Gunārs Birkerts, the prolific Latvian-American architect best known for designing the “Castle of Light”—the world’s largest library in Riga, Latvia—has died aged 92. The National Library, which was first conceived in 1988 and officially opened in 2014, has become among the most significant, and controversial, contemporary public buildings in Latvia.
Throughout his career, Birkerts completed a number of large-scale projects including the Corning Museum of Glass and the Corning Fire Station in Corning, New York; Marquette Plaza in Minneapolis, Minnesota; the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Missouri; and the Embassy of the United States in Caracas, Venezuela.
Born on January 7, 1925, Birkerts studied at Riga Gymnasium before fleeing Latvia in 1943, from which he would later commence studies at Stuttgart Technical College. In 1949 he moved to the USA and was subsequently based in Detroit. Birkerts spent time in the offices of Perkins and Will, Eero Saarinen, and Minoru Yamasaki. He later maintained a practice in Wellesley, Massachusetts.
Visdziļākā līdzjūtība Gunāra Birkerta tuviniekiem, no leģendārā arhitekta atvadoties!
The Design Museum in London has announced the shortlist projects in the running for the 2017 edition of their prestigious Beazley Design of the Year award. Now in its tenth year, the award was established to “celebrate design that promotes or delivers change, enables access, extends design practice or captures the spirit of the year.”
This year, a total of 62 projects have been nominated across six categories: Architecture, Digital, Fashion, Graphics, Product and Transport – including 13 projects from the Architecture category. A winner from each category and the overall winner will be announced on January 25, 2018. Previous winners of the architecture category include: IKEA’s Better Shelter last year (also the overall winner),Alejandro Aravena’s UC Innovation Center in 2015, and Zaha Hadid Architects’ Heydar Aliyev Center(overall winner in 2014).
The Plugin House is built with a proprietary building renovation system developed as a result of the challenging context of Beijing hutong areas. The price of real estate in central Beijing makes owning a house difficult for many. However, the Plugin House costs 30 times less than a typical apartment. Plugin replaces part of a previously existing dwelling and adds new functions. These prefabricated modules incorporate insulation, interior and exterior finish into one moulded part.
Warka Water / Arturo Vittori
Warka Water is a vertical structure designed to harvest potable water from the atmosphere (it collects rain, harvests fog and dew). It relies only on gravity, condensation and evaporation and doesn’t require any electrical power. At a time when a quarter of the world’s population lacks access to safe drinking water, Warka Water tower is designed to harvest drinkable water from the atmosphere.
Hegnhuset Memorial and Learning Center / Blakstad Haffner Architects
Response to Norwegian terrorist attacks of 2011 that struck the island of Utøya, where 69 people – mostly teenagers – were murdered in one of two politically motivated attacks by far-right terrorist. The cafe building where 13 people tragically lost their lives during the attack has been enshrined within a new learning centre. The architect’s response was to preserve one section of the cabin-like building – the rooms directly affected during the massacre – but to completely enclose it within a new pine structure. The outer layer is made up of 495 wooden slats, one for every person on the island that survived the attack, while the glazed inside layer is framed by 69 columns that pay tribute to every fatality
Wind and Rain Bridge draws on the long tradition of wooden buildings in the region. Peitian is one of a number of isolated rural villages distributed throughout the mountainous regions of southern China, which, following severe flooding in early 2014 saw much of the infrastructure linking its disparate communities destroyed. This project aims to reconnect Peitian villages to the historic network of routes that link these isolated settlements.
The museum was inaugurated by President Obama in September 2016 and is a long-awaited symbol for the African American contribution to the nation’s history and identity. The museum houses galleries, administrative spaces, theatre space and collections storage space. Sir David Adjaye’s approach created a meaningful relationship to this unique site as well as a strong conceptual resonance with America’s longstanding African heritage. The 313,000-square-foot building comprises a three-tiered structure covered in bronze plates. Designed to shade the glazed facades behind, the filigree cladding is patterned to reference the history of African American craftsmanship.
Sala Beckett Theatre and International Drama Centre / Flores & Prats
The project is a renovation and extension of the former worker’s club “Pau i Justícia”, deeply rooted in the memory of the Barcelona neighbourhood Poblenou, a space where long ago neighbours had celebrated marriages, first communions and parties, which was then abandoned for many years. The new building maintained the spatial characteristics of the original building while also expanding and adapting the space to accommodate a new programme of exhibitions and activities.
The Calais Builds Project / Grainne Hassett with students from University of Limerick
The Calais Builds Project captured the needs, culture and hopes of its residents. In 2016, architectGrainne Hassett along with students from the University of Limerick and local migrants designed and built a major community infrastructure, including a Women’s and Children’s Centre and the Baloo’s Youth Centre. These were demolished in 2016 by the French Government and its inhabitants displaced.
The strategy was not to renovate or repair the 300 year old listed building but to preserve it perfectly. The ruin is protected from the elements within a new high performance outer envelope. The new outer shell, which retains the shape of the existing cottage is clad in black corrugated iron, reflecting the common use of this material in Herefordshire for agricultural buildings.
Located in the third most populated city in Burkina Faso, the Lycée Schorge Secondary School sets a new standard for educational excellence in the region. The design for the school consists of 9 modules which accommodate a series of classrooms and administration rooms in a radial layout which wrap around a central public courtyard. The architecture not only functions as a marker in the landscape, it is also a testament to how local materials, in combination with creativity and teamwork, can be transformed into something significant with lasting effects.
Weltsadt – Refugees’ Memories and Futures as Models
The exhibition features models of buildings made by people from Africa and the Middle East who came to Germany as refugees. The buildings are homes, schools, offices, workshops and houses of prayer which are displayed as a walk-through cityscape, a ‘world city’. Made of cardboard, wood and found materials, the models reflect on the lost spaces and trusted memories but equally of new beginnings of the people who build the models. Visitors can see each of the 1:10 scale buildings up close.
Situated in Ruicheng County, Shanxi Province, the Five Dragons Temple is listed as a class A cultural relic. Built in 831 A.D. during the Tang Dynasty, it is the oldest surviving Taoist temple. In 2015, Vanke Group initiated the “Long Plan” to raise funds to revitalise the environment of the Five Dragons Temple. This plan also helped to raise the public awareness of this historical preservation project. This initiative would then go on to become the first time where the government and private funds cooperated for the preservation of cultural relics, as well as the promotion of cultural protection through the platforms of internet and the international Expo.
The new Port House in Antwerp repurposes, renovates and extends a derelict fire station into a new headquarters for the port – bringing together the port’s 500 staff that previously worked in separate buildings around the city. The waterside site offered sustainable construction benefits, allowing materials and building components to be transported by water, an important requirement to meet the port’s ecological targets. The old fire station is heritage listed so had to be integrated into the new project. ZHA’s design is an elevated extension, rather than a neighbouring volume which would have concealed at least one of the existing facades.
First constructed in 1228, and located at the foot of the Rialto Bridge across from the fish market, the Fondaco dei Tedeschi is one of Venice’s largest and most recognizable buildings. It was used as a trading post for German merchants, a customs house under Napoleon, and a post office under Mussolini. Depicted by Canaletto and other masters, and photographed countless times as the impressive but anonymous backdrop of the Rialto bridge, the Fondaco stands as a mute witness of the Venetian mercantile era, its role diminished with the progressive depopulation of Venice. The Fondaco dei Tedeschi can now unlock its potential as a major destination and vantage point for tourists and Venetians alike; a contemporary urban department store staging a diverse range of activities, from shopping to cultural events, social gatherings and everyday life. OMA’s renovation, both subtle and ambitious, avoids nostalgic reconstructions of the past and it demystifies the ‘sacred’ image of a historical building.
Known for his daring neo-futurist sculptural buildings and over 50 bridges worldwide, Santiago Calatrava (born July 28, 1951) is one of the most celebrated and controversial architects working today. Trained as both an architect and structural engineer, Calatrava has been lauded throughout his career for his work that seems to defy physical laws and imbues a sense of motion into still objects.
Born and raised in Valencia, Calatrava grew up wanting to be an artist, taking art classes at 8 years old. Encouraged by his parents who saw potential for an international future for their son, he left home to attend l’Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. However, when he arrived in 1968, the student protests were at their climax and, finding the classes canceled, he returned to Valencia to enroll in the Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura. After graduating, he went to ETH Zurich to receive a degree in structural engineering followed by a PhD in technical science, making him one of the few architects at the time to also be fully trained as an engineer.
Starting his own practice in Zurich in 1981, Calatrava soon won a competition to design a local train station. The design, inspired by the skeleton of a dog that he had received as a gift, would be an indication of the style that would later define him, with curving concrete corridors that come together to create the semblance of a ribcage. His first American project, the Milwaukee Art Museum, went even further, featuring moving parts that required off-site fabrication, with organic forms reminiscent of a bird. It was also during his early career that he would design many of the bridges that helped to define his reputation as an architect, including his Bac de Roda Bridge in Barcelona, Spain.
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has selected 14 recipients for the 2017 AIA Young Architects Award. Now in its 24th year, the award was founded to honor young architects – licensed 10 years or fewer regardless of their age – who have “shown exceptional leadership and made significant contributions to the profession early in their careers.”
Also announced were the winners of the 2017 AIA Associates Award, given to individual Associate AIA members to “recognize outstanding leaders and creative thinkers for significant contributions to their communities and the architecture profession.” Associate membership is open to individuals who meet one of the following criteria: professional degree in architecture; currently work under the supervision of an architect; currently enrolled in the Architectural Experience Program (AXP) and working toward licensure; or faculty member in a university program in architecture.
Young Architects and Associate Award winners will be presented with their awards in a ceremony at the AIA 2017 National Convention on Architecture in Orlando. Learn more about the Young Architects award here, and the Associate Award here.
Lumen by Jenny Sabin Studio has been named the winner of The Museum of Modern Art and MoMAPS1’s annual Young Architects Program. Opening on June 27 in the MoMAPS1 courtyard, this year’s construction is an immersive design that evolves over the course of a day, providing a cooling respite from the midday sun and a responsive glowing light after sundown. Drawn from among five finalists, Jenny Sabin Studio’s Lumen will serve as a temporary urban landscape for the 20th season of Warm Up, MoMAPS1’s pioneering outdoor music series. Lumen will remain on view through the summer.
Now in its 18th edition, the Young Architects Program at The Museum of Modern Art and MoMAPS1 has offered emerging architectural talent the opportunity to design and present innovative projects, challenging each year’s winners to develop creative designs for a temporary, outdoor installation that provides shade, seating, and water. The architects must also work within guidelines that address environmental issues, including sustainability and recycling.
Made of responsive tubular structures in a lightweight knitted fabric, Lumen features a canopy of recycled, photo-luminescent, and solar active textiles that absorb, collect, and deliver light. A misting system responds to visitors’ proximity, activating fabric stalactites that produce a refreshing micro-climate. Socially and environmentally responsive, Lumen’s multisensory environment is inspired by collective levity, play, and interaction as the structure and materials transform throughout the day and night, adapting to the densities of bodies, heat, and sunlight.
“The Young Architects Program remains one of the most significant opportunities for architects and designers from across the country and world to build radical yet transformative ideas. This year’s finalists are no exception; their projects illustrate a diversity of approaches and refreshing ideas for architecture today,” said Sean Anderson, Associate Curator in MoMA’s Department of Architecture and Design. “Jenny Sabin’s catalytic immersive environment, Lumen, captured the jury’s attention for imaginatively merging public and private spaces. With innovative construction and design processes borne from a critical merging of technology and nature to precise attention to detail at every scale, Lumen will no doubt engage visitors from day to night in a series of graduated environments and experiences.”
Klaus Biesenbach, MoMAPS1 Director and MoMA Chief Curator at Large adds, “In its 18th iteration, this annual competition offered jointly by the Architecture and Design Department at MoMA and MoMAPS1 continues to take risks and encourage experimentation among architects. Jenny Sabin’s Lumen is a socially and environmentally responsive structure that spans practices and disciplines in its exploratory approach to new materials. Held in tension within the walls of MoMAPS1’s courtyard, Lumen turns visitors into participants who interact with its responsiveness to temperature, sunlight, and movement.”
The other finalists for this year’s MoMAPS1Young Architects Program were Bureau Spectacular (Jimenez Lai and Joanna Grant), Ania Jaworska, Office of III (Sean Canty, Ryan Golenberg and Stephanie Lin), and SCHAUM/SHIEH (Rosalyne Shieh and Troy Schaum). An exhibition of the five finalists’ proposed projects will be on view at The Museum of Modern Art over the summer, organized by Sean Anderson, Associate Curator, with Arièle Dionne-Krosnick, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Architecture and Design, The Museum of Modern Art.
Bloomberg Philanthropies has supported the Young Architects Program since 2007. In 2016, MoMAPS1 and The Museum of Modern Art were thrilled to announce that this lead sponsorship had been extended for three years, enabling the Young Architects Program to thrive and excite audiences through summer 2018.
About Jenny Sabin Studio
Jenny Sabin Studio is an architectural design firm that investigates the intersections of architecture and science, biology, and mathematics. The principal, Jenny E. Sabin, is the Arthur L. and Isabel B. Wiesenberger Assistant Professor in the area of Design and Emerging Technologies and the newly-appointed Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Architecture at Cornell University. She is also the Director of the Sabin Design Lab at Cornell AAP, a trans-disciplinary design research lab with specialization in computational design, data visualization, and digital fabrication. Sabin’s awards include the AIA Henry Adams first prize medal, the Arthur Spayd Brooke gold medal, a Pew Fellowship in the Arts, a USA Knight Fellowship in Architecture, the Architectural League Prize for Young Architects and a national IVY Innovator in design. Sabin has exhibited nationally and internationally including in the 9th ArchiLab at FRAC Centre, Orleans, France and Beauty, the 5th Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial in New York City. Upcoming exhibitions include Imprimer Le Monde at the Pompidou Centre, Paris, France.
To choose an architectural firm for the 2017 Young Architects Program, deans of architecture schools and the editors of architecture publications nominate around 50 firms comprised of recent architectural school graduates, junior faculty, and established architects experimenting with new styles or techniques. These finalists are asked to submit portfolios of their work for review by a panel including Glenn D. Lowry, Director of The Museum of Modern Art; Kathy Halbreich, Associate Director at The Museum of Modern Art; Klaus Biesenbach, Director of MoMAPS1 and Chief Curator at Large at the Museum of Modern Art; Peter Reed, Senior Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs, The Museum of Modern Art; Martino Stierli, Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture & Design at The Museum of Modern Art; Sean Anderson, Associate Curator of Architecture at The Museum of Modern Art.
Project lead and manager: Dillon Pranger Design & Representation: Jingyang Liu Leo, Diego Blanco, Mark Lien Robotic Fabrication: Andrew Moorman and Andres Gutierrez Virtual Reality: Christopher Morse Content Coordination: Jordan Berta Model Assistance: Jasmine Liu Video: Cole Skaggs Engineering Design: Clayton Binkley, Arup Lighting Design: Jeffrey Nash Knit Fabrication: Shima Seiki WHOLEGARMENT Misting Systems: Mist Cooling Inc. with special thanks to Larry Geohring
This year marks the 20th summer that MoMAPS1 has hosted an architectural installation and music series in its outdoor space, though it is only the 18th year of the Young Architects Program, which began in 2000. The inaugural project was an architecturally based 1998 installation by the Austrian artist collective Gelatin. In 1999, Philip Johnson’s DJ Pavilion celebrated the historic affiliation of MoMAPS1 and MoMA. The previous winners of the Young Architects Program are SHoP/Sharples Holden Pasquarelli (2000), ROY (2001), William E. Massie (2002), Tom Wiscombe / EMERGENT (2003), nARCHITECTS (2004), Xefirotarch (2005), OBRA (2006), Ball-Nogues (2007), WORKac (2008), MOS (2009), Solid Objectives – Idenburg Liu (2010), Interboro Partners (2011), HWKN (2012), CODA (2013), The Living (2014), Andrés Jaque / Office for Political Innovation (2015), and Escobedo Soliz Studio (2016).
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has announced Paul Revere Williams, FAIA as the posthumous winner of the 2017 AIA Gold Medal. With a portfolio of nearly 3,000 buildings over five decades, Williams’ career was notable for breaking boundaries within the profession as the first black member of the AIA.
“This is a moment in our Institute’s history that is so important to recognize and acknowledge the work of a champion,” said Phil Freelon, FAIA, Managing and Design Director at Perkins + Will, who presented to the AIA Board of Directors on behalf of Williams. “It’s been many decades but Paul Williams is finally being recognized for the brilliant work he did over many years.”
A native of Los Angeles, Williams was known for his many schools, public buildings, and churches in a variety of styles, notably the Palm Springs Tennis Center (1946) and the space-age LAX Theme Building (1961). Eight of his buildings have been named to to the National Register of Historic Places.
“Our profession desperately needs more architects like Paul Williams,” wrote William J. Bates, FAIA, in his support of William’s nomination for the AIA Gold Medal. “His pioneering career has encouraged others to cross a chasm of historic biases. I can’t think of another architect whose work embodies the spirit of the Gold Medal better. His recognition demonstrates a significant shift in the equity for the profession and the institute.”
As the 73rd AIA Gold Medalist, Williams joins an esteemed list of winners including Frank Lloyd Wright (1949), Louis Sullivan (1944), Le Corbusier (1961), Louis I. Kahn (1971), I.M. Pei (1979), Thom Mayne (2013), Julia Morgan (2014), Moshe Safdie (2015). Last year, the prize was given to Denise Scott Brown & Robert Venturi, the first time the Gold Medal was given to a pair of architects.
The Fundació Mies van der Rohe has announced the three winners of the inaugural Young Talent Architecture Award (YTAA) 2016. Established this year to “support the talent of recently graduated Architects, Urban Planners and Landscape Architects who will be responsible for transforming our environment in the future,” 9 finalists were selected from a shortlist of 30 projects, which was then narrowed down to 3 winners.
The project proposes a simple and sustainable way to react to the dynamics of the demand of accommodation for tourists. The Jury appreciated the ‘glocal’ thinking which supports the local community in obtaining the tools to face the urban, economic and social changes that the city is undergoing.
Housing is a key topic in Europe today and the project understands the impermanence of our habitat. The Jury considered the importance of understanding architecture as an open process in an ever-changing environment and the potential to create a real time experimental FabLab connected to an innovative housing experience.
The project addresses the topic of cohabitation and how borders (both political and geographical) can be transformed in order to make this cohabitation possible. This proposal approaches the role of design as a political tool, as a spatial practice within a new emergent socio-political space. The Jury was positively impressed by the amount of overlapping layers of complexity created and by the skillful designs and modeling to explain a newly imagined world.