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21st Aeon Top Architectonics Or Just Hundred Year Old Modernism

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

For added online writing like the one beneath amuse appointment us at Plymouth Architects
The account that the new country abode for Rowan Atkinson has been accustomed by the Oxfordshire Planning Committee admitting getting recommended for abnegation by the Authority’s Planning Officers is in crisis of adopting afresh the rather annoyed agitation about Addition against Classicism in the British countryside. But this is absolutely the amiss debate. Dragging out the two old war horses assimilate the angry fields of Middle England is displacement action that takes the absorption abroad from a added pressing, abreast agitation affecting Western ability added about that could be aired if the war-horses could be put aback in their stables for a while. 

21st Aeon Top Architectonics Or Just Hundred Year Old Modernism
Atkinson’s planning adviser Terence O’Rourke is appear as anecdotic the new proposals as ‘a section of 21st aeon top architecture’. I am not abiding that this is a attainable or absolutely authentic description of the proposals. It is accurate that Atkinson’s artist for the house, Richard Meier, brought over from the US to do this his aboriginal architectonics in the UK, is a admired artist still practicing in the 21st aeon but the account that accomplish his plan are durably ashore in the aboriginal allotment of the endure century. The abode could accordingly appropriately be declared as a section of 20th aeon architectonics or as a section of ‘Old Modernism.

Old Modernism
The account that Meier still uses in 2010 were new in the 1920’s and 30’s if Le Corbusier and added aboriginal antecedents of the Avant-garde Movement created an architectonics that bidding the spirit of a address advancing out of the aboriginal apple war. This address rather aboveboard anticipation that they could apple-pie clean the slate of history and body a adventurous new world. Corb’s arguable delivery of that architectonics was declared in his acclaimed ‘Five Credibility for a New Architecture’, aboriginal appear as a alternation of online writing in the account he created, advantaged ‘L’Espirit Nouveau’. These 5 credibility set up able arguable dichotomies, agilely calumniating of the old order; the new architectonics was to angle alluringly aloft the arena on attenuate ‘pilotis’ (columns) instead of over clammy and rat infested basements, the columned anatomy would actualize the ‘Free plan’ and abandon the limitations of abundant load-bearing structures with their awkward corners, appropriation the barrio off the arena on pilotis would accomplish ‘free ground’ in the city-limits to alter the chock-full streets. The structural anatomy would in accession to absolution up the plan actualize the ‘free elevation’ and the appropriate accumbent band windows of the era. Finally, what Corb argued were the abortive aphotic roof spaces associated with acceptable pitched roofs could be replaced by the ‘roof garden’ the fifth of Le Corbusier’s 5 points. The added ascendant appropriate of this architectonics that abnormally does not get mentioned as one of the 5 credibility is that it is ‘white’. The whiteness enabled this architectonics to abjure the achievement of the building’s surfaces. The surfaces are appropriately apparent as complete abstractions, conceptual banknote which seek to ascertain potentially complete space. The imperfections of a complete actual would attenuate the adventure for a authentic account of complete space, and accordingly actual itself had to accompany those repressed aspects of architecture's reality.
Of advance those aspects of architecture’s absoluteness that in these 5 credibility were accursed by Le Corbusier did not go away. Indeed afterwards the Second Apple War, Le Corbusier’s own architectonics took a abolitionist change of direction. By the time he was designing Masions Jaoul in Paris the 1950’s the 5 credibility had been abandoned. The piloti had disappeared, such that the barrio sat absolutely on the ground. The houses were accustomed amount address structures, thereby attached the furnishings of the ‘free plan’ and ‘free elevation’ and at the aforementioned time the roofs were alveolate appropriately abstinent the attainable ‘roof garden’. Even the ‘whiteness’ that denied the barrio achievement had abolished to be replaced by ‘Beton brut’, a new and acute anatomy of architectural achievement that seemed to be alleged from Le Corbusier’s anima to antithesis the beforehand denial. 

The Adolescent Old Guard: 

Although we can see that Le Corbusier was able to move on from the acute argumentation of aboriginal modernism, the seeds of the architectural accent that he had helped to actualize had been sown and were after to be best up uncritically by a new generation. Richard Meier was allotment of that new generation. He emerged as one of a accumulation of adolescent architects alive in New York in the 1960’s who came to all-embracing absorption in 1967 afterward an exhibition of their plan at the Museum of Avant-garde Art organized by Arthur Drexler and after appear in a book featuring the plan of ‘The New York Five’; Peter Eisenman, Michael Graves, Charles Gwathmey, John Hejduk and Richard Meier. At that time this accumulation to some admeasurement aggregate the reductive accent of the aboriginal avant-garde movement but although some were after to move into new territory, Meier captivated the line. “If I cannot be Le Corbusier, again I can be Richard Meier”, I assume to anamnesis him adage in the aboriginal canicule of his career, and in a contempo letter to the Oxfordshire Planning Department he is now acutely claiming the area as his own, “Whiteness is one of the appropriate qualities of my work.

It is now seventy or eighty years back the stripped, architectural accent of addition aboriginal alike on the acreage of Europe. To some admeasurement it has back again been alloyed by abreast culture. In the bartering world, the animate and bottle belfry is now the accustomed anatomy for accumulated address in our cities but with a few notable exceptions on the calm foreground its ascendancy is beneath evident. In the calm apple addition has been abundantly bound to the administration of kitchens or bath interiors, it has rarely been accustomed assimilate the Top Street. The catechism that needs to be asked is why the assimilation of addition has been so fractional and why does this reductive architectonics abide to abet such angry reactions; the planning officer’s in their advocacy to debris planning permission for Rowan Atkinson’s abode branded the arrangement an “ugly amplitude age petrol station.” Such blurred sentiments are a anathema allegation of the British planning system; but if we can absolve them their artless outbursts it absolutely indicates, just as with The Prince of Wales’ ‘Carbuncle’ and ‘Police Academy’ comments, a ache with something that they are clumsy to put accurately into words. Let me see if I can advice them.

Where are they now? (7)

Monday, April 15, 2013

2010 MA A+U graduate Nima Dibazar has started a Ph.D at Cardiff University
Nima's research subject is Re-interpreting sustainable design in traditional Iranian cities and he writes   Traditions of vernacular architecture have developed over millennia in response to the Iranian plateau’s arid climate, scarcity of building material, and extremes of temperature. In contrast to modern Iranian cities, which are simply copies of the contemporary European and American cities, the traditional urban texture is dense and very compact, combining diverse land uses with tight relationships among its buildings. The study aims to investigate the spatial patterns and urban morphology of traditional Iranian cities in order to identify the historic knowledge and techniques behind energy-efficient buildings and the successful built environment of traditional cities and will subsequently analyse the potential use of this knowledge in contemporary architecture and urban design. Nima was featured in this short film here and is shown at graduation here

Symposium Speakers: DENSIFY

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The line-up of speakers has been released for the Fourth Annual MA Architecture Symposium DENSIFY
CANY ASH Ash Sakula
MARCO CASAGRANDE Casagrande Laboratory
Professor RACHEL COOPER Imagination Lancaster
DAVID HEIGHT Arup Associates
Symposium Chair ROBERT CAMLIN Camlins The Symposium will be held on 2 May 2013 at CUBE Gallery Manchester. Tickets (including lunch) are available here

Oh ... Oh ... Seven!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

We are pleased to announce that the Fourth Annual MA A+U Symposium DENSIFY features as event 007 in the programme of events marking 175 years since the foundation of the Manchester School of Art. The questions naturally follow 'Who is M?' and most importantly 'Who is Q?'. A full list of the events are available here

DENSIFY tickets on sale now

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Tickets for the Fourth Annual MA Architecture + Urbanism Symposium DENSIFY to be held at CUBE Gallery, Manchester on 2 May 2013 are available here. Further information on speakers available at the symposium website.

Open Source Architecture

Sunday, March 10, 2013

MA A+U student Christos Kyrillou has created a new website osarch.org through which to research his thesis project in Limassol, and is inviting contributions from other students, professionals and the wider public.

Aldo Rossi: The Architecture of the City (1966)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Reviewed by Xiaoxue Bu
Aldo Rossi (1931—1997)was the leader of the Italian Neo-rationalist architecture movement, and was also one of the most influential theorists in the architecture field during the period 1970s and 1980s. He accomplished the unusual feat of achieving international recognition in four distinct areas: theory, drawing, architecture and product design. In 1966, Aldo Rossi published the book ‘The Architecture of the City’, which subsequently was translated into several languages and enjoyed enormous international success. This book is an important work about building and urban theory. Originally some thought that this book was defined as a study of architecture, in fact, its subject is the whole city, not only different buildings in the city and the urban visual image, but also the city's construction process. In this book, Rossi re-evaluated the modern architecture movement and at the same time he also analyzed the rules and forms of urban development. Rossi did not focus on reviewing the forms of buildings, or the standard images of modern architecture, but he especially discussed the neglect and destruction of "people's collective memory". On the one hand, he attacked functionalism and the modern movement; on the other hand, he tried to restore the position of compositional techniques, and make it become the only correct study object of architecture research. Long ignored values in urban research have appeared in different forms in various periods. The language of urban architecture is an important means to improve the image of the city. In Rossi's view every architectural style is connected to certain dominant building types, such as the Romanesque is represented by the abbey church while gothic is represented by the civic cathedral. These building types are the iconic structures in some cities, which provide the city image. When we look at a city, and are moved by it, what kind of role do these forms play? When people generally consider the structure of the city, is the city spirit shrouded in these buildings being ignored? "So we should pay attention to urban geography, urban topography, architecture and other disciplines" Rossi declares. Surely, in addition to melting into the city environment, and reflecting the local characteristics, it is also an important characteristic of the buildings in the city that it contributes spirit to the city, since every city has its own soul. The soul is the city's personality and characteristic. What architecture has to do is to reflect the city's spirit and only in this way, can it become the real urban architecture.
Rossi proposed that as an organic part of the whole city, the creation of any building should not disturb the organization of the city, and should be combined with the existing living space. The actual city forms condensed the meanings and characteristics of human living. In his view, "although the building just reflects one part of the complex and huge entity structure, as the final and established fact of the entity or structure, buildings constituted the most specific actual starting point of discussion". And "type" replaced the concept of function because the standard of classification can contain much broader city information and provide helpful permanence to comprehend the urban structure. The city is the form most closely related to specific human life in time and space, including history. It is the performance of human culture in urban form. Therefore, Rossi thought he should put aside all shallow fantasy about functionalism, proposing architecture return to another form of order, so as to find a morphological relationship - defined by the relationship "architecture is a small city and the city is a big building". Finally Rossi raised architecture to a new height: The rules of the city may be just like the rules that controlled personal life and fate. Each biography has its own span, although is limited between birth and death. Certainly, urban architecture is the collective embodiment of this biography, beyond the meanings and emotions of the city that we know. In Rossi's philosophy, building types are closely related to the people's life style. A way of life seems to be a kind of type, the specific form due to different societies and having very different expressions. Forms are just the skin of things; the way of life is the deep structure of buildings. We need to access this kind of deep meaning from history and memory, and archetypes. In a particular place, the architect must rely on collective memory to determine the model of buildings to create a city.

Architecture + Energy

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

MA A+U are very pleased to have been invited to participate in an Erasmus IP Workshop in Szczecin in the spring of 2014 organised by the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Architecture at the West Pomeranian University of Technology in Szczecin. The theme of the proposed workshop is   ARCHITECTURE + ENERGY  and will concern the synergetic relation to the environment, sustainability and self-sufficiency. The area of the workshop will be the Odra river estuary and/or the coastal area of the Baltic Sea, which is unique, environmentally protected, but also a subject of some new investments in energy sector.   The main questions of the workshop will challenge contemporary and important environmental issues, in which both architecture and energy play their significant role. How architecture can profit from the use of new sources of clean energy? How the application of new energy sources can influence architecture? What is the impact of new energy investments on the environment (wind, water mills)? How to use new energy sources to enrich architectural and urban design and the environment? How can we design new urban developments, which will be self sufficient, and harmless for the environment?

DENSIFY 2 May 2013

Sunday, February 17, 2013

We are pleased to announce that the Fourth Annual MA Architecture + Urbanism Symposium will be held at CUBE Manchester on Thursday 2 May 2013. Details of the British and International speakers and ticketing arrangements will be announced shortly via the website and twitter feed.

Fourth Caribbean Winter School: Havana 18 February - 9 March 2013

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

MA A+U student Curtis Martyn will be participating in the Fourth Caribbean Winter School in Havana organised by Munster School of Architecture in cooperation with Technical University CUJAE, La Habana Universitat Polit├Ęcnica de Catalunya, Barcelona From the programme brief In Havana a period of transition and urban renewal is expected. Besides the renovation of existing buildings the substitution by new structures will become necessary in the central area of the metropolis. By these interventions urban life should be preserved in the central area of the metropolis in order to avoid the translocation of central activities to the outskirts. The aim of the Winter School is to discuss new design strategies for housing, that meet the specific social and economic needs of the people of Cuba. The practicality of the strategies thus developed shall be tested by a design project in the quarter „Centro Habana“ in the center of Havanna, with a special focus on organizational principles and the new relationship to the built environment.

Miles Glendinning and Stefan Muthesius: Tower Block - Modern Public Housing in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland (1994)

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Reviewed by Justina Job
Miles Glendinning (born in London in 1956) and Stefan Muthesius (born in Berlin in 1939) are both architectural historians and the authors of Tower Block. In this book they blame the current public opinion for the condemnation and the problems tower blocks currently face and remind us that these structures were once seen as one of the greatest triumphs of the postwar Welfare State and of the social functionalism of Modern architecture. The two authors aim to create a more balanced attitude towards Tower Blocks in the United Kingdom with the use of this book. Tower Block is a detailed analysis and history of Modern public housing from post-World War II to the mid 1960s. Throughout their analysis the authors address two questions. Firstly, why were tower blocks held to provide good dwellings - better than any previous form of dense urban housing? And secondly, why was there such a rapid and massed building of multi-storey blocks - peaking in the mid-1960s across all urban areas of Scotland, England and Wales? These two questions addressed in this book are explored and clearly identified in the books structure. This book is split into three sections. Section one is entitled Design and divided into two parts. Part A focuses on the modern dwelling: plan, fittings and construction. Part B centres on the community life: a postwar architectural stimulus. The first question addressed by the authors is answered in section one, Part A. In this part of the section we learn why Tower Blocks were held in such high esteem during the post-war era and the symptoms that allowed this adoration for them to grow. The authors explain that the atmosphere post-WWII shaped the perfect political, social and architectural demand for an urgent reconstruction in the field of public housing and the will to abolish slums. This change was glorified by the word Modern and lead to the creation of tower blocks. The authors explain the post-war definition of Modern architecture by stating that “The postwar Modern dwelling had to be, andlook, radically different, inside and out. For many, “Modern” meant a new type of dwelling altogether…” Modern also meant something rational, logical, pure, universal or, at least, international. Most writers claimed that all elements of architecture could be explained in relation to construction and 'function', hence the creation of the term “Functionalism” used to characterize the Modern architecture movement. In section one of the book, Glendinning and Muthesius also gives the reader an extremely detailed chapter by chapter study of the types of dwellings built; their exterior appearance and interior finishes; the technologies used for construction; the innovation of bathrooms; the use of Balconies; the heating systems installed in the flats; daylight considerations and densities. How household types were matched to dwelling types and how mixed developments were planned. An in-depth study on the scientific and technical advancements during the 1950’s that contributed to multi-storey buildings, quicker construction methods and the 1960’s building higher boom is also found in this section. Here we learn how height was seen as a positive manipulation of the daylight rules:“increase in… Height…will, for a given population density, always improve the lighting conditions”. However this enthusiasm for height brought about an increase in overly ambitious projects and strain on architects, which created the decrease in architectural ideals and an increase in civic arrogance and competition from local councilors and Labour policy makers.
Part B of section one focuses on the theories behind the meaning of community as it evolved over two decades of postwar planning and designing. Here the authors study the welfare state utopia; town planning, communal open space housing layout; the neighborhood units; the sociology of community, from social reform to skepticism and nostalgia and finally; The Modern Architect in Public Housing. The utopian theories of a group well known in international modernism during the 1950’s called Team Ten and the how the theories of the “street in the sky” by the Smithsons was formed is also explored in this part of the book. Section two, entitled Production is divided into three parts. Part A focuses on “A Municipal Crusade: Modern Flats and the Defence of Housing Production in Britain.” Part B addresses “Scottish, English and Welsh Housing in the 1960s: National, Regional, and Local Variations”. Finally Part C explains the Northern Ireland's Housing Revolution. It is in this section of the book that we find the answer to the second question addressed, which was “why was there such a rapid and massed building of multi-storey blocks - peaking in the mid-1960s across all urban areas of Scotland, England and Wales?” Glendinning and Muthesius make it clear to the readers that the cause of the rapid and massed building of multistorey blocks between the 1950’s and 1960s was caused by what they refer to as a “Municipal Crusade”. The authors claim that this crusade was created by the central government's aim to tackle slum clearance. However the task was left for local authorities and politicians to decide on how it would be tackled. As a result of this local authorities and politicians frequently opted for the already popular high-rise solutions and demanded grant aid from the government, which was effortlessly received to help with the costs. The “Municipal Crusade” along with a number of practical and economic reasons was the cause of the rapid mass building of Tower blocks. However what is frequently pointed out to the reader in both sections one and two, is that aside from the “municipal crusade” a dominant factor responsible for this overkill of Tower Blocks was what the authors referred to as “civic pride”. This claim is backed by evidence presented to the reader thorough accounts, in the form of interviews. In addition Part C gives the reader a detailed account of how “civic pride” from civil servants, not politicians acted as the driving force for high-rise tower blocks in Northern Ireland. The last section in this book entitled Breakdown, consists of a brief analysis of the history of use and causes for the decline and fall of Tower blocks. Unlike the previous sections, this section is a lot shorter and not split into parts. As a way of identifying the fall and decline of tower blocks the authors pinpoint the moment the attitudes began to change and list the causes related to the changing attitudes towards Tower blocks. They do this by begin this section with a brief explanation for the rejection of Modern design and continues by identifying the collapse of “Production” as well as explaining the term “New Slum”. Doing this allows Glendinning and Muthesius to successfully address the changing attitudes that Tower blocks had on architects and the public and how these changing attitudes were influenced and formed by journalists, sociologists and `providers'. The continuous association with the term “new slum” and the direct relationship it had with poverty was just one of the examples used to explain how these changing attitudes were formed. In addition to the associations with the term “new Slum” changing attitudes towards Tower Blocks were also caused by the misrepresentation of original architectural designs as a way to cut corners and save money. The poor and non-existent maintenance and management control which deprived tenants of essential facilities and security were added factures responsible for the decline and fall of tower blocks. However the authors are quick to add that the main reason for the fall and decline of Tower blocks was actually caused by a negative reaction to the Utopian ideals that formed the creation of Tower blocks altogether. Glendinning and Muthesius put “Utopia' on Trial” for this part of section three. In an attempt to Summarizing this part of section three, which many would agree is left relatively unfinished, would be to state that, the simple fact was that in reality people detested living in “street in the sky” for the obvious social restrictions and disconnection they felt with their local community. In conclusion, this book is an amazingly detailed and thorough historical account of Modern public housing in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland from post-World War II to the mid 1960s. It is also an excellent report on the growth of the welfae state in Britain. In addition, Glendinning and Muthesius successfully explain and answer “why tower blocks were held to provide good dwellings - better than any previous form of dense urban housing? And “why there was such a rapid and massed building of multi-storey blocks - peaking in the mid-1960s across all urban areas of Scotland, England and Wales?” Furthermore, they explain the major reasons for the decline and fall of tower blocks and in doing so explains the reasons behind the current public opinion of judgment and condemnation towards tower blocks in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

Architecture + Urbanism recommends "GATE 81"

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Following the recent prize example of Preston City Council's municipal folly in voting for the demolition of the city's most internationally famous landmark PRESTON BUS STATION, concerned residents have formed gate 81 to campaign for alternative uses and new visions for this sublime piece of 1960s optimism. The site contains all the materials needed to produce a reworking of the immense structure and there is even talk of a charette ... For information on this event click the HackLab button on the gate 81 site

Rob Krier: Urban Space (1979)

Monday, January 28, 2013

Reviewed by Che-Yu Liu
Introduction Robert Krier was born in 1938 in Grevenmacher. He is the older brother of fellow architect Leon Krier. He published Stadtraum in Theorie und Praxis in 1975. This book is a contribution to the establishment of an integrative typology of urban spaces, and let him to earn an influential position in urban rationalist polemics. His rationalism is based on the visual hierarchies proposed by Camillo Sitte and related to buildings of human scale. He considered that people have lost the sight of traditional understanding of urban space in the modern city. The major reason is that the citizens are aware of their environment and sensitive enough to compare the town planning achievements of the present and the past. They have the strength of character to pronounce sentence on the way things have gone. In this context, Robert Krier tries to explain the concept of ‘Space’ and how the traditional understanding of urban space may be reintroduced within the modern cities. In discussing the concept and the definition of ‘Urban space’, Rob Krier wished to clarify without imposing aesthetic criteria. He mentioned some types of space which exist between buildings in towns and other localities as urban space to discuss the function of the town planning. The polarity of internal and external space is constantly in evidence in this chapter. The laws of each are very similar not only in the form but also in the function. The internal space is an effective symbol of privacy which is covered from weather and environment. The external space is seen as open, unobstructed space for movement in the open air, with public, semi-public and private zones. The classification of urban space could be the suggestion to the town planner,that the two basic forms which constitute urban space are the street and the square. The geometrical characteristics of both spatial forms are the same such as the corridor and the room of ‘internal space’. The difference between them are the dimensions of the walls which bound them and by the patterns of function and circulation.
The square is produced by the grouping of houses around an open space. Rob Krier believed that the square was the first way for man of using urban space. This kind of arrangement supplies a high degree of control of the inner space. The street is a product of the spread of settlement once houses have been built on all available space around its central square. It has a more pronouncedly functional character than the square, which by virtue of its size is a more attractive place to pass the time than the street, in whose confines one is involuntarily caught up in the bustle of traffic. The street is unsuitable for the flow of motorised traffic, whilst remaining appropriate to human circulation and activity. The number and speed of cars remains a source of anxiety. The separation of pedestrians and traffic carries with it the danger of the isolation of the pedestrian zone. Solutions must be carefully worked out which will keep the irritation of traffic noise and exhaust fumes away from the pedestrian, without completely distancing one zone from the other. In formulating a typology of urban space, spatial forms and their derivatives may be divided into three main groups, according to the geometrical pattern of their ground plan. These groups derive from the square, the circle or the triangle. The three basic shapes are affected by the following modulating factors: angling; segmentation; addition; merging, overlapping or amalgamation of elements; and distortion. These modulating factors can produce geometrically regular or irregular results on all spatial types. At the same time, the large number of possible building sections influences the quality of the space at all these stages of modulation. All sections are fundamentally applicable to these spatial forms. The terms ‘closed’ and ‘open’ may be applied to all spatial forms described up to now. The spaces are the concept which is completely or partially surrounded by buildings. In discussing the erosion of urban space in twenty century town planning, Rob Krier said that the erosion of urban space is an on-going process which has been with us for the last fifty years in the guise of technological progress serving a democratic society. For instance, after the French Revolution, the development of new military technology and new tactical patterns for warfare ushered in an era. The defensive systems of towns were no longer offered adequate protection against the new weapon. City walls were demolished because the walls were no longer useful to the town. The decline of the city wall coincided with the start of industrial development, which forced cities into unprecedented growth. The influence of industrial building had a catastrophic effect on urban planning. The appearance of the buildings’ architectural style and design seemed to be of no consequence. Inhuman conditions were imposed on the worker and this process of town planning was destructive. Any planning innovation in a city must be governed by the logic of the whole and in design terms must offer a formal response to pre-existing spatial conditions. Without a doubt, contemporary town planning with its total disregard for spatial problems is a more attractive proposition in the current sociopolitical climate. It is no coincidence that priority is given to traffic and the other trappings of technology, rather than to people's need for a tolerable urban environment. As Rob Krier said “As long as man needs two arms and two legs, the scale of his body must be the measure of size for all building.

Announcing the Fourth Annual MA A+U Symposium: DENSIFY

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Fourth Annual MA A+U Symposium will take place on the theme of DENSIFY on Thursday 2 May 2013. Use these links to follow announcements of details, venue and speakers on twitter. Information on the previous symposia in this series can be viewed via the links below. CONSUMED: 2012 GET OVER IT! 2011 HIVE MINDS 2010

Architecture + Urbanism recommends 'Future Everything'

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Future Everything: Summit of Ideas and Digital Invention Manchester, England 21-24 March 2013
One of the three themes for Future Everything 2013 is Future Cities Cities, the natural spaces for innovation, are at the foreground of change today. Technologists and urbanists, grassroots groups and communities of hackers and makers are working with citizens to make our urban environments better. Digital is offering us the chance to rethink infrastructures and services, from transportation to energy, and reinvigorate our public spaces. FutureEverything will showcase how Future Cities are becoming public laboratories to rethink the way we live.

Where are we now, Number Six?

Saturday, January 12, 2013

2012 MA A+U graduate and Beit Scholar Nicholson Kumwenda has returned to Malawi where he is currently designing and building the Likuni low cost housing development, a settlement of 91 new houses. The project, which is due for completion in May, is funded by Homeless International. Nicholson, who researched rammed earth construction while in Manchester, is pictured on the site where road grading has just commenced.

Manuel de Sola-Morales: A Matter of Things (2008)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Reviewed by Shiyuan Qin
Manuel de Sola-Morales (1939-2012) was an architect and city planner, mostly dedicated to urban design matters. He was also a Catalan architect who came to prominence during Spain’s cultural and economic renaissance. The book is divided into three parts- theories, projects and selected writing. In addition, it comprises some theoretical writings by de Sola-Morales and others. And it also indicates a large amount of his work in practice between 1988 and 2005. The book is well illustrated but could benefit from a larger format/larger photographs. It traces the development of his ideas from a fairly conventional viewpoint to his own, individual and occasionally mischievous stance. For Manuel de Sola-Morales, the city did not consist of abstractions, but of concrete, tangible things. Urbanity, even dealing with a metropolis that is a node in world-wide networks of capital, people, commodities and ideas, is inextricably tied to materiality. Underlying the works presented in this book is an attentive, sensitive approach to the existing and potential richness of urban sites. His projects derived from an original observation of city spaces, and are meant to be reinterpretations and proposals for their transformation. They can be regarded as an urban architecture, at the interface of buildings and city plans. By transforming the physical reality at the scale of a building, an urban element, or sometimes with nothing more than the layout of a public space, Manuel de Sola-Morales operated changes that often transcend the physical or spatial dimensions of the intervention. de Sola-Morales's method offers a guide for an analysis of how the city, understood as a built entity, can impede or promote human behaviour and thereby affect the habitus of urban residents - now more than half the world's population. Manuel de Sola-Morales deviated from current professional practice in that he operated as the author of urban designs. He did not have a large firm, local authority department or consultancy behind him. He practised urban design the old fashioned way as a craftsman and thinker in his studio, the opposite of the bureaucratic and technocratic surroundings in which most urban design plans are created. As an architect he worked in a similar way, and would be unable to operate differently since he was a designer for whom the two disciplines of architecture and urban design are not just extensions of one another but merge seamlessly. In many of his projects it is impossible to indicate where one discipline passes into the other His architecture affected his urban design, just as his urban design always had an architectural component. The urban design approach to architecture is expressed in the way in which de Sola-Morales managed to de-individualize his buildings. As an architect de Sola-Morales and his work evaded the usual personality cult and he maintained a reticence and lack of adornment that have become rare today and which might be considered anonymous, but which should be regarded as essential if architecture is to be urban in the full sense of the word.
The skin of cities is composed of constructions, textures and contrasts, of streets and empty spaces, of gardens and walls, of contours and voids. 'Bricks and mortar' is how the perspicacious geographer Maximilien Sorre defined the city. Plus movements and crossroads, vehicles and facades, basements and subterranean ducts. Shops, offices, empty building sites, apartments, museums, theatres and all kinds of empty buildings. Kerbs and pavements, warehouses and storage depots, factories and markets, monuments and ruins, stations, stadiums. It is precisely the contact between our bodies and these forms of physical matter that constitutes the urban experience. 'Flesh and Stone' is the title of one of Richard Sennett's most beautiful texts on the city. This is why the ramps and staircases, the gateways and corners are so important, because in them we feel with our weight the shape and size of the city. The projects of de Sola-Morales are divided into three different kinds of styles-to create a place (things invented, condensed form (things overlapping) and heterogenous accumulation (things in conflict). As there are geographical peripheries that have given rise to the term, so are there historical peripheries, places that time and memory have pushed to the margins of daily life. Sometimes, the urban unconscious masks the areas it does not want to recognize, because they are inconvenient, muddied and filled with conflict. And yet these zones can be absolutely central from a topographic viewpoint just as there are 'historic centres', places that history has considered central, there are also peripheries constructed by history. The project for Saint Nazaire 'Ville Port', drawn up in successive competitions and execution phases between 1994 and 1996, proposed a system of new guidelines in the port territory designed to involve the town and harbour in a new and more open, composite and active relationship. In the immediate surroundings the guidelines refer to the empty squares and parking lots between the centre and the submarine base; the ramp providing access to the roof of the bunker, with its incorporated hypermarket and housing; the 'atrium of the harbour' created in the transparent interior of the concrete cavern as space for a vestibule for exhibition halls, movie houses and restaurants. And, in the distance, at the outer perimeter that delimits the old German base, the towers both older and recent that rise above the harbour and the reinforcement of the avenues that skirt it, fuses the entire area into a structure that is both loose and strong. A structure of visual and functional relations that effectively mark a territory on the periphery, maintaining all the vitality of its industries (storage facilities, refrigeration plants, manufacture of fishing nets and moorings) mixed in with a few regional and civic functions of recreation, culture and commerce. In conclusion de Sola-Morales’s standpoint was one of humility and pragmatism. Architects have the capacity to add and enrich but not to solve. Architecture should not be heroic, ideological or about engineering society - a dangerous ambition. His approach is not about comprehensive redevelopment but surgical insertions.

Where are they now? Hi Five!

Friday, January 4, 2013

2011 MA A+U graduate Jonas Komka from Lithuania has created a new website about his work. You can view the site, with examples of his urban, architectural, design and video work here.

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