While much of the work introduced at Milan this year played it safe—distinctly conservative colors, forms familiar from the 1950s, cautious use of materials—some architects’ designs took, shall we say, a bolder stance. But: Was it a better one? You, ever-opinionated reader, shall and no doubt will be the judge of that. Among the boldest of the bold designs this year were four pieces presented by Zaha Hadid.
Building the Picture
April 30 through September 2014
At the end of April, the National Gallery will present a new exhibit spotlighting the handling of architecture in various paintings by prominent Italian renaissance artists. Building The Picture will feature works by Duccio, Botticelli, Crivelli and others chosen from the museum’s permanent collection along with paintings gathered from other institutions in the U.K. These 14th, 15th, and 16th century images will be complemented by a series of five films that offer contemporary ideas on the theme of real and imagined architecture from Peter Zumthor, filmmaker Martha Fiennes, art historian T. J. Clark, film historian John David Rhodes, and computer game cinematic director Peter Gornstein.
The semi-dilapidated Eastern-bloc buildings of Warsaw may seem like unlikely candidates to be immortalized in paper miniature. Nonetheless that was the task undertaken by Hispano-Polish design studio ZUPAGRAFIKA, which has devised a series of intricate paper models that can be cut and folded into small-scale models of a number of the Modernist structures dispersed through the city.
Pritzker Prize–winning Austrian architect, artist, engineer, and designer, Hans Hollein, has died at the age of 80. Born in Vienna in 1934, Hollein attended the Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture in that city and graduated in 1956. Following graduation he was awarded a Harkness Fellowship, affording him the opportunity to travel to the United States. He did graduate work at the Illinois Institute of Technology and completed his masters degree in architecture at the University of California, Berkeley in 1960. During those years he met and worked with Mies van der Rohe, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Richard Neutra.
The International Olympic Committee has selected Danish firm 3XN to design their new headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland. The firm beat out Toyo Ito, Diller, Scofidio + Renfro, and OMA to design a new administrative campus for the committee alongside Lake Geneva. ‘The Olympic Movement has many expressions that are about people coming together in the best possible way,”said Kim Herforth Nielsen, Principal and Creative Director of 3XN, in a statement. “We have designed the new IOC Headquarters as a physical expression of the Olympic Movement and its values expressed through Architecture.”
Bombay Sapphire is in the process of converting a historic paper mill into a facility for producing their famous gin. Overseeing this transformation is the ever-busy Heatherwick Studio, which has been brought on to renovate the 40 derelict buildings found on the site. Their most drastic intervention to the extant campus comes in the form of a soon-to-opened visitor’s center that was recently awarded a BREEAM ‘outstanding’ rating for sustainability, an international system for ranking green buildings.
Despite having first dibs on the project, Rafael Viñoly is being forced to hedge his vision for London’s Battersea Power Station redevelopment under pressure from fellow power players Norman Foster and Frank Gehry. Responsible for guiding “Phase III” of the project, the latter pair have rejected the two large structures Mr. Viñoly had initially envisioned lining a raised pedestrian thoroughfare in favor of five smaller structures in an attempt to “humanize the scale.”
It’s easy to get overwhelmed at the Salone del Mobile and the dozens of related events during Milan Design Week. Luckily there are plenty of visual palate cleansers in form of immersive environments, from new showrooms by Pritzker Prize–winning architects to dazzling installations by up-and-coming designers. There is more to Milan Design Week than just great looking furniture! At the Triennale design museum, for instance, Paris-based DGT architects created a light-catching installation for Citizen watches called Light is Time (above), featuring space dividing curtains made of tens of thousands of watch plates.
LEGO Architecture has released a new box set—and from the looks of it, this isn’t your grandmother’s architectural plaything. The new LEGO set is not the usual plastic-brick model of Rockefeller Center or the Empire State Building. No, this new set is cutting-edge. It goes where no other LEGO box set has gone before: it’s a replica of an icon so iconic that it doesn’t even exist yet. It’s a limited-edition replica of the Bjarke Ingels–designed LEGO Museum in the company’s birthplace of Billund, Denmark.
Joshua Prince-Ramus, principal at REX, has a bone to pick with modernism and its legacy. “For the last 100 years, architecture’s been involved in a silly tension between form and function,” he said. While high modernism privileged function over form, some of today’s top designers argue that architecture is about aesthetics and not much else. REX has a different take: architecture, the firm claims, is both function and form. “We really believe that architecture can do things. It’s not just a representational art form,” said Prince-Ramus. “We talk about performance. Aesthetics are part of performance [as is function.]”
Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD) has announced seven finalists for the $100,000 Wheelwright Grant which is awarded annually for travel-based architectural research. This prize was first given in 1935 to purely GSD grads until it was revamped in 2013 to be an open competition.
The 2014 competition received nearly 200 submissions from 46 countries. The jury awarded special commendation to seven individuals for their exceptional design talent and imaginative research proposals. The winner will be announced on April 30th.