Serpentine Summer Pavilion 2016 by Bjarke Ingels, Kensington Gardens

Serpentine Pavilion 2016 – collaboration in work, play and experiment

Not only one sculptural wonder by Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, this summer Serpentine Gallery brings along four experimental designs to London’s Kensington Gardens. The show which opened to the public over the weekend is the last one by long-term director Dame Julia Peyton-Jones, encapsulating her drive and vision.

Serpentine 'Summer Houses'
Serpentine ‘Summer Houses’ by architects Kunlé Adeyemi and Barkow Leibinger

The Summer Pavilion concept is an opportunity for the chosen architect to experiment with forms in one of the most prestigious parks in central London. This year Bjarke Ingels – described by Serpentine director Hans Ulrich Obrist as ‘the first architect disconnected completely from angst’ – has made the most of the Pavilion commission, playing with scale and materials. Despite the short timeframe to complete such a project, you can see the clarity and enthusiasm in Ingels’ approach. With his firm BIG he spent exactly six months (to the minute by midnight of the launch) to complete the Pavilion. At the preview morning the last set of fibre glass blocks were still waiting to be lifted to the very top.

Read more

Venice Biennale 2016 © Luke Hayes

New Materialities – Reporting from Venice

Powerful ideas showcased at 15th Venice Architecture Biennale, which launched last weekend, for rediscovering the desire for architecture.

Alejandro Aravena, the Chilean curator of this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale, says of the programme that it’s not “a caricature, or a biennale for the poor”. Although, on many levels, the Biennale resonates with values of the 1960s Arte Povera movement, challenging current economic systems, while also promoting the return to simpler materials and architectural concepts. Aravena urges architects to consider more carefully what they build, not making something “ just because you can”.

Pavilion at Giardini by Chilean architects Pezo von Ellrichshausen, photo ©Luke Hayes
Pavilion at Giardini by Chilean architects Pezo von Ellrichshausen, photo ©Luke Hayes

  It’s the lesser known architects that propose the more engaging and ground-breaking ideas 

The exhibits provide a wide range of responses to Aravena’s overarching theme Reporting from the Front.  On the grounds of the Giardini there are thirty national pavilions and the exhibitions, which Aravena describes as “conversations” on the battles and challenges we face improving our urban environments, continue inside the Arsenale ship yards and across the city. The Central Pavilion hosts a group exhibition, including projects by Renzo Piano, Kéré Architects, Richard Rogers and Kazuo Sejima, although it’s the lesser known architects that propose the more engaging and ground-breaking ideas.

GGPKG Preview ImageGGPKG Preview Image
 360º VIEW: Installation by Gabinete de Arquitectura

Read more

Futuro House

Futuro House – ideas and principles in 1960s spatial design

logo-dates-color highres

LONDON FESTIVAL OF ARCHITECTURE – 9 June 2016, 18.45 – 20.00

At Central Saint Martins, King’s Cross, London N1

An evening talk with artist Craig Barnes and academic staff from Central Saint Martins Spatial Practices Programme. This will also be an opportunity to visit Futuro House, an icon of 1960s futuristic space-age architecture, restored and transported to London by Barnes and now housed on the CSM rooftop.
Read more

De Rotterdam by OMA

Learning from Rotterdam – IABR 2016

Rotterdam is known for being addicted to the idea of progress, and thus is an ideal place for a biennale on the future of cities. The seventh edition of International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam runs until July 10th, aiming to energize citizens and provide ideas for vibrant urban economies.

This year the Biennale is held at the Fenixloods warehouse on the Katendrecht quayside, behind OMA’s De Rotterdam skyscraper and opposite the New York Hotel. The Katendrecht district resonates with the biennale theme ‘The Next Economy’, the divisions between big corporations and citizens, market forces and active individuals. The warehouse, also a hugely popular local foodie destination, has recently been targeted by plans for high-end housing to be built above it.

Fenixloods warehouse, Rotterdam
Fenixloods warehouse on the Katendrecht waterfront, Rotterdam ©Kim Bouvy

Led by Maarten Hajer as chief curator, the exhibitions explore and expand the political boundaries in urban culture. Hajer, who is not an architect but a political scientist, raises questions about the urban tech revolution and concepts such as the ‘smart city’, of which the driverless car has become the ultimate symbol. Yet the purpose of the ‘smart city’ remains unclear — what does it actually deliver and for whom?

Maarten Hajer, IABR 2016
IABR 2016 chief curator Maarten Hajer

Read more

Salerno terminal by Zaha Hadid ©Hélène Binet

Concrete wave by Zaha Hadid

South from Naples in Italy, the harbour of Salerno welcomes passengers through a new terminal designed by Zaha Hadid Architects

Shortly after winning a competition to design the Maxxi Museum in 2000 for Rome, Zaha Hadid also won a commission to build a ferry terminal for Salerno. The terminal has now been completed and shows how perfectly Hadid’s bold building types sit on waterfront locations.

Salerno terminal by Zaha Hadid ©Hélène Binet

Sketch for Salerno terminal by Zaha Hadid

In fluid forms sculpted out of concrete, the terminal building exemplifies Hadid’s architectural vision: rejecting straight lines, it conjures an idea of easy transition and flow for passengers between land and sea. The abstract preliminary sketch resembles a seabird and the final form provides shelter from the strong Mediterranean sun under its cantilevered concrete wings.

Read more

i360 – a high-tech viewing tower by Marks Barfield

A minimalist viewing tower and tourist attraction – i360 in Brighton by Marks Barfield Architects is set to change the city’s seafront culture

A 160 meters tall metal column is the main structural component of the i360 British Airways tower standing on the seafront opposite the skeleton of what’s left of Brighton’s West Pier. When completed in July the observation tower, designed by David Marks and Julia Barfield’s office, will offer spectacular views from the glass pod revolving around the column.

The observation tower will be in sharp contrast with the city’s shabby chic architecture, so handsome but also neglected in many places. David Marks says he was unaware of the history of the West Pier, before he discovered the site in 2005. Now the tower, sponsored by British Airways, is meant to generate income for the restoration of the Pier, which has been deteriorating for the past ten years. On the ground level the seafront promenade has already been given an injection of energy with new shops and cafes opening under the arches.

Marks Barfield, i360 British Airways
David Marks and Julia Barfield in Brighton

Read more