Sands of Time: How an Architect Commemorates D-Day’s 70-Year Anniversary

(Courtesy donaldweber.com)

(Courtesy Circuit Gallery)

Donald Weber is a former architect turned visual media artist. His latest project, War Sand, is a series of microscopic photographs that depict pieces of shrapnel embedded in individual grains of sand along the beaches of Normandy. Each photograph—which takes over eight hours for Weber to produce—is a testimony to one of the most famous days in history, as well as to the relationship between art and science.

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Eavesdrop> “Tourism” Now Pronounced “Voyeurism” in London

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Peeping into a neighbor’s room through a glass reflection. (Courtesy Financial Times)

Peeping Toms, bust out the kazoos. Your field day has arrived—and it comes equipped with party favors. The Shard, designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano, is London’s tallest skyscraper and, as of last week, home to a new luxury hotel. The rooms include breathtaking views of the city—and, thanks to a design flaw, unscrupulous views of unsuspecting neighbors.

Glass panels on the Shard’s exterior bestow the building with a crystalline front and its namesake. But at night, the city’s lights turn the glass into mirrors that fully reflect guest bedrooms into each other. Complementary binoculars (“for the view,” ahem) don’t help matters. Nor do puns about the naked eye. Masking a blush? Rest easy—susceptible rooms include shades for extra privacy.

Absorbing Modernity: Domesticity at the Venice Biennale

(Alan Brake / AN)

Jiminez Lai’s Biennale pavilion installation. (Alan Brake / AN)

At the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale, Rem Koolhaas set the theme “Absorbing Modernity: 1914-2014″ for the national pavilions, and many countries took it up through the lens of domesticity. The Taiwanese American architect Jimenez Lai examined the spaces and rituals of Taiwanese life with his exhibition Township of Domestic Parts. Lai created “superfurniture,” overscaled, Memphis-inflected installations that interpreted ideas such as museum-like living rooms—part shrine, part show place, reserved only for guests. The result is a fantasy hangout space, which conjures up memories of childhood.

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La Moglie di Lot in Venice Remembers Superstudio’s Radical Ideas

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The Florentine architecture group Superstudio enjoyed the penultimate moment on the world architecture stage at the 1972 MoMA exhibition, The New Domestic Landscape. However, by the end of that decade with worldwide radical politics on the wane and postmodernism on the rise, the Florentines found their radicale arguments and practice marginalized and they began to move away from architecture towards other sorts of design initiatives. But before the group left the international stage, they created one last potent architectural statement: La Moglie di Lot and displayed it at the 1978 Venice Biennale of Art.

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Van Alen Institute Convenes International Council of Architects in Venice

The Van Alen Council meets in Venice. (Beppe Ferrari)

The Van Alen Council meets in Venice. (Beppe Ferrari)

This week in Venice, the New York–based Van Alen Institute convened a group of leaders at 13 top architecture firms to brainstorm ideas that will guide the non-profit institution with an increased international perspective. The group will meet twice a year “to identify and investigate issues facing cities internationally, and to guide the impact of the Institute’s public programming, research, and design competitions,” according to a press release from Van Alen. The goal is to find topics that the institute can explore more deeply in its ongoing efforts such as Elsewhere: Escape and the Urban Landscape exploring our relationship with urban life.

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Walking through the “Elements of Architecture” exhibit at the 2014 Venice Biennale

International
Thursday, June 5, 2014
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Ceiling Entry Into Elements. (William Menking / AN)

Ceiling Entry Into Elements. (William Menking / AN)

The 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale is a bit like walking into a giant research project. If the exhibition The Elements of Architecture is not necessary thrilling to the spirit it is at least full of ideas on the basics of construction. It is possible to walk through a dozen times and come away with new information and concepts. Here is a quick look at several of the ideas in this intellectual project masquerading as an exhibition.

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Sights around Venice during Day Two of the Biennale

International
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
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It’s day two at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale and AN had a chance to run through Monditalia in the Venetian arsenal while workers and young architects were feverishly finishing their installations. Here is a selection of iPhone image of projects we saw on our whirlwind tour.

View the images after the jump.

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On View> Koolhaas breaks down architecture to its fundamental elements

International, On View
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
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When Rem Koolhaas gave the 14th Venice Architecture Biennale the theme Fundamentals, he promised to create a research-based exhibition that would consider both the universal and place-specific aspects of the discipline. Serving as a counterweight to the multidisciplinary but single-country-focus of Monditalia, which fills the Arsenale at the Venice Biennale, the Central Pavilion in the Giardini is hosting The Elements of Architecture, which looks at the basic components of building around the world: the floor, walls, windows, stairs, elevators, etc. Based on a book of the same name, the exhibition juxtaposes the mundane and the cutting edge, building science with artistic interpretations, historical facts with speculative futures.

Continue reading after the jump.

Aluminum Organic by J. MAYER H. Architects

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J. MAYER H. Architects designed a sculptural facade of anodized aluminum for an apartment building in Berlin. (Ludger Paffrath for Euroboden)

J. MAYER H. Architects designed a sculptural facade of anodized aluminum for an apartment building in Berlin. (Ludger Paffrath for Euroboden)

Ribbons of laser-cut metal lamellas envelop a glass curtain wall.

J. MAYER H. Architects designed the sculptural anodized aluminum facade of JOH3, a Berlin apartment building located near both the Friedrichstrasße and Museum Island, as a contemporary echo of its historic neighbors. “The project is located in an old part of Berlin, where there are lots of facades with stucco detail,” said project architect Hans Schneider. “We tried to do something as rich with a new design, something like Jugendstil [the German Art Deco movement] but in a modern translation.”
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On View> Radical Pedagogies: ACTION-REACTION-INTERACTION at the 2014 Venice Biennale

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The Radical Pedagogies: Action-Reaction-Interaction exhibition at the Corderie dell’Arsenale with dancers rehearsing for the Dance Festival in the foreground.

AN just had a quick Arsenale walkthrough of Radical Pedagogies: ACTION-REACTION-INTERACTION by creator and Princeton professor Beatriz Colomina. The Arsenale has been given over in this biennale to Monditalia, a single-theme exhibition with exhibits, events, and theatrical productions engaging Italian architecture with politics, economics, religion, technology, and industry. In this installation the other festivals of la Biennale di Venezia—film, dance, theatre, and music—will be mobilized through the architecture event to contribute to a comprehensive portrait of the host country.

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On View> Here Are Some Great Events Happening at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale

International, On View
Tuesday, June 3, 2014
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Rem Koolhaas' curtain design snaking through the Arsenale. (Petra Blaisse)

Rem Koolhaas’ curtain design snaking through the Arsenale. (Petra Blaisse)

The 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale has published a list of events around Venice during the opening three days of the biennale. Below is a list of collateral events not to be missed if you’re in Venice.

View the events listing after the jump.

Put It Back: A Call to Rebuild Mackintosh’s Glasgow School of Art

(Ross Cowan / Flickr)

(Ross Cowan / Flickr)

[Editor's Note: Following a devastating fire at the Glasgow School of Art on Friday, May 23, the university has launched a fundraising campaign to assist with restoration and rebuilding efforts. To support the fund, donate online here. Work has been ongoing to assess the damage and salvage what remains. This article originally appeared on Witold Rybczynski's blog, On Culture and Architecture. It appears here with permission of the author. ]

The tragic fire at the Glasgow School of Art, Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s masterpiece, raises anew the question: How to rebuild? In a thoughtful blog, George Cairns of Melbourne’s RMIT, who has studied the building in detail, points out that many undocumented changes were made during the building’s construction, so it will be impossible to recreate what was there. In addition, the inevitable demands of modern fire security will likely alter the original design. Rather than try to rebuild Mackintosh’s design, Cairns argues for “great architects to be invited to design a worthy intervention that will breathe new life into the school.”

Continue reading after the jump.

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