Archinect Sessions

Lots of summer blockbuster news to discuss on this week's podcast. The winner of the Helsinki Guggenheim competition was announced (a young husband-wife firm from Paris took the cake), SelgasCano's "psychedelic chrysalis" Serpentine Pavilion opened, and Andres Jaque's COSMO for MoMA PS1's "Warm Up" began its water cycle. And while not quite blockbusting, in what could easily be the premise for a Vincent Price flick, residents of the blighted Robin Hood Gardens dared Lord Rogers to spend a night in their quarters.

Special guests Quilian Riano and Peggy Deamer of The Architecture Lobby join our news discussion this week, dropping their excellent and incisive commentary on ethical practice into every topic. We are collaborating with the Lobby to measure satisfaction with work-life balance in architecture – take the 3-question survey here.

Direct download: Archinect-Sessions-35.mp3
Category:architecture -- posted at: 2:11pm PST

Session 34: There is nothing so stable as change

Easily the biggest news of last week, and probably of this year, was the unveiling of BIG's design for 2WTC. For a project of such status, on such a highly charged site, representation must be handled with expert care – so to dig a bit deeper into the splashy video introducing 2WTC, we spoke with Nick Taylor, co-founder of Squint/Opera and director of the BIG video. We cover Squint/Opera's historied relationship with architects and how creative vision is managed across many powerful stakeholders.

Paul and Amelia also sat down with McShane Murnane, architecture director and co-founder of Project M Plus, a husband-wife creative studio out of Los Angeles' Silver Lake. Often viewed as a case-study for gentrification in LA, Silver Lake has established a highly specific aesthetic within the Californian sensibility, that has its pros and cons – we speak with Murnane about how he's dealt with issues of developmental displacement head-on.

And in the news, we discuss how Tadao Ando is faring amidst serious health concerns, speculate on what fantastical designs might come out of SpaceX's newly announced competition for Hyperloop pods, and take a moment to recognize the death of Charles Correa, who passed away Tuesday at 84 years old.

Direct download: Archinect-Sessions-34.mp3
Category:architecture -- posted at: 3:22pm PST

Session 33: Stargazing with Patrik Schumacher

This week, we devote the majority of our show to a discussion with Patrik Schumacher, about celebrity and the insularity of critical discourse in architecture. The idea of the "starchitect" is onerous to pretty much everybody in architecture, but that hasn't stopped us from using it. It's a popular media fabrication that, by becoming a potent cultural meme in its own right (thanks, Gehry), has derailed significant portions of architecture discourse into the murky realm of identity politics – the aesthetics and politics of a built object becoming an inextricable part of their designer's character. Schumacher's Parametricism may be an antidote to that. We discuss Schumacher's recent op-ed on these subjects, in the hope that keeping the discussion going will flush out something useful (or even flush away the "starchitect" concept entirely).

In the news, we touch on BIG's design for Two World Trade Center displacing Foster's, the resignation of five Cooper Union trustees (including Daniel Libeskind), and the scandal of Red Cross's contested use of earthquake-relief funds in Haiti. Our take on news is a bit different this episode; let us know what you think of it!

Direct download: Archinect-Sessions-33.mp3
Category:architecture -- posted at: 2:28pm PST

Session 32: For in that death of malls, what dreams may come

Dead malls and ghost boxes haunt this week's episode, featuring special guest and longtime 'Nector, Nam Henderson. Whether you're mourning or reveling in the dwindling population of the American mall, their lifeless carcasses on the economic and urban landscape are starting to stink, and we have to deal with them somehow. With Nam as our spirit guide through the lost souls of dead malls, we discuss their future potentials within the suburban/urban environment, and grapple with their (perhaps bygone) social significance.

Nam also joins us for our discussion of very much alive-and-kicking news, including BIG taking over from Norman Foster as the designer for Two World Trade Center, and the ongoing student protests at Cooper Union. We also touch on the controversy surrounding CoContest, an Italian website for crowdsourcing design work, and its potentials for new models of architectural employment.

Direct download: Archinect-Sessions-32.mp3
Category:architecture -- posted at: 3:25pm PST