ArchiWEB Explorer: North America

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"My Journey is Starting Now": Shohei Shigematsu of OMA New York

Where does originality and independent thinking come from? The answer is prosaically straight forward – from an inquiring individual, and an experimental environment wouldn’t hurt to stimulate it. Rem Koolhaas is credited with fostering such an environment, both through building his practice, Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), a 300-architect network of seven global offices, and teaching at Harvard’s GSD, as well as lecturing all over the world. Koolhaas now has eight partners. One of the eight, since 2008, is Shohei Shigematsu who heads OMA New York since 2006. The studio originally numbered just a handful of people and over the years has grown into a large practice of 75 architects with a focus on projects in North America.

Born in 1973, in Fukuoka, Japan, Shigematsu likes to point out that his birth coincided with the moment when Japan’s economy started to decline. Still, the post-war generation of his parents believed that the economy was going to grow and keep modernizing. It did, and the process was very integral with new construction, so architecture was of interest from an early age. When Shigematsu was ten, his father was invited to teach science at an American university. That presented an opportunity for the whole family to spend one year in Boston, which also contributed to Shigematsu’s decision to study architecture. We met for the following conversation at OMA New York to discuss the architect’s role in the company, his search for personal identity, and, of course, architecture’s top priority – its concern with beauty.

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a+t 51: Public Space Strategies - Activators
Aurora Fernández Per, Javier Mozas (Editors)
a+t architecture publishers, December 2018

Paperback | 9-1/2 x 12-1/2 inches | 120 pages | Spanish/English | ISBN: 978-8409049295 | 26.00 €

Publisher Description:
a + t magazine returns to the public realm through the STRATEGY series, which began in 2010 with the aim of highlighting and naming the strategies and actions underlying each project.

85 actions are identified within the 13 projects included in the issue. They are grouped according to: Scale of influence (Context, Site, Objects) and Type of strategy (Environmental, Socioeconomic, Aesthetic).

This new volume of the STRATEGY series, called ACTIVATORS, includes works by MVRDV, Jaja, Adept, Nendo, Vaumm, Wowhaus, and Ola, among others. They are all projects that add new dynamics to the public space through the incorporation of facilities for leisure, sports or recreational learning.
dDAB Commentary:

Studio Joy Works

Studio Joy Works
Rick Joy
Princeton Architectural Press, October 2018

Paperback | 9-3/4 x 8-1/2 inches | 208 pages | # illustrations | English | ISBN: 9781616897550 | $55.00

Publisher Description:
Rick Joy's reputation as one of the country's most gifted designers, whose
mining of materials and site create transcendent, even poetic buildings, was
established in his first book,
Desert Works. This follow-up, Studio Joy Works,
marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of his firm's founding and continues the
careful documentation of the growing body of his important work, including
houses in Vermont and California, his first public project, a train station in
Princeton, New Jersey, and residences abroad in Mexico and Turks and
Caicos. The projects in this book are further contextualized with an essay by
Joy and spectacular photographs.
dDAB Commentary:

15 Reasons why 2018 was a Record-Breaking Year for Tall Buildings

Shenzhen Energy Mansion / BIG. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu Shenzhen Energy Mansion / BIG. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu

The CTBUH has released its Year in Review, charting the year’s tall building developments around the world. 2018 saw a record-breaking 18 supertall buildings (over 300 meters tall) built across the world, and 143 buildings of over 200 meters in height completed.

To quantify the extent to which architecture reached to the sky throughout the year, the CTBUH estimate that if each tall building completed in 2018 was laid end to end, it would exceed the entire length of the island of Manhattan; some 13 miles (21.6 kilometers).

Coalesse launches Sistema Lounge System in North America

Sistema Lounge System

Dezeen promotion: design brand Coalesse has launched a customisable lounge system by Spanish company Viccarbe in North America, offering an expanded range of options. Read more

Degrowth: the Radical (Re)Action Needed to Avoid Total Economic and Environmental Collapse

Courtesy of Otherothers. ImageOtherothers' installation at the 2015 Chicago Biennial looked at the impact of the standard suburban Australian home. Their installation proposed a shrinkage of the typology's spatial impact Courtesy of Otherothers. ImageOtherothers' installation at the 2015 Chicago Biennial looked at the impact of the standard suburban Australian home. Their installation proposed a shrinkage of the typology's spatial impact

The world faces some significant challenges. The UN climate change report released last month, which explained that we may have just 12 years and need “unprecedented changes” to avoid devastating effects from climate change, was released into a world that seemed to be plenty busy processing other things, such as rising economic inequality, increasingly partisan politics, escalating conflicts, and refugee crises, to name a few.

From Saving Lives to Raining Candy: Drones Do a Lot of Good, Too

[ By SA Rogers in Conceptual & Futuristic & Technology. ]

We haven’t quite reached the predicted point at which drones become an intrinsic part of our daily lives, but small autonomous flying machines are learning how to do a lot more than spook people with their surveillance potential and take amazing aerial photographs. Not that they aren’t still really good at both of those. A lot of the news we read about drone advancements is a bit dystopian, warning of the looming potential for wildly invasive policing and the kind of automation that seems to threaten jobs en masse. But drones are set to accomplish some pretty cool things, too – in addition to delivering packages and piping hot food faster than ever.

Search & Rescue Missions

Amazon HQ2 could split between New York and Virginia

Long Island City, New York

Amazon plans to split its major second headquarters in North America between Queens, New York, and Arlington County, Virginia, according to reports. Read more

Frida Escobedo, Designer of the Serpentine Pavilion, Among 2019 RIBA International Fellows

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) unveiled the seven laureates of the 2019 International Fellowships,
a "lifetime honor allows recipients to use the initials Int FRIBA after their name," recognizes the contributions that architects across the world outside of the UK have made in the field of architecture. Previously awarded to architects such as Jeanne Gang and Phillip Cox, the annual Fellowship emphasizes not only the impact of architects' work in their respective homelands but also their global influence.

A juror's committee, consisting of Ben Derbyshire, RIBA President; Lady Patty Hopkins, a 1994 RIBA Gold Medalist; Bob Shiel, a professor at the Bartlett School of Architecture; Wasfi Kani, a 2018 Honorary Fellow; and Pat Woodward RIBA, of Matthew Lloyd Architects, awarded the 2019 Fellows. The fellowships will be presented in London in February 2019.

The laureates of RIBA's 2019 International Fellowships are as following:

Frida Escobedo