For the past five years van der Vegt and Max Cohen de Lara, his partner at XML, have studied the halls of parliament of all 193 United Nations member states. In a new book, Parliament, the duo elegantly connects architecture to the political process.
All 193 assembly halls fall into one of five organizational layouts: “semicircle,” “horseshoe,” “opposing benches,” “circle,” and “classroom.” And these layouts make a difference. — wired.com
The idea behind Turncoats is for people to relax, slough off their more cautious professional selves, and engage in full-throated (yet respectful!), rapid-fire debate on a broad range of topics. Audience members are encouraged to speak up, Powerpoints are strictly forbidden, and alcohol is served liberally. — washingtoncitypaper.com
Debates are rubbish. We've all been there: a panel of similar people with similar views taking it in turns to talk at length about their similar work - too polite, too deferential, too dull. At best they are lukewarm love-ins, critically impotent, elitist and stuffy. Turncoats is a shot in the arm. — Turncoats statement
A recently completed restoration project [of Spain's Matrera Castle] has provoked an incredulous reaction from some locals and a Spanish conservation group...
However, Carlos Quevedo, the architect who oversaw the restoration of the castle...pointed out that the project had been painstaking, professional, and legal...'I do think that some basic, accurate information can help avoid some of the prejudices that spring from a simple image.' — The Guardian
The United States Embassy in Grosvenor Square, a Modernist concrete building in the heart of Mayfair, London’s most exclusive neighborhood, has been a potential terrorist target for years, creating anxiety for both employees and neighbors...So a new embassy [by KieranTimberlake] is under construction for a move by 2017, and the residents of Mayfair are relieved. But this being Britain, the new embassy has become the object of debate and, in some quarters, ridicule. — The New York Times
Clinging to antiquated urban notions, the District’s building height regulations imagine a skyline filled with spires, domes and minarets. — Washington Post
Witold Rybczynski, the architect and emeritus professor of urbanism at the University of Pennsylvania, complained recently about “starchitects” who often work in cities they are unfamiliar with, creating buildings that are out of sync with their surroundings. In an interview, he argued in favor of local architectural talent, or “locatecture.”
Are superstar architects ruining city skylines? — NY Times
With Jack Evans and Vince Gray headed to New York and Muriel Bowser and Andy Shallal otherwise occupied, the small candidate crowd at last night's architecture debate must have left the hosts feeling as lonely as sad architect archetype Ted Mosby. The lack of candidates at the District Architecture Center brought about a similar lack of political tension, but that didn't keep the candidates who did show up from having ideas about buildings. — washingtoncitypaper.com
"Are festivals and biennales dynamic catalysts to discuss and celebrate the city and architectural culture?" asks the Architecture Foundation, which is putting on the event as part of London's own month-long festival of architecture. "Or are they calculated devices of tourism and industrial promotion?" — guardian.co.uk
Is there an establishment bias against traditional architecture? Modernist Michael Taylor talks pastiche and passion with traditionalist Robert Adam — guardian.co.uk
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