This month, a newly opened public campus center brought the brutalist Erasmus University Rotterdam Woudestein Campus back to life. In a collaborative effort by several Dutch architectural firms, three projects have been realized at Woudestein to create a contemporary on-campus heart for student gathering. Integrating existing grounds of several elevations, the sustainably built center provides multi-level student resources and is the first phase of a university-wide redevelopment master plan, which will extend into 2015.
The Sports Minister for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Hakubum Shimomura, is set to scale back the approved stadium, designed by Iraqi-born architect, Zaha Hadid. The decision was made in the wake of a big uproar from some leading Japanese architects who claim that the stadium is “too big and too expensive.” The Minister did not give specifics on how the structure would be scaled down, but stressed that the original design concept would be maintained.
Chipakata is small rural Zambian community with no local school so its children have to walk five miles to an overcrowded facility. But Joseph Mizzi, president of Sciame Construction, visited the village last year with New York City–based stylist and native-Zambian, Nchimunya Wulf. They both were inspired to start a non-profit to build a new school for the community. The duo launched the 14+ Foundation last June and after a fundraiser that garnered $350,000 for the organization to pit together a group of New York–based design professionals who are building a brand new facility in the heart of Chipakata.
Zaha Hadid has once again expanded her curvilinear design prospects. From wine bottles to superyachts, the starchitect has been quite productive in her recent development of a variety of non-architecture products, and none with right angles.
Her latest endeavor is in the world of furniture. For the current exhibition, Liquid Glacial, at David Gill Galleries in London, Hadid has unveiled a new piece in her ongoing series of ice-influenced tables. Inspired by the unique geometry of glaciers, “Prototype Liquid Glacial Table” is an evolution of the previous tables, but all explore a seemingly contradictory existence of two simultaneous states of water.
Josh Lewandowski, Minnesota-based architect and founder of furniture design firm Nordeast Industries, is on a mission to create beautifully complex, yet utterly meaningless architectural diagrams. He has started a blog where he will post one meaningless diagram each day for a year. On September 7th, he launched Pointless Diagrams, where he publishes his most eccentric sketches inspired by his own perceptions of architecture, furniture, engineering, Legos, cereal boxes, and more.
The housing problem in Hong Kong is critical. Studies estimate that the city of seven million will have to house another 600,000 people over the course of the next 30 years. With rapidly increasing urbanization rates, leading Chinese metropolises are speculating on fast and intelligent ways to manage population growth by creating additional housing within their existing borders. While some cities are growing taller and others are mulling developing rare and cherished park space, Hong Kong is taking a different approach. Officials and engineers have thought about something else: developing an extensive underground city.
Sound recordist Chris Watson has returned home for his most recent project: creating an aural map of the contemporary landscape of Sheffield, England. Two years ago, the Guardian reported, Museums Sheffield’s Millennium Gallery asked Watson to undertake the project, mapping the noises of a town he has not lived in for thirty years. Over the past 18 months, the audio artist made a series of ambisonic recordings of the natural and urban environments of the city. The result is a 36-minute sound journey, Inside the Circle of Fire: a Sheffield Sound Map, on current exhibition at the Gallery.
A big “Happy 40th Birthday” goes out to the Sydney Opera House this year, which is still looking good in its middle age. Completed by Danish architect and Pritzker Prize–winner, Jørn Utzon, in 1973, the iconic performing arts center is now an internationally renowned late modernist architectural marvel. Originally, when Utzon entered the 1956 New South Wales Government sponsored competition to envision two performance halls on the Sydney Harbor, his design was discarded. However, his “entry created great community interest” and the jury was persuaded to choose him as the sole architect in the ambitious project.
Utzon received the Pritzker Prize in 2003 and the building made the World Heritage List in 2007. The architect died one year later in Copenhagen but his vision lives on. Against a Sydney Harbor backdrop, the Sydney Opera House has become a graceful, yet dynamic symbol of Australia.
Earlier this year, Building Trust International put professional and student architects and designers to work with the hope of turning outmoded city spaces into exciting, imaginative places through its international design competition, PLAYscapes. Winning entries focused on transforming disused, forgotten parts of cities into playscapes have now been announced.
Another week, another architect-designed liquor bottle. This time around, Paris-based architecture duo Jakob + MacFarlane—who made headlines over the summer with their tubular “Turbulances” project in France—have joined up with the manufacturer of their nation’s most popular pastis to create a pair chiseled, glass decanters.
The set of slender, carved-glass carafes, commissioned by Pernod Ricard, is color-coded and sculpted to represent the “authenticity” of the beloved aperitif. The pair—consisting of a clear, ice-like container for water and an opaque, yellow one for the liqueur—are packaged together in a punctured, swiss cheese–shaped box.