The Walmart Supercenter is generally considered one of the great antagonists of architecture around the world – the hulking behemoth who sold its integrity for the consumer convenience of having everything in one place. Though the first Walmart Supercenter didn’t open until 1988, big box stores have existed in some form since the 1960s, luring in shoppers with low prices and curbside loading lanes. For all the user psychology design that goes into them, the original designs of these buildings rarely pay much mind to their architectural or urban consequences, excluding a few notable exceptions.
Regardless, for the past 20 years big box stores have continued to prosper, prompting tenants to leave their homes and move on to even larger structures, leaving behind giant, open frameworks – for sale on the cheap. In a recent essay for 99% Invisible entitled Ghost Boxes: Reusing Abandoned Big-Box Superstores Across America, author Kurt Kohlstedt explores the architectural potential of these megastructures, drawing inspiration from the architects and communities that have successfully converted them into valuable assets.© Lara Swimmer
Featuring long spans capable of accommodating a variety of program types, these structures have been renovated into libraries, churches, museums and apartment complexes in cities throughout the country. One example Kohlstedt points to is the McAllen Main Library, transformed from a Texas Walmart by MSR Design in 2011, which strategically partitions the open floor plan into human-scaled rooms and zones identified by bright colors and furniture patterns.
The article concludes that as the way we live and shop continues to change, our built environment will need to adapt, and all of the various typologies currently found in suburbia will take on new roles. And while in their current form, big box stores are widely unloved, Kohlstedt argues it is that precise distaste that may save them in the end:
“In many ways, these various suburban typologies are particularly well-suited to adaptation: no one cares about what happens to unloved structures, making them perfect candidates for complete transformations.”© Matt Kocourek. Courtesy of 360 Architecture
For more big box transformations and to read Kohlstedt’s analysis in its entirety, visit 99% invisible, here.
Architects: Tomer Gelfand LTD
Location: Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel
Project Year: 2016
Photographs: Itay Sikolski (NUMSIX)
From the architect. The newest addition to Israel’s growing Diamond Exchange District is the uniquely geometrical Amot Atrium Tower, designed by prominent architect Moshe Zur. At 158 meters and with 38 floors of retail, the glass skyscraper holds a LEED platinum certification - the first of its kind in Israel. The building's name is drawn from its impressive atrium entrance hall, designed by architect Oded Halaf, who incepted a radical idea: constructing a sculptural stair element into the orthogonal, glass-encased, four-story high lobby; a complex and seemingly impossible assignment, which had to be commissioned to a professional who holds knowledge, experience and immense creativity.© Itay Sikolski (NUMSIX)
Enter Tomer Gelfand: a masterful craftsman who specializes in giving architectural solutions to engineering problems. Since inheriting his father’s 1976-founded studio, Gelfand practices design implementations in wood, stainless steel, and glass. Over the 18-months period, since Halaf presented his rough sketch of the stairs to Gelfand, the latter managed to design, execute, supervise and finalize all stages of construction, turning Halaf’s dream into a reality.Elevation
The stair structure is composed of two interlocking parts: a skeletal metal staircase and a sculptural wooden envelope. Together, they rise as an expressive tornado from the reception desk - conceived as the inception plateau and up to the first-floor mezzanine, fourteen meters above. To make this happen, Gelfand devised a system of continuous wooden profiles, that may seem flexible and bendable - but is in fact extremely stiff and stable. Gelfand began by implementing an MRI-type scan to the skeleton, cutting vertically through the structure and generating sections in the width of the given wooden profile. The tremendous amount of resulted sections, each exported with a different radius requirement, produced a seemingly-endless amount of arches. In order to deal with this abundance, Gelfand narrowed it down to ‘master-arches’ - devised by calculating the wooden profile’s average bend tolerance, which dictated the ‘master-arches’ radius and angle.© Itay Sikolski (NUMSIX)
Next was creating the radial profiles from the material itself: a total of 9,000 meters in length of raw Poplar wood was cut in a CNC machine to create the inventory of master-arches modules, each coded genetically and marked to fit precisely in the grand scheme. As each piece was non-interchangeable, every measure had to be taken in advance to ensure the coherency of the final implementation: For example, each of the connecting points between the modules was completed with a reverse radius; together, it forms a sinus-like wave, thus creating a seamless transition. In addition, the digital saw through the raw wood presented with various natural colors. To solve this, a palate of 12 average shades was drawn from the Poplar pieces and then applied to the modules.© Itay Sikolski (NUMSIX)
Lastly, the coded profiles were delivered to the site for the final puzzle work: a precise, four-month long delicate work of assembly, managed and supervised by Gelfand himself. The final result encapsulated the paradox of contemporary creation: what appears as an artistic, hand-drawn gesture, is, in fact, a result of an algorithmic data processing and the product of countless interchangeable pieces. Seemingly arbitrary yet utterly computerized; nature’s matter harnessed by today’s true artists of technology.
As part of ArchDaily's coverage of the 2016 Venice Biennale, we are presenting a series of articles written by the curators of the exhibitions and installations on show.
In line with creative director Alejandro Aravena's theme for the 15th La Biennale di Venezia "Reporting from the Front", the 2016 South African pavilion at building D in the Sale d'Armi presents successful physical outcomes and practical solutions to urban challenges, conceived and implemented by citizens for the citizens of the administrative capital city of South Africa under the umbrella organization of "Cool Capital".
Curated by architect Pieter J. Mathews of Mathews & Associates Architects, this year’s South African Pavilion is called “The Capital of Uncurated Design Citizenship”, and showcases a selection of projects from Cool Capital – an urban experiment and labour of love for Mathews and a small team of dedicated architects, artists and designers that began in 2012, coincidentally at the 2012 Biennale Architettura.© Andrea Avezzù. Courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia
Cool Capital's urban laboratory is Pretoria, South Africa's administrative capital city situated 60km north of Johannesburg. Often overlooked as an international tourist destination, Pretoria is a typical landlocked capital city: The perception exists that this city, populated with historic government buildings, stoic monuments and many reminders of an uncomfortable past, is suspended in a bygone and uninspiring time-warp. Cool Capital proved this wrong.
Aravena's creative call refers to the power of citizens to become active agents in the making, shaping and re-imagining of their own built environment, and it is exactly in this spirit that Cool Capital was launched. Starting out with with relatively few participants, the project quickly mushroomed into a city-wide movement with over 1000 active participants and an ever-increasing social media following.© Andrea Avezzù. Courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia
It wasn't long before the private sector and educational institutions aligned themselves with Cool Capital's self-appointed creative commanders, not only seeing the potential of powerful partnerships, but also the chance to use Cool Capital as a laboratory to test out ideas of public ownership and engagement.
Locally referred to as the world's first uncurated, DIY guerrilla biennale, Cool Capital's intent was simple: to dislodge the bureaucratic relationship between citizens and public space and to encourage a new appreciation of where they live. The project encouraged citizens to rediscover marginalized or forgotten parts of the city and to collaborate and become active agents in the creative rethinking of Pretoria as home, place, destination and capital city. All of Cool Capital‘s projects either challenged, celebrated or leveled the status quo.© Andrea Avezzù. Courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia
The South African pavilion proves that by short-circuiting the usual bureaucratic processes of permissions and approvals, a city can be effectively democratized in a creative sense, leading to substantial and sustainable empowerment, and above all – a new type of social cohesion for South Africa. It continues ideas of urban renewal in the public realm but urges that this discussion should not only be among industry professionals, but also include the broader general public.
South Africa's refreshingly unconstrained pavilion features some physical installations pieces from Pretoria, a short documentary film of the inaugural event and the whole collection of 150 citizen-led projects by 1000 participants in the form of a catalogue available at the pavilion and bookstore. The exhibition presents visitors with the passion, diversity and commitment of the residents of Pretoria and demonstrates what can be achieved when citizens are provided with a platform to constructively engage with issues they identify in the realm of architecture, art and design. The Cool Capital project has already proven that this approach can cement one city's reputation as a notable centre for Africanurban innovation. Real creative change does not come from administrative policy, but lies in the hands and minds of an innovative and engaged citizenry.© Andrea Avezzù. Courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia
According to the pavilion’s commissioner, Mr. Saul Molobi, “South Africa’s participation in the Biennale contributes to international relations and gives exposure to South African talent to the world. This year will also be historic in the sense that we will not be taking only a few exclusive architects or artists’ work, but rather the projects of over 1000 South African participants, probably making this one of the most representative pavilions in the history of SA’s involvement with the Biennale. We look forward to this cultural diplomacy project entrenching South Africa’s positive image in Italy and thereby increasing our country’s brand equity”.
This year Cool Capital in Pretoria is continuing concurrently with the Venice Architecture Biennale under the theme “small is big”.© Andrea Avezzù. Courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia
Architects: Camilla Mileto, Fernando Vegas
Location: Carrer de Sant Francesc & Carrer de l'Hospital, 12500 Vinaròs, Castelló, Spain
Project Year: 2015
Photography: Vicente A. Jiménez
Promotor: Ayuntamiento de Vinaroz
Architects: Camilla Mileto, Fernando Vegas
Installations: Antonio Vte. Martí Guillamón, ingeniero
Lighting: Elías Hurtado Pérez, ingeniero
Stucture: Adolfo Alonso Durá, arquitecto
Budget Control: Salvador Tomás Márquez, arquitecto técnico
Garden Advisory : Marta Edo Albalate
Contributors: M. Soledad García Sáez, Lidia García Soriano, F. Javier Gómez Patrocinio, Isabel Segovia Campos
Project Direction: Camilla Mileto y Fernando Vegas, arquitectos (UPV)Universitat Politècnica de Valencia
Director Of Execution: Salvador Tomás Márquez, arquitecto técnico
Project Collaborators: M. Soledad García Sáez, Lidia García Soriano, F. Javier Gómez Patrocinio
Archeology: Noema Restauradores S.L.
Archeology Study: Pablo Rodríguez Navarro (UPV)
Restorer: Noema Restauradores S.L.
Constuction: Construcciones Rafael Zarzoso S.L.
Garden: U.T.E. Jardines
From the architect. In 2001 the church and convent of San Francisco, in the Castellón town of Vinaroz were demolished and only part of the north outer wall and the indoor flooring were left standing. Following this unfortunate event, what had been the site of the church and convent was asphalted and used as a parking space, and over the years the remains of the outer wall and flooring greatly deteriorated due to natural causes and vandalism.© Vicente A. Jiménez
The garden of San Francisco was born from the archaeological remains of the original 17th-century convent and designed to evoke the historic memory of the building, as well as that of the gardens and orchards surrounding it, aiming to restore dignity to the site and transform it into a place for meeting, relaxation and amusement, recovering a living space for the community.© Vicente A. Jiménez
The traces of the former walls of the convent were discovered when the new asphalt was broken up and have been built up to form garden seats using the original building ashlars, stones, tiles and roof tiles found during the excavation. The aim of this operation was to evoke the original convent by incorporating the archaeological remains, rather than adding to the municipal landfill where these remains and their unique background would be amalgamated with many others to finally become environmental waste. The surviving church wall has been carefully restored using remains and imprints of renderings, paintings, joinery, etc., as well as the remains of adjoining houses which had enabled the wall to survive until the present day.Plan Site
The area inside the convent and church was paved with local stone, allowing the different spaces to be clearly distinguished. While the pavement in the church area is closely spaced and follows the bays of the original building, the convent area features spaces for vegetation to grow between the pavement slabs, perfectly integrated into the garden as a whole. The remains of the masonry walls and pebble paving of the convent found on the ground interact with the vegetation of the garden, blending into it.© Vicente A. Jiménez
The square still preserves many underground crypts and archaeological remains which have been respected for the future following the necessary cleaning. In addition to recovering and restoring the traces of the convent and church, the original access from calle San Francisco through the fence which surrounds the whole area has also been recovered, and new accesses to the surrounding square have also been incorporated.© Vicente A. Jiménez
In addition, the surviving vegetation, palm trees and a cypress, have been preserved and used as the basis for the new vegetation in the garden areas.© Vicente A. Jiménez
Architects: Studio Tom Emerson
Location: Zürich, Switzerland
Project Year: 2016
Photographs: Courtesy of Studio Tom Emerson
Staff: Prof. Tom Emerson, Boris Gusic, Adrian Heusser, Celine Bessire, Daniel Ganz, Iela Herrling, Christoph Junk, Guillaume Othenin-Girard, Philip Shelley, Lucy Styles, Thomasine Wolfensberger, Nemanja Zimonjic
Student Team: Christina Albert, Lorenzo Autieri, Vera Bannwart, Alexander Bradley, Arthur de Buren, Jonathan Egli, Josephine Eigner, Kathrin Füglister, Michelle Geilinger, Rudolf Goldschmidt, Dimitri Haefliger, Hannes Hermanek, Donia Jornod, Ricardo Joss, Thierry Jöhl, Phillipp Kraus, Roberto Leggeri, Lukas Loosli, Jonas Meylan, Karin Pfeifer, Jeremy Ratib, Nancy Reuland, Daria Rey, Hanna Schlösser, Valentina Sieber, Anna Maria Stallmann, Kaspar Stöbe, Anastasia Vaynberg, Claartje Vuurmans, Sonja Widmer
Eth Zürich Team: Philip Ursprung, gta, ETH Zürich / Marcel Aubert, Block Research Group ETH Zürich / Alessandro Tellini, Raplab D-Arch ETH Zürich / Brigitte Schiesser, Legal Dept. ETH Zürich
Engineering: Hansbeat Reusser, Holzbaubüro Reusser GmbH / Christoph Müller, Holzbaubüro Reusser GmbH / Andreas Kocher, Holzbaubüro Reusser GmbH / Simon Rehm, Holzbaubüro Reusser GmbH / Samuel Jucker, Willy Stäubli Ing. AG / Robert Jockwer Institut für Baustatik und Konstruktion IBK ETH Zürich
Forestry: Kanton Zürich, Baudirektion, Amt für Landwirtschaft und Natur, Erwin Schmid, Waldwirtschaftsverband Zürich, Vereinigung der Zürcher Waldbesitzer, Kaspar Reutimann
Timber Processing: Martin Keller, Sägerei Konrad Keller AG / Holzwewrkstoffe Notter AG / Katharina Lehmann, Blumer-Lehmann AG
Timber Construction: Hannes Jedele, Handholzwerk / Falco Horb, Handholzwerk / Laura Peisker, Handholzwerk / Karl Rühle
Gewerbliche Berufsschule Wetzikon: Peter Isler
Tools: Robert Bosch AG Power Tools / Raplab D-ARCH / Alessandro Tellini / Daniel Bachmann
Mechanical Fastening: Beat Ruch, SFS Unimarkt AG / Thomas Graber, SFS Unimarket AG
Roof Cladding: Gaudenz Wieland, Eternit AG / Ueli Schweizer, Eternit AG / Pierre Jelovcan , Preisig AG
Steel Prefabrication: Tanja Pichler, Stahlbau Pichler / Daniel Raffeiner, Stahlbau Pichler AG / Albert Hofer, Stahlbaupichler AG
Steel Assembly: Samuel Jucker, Willy Stäubli Ing AG
Scaffolding: Fix Gerüstbau AG / Beat and Gina Ingold
Stadt Zürich: Alex Schilling, Kultur Stadt Zürich / Werner Klaus, Wasserschutzpolizei Stadt Zürich
Lake: Beat Schwengeler, Zürcher Segelclub / Thomas Hartmann, Zürichsee-Schifffahrtsgesellschaft AG / Conny Hürlimann, Zürichsee-Schifffahrtsgesellschaft AG / Marco Rizzi, Zürichsee-Schifffahrtsgesellschaft AG
Fabrication Hall: Firma Geilinger AG / Andreas Gerster, Geilinger AG / Thomas Rickenbach, Geilinger AG
Construction Site: Kibag
Special Things: Kunstgiesserei St. Gallen AG (St. Gallen)
Film Maker: Gavin Emerson, Holy Cow Productions
Helping Hands: David Moser, Student ETH Zürich / Noël Picco, Student ETH Zürich / Lena Stolze, Student ETH Zürich / Lukas Fink, Student ETH Zürich / Micha Ringger, Student ETH Zürich / Milena Buchwalder, Student ETH Zürich / Beatriz Klettner Soler, Student ETH Zürich / Deborah Suter, Student ETH Zürich / Sebastian Oswald, Student ETH Zürich / Daniel Schneider, Student ETH Zürich / Tibor Rossi, Student ETH Zürich / Laszlo Blaser, Student ETH Zürich / Angela Burkart
From the architect. A team of thirty architecture students from Studio Tom Emerson at ETH Zurich have designed and built a pavilion for Manifesta 11, the nomadic, European biennial of contemporary art. Floating in the lake against the backdrop of the city centre, the Pavillon of Reflections serves as the biennial’s public forum: as a meeting point, as a cinema for screening films produced as part of the biennial, reflected in the public swimming bath, open to the public during the day.Courtesy of Studio Tom Emerson
A timber island, arrange like a fragment of intimate urban space enclosed by five buildings: a tower, a tribune, a bar, a sun deck with changing cubicles below, a central pool with cinema screen above, and three generous sets of steps that lead into the lake. Together with the tower, the volumetric roofs over the bar are built up from a distinct profile of timber lattice roofs.Courtesy of Studio Tom Emerson Section Courtesy of Studio Tom Emerson
Under the guidance of Tom Emerson and project leaders Boris Gusic and Adrian Heusser the 32 architecture students at ETH Zurich collectively concieved and built the pavilion. The project began with an ideas competition between smaller groups of students, from which the most promising ideas were identified and developed. Organising themselves into smaller teams, they worked at different scales, from considering its position on the lake, right down to 1:1 scale prototypes. As well as the design process, the democratic construction techniques employed informed the design: the pavilion is made almost entirely of timber (European spruce), and all joints were designed to be simply screwed together. The students worked over ten months to bring the many design-related, technical and organisational dimensions of the project together to in a multi-layered and ultimately buildable work of architecture. As the project grew, experts and volunteers helped the 32 original students to realise this exceptional public space floating in lake Zurich.Courtesy of Studio Tom Emerson
Madrid's Museo del Prado has announced the finalists for the competition to redesign and transform the museum’s Hall of Realms. Among the list are acclaimed firms OMA; Souto Moura Arquitectos; a team of Foster + Partners - Rubio Arquitectos; B720 Arquitectos - David Chipperfield Architects; Cruz y Ortiz Arquitectos; Nieto Sobejano Architects; Stedebouw B.V.; Juan Miguel Hernández León - Carlos de Riaño Lozano; Garces de Seta Bonet Arquitectes - Pedro Feducci Canosa; and Gluckman Tang Architects - Estudio Alvarez Sala - Enguita and Lasso de la Vega.
Each finalist has previous experience in transforming older buildings into modern museums. They will now compete for the chance to reimagine the Hall of Realms of Madrid, providing the Prado with 2,500 square meters of new exhibition space and an additional 2,900 square meters for supporting spaces. The hall was once used by Spanish royalty and most recently served as the home of the Museum Del Ejercito, or Army Museum, before becoming a part of the Prado in October 2015.
The new hall could play host to a major exhibition on the relationship between Spain, the American Continent and the independence of Latin American countries. Four or five existing elements of the building will be preserved, and new space will be allocated to housing traveling exhibitions.
Final proposals for the competition are due on October 30, 2016, and the jury will select a winner before the end of the year.
This article is part of our new "Material Focus" series, which asks architects to elaborate on the thought process behind their material choices and sheds light on the steps required to get buildings actually built.
The Great Wall of WA, designed by the Australian firm Luigi Rosselli Architects, and selected as one of Archdaily’s Best Building of the Year 2016, provides a unique example of rammed earth construction. At 230 meters in length, the Great Wall of WA is the longest structure of its kind in Australia and possibly the South Hemisphere, according to its architects. Built in remote North Western Australia, the building is made from locally available materials whose thermal properties help it to endure a variable climate. We spoke with the architect Luigi Rosselli to learn more about his compelling choice of material and the determining role it played in his concept design.The Great Wall of WA / Luigi Rosselli. Image © Edward Birch
What were the principal materials used in the project?
Rammed earth mainly, with some Cor-Ten steel and concrete.The Great Wall of WA / Luigi Rosselli. Image © Edward Birch
In terms of materials, what were your biggest sources of inspiration and influence when selecting what the project would ultimately be made of?
The landscape featured in North Western Australia, with its iron ore rich soil, sand dunes and harsh environmental and climatic constraints, served as a great foil for the imagination when developing this project. The remote and isolated location of the site also required a practical solution of sourcing materials locally. The rammed earth wall construction is composed of iron rich, sandy clay that is a dominant feature of the site, and pebbles and gravel were quarried from the nearby river bed and bonded with water from the local bore hole. The concrete slab contains gravel and aggregates from the local river, which lend a reddish color to its polished surface. In this hot and harsh climate using rammed earth made perfect sense, as the clay component of the wall has hygroscopic characteristics, and airflow along the wall draws moisture from it through evaporation. This evaporative cooling reduces the temperature of the wall in the same way sweat cools the body.The Great Wall of WA / Luigi Rosselli. Image © Edward Birch
Describe how material decisions factored into concept design.
The 230-meter long rammed earth wall meanders along the edge of a sand dune, like a natural cut in the topography, reflecting the environment it inhabits. The wall is stepped to organically follow the natural curve of the landscape, while at the same time providing a level of privacy to each of the enclosed twelve residences buried into the sand dune. The use of the rammed earth, as well as the underground nature of the buildings, was chosen to maintain the residences’ cool and constant temperature. Designed according to these thermal mass principles, the accommodations represent a new approach to remote North Western Australia architecture: it moves away from the sun baked, thin corrugated metal shelters, and cools architectural earth formations naturally.The Great Wall of WA / Luigi Rosselli. Image © Edward Birch
What were the advantages that this material offered in the construction of the project?
With the 450 millimeter thick rammed earth facade, and the sand dune to the rear and forming the roofs, the residences have the best thermal mass available, which makes them naturally cool in the subtropical climate. Rammed earth is a quarried mix of clay, sand, gravel and does not need any processing or energy intensive production like bricks and cement. Since the material was sourced in close proximity to the site, the material has relatively little embodied energy content. The awning roof is a Cor-Ten steel cyclonic shade frame, mirrored by a concrete slab on the ground. The deep awning roof is designed to keep the sun out during the hottest part of the day and invite the inhabitant to go outside and enjoy the cool evening breeze.The Great Wall of WA / Luigi Rosselli. Image © Edward Birch
Were there any challenges you faced because of your material selection?
The energy efficiency provisions in the current Building Code of Australia are based uniquely on the thermal conductivity of a material. Thermal mass and hygroscopic characteristics are not factored. We had to employ Floyd Energy consultants to use a more sophisticated evaluation and simulation program that confirmed the superiority of a high thermal mass rammed earth construction.The Great Wall of WA / Luigi Rosselli. Image © Edward Birch
Did you consider any other possible materials for the project, and if so how would that have changed the design?
Not really. In this part of the world we needed thermal mass, so any other alternative would be involving either brick or concrete, both of which would have to be imported. In the case of rammed earth, 90% was sourced locally.The Great Wall of WA / Luigi Rosselli. Image © Edward Birch
How did you research and select providers or contractors for the materials used in your project?
We had already worked with rammed earth constructions in Sydney, so the knowledge has been evolved in house for some time with projects like Kirribilli House. Our providers and contractors were sourced locally from WA: the builder was Jaxon Construction, the rammed earth contractor was Murchison Stabilised Earth Pty Ltd, the structural consultant was Pritchard Francis, and the environmental consultant was Floyd Energy.
Location: Mexico City, Mexico City, Mexico
Architects In Charge: Gustavo Carmona, Lisa Beltrán
Area: 590.0 sqm
Project Year: 2015
Photographs: Onnis Luque
Design Team: Karla Uribe, Hugo Blancas
From the architect. Casa U is located in the suburbs of Mexico City in a very steep and hilly site overlooking the Valley of Mexico. The pronounced slope generated a sitting that emphasizes the intimate relationship between the spaces of the house with the site´s topography.© Onnis Luque
The parti questioned the typical sequence of a house, having its access in its roof to then descend into the private and social spaces of the house. A large number of trees served for tracing, framing the house and giving it more privacy.© Onnis Luque
The exterior facade is sober and simple, hiding the house beyond and making evident the relationship between slope and horizon. After an entry portal, a bridge extends the transition from the street and becomes an observatory. By stepping away from the slope, the house reduces its footing and frees up the most of green surface.© Onnis Luque
The stair becomes the core of the project, acting as the material axis and a threshold of light. It distributes to all levels and spaces making use of landings with framed views, bringing the landscape into the interior at different scales. The steps are strategically longer in some sections to slow down the person and allow for amore conscious act of transitioning between levels.Section
The top level holds the garage and access vestibule, being the next level down occupied by two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a master bedroom with private bathroom, a terrace and a studio, followed by the living room, dining and kitchen floor, and lastly a semi-buried level with a playroom and access to the lower garden.© Onnis Luque
The materiality responds to the function of the spaces. The highest volumes containing the bedrooms reach the clarity of the sky. The social level, the one with access to the gardens is expressed with a heavier nature using black stone rhythmically divided by small ridges that provide a continuous play of light and shadow mimicking the volcanic local stone. This two make the volume look embedded into the soil. Finally, an in between concrete is used for all of the volumes that contain service spaces.© Onnis Luque
Edward James, one of the most eccentric and interesting twentieth-century collectors of surrealist art, arrived in Xilitla, Mexico at the end of the 1940's. The British writer was captivated by the splendor of the landscape of "Las Pozas" (The Wells), where he created a fantastic home, which includes a unique sculptural space unlike any other in the world.
Surrealism, whose sources of creation are found in dreams and the subconscious, in theory, could never be used to build things in real life. Edward James - described by Salvador Dalí as "crazier than all the Surrealists together" - designed a sculpture garden that defies any architectural label and allows a glimpse of something new, moving between fantasy and reality.
Columns with capitals that look like giant flowers, gothic arches, dramatic gates, pavilions with undetermined levels and spiral staircases that end abruptly in mid-air, as if they were an invitation to the horizon. In short, Edward James made concrete flourish along the lush flora and fauna of Xilitla, making surrealist architecture possible.
Learn more below.© Julia Faveri
The Sculpture Garden
"Las Pozas" (The Wells) is a collection of concrete architectural structures and fantastic routes that make up a sculpture garden. A river with waterfalls runs through the garden and it is surrounded by jungle in a vast terrain. Its design was conceived by Edward James and Plutarco Gastélum in Xilitla, Mexico.© Herbert Loureiro
As the story goes, when they were exploring the Huasteca Potosina, a cloud of butterflies surrounded James and Gastélum while they were bathing in the river. The British writer interpreted this event as a magical sign. So, between 1947 and 1949, he began the construction of his version of the "Garden of Eden".© Victor Delaqua
During the first few decades, James focused his attention on horticulture. However, in 1962 a blizzard destroyed his collection of orchids. He then decided to build a perpetual garden and began to build concrete structures that resembled floral elements.© Julia Faveri
Since then, the sculpture garden has been converted into a source of creation and work for the locals. The entire construction of Las Pozas took about 150 people, including carpenters, bricklayers, and gardeners.© Julia Faveri
In 1984 Edward James died during a trip to northern Italy and in 1991 the doors of "Las Pozas" were opened to tourists.© Victor Delaqua
"Las Pozas" and Its Lessons for Architects
Over the years, the sculptures gradually merged into a kind of random city, with harmony created by its structures and dialogue with its natural surroundings. Along its paths are hands and heads made of concrete, stone snakes, a bathtub in the shape of an eye - where James used to bathe in the pupil, surrounded by carp in "the white of the eye" - all with a tone of ruins, of something unfinished, taken by the jungle adding some mystery.© Julia Faveri
Walking through the Sculpture Garden is like exploring an undiscovered city. It's almost as if its labyrinth paths fuel the desire to discover different corners and details. Upon entering, the architectural sculptures appear at different levels and views; it's the place where you go to see and be seen.© Victor Delaqua
In "Las Pozas" the viewer creates a new type of contact with the constructed work, the landscape, and all the other visitors. In a fantastic space like this, everyone seems to feel the same ambiance and all their thoughts stay within this environment. They are no longer bystanders concerned about day-to-day problems, everyone starts to live in the moment and reflect on each step taken.© Victor Delaqua
In the first manifesto of the surrealist movement, André Breton defined it as: "... a dictated thought with the absence of any control exercised by reason, exempt of any aesthetic or moral concern." This idea is present in the architecture and in all creation behind "Las Pozas," its buildings are built contrary to what we have learned in architecture school -- they don’t offer a learning experience, but rather propose a discovery experience.
Clearly, these fantastic works could not be replicated in our ordinary cities, but they certainly present a new way of looking at the reality of architecture we produce every day. It is through new perspectives that we can imagine new ways of living.© Herbert Loureiro
For more information about "Las Pozas", click here.
Jean Prouvé’s Maxéville Design Office Displayed at Galerie Patrick Seguin for Design Miami/Basel 2016
In 2015, Galerie Patrick Seguin disassembled and restored Jean Prouvé's "Maxéville Design Office," a 10x12 meter demountable house, which until that point had only been assembled once since its conception in 1948. The building withstood a colorful history in an industrial site, and presents a rare early example of successful prefabrication. The concept -- and specifically, Prouvé's work -- has gained popularity again in recent years, and Galerie Patrick Seguin presented the historic office to the public again as part of Design Miami/ Basel 2016.Courtesy of Galerie Patrick Seguin
The building was originally designed in response to The Ministry of Reconstruction's New House Competition in 1947, which sought innovative prefabricated houses for the post-war market. Created as the prototype, the design never reached mass fabrication, and the structure was relocated to the Maxéville site. The building's axial frame allows quick and crude assembly by as little as three people. Inside, the building presents an open, fluid space, which holds possibilities of alteration and addition through a series of interchangeable partitions and standardized facing panels.Courtesy of Galerie Patrick Seguin
Once surrounded by highly active industrial buildings, the Design Office eventually became the last standing structure on the Maxéville site. Its position, opposite the now demolished office of Prouvé, allowed the designer to oversee the assembly of prototypes before their production. Later, the original facade was hidden beneath cladding, and the structure played host to a restaurant, a plumber's office, and in its twilight years, a swinger's club called Le Bounty.Courtesy of Galerie Patrick Seguin
It was from this original site that Galerie Patrick Seguin disassembled and removed the Design Office in 2015, adding the building to its world-leading collection of Prouvé's demountable houses. The DesignMiami/Basel and Art Basel Miami have become steady platforms for the Galerie's showcases, as they displayed another of Prouvre's Demountable Houses in 2015, and a presented a live assembly in 2014. Along with their physical collection, Galerie Patrick Seguin also publish a line of monographic books to accompany each exhibition.
News via Galerie Patrick Seguin
Architects: Isaac Peral Codina
Location: 03669 La Romana, Alicante, Spain
Technical Architect: Pascual Moya Orozco
Collaborators: Yago Sancho Maestre, Luis Carreira Antón
Area: 2100.0 sqm
Project Year: 2012
Photographs: David Frutos
Developer: Magdalena Davó Beltrá
Builder: Jose Miguel Carmona Paíno S.L.
The local field contains oxides that stain the red landscape. The building has been built with local stone, such as Marble Rojo Alicante, blending in well with the surroundings. The block, marble and scarlet, welcomes you inside, austere but comfortable, and offers a sensorial experience of water and light.
The soft light from inside only broke with the light entering through the many cracks in the coating carved marble. There is an attractive interior space, which only communicates with the outside through strategically located grooves that discovers you the landscape.© David Frutos
The concrete ceiling, finished with the texture of the wooden forms, reflects the water sparkle, opens through skylights. In this way the lighting is overhead, which when mixed with water vapor surrounds you in a nice weightless environment.© David Frutos Plan © David Frutos
Living the Spa Sunsets is a vibrant experience. The light is transformed from a natural light cascading down the skylights with orange warm colors. Entering through the cracks in hundreds of lighting lines that reinforce the red light of the stone, until you can feel gradually the artificial lighting designed to introduce a fun and relaxing environment. The Sunrise reverses the process.© David Frutos
All used construction materials are natural (stone, iron and wood), and they are typical for the area, reinterpreting a vernacular architecture and a lyrical form, where predominates the light treatment to perceive the space. This makes a very modern architecture, fed by the building tradition of the area.
In addition to its innovative design of the facilities, unlike any other Spa, in its facilities there is a saving energy system that uses the bioclimatic techniques which have made the building a sustainable and economical installation.
All lighting system in the SPA is natural. Artificial lighting is necessary only during the night. Inside we use the perimeter skylights. The natural lighting in all spaces is solved by the glass wall facade, whose light will filter through the lattice. The lattice prevents the sunlight to enter straight into de interior space, then, in warm months, cooling is not required. The spaces have cross ventilation to provide dehumidification and hydrothermal comfort.© David Frutos
The energy from the solar panels heats the water in the pool and in the indoor spa. The marble stone is an excellent receptive material that keeps the space warm in winter for many hours, even overnight.
All materials used are local, minimizing transportation costs and manufacturing. Therefore the ecological impact of the building is very small.
Voyage Le Corbusier, by Jacob Brillhart, collects for the first time a compendium of sketchbook drawings and watercolors of Charles-Edouard Jeanneret—a young student who would go onto become the singularly influential modernist architect, Le Corbusier. Between 1907 and 1911, he traveled throughout Europe and the Mediterranean carrying an array of drawing supplies and documenting all that he saw: classical ruins, details of interiors, vibrant landscapes, and the people and objects that populated them.
Le Corbusier was a deeply radical progressive architect, a futurist who was equally and fundamentally rooted in history and tradition. He was intensely curious, constantly traveling, drawing, painting, and writing, all in the pursuit of becoming a better designer. As a result, he found intellectual ways to connect his historical foundations with what he learned from his contemporaries. He grew from drawing nature to copying fourteenth-century Italian painting to leading the Purist movement that greatly influenced French painting and architecture in the early 1920s. All the while, he was making connections between nature, art, culture, and architecture that eventually gave him a foundation for thinking about design.© F.L.C. / ADAGP, Paris / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York 2016
To learn from Le Corbusier’s creative search and to see how he evolved as an architect, one must understand where he started. He never attended a university or enrolled formally in an architecture school. His architectural training was mostly self-imposed and was heavily influenced by the teachings of his secondary-school tutor Charles L’Eplattenier, who taught him the fundamentals of drawing and the decorative arts at the Ecole d’art in his hometown of La Chaux-de-Fonds in Switzerland. Upon Jeanneret’s graduation from secondary school in 1907, L’Eplattenier encouraged him to leave behind the rural landscapes and broaden his world view by making a formal drawing tour through northern Italy. This pedagogy of learning to draw and learning through experience was likely influenced by the long tradition of the Grand Tour, a rite of passage for European aristocrats. Travel was considered necessary to expand one’s mind and understanding of the world. Architects, writers, and painters seized upon the idea, taking a standard itinerary across Europe to view monuments, antiquities, paintings, picturesque landscapes, and ancient cities.© F.L.C. / ADAGP, Paris / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York 2016
The experience ignited in Jeanneret an enormous desire to see and understand other cultures and places through the architecture and urban space that shaped them. In Italy, he expressed his first real interest in the built environment, primarily studying architectural details and building components. Shortly after his return, he set off again, for Vienna, Paris, and Germany, becoming increasingly interested in cityscapes and urban design. Periodically he returned home to recharge and reconnect with L’Eplattenier.
During his travels, the sketchbook emerged as Jeanneret’s premier tool for recording and learning, and drawing became for him an essential and necessary medium of architectural training. Between 1902 and 1911 he produced hundreds of drawings, exploring a wide range of subject matter as well as means and methods of recording. With each trip he gained a broader view. As his interests shifted and expanded, so did his process of documenting what he saw. To his repertoire of perspective drawings of landscapes, beautifully detailed in watercolor, he added analytical sketches that captured the core of spatial forms and became a means of shorthand visual note taking. All the while, he frequently returned to old and familiar subjects to study them through different lenses in order to “see.”© F.L.C. / ADAGP, Paris / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York 2016
Giuliano Gresleri, architectural historian and author of Les Voyages d’Allemagne: Carnets and Voyage d’Orient: Carnets (which include reproductions of Jeanneret’s notebooks during his travels to Germany and the East), said, “What distinguished Jeanneret’s journey from those of his contemporaries at the Ecole and from the tradition of the Grand Tour was precisely his awareness of ‘being able to begin again.’ Time and again, this notion stands out in the pages of his notebooks. The notes, the sketches, and the measurements were never ends in themselves, nor were they a part of the culture of the journey. They ceased being a diary and became design.”
In 1911 Jeanneret completed the capstone of his informal education, a second drawing tour that Corbusier eventually coined his “Journey to the East” (actually the title of a book of essays and letters that he wrote during his travels there, published in 1966). By this time, he was interested in understanding more than just the monuments: he looked at the architecture and everyday culture. He had mastered the art of drawing through the daily practice of observing and recording what he saw. Through this rigorous exercise of learning to see, he had developed a vast tool kit of subject matter, means of authorship, drawing conventions (artistic and architectural), and media. More important, through drawing he came to understand the persistencies in architecture—color, form, light, shadow, structure, composition, mass, surface, context, proportion, and materials. As he reached Greece (halfway through his Journey to the East), Jeanneret not only proclaimed that he would become an architect but was working toward a theoretical position about design around which he could live and work.© F.L.C. / ADAGP, Paris / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York 2016
L’Eplattenier was not the only influence on Le Corbusier’s views of architectural theory and culture. In Paris he worked for the French architect Auguste Perret, who taught him to appreciate proportion, geometry, scale, harmony, and the classical language of architecture. In Germany, he met William Ritter, who would become another of Jeanneret’s mentors and closest confidants. A music and art critic, intellectual, writer, and painter, Ritter exposed Jeanneret to new ideas in the art and architecture worlds. Indirectly Ritter led him to architect Peter Behrens (for whom he would work for several months in Germany), encouraged Jeanneret to experience the beauty of peasant life while traveling abroad, and inspired him to write. Jeanneret and Ritter corresponded through many letters, and Ritter constantly challenged Jeanneret to look beyond the comforts of La Chaux-de-Fonds and the more conservative views of L’Eplattenier.© F.L.C. / ADAGP, Paris / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York 2016
While traveling to Germany, Jeanneret also discovered buildings by Theodor Fischer, a Munich-based architect and professor of urban planning. Jeanneret greatly admired his work and was also impressed by Fischer’s aristocratic lifestyle. Though Fischer could not hire Jeanneret, he exposed him further to urban planning and reinforced the importance of geometric proportion in architectural design. In Germany Jeanneret also made friends with fellow painter August Klipstein. Thanks to their friendship, Jeanneret ultimately decided not to stay and work in Germany, but rather joined Klipstein as he traveled East. Their lively discussions on the road further allowed Jeanneret to flesh out his developing architectural ideals.© F.L.C. / ADAGP, Paris / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York 2016
In the end, however, travel drawing was Jeanneret’s education and his rite of passage. Embodied in his sketchbooks is an incredibly comprehensive means of visual exploration and discovery. Though he never had a formal architectural education, his intense curiosity to understand the world through drawing and painting and writing is what made him such a dynamic architect, one from whom we can still learn today. The lessons he learned formed the basis of his general outlook and provided content for his later seminal text, Vers une Architecture. They also prepared him to become Le Corbusier.
Voyage Le Corbusier: Drawing on the Road
- Buy from Norton
An extract of this new book, which "is at once a critical introduction to Jeanneret's budding practice and a richly detailed visual travelogue," is presented here with a selection of
Architects: Fran Silvestre Arquitectos
Location: Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Architect In Charge: Fran Silvestre
Collaborator Architects: Jordi Martínez, Fran Ayala, María Masià, Maria José Saez, Ángel Fito, Adrián Mora, Estefanía Soriano, Pablo Camarasa, Sandra Insa, Santi Dueña, Ricardo Candela, David Sastre, Sevak Asatrián, Álvaro Olivares, Paloma Márquez, Mercedes Calderón, Eduardo Sancho, Esther Sanchís, Vicente Picó, Erika Angulo, Alba Monfort, Ruben March.
Area: 958.03 sqm
Photographs: Diego Opazo, Fran Silvestre Arquitectos
Structure: David Gallardo
Project Manager: Orencio Peña (Serconex)
Technical Architect : Zacarías Gonzalez (Serconex)
Plot Area: 1770,00 M2
Inphographics: 3d Visual Effects
Interior Design: Alfaro Hofmann
From the architect. A consolidated landscape surrounded by gardens with big trees within the metropolis of Madrid is the fortunate starting point of this house.© Diego Opazo
The piece, of metallic and horizontal nature, produces the effect of having just one storey. With its proportions and materiality it both contrasts and blends with the tall trees of its environment.
The scale of the house is moderated through the understanding of the day area as a base emerging from the same natural stone which paves part of the plot. The night zone is placed on it and focuses the view to the north and south while protecting itself from the eyes of the neighbours and generating shaded terraces in which to enjoy the exterior.© Diego Opazo Main Floor © Diego Opazo
The substantially square plan is designed to unite the program in a compact way. The staircase and central inner atrium distribute the rooms, establishing a functional hierarchy in which all spaces open up to the garden.© Diego Opazo
Architects: Marston Architects
Location: Fairlight NSW 2094, Australia
Area: 180.0 sqm
Project Year: 2015
Photographs: Katherine Lu
Builder: Lisney Construction
From the architect. Conceptually, the A&M Houses have been an experiment in drawing a relationship and balance between a reduced footprint, comfortable living and maximised amenity.© Katherine Lu
The undulation of the roof line and the north facing skylights open up the narrow volumes to the sky above promoting the feeling of abundance of space. The detailing of large openings and the continuation of the limestone flooring into the courtyard spaces aims to create generous and seamless connections to the outdoors, visually expanding the constricted floor-plate. Zinc cladding and waxed stucco walls contribute to the material palette and respond to the client’s ‘no-maintenance’ brief and the site’s close proxiity to the beach as no painting is required - ever!.© Katherine Lu
Inhabitants of the A&M houses are encouraged to modify and adapt spaces to facilitate maximum amenity in both an environmental and social sense. The use of sliding wall panels in the form of timber screens, frosted glass and linen curtains eliminate the need for fixed swing doors and allows each space to open up or close off according to visual and acoustic privacy needs.© Katherine Lu Ground Floor Plan © Katherine Lu
Central to the material selection was the requirement to eliminate future maintenance. Anodised aluminium windows and internally waxed walls have a higher initial cost to install, however will be a more cost effective outcome in the longer term. Sustainability is at the core of the project. A smaller footprint not only generally requires less energy in the manufacture of the components but also the running costs of the building. The house is not air-conditioned and the tiled floors are conditioned with hydronic heating. All windows are double glazed and have external electrically controlled blinds to allow the user to control comfort.© Katherine Lu
Half the size of a typical new house, the A&M houses aim to provide a modest floor plate without compromising liveability.Diagram
Found in places as diverse as the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon, Willis Tower, and Tokyo Skytree, glass bottom observation decks have become the favorite engineering marvel of thrill seekers looking for a new perspective on the world. Now, the U.S. Bank Tower in downtown Los Angeles has upped the ante for adrenaline-spiking structures – affixing a glass side to the building’s facade. Spanning from a window on the 70th story to a terrace on the 69th, the 45-foot-long chute opened to the public on Saturday, providing those brave enough to ride it with unprecedented views of the city.
The slide is made of made of four-inch-thick clear glass, and was designed by M. Ludvik Engineering. It constitutes the most daring part of Gensler’s $50 million renovation to the Harry Cobb-designed tower, which at 1,018 feet (310 meters) has held the distinction of tallest building in LA since its opening in 1989.
Suffering from occupancy rates hovering around 50 percent, in 2013 the U.S. Bank Tower was purchased by Singapore-based OUE Ltd., who set out to reinvigorate the skyscraper in hopes of riding the recent wave of revitalization hitting downtown LA spots like Pershing Square and FAB Park. About to lose the title of tallest tower to the Wilshire Grand tower opening next year, OUE needed something splashy to make the building stand out from the skyline. Thus, the Skyslide was born.
In addition to the Skyslide, other new facilities include redesigned lobby spaces, a café, a 54th story “transfer floor,” and a restaurant/bar, as well as California's tallest open-air observation deck.
“They are projects that cannot be bought, cannot be owned, cannot be possess, to be kept; they are projects in total freedom. Nobody can own this, because if you own something, it’s not free.” -Christo
In this latest video from NOWNESS, Bulgarian artist Christo explains the fleeting nature of his most recent work, The Floating Piers, a floating dock system wrapped in yellow fabric that connects the towns of Sulzano and Peschiera Maraglio to the island of San Paolo in Italy’s Lake Iseo. First conceived by Christo alongside his late wife and creative partner Jeanne-Claude in 1970, The Floating Piers is in the midst of its 16 day run, lasting until July 3rd. After the conclusion of the exhibition, all components will be removed and industrially recycled, leaving its site precisely the way it was found.
“This is why they are made, for everybody, exist in this very precious time and never again, like our life.”
Location: United States Carlisle, PA 17013, USA
Architect In Charge: CannonDesign
Design Team: John P. Reed, Phil Dordai, Demos Simatos, Colleen McKenna, David Bibbs, Stephanie Hautzinger, Patrick Delahoy
Area: 29000.0 ft2
Project Year: 2014
Photographs: Demos Simatos, Scott Frances, Carl Socolow
General Contractor: Wagman Construction
Mep Engineering: Barton Associates
Civil Engineering: CenterPoint Engineering
Landscape Architecture: Andropogon Associates
Associate Architect: SGS Architects and Engineers
From the architect. This recently completed addition grew out of the desire to make a building of creative opposites. The addition is designed to in many ways be the antithesis of the existing Kline Center.
This idea of designing the addition in contrast to the existing building led the (then) president Bill Durden to remark on at an early meeting, “I get it, you are renovating, reimagining, revitalizing and rethinking the Kline Center. It should be called the Re_Kline.” The name stuck and we had a metaphoric talisman to guide our process. Its design strategy can be quickly summarized as a form of complementary contrasts.© Scott Frances
This building is located on the edge of Dickinson College’s historic campus. Charted in 1783, Dickinson College was the first college in the newly formed United States. The first building on campus, Old West, was designed by Benjamin Latrobe in 1805, the architect of the United States Capital building. It’s restrained detailing in limestone reflected the austere and simple esthetic of the founders, Benjamin Rush and John Dickinson’s vision for the campus.
This building is an addition to a 1980’s athletic complex designed by engineer Daniel Tully, which was constructed using a novel structural system of hyperbolic parabololoid roof shells. The new addition takes that structural system and turns it on its head as a design theme. If the original building was constructed using wooden glue-lam beams the new building is made of exposed steel. If the old building lacks connection to light the new building is filled with natural daylight. If the old building’s structure forms an undulating profile on the skyline the new building creates a quieter presence while referencing the existing building’s roof geometry in the structural steel which supports the facades aluminum sunshade. The pallet of materials for the new building picks up the grey coloration of the campus stone with its enclosure and integrated sunshade system detailed in anodized aluminum.Site Plan
The addition is made up of a number of distinct constituent parts; a large outdoor covered piazza, a triangulated lobby and connecting sky lit concourse, wood clad office and café volume, a glass enclosed fitness center, a five court squash center and a south facing covered porch. The building was designed as the first part of a master plan. Consequently the residual spaces between the new addition and the original complex are sized to accommodate future growth. In their current state these spaces are designed as a series of garden courts for various athletic activities, such as tai chi, yoga, basketball and impromptu teaching.
Urbanistically the building fulfils a number of important roles within the campus proper. The outdoor covered piazza marks the western terminus of Dickinson Walk which forms the main pedestrian pathway though campus. The pathway continues inside through the lobby and along a two story concourse, which will in future phase eventually link all the athletic programs. At the southern end of the building, a covered porch stretches toward West High Street, one of the main thoroughfares of Carlisle, announcing athletics to the town and campus. At night the building becomes a luminous beacon at this end of the campus, opening up previously tucked away spaces to students and faculty.Sketches
Dickinson College has a very strong commitment to sustainability in its curriculum, facilities, operations, culture and civic engagements. The new Kline Center Addition takes this sustainable approach holistically with a number of integrated design features. Some of these elements are visible and meant to contribute to the pedagogical strategy of sustainability. As a teaching tool, building’s environment can be manually tuned in the temperate seasons by admitting fresh air through low hopper windows and exhausting it by fan through skylight apertures. A second set of fans recirculate warm air in the winter. The sunshade system is designed to admit low level winter sun while deflecting the harsher summer light. A series of rain water gardens clean and filter street run off before diverting it to a hidden and below-grade water detention system. This system also retains the runoff from the existing building’s tent-like roofscape and remediates a broad area of the campus that was previously prone to flooding.
The Lucas Museum has been looking for a home in all the wrong places. Following months of fiery debate over the future of the museum’s proposed lakefront location, George Lucas announced that he is abandoning plans to build the project in Chicago and will instead return to looking for a site in California. This is the second failed location for the museum, after being rejected by San Francisco’s Presidio Trust in early 2014.Courtesy of Lucas Museum of Narrative Arts
The commission for the 300,000 square foot (27870 square meter) museum on 17 acres of Chicago lakefront property was won in July of 2014 by MAD Architects for their white, sculptural “mountain” topped by a “metallic crown,” and was quickly approved by the Chicago City Council, the Plan Commission and the Chicago Park District, the owners of the land. But the proposal went on hold in November of that year, when the group Friends of the Parks filed a federal lawsuit halting construction.
As it stands now, the site in question is occupied by a 1,500-space parking lot just south of Soldier Field that serves as a tailgating area during the Chicago Bears’ 8 annual home games. Proponents of the museum had argued that the project would bring “an iconic architectural structure and additional green space to an otherwise blank, paved, and bleak city landscape” and provide thousands of jobs, without costing taxpayers any money.
But Friends of the Parks feared the implications of placing a private museum on the public lakefront, claiming that the project was in violation of the public trust doctrine, which states that governments must protect certain natural resources for public use. They had hoped instead to preserve the land to someday become a vast park. While the group had hinted at comprise in recent discussions, the lawsuit was never withdrawn, prompting Lucas to take action.
"No one benefits from continuing their seemingly unending litigation to protect a parking lot," said Lucas. "The actions initiated by Friends of Parks and their recent attempts to extract concessions from the city have effectively overridden approvals received from numerous democratically elected bodies of government."
The museum will now return to pursuing a location in California, Lucas’ birthplace and home to many of the filming locations for Star Wars, the famous movie franchise created by Lucas. Potential sites include an island in the middle of San Francisco Bay and the city of Los Angeles, which has publicly expressed interest in the project.
News via the Chicago Tribune.
Architects: Estudio BLT
Location: Mendiolaza, Córdoba, Argentina
Architects Collaborator: Daniel Garnica
Structural Calculations: Ing. Germán Sarboraria
Area: 140.0 sqm
Project Year: 2015
Photographs: Emilia Sierra Guzmán
¿How to place a house in a suburban landscape in the hills? This was the main challenge of this project, that had to be placed in a fast growing suburban neighborhood in the first undulations of the sierras, in the outskirts of Córdoba city. The development of sub-urbanization in the sierras, has the main problem of destroying the landscape and the native forest, while expanding the urban area towards natural landscape.© Emilia Sierra Guzmán
When facing the problem of how to stand with the architecture in the site, it was a premise to work taking profit of the topography, making sure that the new construction doesn't interfere with the surrounding landscape, maintaining the possibility of viewing the native forest through the house at the back side of the site. To do this, we decided to bury the main parts of the house below the street level, hiding it. By doing this, we achieve an intense relation with the surrounding landscape, by generating a strong contrast between the silent geometry of the brick cubes that emerge from the green roof of the buried house, and the green native forest downhill.Plan Diagram
The rooms of the house, all of them oriented north, fully opens to a private garden surrounded by typical trees of the sierras, while they hide themselves from the street and the south, gaining privacy for the house. Small interior courtyards, separates the rooms of the house from the contention wall, allowing crossed ventilation, that together with the green roof, climate the house in a natural way. From the street, we can only see two blind volumes. There are two main entrances, one for pedestrians, the other one for cars, that appears like two excavations descending down to the main level of the house.© Emilia Sierra Guzmán
Lasting for close to two decades now, the annual Serpentine Gallery Pavilion Exhibition has become one of the most anticipated architectural events in London and for the global architecture community. With this year’s edition featuring not just one pavilion but four additional “summer houses,” the program shows no sign of slowing down. Each of the previous sixteen pavilions have been thought-provoking, leaving an indelible mark and strong message to the architectural community. And even though each of the past pavilions are removed from the site after their short summer stints to occupy far-flung private estates, they continue to be shared through photographs, and in architectural lectures. With the launch of the 16th Pavilion this month, we take a look back at all the previous pavilions and their significance to the architecturally-minded public.
The premise behind the creation of the pavilions is simple: an architect who has not built in the UK is given the opportunity to showcase their talents and hopefully gain exposure. They are invited to build a temporary pavilion on the grounds of the Serpentine Gallery in Hyde Park London, England. Each invited architect is given six months, within receiving the commission, to construct the pavilion, then the exhibit is opened for the public’s exploration for the remainder of the summer. The program’s short timeline and limited scope creates the perfect environment for experimentation—safely distanced from pragmatic functions, this is architecture for the sake of architecture. For 17 years, the Serpentine Gallery has provided a significant platform from which to publicize architectural experimentation and avant-gardism, an arrangement from which the designers and the public benefit.
2000: Zaha HadidSerpentine Pavilion 2000. Image © Hélène Binet
Perhaps there is no architect more perfect than the late Zaha Hadid to set the tone for the Pavilion program. Simultaneously praised and dismissed by many in her early career as a “paper architect,” Hadid is well-known for wild geometries and highly experimental designs. For her first built project in her home country, the now world-famous architect created a tent-like structure that was supported by a triangulated framework.Serpentine Pavilion 2001. Image © Hélène Binet
Entitled “Eighteen Turns,” Libeskind’s Serpentine pavilion was created from sheer metallic planes that were assembled in a dynamic sequence—the same origami-like operations and rigid metal facade that we see in a more significant project: The Berlin Jewish Museum. Having been launched within the same year, it begs to be asked whether the pavilion was simply inspired by the design of the museum, or whether the pavilion was deliberately designed to serve as a teaser for a highly-anticipated, larger and more permanent project to come.
2002: Toyo Ito with Cecil BalmondSerpentine Pavilion 2002. Image © Sylvain Deleu
Though it appears to comprise of random triangular and trapezoidal shapes, the facade of the Ito's Pavilion was in fact based on an algorithm derived from a cube which expands as it rotates. The interplay between light, dark, transparent, translucent and solid created an interesting spatial condition in the interior.
2003: Oscar NiemeyerSerpentine Pavilion 2003. Image © Sylvain Deleu
Oscar Niemeyer’s Pavilion took us back to the golden age of Modernism. Built in concrete, painted in white and accessed by a ramp, the designer seemingly created an exhibit of the very elements of his notable mid-century buildings. The famous Brazilian architect, whose sketches are widely published, held the principle that every project must be simple enough to be summarized in a simple illustration and that is certainly applicable in this exhibit.
2004: MVRDV (unbuilt)
Due to time and budgetary constraints, MVRDV was unable to realize their plan of building a mountainous structure.Serpentine Pavilion 2005. Image © Sylvain Deleu
This duo sought to pay homage to the Serpentine Gallery’s permanent neo-classical building and the hilly landscape of the site. The resulting design was achieved through a rectangular grid which has been distorted to created curvaceous forms.
2006: Rem KoolhaasSerpentine Pavilion 2006. Image © John Offenbach
Koolhaas, in partnership with Cecil Balmond, created a single-level circular pavilion which was protected from the elements by an “ovoid-shaped” inflatable canopy that would be lowered, or floated above the pavilion as a way to temper the effects of the daily weather. With a longer run than the preceding pavilions, Koolhaas envisioned a busy program for the pavilion, including 24-hour interviews. The architect made a case for the pavilion as a venue for attraction rather than just being the attraction itself.
2007: Olaffur Eliasson and Kjetil ThorsenSerpentine Pavilion 2007. Image © Luke Hayes
The artist-architect collaboration between Eliasson and Thorsen of Snøhetta created another program-filled pavilion—causing the structure to be late for the Serpentine's annual Summer Party which coincides with the pavilions' launch. The timber clad multi-story pavilion, which was shaped like a spinning top, was the the most elaborate of all the pavilions up to this point and contained weekly public "experiments" lead by artists, scientists and practitioners.
2008: Frank GehrySerpentine Pavilion 2008. Image © John Offenbach
Though Gehry's Pavilion could easily be dismissed as just another iteration of his "wild" architecture he does find ways to challenge his work. While his pre-existing projects could be interpreted as an "explosion" of forms, Gehry's pavilion was an inversion of that idea. The glass canopies of the Pavilion seemingly "implode" within a well-articulated framework. Collaborating for the first time with his son Samuel, the resulting structure was imagined to be a hybrid between an urban street leading to the Serpentine gallery and an amphitheater hosting a suite of talks and events.
2009: SANAASerpentine Pavilion 2009. Image © Claire Byrne
Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa's design was perhaps the most straight-forward and structurally simple: a flat piece of highly-reflective aluminum supported by delicate columns. But in its simplicity their structure appears to "soar like smoke, melt like a sheet of metal, drift like a cloud, or flow like water." Seen in plan view, they also incorporated a recurring form in their work: a conglomeration of curvilinear blob-like shapes.
2010: Jean NouvelSerpentine Pavilion 2010. Image © John Offenbach
Striking in red is Jean Nouvel’s pavilion for 2010 which coincided with the Serpentine Gallery's 40th anniversary. The pavilion, which contained an auditorium, a cafe, and general public spaces reads the most as a "regular" building, though in the context of the Serpentine Pavilions that isn't saying much. The vividly-colored polycarbonate and fabric structure embodied a playful spirit and contrasts with the green lawn throughout Kensington Garden similar to Bernard Tschumi's Parc de la Villette.
2011: Peter ZumthorSerpentine Pavilion 2011. Image © John Offenbach
Zumthor continued his play on solids and voids during his turn at the Serpentine Pavilion. Much like his previous work such as in the Therme Vals, the interplay became a means of creating various effects and setting contemplative or visceral moments within his buildings. Zumthor ultimately set out to realize a hortus conclusus: an enclosed garden meant to act as an intimate space that was designed by Dutch garden designer, Piet Oudolf.Serpentine Pavilion 2012. Image © Iwan Baan
Given the huge success of the previous collaboration between the Chinese artist and the Swiss architects during the Beijing Olympic Games, the launch of their first collaborative work in the UK was much-anticipated, as it also coincided with the London 2012 Games. With more than 10 predecessors on the Pavilion Program, the team took an archaeological approach. Digging a little over 5-feet below grade, a reflective floating platform was erected over 12 uniquely designed columns that pay homage to the 11 previous pavilions at Serpentine and one to represent itself. The pavilion read as an archaeological dig-site, encouraging the spectators to reflect about the Serpentine's past.
2013: Sou FujimotoSerpentine Pavilion 2013. Image © Neil MacWilliams
Aptly nicknamed “the cloud,” Fujimoto’s Pavilion was an irregularly-shaped semi-transparent blob composed of light grid modules. The design built on a common theme of the architect’s work which often interrogates the relationship of architecture and nature. In other ways, the pavilion was strongly reminiscent of his most recent successful project at the time: House NA.
2014: Smiljan RadicSerpentine Pavilion 2014. Image © George Rex
Of all the chosen architects, Chilean Smiljan Radic was the least-known before receiving the Serpentine commission, and from the least-known came arguably the most out-of-this-world. In an article by The Guardian, Radic’s design was likened to “a bulbous white cocoon, still sticky with the excretions of whatever creature made it,” but the "weird” structure had more thoughtful underpinnings. Responding to the thick and layered assemblies of buildings in the UK, Radic wanted to create an extremely thin building envelope. With a fiberglass skin of just 10 mm thick, the donut-shaped structure was juxtaposed with boulders scattered throughout the site.
2015: SelgasCanoSerpentine Pavilion 2015. Image © NAARO
Following the weirdest but most critically-acclaimed pavilion was perhaps the most critiqued. José Selgas and Lucía Cano of the Spain-based studio SelgasCano were commissioned for the Pavilion Program's crystal anniversary. The pair envisioned a polyamorphous polygonal structure consisting of panels of woven translucent or multi-colored ETFE. Like a human-sized cat's tube toy, the structure had multiple points of entry and exit and consisted of a number of different corridors. Hinging on the concept of pure visitor experience, the duo set out to build the structure in the most simple and elemental of manners: structure, light, transparency, shadows, change, and surprise.
2016: Bjarke IngelsSerpentine Pavilion 2016. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu
BIG's 2016 commission plays with space and dimension, transforming from a single line of tubular "bricks" at its top to an expansive space containing a cafe and public space below. The pavilion is also accompanied by four "summer houses" that have each been designed by an architect who has yet to build a permanent building in England, respectively being Kunlé Adeyemi, Barkow Leibinger, Yona Friedman, and Asif Khan.