Unlike other arts, architecture is generally limited by practical matters, including what materials can do, how things stand up, and in most cases (but not so much this one) an array of challenging local building codes.
A firm in Mumbai, India called sP+a developed this vaulted brick library roof with a playful purpose in mind, allowing people to walk up and over it like a bridge to cross the school grounds it sits in the middle of.
The idea is conceptually simple: the ground simply extends up and over the top. In most places, a railing would be required, if the steepness didn’t stop the design in its tracks, but not here.
“On our first visit to the site it was interesting to see geodesic structures built by an engineer for a few of the school buildings, we were somewhat encouraged by this to pursue a project that followed from a construction intelligence,” explains sP+a. “We hence parsed through several possible material configurations ranging from concrete shells to brick vaults for building this ‘architectural landscape’.”
“The design team became interested in the material efficiencies of the cCtalan tile vault from the 16th century, its use by Spanish architect Guastavino in the early 19th century, and the details used in the work of uruguayan engineer and architect Eladio Dieste. to articulate a pure compression form for the library, sP+a used rhinoVAULT — a form-finding plug-in developed by the block research group at ETH zürich. consequently, the Maya Somaiya Library is the result of lessons learned from different time periods as well as geographic locations.”
The Basilica di Siponto by Edoardo Tresoldi has been awarded the “Gold Medal for Italian Architecture – Special Prize to Commission,” considered the most prestigious award in Italian architecture.
The wire mesh sculpture reinterprets the volumes of an Early Christian basilica which formerly sat on the site of the sculpture, adjacent to an existing Romanesque church. The scheme serves as a “bridge towards the memory of the place” allowing the public to contemplate time and history.
The Basilica was inaugurated in March 2016, and has since captivated worldwide attention, provoking discussions on new scenarios for the preservation and enhancement of archaeological heritage.
The award follows another accolade bestowed on the Basilica, which was awarded the Riccardo Francovich Archaeological Prize in 2016 for acknowledging “the site’s capacity to combine academic rigor with an effective communication to the non-specialized audience.”
The Medal for Italian Architecture was established by the Triennale di Milano in collaboration with the Italian Ministry of Culture, and offers an “active reflection on the role of architects and their work, with the aim of introducing the public in Italy and aboard to a new heritage of buildings and ideas.”
An exhibition associated with the award will be open at the Palazzo della Triennale in Milan until November 11th 2018, curated by Lorenza Baroncelli.
When it's time to dress up for Halloween, Carnival or theme parties, people often choose costumes that resonate with their interests. This is especially true for architects, who are particularly well-suited to designing and building head-turning outfits. For students and young architects, the yearning to construct (and destruct) stems from the will to create elaborate headpieces and ingenious appendages.
We recently polled ArchDaily readers from across the world, asking them to share their architecture-themed costumes with us. Want to submit yours? We'll be updating this post so send us your photo on Facebook or via the comments below!
The facade is the calling card of an architecture project, an often iconic and recognizable element that becomes part of the collective imaginary.
We frequently see them featured in photographs and art—such as Andreas Gursky's work, or as part of movie sets. It is almost impossible to forget the pink symmetrical façade of 'The Budapest Hotel' by director Wes Anderson, or even, in music videos or album covers, like the legendary 'Physical Grafitti' by Led Zeppelin.
One of the complexities of satisfactorily representing a facade detail is the point of view. What is the best view/frame for a facade detail? Is it in section, axonometric, or plan view?
We've selected 50 facade details with the aim of showing different ways of approaching this type of representation, highlighting aspects such as materiality, joints, interior comfort and color (among other properties that are part of the facades).
Sweetwater playground at the former Domino Sugar Refinery in Brooklyn, New York is a colorful children’s fun park that’s dandy as old-fashioned candy.
A park with good taste? It’s more likely than you think thanks to locally-based artist Mark Reigelman and what used to be the world’s largest sugar refinery. A Williamsburg waterfront icon for the better part of two centuries, the old Domino Sugar Refinery has been transformed into Domino Park boasting a site-specific play environment called Sweetwater: “the sweetest playground in New York City.”
How Sweet It Was
Reigelman set out to create more than just a playground, though the result is eminently playable on its own. Instead, the artist elected to pay homage to the former Domino Sugar Refinery and, by extension, the long history of sugar manufacturing in America’s vibrant northeast. In a glazed nutshell, the playground invites children to explore the sugar refining process without getting their hands sticky, no matter what the weather..
Sweet (American) Dreams
The Domino Sugar Refinery was built in 1856 and additional infrastructure made it the world’s largest sugar refinery by 1882. The location on the banks of the East River facilitated the import of raw sugar cane from around the world. The factory employed approximately 4,500 people at its height, giving countless numbers of immigrants a boost into the American workforce – melting pots made for sugar AND people (though not at the same time).
Let the Dominos Fall
The factory ceased sugar refining operations in 2004 and stood abandoned until 2017, when the James Corner Field Operations-designed waterfront space known as Domino Park was created. Opened to the public on June 10th of 2018, Domino Park invites visitors of all ages to enjoy the remnants of this historic site, the soaring Williamsburg bridge, and the iconic Manhattan skyline. The youngest among us might have the most fun, however, as they climb up and down ramps, worm their way through tubes, trundle across conveyor belts and zip down slides from one end of Sweetwater to the other.
Sucrose For Comfort
Reigelman designed Sweetwater in three distinct interconnected stages: Sugarcane Cabin, Sweetwater Silo, and Sugar Cube Centrifuge. Following the path of raw sugarcane as it arrived at the refinery in days of yore, kids will be chopped up and crushed inside a replica industrial cabin, strained and filtered into sweet water syrup, and finally emerge fully-processed into freshly refined raw sugar… figuratively, of course. Fear not, helicopter parents, your precious progeny will return as sweet (or sour) as they entered.
Reigelman’s tribute to the old sugar factory relies much on the inclusion of preserved and replica industrial artifacts scavenged from the old refinery complex. Wood floor planks enjoy a second life on the walls of the elevated cabin while colorfully-painted valve wheels cast from the original factory artifacts allow park guests to get a “hands-on” feeling of what the factory was like. Reigelman also sought to disabuse any thoughts of grim Industrial Age workhouses by liberally employing the vibrant yellow, turquoise, green and brushed metal hues that made up the original factory color palette.
Kids might be having too much fun negotiating Sweetwater Park’s 3D twists and turns to notice there’s a method to the interactive “madness”. Reigelman’s master plan envisioned three primary structures: an elevated cabin, a towering silo, and an industrial container.
Refined Recreation Redefined
Stainless steel slides, ramps, ladders and catwalks evoke the atmosphere of the old Domino Sugar Refinery’s complex and complicated architecture and infrastructure. Think of those “Powerhouse” scenes from old Looney Toons shorts and you’ll get the picture. “Truthfully speaking, we might have to join the kids during their outdoor playdates,” according to TimeOut Magazine.
A Treat Grows In Brooklyn
“Domino Park Playground was inspired by the ingenuity of the industrial age, the sugar refining process and the incredible site of the former Domino factory,” to quote from a statement by Reigelman. “The playground is not a celebration of sugar, but a reflection of industrial infrastructure that promotes physical activity, social engagement and a reminder of the unique history of the Domino Waterfront.” One would hope disquieting aromas off the nearby East River don’t cramp the fun factor.
Park Your Pancreas
“With a sugary color palette, dynamic graphics and an industrial visual narrative, Domino Park Playground sets children and adults alike into a space that ignites the adventurous spirit,” adds Reigelman. Best of all, a visit to Sweetwater Park won’t prompt a round of tooth-brushing nor a painful trip to the dentist.
A little girl from William Bouguereau’s 1886 painting ‘Au pied de la falaise’ looks out over the city of Memphis from the side of a seven-story building, freed from the original work’s confines within the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art. French street artist Julien de Casabianca is known for moving the subjects of famous paintings from the hallowed walls of perfectly-lit museums and into the streets, wheat pasting them many times larger than life onto urban surfaces. This particular monumental work coincides with the artist’s exhibition and workshop at the Brooks Museum.
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Brooklyn Street Art asked de Casabianca why this piece resonates for the artist. “She seems melancholic, I wanted to give her a second life in the real life, liberate her from the frame,” he says. “I feel always guilty when I leave from a wall where I pasted a child, as in Nuart Aberdee in Scotland, because even they are giants, I feel they are so fragile in this violent world and in this contemporary world. She’s a time traveller, she doesn’t know our new world and she’s probably surprised and moved.”
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It’s not the only character from within the museum to come to life in the streets of Memphis; the artist met with museum officials earlier this year to choose 20 figures from the Brooks’ permanent collection to place around the city. Other paintings chosen for the project include a two-story installation of Cloar’s Wedding Party and a 20-foot high selection from Luca Giordano’s The Slaying of the Medusa.
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De Casabianca has wheat pasted works like this all over the world, in fact, as part of his ongoing series “Outing Project.” You can find out where to see the works in person and follow their progress on Instagram.
In recent years, architecture film festivals have erupted around the globe providing critics, theorists, and all architectural thinkers with an additional median for architectural expression and discussion. The symbiotic relationship between architecture and film stems from architecture’s effect on its built environment and its determined social/cultural impact.
As the international audience grows and new genres emerge, architecture film festivals have come to encompass more than just the film’s initial viewing; programs, lectures, and discussions are organized, enhancing the intellectual impact of the viewing material. Architecture Film Festival Rotterdam (AFFR) is celebrating its tenth edition this October by exploring the concept of “building happiness” in an age when we seek to build a more sustainable world - a challenge for both historic and contemporary design.
1. Mole Man
From the creator: “Mole Man tells the touching story of Ron Heist, a 66-year-old man with Autism, who has been working on an elaborate building in his parents’ backyard since 1965. Built without cement or nails, the building has fifty rooms by now. The structure can bear its own weight due to the careful way it has been stacked. Although his continual building process keeps him happy and satisfied, his family and friends are beginning to worry about Ron. Where will he end up when his 90-year-old mother passes away?”
2. Do More with Less
From the creator: “A film that touches the foundations of architecture: how to be inspired by the limited resources and limited use of materials to create interesting architectural feats. Many young architects in Latin America are forced by necessity to work in such circumstances but see it less as a limitation than a challenge. Do More With Less offers a view of optimistic and inspiring architecture Inspiration to get straight to work!”
3. Frey: The Architectural Envoy
From the creator: “He was one of the architects that shaped the optimistic, modernist style in Palm Springs in the 1950s and ’60. Born in Switzerland, Albert Frey worked on the Villa Savoye with Le Corbusier, but his passion for new materials and daring structures did not come to full fruition until he came to America. His streamlined aesthetic appealed to lots of Hollywood stars who wanted to build a house in Palm Springs. The film is the first half of a two-part portrait of Albert Frey. The second half is expected in the spring of 2019.”
4. Jean Nouvel: Reflections
From the creator: “Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel is at the height of an already legendary career. At age 70, he circles the globe, tending to such monumental projects as The Louvre Abu Dhabi, The National Museum of Qatar and The National Museum of China. Among the most innovative, thought-provoking and rebellious architects of his generation, Nouvel reflects on his work, as well as his design philosophy.”
5. Kevin Roche: The Quiet Architect
From the creator: He worked with Maxwell Fry and Eero Saarinen, he won the Pritzker Prize, and his immense oeuvre reflects that past 70 years of American history. Sculptural, iconic, with a powerful flair for drama, and always – in line with his Irish roots – in close communication with nature. This feature documentary film about 96-year-old Kevin Roche offers an intriguing overview of an exceptional architect’s oeuvre, focusing on the versatile nature of an era when America was still optimistic.
6. Planeta Petrila
From the creator: “The coal mine in the Romanian town of Petrila is more than a mine. To the city’s inhabitants, it is their life, their source of income, and the pivotal point of the community. But the mine is closing down, and European regulations dictate total demolition. Former mineworker and artist Ion Barbu decides to make every effort to prevent the mine’s destruction. He uses his art to keep the spirit of the mine alive, resulting in absurd imagery. ‘Europe is just a continent. Petrila is a world.’”
7.Portrait of a Gallery
From the creator: “The National Gallery in Dublin is the most important museum in Ireland. Like the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the National Gallery was recently renovated. Cameras followed the renovations for three years. As is apparently common practice in such matters, the renovations encountered delays and turned out to be far more expensive than estimated and projected. How does a country handle its national cultural heritage? Film for people who love The New National Gallery.”
Both terminals encompass new passenger facilities, with larger waiting areas featuring high ceilings, natural light, interior free space, and artwork featuring iconic New York landmarks. New technological improvements integrated throughout the terminals will include radiation detection and next-generation identification of unattended baggage.
The $7 billion, 2.9 million square foot South terminal will provide 23 international gates, as well as 230,000 square feet of retail and dining, and 55,000 square feet of interior green spaces, children’s play areas, and cultural exhibits.
Meanwhile, the $3 billion, 1.2 million square foot North terminal will see the demolition of a 48-year-old terminal to make way for 12 international gates, 74,000 square feet of retail, and 15,000 square feet of recreational space.
This historic investment to modernize JFK Airport and the surrounding transportation network will not only ease travel through this major hub, but it will ensure JFK joins the ranks as one of the finest airports in the world. -Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York
The buildings are expected to enter operation in 2023, with substantial completion expected in 2025.
The more architecture students that I converse with, the more I hear this common dissent amongst them: “I don’t want to become an architect.” Despite participating in long studio hours for a five-year professional degree, somehow very few peers actually want to become the kind of architects that create buildings.
Aside from the conventional alternatives of interior or graphic design, there is a rising trend in the popularity of firms that use architectural skills for beyond the scope of designing luxury condominiums for wealthy clients. For prospective architects (and current ones), below are examples of firms that may not be what one initially imagines to do with their degree, but a taste of the potential of what they can.
The recently shortlisted nominee of the 2018 Turner Prize, Forensic Architecture, is a group based at Goldsmiths University of London that utilizes graphics software and spatial knowledge to analyze conflict-stricken regions. While many of the members are trained in architecture, the team only broadly uses architectural tools as a means of investigation. By stitching together photographs, videos, and audio recordings procured from citizen journalists and professionals, the team worked to develop the three-dimensional depiction of the bombardment in the 2014 Israel-Gaza war. Investigations like this, and more, have been utilized to aid Amnesty International and the United Nations in visualizing and analyzing conflict zones.
In this instance, architecture is engaging directly with world affairs and policy. Certainly, infrastructure can affect urban conditions and contribute to socioeconomic change, however, architects - to an extent - are taught that by building community centers and housing prototypes, they will revitalize cities. These positive intentions, many times, result in high budget projects and low measurable impact. This calls for architects to critique the degree to which they are actually making a change in their respective environments.
A non-profit organization, Emergency Architecture & Human Rights, based in Copenhagen, produces architecture for people in need-based regions in accordance with the UN Human Rights and Sustainable Development Goals. In this case, architecture is now a response to an exigent social circumstance. Design is not simply appreciated, but rather it becomes a solution that is demanded. In contrast to the cycles of the proposing and critiquing of existing architectural manifestos that elaborate on extensive solutions to solve housing crises, perhaps architects should simply consider changing one small-scale condition at a time.
Architecture-trained innovator Daan Roosegaarde, whose firm he calls a “social design lab”, produces installations and urban design projects that enhance, alter, and change our view of public space. In Studio Roosegaarde's hands, architecture is investigative and paradigm-changing, rather than passive products subject to the whims of clients and the economy. Not only is can design directly influence the environment and people, but it inherently has a purpose of social change 0 all through beautification and social change.
This is not, by any means, to suggest that every design must have an altruistic or humanitarian purpose, but rather to display the extents of the architectural thinking in other applications. This is to recognize that design solutions do not have to be limited to a material exploration or an innovative structural study, but instead, the way that architects view the world can become a tool in itself.
From Vitruvius to Brunelleschi, these architects were artists and scientists and mathematicians and leaders whose diverse knowledge is now being traded off by education systems who want to specialize in creating the “Architect”. Have we forgotten to explore the world in our quest for creating autonomous buildings? We need schools and architecture communities to recognize and develop projects beyond the scope of designing a building, and recognize the skills to become multifaceted designers.
On October 1, 1908, Ford launched its first model car in the American market, the Ford T, starting the automotive industry and establishing new paths for industrialization. Inspired by the manufacturing systems of weapons and sewing machines, in 1913, Henry Ford revolutionized production with the first moving assembly line to produce the Model T; a simple, safe, reliable and cheap car.
The price decreased over time as production became more efficient. The Model T cost $850 in its first year and, as the manufacturing process became more efficient, it decreased to $290 in 1927, the last year it was produced. Industrialization led to optimized costs, time, and logistics.
Similar to the automotive industry, the construction market moves large amounts of capital, with large investments, incentives, and the need to employ a great number of people in its productive chain. Despite this, the use of technology and serialized production did not evolve in the same way. In architecture, industrialized materials represent only a limited amount of what is made, and many times it is restricted to specific cases. However, it is important to highlight some efforts in this direction. For instance, with the use of pre-fabricated components, it usually means better conditions on the construction site and the ability to save time, materials, and money.
The approaching industrialization of building construction was also a concern in Walter Gropius’ writings, who, in the 1929 Bauhaus manifesto, said:
These days, 90% of the population doesn’t consider ordering custom-made shoes and making use of serialized products as a consequence of improved manufacturing method. In the future, an individual will be able to order his or her home from a factory. Perhaps modern techniques are up to the task, but the economic organization in construction is not, still reliant on manual labor and restricted to machines. The rational remodeling of construction organization, in its industrial sense, is, therefore, an imperative condition for the modern solution of this important issue.
In Europe, the use of prefabricated components increased during Post-World War II reconstruction. A time in which the sector saw great development, establishing itself as a widely used method in construction. It reached America a couple of years later where it finally found its place in the construction of skyscrapers.
In Brazil, some architects made remarkable efforts to include industrialized processes into the production of their work. Not only with proposals that made use of prefabrication, but also considering industrial techniques to think of the work: such as planning the construction site, the scheduling and strict execution of the steps, mechanizing tasks and giving special attention to how to manage site and labor. These professionals helped to leverage technical and productive knowledge in construction.
At the beginning of his career, architect João Figueiras Lima, known as Lelé, worked with masters of Brazilian architecture during the construction of Brasília. After working with Oscar Niemeyer on a couple of projects, Lelé began to focus on the constructive efficiency of his work.
He proposed strategies to make construction more sustainable and organized, as well as faster and cleaner. Throughout his career, he made use of prefabricated systems of reinforced and pre-stressed concrete, and self-supporting components made of mortar. In the late 1970s, Lelé also implemented a light steel system in his factories in Salvador, which later became a research and technology development center for construction efficiency. Lelé is considered a Brazilian master and has inspired following generations to consider this process in their works.
Modulation and prefabrication are also present in the works of other leading Brazilian architects. Paulo Mendes da Rocha, for example, launched a residential building typology in the 1960s that made use of the material expressiveness of concrete. The first of these buildings is Edifício Guaimbê, which represents an allegory between industrialization and the technological limitations that often prevented a strict project execution. The original design, made together with João Eduardo de Gennaro, displays slabs, brick, and other prefabricated elements, but, after the construction began, these solutions proved unfeasible. In a 1967 edition, Acrópole published an article that attributed this impossibility to technical limitations.
Despite this experience, Mendes da Rocha was involved in later projects that used this process, such as the Zezinho Magalhães Prado Social Housing (in collaboration with Villanova Artigas and Fábio Penteado) and the Butantã House, among others.
Another primary figure is Eduardo de Almeida. In his renowned projects, the architect has combined constructive systems available in Brazil with technologies that were being developed in other countries. For example, his project for the offices of the metallurgical company Morlan, in Sao Paulo, combines a reinforced concrete structure with a space framed roof developed by the German company MERO, which produces independent parts articulated by fittings.
Contemporary production has certainly been inspired by previous masters of Brazilian architecture. Some works that highlight the potential of prefabricated systems are Estúdio Madalena by Apiacás Arquitetos, a building made from a steel structure and prefabricated concrete boards. Another recent project is the New Triangle House by Metro Arquitetos Associados, which was built of cement, polycarbonate boards, and expanded steel sheet panels, all industrially produced.
Be it the automotive or architecture industry, industrialization is an economic factor that has a great ability to imbue quality to its finished products and constructive processes. While the Model T highlighted this in a symbolic and definitive way in 1908, architecture and construction are still searching to leave their mark.
Ford Model T Page, from Wikipedia available here; GUERRA, Abílio; MARQUES, André. João Filgueiras Lima, ecologia e racionalização. Vitruvius, 16 jun, 2015. BREYTON, Ugo. O emprego de estruturas metálicas tri-dimensionais em quatro projetos de Eduardo de Almeida. Pesquisa de Iniciação Científica, Escola da Cidade, São Paulo 2017.
After creating the perfect sketchbook, Architools is back with a minimalist notebook made for designers and architects alike. The project is now raising funds on Kickstarter, and aims to bring a subtle elegance to the humble notebook. Named the Dérive, or “drift” in French, the notebook embodies qualities of wanderlust and sensory exploration. Featuring refined materials and design, it was made to inspire the next project or adventure.
Dérive is inspired by the idea of "a technique of rapid passage through varied ambiances.” This unscripted wandering through the urban terrain sees participants disregard their usual routines, and "let themselves be drawn by the attractions of the terrain and the encounters they find there". Dérive features lay-flat binding for double-page sketching or scanning, opening into a clean A4 canvas. The smyth-sewn binding takes a step up from previous notebooks with a higher signature-to-page ratio for a stronger and more intricate bind. The design also includes gilded edges and colors in both a rose gold or copper edge option.
The minimalist notebook features 100 pages of 80gsm cream paper that is friendly to fountain pens, fineliners, and most markers. On the front and back, 2 layers of 350gsm card come together to form a sturdy cover that doubles up as a folder for loose papers and receipts. It also includes a 12-month planner designed to be concise and easy to use. Individual date numbers are self-fill, so that your planner is relevant for any year.
Shanghai-based JYOM Architecture and GBL Architects have released new renderings of 601 Beach Crescent, the 'Gateway Tower' counterpart to Bjarke Ingels Group's Vancouver House project. As the Daily Hive reports, developer Pinnacle International recently submitted its formal rezoning application to develop the vacant site on the north end of the Granville Street Bridge in downtown Vancouver. Conceptually, the tower was designed to replicate the motions of the dancing female form.
On the other side of the bridge deck from Vancouver House, the 601 Beach Crescent tower will rise 535 feet across 54 floors. There will be 455 homes; 303 will be market residential units, while 152 social housing units will be created within the tower's base. Formed with a mix of studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three bedroom units, the project will include outdoor amenity terraces on the third, seventh, and eighth levels. The base with feature a 20,000 sq ft podium of commercial space. The site has been slated by the city for a landmark tower to create a gateway into the city from Granville Street Bridge. Th municipal government sold the property to Pinnacle for $20 million in 2016.
Aiming to create a new retail district alongside Vancouver House, the podium massing take its shape as a response to the site context and a desire to create a more vibrant public realm along Rolston. Formally, the project was inspired by movement and dance. As the designers state, "The ‘Dress’, an essential part of creating movement and dynamic gestures in dance, is expressed in the facade design through both graceful and strong details. The design simultaneously complements, contrasts and poses with its counterpart, the Vancouver House, to create a landmark gateway. The forms are sculpted and poised, and by creating smooth, undulating curves, one finds a duality of form – elegant, graceful, yet powerful and strong.”
While the construction schedule for 601 Beach Crescent has yet to be released, BIG's Vancouver House is already under construction and slated for completion early next year.
SLICE consists of a layered module of functional plugins, combined to create basic spatial configurations. In tandem with the design of SLICE’s spatial profile, Shanghai-based Sehat has proposed a shared, on-demand digital service for module rental, maintenance, and payment.
The colorful modules address key living requirements, with components for showers, toilets, kitchens, workstations, and sleeping. Fenestrations in modules, as well as empty “gap” components, allow for customization based on user needs, or spatial constraints.
SLICE units are booked and accessed using the digital interface, with a deposit required for first-time users, and payment calculated based on “usage time, configuration of modules, and usage of utilities.” The service also enables users to report defected modules for replacement.
Observable trends like gig economy and increasing urbanization is fueling the creation of services that are shared on-demand and connected. Existing mobility services like mobike or pay-as-you-go co working services like nakedHub Go are good examples that are enhancing and reconstructing city life and work in Chinese cities. People tend to own less properties, less belongings, less bikes and even less devices and use sharing services. We are nearing a future where new solutions for living and working spaces are needed. -Nasim Sehat, Designer, SLICE
How does the built environment--whether fictitious or entirely founded in reality--impact how we experience and process film? From lesser-known indies to blockbuster movies, the ways in which architecture and the built environment inform everything from scene and setting, to dialogue and character development has far-reaching effects on the audience’s cinematic experience. Below, a roundup of everything from recent releases to classic cinephile favorites uncovers the myriad ways in which film utilizes architecture as a means of achieving a more authentic and all-encompassing form of storytelling.
1. Blade Runner 2049 (2017), directed by Denis Villeneuve
Villeneuve’s sequel to the original 1982 neo-noir sci-fi classic transforms Ridley Scott’s eerie vision of future Los Angeles into an even more dire, environmentally-ravaged megalopolis. As the movie journeys across desolate landscapes and unfamiliar, crowded cityscapes, closer inspection renders Villeneuve’s vision perhaps not entirely implausible. From nods to brutalist and modernist-style architecture, to the marriage of Eastern and Western-style iconography, Villeneuve’s richly layered landscape imbues the fictitious narrative with an underlying sense of familiarity. In an increasingly globalizing world, who’s to say future cities won’t evolve to be as aesthetically varied and physically sprawling?
2. Dark Knight (2008), directed by Christopher Nolan
Nolan’s twisted and psychologically thrilling Dark Knight trilogy was a turning point for the standard superhero movie, which tends to rely on action-packed tropes and special effects in place of rich dialogue or nuanced character development. Nolan’s decision to set the fictitious Gotham City against the backdrop of Chicago rather than some speculative, futurist dimension only lent the series further emotional depth and believability. It is through the visually varied backdrop of Chicago’s modernist skyscrapers, Art Deco structures and brutalist buildings that the drama and action unfolds. Chase scenes and covert operations even pan out across the city’s subterranean depths, from sewers to multi-layered highways and underground tunnels. As Nolan investigates the iconic dynamic between Batman and the Joker, Chicago unfolds dizzyingly across vertical and horizontal planes, heightening the stakes and complexity of the conflict.
3. Black Panther (2018), directed by Ryan Coogler
Coogler’s blockbuster superhero hit Black Panther primarily takes place in the fictional East African nation of Wakanda. Unlike most superhero movies, which stage action sequences against the backdrop of glittering towers and compact, urban environments, Wakanda reflects a culturally rich and environmentally-aware built environment. Urban density ranges from high-rises to mid-rises and more human-scale architecture, with Wakandans primarily navigating the city by foot or public transportation--an urbanist planner’s ultimate dream. Ample greenery is incorporated throughout as well, and a fusion of traditional African building styles, such as thatched roofs, alongside more contemporary building typologies lend the city a tactile, aesthetic richness. Production designer Hannah Beachler has cited Zaha Hadid (and Buckingham Palace) as inspirations behind the sinuous and voluptuous forms that breath life into this afrofuturist cityscape.
4. Lost in Translation (2003), directed by Sofia Coppola
Coppola’s critically acclaimed Lost in Translation interprets Tokyo’s overwhelming urban schema through the gaze of two visiting, American foreigners. As a result, Coppola’s version of the megalopolis and its inhabitants, perhaps unsurprisingly, is both alienating and alluring; visually overwhelming and hypermodern yet nostalgic. As a cacophony of visual and cultural contradictions unfold across this urban landscape, the interpersonal complexities of Coppola’s two protagonists reveal themselves as well. It is against this exoticized urban backdrop that the director explores intimacy in its most unnerving and ungarnished forms, leading viewers to question what becomes of the people--and places--we leave behind.
Kogonada’s directorial debut posits the sleepy town of Columbus, Indiana as a central character that infuses each scene with emotionally-informed visual cues. The film navigates the strained relationships that exist between a son and his ailing father, an architectural historian, and a burgeoning architecture aficionado and her mother, who is a recovering addict. As the tensions and frustrations unfold between these fraught parent-child relationships, the two protagonists find solace in one another and in the stoic silence of their modernist surroundings. Columbus may be an unexpected location for a mid-century modernist mecca, but the humble and honest structures designed by the Saarinens, I.M. Pei, Robert Venturi, Cesar Pelli, Richard Meier and more that pervade throughout the midwestern city lend Columbus as quiet might--a fitting backdrop for a story about the intimate processes of personal loss, rebirth and human connection.
Text description provided by the architects. Restaurant AQUA LUNA is currently located in Andrejsala. The mobile building is a light timber structure and as such it can be easily relocated. The simple formed building is characterised by the façade finish – white diagonal planking and finely split, untreated wooden segments in the frontal façade.
There are 3 main zones – bar, lounge and restaurant. The light and simple interior finishes serve as a background for large scale design elements – trees in metal pots, wickerwork lamps, tall solid wood tables and benches with metal legs, huge leather corner sofas, DJ furniture, long bar counter and shelves behind it. A large fireplace, dividing curtains and restaurant accessories in the shelves ensure warm and cosy atmosphere while details like the mirrors with brass frames, metal and glass lamps, cast iron radiators, shelf ladders, and a glass bar emanate style and elegance. Most of the furniture and design elements are made in Latvia.
The terrace design is done in the same style as the interior, taking “apple tree garden” as the keyword of the concept. The main element of the terrace is the illuminated bar counter made of timber planks with a metal pyramid for bottles in the centre. Shelves in the façade are used for growing green walls that augment the unique atmosphere.
London’s Wapping Hydraulic Power Station is transformed into a multifaceted exploration of post-Soviet identity for the groundbreaking Focus-Kazakhstan exhibition series, featuring 32 established and emerging artists. The first major traveling exhibition of Kazakh art will be on display in this form through October 16th before moving on to Germany, the United States and South Korea in altered forms.
First of all, that setting. It’s been a while since the historic power station was functional; it closed as a pumping station in 1977 and was re-opened as an arts center and restaurant in the early 1990s. Today, it’s an incredible venue setting contemporary art exhibits off against the structure’s original equipment in spaces like the Boiler House and the Engine House. It’s a beautiful glimpse into London’s industrial history, and a striking setting for this dramatic exhibition.
Focus Kazakstan: Post-nomadic Mind explores Kazakh’s rich tradition of art viewed through a series of dialogues between contemporary artists and artists from the past. Canvases, sculptures, large-scale installations and video works examine the nation’s art in an international context as well as the influence of Soviet power, before, during and after its reign. 32 contemporary artists are participating, but the work of 80 artists is on display.
“One can notice an obvious tendency to search and to find private and national identities through the prism of historical and mythological nomadism and its rapid disappearance,” reads the exhibition website. “The works will embody a certain element of questioning by the artists of the audience – about the role these viewers play – as subjects or objects of nationalism, traditionalism, consumerism, feminism, post colonialism, post-nomadism etc.”
“The chosen artists use a common language of post-modernism and work in techniques and media that are widely recognisable on the international art scene. However the subject matter addressed by the artists does not conform exclusively to post-modernism in art, or pure post-colonialism in theory, allowing us to propose a new term – post-nomadism.”
In order to explain projects and design decisions properly, architects must use often rely on creative representation techniques instead of words. It’s part of the job. The quality of drawings - simple, complex, or anything in between - is fundamental for the correct reception of the ideas. Digital media has enabled new ways of representation including animation and adding a new dimension in a single image: processes.
Animated gifs can provide the same amount of information in constructive terms as a section, program distribution as a diagram and main decisions as a master plan, while at the same time showing the progress and chronology of the project.
The following 30 projects use animated gifs as a tool to represent the design process, construction details, use of layers and interior spatial sequences.
Architecture and design practices Penda and Smartvoll have created a giant watermill for Austria's National Pavilion for EXPO 2020 in Dubai. ‘The Source of Everything’ was selected as a finalist in an international competition and marks the first collaboration between Penda Austria and Smartvoll. The project features a supersized mill that circulates water through the pavilion and brings an experience to the desert of Dubai that Austria is famous for: Refreshment.
“In my opinion, a pavilion at the Expo shouldn’t be a box that solely showcases products and companies. At its best, a pavilion offers a surprise, a fun time with a message and an adventurous exploration. By creating a lasting impression, it will connect the visitors personally to the values of a country and its culture.” says Philip Buxbaum, partner of Smartvoll.
As Penda and Smartvoll note, water shaped Austria and generates most of the country's energy. "In times when large companies are buying wells and pollution of rivers, lakes and oceans is on a all time high, the pavilion should be a statement to underline the importance that water is a public asset. Water is the source of life. It is the main designer of our environment." The pavilion lets visitors experience multiple stages of water by dancing in the rain. Austria’s wealth of water is conveyed as the key to the pavilion's identity. The pavilion offers a place of refreshment and portrays a land of revitalization for the body and the mind.
Dubai and Water
“Usually, the task of a building is to protect against weather. But once we started the process, we didn’t want to create an indoor space and fill it with air-conditioning to make it visitable. That’s not a sense of sustainability the Expo should stand for. We also didn’t want to close up the pavilion because it could rain one time per month. So we emphasised on the topic. Not only welcomes our pavilion the rain, it even produces it. Our building leaks, drops, vapors, steams and rains. In this sense the Austrian Pavilion is one large sprinkler that refreshes its visitors." -Chris Precht
The Austrian Pavilion is open to the sides to let wind flow through the wood structure. On the top of the pavilion, shades protect from direct sunlight. Between the structure, watermills slowly carry collected & clean Austrian rainwater to the top and drop by drop make it rain throughout the building – inviting people to interact, play and regenerate. On the entrance of the ramp, visitors gets an Austrian-colored umbrella that protects them from direct sunlight outside of the pavilion. After that, visitors line up in the shadow of the pavilion and experience the watermills turning from the outside.
Between the structure, visitors see other people interacting with the pavilion and its water. Once inside, visitors can decide the level of their refreshment: either using the umbrella, or experience the Austrian rainwater hands-on. Different zones of vapor, drops, steams and pouring rain provide a path through the pavilion. A large windmill on the back of the building provides a constant flow to the refreshing atmosphere. After the interaction with the water, visitors are guided to the lower floor where we picked up the sub theme of the Expo: ‘Connecting Minds’. All people are sent to a single large table where they can dry their clothes over a glass of water and a chat with fellow Expo visitors.
The very openness of the structure is an invitation by itself and makes it a symbol for Austria´s hospitality and culture. People from all over the word will come to the Pavilion to get refreshed, eat, drink and connect. The circulation of the mill – bringing water to the top, pouring it down and reusing it to pick it up again – is also the perfect embodiment of the water circulation itself. A life creating cycle that is the source of every thing. ‘The Source of Everything’ is a collaboration between PendaAustria and Smartvoll and is selected as a finalist in the international competition for the Austrian Pavilion at Expo 2020.
Facts and Fiction, Wolfgang Pauser
Chris Precht, Philip Buxbaum, Christian Kircher, Fei Tang Precht, Dietmar Jaehn, Robert Müller, Andreas Horbelt, Wolfgang Pauser, Thomas Vournazos (Stage 1)
Taking Postmodern ideas to high-contrast extremes, this set of nightclub-and-entertainment structures designed by MVRDV borrows from its surroundings, boiling area architecture down to white-and-gold shadows on peel-to-play facades.
Since neither core space of The Imprint needed natural light, the decision was made to create faux windows instead. These would reference the neighborhood in an abstract way, while the minimalist color palette and pulled-up zones would result in something distinctively contemporary. It would be easy to mock the effect, but (to be fair) as an entertainment complex, the idea is to grab attention.
Like raised curtains, areas that are pulled up from the street also clearly convey where entrances are, while multimedia screens just inside suggest what is going on is more exciting and worth looking into. “Reflection and theatricality are therefore combined,” explain the architects. “With our design, after the nightly escapades, a zen-like silence follows during the day, providing an almost literally reflective situation for the after parties.”
Windows, doors, and other elements mirror what’s all around. “By placing, as it were, surrounding buildings into the facades of our buildings and in the central plaza, we connect The Imprint with the neighbours,” explained Winy Maas, principal and co-founder of MVRDV. “This ensures coherence. Paradise City is not a collection of individual objects such as Las Vegas, but a real city.”
“Two months ago most of the cladding was done and client said, ‘this is an art piece’. What is interesting about that is that they are looking for that momentum – that entertainment can become art or that the building can become artistic in that way. What, then, is the difference between architecture an art? The project plays with that and I think that abstraction is part of it, but it has to surprise, seduce and it has to calm.”
Architecture firms Selgascano and FRPO have been selected to design Spain's National Pavilion for EXPO 2020 in Dubai. The winning proposal includes an inflatable canopy of nine yellow ETFE cylinders set within a steel framework. Reinterpreting the Spanish plaza, the design creates a new take on the public square. The pavilion was made to be ultralight as a more sustainable structure that could be easily removed and transported. Formed as a 'breathing pavilion', the design allows two inflatables to move up and down to respond to views, light and breeze.
The Spanish Pavilion aims to be an icon that captivates the interest of visitors and offers an unexpected experience and surprising image. Focusing on experience, the designers hoped to reinforce an image of Spain as an innovative and creative country. Reinterpreting a typical Spanish plaza, the project includes an elevated square underneath inflatables with room for diverse programming and installations. The shaded space is made to adapt to the climate of Dubai with natural thermal conditioning. Underneath, a matrix of large fans will move air to accompany the gentle breeze generated by natural convection.
The pavilion builds on the idea of the Spanish square by rethinking its historic link to water. As the designers state, the pavilion design acknowledges, "water contained, conducted and recirculated; never wasted. The Plaza is marked with three areas of native vegetation and moving water that act as a small oasis. These three zones help temper the heat and act as a source of shade and life." The project will also include a restaurant and tapas bar for leisure and relaxation.
At its core, bathrooms, stairs, elevators and offices will be grouped together. The terrace of the tapas bar will merge with the square to allow different programs to take place. This is a space that mixes gastronomic experience with spatial and sensory stimuli, not unlike squares and famous steps across cities in Spain. The roof of the restaurant pavilion is accessible through a spiral staircase. Here, a bar serves the space and opens up to views over the entire Plaza del Pabellón. It is made as a place to relax, observe and rest. Under the square, space is given to the entire program of exhibitions and services required in the bases while using the minimum surface area necessary.
The visitors' route begins with a gentle ascent to the Plaza that leads to a patio-garden inside the Pavilion. The first phase of the visitor experience and show takes place on the ramp that descends from the Plaza around from the first garden and flows into a shaded space. Here, an audiovisual projection will be along the perimeter and can follow the form of a vault. At the end of the route the visitor goes to the Exposition Gallery, which lets in natural light with a second landscaped patio and lets in water, which can be closed or opened according to the needs of the exhibition space. The exit of the gallery leads to the store, and leaving the store, the tour ends in the third garden. Here, a multipurpose area and large spiral staircase leads back to the plaza. All the exhibition program is resolved in a single level.
The structural system of the building is divided into 2 subsystems at the height of the main square: The roof subsystem (above) and the slab subsystem (below, including the plaza itself). For the slab subsystem, a mixed system has been developed using cylindrical steel pillars and curved steel beams. In this system, four main features stand out: ease of assembly and disassembly, flexibility of forms, carrying capacity and lightness. The structural roof subsystem is directly linked to the type of inflatable roof designed in the project. A network of cables has been created at different heights that are anchored along the perimeter of the building. For those pillars where it is not possible to connect with the larger framework, a bracing system has been created with individual cable-stays.
The pavilion is designed to emit zero emissions with the help of 1,000 square meters of rooftop photo-voltaic panels. In turn, the design team designed the inflatable deck with more than 80% certified recycled material. The ultralight pavilion aims to be a more sustainable structure that could be easily removed and transported as it takes on other lives after the EXPO.
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