Eavesdrop> Are We Done with Architecture Petitions Yet? Zaha Hadid Faces Tokyo Backlash

Speaking of controversy, Zaha Hadid can’t catch a break! Since her stadium design for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics was unveiled, complaints have arisen about the scale and height of the project. Then two of Japan’s biggest architects—Toyo Ito and Fumihiko Maki—signed on to a petition calling for a revised design. As of press time more than 26,500 people have signed on to protest the design. Is someone’s star beginning to dim?

UNStudio Completes Flower-Shaped Pavilion for Horticultural Exhibit

Aerial view of the pavilion. (Courtesy UNStudio)

Aerial view of the pavilion. (Courtesy UNStudio)

UNStudio has completed a sprawling, flower-like campus for the 2014 Horticulture Exhibit in Qingdao, China. The Theme Pavilion consists of four metallic structures that stretch out over 300,000-square-feet and resemble a Chinese rose from above. And at the human scale, the metallic, undulating structures interact with their mountainous surroundings.

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Unveiled> Bjarke Ingels’ Winding Design for a Swiss Watch Museum

APM Design (Courtesy Bjarke Ingels Group)

APM Design (Courtesy Bjarke Ingels Group)

The Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has won a design competition held by Audemars Piguet, a Swiss watchmaker, and are now tasked with creating the Maison des Fondateurs museum in Le Brassus, Switzerland. The 25,800 foot Maison des Fondateurs will be located in the midst of numerous workshops and factories embedded in the history of the Swiss watchmaking company.

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Superscript Gives a Voice to the Young Architecture Generation at the Venice Biennale

International
Friday, June 13, 2014
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(Courtesy Superscript)

(Courtesy Superscript)

The spectacular Venetian Arsenale at this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale is devoted to the history of post-World War II architecture and urbanism. Italy, perhaps more than any country in the world, revels in its architecture and cityscape. It is still a place where architecture means more than simply building—it’s a knowledge for describing and thinking about the world. This, it turns out, is true even for its youngest designers who assembled in the arsenal on Sunday, June 8 for a discussion, “Towards a New Avant Garde.”

Continue reading after the jump.

Enormous Tower Built of LEGOs in Budapest Is Tallest in the World

International, Skyscrapers
Friday, June 13, 2014
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LEGO Tower (Courtesy So Bad So Good)

LEGO Tower (Courtesy So Bad So Good)

The LEGO tower in Budapest, Hungary has broken the world record for “tallest structure built with interlocking plastic blocks.” The tower was completed and registered with the Guinness Book of World Records on May 25th at a height of 114 feet. The previous record was 112.9 feet and was set through the combined efforts of students from the red clay consolidated school district in Delaware. According to the blog So Bad So Good, the new tower was erected by LEGO architects, who received some help from local primary school children. The tower was topped with a Rubik’s cube: a Hungarian invention.

See more of the tower after the jump.

French Artist Turns Iconic Architecture into Quirky Animated GIF’s

Memory Museum by Estudio America. (Courtesy Axel de Stampa)

Mirador Building by MVRDV. (Courtesy Axel de Stampa)

The French “GIF artist”—welcome to the 21st century, everybody—Axel de Stampa has officially made time-lapse videos look like child’s play. In his new project, Animated Architecture, de Stampa spins, shifts, tops, and deconstructs some of the most visually distinctive contemporary buildings—all in endlessly entertaining GIF format.

Check out more after the jump.

Urbanism Giants, Gehl and Rebar, Join Forces To Create Gehl Studio

Gehl created a roadmap for rethinking New York's streetscapes, like Times Square. (NYDOT)

Gehl created a roadmap for rethinking New York’s streetscapes, like Times Square. (NYDOT)

Two global urbanistic powerhouses, San Francisco–based Rebar and Copenhagen-based Gehl Architects, have joined forces to create Gehl Studio. The practices will keep their offices in their respective cities and start a new one in New York. Gehl didn’t purchase Rebar, but hired most of Rebar’s staff, including two of the three founding partners, according to a report in Landscape Architecture Magazine.

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Protest in Venice: Megaphones in hand, The Architect’s Lobby explores “Getting By”

International
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
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01-protestsinvenice

While most of the attendees at the recently opened Venice Biennale were thinking about the basic Elements of Architecture a younger generation of architects were concerned about something even more basic: how to earn a living. In a series of Arsenale round table talks called Stay Radical created by New York–based Superscript, young Italian architects talked about the difficulties of earning even the most basic living wage in their country devastated by recession and a historic system of wage depression. Meanwhile the New York group, The Architect’s Lobby took matters into their own hand and with megaphones held a protest just outside entrance to the Venetian Giardini (above).

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Sands of Time: How an Architect Commemorates D-Day’s 70-Year Anniversary

(Courtesy donaldweber.com)

(Courtesy Circuit Gallery)

Donald Weber is a former architect turned visual media artist. His latest project, War Sand, is a series of microscopic photographs that depict pieces of shrapnel embedded in individual grains of sand along the beaches of Normandy. Each photograph—which takes over eight hours for Weber to produce—is a testimony to one of the most famous days in history, as well as to the relationship between art and science.

COntinue reading after the jump.

Eavesdrop> “Tourism” Now Pronounced “Voyeurism” in London

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Peeping into a neighbor’s room through a glass reflection. (Courtesy Financial Times)

Peeping Toms, bust out the kazoos. Your field day has arrived—and it comes equipped with party favors. The Shard, designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano, is London’s tallest skyscraper and, as of last week, home to a new luxury hotel. The rooms include breathtaking views of the city—and, thanks to a design flaw, unscrupulous views of unsuspecting neighbors.

Glass panels on the Shard’s exterior bestow the building with a crystalline front and its namesake. But at night, the city’s lights turn the glass into mirrors that fully reflect guest bedrooms into each other. Complementary binoculars (“for the view,” ahem) don’t help matters. Nor do puns about the naked eye. Masking a blush? Rest easy—susceptible rooms include shades for extra privacy.

Absorbing Modernity: Domesticity at the Venice Biennale

(Alan Brake / AN)

Jiminez Lai’s Biennale pavilion installation. (Alan Brake / AN)

At the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale, Rem Koolhaas set the theme “Absorbing Modernity: 1914-2014″ for the national pavilions, and many countries took it up through the lens of domesticity. The Taiwanese American architect Jimenez Lai examined the spaces and rituals of Taiwanese life with his exhibition Township of Domestic Parts. Lai created “superfurniture,” overscaled, Memphis-inflected installations that interpreted ideas such as museum-like living rooms—part shrine, part show place, reserved only for guests. The result is a fantasy hangout space, which conjures up memories of childhood.

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La Moglie di Lot in Venice Remembers Superstudio’s Radical Ideas

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The Florentine architecture group Superstudio enjoyed the penultimate moment on the world architecture stage at the 1972 MoMA exhibition, The New Domestic Landscape. However, by the end of that decade with worldwide radical politics on the wane and postmodernism on the rise, the Florentines found their radicale arguments and practice marginalized and they began to move away from architecture towards other sorts of design initiatives. But before the group left the international stage, they created one last potent architectural statement: La Moglie di Lot and displayed it at the 1978 Venice Biennale of Art.

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