Congolese dance company, Studios Kabako, wins 2014 Curry Stone Design Prize

Art, Awards, Design, International
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
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A Studios Kabako performance. (Courtesy Curry Stone Foundation)

A Studios Kabako performance. (Courtesy Curry Stone Foundation)

Studios Kabako, a Congolese theater and performance group, has won the Curry Stone Foundation’s 7th annual Design Prize, which honors designers who use their craft for social good. The arts group was founded in 2001 by choreographer and director Faustin Linyekula, and uses theater, dance, and music to help communities imagine a life beyond hardship and violence.

Continue reading after the jump.

Shanghai talks: How to avoid homogenous skylines

Shanghai sunrise, before the construction of the Shanghai Tower. (Jose Maria Cuellar via flickr)

Shanghai sunrise, before the construction of the Shanghai Tower. (Jose Maria Cuellar via flickr)

In September, The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat invited me to serve as the special media correspondent for their Shanghai symposium, entitled “Future Cities: Towards Sustainable Vertical Urbanism.”

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Rem Koolhaas’ Biennale: Or how the Tempest Swept Venice

Architecture, International, Review
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
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[Editor's Note: The Venice Architecture Biennale is still on through November 23 and it's still proving to be controversial. Professor Peter Lang shares his thoughts on Rem Koolhaas' event here.]

A Tale about the Magician Koolhaas who plays Prospero, lives on an island in the Venetian Laguna, and brings a Tempest to the Venice Biennale.

Miranda:
O wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in’t.
—William Shakespeare, The Tempest, Act V, Scene I, ll. 203–206[5]
(Aldous Huxley quoted this line from the Tempest for the title of his dystopian novel Brave New World published in 1931)

In choosing to take a different perspective on the 14th edition of the Architecture Biennale in Venice directed by Rem Koolhaas, I decided to skip the standard blow-by-blow critique, and instead confront what I believe is the greatest enigma behind this controversial event. Up till now, the majority of critics taking a look at this year’s exhibition find fault with Koolhaas’ method, not so much with his madness. But the key to the exhibition is not in its studied aloofness, but in its insubordination—Koolhaas is determined to shake up the Biennale institution by any means possible.

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Eavesdrop> Take a secret peek inside the secret Guggenheim’s Helsinki competition room

Eavesdroplet, International
Monday, October 13, 2014
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The secret Guggenheim Helsinki competition room. (Courtesy Tipster)

As we’ve mentioned before, the biggest competition in town is not in the United States. Virtually every design firm in California and everywhere else has entered the competition for the Guggenheim Helsinki. Proposals were due on September 10, and Eavesdrop received a secret picture of the storeroom where they are being kept. Let’s just say it is FULL. There appears to be several hundred submissions. Only six of the proposals will advance to stage two of the competition, a list that will be announced later this fall. The winning entry will eventually be chosen next June. So stay tuned, there’s plenty of Guggenheim madness left! (And why doesn’t the Guggenheim open a branch in Los Angeles already?!)

Video> Knight Architects create folding fan-like bridge in London

The Merchant Square Footbridge. (Edmund Sumner via Knight Architects)

The Merchant Square Footbridge. (Edmund Sumner via Knight Architects)

The UK-based firm Knight Architects has created a pedestrian bridge in London that opens and closes like a Japanese folding fan. The Merchant Square Footbridge is comprised of five steel beams that sequentially open with the help of hydraulic jacks. The structure spans about 65 feet across the Grand Union Canal in the new mixed-use Merchant Square development in Paddington.

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Red Deer Lights Up Burning Man

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As visitors climb on and around Luz 2.0, integrated sensors trigger an interactive lighting display. (Dustin Wong Photography)

As visitors climb on and around Luz 2.0, integrated sensors trigger an interactive lighting display. (Dustin Wong Photography)

Prismatic pyramid evokes desert mirage by day, Aurora Borealis by night.

Given that their pyramidal acrylic installation at this summer’s Burning Man was inspired in part by Pink Floyd‘s Dark Side of the Moon album cover, it seems safe to say that the architects at Red Deer “get” the festival’s vibe. “We try to get very intimate with our sites, so it was interesting to approach one that we hadn’t been able to visit,” said founding director Ciarán O’Brien. “Some of the primal forces we could see at play there were the heat of the desert and the way people interact with structures. Specifically, for us it was about light in all its forms.” The UK firm worked closely with the structural engineers at Structure Mode to design a transparent six-meter-tall structure comprising interlocking equilateral triangles, while New York Institute of Technology professor Charles Matz contributed an integrated light display based on the Aurora Borealis. “All kinds of imagery came to mind that held to the desert landscape,” said O’Brien. “By day, the concept evoked a mirage; by night, a kaleidoscope. One is ephemeral, a non-place; the other is specific, a beacon.” Read More

MVRDV’s enormous arched food hall and housing complex opens in Rotterdam

Markthal Rotterdam. (Courtesy facebook.com/MarkthalRotterdam)

Markthal Rotterdam. (Courtesy facebook.com/MarkthalRotterdam)

When the plan for Markthal Rotterdam first appeared, it seemed like one of those interesting, but never going to actually happen type of projects. There was no way that MVRDV’s sprawling food hall set underneath a 130-foot-tall arching roof that itself contains 228 apartments would ever be realized. Well, it turns out there was a way, and Rotterdam figured it out.

Continue reading after the jump.

Eavesdrop> MVRDV Booted from Moscow Project, But Maybe So What?

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MVRDV’s proposal repurposed the original factory building. (Courtesy MVRDV)

The Architect’s Journal reported, somewhat melodramatically, that a “row” has broken about between MVRDV and the British firm LDA over the redevelopment of the Hammer and Sickle Factory in Moscow. MVRDV’s competition winning scheme, which respected the existing historic factory buildings, has been dumped in favor of LDA’s swoopier Shanghai/Dubai/Where-am-I scheme. Hurt feelings aside, MVRDV might have dodged a dictatorial bullet. Russia isn’t exactly the most stable or desirable or reputation-burnishing place to work these days.

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ASLA announces winners of its 2014 Professional Awards and Student Awards

Woodland Rain Gardens. (Courtesy Chipper Hatter Architectural Photography)

Woodland Rain Gardens. (Courtesy Chipper Hatter Architectural Photography)

The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) has announced this year’s winners of its Professional and Student Awards, which honor “top public, commercial, residential, institutional, planning, communications and research projects from across the U.S. and around the world.” Each of the winning projects will be featured in the October issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine and be officially presented by ASLA at its annual meeting and expo in Denver on November 24th. In total, 34 professional awards were selected out of 600 entries.

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Talking tall buildings in Shanghai

In September the Chicago-based Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) gathered high-minded designers, developers and engineers for a conference in Shanghai. CTBUH, which often partners with AN on conferences, including our own Facades+ events, invited me to serve as a special media correspondent for the conference, held September 16–19. I spent most of the time conducting video interviews with the symposium guests, which we’ll post here on the AN blog as they become available. For now, here’ a quick overview of the topics discussed.

Continue reading after the jump.

Antoine Predock’s Canadian Museum for Human Rights Opens In Winnipeg

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights, designed by Antoine Predock Architect, opened last Saturday. (Jessica Sigurdson/CMHR-MCDP)

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights, designed by Antoine Predock Architect, opened last Saturday. (Jessica Sigurdson/CMHR-MCDP)

The Antoine Predock–designed Canadian Museum for Human Rights opened in Winnipeg last Friday with a ceremony featuring an indigenous blessing, performances by Ginette Reno, The Tenors, Maria Aragon, and Sierra Noble, plus remarks by several Canadian government officials as well as representatives of the museum. Read More

Bjarke Ingels returns to Denmark with “Aarhus Island”

Aarhus Island at night. (Courtesy BIG via Design Boom)

Aarhus Island at night. (Courtesy BIG via Design Boom)

With Bjarke Ingels’ pyramid-like tower—dubbed the “courtscraper”—rising quickly on Manhattan’s West Side, the globe-trotting architect has unveiled plans for his latest sloping project. And this one has the Dane back in Denmark. In his home country, in the city of Aarhus, Bjarke has created “Aarhus Island,” a mixed-use development along the water.

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