Category Archives: Architecture

The last town in Sovietland – in pictures

Up above the Arctic Circle, 40 hours by train from Moscow, sits the Russian city of Vorkuta. It was built by gulag inmates but was given purpose by the coal industry that used to be the region’s lifeblood. Now mining has disappeared, leaving many of its outposts abandoned. Tomeu Coll’s 2009 photo essay Nevermind Sovietland hauntingly records the lives of those who still live there

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Source: gad

'Tech CEOs are like cult leaders' – the artists taking on Facebook and big data

Langlands and Bell are celebrating their 40th year together – by taking an uncompromising look at Silicon Valley’s utopian promises

By a remarkable coincidence, on Wednesday, right as Mark Zuckerberg finally addressed the unfolding Facebook data-breach scandal, British artists Ben Langlands and Nikki Bell opened their new exhibition about the unchecked power Facebook and the other big tech companies wield.

Internet Giants: Masters of the Universe, at Birmingham’s Ikon Gallery until 10 June, marks the 40th year of collaboration between Langlands and Bell. It is an arresting ensemble of installations and animations, prints and architectural models.

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Source: gadt

Low-cost housing needs dignity, says Indian architect Balkrishna Doshi

Fresh from scooping architecture’s most august award, the champion of housing for the poor is urging greater compassion

The winner of architecture’s “Nobel prize”, Balkrishna Doshi, has called on his profession to rethink the way it approaches building for the most impoverished communities.

The internationally noted champion of housing for India’s poor, Doshi was awarded the Pritzker prize last week, in large part for the Aranya low-cost housing project. It accommodates 80,000 people with houses and courtyards linked by a maze of pathways in the city of Indore.

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Source: gad

Galeries Lafayette heir joins French tycoons in opening art foundation

Guillaume Houzé’s cultural centre will rival that of France’s richest man, Bernard Arnault

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a Frenchman in possession of a good fortune may not be in want of a wife, but a private cultural foundation.

Bernard Arnault, France’s richest man and the head of the luxury goods group LVMH, has his Louis Vuitton Foundation based in a building in Paris resembling a glass cloud, designed by the architect Frank Gehry.

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Source: gad

Three Apple workers hurt walking into glass walls in first month at $5bn HQ

Emergency services called to Norman Foster-designed Apple Park, which Steve Jobs called ‘a shot at the best office building in the world’

Employees in Apple Park, Apple’s grand new spaceship-style headquarters in California, keep walking into glass doors and windows.

Despite warnings from a building inspector that people would not be able to tell where the door ends and the wall begins, at least three Apple employees walked or ran into the ultra-transparent glass hard enough to require emergency medical treatment during the first month of occupation, according to recordings of 911 calls obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle.

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Source: gadt

What would the ultimate child-friendly city look like?

The reality for many urban children is too much time spent indoors playing on smartphones – but a few cities are fighting the tide with innovative ways to keep kids healthy, sociable – and outdoors

Imagine you are 10 years old. You live in a medium-sized city and want to visit your best friend, a five-minute walk away, so you can go to the park, another 10 minutes’ walk. The problem is, there’s a big, dangerous road between you and your friend, and another between them and the park. You ask your parents if you can walk, they say no, and they are too busy to take you there themselves.

Perhaps you SnapChat your friend instead, perhaps you play a video game on the sofa. You’ve lost out on exercise and time outside, interacting with your neighbourhood and, of course, play time with your friend.

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Source: gad

Forensic Architecture: the detail behind the devilry

An organisation that uses architectural evidence in cases of war crimes or other human rights abuses is making itself enemies in high places

In 2006 a man walked into an internet cafe in Kassel, Germany, and shot dead Halit Yozgat, a 21-year-old member of the Turkish-German family who owned it. It was the ninth in a series of racist killings by neo-Nazis, the motivation for which the police persistently refused to admit. A striking fact of Yozgat’s murder was that Andreas Temme, an intelligence agent for the state of Hessen, was in the cafe at the time, logged on to a dating website in a back room. If there’s one thing a secret agent should be able to do, you might have thought, it would be to notice a killing in the next room, but Temme claimed he did not.

He took part in a police video reconstruction in which he is seen placing his payment for his internet access on the reception table, unaware of the corpse on the floor behind it. His story didn’t seem likely, but in the absence of further evidence it seemed that he would have to be taken at his word. That might have been that, were it not that Forensic Architecture investigated the case and exhibited their findings at the 2017 edition of Documenta, Kassel’s five-yearly art fair. Through creating a full-scale mock-up of the cafe interior, and analysing the sound of the two shots (loud enough, even with a silencer), the dispersal of their smoke and the sightlines of the agent – a tall man – as he put money on the table behind which the young victim was sprawled, it was demonstrated that Temme could not possibly have failed to hear, smell and see the crime.

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Source: gad

Open house: how two architects let their imagination run wild

By moving walls, floors and stairs, the owners of this energy-efficient London home have turned the Victorian terrace upside down

Wrapped around the internal walls of this London house, like high-water marks, are painted grey lines indicating where the original floors, ceilings and skirting boards were. “We wanted visitors to understand the changes we’ve made,” explains owner Lizzie Webster. These changes are substantial. Instead of a long hallway, you are greeted head-on by a storage seat and a mustard yellow pegboard for coats and bags. To the right is a door to a large open-plan living space and kitchen, with a concrete floor. The stairs – made of Douglas fir – now sit diagonally in the centre of this space, twisting up the house. Dark corridors that led off the old staircase have been opened up into usable living spaces. An outline of the previous stairs is now picked out in yellow on floor-to-ceiling cupboard doors. Webster and her husband Joe Fraher, both architects, dropped the ground floor level by 60cm (2ft), which allowed them to increase the ceiling heights throughout the house, including in a converted loft.

The original two-up two-down layout now has four bedrooms (they live here with their daughters Claudia, five, and Orla, three). The first-floor landing is a study for Webster, and the second floor – the former loft – is a play area.

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Source: gad

Plyscraper city: Tokyo to build 350m tower made of wood

The $5.6bn cost of the 70-storey W350 Project is expected to be twice that of a conventional building

A skyscraper set to be built in Tokyo will become the world’s tallest to be made of wood.

The Japanese wood products company Sumitomo Forestry Co is proposing to build a 350 metre (1,148ft), 70-floor tower to commemorate its 350th anniversary in 2041.

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Source: gad