Posts tagged with "World Architecture Festival":

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AMO/OMA and UNStudio on designing in the age of social media

What does it mean for architecture publishing when everyone publishes? PLANE—SITE invited AMO/OMA and UNStudio to talk about how they see the role of social media in architecture and the relationships between image, object, and experience in their new short video “Building Images,” created for the World Architectural Festival 2018. The two firms and their representatives propose an array of different fears, hopes, uses, and possibilities of social media. AMO/OMA partner Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli is curious about what we capture and how we look—our desire to get at an “authenticity” of real life that instead might just suspend us in a state of “permanent voyeurism.” Of photographing and witnessing so many plural photographs of buildings, he says that there is “an obsession to unveil what are the mechanics behind the project…not just the final output.” UNStudio’s founder Ben van Berkel takes particular interest in the resonances and oscillations between the instantaneousness and ephemerality promoted by social platforms like Instagram and how these timescales relate to architecture, which he points out, is generally meant to last; it’s slow to come up and slow to come down. In this case, AMO/OMA architect Giacomo Ardesio suggests, it is even more important to have a gluttonous stream of images. It makes a building last beyond an individual moment of embodied experience—which is especially important for many of the more temporary works AMO designs—and also documents people’s own intimate experiences, as well as their social ones, with the space. Instagram photos can show how the buildings might be “engaging visitors beyond the program it is meant to solve.” Instagram gives architects and everyone “a more complete view,” says AMO’s Giulio Margheri. He means this both in comparison to a pre-social media era but also against the more “refined” photos of architecture magazines and shelter publications that used to be the only insight into a building short of being in it. But, van Berkel says, all this focus on social media might make some run the risk of being “one-off architects.” It also, like much of the internet, can flatten things: people flock to the same places to take the same photos, overrunning streets and turning them into photo ops. And so often Instagram photos aren’t really of buildings (though some certainly are); a building is just background, or so it seems. But what if we consider a building a background with its own agency? This is a theoretically interesting question, but one that also has a practical side that UNSudio explores by using Instagram and other social media as part of their post-occupancy analysis, in addition to measurements, sensor data, and interviews. It lets them ask, urban designer Dana Behrman says, “how do [people] actually appropriate the spaces?” This question often leads to surprising answers, and she cites the ways that the Arnhem Central Station UNStudio designed has been used as a site for performances.  And even the desire to get behind things that Laparelli seemed cautious of could be a good thing according to some. “Everyone produces images, the whole landscape has democratized,” says Machteld Kors, communications director of UNStudio. “People want to see where things come from, and how things are made. The storytelling in projects is becoming more and more important.” What "Building Images" shows is that perhaps it is architects who are trying to get behind the operations of things, asking why people show themselves in a certain building in certain ways. 
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World Architecture Festival Finalists Revealed

Ribbon Chapel for weddings, Seto Inland Sea, Japan, by Hiroshi Nakamura ... Architects and designers from 47 countries are competing to win prizes in the 2015 World Architecture Festival Awards following the announcement of the shortlist today. Nearly 400 designs in 31 categories have been chosen ranging from small family homes to huge commercial developments, landscape projects and interiors. Major world architects taking part include Foster Partners, Zaha Hadid Architects, Rafael Vinoly Architects and the designer of the controversial Garden Bridge in London, Heatherwick Studio. As usual there are also small practices unknown outside their own countries, who will be presenting their shortlisted work, along with big names, at the annual World Architecture Festival (WAF) in Singapore this November. This is the eight year of the WAF awards, which cover completed buildings, future projects, landscape designs, and interior architecture and design. WAF programme director Paul Finch commented: ‘ We are delighted that our entry numbers were up this year, and the quality of submissions is as high as ever. ‘What is fascinating about these awards is the opportunity they provide to compare how different architects and designers tackle the same sort of problems in completely different parts of the world.’ For more information
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Sir Peter Cook, Sou Fujimoto and Benedetta Tagliabue - announcing the first of World Architecture Festival’s 70 strong jury

The WAF awards are unique and are the only awards to enter if you want to receive critical feedback in person from our international jurors.
Be part of the world’s largest live crit. All shortlisted entrants present live at the World Architecture Festival in Singapore in front of respected critics, architects, clients and associated practitioners. Enter to receive professional feedback, benchmark your work and exchange with your peers and WAF’s global network. WAF has over 70 judges who all attend the festival and critique your work. There are 31 award categories open for entries and each category has its own expert judging panel who will watch presentations from every shortlisted architect live at the festival. View the full judging panel here  Both professionally and personally transformational, WAF awards are your gateway to global exposure, recognition and success. The game-changers of your profession, WAF awards are recognised by architects and clients alike. WAF is where your work gains international exposure and where you can make global connections. Anyone can enter and anyone can win. The entry deadline is 22 May, start your entry today at WAF 2015 will take place in Suntec in central Singapore from 4 – 6 November.
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2012 World Architecture Festival Winners Boldly Reinvent the Urban Landscape

Several large-scale, eco-friendly projects at the intersection of landscape, architecture, and urbanism were honored at this year’s World Architecture Festival (WAF) in Singapore. Building of the Year was awarded to London-based Wilkinson Eyre’s Gardens by the Bay (above), designed in collaboration with landscape architects Grant Associates in 2003 for a competition to develop a reclaimed 250-acre site adjacent to a marina in downtown Singapore. Among the other top honorees were AECOM's Heart of Doha Masterplan, winning Future Project of the Year, and Atelier Dreiseitl's Kallang River Bishan Park, which took Landscape Project of the Year. Gardens by the Bay wraps luscious public gardens, Mediterranean flowers, event spaces, and a 100-foot high man-made waterfall under two steel-and-glass dome-like structures, the largest climate controlled greenhouses in the world. The whimsical scheme also includes eighteen 164-foot high “Supertree” structures holding thousands of exotic plant species and connected by a series of high-tech eco-bridges that collect and re-channel rainwater to cool themselves and the adjacent greenhouses. Gardens by the Bay was completed in 2012 and has been open to the public since June. WAF awarded Future Project of the Year to AECOM’s 77-acre Heart of Doha Masterplan in Qatar, designed as the gateway to Inner Doha and connecting the city with its waterfront as well as existing and proposed airports. Referred to by the architects as “the grid and the lattice,” AECOM superimposed an orthogonal grid onto Doha’s traditional Qatari street pattern to create a new urban structure that respects the Arab/Islamic vernacular, captures north-westerly breezes, and accommodates vehicular traffic. The Landscape of the Year award went to landscape architects Atelier Dreiseitl for their Kallang River Bishan Park in Singapore, a project that transforms an existing, underused park and river into an ecological public space. View all of this year's winners at the World Architecture Festival website. Click on a thumbnail below to launch a slideshow.
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The Reign of TV in Spain

A recent trip to Barcelona for the World Architecture Festival (WAF) made clear to me just how well the nations of the European Union do at updating their historic centers. American tourists, of course, go to places like Spain to see medieval or Renaissance urbanism not contemporary cities. And that’s a shame because we could learn a great deal about how to build today and add intelligently to our own 19th and 20th century cities. The WAF takes place in a totally new city near the 2004 Herzog and deMeuron-designed Barcelona Forum, but even in the old city the Richard Meier-designed Macba Museum boldly asserts itself in the medieval core. Down La Ramblas from the quarter where the white Macba sits is another contemporary museum, the Santa Monica Museum, which is a kunsthalle. The museum does not collect art, but serves as a multidisciplinary center for art, science, thought, and communication. Even here Americans could learn a thing or two about contemporary culture, in this case, one of our favorites: television. The exhibition, "TV/Arts/TV" details the history of video art and includes all the pioneers of the movement including Dan Graham, Muntadas, Chris Marker, Gary Hill and Wolf Vostell. The exhibition is comprised almost entirely of spatially compelling installations that should be of interest to architects for its content and power to communicate with an audience. One piece, "From Receiver to Remote control... channeling Spain 2010", by New Yorkers Judith Barry and Ken Saylor with Project Projects, cork screwed through a dead end hallway with 91 photographs and 10 flat screens with audio that trace how television "transforms the social space of the home and family relations" (though the show closed on Saturday this piece has been extended through January). Based on an earlier version of the installation that focused on American television and the home, this piece compares some of the differences and similarities in television history between Spain and the U.S. in relationship  to the  'participatory.' It makes the point that "while television is often considered a monolithic entity, it differs from culture to culture. Tele-visual space produces personal and collective identities across 'national' and global boundaries where the viewer is implicated in questions of how media is democratized" and invites spectator participation. The narrowness of the hallway exhibition space and the displays on all the surrounding surfaces envelope museum-goers bringing us literally inside television as much as when we view a TV screen from a comfy chair at home.  With so many American artists involved, it's only a shame that I had to go Spain to see this thought-provoking work.
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And the World Architecture Festival Winners Are . . .

The World Architecture Festival is in its third year of existence, and, despite the worldwide recession, seems to have more attendees, trade show participants, and strong projects in its awards program. In what is surely a sign of the times, however, there seem to be many more strong projects in the “future” category than completed buildings. As it has been for the past three years, AN was the event’s American media sponsor, and this year I juried projects in the category of “Future Health and Education Buildings.”

The “future” presented several problems for the jury, as the various projects were all in different states of completion. In fact, one of the buildings the jury selected, the Kuwait Children’s Hospital by Madrid-based AGi Architects, had no window openings on its facade—at least not yet—or a credible entry into the complex. Nonetheless, we decided to give it an award for its adventurous design, in hopes that the client would actually see the project through to completion. What it will look like at the end is anyone’s guess, but at this point it stood out in the Health category. We gave our Future Education award to another Kuwait project, Sabah Al-Salem University in Kuwait, designed by Perkins+Will’s office in New York City. For this project, the future seems much nearer, as it was more developed and seems to have financing in place. It was recommended for its balancing of large-scale planning issues with small-scale detailing—the building’s facade was particularly well thought out, as it creatively dealt with the harsh climate of Kuwait. When this project moved through to the final round, however, where it was considered for the award as the outstanding future project of the year, it was attacked by jurists Will Alsop and Charles Jencks for its monolithic facade, which uses a repetitive flange system to shade 80 percent of the surface much of the day and thus reduce energy consumption in this hot climate. I also think Alsop actually wanted a brighter color on the facade (it’s white) and asked the Perkins+Will presenter Anthony Fieldman: “Do you really like the building?” To his credit, Fieldman stood his ground with a firm Yankee “Yes!” In a final comment that would only come from a Brit, Alsop asked Fieldman, “What’s it like to work in a country that does not allow the consumption of alcohol?” Thank god for the British! The festival’s Best Building winner was no surprise: Zaha’s Maxxi Museum in Rome. Zaha may stand triumphant in Barcelona, but Americans should be proud of the Los Angeles (and Palestine) based firm Suisman Urban Design, which won Best Future Project for the ARC Plan for occupied Palestine. Winning the student category was the Campus Catalyst Project in Port Au Prince, Haiti, designed by Harvard University students Robin Bankert, Michael Murphy, Caroline Shannon, and Joseph Wilfong. According to the jury’s notes, this project offered a powerful statement, built around the premise of education as a driver for reinventing the landscape after the 2010 earthquake. The project focused on practical applications like agronomy and carpentry, while developing education centers on unoccupied or damaged land adjacent to the current tent villages, where they are most needed. The team won a $16,000 prize courtesy of AECOM, which sponsored the student competition. Among the other category winners recognized by the juries: Check the WAF winners site for a full list of winning category projects, and check back here for more on the overall winners.
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World Arch Fest: Dia Dos

I just finished my day of judging the Civic and Community session of the WAF in Barcelona. The festival competition is divided into sixteen categories, with each session winner going into a final round to determine the Building of the Year. My session’s jurors included the Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto and the Canadian (now living in London) Renato Benedetti, and we spent the day working our way through 14 entries, including the new British Embassy in Algiers by John McAslan + Partners, and a fine Mexican church and community center by Sordo Madaleno Arquitectos. In my mind, however, two projects stood out from the rest. The first was a fantastic woolly-mammoth-like bar built of long arching bamboo poles and covered with what looked like palm fronds. But since the project, nWn Bar by Vo Trang Nghia Co., is a cafe and pub, we questioned the designers about how it fit into the theme of a civic or community building. The designers conferred, and then explained that they built a model of the project, which they donated to a community library; the bar is also “free to enter,” they said. That didn’t cut it, so we moved on to other projects. The second project I supported—and the one that was my favorite—was the Emergency Terminal in Zagreb, Croatia by Produkcija 004. It’s a civic building that, while not publicly accessible, serves as the headquarters for the city’s emergency response teams. It has car parking for ambulances, beds for workers, and, in case of national emergency, cold storage facilities for antibiotics and vaccines. The building itself is wrapped in a stretched polymer fabric that allows all the structure’s functions to be read on the facade, and is ablaze at night with fluorescent light. I really like the building, and helped push it through to the next round, but the jury decided to give special commendation to two small, exquisite projects: a wonderfully appropriate Reconstructionist Congregation synagogue in Evanston, Illinois by Ross Barney Architects and La Cisnera Community Center on the Spanish island of Tenerife by GPY Arquitectos. On my way out of the assembly hall to yet another drinks party, I ran into several journalists who confirmed the rumor that the two women in the running to direct the upcoming architecture biennale are indeed Kazuyo Sejima and New York’s own Liz Diller. Many are placing their money on Sejima to get the prize, but I am campaigning for our own Liz. Go Liz!
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World Arch Fest: Hola Barcelona!

This week, the second World Architecture Festival is taking place in one of the most design-conscious cities in the world: Barcelona. Sadly, the festival is located in the Diagonal Mar district on the city’s waterfront, along with the hotel that WAF sponsor emap provided to jurors (I am here serving on the jury for the festival’s Civic and Community award). At first glance, this entirely new district of the city seems to have more in common with Grand Rapids than the Catalonian capital. I mentioned this to a British colleague, who replied, “Are American cities this nice?” He’s right: We can’t even do modern urbanism better than the Europeans. The event started with a quick drinks reception and then dinner with WAF director extraordinaire Paul Finch and the dapper British architects Simon Allford and Paul Monaghan of Allford Hall Monaghan Morris. Paul suggested we eat at Els Pescadors in Placa Prim, an ancient plaza that has somehow escaped the modernization of this area of the city. An elegantly understated traditional eatery, with its salt cod in chili peppers, sliced ham from black-acorn-eating pigs, and squid noodles, it was a perfect place for conversation. Paul talked about his successful campaign to become head of Britain’s Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, and we chatted about the rumor that the next director of the Venice Biennale will be a woman—and that the two names most often mentioned in the running are the leading female architects in New York and Tokyo. Getting back to American urbanism, Paul and Simon told of the shock of having to incorporate, in their first American project in Oklahoma, two parking spaces for every one-bedroom apartment, whereas in the U.K. requirements call for one space for every two flats. After multiple bottles of cava, vino tinto, and dessert wine (I was with three Brits, after all), I struggled back to my hotel to spend an hour drying out in the 13th-floor sauna with its extraordinary view of the Sagrada Familia. Tomorrow’s lineup: I judge my section of the festival, then have dinner with other jurors at the Barcelona Pavilion, then more drinks with the Brits. Oh, and celebrate the festival's many other winners, of course!
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Report: World Architecture Festival

The World Architecture Festival in Barcelona is in its second day and it's great seeing New Yorkers doing so well in this international competition. Marion and Michael (Weiss/Manfredi) won for their spectacular Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle and Snohetta (OK via Norway) for their Oslo Opera House. I was on the housing jury and we were presented with 13 strong projects: high rise towers, smaller garden apartments (some with a mix of market rate flats) and a ten unit housing scheme in the shape of a slithering garden snake. Except for the bizarre snake these were all different types of public housing. I am not sure why an American would be selected for this jury but seeing these 'social' projects was inspiring. It gives one hope we can do decent housing in this country for someone other than just the rich (Come on Barack, pull this thing out!). We gave our award to Mountain Dwellings in Denmark by the Bjarke Ingels Group (top). It's a great project but also have a look Adelaide Wharf by Allford Hall Monaghen Morris in Hackney, London (above). And what can I say about the snake??