Koolhaas Controversy: OMA to Turn Venice Palazzo into a Department Store and Venue for the 2014 Biennale
After much controversy, Rem Koolhaas’ firm OMA has been granted permission to transform a historic Venice palazzo that is currently a post office into a department store and venue for the 2014 Venice Biennale. Fashion retailer Benetton bought the site, the Fondaco die Tedeschi, five years ago for more than $68 million.
Look out Google Maps, there’s a new super-slick mapping program out there, simply called Here. Nokia launched the mapping service late last year, and it includes a 3D pan-and-tilt feature that allows the viewer to fly through dramatic cityscapes or terrains, and it avoids some of the crazy infrastructure we’ve seen in the past. Videographer Paul Wex stumbled across the website and decided to make a video showcasing major cities around the world, and the results are stunning. Take a look above, or try it out yourself at Here.com. (Or if you have red-and-blue 3D glasses laying around, test it out in “3D Glasses Mode.”)
Just a few weeks before the death of Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, the New Yorker published a profile by Jon Lee Anderson (“Letter from Caracas: Slumlord”). The subject of the profile was less Chavez and more a Chavez-era phenomenon, the so-called Tower of David in downtown Caracas. “It embodies the urban policy of this regime, which can be defined by confiscation, expropriation, governmental incapacity, and the use of violence,” Guillermo Barrios, dean of architecture at the Universidad Central in Caracas, told Anderson.
Here at AN we have been hearing from the many fans of GA Global Architecture about the passing of its founder and creative force Yukio Futagawa. His long career as a publsiher had many highlights but it was as a architectural photographer that many feel he was most distinguished. William Stout Books, the great San Francisco architecture bookstore, has posted a tribute to Futagawa who worked with the store for many years. The store staff—a group that gets to see all the best architecture books—writes that he along with Julius Shulman were the two great “masters” of the craft of photographing buildings, particularly in black and white. They point out that the “quality of light in his work was truly unique because of his use of natural light,” particularly in his older books; The Essential Japanese House + Wooden Houses + Japanese Temples: Sculpture, Painting, Gardens and Architecture. The contrast in the black and white photos is really stunning,” they believe, and not unlike that of Aaron Siskind.
Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto has been exhibiting his work for almost 25 years. With his latest work, Neto crocheted a netted pavilion shaped almost like a spider that is currently on view at the Sharjah Biennial 11 in the United Arab Emirates. The Biennial, titled Re:emerge, Towards a New Cultural Cartography and curated by Yuko Hasegawa, investigates the overlapping public and private life found in the historic Islamic architecture of the Sharjah courtyards.
Dutch firm DUS Public Architecture has switched gears from soap and water to polypropylene as they join the race (alongside British collective SoftKill Design and fellow Dutchman Janjaap Ruijssenaars) to complete the first 3D printed house. Their sights are set on a full-sized four-story canal house in Amsterdam, entirely printed and built on site by the KamerMaker, their own purpose-built 3D printer housed inside a verticle shipping container. Starting work in the next six months, DUS plan to have the entire facade and first room of the house printed and erected. With the “welcoming room” established, the architects hope to complete the rest of the house in the following three years.
The winners of eVolo magazine’s 7th Skyscraper Competition have been announced! This year the publication, which has hosted the prestigious competition since 2006, received 625 submissions from 83 different countries, but only 3 of the most thought-provoking projects were selected as the winners. From floating (on-water and in-midair) skyscrapers to morphing structures, each of these futuristic designs not only resembles something out of a sci-fi film, but more importantly, radically defies our understanding of vertical architecture, creatively explores new technologies, and proposes solutions for a more sustainable urban future.
Thanks to the Italcementi Group, International Women’s Day just became that much more special. This year the group found a unique way to celebrate the holiday by instituting the very first competition its arcVision—Women in Architecture prize, an award that valorizes the increasingly important role women have and continue to play in architecture.
The jury selected 19 finalists from 15 different countries including but not limited to Egypt, Switzerland, Singapore, Italy, and Thailand. The architects were judged according to their creative approach in designing an unconventional structure as well as their ability to design a building that responds to the context of its site.
The prize was bestowed to Brazilian architect Carla Juaçaba at a press conference at the group’s i.lab Research Center (designed by Richard Meier) in Bergamo on March 7th, and was publicly announced the following day for International Women’s Day.
A sad but touching note today from Steven Holl informed us that Yukio Futagawa, the founder and impresario of GA Architecture magazine, passed away in Japan on March 5, 2013. Futagawa was 80 years old and was best known as the founder and director of GA Architecture Publishing Group. GA is recognized for seeking out the world’s best architects and projects and presenting them in elegant and intelligent formats (GA Houses, GA Documents) that crossed magazines with book publishing.
It is understandable that GA would be such a powerful and distinguished publishing house since Futagawa was a much respected architectural photographer and, as Holl writes, “a cultural force for fine architecture globally [who] understood that we must think beyond the provincial beyond the national.”
GA will continue to operate under the new leadership of Yukio’s son Yoshio. The family held a private funeral service for Futagawa in Japan on March 10, but if you are in Beijing, Holl will hold a tribute toast for him at the Opposite House Penthouse on March 17 from 7:00 to 8:00 pm.
OMA announced on Friday that it will design a master plan for Airport City, an ambitious 3.9-square-mile project that will link the new Hamad International Airport with Doha, Qatar. Recalling the ideas put forth last year by John D. Kasarda and Greg Lindsay in Aerotropolis: The Way We’ll Live Next, OMA’s enterprising piece of urbanism will incorporate four distinct districts along a green axis of public spaces parallel to the airport’s runways to create a functionally differentiated but continuous urban system. Residential, business, aviation, and logistics districts will be tied together in a new type of 21st century transit oriented development.