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- 02/07/14--13:14: _New York Architects...
- 02/20/14--07:55: _Welcome To The Shop...
- 02/21/14--14:32: _Architect Bjarke In...
- 02/27/14--17:43: _Architect Reveals A...
- 02/28/14--07:39: _Architect Zaha Hadi...
- 03/07/14--08:48: _Incredible Transfor...
- 03/17/14--07:52: _12 Striking Photos ...
- 03/17/14--09:17: _This Stunning Woodl...
- 03/24/14--14:02: _Japan's Shigeru Ban...
- 03/31/14--13:44: _The Human Cost Of Q...
- 03/31/14--14:48: _14 Awesome Building...
- 04/08/14--11:12: _These Spectacular B...
- 04/09/14--14:24: _The Most Impressive...
- 04/10/14--13:36: _Beautiful Californi...
- 04/11/14--13:06: _CITY OF DARKNESS: H...
- 04/14/14--06:46: _Top Architect Expla...
- 04/14/14--08:55: _How The Amazing 6-M...
- 04/28/14--08:25: _ARCHITECTURAL PLAGI...
- 04/28/14--12:32: _20 Beautiful Office...
- 05/02/14--14:27: _Italy Has An Insane...
- 02/20/14--07:55: Welcome To The Shopping Mall Of The Future
- 03/17/14--07:52: 12 Striking Photos Of Soviet Bus Stops
- 03/24/14--14:02: Japan's Shigeru Ban Has Won Architecture's Most Prestigious Award
- 03/31/14--13:44: The Human Cost Of Qatar's World Cup
- 03/31/14--14:48: 14 Awesome Buildings By Architecture's New Superstar
- 04/08/14--11:12: These Spectacular Buildings Will Change What You Think Of Wood
- 04/09/14--14:24: The Most Impressive New Houses Of 2014
- Nancy Ludwig, FAIA, Chair, ICON architecture, inc.
- David Barista, Building Design+Construction
- Louise Braverman, FAIA, Louise Braverman Architect
- Jean Rehkeamp Larson, AIA, Rehkamp Larson Architects, Inc.
- 04/10/14--13:36: Beautiful California House Rethinks Indoor To Outdoor Space
- 04/14/14--06:46: Top Architect Explains How Chinese Cities Need To Evolve
- 04/28/14--12:32: 20 Beautiful Offices That Architects Chose For Themselves
- 05/02/14--14:27: Italy Has An Insane Number Of Architects
New York City’s notoriously space-hungry real estate market is converting the cantilever – perhaps made most famous in Frank Lloyd Wright’s floating Fallingwater residence of 1935 – from a mere move of architectural acrobatics to a profit-generating design feature.
Driven by a “more is more” mantra, developers and architects are using cantilevers to extend the reach of a building, creating unique vistas and extended floor space in a market in which both are priced at sky-high premiums.
“In New York, development is a three-dimensional chess game,” says Dan Kaplan, a senior partner at FXFOWLE Architects. Why stop at simply building taller? Zoning codes limit how high a building can rise – especially in “landmarked” neighborhoods which abide by strict limits in order to preserve contextual heights. So, if you can’t go any higher, why not extend outwards using your neighbor’s unused airspace?
“The reason we’re seeing an increase in the use of cantilevers above neighboring buildings is linked to the complexity of finding a site that can utilize all available development rights,” explains Kaplan in a recent New York Time article. The Isis, an 18-story condominium designed by FXFowle on East 77th Street, is a prime example of this opportunistic approach. The architects incorporated two eight-foot cantilevers; one floats 17 feet above the airspace of Xavier High School; the other, projects 36 feet above a north-facing courtyard.
By selling their air rights at $13.7 million, the high school was able to monetize space that it had no intention of using. Inversely, the developers – Alchemy Properties – were able to extend apartment layouts adding value to each individual unit.
“In the 1920s they used to build straight up, with wedding-cake-type setbacks,” Kaplan adds, “but with a cantilever, we can build outward as well as up, and in kind of an inversion of the wedding-cake theme, the floors are bigger toward the top, where space is more valuable.”
Other notable New York cantilevers taking advantage of unused airspace include SHoP’s Porter House (with an eight foot cantilever), Herzog and de Meuron’s 56 Leonard Street tower in TriBeCa, and the planned luxury residential tower on 224 West 57th Street which is to cantilever above the 1890s landmark, the Arts Students League, rising 1,423 feet anchored by New York City’s first Nordstrom department store.
“Some people may not like [the cantilever],” says David Von Spreckelsen, Senior Vice President of Toll Brother’s City Living, “but I think it adds an interesting modern component, and with people not willing to sell their property to you, but willing to sell their air rights, the cantilever almost becomes a necessity.”
With a seemingly endless demand for new housing stock in New York City, the cantilever adds value and aesthetics that did not exist before. The movement of intercepting shapes, as Wright discovered long ago, has created a dynamic alternative to the typical glass box. This, together with its ability to add salable square footage, makes the cantilever a viable player in a spatially-challenged real estate market.
Check out Herzog and de Meuron’s cantilevered 56 Leonard Street tower on ArchDaily.
Latitude Studio, based in Barcelona and Beijing, have unveiled designs for a showroom exhibition centre in China’s capital city. Integral to the design is how visitors circulate and interact with the spaces centred around the “future shopping mall”. Including an auditorium, model spaces and views onto an area which is expected to see enormous retail development, the building’s central atrium and “thematic sightseeing walk” offer a unique journey for the visitor.This journey begins “with the reception of the guest; continues through an auditorium; display areas with 1:1 scale mock-ups; resting zone and finishes with the outlook of the future shopping mall building next by from the highest terrace.” The first floor contains “meeting rooms, office space and an atrium surrounded by a retail façade”, working as an interpretation of the common areas of the future shopping mall. Within the atrium is “a spiral staircase which goes up the building following a thematic sightseeing walk.”
The auditorium, located on the second floor, is accompanied “by a dark room with a physical model of the future shopping mall.” “The terrace in the second floor works as a mock-up of the future landscape area and main entrance to the mall, known as the sunken plaza. Before going up to the third floor, the visitor also finds a double-height retail facade mock-up facing the triple-height atrium.” The building’s dynamic façade “gives a sense of constant movement to the building, reflecting the commercial activity that will take place in the area.”Competition: Daxing Shopping Mall Showroom
Award: First Place
Architects: Latitude Studio
Location: Beijing, China
Architect In Charge: Manuel Zornoza
Design Team: Amos Hu, Frank Zhan, Jorge Cortes de Castro, Leo Li, Liu Bo, Lu Xiao, Phyo Yanadar Oo, Yiye Lin
Project Manager: Lihui Sim
Area: 1000.0 sqm
Photographs: Courtesy of Latitude Studio
A national library in Kazakhstan designed like a giant metallic doughnut, an apartment block in the Bahamas with a honeycomb facade that features swimming pools on every balcony, and an 11 million sq. ft. zero-emission resort on an island off the coast of Azerbaijan — these are just some of the many projects that have distinguished Danish architect Bjarke Ingels as one of the most innovative and ambitious designers practicing today.
But it's not just buildings that Ingels seeks to redefine. He also brings his design philosophy— that architecture should communicate with and evolve in response to changes in the local environment — to the way he manages his design firm, BIG.
In an interview with ArchDaily, Ingels says that rather than sticking to a traditional office hierarchy, BIG is modeled on an organism that adapts to growth and change. "Creating an office," he says, "is very much an evolutionary process."
"As the office evolves, your role is constantly changing," he continues. "Every three months I realize that I can no longer do what I did three months ago. I have to do things differently because the office has evolved and my role in it is constantly evolving."
Ingels says he consistently creates positions and shifts people around to ensure that each member of his team is doing the job they are best suited for and most interested in performing.
"One of the important things about creating an office," he emphasizes, "is that you have the opportunity and the responsibility to create the work environment that you would like to work in."
If you're creating your own office, he says, you have a responsibility to set the tone and culture for how your colleagues collaborate and communicate with one another, because this factor can have a significant impact on your final product.
And besides, Ingels adds, "you’re going to be spending a lot of time in your office, so if you don’t enjoy it, it’s going to be hell."
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“In an era of incompetent nation states and predatory transnationals, we must ratchet up local self-reliance, and the most logical increment of organisation (and resistance) is the city.”
This is how Michael Sorkin, writing in Aeon Magazine, explains his hypothetical plan to radically change the landscape of New York City, bringing a green landscape and urban farming into the former concrete jungle. The plan, called “New York City (Steady) State”, produced over six years by Sorkin’s Terreform, is not designed simply for aesthetic pleasure; it’s not even an attempt to make the city more sustainable (although sustainability is the key motivation behind the project).
The project is in fact a “thought-experiment” to design a version of New York that is completely self reliant, creating its own food, energy and everything else within its own borders.
The key idea behind the project is to create a sustainable society from the bottom up – rather than relying on government to impose one from the top down – by applying autarky, a political concept which describes a completely closed system. This system resonates well with many established notions of sustainability: ideas such as ‘cradle-to-cradle‘ or ‘net zero’ often demand closed loops or minimal outside influence.
After defining the extents of the study (including only the five boroughs of New York City and creating “an almost completely ‘unnatural’ limit” to constrain the study), the first step was to define how a city as urban as New York might be adapted to provide food for its 8.5 million inhabitants.
Using a variety of skyscraper farms, and reclaiming streets and under-utilized city blocks, Terreform has calculated that it would be technically possible to produce 2,500 calories per person, per day. Combining this with a sophisticated distribution network would give each resident access to enough food.
A plan as dramatic as this obviously brings drawbacks: the first iteration of the design was calculated to require 25 nuclear power stations to generate the energy required to produce all this food, a result that was “somewhat at odds with our larger intentions.”
However, this is where the project’s intention as a thought experiment comes into play: the radical design is meant to test boundaries, to take on a seemingly impossible task and see what the implications are of meeting it.
“On the whole, we’re sanguine about the differences between the logics of comparative advantage and the politics of self-realisation, and the difficulties of negotiating the territory in between,” explains Sorkin. The truly desirable solution to environmental crisis and social inequality will lie somewhere between our current situation and the designs of Terreform. But without their investigation pushing the boundaries of what is feasibly possible – and showing us just how different our urban environment could be – then our quest for sustainability would be limited, and therefore incomplete.
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When The Guardian recently asked Zaha Hadid about the 500 Indians and 382 Nepalese migrant workers who have reportedly died in preparations for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, the architect behind the al-Wakrah stadium responded:
“I have nothing to do with the workers. I think that’s an issue the government – if there’s a problem – should pick up. Hopefully, these things will be resolved.”
Asked whether she was concerned, she then added:
“Yes, but I’m more concerned about the deaths in Iraq as well, so what do I do about that? I’m not taking it lightly but I think it’s for the government to look to take care of. It’s not my duty as an architect to look at it. I cannot do anything about it because I have no power to do anything about it. I think it’s a problem anywhere in the world. But, as I said, I think there are discrepancies all over the world.”
Do you think it’s an architect’s duty to concern him/herself with the rights of the construction workers building their designs? Let us know in the comments below.
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OMA’s De Rotterdam, a project 15 years in the making, is designed to maximize the number of functions possible in 44 floors.
In addition to shops, hotels and office space, this “vertical city” also contains apartments that use transformable furniture to pack a variety of uses into small spaces.
Chairs double as wall art and sofas flip into beds, showing that a 60-square-meter (645-square-foot) apartment is more versatile than we think.
Developer Wim De Lathauwer explains, "Why would we only think in quantity of bedrooms and square meters, while many of these spaces are used only sporadically?…In The Netherlands we are simply not used to this way of thinking. De Rotterdam is the ideal project when it comes to maximizing the joy of every square meter. We deal with an audience who understands this and yearns for this extra quality. Even in the large apartments the office, wardrobe- and guest room are combined in one space. Actually, it is very logical.”
You can see the dynamic furniture, designed by Clei Italia, in the video below.
Read more about The Netherlands’ largest building here.
Curiously for a regime usually associated – both architecturally and otherwise – with uniformity and with sameness, the bus stops built by the Soviet Republic display remarkable diversity and creativity.
Herwig made it his mission to photograph as many of these remarkable structures as possible, traveling through Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Russia; Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan; Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, and Abkhazia.
Now complete, Herwig has launched a Kickstarter to turn this remarkable collection of photographs into a limited edition book, which he describes as “the most mind-blowing collection of creative bus stop design from the Soviet era ever assembled.”
This bus stop comes from Pitsunda, Abkhazia, near the Russian border on the coast of the Black Sea.
You can find this bus stop in Saratak, Armenia, near the Armenian-Turkish border.
Find this bus stop in Pitsunda, Abkhazia, near the Russian border on the coast of the Black Sea.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Leave it to a group of architects to do their work in a stunning office with an incredible design.
The office of Selgas Cano, a firm based in Madrid, Spain, is the number one most-visited building on ArchDaily, a website for architecture lovers. And it's easy to see why.
Situated in a remote area filled with vegetation and rock formations, some of the walls of the office act as full-length windows into the forest outside. Business Insider spoke to Selgas Cano's Alicia Cervera, one of the firm's seven architects, about how the group designed their artists' studio.
"What is being sought with this studio is quite simple: work under the trees," she said. "To do so, we needed a roof that's as transparent as possible. At the same time, we needed to isolate the desk zone from direct sunlight so we could still work."
Even though it looks secluded, the office is just a 20-minute drive from bustling Madrid. It sits on a 2500-square-foot section of forest northwest of the city, about 15 minutes from a small strip of shops and restaurants where Selgas Cano employees can grab a quick lunch — not that they would really want to leave.
"The beautiful space makes us want to be here," Cervera told Business Insider. "The atmosphere matches our relaxed attitude, and we don't have any strict office rules or any official time to come and go. It's an incredibly inspiring place to work."
Right now the firm isn't planning to expand. That means there's no reason to be thinking about ever abandoning their office.
"We're all really proud of the studio, and all our clients have been astonished."
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“Shigeru Ban is a tireless architect whose work exudes optimism. Where others may see insurmountable challenges, Ban sees a call to action. Where others might take a tested path, he sees the opportunity to innovate. He is a committed teacher who is not only a role model for younger generation, but also an inspiration.” — Pritzker Jury 2014
Citing his innovative approach to structure and material as well as his commitment to compassionate design, the Pritzker Jury has selected Japanese architect Shigeru Ban as the 2014 winner of the Pritzker Prize. Ban is the thirty-eighth recipient of the Pritzker Prize and its seventh Japanese recipient.
Ban, who studied at Sci-Arc and Cooper Union, first gained international recognition for his experimental, creative use of unconventional materials, particularly paper and cardboard. However, he has more recently gained fame for bringing low-cost, high-quality design to those most in need of it, such as refugees and victims of natural disaster.
According to the jury, the Pritzker Prize recognizes architects who both display “excellence in built work and who make a significant and consistent contribution to humanity.” Shigeru Ban, whose approach is as innovative as it is humanitarian, “reflects this spirit of the prize to the fullest.”
Read the Jury’s full citation:
Jury Citation 2014
Since its establishment thirty-five years ago, the goal of the Pritzker Architecture Prize is to recognize living architects for excellence in built work and who make a significant and consistent contribution to humanity.
Shigeru Ban, the 2014 laureate, reflects this spirit of the prize to the fullest. He is an outstanding architect who, for twenty years, has been responding with creativity and high quality design to extreme situations caused by devastating natural disasters. His buildings provide shelter, community centers, and spiritual places for those who have suffered tremendous loss and destruction. When tragedy strikes, he is often there from the beginning, as in Rwanda, Turkey, India, China, Italy, and Haiti, and his home country of Japan, among others.
His creative approach and innovation, especially related to building materials and structures, not merely good intentions, are present in all his works. Through excellent design, in response to pressing challenges, Shigeru Ban has expanded the role of the profession; he has made a place at the table for architects to participate in the dialogue with governments and public agencies, philanthropists, and the affected communities. His sense of responsibility and positive action to create architecture of quality to serve society´s needs, combined with his original approach to these humanitarian challenges, make this year´s winner an exemplary professional.
The recipient has an exceptionally wide-ranging career. Since founding his first office in Tokyo in 1985 and later expanding to New York and Paris, he has undertaken projects that range from minimal dwellings, experimental houses and housing, to museums, exhibition pavilions, conference and concert venues, and office buildings.
An underpinning uniting much of his built work is his experimental approach. He has expanded the architectural field regarding not only the problems and challenges he tackles, but also regarding the tools and techniques to deal with them. He is able to see in standard components and common materials, such as paper tubes, packing materials or shipping containers, opportunities to use them in new ways. He is especially known for his structural innovations and the creative use of unconventional materials like bamboo, fabric, paper, and composites of recycled paper fiber and plastics.
In Naked House, he was able to question the traditional notion of rooms and consequently domestic life, and simultaneously create a translucent, almost magical atmosphere. This was done with modest means: walls externally clad in clear corrugated plastic and sections of white acrylic stretched internally across a timber frame. This sophisticated layered composition of ordinary materials used in a natural and efficient way, provides comfort, efficient environmental performance and simultaneously a sensual quality of light.
His own studio, atop a terrace at the Pompidou Center in Paris for the six years he was working on the museum project for Metz, was built using cardboard tubes and a membrane covering the arched roof. He has also used transportation containers as ready-made elements in museum construction. His body of work is proof of his ability to add value through design. Further new conceptual and structural ideas were developed and can be seen in PC Pile House, House of Double Roof, Furniture House, Wall-less House, and Nine-Square Grid House.
Another theme that runs through his work is the spatial continuity between interior and exterior spaces. In Curtain Wall House, he uses tent-like movable curtains to easily link interior and exterior, yet provide privacy when needed. The fourteen-story Nicolas G. Hayek Center in Tokyo is covered with glass shutters on front and back facades that can be fully opened.
For Shigeru Ban, sustainability is not a concept to add on after the fact; rather, it is intrinsic to architecture. His works strive for appropriate products and systems that are in concert with the environment and the specific context, using renewable and locally produced materials, whenever possible. Just one example is his newly opened Tamedia office building in Zurich, which uses an interlocking timber structural system, completely devoid of joint hardware and glue.
His great knowledge of structure and his appreciation for such masters as Mies van der Rohe and Frei Otto have contributed to the development and clarity of his buildings. His own architecture is direct and honest. However, it is never ordinary, and each new project has an inspired freshness about it. The elegant simplicity and apparent effortlessness of his works are really the result of years of practice and a love for building. Above all, his respect for the people who inhabit his buildings, whether victims of natural disaster or private clients or the public, is always revealed through his thoughtful approach, functional plans, carefully selected appropriate materials, and the richness of spaces he creates.
Shigeru Ban is a tireless architect whose work exudes optimism. Where others may see insurmountable challenges, Ban sees a call to action. Where others might take a tested path, he sees the opportunity to innovate. He is a committed teacher who is not only a role model for younger generation, but also an inspiration.
For all these reasons, Shigeru Ban is the 2014 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate.
Qatar says the World Cup projects are “on track,” but the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), which has been investigating worker deaths in the Gulf Emirate for the last two years, vehemently disagrees.
To date there have been 1200 worker deaths associated with the on-going World Cup projects. A scathing report, issued by the ITUC on March 16, claims that unless significant improvements are made to working conditions on World Cup-related sites at least 4000 more migrant construction workers could lose their lives.
This would mean that those construction sites are “on track” to kill 600 workers per year, or at least 12 per week until the ribbons are cut and the fireworks are set off.
At a FIFA executive committee meeting held in Zurich on March 20, FIFA president Sepp Blatter stated, “We have some responsibility but we cannot interfere in the rights of workers.” Likewise, local FIFA organizing committee in Qatar says workers are not their responsibility. Zaha Hadid said the same.
However, given the increasing chorus of headlines along the lines of “The Qatar World Cup is a Total Disaster” they may have to say something stronger on the issue at some point — or have the image of their architecture tarnished. Of course we all know that what they mean is that legally it is not their responsibility. But does that mean they should be sitting back, not even attempting to influence change?
The UN, which has been outspoken on the issue since last November, views an international event like the World Cup as an opportunity for Qatar to reform its migrant labor sector. According to Amnesty International, 94 percent of the Qatari labor market is made up of migrant workers from Nepal, Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Iran, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Egypt. “I hope the 2022 World Cup will be used as an opportunity for Qatar to enhance the effective respect, protection and fulfillment of the rights of migrant workers,” the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, François Crépeau, said at the end of his first visit to the country.
A spokesman for the Qatari government body overseeing World Cup development told theGuardian that, “The health, safety, wellbeing and dignity of every worker that contributes to staging the 2022 FIFA World Cup is of the utmost importance to our committee and we are committed to ensuring that the event serves as a catalyst toward creating sustainable improvements to the lives of all workers in Qatar.”
But Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, isn’t buying it. “Qatar is a government which takes no responsibility for workers, and its response to criticism is focused on public relations,” he says. The Qatari government has also attempted to discredit the ITUC report by claiming that it is “littered with factual errors and attempts to discredit the positive work we are undertaking.”
According to the UN and human rights organizations that have been monitoring the situation, there is strong evidence that Qatar is treating migrant workers as slave labor, withholding pay, confiscating passports, providing squalid, unsanitary, unhealthy living conditions, demanding payments before workers can leave for holidays, not enforcing safe working conditions on the construction sites, and – to add to all this – forcing them to work in 122-degree heat with no rest or food.
Should concerned architects and engineers step into the ring alongside the ITUC, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the United Nations? Should architects and other stakeholders raise their voices? Or should they simply say it isn’t their responsibility?
For more on this issue, we recommend watching The Guardian’s impactful video.
Guy Horton is a writer based in Los Angeles. In addition to authoring “The Indicator”, he is a frequent contributor to The Architect’s Newspaper, Metropolis Magazine, The Atlantic Cities, and The Huffington Post. He has also written for Architectural Record, GOOD Magazine, and Architect Magazine. You can hear Guy on the radio and podcast as guest host for the show DnA: Design & Architecture on 89.9 FM KCRW out of Los Angeles. Follow Guy on Twitter @GuyHorton.
Explore the architectural development of 2014 Pritzker Laureate Shigeru Ban – from his early, more minimalist residential work in the 90s to his experimental, undulating structures (2010′s Pompidou Metz, Nine Bridges Golf Club) to his latest masterpiece in timber construction, Tamedia New Office Building (2013).
All project descriptions courtesy of Shigeru Ban Architects.
PC Pile House - Shizuoka, Japan, 1992
"This house doubles as a studio for a photographer, built on a steeply sloping site which rises up from the road at a 45-degree angle. The client desired the maximum degree of transparency within a limited budget. A structural system was devised that used 300mm posts of pre-cast concrete to directly support the roof and floor slabs. The floor slab, at 9 meters above the ground, is made from laminated I-shaped wooden structures (10 meters long, spaced at a pitch of 5.5 meters), which rest on the surface of pairs of girders which connect the front and the rear precast concrete piles. The piles penetrate through the building introducing a visual contrast to the white floors and ceiling, which frame the views of the landscape. The south and east sides are fully open to the views with the use of glazed doors, and the north and the west sides are fitted with a double layer of translucent poly-carbonated panels."- Shigeru Ban Architects
Double Roof House - Yamanashi, Japan, 1993
"This is a private weekend retreat built on a sloping site overlooking Lake Yamanaka where snowfall often exceeds 900mm in the winter. The house required a roof that could accommodate these heavy snow loads. The double-roof structure could be incorporated on a restricted budget since there was no need for an intensive structural framework. In this scheme the upper roof structure is separated from the ceiling, and its primary structural function is to bear the weight of the snow. To accomplish this, folded steel plates of the minimum allowable dimensions were used. Since the ceiling is not suspended from the roof, it is freed of the deflection margin, and thus the ceiling becomes a second roof with a minimal load. In addition, the upper roof provides shelter against direct sun during the summer. Square sectioned steel pipes are utilized as support beams for the corrugated metal roof. Other structural elements below the roof are made of wood. An exterior covered terrace connects the large living/dining/kitchen area to the bedroom and bathroom, the floor level of which is lowered to correspond the topography of the site. The rooftop level above the bedroom is a terrace with a view toward the lake." - Shigeru Ban Architects
Furniture House 1 - Yamanashi, Japan, 1995
"The construction system for the Furniture House features factory produced full-height units that function as structural elements as well as space-defining elements. Since these units are pre-fabricated, construction time on-site is greatly reduced and cost-effective. Serving both as the furniture and as the building material, these units enable a reduction of equipment and labor, as well. (The dimensions of the units used in this house are 2.4 meters high, 0.9 meters wide, with an 0.45 meters depth for bookcases and a 690mm depth for other units.) An individual unit, weighing about 79.2kg, can be easily handled by a single person, and its self-supporting function makes the arrangement simple." - Shigeru Ban Architects
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Recognizing “outstanding projects that bring to life wood’s natural beauty and versatility in building design,” 13 projects have been selected from over 140 submissions for demonstrating “ingenuity in design or engineering.”
Check out the 2014 National Wood Design Award Winners below.
The James and Anne Robinson Nature Center in Columbia, Md., by GWWO, Inc. Architects won for Institutional Wood Design.
Cascades Academy of Central Oregon in Tumalo, Ore., by Hennebery Eddy Architects won for Wood School Design.
The Federal Center South – Building 1202 in Seattle, Wash., by ZGF Architects won for Commercial Wood Design.
The Reed College Performing Arts Building in Portland, Ore., by Opsis Architecture won for Beauty of Wood.
The Bullitt Center in Seattle, Wash. by The Miller Hull Partnership won for Multi‐Story Wood Design.
The Biomass Heating Plant at Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Conn., by Centerbook Architects and Planners won for Green Building with Wood.
Muckleshoot Smokehouse in Auburn, Wash. by Mahlum won for Traditional Use of Wood.
Promega Feynman Center, called “The Crossroads,” in Madison, Wisc. by Uihlein‐Wilson Architects won for Innovative Wood Engineering.
There were also four regional Wood Design Award winners for 2014.
The North Central winner was the Manhattan Fire House #3 in Manhattan, Kan. by Action Pact Design.
The Advanced Water Purification Facility in Oxnard, Calif. by Mainstreet Architects + Planners won for the Southwest region.
The GSA Office Building in Albuquerque, N.M. by Page Southerland Page won for the South Central region.
The YMCA Pavilion at Camp Harrison in Boomer, N.C. by C design Inc. won for the Southeast region.
SEE ALSO: The 70 Best New Buildings Of The Year
Considered to be the year’s most impressive works, the awards are designed to “recognize the best in U.S. housing design” and “promote the importance of good housing as a necessity of life, a sanctuary for the human spirit and a valuable national resource.”
Here are the winners from the single- to two-family housing category.
Informal House in South Pasadena, Calif., by Koning Eizenberg Architecture, Inc.
This house was custom designed for a family of four. The idea for this house was not to blur the distinction from indoor to outdoor with big walls of glass, but to intensify the quality of each. Sustainable choices facilitate the client’s interest in indoor outdoor living.
Green roofs insulate the lower roofs while they strengthen the articulation between activity spaces and service spaces. Exposed materials with a high thermal mass and polished concrete floors take advantage of the significant daily temperature swing in this coastal climate. A cool white roof, easily accessed for cleaning minimizes solar gain, critical in this sunny climate.
Kicking Horse Residence in Golden, British Columbia, Canada, by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson
The clients desired a weekend gathering place for their active family of five that would allow for flexibility to accommodate larger groups of family and friends and provide a direct connection to the outdoors for seasonal recreation.
The design inherently reduces exposure to natural drainage patterns by limiting the building footprint. The architects worked directly with the contractor to detail the below grade drainage system to perform most efficiently for the soils on site.
The evocative forms of the house are oriented to capture daylight and views to the stunning mountain peaks above, but also act to effectively shed snow from the massive storms that move through the area.
Park Passive in Seattle, Wash., by NK Architects
This home’s "passive survivability" lies in its ability to capture and retain heat. In the instance of a power outage during the winter, the indoor air temperature would remain steady significantly longer than a traditionally built house without the opening of doors and windows.
The home is built to passive house standards and is the city’s first to be certified by the Passive House Academy. By creating both vertical and horizontal spatial connections, the design maximizes the shallow floor plate.
This home celebrates affordability through conservation and a reduction in monthly utility bills. It serves as a showcase that living in an energy efficient home is comfortable too.
Sol Duc Cabin in Seattle, Wash., by Olson Kundig Architects
The owner desired a compact, low-maintenance, virtually indestructible building to house himself and his wife during fishing expeditions. Composed of two levels, the cabin’s entry, dining and kitchen areas are located on the lower floor while a sleeping loft with minimal shelving hovers above.
A cantilevered steel deck extends from the lower level, providing unimpeded views of the river. Most of the structure; the steel frame and panels, the roof, shutters, and stairs were prefabricated off-site, thereby reducing on-site waste and site disruption.
The cabin’s rugged surface and raw materiality respond to the surrounding wilderness while its verticality provides a safe haven during occasional floods from the nearby river.
Topo House in Blue Mounds, Wisc., by Johnsen Schmaling Architects
Echoing the dramatic surface deformations that occur when wind blows over the crops and grasses of the surrounding prairie, the building skin, a high-performance ventilated rain screen system with concrete fiber panels, is organized by 190 individually shaped, black-anodized aluminum fins of interrelated contracting and expanding shapes.
Depending on the time of the day and the angle from which they are viewed, the fins create a constantly changing veil whose shifting geometry subverts the volumetric simplicity of the house itself.
The house is built around a palette of sustainable and highly durable materials and features an envelope that is designed to endure the continuous onslaught of the Midwest’s severe weather conditions and extreme temperature fluctuations.
Here are the winners from the multi-family living category.
1221 Broadway in San Antonio, Tex., by Lake / Flato Architects
This project has served as a catalyst for nearby urban redevelopment and neighborhood revitalization. Along with the complete makeover of an abandoned superstructure, passive solutions, including open breezeways carefully oriented to cool the circulation corridors, came with understanding San Antonio’s local climate.
The project design reflects a common sense and regional response to climatic conditions.The project achieved a HERS index of 68, performing 32% better than a new multi-family project built to code. Its energy use intensity (EUI) is 30% better than the national average for large multi-family project types.
Cherokee Studios in Los Angeles, Calif., by Brooks + Scarpa
The main architectural feature of this project is the building’s owner-controlled operable double façade system. By allowing the occupant to adjust the operable screens of the building façade, the facade is virtually redesigned “live” from within the space, reflecting the occupants of the building within, in real time.
Cherokee is 40% more energy efficient than California’s Title 24, the most demanding energy code in the U.S.
Passive solar design strategies and proper building orientation, using the central courtyard between the two residential structures, allows for day lighting on both sides of every unit and shading, while allowing prevailing breezes to fully pass through the units for natural ventilation.
The green roof provides occupants the ability to enjoy nature while keeping the building better insulated, cleaning the air, and reducing storm water runoff.
Merritt Crossing Senior Apartments in Oakland, Calif., by Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects
This project is a high-density residential development with a mix of studios; one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments that were thoughtfully fit into its downtown Oakland site between an inner city neighborhood and a freeway.
The south side of the building facing the freeway has a layered façade that provides solar and acoustical mitigation while creating a varied experience for passing drivers. To control operating costs for the non-profit owner, the project was constructed for enhanced durability, weather protection and energy use.
Dedicated to high environmental standards, the developer focused on healthy living and energy savings while electing to test a combination of sustainability rating systems.
Here are the winners from the specialized housing category.
28th Street Apartments in Los Angeles, Calif., by Koning Eizenberg Architecture, Inc.
This project restores and adds to a distressed historic building (a former YMCA). The project now houses two synergistic programs run by two nonprofits that co-purchased the building: The neighborhood youth training and employment program and supportive housing (serving youth exiting foster care, the mentally ill and the chronically homeless.)
Supportive services are offered on site and residents have access to a roof garden, laundry and lounge. The historic front entry of the structure forms a neighborhood porch where community kids gather while the new addition creates a less formal side entry to the housing units above.
The existing historic building spawned an efficient urban strategy on a small vacant sliver of land on the back of the building to add square footage for new updated unit types while not triggering costly parking.
Sweetwater Spectrum Community in Sonoma, Calif., by Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects
In 2009, a group of families, autism professionals and community leaders founded the nonprofit organization Sweetwater Spectrum to meet the extraordinary need for appropriate, high-quality, long-term housing for adults with autism, offering life with purpose and dignity for residents.
This project, created to be replicated nationwide, integrates autism specific design, universal design and sustainable design, and provides a permanent home for 16 adults with autism. Spaces were designed to reduce sensory stimulation (ambient sound, visual patterns, odors, etc.) and to create a simple, predictable domestic environment.
Safety and security are paramount and healthy, durable materials are utilized throughout. Individuals may customize their personal living spaces to accommodate their preferences and particular needs.
Images and descriptions provide by the AIA.
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has selected ten recipients for their 14th annual Housing Awards. One of them is this stunning house, called The Informal House, in South Pasadena, California.
Considered to be the year’s most impressive works, the awards are designed to “recognize the best in U.S. housing design” and “promote the importance of good housing as a necessity of life, a sanctuary for the human spirit and a valuable national resource.”
The Informal House was custom designed for a family of four. The idea for this house was not to blur the distinction from indoor to outdoor with big walls of glass, but to intensify the quality of each.
Sustainable choices facilitate the client’s interest in indoor outdoor living.
Green roofs insulate the lower roofs while they strengthen the articulation between activity spaces and service spaces. Exposed materials with a high thermal mass and polished concrete floors take advantage of the significant daily temperature swing in this coastal climate.
A cool white roof, easily accessed for cleaning minimizes solar gain, is critical in this sunny climate.
Check out the house:
A former Chinese military fort in Hong Kong emerged in the 20th century as a notorious densely populated and largely ungoverned enclave called Kowloon Walled City. It was demolished in 1994. In light of the release of a second, revised edition of City of Darkness – the authoritative text on the Walled City, which you can help Kickstart here — authors Greg Girard and Ian Lambot have shared an excerpt from City of Darkness Revisited.
The early phases of the Walled City were characterised by predictable building typologies and the buildings were constructed on the principle of squatters’ rights, with random construction on spots of available land by whoever got there first.
Alleyways and passages evolved – unplanned – into the established ‘map’ of the City, which would remain until it came down. A basic electric supply existed, increasingly burdened by illegal connections that frequently overloaded the system, and the few standpipes supplied the only water. As the need to accommodate the ever growing residential and commercial populations forced it to in the 1960s, the building typology of the Walled City made the leap from two- to three-storey residential structures to taller, six- to seven-storey ones.
This represented an important threshold, because at these greater heights the buildings unavoidably became more complex and required greater labour to realise, reinforced concrete, more investment, and so on. They also required a different way of living. Water had to be transported up to the higher floors by hand. Likewise the propane gas canisters that furnished fuel to cook or heat water.
The new buildings adapted themselves in relation to the specific contingencies of their sites. Erected without architectural or engineering participation, proper foundations or piling, they used materials of dubious quality, ignored conventional mechanical and electrical standards, lacked proper circulation and fire egress, access to daylight or fresh air, water supply or waste disposal, and certainly didn’t enjoy adequate maintenance once constructed. They used available space – free from the normal constraints of title deeds, property limits and regulations – in completely original ways. They were inventive, renegade architectural specimens.
The only constraint observed with consistency was the Kai Tak Airport height limit that existed for the entire area of Kowloon. Presumably even the most unscrupulous developer realised that to challenge this would be counterproductive, as it would force the government to respond negatively. Aside from this one ‘golden height limit’, almost anything was worth a try.
Ground-floor open space – the small gardens and animal pens still present in the 1950s – was soon gone, replaced by concrete structures and alleyways. At ground level, daylight shrank month by month. ‘Developers’ – anyone with gumption, funds, and access to knowledge about rudimentary building construction – made proposals to existing ‘owners’ such that they might trade their current two-storey structure for larger or more units in new, more ‘modern’ buildings constructed in their place. When possible the developers grouped sellers’ adjacent properties together to produce a larger footprint and thus the ability to construct a larger tower, thus increasing profits. This naturally resulted in an evolution in the grain of the city; a step up in scale not only in height but also in breadth.
Because there was no masterplan to follow – or regulations to adhere to – unconventional circulation routes starting to weave through the city, rising and descending through adjacent structures. Existing staircases were co-opted, windows in adjacent buildings were ignored and walled over, floors were cantilevered over alleys, sometimes until they touched those across the way. The roofscape of the Walled City became its own public realm, with potted gardening, playing children, reposing adults, and where lateral circulation occurred (even by the postman).
Lower buildings were not always demolished, but simply had additional storeys built atop them, occasionally even by taller buildings next door. At higher levels, corridors were connected to allow people to traverse different structures without returning to ground level, so that while moving through the city, it became difficult to know when you had crossed a ‘property line’ between one building and the next. This ambiguity was irrelevant to the residents familiar with the routes, who navigated the interwoven circulation system of the City fluidly. This extraordinary ‘organic’ growth became one of the Walled City’s most distinctive and interesting characteristics at an architectural and urbanistic level.
An attempt in 1963 by local authorities to clear and evict a section of the north-east corner of the Walled City was halted after objections from the Chinese Government, and this explicit denial of British power within the Walled City opened the floodgates to rampant development. That same year, the local Kai Fong Association was formed by the residents, in part to help face the challenge of the British eviction effort and in part to arbitrate property claims, which undoubtedly increased in number and urgency thanks to the building boom. The population by this point had surpassed 15,000 people.
Complete anarchy was no longer sustainable. The Kai Fong became the de facto authority for property disputes and transactions in the city, and established their stamp as the sole recognisable proof of ownership on property records. Very quickly, it also assumed responsibility for oversight of other services as well, and for negotiations with the Hong Kong Government on the residents’ behalf. It proved a vital organisational body right up to the demolition of the Walled City.
Living conditions within the Walled City grew ever worse, as the increased building activity and resulting density put yet more pressure on inadequate infrastructure. Water supply and quality deteriorated, drainage was insufficient and often blocked, electrical outages became regular, despite genuine – if, in parts, only partial – outside efforts by the Government and utilities to address the problems. The authorities accepted that they had to to make some improvements, but were frustrated by conditions that made retrofitting near impossible, and by the constant illegal connections made to the systems. More importantly, however, they were restrained by the very natural concern that any improvements gave legitimacy to an illegal settlement that, otherwise, they were keen to demolish.
Meanwhile, private water wells were dug under the city (and the water sold for profit) with no thought to the consequences. The authorities did add one additional water standpipe, but the supply couldn’t keep pace with the growth in demand, and as the Walled City grew higher and denser, it became ever more difficult to rationalise and modernise the utilities anyway. The Government faced an unsolvable dilemma: it wanted to improve conditions without thereby encouraging further growth, but couldn’t easily do so because of the puzzling maze the Walled City had become.
By the 1970s, the City had filled out to its maximised form, with buildings of up to 14 storeys in height, and virtually no ground level daylight penetration save at its centre. Its density was estimated to have reached a mere 7 square feet per person. The yamen area had somehow remained an exception to the vertical development, leased to a missionary society in 1949 for use as an almshouse and old people’s home. Eventually, it defined the sole substantial void within the Walled City, with visible sky above it. A small temple near Lo Yan St also survived, but had been all but buried under the rubbish dropped from surrounding towers, to the point where skylight was virtually invisible above it.
During the 1980s, the last remaining ‘missing teeth’ in the urban block of the Walled City were filled in, and it had coalesced into an almost continuous mass, especially when seen from without or above. By this stage it functioned as a pulsing, living organism, with circulation arteries of different sizes, plumbing and electricity veins streaming through it, and a pockmarked, discoloured epidermis on its perimeter made of irregular fenestration, badly maintained stucco and concrete walls, and all manner of balconies, cages, extensions, racks and air-conditioner units clinging to it like moles and growths.
Some buildings seemed to lean against their neighbours, some were impossibly narrow, many were undefined as to their party walls. These final-stage towers were undoubtedly the most precarious, if inventive, of all in the Walled City’s history. Their builders claimed they were safe, that they mimicked all the same building regulations of structures outside the City in Hong Kong. This is probably mostly true, since many of these constructions were ‘designed’ and/or erected by people freelancing from outside, or by contractors with experience on legitimate projects elsewhere. And after all, none ever did collapse. Yet it is also true that they were built at the very knife-edge of minimum standards. They were constructed purely as profit machines.
It is also probably true that as the city grew and solidified into an almost single physical mass, structural weakness was at least partly mitigated by structural context; buildings held each other up, or at least stabilised the entity as a whole. Rather like a full subway car at rush hour, with bodies packed skin to skin, it is hard to fall down when there is little space to do so. Obviously, buildings aren’t as simple, and a tower can collapse vertically onto itself. But as the city interwove its social and physical form, its structures became parasitic not only in terms of space, but of stability, at least as far as it went.
Was the Walled City then a good laboratory test-case for urban self-growth, absent regulation or planning? Was its organic evolution an example of what all cities would look like without functional Government participation – a kind of Mad Max world of only self-regulated norms and limits? Without romanticising the reality of the Walled City, it also limited the negative, forming a proto-government, using unwritten laws instead of written ones, and to a significant extent functioning as a true democracy (certainly a true market economy).
It grew more workable in a practical sense as it became internally integrated. Its coherence, which may not have been obvious but was understood by its inhabitants, increased as its social, spatial, economic and, yes, architectural interdependency grew, and it matured into a fairly functional community machine. It was by then a truly indigenous physical entity, which is why it has fascinated architects and urbanists for so long.
SEE ALSO: The Most Impressive New Houses Of 2014
Beixinqiao district, in Beijing, is changing fast: The ancient urban tissue is being demolished as new high-rises are growing. Located in this environment, Ma Yansong’s office sits within an old and anonymous construction. In contrast to its exterior, the inside is characterized by wood, white walls and plants that transform the place into a sophisticated environment. International young architects are busy modeling new organic-shaped buildings on the other side of the world; meanwhile a golden fish swims in the eternal loop of the “fish tank” in the centre of the room.
In the following interview, Ma, founder of the critically acclaimed MAD Architects, explains contemporary cities as environments that are out-of-scale with nature. He believes a new approach must be used, one that breaks the monotonous “chessboard” of contemporary Urban China and re-establishes the balance between human beings and the natural world.
“SHAN SHUI CITY”
Pier Alessio Rizzardi: What is “Shan Shui City” (Chinese: 山水)? Recently you exhibited it in an ancient Siheyuan house here in Beijing.
Ma Yansong: “Shan Shui” literally means mountain and water but in Chinese culture it is more than that, it is more about how humans express their emotions in a physical world.
PAR: Where does this concept come from?
MY: If you look at ancient Chinese paintings, you see mountains but they are not real mountains, it is something the artists imagined. The garden with the rocks, the trees and the water – but they set up this scenery that only exists in their imagination. This term existed in traditional culture, but when you put this and the city together it becomes a new term: “Shan Shui City.” Not a city that looks like mountain and water, it is about a future-high-density urban environment focused on people’s emotions: what they feel and what they see.
PAR: Why “Shan Shui City”?
MY: I think that’s the next wave for urban civilization. Modern cities right now are too much about efficiency and capital power. It is just about environment, pollution, traffic. Every city has to deal with them, but it doesn’t mean that if you solve them you have a “good city”. You and I have a healthy body, but it doesn’t mean that we are mentally healthy. It is very much about mental issues! [Laughs]
PAR: How can we translate this new concept to urban China? We can no longer think about this like in ancient times. How can we position this new nature in the urban environment?
MY: When we look at Beijing city’s old town; we see mountains and lakes in the city centre, the neighborhood is integrated into the landscape, but all these natural elements were man-made, artificially. It was a grand project. They made mountains, they dug the water so people, citizens who live in the city, will feel they live in between nature and the city.
NATURE IN CONTEMPORARY CITIES
PAR: What is an “environmental” design, from your point of view?
MY: We talk about environment, energy saving and sustainability but I think it’s too much about technology. You have better air conditioning, better glass, better solar panels, but it doesn’t mean those who are working in this building want to stay there forever! [laughs] They still want to escape every weekend and still go to the countryside because they still feel they aren’t connected with nature. That is the basics, the fundamental reason why we are starting to talk about nature now. If we say we want to be close to nature, why can’t we let the temperature be one degree less or more in your room, in the office?
PAR: How do you bring your “environmental approach” to modern cities?
MY: Modern cities are about efficiency, logic, traffic… benefits. So, how to produce a lot of massive spaces within a limited budget? Now if you want to make a garden in a high-rise you are not allowed. Not because it is a technical challenge, but it is just a question of: who is paying for that? When you plan a city you need a 30% green ratio; why don’t you put that in law? If you design high-rises, you have to put this percentage of green space there and that’s simple!
PAR: Now that millions of people live together, density is a condition of large scale buildings. How can you talk about nature when buildings are becoming so big?
MY: When buildings become large, trees and mountains look very small. People say we need more green space, but when you have a certain density, the buildings just look so big that you cannot ignore it. When you treat a building as a landscape element, you can start to talk about the entire environment as a whole. In the traditional garden those rocks were artificial sculptures with grass and flowers beside them. Those rocks weren’t real nature, but they had a scale of real nature. There is a way to consider different scales, a garden is one scale, Beijing city is another. I think this philosophy can fit into different scales. I know future cities will be in large scale, but we cannot miss the human scale, to see things with a different eye, but we still need to talk about nature and the human scale.
PAR: In your project in the CBD in Beijing there is a very unique relationship between logic and function.
MY: In this area there are very traditional, conventional high-rises. We took the core out so the elevators are all on the outside under natural light. These elevators stop only every three floors, you walk through a bridge into the building. The core is out so that inside is empty. Then inside you have a lot of gardens every three levels. From there you go one floor up or one floor down walking! [laughs] This way you have fewer elevators. Twenty floors now become six floors. Walking creates a public central space where people from different levels meet. On every three levels there is a garden and social space. More importantly, this idea makes the building more invisible because it doesn’t create more square meters. This way, you don’t lower the efficiency let’s say! [laughs]
PAR: What are the potentials of a curved and special shape?
MY: When you throw a random curve into a modern city, it looks weird and out of place. We’re all criticizing modern cities, you need a statement, something to create conflict. It is purely an attitude or the position you take. You don’t have to. If I had the chance to design a whole new part of Beijing I wouldn’t do that, but if I had the chance to design one piece, I hope this piece would become a bomb to affect the area. So it’s a consideration at many levels: architectural and social levels. New York in the twentieth century was a great city. That’s something we are looking for in Chinese cities now. Here they take the American cities as a model; building a CBD and high-rises, but my question is : can we go a step forward?
PAR: Can you?
MY: I think that takes time and a lot of experiments. That’s why Shan Shui City I might say is an idea, an experiment. Now we are in this period and we should experiment. If we do all the right things, so called “good things”, then thirty years later we will have another Manhattan. I think that China has more reason to do big cities than America because of the density of the population! [laughs]
PAR: New York’s building shapes were based on density. Chinese cities are not dense. The concept of density that creates the logic of the building is not applicable here.
MY: In Chinese cities the density is not enough, but more important is whether they are planning the city with ambition or not. I think old Beijing city was very ambitious, the traffic efficiency or the centrality was not a priority when they planned a building or city. They wanted to create an environment related to feelings … I think how you feel was more important and it is still now.
PAR: How do you relate these concepts to contemporary architecture?
MY: I think a lot of cities have a lot of existing conditions. New cities now they just clean everything up and make a very strict urban grid like a “chessboard.” Every city should consider their conditions, their context, or their settings on the master plan level.
PAR: What about at the architectural level?
MY: The building is not important because you need to give freedom to the diversity of buildings. Beijing now has a lot of new buildings. Somebody argued that CCTV is attacking the city. The Olympic buildings could have changed the strengths of the city but they didn’t – because the central part is very strong, the layout is very strong, so that’s the only reason why Beijing is still Beijing now. The layout is more powerful than buildings.
SOMEBODY HAS TO GO FIRST!
PAR: In the Ordos Museum you didn’t know what was going to happen on the site, yet all around the city was going up. How did you deal with the non-context?
MY: Somebody had to go first! [laughs]
PAR: How do you design a building where there is no context?
MY: Ordos Museum looks like a very random bubble sitting on the landscape. In this project the present was absent so you had a landscape with reference to a desert that had been there forever, and then you have a building that looks so unfamiliar, an abstract form sitting on top of the desert. However nothing belongs to the present, so I wanted to create this dialogue between the unknown, between future and the timeless landscape. You don’t deal with the so called past… because sometimes there is no past and future.
PAR: How do you deal with the design in these situations?
MY: In any place, in any city and in any village, somebody has to go first with a master plan at the beginning. I knew a lot of ridiculous buildings would’ve been built around us [laughs]. I decided to focus on the internal space.
PAR: So, we don’t have to think only about the present?
MY: When I was designing the building I was thinking about the absence of human artefacts, an usual landscape, the evanescence of the present and future. A time suspended like in a dream! The first time I went there, I said: “This is the Gobi desert and so this is the environment we have around our building! Afterwords many other constructions appeared, and some of them very close to our building! Now it’s completely different: you cannot control the next level of recent construction or do anything about it! [laughs] That happens a lot in different cities, even in a well-planned city.
IMAGE AND CONTENT
PAR: What is the importance of the iconic in your designs and for Chinese architecture in general?
MY: I think we have to redefine the word “Iconic”, because iconic sounds very much like when you describe a memorial. You build an image to represent something, something we are against: for capital or power or other meanings. If we say that a building looks special, I can accept that but just as a result. A new concept can look the same as an old one, but I hope the result will be the content. The true result is the innovation from inside. I think what you call “Iconic” is a lot of the Olympic buildings in Beijing because they are all very big and very complete, perfect objects.
PAR: People give a bad meaning to the word “Iconic”, but actually Iconic means literally: “representative symbol of something”.
PAR: It doesn’t mean bad architecture.
MY: I think we must change, we must do new things, then something new will happen. They will look different, they will look “iconic” [laughs] but there is an easy way to do it, or a difficult way. Being innovative or challenging on the planning, on the internal layout or arrangement is very difficult, but making images is very simple! So that’s why I think a lot of image-architecture happened in China.
PAR: Why can’t they be both iconic and innovative?
MY: You cannot innovate the content without changing the image. I think the value of CCTV is the context. Beijing’s CBD is high-rises going to the sky, but this building is so different from its surroundings. This makes you question the surroundings and their value. We can talk about a lot of bad things about this building [laughs] but still I think the positive side of this building is its context.
THE BUND IN SHANGHAI
PAR: The Bund area is considered by many in Shanghai to be a root to the past and an ancient treasure to be preserved. During the concession time many foreigners, especially the British, built up bank headquarters in art deco, rococo, and baroque styles, importing a wide catalogue of examples of western architecture…
MY: The Bund… the bund I think is a very strange example. The people call it the “World Street”, for its colonial origins… the banks and the power with their colonial facades. The funny thing about this place is that still now those buildings are banks, or high-class restaurants, anyway symbols of money, power and high class. They are pretty much how they look, so the relation between the appearance, what they represent, and what are inside is pretty much related.
PAR: I know that you have something that you would like to do with the Bund…
MY: I see people walking on the bund and think: “Oh! This is our heritage!” At the same time behind those facades, a lot of ancient buildings with a real heritage are being demolished. The buildings on the Bund, instead, are protected and valued. What I would like to explain is that these buildings are not as nice or important as others, like the Louvre in Paris, these buildings on the bund are just old, and anyway they are not great architecture…
PAR: Do you think the right thing to do is to eliminate or to preserve them?
MY: I’m not saying to demolish them, what I’m saying is that it’s not necessary to preserve them and treat them as the image of the City of Shanghai. If we study the consequences of this behaviour, we can find many answers about the attitude of building colonial style villas and colonial residential towers.
PAR: What are the consequences?
MY: Everywhere, in China, you see them. People think that’s the good, that’s something we want to cherish, it means high class, it means expensive and it is considered a landmark. Many people are convinced that they want to live in a house that looks European. In Beijing you can see Italian gardens, you see Paris, you see a lot of Venezias. You can see everywhere in China these “architectural languages”. In the end, we don’t need to preserve the Bund, but we need just to leave it there, making its course.
PAR: What would you do with them?
MY: If I could buy these buildings and, demolish them, I’d do it. It seems drastic but if you think about Champs-Élysées you’ll see many new buildings. What I really think is that those buildings are not great buildings! When the British and the French people came here, they built these buildings, but they didn’t build at the same level as they built in Europe. The world already has these buildings in Europe, so why do we have another low quality and smaller version of these buildings in Shanghai? If you talk about the “Forbidden City” obviously you cannot demolish that because you only have one and that’s the grandest! But if you build another one, it’s at the same level as theme parks or Las Vegas! [laughs]
Architect: MA YANSONG – Mad Architects
IInterviewer: Pier Alessio Rizzardi (TCA Think Tank) and Zhang Hankun (TCA Think Tank), Edoardo Giancola (Zarcola)
Date: 29th August 2013
Text Editing: Edna Gee
Video Editing: Andrea Vertone / STUDIO13
TCA Think Tank is an international research group founded in Shanghai in 2011 by Italian architect Pier Alessio Rizzardi and Chinese architect Zhang Hankun, with contributive thoughts from Joseph di Pasquale (head of AM Project),Yibo Xu Tongji University andRemo Dorigati (Politecnico di Milano). Through the production of innovative projects and research, TCA pushes our understanding of our present condition, exploring the TheoreticalCondition of Architecture. (Follow TCA on wordpress, tumblr, vimeo, twitter,andpinterest)
Pier Alessio Rizzardi / TCA Think Tank studied architecture at Politecnico di Milano (Milan, Italy) and at FAU-USP (Sao Paulo, Brazil), getting his Master’s Degree from Polimi at the end of 2012. In 2011 he founded TCA Think Tank. He is now an Adjunct Professor at Polimi, writes for l’ARCA International Architectural Magazine and is a correspondent for STUDIO Architecture and Urbanism Magazine, and a collaborator on several art and architecture blogs.
Zhang Hankun 张涵坤 / TCA Think Tank attained her bachelor’s degree in architecture at Northwestern Polytechnical University in Xi’an, China and at Politecnico di Milano (Milan, Italy). She practiced architecture in Shanghai, working in the fields of architectural design and urban development, and is now attaining a Master’s degree at Polimi.
Edoardo Giancola / Zarcola Architetti graduated from Polimi and attended an exchange program at ETSAM, Spain. He completed several installations during workshops with Sami Rintala, Dagur Eggersston and Alejandro Aravena – Elemental. After working at studio Albori in Milan, he’s now a member of the “Abitare Minimo” Team at Politecnico di Milano.
If you’d like to learn more about Ma Yansong, don’t miss our interview!
Interiors is an online film and architecture journal, published by Mehruss Jon Ahi and Armen Karaoghlanian. Interiors runs an exclusive column for ArchDaily that analyzes and diagrams films in terms of space. Their Official Store will carry exclusive prints from these posts.
The first season of Nic Pizzolatto’s True Detective, the product of creator/writer Nic Pizzolatto and director Cary Fukunaga, focuses on Detective Rustin Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) and Detective Martin Hart (Woody Harrelson) as they search for clues on a grisly murder case.
The series takes place in Louisiana in three distinct time periods; 1995, 2002 and 2012. Each time period has a distinct look, as characters and their surroundings change and evolve over time.
Cary Fukunaga, who comes from feature films such as Sin Nombre (2009) and Jane Eyre(2011), has always employed a distinct visual style in his work. In The Guardian, he discussed his approach to the direction of the show, noting that “one of my priorities as director was to defend craft despite the constraints on my time and budget.”
In addition, he notes that he looked for specific moments in which he would treat the visual side of the medium with the same importance as the dialogue.
In the fourth episode, “Who Goes There,” he does just that, as he employs a lengthy, complex shot that brings the audience closer to the characters’ experience. This edition of INTERIORS will spatially break down that shot, revealing just how complex it was.
In this episode, Cohle and Hart search for Reggie Ledoux, their prime suspect, part of a biker gang known as the Iron Crusaders. Cohle worked with the Iron Crusaders when he was undercover in Texas, and he plans on going undercover again as a way of getting information about Ledoux’s whereabouts.
In a bar, he meets with Ginger, a former friend from the Iron Crusaders, who enlists Cohle’s assistance in a hold up. Ginger’s plan is that their crew will hold up a house in a predominantly black neighborhood.
A six-minute unbroken take concludes the episode, beginning with the heist and ending with Cohle and Ginger’s escape.
The scene takes place in Beaumont, Texas but was filmed in an actual housing complex in Bridge City, Louisiana. The scene begins with Hart parked in the Elmwood Village Shopping Center, located in Harahan, Louisiana, across from the Mississippi River. Hart sits and listens to the Beaumont police scanner as he waits for Cohle.
The long take begins when Cohle sneaks up behind a man beside the house and remains unbroken until he and Ginger’s escape. In one continuous shot, the camera weaves in and out of homes in a housing complex; we become part of the action as we swerve around the characters.
A shootout forces Cohle and Ginger to run out of the house, as we follow them, the camera pans up to the helicopter above them, before panning back down and following them inside another house.
This seems like a logical place where the filmmakers could have cut from the long take, then stitched another shot together, but that wasn’t the case. The entire take, as a result, is authentic.
These sorts of technical camera movements are more common in feature films, but in recent years, as television has more and more film directors at the helm, these sorts of filmmaking techniques have become much more common.
In the second house, Cohle calls Hart and asks that he pick them up from Emile Avenue in 90 seconds. Ginger exits the house first and runs toward the intersection of Lake and Alaska, where Cohle catches up with him. They then run through the laundry behind another house, loop around the north end to the back of this building, and hide behind a small dividing wall.
They escape by climbing a fence, as the camera follows up along with them. This incredibly challenging effect was done through a weighted crane that lifted the camera above the fence. Hart then picks up Cohle and Ginger on Emile Avenue, the exact street that Cohle had mentioned on the phone.
The distance from Hart’s location in the parking lot to the spot that he picks up Cohle and Ginger is a total of six miles. If we assume that Hart is still in the parking lot where we last saw him, it’d be impossible for him to pick them up in 90 seconds.
Hart, however, is listening to the police scanner, which means he could have potentially heard the approximate location of the raid and used that information as a way of getting closer to them.
In one of the last shots we see him in, we see him picking up the police scanner and listening to the dispatch very closely. Hart was likely in the vicinity; otherwise it would have been impossible for him to travel the six-mile distance in the time required.
The scene, which was filmed in seven takes, required extensive preparation on the part of the filmmakers. Cary Fukunaga points out there were several elements that he planned on incorporating within the scene.
“I wanted to see a helicopter," he said. "I wanted to go through houses, I wanted to go over fences, and I wanted it to be unbroken. This required the participation of all crew members. We required the involvement of every single department, like a live theatre show.”
In addition, because the shot itself is unbroken, key crew members were positioned in various locations, waiting for their cues. This required make-up artists, stunt coordinators and a special-effects team to be on hand during the entire run and to hit their marks.
The make-up artists, for instance, were on standby, so that they could quickly apply make-up on Ginger’s head. This was done in the phone conversation between Cohle and Hart. The camera briefly pans away from Ginger, which provided them with an opportunity to then apply his make-up for that specific moment in the scene.
In our reconstruction of this space, we designed a site plan diagram that is based on the six-minute continuous shot. The helicopter shot of the community at the start of the scene offers an expansive look at the space. The path of the camera is shown as a red dotted line and the beginning of the shot is noted with a circle.
The camera moves horizontally during the entire shot until the end when Cohle and Ginger climb the fence. This is the only moment where the camera breaks the horizontal axis and travels vertically.
In addition, we designed an elevation drawing that shows this moment and the final moment of the shot, where Cohle and Ginger enter the vehicle.
In seeing the continuous shot in a technical drawing, we can better understand how the director was able to achieve the final result. The path is not only informative in a plan view, but also in elevation and section views because of the intricate camera techniques.
These diagrams, along with others, are available for purchase in our Official Store.
Architectural Drawings and Graphics were created by INTERIORS (www.INTJournal.com)
Outline Silhouettes of True Detective characters were created by artist, Javier Vera Lainez (www.javierveralainez.com)
When an eminent jurist asks, “What does a copyright of an architectural work truly protect?” you may be certain the question is not rhetorical. The U.S. Copyright Act does provide protection from infringement for architectural works, but it does so in terms so ambiguous that a judge might wonder, as did federal district court judge James Lawrence King in a case he decided earlier this year, whether broadly applicable standards for determining infringement even exist. Finding “the usual analysis … too vague and the language misleading,” King blazed a trail of his own in Sieger Suarez Architectural Partnership v. Arquitectonica International Inc., 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19140, proposing detailed guideposts for future courts to follow.
Sieger Suarez involved two Miami architectural firms and a 43-story condominium tower nearing completion in suburban Sunny Isles. The Sieger Suarez firm was engaged in 2000 by the project’s first owner. When the project, now known as Regalia, changed hands, the new owners dropped Sieger Suarez and engaged Arquitectonica in 2006. This is a scenario made familiar in scores of disputes involving allegations of infringement of architectural works.
Befitting a beachfront property with floor-through units starting at $7 million, both designs present dramatic, undulating exteriors. “When facing any of the buildings’ four sides,” King wrote in his opinion, “the façades create the impression of a wave rippling horizontally across the sides of the buildings.” Further, in cross-section, both buildings reveal what King described as a “flower shape,” “a stylized rectangle, with gently rounded corners and an outward bulge more-or-less in the center of each of the four sides.” Should this flower shape, combined with the wavelike exteriors, have been enough to sustain Sieger Suarez’s claim of infringement against its competitor and the property’s owners?
Read on to see the results of this Court Case, and what they could mean for architectural copyright in general.
Understanding cases of this sort requires an appreciation of two copyright principles: the distinction between ideas and the expression of ideas, on the one hand, and the nature and scope of protectable compilations, on the other.
Copyright protects the expression of ideas but not ideas themselves: books but not words or literary conventions (“boy meets girl”), music but not notes or styles, software but not commonplace routines, and architecture but not floors and ceilings, doors and windows, walls and halls.
Copyright also protects compilations, that is, aggregations of protectable expression and unprotectable ideas, selected, coordinated and arranged in ways that the result is original even if its constituent parts are not. Think databases. Architectural works are often analogized to compilations, combinations of elements that might not be copyrightable taken in isolation (walls and halls) but achieve a measure of expressive distinctiveness through their inventive combinations.
There is no uniformity among federal appeals courts on how to determine the scope of protection for architectural works. District courts are required to conform with precedent established by the controlling court of appeals, in King’s case the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit headquartered in Atlanta. Lower court judges, such as King, may construe that precedent in innovative ways subject to review by the applicable higher court.
These principles are the building blocks with which cases involving architectural works, such as Sieger Suarez, are built. These are the elements that Judge King used to fashion his noteworthy opinion.
In January 2006, shortly before being terminated, the firm submitted applications to register its 2003 technical drawings for registration in the Copyright Office. Four months later, possibly in an effort to collect unpaid fees on the Regalia project, it sent its plans and AutoCAD to the project owner. Two months later, on July 20, 2006, in connection with another matter ,Arquitectonica’s attorney sent his client’s plans for Regalia to Sieger Suarez. Five days after that Sieger Suarez submitted applications to register copyrights in additional documents of service it had prepared for the project six years earlier.
This confusing chronology notwithstanding, it seems plain the Arquitectonica had access to Sieger Suarez’s plans and could have copied them, and Sieger Suarez had notice of Arquitectonica’s allegedly infringing drawings and could have filed suit based on its registered copyrights. It did not sue, however, for seven more years, until construction of Regalia was under way.
To prevail on a claim of copyright infringement, the plaintiff must show that it owns a valid copyright in a work and the defendant copied protectable elements of the registered work. As here, where there is no direct proof of copying, no smoking guns or homemade videos, a plaintiff may establish copying by demonstrating that the defendant had access to the plaintiff’s work, which was undisputed, and that the plaintiff’s and defendant’s works are substantially similar. King’s job? Determine the presence or absence of substantial similarity between the parties’ designs. Spoiler alert: he found none.
In the course of deciding the issue, King confronted the undulating, wavelike legal uncertainty that caused him to ask what copyright in an architectural works truly protects. If, as the law recites, an architectural work includes “the overall form as well as the arrangement and composition of spaces and elements in the design” but excludes “individual standard features”; if that overall form is a compilation of protectable expressions and unprotectable ideas; if compilations are, as some courts have concluded, eligible for only “thin” protection”—“baby” protection, King called it—what can be compared in order to determine infringement?
Usually, substantial similarity is established through the eyes of that convenient legal fiction: the average lay observer. King refused to go along. “In practice,” he wrote,
[T]he “average observer” referred to by the cases is not average at all. The law in this area … is complex and the distinction between expression and idea can be a difficult one. As such, an “average” observer is one who is fully aware of the law, trained to understand the elements of infringement and protectable features, with knowledge of architectural designs, and with experience to decide the facts of a given case. Such a person is neither average nor ordinary.
Following precedent, he insisted, “As the Eleventh Circuit has noted, ‘The substantial similarity required for infringement . . . must be substantial similarity of expression, not substantial similarity of ideas.’” And expression, remember, may include entire compilations. King then enunciated his way, a new way, of determining where to look for similarities.
Rather than simply continue down the oft-misleading road of ad hoc analysis, [this] Court will consider certain telling factors of substantial similarity and suggests that this non-exclusive and non-exhaustive list of guideposts should be used by future courts as guideposts for determining the level of similarity between architectural works….
King’s guideposts are four in number: (1) the manner by which a design is achieved; (2) use of ornamental structures and details; (3) how an individual interacts with the space; and (4) location.
Substantial Similarity Analysis: Exteriors
Turning first to the façades of the Sieger-Suarez and Arquitectonica designs, and specifically to the wavelike illusion, King noted that the defendant’s design is achieved by the addition of wrap-around, irregularly-shaped balconies to an otherwise rectangular-shaped building. These irregularly-shaped balconies combine, floor-by-floor, to create the impression of an oscillating wave running the entire height of the building. Starting from the first balconied floor, Defendant’s oscillating wave is achieved by shifting the center bulge of each successive floor’s balcony just slightly to the side of the balcony beneath it. These staggered balconies and the changing placement of the center bulges results in a dynamic wave across the façade of Defendant’s building.
Plaintiff, on the other hand, achieves the outward appearance in a strikingly different manner. Plaintiff’s design is created by the addition of rounded corner balconies to an otherwise irregularly-shaped building with sharply rounded corners and an outward bulge at the center of each of its four sides. Thus, the flower shape of the building is created by structural elements and bay windows that are integral to the design’s floor plans, to which rounded corner balconies are added to complete the flower shape. The bulging bay windows and rounded corner balconies appear in the same place on every floor and combine to create a smooth, static wave that runs the height of the building.
While other judges, sitting in other courts, might look at the parties’ respective designs and attempt an aesthetic resolution to the similarity comparison, King boldly looked past the similarities apparent on the surface and asked what lies underneath, what structural imperatives brought each designer to its expression of the flower shape as it rose from ground to sky.
Despite the fact that both buildings in cross-section adhere, more or less, to the flower shape, that shape results from entirely different structural approaches, irregularly shaped floors stacked one above another in the Sieger Suarez design and an essentially rectangular tower with wrap-around terraces, each slightly different from the terraces above and below in the Arquitectonica design. In other words, though the idea, a flower shape, was superficially similar, the expression of the idea was radically different and hence not substantially similar at all. Or in King’s words, “non-structural ornamental exterior terraces versus bay windows that are both structural and integral to the interior floor plan, is a critical distinction.” King characterized the resulting shape of the Arquitectonica design “dynamic”; the shape of the Sieger-Suarez design, “static.”
To find substantial similarity between the two designs in this case would require a finding that Plaintiff owns a copyright in a concept, i.e. this flower shape, something the Eleventh Circuit has consistently rejected. The shape is an idea while the building and terraces combine to create a protectable expression. Defendant’s expression of the flower shape is plainly different and does not infringe upon Plaintiff’s expression.
Substantial Similarity Analysis: Interiors
King undertook a similar analysis of the interior floor plans of the competing designs. Sieger Suarez’s expression of the flower design, with bulging sides and rounded bay windows at each corner results in living spaces with few straight lines. Defendant’s use of a rectangular tower—its irregularly shaped terraces notwithstanding—results in rectangular rooms. Not only do the shape and size of the parties’ rooms differ, the ways in which inhabitants are intended to occupy, furnish and make use of those rooms differs as well.
King made additional comparisons, but no superficial similarities were sufficient to overcome the conclusion that the buildings showed no substantial similarity.
King’s Guideposts in Practice
While King did not give equal weight to each of his “guideposts,” the brilliance of his approach is in providing a technique to replace the ad hoc decision making that typically characterizes decisions in this context. It’s a bit like watching Julia Child on television back in the day. What mattered most was not the dish itself but how she taught the viewer the technique.
Given copyright’s three-year statute of limitations, Sieger Suarez would have had to have filed suit no later than July 20, 2009, unless it could show damages accruing with respect to continuing cognizable causes of action. Sieger Suarez pled no such causes of action, and King accordingly ruled plaintiff’s claims exhausted.
Mitch Tuchman practices copyright law in the Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, office of Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, LLP.
ArchDaily has once again asked readers to share photos of their workspaces. Readers, mostly architects, responded with pictures of beautiful spaces around the world, from beachside desks to a stark warehouse space to a stunning gallery.
This is how architects design or develop their own space:
Bark Architects, Noosa, Australia
Aparicio Arquitectos, Madrid, Spain
Equipoeme Estudio, Galicia, Spain
Atelier rzlbd, Toronto, Canada
Mackay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects, Halifax, Canada
Wilkes Barre, Various cities
Red Door Architecture, Brisbane, Australia
WRNS Studio, San Francisco
Bennetts Associates, London
ALA Architects, Helsinki, Finland
JAMstudio Architects, Aberdeen, Scotland
Design International, London
Forrec Designs, Toronto, Canada
FitzGerald Associates Architects, Chicago
Rossetti Design, Detroit
Zeroplus Architects, Seattle, Washington
Barber McMurry, Knoxville, Tennessee
Baltic Creative Campus, Liverpool, England
Glancy Nicholls Architects, Birmingham, United Kingdom
SEE ALSO: The Most Impressive New Houses Of 2014
Yesterday, Monditalia — one of the three exhibitions currently being prepared for this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale — tweeted out a neat little graphic showing the number of architects, per inhabitant, in 36 countries around the world.
The graphic shows that Italy has a shockingly high percentage of architects in its population: for every 414 Italians, one is an architect.
According to the graphic, Portugal, Denmark, Germany, Belgium, Spain, and Greece all have ratios of less than 1,000 to one. Of course, there are plenty of other architect-heavy places missing from the list; not even mentioned in the graphic is Chile, a country that — according to its latest census—has one architect per 667 inhabitants, nor Mexico which has about 724 inhabitants per architect. On the other end of the spectrum, China has only one architect for every 40,000 persons.
Of course, since Monditalia has only released a sneak peek of this graphic via twitpic (more information will undoubtedly be shared when the Biennale launches in early June), we have some serious questions about the data (where do these statistics come from? Are they accurate?). But the graphic still raises some interesting lines of questioning.
In the light of the Recession, we’ve tackled the topic of markets over-saturated with architects quite a lot, as well as the great migration of architects happening around the world. We’ve even asked you readers to give us insight into which countries are the best for architects to find work (compiling the answers in a list you can find here).
However, this graphic allows us to frame the question in a slightly different way: is there a “golden ratio” of architects to inhabitants? And, if there is, what is it? 1:3000, as in the Czech Republic? 1:40,000 as in China? How many architects is enough? Moreover, should the ratio shift according to economic growth or decline? Should we attempt to control the number of architecture students in order to enforce this “golden ratio”?
We’d love hear what you think about the number of architects in your country in the comments below.
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