A triumph of high-tech engineering on East Sussex coastline, designed by Marks Barfield
by Harri Närhi
by Harri Närhi
During high summer, from mid-June to mid-July, sun hardly sets down in the Finnish capital. Many locals escape to their waterside cottages to enjoy the long days. But now there is one more reason for staying in the city. The latest architectural hotspot is Löyly, a public sauna with a bar and restaurant designed by Avanto Architects on the Southern waterfront – literally the hottest meeting place this summer.
“We did not set out to build an iconic building”, Tate director Nicholas Serota states before the opening of the new extension. But of course it will be. It is designed by Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron, the Swiss architects who had already transformed the derelict power station into Tate Modern. It has since become the world’s most visited museum for modern and contemporary art, making London a global cultural centre.
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.
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”.
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.
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.