essays

Review of the most inspiring architecture news and events in Spain in 2017

Michael Swords • Dec 26, 2017 • 1093

Review of the most inspiring architecture news and events in Spain in 2017

2017 was a very successful year for many Spanish architects, with some of the years most prestigious awards in the field being taken home by Spaniards. This was also a year that saw numerous very succesful events across the country, including architecture festivals in many cities and various thought provoking artistic interventions in architectural spaces.

In this, the second part of a two part series reviewing 2017 architecture in Spain, some of the years more interesting and topical news and events are reviewed.

RCR Arquitectes won the 2017 Pritzker Prize

Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta. Image © Javier Lorenzo Domínguez

Top of the list amongst the headlines in the Spanish news this ye (...)

Review of the best architecture projects in Spain 2017

Michael Swords • Dec 26, 2017 • 775

Review of the best architecture projects in Spain 2017

The start of the festive period and subsequent slowing down in the pace of work in design offices brings with it a moment to reflect on the past year in Spanish architecture news. There has been a wealth of great architectural and restoration projects completed in Spain this year, ranging from an award winning museum in Madrid to the restoration of Gaudís first completed house in Barcelona. In this, the first of a two part essay series, some of the most intriguing projects to have been completed this year in Spain are briefly reviewed.

Museum of the Royal Collections by Mansilla + Tuñón Arquitectos. Image © Luis AsinThe completion of the new Royal collections museum in Madrid by Mansilla y Tuñó (...)

Mashambas Skyscraper Balances A Vision Of The Future Of Traditional Farming In Sub-Saharan Africa

Momoh Kakulatombo • Dec 2, 2017 • 2784

Mashambas Skyscraper Balances A Vision Of The Future Of Traditional Farming In Sub-Saharan Africa

Standing on a ridge in Highlands Kenya, an exquisitely leafy scenery fills your panoramic vista. The Highland terrains in central and western Kenya break and join in formations like nowhere else in Kenya - indeed, these areas lie on the Great Rift Valley. These surroundings are home to about three quarters of Kenya's total population.

The familiar signs of life spread in view tell us about the lives inhabitants lead here; some plot lines of barbed wire which divide green, flourishing parcels of land. Houses of stone block and aged timber stand out in grey color, contrasting with the bright blue or brick red finish and plain metallic aluminum roofing twinkle under the equatorial sun as daytime stars would. The livelihoods of inha (...)

Graaf's dissection of architecture profession involves ideas that must be challenged says Schumacher

WA Contents • Nov 27, 2017 • 1149

Graaf's dissection of architecture profession involves ideas that must be challenged says Schumacher

OMA Partner Reinier de Graaf has recently released his new book titled "Four Walls and a Roof, The Complex Nature of a Simple Profession", published by Harvard University Press. Graaf's latest book epitomizes the current state of professional architecture with a sincere and at the same time sarcastic way, which demonstrates how the position of an architect stands or evolves with different internal dynamics and different interdisciplinary descents and ascents.

In this long captivating review, Zaha Hadid Architects director Patrik Schumacher reveals his first critical analyses about the book, after following a long conversation with Reinier de Graaf held at The Building Centre, in London on September 29. Patrik's incisive findi (...)

Architecture competitions by Archasm are India’s own International Creative Forum

Varun Kumar • Oct 9, 2017 • 860

Architecture competitions by Archasm are India’s own International Creative Forum

Archasm is an ideas competition enterprise by three Chandigarh College of Architecture (CCA) alumni. With its eighth competition in play, Archasm is witnessing over an average of 300 entrants from world over, with commendable creative responses to each design brief.

Recent debates on ideas competitions being worth the Architect’s time and energy or not allude to engaging with other worthwhile activities. But such competitions have their perks among young folks in design. Regardless of winning or not, students and fresh graduates will find competitions benefiting to participate in and season themselves.

One may argue that open competitions aren’t challenging as briefs set the target list. But for young minds in desi (...)

Lessons From Kagal: The Hut-To-Hut prototype by Rintala Eggertson Architects

Varun Kumar • Aug 15, 2017 • 829

Lessons From Kagal: The Hut-To-Hut prototype by Rintala Eggertson Architects

The ‘Hut to Hut’ is a cottage prototyped to serve as a model for sustainable development in pristine and fragile ecosystems. Currently, architecture serves the city life that is disregardful of awareness about nature and rural living systems.

Built at Kagal, this prototype was designed for the Panchabhuta Conservation Foundation which performs research on sustainable development in an estuary of the South West Coast of India. The project served as a wood workshop for students of University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, Norway. Designed by Oslo-based architecture practice Rintala Eggertson Architects, the small cottage is aimed to promote and serve as a home for eco-tourism.The town of Kumta is located in the We (...)

Play Architecture plays grand for the SIAA’s Artistes Recreation Center in India

Varun Kumar • Jul 24, 2017 • 3311

Play Architecture plays grand for the SIAA’s Artistes Recreation Center in India

Play Architecture’s proposal for the South Indian Artiste’s Association (SIAA) will be the first of its kind artistes’ recreation center to be built in the city of Chennai. The design culminates the efforts of Tamil Film artistes to uphold the rich history and culture of Tamil Cinema and will stand as a milestone in SIAA’s career.

The SIAA is a union for film, television and stage actors in Tamil Nadu. Since its inception in 1952 as a charitable trust fund, the union has been pensioning retired artists, voicing support for artists in controversies. In the early 1950s, film studios of the South Indian Languages-Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu-were based in Chennai.

After functioning as the South In (...)

The Book Building: A Door Way to Fresh Design Perspectives

Varun Kumar • Jun 29, 2017 • 2169

The Book Building: A Door Way to Fresh Design Perspectives

Born to collaborative, inter-disciplinary design efforts, The Book Building is a compact volume expressive of its folksy traits. Amidst the peaceful yet unspirited middle class low rise apartments in a by lane of Tiruvanmiyur Kuppam beach Road, Chennai, The Book Building sits pretty with its enthusiastic outlook, subtle enough to stand out.

Architects make great buildings with visionary clients. But with clients from the design world, fresh ideas will surface.

With an MA in Comparative Literature from University of Erlangen, Germany, Gita Wolf founded Tara Books after authoring over 20 Children’s books resulting from her engagements with Indian Culture and Folk artistes. Formed with friends as a publishing house aiming t (...)

Narrating architecture in the comic way with Anuj Kale

Varun Kumar • May 25, 2017 • 6514

Narrating architecture in the comic way with Anuj Kale

There are always good times behind all the hustle and bustle in an architect’s life. But how often are they brought to light beyond the bubble of this profession?

Getting published on portals subscribed widely by the general public like The Logical Indian, MensXP, and ScoopWhoop, comics by Anuj Kale’s ‘The Leewardists’ are perhaps a reminder of the stories architects would experience.

"The Leewardists is a platform to know about the importance of Design, Architecture, Sustainability and Urban Design through the medium of Comics. It is easiest way to convey complex issues from ages to my viewers", says Anuj, who finished under-grad and post-grad in Architecture and Urban Design at the Centre for Environ (...)

Zaha Hadid, Dear Friend

WA Contents • Sep 23, 2016 • 6914

Zaha Hadid, Dear Friend

World Architecture Community Founder and President Prof. Dr. Suha Özkan, Hon F AIA, gives a personal tribute for Architect Dame Zaha Hadid (1950-2016). In his personal article, Suha Özkan explains his sincere friendship with the 'Queen of the Curve' Zaha Hadid and narrates some memorable traces of her professional career.

“I started out trying to create buildings that would sparkle like isolated jewels; now I want them to connect, to form a new kind of landscape, to flow together with contemporary cities and the lives of their people.”

- Zaha Hadid

Text by Prof. Dr. Suha Özkan, Hon F AIA

The only habit she couldn’t quit in her relationship with people was her Middle Eas (...)

Special Review: TrendTopics At MIPIM 2016

berrin chatzi chousein • Mar 30, 2016 • 3728

Special Review: TrendTopics At MIPIM 2016

by Berrin Chatzi Chousein, editor-in-chief, WA

The most prestigious real estate event of the year, MIPIM 2016 has been held in Cannes, France between 15 March -18 March 2016. In total, there were 23.500 participants from 89 countries at the real estate event and 2.450 exhibiting companies have presented their new projects, models and new investment networks for the new countries. The world’s real estate decisions makers were composed of 1.500 architects & designers, 3.500 developers and 550 cites & local authorities according to MIPIM’s reports. In addition, +1000 projects have been presented in the healthcare, residential, mixed use, retail & leisure, sport and industrial & logistics categories. MIPIM 201 (...)

A Particular vision

WA Contents • Feb 11, 2015 • 3048

A Particular vision

A model of Gehry’s polarising UTS Chau Chak Wing buildingA visit to Particular Architects’ convertible Melbourne office gives a neat insight into the fundamentals of the emerging practice’s strong design ethos. ADR speaks to Particular principal, Nicholas Ling.A visit to Particular Architects’ Melbourne office gives a neat insight into the fundamentals of the emerging practice’s design ethos. A palpable sense of drive and architectural chutzpah permeates the studio, reflected in the practice’s energetic approach and visibly embodied in principal architect, Nicholas Ling.

Ling describes the office design as an exercise in making infrastructure to serve multiple needs, as a response to the question, (...)

Facing up to the future:Prince Charles on 21st century architecture

WA Contents • Dec 27, 2014 • 1312

Facing up to the future:Prince Charles on 21st century architecture

The Prince of Wales at Poundbury in Dorset in December 2001. Built on land owned by the Duchy of Cornwall, Poundbury is the urban extension to Dorchester built on principles of architecture and urban planning as advocated by The Prince of Wales in his book, A Vision of Britain (1989). The development is conceived as a model for humanly scaled and genuinely sustainable urban developmentThe Prince of Wales sets out ten key principles for sustainable urban growth that values tradition

I was somewhat surprised to be asked by this magazine to explain why I consider traditional approaches and universal principles so important in the design of buildings and urban environments. It is heartening, I must say, that the magazine is encouraging a (...)

The Museum that Wanted to Eat the City

WA Contents • Nov 7, 2014 • 1039

The Museum that Wanted to Eat the City

text by Nicholas Roquet

Launched in April 2013 by the City of Quebec, the one-stage ideas competition Pôle muséal du Quartier Montcalm promised to be an exceptional event in three ways. First, rather than designing a circumscribed architectural project, competitors were asked to rethink urban public space in a prospective way - an issue rarely addressed in Quebec through design competitions. Secondly, the competition was open not only to architects, but also to practitioners in the broader field of design, including urban planners, landscape architects, urban or industrial designers and even visual artists (provided these last joined a professional team). Finally, as the competition would not necessarily lead to a built (...)

Growing garden cities

WA Contents • Oct 20, 2014 • 975

Growing garden cities

Aerial visualisation of Shelter/PRP’s submission for second place of the Wolfson Economics Prize – a garden city where Boris Johnson had hoped to place his airport. · Credit: Marta Gomez

Burgeoning enthusiasm for the garden city is more about wanting to change the way we live than solving the housing crisis

Schools, the NHS, taxes: this is the stuff that hits at the heart when people are considering where to place their x on the ballot paper as a general election approaches. Housing is generally way down the agenda.

But significant housing under-supply and the inability of Generation Rent to become part of the UK’s property-owning democracy are focusing Westminster’s finest minds on houseb (...)

Pierrefonds Library Expansion (Montreal, 2013):An Urban Connector

WA Contents • Oct 11, 2014 • 1034

Pierrefonds Library Expansion (Montreal, 2013):An Urban Connector

image source:Canadian Competitions Catalogue

by Carmela Cucuzzella

Since 2000, Phyllis Lambert has accepted twice to be juror of a competition for a library in Quebec, the first one in 2000 for the Grande Bibliothèque du Québec, and the second time in 2013 for the expansion of the Pierrefonds Library, at the periphery of Montreal. The GBQ was the beginning of a rich legacy of library competitions in Quebec, as Quebec has organized close to 15 library competitions since. The Quebec population is now in an ideal position to solicit a public debate about quality and innovation in this domain. In the case of the Pierrefonds Library competition, which had a budget of under 20M$, it was not only about designing a libra (...)

Aga Khan Museum,Toronto:Act of faith

WA Contents • Oct 5, 2014 • 974

Aga Khan Museum,Toronto:Act of faith

Images: Imara (Wynford Drive) Ltd.

Fumihiko Maki’s Aga Khan Museum of Islamic Art and Charles Correa’s Ismaili Centre are intended as places of “civic encounters” with other communities, yet are set in a formal garden miles from Toronto’s other cultural institutions. Can Maki’s beautiful fortress and its refined grounds lure visitors all the same?

This article was first published in Icon’s October 2014 issue: Museums, under the headline “Act of faith”. Buy back issues or subscribe to the magazine for more like this

Two new buildings poke out of Toronto’s leafy Don Valley, about13km north-east of downtown. If you drive by at speed, the view lasts a few seconds. (...)

Shout it from the school roof

WA Contents • Sep 30, 2014 • 953

Shout it from the school roof

Oliver Wainwright teaches a lesson or two

The architect-designed state school, like the Dumpu language of Madang and the dwarf buffalo of Mindoro, is facing extinction. Architects had their chance, with the £55bn bounty of Building Schools for the Future, but they blew it on extravagant whims like coloured cladding and wavy canopies. And all those expensive curved walls. So goes the view ­established by former education minister, ­Michael Gove, who holds the record for managing to alienate two professions at once, labelling defiant teachers ‘the blob’, while accusing architects of ‘creaming off cash’.

The cash-rich blob might never have wobbled with such glee as when ‘toxic’ Go (...)

What Is Frank Gehry Doing About Labor Conditions in Abu Dhabi?

WA Contents • Sep 26, 2014 • 935

What Is Frank Gehry Doing About Labor Conditions in Abu Dhabi?

Courtesy Gehry Partners, LLP

By Anna Fixsen

Since the Guggenheim museum announced plans for its Frank Gehry-designed satellite in Abu Dhabi eight years ago, the project has been part of debates and protests concerning the treatment of migrant construction workers and the role of architects in their safety and well being. But behind the scenes, Gehry has been working with a human rights lawyer and the country’s state-run development authority to improve conditions for laborers on his site.

“Gehry Partners has been engaged in a substantial and on-going dialogue over many years now that has involved government, the construction industry, architects, project, sponsors and NGOs,” according to a statement fr (...)

Buffer Zones And Golf Estates:Do We Really Need More Garden Cities?

WA Contents • Sep 22, 2014 • 840

Buffer Zones And Golf Estates:Do We Really Need More Garden Cities?

From the Palestinian West Bank to apartheid townships the Garden City model has been continuously twisted into suburban anomalies across the globe

116 years since Ebenezer Howard published his seminal book ‘Garden Cities of To-morrow’, his highly influential satellite city model is moving once more towards the top of the British housing agenda. One manifestation of this tendency is that David Rudlin of URBED and his team have just won the 2014 Wolfson Economics Prize for ‘Uxcester’ Garden City. The economics prize, which at £250,000 is second only to the Nobel Prize in value, saw 279 entrants submitting proposals for a new Garden City, with the proviso that their plans should be visionary, economically v (...)

A Monster Competition by the CMHC and the Canadian Housing Design Council, 1979

WA Contents • Sep 4, 2014 • 1045

A Monster Competition by the CMHC and the Canadian Housing Design Council, 1979

National Housing Design Competition (part 1-2): a Monster Competition by the CMHC and the Canadian Housing Design Council, 1979

by Georges Adamczyk

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has been, and remains, an integral player in the development of urban forms in Canada. Not only does the CMHC provide recommendations for viable domestic space planning, it also promotes the use of safe, affordable, and sustainable constructive principles, and stimulates the creativity of developers, contractors, municipal officials, planners, and architects. In the same vein, the CMHC has produced numerous publications focused on social, technical, and economic research that have contributed to the enhancement of Canada's arch (...)

What life after death? A competition to rebuild the church of Saint-Paul in Aylmer

WA Contents • Aug 21, 2014 • 1236

What life after death? A competition to rebuild the church of Saint-Paul in Aylmer

Brault/Lapointe Magne(Winner)

by Nicholas Roquet

Organized in 2009 by a Catholic parish in the Gatineau neighborhood of Aylmer, this recent one-stage competition aimed to develop ideas for the reconstruction and re-use of a late-nineteenth church that had been gutted by fire. While it attracted only nine proposals by Canadian architects and little media exposure outside the Ottawa-Gatineau area, it is noteworthy both for the quality of the winning entries and for that of the jury, three members of which are nationally renowned heritage experts. More importantly, the competition results offer an unusual perspective on architects' current attitude towards ruined cultural heritage. Should one leave it as it is?

Should (...)

Mies:Behind The Smoke Screen

WA Contents • Aug 13, 2014 • 1044

Mies:Behind The Smoke Screen

A major new monograph on Mies by the late Detlef Mertins seeks the enigma behind the cigar

There is a moment in Detlef Mertin’s Mies when the architect’s steel structures appear flooded with water. As architecture critic Janet Abrams, once a resident of the 860-880 Lake Shore Drive Apartment Towers in Chicago, reminisces: ‘water appears … to flow right up to one’s floor level’, along with the objects that float on its surface, ‘dinner-cruise boats’, ‘water-skiers’, ‘white sails’, or ‘dead fish’, whose fleeting images, sounds or smells penetrate the glass surface and suffuse the towers’ interior (p336). While this may predominantly be a phenomen (...)

When Young Firms Were Still Welcome in Competitions:Three 1980’s City Hall Competitions in Ontario

WA Contents • Jul 4, 2014 • 1473

When Young Firms Were Still Welcome in Competitions:Three 1980’s City Hall Competitions in Ontario

Jean-Pierre Chupin is professor at the University of Montreal School of Architecture, where is holds the Chaire de recherche sur les concours et les pratiques contemporaines en architecture (www.crc.umontreal.ca) and co-directs of the Laboratoire d’étude de l’architecture potentielle (www.leap.umontreal.ca).He has shared with us this great review about competitions.



Kitchener City Hall

by Jean-Pierre Chupin



Who remembers, in Markham, Mississauga, Kitchener - or even Toronto, that the voluntarily 'symbolic' civic buildings of these towns came about through design competitions, which capture the zeitgeist of the 1980s, while still involving young firms of architects?

Com (...)