Video> Venice in Venice

International
Friday, May 27, 2011
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"Untitled" by Nan Goldin

The Venice architecture biennale is still over a year away but the longer running art biennale will open next week. If you are of the architecture bent there is always a great deal to see and visit at the art biennale. Here is a sampling including images from Real Venice: International Artists help to Save Venice in the abbey of  San Giorgio Maggiore to remind you just how special is la Serrininisma. But perhaps the most exciting exhibit at this years biennale is Venice in Venice organized and curated by the irrepressible Jacqueline Miro and Tim Nye (with help from Tibby Rothman) about our Venice! If you are not making it to the Venice Biennale, here are some images to savor!

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Fly Denari Airlines

Having worked there on and off for the last 25 years Neil Denari is huge in Japan. His latest achievement in the country was just unveiled yesterday: the complete design for Japan’s first ever low-cost regional airline, called Peach. Read More

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TEN Arquitectos Revamps Amparo Museum

International
Friday, May 20, 2011
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The new renovations are to float above existing courtyards. Courtesy Enrique Norten/TEN Arquitectos

TEN Arquitectos have shared renderings of a museum project that Enrique Norten is working on in the historic center of Puebla, Mexico. The Amparo Museum sits in the heart a colonial quarter and though building envelope will retain its old world charm, a very new world facility will emerge inside.

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Video> Thomas Heatherwick′s Seed Cathedral

Seed Cathedral by Thomas Heatherwick (Photo by Eugene Regis/Flickr)

Seed Cathedral by Thomas Heatherwick (Photo by Eugene Regis/Flickr)

British architect Thomas Heatherwick was recently featured on a Ted Talk where he presented five projects including his Seed Cathedral from Shanghai’s Expo 2010. The pavilion incorporated thousands of seed-encapsulating plastic rods that transmit light into and out of the building. Taken as a whole, the strands resemble one giant occupiable seed puff. Check out Heatherwick’s talk about the Seed Cathedral and his firm’s design philosophy after the jump.

Watch the video after the jump.

After Five Years, Could Venice Get its Doge’s Palace Back?

International
Friday, May 13, 2011
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Photo by Aaron Levy

Photo by Aaron Levy

The 17th-century Sospiri Bridge (Bridge of Signs) in Venice connects an ancient prison with interrogation rooms in the Doge’s Palace. The bridge crosses the Rio de Palazzo that itself slices through the palace and makes a spectacular vista as one crosses the canal bridge on the Grand Canal. This vista has been rudely emblazed for at least the past five years by a giant advertising sign the wraps the palace walls and over and under the beautiful Sospiri bridge.

Continue reading after the jump.

A Dieter Rams Design, Stays Designed

Dieter Rams and his 606 Universal Shelving System at the Vitsoe Showroom.

When Dieter Rams enters a new country, he doesn’t like to call himself a designer. Instead, the world famous German industrial designer writes “architect” on his passport entry card. In fact, it was as an architect in the early 1950s that Rams got his start building additions and installations for a little known German manufacturer just starting up, named Braun.

Continue reading after the jump.

Pictorial> Steven Holl′s New Oceanic Museum in Biarritz

International, Newsletter
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
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(Photo: Iwan Baan)

Steven Holl’s new Cité de l’Océan et du Surf in Biarritz, France is at once rugged and ethereal. Designed in collaboration with the Brazilian artist Solange Fabiao, the building includes an accessible concave plaza roof covered in cobblestones, pierced by two milky “glass boulders,” or pavilions housing a restaurant and a “surfer’s kiosk.” The boulders offer views out to the ocean, while the plaza directs the eye to the sky above. The museum “explores both surf and sea and their role upon leisure, science, and ecology,” according to a statement from the firm.

The landscape beyond is scooped out to reflect the building’s concave form and create a new gathering place for the city. The museum opens to the public on June 25.

Check out a photo gallery after the jump.

A really BIG mosque

International
Thursday, May 5, 2011
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A public plaza is formed by carving away the corners of the new buildings.

Just when you thought  architecture juggernaut Bjarke Ingels and his firm BIG couldn’t win YET another commission in YET another country… the firm announced yesterday that it had beat out competitors including Zaha Hadid to lead the construction of a new cultural center in Albania’s capital, Tirana. The complex will consist of a mosque, an Islamic Centre, and a Museum of Religious Harmony.

The design team is made up of BIG, Martha Schwartz Landscape, Buro Happold, Speirs & Major lighting, Lutzenberger & Lutzenberger, and Global Cultural Asset Management. A triangular site plan is divided into the three main components, all carved away to form a central plaza oriented toward Mecca. images after the jump

Inside Osama bin Laden’s Compound

International, National
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
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Where was the world’s most wanted terrorist hiding all these years? Osama bin Laden’s final hiding place was a mansion in Abbottamad, an hour north of the capital Islamabad, according to the New York Times. The paper reports:

It was hardly the spartan cave in the mountains that many had envisioned as Bin Laden’s hiding place. Rather, it was a mansion on the outskirts of the town’s center, set on an imposing hilltop and ringed by 12-foot-high concrete walls topped with barbed wire.

The property was valued at $1 million, but it had neither a telephone nor an Internet connection. Its residents were so concerned about security that they burned their trash rather putting it on the street for collection the way their neighbors did.

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Pictorial> Soumaya Museum by Fernando Romero

International
Thursday, April 28, 2011
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Soumaya Museum (Courtsey Adam Wiseman)

Soumaya Museum (Courtsey Adam Wiseman)

Mexico City’s new Museo Soumaya (named after the deceased wife of Carlos Slim, the Mexican billionaire who owns the museum) was finally unveiled to the public late last month. The museum houses 60,000-square-feet of continuous exhibition space spread over six levels and containing over 6,200 pieces from Slim’s art collection.

Designed by Fernando Romero of the firm FREE, the building is shaped like a woman’s bustier with a cinched waist. The amorphous structure is built with 28 curved steel columns of varying diameters, each with its own contoured geometry. While the exterior mass resembles a singular object, the skin is comprised of thousands of hexagonal aluminum modules.

While the building itself is almost opaque–it has no windows–the roof of the top floor is suspended from a cantilever, letting in natural light. The result is a monumental parametric design offering a dramatic sculptural addition to the city once celebrated for its tradition and hand-painted, colorful architecture.

Check out a photo gallery after the jump.

Unveiled> Ryerson University Student Learning Centre

Rendering of the exterior of the Student Learning Centre looking north on Yonge Street. (Courtesy Ryerson University)

Rendering of the exterior of the Student Learning Centre looking north on Yonge Street. (Courtesy Ryerson University)

Toronto’s Ryerson University announced plans this week for a bold Student Learning Center designed by Oslo-based Snøhetta and Zeidler Partnership Architects of Toronto. The 8-story structure will mix passive and active academic uses with street-level retail and will serve as the university’s front door on busy Yonge Street.

More renderings and info after the jump.

(Updated!) A Call to Free Ai Weiwei, Artist, Architect, Activist

Ai Weiwei with Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia (Courtesy Melissa Lam)

Ai Weiwei with Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia (Courtesy Melissa Lam)

(Updated 4-6-2011) As details emerge, be sure to track the comments on this post for the latest on Ai Weiwei. We have learned that the US State Department called for his release on Monday. According to VOA News, Mark Toner, State Department Acting Deputy Spokesman saud, “The detention of artist and activist Ai Weiwei is inconsistent with the fundamental freedoms and human rights of all Chinese citizens, including China’s commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and we urge the Chinese government to release him immediately.” Today, the Guardian reported that Ai Weiwei is under investigation for “suspected economic crimes” according to the Chinese state news agency Xinhua which has since deleted the statement.

AN also received the following note of support for Ai Weiwei from Richard Meier. Please feel free to voice your messages of support in the comments.

Ai Weiwei deserves all of our support in his efforts to communicate with the world community of architects about the conditions that currently exist in China. We all hope that his immediate release will happen quickly in response to comments from all of us that support him in his cause.

Sincerely yours,

Richard Meier

(Original Report 4-4-2011) News that Chinese artist, architect, and activist Ai Wei Wei has been detained and disappeared as of April 3, 2011 broke yesterday in the International media.  As reported by Andrew Jacobs in the New York Times, and more recently today by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, his detention and police closure of his Beijing studio coincides with what is known as the “Jasmine Revolution,” a protest movement in the People’s Republic of China that was inspired by the 2011 Tunisian Revolution and has prompted the Communist Party’s six-week crackdown on human rights lawyers and activists, with many of those detained still not released, and others, such as pro-democracy writer Liu Xianbin, sentenced to 10 years in jail for subversion.

Continue reading after the jump.

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