‘I have never liked the lack of life in the architectural representations that are often aseptic, clean and neutral. I enjoy imagining what life would be like in these static images. They are comparable to still life paintings.’
The aim of architecture is to design a space where people can live and carry out their activities, yet many renders and illustrations particular to the field are devoid of life and dynamism. Italian artist federico babina has composed 17 vignettes for the ‘ARCHILIFE’ series, adding renowned cinematic stars from alfred hitchcock to audrey hepburn to architect-designed interior spaces — The always glamorous marilyn monroe lounges within the famous Mies van der Rohe Farnsworth House; a bathrobe-wearing Marlon Brando waters a plant at Frank Lloyd Wright’s ‘Fallingwater’ home. ‘In these pictures I try to exalt the ‘banality of everyday life’ of famous performers employed in simple actions that interact with the space that hosts them’, Babina describes.
Images and info via Designboom.
Tongue-in-cheek architecture blog Building Satire is diving right into the Halloween spirit. Their Architect's Appearance/Morbid Models post features spooky spoofs on some of the world's most renown architects (and an Architizer A+ Award jury member or two). Man-about-town Bjarke Ingels from BIG makes a great freaky Frankenstein, while we couldn't possibly think of a better mime than Tadao Ando - majestically melancholic! - or a more convincing sad-sack jester than sober architect Rem Koolhaas. One note of advice: we'd stay clear of Zaha if we were you...
Images and info via: Architizer
Temple Of Timber: Zaha Hadid’s Ode to Cambodia’s Tragic Past Is Filled With Contradiction, Hypocrisy … And Incredible Beauty
The Greatest on Earth? Nouvel’s National Art Museum of China Begins Its Epic Journey From Render to Reality
Design is constantly contemplating the ways in which it can transcend time, reflecting the values of the current generation while suggesting possibilities for the future. In response, each building, product, and every other creation is an attempt to convey a pristine image, with innovative materials and unprecedented gestures that show no signs of aging. Providing more commentary on the subject, visual artist xavier delory has asked: ‘What remains of the utopias and the promises of a better future promised by the modern movement at the beginning of the 20th century?’ He then elaborates with a quote from ’toward a new architecture’: ’But let’s not kick a man when he’s down, every era carries its own burden, and let’s not spoil our pleasure of ‘the wise, correct and superb play of masses gathered under the light.’ With this mindset, delory has set out to begin what he calls a ‘pilgrimage on modernity’.
The photoshopped series of images are a tribute to architectural monuments around the world. The first stopover is ‘Villa Savoye’ and its creator Le Corbusier, one of the founding fathers of the modern movement. The iconic structure has been ransacked and vandalized. the ribbon windows that navigate its perimeter have been shattered, haphazard strokes of paint ornament its pilotis, and large pieces of graffiti cover its stark white free façade. The manipulations intend to make a statement about the ‘five points of architecture’, and in turn, highlight the death of modernity.
Images and info via: Design Boom
If one didn’t know better, they might think that IKEA’s sole contribution to the world of architecture is a liberal sprinkling of royal blue and lemon yellow boxes across the globe. They’ve brought a lot more to the flat-pack table than that though, and their latest playful addition is a 3D floor plan — or perhaps more accurately, a wall plan — in Clermont-Ferrand, designed to mark the opening of their thirtieth store in France.
The Scandinavian king of budget chic has carved out one of its showrooms and tipped it up, transforming it into the most stylish of climbing walls — the piece forms an interactive sculpture and a vibrant, multi-layered billboard for the company. The 30-foot-high wall is fitted with steps and grips, giving the public a novel (if a little strenuous) new way to browse the latest collection. Sofas and swing chairs, IKEA classics naturally, provide handy rest stops on the way up.
Utilizing a vertical floor plan for advertising is not a new concept — back in 2000, Absolut Vodka’s Manhattan campaign featured a swanky apartment adhered firmly to one of its iconic bottles. So, is IKEA’s latest stunt a blatant piece of plagiarism? Of course not — the furniture for Absolut’s promotion was provided by the Swedish company as well. They really are taking over the world, one billboard at a time.
While these installations go down as light-hearted, transient flirtations with architectural design, IKEA are no strangers to more expansive adventures within the industry: here are four of their more notable experiments to hit the headlines over the past few years ...
IKEA Eco Town, East London
Looking to take advantage of the UK Government’s growing struggle to remedy London’s long-running housing shortage, IKEA stepped in with a proposal for Strand East — a 26-acre neighborhood incorporating shops, schools, a theater, and apartments for 6,000 people with varying incomes. The company’s foray into town-planning is undoubtedly their most ambitious venture to date, and includes just about everything a Londoner might need, except — curiously — an actual IKEA store.
BoKlok Affordable Homes
Strand East does, however, include the company’s flagship low-cost residences, named BoKlok, and developed in collaboration with Swedish construction group Skanska. The houses have been built in over 100 developments in Sweden since 1996, and champion the idea of flexible, pre-fabricated templates for flats that give buyers a choice of architectural style without blowing their budget. Fast-forward to 2012, and IKEA flat-pack homes have arrived on US shores in the shape of...
... pre-assembled pre-fabs. The “Aktiv” flat-pack home debuted in Portland a couple of years ago, with collaborators Ideabox boasting: “It’s your own personal euro designer flat ... only where you want it!” Often lambasted for their fiendish assembly instructions, IKEA have banished this issue with Aktiv — they worked with pre-fab specialists, integrating kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom fixtures within a unit that can be delivered on the back of a trailer in just one or two pieces. The interiors are customizable in terms of colors and surface finishes, and the prototype's exterior is clad with timber and metal panels in yellow and gray tones — no IKEA blue in sight, thankfully.
Solar Powered Shelter For Syrian Refugees
IKEA have long been involved with humanitarian work, with their foundation raising funds to help children and families in the developing world for many years. It seemed only natural, then, for the company to dive into the complex issue of refugee housing, designing a form of hi-tech tent, lo-tech cabin that could be used to help Syrian people fleeing to Lebanon during the conflict of the past three and a half years. The units include lightweight solar arrays and insulated wall panels, and should cost just $1,000 when mass-produced.
From the frivolous to the fundamental, IKEA have contributed to the field in a wide variety of ways —those famous meatballs suddenly seem like tiny drops in an enormous, royal blue ocean of ideas.
Right, time to start building that bookshelf I’ve been putting off for weeks ...
The Angry Architect
Images via Architizer
Prefabricated architecture specialists modscape have planned a conceptual property perched above the ocean in the Australian state of Victoria. the project, which is designed for a couple exploring options for a holiday home, hangs off the cliff face in the same way that barnacles cling to the side of a ship.
Envisioned as a natural extension of the landscape, the dwelling shares a direct relationship with the sea below, utilizing modular design technologies and prefabrication methods. residents enter the home through a carport positioned at the uppermost level where an elevator vertically connects each sequential storey. interior furnishings are kept as minimal as possible as not to detract from expansive ocean views, and the property’s distinct spatial characteristics.
Right then, must dash, I'm off to consult a geologist about cliff erosion...
Images and info via: Design Boom
Several years ago, Munich-based photographer Bernhard Lang vacationed at a seaside resort in Adria, Italy and was struck by the perfectly uniform arrangements of colored umbrellas used by each hotel. Last month he returned, this time by air, and shot for several hours on the coastline between Ravenna and Rimini. Lang is well known for his aerial photography of locations around Germany including coal mines, residential life, and industrial sites. You can see more over on Behance, and all of his work is available as fine art prints. All photos courtesy the photographer. (via This Isn’t Happiness)
The architectural language used for Zaha’s Brisbane debut — entitled Grace on Coronation — is more consistent, to say the least. Each tower is identical, forming a series of gleaming champagne flutes wrapped in spindly white exoskeletons — the architect herself said of the skyscraper’s distinct forms: “the design tapers each structure to minimize their footprint and open the riverfront to the public; creating a vibrant civic space for Toowong within a new riverside park.”
If one was to be cynical (and I have a well-known penchant for cynicism), the idea that the tapering minimizes the buildings’ footprint could be read as a complete misnomer. In fact, the opposite maybe true, in that the buildings are bloated as they rise up — designed to maximize the developer’s return on the upper apartments. The creation of a "vibrant civic space" must also be brought into question, given the incorporation of irregular, grass-topped plinths at ground level. Will these spaces really be utilized in the way ZHA intends, or will they suffer from the same issues besetting almost every Le Corbusier-inspired complex of towers in the park?
History indicates that the public will typically search out specific types of open space that offer enclosure and a distinct sense of place — courtyard cafes, covered arcades, steps in front of libraries and museums, a riverfront coffee shop. It is possible that they can also be convinced to enjoy a break on incidental wedges of manicured parkland, especially in beautiful climates like that of Australia’s eastern coast — but lawns of this kind must be easily accessible from those aforementioned spaces.
On the contrary, the plinths designed by ZHA isolate these green wedges, encircling them with 15-foot walls of pale concrete and restricting access to the park from the street, particularly on the side furthest from the riverfront. Presumably these plinths are designed to conceal car parking, the age-old bane of any urban high-rise design and a necessary evil — nonetheless, the negative impact at street level is undeniable. The firm proposed a similar master plan for residential towers in Bratislava’s Culenova City Center, but in that case the plinths were pushed downwards at the edges to form multiple linkages between the street and public spaces within the development. The proposed plinths in Brisbane do not share this quality — get ready for a warm hike up a series of pristine concrete ramps or steps to reach that hallowed slice of amenity space to enjoy your lunch!
The tower’s cage-like external appearance is reminiscent of another of ZHA’s high-rise residential proposals set for construction imminently, the One Thousand Museum Tower in Miami, Florida. The curves on display exemplify Hadid’s propensity towards the formulaic notion that a sensual form trumps structural function when attempting to sell an image of luxury to prospective tenants. The language that has served her so well on the horizontal is stretched skywards, less concerned with efficient engineering, and more preoccupied with displaying the firm’s signature parametric style on the largest billboard possible — three towers at over twenty-five stories each should do the job nicely (particularly when there are absolutely no existing high-rise blocks anywhere in the vicinity).
Further assessments of the project’s prospective success or failure will rest upon the release of more images — interiors, floor plans, and details of the spaces at plinth level. Regardless of any misgivings about the principles behind the design — particularly those pertaining to the public realm — the fact remains that ZHA are likely to have answered the brief bestowed upon them with customary aplomb.
© 2019 The Angry Architect