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.
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.
GLD Architecture's whimsical installation for curious passersby represents a significant step in architectural form-making.
At the 2015 Design Biennial Boston, a cluster of curious, oblong vessels propped on a metal armature invited onlookers to pop their heads into an enclosure created by the intersecting volumes of their papier-mâché-like skins. The cluster of 8- to 10-foot-tall, 4-foot-diameter forms is titled Grove. Brookline, Mass.–based GLD Architecture designed the installation to give people the experience of simultaneously inhabiting an intimate enclosure and a public space.
H&P Architects doubles down on bamboo to develop a housing prototype that can endure a range of natural disasters.
Vietnam suffers from a relentless cycle of floods, landslides, earthquakes, and more. Because much of the country’s housing stock is poorly constructed—and unsanctioned—the natural disasters destroy thousands of families’ homes every year.
To minimize the risk of destruction, Hanoi-based H&P Architects developed the Blooming Bamboo House, a residential housing model that utilizes local materials and can be built by laypeople at a low cost.
Pancorbo + de Villar + Chacón + Martín Robles craft a striking veil from recycled cables to soften the silhouette of their concrete cube building.
The architects behind the new Vegas Altas Congress Center in Villanueva de la Serena, Spain, wanted the 74,000-square-foot project to blend seamlessly into the landscape, becoming a scenic fringe between the medieval town’s urban streetscape and its agricultural hinterlands. But they also wanted the building to be a landmark, distinct from its bucolic setting. So they crafted a structure that does both.