On View> A Report From the 2013 Milan Triennale

On View
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
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An auto-production line is part of Best Up.

An auto-production line is part of the Best Up exhibition.

The current Milan Triennale exhibition, running through December 2013, is on view in the city’s Palace of Art building, part of Parco Sempione, the park grounds adjacent to Castello Sforzesco. Nancy Goldring visited the exhibit for AN and reports back on the highlights of the exhibit.

When you enter the Milan Triennale, there is a line-up of fanciful chairs—rather a small version of Lucas Samaras’ great show at the Whitney. But the exhibition itself promises a much more serious consideration of the world of design. The Association for Industrial Design (ADI) added a new category to its 2010 Trienniale Design: Service Design. This year in Design for Living, Luisa Bocchietto and the Triennale committee have added yet another new section—Social Design—those who have offered examples of responsible design, an attempt to get away from simply the design of beautiful objects and to focus on the activities of designers who are trying to make a contribution to the way we live and change the systems themselves.

Continue reading after the jump.

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Testing Begins on Renzo Piano’s Dragonfly Wind Turbine Blade

International, Sustainability
Monday, October 28, 2013
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‘Dragonfly’ Wind Turbine (Photo: Renzo Piano Building Workshop)

‘Dragonfly’ Wind Turbine (Photo: Renzo Piano Building Workshop)

You might know Renzo Piano as the architect behind many of the world’s leading museums, but get ready to meet Renzo Piano, wind-turbine expert. Testing has commenced on Renzo Piano’s small-scale wind-turbine blade at the Molinetto Test Field near Pisa, Italy. Piano’s turbine blade resembles a dragonfly’s wing and incorporates elements from the insect that promote stability in flight in order to allow the turbine to tolerate gale-force winds.

Continue reading after the jump.

Pisa Going Plumb? Leaning Tower—Very Slowly—Straightening Up Its Act

International, Newsletter
Friday, August 16, 2013
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Leaning Tower of Pisa. (Eric Meyer / Flickr)

Leaning Tower of Pisa. (Eric Meyer / Flickr)

The Torre di Pisa is straightening up its act, according to scientists who monitor the famous tower’s tilt. There’s no need to worry, though, the Tower of Pisa won’t be standing completely vertical any time soon. The Huffington Post reported this week that the tower has shifted about an inch (2.5 cm) back toward being upright since 2001, when the structure was reopened to the public.

This gravity-defying maneuver was brought about by a restoration to the tower’s foundation that began in 1992 when the building’s foundation were secured, moving the entire structure a whopping 15 feet. Structural interventions included temporarily installing steel cables as an emergency measure followed by excavating stones beneath the tower and replacing them with steel and concrete. The overall effect, according to HuffPo, was to sink the tower slightly into the ground and thereby make it more vertical. Scientists said these restorative measures will make the Leaning Tower safe for two- to three-centuries.

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International Architects Call On Milan’s Mayor To Reinstate Stefano Boeri

International
Thursday, March 28, 2013
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Stefano Boeri.

Stefano Boeri.

Stefano Boeri—the talented architect, politician, and former editor of Domus—was summarily dismissed this week from his position as Councillor for Culture, Fashion, and Design for the city of Milan. Boeri, who for several years has tried to bring architecture and design into official decision making process, has apparently butted heads with Milan’s Mayor Giuliano Pisapia and has been pushed out the door.

He has, according to one observer of Italian politics, clashed with the mayor “over how much he spent on an exhibition,” who may be using the country’s budget woes as an excuse to sack a potential political opponent.

Boeri was coordinating the upcoming Milan Year of Culture and is not gong without a fight. A petition signed by host of major architects, artists, and cultural workers is being distributed to the press to put pressure on the mayor to bring Boeri back into government.

View the full petition after the jump.

Stop Dumping on Hadrian’s Villa

International
Monday, May 21, 2012
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The Maritime Theatre at Hadrian's Villa. (Courtesy Wikimedia)

The Maritime Theatre at Hadrian's Villa. (Courtesy Wikimedia)

Hadrian’s Villa—the real one, the 2nd century site of pilgrimages by architects, classicists, and any human interested in the origins of culture—has been selected as the site of a new garbage dump by a Berlusconi-appointed sanitation minister. That stinks!

Continue reading after the jump.

On View> Carlo Scarpa: The Architect at Work

Art, East, On View
Thursday, March 22, 2012
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Palazzetto Site Plan. (Courtesy Cooper Union)

Palazzetto Site Plan. (Courtesy Cooper Union)

Carlo Scarpa: The Architect at Work
The Arthur A. Houghton Jr. Gallery
The Cooper Union
7 E. 7th Street
Through April 21

A collection of hand drawings and photographs of work by renowned postwar Italian architect Carlo Scarpa is on view for the first time in New York.  The exhibition depicts the conception and realization of two major works, the renowned Villa Ottolenghi (Bardolino, Verona, 1974–79) and the Il Palazzetto series of imagined interventions in a 17th-century villa (Monselice, Padua, 1969–78).

Read More

Quick Clicks> Of Newsprint, Shipping Containers, Plastic Bags, and Sustainable Intelligence

Daily Clicks
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
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Aesop Kiosk in Grand Central Station (COURTESY AESOP VIA CO.DESIGN)

Aesop Kiosk in Grand Central Station (COURTESY AESOP VIA CO.DESIGN)

Store in Print. Aesop director Dennis Paphitis and Brooklyn architect Jeremy Barbour of Tacklebox stacked 1,800 copies of the New York Times for the new Aesop skin care kiosk in Grand Central Station. While perhaps not our preferred choice for newsprint here at the paper, the gray pages create a rich texture on which to displayed beauty products. More at Co.Design.

Shipping Shop. London hopes to claim the world’s first pop-up shopping center made of shipping containers, to be designed by British firm Waugh Thistleton. Renderings of BoxPark revealed on Treehugger show the site-manufactured boxes stacked and outfitted with reusable materials.

Bagging a House. At the Studi Aperti Arts Festival in Ameno, Italy, design studios Ghigos Ideas and LOGh presented their architectural response to the seemingly endless supply of plastic bags. With help from students at Milan Polytechnic, the architects transformed an unfinished building with a wing made entirely of grocery bags. More at We Heart.

Green Talk. DesignIntelligence released their 2011 “Green & Sustainable Design Survey,” claiming that despite innovation in sustainable building, green construction is not yet mainstream practice. DI editor James Camor said sustainability and LEED is on the table, but maintained architects have not recognized the initiative’s urgency. More at The Dirt.

Piano Forte: Inaugural Renzo Piano Award Honors Young Italian Architects

International
Thursday, July 28, 2011
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Renzo Piano with Paolo Iotti and Marco Pavarani. (Courtesy Iotti+Pavarani)

Renzo Piano with Paolo Iotti and Marco Pavarani. (Courtesy Iotti+Pavarani)

Frank Gehry is looking to sell his archive, Richard Meier opens his Queens storage room for models to visitors by appointment, and now Renzo Piano is giving back, too. On June 10, his eponymous foundation launched a new awards competition to encourage young Italian architects, a rare breed these days.

To that end, the competition was open to designers under 40 with an office in Italy presenting a constructed work. The jury, composed mostly of architectural magazine editors, whittled 69 entries down to three winners who demonstrated “innovative and poetic space research.” The purse for the prize was 10,000 euros each.

The top honor, handed out in June, went to Iotti+Pavarani architects based in northern Italy. Piano was particularly impressed with their recently completed Domus Technica building, a training and innovation center for a manufacturing company in Brescello, Italy. Honorable mentions were bestowed upon ARCó and carlorattiassociati.

View work by the winning firms after the jump.

Quick Clicks>YAP, Biscornet, Glas Italia, the Gherkin

Daily Clicks
Friday, July 1, 2011
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StARRT's winning YAP installation at the MAXXI, Rome (photo Cesare Querci).

YAP to the Max. MoMA PS 1 and the MAXXI open exhibits of the now-transatlantic Young Architects Program, featuring the winners (whose concepts are now installed in New York and in Rome, above) and the finalists.

Made of Glass. Designer Piero Lissoni utilized Glas Italia’s prime material to expand the high-end manufacturing company’s headquarters in Macherio, Italy. Azure reports that the new minimalist building is completely constructed out of glass, and looks best at night when the translucent structure becomes an illuminated box.

Blight on the London Skyline. The phallic silhouette of the skyscraper, which won the 2004 Sterling prize, continues to generate controversy. The Telegraph records Ken Shuttleworth, a former associate at Norman Foster & Partners and the designer widely credited for 30 St Mary Axe, a.k.a. “the Gherkin,”  expressing regret for his design of the tower.

French Flat Iron. Architectures completes the Ministère de la Culture’s coveted Biscornet commission: a modern residential building amid Paris’ Haussmannian stock. Architecture Lab notes that the trapezoidal-structure perfectly fits the slightly set back site on the Place de la Bastille, facing both the Gare de Lyon and the Bassin de l’Arsenal. The facade’s pleated metal panels shift to reflect the light and the time-of-day, emanating a golden shadow on the historic location.

(COURTESY SERGIO GRAZZIA)

(COURTESY SERGIO GRAZZIA)

Quick Clicks> Winded, Juiced, Stripped, TOD-IMBY

Daily Clicks
Monday, February 7, 2011
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Rendering of an Italian viaduct with wind turbines (Via Popular Science)

Rendering of an Italian viaduct with wind turbines (Via Popular Science)

Winded. Popular Science has the story of a bridge concept in Italy called Solar Wind featuring an array of wind turbines capable of generating 40 million kilowatt hours annually. If that weren’t enough, the proposal also incorporates a solar roadway for an added green boost.

Juiced. The Times of Trenton reports that Princeton University is converting 27 acres in West Windsor, New Jersey into a field 16,500 photovoltaic panels able to generate 8 million kilo-watt hours of clean, green energy every year. The project will begin in 2012 and is expected to generate 5.5% of electricity for the university.

Stripped. Citiwire considers the downfall of the suburban commercial strip and it doesn’t look good for sprawl. As shopping trends evolve and consumer taste retreats from the generic strip landscape, hybrid shopping centers resembling main streets could be the future.

TOD or not TOD. Residents of an award-winning transit-oriented development in Maryland featuring a wide median where a light rail line was planned have turned their backs to their neighborhoods original lofty goals. StreetsBlog sums up the latest high-profile case of NIMBY-ism.

Alessandro Magris, 1941-2010

International
Thursday, March 4, 2010
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Superstudio's Alessandro Magris is pictured fourth from the left.

Peter Lang called this morning with the sad news that Superstudio member Alessandro Magris has died in Florence, Italy. Born in 1941, Magris joined the group in 1970 after graduating from the University of Florence, and was responsible for the general organization of the Superstudio office. He continued a practice long after the demise of Superstudio, specializing in the restoration of historical monuments and residential and commercial renovations. He is the brother of Roberto Magris, also a member of Superstudio, who died in 2003.

Solar Communications

International
Friday, September 18, 2009
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The photovoltaic tower can be affixed to existing cell phone towers to produce on-site electricity to power broadcasting equipment. (Courtesy MDAA)

The photovoltaic tower can be affixed to existing cell phone towers to produce on-site electricity to power broadcasting equipment. (Courtesy MDAA)

On the occasion of the 2009 G8 summit in L’Aquila, Italy, architecture firm MDAA (Massimo d’Alessandro & Associati) of Rome designed a photovoltaic tower to power an existing cellular communications aerial. The installation brought to life an idea that has been paddled about quite a bit in recent years: equipping our existing infrastructure with energy-producing technology. After the G8 tower was erected, MDAA designed a more efficient version for Vodafone (the largest mobile network operator in the world). The new tower raises the design quality, lowers  the use of materials, and is capable of producing 15KWp, enough to run broadcasting equipment. Check out that design, as well as more on the G8 tower, after the jump. Read More

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