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.

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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.

A Transparent Cathedral Addition by architectsAlliance

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The architects designed a transparent addition to the St. James Cathedral's 1910 Parish House. (Courtesy architectsAlliance)

The architects designed a glass addition to the St. James Cathedral’s 1910 Parish House. (Courtesy architectsAlliance)

A renovation and addition bring an historic church complex into the 21st century.

The Diocese of Toronto approached architectsAlliance (aA) about renovating the St. James Cathedral Centre with two objectives in mind. On a practical level, they wanted more space for the cathedral’s outreach program and the Diocesan archives, as well as quarters for the Dean of the Cathedral and visitors. At the same time, the Anglican leadership wanted to make a statement about the Church’s relevance to contemporary Canadian society. “The idea of the addition was to convey an image of the Church itself as a kind of more open institution, much more transparent and contemporary,” said aA’s Rob Cadeau. “[It was] really driven by the dean, who wanted to refresh the image of the Church.” Read More

Toyo Ito Wins 2014 Thomas Jefferson Medal in Architecture

Awards, International
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
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Toyo Ito.

Toyo Ito.

Award-winning architect Toyo Ito can add another accolade to his collection as he’s been awarded the University of Virginia’s 2014 Thomas Jefferson Medal in Architecture. He will be officially honored on April 11th when the school hosts a talk with the celebrated Japanese architect.

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An Impossible Stair by NEXT Architects

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The steel staircase is based on a Möbius strip. (Sander Meisner)

A folly in a Rotterdam suburb draws on residents’ complex relationship with the city.

The residents of Carnisselande, a garden suburb in Barendrecht, the Netherlands, have a curious relationship with Rotterdam. Many of them work in the city, or are otherwise mentally and emotionally connected to it, yet they go home at night to a place that is physically and visually separate. When NEXT architects was tapped to build a folly on a hill in the new town, they seized on this apparent contradiction. “This suburb is completely hidden behind sound barriers, highways, totally disconnected from Rotterdam,” said NEXT director Marijn Schenk. “We discovered when you’re on top of the hill and jump, you can see Rotterdam. We said, ‘Can we make the jump into an art piece?’” Read More

Chilean architect Smiljan Radic wins 2014 Serpentine Pavilion

Radic's 2014 Pavilion. (Courtesy Serpentine Galleries)

Radic’s 2014 Pavilion. (Courtesy Serpentine Galleries)

Chilean architect Smiljan Radic has been selected to design the 2014 Serpentine Pavilion in Kensington Gardens, England. Radic is one of the youngest and least-known architects to receive this prestigious honor since it was first awarded 14 years ago. Plans for his pavilion show an expressive, cloud-like structure that will glow at night. The space will also include a cafe, and on some summer nights it will become a stage for art, poetry, music, and film.

According to Serpentine Galleries, the structure’s translucent shell will “house an interior organised around an empty patio, from where the natural setting will appear lower, giving the sensation that the entire volume is floating. At night, thanks to the semi-transparency of the shell, the amber tinted light will attract the attention of passers-by like lamps attracting moths.” The pavilion will be open from June 26t to October 19th.

Five teams in the running for London’s Natural History Museum Civic Realm competition

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The current grounds of the Natural History Museum in London. (courtesy of the Natural History Museum Realm Competition)

Deeming them to be not “appropriate to a world-class institution nor effective in accommodating day-to-day use,” trustees of London’s Museum of Natural History put out a call for redesigns to the grounds surrounding the building. The competition has now reached its second stage, with five firms selected as finalists for the project, though who is responsible for which proposal has yet to be revealed. The winning selection will have to ease access for the museum’s growing number of visitors and create a new civic ground for the city of London.

The entries after the jump.

Eiffel Tower’s New “First Floor” Almost Complete

Architecture, International
Thursday, March 13, 2014
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Work is almost finished on a revamped viewing platform and event space at the Eiffel Tower. While it’s called the First Floor, it’s nearly 200 feet above ground and will offer panoramic views of Paris. And for the braver visitors, it will offer views straight down as the new space has a glass-floor viewing platform. Moatti-Rivière Architects is heading up the renovation, which will include shops, restaurants, conference rooms and event spaces. The new floor will also be better suited to those with disabilities and incorporate green technologies including solar panels and the rainwater collection.

Portuguese architect Ines Lobo wins second annual arcVision prize

Awards, International, Newsletter
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
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Single family house in Magoito

A single family house in Magoito designed by 2014 arcVision prize winner Ines Lobo (Courtesy Ines Lobo)

The 2014 arcVision Prize, an international architecture award for female designers, was bestowed upon Ines Lobo. The Portuguese architect emerged from a short list of 21 nominees representing 15 countries. Lobo has focused the majority of her practice on her native country, where she also teaches at the Autonoma University in Lisbon. Since founding her own firm in 2002, Lobo has been most prolific in the public realm, designing the Art and Architecture Facility for Evora University and a number of secondary schools throughout Portugal. Anna Heringer of Switzerland, Shimul Javeri Kadri of India and Cecilia Puga from Chile were also tabbed for special mention. Brazilian architect Carla Juaçaba was the recipient of the inaugural arcVision Prize after Italcementi created the award in 2013.

Transforming an Austrian Construction Site into a Choreographed Dance

International, Lighting
Monday, March 10, 2014
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Turns out the biggest construction site in Europe has got some moves. And all it takes to turn 42 cranes into a nimble-bodied dance troupe is some light choreography, a techno beat, and a fair amount of neon lighting.  The dance, or the Krenasee event as it is officially known, took place in Austria last month at the site of a planned 20,000-square-foot suburb called Urban Lakeside Vienna. FilmSpektakel caught the action in all of its glory and put together this impressive time-lapse video. [Via Gizmodo.]

Pioneering British Supermarket Appears Destined for an Early Demise

SAINSBURY6

(Courtesy Chetwoods Architects)

A British supermarket once lauded for its ingenuity and pioneering nature is now on the chopping block with a Swedish invader looming. When it was completed, the Greenwich branch of UK Mega-chain Sainsbury’s was hailed as a breakthrough in eco-design and shortlisted for a prestigious Stirling Prize. Yet in early March the city council approved plans to demolish the structure in order to pave the way for a new IKEA warehouse outlet.

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