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    In Focus is Archinect's series of features dedicated to profiling the photographers who help make the work of architects look that much better. What has attracted them to architecture? How do they work? What type of equipment do they use? What do they think about seeing their work in blogs?

    In this feature, we talk to NYC-based architectural photographer Alexander Severin.


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    The story of Bilbao—and its Architectural Wonder™—has been told to the point of cliché. Yet in MAS Context's BILBAO issue, the familiar trope is given new life and depth as a series of architects, designers, and denizens of the city explain how they helped to transform this Spanish industrial town into a case study for holistic, rejuvenating design. In this excerpt from the issue for Screen/Print, Iker Gil interviews the late, great Diana Balmori about her firm's work on the Abandoibarra master plan.


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    The Los Angeles-based studio FreelandBuck has been selected to design and install a temporary ceiling in the Renwick Gallery’s Grand Salon in the Smithsonian, the first in what is expected to be a recurring installation series called Above the Renwick Installation.

    Their project draws on the tradition of trompe l’oeil ceilings, using various techniques to create an illusion of depth. The design comprises a “catalog” of various notable American architectural styles, brought to life with 21st century technology.

    “Trompe l’oeil illusion functions from a single key point – the center of a nave or directly under a dome,” the write. “From other points of view, the illusion malfunctions: figures appear suddenly out of scale, space flattens out, or an entire dome seems to change orientation. Given the constant stream of visual illusion we encounter every day, the glitches may now fascinate more than the intended illusion. The Renwick installation amplifies and coordinates these gaps, opening ...


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    The 2017 RIBA Awards cycle continues with the recent reveal of six winning buildings for the 2017 West Midlands Awards. “The winners deliver an architecture with a narrative and a poetry, while also fully responding to the functional needs of the facilities they created,” stated RIBA Jury Chair Natalia Maximova. “It is a year of quieter and well-mannered design, nevertheless, no less confident and powerful for that reason.”



    Here's a glimpse of the winning projects:

    The Compound by BPN Architects

    Photo: Tom Bird.

    St. Michael’s Hospice, Hereford by Architype

    Photo: Dennis Gilbert.

    Croft Lodge Studio, Leominster by Kate Darby Architects

    Photo: James Morris.

    Alan Walters Building, University of Birmingham by Berman Guedes Stretton

    Photo: Quintin Lake.

    Remembrance Centre, National Memorial Arboretum Alrewas by Glenn Howells Architects

    Photo: Rob Parrish.

    Jaguar Land Rover Engine Manufacturing Centre by Arup Associates

    Photo: Simon Kennedy.

    Learn more about the projects on Bustler.


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    The Seagrape House is a weekend retreat on the Gulf of Mexico. Situated on a barrier island, the shape of the site shifts with each passing storm. During the course of the project, dunes emerged and multiplied, and the distance between the house and the coastline more than doubled. We conceived of the house as a physical anchor along the blurred edge between land and sea, a tool to understand the landscape and one’s place within it.

    Permanence is expressed by selectively exposing the home’s poured concrete construction which resists hurricane forces and enables dramatic cantilevers. Livable spaces are elevated on concrete columns to protect the home from storm surge and to allow the dune vegetation to meander below.

    A megaphone-shaped deck is subtracted from the volume of the building to amplify the sound of crashing waves. Small details, such as an aluminum line inlaid into the concrete floor orient you due West, and carvings in the cypress wall cladding triangulate your position acr...


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    As with any Apple product, its shape would be determined by its function. This would be a workplace where people were open to each other and open to nature, and the key to that would be modular sections, known as pods, for work or collaboration.



    Since 2009, Foster and Partners have been working on a new headquarters for the tech giant Apple, originally in close collaboration with Steve Jobs, its founder, who saw it as one of his last crucial contribution to his legacy. Even though dramatic photographs of the ring-shaped structure have been flooding the Internet for some time now, there hasn’t really been any deep dives into the mega-project—until now.

    Writing for Wired, Steven Levy weaves together long-awaited details about its appearance with issues of architectural representation and the brand identity of Apple, which the “spaceship” is intended to embody.

    “Inside the 755-foot tunnel, the white tiles along the wall gleam like a recently installed high-end bathroom; it's what the Lincoln Tunnel must have looked like the day it opened, before the first smudge of soot sullied its walls. And as we emerge into the light, the Ring comes into view. As the Jeep orbits it, the sun glistens off the building's curved glass surface. Th...


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    Tomorrow evening the Neutra VDL House will host an exhibition of work by high school students (age 16-18) from the Ramon C. Cortines School of Visual and Performing Arts, curated by VAPA high school student Avery Wilcox. Each artwork offers new interpretations of the Neutra VDL House expressed in a variety of mediums - film, ceramic, painting and photography. More importantly these artistic expressions, given the age of the makers, will allow all of us to see this historic house with fresh eyes.

    The exhibition will take place tomorrow, May 20, from 5-8pm.


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    Innovative Industrial Properties, Kalyx and other similar groups are following the same strategy: buy buildings, retrofit them and lease them to commercial or medical marijuana growers. But it can often cost millions to turn a vacant warehouse into a facility suitable for cannabis cultivation.



    David Gelles reports that the spread of legalization, means the weed business is booming and with it demand for commercial, industrial space. The latest post-industrial trend in states like California, Colorado, Massachusetts or even New York, is a retrofitted industrial-scale "cultivation center".

    Related readings include; a 2005 look at how Pot Clinics (were) Grow(ing) Like Weed in SF and last year's photo essay of L.A.'s "Green Mile". Or back in February, the Marketplace Morning Report on how these new REITs could help grow the medical-marijuana business.

    Finally, last year over at the Weed thread, gruen noted "Big gold rush here to convert disused industrial facilities to indoor grow in advance of legislation."


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    This post is brought to you by AA Athens Visiting School.
     

    AA Athens Visiting Schools will be hosting their workshop, Symmetry Sentience,  from June 12th through the 22nd and the deadline is approaching—you have until May 29th to submit your online application form and fees!

    Our world has been enriched by numerous interactive means that connect us across the different continents. These amplifications take place through various media that in turn estrange people from their surroundings. Our built environment continues to evolve, into an interconnected hyperspace where architecture can be fluid, flexible and vivid. In 2017, AA Athens Visiting School, will address architectural themes involving active engagement and participatory design through prototypes that are characterized by action.

    Action-designed structures enabled by technology today, begin to timidly move beyond the utopian proposals of the 20th century’s manifestos and hold a place in the world of realized designs. The AA Athen...


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    This post is brought to you by AA Istanbul Visiting School.
     

    ROBOTIC MEDIATIONS
    Wednesday, June 28th-Friday, July 7th, 2017

    AA Istanbul Visiting School, in collaboration with Istanbul Bilgi University, is a unique learning and making experience. The program continues to build on its expertise on generative design methodologies and large-scale prototyping techniques from previous years, while bringing together a range of experts from internationally acclaimed academic institutions and practices, Architectural Association, Zaha Hadid Architects, among others.

    AA Istanbul Visiting School will investigate the inherent associations between form, material, and structure through the rigorous implementation of innovative design and fabrication techniques. Computational methods for design, analysis, and fabrication will be coupled with physical experimentation, fostering ‘learning-by-experimentation’ in an active collaborative studio environment. Throughout the design and fabrication processes, ...


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    Weather Projects was founded in 2012 by Shannon Han and Hunter Knight who wanted to flush out their own ideas after respective stints at SHoP and Morphosis. We talked with the two about working in Los Angeles, the general population's growing interest in design, and having stake in one's own projects. This week's Small Studio also happens to be hiring! Check out their listing here.


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    Last year, artist Edoardo Tresoldi made waves with his wire mesh sculpture in Foggia, Italy. Installed adjacent to the basilica of Siponto, the sculpture is a full-size cathedral in its own right, built on the ruins of an older church that once stood on the site. The wire mesh creates an ethereal, spectral appearance, like a hologram or a project. Now, the artist has returned with another stunning installation—a massive event space for a royal event in Abu Dhabi.

    Covering a 7,000 square meter space, the installation was built over three months. Like the sculpture in Foggia, this one is made of wire mesh and references classical architecture. After the event, pieces of the installation will be reinstalled separately in universities, parks and museums across the city.


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    It was designed as an impregnable deep-freeze to protect the world’s most precious seeds from any global disaster and ensure humanity’s food supply forever. But the Global Seed Vault, buried in a mountain deep inside the Arctic circle, has been breached after global warming produced extraordinary temperatures over the winter, sending meltwater gushing into the entrance tunnel.



    Containing almost one million packets of seeds, the Global Seed Vault is intended to serve as something of a biological back-up in the era of mass, man-made environmental destruction. It's buried under permafrost, which was thought to ensure that the structure would remain impregnable for thousands of years. But already global warming has threatened this archive of living matter.

    “This is supposed to last for eternity,” stated Åsmund Asdal at the Nordic Genetic Resource Centre, which operates the seed vault. Unfortunately, this doesn't seem to be the case.


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    Located in Los Angeles' highly dense MacArthur Park neighborhood, "The Six" is a hard-to-miss, 52-unit housing complex for veterans who are disabled and/or were previously homeless. Designed by Brooks + Scarpa for the Skid Row Housing Trust, the building gets its name from the ubiquitous military expression “I got your six” — which basically means “I've got your back”.

    Brooks + Scarpa designed the 40,250 square-foot building with public and private “zones” with more emphasis on creating a community-oriented and social space, as opposed to a reclusive, isolating scheme. 


    Photos: Tara Wucjik. Last photo: Brooks + Scarpa.

    The ground level contains offices, support spaces for veterans, bike storage and parking, while the second level features a large public courtyard. The courtyard is surrounded by four levels of housing units with balconies and green roofs to let residents share a secured, open space and connect with the larger community. The highest level features a growing edible garden...


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    Tuition free architectural education to launch June 1, 2017 in the Los Angeles Arts District

    The Free School of Architecture (FSA) is honored to announce that the The Container Yard (TCY) will host the school from June 1 - July 15, 2017.  

    Located in Los Angeles Arts District between MOCA’s Temporary Contemporary and SCI-Arc, the The Container Yard will act as the inaugural home to the school’s 36 students, 16 teachers, 16 person Board of Advisors and 5 person group of volunteer staff.  With a campus of over 60,000 square feet and a variety of indoor and outdoor spaces TCY will extend FSA’s ambitions to promote diversity and free access to architectural knowledge while experimenting with teaching models and formats. 

    "With a rapidly growing community of over 70 students, teachers, staff and Board members, the Free School of Architecture has expanded well beyond our initial projections of 16-20 students and Faculty and as a result has had to look for a larger and more suitable home," sa...


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    The last four-plus decades have seen formidable developments in the discipline of architectural history and theory. This prolific production was disseminated publicly primarily through text-based mediums such as Oppositions, Log and Assemblage—among countless others. But now, the emergence of new media and platforms have dramatically changed the form and pace with which architectural ideas are transmitted. The slow pace of traditional text-centric publishing appears to be losing ground to the rapid production and transmission of images. Can text catch up with the image?


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    Frrank Lloyd Wright was never one to fret about meeting deadlines, sticking to budgets or roofs that leaked. So there is something fitting about the delayed, but altogether triumphant, restoration of Wright's Unity Temple, [...] the finest public building of Wright's Chicago years and home to one of the most beautiful rooms in America. Instead of finishing on schedule last fall, the $25 million project is wrapping up just in time for the 150th anniversary of Wright's birthday, June 8.



    "Success, it's often said, has many fathers, and so it is with here," Kamin writes. "A team of consultants led by Chicago's Harboe Architects has lavished exacting care on every aspect of this project, from the restoration of jewel-like art glass to the recreation of textured plaster walls."


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    Foster + Partners announced today that University of Lincoln student Chloe Loader was awarded the 2017 RIBA Norman Foster Travelling Scholarship, a yearly £7,000 student scholarship that gives the recipient an opportunity to travel internationally and “research the future survival of our cities and communities”.

    In her submission “Emerging Cities: Sustainable Master-Planning in the Global South”, Loader will examine how the cities of Curitiba, Mumbai, and Jakarta have each handled rapid urbanization to identify how other cities with similar economics and demographics can potentially evolve.

    She'll begin her travels in Curitiba, Brazil, where she will study how the city has developed a successful urban model while handling large influxes of rural migrants. She will then travel to Mumbai and Jakarta to compare and contrast them with her Curitiba findings. Loader will conclude her project by exploring potential design strategies for urban development to engage communities.


    The jury evalua...


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    Since the company’s introduction, many (including Futurism) have speculated that the tunnels’ true purpose was to work in tandem with the Hyperloop. This is the real clincher here. It seems like The Boring Company isn’t just going to be for cars. “The electric skate can transport automobiles, goods, and/or people. And if one adds a vacuum shell, it is now a Hyperloop Pod which can travel at 600+ miles per hour,” the site explains.



    Back in December, the business magnate Elon Musk tweeted his frustration of being stuck in LA traffic along with a half-joking suggestion of building a tunnel to fix his gridlocked woes.

    Well as it turns out, this simple musing has become a full-blown startup. The Boring Company, it is called, hopes to build a series of underground tunnels that will save Angelenos from such "soul-destroying traffic." The company has already found a way to dig tunnels at a much more cost effective and efficient rate and is now revealing the tunnel's potential to work in tandem with the Hyperloop.


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    [Hearn's] venture also controls rights to the building's name, which has remained unchanged since John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Co. developed it [...] Hearn has been in talks with companies interested in putting their name on the skyscraper since the structure's namesake no longer pays for that right. "We've had interest in it, but have not made a deal yet," Hearn said. That process could be resumed by a new owner.



    Chicago-based developer Hearn Co. currently plans on selling the John Hancock Center's office space, parking garage and, perhaps most interestingly, its naming rights later this summer. According to the Chicago Tribune, Hearn would use the proceeds from the naming rights toward a $10 million redevelopment of the tower's plaza.


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    Robert A.M. Stern Architects announced last week that they granted their 2017 RAMSA Traveling Fellowship to Kyle Schumann, a master's candidate at the Princeton University School of Architecture, for his submission “Alpine Modernism: Sensitive Identities and Regional Placemaking”.

    The prize will fund Schumann's travels to Austria, Slovenia, and Italy, where he will study the work of architects Jože Plečnik, Otto Wagner, Edoardo Gellner, and Edvard Ravnikar. He argues in his submission that these specific architects engaged with “complex and often conflicting cultural histories, coupled with the challenging geography and climate of the Alpine region,” and therefore “necessitated an architecture intricately sensitive to material, cultural, and programmatic contexts.”

    The jury — RAMSA Partners Melissa DelVecchio, Daniel Lobitz, and Grant F. Marani — was “intrigued” by Schumann's clear intent “to investigate Alpine architecture that mediates modernism and regional tradition,” they wrote. ...


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    The Parker Center, depending on who you ask, is either a midcentury icon, or a powerful symbol of Los Angeles' racist past. Located downtown, the building was home to the LAPD up until 2009 when they relocated due to expensive retrofits needed on the site. Designed by Welton Becket—the architect behind some of LA's greatest identifiers such as the Capitol Records Building, the Theme Building and the Cinerama Dome—the former LAPD headquarters is seen by historic preservationists, particularly the LA Conservancy, as a historical landmark due to its midcentury stylings. However, beyond being an architectural landmark, the building, as home to the LAPD during an era of racist policing, also serves as a sobering reminder of LA's troubling past. The land upon which the center was constructed had been seized from Japanese property owners less than a decade after Japanese Internment and William H. Parker himself, whom the building was named after, was associated with ushering in policies of...


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    A major project in north London has just received planning permission; a ‘pixelated’ residential scheme will replace a historic clock tower and a derelict petrol station. The architects behind the project, NEUBAU, are an emerging practice consisting of thinkers and designers with international experience.

    28 apartments will be arranged in smaller six meter wide units, in a way which reduces the overall visual impact of the development. The building up of height, and its corner location, creates an acoustic shield created by the corner frontage has created a sheltered area behind the building for a communal garden; a ‘private oasis’ for future residents.

    The site, a challenging corner on two very busy roads, is currently home for a disused petrol station and a large clock tower. Following a long and difficult planning process, the aptly named ‘Tower Station’ development will maintain the cubic volumes of the existing tower, and its civic function at the same time, with a large mechanic...


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    This week is Clerkenwell Design Week, which brings showcases of the best in new design, as well as celebrations and networking. We've picked out some highlights below, but the full experience is an exploratory one taken by foot. Also happening this week is the annual Chelsea Flower Show, and openings of exciting exhibitions. Catch Imagine Moscow and America After the Fall before they finish, and visit the Tate Modern for the monthly UNIQLO TATE LATES.

    Check back next week for our picks of this year's London Festival of Architecture. In the meantime, click here to keep up to date with London's latest happenings and our weekly recommendations!


    Image: Jim Stephenson

    Clerkenwell Design Week | until 28 May

    Clerkenwell Design Week returns for its annual festival celebrating makers and designers. Each year, the EC1 area is overrun with some of the best emerging designers and big brands alike showcasing their approach to the creative environment.  Innovative technology will sit beside stunning ...


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    When Uber picked this former Rust Belt town as the inaugural city for its driverless car experiment, Pittsburgh played the consummate host. [...] Nine months later, Pittsburgh residents and officials say Uber has not lived up to its end of the bargain. [...] The deteriorating relationship between Pittsburgh and Uber offers a cautionary tale, especially as other cities consider rolling out driverless car trials from Uber, Alphabet’s Waymo and others.



    "Starting later this month,"wrote Bloomberg less than one year ago, "Uber will allow customers in downtown Pittsburgh to summon self-driving cars from their phones, crossing an important milestone that no automotive or technology company has yet achieved." Since then, Pittsburgh appears to have fallen out of love with the ride-sharing giant's promises for the city.


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    Kengo Kuma, the prominent architect and writer known for blending modernist approaches with traditional Japanese values, reveals his love for the color white, his desire to learn the piano, and his fondness for designing sacred spaces in this iteration of Archinect's recurring series The Proust Questionnaire.


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    There’s long lap pools, and then there’s UMA’s design for Stockholm—a kilometer long infinity pool that serves as tourist attraction, recreational facility, and even infrastructure. The idea is to extend a walkway stretching from the northern part of Söderman to the eastern point out over the motorway that currently takes up most of the waterfront. 

    Perched on a load bearing structure made of a repetitive steel console structure bolted to the bedrock, the infinity pool would contain water pumped from the Baltic Sea and cleaned in a small treatment plant. The water would be heated with waste heat. According to the designers, you could even swim in parts of it during the spring and fall. In the winter, meanwhile, the temperature would be lowered to the point where the water freezes over, enabling ice skating.

    According to the designers, the pool would create the illusion of an unobstructed connection between the waterfront and the adjacent Baltic Sea. Dressing rooms, showers and other f...


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    A(nta)gonistic—a fragile web composed of the agonist, antagonist, and anti-agonist—is how the contemporary struggle unfolds in architectural discourse: an interrelated mess of pretension shooting bursts of polemic observations and sadomasochistic exposure, bouncing from media-outlet to media-outlet till incoherently strung shibboleths and their comments ooze through touchscreens and keyboards in an attempt to incite debate, leaving fingers sticky. 


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    Funded mainly by tourist dollars, the French site of Guedelon has been building a medieval-style castle for the last 17 years using only the technology and tools that would have been available circa 1245. The result, which has created a living lab of craftspeople visited by curious schoolchildren, is helping archaeologists to understand not only what it was like to live and work in the Middle Ages, but also is reviving physical crafting techniques that are increasingly archaic, if not forgotten, in a digital age. In addition to inducing a desire to visit wine country, this video explains how the castle design itself was conceived:


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    Architecture author and curator Sam Lubell is partnering with the Queens Museum to bring Never Built New York into the physical display space with a little help from Kickstarter. The drive, which needs to raise another $26K in 29 days, hopes to physically model some of the innovative, occasionally wild designs that were proposed decades ago but never realized. Lubell believes the project would "show audiences that it's okay to dream" in terms of imagining large-scale, inventive solutions to contemporary urban problems. The modeling would take place on one of the largest scale models of New York City and its surrounds, as explained in the accompanying video to the Kickstarter drive.