UNStudio Creates Winning Master Plan for the Korean National Football Centre in Seoul

UNStudio in collaboration with Johan Cruijff ArenA designed a winning plan for the Korean National Football Centre in Seoul. Focusing on health, wellness, science, technology, education, and promoting a healthy lifestyle, the project was selected as the winning design in an international closed competition that took place in March this year.

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© Brick Visual

© Brick Visual

Commissioned by the Korean Football Association (KFA), the new state of the art National Football Centre in Seoul will take on two programs, it will become home to the Korean national team and their trainers, as well as a laboratory for future generations helping to foster their careers.

In the conception phase of the master plan, UNStudio gathered a team of industry specialists including an international team of leading football stadium managers, alongside specialists in sports science and digital data collection, to generate a project “based on lessons learned from other top international football clubs and training centers”.


Related Article

UNStudio Designs a Multifunctional and Flexible Education Building for TU Delft in the Netherlands


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© Brick Visual

© Brick Visual

The Netherlands is a very proud footballing nation. We have many top players and trainers in teams all over the globe. As the inventors of ‘Total Football’, to us football is not just a sport; it’s an expression of culture, a science and philosophy. Football brings people together, it provides them with a sense of comradery, of belonging and of national pride. — Ben van Berkel, Founder & Principal Architect, UNStudio.

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© Brick Visual

© Brick Visual

Located on a 450,427 m2 site in Cheonan-shi, Chungnam-do – the new National Football Centre (NFC) put in place shared facilities for women, men, and youth. Designed to cultivate top league players, the project is also a destination for football fans to enjoy the story of Korean football. Housing two stadiums and over a dozen sports field typologies, natural running tracks and indoor gymnasiums, the intervention is also linked to specialist sports medics and treatment centers. The central public plaza, the focal point of the master plan, is surrounded by the three main buildings, the museum, the indoor stadium, and the outdoor stadium.

In the Netherlands, we understand the importance of training footballers from a young age. We invest a great deal in our youth, as well as in new technologies and state of the art tools and techniques for the education and excellence of football — Ben van Berkel, Founder & Principal Architect, UNStudio.

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Courtesy of UNStudio

Courtesy of UNStudio

Finally, for the competition, UNStudio created also an urban branding manual to serve as a blueprint for key architectural and urban aspects of the masterplan and outlines specifications for various scales of detail that adhere to the original guiding principles of the design, focusing on Health, Wellness, Science and Technology.

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Courtesy of UNStudio

Courtesy of UNStudio
  • Client: Korea Football Association, (KFA)
  • Location: Cheonan-shi, Chungnam-do, Korea
  • Building site: 450,427㎡
  • Program: Campus Masterplan and Urban Branding Strategy, 1 Outdoor Stadium with management facilities (1000-1500 Seats), 1 Indoor Stadium with support facilities, The National Team health, and resort facility, Museum for Korean Football, supporting training fields and recreation, youth hostel, and retail.
  • Status: Competition 1st place
  • UNStudio: Ben van Berkel, Gerard Loozekoot with Harlen Miller, Crystal Tang, and Suhan Na, Luigi Olivieri, Zirong Zhao
  • Advisors: Amsterdam ArenA – Stadium Logistics and Sports Science: Henk Markerink, Sander van Stiphout, Max Reckers
  • Visualizations: Brick Visual

Tallinn Architecture Biennale 2022 Shortlist Revealed

The Estonian Centre for Architecture has announced its shortlist of candidates for the sixth international Tallinn Architecture Biennale TAB 2022. The aim of the Curatorial Competition is to find an innovative and responsive theme related to the context of Estonia and relevant to the contemporary world of architecture. The 6th edition was postponed due to the uncertain times that international cultural events are facing because of the coronavirus outbreak.

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TAB 2019 "Beauty Matters", Head Curator Yael Reisner, Image by Tõnu Tunnel. Image Courtesy of Tallinn Architecture Biennale

TAB 2019 “Beauty Matters”, Head Curator Yael Reisner, Image by Tõnu Tunnel. Image Courtesy of Tallinn Architecture Biennale

The TAB 2022 Curatorial Competition received a record number of submissions from around the world. The competition jury selected the finalists out of 26 submissions, who will be interviewed in the competition’s second stage. Raul Järg, the director of Estonian Centre for Architecture and the jury member of TAB 2022 Curatorial Competition, noted that, “the postponement of TAB to 2022 makes the jury process even more difficult as the winning proposal has to not only be interesting in this present day but also be relevant and engaging in two years’ time,” asserts Raul Järg.

These are the five finalists (in alphabetical order):
“Adaptive Reuse” explores how heritage-led contemporary architecture contributes to placemaking and creating more sustainable urbanism. Curatorial team: Kaija-Luisa Kurik, Ewa Effiom, Keiti Kljavin,andMartina Schwab.


Related Article

Tallinn Architecture Biennale Postponed until 2022


“Edible: Architecture that Makes Food, Or, Is Eaten Away” transfers the metabolism and experiential aptitudes of the natural world to the domain of cities and buildings. Curators: Areti Markopoulou, Lydia Kallipoliti. Local Co-Curator: Ivan Sergejev

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TAB 2017 installation by Gilles Retsin, Image by NAARO. Image Courtesy of Tallinn Architecture Biennale

TAB 2017 installation by Gilles Retsin, Image by NAARO. Image Courtesy of Tallinn Architecture Biennale

“Emotionalism” proposes that TAB 2022 serves as the launch pad for an architectural movement called Emotionalism. Seeing humanity as devalued by a never-deepening digitalization, it re-asserts what makes us human through the design of the built environment. Curatorial team: Tszwai Soand Herbert Wright.

“Home” focuses on traditional domains of the home, showcasing new opportunities for social interaction within, on the border of, and in the close proximity of homes. Curatorial team: Eerika Alev, Eva Kedelauk, Kristel Niisuke, Kristiina Way, and Margus Tamm.

“Life Beyond Work” looks at the architecture of “leisure”— an architecture dedicated to enjoyment, relaxation, and non-productive activity. Curatorial team: Helen Runting, Karin Matz, Rutger Sjögrim, Maroš Krivy, Tristan Main, and Karin Kahre.

Initially planned to be held in September 2021, TAB has now been postponed by one year, with the new Opening Week dates being 7–11 September 2022. The competition will still be held in two stages. Final results will be announced after the second stage jury meeting in August 2020.

The 50 Best Houses of 2020 (So Far)

We’ve recently passed the halfway point of 2020, and to date, we’ve published hundreds of residential projects featuring distinct ways of living on ArchDaily. In a year marked by the worst health crisis that humanity has experienced in the last century, the Covid-19 pandemic, the house has gained new meanings and values, reiterating that no matter how diverse its program, a home’s purpose is to shelter its inhabitants.

© Matej Hakár© Hiroyuki Oki© Carlina Teteris© Satoshi Takae + Shinkenchiku+ 51

Context, topography, scale, materials, budget and user desires are a range of aspects (and challenges) that define the most varied architectural solutions. It is no surprise that residential works are the most popular project category on ArchDaily. In the list below you’ll find the residences that gained the most interest, featuring the 50 most popular projects across the whole ArchDaily network during the first half of 2020.

CH House / ODDO architects

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© Hoang Le photography

© Hoang Le photography

IH Residence / andramatin

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© Mario Wibowo

© Mario Wibowo

Blind House / BOONDESIGN

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© Wison Tungthunya & W Workspace Company Limited

© Wison Tungthunya & W Workspace Company Limited

Riverside House / Three Sixty Architecture

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© Simon Devitt

© Simon Devitt

Stairway House / nendo

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© Daici Ano

© Daici Ano

On The Water House / Nikken Sekkei

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© Gankosha, Harunori Noda

© Gankosha, Harunori Noda

Villa Mandra / K-Studio

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© Claus Brechenmacher & Reiner Baumann Photography

© Claus Brechenmacher & Reiner Baumann Photography

Escobar House / Luciano Kruk

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© Daniela Mac Adden

© Daniela Mac Adden

The Sanctuary House / Feldman Architecture

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© Joe Fletcher

© Joe Fletcher

House BF / Paz Arquitectura

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© Andrés Asturias

© Andrés Asturias

River House / Alexis Dornier

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© KIE

© KIE

CJ House / RUANGRONA

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© KIE

© KIE

Guha / RAW Architecture

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© Eric Dinardi

© Eric Dinardi

Amagansett Modular House / MB Architecture

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© Matthew Carbone

© Matthew Carbone

Kodikara House / Lalith Gunadasa Architects

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© Dilanka Bandara

© Dilanka Bandara

Bin & Bon House / H.a

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© Quang Dam

© Quang Dam

Expandable House Part 02 / Urban Rural Systems

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© Carlina Teteris

© Carlina Teteris

Qishe Courtyard / ARCHSTUDIO

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© Qingshan Wu

© Qingshan Wu

Melt House / SAI Architectural Design Office

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© Norihito Yamauchi

© Norihito Yamauchi

House For Simple Stay / Skupaj Arhitekti + mKutin arhitektura

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© Miran Kambič

© Miran Kambič

Residence WULF / CAS architecten

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© Tim Van de Velde

© Tim Van de Velde

Rehabilitation of a Single-Family Home in Miraflores / fuertespenedo arquitectos

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© Héctor Santos-Díez

© Héctor Santos-Díez

Small House 01 / 90odesign

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© Cung Vit

© Cung Vit

MU50 House / Teke Architects Office

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© Altkat Architectural Photography

© Altkat Architectural Photography

Ha Long Villa / VTN Architects

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© Hiroyuki Oki

© Hiroyuki Oki

Extension of an Old Family House / Architekti B.K.P.Š

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© Tomáš Manina

© Tomáš Manina

The Roof House / Looklen Architects

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© Varp Studio

© Varp Studio

LR2 House / Montalba Architects

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© Kevin Scott

© Kevin Scott

House in Amagasaki / uemachi laboratory

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© Kazushi Hirano

© Kazushi Hirano

S-House / GALI Associates

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© Link Studio

© Link Studio

Shade House / Ayutt and Associates design

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© Chalermwat Wongchompoo

© Chalermwat Wongchompoo

Sierra Fría House / ESRAWE

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© César Béjar

© César Béjar

House in Tezukayama / Fujiwaramuro Architects

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© Toshiyuki Yano

© Toshiyuki Yano

Zicatela House / Ludwig Godefroy Architecture

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© Rory Gardiner

© Rory Gardiner

House Akerdijk / Arjen Reas Architects

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© Luc Buthker

© Luc Buthker

Concrete House / Matt Gibson Architecture

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© Derek Swalwell

© Derek Swalwell

House for a Ceramic Artist / ARHITEKTURA / OFFICE FOR URBANISM AND ARCHITECTURE

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© Miran Kambič

© Miran Kambič

2m26 Kyoto House / 2M26

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© soukousha (Yuya Miki)

© soukousha (Yuya Miki)

K.Krit Residence / Octane architect & design

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© Rungkit Charoenwat

© Rungkit Charoenwat

House V / Martin Skoček

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© Matej Hakár

© Matej Hakár

Eclipse house / I/O architects

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© Assen Emilov

© Assen Emilov

Monteblanco 26 House / Warm Architects

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© César Béjar

© César Béjar

North Bondi House / James Garvan Architecture

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© Katherine Lu

© Katherine Lu

Dolunay Villa / Foster + Partners

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© Nigel Young / Foster + Partners

© Nigel Young / Foster + Partners

Ca l’Amo House / Marià Castelló Martínez

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Cortesia de Marià Castelló Martínez

Cortesia de Marià Castelló Martínez

House in Salto de Pirapora / Vereda Arquitetos

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© André Scarpa

© André Scarpa

Merida House / Ludwig Godefroy Architecture

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© Rory Gardiner

© Rory Gardiner

8.5 House / DOG

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© Satoshi Takae + Shinkenchiku

© Satoshi Takae + Shinkenchiku

Sleepless Residence / WARchitect

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© Rungkit Charoenwat

© Rungkit Charoenwat

Gafanha House / Filipe Pina

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© João Morgado

© João Morgado

Image gallery

REMOVABLE PARTITION / ALUMINUM / GLAZED / DOUBLE-GLAZED NEO ANTHRACITE

removable partition

Characteristics

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Description

We offer two kind of partitions with double panel and 82mm thickness; Master Series, and Neo Series. Both partitions assure high level of confort on workplaces.
Master Series partition has a classical and hard aspect, and Neo Series partition has reduced the presence of aluminium for a minimalistic appearance and better transparency of glazed walls.

“The Era of Powerful Buildings and Weak Entourage is Over”: Interview with Luxigon’s Eric de Broche des Combs

The images that some visualizers have been presenting have allowed people to be fully immersed in virtually-built environments; exploring the space, observing how the sun rays create a dialogue between light and shadow, experiencing what they might hear or feel as they walk by one room to another, all before excavation work begins and the first block is laid.

In an exclusive interview with ArchDaily, Luxigon‘s Eric de Broche des Combes talks about his career, creating amplified visualizations and how they influence a project, and what the future holds for the industry.

© Eric de Broche des Combes© Eric de Broche des Combes© Eric de Broche des CombesOMA_Houston . Image © Luxigon+ 27

Dima Stouhi (DS): Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and the type of work you’ve done?


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“Film is the Next Best Thing for Architecture”: Interview with Spirit of Space


Eric de Broche des Combes (EBC): I was born in 1971 in the Cité Radieuse in Marseille, yes “that” famous building from Le Corbusier. It was a great year for psychotropic drugs and microprocessors and a terrible one for textiles. I have been anxious most of my youth about nylon suddenly catching ablaze. I developed a fascination with computers and electronic instruments at a very early age. Whatever blinks is my thing. It was also extremely esoteric, even for adults, which gifted you with some kind of special power. Geeky kids were considered with a mix of admiration and fear. I was quite a rebellious child, pupil and student but managed to make my way through the school of architecture without too much hassle. I couldn’t —and still can’t— handle hierarchy. I did the mandatory study time plus two extra years of Masters, mostly because I was given the opportunity to work on top-notch computers others only dreamt of laying their hands on (like Sun or Silicon Graphics Stations). I enjoyed it a lot. I am still living very much by the rhythm of those years: the terror of failing, sleep deprivation, alternate phases of exuberance and depression, and a lack of reasonable limits when partying. Funny enough I also discovered, during my studies, that being lazy finally requires a lot of work. In order to earn a bit of money along the way, I was running a little sweatshop to help the lost-cause students to attain their diplomas. I think this is where it all started. These days I am still doing my fair share of images and movies, teaching at the Harvard Graduate School of Design to “insanely great students”, as Steve Jobs would say, and doing lectures here and there —when there are no coronavirus’ lurking around.

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© Eric de Broche des Combes

© Eric de Broche des Combes

DS: What inspired you to follow this career path?

EBC: Nothing precise. I never saw it as a career and I never had a plan. Still today. For as long as I can remember I have always been more influenced by the immaterial than material. I travel in my head. I like the process of imagining as opposed to absorbing. My father was an exceptional draftsman. He trained me the hard way with intense discipline and extreme organisation —a bit like a Kung-Fu master. My mother, on the other hand, has an utterly fertile imagination and a tendency to believe in the supernatural. The combination of both is a perfect cocktail for art, even though I don’t consider what I am doing as art in the noble sense of the word. It’s more in the domain of the interpretation of dreams. Drawings, good ones, deliver a pristine vision that has not yet been edulcorated by people’s opinions or desires. They are the recipient of the reality you have placed in them and which remains to be deciphered. This ambiguous state is what makes them so powerful. Even more than a finished building if you ask me.

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OMA_Shenzhen. Image © Luxigon

OMA_Shenzhen. Image © Luxigon

As much as I love architecture, I find being an architect a very painful job. It is very frustrating to see how such a serious and important practice is being treated with such little consideration. I wisely chose to stay away from the construction part but still participate in my own way. On a (less important) side note, I have been puzzled most of my school years by how little bravery and humor was put into architectural representation (with some noticeable exceptions like Kaplický, Archigram or Superstudio, to name but a few). Most of the mainstream work was at best very dull and boring. Skies were always blue and nights never dark. They were showing the monster in plain light in the very first seconds of the movie.

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Sketch_Heron VI . Image © Eric de Broche des Combes

Sketch_Heron VI . Image © Eric de Broche des Combes

DS: What is the step-by-step process of creating a render/scene? How long does a project take on average?

EBC: I wish there was a rule here but only one seems to apply on a regular basis: “whatever works”.

Ideally, you discuss the scope and visions with an architect or team, immediately followed by the delivery of great self-explanatory documents, a wonderful 3D model made of different layers with names you understand, and pictures of the site taken with expensive cameras. You then proceed to work with this material you are given, but still have time to enjoy lovely evenings with your family and friends and weekends doing whatever you are into doing on weekends. A few rounds of previews, a couple of adjustments later, and a pack of beautiful images is delivered on time and prompt payment is being issued as a reward for your hard work… but most of the time it is more like an Apollo 13 situation “we have a string, a couple of screws, 2 meters of tape and half a pen, how are we going to bring our people back to earth in one piece”. It is NEVER easy, and even worse than that is if it looks easy it is going to be your worst nightmare! I think this rule also applies to engineering.

In 25% of the cases, the plan goes more or less ok. Some people really know how to work, generally, it’s the people modeling in rhino and using pdf as the main form of communication. They earn the respect of our team and even if it’s demanding, you do it gladly. 50% of the cases are more complicated with a few guerrilla fights of various degrees here and there. I would say that the difficult part to handle is being blamed for mistakes we have not made, or are not our prerogative. We are often asked to do things we should not. We call it the “white-cube-and-photographic-reference” syndrome. You have white cubes and by the magic of rendering it should be turned into a vibrant stadium or a lively mall. After all, the computer does it right…

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Heron VI . Image © Eric de Broche des Combes

Heron VI . Image © Eric de Broche des Combes

The final 25% is a portal opening straight to hell. A new sort of office mixing all the wrong ingredients has emerged ie.: absolute lack of work; badly covered by long and useless video meetings; terribly corporate and insincere briefs; childish obsessions and ultimately poor design served with a large swig of pretentiousness. Zoom and Sketchup. This can make you consider living in a hut in Alaska and hunt your own salmon. The percentage is, unfortunately, increasing every year because in the world of architecture there’s very little justice. One can feel It’s the end of chivalry.

DS: Is the scenery as important as the architecture or do you prefer to focus on the project itself then complement it with the setting?

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Henning Larsen_Sydney. Image © Luxigon

Henning Larsen_Sydney. Image © Luxigon

EBC: It’s a balance. The era of powerful buildings and weak entourage is over. There’s a common understanding that a project is an array of forms and functions and they have to blend efficiently. An image should reflect exactly that. It should be easy to understand without giving any explanations, but that is also becoming the weak link, unfortunately with the temptation to replace proper design by a sum of uses. A bunch of people waving iPads in the midst of luscious plants is not a workspace. The main purpose of architecture resides in the harmonization of scales for specific functions, with a touch of magic to make it an experience instead of day-to-day operation. Making that part trivial is a considerable risk. Trees have always been the best allies of bad (or insufficient) design.

DS: Since you have an international client profile & your offices are spread across Paris, Milan, and LA, do you find that there is a difference between the style or type of renders requested in these different cultures? 

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New AOM_Paris. Image © Luxigon

New AOM_Paris. Image © Luxigon

EBC: Renders have become very uniform. I don’t think you can say that there are major specificities anymore – which is very unfortunate. They are “international” now, the same way architecture evolved in the ’60s. It was great to be confronted by different forms of culture whilst doing images though, for example, perspective in itself is a cultural perception. Some countries are less used to the notion of a “third dimension”. The methods of working, on the other hand, can be quite different depending on where the office is situated. Without being too specific, some offices are very open to suggestions, some not at all. You have the Industrious, the Passive-aggressive, the Rude, the Stingy, and the Messy. It would be quite an interesting map to design!

What is an endless joy though, is working with people from different nationalities at Luxigon. On top of being remarkably talented, they all bring different spirits. We tend to tease each other continuously and little folkloric details are a solid fuel for good laughs. You cannot possibly be afraid of differences when you can make fun of them. Nobody is spared, myself included.

DS: How do you translate the architects’ vision? What are the elements that you focus on?

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Kengo Kuma & Associates - Smyrna Church, Gothenburg, Sweden. Image © Luxigon

Kengo Kuma & Associates – Smyrna Church, Gothenburg, Sweden. Image © Luxigon

EBC: You have to understand the stakes fairly well before you start. If I had to do a comparison with music we would be the ones doing the arrangements. You have a brute melody and you have to make it intelligible for the masses. The most interesting part of the work is to be capable of grasping the singularities. In one or a few images you have to create some sort of entanglement of reality, desires, and wills. It is barely, if never, a technical issue. It is an intellectual effort and sometimes you even have to fight with the creator to impose it. I love something Paul Andreu, who was notoriously exigent, was often saying “people do not understand that I fight for the project, not for myself”. We at Luxigon, and I personally, are striving for this level of integrity.

DS: How do you think visualizations contribute to the design process and the final result of the project?

EBC: I feel very ambivalent. The fact is that projects have become increasingly complex. One can hardly avoid using 3D software to help in the design process and If a 3D software is implicated then you are one step away from having a fairly accurate simulation. While in the good old days drawings were mostly an interpretation, these days they are more a logical extension of the design evolution. This I think is real progress, alas, as we all know: if facts contradict the story then just change the facts. I would love to believe only the intrinsic qualities of a project are what matters the most, but I have done enough fireworks in my life to know it’s not always the case.

DS: Do you feel like 3D renders are less credible than photographs in the eyes of the reader/viewer or there is no discrimination to the art of architecture visualizations?

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© Eric de Broche des Combes

© Eric de Broche des Combes

EBC: You can lie with a picture as easily as with a render. All you have to do is remove what is wrong and replace it with something nice. A bit of Photoshop and ‘voilà!’ your problems are gone. One tricky situation has appeared due to the progress of technology, software now permits a higher degree of realism which can trick people into believing buildings already exist. Believing in what you see leads to a form of acceptance that removes a large part of critical thinking. The truth is often very different. To quote the Giant in Twin Peaks “the owls are not what they seem”. Let me give you a simple example: a lot of projects you assume will be made of wood will finally end up being all-aluminum coated with a wooden effect. There’s a huge difference between illusion and magic you see. When you know how to read plans or sections you discover where costs have been cut and that is far more concerning than the trickery I have mentioned before. A danger for architecture would certainly be trying to cover all the bases which would finally transform buildings into products.

DS: What are some of the misconceptions about visualizers that you’ve heard? Or things that clients expected from you that you’re not really responsible for?

EBC: First and foremost I don’t like the word “client”. We are in between two “clients“ which is a rather uncomfortable situation as we have to serve two masters. I like to think we are part of a team and not just outside consultants that will throw a bunch of light into a 3D model and talk in pixels.

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Kengo Kuma & Associates - Smyrna Church, Gothenburg, Sweden. Image © Luxigon

Kengo Kuma & Associates – Smyrna Church, Gothenburg, Sweden. Image © Luxigon

Over the years our space has been more clearly defined. It was a job that was nearly non-existent 30 years ago. Computers made it possible. It was infinitely difficult to do perspectives by hand, whereas computers could launch millions of rays nearly instantly, but like hand drawing the process of making an image is intellectual, not technical. There’s still this idea that things can change with the push of a button. I think it’s just a posture. We all know it’s not the case but it is often entering into the discussion when things get a little rough around the edges. “You just have to …, no?”, “why don’t you just…” are words we hear on a daily basis. Also, most of us are in fact architects, but there are still some people that consider us as pluggable devices.

DS: How have today’s technological advancements helped you in creating/elevating your renders, especially since you’ve been rendering since 1604!

EBC: Not so much in the end. Things are just going faster but not necessarily better. In 1604 you were having time to peacefully visit space, while today you have to “render-regions” super fast. We still work late evenings and weekends in evermore hectic stress due to constant changes coming from all directions. It’s funny considering how you have been educated to breathe, calm down, and think. It’s a permanent state of panic, but if you take time to consider things carefully, you find that gigantic black holes are absorbing stars while you are desperately trying to remove the mustache of a guy in the background because someone somewhere does not like mustaches.

What technology should have done though is help create better architecture. What amazed me, and that was one of the reason for the class at Harvard, is that the video game industry uses a million times more powerful solutions to create games than architects or urbanists do to create entire cities. At some point, it is critical to reassess what is important. Realtime 3D should be integrated into the design process, but like most technologies is going to fall on the leisure side.

DS: What are your favorite/go-to visualizations style? Why?

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© Eric de Broche des Combes

© Eric de Broche des Combes

EBC: We really don’t have a single style. We see what fits. If it were up to me, we would only do collages like Mies van der Rohe, they were elegant, simple and straightforward, unfortunately, they are too abstract for this era. You don’t need a close-up of a face in tears and a pale blue light and the sound of the waves crashing and wandering piano notes all at the same time, to make people cry. If you do, it means you are bad at your job.

DS: In your experience, what type of render do clients prefer the most or are they most impressed by?

EBC: Renderings are slowly but surely getting to a status similar to religious imagery, something slightly disconnected from reality while still looking realistic enough to make it believable. Cases are all very different, it really depends on who you have to convince. We do only images for competitions, so at least we can skip the elaborate marketing strategies that are sometimes very painful to read. It’s interesting though that the fascination for sunsets and sunrises still persists so vigorously. There must be some sort of genetically embedded special moment connected to the mechanics of celestial bodies. On a larger scale, you can really feel the evolution of anxiety over the years, some sincere some purely opportunistic. We pretty much represent the state of society at any given moment. If we had the opportunity, I would love the experience of working in a radically different expression where opulence is not the most accomplished form of success.

DS: I personally loved your personal website. I felt like for some reason it really translated your personality in a subtle way. Can you explain the importance of having that “touch of personality” in a website/portfolio?

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© Luxigon

© Luxigon

EBC: Thanks! Most of us have a life besides doing renders. We all refuse the idea of being stereotyped. We’re more like a rock band doing images. We are not only here to give satisfaction, like docile animals. I have all sorts of weirdness that I need to express one way or another. I think that everything you do compliment other things, sometimes through simple and regular discipline and sometimes in a more mystical way.

DS: How can architects and designers reflect their character in a website/portfolio? What are the elements to achieve that?

EBC: I think honesty should come first and foremost. I see honesty as a holy shield that can protect you from mediocrity. I have been very strongly influenced by the work of Rem (Koolhaas) and OMA. “Junkspace” is still in my top 10 books many years after I first read it. It is fascinating to see theories slowly developing into practice. I even enjoy the sudden shifts, a bit like Churchill – he fundamentally stayed true to his brain, as opposed to his heart. There is a major nuance.

DS: What would you tell future designers who want to follow the same career path as you?

EBC: Don’t.

DS: What do you see in the future of the visualizations industry?

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OMA_Washington DC. Image © Luxigon

OMA_Washington DC. Image © Luxigon

EBC: I realize I might sound a bit bitter sometimes but I am not. I am more like a perverted optimist. I do think that the right solutions always hide in the shadows and that it takes patience and good eyes to recognize them. Now if I want to take a shot at this little speculative exercise I would say there are two possible directions. The first, most ominous one, is that everything develops into some sort of gigantic Ponzi scheme with lies upon lies and immediate gratification. Read me well, it is not a criticism of capitalism, this applies to all political systems. Visualization will then become a tool of propaganda or a special effect and AI will handle that much better than human beings. Having no soul is of great quality if you are targeting optimal efficiency. You can switch off your computers and start learning something else and preferably something AI will not mess with, like baking cupcakes.

My hope is that it will evolve into something more intelligent in the true sense of the word, the combination of powerful technology and human intuition will permit more accurate and proper simulations not biased by the need of the instant. All the now floating parts of architecture should become more integrated and ultimately create a reasonable system you can trust. I always knew images were never far removed from politics but now we have a cause and the responsibilities that go with it, and we are going to fight for it. We have greater expectations than just commercial success. Render or die.

Eastern Bloc Architecture: Scientific Superstructures

This article is part of “Eastern Bloc Architecture: 50 Buildings that Defined an Era“, a collaborative series by The Calvert Journal and ArchDaily highlighting iconic architecture that had shaped the Eastern world. Every week both publications will be releasing a listing rounding up five Eastern Bloc projects of certain typology. Read on for your weekly dose: Scientific Superstructures.

Kyiv’s Institute of Information / Florian  Yuryev and L. Novikov

Kyiv, Ukraine, 1971

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The Institute of Information . Image © O.Ranchukov 1970's

The Institute of Information . Image © O.Ranchukov 1970’s

In the period between the Brezhnev era and the collapse of the USSR, dominant interdisciplinarity manifested in the constructed aesthetics, in contrast to the previous years, where there was a dominance of grey concrete monotony.  One of this ‘new era’s’ most representative exponents is Florian Yuryev, architect, artist, and author of well-known research called “synthesis of the arts”, in which he researches music and color, exploring how properly organized colors are able to cause the physical perception of sound.

Years after Yuryev’s original idea on the close relationship between color and music, Kyiv’s Institute of Information was created under the supervision of the KGB,  with a program dedicated to lectures related to scientific and technical issues.

Minsk Polytechnic Institute Building / Igor Esman and Viktor Anikin

Minsk, Belarus, 1983

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Faculty of Architecture and Construction. Image © Stefano Perego

Faculty of Architecture and Construction. Image © Stefano Perego

One of the fundamental pillars of the Soviet Union was its commitment to education and its influence on National advancements.  It has been estimated that approximately 10 to 15 percent of the USSR-era budget were dedicated to educational means, including building construction and maintenance, teachers’ salaries, and equipment and supplies.

In the ideal construction of Soviet society, education was seen as a tool to transmit social, economic, cultural, and scientific objectives of national interest. The Minsk Polytechnic Institute Building housed a mixed educational program that integrated theory with technical practice. All classrooms were equipped with filmstrip projectors and audio systems, whereas the technical school had two linguistic laboratories and three classrooms of programming training.

Institute of Robotics in St Petersburg /  B. I. Artiushin and S. V. Savin

St Petersburg, Russia, 1968

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Central Research Institute of Robotics and technical Cybernetics. Image © Wikimedia CC User AKA MBG

Central Research Institute of Robotics and technical Cybernetics. Image © Wikimedia CC User AKA MBG

Originally established in 1968, the Institute of Robotics and Technical Cybernetics (RTC) was the special design bureau of the previous Leningrad Polytechnical Institute, later named the Saint Petersburg State Polytechnical University. Considered one of the largest research centers in Russia, RTC activities concerned control systems of objects, laser technologies, and intellectual real-time control technologies with the use of telecommunications systems, among others, to secure Russia’s dominance in the research of space travel. The building is architecturally notable for its iconic `white tulip’; a round-based concrete structure with sharp-pointed edges, located in the center of the complex, which embodies the principles of Soviet architecture.

Slovak Radio Building / Štefan Svetko, Štefan Ďurkovič, and Barnabáš Kissling

Bratislava, Slovakia, 1983

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© Alexandra Timpau, Alex Shoots Buildings

© Alexandra Timpau, Alex Shoots Buildings

After more than ten years of construction, the Slovak Radio Tower immediately stood as one of  Bratislava’s architectural dominants. The urban layout of this building was part of a major urban planning project called ‘Transverse Axis’,  a 90-meter-wide city boulevard that would connect the railway station with the city center. The Slovak Radio Building was one of the few constructed buildings, since the full urban plan was never completed. The construction of the radio was preceded by two rounds of competitions in 1962 and 1963, after which the project investor dismissed the winning idea arguing high costs, to favor the third-place design by Svetko, Ďurkovič, and Kissling.

Formal exploration of the building reveals an era of large budgets, that allowed to achieve complex structural challenges. The building is made up of two inverted pyramids;  the inner pyramid houses all the broadcasting facilities and equipment while the larger structure comprises space for music performance and public gathering. The building was named a Slovakian National Monument in 2018.

Telephone Building / Vasile Mitrea

Cluj, Romania, 1969

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© Wikimedia CC User Dezidor

© Wikimedia CC User Dezidor

Located near the National Post Office headquarters and Ion Luca Caragiale Park, the Telephone Building has a privileged placement within the historical center of Cluj-Napoca, reflecting the socialist modernist architecture in Romania.

The original 3-story building stands out for its remarkably detailed façade;  glazed and framed with travertine-pleated vertical elements. The marble base is crowned by a washed concrete frieze. A glass floor was added during the second construction phase. The additional extension can be clearly distinguished with the change of exterior cladding, this time completed with vertical ferroconcrete columns.

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