A new genre of film is emerging: the luxury skyscraper promotional video. Usually released before a new building is even finished, these filmic renderings follow an uncannily standard format: A stirring soundtrack reliably accompanies a time lapse of a city’s skyline; viewers ascend a rendered building until we reach the top floor. There, we see some variation of the most common scene found in these videos: a businessman silently overlooking the expansive city below. The figure tends to be pensive, well-dressed, white, and male. Read on to see three prime examples of this odd trend.
The New American Psycho?
The poster child for the male-centric skyscraper promotional video is an advertisement from Redrow, a luxury apartment group in London. Compared by architect Sam Jacob to American Psycho in a parody of the video, the narrated film follows a man as he rises through
After conducting a concert at Munich’s Gasteig concert hall, Leonard Bernstein offered a scathing edict for the building: “burn it down.”
The Gasteig’s behemoth structure of brick and mirrored glass never met Bernstein’s decree. Instead, it has stood for decades, garnering vitriol from those who resent its postmodern aesthetic. In a design competition hosted by the Gasteig, seventeen architecture firms have attempted to change the concert hall and cultural center’s public perception with varied renovation schemes.
Among the three firms selected to move on to the next round of the competition is Auer Weber. They will have three months to refine their design before the final winner is chosen. The firm's current design centers around “amphitheatre-esque steps at the crossing of Rosenheimer
Even after the death of John Portman & Associates’ namesake architect in January, the firm continues his legacy of innovative and elegant hotel architecture. On Monday, the Atlanta and Shanghai-based firm announced that they had been selected to design a new hotel and residential tower in Xi Shui, China. Portman & Associates’ design, dubbed “Greenland Wuxi 200,” beat out international entries to a design competition hosted by the hotel developer Greenland Hong Kong Wuxi.
The winning design features three stacked cubes, one for each of the buildings’ functions: hotel, long-term stay, and sky villas. With each cube separated by garden terraces, the three functions are readable in the facade. Gradient opacity further differentiates the building’s functionality. According to Portman & Associates, “at the lowest hotel floors, the facade expression is more solid, providing privacy from within” while “the
When you tap an Instagram geolocation, the nine most popular posts in that location float to the top. Sometimes, there's an uncanny similarity to these posts: near-identical pictures of smoothie bowls, tiled floors, or neon signs. In part, a place’s popularity on Instagram is a domino effect—one person posts a picture of a mural (Wynwood Walls, anyone?), and then everyone does. But a new Instagram Design Guide from Valé Architects suggests that some design features might be inherently more Instagrammable than others. Valé’s guide is interesting for its quasi-scientific analysis of Instagram aesthetic, but it also has real implications in the architecture world; a building’s popularity on social media (in this case, its Instagramability) can influence its perception in the non-digital world. Here are some of the traits that Valé says make a space successful on Instagram:
Courtesy of Baharash Architecture
The world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, towers at 828 meters in the heart of Dubai’s ever-growing urban core. But just a few hours east of the metropolis, a different kind of monument is garnering tourism to the United Arab Emirates: the Al Hajar Mountains. With its peak at 3,008 meters, the mountain range’s natural elegance rivals the country’s architectural achievements. The Biodomes Wildlife Conservation Centre, a project from Baharash Architecture for the UAE’s Eco Resort Group, seeks to celebrate the mountain range through an ecotourism paradigm.
As tourism to natural areas increases worldwide, and as the UAE prepares to welcome an estimated 45 million visitors to the country by 2021, the Al Hajar mountains will likely see increased tourism over the coming years. And with tourism can come pollution, soil erosion, and loss of
At first glance, The Stealth Building looks like a pristinely-restored cast iron apartment building. That’s because technically, it is. But upon closer inspection, the Lower Manhattan building is rife with innovative restoration and renovation practices by WORKac.
What looks like original Corinthian column capitals on the facade are in fact re-imagined versions of the classical floral ornaments generated by artist Michael Hansmeyer. They mimic the scale of the original fixtures but with a modernized aesthetic. In another creative maneuvering of historical constraints, a rooftop penthouse addition takes a jagged, sculptural form that steps back from the street. In turn, the addition is entirely invisible from the street—a requirement for any rooftop addition per the New York City Landmark Commission code. Using creative massing, the architects also allowed the addition to hide behind pediments and an abandoned elevator bulkhead so that it’s
In the latest installment of PLANE—SITE’s short video series Time-Space-Existence, French architect Odile Decq gives this advice to young designers: be bold. “If you want to build and create the new century, you have to have people who have people who have specific personalities. I love when people express themselves strongly and very clearly.”
If there’s a word to describe Decq herself, it’s bold. When she won the Jane Drew Prize in 2016, The Architect’s Journal called her "a creative powerhouse, spirited breaker of rules and advocate of equality." Reflecting on her own work in the video, she says, “I’m sure that my buildings are spicy.” Their spice, she says, comes from their complexity; at her Museum of Contemporary Art in Rome, for example, “you can travel the building at different times and at different levels
If you stand in Manhattan Avenue Park in Brooklyn’sGreenpoint neighborhood, you’ll see the Long Island City skyline across a small creek. On the Greenpoint side of the creek, a historic neighborhood of row houses and industrial sites is rapidly growing. On the Long Island City side, high-rise apartments and hundreds of art galleries and studios line the East River. Just a stone’s throw away, Long Island City can feel like a world apart from Greenpoint. That’s in large part due to the fact that only one bridge connects the neighborhoods—and it’s meant more for cars than pedestrians or cyclists. Isn’t there a better way? Architect Jun Aizaki thinks so. For the past few years, he and his team at CRÈME Architecture and Design have been working on the so-called “Timber Bridge at Longpoint Corridor."
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has selected eleven recipients in its 2018 Small Projects Awards. Established fifteen years ago by AIA’s Small Project Practitioners, the program “recognizes small-project practitioners for the high quality of their work” and “aims at raising awareness about the value and design excellence that architects can bring to projects, no matter their size or scope.”
The winners by category are as follows:
Category 1 could include small project construction, an architectural object, work of environmental art or an architectural design element that cost up to $150,000 in construction
Category 2 could include small project construction that could cost up to $1,500,000 in construction
Category 3 could include small project construction, an architectural object, work of environmental art or an architectural design that is under 5,000 square feet
There’s something irresistible about Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown’s architectural romance. They met when they were both young professors at the University of Pennsylvania; Scott Brown held seminars in city planning, and Venturi gave lectures in architectural theory. As the story goes, Scott Brown argued in her first faculty meeting that Frank Furness’ masterful Venetian gothic library should not be torn down to build a plaza (then a dissenting opinion). Venturi approached her after the meeting, offering his support. As Paul Goldberger wrote of the couple in 1971, “as their esthetic viewpoints grew closer and closer, so did their feelings toward each other.” Architecture lovers can’t help but love the architect-lovers.
As compelling as this version of Venturi and Scott Brown’s collaborative history may
Envisioned by Adolf Hitler in the thirties as part of his plan to redevelop Berlin into Germania—a regimented, neo-classical world-capital—the airport was designed by Earnst Sagebiel and completed in 1941 under the direction of head Nazi architect Albert Speer. With a sweeping semi-circular form meant to evoke an eagle in flight, the building is in many ways typical of heavy-handed fascist German
In the nineteenth century, hundreds of artisans and shoppers would crowd around the Gjanica River in Fier, Albania on market day. Today, the river is nearly invisible, covered in some parts by overgrown greenery and at others obscured by tall buildings illegally constructed too close to the riverbank. A plan from Italian firm MAU Architecture termed “RI-GJANICA” reimagines Fier’s waterfront as the central element of their scheme for a new city center. Their project involves reopening connections between the urban core and the river through bike paths, pedestrian bridges, amphitheaters, and integrated mixed-use buildings.
Where today’s river offers few points of entry and serves as a barrier between the northern and southern sections of the city, MAU’s project hopes to forge connections between neighborhoods by creating a central civic space. The firm schematizes the various elements of their river reanimation
Copenhagen firm WE Architecture has completed a proposal for a “Dog Center” in Moscow that challenges traditional notions of animal shelters. Nestled in the countryside, the one-story pavilion will rely on a series of courtyards divided by pergolas that disappear into the landscape. The firm notes that the courtyards, which provide enclosed outdoor space for the dogs, allow the center “to avoid the 'jail-like' fencing which is often associated with dog shelters."
WE, in collaboration with MASU Planning, hopes to create a “healthy and inspiring environment for sheltered dogs and for the different people who will visit and work at the Center.” The project accomplishes its atmospheric goals by complimenting steel pillars with wooden rafters. The rafters extend to create an exterior overhang which functions as “a sun screen in summer time and as an exterior cover/hallway on
When Spanish architect Rafael Moneo won the Pritzker Prize in 1996, the jury identified his ability to see buildings as lasting built entities—their lives extending beyond architectural drawings—as integral to his success. The South Souks, Moneo’s 2009 project in Beirut, Lebanon, indeed responds to a long history and anticipates a lasting future. After the city’s historic souq (outdoor marketplace) was destroyed during the Lebanese Civil War, developer Solidere began rebuilding the commercial area in 1991. As part of the project, Moneo designed an arcaded shopping district that follows the ancient Hellenistic grid and retains original street names.
Photographs of Moneo’s building by Lebanese architectural photographer Bahaa Ghoussainy reveal both the historical grounding of the space and its clear modernity. Light-imbued images feature blurred visitors as they move fluidly between outdoor and indoor commercial space, just like they would have in the original souq. Others frame Moneo’s building
Ever since the City of St. Louis approved a sales tax to fund public greenways in 2000, citizens and planners have imagined a bike and pedestrian path along the city’s main east-west corridor. Last week, that vision was brought to life as Stoss Landscape Urbanism was selected to design the Chouteau Greenway. Their proposed strip of green space and walkways will stretch from the iconic Gateway Arch at the city’s eastern end to downtown, from there extending to Foster Park, which sits adjacent to Washington University in St. Louis on the city’s western edge.
Stoss, a Boston- and Los Angeles-based firm, was selected to complete the design in a competition hosted by St. Louis-based non-profit Green Rivers Greenway. A jury of nine local and international planners, architects, and designers selected Stoss’ design, “The Loop + The Stitch,” pointing to