Touring the World of Architecture: Week 12
By Christopher William Reeves
Welcome to Touring the World of Architecture, edition 12! We have our weekly global round up of architectural news and events including, ZHA director Patrick Schumacher's public outcry, a wonderful floating sculpture from Janet Echelman, the winners of the infamous 120 hours competition, Copenhagen Architecture Festival X Film and Foster + Partners Bangkok special! Get scrolling, thanks for visiting and have a great weekend from all here at arcspace!
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"Misguided Political Correctness"?
This week has seen Patrick Schumacher, (pictured right!) the director of the never controversial firm ZHA speak out before the immanent Venice Architecture Biennale 2014. Schumacher's topic of choice focused on the last biennales awards being presented under a "misguided political correctness". It would seem Schumacher does not agree with previous years awards going to more socially conscious designs such as Toyo Ito's Japanese pavilion which highlighted earthquake and tsunami housing concepts in the wake of 2011's horrid events and winners Justin McGuirk, Iwan Bann and Urban-Think Tank's Torre David/Gran Horizonte installation and café.
"STOP political correctness in architecture. But also: STOP confusing architecture and art. "Architects are in charge of the form of the built environment, not its content. We need to grasp this and run with this despite all the (ultimately conservative) moralizing political correctness that is trying to paralyse us with bad conscience and arrest our explorations if we cannot instantly demonstrate a manifest tangible benefit for the poor - as if the delivery of social justice is the architect's competency."
"Unfortunately all the prizes given by the last architecture biennale where motivated by this misguided political correctness. STOP political correctness in architecture! And yet, architecture is not a l'art pour l'art discipline. Architecture is NOT ART although FORM is our specific contribution to the evolution of world society.
"We need to understand how new forms can make a difference for the progress of world civilisation. I believe today this implies the intensification of communicative interaction with a heightened sense of being connected within a complex, variegated spatial order where all spaces resonate and communicate with each other via associative logics."
Interesting comments which have aroused a flurry of debate across the message boards. Luckily for all you readers out there, arcspace is soon to publish a new interview with Schumacher. Watch this space.
Echelmans's Floating Sculpture
Modern architecture can often leave a lot of 'in-between' space, so called 'no mans land' that foregoes any purposeful identity. Step in Janet Echelman, a renowned artist and sculptor known for her ability to reshape our perceptions of urban space. Basically, Echelman creates sculptured environments that respond to the forces of nature - wind, water and light, helping transform our vacant urban spaces. Her latest project in Vancouver uses Honeywell Spectra Fibres, a material that's reported to be fifteen times stronger than steel but light enough to float! The installation will suspend 225 meters across the waterfront between the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel and the Vancouver Convention Centre. Perhaps it will be enough to lift the heads of the urban dweller to look up and explore the city from a new perspective?
This Weeks Win
120 Hours Competition Winners
This year nearly 3000 (2989 to be precise) entries were submitted to the 120 Hours Competition, challenging young architects around the world to design a communicative icon of sustainability for the festival grounds of the Norwegian Øya Festival. The entries spanned across 83 countries and all the designs were conceived in only 5 days, or for namesake, 120 hours!
The jury, headed by Ellen Van Loom (OMA partner) and Nanne De Ru (Founder of Powerhouse Company) selected 'Architecture' (pictured above) by Antariksh Tandon and Jennifer Tu Anh Phan as the winner. The selection moved away from an over stimulation of the scences to present a calming scaffolding structure full of hammocks. It is said this emboldens the ambitions of the music festival by offering visitors a place to rest and contemplate the meaning of 'sustainable design' through a reflection of how people, sustain themselves...sleep! What a great idea, I for one wouldn't mind kicking back for a spot of sustainable reflection!
This Weeks's Event
Copenhagen Architecture Festival X Film
For all our hometown Copenhageners there is a feast of architectural delights coming your way! From the 27th of March there will be 3 days of films, talks, lectures, screenings, debates and walks. Held across a range of exotic locations, including our home at the Danish Architecture Centre, the films feature a range of curious topics from the story of underground tunnels, cathedral construction and Oscar Niemeyer's modernist visions to the link between fashion and architecture, behind the scenes architectural competitions and how the new World Trade Centre was built. Get online here to view the programme, we'll see you there!
The programme can be found here
This Weeks's Other Event
Foster + Partners 'Art of Architecture'
The Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (BACC) will be the stage for Foster + Partners Art of Architecture exhibition. From the 4th April until the 29th June visitors will be able to view the companies work under the themes of infrastructure, high rise, urban design, history and culture - all within the context of sustainability… hurrah!
Through sketches, models, films, animations and a special exhibit exploring the process from first client meeting to completed building and post-occupancy studies, visitors can learn heaps about how the firm's inner circle works. A must see for any architecture enthusiast or professional alike in the Bangkok area. We love it!
Here's the fantastic Ted talk from our feature above, Janet Echelman,Taking Imagination Seriously. Enjoy and have a great weekend from the team here at arcspace.
Last updated: March 21, 2014