It’s been a good year for breathtaking views of cities around the world so far. Today the observation deck at the top of Renzo Piano’s Shard Tower in London opened to the public after London Mayor Boris Johnson cut the ribbon on the 800-foot-high platform. To celebrate, The Guardian has launched an interactive panorama of London taken from the top of the Shard, some 1,150 feet above the city streets, complete with the wooshing sound you very well might hear if you were actually perched atop the tower. The panorama also features stories and statistics about buildings and places throughout the city as you pan and zoom for the rest of the evening.
Reflecting the various currents of contemporary architecture and urbanism, the Architectural League of New York has announced its line-up for the 2013 Emerging Voices lecture series. The series showcases notable talent from across North America and is selected through a portfolio competition that emphasizes built work. The program has had a remarkable track record at identifying important architects. Past Emerging Voices have included Steven Holl, Morphosis, Jeanne Gang, and SHoP among many other boldface archinames.
Right now you can log on to Leuphana University in Lüneburg, Germany’s Leuphana Digital School and participate in online courses being led by none other than Daniel Libeskind. Professor Libeskind, on the faculty at Leuphana since 2007, is collaborating with other professors and a team of tutors to guide students on the “Ideal City of the 21st Century.” The university conceived of the project as a “cost- and barrier-free academic course for collaborative web-based learning.” Online students will participate in six team assignments through the end of April. Their goal: to design an ideal city and invite others to experience it through digital visualization.
Enrollment is on-going so students can enter for any of the assignments and even arrange for college credit with home institutions. Students are asked to upload text, diagrams, photographs, and videos as the project progresses. Video lectures will also be presented by Libeskind and participating faculty. In the end, a winning team will be announced and all material could eventually be published. We’ll be sure to report on the outcome of the project once it’s complete.
Scrap your afternoon plans and take an amazing aerial tour of Dubai, instead. Photographer Gerald Donovan has created an interactive panorama of the city as seen from the top of the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa for the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum International Photography Award. The view was taken from the top of the tower, some 2,722 feet above the street, reached by climbing nearly 660 feet through the Burj Khalifa’s enormous spire. Users can pan around and zoom in to observe the surrounding cityscape with amazing detail. To achieve the stunning effect, Donovan stitched 70 photographs together, each a whopping 80 megapixels, to create a single 2.5 gigapixel panorama. [Via The Telegraph.]
The 14th installment of the Venice Architecture Biennale, to be spearheaded by Rem Koolhaas, will be called Fundamentals, the architect announced today at a press conference today. “Fundamentals will be a Biennale about architecture, not architects,” Koolhaas said in a statement. “After several Biennales dedicated to the celebration of the contemporary, Fundamentals will focus on histories – on the inevitable elements of all architecture used by any architect, anywhere, anytime (the door, the floor, the ceiling etc.) and on the evolution of national architectures in the last 100 years.” The Biennale will take place from June 7 through November 23, 2014.
This story appears to have it all: architecture, LEGOs, Star Wars, and controversy. The Telegraph reports that the Turkish Cultural Community of Austria (TCCA) has taken offense at LEGO’s latest miniature plastic toy, a replica of Jabba the Hutt’s Palace from the Star Wars trilogy. While some are calling the absurdity of the move a spoof, the group alleges the model is based on the architecture of Istanbul’s Hagia Sofia and the Jami al-Kabir Mosque in Beirut, and fills the two revered symbols of the Islamic world with armed criminals. Jabba the Hutt is the slug-like alien and crime boss who maintained a mixed-relationship with smuggler-turned-hero Han Solo, at one point cryogenically freezing Solo.
According to the Telegraph, the TCCA said on its website (in German), “It is clear that the ugly figure of Jabba and the whole scene smacks of racial prejudice and vulgar insinuations against Asians and Orientals as people with deceitful and criminal personalities.” It has called on LEGO to apologize for the creating negative views of their culture and is considering legal action. A spokesperson for LEGO denies any link between Jabba’s Palace and the Hagia Sofia.
It’s been over three decades since the 3-D printer was invented, and to be sure, the technology has come a long way. Now, Dutch architect Janjaap Ruijssenaars is putting the technology to the ultimate test by proposing to print an enormous Möbius strip house with over 10,700 square foot of house. The Landscape House, as Ruijssenaars named it, will be a two-story structure replicating the natural form of a figure eight by using “one surface folded in an endless Möbius band” he says on his website, intending for the building to effortlessly fit into the natural world.
Los Angeles-based Synthesis Design & Architecture (SDA) in association with Shenzhen General Institute of Architectural Design and Research have won an invited competition to design the 1.9 million-square-foot, mixed-use Shanghai Wuzhou International Plaza in Shanghai.
Their slick “Urban Canyon” concept summons images of a magnificent gorge cutting through the city with its two nested cliff-like structures that have been carved from the landscape by staggered, pebble-looking buildings. The facades’ and roofs’ grooved titanium-zinc cladding adds to the metaphor while mimicking the energy and vibrancy of the city.
Divided into two blocks, the northern area houses luxury retail shops and developer Hong Kong Wuzhou International Group’s corporate offices. The southern section is a retail, lifestyle and entertainment complex anchored by two office towers. Sky bridges connect the buildings and outside, plazas, landscaping, seating areas, and dynamic lighting are integrated. Practical details are still being finalized.
ARZU STUDIO HOPE and live/work furniture company Coalesse have teamed up with six leading architects to design a series of bold rugs and also provide economic opportunities for Afghan women. Chicago-based ARZU first approached Stanley Tigerman and Margaret McCurry to design a collection of contemporary rugs, the proceeds of which support hundreds of rural women and their families through economic activity, and educational and health services. Rug weaving, which takes place in private homes, is one of the few industries where women can work safely.
Spotted on a Chinese Twitter account and now making its way around various online social networks, behold Zaha Hadid as an up-and-coming young architect working at OMA and her boss, with a full head of hair, Rem Koolhaas likely taken sometime in the 1970s. Hadid split from OMA in 1979 to start her own firm. As an added bonus, check out another photo of Zaha Hadid as a child in front of the Trevi Fountain in Rome after the jump.
Update! A reader sent in proof that the above photo, of unknown Chinese provenance, is a forgery. While showing both Zaha and Rem, the two were stitched together digitally. Take a look at the Zaha Hadid above photographed solo after the jump.
The architecture scene in Italy operates around groups and individuals tied to various cities and regions. In the late 1960s Florence was the liveliest and most compelling venue for architecture with groups like Superstudio, Archizoom, UFO all coalescing around the city’s university. But Venice, with its IAUV academy and stellar faculty that included Manfredo Tafuri and Aldo Rossi, was also a center until a few year ago. Milan too with its dynamic post war economy and lively design tradition was and is still a place for creation of new architectural ideas. Rome on the on the other hand, though it was the home of Bruno Zevi and Paolo Portoghesi and their lively publication programs, was never a place one thought of as central to the debate on the future of architecture.