The Ise Grand Shrine in Osaka, Japan. . Image © Flickr User Tetsuya Yamamoto
A new online course offered by the University of Hong Kong (UHK) through knowledge-sharing platform edX will probe the relationship between Asian culture and the continent’s vernacular architecture. Free and open to anyone, the introductory course entitled “Interpreting Vernacular Architecture in Asia” has an inclusive mission: to make the often alienating world of art and architectural history accessible to the general public by removing barriers to entry.
The course’s content mirrors the inclusivity of its enrollment process, explicitly deviating from architectural history’s traditional focus on monumental structures to instead examine the everyday. Professors David P. Y. Lung (of UHK) and Howard Davis (of the University of Oregon) say in their course description that they prioritize the“built environment that the ordinary people live in” over “royal palaces.” And instead of centering
© Tomas Bertelsen
On July 2nd, the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) released a new set of model ethical standards that they hope will be adapted by their regional licensing boards, in turn setting a precedent for ethical standards across the American architecture profession. While in the past, the NCARB’s ethical standards have largely addressed professional issues like the role of the architect to ensure public safety and his or her transparency when interacting with clients, the updated document focuses on personal concerns that often overlap with the workplace.
“The Model Rules of Conduct serves as both an important regulatory tool for licensing boards and a statement to all NCARB Record holders,” said NCARB CEO Michael J. Armstrong. “It has the potential to lift architecture to the same high standards held by other professions.”
On construction sites, workers are increasingly using drones to do what humans can’t. In the past, we’ve covered brick-laying drones, their impact (for better or worse) on the urban environment, and how the technology can help improve the accuracy of architectural renders. CNBC recently reported on how drones can be used to take aerial photos of construction sites at hard-to-reach angles—an innovation that has caused drone sales to sharply increase. According to the article, "construction drone usage has skyrocketed by 239 percent year over year."
Construction workers, who use low-cost drones that they’re trained to operate, say drones are immensely helpful for getting a sense of the larger picture of the projects they execute.
To learn more about the growing role of drones in construction, check out the original article.News via: CNBC
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Courtesy of Gortemaker Algra Feenstra In the world of politics, the notion of “transparency” refers to the honesty constituents expect of their elected officials. In architecture, it means something much more literal: a transparent surface, like a window or glass wall, is one you can see through. In the small Dutch municipality of Albrandswaard, architects Gortemaker Algra Feenstra have melded the two definitions with a circular, glass town hall. As the firm writes of the project, “a single transparent space...shows the process of democracy as soon as you enter.”
The town of Rhoon (within the municipality of Albrandswaard) will house the town hall, which will sit at the crossroads of an eclectic collection of public spaces: a metro station, an arcaded shopping mall, a fifteenth-century castle, and the Groene Kruisweg, a major road that runs
Courtesy of Studio Komma
Adaptive reuse, the process of refashioning a defunct structure for a new purpose, is ubiquitous these days—so much so that hearing a phrase like “converted warehouse” or “repurposed factory” barely causes one to blink an eye. However, a new project from a cohort of Dutch architecture firms highlights the innovative nature of adaptive reuse with a scheme that reimagines disused cargo ships as houses. With their fully intact exterior shells, the ships remind residents and visitors of their industrial, seafaring past.
The collaboration between architecture firms Studio Komma, Studio Kees Marcelis, and landscape architect Buro Poelmans Reesink will bring between six and fourteen defunct ships back to life in a public park, the Marine-doc Estate. The project will entail the reuse of Kempenaar, a Dutch cargo ship that has “reached the end of [its] economic lifespan” on water. Lifted onto
Horst Castle. Image © <a href='https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/9c/Kasteel_van_Horst_-Sint_Pieters_Rode-_Belgica.jpg'>Francisco Conde Sánchez</a> licensed under <a href=’https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en/'>CC BY-SA 3.0</a> Kasteel van Horst, a 17th-century castle in rural Belgium, and the raucous music festival it hosts every fall are an unlikely pair. But for the past four years, the Horst Music and Art Festival hosted at the castle just outside of Leuven, Belgium has brought together international artists, musicians, architects, and designers for a weekend of creative celebration. For the fifth and final iteration of the festival this year, Tokyo-based architecture firm Atelier Bow-Wow will join the mix.
Invited by the Horst Festival to “create new work reflecting on the historic context of the site,” Atelier Bow-Wow has flipped the prompt on its head. Designing a stage that they describe as a “wooden box on the lake shore,” they claim its simple
Madison Square Garden
In 1906, American architect Stanford White was murdered on the roof of a building he had designed sixteen years earlier. The now well-known story goes like this:
White, a founding partner at the celebrated firm of McKim, Mead & White, met the beloved model and actress Evelyn Nesbit when he was forty-seven and she sixteen. The first time Nesbit visited White’s now-demolished apartment building on Twenty-fourth street in Manhattan, he fed her lunch from Delmonico’s before guiding her up to a room housing what Nesbit described as a “gorgeous swing with red velvet ropes around which trailed green similax, set high in the ceiling.” From there, he took Nesbit to his bedroom, the walls of which were covered in mirrors, where he drugged her. Nesbit recalled, "When I woke up, all my clothes were pulled off me." Years later, Nesbit’s husband, Harry Kendall
© Henry Townsend
Situated throughout Brussels, Victor Horta's architecture ranges from innocuous to avant-garde. While many of his buildings were completed in the traditional Beaux Arts style, it is Horta’s Art Nouveau works—most of them built as townhouses for the Belgian elite—that are most beloved. Emerging from the decorative arts tradition and, in some ways, anticipating the coming onslaught of modernism, Horta’s Art Nouveau buildings were erected during a fleeting decade: roughly 1893 to 1903.
Only upon close inspection does a Horta house stand out on a Brussels street. Intricately wrought iron balconies and column capitals take on plant-like forms across Horta’s Art Nouveau facades, but the architect employs
Courtesy of MIT Press When Louis Sullivan rang in the era of the skyscraper at the turn of the 20th century, the vertically soaring building—with its views and elevators—was unthinkably cutting edge. By the fifties, the dense downtown had experienced its moment in the sun and endless suburban sprawl began to surround the city. As early as the eighties, both the suburbs and the skyscraper felt oppressive in their own ways.
Enter “New Urbanism.” Propagated vigorously by architect Léon Krier, the ideology entailed a return to the traditional European city, in turn conjuring images of romantically dense, small-scale architecture and walkable streets. The fruits of the New Urbanists’ efforts are visible at a number of neo-traditionalist planned communities around the world, most notably, Truman Show-esque Seaside, Florida in the U.S. and Poundbury, Dorset in England, designed with the help of Prince Charles.
Image via screenshot from video
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
Courtesy of Auer Weber
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
Courtesy of John Portman & Associates
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
© Laurian Ghinitoiu
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
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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
Courtesy of CRÈME Architecture and Design
If you stand in Manhattan Avenue Park in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint 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."