Six Firms Compete for Audi’s High-Stakes Urban Future Award

International
Thursday, May 24, 2012
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Architects participating in Audi's Urban Future Initiative are considering what "mobility" might look like in cities in the future. Above, an underpass in Mumbai.

Architects participating in Audi's Urban Future Initiative are considering what "mobility" might look like in cities ca. 2030. Above, life below an overpass in Mumbai. (Courtesy CRIT)

Last week at Audi’s HQ in Ingolstadt, Germany, architect Junya Ishigami of Tokyo succinctly summed up the problem the car company aims to tackle: there is “a gap between people’s speed and the city’s speed,” Ishigami said. In other words, people’s habits evolve quickly to suit a 21st-century lifestyle, but the infrastructure of the cities they live in is constantly playing catch up. And Audi, whose primary product is by nature infrastructure-bound, wants get ahead of the curve.

Ishigami was one of six architects presenting research as part of the first phase of Audi’s 2012 Urban Future Award, a bi-annual program first started in 2010. The 2012 firms were selected for their track records of researching the urban environment and their relationships to one of six metropolitan areas: CRIT (Mumbai); Höweler + Yoon Architecture (the Boston-Washington corridor); NODE Architecture & Urbanism (Pearl River Delta); Superpool (Istanbul) and Urban Think Tank (São Paulo); and Junya Ishigami + Associates (Tokyo). The brief: to “create visions for individual mobility in the future.” Audi defined the future as ca. 2030, when it’s predicted that 70 percent of the world population will live in cities with eight million or more inhabitants.

Continue reading after the jump.

Plotting Urban Art Around the World.  Plotting Urban Art Around the World Public art enthusiasts, rejoice: An online project called Mural Locator is committed to map and catalog public murals around the world. MuralLocator.org has information on murals in 40 countries, although the U.S. accounts for the bulk of the data so far. Not surprisingly most are clustered in major urban areas. Philadelphia leads the pack, boasting 76 so far. Tags in Alva, Oklahoma and Ely, Nevada attest to the diversity of locales mapped by mural locator contributors. A typical user-submitted entry includes location data, artist information and an image of the work. But it’s the description and historical context that make this tool an asset. As the catalog grows, Mural Locator could serve as a digital museum for public art worldwide.  

 

Stop Dumping on Hadrian’s Villa

International
Monday, May 21, 2012
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The Maritime Theatre at Hadrian's Villa. (Courtesy Wikimedia)

The Maritime Theatre at Hadrian's Villa. (Courtesy Wikimedia)

Hadrian’s Villa—the real one, the 2nd century site of pilgrimages by architects, classicists, and any human interested in the origins of culture—has been selected as the site of a new garbage dump by a Berlusconi-appointed sanitation minister. That stinks!

Continue reading after the jump.

Watch a 1956 Jean Prouvé House Being Built Live in Paris

(Courtesy Galerie Patrick Seguin)

(Courtesy Galerie Patrick Seguin)

The Parisian gallery Patrick Seguin features 20th century furniture and architecture and is currently showing Jean Prouvé’s 1956 Maison Des Jours Meilleurs from May 25 to September 29. But if you can’t make it to 5 Rue des Taillandiers this summer, you can still watch the live set-up of the house in the gallery at Seguin’s website. Construction takes place from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Paris time.

Unveiled> SOM’s Latest Supertall Building in China

(Courtesy SOM)

(Courtesy SOM)

A “supertall” building is one which tops out at over 1,250 feet. Right now, there are 18 completed supertall buildings and 21 under construction. Chicago-based architects Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill (SOM) will break ground on Tuesday on the 1,740-foot-tall CTF Tower in Tianjin, China. It will be the tenth supertall building to begin construction for SOM, the most of any firm in the world. The building is a carefully-crafted design which deliberately merges structural challenges with program and form.

Continue reading after the jump.

Evolution and Growth at the 2012 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion

International
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
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Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2012 designed by Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei.

Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2012 designed by Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei.

The twelfth Serpentine Gallery Pavilion in London is nothing without the first eleven. The collaborators responsible for the wonderfully intricate Beijing National Stadium (aka the Bird’s Nest) in 2008—Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron and Chinese artist Ai Weiwei—have designed  a temporary pavilion inspired by the archaeology of previous structures by Peter Zumthor, Jean Nouvel, and Zaha Hadid, among others.

Continue reading after the jump.

Gehry Hearts Asia.  Opus Hong Kong by Frank Gehry. (Courtesy Swire Properties) Frank Gehry’s first residential project in Asia, a twisty residential tower called Opus Hong Kong, is complete. Total project cost for the 12-story, 12-apartment building? A mere $27,000 a square foot, according to Swire CEO Martin Cubbon. “I would just quit everything and come and just work for them forever,” said Gehry on a recent press blitz in Hong Kong, where he praised the “interest and respect” he was afforded.

 

And the Rome Prize Winners Are….

International
Friday, April 27, 2012
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Courtesy of the American Academy in Rome

Courtesy of the American Academy in Rome

The American Academy in Rome announced the winners of the 116th annual Rome Prize Competition. Drawn from a variety of disciplines including musical composition, literature and design, fellowships have been awarded to 30 Italy-bound scholars. Randall Mason and Elizabeth Kaiser Schulte have been awarded the Historical Preservation and Conservation fellowships; Pablo Castro Estévez and William O’Brien Jr. for Architecture, and Ross Benjamin Altheimer and Karen M’Closkey for Landscape Architecture. Recipients of the 2012-2013 Rome Prizes are provided with a fellowship that includes a stipend, a study or studio, and room and board for a period of six months to two years in Rome, Italy.

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Aga Khan Award for Architecture Prize Doubles.  Aga Khan Award for Architecture Prize Doubles The Aga Khan Award for Architecture, awarded every three years to projects that set new standards of excellence in architecture, planning, landscape architecture, and historic preservation, has announced its prize will double to $1 million. The Award, which seeks projects that address the needs of societies in which Muslims have a significant presence, typically goes to projects that innovate the use of local resources and technology. Recent winners have focused on improving public spaces in rural societies and communities on the outskirts of urban centers. His Highness the Aga Khan explained in a statement, “One of the important aspects of the Award is that winners should be able to reposition their future with the support they get from the Award, both professionally and institutionally.”

 

BIG Wins Culture Center in Bordeaux.  Bjarke IngelsOn April 14 the Regional Council of Bordeaux, France announced that BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) was selected to design the new Maison de l’économie créative et de la culture en Aquitaine, a.k.a. “la Méca.” The new building on the riverfront site will house three regional visual and performing arts agencies. The website of France’s SudOuest newspaper reports that BIG beat out SANAA and the Toulouse-based firm W-Architectures with a design for a 120-foot-tall arch-shaped building featuring a 14,000-square-foot roof terrace. The 52-million-euro scheme awaits final approval at a May 21 council meeting…stay tuned for the renderings!

 

BMW Guggenheim Lab to Park in Berlin After All.  BMW Guggenheim Lab to Park in Berlin After All Facing the possibility of anti-gentrification protests, the Guggenheim decided to cancel plans to bring the BMW Guggenheim Lab to the city’s Kreuzberg district. They have decided to bring the lab to the already gentrified Prenzlauer Berg instead, specifically the Pfefferberg cultural center, according to Spiegel online. “The decision to relocate the Lab was not an easy one, but we are very pleased to have so quickly confirmed such a suitable alternative and to continue the urgent and important discussions we have begun about cities, and specifically about Berlin, at the Pfefferberg site,” Richard Armstrong, director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation, said in a statement. Time will tell if the move will mollify critics and protesters.

 

Chicago Architect Attempting to Kickstart A “Super-Furniture”

International, Midwest, Newsletter
Thursday, April 5, 2012
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Beuys/Hefner House (Courtesy Bureau Spectacular)

Beuys/Hefner House (Courtesy Bureau Spectacular)

What is a Super-Furniture? According to Chicago architect Jimenez Lai of Bureau Spectacular, it is “a building that is kind of too small, or a couch that is kind of too big.” Whichever way you prefer to think of it, Lai’s plan to live in one of the his installation-scale Super-Furniture, in this case called the Hefner/Beuys House, for a month inside a London gallery is a provocative project where “suddenly architecture becomes performance art.”

Building? Couch? Check it out!

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