Posts tagged with "Elemental Architecture":

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Junya Ishigami ordered to pay interns after Serpentine uproar, as Elemental ends internships

After 2019 Serpentine Pavilion designer Junya Ishigami came under fire last week for hiring unpaid interns, the online fury, and response from Ishigami, has been swift. The Serpentine Gallery has told the Tokyo-based Junya Ishigami + Associates that it must pay anyone working on a Serpentine project, and the surrounding discussion has raised larger questions over the value of labor in architecture. The furor began on March 22, after architect Adam Nathaniel Furman revealed an internship posting for Ishigami + Associates on Instagram. Prospective employees were expected to work 13-hour days, six days a week for free, and would have to supply their own computers and software. Internships were expected to last 8-to-12 weeks, “or more.”
The Serpentine Gallery, which only uses paid labor on its installations, told the Architect’s Journal that it was unaware of the practice and would contact Ishigami + Associates over the matter. Now it appears that the gallery has ordered Ishigami to pay any interns working on the pavilion. While the problem has been framed as something that’s ubiquitous in Japan—the 2013 pavilion designer Sou Fujimoto was also criticized at the time for using unpaid labor—that doesn’t mean unpaid internships aren’t prevalent elsewhere. After the news originally broke, commentators and architects spoke out and provided examples of studios that still don’t pay their interns.
 
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Alleged email from Lot-ek Architecture & Design New York, March 2018. The office have been approached for comment

A post shared by Adam Nathaniel Furman (@adamnathanielfurman) on

Alejandro Aravena’s Elemental reached out to Dezeen yesterday in a collective open letter and announced that it would be taking the drastic step of ending all internships. The studio, which claims that it has hosted over 150 interns over the years, framed the move as not wanting to be seen as exploiting its interns in an atmosphere of hysterics. The firm laid out a number of benefits that its interns had received in the past, including a “transfer of knowledge,” but also conceded that prospective applicants would need to move to Chile and support themselves for 4 months. In a quote pulled from a comment below the recently recirculated 2016 Archinect editorial, “Brexit: a chance to roll back the interventionist state and unleash entrepreneurial creativity,” Patrik Schumacher of Zaha Hadid Architects laid out his stance on the issue. In his defense of unpaid or low-paid internships, Schumacher claimed they are the result of a well-functioning market, where such internships are transactions between employers and their employees, and that students had the option of not accepting them. Additionally, he claims that mandating internships be paid would be the government meddling in the free and open competition between companies. “I’m just happy that there is some momentum on this,” said Adam Nathaniel Furman, who has regularly been posting exploitative job listings via Instagram under the hashtag of #archislavery. “It seems to pop up every few years but nothing is done, however now with the model of metoo and other forms of communal pressure, I think it is time to end these practices which are exclusionary of those from less well-off backgrounds (I have heard so many stories of those from less well-off backgrounds leaving the profession because of encountering this culture), and exploitative of those who do take them up. I’m hoping this will start a chain reaction where the whole ecosystem of low paid cultural commissions, unpaid competitions and free pitch work that this sustains, is finally blown to smithereens and consigned to the scrapheap of history where it belongs...”
Junya Ishigami + Associates declined to comment when reached for this story.
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Alejandro Aravena releases project files for free

Man of the moment and Pritzker Prize-winner Alejandro Aravena has released the CAD drawings of four projects that, in his view, have been successful social housing solutions. Aravena announced the availability of the drawings during his speech at the Pritzker Conversation at the UN on April 5th. The public can now download the .dwg files from Studio Elemental Architecture's website free of charge. In doing so, Aravena hopes that they can be utilized by governments and developers struggling to meet social housing demand. Aravena argues that "by 2030 out of the 5 billion people that will be living in cities, 2 billion are going to be under the line of poverty." By allowing his schemes to be open to everyone, the ideas behind them can be developed further. It's his core belief that construction must use "people’s own resources and building capacity to that of governments and market. In that way people will be part of the solution and not part of the problem." Seen here are the firm's Villa Verde Housing in Chile. Related to these designs are the five design conditions that (in Aravena's eyes) best respond to the challenges of housing:
  1. Good location: dense enough projects able to pay for expensive well-located sites.
  2. Harmonious growth in time: build strategically the first half (partition structural and firewalls, bathroom, kitchen, stairs, roof) so that expansion happens thanks to the design and not despite it. Frame individual performances and actions, so that we get a customization instead of deterioration of the neighborhood.
  3. Urban layout: introduce in between private space (lot) and public space (street), the collective space, not bigger than 25 families, so that social agreements can be maintained.
  4. Provide structure for the final scenario of growth (middle class) and not just for the initial one.
  5. Middle-class DNA: plan for a final scenario of at least 775 square-feet or 4 bedrooms with space for closet or double bed, bathrooms should not be at the front door (which is the typical case to save pipes) but where bedrooms are; they may include a bathtub and not just a shower receptacle and space for washing machine; there should be possibility of parking place for a car. None of this is even close to be the case in social housing nowadays.
Aravena also acknowledges that the designs and plans will change in accordance of local regulations and structural codes. He encourages those who use his designs to follow "local realities and use pertinent building materials" rather than stick rigidly to his plans.  
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Bourbon, Banjos and Green Modernism

Bodacious bourbon pours complimented savory vittles at the yet-to-be-opened Hudson Clearwater in Greenwich Village last night. The restaurant’s first event launched Carl Stein’s new book, Greening Modernism: preservation, sustainability and the modern movement (W.W. Norton, $60.00). The affair had a decidedly down to earth flavor, though the elegant crowd resembled intermission at The Met. The venue seemed a natural fit for Stein of Elemental Architecture, since Elemental’s John Barboni designed the space using salvaged material culled from the 180-year-old carriage house. “From my perspective, it fits into all the themes of the book,” Barboni said from behind a kitchen counter made of the structure’s former floorboards. “Green is not a newfound subject for Carl.” From atop a small flight of stairs Stein thanked his family and colleagues, then settled in with the band to play banjo.
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There First

My story on Rescue 3's new firehouse in the Bronx, designed by Polshek Partnership, alleged that it was the first such facility ever designed specifically for a rescue company's needs. Alas, that assertion was woefully wrong. In 1987, Elemental Architecture (then The Stein Partnership) designed the new headquarters for Rescue Company 1—the first rescue company in the world. Located on West 43rd St. in Manhattan, the building includes many features tailored to the elite unit's needs. These include a quick release system that allows the company's Zodiac boat to be dropped from the ceiling and attached to the top of the apparatus, a decontamination shower (now a standard feature for FDNY and many other fire departments), and a SCUBA recharging station. The headquarters project was initiated when Rescue 1's original building—a 19th-century Napoleon LeBrun structure—was destroyed by a warehouse that collapsed upon it during a fire. In order to preserve a link to this past, the architects salvaged the old building's facade masonry, ironwork, and apparatus door, reinstalling them in the new facility's dining room.