Posts tagged with "Madrid":

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Norman Foster Foundation inaugurates new foundation with major forum in Madrid

From Michael Bloomberg to Olafur Eliasson, figures from the worlds of design, business, art, academia, and government all gathered in Madrid’s Teatro Real on June 1 to discuss nothing less than how to save the world, all under the auspices of the Norman Foster Foundation.

The forum was titled “Future is Now,” and the primary challenges discussed were climate change, rapid urbanization, failing infrastructure, and global inequality. In his opening remarks, Foster stated that the pressing needs of the built environment “are far too important to be left to one profession.” Over the next few hours, the diverse selection of panelists explained how each of their fields could make a contribution, whether it was flying drones that could lay bricks, or models for large-scale water-infrastructure management. (See The Architect's Newspaper's full coverage of the Forum here.) The day was a call to action—Alejandro Aravena said that “cities could become social ticking time bombs” and “shortcuts to inequality”—as well as an overarching manifesto and debut event for the Norman Foster Foundation, which is based in Madrid. The foundation features an archive of Foster’s sketches and models, educational programming, an in-house architectural team, and a design and technology office that will conduct research into advanced materials like carbon fiber. The Foundation is totally independent from Foster’s firm, Foster and Partners, and has a mandate to tackle the loftier challenges outlined at the forum. It will also helm its own architectural projects, such the Droneport that debuted at the 2016 Venice Biennale of Architecture and is slated for a town in Rwanda. The facility, a series of spaces encased by brick domes, aims to be a vital hub of trade and supply for remote settlements. If successful, it could serve as a prototype for similar projects across the continent.

The Foundation itself occupies a stately 1902 residence about a mile north of the Museo del Prado and Madrid’s city center. While almost all its programs are housed in the historic building, the Foundation also designed what it calls a “Pavilion of Inspirations,” a large glass-and-steel gallery that holds a collection of objects and artworks that inspire Foster—including Le Corbusier’s 1926 Avion Voisin Lumineuse car, a futurist sculpture by Umberto Boccioni, dozens of airplane and automobile models, and two designs by Buckminster Fuller, who was Foster’s mentor and collaborator.

If there were one architect who’s ideological influence loomed largest at the forum, it was Fuller, with his globe-spanning, innovation-focused view of humanity’s shared challenges. There were strong currents of techno-utopianism on some panels, and there were moments when it seemed that advanced drones and computers would supplant conventional architects in the near future. Still, with his foundation preserving and digitizing his sketches and models, Foster is betting that future generations will benefit from this study of his analog design process. When speaking to The Architect's Newspaper, Foster said he was excited by the promises of technology, but explained, “Basically, the computer is just another tool. And don’t fool yourself because of its ultra-sophistication and its artificial intelligence that it’s actually the brain.… I would defend that to the death.”

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Can technology and design save us? Norman Foster Foundation’s first forum ponders the challenges

The Architect’s Newspaper is in Madrid for The Future is Now Forum, the inaugural event hosted by the Norman Foster Foundation. The Forum featured a remarkable list of figures from the design world and beyond, from Pritzker Prizewinning architect Alejandro Aravena to former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and historian Niall Ferguson. Foster and numerous panelists were optimistic that design and technology could provide solutions for an ecologically and urbanistically challenged planet, though the path forward isn't without dangers and challenges.  The forum was, in a way, the Madrid-based Foundation's debut. The organization aims to foster innovation and research on the built environment while also implementing real-world projects, such as the Droneport featured at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale and slated for construction in Rwanda. The Foundation is inherently interdisciplinary in scope, with its wide-ranging focus extending from architecture to infrastructure, engineering, technology, cities, the arts, and more. “I describe it as questioning traditional hierarchies and adopting a roundtable approach to creativity,” said Foster in a description of the organization.
The Foundation (which is entirely separate from Foster + Partners) grew out of a series of international traveling scholarships for architects that Foster initiated in 2007. A physical space for the Foundation would not only receive the scholars, but promote its “holistic approach to design” to a wider audience through a range of programming and exhibitions. Those activities will be grounded with the Foundation’s archive of Foster’s work, which includes prototypes, drawings, transcripts, films, photographs, models, and more. Since 2017, more than 74,000 items have been cataloged and more than half those items are already digitized. Eventually, all of them will be available on the publicly accessible online archive. While the Foundation introduced its new headquarters two days ago (AN will follow up on its design when images become available), today was its inaugural Forum, which was split into three sections: Cities, Technology and Design, and Infrastructure. Foster kicked off the forum by describing the challenges the world faces, specifically rapid urbanization, a transportation revolution (such as driverless cars and pedestrianizing cities), and climate change. With a heavy dose of Buckminster Fuller, he emphasized the need for interdisciplinary intervention and holistic design, something the Foundation will do. The first panel (featuring former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Richard Burdett, Professor of Urban Studies at London School of Economics, architect Maya Lin, and Foster himself) was fairly straightforward, with an emphasis on the benefits of urban density and the inherently democratic nature of cities. The overriding theme was a need for strong political leadership to present grand and compelling visions to tackle urban woes: "Cities in the West have forgotten the power of planning," Foster lamented. Elon Musk's Hyperloop and Bogotá's highly successful bus rapid transit (BRT) system were also highlighted as examples of successful, radical thinking as well. But it was a comment from former Mayor Bloomberg about technology eliminating jobs that would set the stage for sharp disagreements in the next panel.
The second panel focused on technology and design. It started with a set of striking projects from Professor Matthias Kohler of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, which included flying drones constructing a brick tower and robots fabricating a new kind of formwork that allows for curving concrete shapes. Nicholas Negroponte, co-founder of MIT Media Lab, was especially bullish on technology's potential to shape design: "The end of constructing things of components" such as bricks or concrete is coming to an end. Architecture will be "like planting a seed and watching a building grow... additive construction is over." Niall Ferguson, senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, countered that a massive backlash was coming for all this progress: When middle America and Europe figure out that technology is taking their jobs, he said, there will be resistance, even if it's futile. Citing Uber as an especially egregious example, he argued that Silicon Valley sees its inventions and inherently "awesome" and unstoppable, thereby failing to anticipate the reaction of those on the losing side of innovation. Furthermore, Ferguson described how many scientific inventions—from splitting the atom to drones—were frequently turned into weapons of war. His critique was hotly debated by Negroponte, though it succeeded in introducing doubt to the techno-utopian aspects of the Forum's Buckminster Fuller-esque aspirations. Next, Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena delivered the keynote prelude to the final panel on infrastructure. He delivered a more grounded argument about the need for infrastructure to serve multiple roles in the cities. In the face of massive urban inequality, he said, we can't touch income directly but we can strategically design public spaces, transportation, and other urban infrastructure to ameliorate the problem. Examples included using hard infrastructure (e.g. waste treatment) to create new public spaces or platforms for housing, providing opportunities for individuals to be self-sufficient and off the grid, and prioritizing space-efficient transit (such as walking, biking, and buses over cars) in the precious public space of streets. His thoughts were echoed throughout the final panel that followed. Henk Ovink, Special Envoy for International Water Affairs for the Kingdom of the Netherlands and seminal figure in Rebuild By Design, emphasized that infrastructure is a political and cultural challenge as well an engineering one. "We had a water democracy in the 1100s," he said of the Netherlands, which meant the public was always deeply included in the design process. Without a similar process, communities won't understand, own, or accept big infrastructure projects. Also on the panel was Jonathan Ledgard, director of Rossums Group and leader of the Norman Foster Foundation's Droneport project, who sought to counter Ferguson's earlier critique. He cited the Droneport, a hub for commerce and community where drones bring and send away small, high-value goods (such as medicine or mechanical parts) as one example of how low and high technology can mix to benefit the common good. Foster concluded the forum on a historical note. While cars have become the enemies of cities, they were once their saviors, as they eliminated the mountains of horse manure that horse-driven carriages and trucks created. Yesterday's friend can become today's enemy. Still, he said, "the exchanges today give me great hope for the future."
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This Spanish office is an architectural fun house that challenges normal spatial perception

The HUB flat in Madrid, designed by Josemaria Churtichaga and Cayetana de la Quadra-Salcedo of Madrid- and Miami-based ch+qs, is a fun house of architectural design as well as an homage to 1970s American artist Gordon Matta-Clark, who studied architecture at Cornell and was famous for taking slices out of abandoned buildings.

Churtichaga also teaches architecture at the University of Miami. He designed the HUB flat in 2013 as an upstairs addition to his design for The Hub, a ground-floor incubator, which occupies a former garage, where young entrepreneurs can brainstorm about start-ups.

The HUB flat is a mere 1,100 square feet but contains a living room, three bedrooms, a bathroom, and a kitchen, all transformed through Churtichaga’s remarkable cutouts. A long cone-shaped negative volume slices diagonally through the entire apartment, while huge circles cut through walls, creating mind-bending, unexpected vistas. The circles are in the walls connecting the living room and a bedroom, as well as in between two other bedrooms. The cone and circles, Churtichaga said, “have the power to be recognized by very few elements.”

“I took the original structure and space and took out material. By taking out material, you can transform with a very, very, very, extremely low budget,” Churtichaga added, describing his concept as “a design through unbuilding, demolishing.” His entire budget: A tiny $33,880. (The furniture is from IKEA.)

The playful ambiance continues with various wall coverings, including a vintage 1950s turquoise-blue wallpaper with a geometric design, and special black paint that acts as a blackboard surface for drawing and writing.

Entering the flat, Churtichaga explained, alters the visitor’s perception. “We are playing with you; we are challenging you. You don’t know exactly if you’re seeing a mirror, how big the rooms are.” The concept, he said, is the architectural equivalent of the disruptive perceptions sought by The HUB’s young entrepreneurs. “If you want to generate new business ideas, you also have to behave disruptively.”

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To reduce their carbon footprint, four European cities introduce drastic traffic regulation plans

Amidst the COP21 UN Climate Change Conference, numerous cities announced questionably large goals to reduce carbon emissions. However, Oslo, Stockholm, Amsterdam, and Madrid, have backed their goals with concrete plans for extreme traffic regulation, ranging from a car-free city center in Oslo to free public transportation in Madrid.

Oslo's City Center to Be Car-Free by 2019

On October 19th, Oslo’s newly elected city council announced plans to turn the city center, within Ring 1, car-free by 2019. To do so, at least 37 miles of bicycle infrastructure will be established and protected, and all interfering or free parking spaces will be removed. 

The plan will also include a new metro tunnel and end the extension of E18 to the west. Lastly, motorists will be charged a rush hour fee. Through these bold implementations, the city hopes to halve emissions by 2020 and remove 95 percent of emissions by 2030, as AN covered here. As a first step, the City of Oslo will stop all its investments in companies that produce fossil fuel energy.

Stockholm Royal Seaport to Be Fossil Fuel Free by 2040

Since 1990, the City of Stockholm has lowered emissions by 44 percent, despite being one of the fastest growing cities in Europe. Recently, Stockholm announced a goal to be fossil fuel free by 2040. Stockholm is one of three finalists in the Sustainable Communities category of the C40 Cities Awards. Stockholm's recognized project, Stockholm Royal Seaport, is one of Europe's largest urban development areas and aims to limit carbon dioxide emission below 3,000 pounds per person by 2020. By 2040, Stockholm Royal Seaport is expected to house 12,000 new residential units and 35,000 workspaces, in addition to becoming fossil fuel free.

Amsterdam to Prioritize Local Traffic at the City Center

Earlier this year, the Amsterdam city council agreed on a new design for Muntplein Square, but recent studies reveal traffic in the city center should be limited even further. A car number plate analysis revealed that 20 percent of motorized traffic in the city center is to access surrounding areas, 15 percent is to access areas further outside the city, and 30 percent are just circulating—taxis looking for customers or people in search of parking. The city council therefore agreed to implement further traffic limitations. The new plan will direct unnecessary traffic in the city center to outside roads and prioritize local traffic, creating more space for pedestrians and cyclists. Taxis will experience the largest extension in travel time—roughly six minutes per vehicle each week. Residents and commercial vehicles will have an additional two to three minutes of travel time each week. Although the city council has agreed upon rerouting city center traffic, they will not vote until 2016. If approved, the plan will be implemented before the end of the year.

Madrid to Monitor Air Quality With Strict Traffic Regulations

This year, Madrid received an F, 58 percent, in the Soot Free Cities rankings, and later announced plans to enact some of the most rigorous anti-pollution laws in the world. On days when air quality falls below a designated threshold, half of cars will be banned from the roads, drastic speed limits will be implemented, and public transportation will be free. According to El Pais, these measures would have a daily cost of $2 million, and if monthly and annual transit pass users are refunded for the day, the daily cost would rise to $4.4 million.   Although these numbers are dreading to a city swamped in financial crisis, studies reveal the city’s pollution is responsible for 2000 premature deaths per year, and therefore the matter must be addressed. If these four plans are approved and successfully implemented, their measures may become a pattern across the globe.
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Martha Thorne is the new dean of Madrid’s IE School of Architecture and Design

On September 4th, IE University in Madrid announced Martha Thorne as the new Dean of the IE School of Architecture and Design. School leaders anticipate that her knowledge of the international architecture and design worlds will further IE's mission of training forward-thinking designers and architects. Previously, Thorne served as the Executive Director of the Pritzker Prize. From 1996 to 2005, she acted as the Associate Curator in the Department of Architecture at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). Thorne has authored and edited numerous books and articles, including The Pritzker Architecture Prize: The First Twenty Years and Skyscrapers: The New MillenniumThorne received her Master of City Planning at the University of Pennsylvania and a BA in Urban Affairs from SUNY Buffalo.
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Madrid’s Andres Jacque wins MoMA PS1 2015 Young Architects Program

MoMA and MoMA PS 1 have announced the winner of the 2015 Young Architects Program from a shortlist of five firms: Andres Jacque Architects/Office for Political Innovation. Based in Madrid and New York, Jacque's firm will build COSMO, a large structure made of irrigation tubes and planted zones, which will make the process of water filtration visible to PS 1 visitors. The structure will contain 3,000 gallons of water which will take four days to complete the cycle of purification through the structure. Seating and performance areas will be located underneath the suspended structure, which, when illuminated at night, will become a beacon in the neighborhood. The project is intended as a prototype, which could be recreated anywhere in the world to create fresh drinking water. "This year's proposal takes one of the Young Architects Program's essential requirements—providing a water feature for leisure and fun—and highlights water itself as a scarce resource," said Pedro Gadanho, a curator of architecture and design at MoMA, in a statement. "Relying on off-the-shelf components from agro-industrial origin, an exuberant mobile architecture celebrates water-purification processes and turns their intricate visualization into an unusual backdrop." COSMO will open in late June as a part of the annual Warm Up summer party series at MoMA PS 1. The Young Architects Program has become on the world's leading showcases for emerging architectural talent.
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Spanish firm SelgasCano to design 15th Serpentine Pavilion in London

The Serpentine Galleries has announced that Spanish architecture firm SelgasCano has been selected to design its 15th Serpentine Pavilion in London's Kensington Gardens. While the pavilion plan won't be unveiled until February, here's what we know about the firm that won the coveted commission. "SelgasCano’s work is characterised by a use of synthetic materials and new technologies, often rarely applied to architecture," the Serpentine said in a statement. "Taking inspiration from Luis Barragan and Richard Rogers, the architects use distinctive colours and references to nature throughout their designs." SelgasCano was founded in Madrid in 1998 by José Selgas and Lucía Cano and has worked primarily in its home country. The firm teaches a class called "Nature and Climatology" at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and participated in the 2010 Venice Biennale. "This is an amazing and unique opportunity to work in a Royal Garden in the centre of London," SelgasCano said in a statement. "Both aspects, ‘Garden’ and ‘London’, are very important for us in the development of this project. We are in the middle of a garden, a ‘Royal’ garden indeed, once divided in two and separated by a Serpentine. That garden clings in the middle of London. Garden and London (which best defines London?) will be the elements to show and develop in the Pavilion. For that we are going to use only one material as a canvas for both: the Transparency. That ‘material’ has to be explored in all its structural possibilities, avoiding any other secondary material that supports it, and the most advanced technologies will be needed to be employed to accomplish that transparency. A good definition for the pavilion can be taken from J. M. Barrie: it aims to be as a ‘Betwixt-and-Between’." Previous pavilion designers include Frank GehryHerzog & de Meuron and Ai WeiweiRem Koolhaas and Cecil Balmond, Daniel Libeskind, and Zaha Hadid. Check out some of SelgasCano's work  in the gallery below.
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Real Revelation: Madrid’s New Soccer Stadium

Spanish soccer franchise Real Madrid has revealed plans for a drastic reshaping of its iconic Santiago Bernabeau stadium. The plan entails sheathing the existing structure in a curvaceous titanium facade that will also add a hotel, a shopping and leisure center, and an underground car park. The new skin also adds a retractable roof to the stadium. German firm GMP Architekten will be heading the project joined by locals L35 Architects and, in a crossing of party-lines, Barcelona-based Ribas & Ribas. The lines of the exterior are meant to respond to shifting sunlight patterns by day and play host to LED light displays by night. One amorphous face will act as a screen for large-scale media projections. The innermost portion of the new roof will be translucent, allowing natural light to filter onto the playing surface and past the 360° screen that hangs directly beneath The included hotel is set to feature rooms offering direct views of the pitch. L35 managing partner Tristán López-Chicheri claims that the club's history of recruiting costly star players acted as an inspiration for the new design: "the idea of excellence was another strong inspiration. The ‘galactic heroes’ of real madrid made us think of a polished gemstone, a magic skin with a changing light and color hues that actually protects a treasure." The assignment necessitates that construction not interfere with play, and despite its relatively high-tech qualities and irregular forms, large sections of the new structure can be shop-assembled offsite. GMP Architekten have extensive experience with projects of this nature, having already designed three stadiums for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and two structures for this summer's Brazilian iteration of the tournament. A completion date has been tentatively set for 2017 with a $537 million price tag slapped on the project. How a club supposedly saddled with almost $800 million in debt can afford such an expense is unclear, though their current financial straits have done little to curb the recruitment of evermore expensive galactic heroes (galacticos) that might serve as future inspiration for another multimillion dollar renovation. In the spirit of competition, Madrid's presentation comes in the wake of Barcelona's announcement for costly, though more stylistically modest, updates to their own stadium, a Nou-er Camp, if you will.
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Students Help Shigeru Ban Build A Temporary Structure in Madrid

The latest Shigeru Ban paper tube building has opened at IE University in Madrid, Spain. Elsewhere, Ban built the paper tube Nomadic Museum in New York City on a Hudson River pier in 2007, a Camper retail store in New York's Soho neighborhood, and now in Christchurch, New Zealand he is constructing an A-Frame cathedral out of the temporary, eminently efficient material. The Madrid University building took only two weeks to build, is based on sustainability objectives, and there was a requirement that it be a temporary construction. It is made of 173 paper tubes held together by timber joints that rest on paper columns. “One of the main challenges in any project is that the design must take into consideration the specific characteristics of the location. In this case, we used an existing wall and kept the pavilion as far as possible from the adjacent building,” Shigeru Ban said in a statement. “I try to use local firms for my work. In this case the tubes, for example, were made in Zaragoza.” Shigeru Ban also pointed out that students from IE School of Architecture took part in assembling the paper tubes, and underscored how important it was as an educational experience for them.  
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The City That Never Was: Learning from the Spanish Housing Bubble

Described as "crime scene photos," stark images of Spain’s housing bubble landscapes depict a grim reality. But instead of a somber discourse on the evils of political corruption and real estate speculation, the Architectural League’s symposium this past Friday, The City That Never Was, looked forward and, as Iñaki Abalos aptly asked, wondered if we, "can turn shit into gold." Building on their research and design studios at the University of Pennsylvania, Chris Marcinkoski and Javier Arpa, the moderators, explored the future of urbanism through the lens of Spain’s economic crisis and its resulting desolate urban form. Framing the historical context of boom and bust cycles, they reveal that the Spanish situation is only unique in scale and intensity. It exists as part of a larger commodification of urbanism all over the world resulting in similar conditions in an ever simplified placeless urbanism. An international range of speakers from both Spain and the US covered issues regarding agricultural production, city planning, waste flows, and repurposing of vacant land. Each panel ended in a group discussion which began as an invigorating dialog, but by end of day became a bit muddled in message. University of Pennsylvania’s new Chair of Landscape Architecture, Richard Weller, struck a positive note in the final panel when he said that each speaker had "left clues" as to how the current situation could be ameliorated and avoided in the future. Some of which included Barcelona’s Enric Batlle’s ideas regarding the preparation of space over time providing a road map for incremental change and Chris Reed’s kit of parts for Detroit which could be useful in facilitating the reuse of incomplete developments. In thinking about other paradigms for development, Weller advised "designing the system, not the aesthetic." To that point, the discussion of waste became particularly fertile when Robin Nagle, anthropologist-in-residence for the NY Department of Sanitation answered the previously asked question with a resounding, "Shit is gold!" The audience may not have left with a definitive recommendation but was certainly inspired about the possibilities.
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Quick Clicks> Forgiveness, Hiroshima, Farmers Markets, & Missing Maps

Pop-Up Forgiveness. With Spain in the midst of an austerity plan, the NY Times reported that Madrid and the Catholic Church have spent $72 million for festivities centered around the visit of Pope Benedict XVI, which has drawn criticism from many in the city. Among the improvements lavished upon Madrid are 200 pop-up confessional booths in Retiro Park. Perhaps city leaders doling out funds will be among those in line at the booths. Reminder! Tomorrow, Wednesday August 17th, the International Center of Photography will hold a panel discussion in conjunction with the exhibition Hiroshima: Ground Zero 1945. The discussion will feature authors Erin Barnett, Adam Harrison Levy, and Greg Mitchell who will speak about the exhibition's compelling photographs of post-bomb Hiroshima along with a discussion of censorship and documentation of the the attack. Fresh Jobs. Data from a USDA report released last week indicated that farmers markets are on the rise in the United States. The report counted 7,175 markets, a 17 percent increase since last year. States with the largest growth were Colorado, Alaska, and Texas, representing a robust local and regional food system. Grist and GOOD broke down the report. Where's the Map? Transportation Nation asks, Where’s the Amtrak map at Penn Station? It seems as though travelers are missing out on the opportunity to visually place their train journeys. As journalist Mark Ovenden said,“maps are part of the journey, and we shouldn’t forget that." You can ask for a paper fold-out version, which pales in comparison as its streaking red lines give little real indication of the train's path.