Professor in Residence, Department of Architecture, GSD, Harvard University, Cambridge MA, USA
We received and we gladly publish this conversation among distinguished theorists and scholars on an important topic, also aligned with the cross-disciplinary mission of our journal. [MS]
ABSTRACT - The article offers a multi-author conversation charting the future of architecture in light of the apparent tension between Baukultur, which combines the culture of building and the building of this culture, and the rapid changes brought about by digital technology, embracing cybernetics and artificial intelligence. The article builds on a discussion of Baukultur to debate in what sense buildings are “machines for living in,” then examines neuromorphic architecture wherein cybernetic mechanisms help buildings sense the needs of their occupants. It closes with an example of a building complex, Kampung Admiralty, that combines cybernetic opportunities with a pioneering approach to building “community and biophilia” into our cities. This article interleaves an abridged version of Michael Arbib’s (2019) article “Baukultur in a Cybernetic Age,” 1 with extensive comments by the co-authors.
We received and we gladly publish a contribution by distinguished author Prof. Botond Bognar. [MS]
ABSTRACT - The essay introduces the development of Sou Fujimoto’s architecture as it has been influenced by various sources and experiences leading to his recently completed and highly recognized major project, the House of Hungarian Music in Budapest. Among these influences the contemporary economic and political conditions in Japan and beyond, as well as the nature-inspired work of prominent Japanese designers are discussed. Touching upon the seminal work by Tadao Ando and Toyo Ito, the essay also highlights the contrasts and occasional similarities between the so-called “White School” and “Red School” in contemporary Japanese architecture, in referencing nature as the primary source of their designs. Today, these “schools” are best represented, respectively, by the activities of SANAA and Kengo Kuma. Although Fujimoto’s architecture is clearly derivative and part of the radically minimalist White School, the House of Hungarian Music reveals an intimacy and richness
in articulating its relationship to the surrounding natural environment, which quality, if perhaps momentarily, points beyond the minimalism of the “Whites.”
This article presents a project vision whose aim is to underline the necessity to completely change the current world narrative and start a new one, fully compatible with the protection of the planet and all its inhabitants. The authors started from the meaning of “device” and its role in this new narrative: a new salvific “ark,” an ecological living machine able to restore the balance between the forms of anthropization and the planet. The New Arks replace the current crystallized devices, unable to efficiently answer to the needed shift, in order to preserve the human systems, attacked by new social, ecological, and health diseases. In this vision, within the New Arks human beings regain the “lost paradise” through changes such as the implementation of green areas and biodiversity, less housing density, eco-friendly mobility, energy supply and technologies, and sustainable agricultural production. The outcome of this vision suggests the birth of a “Neoland,” a transformed world system in which the union between the natural accident and the anthropic genesis leads to the start of a new ethical and ecological narrative.
Modern and Site Specific:
The Architecture of Gino Valle 1945-2003
By Pierre-Alain Croset and Luka Skansi
London: Lund Humphries, 2018
250 × 190 mm
100 b/w and 150 color illustrations
£50.00 GBP (hardcover)
Race and Modern Architecture.
A Critical History from the Enlightenment to the Present
By Irene Cheng, Charles L. Davis II, and Mabel O. Wilson, eds Pittsburgh PA, USA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2020
7 x 10 in. [17,8 x 25,4 cm]
96 b&w illustrations
ISBN: 978-082 296 6593
Building Character. The Racial Politics of Modern Architectural Style
By Charles L. Davis II
Pittsburg PA, USA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2019
7 x 10 in. [17,8 x 25,4 cm]
89 b&w illustrations, 12 color plates
A range of often overlooked ways of engaging with architecture and design have historically offered women from around the world with the means of making a living and of advancing the careers of other women, as well as of encouraging the acceptance of artistic experimentation. These include journalism, retailing, and philanthropy. For instance, Ethel Power edited the influential American shelter magazine House Beautiful from 1923-34. Estrid Ericson founded and ran the Stockholm design shop Svensk Tenn for over half a century; she also designed many of its characteristic products. Gira Sarabhai was instrumental in the establishment of the Calico Museum and then the National Academy of Design, both located in her native Ahmedabad, India, and contributed to the design of the building in which the latter is housed. Writing such achievements back into the history of architecture and design helps provide the foundation for a more inclusive approach to those professions today.
The new office building of the A.T.E. Group – a cutting-edge engineering group based in the outskirts of Ahmedabad (India) along the Delhi-Ahmedabad highway – works as an extension to its adjacent existing factory. Diversifying from the ordinary existing factory shed scenery, the building uses technological innovation and landscape as key elements to serve both as an aesthetic surface and a performative office space. Through multiple layers of natural cooling techniques embedded in and wrapping around occupied spaces, the corporate office works in partnership with the seasonal and climatic flows. Indoor and outdoor spaces flow into each other as well as both the existing factory and the new office complex are fluidly embedded within the surrounding landscape. With low carbon footprint and minimal use of active energy, the building creates comfortable environmental conditions while countering the local conditions of extreme heat, dryness, and variations in temperature through the day and year.