A ‘radical alternative’: how Reyner Banham changed the perception of Los Angeles

"it performs the functions of a great city, in terms of size, cosmopolitan style, creative energy, international influence, distinctive way of life, and corporate personality [proves that] all the most admired theorists of the present century, from the Futurists and Le Corbusier to Jane Jacobs and Sibyl Moholy-Nagy, have been wrong.”

"In the 1960s, British architectural critic Reyner Banham declared his love for the city that his fellow intellectuals hated. What Banham wrote about Los Angeles redefined how the world perceived it – but what would he think of LA today?" With a nod to Glen Small is a noteworthy paragraph from the book.

Manual for Becoming a Radical Architect

Radicalism in Architecture is not a simple choice and it’s not dominated by the lack of reason, an important idea now that Architecture has become, due to the new technologies and trending fashions, easily reproducible.

  Adrian Labaut Hernandez states, "Architecture does not need to say anything, it doesn’t need to talk, doesn’t need to express anything specific, and it doesn’t need, overall, to be needlessly “Radical”. Architecture always has a meaning when it is created based on strong conceptual work, the project is there, a body of matter, showing itself immortal, personal, superior because of its inner qualities, those that can not be seen from outside and sometimes even from inside. You need to look at it, speak with it, interact, explore, touch, and at the end, for sure, admire. It is not done for a magazine page, and neither to hang in an exposition room and Continue reading "Manual for Becoming a Radical Architect"

It’s the Culture, Stupid: curatorial statement for the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam, from executive director George Brugmans

It all started January 2010 when I first interviewed the director of International Architecture Biennale of Rotterdam George Brugmans for Archinect. Since then, our relationship developed and I closely followed his work at IABR which I find arguably the most serious biennale concerning urbanism and city-making at the highest level of reality and usefulness.

Resilient cities How nature turned a failed communist plan into Bucharest’s unique urban park

The diversity of landscapes is fascinating. The northern edge is a meadow with wild grass, nut trees, poplars and elms, but venture deeper into the park, towards the three interconnected lakes at its heart, and the vegetation becomes denser and more characteristic of wetlands: various types of willow, Johnson grass and water lilies.

"The wild wetland of Văcărești is a symbol of nature’s resilience. Without human interference, wildlife has reconquered this abandoned lake and transformed it into a green oasis in the middle of one of Europe’s densest cities"

Siza celebrates with everyone

"Two blocks inland on the narrow island is Campo di Marte. Here, back in 1985 architecture history was written, not that many people remember this today: Because it was here that in 1983 Álvaro Siza and Aldo Rossi first teamed up on a construction project. Both had exhibited work in 1976 at the Venice -Biennale, in fact in halls directly adjacent to each other: While Rossi (together with Bruno Reichlin, Fabio Reinhart and others) presented collages of the Analog City, Siza brought along some of his subsidized housing projects in Portugal at the time. We can surmise that it was this presentation that led in 1983 to his being invited by the Venetian housing construction association to enter the competition to redesign the Campo di Marte. Just how distinguished the competition was can be seen today from the roster of names of the architects invited to take part: Alongside Siza Continue reading "Siza celebrates with everyone"

Slum Porn Urban Misery As Catchy Imagery

While architects and urbanists should definitely try to learn from the complex urban conditions behind these cases, this optimism surrounding their presentation is a tad naive. From Manila to Kumasi, these are all precarious places where life is exceptionally harsh, short and insecure.

"At the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale, Urban Think Tank presented Gran Horizonte, a ‘pop-up restaurant’ mimicking life in the infamous squatted Torre de David-skyscraper in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas. This skyscraper was abandoned halfway through construction and subsequently occupied by thousands of ordinary Venezuelans who transformed it into a ‘vertical barrio’. Urban Think Tank has conducted extensive research on the building and has called it ‘a laboratory for the study of the informal’. To present their findings, they made an installation-slash-restaurant that looked like it was directly transferred from the tower, using similar building materials and aesthetics as the informal interventions. Since the Venice show, Continue reading "Slum Porn Urban Misery As Catchy Imagery"