Below is the presentation from the Danish Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2010 by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) that outlines their plan to use a proposed new rail line to link Copenhagen and Malm and their surrounding cities into a binational metropolitan area. Ideas as big as this demonstrate that the solutions to our modern problems need to step beyond the preheld definitions of things even as foundational as nations and territories in order for us to use the world as efficiently and sustainably as we can. Continue Reading…
I was chatting with an architect friend of mine on the weekend — as we watched our one-year-old daughters unleash havoc upon the playground — about the social component of architecture, that as an architect you are responsible for creating an environment and that your design ultimately has a direct affect on how how people interact within it. He related to me two scenarios: The first one was of a courthouse that was rebuilt and after some time in the new building, it was noted that there were less instances of cases getting sorted out pre-trial, and so, as a result, the courts themselves were much busier. What was theorized was that the lobby of the old courthouse had been adorned with Neoclassical columns allowing for the attorneys from the two sides of a case to step aside and make discreet last minute negotiations that had thus avoided the need to stand before the judge. The new facility, with its cleaner more open entrance way, did not accommodate for such exchanges and therefore more people were doomed to have their day in court.
The 2nd example he gave was of a multi-disciplined research facility. The different departments had been originally quite segregated with separate entrance ways and staircases. But the new design featured a central staircase that all personnel used to access their labs. What began to happen was that researchers from different fields would run into each other coming and going from their days and, in the discussion that ensued, interdisciplinary connections and discoveries were suddenly being made that had previously gone completely unnoticed.
In thinking of these two scenarios this evening and how, just as in architecture, as web designers we can put up unintended barriers to information, or create unpredicted niche communities or a tool that gets used for an unforeseen purpose. What always needs to be accounted for is the human variable and despite all the efforts of content strategists and usability engineers, the main secret weapon in creating a successful website will always be flexibility and a willingness to adapt to your users’ needs.
“…the headquarters of CCTV, the Chinese television network, by Rem Koolhaas and Ole Scheeren, of the Office for Metropolitan Architecture—a building which I had thought was going to be a pretentious piece of structural exhibitionism—turned out to be a compelling and exciting piece of structural exhibitionism.”
“Whether or not this is even true – after all, I never think truth is the point in stories like this – … the idea of appropriating a construction crane as a new form of domestic space – a kind of parasitic sub-structure attached to the very thing it’s helped to construct … is totally awesome;”
“The amount of building becomes obscene without a blueprint. Each time you ask yourself, Do you have the right to do this much work on this scale if you don’t have an opinion about what the world should be like? We really feel that. But is there time for a manifesto? I don’t know.”