The journal of the american institute of architects
Community-Led Group Takes Action to Restore Neighborhood in Athens
Due to Greece's ongoing financial crisis, historic neighborhoods in the city of Athens have been left to crumble. Now, a community-led group called Communitism hopes to help the city's historic, derelict buildings regain their former prestige through restoration efforts—starting with the Metaxourgeio neighborhood, a once thriving area of Athens that is now labeled as neglected and unsafe. Made up of volunteers, community artists, and activists, the group's aim is to "[bring] long-term residents together with groups including craftspeople and refugee-support volunteers to make sure that buildings in the area are saved and put to good use," according to a CityLab article.
Designed by London-based firm Foster + Partners and local firm Heller Manus Architects, Oceanwide Center contains two towers: one topping out at 54 stories, another at 61 stories. The former is shooting for LEED Gold certification, while the latter is designed to achieve LEED Platinum. The project will also include 26,000 square feet of public space.
"I have always had a great fascination for San Francisco—a city with a youthful spirit has allowed it to constantly reinvent itself, yet retain a unique sense of urbanity," said Foster + Partners executive chairman and founder, Norman Foster, Hon. FAIA, in a press release. "The Oceanwide Center encapsulates that essence—it is a pioneering example that combines spaces to live and work with a vibrant public realm in the heart of the city."
The Chicago-based firm headed by Jeanne Gang, FAIA, has been selected to design the expansion for the Arkansas Arts Center in Little Rock. Studio Gang Architects won the commission over four other finalists: Allied Works Architecture, Shigeru Ban Architects, Thomas Phifer and Partners, and Snøhetta.
The center's executive director writes: "Our selection committee felt Studio Gang was the best fit for the project, due to the firm’s elegant and smart approach to architecture, their understanding of the issues posed by the AAC’s current facility, their vision for the center as a cultural beacon for Central Arkansas and their commitment to sustainability and strength as urban planners."
Today the Harvard Graduate School of Design opened applications for the 2017 round of the $100,000 Wheelwright Prize. Open to U.S.–based and international applicants, the annual prize funds travel research for young designers that have graduated from an accredited architecture program in the last 15 years. According to a press release: "Applicants will be judged on the quality of their design work, scholarly accomplishments, originality and persuasiveness of their research proposal, and evidence of ability to fulfill the proposed project." Applications are due January 31, 2017.
The Progressive Architecture (P/A) Awards have often served as barometers of the profession, as architects submitting their on-the-boards projects give the field a glimpse of what's ahead. Here, ARCHITECT takes a look at a selection of past winners of P/A Awards over the last decade to gauge how proposals for living have evolved.
Click through the linked project names below to see more images and information for each past P/A winner in ARCHITECT's Project Gallery.
2009 P/A Award Porchscapes, Fayetteville, Ark. University of Arkansas Community Design Center
The AIA’s monthly Architecture Billings Index (ABI) closed the month of August with a score of 49.7, down from the 51.5 reported in July, the Institute announced today. The result, just below the 50-point threshold separating growth in the market and contraction, put an end to a seven-month growth streak that began in February. The ABI is a leading economic indicator of construction activity in the U.S., and reflects a nine- to 12-month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending nationally and regionally as well as by project type. A score above 50 represents an increase in billings from the previous month, while a score under 50, like this month, represents a contraction.
In contrast to the overall national contraction, however, architecture companies did report noticeable growths in both project inquiries and the signing of new design contracts. The new project inquiry index soared to a 13-month high of 61.8 in August, 4.3 points higher than was seen in July, while the design contracts index continued its second-consecutive month of growth to 52.7.
“This is only the second month this year where demand for architectural services has declined and it is only by a fraction of a point,” AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, said in a statement. “Given the solid numbers for new design contracts and project inquiries, it doesn’t appear that this is the beginning of a broader downturn in the design and construction industry."
Regional markets posted lackluster results in August, with billings in only two out of four markets growing in August. (This is the same as we saw in July, but with growth slower and contraction steeper.) The Midwest was the lone state that witnessed an increase in its billings score, from 50.8 to 52.8 in August, while the South declined to 55.2 but remained in positive territory. Billings in the West and Northeast continued to contract to 49.0 and 44.9, respectively. (Unlike the national indexes mentioned above, the regional category are calculated as a three-month moving average.)
The mixed practice sector had the best August, with billings rising to 51.8 from 51.1 in July. Billings in both commercial/industrial and institutional took a notch up to 50.8 and 50.7, respectively. Multifamily residential cooled off in August with a 11-month low of 50.9, but growth remained. (Results of the sector category are also calculated as a moving average of the past three months.)
Using a 3D-printing process called microstereolithography, researchers at MIT, in collaboration with Singapore University of Technology and Design, have created small structures that respond to temperature while remembering their original shape. Printed with a polymer mix that hardens or softens with temperature, the objects can be contorted, yet return to their initial shape. Applications for the technology include medicine, aerospace engineering, and even pharmaceuticals. “We ultimately want to use body temperature as a trigger,” says Nicholas Fang, associate professor of mechanical engineering at MIT. “If we can design these polymers properly, we may be able to form a drug delivery device that will only release medicine at the sign of a fever.” [Engadget + MIT News]
Making the best of an invasive plant species, visual artist Olafur K invented a sustainable material made of cane and bio resin. [Olafur K]
Artist and writer Ingrid Burrington's book Networks of New York (Melville House, 2016) delves into the often-unseen world of internet infrastructure. [CityLab]
Chicago has installed the first two of ultimately 500 sensor boxes that will act as a makeshift fitness tracker for urban environments, monitoring noise levels, air quality, and both automobile and pedestrian traffic. [USA Today]
A team of six researchers—including one architecture Ph.D. student— has emerged from a year-long simulation of life on Mars, which took place inside an isolated 1,200-square-foot dome in Hawaii's lava fields. [NASA]
A concept design for responsive headgear, ear coverings, and respirators protect users from physical harm before it happens. [Core77]
The annual Summer Block Party installation at the National Building Museum (NBM), designed this year by New York–based James Corner Field Operations, closes on Sept. 5, but the Washington, D.C.–based institution is already at work on the immersive temporary exhibit that will grace its massive Great Hall next summer. Today, the museum announced that Chicago-based Studio Gang Architects, led by MacArthur Fellow Jeanne Gang, FAIA, will do the honors of designing the summer 2017 iteration.
“We are delighted to embark on a new collaboration with Studio Gang over the next year,” said NBM executive director Chase Rynd in a press release. “With their creativity and impeccable design credentials, they are poised to re-imagine the possibilities of this series.”
This isn't the first collaboration between the firm and the museum. In 2010, Gang was an adviser on the NBM's "Intelligent Cities" project, following her 2009 lecture for the institution's "Women of Architecture" lecture series. Additionally, in 2003, a translucent, marble curtain-inspired installation designed by Gang was suspended in tension at the museum for its "Masonry Variations" exhibition.
Studio Gang has yet to release details as to what its NBM installation will entail, but its predecessors have set a strong precedent for a project that is immersive, interactive, and just plain fun.
The 2016 version, "Icebergs" (top image) brought a field of 30 prismatic, polycarbonate shards to the museum's internal atrium, a commentary on rising sea levels and other effects of climate change. That followed New York firm Snarkitecture's 2015 "The Beach" (above), a shore-inspired pit of roughly one million translucent plastic balls encouraging kids and grown-ups alike to jump in. And in 2014, the Denmark and New York–based Bjarke Ingels Group kicked off the Summer Block Party installation series with its 60-foot "BIG Maze" (below), whose sloping walls revealed labyrinthine paths as visitors traversed further inward.
Practicing architect and educator David Ruy has been picked to lead SCI-Arc’s new Edge Center for Advanced Studies in Architecture. The post-graduate program will launch this fall offering one-year, graduate-level degrees in four emerging areas within architecture and design: architectural technologies, entertainment and fiction, the design of cities, and design theory and pedagogy.
“The scope of what an architect can do is expanding like never before,” Ruy said in a press release. “Today, architecture is simultaneously becoming more specialized in its expertise and more diverse in its applications. It requires programs of advanced study that can be more targeted, more focused, and more innovative. Given the complexities of the contemporary world and the intense demands being made on the abilities of architects to meet problems, these programs are carefully designed to develop advanced expertise that a general professional degree cannot address.”
Ruy was the co-chair of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture’s 103rd Annual Meeting, held in March 2015 in Toronto, and where key topics of discussion included the future of the architectural curriculum and the role of research and experimentation therein. He has served on the faculty at Columbia University, Princeton University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Pratt Institute. Additionally, he co-directs his New York–based practice Ruy Klein with Karel Klein. The pair received the 2011 Emerging Voices Award from the Architectural League of New York. Ruy holds an M.Arch. from Columbia University.
The annual Architecture and Design Film Festival, now in its eighth year, is upon us. Held from Sept. 28 to Oct. 2 at New York's Cinépolis Chelsea, it coincides with the start of AIA New York’s month-long Archtober and will showcase more than 30 feature-length and short films curated by festival director Kyle Bergman, along with panel discussions and Q&As with the filmmakers. Attendees can even earn continuing education credits for attending some of the showings. Tickets go on sale on Aug. 31.
In the meantime, check out a few of this year’s highlights below.
Eero Saarinen: The Architect Who Saw the Future (2016) The festival’s opening flick from director Peter Rosen continues the father-son tradition of the Saarinen family, this time exploring the life and work of the Finnish-American modernist through the lens of his photographer son Eric. The young Saarinen used 6K and drone technology to capture his father’s body of work, including the St. Louis Gateway Arch and the General Motors Technical Center, in Michigan, in an unprecedented manner. The documentary will formally premier in December 2016 as a part of PBS’s "American Masters" series.
Amare Gio Ponti (2015) What explains our obsession with Italian architect and designer Gio Ponti, and why did he shirk the spotlight during his lifetime? So asks this retrospective from Italian filmmaker Francesco Molteni, which seeks to understand why the work of the late Ponti—a tireless innovator whose projects ranged from small details to large planning concepts—has been revived and re-examined as a marker of European and international architecture.
Workplace (2016) Making its world premiere at this year’s festival, Workplace looks into the modern office’s past, explores its present form, and considers what its future might hold. Gary Hustwit, the filmmaker responsible for other design documentaries such as Helvetica (2007), Objectified (2009), and Urbanized (2011) takes viewers inside the design and construction process for Foster + Partners’ headquarters for R/GA, in New York, where the firm and client were required to marry the digital and the physical work environments.
The Happy Film (2016) What happens when a designer takes on the ultimate project: himself? This playful, if very personal, film tells the story of Stefan Sagmeister, an Austrian graphic designer who, in the pursuit of happiness, decides to use a mix of meditation, therapy, and, yes, drugs to “re-design” his personality. How his experiment stands up to the rigors of real life turns out to be the biggest test of them all.
Pioneer (2016) Located at the Tippet Rise Art Center, in Fishtail, Mont., Pioneer is a permanent yellow cedar installation by artist Stephen Talasnick. This documentary follows the project, which is informed by the visionary architecture of the 20th century, from conception to execution, and now to its existence amid nature.
The Chicago-based Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts will award a total of $419,000 in grants to organizations to fund 31 projects that explore the role of architecture in arts, culture, and society. The winners, which include museum retrospectives, site-specific commissions, and publications from national and international organizations, were selected from more than 230 submissions representing 24 countries. The winners hail from around the world, including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Mexico City, London, Istanbul, and Beirut.
A handful of the winning projects are listed below, and the full roster can be found here.
Upcoming application deadlines for the next round of grants by the foundation are: grants to individuals (Sept. 15, 2016); Carter Manny Award (Nov. 15, 2016); and grants to organizations (Jan. 25, 2017).