Piano Forte: Inaugural Renzo Piano Award Honors Young Italian Architects

International
Thursday, July 28, 2011
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Renzo Piano with Paolo Iotti and Marco Pavarani. (Courtesy Iotti+Pavarani)

Renzo Piano with Paolo Iotti and Marco Pavarani. (Courtesy Iotti+Pavarani)

Frank Gehry is looking to sell his archive, Richard Meier opens his Queens storage room for models to visitors by appointment, and now Renzo Piano is giving back, too. On June 10, his eponymous foundation launched a new awards competition to encourage young Italian architects, a rare breed these days.

To that end, the competition was open to designers under 40 with an office in Italy presenting a constructed work. The jury, composed mostly of architectural magazine editors, whittled 69 entries down to three winners who demonstrated “innovative and poetic space research.” The purse for the prize was 10,000 euros each.

The top honor, handed out in June, went to Iotti+Pavarani architects based in northern Italy. Piano was particularly impressed with their recently completed Domus Technica building, a training and innovation center for a manufacturing company in Brescello, Italy. Honorable mentions were bestowed upon ARCó and carlorattiassociati.

View work by the winning firms after the jump.

A Memorial Disappears: Croatia’s Petrova Gora Dismantled

Petrova Gora memorial in Croatia (Courtesy Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss)

Petrova Gora memorial in Croatia (Armin Linke)

Petrova Gora, the sculptural memorial to the partisan victims of World War II in Croatia, is being dismantled as we speak.

As reported on the AN Blog last year, the memorial was already abandoned and in disrepair, but new photographs taken on July 24th show that Petrova Gora has largely been stripped of its metallic skin. It is not clear yet who ordered or approved such dismantling of the memorial. Nor is it known to what extent or to what purpose this is being done.

Continue reading after the jump.

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Raising the Bar and the Roof: Heineken’s Pop Up Club Contest

International
Monday, July 25, 2011
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Heineken is making big plans to take on the party circuit at the Milan Furniture Fair.

Looking to brighten up the party at the 2012 Milan Furniture Fair and beyond, Heineken plans to sponsor a pop up club contest. The idea was hatched at the fair two years ago when global design and concept manager Mark van Iterson visited the Salone. The company was on the lookout for an ephemeral marketing idea that would make a nice splash–a beer equivalent of a concept car or couture, a top tier notion with a nice trickle down effect. But when the Icelandic volcanic ash kept him earthbound longer than he expected, he decided leave the exhibits and hit the party circuit instead. It was at one of the fair’s many venues he had his Isaac Newton moment. “I found it a bit dull, and we were waiting 40 minutes to get a drink, and we thought “we can do this so much better–that’s our business.”

Read More

“Alps In Asia” named hub for  2018 Winter Olympics

International, West
Monday, July 25, 2011
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If you haven’t heard by now, Pyeongchang, the mountainous South Korean town located in Gangwon Province, 112 miles outside of Seoul, has won the bid to host the 2018 Winter Olympics. Helping secure the win was the $1.4 billion dollar, 1,240-acre Alpensia Resort, which was completed in 2009. It will become home to the Olympic Village, several competitions and the opening and closing ceremonies. Nicknamed “Alps in Asia”, the alpine-style village was designed as an all-season, year-round destination with the help of Cuningham Group Architecture, whose LA office oversaw the design and master planning.

Continue reading after the jump.

Going Green in Ghana: Mario Cucinella’s One Airport Square

International
Friday, July 22, 2011
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One Airport Square in Accra, Ghana. (Courtesy Mario Cucinella Architects)

One Airport Square in Accra, Ghana. (Courtesy Mario Cucinella Architects)

Of Sand and Stone. On September 8th, Milan-based architect Mario Cucinella will break ground on his One Airport Square project in Accra, Ghana’s capital city. The 230,000 square foot structure of irregular cantilevered floor plates embraced by a web of diagonal concrete supports meant to evoke traditional African patterns. Plans call for a dynamic pedestrian plaza with shops and cafes topped with commercial space. Solar panels are integrated among cantilevered terraces with indigenous fauna to protect the building from the scorching sun.

Check out a video and gallery after the jump.

Helsinki Park By Robert Wilson To Pay Tribute to Tapio Wirkkala

International
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
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The planned park designed by Robert Wilson (courtesy The Art Newspaper)

The famed stage designer Robert Wilson is trying his hand at park design with a new commission in Helsinki dedicated to the memory of the designer Tapio Wirkkala, according to The Art Newspaper. The rectangular park–a garden, really–will be divided into nine rooms, each symbolizing different domestic spaces. One outdoor room, for example, will feature a small fireplace surrounded by stone seating.  Read More

Video> Proposed Utopian City Moves Like Clockwork

International
Friday, July 15, 2011
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Clockwork City by T0R0YD. (Screen Capture)

Clockwork City by T0R0YD. (Screen Capture)

“Clockwork City” is the fantastical vision of animator Roy Prol calling for a city of rotating rings that change the notion of getting around in large city. As the video (after the jump) notes, the 3,000 meter diameter “Clockwork City” won’t need cars or even transit since work and home are a mere minutes away, anywhere in the city. The city itself is in effect one large form of public transportation. To get to work, the video notes, “Just wait at home until you see your workplace closer.”

Four concentric rings each 280 meters wide housing offices, residential, industrial, and agricultural/energy zones are traversed by smaller cogs joining them together. Boldly proclaiming “endless movement” complete with the prospect of an ever-changing skyline, it’s unclear how such a “Clockwork City” could be built or sustained. What are your thoughts? (Via Digital Urban.)

Watch the video after the jump.

Dude! Behold The Skate House

International, Newsletter, West
Monday, July 11, 2011
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Skateboarders, commence drooling. Behold this prototype for the PAS House, a Malibu home in which every surface will be skate-able. The secret? There will be no corners. From the living room to the kitchen to the bedroom the ground becomes the wall and then the ceiling in a continuous surface forming a tube with a 10 foot radius. The furniture is also curved for skating, including some groovy looking tables and beds.

The project, located at the top of Las Flores Canyon in Malibu, will by sometime next year be the home of skateboarder Pierre Andre Senizergues (hence the name PAS), a former world champion skater, and owner of skateboard company Sole Technology. It’s being created by designer Gil Lebon Delapointe and LA architect Francois Perrin, who for the prototype of the living area bent plywood, previously soaked in water, using a traditional skateboard ramp fabrication technique.

Skate on after the ollie…

Unveiled> OMA’s Parc des Expositions in Toulouse

International
Friday, July 8, 2011
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View of the exterior of PEX (all images courtesy OMA)

OMA has won a competition to design the new Parc des Expositions (PEX) convention center in Toulouse, France. Designed to hold conferences, exhibitions, and concerts, the new hall will function as an opening to the city and a hub in the countryside. OMA has configured a plan for that preserves much of the surrounding area while organizing future development along to a 2.8 kilometer centralized stripe, with PEX filling 660 meters of that length. The project is divided into three programmatic bars: the multipurpose event hall for performances and concerts, which opens up to the exterior, a vast column-free exhibition hall, and a large parking silo with ramps that are visible to halls through glass walls. Led by French projects director, Clement Blanchet, the project is expected to be complete in 2016.  Read More

Letter from Rome: YAP Opening Night at the MAXXI

International, Newsletter
Thursday, July 7, 2011
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stARTT's illuminated fiberglass flowers (Courtesy James Stevens)

stARTT's illuminated fiberglass flowers (Courtesy James Stevens)

Imagine a warm summer evening in Rome. Then imagine stretching out on a cool, grass lawn underneath giant Jurassic tulips the size of a cherry tree. Their glow softly illuminates conversations over cocktails. Add a backdrop of the serpentine jewel of Zaha Hadid’s MAXXI museum, and you have theater.

Rome is all about theater.

Continue reading after the jump.

Kimmelman Bags NY Times Archi-Critic Post

International, Shft+Alt+Del
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
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MICHAEL KIMMELMAN (COURTESY WIKIPEDIA)

MICHAEL KIMMELMAN (COURTESY WIKIPEDIA)

An internal New York Times email, acquired by AN today, announced that Michael Kimmelman would start this fall as the New York Times’ new chief architecture critic. Citing Kimmelman as “one of the paper’s great writers”, Jonathan Landman, deputy managing editor, wrote how Kimmelman started at the paper of record as a music critic and “swiftly morphed into an art critic.” And now after four years as a foreign correspondent, he will fill out his all-purpose critic portfolio as architecture critic.

Continue reading after the jump.

Sustainability Martyred in Name of Saint Green

International, Newsletter
Thursday, June 30, 2011
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Eco-Pantheon, Rome 126AD (Courtesy Star Strategies+Architecture)

Eco-Pantheon, Rome 126AD (Courtesy Star Strategies+Architecture)

Has the green movement gone too far? STAR Strategies + Architecture examines the prevalence of “green-washing and the abuse of sustainability” in their project O’ Mighty Green, where they posit that the notion of “green” has taken on a life of its own outside of sustainability and has become on many levels a new sort of religion. As the architects said in their introduction:

Sustainability currently shares many qualities with God; supreme concept, omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient; creator and judge, protector, and (…) saviour of the universe and the humanity. And, like God, it has millions of believers. Since we humans are relatively simpleminded and suspicious and need evidence before belief can become conviction, Green has come to represent sustainability; has become its incarnation in the human world. But sustainability, like God, might not have a form, nor a colour.

To demonstrate this absurdity, STAR has implemented what they call “sustainability as a photoshop filter” and clad a variety of iconic—and notorious—buildings with green walls, even invoking the spirit of St. Green, the patron saint of sustainable architects. The architects have taken a similarly snarky view of contradictions in preservation. (Via Dezeen.)

What are your thoughts? Are architects guilty of praying at the green altar?

Photos after the jump.

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