ArchiWEB Explorer: Zaha Hadid

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Beyond Brutalism: Spotlight on Iconic Architecture by Ricardo Bofill

[ By SA Rogers in Architecture & Cities & Urbanism. ]

Legendary Spanish architect Ricardo Bofill may be most widely known for his dystopian-looking postmodern housing estate Le Palacio d’Abraxas as well as his own reclaimed cement factory home, but his body of work is much more colorful and diverse than these examples would suggest. Celebrated for modernizing historic and regional architectural attributes in his own distinctive style, Bofill counts a number of iconic structures among his oeuvre, including the vivid La Muralla Roja (The Red Wall, 1972), a vision in pastel hues set against the Mediterranean Sea.

From Romantic Ruins to the Ultra-Real: A History of the Architectural Render

Throughout history, architects have used sketches and paintings to display to their clients the potential outcomes of the projects rattling around their minds. Since Brunelleschi’s adoption of drawn perspective in 1415, architectural visualizations have painted hyper-realistic imaginings of an ideal, where the walls are always clean, the light always shines in the most perfect way, and the inhabitants are always happy.

With technological advances in 3D modeling and digital rendering, this ability to sell an idea through a snapshot of the perfect architectural experience has become almost unrestricted. Many have criticized the dangers of unrealistic renderings that exceed reality and how they can create the illusion of a perfect project when, in fact, it is far from being resolved. However, this is only the natural next step in a history of fantastical representations, where the render becomes a piece of art itself. 

Below is a brief history of the interesting ways architects have chosen to depict their projectsfrom imagined time travel to the diagrammatic.

Terraced Balconies & Double Helix Bridges: Spotlight on Penda Architecture

[ By SA Rogers in Architecture & Public & Institutional. ]

Kinetic architecture, verdant cascading balconies, timber-frame skyscrapers and double-helix bridges: Beijing- and Salzburg-based multidisciplinary firm Penda brings all sorts of refreshing ideas to the worlds of architecture, landscape and interior design. Founded by Chris Precht and Dayong Sun, the youthful firm subverts norms and commands attention with its surprising solutions, and we’ll likely see a lot more stunning projects from them materializing in the future.

Tel Aviv Arcades

Starchitect Spotlight: 9 Wooden Wonders by Kengo Kuma & Associates

[ By SA Rogers in Architecture & Public & Institutional. ]

Acclaimed Japanese architect Kengo Kuma brings traditional Japanese building techniques and aesthetics into the 21st century with dynamic structures making creative use of wooden elements. Known for his gridded installations and unusual ways of stacking and assembling small pieces of wood, the architect often works with joinery techniques that negate the need for any metal fasteners.

Japan House in São Paulo, Brazil

Sou Fujimoto Selected to Design 2013 Serpentine Pavilion

Award-winning Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto was today announced as designer of the 2013 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion in London. He is the thirteenth and, at 41, youngest architect to accept the invitation to design a temporary structure for the Serpentine Gallery.

McAslan beats Zaha to museum job

John McAslan + Partners has seen off an impressive shortlist, including Zaha Hadid Architects, to win the competition to design the revamp and extension of the Museum of London’s Roman gallery

Entrevistas: Wolf D. Prix / Coop Himmelb(l)au

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Reconocido ampliamente como académico y profesional, Wolf Prix es un arquitecto de arquitectos y además, poseedor de un Record Mundial Guinness! (El Centro de Cine de Busan posee el techo en volado más largo del mundo). Nos sentamos a conversar con el arquitecto austríaco y aprendimos que no sólo recibe bien los impredecibles resultados de romper las reglas, sino que además toma prestados modelos y estrategias propias de la organización del fútbol:

“Es claro que hoy en día la idea del arquitecto como el único genio ha terminado. Creo que debemos aprender a comunicarnos y trabajar en equipo. Es por esto que recientemente reordené la organización de nuestra oficina pensando en la idea del equipo de fútbol FC Barcelona. Barcelona juega un precioso juego, muy claro e inteligente -ellos siempre juegan en un sistema de triangulación y de pronto Messi o Xavi rompen las reglas y empiezan a jugar un fútbol callejero con reglas imprevistas. Esta es la forma en la que trabajamos en nuestra oficina y es la forma en la que diseñamos.”

So You Want to Learn About: Bernard Tschumi

The "So You Want to Learn About" (SYW2LA) series highlights books focused on a particular theme: think "socially responsible architecture" and "phenomenology," rather than broad themes like "housing" or "theory." Therefore the series aims to be a resource for finding decent reading materials on certain topics, born of a desire to further define noticeable areas of interest in the books I review. And while I haven't reviewed every title, I am familiar with each one; these are not blind recommendations.

I went to undergraduate architecture school in the early- and mid-1990s, coming during the (albeit brief) rise of Deconstructivism and the waning of Postmodernism. Therefore, instead of architects like Venturi and Scott Brown, Charles Moore, James Stirling, and other PoMo architects, the primary influences on my architectural education – design studio and other classes – were architects like Morphosis, Coop Himmelb(l)au, Daniel Libeskind, Zaha Hadid and Bernard Tschumi. Of these, the greatest number of books in my library come from the last, Tschumi, whose printed output veers from projects like the well known Manhattan Transcripts to theoretical texts, monographs and exhibition catalogs. This SYW2LA installment focuses on the ideas in Tschumi's books by looking at the nine that are in my library.