Le Corbusier’s Words Sought a New Architecture as Much as His Built Forms

International
Monday, July 7, 2014
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Andrea Pozzo, Rules and examples of perspective proper for painters and architects, etc.: in English and Latin. London, 1707. (Courtesy Vassar College Libraries)

Andrea Pozzo, Rules and examples of perspective proper for painters and architects, etc.: in English and Latin. London, 1707. (Courtesy Vassar College Libraries)

Writing mattered to the Swiss architect Le Corbusier. When he became a naturalized French citizen in 1930, Le Corbusier called himself neither a painter nor an architect, but an homme de lettres (a man of letters): he was an inveterate writer. His first book was a study of German decorative arts published when he was twenty-five; his last, sometimes described as a final testament, was completed only a month before his death. In between there are approximately fifty books (depending on how you define “book”), as well as letters, lectures, and handwritten journals as thick as books. Words were the stuff of architecture, not just how he participated in and influenced the debates of his time; they were essential to the task of making a new architecture.

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Deep Underground, Researchers Testing Giant Elevators for the World’s Tallest Building

KONE Ultrarope (Courtesy KONE Online Bank)

KONE Ultrarope (Courtesy KONE Online Bank)

Where there are tall buildings there are also tall elevators. Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom Tower, designed by Chicago-based Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, will be the tallest building in the world if constructed as planned. The building is expected to stand 3,281 feet tall and will require elevators the likes of which the world has never seen. Luckily for the Kingdom Tower, one elevator company is researching the extremes of vertical circulation.

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14th Annual Serpentine Pavilion Opens in Kensington Gardens, Designed by Smiljan Radic

Perched atop several large boulders, this year's pavilion is an organically shaped fiberglass shell that houses a cafe. (Courtesy Serpentine Gallery)

Perched atop several large boulders, this year’s pavilion is an organically shaped fiberglass shell that houses a cafe. (Courtesy Serpentine Gallery)

On June 26, London’s Serpentine Gallery opened its 14th annual Serpentine Pavilion in Kensington Gardens. Designed by Chilean architect Smiljan Radic, the pavilion is made up of an organically formed semi-transparent fiberglass shell structure perched atop giant boulders sourced from a local quarry. Over the next four months, visitors will be encouraged to interact with the 1,700-square-foot installation, which is occupied by a cafe and multi-purpose event space.

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Such Great Heights: CTBUH names world’s best tall buildings

One Central Park (Richard Braddish)

One Central Park (Richard Braddish)

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, the nonprofit arbiter on tall building design, has named its 2014 picks for best tall buildings. Among the winners are a twisting tower in Dubai, Portland’s greenest retrofit, and a veritable jungle of a high-rise.

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Zaha Hadid to build new Iraqi Parliament despite placing third in design competition

Architecture, International, News
Thursday, June 26, 2014
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(Central Bank of Iraq / Zaha Hadid Architects)

Hadid’s design for the Central Bank of Iraq. (Zaha Hadid Architects)

Despite coming in 3rd place in a design competition for a new Iraqi parliament center, Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid signed a deal last month with the Iraqi embassy to design a new parliament complex in Baghdad. According to Building Design, London firm Assemblage has confirmed they received the prize money of $250,000 for coming in first place, but will lose out on the billion dollar commission. Hadid was recently in Iraq to officially sign a contract for the project.

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Dutch university plans to build Gaudi’s famous church from ice and sawdust

Architecture, International, Other
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
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Pykrete Church (Courtesy Eindhoven University of Technology)

University proposes to build a church from ice and sawdust. (Courtesy Eindhoven University of Technology)

The Eindhoven University of Technology in The Netherlands has produced renderings of their newest venture: a scaled model of the Sagrada Família in Barcelona, built from the unlikely combination of ice and sawdust.

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Chicago announces inaugural architecture biennial to begin in 2015

Decay of the Dome exhibit at the 2010 Venice Biennale. (Lu Wenyu)

Decay of the Dome exhibit at the 2010 Venice Biennale. (Lu Wenyu)

Chicago, in a bid to boost its tourism industry and cultural cachet,  will host an international design exhibition next year modeled after the Venice Biennale, which every two years draws contributions from architects and artists from around the world. Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced the Chicago Architecture Biennial Tuesday.

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On View> The Louvre opens major restoration of its Decorative Arts Galleries

Preliminary sketch for the Bas de Montargis and Oudry galleries by Jacques Garcia.

Preliminary sketch for the Bas de Montargis and Oudry galleries by Jacques Garcia.

If you like French decorative arts you should make your way this summer to the Louvre’s newly restored and reinstalled 18th century Decorative Arts Galleries. The collection is housed in 35 galleries spanning 23,000 square feet. Over 2,000 design pieces “in object-focused galleries and period-room settings” are on display.

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Mikou Design Studio’s Design for Congo’s Africannews headquarter

The Africannews center will be a prominent addition to the Brazzaville skyline. (Courtesy Mikou Studio)

The Africannews center will be a prominent addition to the Brazzaville skyline. (Courtesy Mikou Studio)

Mikou Design Studio has unveiled the design for the Africanews headquarters in Brazzaville, Congo. Mikou proposed a large expressive tower on stilts during a competition for the site. The tower mass floats on massive pillars over a two-story podium with an interstitial patio between the pieces, topping out at 174 feet over the city.

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Daniel Libeskind’s 60-story Century Spire begins construction in Manila

Libeskind's Century Spire. (Courtesy Century Properties Real Estate)

Libeskind’s Century Spire. (Courtesy Century Properties Real Estate)

In collaboration with Studio Daniel Libeskind and Armani/Casa, developer Century Properties has begun construction on the Century Spire tower in Manila, the capital city of the Philippines. The tower will stand with Trump Tower, the Gramercy Residences, and the Knightsbridge Residences among others to complete the project known as Century City.

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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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