Since 2011, skateboarders from all over Europe have flocked to a large concrete slab in OMA’s Museum Park in the city center of Rotterdam as a local spot for tricks and meetups. Nicknamed “Rem’s Flag,” the spot is painted with a massive 492-foot version of the EU Barcode, a multi-colored barcode design by architect Rem Koolhaas, conceived as an equal display of the flags of the European Union. Various objects have been “barcoded” with the Koolhaas flag. The most recent is a set of 80 limited edition skateboard decks, a collaboration between surf-inspired skateboard brand Dufarge and AMO, an OMA think tank, in honor of the Rem’s Flag skating experience.
When Andres Lepik was a curator at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, he organized and curated Small Scale, Big Change: New Architectures of Social Engagement (2011). It was a landmark show for MoMA and identified a developing design trend of socially engaged projects aimed not at “grand manifestos” but to ones committed to “radical pragmatism.” Now back in Germany, Lepik has curated an equally ground breaking exhibition on social design. The exhibit Afritecture: Building Social Change at the TU Munich Architecture Museum rightly focuses on the African content as the most exciting and creative place for todays architecture of social engagement.
The Italian classicist architect Pier Carlo Bontempi has been named the 2014 Driehaus Laureate. A native of Parma, Bontempi’s work in Italy and France re-imagines the traditional city with projects like a master-planned block in Parma and the Quartier du Lac outside Paris.
“His buildings, seamlessly woven into their urban environments, demonstrate principles of the new classicism and urbanism,” said Michael Lykoudis, dean of the school of architecture at the University of Notre Dame, in a statement. “Their durable construction, adaptive interior spaces and sensitive siting make them exemplars of architecture as an art of conservation and investment as opposed to consumption and waste.”
Review> LOT-EK Designs the Exhibition, Erasmus Effect, On the Past and Future of Italian Architecture
The Erasmus Effect: Italian Architect’s Abroad
Through April 6, 2014
The architecture and urbanism of Italy has long been an inspiration to architects from other parts of the world. From the grand tours of Lord Burlington and Thomas Jefferson to the establishment of the American, French, and British Academies, Robert Venturi’s lessons learned from Rome, and the enormous influence of Manfredo Tafuri, Italy has been important to how we view architecture and livable cities. But now an exhibition, The Erasmus Effect: Italian Architect’s Abroad, opening today at Rome’s MAXXI Museum details how the world is enriched when Italian born and educated architects emigrate and find success abroad.
After less than four years under construction, the massive De Rotterdam towers, OMA’s grand experiment in urban density and scale, were completed a few weeks ago. With over 1,700,000 square feet of floor space, Rem Koolhaas’ glass-clad “vertical city” is the largest multifunctional building in the Netherlands.
A team led by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has won an international design completion for the new Museum of the Human Body in Montpellier, France. Recalling the forms of some of BIG’s other recent projects, most notably Blaavard Bunker Museum in Varde, Denmark (which has just received funding to move forward) and the 200-acre EuropaCity mega-development outside Paris, the 84,000 square foot museum will rise from the surrounding landscape with grass-capped roofs, and a seemingly continuous, curving glass façade.
The design team at MODU, in collaboration with Ho-Yan Cheung of Arup, have created an urban public space for the 5th China International Architecture Biennial. Their design pays homage to Beijing’s iconic Olympic Park, while drawing attention to environmental issues in the country’s densely populated capital. The biennial committee has also commissioned designs from leading international architects such as Wang Shu, Zaha Hadid, and Mohsen Mostafavi.
In 2007, Zaha Hadid Architects won a competition to design an Innovation Tower for Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Six years later, students and faculty are beginning to settle into the glacial, 130,000 square foot, 250 foot tall design-education center as it nears completion. The space-age, striated structure will be a “creative multidisciplinary environment,” that, according to the architects, “dissolves the classic typography of a tower and podium to create a seamlessly fluid new structure,” meaning that the Pearl of the Orient will soon welcome a curving, difficult-to-decipher, new educational building. Set to fully open next spring, the tower will be Hadid’s first permanent structure in Hong Kong.
The Nobel Foundation has officially launched an international design competition for the creation of a Nobel Center Headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden. An architectural idea in existence since the 1990s, the Center will serve as a venue for the annual Nobel Prize Award Ceremony, as a space for exhibition, public education, and meetings, and as a symbol of the honorable achievements of Nobel Laureates.
Previously, the Foundation released its list of twelve architectural concept winners. These anonymous entries were judged on general building design, structural relationship with the waterfront site on the Blasieholmen peninsula, and shaping the urban context for the proposed functions of the Nobel Center.