World-Architects Daily News

      

Monday, July 27, 2015

Today's archidose #852

Here are some of my photos of Alloy Development's DUMBO Townhouses (2015) in Brooklyn, New York.

DUMBO Townhouses

DUMBO Townhouses

DUMBO Townhouses

DUMBO Townhouses

DUMBO Townhouses

DUMBO Townhouses

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

More of André Chiote's Architectural Illustrations

A couple years ago I featured some of the illustrations created by André Chiote, an architect who also dabbles in creating "a set of images in which the aim is to simultaneously outline the emblematic and distinctive side of the building while creating a graphic composition whose expression could speak out beyond the building itself." Earlier today he sent me some illustrations of the work of Brazilian architect João Batista Vilanova Artigas, who would have been 100 years old in June. His most well known work is the FAU Center at University São Paulo, a large concrete building with a skylit gathering space at its center.




Other notable buildings include the Jaú Bus Terminal:


And the Louveira Residential Complex:


See more of André Chiote's illustrations on his website and Facebook page.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Today's archidose #851

Here are some photos of the Investcorp Building (2015) at St Anthony's College, Oxford, by Zaha Hadid Architects, photographed by Iqbal Aalam.

Middle East Centre, St Anthony's College, Oxford by Zaha Hadid 3

Middle East Centre, St Anthony's College, Oxford by Zaha Hadid 4

Middle East Centre, St Anthony's College, Oxford by Zaha Hadid 2

Middle East Centre, St Anthony's College, Oxford by Zaha Hadid 1

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Magazine of the Moment: Kimbell Art Museum – Drawing Collection




This one is hard to resist: the 538th issue of a+u is devoted to Louis I. Kahn's Kimbell Art Museum, presenting drawings as well as some photographs and essays by Lawrence Speck and Carlos Jimenez.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Book Review: World Atlas of Sustainable Architecture

World Atlas of Sustainable Architecture: Building for a Changing Culture and Climate by Ulrich Pfammatter
DOM Publishers, 2014
Hardcover, 584 pages



The back cover of this hefty book purports a total of 333 projects in its nearly 600 pages. With so many projects, the question in any book is how to structure them. The words "world atlas" in the title, as well as the weather map image on the cover, point to a geographical structure, but that is not the case. Instead the projects are arranged thematically in a complex, nested array of sections, chapters, subchapters and sub-subchapters. It's a very logical structure that responds to, if anything, how architects work on projects, particularly in regard to site planning and other "big picture" areas. Nevertheless it's a bit unwieldy at times, such that sometimes the structure seems to overwhelm or take priority over the content.



Let's look at one portion from Section 1, Genius Loci - Unique Places in a State of Change (the other sections are Building in Extreme Situations; Space, Structure and the Climate Change; the Nature of Materials - and the Future of Materials Technology; and architectural Memory: Industrial Culture and Transformation Strategies). The Genius Loci section is broken down into three chapters that are numbered 1.1, 1.2, and 1.3, each of them further broken down into three subchapters. So chapter 1.2, Contextual Building Typologies in a Changing Culture and Climate, has 1.2.A, 1.2.B, and 1.2.C. But it doesn't stop there, since 1.2.A, Atria of the Future, to take one example, has three further sub-subchapters: 1.2.A/1, 1.2.A/2, and 1.2.A/3.



The sub-subchapter 1.2.A/1 is titled Atria as Communication Spaces and has two projects within, each of them numbered: 1.25 is the Genzyme Center in Cambridge, MA, and 1.26 is the Centraal Beheer office building in The Netherlands. To take Behnisch, Behnisch & Partner's Genzyme Center as an example, we see that within its description the project is keyed to another part of the book (3.3.A/1), meaning the project is found in more than one section (I'm not sure if the 333 projects are all standalone projects or involve repetitions). Given that each spread gives the section, chapter, and subchapter in the top-right corner (note that the spreads shown here don't coincide with the pages I'm discussing here), it should be easy to find the Genzyme Center. But the sub-subchapter is not indicated, so it takes a little bit of effort to find it. Given that each project has a number (1.25 for Genzyme, again), why not reference the project number rather than the section? Which is more important, the project or the thematic structure? All signs point to the latter.

Since some projects are found in more than one place, the text and illustrations for them are different, catered to the appropriate thematic section. This certainly makes sense, but if somebody wants to know as much as possible about a single project it should be a bit easier to do so. Instead it's cumbersome and, at times, frustrating. But if readers are more interested in focusing on atria as new communication spaces, for example, then the book works well for them.



 You may be asking, "With all this talk about the structure of the book, how about the content?" I'd have preferred giving more attention to the latter, but my use of the book was stymied by its structure. Nevertheless, I found the descriptions capable but a bit cursory. Those wanting to delve deep into projects of sustainable architecture (a fairly loose definition in the case of what is included here) might be frustrated in discovering information they already know about, but those who are less familiar with the projects in the book will find much to discover and appreciate; the latter is definitely the target audience, though I wish each project entry had references as a launch pad for the former.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Today's archidose #850

On the occasion of being named the director of the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale, here are some photos of buildings by Alejandro Aravena/Elemental culled from the archidose Flickr pool. The Biennale will run from May 28 to November 27, 2016.

UC Innovation Center - Anacleto Angelini:
CENTRO DE INNOVACIÓN UC - ANACLETO ANGELINI

CENTRO DE INNOVACIÓN UC - ANACLETO ANGELINI

CENTRO DE INNOVACIÓN UC - ANACLETO ANGELINI

CENTRO DE INNOVACIÓN UC - ANACLETO ANGELINI

Siamese Tower:
Untitled

Untitled

Chile 143 of 245

Torres Siamesas

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Thursday, July 16, 2015

Book Briefs #22

"Book Briefs" are an ongoing series of posts with two- or three-sentence first-hand descriptions of some of the numerous books that make their way into my library. These briefs are not full-blown reviews, but they are a way to share more books worthy of attention than can find their way into reviews on my daily or weekly pages.

This installment compiles six books that surely deserve their own longer reviews, but they have been piled up at work staring at me for a while, so I'm putting them together here.




1: Radical Cities: Across Latin America in Search of a New Architecture by Justin McGuirk | Verso | 2014 | Amazon
This spring I attended a couple book talks at the Center for Architecture, one on Keller Easterling's Extrastatecraft and the other on Justin McGuirk's Radical Cities; both are published, perhaps coincidentally, by Verso. While widely divergent in topic and tone, both have the common approach of exploring the margins of architecture and urbanism. Easterling looks to free trade zones and other infrastructural constructions, McGuirk heads south and looks at what is being produced in South America. The book is equal parts travelogue, portraits of architects, history, and criticism, each aspect overlapping and intertwining in a remarkably enjoyable manner that was echoed in his talk at the Center. The subjects that McGuirk explores are a mix of the well known (Elemental's houses in Quinta Monroy and Urban-Think Tank's work in Caracas, for example) and the obscure (PREVI and Alto Comedero). His solid writing and firsthand experience binds everything, while his skeptical optimism pervades the book enough to encourage readers that architects are not completely helpless in the face of dramatic economic, social, and political problems.

2: Broadway by Michelle Young | Arcadia Publishing | 2015 | Amazon
I'm a really big fan of the books in the Images of America series, visual histories of particular places. I've read one on St. Louis Union Station and another on "Forgotten Chicago," which recounts places like the Maxwell Street Market, which was razed so UIC could expand and replace it with some bland and questionable neo-traditional buildings. This book by Untapped Cities founder Michelle Young is the third book in the huge series that I have (of more than 7,000!), and it is one of the better ones. As the name makes clear, it tells the story of Manhattan's tip-to-tip thoroughfare. The book works in chronological order, which also means it moves from south to north, just as the island grew. Young veers away from Broadway in some places, but it's never more than a couple blocks and is justifiably done to tell a story – and there are plenty of fascinating stories here to discover.

3: Timber in the City: Design and Construction in Mass Timber edited by Andrew Bernheimer | ORO Editions | 2015 | Amazon
Timber mania is washing over architecture: Canadian architect Michael Green and MetsäWood designed a wooden version of the the Empire State Building, and earlier this summer I interviewed Solid Wood author Joseph Mayo about his research on wood structures. Okay, maybe "mania" is going a bit far, but it's hard to deny that large timber is being seen increasingly as one of the most sustainable means of construction. It helps that a number of techniques – CLT, or cross laminated timber, is one of the most popular – are addressing fire and other concerns that have kept wood from being a structural element for taller buildings in cities. New York City is definitely one place where concrete and steel are favored over wood, not surprising given the historical conflagrations that hit the city and rewrote its building codes. But momentum is shifting toward timber construction, and this book looks at some ways that wood buildings could be reintroduced into the city. It happens in two parts: the winner and runners-up in the Timber in the City student competition, sited in Red Hook, Brooklyn; and international examples of built work. Architects already convinced that wood is the way to go should pick up Mayo's more thorough and technical book, but doubting architects should start with Timber in the City, an appealing look at a trend that's not going away anytime soon.


[Justin McGuirk, with Antanas Mockus over his shoulder, at the Center for Architecture speaking about Radical Cities]

4: Loft Living: Culture and Capital in Urban Change by Sharon Zukin | Rutgers University Press | 2014 | Amazon
If I were pressed to name my five favorite authors, Sharon Zukin would be on that list. (Others might be John McPhee, Juhani Pallasmaa, Jonathan Rosenbaum, and Michael Sorkin.) Her writings on cities, particularly New York, are thorough yet clear, large in scope yet nuanced to details, theoretical yet full of firsthand observations, and always on topic in terms of what is pressing. In the early 1980s that topic was SoHo (South of Houston in Manhattan), an area full of cast iron warehouses that are now home to luxury brands on the ground floor and rich tenants living upstairs, a far cry from its industrial origins. Loft Living is Zukin's most groundbreaking work, the one that she will be remembered for, the one worthy of this 25th anniversary edition (it is the same as the 1989 version plus a new introduction on how "loft living grows up). What makes the book so impressive, and so lasting, is how Zukin analyzes one place – SoHo – in the context of wider social and economic changes, particularly the commodification of art and the role of the artist in gentrification. These are common views now, thanks to Zukin and this book that is a must-read, even two-and-a-half decades later.

5: The Death of Drawing: Architecture in the Age of Simulation by David Ross Scheer | Routledge | 2014 | Amazon
If any title will prick up the ears of architects over, say, 41 years of age (yes, that's my age), it's The Death of Drawing. No matter the ubiquity of computers in schools and in offices, drawing can't die, right? It can't be completely replaced by BIM, can it? I'd say that drawing can't be replaced flat out by software, but adopting BIM can affect the roles of architects by transforming what they do and how they do it. As Scheer, a professor who has become something of an expert on building simulation technologies, argues in this book, the architect's traditional means of drawing translated into a role as form-giver. But with BIM becoming the favored means of production – and sustainability being the most widespread means of keeping architects relevant – performance gains priority over form. And try as they might, architects surely cannot predict and measure performance (be it in energy or some other metric) through hand drawings; architects need software to create simulations and therefore deal with performance. But as Scheer states in this smart and well-timed book, and which should give an indication to where he goes in it, "There is more to life than performance."

6: Urban Acupunture by Jaime Lerner | Island Press | 2014 | Amazon
Medical analogies applied to cities and planning are nothing new. The problems of cities have often been described as "ailments," and in the middle of last century the "diagnosis" resulted in removing the "tumor" of blight and replacing it with "healthy" buildings and landscapes through urban renewal. Even though this technique, post-Jane Jacobs, is not the preferred route, the way of looking at the city as a body to be cured prevails. Look no further than this book by the former mayor of Curitiba, Brazil, who proposes small-scale "pinpricks" of action that should have a ripple effect on the larger city. Like anything in cities, the effect of any physical change – big or small – depends on so many more things than just the building, landscape, installation, or whatever the piece may be. Nevertheless, I like the thought of something mildly painful yet more gentle than surgery – acupuncture – being used as the analogy, just as I like the idea that small things have big impacts. Lerner's book similarly is full of short chapters that describe various ways of intervening or just plain thinking about the city. It's a diverse crop of ideas that ultimately is focused on the coming together of people in public space.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Today's archidose #849

Here are some photos of Neue Staatsbibliothek (1978) in Berlin, Germany, by Hans Scharoun, photographed by Trevor Patt.

IMG_3112

IMG_3115

IMG_3142-43

IMG_3181

IMG_3138

IMG_3164

IMG_3151

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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Corpus Intra Muros

I'm intrigued but a little baffled by architect Stefan Hitthaler's Corpus Intra Morus, spotted over at Arch Daily.


[Photo: Harald Wisthaler]

Simply put, it is a cover and frame over an old building, "the gunpowder tower" in Bruneck, in South Tyrol’s Puster Valley.

[Photo: Christof Theurer]

If the tower looks a little odd – shinier in some places – it is because it was refashioned from its before state (image via Google Street View):


According to Hitthaler and Ulrich Leitner, Institut für Erziehungswissenschaft Universität Innsbruck, who apparently worked on the project as well:
The tower has become the conduit of a two-sided exploration of the relationship between the human being & the wall: on the one hand an architectural structure permits the merging of human beings with the tower, captured as they are in photographic representations and blown up into a large format on a substrate. Simultaneously, a scientific search is being undertaken to detect the traces of the trails of bodies and their objects in the given spaces. Art and science thus blur the boundaries between human beings and matter, to the point of shifting it completely into the narrative form.


Baffling, but nevertheless a pretty cool melding of architecture, art and history.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Today's archidose #848

Here are some photos of Arquipélago - Centro de Artes Contemporâneas (2014) in Azores, Portugal, by Menos é Mais Arquitectos Associados and João Mendes Ribeiro Arquitecto, photographed by José Carlos Melo Dias.

Ribeira Grande, ARQUIPÉLAGO - Centro de Artes Contemporâneas. Menos é Mais + João Mendes Ribeiro

Ribeira Grande, ARQUIPÉLAGO - Centro de Artes Contemporâneas. Menos é Mais + João Mendes Ribeiro

Ribeira Grande, ARQUIPÉLAGO - Centro de Artes Contemporâneas. Menos é Mais + João Mendes Ribeiro

Ribeira Grande, ARQUIPÉLAGO - Centro de Artes Contemporâneas. Menos é Mais + João Mendes Ribeiro

Ribeira Grande, ARQUIPÉLAGO - Centro de Artes Contemporâneas. Menos é Mais + João Mendes Ribeiro

Ribeira Grande, ARQUIPÉLAGO - Centro de Artes Contemporâneas. Menos é Mais + João Mendes Ribeiro

Ribeira Grande, ARQUIPÉLAGO - Centro de Artes Contemporâneas. Menos é Mais + João Mendes Ribeiro

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