With Great Height Comes Greater Challenges: Questions Linger as Construction Begins on Massive Kingdom Tower

kingdom_tower_00

(Courtesy Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill)

A kilometer is less than a mile but still more than a Burj Khalifa. This truism means that Kingdom Tower is still set to be the worlds tallest building now that construction has begun in the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah. Though the initial projected height of a mile has since been whittled down to a mere kilometer, problems continue to beset the oft-delayed $1.2 billion project.

More after the jump.

American Academy of Arts & Letters Issues 2014 Awards

Awards, International
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
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american-academy-logo

The American Academy of Arts & Letters was formed in 1904 on the model of the French Academy. It operates today as a 250 member honor society, and, since 1955, has had an active yearly architecture awards program.

The Academy has just announced its awards for 2014 with its top award The Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize (of $20,000) going to the Italian artist and architect Massimo Scolari for his contribution to architect as art. Scolari had a retrospective of his drawings and models last year at Cooper Union and a pair of his iconic sculptural wings are still visible on Coopers second floor balcony.

The Academy also announced that two Arts & Letters Awards of $7,500 each would go to New York firms Christoff:Finio and Selldorf Architects under the leadership of Annabelle Selldorf for creating work which shows “strong personal direction.”

Finally the Academy gave well deserved awards to Michael Blackwood and Cynthia Davidson for their “exploration of ideas in architecture.”

New Ideas in Vertical Thinking: eVolo reveals winners of 2014 Skyscraper Competition

Print

Vernacular Versatility, the winner of the 2014 eVolo Skyscraper Competition. (Courtesy eVolo)

Each year eVolo Magazine hosts a competition soliciting new visions for vertical living. This year’s iteration of the nine-year-old Skyscraper Competition received 525 projects from 43 countries. Out of this vast field, three winners were announced with Yong Ju Lee of New York–based firm E/B Office taking first prize for his project Vernacular Versatility.

All the winners after the jump.

French designer imagines skyscrapers dripping with flowers in Casablanca

gardens of anfa 4

(Courtesy Maison Edouard François)

French designer Maison Edouard François has presented designs for The Gardens of Anfa, a project consisting of three residential towers, a low-rise office building, and several ancillary structures all situated within a large plot of parkland in Morroco. The four largest components of the design are clad in various flowers that pour down curved, irregular facades. The peripheral buildings are rectilinear and appear largely free of the organic attire found on their taller neighbors.

More after the jump.

Q&A> Shigeru Ban, The 2014 Pritzker Prize Laureate

International, News, Newsletter
Monday, March 24, 2014
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Cardboard Cathedral. (Stephen Goodenough)

Cardboard Cathedral. (Stephen Goodenough)

The Pritzker Architecture Prize has named Shigeru Ban its 2014 laureate. AN executive editor Alan G. Brake sat down with Ban at the Metal Shutter Houses, a luxury apartment building he designed in Manhattan’s Chelsea gallery district. He discussed influences from California to Finland, the social role of architecture, and what the recognition means for his work.

As a former Pritzker juror did you ever expect to be in the position of being a laureate yourself?
Not this soon. Also I know I have not made such achievements yet compared to other laureates, so I was not expecting it at all.

Continue reading after the jump.

High time for a High Line: Sydney Breaks Ground on New Elevated Park

Following it’s opening in 2009, urban planners all over the world have been keen on acquiring their own versions of New York’s much-lauded High Line. Sydney is the latest city to enter the fray, selecting a 500-meter stretch of abandoned railway as a foundation for the Goods Line, an urban park and public space, replete with bike paths, study pods and outdoor workspaces catering to local students.

Many more images after the jump.

Help Imagine a “Past Whose Future Never Arrived” with Imaginary Archive in Kiev

Art, International
Thursday, March 20, 2014
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Imaginary Archive installation.  (Courtesy  Imaginary Archive Kickstarter)

Imaginary Archive installation. (Courtesy Imaginary Archive Kickstarter)

Since 2010, New York–based artists and theorists Gregory Sholette and Olga Kopenkina have invited people around the world to imagine “a past whose future never arrived.” Through their ambitious installation, Imaginary Archive, participants can interact with both real and fictional “printed matter, small objects, artist’s books and self-published narratives” to envision alternative political and cultural histories.

Continue reading after the jump.

Architects of Air Build Inflatable Cathedrals of Psychadelic Space

(Courtesy Architects of Air)

(Courtesy Architects of Air)

To build an inhabitable luminaire you need little more than colored plastic sheeting and an air compressor and the ability to expose said construction to natural light. The finished products are far greater than the sum of the parts, producing results that seem to suggest a series of more elaborately ornamented James Turrell installations. They are the brainchildren of Architects of Air (AoA), a British company that has erected temporary luminaires throughout Europe, Asia, and the United States.

More after the jump.

Shigeru Ban’s Mt. Fuji Visitors Center Flips the Mountain Upside Down

Fujisan

(Courtesy Shigeru Ban Architects)

In the summer of 2013, Mt. Fuji was named a UNESCO World Heritage site. The designation was of the cultural rather than the natural variety, in part because of the way the mountain has “inspired artists and poets.” Japanese architect Shigeru Ban plans to add a quite literal architectural chapter to this legacy of inspiration in the form of a visitor center commemorating the mountain’s recently-minted status.

More after the jump.

Modernity and National Identity Collide in New Exhibition

International, On View
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
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Samskara installation view. (Courtesy India Gandhi National Centre for the Arts)

Samskara installation view. (Courtesy Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts)

The upcoming 2014 Venice architecture biennale, Absorbing Modernity: 1914-2014, will question the notion of national identity in architecture and investigate the degree to which national styles have been “sacrificed to modernity.” To the credit of the Venice curators, they asked national pavilions to investigate ways in which this “seemingly universal architectural language… in significant encounters between cultures… can find hidden ways of remaining ‘national?’” Clearly the internationalization—and some would say flattening—of culture is one of the more complicated forces in contemporary culture.

Read More

Memory Wounded: How Norway is Remembering the Utøya Massacre

A model of the architectural wound that will be inflicted upon the Sørbråten peninsula. (Courtesy Jonas Dahlberg Studio)

A model of the architectural wound that will be inflicted upon the Sørbråten peninsula. (Courtesy Jonas Dahlberg Studio)

It has been close to three years since a gunman detonated a bomb in Oslo and then stormed a small summer camp off the coast of Norway, killing 77 people and cementing a record as the worst mass shooting in modern memory. The Swedish artist Jonas Dahlberg recently won a competition, Memorial Sites After 22 July, to create an official memorial at the sites of the 2011 Norwegian massacres.

Continue reading after the jump.

Moscow’s Shukhov Tower Will Be Dismantled, But Opposition Mounting [Updated]

The Shukhov Tower. (Courtesy Richard Pare)

The Shukhov Tower. (Courtesy Richard Pare)

After racking up a winning medal score at the Sochi Olympics, the host country is set to lose one of its most iconic pieces of architecture. It’s not an Olympic stadium, but the Shukhov Radio and Television Tower in Moscow, which dates back to the 1920’s. The engineer behind the project, Vladimir Shukhov, is credited with creating the world’s first hyperboloid steel structures, an invention that would influence the world of architecture for generations.

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