The design of our spaces can heal us, hurt us, and alter the way we think.
There’s a significant chance that the room you’re in right now is controlling your mind. The room—if you’re like most North Americans, who’ve been found to spend roughly 90 percent of their time indoors, you’re probably in one—is exerting both strong and subtle influences on the way your brain functions. It may be making you anxious, or sad, or distracted, or highly efficient, or inexplicably tired, affecting not only your cognitive abilities and mental processes, but your emotional state, mental stability, and physical well-being.
California’s freeways—its state highways, urban expressways, and interstates—cumulatively stretch 15,104 miles, end to end. Counting each lane separately, California has 51,326 drivable miles of freeway. Using the standard 12-foot width the state’s Department of Transportation, Caltrans, uses for roadbuilding, California’s freeway system covers roughly 116 square miles. If California’s entire freeway system were stretched out along its 840-mile coastline, it would be sixty-one lanes wide.
A new generation of architects is using rail lines, shopping centers, and football fields to keep the peace from Belfast to Baghdad.
On a single day in July, when ambient tensions escalated, Palestinian militants fired more than 180 rockets into Israel, and the Israelis launched airstrikes against towns throughout the Gaza Strip. Dozens of Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed. The order of daily urban life was disrupted, yet again, by warfare.
When urban infrastructure meets nature’s designers, amazing things can happen
We humans are problem solvers. We’re doers. We encounter challenges and complicated situations and we find ways to surmount them—crafting tools, erecting bridges, programming computers. We’ve innovated and designed our way out of countless predicaments and, dammit, we will forevermore.
We are also hopelessly arrogant.
See, we humans sometimes forget that we are not the only innovators and designers out there. We’re not the only ones able to creatively adapt our way through tricky or threatening conditions. We forget about nature.
Last summer, I was commissioned by Wallpaper magazine to interview architect Frank Gehry. The occasion was the magazine’s 15th anniversary, and part of the idea behind the interview was to look at how Gehry’s career has changed over the last 15 years. His most famous work, the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, opened (that’s right!) 15 years ago.
Once bare-bones and utilitarian, architectural animation is becoming more nuanced and experiential. In part, this development can be credited to advances in 3-D technology, but at the same time architects have embraced the art of filmmaking -- not only to create more interactive presentations for clients, but also to leverage as a tool in the design process.
It’s easy to think of architecture as an interdisciplinary field. At its most basic level, art and science combine to create buildings that are both beautiful and functional. In much the same way, architects are now relying on a broad spectrum of professional fields for sharing their work. From film to video games to documentary photography, architects are stretching beyond their own circles to present and explain their projects in new and even entertaining ways.
Taking inspiration from local materials and vernacular architecture, Wang Shu and Lu Wenyu remade a rural Chinese village in their image.
Wang Shu and Lu Wenyu have been studying villages in China for years, documenting the slow decline of rural towns as the nation has run headlong into a new urbanized era. These villages are the last bastions of a way of life, and a fading traditional architecture. Wang and Lu hope to preserve both, without rebuilding the past: Instead, their Hangzhou-based firm Amateur Architecture Studio is designing new buildings based on traditional forms that aim to rejuvenate these areas—and maybe even lure young people back from cities.
Japanese universities aren’t typically in the housing business. Students at most schools live at home or rent private apartments nearby—dormitories are all but nonexistent. So there was room to experiment when New York–based Studio SUMO was commissioned by its longtime client, Josai University Educational Corp., to build a dorm for international students at its Josai International University campus in Togane, Japan, outside of Tokyo. ...
After years of mock-ups and tests, Patrick Tighe Architecture is close to realizing a residential building made mostly of spray foam.
Polyurethane spray foam is known for its use as insulation, quickly and effectively filling in wall cavities and lining attic roofs. The Spray-On House by Patrick Tighe Architecture shows how it can do much more.
In the nascent world of dynamic architecture, RVTR and Matter Design utilize algorithms and 3D printing to design an experimental and adaptable surface.
A metal ring woven with mesh, like a giant embroidery hoop, suspends from the ceiling. Suddenly, the netting moves and breaks the plane of the ring in opposing directions, creating three convex or concave funnels. Within seconds, the infundibuliform (meaning funnel- or cone-like) shapes shift again, collapsing into themselves, transitioning from mountain peaks to vortices and back again.