Berlin’s Museum der Dinge (Museum of Things) is home to the Werkbundarchiv, a collection of objects produced from 1907 up until the midcentury by the Deutsche Werkbund (German Work Federation), an association of artists, architects, designers, and industrialists. Even though the Werkbund is attributed with being the precursor of Modern architecture and industrial design and had a significant influence on the Bauhaus school, it wasn’t a creative movement, but a state-sponsored initiative to pair traditional crafts with mass production techniques to gain a competitive edge in manufacturing everything – as their motto states: Vom Sofakissen Zum Stadtbau (from sofa cushions to city building).
The collection is as fascinating as it is overwhelming, packed to the gills with objects that are rightfully described by the museum’s curators as “designed by very famous artists and anonymous designers, individual pieces and mass production, functional and puristic objects and so-called ‘error in taste’ or ‘Kitsch,’ substantial ‘honest’ things and material surrogates, branded articles and no-name products.”
Walter Pichler, the far sighted visionary architect, died last week at his home in Burgenland, Austria at the wage of 76. Though he does not seem to have an English Wikipedia page devoted to his work, Pichler was unquestionably one of the most influential artist/architects working in post-war Europe. Like Austrians Hans Hollien, Raimund Abraham, the groups Haus Rucker and Coop Himmelb(l)au, he created a powerful and evocative utopian world out of a hybrid of sculpture and drawing but always with an architectural idea at the core of the work.
The shortlist for the coveted annual Stirling Prize from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has been announced! With six contesting projects to choose from, judges will begin visiting all six sites and will convene for a final vote on October 13, 2012. Among the six shortlisted projects are Maggie’s Cancer Centre and New Court Rothschild Bank, both by the OMA, London’s new Olympic Stadium by Populous, and David Chipperfield’s Wakefield, the Barbara Hepworth sculpture gallery in Yorkshire.
When Libeskind’s radical spiral proposal for Victoria and Albert Museum (V+A) extension went under after eight years, the V+A has literally gone underground. The newest proposal for V+A by British architect Amanda Levete and her practice AL_A, won in 2011 after a design competition, calls for an extension project that includes a 16,200 square foot underground gallery space for temporary exhibitions. The addition will feature a public courtyard with an entrance into the museum from the adjacent Exhibition Road. Last week, the project was awarded planning permission allowing the project to move forward.
Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects have released renderings today of the Yale-NUS campus which has begun construction in Singapore. The new institution, offering a four-year liberal arts curriculum to one thousand students, is a collaboration between Yale University and the National University of Singapore. To design the new campus, the architects have taken the distinct cultural backgrounds of the founding institutions as a reference for the design of the campus.
As children love to imagine, what if we actually built our cities out of Legos? A bridge in Wuppertal, Germany, a city of 350,000 to the northeast of Cologne, offers one vision of what that city might look like. Street artist Martin Heuwold, or as he tags, MEGX, created the grand illusion last fall when he painted a dingy concrete span in the bright hues of every architect’s favorite toys.
The city appears to be banking on the High Line Effect. Faced with the prospect of a declining population, Wuppertal has been looking for ideas to reinvigorate the city and increase residents’ quality of life. The Lego Bridge is part of a 10-mile pedestrian and cycle path called Wuppertal Bewegung e.V. being built through the city on what was once the Wuppertal Northern Railway. Plans are also on the boards for a heritage trolley to run atop the viaduct. [H/T Colossal.]
Bjarke Ingels, architect of mountains, now has set his eyes on Everest. The New York and Copenhagen-based architect’s firm BIG has been tapped by the Rockefellers to design one of the world’s tallest buildings at 1,929 feet for a new commercial development in Tianjin, China, a city of nearly 13 million people. Ingels revealed a cryptic, fog-shrouded rendering of the tower on his web site—indicative of the scarcity of detail yet released on the tower—but this being the information age, AN found more information and views of the tower on a clear day.
You’d better hurry if you want to snag some artwork from your favorite starchitects like Bjarke Ingels, Richard Meier, or Daniel Libeskind, there’s only a few hours left to bid on items in Architecture for Humanity’s fundraising acution, “I Love Architecture,” which ends tonight at 7:00 p.m. The organization, which coordinates sustainable development projects, is dedicated to design that “creates lasting change in communities.” Architecture for Humanity acknowledges that many are not able to afford the expertise of an architect yet the help of an architect could contribute greatly to their community. The organization aims to raise $150,000 auctioning sketches donated by notable architects. Among the 60 contributors who have provided original sketches to be auctioned are Renzo Piano, BIG, Michael Graves, SHoP, Paolo Soleri, and Fumihiko Maki. To learn more about the contest visit the organization’s website or view the sketches.
In the cafe of the wonderfully elegant Palazzo Cà Giustinian on Venice‘s Grand Canal I had a chance to catch up with former AN associate editor Jaffer Kolb. Kolb has gone on to bigger and better projects and is currently the man on the ground in Venice for David Chipperfield as they prepare for the 13th Biennale of Architecture.
As East Asian cities continue to modernize and densify, monotonous and dehumanizing blocks tend to replace the finely-grained, small-scale architecture and urbanism such as Beijing’s Hutong, Tokyo’s small wooden houses, and Singapore’s traditional villages. These “urban ecologies that have evolved over the course of centuries,” as Dutch firm MVRDV explains, foster a social interconnectivity in these communities, forming the basis for a new exhibition currently on view in Seoul, South Korea.