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  • Sukkah City: NYC 2010

    12 radically temporary structures will be built in New York's Union Square Park this September.

    Biblical in origin, the sukkah is an ephemeral, elemental shelter, erected for one week each autumn, in which it is customary to share meals, entertain, sleep, and rejoice.

    The sukkah's religious function is to commemorate the temporary structures that the Israelites dwelled in during their exodus from Egypt, but it is also about universal ideas of transience and permanence as expressed in architecture. The sukkah is a means of ceremonially practicing homelessness, while at the same time remaining deeply rooted. It calls on us to acknowledge the changing of the seasons, to reconnect with an agricultural past, and to take a moment to dwell on--and dwell in--impermanence.

    Sukkah City: NYC will re-imagine this ancient phenomenon, develop new methods and propose radical possibilities for traditional design constraints in a contemporary urban site. Twelve finalists will be selected by a panel of architects, designers, and critics to be constructed in Union Square Park from September 19-21, 2010.
    Sukkah city
    One structure will be chosen by New Yorkers to stand and delight throughout the week-long festival of Sukkot as the Official Sukkah of New York City. The process and results of the competition, along with construction documentation and critical essays, will be published in the book "Sukkah City: Radically Temporary Architecture for the Next Three Thousand Years."

    If you plan to be in New York in September this is well worth a visit and it's certainly something that is off the usual tourist grid!

  • Living Pavilion

    Ann Ha and Behrang Behin are the winners of the first annual pavilion competition with their Living Pavilion.
    Living Pavilion
    Living Pavilion is the result of an international design competition to design and build a pavilion as a central, temporary gathering place on Upper New York Bay's Governors Island. The competition is unique in that it asked designers to consider the full lifecycle of their proposals. With as little environmental impact as possible, considerations included the sourcing, materials, placement, de-installation, and the future of the pavilion once the summer has ended.
    Living Pavilion
    Living Pavilion is a low-tech, zero-impact structure that employs reclaimed milk crates as the framework for growing a planted green wall surface. The pavilion’s construction is simple and modular, relying on common materials such as heavy-duty packaging straps and weather-treated wood for its assembly. Erected in the courtyard of Liggett Hall for Governors Island’s summer season, the pavilion will provide refuge from the heat in a shaded environment kept cool by the evaporation from its planted surfaces. As the pavilion’s vaulted form meets the ground, it unfolds into a mat of crates planted with crops that can be harvested and distributed to the community. At the end of the season, its modular design will allow easy disassembly and distribution to the New York area for use in homes, public places, and community gardens.
    Living Pavilion
    The competition was organised by FIGMENT, the Emerging New York Architect Committee (ENYA) of the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter (AIANY), and the Structural Engineers Association of New York (SEAoNY).

    The project will be assembled on Governors Island this spring, and will be open to the public from June 6th until October 3rd 2010.

  • The Pritzker Architecture Prize 2010

    Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa

    Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa

    Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa, partners in the architectural firm, SANAA, have been chosen as the 2010 Laureates of the Pritzker Architecture Prize.

    The purpose of the Pritzker Architecture Prize is to honour annually a living architect whose built work demonstrates a combination of those qualities of talent, vision and commitment, which has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity and the built environment through the art of architecture.
    SANAA designed building
    Pritzker Prize jury chairman, Lord Palumbo, quoted from the jury citation to focus on this year’s selection:

    “For architecture that is simultaneously delicate and powerful, precise and fluid, ingenious but not overly or overtly clever; for the creation of buildings that successfully interact with their contexts and the activities they contain, creating a sense of fullness and experiential richness; for a singular architectural language that springs from a collaborative process that is both unique and inspirational; for their notable completed buildings and the promise of new projects together, Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa are the recipients of the 2010 Pritzker Architecture Prize.”

    SANAA designed building

    While most of their work is in Japan, Sejima and Nishizawa have designed projects in Germany, England, Spain, France, the Netherlands and the United States, under their combined name SANAA.

  • David Chipperfield - Form Matters

    Design Museum London

    chipperfield designOne of the most important architects working today, David Chipperfield produces subtle and sophisticated buildings with an acute sensitivity for materials and a powerful awareness of their environment. This major exhibition celebrates his work for the first time in the UK and spans his entire career to date, including such acclaimed projects as the River and Rowing Museum in Henley-on-Thames, and the Museum of Modern Literature in Marbach, Germany, winner of the RIBA Stirling Prize for Architecture 2007. The exhibition also illustrates important public commissions including the reconstruction of the Neues Museum in Berlin, and The Hepworth Wakefield gallery.

    This detailed survey examines a range of projects through new and archive models, sketches, drawings, photographs and film. A major component of the exhibition focuses on Chipperfield’s most complex project to date, the ten year reconstruction of the Neues Museum in Berlin, which was bombed during the Second World War and subjected to decades of neglect. The project is like nothing previously undertaken in its attitude to history, and its attempt to make something new out of the old has succeeded in producing a landmark building, not only for Berlin but for museum architecture as a whole.

    After studying at Kingston University and the Architectural Association, and working at the practices of both Richard Rogers and Norman Foster, David Chipperfield established his own practice - David Chipperfield Architects - in 1984. Unprepared to compromise with the commercial developers of the 80s, Chipperfield looked beyond Britain to mainland Europe, where he could see himself as part of a group of architects who brought a seriousness and intellectual ambition to their work that went beyond stylistics or mannerism. David Chipperfield Architects is today a substantial international practice with projects across Europe, as well as in China, Japan, the USA and Mexico.

    As David Chipperfield’s practice has grown and matured, he has developed his own distinctive voice. His buildings often combine a variety of materials to create beauty and meaning with appealing clarity. Buildings that subtly inspire without spectacle or fanfare.

    21 October 2009 – 31 January 2010

  • Inspiring Design

    Druk White Lotus SchoolArup Associates has won the award for "Inspiring Design" for the Druk White Lotus School they have built in Ladakh Northern India. The award is granted by The British Council for School Environments.

    The project was instigated by HH The Dalai Lama as a model school in The Himalayas. It is a non-denominational school working from a wholly sustainable campus that has succeeded in making the best of new environmental technology and local skills.

    Arus Associates' focus is an approach to design that sustains all components of humanity: in essence, development that concerns itself with 'whole life' sustainability.

    They are not simply interested in reducing energy consumption. They believe the real issue is how human culture - tradition, religion, the intangible components of humanity - can be sustained in the face of modernity. They believe that it is essential for architects and engineers to work in ways that prioritize individuals, sustaining a sense of local identity both in terms of culture and the environment, through a reprioritization of the importance of human experience, including the senses and memory. The aim is a process of ‘whole life sustainability’ that places people first, and that enhances the existing value systems found within in different locations, rather than creating modernist models that expect people, cities and places around the world to behave in identical ways.

    In contrast to conventional ways of working, the Druk White Lotus project is founded in traditional values and cultures and yet at the same time seeks to advance educational needs in the context of the 21st century. The unusual collaborative approach defined by Arus Associates' strategy of unified design allows each of the advocates to find their voice, and allows seamless integration of the parts into the whole, without fear of inappropriate influence by an externally imposed architectural vision. The project is a model of sustainability: not only in the obvious sense, but more importantly, in the sense that traditional cultural values, spirituality and materials are maintained.

    The development naturally uses every available strategy to ensure a reduction of resource consumption. Yet the notion of ‘whole-life sustainability’, reaches far beyond issues of energy. Through the strategy of unified design, Arup Associates have demonstrated sensitivity to unique cultural and spiritual values, and have fostered them within a timeless design approach that respects and sustains their value indefinitely.

    His Holiness the Dalai Lama was moved by the outcome. “…The idea of having a modern school which lays equal emphasis on the importance of preserving the valuable aspects of a traditional culture is very encouraging,” he commented. “I have always believed in giving equal importance to both modern, scientific knowledge and traditional Buddhist Culture".

  • Learning from Nature

    Learning From NatureSelf-cleaning surfaces, phase changing materials and built-in sensors that generate energy from the footsteps of the visitors. The 3XN pavilion ‘Learning from Nature’ unites the most advanced technologies and intelligent materials in a preview of the innovative architectural design of tomorrow.

    The Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark invited the Danish architecture firm 3XN to design a pavilion demonstrating cutting edge possibilities within sustainable and intelligent materials. The result is a pavilion that is built of bio composites with integrated intelligence that creates a dynamic interaction with its physical surroundings and its users.

    Everything about the pavilion is literally inspired by nature itself: The biological cycle of nature is the fundamental basis for the shape, the materials and the dynamic energy generation. The pavilion is shaped as a Moebius band to symbolize the biological cycle; and the properties of the construction are very like those of nature – for example, the pavilion has a coating of nanoparticles that helps clean the surfaces and clean the air. Additionally, the pavilion is built of biodegradable materials; and as for energy, the pavilion is 100 percent self-sufficient.

    Kim Herforth Nielsen, Principal of 3XN, comments on the project: "The Pavilion has given us the opportunity to showcase the possibilities which exist in building with sustainable and intelligent materials. Our objective has been to show that Green Architecture can be dynamic and active. We often think that we need to minimize use of resources at all costs. Instead of focusing on consuming the least amount of energy, we need to focus on producing and using energy and materials in a more intelligent way than is the case today."

    'Learning from Nature' can be seen at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark, until October 2009.

  • Remembering Jan Kaplický - Architect of the Future

    Design Museum, London. 1 July - 1 November 2009

    Jan KaplickyJan Kaplický, who died earlier this year aged 71, was the Czech architect responsible for some of the most remarkable buildings that Britain has ever seen. This exhibition curated by Deyan Sudjic will celebrate Kaplický’s career, his influences and unique futuristic vision for building design.

    Kaplický was the driving force behind a new school of architecture and his buildings continue to stimulate, amaze and inspire. Kaplický pushed against the status quo, offering a unique personal vision. This exhibition celebrates the work of a gifted architect and designer.

    Arriving in London as a refugee after the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, Kaplický worked with Denys Lasdun, Richard Rogers and Norman Foster. He established Future Systems with David Nixon in 1979 which worked initially as a kind of think tank. Astonishing drawings and plans for robot built structures spinning in earth’s orbit, weekend houses in the guise of space age survival pods and malleable interiors were just some of Kaplický’s visions.

    Amanda Levete joined Future Systems in 1989, and together Kaplický and Levete began to build some of the practice's best known work. In 1994 Future Systems designed the Stirling Prize winning media centre at Lord's Cricket Ground and in 1999 designed the Selfridges department store in Birmingham, a sensuous iceberg like building that would win the 2004 RIBA Award for Architecture.

    Deyan Sudjic comments “Jan was a remarkable architect, and a brilliant artist. We can only now begin to understand his impact on the shape of the contemporary world”.

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