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ARCHITECTURE | DESIGN | ART

Mecanoos
BirMinghaM LiBrary
|

It all stacks up

30 years of Blueprint celeBrated inside By conran | Foster | rogers | hadid | heatherwick


FarreLL | herzog | arad | diLLer | Brody | starck | griMshaw | newson | hoLL | PauL sMith & more...

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Lounge Chair Produced by Vitra since 1956, Design: Charles & Ray Eames
30 Clerkenwell Road, London EC1M 5PG, T: +44 (0) 20 7608 6200

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www.vitra.com

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FORWARD

PLAY

REVIEW

039

056

180

021

COveR sTORy

176 177

Neo Bankside
023

056 072

Robe and Crown

The Moment
180 186

Listen 2

As Mecanoos long-awaited new


Birmingham library opens, Herbert
Wright speaks to the Dutch practices
founding partner Francine Houben
about her hopes for the building

026

074 090

190

029

092 102

031

104 116

033

118 126

034

128 136

037

138 148

Listen 1
025

Listen 3
On the Drawing Board
On the list
Info
Meet
Design Project
039

Architecture Project
040 041

The Art of Repetition


043

Blueprint for the Future


045 046

London Design Festival


2013
048 049

Curated diary
050

Designers in Residence

snow Business
Kengo Kuma
Inside the Rainbow
Neville Brody
The New Reality
Between Heaven
and earth
150 160

elmgreen & Dragset


162 170

Worlds end Architecture

CONTENTS

Farrell 20/20
189

MvRDv Buildings
Ice Lab: From science
Fiction to Cold Reality
193

The Images of Architects


194

The spectacle of
Disintegration
situationist Passages out
of the 20th Century
196 197

Lowry and the Painting


of Modern Life
199

Manuel estrada:
sailing through
200

Dixonary
BACKCOveR sTORy

205 266

Archive

30 years of Blueprint personally


celebrated by (in year order):
Eva Jiin, Ron Arad, Richard
Rogers, Paul Smith, Nigel Coates,
Neville Brody, Michael Hopkins,
Eric Parry, Terry Farrell, Nicholas
Grimshaw, Philippe Starck, Marc
Newson, Jacques Herzog, Elizabeth
Diller, Sam Jacob, Steven Holl,
Eric Kuhne, Iain Borden, Fernando
Gutirrez, Steffen Sauerteig, Luke
Pearson, David Greene, Peter St John,
Charles Jencks, Zaha Hadid, Craig
Dykers, Eduardo Souto de Moura,
Norman Foster, Terence Conran,
Thomas Heatherwick, David Adjaye

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IssuE 330 EDITORIAL

Frontcover Mecanoos
Library of Birmingham
photographed by
Paul Raftery. Blueprint
masthead set in Reduct by
Dylan Kendle, Tomato.

Backcover 30 masthead
font blocks made by Richard
Beckett and photographed
by Johnny Tucker

EDITORIAL
T. ++44 (0) 20 3220 0851

Johnny Tucker
johnny.tucker@blueprintmagazine.co.uk
art dirEctor Wes Mitchell
wmitchell@blueprintmagazine.co.uk
assistant Editor Shumi Bose
shumi.bose@blueprintmagazine.co.uk
contributing Editor Herbert Wright
herbert.wright@blueprintmagazine.co.uk
Product Editor Gian Luca Amadei
gamadei@blueprintmagazine.co.uk
cHiEF sub-Editor Pamela Horne
sub-Editor Francis Pearce
contributors Dele Adeyemo, Richard
Beckett, James Bridle, Ewan Buck,
Angela Derbyshire, Clare Farrow, Eva
Franch i Gilabert, Owen Hatherley, Ian
Hart, Terry Hawes, Gonzalo Herrero
Delicado, Dylan Kendle, Andrew
Meredith, James Morris, Peter Murray,
Philip Pullman, Paul Raftery, Vera
Sacchetti, Jack Self, Veronica Simpson,
Site Specific, Erik Spiekermann, Gwen

In 1983 the first 1 coins were minted, and with that unfamiliarly heavy little
coin you would have been able to buy a pint of beer and still have more than
30p change. Or, if you were more abstemious you could have four pints of
milk, still with a few coppers left.
In 1983 TV-AM started broadcasting to the nation from a building, complete
with oversized egg cups, at Londons Camden Lock that was, of course,
designed by Terry Farrell.
In 1983 Stephen Bayley brought up the tricky issue of taste with an
exhibition at the Boilerhouse at the V&A, which saw him placing a model of
the TV-AM building in a bin marked Kitsch. After spotting it at the opening,
a peeved Farrell took the model back. And talking of kitsch, as far as fashion
taste went, if you were of a certain age you were probably walking around with
flouncy hair, sizeable shoulder pads and possibly a pair of Tukka boots.
In 1983 Polish trade unionist Lech Walesa picked up the Nobel Peace Prize
following his leadership of democracy-enhancing Solidarnosc in Poland, while
in Britain we re-elected Margaret Thatcher with a massive 144-seat majority
(though in actuality only 42 per cent of the vote).
In 1983 the last DeLorean gull-wing car limped off the production line,
and CDs went on sale in the UK. As far as (overpriced) CD content went,
we lost singer Karen Carpenter, but gained a baby Cheryl Cole.
But, as far as we are concerned, the most important thing to happen in 1983
was that the first issue of Blueprint hit the newsstands with the strapline
Londons magazine of design, architecture and style.
For 30 years weve been publishing this tome and pithily commenting on
the worlds of architecture and design. In this issue youll find a number of
celebrations of this fact, not least the archive, where we revisit a single issue
from each of the years and talk to the cover stars of the time (page 205).
But that was then and this is now. As you will have noticed by the sheer
weight of the thing alone, Blueprint has evolved again! Weve given the
magazine a top-to-toe redesign, and every issue, published bimonthly, will now
contain more than 200 packed editorial pages. One thing that hasnt changed
though and that is Blueprints irreverent, acerbic, critical, entertaining
approach to reporting on architecture, design and art.
Welcome to the next generation of Blueprint.
Johnny tucker,editor

Webber, Thomas Wensing, Irwin Wong


Bellamy, Grace Quah

intErns Anne

Editor

pRODucTIOn

Production managEr Clare

Ovenell
covenell@blueprintmagazine.co.uk
pubLIshIng

cEo Joe

Terreni

EditoriaL dirEctor Theresa

Dowling
commErciaL dirEctor Mike Callison
ADvERTIsIng
saLEs dirEctor

Joe Maughan

T. ++44 (0)20 7936 6644

jmaughan@blueprintmagazine.co.uk
saLEs managEr Alistair Fitzpatrick
T. ++44 (0)20 7936 6842

afitzpatrick@blueprintmagazine.co.uk
saLEs managEr Ryan Sloan
T. ++44 (0)20 7936 6496

dcassar@blueprintmagazine.co.uk
tELEsaLEs ExEcutiVE Sophia Sahin

two yEar (12 issuEs)

T. ++44 (0)20 7936 6400

digitaL onE yEar*

Sophia.Sahin@blueprintmagazine.co.uk

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digitaL two yEar*

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subscriPtions markEting managEr

* The digital prices above do not include VAT. Please


include VAT at 20% for orders coming from UK or Europe.

Barbara Carcangiu T. ++44 (0)20 7936 6883


barbara.carcangiu@
progressivedigitalmedia.com
TEchnIcAL

Printing S&G

Print Group

nEwstradE distribution

Subscriptions Hotline: +44 (0)845 0739 607 (local rate)


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canbeacceptedforunsolicitedmanuscriptsorphotographs.
2013.Allcallsmaybemonitoredfortrainingpurposes.

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I BELIEVE:

Good design is a combination of invisible technology and


complete functionality. Thats what makes the Ahrend 2020
the office chair of the future. Clear lines, astonishing comfort
and effortlessly adjustable. Oh, and 100% recyclable.
Paul Brooks, Designer, Ahrend 2020 chair

_BELIEVE IN AHRENDS
TIMELESS DUTCH DESIGN.
The 2020 chair is yet another example of Ahrends enviable heritage of furniture design. For over
100 years, our passion has been creating beautiful products, rich in ergonomics, functionality and
sustainability. From office chairs to desks, soft seating to tables, our design is not a trend but a tradition.
In fact, the only old fashioned thing youll find at Ahrend, is our unrivalled customer service.
For more information call 020 7566 7466 or visit www.ahrend.com

HQ008 Ahrend
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OUTDOOR COLLECTION
Showrooms Kettal:
London: 567 Kings Road. London SW6 2 EB. T. (44) 20 7371 5170.
Paris: 80, Blvd Malesherbes. T. (33) 01 43 59 51 44.
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Barcelona: Aragn 316. T. (34) 93 488 10 80. Madrid: Prncipe de Vergara, 81. T. (34) 91 411 26 20.
Head Office Kettal / Contract: Aragn 316. 08009 Barcelona. Spain. T. (34) 93 487 90 90. www.kettal.com

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1822/09/2013

The Sorting Office


2123 New Oxford St.
London WC1A 1BA
thedesignjunction.co.uk

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designjunction
In Partnership with

Londons leading design destination

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021

029

043

Were having a 30th birthday party


and youre invited

Herzog & de Meuron talks to Shumi


Bose about the inspiration for its
design for West Kowloons M+ cultural
centre

We want you to join us at Design


Junction during the London Design
Festival to judge our 3D printing
product and architecture competition

Neo Bankside

023

Listen 1

Peter Murray looks at the future for


London development with the
benefit of 30 years hindsight
025

Listen 2

Owen Hatherley assesses the


London Olympic architectural
legacy one year on
026

Listen 3

Erik Spiekermann on what can


happen in 30 years

On the Drawing Board

Blueprint for the Future

031

045 046

Top 10 listing of the tallest


skyscrapers in Europe and the world,
plus highest restaurants and tallest
vertical cities

Johnny Tuckers pick of what not to


miss this year from the 274 events
across 200 venues

On the list

London Design Festival


2013

033

048 049

A graphic depiction of this


years Stirling Prize shortlist

Storefront for Art and Architectures


Eva Franch i Gilabert selects some
upcoming events

Info

Curated diary

034

Meet

050

037

Meet this years Designers in


Residence, as their exhibition of
research and work opens at the
Design Museum

A potted history of Gareth Hoskins


Architects and the faces behind the
name, by Veronica Simpson

Design Project

Designers in Residence

Inside our new masthead font


reduct, designed by Dylan Kendle
from art and design collective Tomato
039

Architecture Project

A look at Squires and Partners


unusual conversion of an old boozer
into a home, by Herbert Wright
040 041

The Art of Repetition

Ron Arads transforms Fiat 500s into


wall-hung art, capping off a 30-year
retrospective of his work in metal

18

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FF

19

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04/09/2013 12:27

Arper London Showroom


11 Clerkenwell Road
London EC1M 5PA
london@arper.com

Juno Collection
Design by
James Irvine
www.arper.com

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05/09/2013 09:07

Blueprint party
With 30 illustrious years of publishing under our belt,
were in the mood to celebrate and wed like you to join us

For Blueprint it all began 30 years ago with a


launch party in the then unfinished Lloyds building
Richard Rogers Partnerships first London project.
Now were celebrating again with a salubrious
30th birthday (and a few special awards!),
dramatically high up in the latest Roger Stirk
Harbour + Partners completion, NEO Bankside.
The ever-changing London skyline will form the
backdrop to the evening, with some of the capitals
finest views out across the Thames to St Pauls and,
of course, RSHPs Leadenhall, and the now slightly
dwarfed Lloyds Building where it all started.
And we have a number of party tickets to give
away to readers for the evening on 9 October. If
youd like to join us, please email us at:

Sponsored by

info@blueprintmagazine.co.uk, with Party as the


subject. Tickets will be allocated on a random,
rather than first-come first-serve basis, and the
deadline for sending in a request is 30 September.
We look forward to seeing you there!
A big thank you to NEO Bankside for giving us
the space for this event, also thanks in advance to
our other sponsors, Crosswater, Steelcase and Ryan.

NEO BaNksidE
Sitting in landscaped gardens next to Tate Modern,
NEO Bankside is actually five separate buildings
(called pavilions) of between six and 24 storeys,
designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners for
joint developers Native Land and Grosvenor.

The brief required a mix of 217 residential units,


ranging from studios and one-bedroom apartments
to four-bedroom units, all varying in size. RSHPs
answer was to create a hexagonal plan form and
orthogonal structural grid for maximum flexibility.
This also gives the pavilions the look of ships
prows, with RSH+P hallmark muscular external
bracing and restrained but positive use of colour.
These prows also feature floor-to-ceiling glazing to
make the most of the views out over London.
The base of the pavilions has been given over
to retail units, and house Terence Conrans latest
restaurant, Albion NEO Bankside.
neobankside.com, knightfrank.co.uk

1 Well be taking the furniture out and rolling back the carpets
for the party!
2 Part of the view, including the now dwarfed Lloyds Building

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pc studio - photo tommaso sartori

DESIGN PORTRAIT.

Anne, the creative director, and the two loves of her life: Jacob and Michel. Michel is designed by Antonio Citterio. www.bebitalia.com
B&B Italia Store London, SW3 2AS - 250 Brompton Road - T. 020 7591 8111 info.bromptonroad@bebitalia.com
UK Agent: Keith De La Plain - Tel. +44 786 0419670 - keith.delaplain@btinternet.com

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03/09/2013 16:50
03/09/13 16.47

LISTEN

Over the past 30 years London has become the capital-friendly capital, with
the Olympics as the most recent catalyst for development, but housing has
not kept pace and public spaces needs to be put at the top of the agenda

PETER MURRAY

PhOtOgraPhy by ?????

PhOtOgraPhy by jOhnny tucker

Mayor Boris Johnson regularly describes London


as the greatest city on Earth. Few would quibble.
Had Ken Livingstone used similar words in 1983,
when he was Leader of the Greater London
Council (GLC), most people would have thought
he was barmy. In the 30 years since, London
has changed dramatically, from shrinking city
to honeypot of the global economy, from dull
metropolis where contemporary design and
architecture were specialist interests to the worlds
most popular destination, with a skyline of exotic
towers by international architects.
So how did that happen? Radical change
began with Big Bang and the deregulation of the
financial markets in 1985. As a result, international
banks and bankers flooded into London
demanding new sorts of buildings that could
accommodate innovative computer technology
and football-pitch-sized trading floors, surrounded
by better public spaces than Brits were used to.
Broadgate, designed by Arup Associates,
led the way with new standards of construction,
flexibility in use and interior fit-out.
As the banks poured into the capital, more
space was required. The City of London
Corporation made life difficult for developers so
Canary Wharf started construction in Docklands.
Without this additional office space the financial
markets might well have decided to move to Paris
or Frankfurt. The Corporation viewed this as so
serious that in 1997 it reversed its opposition to
tall buildings leading directly to the current
cluster of skyscrapers in the east of the Square Mile.
During the Eighties and Nineties public
buildings were few and far between, the supply

only improving with Lottery money in the lead-up


to the Millennium. Key projects began to change
the face of the capital: the London Eye kicked
off the revival of the South Bank; Tate Modern
regenerated a desolate piece of Southwark and
reinforced Londons reputation as a centre for
progressive art; the Gherkin proved that the
public could love tall buildings, its iconic form
sending out positive messages of Londons
new modernism to the world.
Margaret Thatcher closed down the GLC in
1986, irritated by Livingstones left-wing policies; in
2000 New Labour introduced an elected mayor and
he was back in charge. He was no longer Red Ken
he supported development as a driver for growth
and the City of London as a global financial capital
and powerhouse of the UK economy. He launched
the London Plan, setting out his strategy for a more
sustainable city (based largely on Richard
Rogers concept of the compact city), where
development for the capital takes place within its
boundaries in contrast to post-war policies of
moving people out to New Towns thus leading
to denser development and increasing population.
Livingstones decision to bid for the Olympics
was crucial in the changing image and fortunes of
London as well as those of East London. Stratford
is a key example of the large brownfield sites,
highlighted as opportunity areas in the London
Plan, which, when developed, would deliver 30
or so new neighbourhoods in a polycentric city.
When Boris Johnson took over as mayor in
2008, he retained many of the basic principles of
Livingstones London Plan. His 2020 Vision sets out
how he will deal with Londons population growth

by investing in transport, in cycling, education and


skills, home-building and vibrant town centres.
Much of this investment is driven by the vast
amount of global money pouring in: Malaysian
pension funds at Battersea Power Station,
Chinese investors in the Royal Docks and
Canadians in the City. Housing schemes in Nine
Elms are being sold off-plan to Hong Kong and
Singapore investors. This international money keeps
the London economy afloat, but there is the danger
that it is pushing up house prices while absent
purchasers are creating dark areas of the city only
occupied part of the time. The long-term impact is
unknown, global cities are new territory as far as
governance and planning are concerned.
Housing is a critical issue for the Mayor
the city needs at least 36,000 homes a year just
to keep pace with the demand of the growing
population and is not building anything like enough.
What we do build is going to be more dense and
it will be higher: as the construction of tall office
buildings slows down, so we will soon see a spate
of big residential towers hitting the skyline.
Johnsons plans to spend nearly 1bn on
cycling infrastructure will speed up the modal
shift away from the car in favour of active
transportation walking, cycling and public
transport with resultant improvements to
streets and spaces in the city. Indeed, it is the
transformation of public space, and the way
we use it, that has fundamentally changed ones
day-to-day experience of London over the past
30 years and is likely to be high on the agenda over
the next. After all, its the quality of the spaces in
between the buildings that makes a really great city.

ThE TRAnsfoRMATion
of PUblic sPAcE
And ThE wAY wE
UsE iT is whAT hAs
so fUndAMEnTAllY
chAngEd onEs
dAY-To-dAY
ExPERiEncE of london

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04/09/2013 12:31

new york | london | tokyo | copenhagen | carlhansen.com

design:
TAdAo Ando, 2013

Leading Japanese architect Tadao Ando collaborated with the


furniture experts at Carl Hansen & Sn to create the Dream
Chair a tribute to Hans J. Wegner, the undisputed master of
chair design. The result is a sculptural and comfortable lounge
chair crafted from a single piece of plywood and imbued
with a beautiful floating expression.

Chichu Art Museum, Tadao Ando

EvERy piEcE
coMEs with
A stoRy

DREAM chAiR

LoNDoN: skandium Brompton, 245-249 Brompton road skandium maryleBone, 86 maryleBone high street skandium selfridges, 400 oxford street

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8/9/13 2:21
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PM

LISTEN

Aside from a few swooping sports structures, the architectural legacy of the
Olympics is predominantly bland or oppressive. But thats OK if the people
of Newham are getting something out of it, isnt it? Would that they were

OWEN HATHERLEY

PhOtOgrAPhy By ?????

If theres one architectural object that embodies the


Olympic legacy, then its the Shoal, a sculpture by
Studio Egret West. It is placed in front of the
unlovely Arndale-like hulk of the Stratford Centre,
at the side facing the Stratford transport
interchange and the entrance to Westfield Stratford
City. Aware that this insufficiently iconic structure
would be seen by all visitors to the Olympic Village
and the Olympic site, the munificent Olympic
commissioners got the bumptious Alsopians at
Egret in to hide it without demolishing it, or
(as at Egrets other big project, Park Hill)
turfing out its tenants and draping it in luminous
anodised aluminium. The idea is dubious enough,
but the execution is something else a series of
multicoloured fish swim along the centres
concrete and stock brick, suspended on big,
bulky and wobbly steel members. Some of
those members dont have fish on at all, but little
CCTV cameras instead. Who knew ubiquitous
surveillance could be so much fun!
It may sound like Im being cynical here. After
all, didnt the Olympics deliver various public
facilities and a new park where once there was a
poisoned post-industrial wasteland? Im not one of
those fixated with the memory of the picturesque
interzone that once occupied the Lea Valley it
was a very vivid and strange landscape, and though
it would have been nice if it could have been
remade without erasing quite so ruthlessly its
unplanned wildernesses, its also hard to see how
they could have been retained as anything other
than a smug contrivance; flats surrounding tyres
and shopping trolleys would not necessarily have
been better. Listening to Ken Livingstone on the
Lea Valley, you got the impression that the area was

being transformed from a landscape used mainly by


Iain Sinclair into an area of desperately needed
social housing and public facilities. The notion
that Ken was going to get a new Alton Estate
built on the sly, via the massive injections of
money that come with the Olympics was always
implausible, and from the start, there were
clearances of housing co-ops on the site to make
way for the New Stratford. Yet its still staggering
quite how much Livingstones gamble failed.
The legacy can be roughly divided into the
site itself and the knock-on-effect, the latter being
mainly Stock Woolstencrofts series of towering
dromes down Stratford High Street, a miserable
parade of barcode facade buy-to-let nullities, and
the clearance of the Carpenters Estate now
halted after a public campaign, but still an area of
only partly-occupied council housing in a borough,
Newham, that has taken to trying to export its poor
to Stoke-on-Trent. Then theres the vast, bland mall
which provides a huge barrier between the Village
and Stratford proper, a building of no more
architectural distinction than the Stratford Centre
itself, albeit significantly shinier. If these are the
side-effects on the immediate area, they are
hardly encouraging. But what of the official legacy,
the Olympic Village and the Queen Elizabeth Park?
The latter is pleasant if extremely eerie in its
combination of calm and ultra-heavy security. The
imposing appearance of the publicly funded, Qatari
Diar-owned Village, with its unified height and bulk
leading to Eastern Bloc comparisons, has led to
some obvious criticisms. It does look peculiarly
authoritarian in its stark, stone-clad monumentality,
hence, presumably, the necessity for Fun to be
slathered about, as in the ArcelorMittal Orbit, that

monument to downsizing commissioned by Boris


Johnson in the toilets of Davos: probably his only
major contribution to the development. The other
buildings have their moments, passably swooping
sports structures that, with luck, wont be the victim
of cuts at Newham Council in a couple of years.
What next? The bedroom tax and other
measures are putting Newham under enormous
pressure, which may explain its abandonment of the
clearance of Carpenters; and its rhetoric suggests
that it will be trying to avoid oligarch-owned towers
in future, with current plans opting for low-rise
villages, with delightful sourdough bakery names,
like Chobham Manor. In fact, Newham intends to
directly build some of these houses, employing
Rogers Stirk Harbour to design one of the first
council-commissioned estates in decades, using the
prefabrication system RSHP devised for Oxley
Woods, Milton Keynes. It would be wonderful if it
were possible to proclaim that this signifies
a great change of heart, away from the public
subsidy of rentier capitalism that has so
comprehensively dominated the Olympic Borough.
Unfortunately, thats not exactly what Newham
is planning. It will be the client of the new
development, but the houses will not be open to
those on the council waiting list, but will instead
be affordable that is, available at 80 per cent of
the market price, immediately pricing out almost
all council tenants and a considerable number of
even middle class Londoners. After that, perhaps,
if its successful, theyll consider building council
housing at subsidised rent. If public money can
fund a sports festival to the tune of 15bn,
then why cant Newham Council spend some of
its money on cornering the market for prefab chic?

IT WOuLd bE
WONdERfuL If THIs
WERE A mOvE AWAY
fROm THE pubLIc
subsIdY Of RENTIER
cApITALIsm, buT THATs
NOT quITE WHAT
NEWHAm Is pLANNINg

B330-025-F-ListenOH .indd 1

04/09/2013 12:34

LISTEN

Looking back at Blueprint after 30 years provides a reminder both of what


has been achieved over the past three decades and just how slow progress
can be. But then Rome or should that be London wasnt built in a day

ERIK SPIEKERMANN
Buildings here in Germany are planned to be
written off within 20 years. Not written off as in
forgotten or destroyed, but the initial construction
and the cost of financing and maintaining it over
those 20 years should have been paid for by then.
If investors had paid for the building, they should
have their money back, plus whatever profit margin
they had calculated. From now on, with the cost of
financing gone, the building could return a much
higher profit. Or it could be destroyed, having
fulfilled its purpose as an investment.
Unfortunately, a lot of these buildings show
that they were built as investments rather than
as real contributions to the fabric of our cities.
They were designed and constructed to the
principle of length-by-width-by-dollars (or pounds,
or euros). If it wasnt for the cost of demolition,
a lot more of those financially written-off buildings
would be written off physically and a lot of them
deserve to be. But they still exist they are
monuments of thoughtlessness, obstructing our
views of a better city.
In Britain, private mortgages can run for
30 years because owning a home (or more
accurately, owing money on a mortgage) is the
default rather than the exception. So, if you manage

to come up with an initial payment before youre


30, you may actually be the homes owner by the
time youre ready for retirement. At least this is how
it used to be and how the system is still set up.
Mobility isnt really its main purpose and only works
as long as property values go up. They still do, but
not equally across the country, so we end up with
a country divided not so much by rivers, mountains
and local dialects, but by the affordability of
property. The expensive places become more so,
while the cheap ones become impossible to sell
and thus to finance.
If publishing Blueprint had been an investment
in order to return a profit, it could be written off this
year. I know the people who started the magazine,
and none of them has so far become a publishing
magnate, let alone a millionaire as far as I know.
What they have achieved, instead, is to provide a
record of the designed environment, the buildings
and other artefacts that were planned by architects,
engineers and designers from many disciplines. I
have them all on my shelves, adding to the clutter
in my home but also aiding my memory.
Not only do the old issues of Blueprint remind
us of what has been done, they also show us what
has not been achieved. Progress has been painful,

often totally absent. Thirty years ago we thought


that traffic in our cities had become unbearable.
It is still unbearable today. Investment in the
infrastructure only happens when things literally
fall apart. It took a fire in the Tube back in 1987
to prompt a serious look at the state of the London
Underground. While wooden escalators were
gradually replaced and signage improved to better
guide passengers, the Tube is still aching under the
strain of too many users and not enough services.
Thirty years is not a long time to rebuild a city
that has been growing for almost 2,000 years
(Emperor Hadrian visited in 122 and London Wall
was built around 200 AD). Publishing a magazine
for 30 years, however, offers a great look at our
successes as well as our failures. Publishing it on
paper means that I can find all the issues quickly.
No hard drive, DVD, magnetic tape or CD would
have survived as long as that. And even if the data
were still there, how would I access it? How would
I even know whats there?
I am celebrating Blueprints birthday by
spreading dozens of magazines (remember the
tabloid format?) across the floor and looking at
my 30-year investment. Well worth it and more
valuable than ever. No write-offs needed.

PhotogRaPhy By Steve CaRty

I KNow thE PEoPlE


who StARtEd
BluEPRINt ANd
NoNE of thEM hAS
BEcoME A PuBlIShINg
MAgNAtE, lEt AloNE
A MIllIoNAIRE

B330-026-F-ListenES-fp PH2.indd 1

04/09/2013 12:37

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1
1

03/09/2013
03/09/13 15:41
15:09

3/9/13

17:02

Page 1

2013 Steelcase Inc. All rights reserved. Trademarks used herein are the property of Steelcase Inc. or of their respective owners.

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ON THE DRAWING BOARD


Herzog & de Meuron

Following a competition that included entries by Sanaa, renzo Piano,


Toyo ito, Snhetta and Shigeru Ban, Hong kongs West kowloon cultural
district authority appointed Herzog & de Meuron + TFP Farrells to design
the first museum in its new cultural quarter. called M+ , the project will
focus on art, design, architecture and film and is scheduled to open in 2017.
Shumi Bose caught up with Herzog & de Meurons partner in charge,
Ascan Mergenthaler, who here explains whats currently on the drawing
board and how we can expect it to evolve

Most of the time with such competitions, the brief


is fairly open, but theres a lot of information to take
in about the site. This time it was the opposite, with
little on site but a very precise brief. It is all about
foregrounding the programme of the museum.
There was one very specific request from
the client: they had seen Tate Modern and similar
projects and were keen on these large scale
post-industrial spaces. We realised the only given
context on the site was below ground the Airport
Express tunnel, which passes underneath the site.
We liked the shape of it and we spent time
building a proper model of the tunnel, probably
one of the first we built. We decided that revealing
this found landscape would be one of the main
ingredients; a pragmatic approach but one that
fitted the clients vision.
We have always been interested in this kind
of archaeological approach, which for us is a
powerful architectural tool. The most recent project
where we applied this method was the Serpentine
Pavilion (2012, with Ai Weiwei).
The next concern was of course how to
organise galleries efficiently. Keeping things on
one level is the easiest way, providing the most
flexible and easily adaptable space. Keeping things
flexible was always important; the clients would tell
us not to have things completely defined, to allow

for some flexibility and go into detail together.


And this is the way we like to work.
Materiality is at this stage open, and kept
open on purpose; its still a competition entry
to be discussed with our clients. That said, we put
a lot of work into our research for materials, not
only to strengthen the design and concept but
for the building process. The basic and functional
principles are very important. At the moment the
only design feature that has a material implication
is the strong horizontal louvre bands that wrap
around the entire building volume. Considering
the climate and location, these make the building
very efficient in terms of energy consumption, yet
1

1 (left to right) Jacques Herzog, Ascan Mergenthaler, and


Pierre de Meuron
2 A visualisation of what the Herzog & de Meuron building for
the Hong Kong cultural quarter may look like

allow for maximal transparency where needed.


We have intense workshops to exchange ideas,
which last about a week, and we alternate well
go to Hong Kong for one, then the client will come
to Basel for the next. Our strategy was to ensure
the project progressed as smoothly as possible,
so we avoided all the Pandoras boxes things
that would cause setbacks and tried to stay
within the constraints of budget, time, and the
volumetric masterplan. In terms of smooth
efficiency, this is why were working with Farrells
Hong Kong office who have a lot of experience
in local planning regulations, and building codes.
Its a good combination.
Our design is very basic: an infrastructure
that can be populated by people and art. It is
the contents of the museum that should be the
foreground. So we tried to think about the
building as an organisation making the building
very accessible at street level, entering into
a cosmos with precise order and overview.
Hong Kong people are very alive they
are very active and full of curiosity. So we had
to think about how people would flow from
one area to another quite naturally; its almost
like a little village. The design is not something
we have finalised as yet. But I do think that we
have established an attitude, a spirit of the place.

1 Lucian Hunziker 2 Herzog & de Meuron

B330-029-F-DrawingBoard-ph_HDM CHANGESNEW-fp ph.indd 1

04/09/2013 12:56

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17:35

ON THE lisT
Skyscrapers

1 TChoban VoSS 2 SMITh + GIll 3 ErIC kuhnE & aSSoCIaTES 4 ChrISTophEr CypErT

If you have a taste for heights and an appetite to match, then head for
Moscow, mainland China or the Middle East for the tallest man-made
structures and loftiest places to lunch and look down to Earth

Tallest skyscrapers
in the world

Tallest skyscrapers
in Europe

(current and under construction


in height order)

(current and under construction


in height order)

1 Kingdom Tower,
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, 2019,
1,001m+, Smith+Gill Architecture

1 Federation Tower (East),


Moscow, Russia, 2014, 360m, NPS
Tchoban Voss

2 Sky City,
Changsha, China, planned 2014,
838m, Broad Group

2 Mercury City Tower,


Moscow, Russia, 2013, 339m,
MM Posokin, Frank Williams and
GL Sirota

3 Burj Khalifa,
Dubai, UAE, 2010, 828m, SOM
4 Ping An Finance Center,
Shenzen, China, 2016,
660m, KPF
5 Greenland Center,
Wuhan, China, 2017,
636m, Smith+Gill Architecture

3 OKO Tower (South),


Moscow, Russia, 2015, 336m, SOM
4 Eurasia Tower,
Moscow, Russia, 2014, 309m,
Swanke Hayden Connell
5 The Shard, London, UK, 2013,
306m, RPBW, 2013

6 Shanghai Tower,
Shanghai, China, 2014,
632m, Gensler

6 City of Capitals (Moscow


Tower), Moscow, Russia, 2010,
302m, NBBJ

7 Makkah Royal
Clock Tower Hotel,

7 Naberezhnaya Tower C,
Moscow, Russia, 2007, 268m, RTKL
and ENKA Design

Mecca, Saudi Arabia, 2012,


601m, Dar Al-Handasah

8 Goldin Finance 117,


Tianjin, China, 2016,
597m, P&T Group
9 Lotte World Tower,
Seoul, South Korea, 2015,
555m, KPF
10 One World Trade Center,
New York, USA, 2014, 541m, SOM

8 Triumph Palace,
Moscow, Russia, 2005, 264m,
TROMOS
9 Sapphire Tower,
Istanbul, Turkey, 2010, 261m,
Tabanlioglu Architects
10 Commerzbank Tower,
Frankfurt, Germany, 1997, 259m,
Foster+Partners

Tallest vertical cities a selection of


skyscrapers with pretty much everything you
need from birth to death (in height order all are unbuilt)

Some of the
highest places to
enjoy a drink or
nibble (in height order)

1 X-Seed 4000, Tokyo, Japan


Height: 4000m
Storeys: 800
Planned population: 500,000+
Designed: 1995
Architect: Peter Neville

6 The Illinois, Chicago, USA


Height: 1610m
Storeys: 528
Population: 100,000
Designed: 1956
Architect: Frank Lloyd Wright

1 Ozone,
470m,Ritz-Carlton,
International Commerce Centre,
Hong Kong, China

2 Ultima Tower, anywhere


Height: 3219m
Storeys: 500
Population: 1 million
Designed: 1991
Architect: Eugene Tsui

7 Mubarak Tower, Kuwait


Height: 1001m
Storeys: 250
Population: Unspecified
Designed: 2005
Architect: Eric Kuhne and Associates

3 Shimuzu Mega-City Pyramid,


Tokyo, Japan
Height: 2004m
Storeys: 400
Population: 1 million
Designed: 2004
Architect: Dante Bini, David Dimitric
of Shimuzu Corporation

8 Millennium Tower, Tokyo, Japan


Height: 840m
Storeys: 170
Population: 60,000
Designed: 1989
Architect: Foster + Partners

4 Bionic Tower, Shanghai or Hong


Kong, China
Height: 1228m
Storeys: 300
Population: 100,000
Designed: 1997
Architect: Eloy Celaya, M Rosa
Cervera, Javier Gmez
5 Nakheel Tower, Dubai
Height: 1,200
Storeys: 200+
Population: 55,000+
Designed: 2008
Architect: Woods Bagot

9 Sky City, Changsha, China


Height: 838m
Storeys: 202
Population: 20-30,000
Designed: 2012 Due to complete 2014
Architect: BROAD Group
10 Vertical Village, Meuse, France
Height: 600m
Storeys: 180
Population: 30,000
Designed: 2011
Architect: Fabio Gramazio and
Matthias Kohler of ETH Zurich

2 100 Century Avenue,


450m, Park Hyatt,
Shanghai World Financial Centre,
Shanghai, China
3 At.Mosphere,
442m, Burj Khalifa, Dubai, UAE
4 Lutece Restaurant
(revolves), 424m, Canton Tower,
Guangzhou, China
5 360 Restaurant (revolves),
351m, CN Tower, Toronto, Canada
6 Cloud 9
350m, Grand Hyatt, Jin Mao
building, Shanghai, China
7 Skytree Cafe
350m, Sky Tree Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
8 Observation Deck at 300
300m, Jumeirah, Etihad Tower,
Abu Dhabi, UAE
9 1-Altitide Gallery & Bar
(open air), 282m, OUB Centre,
Singapore
10 Revolving Bar
(revolves), 267m, Oriental Pearl
Tower, Shanghai, China

1 (left to right) Kingdom Tower,


Jedddah; Federation Tower (East),
Moscow; Mubarak Tower, Kuwait:
Ozone Restaurant in the Ritz
Carlton, Hong Kong

B330-031-F-List-fp ph.indd 1

04/09/2013 13:07

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Blueprint fullpg.indd 1
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1

16/08/2013 09:40
09:30
16/08/2013

Info
The Stirling Prize

Five of the six practices on the 2013 RIBA Stirling Prize


shortlist are first-timers. The projects are bookies
favourite Bishop Edward King Chapel, along with Essex
housing development Newhall Be; the Giants Causeway
Visitor Centre; a contemporary home within the shell of
Astley Castle; the University of Limerick Medical School
and Park Hill, Sheffield. Results on 26 September

ASTLEY CASTLE, WARWICKSHIRE


Witherford Watson Mann Architects
1.4M
285 sq m

82M
11,000 sq m
Stanton Williams Architects SAINSBURY LABORATORY

2012

48M
10,745 sq m
Zaha Hadid Architects EVELYN GRACE ACADEMY

2011

138M

30,000 sq m
Zaha Hadid Architects MAXXI NATIONAL MUSEUM 2010
2.1M
370 sq m
Rogers Stirk Harbour Partners MAGGIE'S CENTRE 2009

UNIVERSITY OF LIMERICK, IRELAND


Grafton Architects
12M
9,900 sq m

80M
30,000 sq m
Maccreanor Lavington + Alison Brooks Architects+ 2008
Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios ACCORDIA
14.5M
3.800 sq m
David Chipperfield Architects 2007
MARBACH MUSEUM OF MODERN LITERATURE
448M
1,158,000 sq m

Richard Rogers Partnership MADRIDBARAJAS AIRPORT 2006

414.4M

31,000 sq m
EMBT/RMJM Architects THE SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT 2005

138M
47,950 sq m

NEWHALL BE, HARLOW, ESSEX


Alison Brooks Architects
12M
16,300 sq m

2013

Foster + Partners 30 ST. MARY AXE/THE GHERKIN 2004


24M
8,203 sq m
Herzog & de Meuron Architects THE LABAN CENTRE 2003

17.7M
126 m
Wilkinson Eyre Architects GATESHEAD MILLENNIUM BRIDGE 2002
46M

6,000 sq m
Wilkinson Eyre Architects MAGNA SCIENCE CENTRE 2001

PARK HILL, SHEFFIELD


Hawkins\Brown with Studio Egret West

120M

27,928 sq m

5M
2,300 sq m
Alsop & Stormer PECKHAM LIBRARY 2000
5M
650 sq m
Future Systems LORD'S CRICKET GROUND MEDIA CENTRE

1999

13.5M
7,400 sq m
Foster + Partners AMERICAN AIR MUSEUM

1998

ILLUSTRATION BY IAN DUTNALL

3,623 sq m

B330-033-F-Stirling prize-fp ph.indd 1

40M
20,830 sq m
James Stirling, Michael Wilford and Associates
STUTTGART MUSIC BUILDING
3.2M

1997

Stephen Hodder CENTENARY BUILDING

1996

Cost
Gross internal area

BISHOP EDWARD KING CHAPEL, OXFORDSHIRE


Niall McLaughlin Architects
2M
280 sq m

GIANT'S CAUSEWAY VISITOR CENTRE, CO. ANTRIM


Heneghan Peng architects
18.5M
1,800 sq m

04/09/2013 13:09

MEET
Gareth Hoskins Architects

WHO

Directors: Gareth Hoskins, Chris Coleman-Smith, Jennifer Guillain, Nick Domminney


and Clare Kemsley in Glasgow. Berlin studio directors are Thomas Bernatzky and
Gabi Bernatzky. 30 staff in total
WHAT Architecture, masterplanning
WHeN Founded in 1998
WHere Glasgow and Berlin (since 2010)

To survive a recession any creative business needs


luck, talent, judgement, timing and drive. After
three years of what MD Gareth Hoskins describes
as a wee bit of a slog, Gareth Hoskins Architects
fortunes appear to be on the rise.
Hoskins modestly plays up the luck and timing
elements, but theres no questioning the talent and
drive that has got them here after all, GHA was
the first Scottish architecture practice to be invited
to exhibit at the Venice Architecture Biennale
(Gathering Place, 2008).
Hoskins cut his teeth in London with Sunand
Prasad and Greg Penoyres then fledgling practice.
After seven years he felt the time was right to set up
a practice in his Scottish homeland. Says Hoskins: It
was 1998, just before Glasgows Year of Architecture
& Design. I thought: Lets see if we can make
anything out of it. Among other schemes, GHA won

the Mackintosh Interpretation Centre, and began


elegantly reinventing Charles Rennie Mackintoshs
first building as a gallery and workshop space, on
a budget of 300,000. We got an awful lot of press
and publicity out of it. It was a fortunate early
project, says Hoskins.
A big win in 2003 was pivotal for further growth:
the 60m, 15-year masterplan for the redevelopment
of the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.
GHAs complete refurbishment of this grade-A listed
Victorian building is now attracting two million
visitors a year, making it the biggest museum
attraction outside of London. This project, in turn,
helped GHAs Berlin office take first prize in the
competition for the masterplanning of Germanys
Gottorf Museum Island. GHA has also won awards
for its thoughtful, sculptural and beautifully resolved
school and healthcare buildings as well as private

1 (left to right) Gareth


Hoskins, Chris ColemanSmith, Jennifer Guillain,
Nick Domminney and
Clare Kemsley
2 Aberdeen Art Gallery

residences, and garnered a useful reputation among


developers for being able to transform complex sites
into liveable, workable spaces.
Though Hoskins relishes the major, nationally
significant schemes that enable you to have a
conversation with the surrounding city and
authorities, so you can actually use the leverage of
the project to sort out the streetscape around it, he
admits to investing just as much effort in making the
last 45p stretch a bit further on projects such as
Liverpools Strawberry Fields special needs school.
Other future work include a contemporary 30m
extension for the 19th-century Aberdeen Art Gallery,
a 1,200-seat concert hall in Edinburgh for the Scottish
Chamber Orchestra; and Bird College performing
arts centre in London, for which the practice beat
Meccanoo, Eric Parry Architects and Carmody
Groarke to win the RIBA competition. Veronica Simpson

1,2 GHA

B330-034-F-Meet-phNEW ph.indd 1

04/09/2013 13:10

Untitled-1 1

16/08/2013 11:49

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Untitled-1 1

04/09/2013 08:37

Project
Dylan Kendle

Designer Dylan Kendle of Tomato is the man behind the new Blueprint
magazine masthead. He also contributed creatively to the back-cover shoot
that uses a 3D wooden version of his font. He talks to Johnny Tucker

As part of the complete redesign of Blueprint


(which youve probably already noticed by now!),
weve introduced a brand new masthead, which
is set in a font designed by Dylan Kendle, partner
at the multidisciplinary design collective Tomato.
Kendle set out to create a simple modular
typeface that could be used physically as well as
digitally the idea being to create cnc-ed printing
blocks that encouraged play and multiple
permutations. Hes called the new font Reduct.
I suppose Reduct stemmed from when I
designed a set of numerals for a Nouvelle Vague
album cover, that I actually cut in plywood and
printed. That got me interested in the idea of
making a modular typeface that was in pieces, but
with as few elements as possible, without that
having an impact on the legibility. The idea was that
they would be physical objects, and that if you didnt
like it you could use the pieces to design your own.

B330-037-F-Reduct-ph.indd 1

It was all very DIY. Its part inspired by that, by


childrens building blocks, by lo-fi home printing
kits and the typeface Fregio Mecano.
The construction idea is something we took
and ran with for our back-cover shoot, having the
font elements for the number 30 routed in wood
and sprayed-up in the primary colours of childrens
building blocks. We then took our construction set
into the City on a quiet September Sunday
morning, assembled the constituent elements
and photographed them in front of Richard
Rogers Lloyds building (for a fun movie of the 30

1 Design evolution of the Blueprint masthead: (from top)


Simon Esterson (1983 and 1987), John Belknap (1995), Andrew
Johnson (1997), Patrick Myles (2006) and Dylan Kendle (2013)
2 An alternative shot from the back-cover shoot
3 Kendle experimenting early on in the Reduct design process
4 A detail from one of Kendles three silkscreen prints,
Beginnigs, which use the Reduct font

constructing itself, have a look at our website,


blueprintmagazinebeta.co.uk). Kendle was
particularly keen on bringing out the physical
element of the font when contributing heavily to
the back-cover concept. We used Lloyds as the
backdrop, because that it was where Blueprint had
its launch party back in 1983.
Kendles no newcomer to type: The first font I
did was for Neville Brody and Fuse back in the
Nineties. I wouldnt call myself a font designer, but I
like playing with typefaces, but they mostly tend be
experimental or headline.
Reduct is still under development. The need to
make a more extensive and nuanced character set
meant expanding the kit of parts I had created,
says Kendle, who has used Reduct to create a set
of three silkscreen prints called Beginnings. You can
see them at Design Junction during the London
Design Festival or on his website, dylankendle.com.

04/09/2013 13:12

Untitled-1 1

04/09/2013 15:22

Project
Squire and Partners

a seven-storey townhouse has been squeezed into the space behind the
retained facade of an 18th-century pub in mayfair. Herbert Wright quizzed
project architect marcie Larizadeh on how its tardis-like design manages
to include six bedrooms and a swimming pool

In Londons Mayfair metal foliage is in conversation


with Virginia creepers. Thats how Marcie Larizadeh
of Squire and Partners described the interplay
between a vine-covered facade on Curzon Street
and an extraordinary field of aluminium leaves in
bronze hues, facing it a block away. The latter forms
part of the south facade of a new townhouse, One
Waverton Street, and shes the project associate
architect. Its just one remarkable feature of a
project that manages to fit 800 sq m over seven
floors into a narrow site behind the retained facade
of a old boozer dating from the 18th century.
The old Red Lions facade faces east, and its
stucco has been repainted dazzling white. But every
side of the Mayfair house is different. The north
side, of handmade brick, hosts a surprisingly
discrete entrance from a narrow cobbled mews.
Bringing light into the ground floor was a challenge
because the site is bounded to the south by a
light-blocking, listed, Georgian wall of blanked
arches, balustrades and a pediment, partly shared
with the Sultan of Bruneis Chesterfield House. A
cour anglaise, the architectural device that brings
light into streetside basements, is situated between
this wall and the house, and not only brightens the
reception room but the generous double-height
dining room sunk into a lower floor. Below this are
two more subterranean levels, with facilities such

as a gym, spa and 12.5m-long swimming pool. The


plant rooms seem worthy of an office block, but
its all tucked away and acoustically shielded.
Constructing what is effectively a new building
underground involved piling and creating a
concrete box for it that is 12m deep. Georgian vaults
were scrupulously documented before construction.
Incredibly, all materials in and out were posted
through the Red Lion facade, because of severe
restrictions on site activity.
Upstairs are six bedrooms on two floors.
Throughout the house, a variety of magnificent
marbles and polished stone by Stone Theatre have
been fitted, incidentally making each bathroom
different. Some smaller windows are translucently

1 One Waverton Street lies behind the facade of the Red Lion
2 Bronze-hued aluminium leaves made by Swiss firm Tuchschmid

fritted because they overlook adjacent properties.


The south facade is recessed at the cour anglaise,
this middle section climbing 12m to incorporate a
third-floor steel pavilion sited between patios, one
with a patch of hardy grass green roof, the other
above the Red Lion facade.
It is around the pavilion, and across the
set-back part of the otherwise-stucco south facade
rising behind and above the neo-classical south
wall, that the metal leaves spread, like a Victorian
repeating print. The bespoke, coated-aluminium
leaves are a collaboration with Tuchschmid of
Switzerland, whose artisan-industrial metalworks
have included the cone on Sheppard Robsons BBC
Portland Place extension. Each leaf has seven folds,
there are three colours, and every now and then a
leaf is missing in the array to enhance the organic
feel. Larizadeh herself worked on the leaf design,
making shapes with beermats, and comments that
you get vine rhythms and colours come into play.
In sunshine, the leaves positively glint and the
old Red Lion facade dazzles, but nevertheless One
Waverton Street is the soul of discretion in a
charming, hidden corner of Londons most exclusive
quarter. The result is an exquisite play of volumes,
light and textures with artisan touches, a great
piece of urbanism, and something that ups the
game in townhouse design, whatever the market.

both images squire and partners

B330-039-F-Squires.fp PH.indd 1

04/09/2013 13:13

The ArT of repeTiTion


By squashing them flat, Ron Arad has turned
iconic Fiat 500s into two-dimensional, wall-hung art

B330-040-F-Repeat-phNEW.indd 1

04/09/2013 13:42

ron arad associates

In-Reverse is a new batch of work, which caps off a 30-year retrospective exploring Ron Arads
output in metal, at Israels Design Museum Holon (which of course he designed), until 19 October.
Arad explains: Rather than manipulate materials to render them functional or render digital models
towards a functional object, here I reverse perfectly functional objects and render them useless.
These pieces are Pressed Flower Blue, Yellow, Rust and Red. Beauty in a car-crash of an exhibition...

B330-040-F-Repeat-phNEW.indd 2

04/09/2013 13:42

#001

PROOFF #001 EarChair


by Jurgen Bey, Studio Makkink & Bey

#002

PROOFF #002 WorkSofa


by Studio Makkink & Bey

Now in showrooms
of our London
partners:

#003

PROOFF #003 PhoneBox


by Axia Design

#004

PROOFF #004 Niche


by Axia Design

#005

Ergonom

Workform

Whittington House
19-30 Alfred Place
London WC1E 7EA
t: 020 7323 2325

Holford Mews
Cruikshank Street
London WC1X 9HW
t: 01920 877338

PROOFF #005 SitTable


by Ben van Berkel, UNStudio

www.prooff.com

Untitled-2 1
advertentie_blueprint.indd 1

02/09/2013 07:41
30-08-13 16:49

LONDON DESIGN FESTIVAL 2013


Blueprint for the Future

Blueprint is at Design Junction during the London Design Festival. We


would like you to come and join us to help choose the winner of our
3D printing competition, run in conjunction with Additive Earth Systems
and the Bartlett School. You will also be able to see 3D printing in action

2
3

3
1

For designers and architects 3D printing is very


much part of the current zeitgeist; many are already
using the technology regularly for modelling,
rapid prototyping and creating finished objects.
Its even entering the consciousness of the general
public, though most have only a pretty hazy idea
of what the term involves.
Although it all first began back in the early
Eighties, its only really now that 3D printers
have got up a head of steam, to mix up some
technological metaphors. Like early computers,
theyve gone from being room fillers to being
affordable desktop items. The future impact is
going to be quite incredible. Imagine a world where
we dont have to ship all these objects around the
globe, but can simply print them where we are. It
will also be nice once we get past the current phase
of printing inane key-ring-size trinkets and figures
and toys with multiple personalities.
We are on the cusp of a new era that is seeing
the democratisation of design, the burgeoning of
new, open-sourced ways of manufacturing. We can
print in many materials, from the most ubiquitous
plastics and ceramics to metal and even food. If you
can liquefy it and reset it, then it is a possibility for
the printing. Were already in a world where we can
3D-print replacement prosthetic body parts, have
schemes to build on the moon using moondust, can
take scans of unborn babies and print them out

B330-043-F-BP for future fp ph.indd 1

(move over ultrasound) to hold in our hands and,


of course, its being weaponised as well. Earlier this
year we saw the printing of a fireable gun no
doubt a raft of other terrific ideas are being worked
on by the military as we speak. Unfortunately
money always seems to be available in this area of
R&D, but the trickle down ought eventually to have
some benefits for mankind.

COME BE A JUDGE OF OUR 3D PRINTING


COMPETITION AT DESIGN JUNCTION
Our own 3D printing project is far more social than
anything being planned by those in uniform. We
challenged you to design either a shelter for
sub-Saharan conditions or an object for use
within such a shelter, both of which could be
printed with a solar sintering process, using the
sun to power it, and lenses to melt a locally
abundant raw material, sand. Weve had a great
response to the competition we ran in conjunction
with Additive Earth Systems and the Bartlett
School of Architecture in London. Weve chosen
the 10 best projects, five in each category, and
printed them up for you to look at and judge. Come
and visit our stand at Design Junction during

1 Matt Terrys geodesic structure entry


2 Patrick Hamdy and Sam Welhams entry, The Well of Sychar
3 Ed Rawles entry coud provide protection from sandstorms

London Design Festival and vote for your two


favourite projects. The creators will walk away with
1,000 each. Well announce the results at the show
on the Friday evening, 20 September.
Therell also be live 3D printing going on, a
showcase of some ongoing experiments into
large-scale 3D printing for its potential application
in architecture even part of the stand itself will be
3D-printed. We look forward to seeing you there.

3D PRINTING DURING LDF


14-22 September
Designers Block/The Fifth Element (see LDF
preview page 46), Southbank Centre, SE1 8XX
Digits2Widgits, 61-63 Rochester Place, NW1 9JU
18-22 September
Blueprint for the Future, Design Junction,
WC1N 2RA
Until 12 October
Adhocracy@limewharf, Vyner Street E2 9DG
Until 29 October
The Future is Here, Design Museum, SE1 2YD
Sponsored by

04/09/2013 13:35

HISTORY HAS A WAY OF ADJUSTING


OUR ATTENTION TO SPECIFIC DETAILS AS
CATALYSTS OF GREATER CHANGE.
Occasionally minor adjustments in the application of
technologies play a role in activating a new kind of behaviour
that somehow changes our daily lifestyle.
Consider a traditional parasol or umbrella. These are often
set beside each other to cover space and protect people from
rain. They are effective at bringing people to the streets and
activating public life in urban centres, but they suffer from one
unavoidable aw - they channel rain to their perimeter. While
it rains, your movement is limited by the drip-line.
The AVX is unlike a traditional parasol. It drains to the center
and links with its neighbours to create an unbroken canopy.
It retracts in ne weather and unlike an awning, the covered
space can tessellate indenitely. This shift in functionality
places the AVX into a new category of shelter.
The AVX includes diffuse lighting integrated between the
membrane leaves, the potential for sound and data integration,
and a central mast that allows water to ow visibly between a
clear outer sheath and a structural mast.
If we imagine how this shift in technology might inuence
social behaviour, consider generic parasols in town centres
and city squares. Liberate the ground-level so pedestrians
move unencumbered in rainy conditions. Add light to make
the exterior hospitable at night-time and make the system
collapsible so even small moments of ne weather are taken
advantage of. The difference in aptitude between the AVX and
any other covering system offers a signicantly broader range
of design opportunities.

MDT-TEX LAUNCH THIS PRODUCT EXCLUSIVE


AT SUPER BRANDS DURING THE LONDON DESIGN FESTIVAL.
ARCHITECTS: FURRER JUD

Untitled-1 1

05/09/2013 16:10

london design festival 2013

From almost 2,000 exhibitors at 274 events, across


seven main hubs and close to 200 venues in the capital,
Johnny Tucker picks out a selection of the unmissable
at this years London Design Festival.
londondesignfestival.com
3
1

WIN
ONE OF
THESE!

1 Vamp Dig out your old speakers or get on ebay


now, because at Design Junction leftfield-designer
Paul Cocksedge launches his Kickstarter-funded
Vamp a gizmo that turns any regular speaker into
a wireless one. Guest DJs will bring a planned wall of
speakers alive. paulcocksedgestudio.com 2 SUN Out
to the east, the TENT and Superbrands London
shows bring together some highly creative individuals
and small designer-makers, plus some of the larger
brands in the lively setting of Brick Lane and The Old
Truman Brewery. This year 100% Norway is
celebrating its 10th anniversary and literally spreading
a little sunshine with this 3m-wide, Olafur Eliasson-

B330-045-F-Ldf ph.indd 1

esque Sun by Lisa Pacini and Christine Istad.


tentlondon.co.uk, 100percentnorway.com 3 Lazy
ByteS This project brings the level of aesthetic
consideration usually reserved for more objet dart
items around the home to the remote control. The
Royal College of Art was one of four schools involved
with EPFL +ECAL and the Kudelski Group. And while
youre there, check out A Life Examined, the yearly
output of the Helen Hamlyn Research Associates.
Both are in the newly opened Haworth Tompkins
designed Dyson Building. epfl-ecal-lab.ch 4 tFL

OySter card hOLder WAnT One?

Launching during LDF, Noma Bar (work pictured) is

one of 10 illustrators who have designed Oyster Card


holders celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Tube
(see also the bar at Design Junction). Just email
info@blueprintmagazine.co.uk for a chance to win
one of complete set of 10 designs that we have to
give away, (put Tube Comp in the subject line).
nomabar.com, tfl.gov.uk/shop 5 V&a Theres always
plenty going on at the V&A, which is one of the main
LDF Hubs these days and sees record visitor numbers
as a result (ie go early!) Look out for a sensorius cork
floor installation on a bridge over the Medieval
Gallery by FAT. Swarovski has used its financial
muscle to draft in some big names, like Tom Dixon,

04/09/2013 13:17

london design festival 2013

10

to use its lenses to spotlight specific items in


the collection. Watch out also for the winner
of the competition to design a new chair for the
Bodleian Library, Oxford. vam.ac.uk 6 ZigZag:
CrissCross Literally one of the most colourful
characters on the UK design scene, Bethan Laura
Wood has taken her inspiration from the land
of turquoise and the revolutionary mural, Mexico,
and married it to the urban detail of London,
for her show Zigzag:Crisscross at The Aram Gallery.
thearamgallery.org 7 southbank Centre Head
over to the Southbank for a number of draws
including a very big Mathmos lamp. Designers Block

is making the area its home again this year, along


with its Fifth Element show, which is promising to
be highly experimental (see Blueprint for the Future,
page 43. Sylvain lampshade by Beth Lewis-Williams
pictured). verydesignersblock.com, mathmos.com
8 refuelling Done properly, LDF is a gruelling
event, so take a break for a spot of refuelling my
choice has to be the micro-brewery bar pop-up from
TfL and Camden Town Brewery, plus Modus furniture
with some definitely non-standard moquette
upholstery (pictured) at Design Junction. Theres an
interesting-sounding international street food offer on
the ground floor, where youll also find our Blueprint

B330-045-F-Ldf ph.indd 2

for the Future 3D printing (not to mention partially 3D


printed) stand. thedesignjunction.co.uk/eat
9 twinZ Launched in Milan earlier this year, the UK
gets a closer look at the Renault Twinz concept car
designed by Ross Lovegrove, elements of which are
likely to feature in next years Twingo. See it at the
Design Museum and while there take in the Designers
in Residence show (page 48) and The Future is Here.
designmuseum.org 10 endless stair London
Design Festival organiser Ben Evans confesses to
having a penchant for the grand gesture, and this
year its the MC Escher-inspired, dRMM-designed
Endless Stair outside Tate Modern. drmm.co.uk

04/09/2013 13:17

Elegance.
Nothing else.
Today, a good product is not just
about a great design, its about life,
its about people. Bringing emotional
value and quality time is the key
characteristic of the Fusion table.
Built with Know-How to entertain,
the Fusion table has indeed exactly
what it takes to create those unique
memorable moments for you, your
family and guests.

fusiontables.com

Untitled-2 1

UK agent : Mocha Furniture


www.mocha-furniture.co.uk

[fusiontables

by Aramith

London Showroom
Spiralis Europe Ltd.
22 Commercial St,
London E1 6LP. United Kingdom
T +44 (0)20 7247 8296

02/09/2013 15:04

CURATED DIARY
Eva Franch i Gilabert

Director, Storefront for Art and Architecture, New York

Resilience: U3 seventh tRienial


of contempoRaRy aRt

lisbon aRchitectURe tRiennale

MG+MSUM, LjUbLjana, SLovenia


Until 29 September
The Seventh Triennial of Contemporary art U3
revolves around the topic resilience. if architecture
has at its core the task of articulating and learning
from all other fields and disciplines in order to
construct the collective aspirations of its time, then
architecture needs a dose of Resilience perhaps
now more than ever. Curated by nataa Petreinbachelez, Resilience features an incredible roster
of artists and world citizens set on changing and
challenging the norms. u3trienale.mg-lj.si

LiSbon, PoRTUGaL
Until 15 December
Fbrica brao de Prata, a former gun factory that
sits next to some of the now too-common ruins
of the urban development bubble, is the site for
an alternative space of cultural production, directed
by professor of Philosophy nuno nabais. While
the project has been ongoing during the past five
years, this autumn the factory will also be a site for
some of the associated projects within the Lisbon
architecture Triennale Close, Closer (page 169).
i will be there, together with the Storefront
international Series. close-closer.com

3 behind the GReen dooR:


oslo aRchitectURe tRiennale

oSLo, noRWay
19 September-1 December
This years iteration of the oslo architecture
Triennale, behind the Green Door, aims to tear
down the illusory edifices that architects and
designers have built around the issue of
sustainability and restart a conversation that is
perhaps one of the few relevant conversations to be
had nowadays. Curated by the imaginative and
critical belgian studio, Rotor (below), it promises to
be a real space of provocation and discussion.
i will be there. oslotriennale.com

B330-048-F-Diary-ph.indd 2

04/09/2013 13:38

Franch is an architect, researcher, curator, teacher,


and founder in 2003 of OOAA (office of
architectural affairs). At Storefront, her most recent
projects include exhibitions such as POP ProtocolsObsessions-Positions, and launching the Storefront
International Series. She has lectured internationally
on art, architecture and the importance of
alternative practices in the construction and
understanding of public life. storefrontnews.org

AndrEs JAquE: diffErEnt Kinds of


WAtEr Pouring into A sWimming Pool

LOS AngeLeS, USA


20 September-14 November
named after Hockneys 1965 painting, this show
from Andrs Jaque of the Office for Political
Innovation (Blueprint 328, June 2013) will unveil
personal stories about the use of water. These
stories reveal and expose the desires embedded
in the collective imagination of Angelenos. The
political implications of the domesticities that
Jaques work exposes are far more telling than
the surveys of analytical data that politicians or
decision-makers like to observe. redcat.org

SAO PAULO, BrAzIL


28 September-24 November
with the upcoming world Cup and $13bn in
investment planned across the country, a vast
cultural, social and physical territory is undergoing
rapid transformation, coupled with civic protest,
creating a radical spaces for reflection about
globalising forces, development and progress. In
the meantime, check out the 10th Sao Paulo
Architecture Biennale, which will be trying to raise
awareness about the process of construction and
destruction. I will be there. iabsp.org.br

new YOrk, USA


1-24 November
This biannual event that indiscriminately
transgresses disciplinary, physical and moral
borders, will once again invade the city for the
best part of november. Performing Architectures,
a series of site-specific installations commissioned
by Storefront for Art and Architecture, will bring
the temporality of performance, together with the
duration and conscience embedded in architectural
practice, to address issues of vacancy, pollution,
gender and communication. I will be there!
performa-arts.org

City WAys of mAKing, WAys of using:


sAo PAulo ArChitECturE BiEnnAlE

PErformA 13

B330-048-F-Diary-ph.indd 3

04/09/2013 13:39

DESIGNERS IN RESIDENCE

Nowadays new interactive surfaces have made


everyday objects multifunctional and fun to engage
with. My interests are within these reactive
technologies that have now enabled normal
interfaces with new functions and new possibilities
to be responsive and sensually stimulating.
In this residency, I am introducing future
products and environments redefining the role of
surfaces, which offer a new physical experience and
identity. Im developing surfaces made of flexible
materials, which will be used to create a wallembedded light and Hi-Fi system and in doing so
hoping to create new aesthetic possibilities as well.
In detail, I am exploring how new surfaces can
integrate within our product interfaces, delivering
tactility and responsiveness through engaging
touch with the product or environment.

Thomas ThwaiTEs
I want to change my life. I want to be happy with
what Ive got, I want to derive pleasure from
wholesome activity, I want to be satisfied by the
little things, I want to be calmer, more stable, more
fufilled. In short I want to change my self.
Neuroscience is relegating our powers of
conscious decision-making to the shadows, and
elevating the role of our influences. To change myself

B330-050-F-DesinRes-ph2NEW.indd 1

tucker was on the panel that chose


the current crop of designers who
benefit from 6,000 to continue
their design investigations. here
they explain what they will be doing

I need to change the influences Im exposed to, and


that means taking control of what I see, what I hear
and what I can do. So, Im making several objects
that will gradually impose restrictions on my life,
changing the path of least resistance, so that it
leads not to temptation, but to fulfilment.
This residency is an opportunity for me to
explore some long-standing questions, such as
whether its possible to engineer change in
ourselves, or even in the common aspirations of
a culture, and whether the consciousness we think
of as the self the part of us that makes choices
about what we should do is really in control,
or if its really just a useful illusion.

casting. This is a story in which the search for


identity is a journey told through anobsessive,
intimate, and highly personal practice of design.

adam naThaniEl Furman


Im making a contemporary museum of creativity
for a particular individual, a designer who is in love
with technology, mass media and pop culture, but
who is searching for depth and meaning, and is
doing so in precisely those cultural areas, through
the production of objects.
Identity Parade will be a personalised cabinet
of curiosities filled with new products, all of which
are to be made using only 3D printing and slip
1 (from left) Eunhee Jo, Thomas Thwaites,
Adam Nathaniel Furman, Chloe Meineck

ChloE mEinECk
My particular interest in this years theme of
Identity is when a persons identity becomes cloudy
or confused. On the residency I am developing The
Music Memory Box for people with dementia. The
box supports someones sense of their own identity
through the use of familiar music, treasured objects,
embedded technologies and storytelling.
It is a kit that families will complete with their
loved ones who have dementia. The kit comprises
a box, into which small trinkets are put, all tagged
with an RFID (radio frequency identification)
sticker, so that when put in the middle of the box,
they set off an individual piece of music. The latest
prototype contains a Raspberry Pi kit inside and Im
exploring the different methods people can use to
upload content to the box, experimenting with the
boxs manufacture and also testing the box and kit
on people.
I hope that through my project, people will
better understand dementia and see that people
with it should be at the forefront of care, while also
seeing the potential of this product and the
potential in embedded networked technologies.

PhotograPhy by JohNNy tUCKEr

EunhEE Jo

always a good place to spot


emerging talent, the Designers in
residence exhibition opens at the
Design Museum in London this
September. blueprint editor Johnny

04/09/2013 13:19

VOLA Round Series. Discreetly efficient. Visibly VOLA.

Discreetly efficient. Visibly VOLA.


Our paper towel dispenser and waste bin may be new,
but they follow a longstanding principle. Each is true to our
timeless design and functionality. Together, they show that
the bathroom or washroom can now be pure, 100% VOLA.

VOLA International Studio I 32-36 Great Portland Street I London W1W 8QX I Tel: 020 7580 7722 I sales@vola.co.uk I www.vola.com
VOLA UK Ltd. I Highfield House I 108 The Hawthorns I Flitwick MK45 1FN I Tel: 01525 84 11 55 I sales@vola.co.uk I www.vola.com
Untitled-2 1

02/08/2013 14:24

One of the most successful innovations to come out of the Black Forest.

Blueprint_adaption_496x328_DP_EN.indd
Untitled-2 2
1-2

05/09/2013 09:03

And a cuckoo clock.

The difference is Gaggenau.


In the Black Forest, some things never change others
have been evolving since 1683. Innovation has become
a tradition for us ever since our company was founded as
a hammer and nail works, along with unique design that
is highly regarded the world over. Such as the ovens 400
series, shown here with oven, Combi-steam oven and
warming drawer a combination that unites cutting-edge
technology and premium materials with super ior design.
Our appliances have been constantly evolving since 1683.
The only thing that stays the same is that they just keep
looking better and better.
For more information and a list of partners, please dial
0844 8929026 or visit www.gaggenau.co.uk. Alternatively,
please visit our showroom at: 40 Wigmore Street, London,
W1U 2RX.

Untitled-2 3

05/09/2013
04.04.1309:03
15:18

056 072

104 116

150 160

As Mecanoos long-awaited new


Birmingham library opens, Herbert
Wright speaks to founding partner
Francine Houben about her hopes
for the building

Author Philip Pullman explores the


splendid world of Soviet Union-era
illustrated childrens books

As the Scandinavian duo prepares


to open the doors on its installation
at the V&A, the self-declared artworld outsiders talk to Shumi Bose

Robe and Crown

074 090

Snow Business

Photographer James Morris


documents his journey to visit the
Halley VI research station in its
breathtaking arctic location, while
Johnny Tucker talks to its designer,
Hugh Broughton Architects
092 102

Kengo Kuma

Clare Farrow talks to Kengo Kuma


and discovers how his exposure to
traditional and modern Japanese
architecture has shaped his vision

Inside the Rainbow

Elmgreen & Dragset

118 126

Neville Brody

Discussing tactics and typology,


Veronica Simpson talks to Neville
Brody one of the great gurus
of graphic design
128 136

The New Reality

As technology starts to catch up


with the long-awaited promise of
augmented reality, James Bridle
explores Luma 3Di and a virtual
world of architecture

162 170

Post Worlds End


Architecture: Portugal

The third in our Worlds End series


spotlights Portugal, as Gonzalo
Herrero Delicado and Vera Sacchetti
investigate the new wave of architects
hoping to reclaim the civic domain

138 148

Between Heaven and Earth


Herbert Wright reports from this
years CTBUH conference, and talks
to Zhang Yue about his BROAD
Groups controversial plans for
a vertical city for 30,000 people

54

B330-054-P-Play contents PH.indd 54

04/09/2013 09:09

PLAY

55

B330-054-P-Play contents PH.indd 55

04/09/2013 09:10

Robe and CRown


Words Herbert Wright
Photography Paul Raftery

56

B330-056-P-Mecanoo PH.indd 56

04/09/2013 09:12

Its brutalist predecessor divided opinion in the city,


but the new, 189m Library of Birmingham triumphs
as a building of the 21st century. It should also
be a building for the next century, hopes
architect Mecanoos Francine Houben

57

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04/09/2013 09:12

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04/09/2013 09:12

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04/09/2013 09:13

Ooooo... read the busy lines of 5,357 overlapping


aluminium circles, zinging across the hypnotic filigree frieze
mounted around the 189m Library of Birmingham. Ooh!
visitors will surely react, encountering the electric exhilaration
it offers outside and in. But dont say an ooh when speaking
the name of new librarys Dutch architect Mecanoo it is
pronounced like the hobby kit Meccano, which inspired its
founding group of architecture students at Delfts University
of Technology (TUDelft) in 1984.
Francine Houben is the last of the gang still there, and now
leads a 115-strong practice. The Mecanoo office in Delft occupies
a converted canalside convent hospital. In its airy gothic-arched
meeting room, the surprisingly soft-spoken Houben declares:
I like to create unforgettable spaces. She has nothing of the
dark intensity of OMAs Rem Koolhaas, or the mischievous
hints of MVRDVs Winy Maas, but like her fellow Netherlanders
from those nearby Rotterdam-based practices, she talks with
a considered earnestness, and she too commands a global
portfolio. Around the room are models of key projects such as
Arnhems National Heritage Museum (2000), walled by a
143m-long quilt of different brick and stoneworks facing a
metallic boulder-shaped hall; the 139m-high Montevideo (2005),
a distinctive exercise in stack architecture among Rotterdam
towers by the likes of Foster, OMA and Siza; and the Wei-Wu-Ying
Arts Center in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, under a great 225m x 160m
undulating magic carpet-like roof, now under construction.
Miesian rectlinearity and millennial fluidity, transparency and
organic materiality, villas and towers is there a common
thread? Houben claims there is no Mecanoo style, but rather
you recognise our work, its more an attitude that a form-style...

its tactile, its multidisciplinary, its human. Does being a


woman make a difference as an architect? After 50, I started
thinking Im different, she replies. I think more intuitively,
more personally. Sometimes the men dont like it.
She quoted John Lennons line intuition takes me
everywhere in one of her books, but from what starting point?
Houben cites Max Risselade, a very humanistic Delft professor
known for his research on modernism, as a very good teacher.
He worked with the legendary Brazilian humanist-modernist
Lina Bo Bardi, an inspiration for Houben, and he also
introduced Houben to Charles and Ray Eames. She met them
in Los Angeles, shortly before Charles died in 1978. It was like
coming home, seeing such a free way of working, she recalls,
this humanity and friendliness and timelessness.
If any project put Mecanoo on the map, it was TUDelfts
Library, completed in 1997. There, a white cone thrusts upwards
through a lawn which slopes, like the soft hills of the southern
Netherlands where she was brought up, to form a green roof.
She explains that the cone fixes it and is a symbol of the
rationality of the university. Inside, natural light floods through
both inclined glazed curtain walls reaching to the sweeping arc
of the roof, and a skylight around the cone. Theres a sensuous
curviness there, like Saarinens TWA Terminal, JFK (1962). The
cone floats above the floor, revealing from underneath rings of
internal workspaces, connected via angled gangways (perhaps
recalling Bo Bardis SESC Pompia, 1977) to a great plane of
books, floating before a wall of vibrant blue. Houben refers
to the colour as Mecanoo blue, and reveals that its a stage paint
she first used in a theatre set design.
Natural light, curved voids, paths reaching through open

1 (previous page) The


Library of Birmingham
from Centenary Square
2 The filigree metalwork
screen honours the crafts
and industrial legacy
of Birmingham
3 The Library of Delfts
University of Technology is
green-roofed and naturally lit
with skylight and glazing
4 Francine Houben,
founding partner and
creative director of Mecanoo

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5 Bookshelves radiate from


the Book Rotunda across the
massive floorplates
6 A glass lift rises towards
the skylight
7 The Book Rotunda

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10

8 (previous page) Stacked


and staggered rotundas
create dramatic spatial
revelations

9 The William Shakespeare


Memorial Room
10 North-south section
11 East-west section
illustrating Buro Happolds
airflow simulation

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space and that Mecanoo blue are among design touches shared
between the 15,000sq m TUDelft and 29,000sq m Birmingham
library. Billed as a Peoples Palace and engineered by Buro
Happold, the latter sits between T Cecil Howitts imposing stone
office building, the grade II Baskerville House (1938), and the
RIBA Award-winning Birmingham Repertory Theatre (Rep) by
Graham Winteringham (1971). The new project has connected
the library and Rep, which has been partially remodelled inside.
Houben comments, we kept the Rep as its own architectonic
statement. Like three graces, they face Centenary Square, but
the Library dominates, rising in three layered rectilinear
volumes, clad in bands of blue and gold. The window strips are
behind a filigree screen of circles, whose perhaps feminine effect
is not unlike Louis Vuittons broderie anglaise. The library is
topped at 60m with a gold drum (Houbens pice de
rsistance), which now houses the relocated, wood-lined
Shakespeare Memorial Room (1882) by John Henry Chamberlain.
The composition is like a stack of giant fancy-wrapped gift boxes,
with a golden hatbox on top.
The filigree honours Birminghams long tradition of
craftsmanship, particularly that of its Jewellery Quarter.
Mounted 90cm from the cladding, its structure is overlapping
black circles 5.8m across, overlaying shiny circles of 1.8m.
A concrete frame rises from bedrock on circular columns
on a 7.2m square grid and two service cores. The double-height
Mecanoo blue foyer is entered under an 11m-cantilever.
Immediately, the Librarys internal spatial drama lifts the eye
upwards, following unfeasibly long escalators strip-lit in blue.
The first escalators rise into clear space over the Childrens
Library and above them is a series of stacked and staggered

contiguous circular voids. Together they make an astonishing


space of cathedral-like scale, with clear yet displaced
geometries. Its also a vertical funnel providing natural
ventilation to supplement HVAC. I wanted to seduce people
with the sequence of rotundas, says Houben.
The first escalators reach the business and learning floor,
where skills like using computers and making CVs are on offer,
and meeting rooms hang over Centenary Square. Look up and
behold: the great Book Rotunda. The 24m-wide, three-storey
drum lined with books is as majestic as Sydney Stirkes 1857
British Museum Reading Room (which Houben confesses she
never saw). A second escalator pair reaches its base, and from
it the expanse of Reader Services stretches into the cantilever.
On this floor, the ceiling lights are halos. Bookshelves radiate
from the Book Rotunda, which is crossed by yet another
escalator pair to the Discovery Floor, with a cafe and gallery.
A great L-shaped public Discovery Terrace hangs over
Centenary Square, commanding views across the city dominated
by Seiferts 100m-high Alpha House (1973). Arcs of wooden
benches sit among garden islands containing 3500 plants,
landscaped by Mecanoo. Here, Houben picks a succulent
raspberry for Blueprint, commenting Birmingham is a very
green city, just not in the city centre, not yet.
Sloping travelators cross to the highest level of the Book
Rotunda, which opens into a narrower rotunda penetrating two
levels of enclosed archive spaces. Renderings show its surface
as a grid of photo portraits, but for now, it is white, with a lift
in a clear tube climbing to offices on the seventh level. Outside
that is the Secret Garden, facing north and east, with 5500
plants, some planted for the crisis-striken bees of Birmingham.

11

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Ground floor

Level 1

Level 2

Level 3

Level 4

Level 7

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13

14

12 The floorplans
13 The REP to the left
of the library
14 Baskerville House
to the right of the library

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15

16

15 Discovery Terrace
extends some 11m out over
Centenary Square
16 The 5,357 filigree screen
circles are aluminium

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17

17 The filigree screen


viewed from within

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18

Above both green terraces, 160 species were selected jointly with
Buro Happold. The uppermost and narrowest rotunda rises two
storeys through office and mechanical levels, to the circular
skylight set in a smaller roof cylinder, next to the Shakespeare
room. On the lower ground, a bank of giant yellow steps for
events faces the Childrens Library, which extends to an 18m-wide
circular amphitheatre for musical performances, sunk into the
central one of three palazzos laid by Mecanoo across Centenary
Square. It is reminiscent of Kisho Kurokawas van Gogh Museum
in Amsterdam (1999). The stainless steel circles inlaid in its floor
echo those of the buildings filigree above.
Acoustics were a key consideration, but Houben says,
we didnt want to make it a silent library. She adds mercurially,
Its essential to have a piano in the building, although I didnt
spot it. Rod Manson, regional director of Buro Happold,
highlights the challenge of reverberation in the open-plan areas:
A lot of acoustic modelling was done. The solution is surface
finishes and absorbent materials incorporated in ceilings.
Delfts sustainable green roof was ahead of its time.
Birminghams library, too, is highly sustainable, earning
a BREEAM Excellent rating, which Mason says is down
to a lot of things, including grey-water reuse and biodiversity.
Low-energy lighting, a CHP unit, part-natural ventilation and
drawing on an aquifer for cooling make energy demands
40 per cent less than those required by regulations.
What of the old Central Library at nearby Paradise Circus
by John Madin (Blueprint 314, May 2012)? The manly inverted
brutalist ziggurat, completed in 1972, has dramatically divided
opinion, and thrice been refused heritage listing. Before it shut,
its interiors were claustrophobic and dilapidated, natural light

through its central atrium ineffective, and its toilets graced with
discarded beer cans. Nevertheless, an internal excitement cut
through its heavy massings, and bright eateries animated its
atrium. Demolition is imminent. Asked not to comment by
Birmingham City, Houben nevertheless notes its similarity to
Kallman, McKinnell and Knowles Boston City Hall (1968). She
went in many times, she reports, and admits of course its
special, but its very complicated with the public space around
it. She adds that people need daylight. Its not good for a library
to be dark inside. One Birmingham librarian went a little
further, saying: It was like a coffin.
Shakespeare wrote in The Tempest, Whats past is
prologue, and Mecanoos libraries are about the future. At the
new library, Houben remarks: People say its a building of the
21st century. It should be a building for the 22nd century! Many
of the expected 10,000 daily visitors will be the young, who are
the citys future. Observing building users behaviour is inherent
in Houbens methodology, and she appeals to the young with
spaces they will want to be in. Libraries are the cathedrals
of these times, declares Houben, contrasting them with less
socially inclusive Bilbao-effect art galleries.
Give me my robe, put on my crown; I have immortal
longings in me, commanded Shakespeares Cleopatra. The
words could be Birminghams. Robed in its delicate, fine
filigree and crowned in gold, the Library is visible for miles,
robust and regal. Internally, it is a masterpiece of flow and
openness. The city that has played fast and loose with its past
has already been redefined by Houbens creation. While the
Library cannot offer Birmingham immortality, it should at
least fulfil its longing for a future of culture and learning.
18 John Madins Central
Library, with Richard Seiferts
Alpha house behind

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function. The synchronised mechanism ensures healthy sitting. For that special comfort of modern leadership. Design: EOOS.
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Untitled-2
1
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Blueprint.indd 1

03/09/2013
15:49
03.09.13 15:18

SNOW BUSINESS
Words James Morris and Johnny Tucker
Photography James Morris

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In February and March of this year, photographer


James Morris made the arduous journey to the Brunt
Ice Shelf in the Antarctic to photograph the Halley VI
scientific research station designed by Hugh Broughton
Architects and AECOM. Before he went we asked him to
document the journey for us in words and pictures, as
youll see in the next few breathtaking pages, while
later on we look at the project itself

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1 (previous page) Big Red,


the communal hub, is flanked
by accommodation, science
labs, doctors surgery,
comms centre and two
energy plants
2 The converted Douglas
DC3 on which Morris makes
the final leg of his journey to
the Brunt Ice shelf

3 A crew member sleeps as


the Ilyushin II-76 high-wing
cargo plane heads south
from Cape Town

I am the sole passenger on the Russian-built Iljushin II-76,


a high-wing cargo plane with rough-field take-off and landing
capabilities. The rear is packed full of freight, the toilets are
blue plastic portable loos strapped to the fuselage, national
flags drape the sides of the interior and there are no windows.
The all-Russian crew and I are heading south from Cape Town
to Antarctica.
An hour before landing I am instructed to climb into my
Antarctic gear layers of thermals and fleece, an insulated boiler
suit, huge and clumsy double-lined boots, hat and wrap-around
shades. With extraordinary precision the pilot lands this colossus
on the blue-ice runway at the Russian base of Novo, and I bounce
out into the pristine, blinding brightness of the Antarctic
landscape with all the enthusiasm of an excited child.
The intensity of light and expanse of white is more striking
than the cold. I take out my Leica M8 camera and start to
snap. Within minutes a malfunction message comes on the
screen; the black metal body has sucked in the freezing
temperature and the advanced German engineering has failed.
My greatest concern how my photographic equipment would
stand up has been realised.
Within a couple of hours I am aboard a much smaller Basler
Turbo 67, a conversion of the beautiful 60-year-old Douglas DC3,
equipped with polar survival equipment, fuel and provisions
to last crew and me a week, should it be necessary (should we
be so lucky). We are flying low across the bleached wilderness
of this last unspoilt continent only the occasional rise of a
far-off mountain disturbs an endless flatness. The eye can only
focus on the intricate textured detail of the wind-blown snow;
dunes, mounds, ripples, ridges, grooves, zastrugi.
We land briefly at the South African and German bases
to drop off lettuce and goggles. After six hours flying, having
burned 18 barrels of fuel, the British Antarctic Surveys Halley
VI research station starts to appear in the far distance;
a silhouetted, microscopic caterpillar crawling deliberately
across the vast barren ice shelf.
A small welcoming party transports me by Ski-doo to the
newly completed base that stands, a century and a million miles

on from Scotts hut, like a gravity-bound space train on ski-clad


legs curious, fascinating and unlike any other structure I have
seen. Inside a small party is taking place for scientists and crew
who arrived 15 months previously in November 2011 and
who, having not travelled much more than a kilometre from
here since then, and having lived through the darkness and
battering of a polar winter, will leave aboard the same plane
in the morning weather permitting. Whether its the alcohol
or the timescale I cant be sure, but there is a slightly manic
air about them, like caged animals wanting to break free.
The first day starts with a farewell to those leaving and an
introduction to the base and its procedures for me. I am given
the full tour and a run-through of the rules and regulations, of
which there are many. Despite the fact that 24-hour sunshine
has only just ended, a fixed daily routine is adhered to for all.
Breakfast at 7:30, smoko at 10, lunch 1, tea break 4, evening meal
7. It varies slightly on Sundays. Two bottles of beer are allowed
per day, no spirits are available but everyone knows that crates
of them exist in the doctors lock-up. There are no other locks in
the whole building, apart from the toilets perhaps the only
multimillion pound building anywhere for which locks are
entirely redundant.
Of the 50 or so people at the base there are only four
working scientists, and only one woman, the base commander.
Most are construction workers, mechanics, machine drivers and
their managers. This season they have already dismantled and
shipped out the old research base that the moving ice shelf had
moved too close to the edge of the continent; they have
completed the new base (nearly); they have built workshops;
upgraded the overspill accommodation block; maintained
a huge fleet of vehicles, and shifted thousands of the tonnes
of snow that build up round the base when the winds blow,
all in sub-zero temperatures.
Nervously I set out to test my other equipment; thankfully
my digital monorail camera does not suffer the problems of the
hand-held Leica. Battery life is shortened by the cold, but
otherwise all works well. On the morning of my second day I
look from the window and all is white; white ground, white sky,

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a soft white light and almost no visible contrast. Outside the air
and temperature are exhilarating, any tiredness is blown away.
As the day goes on the wind picks up, carrying with it a haze of
snow and lowering visibility. The base station and surrounding
satellite structures become abstracted in this nothingness.
From then on the weather differs daily. The warmest a mild
-5C, with clear blue skies. Then a serious blow with a windchill of
-28C and snow-filled air. On the white days a curious darkness
hovers where the cloud reaches the snow line, maybe a reflection
of the far-off sea. One time an inverted mirage can be seen on the
horizon of upturned ice cliffs that are in reality 30km away.
In my warm, clumsy boots and insulated orange boiler suit
I work my way around the base, responding to the light and
landscape of each day. The main structure boldly dominates;
around it are workshops and storage bunkers to the north and
science cabooses on stilts to the south. Both have a simple
functionality next to the architectural drama of the new base.
Carpenters work in shipping containers on skis. Instruments
measuring levels of carbon dioxide, methane and water vapour
sit next to ozone monitors in cabins that look like the retreat
of a comic-book scientist. Strangely the cold does not really feel
so, not in the same way it does at home the air is so dry and
more bearable. My chemical hand warmers remain unused.
For 20 minutes at a time a pair of fine silk gloves is sufficient
for operating the manual camera controls, before my fingers
throb and need proper protection again.

One night I chose to sleep out in a tent a kilometre or so


from the base. Though the temperature drops to -17C the
sleeping bag keeps me warm and I sleep like a baby. When I
wake I know it is later than the time I have set for my alarm.
When I look at my iPhone it displays the message The
temperature is too hot for the device to function properly.
Inside the base is warm and comfortable, so much so that
it is possible to forget where I am. I photograph the spaces in
turn. There is a bar, TV room, reading room, gym, canteen,
shower rooms, washing machine rooms, workshops, offices,
doctors surgery, science laboratories and machine rooms for
generating, melting snow and processing sewage. The bedrooms
are bunked, like a ships cabin. I share with a Mancunian session
musician who doubles as an electrician.
Meals are huge; one could put on a lot of weight. The chef
single-handedly feeds 50 hungry men and one woman three full
meals a day. Mealtimes are a time to talk and get to know the
crew. The sound of the chat is rich in its diversity and variety,
every accent from across the British Isles seems represented
here. As in every institution there is gossip and complaining
aplenty, mainly concerning the pay and the powers-that-be.
But these men keep coming back, year after year, for the
uniqueness of the place. The crew of the Basler pass by again
on their way back to Canada, the last plane to leave the
continent before winter. They have just finished rescuing
a frostbitten Ranulph Fiennes. JM

4 A cut-away design
drawing of the large red
communal module
5 Cut-away drawing of one
of the science modules

6 Halley VI has been


designed to be jacked up
annually to keep it above the
ice level and is on skis so that
periodically it can be dragged
back to its original position,
compensating for the ice
shelf moving 40m a year

IMAGES 4 & 5 7-T

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7 (previous page) Halley VI


sits on stilts on top of the
150m-thick Brunt ice shelf
8 Energy module 2 and the
bridge used, which has
become a shortcut to work

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While photographer James Morris was battling


with the elements across the Antarctic wastes,
Johnny Tucker put on his warmest jacket and
trekked through the sub-arctic conditions of
London in May, to the office of Hugh Broughton
Architects near Hammersmith
A chance encounter with a radio programme about a
competition to design an Antarctic research station led Hugh
Broughton Architects to enter into something that, by its own
admission, the firm was thoroughly unqualified for.
Practice founder Hugh Broughton followed up the brief and
found that his four-strong practice, at home doing museum and
office refurbishment projects, didnt really fit any of the criteria
called for. That didnt stop him: his imagination had been fired.
But meeting at the competition launch with an engineer friend
led to him eventually teaming up with AECOM, where there was
plenty of experience of extreme-weather projects, and so a
competition entry was born.
That was in 2004, and this year the Halley VI research
station was officially opened. Right now the 16-strong project
team is in the thick of it, 16,000km away from the UK, cut off in
a Southern Hemisphere winter where the temperatures will
reach a low as -56C, with winds of up to 160kmph. Even in the
summer the temperature never rises above freezing. In February
a supply ship brought in food and it wont be back now until
their summer starts, in December.
This RIBA-run competition for the British Antarctic Survey,
part of the Natural Environmental Research Council and
ultimately funded by the Governments department of business,
innovation and science, was a little different from the norm.
After making it through to a final shortlist of three, with Michael
Hopkins with Expedition, and Lifschutz Davison with Buro
Happold, each entrant was then given 400,000 to develop and
test their ideas to the limit to make sure they would perform
in the field or rather, on the ice.
So they spent more than 1m, 800,000 of which they

didnt get back, but it meant that when they chose the winner,
they could be 100 per cent sure about the final scheme. It was
also one of those rare occasions where nobody had done
it before, so it was a relatively level playing field, but I never
thought in my wildest dreams that we would win. He was driven
to enter nonetheless: I really like very wild places. I also like
no-nonsense briefs for projects, and this was very indepth and
it was very straight talking and well-written. You could look
at it and see that a good design could evolve from it. Plus, it is
in an absolutely mind-blowingly exciting location. The emptiness
of it is very inspiring. When we did win we celebrated big time!
The reason a new research station was needed is that the
chosen site is on the 150m-thick Brunt ice shelf over water,
which moves towards the sea at a rate of 40m a year. Halley V
had passed a fault point where it is now in danger of floating off
into the sea on a giant iceberg. So putting the station somewhere
else, over land perhaps, would seem to be one answer. This spot,
however, has been chosen very precisely, as 75 degrees latitude
is where the Suns rays hit the Earth most perfectly for observation.
The UK has been gathering atmospheric information from
this spot for more than 50 years, including observing the ozone
layer. It was from Halley IV back in 1985 that an Earth-changing
discovery was made by three UK scientists the hole in the
ozone layer. So this is the only site for the research station and
its also an area where snow levels rise by more than a metre a
year. Static buildings are soon buried the fate of Halleys I-IV
as they also inexorably move seaward.
So key to the brief for the new station was that it should
be moveable so that it could be towed back into position, and
jackable to raise it above the snow level every year. Hugh

HALLEY VI
1

1 Science module 2
The unit includes the key
upper meteorological
observation deck

3 Energy module 2
Two identical plant rooms
have been created in case
one should fail

5 Big Red
The open-plan communal
area for recreation, eating
and drinking (two beers, max)

7 Sleeping module 1
This contains eight separate
rooms, with bunk beds for
doubling up when needed

2 Science module 1
The roof rack allows for
installation of specialist
science equipment

4 Energy 1
Not having a handy national
grid to plug into, Halley VI
generates all of its energy

6 Command module
This includes a small
operating room for medical
emergencies

8 Sleeping module 2
Bedrooms and bathrooms
were prefabricated in Hull and
dropped into pods on site

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Broughtons answer to these and the other design requirements


were two kinds of modular, steel-framed, high-performance,
GRP-skinned prefabricated pods, on hydraulic legs finished
off with skis. There are seven blue modules, which house the
sleeping quarters, science labs, doctors surgery, communication
centre and energy plant (two, in case one breaks down). The
pods are aerodynamically chamfered to use the wind to actually
scoop out the snow from under the pods when placed
perpendicular to the main angle of wind. The ends of each
module are small decompression zones, with views out. Then
theres Big Red, a central communal hub, with everything from
a restaurant to a pool table. A climbing wall was dropped from
the original plan, as was a hydroponic greenhouse.
Broughton carried out a great deal of research into how
people behaved in these stations and found that rooms were
separate behind doors in which cliques tended to form and
individuals even became isolated, wandering up and down
corridors. He wanted open-plan communal living in the main
hub. This pod was also seen as a key factor in bringing in the
top scientists, in much the way top universities try to attract
the brightest students by having the best facilities. In fact,
when financial push came to shove as these thing inevitably
do, it was the scientists who fought to keep all the key Big Red
facilities in place, says Broughton.
The interior looks like an airline business lounge, while the
food area becomes more canteen-like and the sleeping
arrangements are a snug, halls of residence. Broughton chose
Lebanese cedar as cladding around a spiral staircase in Big Red,
as it continues to give off a scent after processing important

because there are no smells in the Antarctic, except those


produced by people. A colour psychologist created a spring
palette of bright colours to help ward off seasonal affective
disorder, since the winter also includes a stretch of a 105-day
night, when the sun never comes up over the horizon.
Part of the research also found that, to vary their day, the
scientists actually valued the idea of a walk to work. The
sleeping quarters are at one end and the labs the other. In
the centre there is an exterior bridge separating the two plant
modules in case of fire. Broughton provided staircases either
side of the plant modules, allowing scientists to get suited and
booted, walk out on to the ice to the other side, disrobe and get
on with their working day. The reality is, though, they now walk
through the plant room and make a T-shirted dash across the
bridge to the other side!
Halley VI was constructed next to Halley V for support and
accommodation, then each pod dragged 15km back to the
original site and reassembled into a line. In all, Hugh Broughton
Architects visited the site three times (each involving a 10-day
voyage from the tip of South America). The bedroom modules
were fully prefabricated in Hull, so snagging those was not too
arduous, while the main pod fabrication was done in Cape
Town, again a far cry from the frozen wastes of the Antarctic.
Looking at these often desolate images, you cant help but
think of the alien-runs-amok-in-icebound-research-station film,
The Thing. When I asked Hugh Broughton if hed watched the
movie he replied: I waited until I got back JT
See Icelab: From Science Fiction to Reality exhibition review, page 74

9 Inside the comms centre


10 Down time in Big Red
11 A view out from the
central module. The
obscured layered windows
use aerogel for insulation

12 Broughton used cedar


that continues to give off
an aroma for the central
modules stairs, to help
compensate for the lack
of smells in the Antarctic

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10
11

12

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14

Heading home
Towards the end of my stay the talk turns to the arrival of
the James Clarke Ross, the ship that will take us home. It has to
be able to dock in one of numerous creeks that change shape
each year, depending on the formation of the sea ice. I Ski-doo
the 25km down to the coast with the base commander for
a recce, towing behind a sledge with equipment and provisions
for five days, should some disaster befall us. The perfect weather
belies the dangers of crevasses hidden under low mounds of
snow. Creek 3 is the chosen site and we plan to start to shift
a seasons waste and unwanted goods from the base. Over
numerous days container after container is hauled on huge
sledges across the blank landscape of the ice shelf to the seas
edge. My final departure is in the back a Snowcat with 10 other
men; the weather so bad it is nearly cancelled. The route is
marked with an oil drum every 200m; there is a short period
when we lose sight of the one behind before we see the next in
line at one point we miss it and in no time are lost in a world
of utter whiteness, completely disorientated. Two days later
the James Clarke Ross departs, leaving a small group of those
staying for the winter waving goodbye from the cliff. We plough
into floes of broken pack ice, with an expected arrival in the
Falkland Islands in nine days time. JM

15

13 (previous page) Halley VI


is a splash of colour in an
otherwise all-white
landscape
14 All food and supplies,
and the research station
itself, have to arrive by boat
during the Antarctic summer
15 The first part of the
return journey from Halley VI
was a nine-day sail to the
Falkland Islands

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Untitled-1 1

16/08/2013 08:14

Kengo Kuma

Sharing the Same ShadowS


words Clare Farrow
Portrait irwin wong

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With lauded works both at home in Japan and further


afield, the architect is keen to express what he sees as
the nature of architecture. He tells Blueprint that he
first learned of it in his familys traditional wooden
house, in a suburb of Tokyo largely being redeveloped
post-war with concrete-box apartment blocks, and is
inspired to apply technology to reinforce the
relationship between architecture and nature

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Kengo Kuma is a little embarrassed to show me a black and white photograph (circa 1959) of a man sitting on the veranda
of a traditional wooden Japanese house. Dressed in a Western-style shirt and jacket, he is smiling as he helps a little boy take off his
coat, uncovering a traditional-style velvet jacket. A structural post, rising to the eaves, makes a play of shadow patterns on the steps,
beside the shadow of the man. The little boy is Kengo Kuma, the man his father.

Kuma speaks of receiving many hints from Japanese


building traditions and gardens, as well as from the ideas of
Frank Lloyd Wright and the Smithsons. But the strongest
influence on this now globally recognised architect was the
Thirties house where he grew up, in Kanagawa, a prefecture
that was heavily bombed in 1945, and underwent rapid
urbanisation: It was an old wooden house in the suburbs of
Tokyo, [which were] newly developed after the war; an aging
house, ordinary, but quintessentially Japanese.
He was very conscious as a child of the difference between
his house of wood, rice paper and interior soil walls, which
would drop particles of earth, like powder, on to the floor, and
the modern concrete-box apartments of his friends, shining with
aluminium and fluorescent lighting: My house felt out of place
at that time. Kuma was impressed by modern technology,
especially the concrete and steel structures designed by Kenzo
Tange for the Tokyo Olympics in 1964. Concrete seemed to be
the future for Japan.
His father, a businessman, was also interested in modernist
architecture, collecting furniture designs by the German-Jewish

architect Bruno Taut, who had fled Berlin in the Thirties and
opened a shop in the Ginza district of Tokyo. His father was
constantly extending and changing their wooden house too,
and Kuma came to realise that it had a freedom lacking in the
apartments of his friends: With this house I learned the nature
of architecture. His choice of phrase is apt.
In Japanese writing, the word for nature, shizen, contains
two characters: the first meaning ones self , the second, the
cycle of the sun, water, and living things; and it is this old
connection between humanity and nature that a traditional
Japanese house encapsulates. The all-important roof resting on
a wooden frame opened up the possibility of non-loadbearing
movable walls, screens, and materials such as paper and textiles.
The wood was used for what Kuma terms its softness, colour,
flexibility, and fragrance, and the human scale was emphasised
by the dimensions of the tatami mat. It was this modular, fluid
concept of space that inspired the symbiotic relationship
between Japanese design and Western modernism.
Walter Gropius went to Japan in 1954 and Le Corbusier is
cited as the primary influence on the Japanese modernist Kenzo
1 (Previous pages)
Kengo Kuma in his studio
2 - A young Kuma with his
father (c.1959), in front of the
traditional wooden home

3, 4, 5, 6 - The FRAC
contemporary art centre
(2013) is a 3D version of the
museum without walls

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1 irwin wong 2 Kengo Kuma 3,4,5,6 K engo Kuma & associates

3
4

5
6

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7,8,9 stephan girard, kengo kuma & associates 10 kengo kuma & associates

10

Tange and the Metabolism movement of the Sixties. Tange


however recognised the gap between advancing technology and
the unchanging human scale, supporting Metabolisms vision of
urban expansion through forms that mirrored organic growth.
For example, Kurokawas Nakagin Capsule Tower (1972) translated
cell patterns into detachable concrete, steel and glass capsules.
Nature was on the agenda, but not in terms of materials.
Formed in the School of Engineering at Tokyo University
and New Yorks Columbia University, Kumas thinking changed
when he was forced by the 1990 economic crisis to leave Tokyo
for the countryside. There he worked with Japanese craftsmen
on small-scale projects, learning to value natural materials
and to rethink architectures connection to humanity: The
Metabolism movement themed on ageing, but it focused only
on the period of growing and expansion. In my design I am
emphasising the aspect of aging, or the time of shrinking. Things
decay and disappear. The role of architecture is to remind
people of this fact, and to show how things can age beautifully.
The idea of impermanence and disappearance is central
to Kumas philosophy, and makes sense in the face of post-war

concrete buildings that have not aged well the residents of


Nakagin Capsule Tower voted in 2007 to demolish it, though the
debate with Kurokawa continues. Kuma says: Permanent
architecture is impossible to begin with. His words also
connect to the human experience of life and mortality, and in
this sense Kumas work is about a kind of material empathy. He
describes concrete as too strong for the human body, instead
proposing weak buildings that correspond to the fragile
presence of humanity.
His experiments with weak materials, including bamboo
and membranes 2011 Mme Meadows Experimental House
(2011) comprises a translucent envelope of Japanese larch and
polyester fluorocarbon membrane can be compared to the
cardboard technology of Shigeru Ban. Both architects share
a profound respect for nature, magnified by the 2011 Japanese
earthquake and tsunami. Kuma says: The natural disasters
made me even more humbled towards nature. Before its
absolute force, you can only respect it and dare to confront
it that is my continuing attitude in designing.
Kuma differs to Ban in that his buildings are not necessarily
7, 8 Besanon Art Centre
and Cit de la Musique,
France (2013)

10 Besanon Art Centre and


Cit de la Musique, France,
west facade

9 The roof is a mosaic of


planting interspersed with
solar, metal and glass panels

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weak through his choice of materials he uses stone,


aluminium and steel plate too but through his breaking down
the structure and materiality into fine particles. He describes
how in Japanese houses the spaces between the small elements
of wood, rice paper, sometimes stone, allow air to enter freely,
and how a materials qualities only become visible when broken
up with emptiness and light. He has spoken before of vertical
lines of rain, citing the artist Utagawa Hiroshiges painting
People on a Bridge Surprised by Rain as an influence on the
Hiroshige Museum of Art he designed in 2000.
I asked him if thought of the structures in nature too
honeycomb, or crystals. Light is the most important element
that exists in nature. When I design, I think carefully how
the light could play and be taken in the structure and its
environment. The idea of honeycomb and other structures is the
result of relationships between the light and the sites nature.
In his Shang Xia store (2012), in Beijing, the interior
structure is a transparent screen, through which colours are
intensified, like a red umbrella in snow: Colour is of course
an important element comprising environments, but I do not
design architecture where colour itself comes first and says
things. For me, materials and their materiality matter more,
and I believe the colour red looks vivid in Shang Xia because
of the extruded aluminium lattice we used.
Kumas theories are evident in two upcoming commercial
projects in Japan: a Taiwanese pastry shop in Tokyo (Pineapple
House, December 2013), in which a diamond-shaped lattice of

hinoki wood screens the building like a canopy of trees; and the
Sogokagu Design Center in Mie prefecture (completing June
2015), in which organic curves and a central ambiguous void
connect the building and nature. Kuma is also experimenting
with display proposals, including suspending furniture designs
in the air and trying to use urethane foam as a finish material
like clouds: What I aim for is not to decrease the relative weight
of the materials, but to remove an air of intimidation. I believe
buildings should not overwhelm people.
The notion of a void is also pivotal in Kumas Besanon Art
Center and Cit de la Musique (2013) in France, in which an
all-enveloping roof unifies the two pre-existing buildings,
forming a shade of trees in-between a space where the wind
from the river can pass through. Using a wood and steel
structure, the roof is a woven mosaic of local wood, stone,
glass and vegetation. In another French project, the FRAC
Museum Marseille (2012), pivoted panels of recycled enamelledglass present like a textile, materialising and dematerialising in
the light a demonstration of Kumas disappearance and
erasure that contrasts to literal transparency. In intimate
transparency, materiality and transparency are inseparable, and
that is the big difference
from modernism, he says.
Kuma has also created a spiral alley in the sky, with sky
stages that connect the FRAC Museum to the city. It seems
poetic, but he is pragmatic when describing it: I do not bring
any particular philosophy or literature into the work of
11 An early impressionistic
sketch for the V&A at Dundee
12 The stratified rocks of
Scotlands Seaton Cliffs
were a clear influence for
the facade

11

11 kengo kuma & associates 12, 13 kengo kuma & associates and the V&a at dundee

13 Render of the Dundee


V&A, due to complete in 2015

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12
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designing. That would not do you any good. I only think of the
relationship between the site and the architecture.
Kumas thinking is exemplified in his design for the V&A
at Dundee, due to be completed in 2015. The angled lines
suggesting origami are in dialogue with the sites waterfront,
though financial and marine engineering factors prevented the
structure from actually floating as Kuma wanted: We thought
that the two axes the line from the town and of the waterfront
would be the key and the design reflects this notion. By the
existence of the screen between the outside and the inside the
sense of transparency is enhanced, which comes back to
intimate transparency. To some eyes this may seem Japanese,
but to others it may feel very contemporary. Glass is definitely
an important material to express water. The Karesansui drylandscape garden uses stone to represent hills and streams
without water, and nowadays glass plays the same part as stone.
As for the V&A located on the waterfront, we imagined a cliff
facing out to sea.
Its a good image to illustrate Kumas own position in
contemporary architecture. A professor at Tokyo University, he
encourages students and colleagues in various kinds of research
and experiments seeking new materials, along with designing,
and an emphasis on sustainability. To keep up with science and
technology is essential in architecture. I would like to see the
development of technology be applied to reinforce the
relationship between architecture and the environment, he
says. One experiment is with bamboo: I rather think bamboo
should be used more in an urban setting. We used bamboo for

the exterior at the Nezu Museum in central Tokyo [2009]. From


our research with experts and past projects, we developed a
system of the bamboo being used as the structure, applying
shaved bamboo to plywood, as well as the material. I would like
to use more bamboo in our projects for cities.
It is in the smallest projects, however, that Kuma has the
most freedom, such as Hojo-an (2012), in Kyoto, a shinto shrine
hut inspired by the poet-monk Kamono Chomei. It is a portable
hut of cedar, ETFE plastic sheets, and magnets in a kind of
tensegrity structure. I am interested in the mobility of buildings
as a human who, like other creatures, keeps moving. What
matters is its lightness and easiness. Because of its materials and
structure, Hojo-an can be built in the reach of human scale.
Does he see architecture then as a kind of shelter? I would
call it a nest, he says. As you see in other living creatures, they
build their nest and the nest also impacts on the animals living
there. It is not only a function to keep you inside. We must
remember that the nest itself has its qualities or characters,
and your mind is influenced by that.
Looking again at the black and white photograph, it seems
that Kumas work is in essence about not forgetting. He shows
that architecture and humanity share the same shadows, light,
nature and space, and it should not be afraid to share the same
fragility and mortality the impetus for life. As if to demonstrate
this, he shows me a new design, for a pavilion at the Chteau la
Coste, Provence, in which a steel spring weaves a path in and
out of the trees, as he concludes, with simple poetry: The spiral
moves according to people walking, and to the wind.
14 Hojo-an (2012-13), a
lightweight portable hut at
the Shimogamo Jinja Shrine,
in Japans Kyoto prefecture

14 Kengo Kuma & associates

14

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08.08.13 14:50
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08/08/2013

INSIDE THE RAINBOW


Words Philip Pullman

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Children of the Soviet Union had a marvellous


treasure trove of illustrated books at their disposal,
a wonderful collection of modern art and expressive
design that somehow made it past the censorious
eye of the authorities. Author Philip Pullman dips into
a new book that has brought many of the best examples
together, and is swept away by the experience

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The world of childrens illustrated books in the first 20


years or so of Soviet rule is almost incomparably rich. What
were they doing, these commissars and party secretaries, to
allow this wonderland of modern art to grow under their very
noses? I expect the rule that applied to childrens books was just
as deeply interiorised in the Soviet Union as it has been in the
rest of the world: they dont matter. They can be ignored.
Theyre not serious.
But if we didnt know it already, we can see from the
evidence so splendidly spread out in these pages that childrens
books are capable of astonishing beauty and an almost
unparalleled range of expressive design.
With so much to look at, ones eye tries to find patterns
or correspondences, to get hold of shapes that rhyme. And one
that leaps out to me is that of the Jumping Jack, the old wooden
toy: you pull a string and his arms and legs shoot out at either
side. That shape, a sort of schematised, simplified human figure,
turns up again and again (top left, p116). Its pure form occurs in
the childs figure, in the children from China and (presumably)
Scotland, and a Russian Young Pioneer leading the way to a
brave communist future, and interestingly from behind, doing
something very modern and heroic to an electricity pylon.
Even the diver (page 112), in a book illustrating clothes worn by
workers, takes up the same pose. The textures and colours of
the plates from that book illustrated here remind me of Eric
Raviliouss marvellous lithographs in his High Street of 1938, but
what a world of difference in the social context!
There is no cubism here, no post-impressionism, no Dada.
What there is, is constructivism, and plenty of it, and of its
metaphysical parent, suprematism. Basic geometrical shapes,
the square, the circle, the rectangle, are everywhere; flat
primary colours dominate. El Lissitzkys suprematist tale about
two squares from 1922 (bottom, page 111) puts the principle to
work, and Malevichs famous black circle turns up in the
position of a giant full stop in Lidia Popovas cover design for

Sergei Neldikhens 9 Words of 1929 (top right, page 111).


But its not all geometrical shapes and primary colours.
Some of the textures are beautifully rendered, and almost
palpable: was there ever a pricklier hedgehog than this one
peering around suspiciously (page 115)? And the leopard
(also page 115) looks as if it comes fresh from the brush of Brian
Wildsmith. The brilliant rhythm of the flatly printed locomotives
(page 114), the utterly bizarre dragon (page 116), sheep escaping
across their deep red background (page 115) the pleasures go
on and on. But nothing comes without a context, not even a
black circle or a red square.
We have some of the thinking behind the destruction
in the book too: in Hints on Upbringing theres a real mixture
of generous good sense (Be careful of any trifle which a child
considers a toy, even though it may only be a piece of wood
or a stone) with this miserable diktat: Never tell a child about
things he cannot see. (This means that fairy stories should not
be told to children). This, from the land of the Firebird, of
Baba Yaga, of the hut on chicken legs! Or the criticism by the
psychologist Lev Vygotsky (1896-1934) of the immensely popular
writer of verse for children, Kornei Chukovsky: Chukovsky
piles up nonsense on top of gibberish. Such literature only
fosters silliness and foolishness in children.
There is always a voice ready to say things like that, and
sometimes a fist, a rifle, or a prison cell ready to back it up.
But for a few years Russian childrens books were free of the
darkness that descended over the Soviet Union, and the light
they shed, a lovely primary-coloured geometrical wonderlandlight sparkling with every conceivable kind of wit and brilliance
and fantasy and fun, is here.

Inside the Rainbow, with a full introduction by Philip Pullman is


published by Redstone Press on 10 October and is available for
pre-order at redstone.myshopify.com

1 How the Capitalists are


Armed, B Zhukov, 1931,
unknown illustrator
2 The Childrens
International, Yuri Gralitsa,
1926, cover and illustrations
by Georgy Echeistov

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all images taken from inside the rainbow (0ctober 2013, redstone press)

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3 Its Time to Get Up,


I Tsarevich, 1932, cover and
R Apin photo-illustrations
by F Folman and V Bonyuk
4 Let Us Take the New
Rifles, A Yakobson, 1927,
illustrations by Vladimir
Mayakovsky

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5 The Journey inside the


Electric Lamp, by N Bulatov
and P Lopatin, 1937,
photography and
photomontage by
M Makhalov
6 9 Words, Sergei
Neldikhen, 1929, front and
back cover by Lidia Popova
7 About Two Squares
(To All, For All Children)
1922, illustrations by
El Lissitzky

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8 Special Clothing, Boris


Ermolenko, cover and
illustrations, 1930

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11

10

12

9 I Am a Printer, Konstantin
Kuznetsov, 1932, cover and
illustrations by Ekaterina
Zonnenshtral
10 Different Animals, 1929,
illustration by Yevgeny
Charushin
11 Hedgehog, No 1, 1928,
unknown illustrator, cover
for magazine
12 Animal Farm, Yevgeny
Shvarts, 1931, illustration
by Theodor Pevzner

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13

13 Toys, A Olsufyeva, 1928,


illustrations by Lidia Popova

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07/08/2013 12:06

NEVILLE BRODY

AHEAD OF THE CURVE


Words Veronica Simpson
Portrait Andrew Meredith

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From putting his visual stamp on youth culture


through the Eighties and Nineties to designing survival
strategies for the creative sector, Neville Brody is a
man with an appetite for a challenge. We discusses
typology and tactics with one of few remaining
gurus of graphic design

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Has the role of the graphic designer been diminished or


augmented over the past 40 years, now that our minds and
screens and lives are buckling under the weight of visual
clutter and unsolicited information? Few would be better placed
to argue the toss than Neville Brody. In the Eighties and Nineties
he really was a household name if your household liked
reading the era-defining magazines he designed such as The
Face, or Arena, or listened to Depeche Mode or Cabaret
Voltaire, whose iconic album covers he created. Over the
decades, hes been celebrated with a retrospective exhibition
at the V&A, published the worlds best-selling book on graphic
design, developed whole new families of fonts, steered global
advertising and identity campaigns for Dom Perignon, Issey
Miyake and Nike, and given The Times and The Guardian
newspapers the friendly, modern fonts and layouts they still
wear proudly today. Which graphic designer can claim as much
influence in 2013?
But that is really not where Professor Brodys head is right
now. Though he continues to run his own Research Design
Studio from offices in London, Berlin, Barcelona and Paris,
he has much bigger fish to fry than lamenting the lost glories
of record-sleeve art. Instead, hes waging war against the
Coalition Governments education initiatives, mustering all
the ammunition he can as both dean of the Royal College of
Arts School of Communication and current president of
D&AD, to counteract the damage being inflicted on Britains
creative future.
Its neanderthal, spits Brody. This current government
is studying Victorian models and it believes in the
mechanisation of society, which means that everyone has
a place and is a cog and this is the way it keeps the status
quo. Its about funnelling funds from the poorer to the richest.
It doesnt want to educate a freewheeling proletariat. You
have to keep the factory running.
Strong words, but few in the creative sector would disagree.
The net result of current educational reform is that very few
people will be studying art or design at secondary school
because Conservative education secretary Michael Gove has

1 (previous page) Neville


Brody outside his London
research studio

made every school terrified of not achieving the obligatory


GCSE grades in his five approved English-Baccalaureate subjects
(English, maths, one science, one language and one humanities
subject). Furthermore, no one will be able to afford to go to art
school after all, which parent in austerity Britain has the
resources to pay the 9,000-a-year fees so that their child can
study painting or printing while learning critical and original
thinking. Certainly only the very luckiest would-be artists could
ever contemplate earning enough in todays financially strapped
creative sector to enable them to pay back an 80,000-plus
undergraduate student loan.
The sheer short-sightedness of these policies is mindboggling, as Brody points out, when emerging superpowers
such as India and China are shifting their economic focus from
manufacturing to creation and innovation. He says: The
Chinese government has stated that its motto is switching from
made in China to created in China. [It] wants to switch from
being the makers to being the innovators and inventors and the
marketers. So it has got the whole package. We are no longer
a manufacturing and industrial nation. Our skill set has been
innovating and marketing, but if we are not supporting that
and dont have the skills, then what happens?
You might think the economic argument would convince
the education department otherwise, but Brody says the
Coalitions policies go deeper than that. Even before he came
to power, David Cameron said the two groups in society that the
Conservatives have to tackle are the unions and the teachers.
They were developing plans well in advance. The attack on
education is to diminish teacher power. Its about trying to
destroy the intellectual class. So you turn school into a
mechanistic and vocational space. You get rid of anything
intellectual or liberal. Its all learning by rote.
But despite the anti-government rhetoric on the balmy
summers afternoon when we meet, Brody is far from gloomy.
Hes too busy developing antidotes. The first is through his role
at D&AD. Currently celebrating its 50th anniversary, the Design
& Art Direction organisation was founded (by David Bailey,
graphics legend Alan Fletcher and actor Terence Stamp, among

While you might


think the economic
argument would
convince the education
department otherwise,
Neville Brody says
that the Coalition
Governments policies
go deeper than that

2 Arena, Winter 1988,


featuring Richard Rogers.
Brody worked with Arena
from 1987-1990, and went
on to design fonts for
Arena Homme in 2009
3, 4, 5 Iconic magazine
covers from The Face, where
Brodys innovative styling set
the pace from 1981 to 1986

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others) to promote excellence in photography, print and film.


But recently it had seemingly lost much of its relevance to any
design field other than the advertising industry, emerging once
a year for its big, self-congratulatory love-in: the D&AD Awards.
Brody, who joined the organisation two years ago, said he
would only stand for president if it put the proceeds of the
awards into education. And he got his way. Now there is
a D&AD Foundation (set up last year, under Rosie Arnolds
presidency), which is fuelled by profits from the awards and
endowments from members. With this behind it, D&AD is
looking to eventually support hundreds of art and design
students with reasonably generous bursaries (enough to
make the difference between being able to go to college and
not being able to afford it, says Brody).
Brody is also pushing his scheme for previous awardwinners to become mentors to new, up-and-coming artists,
designers and film-makers. There is also D&AD-funded research
underway to identify the parts of the UK most afflicted by
industrial and manufacturing decline, and with the highest
youth unemployment, with the intention of identifying what
needs to be done to help where, when and how to provide
creative, manufacturing and innovation education and/or
training resources. Brodys face lights up as he recounts that,
at Junes D&AD Awards dinner, A lot of people were saying
that D&AD has integrity again.
His other weapon is the RCA, where there has been a major
refocusing of aims and intentions. Says Brody: My remit at the
RCA is not to create artefacts. Its to create skilled, dangerous
minds. Our objective is to create individuals who will lead and
create industry and society. Design is about everything. It
might be that someone will leave our school and start creating
government strategy. Were changing the education system
within my school to be more critical-thinking and researchbased, but with a much bigger opportunity to look at
deprogramming, deconditioning and coming out with a sense
of ability and self-direction, to be lateral and look at new
possibilities. So its a shift away from the idea of being craftbased to producing mavericks, like Paul Smith or Heatherwick

or Barber Osgerby, Troika all RCA cross-disciplinary


designers. We are post-disciplinary. Everythings hybrid.
Brody has just launched a new course, called information
experience design. It sounds like a typical digital-era discipline,
but Brody is not leaping on digital bandwagons. Digital is just
one paint on a designers palette. He says: We dont think of the
industrial revolution as the steam revolution. Steam enabled the
industrial revolution. Digital is just steam for the 21st century.
It allows you to drive engines and forge new models for design
and distribution. Steam enabled transport. Digital does the
same but in a knowledge space. Its a creative and a knowledge
revolution almost like a renaissance. The RCA is working very
heavily in developing the digital public space.
As a head of department, he must be feeling the pressure
to keep courses attractive and student numbers up. Have RCA
applications been impacted by hikes in fees? Brody says they
are down, but is convinced that the would-be students who are
not applying are the ones who wouldnt have got in anyway.
The quality of students is as high as ever, he says if it wasnt,
I wouldnt hang around. Of the RCA as a college of art, he says:
The challenge we have is not just to evolve and change but
to grow. We have to increase numbers. We are launching new
programmes. We are shifting heavily towards practice-based
research and forging new ideas about what a PhD is and how
labs can work.
There is no point, he says, in comparing prospects for an
art student these days to those that faced him when he burst on
to the post-punk scene from London College of Printing (now
London College of Communications). Now the dynamic has
changed. The way social networks operate is radically different
to how street culture evolved. Those old sub-cultural things
such as punk just cant happen any more. Punk was able to
evolve and develop first in an underground vacuum. By the
time it emerged into the mainstream, punk had been refined
and honed, and it was the people at the top of their game that
were getting exposure and publicity. Now everything would
have been documented and photographed and on Facebook.
The situation has flipped so that the more you communicate

My remit at the RCA is


not to create artefacts.
Its to create skilled,
dangerous minds
6 In 2010-11, Brodys
Research Studios was
heavily involved in
redesigning the BBCs
Global Visual
Language, creating a
clean, distinctive and
universal identity
7 The Times
appointed Brody to
update the design for
their main news
section; adopting bold,
sans serif section
headings, the project
also engendered the
Times New Roman font

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8 NB@GGG, Brodys
2010 solo exhibition at
Tokyos Ginza Graphic
Gallery
9 Digital Vs Anti
Digital, the D&AD
Annual from 2008

ALL IMAGES COURTESY NEVILLE BRODY

the more you are part of the mass. The less you communicate,
the more it probably means you are part of the elite.
Brody doesnt bemoan the loss of attention or focus on the
creation of a single, defining image. He says: Theres a hiatus
and a transition going on. I think there will be a post-screen
space of some kind. Well be swiping stuff from the iPad on to
the wall. It might lose its physicality, but by the same token we
are opening access to far more people to publish. Print will not
disappear altogether, he says, but it will become a luxury craft.
Brody is clearly not a man for nostalgia. He says: At the
awards I was sitting next to Ekow Eshun, former editor of
Arena, and he asked me: Dont you miss designing? I said:
I dont know what you mean. This is the biggest design project
Ive ever been involved in working with the RCA, exploring
digital public space, my role at D&AD; Im so blessed that Im
able to absorb it. Ive had to ascend the steepest of learning
curves. But to be able to bring a kind of vision to that and the
thrill of starting to strategise that craft it, design it, get people
on board; its been an amazing, rewarding, exciting journey,
despite the Governments attempts to chop arts education
off at the knees.
Or perhaps because of it: theres nothing that sharpens
a fighters appetite better than a big, tough adversary or one
making so many stupid decisions. You get the sense that this
is a battle Brody believes he can win not playing by the
cumbersome old establishment rules, but inventing a whole
sleek, streamlined and contemporary set of new ones.
Go, team Brody.

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Blueprint.indd
Untitled-4
1 1

www.longdendoors.co.uk

20/08/2013 10:33
09:26
20/08/2013

THE NEW REALITY


Words James Bridle
Augmented images Site Specfic

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Blueprint readers are among the first to view


interactive architectural models from a new book,
Site Specific, using an Apple iPad and a free app created
by Luma 3Di, reflected upon here by James Bridle.
Download the augmented reality app and scan special
images of Snhettas Reindeer Pavilion, Heneghan
Pengs Grand Egyptian Museum, Harry Gugger Studios
Lausanne Art Museum and SeARCHs Villa Vals

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Dovrefjell is a mountain range in the centre of Norway,


forming a natural border between the north and south of the
country. Its so entrenched in the national character that it has
become an expression for the end of the world until the
Dovre mountains fall used as an oath sworn during the
countrys first Constituent Assembly in 1814. Snhetta, whose
name means hooded with snow, is Dovrefjells highest peak,
and stands more than 2,000m at the centre of the Dovrefjell
Sunndalsfjella National Park, 10.5sq km of largely untouched lakes,
forests and mountains. The park is also home to the last remaining
population of truly wild Fennoscandian reindeer, which have
never interbred with their domesticated cousins.
At Hjerkinn on the outskirts of the national park, Oslo-based
architectsure practice Snhetta, which took its name from the
peak when the practice was founded in 1989, built a stunning
observation pavilion for the Norwegian Wild Reindeer Foundation.
A long, low, rectangular building with one whole, glazed wall and a
raw steel frame, its core is bisected by a pine seating platform,
designed with modern, digital 3D tools but assembled by
shipbuilders using traditional wooden peg fixings. Its undulating
surface echoes the mountain range; a perfect reflection of the

tension between the human and the natural, the contemporary


and the ancient, the digital and the traditional. To reach the
pavilion, visitors walk up a nature path just short of a mile long
to a point 1,200m above sea level, meeting spectacular views
across the treeless landscape to the Snhetta massif.
The sensitivity of architecture to its landscape and context
is the central concern of the book Site Specific (Artifice Books,
2013) which features a series of discussions between Karen
Forbes, professor of art at Edinburgh College of Art, and number
of prominent contemporary architects. In the introductory
interview, Peter Zumthor reflects on the tensions inherent in
physical architecture, and ephemeral images, noting that [our]
concrete world is made from concrete materials. I try to make
compositions of it, with the materials going to create a tension
or togetherness which starts to feel right.
Accompanying the Site Specific are three-dimensional digital
models of four buildings mentioned in the book: Snhettas
reindeer pavilion, Heneghan Pengs Grand Egyptian Museum,
Harry Gugger Studios Lausanne Art Museum and SeARCHs Villa
Vals in Switzerland. The specially encoded tracker images are all
featured on the next few pages for you to try out for yourself.

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Wild Reindeer
Centre Pavilion,
Norway
Snhetta
snoarch.no

Blueprint readers are among the


very first to be able to test the Site
Specific app. Youll need an iPad2
or higher, and a valid iTunes
account, but theres no charge
for the app itself. Simply visit
luma3di.com/sitespecific and

follow the link to the App Store. Use


the camera on your iPad to scan
the special images like the one
above in this feature to view
projects using augmented reality.
For best results, place Blueprint
flat on a horizontal surface.

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Grand Egyptian
Museum, Egypt
Heneghan Peng Architects
hparc.com

Youll need an iPad2 or higher, and


a valid iTunes account. Simply
visit luma3di.com/sitespecific
and follow the link to the App Store.
The app is free.

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Of these four models, two are built, two unbuilt, but all
occupy or are planned to occupy locations as spectacular in their
own way as the Norwegian plateau: the Grand Egyptian Museum,
for example, intended to open in 2015, is on a dramatic desert
escarpment: a sheer, angled facade patterned with interlocking
triangles references the pyramids of Giza, just over a mile away.
Its hard to convey this kind of scale on a small screen, even
with the high processing power of contemporary devices. Models
behind glass do not give any sense of vast and awe-inspiring
surroundings, or of the tensions sparked by the proposed buildings.
For Edinburgh-based design studio Luma 3Di, which produced the
Site Specific models, this is an essential challenge. Detailed
renderings and visualisations have a huge role to play in
communicating the reality and intentions of architecture. Jonathan
Messer, who set up and ran the in-house visualisation department
at Scottish architecture practice RMJM before founding Luma, cites
the influence of computer games and innovations driven by their
development, on Lumas own approach to recreating architecture
within the confines of devices such as the iPad.
The Site Specific models use graphics frameworks such as
the Unity and Unreal engines, which power computer games

such as Battlestar Galactica and Gears of War, combined with


photogrammetry, best explained as a sophisticated algorithmic
analysis of photographs to layer structures with material textures.
Try them for yourself and the wow factor is immediately
apparent, but ultimately the legacy of closed, game-like
environments pervades the experience: the buildings sit in
artificial isolation, and the viewer spins and zooms through
them from a strange, god-like perspective, unlike any human
experience of architecture.
Augmented reality has long been freighted with promise,
waiting for the technology to catch up. Good examples include
smartphone apps that overlay the screen with star charts to allow
users to track objects in the night sky, or museum displays which
bring up new information about physical objects in their
collections. Less successful are heads-up displays for subway
stations and other directions in dense urban environments, so
scrambled by GPS interference they can lead one at right angles
to the intended destination. None of these are the right tools
for conveying the mass and materiality of architecture, largely
because they try to gloss over the tensions inherent translating
lived experience to two-dimensional display.

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No image-making technology, however sophisticated, can truly


capture the full subjective experience of encounter with the built
environment, in its physical context the concrete materials cited
by Zumthor. What is needed from architectural visualisation is
an attempt towards a true communication of the human and
environmental impact of new buildings, which acknowledge the
partiality of such renderings. Visualisations are inherently reductive,
indeed their distillations of space and place can be potent with their
own polemics, like a form of aesthetic propaganda.
This is why some contemporary visualisation studios emphasise
the painterly, artificial quality of their creations, using techniques
drawn from the history of art, not technology, to communicate
emotion as much as physical reality. Visualisation at the right
moment of the design process, to communicate broad concepts to
clients and the public, or to move the architects ideas forwards, can
beneficially shape the final design. At the wrong moment, they may
freeze it before it is fully realised.
Luma emphasises the necessity of putting these visualisation
tools into the hands of architects and a public increasingly
comfortable exploring virtual environments through personal
devices. The technological achievements required to do so are
impressive but the real opportunities for augmented visualisations

need to focus on what interactive technologies can do that other


forms of visualisation cannot: communicate real scale, process
and time. The value of communication need not just be in
presenting pretty visuals, but in increasing wider literacy and
understanding of the architectural process. True interaction
would allow viewers to explore the history of a building through
its construction process, its present embedded in hidden
structures and material underpinnings, and its future in
environmental impact and use.
An increased literacy in the reality of architecture would
benefit everyone, both within the profession and in its
relationship with clients, planning officials and the general public.
As architecture is increasingly mediated through computer-aided
design tools, and generative of ever more data, the potential for
visualising this information grow; it is the job of design to engage
with this new territory humanely and carefully, to create tensions
in order to show how they may be resolved. It is the nature of
technology to render its inner workings opaque and illegible,
while dazzling with surface spectacle. The parallel to be avoided is
one where architecture, an increasingly elite and inscrutable
profession, struggles even more to communicate its value because
it fails to fully engage with its own tools of representation.

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Muse Cantonal
des Beaux Arts,
Switzerland
Harry Gugger Studio
hgugger.ch

To download the free app to an iPad2


or higher, visit luma3di.com/
sitespecific and follow the link to
the App Store. You will need a valid
iTunes account, but theres
no charge for the app.

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oa

Villa Vals,
Switzerland

photography by Iwan baan

sketch by bjarne Mastenbroek of search

SeARCH and CMA


search.nl
villavals.ch

To view these images as interactive


3D models, youll need an iPad2 or
higher and an iTunes account.
To download the free app, visit
luma3di.com/sitespecific
and follow the link to the App Store.

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63
contemporary
upholstered
furniture

Untitled-2 1

03/09/2013 11:20

between heaven
and earth
Words Herbert Wright

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For skyscraper experts worldwide, the annual Council


of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitats conference is the
highlight of the calendar. We report from its 2013
London event and talk to BROAD Group chairman
Zhang Yue about Sky City an astounding proposal
for a vertical city for 30,000 people, that would be the
tallest tower in the world

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1 (previous page) One


Blackfriars, aka the
Boomerang by Ian
Simpson, is due to join
Londons skyline

In 1956 Frank Lloyd Wright revealed a vision of a Mile-High


Tower (aka Illinois Sky City) a vertical city for 100,000 souls in
528 storeys. At the London conference of the Council of Tall
Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), two announcements
brought that vision tangibly closer. Finnish lift manufacturer
Kone announced its carbon-fibre-based UltraRope that doubles
the range of a lift currently limited to 500m with heavier,
conventional steel ropes. Secondly, the chairman of Chinas
Broad Group, Zhang Yue, presented Sky City, an extraordinary
utopian vertical town 828m high (see page 147). The
announcements loomed high above the conferences topical
theme: Height and Heritage.
The CTBUH is a Chicago-based organisation that has
become the authority, forum and clearing house for information
about skyscrapers. Its conference attracts architects, structural
engineers, developers and others. At the conferences opening,
its executive director Antony Wood warned that this is not a
fashion show. That didnt stop buildings being paraded, starting
with Londons new icons. Developer Irvine Sellar presented
The Shard, including that Renzo Piano designed the bus station
beneath it: I gotta tell you, he doesnt design many bus stations,
he offered. Architect Rafael Violy talked about the WalkieTalkie at 20 Fenchurch Street (I know the building looks today a
bit isolated), while the Leadenhall Building (Blueprint 325, April
2013), which was topped off just a week after the conference,
had its own whole suite and programme of talks. Later, London
would win CTBUH awards for Pianos Shard (Blueprint 315, June
2012) as Best Tall Building (Europe) and Fosters Gherkin in the
new category 10 Years Best. (The latters Calgary tower, The
Bow, was voted the Americas Best).
Graham Stirk of RSHP offered a warning about the local
high-rise boom and the arrival of viewing platforms and
skygardens above the capital: If were not careful, London
becomes a series of funfair experiences where only those who
have the money can have a ride. He continued: We have two
responsibilities as architects to the client and to society at
large. That raises huge issues, but the discussions context was
just one of them, the public realm. Lead designer of the
Leadenhall Building, Stirk said the only place to offer the public
was under it, resulting in its vast galleria. Terry Farrell, long

a proponent of place-making, declared: A big tree affects all


around it; a high-rise building changes the whole ecology around
it. He proposed a programme of review of several streets
around any new tower (more from Farrell in 20/20, page 180).
Worldwide, considerations like public realm are often
absent. Jasleen Changani, CTBUH delegate and proprietor of
residential architects Studio C, based in Mumbai and designer
of towers such as that citys Aalya apartments, lamented that
most future developments are entirely a profit-making process
with no contribution to the citys social fabric.
Residential developers see lucrative returns from high-rise,
nowhere more so than with the global demand for London
property. Harry Handelsman, CEO of Manhattan Lofts,
presented the SOM-designed Stratford Manhattan Loft Gardens,
a spectacular 42-storey tower for Stratford with skygardens,
which are fast becoming de rigueur. Squire and Partners City
Pride tower, which had not been cleared for announcement in
time for CTBUH, will have the highest skygarden in London at
239m. It is one of three residential towers around Canary Wharf
set to rise more than 200m high. Todays residential skygardens
are descended from Le Corbusiers communal rooftop on Unit
dHabitation (1952), which included a chidrens art school,
paddling pool and the aspiration of social inclusion.
Dsseldorf-based architect Christoph Ingenhoven may have
presented the most unusual skygarden in his practices design
Marina One in Singapore, which will complete in 2016. He
described it as an oasis in the middle of four skyscrapers, and
along with gardens at numerous other levels, they replace the
calculated biomass the site would have had as jungle. Another
refreshing project shown was the AHMM-designed Villagio II,
which may be modest in height but is the tallest building in
Accra, Ghana. Traditional local Kente weave informs facades,
and theres a communal swimming pool on the roof.
What of the heritage issue? European cities agonise over the
impact of skyscrapers on historic cityscapes. Paris particularly
is torn about allowing skyscrapers in the city proper, where
Haussmann-set 19th-century height limits have since been
adjusted to 37m. UNESCO has threatened to remove World
Heritage Status from historic sites in Liverpool, Cologne, Prague,
Seville and Westminster because of planned skyscrapers sullying

Vertical Europe: Iconography


1

Rotterdam
150m, 44 storeys,
OMA, 2013

Tour First

Paris
231m, 50 storeys,
Stenzel, Dufau & Dacbert,
1974
remodelled KPF, 2011

Willis Building

London
125m, 26 storeys
Foster + Partners, 2007

Mercury City
Tower

Moscow
339m, 70 storeys
Frank Williams, 2013

Commerzbank
Tower

Frankfurt
259m, 56 storeys
Foster + Partners, 1997

Strata

London
148m, 43 storeys
BFLS, 2010

One Canada
Square

London
235m, 50 storeys
Cesar Pelli, 1991

De Rotterdam

Heron Tower
London
230m, 46 storeys
KPF, 2011




10




11

12

13 Capital City
Towers

Ghent
119m, 24 storeys
Jaspers-Eyers, 2012

Rnesans Tower

Turning Torso

The Leadenhall
Building

Istanbul
186m, 40 storeys,
FXFOWLE, 2014

MG Tower

Malmo
190m, 54 storeys,
Santiago Calatrava, 2001

London
225m, 50 storeys
RSHP, 2014

14

15

16

Moscow
302m & 257m,
75 & 65 storeys
NBBJ, 2010

20 Fenchurch ST

London
160m, 37 storeys
Rafael ViolyArchitects,
2014

The Shard

London
306m, 72 storeys
RPBW, 2012

30 St Mary Axe

London
180m, 40 storeys
Foster + Partners, 2004

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views of them, but all this received scant attention. About the
only significant discussion was Londons protected viewing
corridors of St Pauls and Westminster. Terry Farrell declared
that weve Haussmannised the sky. To preserve all views is
a lost cause. Nevertheless, when RIBA president Angela Brady,
chairing the discussion, asked for a show of hands on whether
the corridors should be scrapped, the room was almost
unanimously in favour of keeping them.
London clearly dominated the conference because it has
lots of skyscrapers, heritage and not least architects and
developers. It was down to architect Ian Simpson, designer of
Manchesters Beetham Tower and Birminghams Holloway
Circus Tower, to spell out that when it comes to high-rise, a
chasm divides London and the regional cities. His presentation
highlighted how it costs twice as much to build in London and
the time from commission to completion can be 10 times more,
but the resulting value in London is also 10 times more. Later he
told Blueprint: I dont believe any tall buildings will be built in
the regional cities for at least two to three years. It is due to the
depressed economy, and... that there is no value in residential
accommodation at the moment. Luckily for Simpson he has
London projects, including One Blackfriars (some already call
it the Boomerang), a mainly residential, 170m-high, 50-storey
tower enclosed in a sculptural outer glass skin.
Big Glass remains the fashionable facade treatment for big
buildings, especially statement towers. An evangelist for the
smart combination of low-tech design, with high-tech elements,
German architect Werner Sobek even revealed a glass tower for
Ekaterinaburg, Siberia. There people are reaching at a bit of
sun, so we have full glazing, he explained. But dissent against
glass is growing. Makes Ken Shuttleworth has long been vocal.
He reiterated his message at the closing presentations: Theres
been an orgy of glass. Its all out of date! Nevertheless, he
graciously labelled The Shard a fabulous building and called
for viewlines of the Gherkin (which he worked on under Foster)
to be protected.
Big Glass and sculptural forms may still be on the march
in London, but as Shuttleworth pointed out, they characterise
buildings designed before the 2008 economic crash delivered
the death of bling. He reports that with the 54-storey Morello

Tower, starting construction next year in Croydon, we


concentrated on materials, not shape. Later, chatting with
Blueprint, Antony Wood was even more vocal about glass: It
should have been over 20 years ago. Whats ridiculous is that
were doing gymnastics vented facades, low-E glass
technologies et cetera to cover the problems we created in the
first place. We need to start building towers out of vegetation!
That may sound mad, but there are architects working on it.
So, what are the global trends in high-rise? Obviously,
skyscrapers are getting taller and mushrooming in numbers in
2014, there will be more than 900 towers over 200m high, an
increase of a fifth in just two years, and by 2019 height will have
reached 1000m ( Jeddahs Kingdom Tower by Smith+Gill
Architecture of Chicago is under construction). Prefabricated
modular structures will become the norm, and mixed use will
increasingly mean more than just a hotel on the upper floors.
A buildings energy performance has long set the
sustainability drive, and embedded energy and recyclability are
now tickboxes on the checklist. How high-rise plugs into the city,
whether socially exclusive or inclusive, and the previously
mentioned question of public realm, are now on the agenda.
In places such as Hong Kong, skyscrapers have financed stations.
That idea may travel, but already rail hubs and high-rise are
seen as a natural fit, and even Gulf cities are building metros
as skyscrapers proliferate.
Bob Lang of Arup naturally took an engineering perspective.
Wind-load has been the critical factor in skyscraper structures,
but temperature and seismicity will be more important, he said,
because high-rise has shifted to hot, earthquake-prone places.
One example he gave was the 50-storey tower by RSHP and
Legorreta+Legorreta (the practice founded by the late legendary
Ricardo Legorreta) for BBVA Bancomer, being built in seismically
active Mexico City. He described its megaframe rising from soft
ground as ductile.
As humanitys inexorable urbanisation defines this century,
high-rise increasingly defines the urban habitat. A global
professional high-rise forum is vital, and CTBUH provides it.
Next year the conference is in Shanghai, which builds more and
taller than London ever can. The conference is set for yet greater
heights of its own.

13

1 (PREVIOUS PAGE) IAN SIMPSON THIS ILLUSTRATION CTBUH

15
2
5
12
4

8
11
10

14

16

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3
4

2 The 50-storey BBVA


Bancomer Tower
by RSHP and Legorreta
+Legorreta in earthquakeprone Mexico City
3 Mumbai is the location
for the 170m-high Aalya
tower by Studio C
4 Marina One in Singapore
by Christoph Ingenhoven
is termed an oasis amid
tower blocks
5 An aerial view of the
Kingdom Tower, Jeddah,
which is due to top a height
of 1,000m
6 The 42-storey Manhattan
Loft Gardens is underway in
Stratford, London
7 Relatively modest in
size, the Villagio by AHMM
is nonetheless the tallest
building in Accra, Ghana
8 The Iset Tower by Werner
Sobek in Ekaterinaburg,
Siberia, is due to complete
next year

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2 RSHP and LegoRetta + LegoRetta 3 Studio C MuMbai 4 ingenHoven aRCHiteCtS 5 SMitH + giLL 6 SoM and ManHattan Loft CoRPoRation 7 aLLfoRd HaLL MonagHan MoRRiS 8 WeRneR Sobek, StuttgaRd

5
6

7
8

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The urbanisation of China is the single biggest transformation


of any society, anywhere, ever. In 1980, a fifth of the population
was urban. Now more than half is, and by 2025 another 300
million will migrate to cities. Planners grapple with the issue.
Enter Zhang Yue, chairman of Chinas BROAD Group. His urban
proposition is extraordinary: Sky City, a genuinely vertical town
on 202 levels in which everything from schools to parks would
provide a life for 30,000 souls.
At 838m high, Sky City will exceed the worlds tallest
skyscraper, Dubais Burj Khalifa, by 10m. Many have visions, but
Zhang personally broke ground at Changsha, Hunan Province, in
July. Then work stopped in a dispute about local building permits.
Whether this setback is temporary or not is still unclear. Zhang
had earlier told Blueprint, Were not building one building, were
going to build many of them in the coming days.
Zhang was in the capital for the CTBUH London conference,
staying in a 18th-century, converted brewery. The rooms curtains
were drawn, and from the shadows falling across the sofa he
described his three visions for the million square metre Sky City:
The first one is to conserve land. The second, to conserve energy.
And the third, to allow people who live inside to have a very high
quality of life.
The Burj Khalifa took five years to build, but Sky Citys
structure should take just seven months. BROAD Groups Broad
Sustainable Building (BSB) division has already demonstrated
previously unfeasible construction speeds. The 30-storey T30
Hotel at Dongting Lake, in Chinas Hunan province was built
in just 15 days (and people whove stayed like it). Modular

China is changing far


quicker than the West did,
and it may not take long
to see if the more socially
mixed Sky City works

construction is the basis of BSBs methods, and Sky Citys


3,000-plus construction crew are like industrial assemblers.
Zhang says that its 14 hours to build one car. It should be like
that. Ninety per cent of Sky City will be factory made slightly
more than the Wests most advanced modular high-rise, The
Leadenhall Building (Blueprint 325, April 2013). There, safety put a
limit on speed, but Zhang brushes that aside. Although some in the
construction industry have questioned BSBs safety record, Zhang
says that at T30 there were zero injuries, not even where
someone broke their nail . In the West 90 per cent of people
probably dont know each other when they come together to build
a building and that leads to safety problems, among others, he says.
Sky City is essentially an earthquake-resistant steel cage
matrix, served by 92 lifts and triple-glazed. From six storeys of
basement, the structure, with a footprint of less than a hectare,
rises to a roof at 727m, above which is a sky tower mast. In plan,
four symmetric, orthogonal wings contain almost everything,
with three stepbacks on which are skygardens. Health and school
facilities are in the lowest floors, then offices, then apartments to
the first stepback at level 60. Top class apartments reach to level
120s stepback, then luxury apartments to the third at level 170.
The central area is split: one side a continuous five-mile sloping
public path 3.9m wide Zhang says that residents centre of
living revolves around this road. Beside it is a stack of 56
10m-high, column-free internal spaces, each of 240 sq m, whose
use will vary from a bewildering variety of sports to shops,
catering, entertainment, libraries, parks and two acres of organic
farms. Between this and the sky tower is a 32-storey hotel with a
swimming pool on level 202. Lifts will rise further, into the mast
to access a restaurant, then at 830m, a coffee house. The BROAD
Group logo tops it all.
Sky City aims for maximum sustainability. Zhang says the
air quality inside is the cleanest on Earth, yet Sky Citys HVAC
will use just 70kWh per square metre a year, a fifth the normal
Chinese level and less than a tenth of other supertalls. Zhang
knows his stuff the BROAD Group started in the energy-guzzling
air-conditioning field. Driven by an environmental passion, he
spent 20 years improving technologies, and the UN honoured him
as 2011 Champion of the Earth. He will apply all possible,
practical methods for energy conservation and lists insulation,
CHP, ventilation recovery, LED lighting, regenerative lift braking,
and grey water systems. China has the worlds biggest carbon
footprint and Zhang knows one building will make scant
difference, but it will demonstrate his ideals, ideology and
technology. If they are followed, the impact will be massive.
Buildings beyond 100 storeys tall are going to become a

both images China Broad group

Chairman Zhangs
Brave new world

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Sky City

838m
830m

SKY TOWER

Elevator reaches 830m


Coffee house at 830m
Restaurant at 770m

HOTEL

Floor 202
727m

Floors 171 to 202


250 suite hotel rooms
Swimming pool at floor 202

In Plan

LUXURY APARTMENTS
Floors 121 to 170
14 suites 520 sq m rooms
356 suites 240 sq m rooms

TOP CLASS APARTMENTS


Floors 61 to 120
812 suites 140 sq m rooms
928 suites 90 sq m rooms

Floor 170
612m

Floors 171 to 202


31.2m

MEDIUM CLASS APARTMENTS


Floors 31 to 60
710 suites 140 sq m rooms
470 suites 90 sq m rooms
F

SMALL APARTMENTS

Floors 16 to 30
1,160 suites 60 sq m rooms
G

OFFICE

Floors 6 to 15
H

MIXED-USE AREA

Floors 1 to 5
Middle and primary school 17,000 sq m
Kindergaten 4,000 sq m
Home for the aged 4,000 sq m
Hospital 9,000 sq m

Floors 121 to 170


62.4m
Floor 120
432m

BASEMENT
Floors -1 to -6

SKY STREET
Floors 1 to 170
10km
K

ONE IN EVERY THREE FLOORS


ARE EQUIPPED WITH:
Basketball court, badminton court,
tennis court, hand-ball court, squash
court, cinema, concert hall,
music room, vertical farm,
flower garden, shop, coffee house,
ping-pong court, gym, climbing wall,
library, pool room,
training room, fish pond,
small forest, restaurant

Floors 61 to 120
93.6m

Floor 60
216m

Floors 1 to 60
124.8m

Floor -6
-27m
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9 Night vision: Sky City


should be home to 30,000
who need never leave due
the facilities that will be
provided

9 Antony Wood viA CtBUH

standardised tall-building form, declares Zhang, but he disagrees


that they will have no sense of local identity. He contends that
architects have made buildings look too strange... If we depart
from functionality to design our buildings, then naturally different
places will arrive at different designs of buildings. So, the less
design there is, the more character there is. This is my view.
It seems an odd logic, but Chinas hutongs, the embodiment
of local community, were after all not designed by architects, for
whom Zhang seems to hold little regard. He contends that OMAs
CCTV building has no connection with Beijing, nor The Shard
(the really pointy building) or the Gherkin with London: Were
being influenced by the architects words. Instead he offers a
residents viewpoint. They see buildings just like shoes and
clothes. As long as you wear it and it fits, it should be enough,
he explains. Gilded or silver-plated things or strange forms are
actually things residents dont need, but architects need, or
people who sell the buildings.
Sky City shares its functional design spirit with modernism,
but when asked, Zhang says I havent heard of Le Corbusier. I like
Lewis Mumford. The 20th-century American theorist challenged
matters like obsolescence and monotechnics such as the car.
Zhangs ethos incorporates Mumfords stress on the human with
new ecological concerns. He says that in the times of hutong,
China only had a 100 million people, whereas now China has
almost 1.4 bn. Theres simply not the land for everyone to live
low-rise, which leads to ever more cars and roads. Zhang contends
that daily destinations work, school, shopping and so on
should be within a 2km radius. Thats the best. A 5km radius
I would say is the maximum. The reality in China is the daily
activity radius is beyond 20km. This is huge. Sky City
eliminates activity radius.
Blueprint put it to Zhang that while mass high-rise, highdensity living works in the East, it has generated crime, drug
abuse and social breakdown elsewhere. Could Sky City do the
same? No, he says. Maybe you are too pessimistic about
Westerners. I dont think there will be this problem. When you
open your door, you have community. This is a very ideal model.
But in this utopian environment, where everythings
provided, what about individual expression? Of course there
is room for individualisation, he replies. In one city, there are
many different types of characters. We will not restrain these
characters. Other than anything criminal, you can do anything.
Indeed, he even says never leaving the building is very possible,
because there are hospitals. You can be born inside and die
inside. But step outside, and Sky City is surrounded by forest.
It conserves 200ha for green land, so actually, youre closest to
nature. Zhang himself is no fan of established cities. I like very
few places but Ive seen some places in Germany where you walk
maybe a few steps and you can see the farmland.
Zhangs presentation of Sky City at CTBUH left a packed
hall stunned. Arups Bob Lang saw no infrastructure to empty
the building in one go, but Makes Ken Shuttleworth declared:
I think its amazing. Theres real lessons to be learned. Its the
vision of Sky Citys very high quality of life that may baffle the
West most. Tim Johnson, chair of CTBUH, let slip: If our life gets
that programmed, well probably be brain-dead.
The West took decades to overcome the disaster of Corbusian
social housing and only now is building residential towers again.
If we rely on our own instincts, we shouldnt have these kind
of problems, says Zhang. China is changing far quicker than the
West did, and it may not take long to see if the more socially
mixed Sky City works. Lets wish this brave new world well.

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Untitled-1 1

16/08/2013 15:02

ELMGREEN & DRAGSET


GOLDEN BOYS
Words Shumi Bose
Portraits Andrew Meredith

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Preferring to see themselves as artworld outsiders,


Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset began their
collaboration in 1995 by subverting the idea of the
white cube. Having recently done the same for the
bellicose statues in Trafalgar Square they are now
taking on the V&A and its collection, through the
medium of a fictional architects apartment

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By-laws dictate that no more than two people may sit


at a single table on the pavement in Kensington where
I stand, parched and confounded, on a blazing summer
afternoon. Im trying to grab a drink with Scandinavian art
pranksters Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset. The local
council also prohibits us from claiming two tables in a row
on this particular stretch. So finally, we sit as if outside the
headmasters office, chairs against the wall, giggling at the
Kafka-like absurdity of inflexible regulations. There could be
no better place to start talking to these long-term rule-breakers,
whose collaboration over two decades is notable for consistent
and acute irreverence.
Especially in this city, theres such a widespread fear of
chaos, offers Elmgreen, who spends some of his time living in
Londons Covent Garden. Theres this crazy belief in regulating
peoples behaviour with neon jackets and CCTV. My experience
is the more rules you make, the more fun it is to break them.
Copenhagen-born Elmgreen is more voluble, with a drier
humour than his Norwegian collaborator. Dragset bases himself
in Berlin, where the duo created their important Monument to
Homosexuals Persecuted Under Nazism (2008); quieter at first,
he is prone to sudden and infectious peals of laughter. Recalling
their grimly titled Omnes Una Manet Nox (One Night Awaits Us
All) at Louis Vuittons London flagship store in 2012 which
included a bed intended for staff to use during their regular

nine-to-five he says: We had to change the atmosphere of the


shop floor. In the beginning, the staff were afraid to sleep, we
had to get the manager to encourage them!
Breaking rules or at least poking fun at artistic
conventions heavily informs Elmgreen & Dragsets
collaboration, which began in 1995. As a latecomer (or as the
two insist, outsiders) to the art world, Elmgreen & Dragset
displays a liberating impudence in tackling mechanisms of
control. Entering the contemporary art scene of the midNineties, the two found in it a particular freedom and energy
both in terms of the potential to work in various disciplines
and in its energetic commerce. But maintaining a maverick
distance helped them to interrogate the ecology of the art world
from within taking on the white cube, that most ideologically
charged of architectural containers, as a primary target.
One of Elmgreen & Dragsets early performance pieces, 12
Hours of White Paint (1997), demonstrates its bemused reaction
to the formulaic vacuity of identikit gallery spaces, which
proliferated at the time. The pair spent a whole 12 hours
continually washing down and repainting a typical white cube
with white paint until all semblance of depth, perspective and
place became blurred. The tools of the contemporary gallery
space were turned on itself, pointing to a deliberate erasure
of context; this evokes the duos attitude towards political and
social questions, which they tackle with directness and acuity

1 (previous page) Elmgreen


& Drasget in the fictional
architects studio
2 Social mobility Fig. 2
(Emergency exit), an
installation for The Welfare
Show (2006)

2 stephen white, courtesy Galleri nicolai wallner and thyssen-Bornemisza art 3 james o jenkins 4 leif hansen

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3 Powerless Structures,
Fig.101 was commissioned
by the Mayor of London to
occupy the Fourth Plinth
4 Painting becomes a
Sisyphean task, in 12 Hours
of White Paint (1997)

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moved voyeuristically through it, observing a tableaux of


impoverished, lonely inhabitants engaged with (or escaping
from) reality through mass media channels. In another part of
the installation, visitors are trapped on the wrong side of a
glamorous party different modes of exclusion, manifested
through the careful staging of space.
Their forthcoming exhibition at Londons Victoria and
Albert Museum, entitled Tomorrow (1 October2 January)
makes a similar attempt at implicating the visitor in an artificial
narrative, even as it takes a dig at the conventions of viewing art
in a gallery. For the duration of the installation, the rooms
that Tomorrow occupies are not a gallery space at all, but the
temporarily uninhabited apartment of one Mr Norman Swann,
architect. With half-smoked cigars, artfully faked grime stains,
dishevelled bedclothes and a fusty mixture of antique and
20th-century furniture, the transformed Textile Galleries bear
a convincing similitude to a richly furnished West End
apartment in full, if slightly solitary, use.
The stage-set suite is extremely evocative. The carefully
considered placement of creature comforts holds a sense of the
uncanny; a space in which to read a life lived almost to the end,
through subtle clues of inhabitation. These intimate cues have
been arranged with meticulous attention to detail, planting
back-dated postcards, archival copies of architecture periodicals
and collected objets dart more than 100 of which come from
the Victoriaand Alberts vaults. Exhibiting museum pieces in a
naturalistic setting with no labelling or signage whatsoever
has pushed the boundaries at the V&A, and set curator Louise
Shannon some serious challenges.
Working with the artists for more than two years, one major
hurdle has been in negotiating the display of artworks with
eye-watering insurance values; the greatest of these must surely
be a 19th-century oil painting by Sir Edwin Landseer of the
Newfoundland dogs famously dear to him. Other loan items
include beautiful examples of Oriental and equine ceramics
and bronzes, a Louis XVI mirror and a poster for the seminal
1956 exhibition, This Is Tomorrow.
That youre actually in a museum rather than someones
apartment washes over you only occasionally, each wave a
testament to the artists success in blurring reality and fiction.
Approaching and interacting with the refined trappings of Mr
Swanns life is a strangely tense experience. It conveys the
voyeuristic sensation of rifling around the cupboards of a host
in whose home you are an especially nosy guest. And yet are
these not artworks from the V&As priceless collection, and
if so, why are we allowed to touch, handle, breathe on them?
And dont some of these pieces seem a bit wrong here,
somehow too familiar?
Fragments of Elmgreen & Dragsets recognisable back
catalogue lurk among the period replicas and artefacts borrowed
from the V&A. Motifs from the artists greatest hits almost blend in,

For the duration of the V&A


exhibition, these rooms are
not a gallery space, but the
apartment of one Mr
Norman Swann, architect.

7 Courtesy the artists 6, 7 udo meinel, onuk. Courtesy galleria massimo de Carlo

in the majority of pieces. The Welfare Show at the Serpentine


Gallery in 2006 featured a cash machine (with an abandoned
baby beside it) and a text commissioned from MP Tony Benn
no oblique academic references here. The Welfare Show held
the last leftovers of the Welfare State, the sentiments of New
Labour. Now thats definitely over, says Elmgreen.
Elmgreen & Dragsests work only recently vacated Trafalgar
Squares Fourth Plinth, one of the most prominent public art
spaces in London. The latest figure in its long-running series
Powerless Structures sat here from February 2012 to April 2013.
Bellicose and triumphant in his posture, a little golden boy sat
on a rocking horse, goading his static steed into perpetual war.
A previous work, Reg(u)arding the Guards (2005), is still more
explicit in dealing with structures of power: it features a group of
uniformed security staff with gazes fixed solemnly on each other.
Depending directly on architectural and spatial qualities to
create layered atmospherics, the pairs productions question
prescribed behaviours, coded into (the physical apparatus of )
our built environment. We were interested in people and space
in the use of architecture: how architecture influences our
movements, identity and actions, says Dragset.
Some of their works involve fairly serious construction
work, too. The solo exhibition Celebrity: The One and The Many
(2010-11) involved building a four-storey apartment block in an
atrium of Karlsruhes ZKM Centre for Art and Media. Visitors

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5 opposite: An early floor


plan for the Tomorrow
installation at the V&A
6, 7 The artists built a
four-storey apartment block
at ZKM (2010-2011), in which
voyeuristic visitors found
fictional narratives
7

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10

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8 Anders sune Berg, Courtesy gAlerie emmAnuel Perrotin 9 Fidelis FuChs, onuK, Courtesy gAlerie emmAnuel Perrotin 10 JAmes evAns Courtesy Art ProduCtion Fund ny; BAllroom mArFA

8
9

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04/09/2013 11:40

but for their deliberate exaggerations, giving themselves away


with a bluffers whistle. Rosa, a sculpture of a maid at about
two-thirds scale, is a piece from 2006. She has appeared in other
installations too, like the Celebrity show at ZKM, as has the
perturbed schoolboy of High Expectations (2010). Likewise a
gilded vulture, prophetically perched on Normans bed, also cast
a carrion-hungry eye over Harvest, a solo show at the Victoria
Miro gallery and the Louis Vuitton store, both in 2012. In
Brechtian fashion, these echoes jar the visitor from a total
suspension of disbelief. In effect, the fragments of Elmgreen &
Dragsets previous works assume personalities and narratives
themselves; friends who show up from time to time, but with
different stories to tell.
The title, Tomorrow, against a portrait of this absent and
somewhat ossified individual, conspires to melancholic effect.
How well do the artists know Mr Swann? Too well, says
Elmgreen, wryly rolling his eyes. Weve been planning the
exhibition for a few years!
Like Loyd Grossman in an episode of Through the Keyhole,
I pad through the apartment wondering who might live in a
house like this; nosing through Normans postcards, admirable
bookshelves, scrapbooks and finally creeping into the architects
studio. Hes not very successful; hes only a part-time academic.
He submitted to a lot of competitions that he didnt win,
says Elmgreen. The show is also a tribute to failure: having
strong ambitions but not being really able to get them out. Like
many of the Utopian modernists, he has a very different social
background to those in the social housing schemes he designed.
As inspiration for the Tomorrow show, the V&A was
obviously impressed by The Collectors, the duos immersive

8 Rosa (2006) makes her


fifth public appearance in the
Tomorrow installation; here
she is at the Venice Biennale
9 High Expectations (2010)
also reappears, becoming
meshed with the story of
Norman Swann
10 Prada Marfa (2005)
makes an absurd gesture
by taking the iconic luxury
brand out of all context

installation at the 2009 Venice Art Biennale, which also earned


a Special Recognition from the Biennale jury. In the Nordic
Pavilion, a meticulously curated depiction of a mysterious art
collectors home (Mister B) was piqued with a dose of narrative
intrigue. As at the V&A, the visitor was asked to play detective.
Meanwhile, the adjacent Danish Pavilion was dressed as a home
for sale, shown to visitors by actors playing estate agents. So
why choose to fictionalise an architect this time? And whats the
meaning in asking the viewer to forget their own situation in a
large museum in favour of his apartment?
Pragmatically speaking, in order to avail the installation of
the museums collection, it was important to describe a creative
or artistic professional. There were different options, the artists
tell me, and the architect ended up winning. But there must be
more to it, I persist: in the noble absurdity of imposing moral
and physical ideas on the world, the figure of the architect
continues to be ambiguous and admirable. I always used to
tell my grandmother that I wanted to be an architect. I had
the impression that this was a very fine thing to be; every time
an architect used to visit, she would put on extra perfume
and tidy the house, grins Dragset. Though there may have
been other reasons!
Here is an architect whose values are recognisable in
their modernist social motivation, suffused with a sense of
unrealised potential. Swanns architectural concerns, evident
in his clippings of Corbusier and Cumbernauld, speak of
problems that persist today the shortage of affordable
housing, the provision of high living standards at the thin end
of the wedge. That the world has changed around Mr Swann
is rendered poignantly in his most high-tech bit of kit: an old
Apple Macintosh II, so far removed from todays gadgetry as
to seem almost comic.
When you read the script, its a bit like a Bergman film
you dont necessarily like the characters but theyre in a
conflicted point in our lives, says Dragset, whose early
career began in performance art and writing screenplays.
He is referring to the extraordinary script running to 64
pages that accompanies the show in lieu of any kind of
formal catalogue. The story therein fleshes out what
the visitor traces in the vestiges of space, adding some
shockingly unexpected plot-twists.
Mr Swanns architectural optimism, if he had any,
would have been intellectually radical in the same vein as the
many influential architects and planners whose efforts were
channelled through the GLC, CLASP and post-war initiatives.
The major shift today is in political, or rather economic will; in
former poet Elmgreens words, this rude, rough neoliberalism,
new money from all over the world, and new parameters. Hes
old Britain, he has all the mindsets of old Britain, brought up
in very strict class system but sympathetic to the idea of
welfare, the state. Dragset adds: There are a lot of people like
that in Britain and in Europe, without much optimism left.

Swanns architectural
concerns, evident in his
clippings of Corbusier and
Cumbernauld, speak of
persistent problems that
persist today

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11

11 The artists, Dragset (left)


and Elmgreen, in Norman
Swanns fictional studio at the
Victoria and Albert Museum

People live in such shit


spaces most of the time, they
want to go to big, beautiful
places like museums... Its
what you used to get from
the cathedral

productions. The Prada Marfa store, for example, takes the idea
of brand consumption to a ludicrous situation: placing a perfect
facsimile of the luxury fashion outlet in the Texan desert. It
works beautifully: not only in the painstakingly accurate detail
of the store which was convincing enough to cause a break-in,
even though the only shoes on display were right-foot only but
in the statement, the audacious absurdity of its deluxe existence,
on the edge of nowhere. Elmgreen and Dragset triumph through
pushing seemingly rigid institutions to break and subvert their
own boundaries. At its most poignant and darkly funny their
work reveals the fragile, quivering heart of human avarice, ego
and intellect behind various spatial and societal constructs. Like
the crushing, private disappointment of arriving at a nightclub
after the party of the year has ended, or the loneliness of
entrusting ones working future to electronic resums, sent from
a dehumanising tower block into the equally dehumanised
digital ether. Or like the dust-sheeted dreams of a Utopian,
socially minded architect, surrounded by inherited and imperial
wealth. Perhaps his time is Tomorrow.
11 Andrew meredith

Banal domestic architecture might explain how, in Michaels


opinion, museums have replaced some of the experience of
going to church. People live in such shit spaces most of the
time, they want to go to big, beautiful places like museums.
Maybe they dont care whats in it, but the skylights! The
ceiling heights! Its what you used to get from the cathedral.
Elmgreen & Dragsets collaboration has evolved alongside
their relationship boyfriends for the first decade or so, they
are now more like buddies and brothers in one, maybe.
As former poet and performance artist respectively,
their work has gradually become more narrative and less
ephemeral less strictly conceptual. Im surprised that the
artists are happy to grant access to the space, the script and
various visualisations weeks before the show opens but as
suggested by the anomalies in Mr Swanns apartment, the duo
seems to enjoy revealing their own sleight of hand.
When I was young I used to get frustrated with the
traditions of Christmas; why did it have to be the same tree,
every year? confesses Elmgreen. Its same with the institutions,
they prepare a show, they open the doors, then they close and
dismantle it. Its fun for you to come and see it in process, see
how we fool around. Is this, perhaps, another sly dig at the
reluctance of institutions to show their messy, even quixotic
workings? We challenge, not provoke never provoke...
protests Elmgreen, as Dragset rejoins: What weve found is that
many people in the institutions are waiting to be changed; they
are quite happy for someone to come in from the outside, make
them see things in a different light, staff start talking to each
other and theres a breakdown of normal hierarchy.
And its true that the artists real success is not limited to
the fine-grained artifice of their theatrical, politically nuanced

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05/09/2013 09:05

Post Worlds End


Architecture
Portugal

Words Gonzalo Herrero Delicado and Vera Sacchetti

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In the third of our Post Worlds End Architecture


reports, we look at Portugal. Once the apex of
contemporary excellence, the countrys architecture
scene has paralleled the Eurozone crisis, with a fall
from grace. But there may be hope: a new wave
of architects is uniting with the community to
create provocative projects with the potential
to reclaim the civic domain

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European funds allowed large-scale public works and a national


infrastructure overhaul. Such a professional group actively
engages in the aesthetics and processes of the masters
consolidating what could be deemed a Portuguese style.
In a counter-move fuelled by the crisis, the past two years
have seen a rise in the formation of small, experimental studios
that seek alternative ways to practice architecture. Their
founders are young, motivated, well-educated; many have lived,
studied and worked abroad. Driven by a strong idea of what
architecture should be, many have been disillusioned by their
first, more traditional work experience. Idealistic on the whole,
some are downright subversive, while others rely on humour
and formal puns. Their work is fundamentally small-scale
from performance to self-build housing but their methods
offer glimpses of what could be a systemic change, offering
living proof that even a crisis can precipitate opportunities for
civic engagement and the profession.
In the context of their surroundings, these architects work

in multidisciplinary teams, collaborating with artists, designers,


social scientists and engineers. Their scale allows them to focus
on basic, fundamental issues of architecture, such as housing
and the domestic space.
The results and ambitions are wide in scope and range.
Lisbon-based studio ateliermob, for example, was honoured
at the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale for Working with the
99%, a self-built neighbourhood mapping project, while
Arrebita! Porto uses specific architectural interventions to
revitalise the historic centre of Porto, where roughly half the
dwellings are empty.
If the countrys economic woes have opened the door for
rehabilitation projects, many of these practices are taking the
opportunity to test methods and create change, rather than
conducting plain aesthetic operations. In Lisbon, this can be
seen in projects by architect Jos Adrio; multidisciplinary
self-build practice Polgono, and Artria, which is creating
a map for the rehabilitation of the citys historic centre.
Simultaneously, new opportunities for financing
these kinds of projects suddenly abound, such as the
Lisbon Municipalitys BIP-ZIP grants for interventions
in critical areas of the city, or private funds, such as the
Calouste Gulbenkian Foundations FAZ competition,
which awards large sums to projects involving social
intervention. Both have been awarded to several
architecture and urban intervention projects.
Similarly, large cultural initiatives in the realms of
art, architecture and urban intervention such as the
recent 2012 European Capital of Culture in the northern
city of Guimares open doors to explorations of public
space, temporary installations and performative acts of
architecture, from Like Architects large-scale formal
puns that force passers-by to reconnect with their
surroundings, to Pedrita and Ricardo Jacintos Unidade,
a loud, clunky, bright yellow contraption that brings
industrial production processes creating concrete
seating to a public square.
For these young practices, public space can become
a stage for research or combat. Aurora Arquitectos
catalogues document and celebrate typologies in Lisbon
including rain pipes, vents and bricked-up windows.
O Espelho (The Mirror), is a broadsheet periodical and
political manifesto pasted on walls around the capital,
provoking the public rather than rarified theorists. And
while editorial projects find their way into public space, even
the traditionally rigid and closed-off academic world is starting
to engage with the real one, through the work of individuals
such as Pedro Bandeira and Paulo Moreira.
Pushing the limits and boundaries of the practice, these
initiatives are creating more than a fertile terrain for exploration
they are effectively building the foundations for large-scale
change. Surprisingly, this impulse is slowly finding its way to the
mainstream. Headed by Andr Tavares and Diogo Seixas Lopes,
the new editorial board of the Jornal Arquitectos, the Portuguese
Architects Association official publication, is tackling
experimental issues and themes. Significantly, Portugals
biggest architecture event, the 2013 Lisbon Architecture
Triennale, promises to be experimental in a way the country
has never seen. Its title this year is Close, Closer; myriad events
are programmed to highlight these small-scale practices and
their engagement with local citizens and stakeholders, bringing
the discourse of architecture back to the streets.
1 Casa do Vapor, by EXYZT
and ConstructLab (2013) is a
temporary community hub
for the fishing village of Cova
do Vapor, Almada

1 Alex roemer

When the Pritzker Prize winner was named in March 2011,


Portugals architects were overjoyed. The Porto-based Eduardo
Souto de Moura was the second Portuguese architect to be
distinguished with the award, after lvaro Sizas triumph in
1992. The accolade officially helped set in stone both inside
and outside of Portugals borders a national architectural
aesthetic. But two months later, in May 2011, a 78bn IMF-EU
financial bailout was approved and with it the collapse of the
countrys economic system was made official. Young architects
fled the country to greener shores in Brazil, Angola and the UAE,
where large-scale projects abound.
And yet the crisis may well have been the best thing to
happen to Portuguese architecture since the 1974 Carnation
Revolution, which freed the nation from half a century of fascist
dictatorship. The country that has produced two Pritzker-Prize
winners has also created a powerful, crystallised professional
architecture elite, nurtured by the years of economic boom that
followed the 1986 entry of Portugal into the EU when

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Architects as
mediators While challenging

2 Zoraima de Figueiredo

Portuguese architects to redefine


their role, the countrys economic
woes have created success stories,
including Lisbon-based studio
ateliermob. Founded in 2005, the
practice focused on a traditional
competition model, but was forced
to reinvent itself in 2008, engaging
in a series of urban intervention
projects that connect different
agents and stakeholders. Fully
assuming the role of architect as
mediator, ateliermob acts across
variety of scales and contexts. Its
Working with the 99% self-built
neighbourhood mapping and
rehabilitation project in the northern
periphery of Lisbon is funded by one
of the Lisbon Municipalitys BIP-ZIP
grants. Its open-air theatre in
Rio de Moinhos is a striking,
multifunctional concrete structure
that serves as a community meeting
place. Through complex long-term
projects, the studios founders
actively engage in the countrys
political and educational spheres

and are seen as an inspiration.


At a smaller scale, the
temporary public space Casa do
Vapor (Vapour House) acts as a hub,
connecting artists, architects and
students from a number of countries
to community agents of the self-built
South Lisbon neighbourhood of
Cova do Vapor. Kick-started by the
international collective EXYZT, this
repurposed wooden construction
was built collectively; it is now a
neighbourhood meeting point, home
to educational and leisure activities.
It received a Lisbon Architecture
Triennale Crisis Buster grant.
While international architects
find a fertile terrain to work in
Portugal, a few others are sticking
with the role of mediators even
as they establish international
collaborations. For example, studio
blaanc borderless architecture
has developed projects that extend
as far as Brazil and Mexico. In
Oaxaca, it is building sustainable
housing in collaboration with the
local community, as the pilot project
for the NGO Adobe for Women.

2 ateliermobs Open-Air
Theatre in Rio de Moinhos
(2013)
3 NGO Adobe for Women was
founded by blaanc borderless
architecture and CaeiroCapurso,
two Lisbon studios

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New domestic
dimensions A number of

young Portuguese architects engage


in explorations at the domestic level:
architectures most basic unit.
Jos Adrio, for example, has made
a name for himself with a series of
detailed, carefully curated house
renovation projects, and the recently
founded practice Polgono uses
domestic space to test out a
multifaceted, small-scale, self-build
approach to architecture. From the
renovation of its own office space or
a room in a traditional family house,
to the self-built construction and
rental of the So Miguel 13
apartment, the studio advocates a
multiplicity of roles for the architect,
from consultancy to financing and
construction. Each project serves
as a petri dish not only for materials
and techniques but also for
alternative economic models.
Polgono aims for sustainability
in its projects and attempts to
break the cycle of over-inflated
construction budgets by taking
matters into its own hands literally.

Rehabilitation
as a method Lisbon-based

studio Artrias reflections on the


goals and limits of rehabilitation
led to systematic approach that
materialised in its 2012 Edifcio
Manifesto (Manifesto Building),
renovated in the heart of Mouraria,
a dilapidated neighbourhood at the
centre of the city.
The development of the
Edifcio Manifesto took place in
partnership with the neighbourhood
association, as part of a holistic
process that not only allowed the
studio to develop and reinforce its
own beliefs, but also to question
assumptions and preconceived
notions on rehabilitation itself
and how to make it sustainable.
The studio has continued to reflect
on a model for urban rehabilitation
that encompasses social, cultural
and economical interventions,
in a range of projects including
a map of old buildings to buy and
renovate in Lisbon.
Similarly, in the city of Porto,
the Arrebita! Porto (Smarten up!

4 Painting a ceiling rose at


Casa de la Luna by Polgono;
below, the practice office
5 Edificio Manifesto,
a before and after of
a dilapidated cottage
renovated by Artria (2012)

Porto) project has been developing


a sustainable renovation pilot
project. By creating a network of
diverse agents from contractors
and material suppliers to newly
graduated architects and engineers,
the association is now working on
renovating a building from scratch,
in an effort that they hope can be
replicated to a city-wide scale and
become a catalyst for social
transformation in the city.
Addressing a social need
through architecture, Arrebita! Porto
was one of the winners of the 2011
edition of FAZ, a competition that
funds social intervention ideas.
The 2013 edition of FAZ honoured
the Rs do Cho (Ground Floor)
urban intervention project.
Developed by a team of four young
architects, the project seeks to
rehabilitate the ground floors of
buildings in Portos historic centre
many of which were previously
occupied by retail spaces that were
forced to close their doors creating
a system that links building owners,
municipalities and communities.

4 Poligono 5 (BoTToM iMage) Rui PinheiRo

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7 Antnio Louro & BenedettA MAxiA

Performative spaces
While many young architects

undertake explorations in the


domestic sphere, a series of public
cultural events in recent years has
opened the way for explorations
of public space. Most notably, the
2012 European Capital of Culture
(ECC) featured the Performance
Architecture cycle which proposed
five diverse temporary occupations
of public space in the city of
Guimares, curated by Pedro
Gadanho the Portuguese curator
of architecture at New Yorks
MoMA. Among these, Pedrita and
Ricardo Jacintos Unidade brought
the noisy reality of industrial
production to a square, creating
an furniture assembly line powered
by passers-by.
Similarly, Porto-based LIKE
architects occupied a series of
fountains throughout the city with
a limited set of ready-made props,
transforming them into public
pools and promoting an unexpected
use for pieces of urban fabric.
The studio specialises in curious

replications of industrially produced


products from fruit crates to
IKEA lamps to create spatial
solutions that seek to question
and re-evaluate our relationship
with public space. Its markedly
formalist approach distinguishes it,
and finds success in subtle
interventions such as the 2011
Christmas illumination project
for the Lisbon square of Rossio.
In the same vein, MOOVs
Kitchain project proposes a
modular table that since 2009
has been the site of impromptu
dinner parties which subvert
traditional usage of public space.
The table was originally designed
as the central meeting space for
Feibourgs Belluard Bollwerk
International Festival, and has
since been redesigned for
subsequent editions of the
festival, integrating new
modifications and possibilities
of use with each iteration.

6 LIKE architects stunning


spatial interventions using
mass produced objects
7 Kitchain, from MOOV, is a
modular table for impromptu
and itinerant dining events

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10

Mapping the
surroundings

Beyond
temporary interventions, public
space in Portugal is being used as the
stage for numerous demonstrations
and political protests. An old
political slogan proclaims The street
is ours! and the semi-permanent
state of protest maintained by many
young architects has overflown into
outlets such as O Espelho (The
Mirror). This editorial initiative was
kick-started in the summer of 2012
by a collective of architects, artists
and journalists: it consists of a public
newspaper fly-posted on city walls
and distributed around town. Since
its inception, topics addressed have
ranged from architecture and public
space to political themes of the
moment, and the papers clearly
politicised initiative has won a 2013
Lisbon Architecture Triennale Crisis
Buster grant.
In contrast, for Lisbon-based
practice Aurora Arquitectos
public space becomes a source of
inspiration in a genuinely formal
dimension. The studio has been
documenting a series of typological
variations throughout the capital
city, in a series it calls Catalogues.
From typical rainpipes to the
evidence of the a cyclical dialogue
between graffiti and clean-up
markings, Auroras collections of
images form a curious encyclopaedia
of absurdities commonly found in
Lisbons built environment.

8 Redacted graffiti, as
catalogued by Aurora
Arquitectos

Academic provocateurs
Although architectural academia

is prone to isolation in Portugal,


a few researchers have been
connecting academic investigation
with real-world problem solving,
becoming active cultural agents
in significant contexts, or acting
as provocateurs by way of
speculative proposals. Paulo
Moreira, who commutes between
London, Porto and Luanda, has
conducted extensive research
on the spatial and social nature
of informal urban development
in the former Portuguese colony
of Angola, developing a series
of mapping workshops with local
students and the community called
Mapeamento Colectivo da Chicala
(Collective Mapping of Chicala).
Porto-based architect and
scholar Pedro Bandeira launches
constant provocations using
a multidisciplinary approach.
Specific Projects for a Generic Client
is a series of humorous intellectual
explorations that take a specific
moment in the history of
architecture as a starting point.
Bandeiras references to history
and scholarship are constant,
as well as his subtle mockery
and questioning of the present.
His most recent project under
the name of Pierrot Le Fou
will lead to a performance at the
forthcoming Lisbon Triennale
called The Future is the Beginning.

10 Paulo Moreiras mapping


workshop in Chicala, Angola
(2011)

9 Fly-posting pages of
O Espelho (The Mirror)
around the city of Lisbon

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11

GETTING CLOSER...
The third Lisbon architecture triennale
takes place against a backdrop of
hardship. However, as Anne Bellamy
discovers, its belligerent spirit promises
a socially charged programme full of
surprise and delight

Lisbons third architecture triennale, titled Close, Closer,


starts in September. Under guidance from chief curator Beatrice
Galilee and her team of Liam Young, Mariana Pestana and Jos
Esparza Chong Cuy, this years edition takes a left-field and
speculative view of spatial practice, shaping a city-wide
programme of events, discussions and installations.
Although an infant on the circuit of worldwide cultural
events, with its first edition only in 2007, the Trienal de
Arquitectura de Lisboa has secured a reputation as a thoughtful
and engaging addition to the architectural calendar. This years
addresses ideas close to the bone for Lisboetas. Split into four
main programmes of Future Perfect, New Publics, The Real
and Other Fictions, and The Institute Effect, it will take civic
interests and Lisbon itself as the focus for discussion.
To bring spatial practice (of which architectural
production is just one element) closer to new and broad
audiences, the exhibitions, talks and fringe events organised
by the curatorial team examine the political, technological,
institutional, and critical contingencies.

12 frida escobedo

12

Manuel Henriques, executive director of the Trienal


de Arquitectura de Lisboa, recognises that attracting the
attention of the architectural audience is not a problem;
the challenge lies in engaging the imagination of local people.
This aim has moved the Trienal away from the formal
discipline of architecture and towards embracing broader
socio-political issues. Lisbon Open House, introduced last
year, invited Lisboetas inside the citys landmark buildings,
often for the first time. The number of visitors was twice what
had been expected, demonstrating a growing interest among
locals in engaging with their built environment.
Henriques recognises the particular hardships that Lisbon
and Portugal have faced following the Eurozone crisis but says
that this edition of the Trienal can suggest ways in which one
can act on the city despite constrained circumstances.
In conjunction with the main event of the Trienal,
Henriques promises crisis busters, an array of funding prizes
for community-focused initiatives; these run alongside the
Good Neighbourhood scheme, a hyper-local programme
of cultural events which breaks boundaries between the
institution and the people.
Because of all this activity, local people are starting to
take a renewed interest and even take pride in where they live,
he says. The speculative nature of Close, Closer, with its focus
on challenging established organisational structures and the
formation of new forms of exchange, resonates at a time
of volatile economic conditions and tough consequences.
It is not just the people of Lisbon who have been feeling
the strains of living and working in the city; getting the Trienal
itself up and running was a considerable challenge. Having
worked on the Shenzhen & Hong Kong Bi-City Biennale of
Urbanism & Architecture in 2009 and the Gwangju Design
Biennale in 2011, Galilee is no stranger to the organisational
challenges inherent in international cultural events. However,
where the culturally aspirational and robust coffers of China
and South Korea afforded relatively large budgets, the situation
in Portugal presents an extremely uncertain terrain.
Challenging constraints and financial volatility have formed,
rather than destroyed the Trienals spirit, claims Galilee:
Were in guerrilla warfare, and have been quite belligerent
about maintaining the quality and diversity of our programme.
11 Close, Closer curators,
from left to right: Liam
Young, Beatrice Galilee, Jos
Esparza Chong Cuy and
Mariana Pestana

12 Located in a public
square, Frida Escobedos
Tilting Stage is a precarious
platform for civic discussion

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04/09/2013 11:49

13

bred from mutations which questions how we use and abuse


intensive agriculture and bioscience in the kitchen. Dinners will
be attended by artists and architects as well as prominent
members of the city government and media commentators.
Led by Dan Hill, FABRICA will be transforming the MUDE
(Museo do Design e da Moda) into a space that will house
a constantly rotating programme of new institutions for
The Institute Effect. The Benetton-funded communication
design academy will be designing and furnishing the space
with all the expected and some unexpected accoutrements
of a cultural institution, in order to frame questions towards
the validity of such organisations.
But it is Jos Esparza Chong Cuys New Publics that should
provide the most gripping series of events quite literally.
Visitors may have to grab on to something (or someone) to keep
a balanced perspective atop Frida Escobedos Tilting Stage. The
hemispherical central platform is installed at Praa da Figueira,
and forms the location for a provocative programme of public
discussions, performances and talks.

The Blueprint series Post Worlds End Architecture will feature as


a Close, Closer Associated Project at Lisbon Architecture Triennale.
On 14 September Blueprint will host an informal round-table
discussing innovative approaches in architectural practice across
the Iberian peninsula. Guests include Portugals Polgono and
ateliermob, plus Andrs Jaque and Zuloark from Spain.
For further details and a map of Lisbon Architecture Triennale
venues, please visit blueprintmagazinebeta.co.uk
12 Space, menus and
discussions complement
each other at The Planetary
Sculpture Supper Club

13 fernando Piarra

That her teams clarion call has been heard is evidenced


in the diversity of associated (that is to say, independently
funded) projects, as well as an imaginatively curated
programme. We have this incredible array of projects and
participants, our foot-soldiers; it has a sort of fighter spirit!
Despite financial worries, the programme has been
developed as planned; the overall aim of its provocative
initiatives not only pose questions for the present state of
spatial and architectural practice, but will hopefully set up
examples for future communities, as a legacy for the city.
Galilee reveals that for her, that sense of a legacy is really
positive and productive. Its not just about remembering
beautiful things you have seen but also having something
slightly more humane and civic.
The four curated sections will be playing host from
12 September to 15 December to a wide variety of events,
installations, discussions and publications, as well as the
independent associated projects.
Future Perfect, curated by architect and educator Liam
Young, offers up an interactive iceberg by the deliciously
named Marshmallow Laser Feast, equipped with GPS sensors
that tracks your movements, and adjusts its own landscape and
soundscape, for an immersive sensory experience; other
confirmed participants include Bruce Sterling and Neri Oxman.
For physical and intellectual nourishment, curator and
spatial practitioner Mariana Pestana has curated The Real and
Other Fictions which, among other participations, features the
Planetary Sculpture Supper Club. Collaborators from the Centre
for Genomic Gastronomy will cook up a series of extraordinary
thought-provoking feasts; for example a sauce made of plants

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03/09/2013 15:43

176 177

189

205 266

In the first in our series that asks


designers and architects what was
their career-defining moment,
Johnny Tucker talks to Pritzker-prizewinning architect Richard Meier

As the Dutch practice releases its


first monograph, Thomas Wensing
considers the critical position
of MVRDV

Some of the biggest names in


architecture and design today
celebrate 30 years of Blueprint

The Moment

Book MVRDV Buildings

Archive

190
180 186

Farrell 20/20

Blueprint took Terry Farrell back to


his MI6 building, and here are some
choice cuts from the 20/20 seminar
he subsequently gave

Exhibition Ice Lab:


From Science Fiction
to Cold Reality

Dele Adeyemo explores the sci-fi


world of design for polar research
stations in the Antarctica, which have
taken over Glasgows Lighthouse
193

Book The Images of


Architects

Jack Self finds this book of images


by architects both illuminating and
highly predicable
194

Book The Spectacle


of Disintegration
Situationist Passages out
of the 20th Century

Thomas Wensing talks to McKenzie


Wark about his third book, which
focuses on the later works of the
Situationist International
196 197

Exhibition Lowry and the


Painting of Modern Life
Herbert Wright visits Tate Moderns
exhibition documenting the life and
work of painter LS Lowry
199

Exhibition Manuel
Estrada: Sailing through

Gwen Webber discovers the work


of Manuel Estrada as the American
Institute of Graphic Arts hosts its
first exhibition of a single artist
200

Book Dixonary

Johnny Tucker takes a stroll down


the 30-year-long, highly personal
and very visual, memory lane
of Tom Dixon

174

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04/09/2013 13:53

REVIEW

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The Moment

Richard Meier thinks


back to the Sixties
and recalls the
beginning of his solo
career, which really
kicked off with a
weekend home for
Mr and Mrs Smith
Richard Meier in conversation with
Johnny Tucker

You might think meeting Le Corbusier


or working with Marcel Breuer would
be the key events in a young
architects life, but talking to Pritzker
prize-winning Richard Meier it turns
out that the true defining moment
of his career was when he decided
to go it alone and picked up
a domestic commission, from a
young couple with two children
Mr and Mrs Smith.
The now famous Smith House
in Darien, Connecticut is situated on
a rocky hillside overlooking water.
Completed in 1967 this deeply
European rationalist/constructivist
building gives all the impression of
being made of concrete, but keeping
costs down and in keeping with the
New England housing stock its
constructed in timber.
Meier takes up the story from
the beginning: Id worked for Marcel
Breuer for three years and at that
time I thought Id learned a lot, and
Id always wanted to sort of work
on my own.
I had a two-room apartment

I slept in one room and I worked in


the other room. So I was working in
my apartment and I got a telephone
call one day from some people named
Smith, and they said theyd like to talk
to me about the design of the house.
And so we met and they said: Weve
been told that the best way to have a
house designed is to find a young
architect who doesnt have much
work, is not going to charge a big fee
and will put a lot into it.
Id designed a house on Fire
Island for a young couple who taught
at Princeton and they didnt have a
lot of money, and the house was built
in nine days for $9,000. That was
published in The New York Times and
I think thats how they heard about
it, and they said If he can do a house
for $9,000, he can do a house for
us! [he laughs]. And so I think that
is how they came to me we got
along very well.
I went up and I looked at the site
they had just purchased. They had
great views to the water thought it
was fabulous. It was unique, the way
the water wraps around. Theres a
cove on the northside where there
are steps that go down to a beach.
Apparently somebody had had
a house designed for the land, but
it came in so expensive that they
decided to sell the site. Its very rocky
and the house that was designed
there was a one-level, spread out
over the rocks so the foundation
costs were enormous. I said: Thats
not the way to build on this site.
If you build vertically and minimise
the foundations then it can be done
economically, and that is exactly
what the Smith House is.
I began by doing drawings and

by making small models. I think the


first model might have been an
inch-and-a-half high in cardboard
and then it just kept progressing. It
evolved, but it didnt change from the
original idea, it just got more refined.
I think the building was the result of
exploring What is the idea about this
house? Its kind of a reversal, in that
the open side is, in a sense, the back
side, the water side. The entry side is
closed down as the more private side.
New England houses are built of
wood you know, and its much more
economical to build in wood, not
concrete. This is a small house and

1 Architect Richard Meier, with the newly


built Smith House in the background
2 Meiers drawing and plan for the house
3 The Smith House, in Darien, Connecticut,
where every inch is different

every inch of it is different. There is


no repetition, so to build in concrete
would be have been very prohibitive.
I remember Jim Stirling was in
town one weekend and he rang me
up and said hed like to go and see
it. We were walking round it and he
said to me, Its wood, not concrete!
He was so surprised.
In retrospect, this building
meant a great deal to me. It received
a good amount of press and that led
to my doing other houses and then
eventually to the larger commissions.
This was going to be the Smiths
weekend house. As it turned out,
many years later they moved there
and made it their permanent
residence. I havent been back in
many years though. The Smiths
no longer live there. Im told the
people who own it now keep it up
really well. But I dont know them.
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14/08/2013 10:43

Stand 0320

Made in UK

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14/08/2013 10:43

There is a fascinating
chain of developments;
Vauxhall Cross is one
of these... In between
the railway viaduct and
the river is this tremendous sequence
of planning and non-planning and
opportunism. It is now almost the
best bit of London, where a young
person would be assured to think
there was a plan. But each of these
areas running along the river is
extraordinarily haphazard; what has
been realised is incredibly dynamic.

Blueprint 20/20

This summer Terry


Farrell gave the
inaugural Blueprint
20/20 lecture,
returning to his MI6
building in Vauxhall
Cross to discuss it
frankly, with the
benefit of perfect
hindsight. Here
are some excerpts
from a lively and
entertaining
presentation
Full lecture at:
blueprintmagazinebeta.co.uk

1 Sir Terry Farrell


2 Developments along the South Bank of the
Thames from Sir Terrys 20/20 presentation
3 The non-specific Government building soon
after completion

The developer had an


enquiry from the
Property Services
Agency for a
Government
headquarters building, and they
didnt tell us who it was. We asked
and they said they couldnt tell us
but the planning consent went right
through in record time

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13

Butlers Whard & Design Museum


City Hall & Potters Field
London Bridge & Borough Market
Tate Modern & Globe
Coin Street & OXO Tower
South Bank Cultural Centre
Old County Hall & London Eye
St. Thomas Hospital
Lambeth Place
Duchy of Cornwall Lands
Vauxhall Cross
Nine Elms
Battersea Power Station

180

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04/09/2013 14:22

All imAges Terry FArrell And PArTners

181

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04/09/2013 14:18

We had these trees.


They were very large
trees, about 8m high,
and they were bought
from Italy and moved
to Edinburgh and we were asked
Why would you ruin them before
they come here? It was so they
would experience a cold climate
and by the time they came south to
London they would think they were
in Italy again The trees needed
outside maintenance contractors, and
after about six years they decided
security was endlessly compromised,
so they got rid of them.

We had done this


scheme very much on
the hoof. It wasnt, we
thought, going to go
ahead. By then, we had
been involved for 10 years and had
seen all kinds of schemes come and
go. But when they signed it off, we
couldnt alter the signed drawings
for the planning applications.

Interestingly, whenever
we went to
negotiations and
discussions with
the planners and
politicians, we had to call the
roadside the front and the riverside
the back, otherwise the meeting
was a disaster.

4 Original watercolour of the river elevation


showing the trees that went to Scotland
5 Clockwise from top left, plans of the 10th,
seventh and fourth levels

183

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1

09:27
21/08/201304/09/2013
12:04

We were very keen on


lighting at night, with
the river and the
reflections. And we
experimented a lot and
we did it ourselves. We stood on the
opposite bank and we moved lights
around the building until we got the
right effect. Ive learned that you dont
really know how the lights are going
to work until you have experimented
in reality. So we had lights on long
cables, on two or three cold nights in
1992. We adjusted the lights, and we
had walkie-talkies and were shouting
leave it there or move it there.

6 The lighting scheme was done physically and


in situ, in the days before mobile phones made
communication so easy

I was in Tokyo for a


conference and I was
watching the CNN
news in the middle
of the night.
It featured a story about the fact
that the KGB had officially said they
existed, and, whats more, they were
giving tours around their building in
Moscow. Then they suddenly flipped
to my building and said that this was
MI6. Thats how I found out.
I had lunch in the building once
Ive only been in the building twice,
its hard to get in there with a man
called Mr Dearlove. You couldnt

make it up. He was M... He told me


Id really helped enormously because
until then until this building went
public and the existence of MI6 was
acknowledged they couldnt tell
their wives and children who they
worked for.
They had all been under
this cloud because of the Official
Secrets Act. They had all made
up stories about how they worked
for the Ministry of Agriculture or
similar. He said to me the fact
that my building was so in the
public eye suddenly meant
they were able to come out.
185

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04/09/2013 14:16

I have been asked what


I would do now [about
the MI6 building]. It
wouldnt be a stylistic
thing: What I would do
now is think is very hard about
another aspect of post modernism,
which was a great learning curve for
me at the time.
I would look a the whole setting,
the whole relationship, with the
pathways and the walkways, the
whole context of human life and the
urbanism around it.

I like style. Ive seen


style change not only
over the period of my
lifetime, but also today
there is also more free
style than there ever was. You cant
really classify this era in a way that
you could In the past. I think thats
true of clothes; there was a time
when everyone wore the same things
in the Seventies all young men wore
flares, but today there are flares, tight
trousers, all things, and the same with
music. I think that postmodernism
was more important as a philosophical
term, there was a postmodernism in

music, in theatre and in movies. And


all of it was wonderful; it changed
things and you can never put the
genie back in the bottle.
There are true postmodernists in
the Michael Graves-committed sense.
If you looked at what I did at Charing
Cross and MI6, thats not really post
modern. Thats not what they meant
by postmodernism. However at the
time, even Prince Charles classicism
was called postmodern by some. I
think for me it was a liberating, it
shifted everything, particularly
towards focus on context and
urbanism and listening to the

consumer, and what the consumer


wanted.I still get more letters on MI6
and get much more interesting
responses from laypeople on MI6
than any other building I have ever
done. I think thats more important
than being a star. I dont think I see
it as being stylistically slavish.

7 Two TFP visuals for urban development of


Vauxhall town centre, looking to put people and
the community back at the heart of everything

186

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21/08/2013 16:44

Book

MVRDV Buildings
By Ilka and Andreas Ruby
Published by NAI 010, 65 (56)
Review by Thomas Wensing

In 1990 Rem Koolhaas organised a


symposium which posed the question
How modern is Dutch architecture?.
The lecture identified an intellectual
and critical malaise in the countrys
discipline, right at the moment when a
new generation of architects emerged.
Koolhaas argued that society had
been completely reformulated along
late-capitalist lines in the Eighties,
that socialism as a progressive force
had ceased to exist, but that the
formal repertoire of contemporary
Dutch architecture was still alluding
to a triumphalist modernity rooted
in the early heroic period. How
could it be that, at the end of the
tumultuous 20th century, the formal
language of architecture had
remained so consistent, he argued.

Even though Koolhaas clearly


stated that he did not exclude himself
from this critique, as he too was
heavily indebted to modernism,
it is ironic to note that the practices
coming out of his own OMA, such
as MVRDV, Neutelings Riedijk and
others with different beginnings
(West 8, Mecanoo, Wiel Arets, UN
Studio), have never attempted to
cut their modernist roots, and often
pride themselves in extending Dutch
modernism and its formal universe.
The point Koolhaas was trying
to make was lost, however, which
is that modernity as a daring,
progressive force was spent in
a society that prefers the bottom
line and is essentially risk averse.
The self-congratulatory
triumphalism of the Dutch eventually
led to the publication of the book
Super Dutch, written by Bart
Lootsma, and it was again Koolhaas
who took it on himself to point at
the supposed critical deficit of the
whole movement.
Leaving Koolhaas disapproval

and Bart Lootsmas positivism for


what it is, it is undeniable that
something was happening in the
Netherlands, however, and its lively
architectural climate did become, for
a while, the envy of architects across
the world.
The blossoming of Dutch
architecture from the mid-Eighties
to the early Noughties had to do with
a favourable economic and cultural
climate, a mix of credit-fuelled
economic growth and a public sector
that perceived Dutchness and Dutch
design as a good business model.
This model has in the meantime all
but crash-landed. The economy is
slow to recover and austerity politics
have rolled back progressive social
and cultural programmes.

It is to MVRDVs credit
that the more-critical
observations of clients
and users have not been
edited out, but indeed
are answered

It is against this backdrop that


MVRDV (acronym for Winy Maas,
Jacob van Rijs, Nathalie de Vries)
succeeded in becoming a global
practice in its own right. It did this
by publishing numerous data-based
theoretical studies, such as FARMAX
(1998), MetaCity/Datatown (1999)
and KM3 (2005), and by its quirky
and original buildings.
The practice has now published
its first monograph; MVRDV Buildings
is a reflection on the practices built
work over these past two eventful
decades. It is edited by Ilka and
Andreas Ruby, two self-confessed
admirers of MVRDV, and it offers
a mainly image-based tome and
relaxed read. The book is specifically
not intended to be a glossy
advertorial, but qualifies more as
a revisit and reinvestigation of the
projects, with the texts consisting
of reportage-style descriptions of
the work and interviews with users
and passers-by.
This methodology of popular
involvement went so far as to mine
the web for images, which results in
a multiplicity of views on the life of
the buildings. If I were to be overly
critical I would say that the book
does little to stretch the classic
format of the monograph; after all
the projects are still featured through
images, (shoddy) drawings and
a blurb, but in the context of MVRDV
it is nice not to be distracted by
boldly coloured diagrams. The book
also rectifies the overexposure of the
more spectacular works in favour
of more modest and interesting
projects. I have in mind here the patio
dwellings in Ypenburg (The Hague),
the Lloyd Hotel (Amsterdam), and
the Celosia apartment building in
Madrid. Furthermore, it is to MVRDVs
credit that the more critical client and
user observations have not been
edited out, in fact they are answered.
The contributing authors did
fortunately take MVRDV to task on
windswept holes doubling as public
spaces, greenhouses as extensions
to hospitals and so on. As far as Im
concerned this questioning did not
go far and deep enough, however.
The books authors for instance
assert that MVRDV reclaimed
modernism as an unfinished project,
and then state that the office has
the capacity to produce design
spectacles on end.
This oxymoron makes me curious
about which modernist core values
MVRDV is actually exploring. I am
not so ungracious as to question the
social motivation of MVRDV, since
I do believe that it genuinely strives
for more equity, changes in behaviour
and sustainable solutions. It is, in fact,
much more socially engaged than
OMA, but the question remains
whether MVRDV expresses a truly
critical attitude, and if so what it
is that the practice is critical of.
189

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04/09/2013 14:55

Exhibition

Ice Lab: From


Science Fiction to
Cold Reality
The Lighthouse, Glasgow
Until 2 October
Review by Dele Adeyemo

In the middle of the hottest summer


for a decade arrives the Ice Lab,
an exhibition by the British Council
on the new architecture and science
in Antarctica.
The exhibition opens at
The Lighthouse in Glasgow, Scotlands
centre for architecture and design. It
takes its name from the white glazed
brick tower designed by Mackintosh,
which rises high up from a new
entrance foyer to offer a panoramic
view of the city.
Intrepidly ascending the steep,
neon escalators towards Gallery Two,
where the exhibition awaits, a cool
blue light reflects against the icy
brickwork. In anticipating the Ice Lab,
the journey feels like climbing up
through the interior of a glacier.
The first sight is of oversized
but carefully machined aluminium
fixing toggles. Whilst their structure
captures a resourceful aesthetic, the
luxurious rolls of speckled green felt
that hang from them define the
dominant forms of the installation.
Meeting the floor like a
photographers infinity wall, the
felt creates an oddly naturalistic
backdrop to captivating images of
the research stations that stand
defiantly in the landscape, engulfed
in the psychedelic light of the
aurora australis.
This proves to be a deliberate
decision. Exhibition designer Oliver
2

Goodhall, of We Made That, explains:


We were particularly keen to bring
a rich materiality to the exhibition.
This might not be entirely expected
for a landscape of ice, but we were
influenced by a lot of the vivid colours
in the exhibited imagery and the
otherworldly disquiet of Herbert
Pontings use of tinting in the 1920s
film The Great White Silence.
Floating in the centre like a
cluster of spacecraft are scale models
of the five featured high-tech research
stations: Britains Halley VI by
Hugh Broughton Architects; Princess
Elisabeth by the International Polar
Foundation, Indias Bharti by
German practice bof architekten,
Koreas Jang Bogo by Space Group,
and the Iceberg Living Station by
Danish MAP Architects. As a collective
the projects rekindle a nostalgia for
1960s and 1970s science fiction when,
inspired by space flight and the
atomic age architects, designers and
film-makers concerned themselves
with visions of the future.
Those immortal moments in 1969
watching Neil Armstrong descend
from the Lunar Module on to the
surface of the Moon were perhaps
the greatest point in the history
of humanity, where exploration
and the endeavours of science
captured the imagination of the
entire globe. Yet an age of curiosity
and infinite possibilities was
undermined by Cold War fears of
new destructive technologies.
Science fiction with its interstellar
fantasies provided reassuring
visions of a united humanity, creating
a whole visual genre in the process.
1 Photographs and simple graphics give
details of the ice labs construction
2 Rolls of green felt create a naturalistic
backdrop for images of research stations

A Space Age aesthetic


dominates... Antarctica is
the closest we have to a
truly alien environment
Indeed, sci-fi enthusiasts young
and old, will no doubt play at
matching Antarctic stations to their
nearest spaceship lookalikes. Who
could argue that from above the
Princess Elisabeth bears more than
a passing resemblance to the
Starship Enterprise? Look closely
and you can draw references to the
most iconic productions of that time,
Star Wars (1977), Thunderbirds
(1965-66) in fact Thunderbird 2
from the hit British television series
was a genuine inspiration for the
design of Halley VI, says architect
Hugh Broughton, who adds,
I love the idea that 50 years down
the line, in Antarctica, some of
that conceptual thought from the
Sixties comes true.
That a space-age aesthetic
should dominate comes as no
surprise. With the lowest temperature
ever recorded at -89.2C and regular
winds of 160kmph or more,
this terrain is the most inhospitable

of environments. Antarctica is the


only continent to not have an
indigenous people. The coldest,
windiest desert on earth, it is the
closest we have to a truly alien
landscape. Aerodynamic profiles
and state-of-the-art highperformance building envelopes
are essentials for settlement here.
Going deeper than aesthetics,
a profound sense of collaboration
and internationalism is enshrined in
the Antarctic Treaty of 1959, which
states: It is in the interests of all
mankind that Antarctica shall
continue forever to be used
exclusively for peaceful purposes
and shall not become the scene or
object of international discord. The
research being conducted at these
stations addresses issues affecting
the whole world, beyond the
capacities of any one country.
From understanding global
warming and the rate of melting
ice, to speculating on the origins of
the universe, the scientists stationed
in Antarctica are engaged in a
heroic endeavour critical to our
future, in the midst of the most
forbidding of environments.
Ice Lab uncovers the ingenuity
involved in designing and building
the research stations which enable
scientists to exist in the only place
on Earth where they can do these
experiments. The British Councils
Vicky Richardson says the idea for
Ice Lab was to create an opportunity
for several departments with different
expertise to work together, while
he curation, by Sandra Ross of
The Arts Catalyst, skilfully
interweaves the science, art,
architecture and engineering involved.
That said, the exhibition is
strongest in conveying the sheer
sense of awe when faced with this
strange part of the world. The
playful tactility of displays of
fascinating artefacts engenders
a childlike inquisitiveness, taking
the viewer back to a place of
innocent wonder.
In true explorer fashion,
the exhibition will travel, first to
Manchester, then connecting with
the British Councils international
network, to Germany, India and Korea.

190

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04/09/2013 14:48

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shadow); the latter for his utter


repetitiveness. For at least a decade,
Eisenman has been giving the same
lecture all around the world: from
Rainaldi through Le Corbusier and
Piranesi, concluding with an analysis
of Terragnis Casa del Fascio (the
subject of his own thesis). To my
personal distaste, his contribution
to the book was basically the
PowerPoint side of this lecture.
Nonetheless, there were
definitely a few surprises: Sou
Fujimoto has a wonderfully coherent
set, redolent of a Studio Ghibli film
bustling Asian streetscapes,
dappled shadow on tombs in
summer. One fantastic shot shows
a Japanese shop owner surrounded
by colourful knick-knacks, seemingly
overcome by the immensity of all
the plastic shit crowding her in.
Opposite is a serene fig tree in
Singapore, its buttress roots forming

Book

The Images of
Architects
Edited by Valerio Olgiati
Quart Publishers, 49
Review by Jack Self

The problem with trying to


understand a subject by reading
about it, Plato writes in his Seventh
Letter, is that language cannot say
what is named by the name. In other
words, anyone can bandy about
architecture, but there is no way of
accurately explaining what that term
means. And books claiming to define
architecture in some new, more
authentic way will probably be
around as long as the word exists.
Of course, no matter how
articulately we present ourselves
something will always be missing in
our description of architecture
there will always be more to add, and
that something is the most important
part. Plato suggests that the only way
we can gain the light that is kindled
by a leaping spark is by rubbing
together words and images, because
the spirit of the thing exists neither
in voices, nor icons, but in souls.
In his pictographs project, Valerio
Olgiati attempts to show the roots
of architecture, and expectations
concerning projects through a
parade of very small, captionless
images. These diminutive drawings,
sketches and photographs are
interpretable as icons, and proffer
a universal view of the perceptible
origin of contemporary architecture.
Olgiati began in 2012 at the Venice
Biennale, when he asked 40 or so
well-known architects to send him
a set of reference images that they
felt captured the impetus of their
work, and the spirit of architecture
as a whole. The Images of Architects
is the edited compilation of that
project, and it is a beautiful little book
roughly the dimensions of a Roman
brick, cloth-bound in imperial purple
with black velvet end papers.
Since architects have a penchant
for pages without text, you might
think a picture book would at least be
easy to get through. However,
images bears no relation to the
pornographic satiation of typical
coffee-table monographs; it takes as
much concentration as a technical
report. The images demand to be
interpreted, and theres something
at first intriguing, and then a little
crushing, about that. It feels
somewhat insular, requiring a
particular understanding of how
architectural images work in
sequence that Heinrich Wlfflinlike activity of endless coupling and
uncoupling to construct new
historical narratives.
The problem with the book and

One fantastic shot shows


a Japanese shop owner
surrounded by colourful
knick-knacks, seemingly
overcome by the
immensity of all the plastic
shit crowding her in

the challenge set by Olgiati parallels


that faced by the discipline: when
we juxtapose so many examples of
strong individual praxis and personal
aesthetic, what results is strangely
vacuous and unfulfilling. There are
simply too many architectures, too
many histories, a psychedelic
palimpsest of competing visual
definitions. In the words of art critic
and philosopher Boris Groys, images
are homogeneity without universality.
The dubious intellectualism of
the Americans; the earnest sincerity
of the Japanese; the uninspiring,
literalist banality of the English
all serve to perpetuate a certain
elitism among architects, especially
given the architectural elite invited
to contribute to this volume in the
first place.
To give you a flavour of the
books inevitable predictability:
Venturi Scott Brown displayed

snapshots from the Seventies of Las


Vegas and some collages of Philip
Johnson, while Glenn Murcutt split his
collection into one-third aboriginal
paintings, one-third corrugated iron
photos, and one-third high-modernist
masterwork. Ben van Berkel has
focused on formlessness, featuring
intricate biological specimens and
bright, colour streetscapes of New
York, vaguely reminiscent of those
generic photos that come in Ikea
frames. Meanwhile Alejandro Aravena
unimaginatively listed the canonical
work from any Introduction to
Architecture class: the Parthenon, the
Pantheon, the Basilica of San Marco,
the Villa Rotunda, the Barcelona
Pavilion, and so on.
The biggest disappointments
were Caruso St John and Peter
Eisenman the former for its stuffy
Georgian sitting rooms and stockphoto cloisters (half cast in afternoon

a cathedral for children to play in.


But there was only one entry
that I felt really did the structure
of the book justice, and that was
Mario Bottas. Clearly reading the
complexities of the challenge, he
has wrestled to depict more than
his own interests. His third image
is an icon of a martyr. It is intuitively
recognisable as religion itself (in
the abstract) and not, as with John
Pawson, a picture of a structure that
happens to be religious. Opposite the
suffering saint is a Picasso sketch, a
deformed face contorted in agony.
With just two little squares Botta
captures the universality of human
suffering, the eternal struggle
to make sense of our being and
the architects constant negotiation
of the absolute and the subjective.
Similarly, Bottas last slide, a
typographers diagram of a capital
letter, A, evokes the richness of
proportion, structure, authority
and the perfection of nature.
But Bottas first image is the most
poignant: a sketch by Carlo Scarpa
that simply says Verum Ipsum
Factum, in reference to a branch of
philosophy not so far removed from
the concerns of Plato. It means the
truth defines itself, and suggests that
architecture is not, perhaps, a thing
in the world at all. Rather, it comes
into being only through recognition
and labelling. This is a subtle (and
perhaps obtuse) way of saying that
architecture is whatever we say
it is, and therefore any attempt to
construct even a fleeting universal
view by Olgiati is a beguiling, yet
utterly impossible task.
193

B330-193-R3-Archi pix ph2.indd 193

04/09/2013 14:47

Book

The Spectacle of
Disintegration
Situationist Passages
out of the 20th
Century
by McKenzie Wark
Published by Verso, 16.99
Interview by Thomas Wensing

The Spectacle of Disintegration


Situationist Passages out of the 20th
Century is Ken McKenzie Warks third
book on the Situationist International,
after The Beach Beneath the Street
and 50 Years of Recuperation of the
Situationist International. The new
book discusses the later work of the
group and focuses on the material
practices as well as the critical
theory. Thomas Wensing spoke
with McKenzie Wark at his
office in Manhattan:
TW: So first off, what I find intriguing
about your bibliography is that you
have a gaming background. You have
written Hacker Manifesto and Gamer
Theory, but then you write three
books about the Situationist
International. How did that happen?

MW: I was involved in something like


an avant-garde movement in the
Nineties, one of the names was
Nettime [nettime.org]; a network of
writers, activists and artists from one
end of Europe to the other, out of
which came Hacker Manifesto. Then I
wrote Gamer Theory, which is the
negative version of network
technology, and what is now called
gamification.
I wrote these two books, but
then I thought I should have done a
bit more research on the pre-history
of this. The book we all read was
Society of the Spectacle, by Guy
Debord. So I went back and read
it again, and it turned out to be
a much more captivating story than
I thought. The most interesting
chapter is not the first one on the
spectacle, that everyone knows, but
the second last one on dtournement,
which is the idea that all culture is
common, that we all plagiarise. I
wrote about the Situationist
International because the existing
accounts dont really help in the here
and now.
TW: You talk about dtournement. I
understand that dtournement, to
put it in computer terms, is different
from remixing. Can you explain what
the difference is there?

MW: The Situationists got the idea of


dtournement from the poet
Lautramont, who was famous for
the Songs of Maldoror. It turned out
that in the Fifties Maldoror was
hugely plagiarised, and the
Situationists were the only ones who
defended the practice of the theft
itself by arguing that there is no
private property in culture. That is a
real, quite radical proposition. There
are tens, or even hundreds, of millions
of people all over the planet who are
basically taking possession of their
own culture, and they share it with
each other. To reappropriate it
consciously, that is what the
Situationists call us to do. Can you
correct it in the direction of hope?
TW: Lets talk briefly about the
society of the spectacle, and what is
meant by it. The premise of your
book is that we are now witnessing
the complete disintegration of the
so-called spectacle. So, could you
explain what is meant by the
spectacle, and who is behind it?
MW: It is not a conspiracy, it is a
system of social relations mediated
by images. It is a doubling up of the
system of production of things. What
is really enabling about what Debord
does, writing in the middle of the
Cold War, is to expose that East and

That is the spectacle. We


just give it a different
wrapper and a different
colour; we wrap it up in
green but it is still the
same thing
1

West are two versions of the


spectacle. In the East it is
concentrated; it revolves around
Khruschev, or Mao, or whoever. In our
version it revolves around pictures of
cars and models and it is diffuse, but
it is still a transformation of being
into having, and then of having into
appearing. It is the two-stage
declension with which we live.
Then he revisits these ideas in
the Seventies and observes that the
states of France and Italy are
integrating elements of the
concentrated spectacle into the
diffuse ones. These are Western
states, but they have become opaque
and secretive in the manner of a
Stalinist apparatus; they have started
to deceive themselves. At this point
the state can no longer perform the
function of historical vision and
leadership. The result of this process
is not an integrated spectacle in my
mind, but that it evolves into the
disintegrating spectacle. We all know
that we are presiding over slowmotion ruins in the making.
TW: You use the metaphor of the
Pacific gyre in your book. The gyre is
a current in the Pacific Ocean in
which plastic gets collected and just

revolves without end, without ever


biodegrading. What surprises me is
that even though such knowledge
becomes increasingly available, is
that society never seems to be able
to address the root causes of
problems; it only repackages it.
MW: Right! Well, that is the spectacle.
We just give it a different wrapper
and a different colour; we wrap it up
in green, but it is still the same thing.
So to understand science as part of a
system of social relations we have to
go back and ask: How are things
made? The historical, materialist
question is crucial, you know: How
do we socially produce this life?
This rereading of the Situationist
tradition is trying to get back to that.
In The Beach beneath the Street and
in this book, The Spectacle of
Disintegration, I explain that it is not
just theory that they were doing,
there are practices of making as well.
And that is why I restored the figure
of Asger Jorn, or Constant, in the
earlier book, and in this one the
cinema of Debord and Ren Vinet.
TW: It is astounding that Debord was
not a filmmaker in the classical sense,
he actually made films by cutting
them up. There is the physical labour
of making these films. So, you touch
on something really interesting there:
which technology gets developed is
currently decided by a whole network
of financial and industrial interests.
When you put making back into
individual peoples hands, that has
a real transformative potential. This
aspect of the Situationists, to promote
doing things yourself could this be
replicated on a larger scale?
MW: Yes, exactly. And I want to be
clear: they were not just doing that.
But one of the things to ask is this
question what was Debord making?
He made 12 issues of a really
gorgeous journal, a really fascinating
object, the contents of which were
without copyright.
So why are you producing a
beautiful object, but then the contents
are free? What is the dialectical
relation you are setting up there? So
there is the journal, and he is a
filmmaker. On the one hand he is
famous for expelling everybody from
the Situationist International, and on
the other hand he always has
collaborators in all these things.
I tracked down his film editors
and spoke to them to figure out how
he got film editors to do new kinds
of cinema. I think in the 21st century
we need to extract different stories
out of the avant-garde, in order to
move forward, and one of the stories
here might be to re-establish that
relationship between critical making
and critical theory. Can we do them
together again? That strikes me as
very, very important at this particular
time, because they have become
completely separate realms.

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Exhibition

Lowry and
the Painting
of Modern Life
Until 20 October
Tate Britain
Review by Herbert Wright

In LS Lowrys Going to the Match


(1936), crowds bizarrely lean forward
into the wind as they converge on a
football stadium, keen for the action
inside. Crowds converging on Tate
Britain for Lowry and the Painting of
Modern Life come to witness another
match, which pitted the Lancashire
painter against the status quo of the
art establishment.
Its interest after the First World
War was the avant-garde, rather than
portrayals of drab Manchester or
Salford. Nevertheless, Lowrys work
was gradually recognised, and by the
Thirties was exhibited in Paris, then
London. When the band Status Quo

celebrated Lowrys work with its first


hit in 1967, Pictures of Matchstick Men,
it froze his dark, simple figures into the
national psyche, but that tritely
obscured the significance of Lowry.
It was he who revealed the masses
of industrial society and its habitat.
Tate Britain delivers its goal of
restoring his significance. The score
so far: Status Quo 1-Lowry 2.
It is not quite as simple as working
class vs bourgeois art. Lowry himself
was a rent collector who voted Tory,
raising the question: was he merely
documenting modern life, or speaking
for the people he moved among?
Certainly, class struggle is not
expressed like Stalinist heroic-realist
propaganda art. In Lowrys drawing
of Speculators (1924), four awkwardly
stiff men could just as well be clerks.
Theres no trace of satire imagine
how George Grosz would have
portrayed such people in the
contemporaneous Weimar Republic!
On the other hand, The Cripples (1949)
shows characters as bizarre as any
Grosz caricature. It is hardly a

sympathetic view. Charlie Chaplin


endearingly represented the individual
worker in Modern Times (1924), but
Lowrys people are largely anonymous
(a powerful exception, not in the show,
is the portrait Unemployed (1937)).
Even in Pit Disaster (1919), there is a
absence of emotion in the bereaved
family depicted.
The ubiquitous matchstick man
is usually little more than a stiff,
darkly-dressed constituent of the
crowd. Yet Lowry is fascinated by
streetlife, recording incidents like
fights or prayer meetings or the visit
of a hawker. He is detached from
events though, merely an observer.
Lowrys view then, seems
apolitical and depersonalised. The
modern life exhibited here is defined
by the urban industrial landscape,
which had emerged in the 19th
century. In the shows first room, the
Tate includes works by the likes of
Maurice Utrillo, which seem irrelevant,
and van Gogh, who recognised the
emergence of industrial society. (The
latters 1880 drawing Miners in the

Snow, not in the show, shows nine


uncannily Lowryesque figures against
an industrial Belgian backdrop).
The shows big surprise to many
will be some works by Adolphe
Valette, Lowrys teacher. He would
surely be recognised as one of Frances
greatest Impressionists but for his
main works being about Manchester.
Here, his York Street painting (1913)
makes the boomtowns murky light
glow like a Whistler nocturne, steam
diffuse like a Turner, and the air itself
as heavy as Monets. His other
masterpieces are hoarded in
Manchester Art Gallery.
Lowrys city paintings could not
be more different. I only deal with
poverty and gloom, he said, and the
latter sets the visual tone. In dull, drab
colours, looming mills and smoking
chimneys appear in flat layers like

1 Industrial Landscape (1955)


2 Adolphe Valettes oil painting York Street
Leading to Charles Street, Manchester (1913)
3 Going to the Match (1936)

1 , 3 The esTaTe of Ls Lowry 2 ManchesTer ciTy GaLLeries

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04/09/2013 14:49

successive stage backdrops, paler with


distance, marching across vistas below
a sky which blends into a grey horizon.
Working as an air-raid watchman in
the Second World War, he would have
seen Manchester from rooftops, but
he painted with a floating viewpoint
before then.
The cityscape is repetitive scenery,
and the focus falls on people moving
across their foregrounds, like studies
in dynamic crowd behaviour. The far
subtler shading and angles of drawings
of streets and buildings on show
demonstrate Lowry to be a master
of massing and perspective but, by
comparison, the paintings deal with
space almost childishly.
Nevertheless, his formulaic
cityscapes work because they are
shorthand for the reality of Manchester
when it was the workshop of the
world. A deeper, atmospheric
treatment like Valettes simply would
not have captured the sheer endless
grimness of the place. Lowry
communicates that directly. He was
particularly successful when he

painted industrial wastelands emptied


of people, or indeed any life at all.
The Tate quotes George Orwell in The
Road to Wigan Pier describing
flashes, stretches of dead, polluted
water in the landscape. Lowry presents
these in paintings such as The Lake
(1937), a stunning nightmare view of
an entire, vast flash feature.
Nowadays, we would recognise this as
an eco-disaster, but back then, they
were considered to be just part of an
everyday industrial world, where
nature had no place. It gives Lowry an
unexpected dimension as a protoenvironmentalist, offering
a warning similar to Rachel Carsons
Silent Spring, but 25 years earlier.
There are other places he painted
far from the ubiquitous crowds. St
Augustines Church, Pendlebury (1924)
looms so bleakly that you could
imagine Father MacKenzie sitting
in it, writing the words of a sermon
that no-one will hear. The Empty
House (1934) is no Edward Hopper
masterpiece, but captures a similar
sense of stillness and isolation.

His formulaic landscapes


work because they are
shorthand for the grim
reality of Manchester
when it was the workshop
of the world

He was commissioned after the


war to paint for the Festival of Britain,
and we get cityscapes much the same
as before, but larger. No celebration of
a brave new world emerging. Ancoats
Hospital (1952) is not an endorsement
of the NHS as a Utopian ideal, but
a crowd of outpatients who seem
thawed out from three decades earlier
in an old waiting room where the only
signs of modernity are the strip light
casings above them. Lowrys gritty
industrial world was beginning to slip
away, and its replacement by the
post-war landscape of high-rise social
housing and motorway schemes was
not something he addressed.
Lowrys style may have been
nave, but it revealed like no other
artist the 20th-century working-class
world. Some say it is relevant to
places where industry booms today,
such as the Pearl River Delta or
Gujurat. Maybe so. How wonderful
it would be if Lowry could be shown
in such places, to inspire local artists
to document their worlds, because
they too will fade in time.

197

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04/09/2013 14:49

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Untitled-3 1

14/08/2013 09:47

Exhibition

Manuel Estrada:
Sailing Through
Design
Until 11 October
AIGA, New York
Review by Gwen Webber

The AIGA in New York doesnt do


design monographs. Its mandate
since it began in 1914, as the
American Institute of Graphic Arts,
has been to promote professional
graphic arts and to educate an
audience beyond designers. Even its
location on Fifth Avenue, away from
the cultural cluster of galleries and
design agencies downtown, provides
a somewhat untapped footfall.
In the past 10 years, the AIGA
has felt the need to expand its
programming in response to the
amorphous professional categories
that graphic design encompasses.
For its latest show, Sailing Through
Design, the 22,000-member
organisation has defied its own
exhibition guidelines to host
the work of a single Spanish graphic
designer, Manuel Estrada.
His designs, or at least his
exploration of possible designs,
are spread across the pages of 52
notebooks whose spines have been
pasted to one of the gallerys walls
like the frayed wallpaper of a wild

polished, consummated products, but


part of the armoury of props that
Estrada enlists, discovers, repurposes
and sometimes builds from scratch,
such as the twisted smoking pipe for
The Hounds of the Baskervilles, to
create glimpses of environments,
scenes that he then photographs to
create witty, satirical and sometimes
darkly obtuse book covers.
Estradas engagement with
objects, concepts and representation
gives the viewer an intimate way
into a visual culture that is deeply
concerned with message. Finding
what links the sketchbooks,
the objects and the final outcome
requires some investigation,
immersing the viewer in an
archaeological encounter. This subtle
sense of uncertainty and intimacy
is a welcome shift from conventional
design shows, which often tend to
present design as a finished product.
On one notebook cover, a pair

of shiny brogues, one black, one


white, sit side by side, photographed
from above. There is a precious
moment when discovering Estradas
internal dialogues on paper, showing
the shoes in alternate colours and
patterns: a visual struggle to
represent the most powerful contrast.
In some ways Estradas work is
an antidote to manicured exhibitions
and the recent focus on designs
social impact or the ubiquitous
strategy design, as championed by
larger design agencies, such as IDEO
and Frog as well as the AIGAs own
community-based work with the UN.
Though the majority of the work
on show is Estradas editorial designs,
the prominent positioning of his
designs of logos seem at odds with the
craft-inspired dynamic drawings. Hung
over the spaces centre like medieval
1 Estradas illustration for Nobel Prize winner
Jose Saramagos book The Elephants Journey

ceremonial banners, the large printed


logos for corporate and cultural
institutions including multinational
oil company Respol, Madrid City
Councils information service Linea
Madrid, and Madrids free library
lending service Bibliometro add
drama but demand explanation that
isnt available. Their overbearing
imagery saps the energy from the
other phenomenological work.
The exhibition also formalises
the AIGAs founding mission by
making the building blocks of graphic
design the heart of the show. Indeed,
Estrada is an ideal choice for this kind
of affirmation as his working process
reveals the underbelly of a profession
that many only come in contact with
once it is an outcome, on a shelf, as
a poster or a magazine.
The show is a clear reminder
that there is room for graphic design
to be a conduit for both empathy
and vulnerability.

The show is a reminder


that there is room for
graphic design to be
a conduit for empathy
and vulnerability
imagination. Leafing through the
carefully constructed and
passionately conceived ideas not only
reveals Estradas thought process, but
also his vulnerability and what AIGA
director Ric Grefe identifies as
universality. The real value of any
designer is empathy in understanding
human-scale responses, he says.
Though notebooks area familiar
emblem of creativity, and used as
a marketing tool for companies such
as Moleskine, making space for pages
sprinkled with buildings on legs,
stick-people climbing winding paths
made of text and speedily etched
symbols is an act of generosity rather
than a clich. In this way, visitors are
given unparalleled access to Estradas
creative ramblings.
Dedicated primarily to editorial
design, the sketchbooks entrails range
from collages to drawings and mixed
media. These are complemented by
a series of glass cabinets that hold
seemingly random objects: an
upturned leather shoe with chalkdrawn arrows on its sole; a wooden
mask with white and red bristles; a
pair of rusted horseshoes. These arent

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Book

Dixonary
by Tom Dixon
Published by Violette Editions, 35
Review by Johnny Tucker

Back in the Eighties there used to


be this very grimy (in the oily, rather
than musical, sense), theatrical,
agit-prop, industrial music band
called Test Department. Their output
was a heady mix of politics and metal
beating and grinding. For me, the
bands apotheosis was a gig it did
in an old maintenance depot under
the flyovers near Paddington.
I recently saw a flyer for that gig
the Unacceptable Face of Freedom.
One name on it stuck out, Tom Dixon.
I havent had a chance to ask him,
but it must be the same Tom Dixon,
the self-taught designer with a strong
penchant for welding. Has to be.
That was more than 25 years
ago and now, celebrating 30 years of
Tom Dixon design, Violette Editions
has brought out this very personal,
600-page look-back through his
work and influences, in his own
words. Based around individual
products, this is a tour through the

life of a designer who has been there


and done that (and learned from the
successful mistakes).
Hes been the design auteur
thats where he started off, welding
together chairs from ferrous objets
trouvs and hes been the new
designer on the block, getting the
attention of the Italian manufacturers
(Capellini with the S-chair). He also
made the quite unexpected leap
into the corporate world, as creative
director of the then Ikea-owned
Habitat, which was still a major
design-led force on the high street
in those days.
He has gone on to use that
global-sourcing nous and retail savvy,
for his eponymous company, with
everything from an eclectic,
metaphorically and literally, range
of left-field commercial products
for the home (the Eclectic range:
moneyboxes, to door stops, to
scented candles), to lighting and
furniture aimed at the specifier and
the knowledgeable design consumer.
The book starts off strongly
autobiographical, but as it proceeds
becomes more of a catalogue of
works, influences and processes.
After a brief but enlightening
introduction, it moves to the meat

of the book laid out as a more or less


chronological (with some theming)
series of spreads of images with a
printed interleaf separating them.
The left-hand page of each spread
is an picture of something that
influenced, informs or draws a
parallel with the piece of work shown
on the right-hand page. The interleaf
contains apposite soundbites or
anecdotes about the object, the
period it was from, or the gestation
of ideas during that time. Its a rigid
format that could easily feel
contrived, but actually works rather
well. There are naturally a few lame
pages of info album filler tracks
but not that many.
As you move through the tome
you learn about a designer driven to
create and ready to make mistakes
to keep his hands busy. Early on
Dixon talks about his lack of formal
design education and how he had
to get out there and just make
chairs, a lot of chairs: Of course some
were ugly, some really embarrassing
and some completely structurally
unsound, but it meant that I taught
myself all manner of things about
balance, shape, making, materials,
production, and ergonomics
through my own mistakes and

not from a book or teacher.


Hes a doer, not a talker and
thats also evident in both the format
of the book its like a lecture based
around slides and that he comes
across so clearly obsessed with
material, process, structure, like a
proper designer, if were honest.
But lest we forget, he was at
Habitat for seven years (he was also
creative director at Artek), where
he wasnt designing, but controlling
and refining, and the experience
barely warrants a mention. Thats a
very long way in quite a short time
from his goggles and gloves days.
Theres virtually no contextual design
discussion and no toes are trodden
on or noses put out of joint here.
This is me, Tom Dixon, and how and
why I make things, with amenable
autobiographical detail that puts you
in mind of Nigel Slaters Toast a
nice patina, nothing too challenging.
Its an enjoyable, often light
read and Im certainly not going
to condemn him for creating candles
something that bothers him
enough to mention because
theyre an individual TomDixon
take on a retail/middle class-home
staple and have a nice smell about
them like the book really.

Early on, Dixon talks about


his lack of formal design
education and how he had
to just get out there and
make chairs, a lot of chairs

200

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Untitled-2 1

02/09/2013 15:22

Start
preparing
to win!
Product CATEGORIES
Public, Leisure or Office Furniture
2013 Product of the Year
Workplace Seating
Lighting Product
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Project CATEGORIES
Drawing and 3D Model-making
Leisure or Entertainment Venue
Museum or Exhibition Space
Workspace Environment
Public Space Schemes
Bar or Restaurant
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Retail Space
Hotel
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Special Awards
Interior Design Practice of the Year
Breakthrough Talent of the Year
Lifetime Contribution to Design
Product Designer of the Year

Awards night
27 November 2013
at Grosvenor House,
A JW Marriott Hotel,
Park Lane, London W1K 7TN

FX Awards 2013 ads (Blueprint new size).indd 4

To enter
www.fxdesignawards.co.uk

For queries
Email Maarja Pehk at
entries@fxdesignawards.co.uk

Deadline for entries


19 July 2013

To reserve your SEATS


www.fxdesignawards.co.uk or
email fxawards@btinternet.com
or contact Tony Thompson
on +44 (0)7803 148 194

04/09/2013 13:59

27/11/13

FX Awards 2013 ads (Blueprint new size).indd 5

04/09/2013 14:00

Celebrating 30 years of the


finest architecture, design
and art coverage, Blueprint
is relaunched as a premium
260-page magazine
1 year subscription rate (6 issues): 150
Please contact us for international prices
Call now on +44 (0) 845 0739 607
or email cs@progressivemediagroup.com

B330-Subs ad.indd 204

04/09/2013 13:52

FROM THE ARCHIVES

The last 30 years of Blueprint in the words of:


1983
1984
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993
1994
1995
1996
1997
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013

Eva Jiin | Eva Jiin Architects


Ron Arad | Ron Arad Associates
Richard Rogers | Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners
Paul Smith | Paul Smith
Nigel Coates | Nigel Coates
Neville Brody | Research Studios
Michael Hopkins | Hopkins Architects
Eric Parry | Eric Parry Associates
Terry Farrell | Terry Farrell & Partners
Nicholas Grimshaw | Grimshaw Architects
Philippe Starck | Starck
Marc Newson | Marc Newson
Jacques Herzog | Herzog & de Meuron
Elizabeth Diller | Diller Scofidio + Renfro
Sam Jacob | FAT
Steven Holl | Steven Holl Architects
Eric Kuhne | CivicArts/Eric R Kuhne & Associates
Iain Borden
Fernando Gutirrez | Studio Fernando Gutirrez
Steffen Sauerteig | eboy
Luke Pearson | Pearson Lloyd
David Greene | Archigram
Peter St John | Caruso St John
Charles Jencks
Zaha Hadid | Zaha Hadid Architects
Craig Dykers | Snhetta
Eduardo Souto de Moura | Souto Moura Arquitectos
Norman Foster | Foster + Partners
Terence Conran | Conran and Partners
Thomas Heatherwick | Heatherwick Studio
David Adjaye | Adjaye Associates

Interviews conducted by: Johnny Tucker,


Veronica Simpson, Shumi Bose, Herbert Wright

30 years ago Deyan Sudjic (editor) and


Peter Murray (publisher) had the idea of
creating a design, architecture and style
magazine and, after hawking their plan
around the creative community,
managed to garner enough funding to
start publishing Blueprint in 1983. Art
director Simon Esterson gave it a look,
that, to this day, Richard Rogers
(see page 210) remembers as fresh and
exciting, though Murray remembers that
they perhaps didnt choose the best
picture of Eva Jiin: She was a bit
shiny. (page 207)
Launch issue associate editors
included Dan Cruickshank, Jonathan
Glancey, Loyd Grossman and James
Woodhuysen. Over the next 62 pages, we
take a look back, selecting one cover
from each year and returning to the cover
star to ask what that time meant to them
and what key changes in their profession
have occurred over the three decades
that Blueprint has been publishing.
205

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04/09/2013 15:00

1983

Eva Jiricna

Eva Jiin Architects

To demonstrate shifting
sensibilities, two moments across
the years particularly stand out.
The first concerns an Austrian
client, who asked us to build a hotel
in Prague but to design a facade
only in order to get a planning
approval. I persuaded him to let us
completely re-design the existing
proposal because the facade
without any interior consistency
was not going to be convincing.
When we had successfully
obtained the planning approval,
he started looking for an architect
to design the interiors. I questioned
him about why we could not
continue and he replied:
Eva, to have a modern building
with modern interiors, it is suicide.
We subsequently completed the
project inside and out and he
made a fortune on his disaster.

The second incident that comes


to mind is when we had completed
the Orangery at Pragues castle and
I was walking in the castles royal
gardens and spotted a few Canadian
students climbing on the actual
structure. They were sharing their
admiration with the details and
materials and concept issues, taking
photographs and obviously enjoying
themselves. Before my architectural
pride had inflated to bursting point,
I spotted an American couple
obviously intellectuals: in glasses
with large dark frames, serious faces,
he wearing a bow tie and she in
an Armani suit with Herms scarf.
They looked at each other in
visible disgust and he muttered:
What a shame! They just couldnt
bear to see something so modern up
against the historic castle. Thankfully, weve moved on since then.

PHOTOGRAPHY OndRej HOsT

In 1983 when Blueprint was


published for the first time I was
working on the Lloyds building in
Richard Rogers office. It was a
fantastic experience which definitely
marked the rest of my professional
activities. It was a 24-hour-a-day
job but I would not change it for
anything. It was the first building in
London which was really out of the
ordinary. And not just a little.
In the intervening decades,
after the Lloyds building, the
architecture started changing
drastically. It is hard to imagine what
the Docklands was like, what the
City of London was like and what the
public buildings, shops, restaurants,
museums looked like. The
generation of post-war architects
eventually got to fulfil their dreams,
technology was moving ahead
allowing new stars like Zaha Hadid,
Daniel Libeskind and many others
to build what was previously
considered unbuildable. The
collaboration of architects and
engineers produced remarkable
results. Glass technology completely
changed possibilities, which the
previous generation had only
dreamt about. And there was the
lottery, facilitating new public and
cultural buildings, an awareness of
green issues and urban concepts...
I could go on for ever.
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1984

RON ARAD

Ron Arad Associates

I think 1984 was a time when we


needed something like Blueprint to
write about us and Blueprint needed
people like us to write about. I
always say that when I started doing
what I did then, I had no one to join.
I needed to invent my profession. It
would have been different if I lived
in Milan. But Im glad I didnt. It all
happened because someone had
told me that they had booked a
space at the Milan Furniture Fair
and they had nothing to show, so
would I bring something. For some
reason we had a great success first
time we went to Milan. Nobody was
doing what we did everyone was
busy with bad taste and Bella
Figura. It was after that time we
met Joseph [Ettedgui] and got
involved in his shops.

I never intended to join the


design scene. Then Vitra asked me to
design for them [resulting in the
Tom Vac chair]. Rolf Fehlbaum [CEO
of Vitra] was profiled in Blueprint as
the man who loved chairs, and he
called me one of the most interesting designers in London. So then
first I read that I was a designer in
Blueprint. But I always felt like an
outsider to the profession. When I
graduated from the AA it was more
like an art school, because no one
was building anything in England in
those days. I tried to be a good boy
and get a job. It didnt last very long
I realised early on that Im not cut
out to work for other people. One
day I just didnt come back after
lunch and that was when I did the
Rover chair I walked from the
office and passed a scrapyard behind
the Roundhouse and found the old
red leather car seat. I didnt know
making that into a chair was going to
suck me into this design world.

The biggest change in the last


three decades has been how
computers have penetrated the
process of design the shift from the
physical to the digital. You can do a
lot more with less people in a
shorter time. It opened up possibilities, but it also brings a lot of junk
with it. My show in the Design
Museum Holon (see page 40) is
about the shift from hammers to
pixels. Does the shift to quantity at
speed mean that quality suffers? I
dont know. Theres always been a
lot of things to look at and some
things to enjoy. Are people better
photographers now that everyone
has a camera? Maybe the good thing
that this proliferation brings is that
we are more open to the visual,
things are more accessible. Maybe it
means that people dont miss out on
things. Things dont get better, there
are just different ways of making.

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1985

RICHARD ROGERS

Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners

In 1985, London was in a very bad


state. Wed had no work for two
years previous to Lloyds and Id
more or less given up architecture,
yet again. As I remember, John
Young [long time collaborator and
founding partner of the Richard
Rogers Partnership] was trying to
become a taxi driver! People were
talking about moving to Frankfurt
and 1985 was just about the pits
London was losing its confidence.
In a way, I always measure things
next to that time and the difference
is, now that London is on top
of the world, theres no real
competitor apart from maybe
New York. So theres been
a vast change for the better.
Lloyds was amazing. We were
unbelievably surprised to win; we
really were the outsiders. One has to
remember RIBA president Gordon
Graham who was a key person both
on Lloyds and on Normans
Shanghai [Norman Foster, Hong
Kong and Shanghai Bank, Hong
Kong]. Lloyds, who were well
known for not knowing much about
architecture, went to the RIBA
and Gordon Graham recommended
a shortlist. Without Gordon,
I dont think either Norman
or myself would be anywhere
near where we are today.

I would say that environmental


responsibility has been the biggest
change, in my lifetime the fact that
we now realise that were living in
a society where if we dont do
something about it, it will lead
to climate change.
Were very conscious that
we have to integrate environmental
factors into buildings. The house
weve just built in the Royal Academy courtyard is unbelievably
environmentally efficient. The
change towards making cities for
people instead of cities for cars, is
also a key difference that started
around that time [the Eighties]
a much greater consciousness of
public space and public domain.

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1986

PAUL SMITH
Paul Smith

In 1986 I had two shops open in


London, one in Floral Street,
Covent Garden and one in Avery
Row, in the West End of London.
So I would have been very busy
with that! In terms of the bigger
picture of what was happening,
I had started to expand into Japan
which really was a turning point.
I went to Japan and opened the first
shop in 1984; by 1986 I had probably
got about six shops there.
Since then, I think that
modern design and particularly
architecture have become a lot
more acceptedaround the world,
whereas a lot of the key cities
were really holding on to tradition
for many years. Now, I think
there is a balance between
tradition and modernism.

One of the big turning


points was Frank Gehrys Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain. The
mayor, Iaki Azkuna, was really
brilliant in commissioning
that because it drew attention to
this town that, really, many people
had never visited or been to, at
that time. This then created a
domino effect with many cities
around the world doing the same.
Nowadays, there are so many
iconic museums around the world.
I think modern architecture has had
a big effect in the last 20 years.
When Blueprint first started,
it was at a time when there were
not nearly so many publications
on modernity, modern objects
and on people and architecture.
So I think it was really ahead of its
time as today this is so important.
The graphic design and art direction
was very modern so I would say
it was very pioneering and luckily
its stayed that way.

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1987

NIGEL COATES
Nigel Coates

Being featured so prominently in


Blueprint in 1987 coincided with
my first projects completed in Japan.
At this time, Tokyo was a booming
success that everyone back in
Europe wanted a taste of, and
the same went for me over there.
With my then partner, Doug
Branson, I went on to complete
over 20 projects in Japan, including
three buildings and numerous
interiors. With its extraordinary
courage and patronage, I liken this
period to the heyday of the Medici.
It set the pace for my work from
then on, shaping both my highly
charged narrative design style and
my professional way of working.
My goal now, as then, is to realise my
designs with artistry.

What changes in the last


30 years have impacted most on
design, in my view? Two phenomena
spring to mind. The first is the
creeping prevalence of digital design
techniques. When it comes to
developing architectural spaces,
digital design has completely
outmoded the plan and section
design mentality. Before
computers, in the early 1990s,
many of my projects had ambitious
curved surfaces that had to be
drawn by hand. The second is
the increased industrialisation of
architectural design. There seem
only to be very large offices
employing literally hundreds
of people or the small studio with
a much more flexible and, hopefully,
inventive agenda. Not very many
sit in the middle.

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1988

NEVILLE BRODY
Research Studios

The other shift is one I am


currently doing everything in my
power to counteract that is the UK
governments desire to drag us back
to a Victorian era where the arts are
marginalised, schools produce
obedient cogs for the machinery of
this governments chosen economic
engines, art schools are for a few
privileged elite, and people are not
encouraged to question, challenge or
experiment. Through my role as
president of D&AD, Im hoping to
raise funds to help people who
might otherwise not be able to afford
it get through art college. And
through my role as dean of the
School of Communication at the
RCA, Im hoping to help develop
skilled, dangerous thinkers, problem
solvers, individuals who will lead
and create industry and society.
Design is about everything
far more so now than in 1983
when Blueprint launched.
What an exciting opportunity.
PHOTOGRAPHy ANDREW MEREDITH

In 1988, I had completed the first


of two books for Thames & Hudson,
and the V&A had put on an
exhibition of my work to coincide
with the publication. That show
went on to tour Japan and elsewhere
in Europe, which really launched my
international work. This kick-started
my love affair with Japan, which has
continued ever since.
Since then, two huge shifts in
design spring to mind: one is the
influence of digital design and the
internet, and how that has impacted
the viability of print media, which
I predict will become a luxury in
future books will certainly be
a luxury, but also the way in which
design disciplines cross-fertilise
and mingle with other forms of
communication, technology and
interaction. We are post-disciplinary;
everything is hybrid.

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1989

MICHAEL HOPKINS
Hopkins Architects

By 1989, we had been in practice on


our own account for 12 years. During
this time, we had built 12 new
buildings, including Schlumbergers
Research Centre at Cambridge, the
Mound Stand at Lords and our own
offices in Marylebone.
This period also included four
years working with Michael Dickson
of Buro Happold on the first of our
membrane structures for Basildon
Town Centre. Contracts had been
let and site huts erected and then
the New Town Commission sold it
off. The project was aborted.
However, nothing is ever lost.
We had become proficient in the
use of membrane structures.
In 1989, we completed the small
round stone Cutlery Factory for the
Mellor family, on the base of a
redundant, overgrown, rural
gasometer. Although small, the
building has done well for both the
client and architect and was the first
of a number of projects together.

Also in 1989, the rebuilding of


Bracken House was on site, opposite
St Pauls. On the drawing boards /
Apple Macs, we had the new Opera
House at Glyndebourne structural
brickwork and timber and the new
London headquarters for IBM, by
Heathrow Airport: three stories high,
exposed structural steel frame,
expressed inside and out [without
concrete casing], engineered by
Arup. I think Mies would have
enjoyed the technology.
And in the pipeline in 1989,
the enormous complexity of two
autonomous clients, Parliament
and London Transport, sitting one
above the other on the corner of
Parliament Square which was to
become Portcullis House and
Westminster Underground Station.
Two and a half decades later,
and it doesnt get any easier. The
build rate of the projects, for which
one has prepared a concept design,
is still only one in 10. Projects are
more complex and, for us, more
international, which has certainly
proved rewarding.

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1990

ERIC PARRY

Eric Parry Architects

Just around the corner was the


bludgeoning of the 1991 economic
crash. I was in the middle of my
most intense period of teaching
14 years at Cambridge from 198397
and was between sabbatical teaching
stints at Harvard and the Tokyo
Institute of Technology.
Since then life has been about
practicing in London with the odd
passionate fling further afield.
Theres a curious cycle of decades:
projects that last most of one, like
St Martin-in-the-Fields or the
Holburne Museum, or half of one,
typically like the commercial
buildings in London.
In this decade, the second
after the millennium, a focus has
been the dialogue between the two
cities of Westminster and the City
and what makes their differences,
architecturally speaking, so
pronounced. Woven through these
preoccupations is the cycle of
experiments with the latent potential
that materials carry. The first from
the 1990s was with stone: Pembroke,
the needle at London Bridge and
Finsbury Square. The second
was with metal: Bedford School,
Aldermanbury Square and
Threadneedle Street. The third has
been with faience: New Bond Street,
Bath and Piccadilly.

Another conscious continuity


is trying to work with a broad range
of scales: some furniture; always
a house; the urban buildings and
more singularly, masterplans. It
takes a decade or two for the
design thinking and research of
an architectural school studio to
manifest itself and I am for the
kind of slowness that architecture
has in common with film-making
or the experiments of a research
institute. Working in one city has
the drawback and advantages of
a gathering density of voices in
close proximity but there is no
escaping the fact when you walk
around a corner that architecture is
a framework, when it goes live, for
the less tangible realities of gesture,
language and habits that are part of
an extraordinary city without end.

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1991

TERRY FARRELL
Terry Farrell & Partners

What the cover says to me, over 20


years on, is how ironic life can be.
The cover and its sub-heading and
background picture suggest the
opposite to the reality that then
emerged, as I was not to build in
London for over another 10 years.
We had just finished building three
prominent London buildings
which were the subject of a
Blueprint Special edition [Blueprint
Extra 09 Three Urban Projects,
published in 1993] Embankment
Place, Alban Gate and MI6 but
they were to end that run of
London buildings all of them
commissioned in the 1980s.

At that very time, July/August


1991, I was to win a competition for
The Peak in Hong Kong which
formed the basis of a new office
and a much more rewarding
decade of work in that city. This
led on to growing work and offices
in China (Shanghai and Beijing)
and so the cover and its timing was
indeed far from heralding an era
in Wrens Shadow. It has taken
us 20 years to rebuild the London
office but it has grown again in
the last two or three years and now
at last equals the Hong Kong office,
in size and activity. We all feel,
whether by luck, or design or
just lifes ironies, our two offices
are just the right two cities to be in.

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1992

NICHOLAS
GRIMSHAW

Grimshaw Architects

The early 1990s was a rather bleak


period for the architectural
profession. Fortunately, we
weathered the storm and 1992 was
actually a high point for us. We had
both the Waterloo International
Terminal and the British Pavilion
at Expo 92 finishing that year;
arguably two of the most important
projects for our practice. Waterloo
completed in 1992 and was
opened by the Queen in 1993.
At the time, the client billed it as
the most important project in
Europe. Our Expo 92 scheme
meanwhile, marked the beginning
of the practices first project to
consider sustainability, energy
use and climate.
What developments of the last
three decades have most influenced
my profession? The arrival of CAD
was obviously very important for the
architectural profession. I remember
we got rid of our last drawing board
in 1988, when, coincidently, we had
a show at the RIBA which was
sponsored by Apple. The recognition
by the industry of sustainable issues
has also been key. We perceived this
early; I raised the need to conserve
energy within industrial buildings
at an RIBA conference in 1980.

The renaissance of rail travel


has been personally significant;
it has enabled large public buildings
like the Waterloo International
Terminal to be built. Its also allowed
travel from city centre to city centre,
and highlighted the importance of
cities as opposed to urban sprawl.
Finally, the adoption of the
millennium by the whole UK and
the subsequent investment in public
buildings it has inspired was also
significant. Without it the Eden
Project wouldnt have existed!

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1993

PHILIPPE STARCK
Starck

I live alone, with my wife. We live


very alone in the middle of
nowhere we live in the middle of
the mud where we produce oysters.
I work alone outside of fashions and
trends. There are no conversations
with anyone.
I never read any magazines,
especially any design magazines
now! My feeling is that some
magazines, to sell more, have tried
to make a confusion between design
and art and between design and
fashion. Thats why we see so many
ridiculous things now. Some
designers seem ashamed to design a
chair they want to design a piece
of art. Its a little stupid, because its
a lot more difficult to design a chair
than art or fashion. I prefer artists
who want to make commercial
design to designers who want to
make art.
I think and I hope a magazine
will try and put design back on
track, to remind people design has a
job to help people have a better life,
to be very political, very philosophical, very radical and direct. Can
design save life? Im not sure. Can it
help people to have a better life? I
think so. Today we have so many big
issues in front of us we need to be
looking for the values that save life,
at creativity not trends to help
civilisation.

Design is normal today. Design


is not enough. The big difference is
that business has understood that
design can create a company. Look
at Apple there is no invention
there, just a design company. We
must not fall into the trap that
Raymond Loewy set more than 50
years ago, that design was just
created to make more business.
Design has to help people it is
a big difference.

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1994

MARC NEWSON
Marc Newson

In 1994, I founded the company Pod


(later Ikepod) with Oliver Ike to
manufacture my watch designs. The
same year, limited edition aluminium pieces were shown at the
Wormhole exhibition in Milan. The
pieces shown included: Orgone
Chair, Alufelt Chair, Orgone Stretch
Lounge, Event Horizon Table.
I continued working with
Italian manufacturers Cappellini,
Flos and Moroso, releasing pieces
such as the Helice Lamp, Hangman
and the Mini Event Horizon Table.
I released the Gello table for
French company 3 Suisses. In Paris,
I meet Benjamin de Haan, with
whom I formed a business
partnership, Marc Newson Ltd.
And I began working on my first
solo exhibition, Bucky, de la Chimie
au design, at the Fondation Cartier
pour lart contemporain in Paris.
which opened the following year.
The key developments of
the last couple of decades are
clearly around technology like
what youre able to do with an
iPhone. If someone had dropped
an iPhone on your lap 10 years ago
youd be speechless. It would be
like a trip to the future. Thats kind
of what I do as a designer; my job is
trying to imagine what were going
to need in the future. Its got to be
contemporary or theres no point.

A lot of design is obsolete by the


time it comes out.
Then theres the computer,
which is a very powerful
organisational tool for a designer.
It allows me to direct and control
the interpretative relationship
between my design and a
manufacturer. I can encode my
data and transmit it intact. Thats
why computers are important,
but they are nowhere near
spontaneous enough to compete
with the agility of human
conception. They cannot propose
productive mistakes or imaginative
leaps. Yes, a computer will tell me
that I cant do certain things for
example, that a certain tangent
between two lines cant exist. But
give me a pencil or a piece of clay
and Ill show you how it can be
done. Until the day when I can
put my hands in rubber gloves
and make something inside a
computer meaning that I can
bypass the current language or
data required to translate and
encode communication to the
machine and transfer information
directly through my fingertips,
then its still necessary for me to
draw and make prototypes.

Rapid prototyping and


stereolithography allow you to
design an object in virtual space and
transmit the data to another
machine to grow or print
that object in 3D. These
machines will very soon be
available for domestic use; kids
will probably have access to a
technology that can produce
the toys of their imagination.
However, the worst thing about
this possibility in my opinion
is that it removes the experience
of making things; it replaces
experience with commodity.
Finally, theres sustainability.
It is such a buzzword these days
and it is ultimately very challenging
for designers to be completely
ethical, not only environmentally
but especially morally. My ultimate
litmus test of sustainability is not
to create future landfill but
rather objects with inherent
value that people can live with
for a very long time and pass down
to future generations.

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1995

Jacques Herzog
Herzog & de Meuron

In 1995 we got the commission for


the Tate Modern, which opened up
new doors for us in many ways. We
had started our practice very early,
and had built a good foundation for
what we were interested in and
wanted to do. Then with this great
London project on our books we
could really start to do other
international projects with more
visibility but also with more public
responsibility. So there were quite a
few years before, where we grew
very slowly, but prepared all the
ingredients, so to speak, to cook real
meals. And from this point on we
could do it! And this moment in
time was also when others of our
generation Zaha Hadid, Rem
Koolhaas, Jean Nouvel started to
realise their larger scale projects
which demonstrated a new attitude
in architecture, very different from
the previous generation which
tried to escape modernism and fell
into the trap, or rather the dead-end,
of postmodernism.

The good thing which started


in the Nineties was the development
of architecture as platforms and
generators for public urban life, the
negative aspects came along with
fame, giving architects attributes like
rock stars which ultimately led to
those egocentric, overly iconic
projects that everybody is sick of
now. Today we are witnessing an
interesting phase because somehow
the hype has gone, the architectural
expression of individual style and
form is dead and every project needs
to be defined on a more pragmatic
and conceptual basis.

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1996

ELIZABETH DILLER
Diller Scofidio + Renfro

The 1990s were a heady time. It was


the height of postmodernism, the
culture wars, and identity politics.
The internet and video technology
were hitting the mainstream and we,
then Diller + Scofidio, had our heads
down, doing our best to engage with
all of it. In 1996 we were getting
attention for projects like Soft Sell
and Slow House. That year, we
completed two major video
installations: Indigestion, which we
travelled extensively; and Jump Cuts,
a permanent installation in San Jose,
CA. We collaborated on two theatre
pieces: Moving Target with Frdric
Flamand and Charleroi/Danses; and
Monkey Business with Hotel Pro
Forma and Dumb Type. These
projects, across the disciplines of
architecture, performance, and
installation art, were experiments
subverting the distinctions between
live and mediated experiences.

Which developments have


impacted most on our practice
since then? Beyond digital modelling
and fabrication that have changed
the way all architects work,
advances in robotics and real-time
responsive systems had a direct
impact on our work.
In designing Blur for the
Swiss Expo in 2002, we employed
a primitive form of artificial
intelligence. A built-in weather
station collected real-time weather
data temperature, humidity,
wind speed and direction, and dew
point. The conditions were analysed
to regulate water pressure in a
variety of zones to 35,000 fog
nozzles, producing a fine mist
from the lake water below. The
result is a building of atmosphere,
a dynamic inhabitable made of
natural and man-made forces,
an experiment in de-emphasis
on an environmental scale.

For our retrospective at the


Whitney Museum the following year,
we collaborated with Honeybee
Robotics, one of the firms behind
NASAs Mars Exploration Rover
(the Mars Driller), to developMural.
Reflecting our discomfort with the
alleged neutrality of the white walls
of the museum, the gallery partitions
subdividing the museums fourth
floor into content-specific spaces
were slowly destroyed by a
dissident robot A common drill
operated by an intelligent navigation
system randomly perforated the
museums walls, contaminating
the isolation of the light and
sound controlled spaces.
In the end, we consider
architecture as a technology unto
itself: a big special effects machine
that delights and disturbs the senses
while it keeps out the rain.

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1997

sam jacob
FAT

In 1997, FAT was in a process of


metamorphosis, in its chrysalis
stage, changing from its larval form
of a loose collective, sloughing off its
adolescence before emerging as an
architecturally active butterfly. We
had probably just completed the
KesselsKramer interior design in
Amsterdam, and were pushing to
get into building real buildings. It
took a real force of effort to do this,
something that often felt like a
Sisyphean task,to take a set of
interests and concerns and
transform them into built reality.
We were connected at that time
with like-minded young Dutch
practices, like NL Architects, and
Crimson Architectural Historians
with whom were designing
the British Pavilion at the Venice
Biennale of Architecture next year.

Over the last 30 years, it is


perhaps noticeable how little has
changed, how many established
practices are ploughing the same
furrow. Look at Zahas office,
for example, or Ben van Berkels
Canaletto building on City Road
these guys have been doing the same
thing since the early Nineties, and no
one seems to worry about moving
on. Compare that to how culture
used to evolve with such astounding
speed for example its just a
decade between Sergeant Pepper
and the Sex Pistols, then another to
acid house; contemporary culture
seems a very different proposition.
Maybe thats something to do with
the time we live in everything
exists simultaneously and is equally
connected. Maybe culture doesnt
progress in the straight forward way
it used to. That might explain how
come were in the third decade of
the Eighties revival.
Above: (Left to right) Sam Jacob,
Charles Holland, Sean Griffiths

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1998

STEVEN HOLL

Steven Holl Architects

In May 1998, I flew from New York


City to Helsinki with my mother,
father and future wife to celebrate
the opening of the Kiasma
Museum. Now, my mother has
passed away, and my dad is going
to be 93 on September 18, and
I am still in love with architecture.
Over the last 30 years, detail,
material, proportion and scale in
architecture have become more
important than ever. I look back on
the Kiasma Museum, a competition
win of 516 entries, as the project
that launched Steven Holl Architects
into international cultural works.
It was our first computer-drawn
architecture, starting from a
5in x 7in watercolour concept.

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05/09/2013 11:09

1999

ERIC KUHNE

CivicArts /
Eric R Kuhne & Associates

In 1999, our international work


began to expand. Lecturing around
the world brought to five continents
our research and innovation of
Bluewater [despite Blueprint! Ed] and
the opening of Cockle Bay Wharf in
Darling Park, Sydney.
Our ideas of civic society
updated the Enlightenment ideas
of civil society: places that
empowered rather than enslaved
the individual; treating customers
as guests instead of consumers;
honouring an individuals
aspirations more than their status
quo;celebrating the heroic routine
of everyday life; restoring the
storytelling quality of architecture
and the pageantry of cities. Our
office expanded globally into
Waterfronts, retail/leisure
mixed-use centres, and the master
designing of cities. Still, today, this is
our triad of expertise.

Which developments have


impacted most in the intervening
decade? Explosive experimentation
of design in developing nations and
cities has ignited the search for form.
New property booms have failed to
find a glove-fit to their own culture
by copying forms that never worked
in the West. The internet has
created the most savvy, articulate,
enlightened global expectations for
taste, style, fashion, trends and
design. And a more cosmopolitan
consciousness about tolerance for
diversity of faith plus a trust in
secular business ethics has allowed
designers from around the world to
work in exotic, growing places... so
long as they honour the uniqueness
of that societys past and future.
The age of the iconic building
is passing. Buildings that lay waste
to a city and make a societys public
realm residual have shown that this
conceit of architectural bombast has
outlived its experiment.Instead,
iconic civic places restore the genius
of the legacy of all great cities.
Celebrating a city as a marketplace
of ideas is the only way society and
civilisation advances.

We are shifting from an


economy of greed and a politics of
fear to accept the mantle tossed high
above all of us by the Enlightenment.
The mantle of understanding that
architecture and cities are the
dominion of a societys ethos...
not the money-lenders. Each
generation must capture its spirit
in the buildings and cities they
pass on. That spirit is not measured
in return on investment, but in its
ability to ennoble a society.

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27/08/2013
15/07/2013 15:49
14:08

2000

In 2000, I was finishing off three


academic studies: one on
skateboarding, one on how peoples
everyday experiences of architecture
make constant changes to buildings
and cities, and another on
intersections between critical theory
and historical evidence as ways to
think about architecture. I wanted
to see how all of these things
particular buildings, places, people,
activities, ideas and intentions
come together to help create
truly dynamic and invigorating
architectures, from the scale
of the skateboard and human
bodies to those of urban space
and even global networks. Today,
I am still following the same path.

Over the last 30 years, what


I notice most is how my favourite
city, London, has changed beyond
all recognition, from being relatively
moribund and stagnant into a
fabulously energetic capital full
of great designers, architects,
musicians, foodies and creative
types, but also bursting with
unusual street life, different voices
and world cultures all rubbing up
against each other. It aint perfect
what city is? but that is part of
the attraction, doing what all really
great cities should do, continuously
challenging, surprising and
unsettling as well as locating,
affirming and comforting.
London is now truly modern.

IAIN BORDEN
The Bartlett, UCL

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2001

In 2001 I had just come back to


London from running my own
graphic design company in
Barcelona to be one of the directors
at Pentagram. It was a weird time.
There was a lot of money being
thrown at new technology, and
it was seen as a whole brave new
world that would revolutionise
design, with a lot of design
companies switching their focus
completely and lots of web design
companies and specialist new media
agencies being created. In the end, it
was more like the Wild West. A lot of
it fell flat on its face. That was a good
learning period for the industry.
At the time I had no interest in
the technology. I was fairly sure
that print wasnt doomed at all.
It looked like we were missing out on
something, because all my business
was print and a lot of my business at
Pentagram was print-oriented. But in
that sense I was confident because
I was going into an organisation that
represented those values I admired.
Now with the passing of time
you think: what were they all so
worked up about? Look at where
we are now: the technology that
has survived and thrived is what
feels natural. Apple has pioneered
that trend and done it very well.
Weve come a long way.

But theres something very


personal about print. Print will
never die for me. It might become
a luxury but Id much rather read
a book that has been published
than an iPad edition.
Enjoyment and use of design
has become mainstream there are
so many design companies now,
and so many citizen designers.
I worry that theres no proper
strategy, that people think if it
looks good, it is good. Theres no
consideration of how it works.
Weve amassed a rubbish dump of
good taste that doesnt work, and
a lot of good-enough mediocrity.
As a designer, technology has
enabled very quick decision-making:
you have to be consistently good at
high speed, like driving a Formula 1
car. You have to be very confident
in what you do. In that respect
technology has been good. But
theres a downside. Technology has
increased the pressure. Theres no
time to reflect. As a designer, you
need time to reach in, to see, to test;
its almost like weve lost patience
with all this. Clients have lost
patience, and designers are under
stress. Id like to see the computer
as a typesetting tool or an
artworking tool and thats it. Id like
to have more thinking time, and be

more contemplative about what we


do. When I see the work being done
out there it often feels rushed and
heavy-handed. But I still believe in
the power of good design.
For me, social issues are very
important and what I like to do with
my design is reflect social issues and
culture and keep that flame burning.
Im involved with museums and
I work with artists and galleries and I
find that fascinating. Art touches so
many things. Thats the beauty of
being a designer that youre able
to work in so many areas that
interest you and go deeply into
them and discover things.
I dont see myself as an author.
I help to deliver an idea but its not
about me or my style, its still much
more about the idea.

FERNANDO
GUTIERREZ

Studio Fernando Gutirrez

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27/08/2013
10/07/2013 15:49
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2002

Our work was international in 2002,


and still is. We can work from
anywhere now and have never really
had local clients. We are now making
wooden toys as a sideline. Its
expensive, but its fun, doing
something thats not digital. At the
moment, our big project is moving
office. We are in a loft building, and
now were moving to a shop on
a street and we want to try selling a
lot of our posters and toys, maybe
opening one day a week. We like the
idea of meeting the people that like
our stuff. Its a new experience. We
were asked to create a mosaic for
an art fair in Italy. It lasted two or
three months then they took it down
before we saw it. It would be pretty
amazing having one of our mosaics
on a skyscraper in New York.

Steffen
Sauerteig
eBoy

Pictured from left, Svend Smital,


Steffan Sauerteig, Kai Vermehr

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Untitled-2 1

03/09/2013 15:01

2003

In 2002 we were launching our


design for Virgin Atlantics groundbreaking Upper Class seat. Until that
point, we had worked on shop
interiors and furniture, but nothing
related to airlines. We had won and
installed the Westminster street
lighting project, which we developed
with Artemide. We had also just
launched Knoll Scope, an integrated
desking and storage system. The
fusion of these different strands of
work was what attracted Virgin to us.
When we started, clients were
quite distrustful of multidisciplinary
studios. Now, there is more
convergence, openness and
exchange with clients and within
the industry. Virgin was the first
client to embrace this change in
design, where the creative approach
is deemed more important than
specific experience. It was a timely
opportunity to demonstrate our
flexibility. We were working on two
other important projects: Tom had
just had a baby and I was expecting
one. So it was an exciting time for
us personally and professionally.
Over the last 30 years we have
witnessed extraordinary changes in
design as a whole. For product
design though, the greatest change
has to be the tools and machines we
can access. The speed with which an
idea can be tested and realised in

3D form has changed, and this leads


to a ripple effect that transforms the
entire process. There seems to be
a loss of a more tangible world
weighed against the benefit of a
faster, digital world. Technology
has made so many things more
accessible and instantly gratifying,
but at the same has cheapened
certain experiences and inhibited
ways of thinking. Perhaps the speed
of technology 30 years ago was
more suited to the speed of design
thinking. The near instant nature of
delivering a solution or, should I say,
an image of a solution, means client
expectations are elevated in terms of
project turnaround, but perhaps at
a cost to finding more interesting
solutions. We dont have adequate
thinking time any more. Thinking
and going through the layers of
different ideas to come up with
a solution or proposal takes time.
And lastly, perhaps its the
emergence of hacking that we find
exciting and also unsettling. With
the aid of technology and shifts in
thinking, the blending of ideas and
thus ownership, becomes more
prevalent. Its a kind of punk
approach which is a reaction to
bland global production that means
we find the same product all over the
world. The upside can be greater
efficiency the downside can be a

deficiency in truly independent ideas


and thinking. Having taught at the
RCA for a number of years, there is
without doubt a change in attitude
and beliefs with respect to product
design. From the advances in
technology to the advent of hacking,
it is an exciting time for designers,
new guard and old. It will be
interesting to see how design
continues to evolve.

Luke Pearson
Pearson Lloyd

Below: (left to right) Tom Lloyd, Luke


Pearson

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Untitled-1 1

02/08/201308:58
09:41
04/09/2013

2004

In 2004 I was working with


Samantha Hardingham preparing
the L.A.W.u.N (Locally Available
World unseen Networks) display in
the windows of Selfridges on Oxford
Street, for what was then National
Architecture Week. The display
included too many very hot electronics and a stuffed duck. We were
employed in the Research Centre for
Experimental Practice (EXP) at the
University of Westminster and the
installation was the beginning of a
series of collaborative projects we
made pursuing the conceptual
themes presented by the Invisible
University (IU). The IU prospectus
was launched a year later which
developed into the publication of
L.A.W.u.N 19 and exhibition
L.A.W.u.N 20 at the Architectural
Association in 2010.

Over the last thirty years, and


since the clarity of the early days of
Archigram, all I seem to have
achieved is to be buried in a
mountain of questions and doubt.
There is, however, no doubting the
fact that it is the technologies of
representation and research that
have radically changed the way we
design and think. Should we mourn
the loss of our inability to know the
author of a drawing? Can we claim
that identifiable dogmas have been
replaced by the client or in architectural education that discourse has
been suppressed by vanity tutoring?
That the social agenda that inspired
modernism lies suffocated by the
temptations of seductive surface? Or
might we be encouraged by the fact
that now a student can pass their
architectural exams by making a film
instead of drawings? I would suggest
that this is the most cheerful
consequence of the last 30 years...
the drawing now has to move!

DaviD Greene
Archigram

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Untitled-2 1

03/09/2013 15:32

2005

In 2005 we finished a number of


small buildings, after a long period
of not building much. It was a
coming together after an intense
period of work, trying to give some
ideas physical form. Decisions that
were a struggle then now seem
natural. It was like learning a
language. The Brick House was on
Blueprints cover and the shadowy
interior remains, I suspect, our
emblematic project. The site was
a scrap left over between and behind
other buildings, and felt like the
last piece of land left in central
London. Most architects would
have given up on a situation like
that and advised the client to find
another site for their house. We
were young then and driven to
make something powerful out of it.
Over the last 30 years there has
been a rise and then a collapse in
the confidence of architecture to
give expression to global market
forces, which have nevertheless
remained ever-devouring. The
collapse is a good thing. Architects
should be more sophisticated and
on the side of resistance.

Thinking back to when


Blueprint started, makes me think
of Aldo Rossi and Robert Venturi.
Adam and I graduated in the
mid-Eighties, and Rossi was a
hero then and now. His work was
grounded in culture and history,
his buildings were full of imagery,
they were poetic, physical and
affecting. I hope that now people
are tired of spectacle, there will
be a return to these things.

Peter St John
Caruso St John

Pictured from left, Adam Caruso


and Peter St John

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27/08/2013 15:16

2006

In my answer to this original story,


I argued that this question posed on
the cover was ridiculous. But it does
relate loosely to a very important
idea: that architecture has an
indirect impact on health, even
though it is hard to measure.
A doctor from the NHS, who debated
the point, put forward a surprising
point of view. He said that if the
architecture is bad then doctors and
nurses do not show up for work,
and if they dont show up for work
it is, of course, rather lethal for the
patient. The other indirect influence
of architecture on carers and
patients (and the one relevant for
Maggies) concerns feedback. If you
show carers through the architecture
and ambience that you care for
them, then they too will work harder
and care about the patients: so you
get a virtuous circle. Thus, you could
say bad architecture amplifies a
vicious circle and good architecture
augments a positive culture; but then
it is hard to define exactly what good
architecture is, apart from the
culture that uses it.
A much larger debate is
underway in the NHS and society at
large about these issues, and of
course architects must play an
important role in getting the indirect
influence right. My belief is that in
the long run, and statistically,

Maggies Centres will make a


difference for patients in their
quality of life and longevity. I have
argued the reasons for these beliefs
in many published papers and
books, but it has not been proven
and would take a 10 year matchedpair study of patients (which we
hope to run someday). So what can
we say with confidence? Sixteen
Maggies Centres are up and
running, several more are in the
pipeline, and generally patients and
carers have responded to the
buildings and environments very
positively.
But, of course, it is the service and
ethos of our carers and staff that
make the most direct contribution,
and it is the role of architecture to
support that spirit and culture.
My personal view is that all 16
of these centres have been well
designed; they are creative, risktaking, friendly, informal and
a marvellous demonstration of
how architects can rise to a serious
challenge. I am extremely grateful
to the profession: it shows the
utopian streak and competitive
response are still very much alive.

Charles JenCks

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Untitled-1 1

04/09/2013 13:45

2007

In 2007, we were about 150 people


we have 350 now. Maggies [cover
image above] is a very humble
building, with little architectural
gymnastics. The centre was designed
as a transition between the hospital
and the natural landscape behind
the building. The ambition was
always to create fluid space in every
project and since 2007, weve
really tried to achieve even greater
fluidity in the work; increasing the
complexity to where it becomes like
a landscape. Its not linear; it
changes according to what is
appropriate for the project. It has
more to do with ideas not of literal
landscape but of the invention of
landscape; like land formations. Its
interesting, in 2007, we also began
working on the Heydar Aliyev
Cultural Centre in Baku, which will
open next month and the project
really blurs the boundaries between
architecture and landscape.
We won the Hong Kong Peak
competition in 83. There was such
a buzz in the AA in that period,
everyone was on the brink of doing
something new. Alvin Boyarsky, the
students and staff at the AA at that
time have been seminal to the past
thirty years of architecture. I think
computing that encourages more
complex geometry has been very
exciting. We are also working with

incredible advances in material and


construction technology. Peter Rices
work was formative, matching
innovative engineering with new,
untried ideas and concepts.
In every period there is a new
challenge and we have a whole
section of our office researching new
design and construction techniques;
collaborating with many industries
to test new methods and materials.
In 1995 the Blueprint pavilion at
Interbuild was our first built work in
the UK. The situation in Cardiff had
devastated us, and I had to pick up
the pieces. In that period, we did
one competition after the other
and we didnt win any. Perhaps there
was a stigma against us but they
were all great designs relating to
ideas of topography and landscape.
Like the pavilion, they were very
powerful projects and interesting in
their complexity very tough and
soft at the same time; elegant and
resolved in terms of planning.

ZAHA HADID

Zaha Hadid Architects

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Diagon

www.girsberger.com/diagon
Girsberger London, Tel. +44 (0)20 7490 3223, infouk@girsberger.com

Untitled-4 1

08/08/2013 17:09

2008

In April 2008 we were opening the


Norwegian National Opera & Ballet.
We were midway through design of
two similar projects in very different
contexts, the World Trade Center
Memorial Museum in New York City
and the King Abdulaziz Centre for
World Culture in Saudi Arabia.
We also took on the Hunt Library
in North Carolina and the
Maggies Centre in Aberdeen.
Our work was focused primarily
in Europe and America.

We have seen significant


efficiencies in building methods and
prototyping. This has affected our
work but these pockets of research
have not had a big effect in the
building industry yet. We have
acquired several automated tools
that help us build full-scale
prototypes. Also in this time we
have witnessed enormous political
and social challenges in the world.
We now promote more social
attributes to be integrated into our
design thinking. For us it is a balance
of intellectual sustainability and
environmental resilience.

Craig Dykers
Snhetta

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EDUARDO
SOUTO DE MOURA
Souto Moura Arquitectos

In 2009 I was invited by Paula Rego


to create the Casa de Histrias near
Lisbon. She writes me a letter to say
this: My name is Paula Rego, I am
a painter. I knew that already! Here
in Porto, the work is private and the
good architects teach in the schools.
In Lisbon, it is much more public
and the good architects work outside
the schools. There are a lot of jobs
from the government.
A lot has changed over the
last 30 years. I started [as an
independent practice] in 1980.
Before the Portuguese revolution
of 1974, all the information,
magazines, books exhibitions were
about postmodernism. I decided it
was intelligent to take something
of the ideas of Mies van der Rohe,
because it was simple, clean, it
was like fresh air against the
postmodernism. Mies van der Rohe
said that architecture is the will of
an epoch translated into space.
Now I work in France, the last
country in Europe where they pay.
Portugal is paying zero, Italy zero,
the Swiss have stopped, England,
nothing. In France, I have two
competitions: a school and housing,
mixed social and private.

photography by tELMo FErrEIra

2009

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Untitled-2 1

02/09/2013 07:46

AN ICONIC BRITISH BRAND

18th - 22nd Sept

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Untitled-2 1

02/09/2013 15:18

2010

In 2010 I was 75 and as busy then as


I am now. I travelled almost a
quarter of a million miles, visiting 27
cities in 11 countries across four
continents (over the last twelve
months I have flown more miles to
more places).
We completed major projects
including the zero waste, zero
carbon Masdar Institute in Abu
Dhabi, the Museum of Fine Arts
Boston, Sperone Westwater Gallery
New York, Circle Bath Hospital in the
UK, a civic centre in Kazakhstan and
a winery in Spain.
It was an equally exciting time
for new commissions. That Summer
Steve Jobs phoned me and invited us
as a family to Cupertino in effect
marking the start of our New Apple
Campus. It was at the same time as
we were working on the cultural
masterplan for Hong Kongs West
Kowloon later to be announced as
winners of the competition in March
the following year.

On a personal note I competed


in my seventeenth cross country ski
marathon in Switzerlands Engadine
Valley one of some 11,000
participants with a time of 3 hours
33 minutes (this year and last I was
faster at 3 hours 12 minutes, finishing
third in my class). In 2010 I curated
the Buckminster Fuller Exhibition at
the Ivoryspace Gallery in Madrid a
labour of love and gave my first
lecture as Humanitas Visiting
Professor at Oxford University.
Over the last 30 years we have
learnt much and continue to do so
building on our core values by
exploring better ways of working,
innovating and pioneering new
technologies. We have extended our
investment in research and created
more specialised groups from
workplace study, sustainability,
space planning and project management to scientific evaluations of the
afterlife and performance of our
buildings. We have also returned to
our roots by integrating engineering
skills environmental and structural
back into the practice. The
range of our work has expanded
dramatically now embracing
infrastructure and products as well
as architecture.

During this time we moved into


our custom-designed studio
overlooking the Thames, which has
since expanded to become a
mini-campus with workshop
facilities capable of producing
full-size prototypes.
Thirty years ago, our Hong Kong
and Shanghai Bank tower was
nearing completion and we were
around 70 strong. Since then we
have grown to over 1000, spread
around the world. But the average
age across our studios is still just
over 33 about the same as when
the practice was founded in 1967.
The other constants are a passion for
design and a belief in the importance
of research and sustainability.

NORMAN FOSTER
Foster + Partners

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2011

TERENCE
CONRAN

Conran and Partners

2011 was an absolutely terrific year,


I really enjoyed it. Obviously there
was my 80th birthday, which people
made a terrible fuss about, but for
me there just seemed to be a great
energy around the design industry
and also my business. Our first
collections for Marks & Spencer were
launching, Boundary in Shoreditch
was really taking off and plans for
The Design Museums move to the
Commonwealth Institute were
starting to take shape. It was a
great catalyst for many of the
projects we are working on now.
When I turned 80 people around me
started looking back on my life but
I certainly wasnt I was planning
the next few years ahead and
looking at our next big projects.
I think the last 30 years has
been a great period for architecture
and, broadly speaking, the industry
has seized the moment. I think this
is reflected in the increased public
perception and enthusiasm for
design and architecture. Lets not
forget some very good architects 30
years ago have become masters in
their field, the best in the world,
and gone on to produce some truly
special work that has transformed
our cities, public spaces and the way
we live today.

Globalisation, the acceptance of


modernism, new materials,
innovation and intelligent improvements in technology have allowed us
to live in environments that we could
have only dreamed of three decades
ago. I also think the quality of
education in both architecture and
design has become even better; our
schools, colleges and universities are
thriving with students drawn here
from all over the world. It has
certainly been a great time for
Blueprint to have been covering the
subject over the last 30 years,
something it has done quite
brilliantly and intelligently.

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Floorcovering shown : Biscayne Lime, one of many beautiful, tactile designs within our extensive Wool range. crucial-trading.com

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15/03/2013 12:20

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05/08/2013 08:58

2012

2012 was a special year for my


studio. The first of our new buses
started running on the streets of
London in March and in May a book
about our work was published which
coincided with the opening of an
exhibition of our projects at the V&A
Museum. Then, on 27 July at 12:33am
on the night of the opening
ceremony in the Olympic Stadium
in Stratford, seven young athletes
lit 204 small flames which came
together to make Londons Olympic
Cauldron, the single flame which
burnt for the two weeks of the
games.For us the lovely memory of
the end of the year was gradually
receiving all the photographs from
the participating countries of
individual copper cauldron pieces
being held by proud chairmen of
Olympic committees from all over
the world standing in front of
miscellaneous international contexts
with or without filing cabinets,
desks, flags, trophies and other
Olympic paraphernalia.

Whilst the design that Blueprint


covers is as interesting as ever, over
the last 30 years cities themselves
have become less and less so. As I
travel more and more I keep having
the sense that every city I go to was a
more interesting place 30 years ago.
The rapid rise in living standards in
many parts of the world is good and
necessary, but seems to produce
similar solutions all over the planet.
Whether it is a shopping environment in Alaska or an office block in
equatorial Singapore, local distinctiveness seems to be crushed by
conventional approaches to global
improvement and procurement.
Also the familiar format of a few
flashy new culture buildings doesnt
help as much as city makers think it
does. True citywide distinctiveness
needs to work much harder and
come from somewhere deeper...

THOMAS
HEATHERWICK

Heatherwick Studio

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2013

DAVID ADJAYE
Adjaye Associates

In 2013,theres a real mix of work


happening and the projects are
spread out all over the world, which
is really interesting for my practice.
It is particularly exciting to be
working for the first time in India,
where we are designing a silkweaving facility in Varanasi. A
number of our projects in Africa are
gathering speed the concept store
we have designed in Lagos will
complete towards the end of this
year and many other projects are at
the early stages. We recently opened
an office in Ghana, which has taken
on the work.
My US office is still focused on
the National Museum for African
American History and Culture in
Washington DC, which is on site and
due to complete in 2015. Also in
Washington, we are working on
a Four Seasons development. In
New York, a social housing scheme
in Harlem is on site and we are
designing an art centre for Colgate
University. In addition, we have
a Knoll furniture range due to
launch in October. In the UK, we
are working in Hackney on a
large-scale regeneration scheme
and in Portland on a memorial to
extinct species. Finally, we have
work in China, now, and will soon
establish a local office there.

Over the last 30 years which


developments have impacted most
on the practice of architecture? The
international nature of my own work
is, I think, a result of one of the
key developments, which is the
revolution in communication. The
fact that we can now communicate
inexpensively across many time
zones means that we can deliver
high-quality projects with an
integrated global team. I can engage
locally in different contexts with
consultants all over the world.
Geographic spread is no longer
a factor when creating the right team
and you can work with consultants
who bring the culture of the place
to the project.
The other key development for
design would have to be
technology. It has completely
changed the way we work
especially with respect to the speed
with which you can now design
highly complex buildings.

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03/09/2013 17:38

Eva JiRiCna | Ron ARAd | RiChaRd RogERs | PAul Smith | nigEl CoatEs | neville
BRody | MiChaEl hopkins | eRic PARRy | tERRy FaRREll | nicholAS GRimShAw
philippE staRCk | mARc newSon | JaCquEs hERzog | elizABeth dilleR | saM JaCob
Steven holl | ERiC kuhnE | iAin BoRden | FERnando gutiERREz | Steffen SAueRteiG
lukE pEaRson | dAvid GReene | pEtER st John | chARleS JenckS | zaha hadid
cRAiG dykeRS | EduaRdo souto dE MouRa | noRmAn foSteR | tEREnCE ConRan

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2013
ISSUE 330
30

thomAS heAtheRwick | david adJayE All tAlkinG ABout 30 yeARS of BluePRint

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