social Center

1 day ago
Courtesy of Superspace Courtesy of Superspace

Istanbul-based studio Superspace has proposed a design for Prague’s Victory Square that transforms the dead zone in the middle of Prague into a space flourishing with nature and social activities. The simple but effective solution inverts traffic and pedestrian access to create a green urban center, where markets, art festivals and even wintertime ice-skating can take place. Tall, local evergreen trees would be planted in the horseshoe shape surrounding the inner ring, creating an iconic visual impact while shielding the community space from the noise of the busy traffic area beyond.

Courtesy of Superspace Courtesy of Superspace
Courtesy of Superspace Courtesy of Superspace

The current design of Victory Square encourages heavy traffic congestion and its central green space is inaccessible and redundant. Superspace’s proposal increases the permeability of the space, as well as creates a holistic central urban space surrounded by easily accessible traffic lanes.  

Courtesy of Superspace Courtesy of Superspace

The form of the ring derives from the transition between the horseshoe plan and the existing central roundabout. It creates an intimate community space nestled within the trees, an oasis within the city.

Courtesy of Superspace Courtesy of Superspace

News via: Superspace

ArchiWeb

Top 20 A' Design Award Winners

1 day 1 hour ago
Courtesy of A’ Design Awards Courtesy of A’ Design Awards

The A’ Design Award is an international award whose aim is to provide designers, architects, and innovators from all architecture and design fields with a competitive platform to showcase their work and products to a global audience. Among the design world's many awards, the A' Design Award stands out for its exceptional scale and breadth; in 2015, over 1,000 different designs received awards, with all fields of design recognized by the award's 100 different categories. This year's edition is now open for entries; designers can register their submissions here.

Organized as a way to showcase excellent designers in all disciplines and from all countries, the A' Awards are peer-reviewed and anonymously judged by an influential jury panel of experienced scholars, important press members, and experienced professionals. The awards offer prestige, publicity and international recognition to A’ Design Award Laureates through the coveted A’ Design Prize system. You can learn more about the call for entries process here.

A’ Design Competition results are announced every year on April 15. Best products, projects, and services worldwide that demonstrate superior design, technology and creativity are rewarded with the A' Design Award; the symbol of excellence in design and innovation. There are five different levels of distinction: Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze and Iron A’ Design Awards are distributed annually in all design disciplines. Designers, companies, and institutions from all countries are annually called to take part in the accolades by nominating their best works, projects, and products for award consideration. See more on the result announcement here

Entries will be judged by A' Design Award's jury of hundreds of experts from around the globe including scholars, professionals and media members. Each jury member is required to sign a jury agreement and follow a code of conduct. In addition, jurors may not be employees of the participating companies to avoid conflicts of interest. This jury process has been designed to lead to a more fair and equitable awards process, with no single juror exercising undue influence on the results of the awards. You can find out more about the jury and its process here.

The A' Design Award & Competition also has a network to reach millions of design-oriented audiences worldwide.  A’ Design Awards winners were seen directly at the A’ Design Award website 24,404,321 times. They also have 71,017 users on their platform and 45,906 project submissions. See more on the award in numbers here

Winners of an A' Design Award receive a trophy alongside a host of other benefits: a certificate, inclusion in an exhibition, inclusion in a yearbook publication, winners' badges, an exclusive interview to be featured on the A' Design Awards website, inclusion in the world design rankings, an invite to a gala night hosted by the awards for networking, feedback notes from the award jury, and participation in an extensive PR campaign are all offered to winners among other benefits. Click here to see the full list of benefits.

The submission period for the A' Design Award closes on February 28. You can submit your designs here. After the winners are announced on April 15th, a selection of architecture-related winners will be featured in a post on ArchDaily.

Below we have selected our Top 20 A' Design Award Winners. 

Tofana (Hotel) / Lukas Rungger

Platinum A' Hospitality, Recreation, Travel and Tourism Design Award Winner, 2017 - 2018

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 Light Waterfall Sales Center / Kris Lin and Jiayu Yang

Platinum A' Architecture, Building and Structure Design Award Winner, 2017 - 2018

Courtesy of A’ Design Awards Courtesy of A’ Design Awards

Cloud Park (Xixi Center Office and Business Building) / Meng Fanhao

Platinum A' Architecture, Building and Structure Design Award Winner, 2017 - 2018

Courtesy of A’ Design Awards Courtesy of A’ Design Awards

Qingtie CR Town Sales Office Sales Office / Kot Ge - LSDCASA and Studio HBA

Platinum A' Interior Space and Exhibition Design Award Winner, 2017 - 2018

Courtesy of A’ Design Awards Courtesy of A’ Design Awards

Xian Jiaotong-Liverpool University (Architecture - Education Facility) / Andrew Bromberg at Aedas

Platinum A' Architecture, Building and Structure Design Award Winner, 2013 - 2014

Courtesy of A’ Design Awards Courtesy of A’ Design Awards

Villafound Jade Hotel Lijiang Lodge / Nie Jianping

Platinum A' Architecture, Building and Structure Design Award Winner, 2016 - 2017

Courtesy of A’ Design Awards Courtesy of A’ Design Awards

ICE Krakow (Concert and Congress Centre) / Ingarden & Ewý Architects Ltd.

Platinum A' Architecture, Building and Structure Design Award Winner, 2014 - 2015

Courtesy of A’ Design Awards Courtesy of A’ Design Awards

Seehof: a Garden Architecture (Hotel) / Noa

Platinum A' Hospitality, Recreation, Travel and Tourism Design Award Winner, 2017 - 2018

Courtesy of A’ Design Awards Courtesy of A’ Design Awards

 Heavenly Water Service Center / Zhenfei Wang

Platinum A' Architecture, Building and Structure Design Award Winner, 2016 - 2017

Courtesy of A’ Design Awards Courtesy of A’ Design Awards

Google Campus Dublin (Office Interior Design) / Camenzind Evolution

Platinum A' Interior Space and Exhibition Design Award Winner, 2013 - 2014

Courtesy of A’ Design Awards Courtesy of A’ Design Awards

City Lounge, St. Gallen (Urban Living Room) / Carlos Martinez and Pipilotti Rist

Platinum A' Street Furniture Design Award Winner, 2016-2017

Courtesy of A’ Design Awards Courtesy of A’ Design Awards

Hubertus Hotel / Elisabeth Mitterer, Lukas Rungger, and Andreas Profanter

Platinum A' Hospitality, Recreation, Travel and Tourism Design Award Winner, 2016 - 2017

Courtesy of A’ Design Awards Courtesy of A’ Design Awards

Brickkiln Folk Inn and Museum (Make Village Newborn) / Kevin Hu

Platinum A' Interior Space and Exhibition Design Award Winner, 2017 - 2018

Courtesy of A’ Design Awards Courtesy of A’ Design Awards

Gamsei (Cocktail Bar) / Buero Wagner 

Platinum A' Interior Space and Exhibition Design Award Winner, 2013 - 2014

Courtesy of A’ Design Awards Courtesy of A’ Design Awards

Yukyu En Hofu City Crematorium / Shunmyo Masuno

Platinum A' Landscape Planning and Garden Design Award Winner, 2016-2017

Courtesy of A’ Design Awards Courtesy of A’ Design Awards

Zhongnan Mansion Clubhouse / Kris Lin and Jiayu Yang

Platinum A' Interior Space and Exhibition Design Award Winner, 2017 - 2018

Courtesy of A’ Design Awards Courtesy of A’ Design Awards

Black Eagle Residential House / Perathoner Architects 

Platinum A' Architecture, Building and Structure Design Award Winner, 2016 - 2017

Courtesy of A’ Design Awards Courtesy of A’ Design Awards

Malangen (Family Retreat) / Snorre Stinessen

Platinum A' Architecture, Building and Structure Design Award Winner, 2017 - 2017

Courtesy of A’ Design Awards Courtesy of A’ Design Awards

Wuhan Wushang Mall Cinema 9F / Ajax Law & Virginia Lung

Platinum A' Interior Space and Exhibition Design Award Winner, 2017 - 2018

Courtesy of A’ Design Awards Courtesy of A’ Design Awards

G Space Hair Salon / Ming-Hong Tsai

Platinum A' Interior Space and Exhibition Design Award Winner, 2017 - 2018

Courtesy of A’ Design Awards Courtesy of A’ Design Awards
ArchiWeb

Measuring Wheel: Ditch Roll-Up Tape for a Coin-Sized Pocket ‘Rollbe’ Ruler

2 days 13 hours ago
[ By WebUrbanist in Gadgets & Geekery & Technology. ]

Architects, carpenters and other design and construction professionals often carry measuring tape wherever they go, but this small wheel makes for a much less bulky companion tool.

Measuring trundle wheels used to determine distances by rolling on a surface are not new, but they are big, and this design miniaturizes their function while maintaining a critical advantage: it can measure up to effectively any length as long as its operator keeps track of the number of spins.

The Rollbe comes in various sizes, but at its smallest it is just a few inches in circumference (around an inch in diameter), making it fit like a coin and easy to carry on the go. It also comes with a pouch, turning it into a keyring.

Thanks to the curved design and rolling function, it can measure not just flat but also curving and irregular surfaces, an advantage over a traditional measuring tape. The device also clicks with each rotation, making it easier to track the number of turns.

Designed by The Work of Mind, a Canadian company, the idea came from an unlikely direction — it wasn’t an attempt to figure out measuring, but to find new uses for coin-sized options. Numerals and markings are etched into the stainless steel using laser engraving to prevent fading over time. A larger version is also available — less portable, but a nice thing to pack in one’s kit of tools.

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[ By WebUrbanist in Gadgets & Geekery & Technology. ]

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Best Tiles Suitable For Your Home

4 days 2 hours ago

It’s easy to think that you can install the tiles you want in your home, whether it’s your kitchen or bathroom or in an entryway. However, it takes more than choosing and watching helpful videos online to know how to install tiles properly. Consider a few reasons why it’s always good to choose the type of tiles for your home carefully.

The following tips will guide you in making the right choice.

1. Slip Resistance

Slippery floors are very dangerous especially if your home has children, elderly and disabled people. When choosing tiles, make sure you go for tiles that are slip resistant. A bathroom is the most affected part of your house and that is where most accidents tend to happen. You can choose to have pebbles, mosaic or ceramic tiles for your bathroom. Make sure the source of your tiles is reliable. This will ensure the safety of your floors or walls. Your kitchen too will need tiles that safe since there are a lot of activities that involve water and soaps in there that can make you slide and fall.

2. Quality

This measures the materials’ ability to withstand foot traffic and scratches. Tiles that are weak in texture break off easily. It may also be dangerous especially if they are to be put on the wall in a house with children around. You will need tiles that show resistance to wear caused by movement of surfaces or materials in contact with them. You should check the tiles before work begins to ensure that they meet the highest standards.

3. Color

Just like everything in life, colors evolve with time and you need to choose a shade that is right for your home. Make sure that the colors create a suitable backdrop from which to decorate the rest of the space. As much as other things like soft furnishings, furniture, and décor play a vital role in creating a good ambiance, the choice of tile shade you make does as well. If your house is painted in different shades, you can go for tiles of the same plain color not to give your home a busy look. You can ask a professional to choose colors for you if you are not sure of what works best with your other home decors.

4. Water Absorption

Tiles that have low water absorption have higher mechanical strength. It is important to purchase and fire tiles at high temperatures for this make them less water absorbent. Tiles that absorb water easily do not last long and you will need to keep replacing or repairing them. Go for tiles that are waterproof. You can ask your contractor or the tile company to identify for you the tiles that are water resistant.

5. Chemical and Stain Resistance

Installing tiles that are stain resistance is hygienic for they are easy to clean. Ceramic tiles are known to resist stains because of their glazed surface. This means that you do not have to scrub hard to get off food particles that stick on the walls of your kitchen or have to fight for space with pests that come to feast on those particles. You just wipe your kitchen walls after cooking and you are good to go.it is also important to put tiles that can withstand the heat that comes from the kitchen heat without bending or cracking. These tiles should be strong enough and they should not expand or contract during temperature changes.

6. Durability

You will need to go for tiles that will give value to your money. Tiles installed on driveways are supposed to be those that can withstand heavy and frequent use by vehicles. Low-quality tiles will crack and contribute to tear and wear of your car tires. This also applies to the tiles for your bathroom walls. They should be able to endure frequent splashing of water. Do not go for tiles that fall off within a short period after they are installed.

The interior and exterior part of your house needs a good finishing. Tiles are a modern way of flooring or walling and they give your home an attractive appearance. Choosing the right tiles for your home is important for it reduces the work of maintenance and cleaning. The wrong choice of tiles can cost you a lot in keeping them in good shape and you may end up not liking the appearance of your home. It is also important to maintain your tiles after installing them. Avoid leaks of water pipes behind the tiling and make sure the outdoor tiled space has a good water drainage in case of rains.

ArchiWeb

Holiday House on Prophet Ilias Mountain / Kapsimalis Architects

4 days 4 hours ago
© Giorgos Sfakianakis © Giorgos Sfakianakis
© Giorgos Sfakianakis © Giorgos Sfakianakis

Text description provided by the architects. The holiday house is located on the highest point of Santorini Island, on ‘Prophet Ilias’ mountainside. The building faces to the southwest and has a view of the Aegean Sea and the volcanic landscape. The residence consists of a living room, a dining area, a kitchen, a main bedroom and two bathrooms oriented towards to the view.

© Giorgos Sfakianakis © Giorgos Sfakianakis
Plan Plan
© Giorgos Sfakianakis © Giorgos Sfakianakis

The elongated, rectangular form is nestled into the slope. The excavation material that has resulted during the construction period, was used to shape the main façade of the house and its surrounding landscape. The house is integrated to the cliff-side, leaving the least possible imprint.

© Giorgos Sfakianakis © Giorgos Sfakianakis

Aim of the project is to merge the interior and exterior space of the house. The long, sliding glass door of 10meters length, opens and links the relaxation-cooking interior zone with the courtyard and the swimming pool. The interior space becomes an exterior one, under a shadow and at the same time expands into an infinity pool, an exterior lounge area and a wooden deck that compose the external space. Two main free standing walls highlight the two entrances of the holiday house, through two lateral staircases.

© Giorgos Sfakianakis © Giorgos Sfakianakis

Inside the residence, sections made by bricks, wood and glass separate the different rooms. Skylights on the rooftop allow the natural light into the space. Natural materials like oak, walnut wood, grey and beige rough marbles and black steel create warmth, while some colourful pieces of furniture, create a joyful mood. Stone and concrete are the materials that define the exterior form of the house. Wild Mediterranean plants, some of them into cylindrical pots made by black steel, are sparsely placed outdoor.

© Giorgos Sfakianakis © Giorgos Sfakianakis
ArchiWeb

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer: "To Understand a Building, Go There, Open your Eyes, and Look!"

5 days 23 hours ago
© Nina Vidic, via ELEMENTAL. ImageUC Innovation Center / ELEMENTAL © Nina Vidic, via ELEMENTAL. ImageUC Innovation Center / ELEMENTAL

Six years ago Susan Szenasy and I had the honor of interviewing Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer for Metropolis magazine. While he was a federal appeals judge in Boston, Breyer played a key role in shepherding the design and construction of the John Joseph Moakley United State Courthouse, designed by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners. In 2011 Justice Breyer joined the jury of the Pritzker Prize. Given his long involvement with architecture, I thought it would be fun to catch up with him. So, on the final day of court before breaking for the summer recess, I talked to Justice Breyer about his experience as a design client, how to create good government buildings, and why public architecture matters.

Martin C Pedersen: We can’t talk about your current involvement on the Pritzker jury, but I do want to talk about architecture in more general terms. You have a long engagement. When did it start?

Stephen Breyer: It began back in early 1990s. Doug Woodlock was the judge in the federal district court for Massachusetts (in Boston), and I was was chief judge of the First Circuit Court of Appeals,, and we needed a new courthouse. We wanted an attractive courthouse, but we also wanted one that would work. It was important that good architects applied, so Bill Lacey [then executive director of the Pritzker Prize] helped us with that. Eventually we found a very good architect, Henry Cobb [with Ian Bader].

But it took quite a while. Anyone who has worked with the General Services Administration knows that it’s not necessarily a smooth, flowing process. It took Doug and me a day a week for about two years—not to get the building built, but to to figure out what we wanted, to travel around and look at buildings by Cesar Pelli and Moshe Safdie and Robert Venturi, and other very good architects, to get the plans for the building approved and drawn.  

Harry taught us a lot. He spent time sitting in courtrooms, seeing what judges do, and tried to make a building that the public would be able to use and consider their own. It was not a private building. It was a government building. For me, just looking and listening, trying to deal with both the architects and the GSA, and the judges and the others, I learned a lot. I don’t consider myself an architectural expert, but I may be an expert in the choices you have to make if you want to design an effective courthouse.

United States Courthouse, Salt Lake City / Thomas Phifer and Partners. Image © Scott Frances United States Courthouse, Salt Lake City / Thomas Phifer and Partners. Image © Scott Frances

I came out of that with a belief that, for major government buildings, there always has to be someone who takes an interest—who’s not the architect, who’s not the director of security. It has to be a fairly high level person, in whatever organization is planning the building, who is willing to devote the time. Not to giving total free rein. But sitting there and trying to bring people together, so that the architect has the ability to contribute what he or she has the skill to do. That remains a necessary part of the process to produce good public buildings.

MCP: You get back to the Moakley courthouse every year.

SB: More than that, because my wife has always kept her job at Dana Farber, the cancer hospital in Boston, and we’ve kept our house up there. We’re back and forth quite a lot.

MCP: How has the building held up?

SB: It’s held up beautifully. It still looks good and works well as a courthouse. The courtrooms are attractive and people visit and hold public events there. The local bar association sponsors tours for thousands of school children every year, to observe how our legal system works. The jurors come, learn about their role, and serve as jurors, if selected. The courthouse is both a learning device and a building that the people of Boston feel they can use. Ellsworth Kelly produced a series of paintings for the building that are worth far more than the amount he was paid. And those paintings work perfectly. It’s a testament to what two talented people, Ellsworth Kelly and Harry [Henry] Cobb, can do when they put their minds to it, and they’re allowed to do it. That doesn’t mean non-interference. It doesn’t mean, “Just do what you want.” It means work with them, be helpful to the process. In the end the only way to understand a building is not to describe it, or even to take a picture of it, but to go there, open your eyes, and look.

Palais de Justice, Bordeaux / Ivan Harbour, RSH+P. Image via Wikimedia Palais de Justice, Bordeaux / Ivan Harbour, RSH+P. Image via Wikimedia

MCP: The process of moving through a building and experiencing it, that’s what separates banal, or even good building, from great ones.

SB: Yes. I agree with you. I think that building in Boston has been successful. And now what you have is a new generation of courthouses, all over the world, that are not fortresses or palaces. They’re public buildings. There is one that Richard Rogers designed in Bordeaux. There’s another in Tel Aviv, another in Johannesburg, South Africa. In a sense, they’re all alike, in that they’re immediately seen and experienced as public buildings. They’re beautiful and serious and part of the democratic process. Can architects do that? Yes. They’ve done it.

MCP: Have you seen some of the new embassies that have recently been completed?

SB: I know about the one in Santiago, Chile, which is not a new one. But I have a great fear of it, because it looks like Fort Knox. And if you build a building that looks like Fort Knox, that’s what people will think it is. And that’s what they’ll think of their government, too.

US Embassy in Santiago. Image via Wikimedia US Embassy in Santiago. Image via Wikimedia

MCP: As someone at least peripherally involved in architecture, I have a question that I ask a lot of architects. Architecture is the ubiquitous art form. It’s all around us, and yet the public’s perception of it is often weak. What do you think accounts for this disconnect?

SB: Part of it is, look, we breathe everyday, right? But you do not understand the need for clean air until it’s not there. People are surrounded by color, light, noise. Now that color, light, and noise, can be a cacophony, it can be garbage cans banging, or it can be Louis Armstrong or Duke Ellington. Buildings are part of that human dynamic. They can bring joy and harmony into the lives of people who encounter them. And those same people might not be able to speak in articulate terms that a great architecture critic would appreciate, but they’ll know when they miss it. They’ll know when it isn’t there. It seems to me that’s why it’s essential part of our lives.

MCP: In the past five years there’s been a cultural shift in architecture away from the celebration of the lone genius architect. What do you make of that shift?

SB: I don’t know. But I do know that one of the most interesting talks that I’ve heard recently was by Alejandro Aravena, the Chilean architect. He cited a statistic. By 2050, there will be as many as five billion people living in cities. And the number of those people who cannot afford ten thousand dollars for a home is huge. So we’re going to have billions more people needing buildings, for work, for living. Whether we like it or not, this is undeniably true. It seems inevitable. And when it happens, those buildings can, conceivably, promote harmony. They can work, they can be coherent, and provide a kind of beauty. That’s the challenge. How do you accomplish that? You can label it genius or you can just call it quality. I’d be satisfied with quality. Now how do we get there? The most I could do, as one client, was to help get a building built. The most I can do as a member of the Pritzker jury is to sit on the sidelines and say, “Keep going! This is important.”

MCP: We’re living in polarized times. Does architecture have a “political” role?

SB: Well, the political role is to try to create physical places where people’s natural needs for harmony, beauty and functionality are met. I would say that’s the job. Just like my job in law is to resolve legal disputes. Therefore, we have a legal system. Everything around us—particularly in the communications area—wants to shout, “It’s all political!” I say, “That isn’t what it feels like to me.” I’m a judge and I try to do my job. And I imagine that architects feel somewhat similarly.

MCP: There’s a phrase going around in architecture circles right now: democratic design. As someone who deals primarily in democratic ideals, and who deals a little bit in design, I wonder what that phrase means to you?

SB: I would prefer to use a legal phrase that was very popular at one time. It’s an Oliver Wendell Holmes term, called Jobsmanship. If you were to translate that into architecture terms, it would mean that every part of the building was designed well. The stairs, the handrails, the restaurants, how it looks from the outside, how it looks on the inside. There are no dead areas. The direction is clear. The signage is clear. Whatever the point of view, there is an attractive perspective. When we were looking around, for architects, we asked a series of questions to the people who worked in their earlier buildings and who used them: What do you think? Do you like it? Does it lift your spirits? Are you happy to be here? How does it still function ten or fifteen years after opening? Does it fit within the neighborhood? Does it add something to the community around it? These are all fair questions to ask of our buildings.

La Tourette / Le Corbusier. Image © Fernando Schapochnik La Tourette / Le Corbusier. Image © Fernando Schapochnik

MCP: What’s the most inspiring project you’ve seen in the last handful of years?  

SB: Most inspiring? We went on a tour and I loved the Le Corbusier monastery near Lyon. That was one of the things that was a surprise. But I can tell you a city I loved: Barcelona, not just because of the art Nouveau part, the Gaudi buildings, but because of the old city, which they’d redone, in a way that was not gentrified. There were all kinds of neighborhoods, and lots of different kinds of people. You’d go to look at a library, at night, and they’d be a cafe next door and there’d be a lot of young people sitting at the cafe, and you’d look through the windows of the library and see children reading books, younger people reading books, and old people reading books. Great. There they were, using that building. An attractive building, in an attractive neighborhood, so when I saw that I thought of that corny old political slogan, “Yes, we can do it.”

MCP: It is possible.

SB: It’s possible! Of course.

ArchiWeb

"Post-Digital" Drawing Valorizes the Ordinary and Renders it to Look Like the Past

6 days 23 hours ago

This article was originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "Can’t Be Bothered: The Chic Indifference of Post-Digital Drawing."

In architectural circles, the appellation “post-digital” has come to mean many things to many people. Some have used it as a shorthand descriptor for the trendy style of rendering that has become popular among students and, increasingly, architectural offices. Others have used it to describe a more profound shift in architectural production that is at once inoculated against the novelty of digital technique and attuned to the sheer ubiquity of “the digital” in contemporary life.  

Chiado Apartment. Image Courtesy of Fala Atelier Chiado Apartment. Image Courtesy of Fala Atelier

In both instances, tIn both instances, the post-digital signals awareness and savvy; a calculated world-weariness that has seen through the so-called “disruptive” promise of the digital. One need only be alive and minimally attentive in 2018 to be disabused of the stubborn positivism that has come to be associated with “the digital turn” in its broadest sense. Aspiring to an architectural sensibility of digital-skepticism is commendable, to be sure—many an artistic experiment has derived nourishment from meta-critiques of its tools of production. However, the term “post-digital” as it is used in popular architectural discourse has been shorn of its critical and subversive potential to fundamentally reconstitute disciplinary concerns and methods for a putatively post-digital age. What we have instead is the mere description of a description: just another style of architectural rendering.

This notion of “post-digital drawing” has been articulated by the architect and writer Sam Jacob, in an essay for e-flux, as “accentuat[ing] representation’s ‘representational’ quality, eschewing preset realism in order to expose how drawing and seeing are active in constructing the world.” Jacob uses “preset realism” to refer to the photorealistic renderings afforded by contemporary multi-platform workflows that combine advanced rendering software with Photoshop. Despite the wild architectural diversity depicted in these images, this “realism” can appear static and burdened with homogenizing visual tropes. More often than not, they are “all-in” images of high-contrast worlds rendered in wide angle, where street-style pedestrians abound under an HDRI sky.

This argument, pithy as it is, performs a sleight of hand by merely substituting one base form of representation with another, one set of smooth algorithmic processes for another. After all, what is “preset realism” if not a consummate form of “drawing and seeing” that actively and painstakingly constructs worlds?

Garage House. Image Courtesy of Fala Atelier Garage House. Image Courtesy of Fala Atelier

The post-digital drawing, on the other hand, renders space in a manner that variously recalls the paintings of Magritte, Sheeler, Hockney, Hopper, the large-format photographs of the New Topographics, even early OMA. Varied though these references may be, the post-digital drawing extracts from them an obsession with flatness and a virtuous refusal to engage with gloss, definition, fidelity, and multi-point perspective. Here, the visual accoutrements of photorealism have been replaced with another set of tropes: square aspect ratio, relentless frontality, impossibly high focal length, often the absence of perspective, the profusion of film-grain “noise” and texture overlays, the simulation of hand-made collage or montage, suppressed or mute coloration, fragments of iconic paintings, idiosyncratic furniture, potted succulents, and sundry domestic ephemera. By valorizing the ordinary and rendering it to look like the past, the post-digital drawing is a belated manifestation of the aesthetics of millennial disaffection that first came into prominence over a decade ago.

Alvenaria Neighborhood. Image Courtesy of Fala Atelier Alvenaria Neighborhood. Image Courtesy of Fala Atelier

In the mid-2000s, the British cultural critics Mark Fisher and Simon Reynolds reanimated the Derridean portmanteau “hauntology” to describe the work of an emerging group of musicians, including those associated with the label Ghost Box Records. This music was characterized by a retro-conscious impulse that mixed digital and analog processes to produce a seemingly imprecise and unsmooth electronic sound that was glitchy, scratchy, even old-timey. The aesthetics of this music reflected the cultural impasse of its time; 9/11, the invasion of Iraq, and the unprecedented expansion of finance capitalism. The murky sound betrayed a longing for a semi-imaginary Pre-Thatcherite past of benevolent state-planning and utopian Modernism. This spectral longing was represented through artfully scavenged musical samples and through the duotone collage aesthetic of the album art.

DOGMA’s Stop City arguably represents the first “hauntological” moment in architecture. Image Courtesy of DOGMA DOGMA’s Stop City arguably represents the first “hauntological” moment in architecture. Image Courtesy of DOGMA

Around the same time, architecture was witness to its own “hauntological” moment. This is best encapsulated in the early proposals of DOGMA and a handful of Western European architects whose work responded to the unbridled march of laissez-faire urbanization by teetering between full-blown welfare-state nostalgia and the possibility of a utopian future. Projects such as DOGMA’s Stop City (2007) and A Simple Heart (2011) harkened to not-so-distant architectural pasts by way of massive obdurate forms represented in stark drawings, painterly collages, and ominous aerial photo-montages. These projects sought to recuperate architectural form from the giddy hallucinations of neoliberal speculation by imbuing it with the power to imagine egalitarian collectivities. While the collages constructed sublime landscapes of idealized order and harmony, the “photo-real” montages grounded the projects in the banal omnipotence of the Google Earth aerial view; a rude awakening from short-lived reverie.

DOGMA’s Stop City (2007) polemically juxtaposed massive monoliths against traditional urban forms. Image Courtesy of DOGMA DOGMA’s Stop City (2007) polemically juxtaposed massive monoliths against traditional urban forms. Image Courtesy of DOGMA

In the decade since the appearance of DOGMA’s provocations, the post-digital style of architectural representation has internalized this repertoire of hauntological image-making and reduced it to a kind of filter-aesthetic that is obsessed with the look of the analog and the feel of the hand. The sexy gloss of “preset realism” has been replaced by an effete “preset retro-fetishism” that is agnostic to the functions of material, scale, program, and politics. The architectural content of post-digital imagery is overridden by the semiotics of a chic modesty, as the indifference to realism cloaks an anxious resignation to the impoverished present. The ontological promise of an architecture borne out of post-digital material ecologies and social relations is evacuated as are the radical political impulses of those early hauntological projects. What we have instead is the appearance of a pastel picturesque that renders architectural form inert to the point of meaninglessness. But perhaps that is the point.

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