Behind The Scenes: Barbican Centre

The Barbican is one of the foremost arts complexes in London, built in the style of Brutalist architecture that was prominent during the ’50s and ‘60s. As one of the biggest historic buildings in Europe, it also unravels as a functional conference venue, meaning that there is greater depth to the architectural space than one will discover upon first glance.

It was built during the efforts put in to remake portions of the city that were ravaged by war; the Grade II listed design site took ten years to fully construct, and it opened in 1982. In the latest book, Building the Barbican, exclusive and never before seen photographs aim to document in both colour and b/w, how the Barbican was built. Most of these images have never been made available to the public and the themes of it range from construction workers working on location to hand-finish the textured walls, to trees being places in the conservatory.

An Ancient Library Gets A Makeover

Give a warm welcome to the

The Old Manor Park Library is being rejuvenated after lying dusty and abandoned for three years.The Grade II-listed building in Newham, London is getting converted into a public arts, business and community space. A grant of £200,000 taken out from the Mayor of London’s High Street Fund especially for this architectural treasure.

Iconic Modern Structures

RIBApix

The Royal Institute of British Architects made RIBApix and it is a rare and special architectural marvel. RIBApix holds in it’s possession a historic congregation of images, that for the very first time has become digitally accessible to the general public. The 16th Century drawings of Andrea Palladio, Sir Christopher Wren’s plans, Erno Goldfinger, Denys Lasdun and Edwin Lutyens sketches are all part of the institute.

Thousands of years of the world’s built heritage can be explored with a wide array of images, from ancient monuments to seaside huts. The breadth of the historical archives is inclusive of beautiful shots of private residences and modern hotels. Both architectural history and social documentation interplay together for a mix of construction photography, decorative arts, interior design and topography.

Tetris Build

This architectural facade has become a multi-purpose public space in Rotterdam, with a fun approach to design. A futuristic edition of Tetris game has been artistically represented, with the help of glass piles upon glass to recreate a massive style of carefully adjusted ‘units’. Sustainable and innovative, the cubes can actually be readjusted according to the mood of the building’s design.

Buffalo Bayou

An abandoned waterway has been rejuvenated as a public space filled with warmth. The dotted structures in the scene is supposed to be a concrete extension of the natural surroundings, and you can see how the shaded areas can shield visitors from the Houston sun. Natural wood, repurposed steel and sustainable fly-ash concrete, recreates the sense of togetherness and flow across the enormous 160 acre space, filled with recreational zones, ecosystem restoration and flood management systems.

Landing Soon

Doha’s International Airport can be considered to be a truly mesmerizing gift to the city. Architecturally it is innovative and the terminal complex is also the richest. The space houses 30million passengers every year and has 41 unrestricted gates of contact. The gates are more minute than ever before because of efficient systems so the complex must adapt to plenty of passenger movement. Acres of glass roof support the structure in a breathtaking manner and the love for luxury does not just stop there is a gold-plate coffee bar, a spa and swimming pool.

In the eye of the beholder

De Bakermat Plaza is Holland’s ambitious idea of comical architectural designs. A group of coloured towers, each with a seperate height, gives the idea of a detached family house but it all gets so very crowded.

Shooting Space Architecture in Contemporary Photography

Contemporary artists are reshaping landscape architecture in a picturesque style across some of the busiest towns this decade. But do you really know it all – the relationship architecture shares with pictures?

Architecture and photography can also be described as two separate figurative thoughts moving in union. Although, the appeal towards architectural photography has long gotten lost in the glossy mainstream consciousness of fast glamour and easy lustre, that is not what the picture is like on most days for most towns. It is not all about new concept museums, event and conference spaces, towering residential buildings that regularly get people interested in their six-figure dollar rents.

A town is worth so much more than superficial elegance – it is about history, heritage and architecture. Sometimes the architecture can be a bland concrete jungle that poses as an eyesore rather than a monolithic structure that invites you to ponder over it’s design. At other times, it could be a breathtaking example of what it means to, put it simply, rule the world, your world. In a new book by Elias Redstone, Shooting Space Architecture in Contemporary Photography, you can learn more about this phenomenon in the built environment.

There is no shame in exploring architectural sites through photography – infact, on an average day, that is how most of us here indulge in taking in all of their beauty. It’s fuss-free, cheap and sans the trouble that comes with purchasing a ticket to every town you want to visit to see beautiful stationary designs. There is a greater role that photographers play in shaping the built environment, alongside journalists and social history hitchhikers, and you can see illustrated examples of just that in Shooting Space. Artists, whose work is featured in this book, range from Zaha Hadid to Renzo Piano, and Redstone, an independent architecture curator, talks about interesting frameworks of design, such as modernism and creating day-to-day icons.

Sunflower House, Spain

This white building, residing in Girona, Spain, is designed in a geometric shape and lives on a cliff-top. Each of the floor looks like a cubic stack, and is very receptive of sunshine, whilst at the same time boasting a seaside view. A green garden, much like Catalonian culture, surrounds the boxy home, with it’s shaded patios and a small pool that has seaside views. The interior decoration is also positioned in such a manner that it has a Mediterranean outlook, sometimes dabbling in French culture as well.

Quite unique, just like the Cabo de Creus National Park, you can spot from the home. The top level of the home has bedrooms, and the bottom floor has a living room – each of the cube is decorated in glass on one side, that has black frames highlighting it. The cubes rotate into the light and is borne out of an elaborate study on how build an appropriate shelter in a serene landscape – the area is also recipient of an annual strong gust of wind, so architecture here needs to be built keeping that concept in mind.

The lower level of the floor has an open-plan living area, a kitchen and a dining environment, but it’s still a comfortable home because of it’s alcove structures. The top floor is connected to the ground floor, with a tall and double height living area, that is almost always seasonally warm, because of the long glazing, across two floors. The painting has minute soft monochrome amongst all of the whiteness, which makes it an idyllic contemporary Mediterranean escape.

A Lego NYC

Danish-Icelandic installation artist, sculptor, filmmaker and photographer Olafur Eliasson has brought a new concept of encourage the public to contribute to their city’s landscape. 

Stationed in Manhattan, is a towering Danish plastic building block, made of Lego bricks that aims to demonstrate his future project on Chelsea’s Highline, that has a view of the Hudson River. The million white Lego bricks’ structure measures two tonnes, and sits in the middle of a reimagined NYC landscape, and his thoughts on urban modernity.

The project counts notable architects, such as Renzo Piano, as contributors, and together they have created miniature editions of the building on massive tables. Piano actually proceeded to create a toy-size of the destroyed UNESCO Heritage Site temple in Kathmandu, from the recent earthquakes in Nepal.

The project was idea Eliasson had about asking others to add to the concept of space to create something new – the public were asked to build on top of the miniature Manhattan skyline, with spare Lego bricks, to create something totally new, as part of a playtime on hybrid city planning.

Omiyamae Gymnasium, Tokyo

This is the winning entry of a design competition in 2008, submitted by June Aoki. The contest was open to so many people and received equally as many entries, so what made this particular one stand out so monumentally? Well this has the structure of a sunken ship, partially risen and based in a quiet residential neighbourhood. There is a leisurely public park at the top of the ship, and you also have a state of the art indoors swimming pool, a café and numerous business friendly meeting rooms.

Daiwa Ubiquitous Computing Research Building, Tokyo

Kengo Kuma made an organic design of the urban campus of the University of Tokyo, with their brand new research building. It is less geometric than the other structures in the campus, and more feathered, wooden and voluminous, in concrete and stone marking out a balance of wood and earth.

Tsurunga Station Multipurpose Centre, Tokyo

Tsurunga is currently waiting for its first bullet train, Chiba Manabu. While we patiently await its technological arrival, we have in our hands a multipurpose centre, that is a tribute to olden days. Oh should we expect nostalgia for the bullet train? The station that use to house the old train, that is to now to be replaced by a bullet train, was made of wood and was destroyed in 1945. It was a favourite with locals, so it is interesting to see how the new structure explores glass-architecture, as opposed to more theatrical  displays of European glory, we would have all loved to have seen. 

Pick of the crop: Japanese architecture this month!