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.
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: (Note: Books bought via these links send a few cents to this blog, keeping it afloat.)
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: (Note: Books bought via these links send a few cents to this blog, keeping it afloat.)
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.
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: (Note: Books bought via these links send a few cents to this blog, keeping it afloat.)
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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%.
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