Log 30 showcases brilliant writing with a collection of articles that mine the canon of 20th-century architecture for new insights while also continuing the conversation from recent issues of Log on the state of architecture today. Published on the 100th anniversary of Le Corbusier’s Maison Dom-ino, this winter 2014 issue features new analytical essays on that iconic project as well as the first English translations of letters written by Corbusier between 1914 and 1916. With these essays, plus an in-depth interview with OMA cofounder Elia Zenghelis, alongside reviews and other articles on topics like digitally designed form and the hashtag, Log 30 is at once archival and contemporary.
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Drawing deeply on historic and typological precedents, this suburban arts campus in northern India inculcates a rich and dynamic culture of encounter and exchange
The urban fabric of contemporary India is a curious mix. While sensitively derived connotations coexist with self-prescribed dissonant chaos, inspired instances influence pastiches that often lose sight of the original’s onus and vision, which shaped them as exemplars for this particular milieu, such as the Capitol Complex in Chandigarh by Le Corbusier and Louis Kahn’s Institute of Management in Ahmedabad. With the recently completed Visual Arts Institutional Campus in Rohtak, Raj Rewal has sought to add to this repertoire of urban design precedents with his paradigm of a large integrated complex that fuses architecture, urbanism and landscape into one ensemble.
But while Corbusier and Kahn discerned their respective buildings with a presumably Western expression of strong forms in concrete and brick, Rewal deviates to apply his dexterity in interweaving a more traditional narrative of scale, space and materials through chapters of an elaborate education programme requiring the unification of four distinct institutes of creative arts. The ensuing amalgamation, as low-rise, high-density configurations punctuated with photovoltaic panels to generate electricity for the campus, presents a series of interspersions – individual with the whole, built spaces with the open landscape, forms with light, gravitas with porosity, craftsmanship with state-of-the art – revealing layers of linked experiences that work as much on their own as together, much like the intent of the overall curriculum.
Was 2013 the year of the woman? There was certainly enough controversy regarding women’s roles in the workplace as well in the domestic arena. The tech sector produced the first salvo with two not dissimilar views on what it takes for women to succeed professionally. Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg and her book advanced the mantra of "leaining in" and popularized the conceit that if women only worked presumably as hard as the author herself-similar to the narrative of “pulling oneself up by one’s bootstraps"- then success will certainly follow. Unsurprisingly, backlashensued which questioned whether Sandberg's formula could truly be applied to everyone. Then Yahoo CEO and President Marissa Mayer decided to deny women who are mothers the option of telecommuting. In one stroke, she reconfirmed the discriminatory, entrenched opinion that women cannot be truly committed and effective in their professional careers if they are “distracted” by the demands of motherhood while simultaneously establishing once more that the rules don’t apply to the privileged: she issued her decree after having a nursery conveniently built next to her office.
These re-packaged, first-wave feminist discourses are premised on unacknowledged privileges. After all, a woman whose mother holds a PhD and whose parents could afford to send her to Harvard (Sheryl Sandberg) is not representative of most people, nor is a woman who can afford to have a nursery, replete with full-time nannies, built down the hall from the boardroom.
The architecture profession followed these controversies with some of its own. Last June, the Pritzker Architecture Prize committee refused to grant Denise Scott Brown a retroactive award, despite near unanimous support from the profession to pass the motion. In response, a Harvard students group, DesignforEquality, began a petition to right the Pritzker's erstwhile snub and award Scott Brown a joint Pritzker with her husband, 1991 laureate Robert Venturi. In the wake of all this, the 2014 AIA Gold Medal was awarded to Julia Morgan, an important female architect who also happened to have been dead for fifty-six years. And as if to highlight its own enlightened stance, the British-based Architects’ Journal recently released shortlistlists for their still-young Women in Architecture awards program.
The legacy of the recession means the new year will be about architectural beginnings rather than completions
As the UK economy finally begins to right itself after five difficult years, the next 12 months should see many long-delayed projects breaking ground. Completions, however, are another matter. Not many major buildings are set to open in the UK in 2014; and of those that will, almost all are to be found in London.
Exceptions include Steven Holl’s expansion of Glasgow School of Art, and Reiach & Hall’s Bannockburn visitor centre - both set to open on important sites of Scottish identity in a year when the union will be contested.
The building is to be constructed on one of the last remaining plots in what used to be the no man's land between East and West Berlin, where the Berlin Wall once stood.
European media giant Axel Springer has just announced the three finalists bidding to design its new media campus in Berlin. This is what the new space would look like if the proposal from Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) were to win.
The building is to be constructed on one of the last remaining plots in what used to be the no man's land between East and West Berlin, where the Berlin Wall once stood. It will need to house double the employees on half the space of Axel Springer's existing headquarters, which is currently next door to the site.
"Located on the historic site of the border between West and East Berlin the building will breathe new life into one of the last remaining building plots of the former no-man’s land, and unify the diverse surroundings in a new vibrant urban center," the architects write in their description of the project.
In order to accommodate one of Europe's largest media companies, BIG proposes creating a "media village," organizing companies and departments along a "streetscape" that winds in an upward spiral around the structure. Common spaces and plazas connecting each department will give employees an informal place to meet, inspired by the sidewalks and public squares of found in an urban environment. Every floor will have a terrace or exit into an outdoor courtyard or roof garden.