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