ArchiWEB Explorer: Architects

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Starchitect Spotlight: Olson Kundig’s Crystalline Modern Sensibilities

[ By SA Rogers in Architecture & Houses & Residential. ]

Each one of architectural firm Olson Kundig’s creations is in open dialogue with its environment, often integrating oversized glass doors that open wide to the outside world or sliding steel panels to close them up and make them feel safe and secure. The Washington state-based firm, consisting of architects Tom Kundig and Jim Olson, feels quintessentially Pacific Northwest in its choice of raw, rugged materials that can stand up to extreme weather conditions, from wildfire-prone plains and heavy snow pack to rainforests and windswept coasts.

Seattle Space Needle Renovation

Book Review: Álvaro Siza Architectural Guide

Álvaro Siza Architectural Guide: Built Projects edited by Maria Melo, Michel Toussaint
A+A Books, 2017
Paperback, 240 pages



On a recent trip to Zurich I came across a couple books on the architecture of Álvaro Siza, both published by A+A Books out of Lisbon. One was a case study devoted to his Piscina das Marés in Leça da Palmeira and the other was a guide to 82 of the architect's built projects in Portugal. Unfortunately their expense made buying both impossible. Even though the former project is in my forthcoming 100 Years, 100 Landscape Designs, I opted for the latter for a few reasons. First, perhaps some day I'll make it to Portugal and can use the book to scope out as many of Siza's projects as possible. Second, the book is a great resource with familiar buildings but many that I've never heard of before. Not all of the projects (selected by Siza) are publicly accessible, but they paint a solid picture of Siza's output in his home country over six decades.


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

Drawings Any Architect Should Love

It's not often that architects put working drawings on their website – for good reason, since they are only legible to other architects, engineers, contractors, and others trained in deciphering the notes and symbols layered over the basic plans, sections, and elevations. Therefore I was plenty surprised to find some on Edwin Chan's website; these are for the Mullholand Drive Residence in Los Angeles.


[All images of the Mulholland Drive Residence nabbed from EDWINCHAN.US]

Chan explains in the Design Journal section of his website: "The general Public tends to associate architecture in terms of its formal and sculptural attributes. ... EC3 prioritizes documenting the interaction between clients, the design team, and the public. The resulting design journals provide a glimpse of the process of how ideas are transformed into formal solutions."


INC Architecture Design Their Own Office In New York

Architecture and design studio INC have transformed a space in New York City to become their new studio.

Contemporary Office Design In NYC

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Peter Zumthor: 1986-2013

The most recent monograph—the only one, actually—on Swiss architect Peter Zumthor was released in 1998. It's so desirable that used copies are being sold on Amazon for around $1,500. A forthcoming monograph from Scheidegger and Spiess may temper the desirability of that book, since it will cover Zumthor's work from 1986-2013 (the earlier one covers 1979-1997) and will be more than twice as big (800 pages versus 318). Sure, it comes with a $250 cover price and won't be released until September, but if anybody can find me a more anticipated architecture book I'd like to know about it.

zumthor1986-2013.jpg

Book description via Amazon:

"There is still a lot to be learned from Postmodernism" says Denise Scott Brown

Denise Scott Brown

Pomo summer: in this exclusive interview, architect and planner Denise Scott Brown distinguishes the research-led brand of Postmodernism championed by herself and husband Robert Venturi, from the style employed by Philip Johnson, which she calls "limp" (+ transcript). (more…)

Mies Worship

Today would be Mies van der Rohe's 128th birthday. This year Google did not opt to "celebrate" it with a doodle, but they did so two years ago:

mies-126.jpg

I probably wouldn't have taken notice of this anniversary either, except for two recent projects – one built, one a competition – that both reference Mies in different ways.

First is the Allianz Headquarters designed by Wiel Arets and just completed in Zürich:


Per the website of the architect who happens to now head the Mies's Illinois Institute of Technology: "This new district’s master plan mandated that all building façades be composed of natural stone, yet it was chosen to frit this building’s full glass façade with an abstracted pattern of Onyx marble–from Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona Pavilion." (my emphasis)



The second project is OMA's winning design for the Axel Springer media center in Berlin. Announced on the firm's website today, the design that bested former OMA employees Bjarke Ingels and Ole Scheeren includes a photo of the model next to a drawing of Mies van der Rohe's famous Friedrichstrasse office building proposed for Berlin in 1922:

Massimo Vignelli: The Architect's Type

As much as I appreciate the design of architecture books, I've never paid too close attention to who's responsible for the actual design of them. But recently I noticed that a number of the books in my library were designed by Massimo Vignelli, who died in 2014 at the age of 83. With his wife Lella and their New York firm Vignelli Associates, he was one of the most popular and versatile graphic designers, responsible for the design of books and magazines, but also interiors, packaging, branding, architectural graphic, furniture, and product design. Here I highlight some of the architecture books in my library that he designed.


Richard Meier, Architect:

Italy is suffering from an overabundance of architects

architects in italy

You’ve heard of too many cooks in the kitchen, but what happens when there are too many architects? A new report from the Architects’ Council of Europe shows that 27 percent of all the architects on the continent are licensed in Italy—that amounts to 153,000 architects, which is 50,000 more than there are in the U.S. This alarmingly high concentration of architects means stiff competition for a limited number of jobs.