With its quantifiable objectives and measurable performance, sustainability often passes as a technological challenge. Its primary language is that of data, equipment, and engineered systems, most often translated into a hyper-technologized layer hidden within a design upholding pre-existing aesthetic norms. As architecture is the image of society at one moment in time, how does the focus on sustainability translate into architectural language, further legitimatizing the efforts to establish an equitable relationship with the environment? Architecture serves as an expression of attitudes, and since sustainability has become a fundamental value, it is worth looking at whether or not it has produced an aesthetic transformation.
MAXXI Museum celebrates women in architecture in a new exhibition that documents the transformative role of female architects in the profession’s evolution over the last century. Curated by Pippo Ciorra, Elena Motisi, Elena Tinacci, and with exhibition design by Matilde Cassani, Good News. Women in Architecture weaves together in four thematic sections the history of women in architecture, with the work of contemporary practitioners and the voices of young collectives, telling the stories of over eighty female architects.
The Barbican Centre is up for a substantial renovation, and the City of London Corporation revealed the five shortlisted teams for the refurbishment of the Brutalist icon, among which are practices like BIG, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Adjaye Associates or Asif Khan Studio. The cultural venue at the heart of the eponymous post-war housing estate in central London was the subject of an international competition aiming to preserve its heritage while upgrading the ageing structure to contemporary requirements and artistic aspirations.
Last year, a series of new museums, expansions and several museum renovations have opened their doors to the public, adding a new dimension to the cultural landscape around the world. From the long-awaited re-opening of the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin, to Ryue Nishizawa’s Jining Art Museum merging with the landscape, and MVRDV’s reflective Art Depot, discover the architecture of the latest venues of art and culture.
Over the past year, NFTs have entered the realm of architecture, prompting conversations over the role of the profession in the future digital economy. From the design of digital real-estate to exhibitions and architecture events exploring its value for the practice and established architecture firms embracing the new medium, NFTs have been embraced by the profession as the promise of a new form of creative production. Discover a round-up of architecture’s experiments with NFTs so far, together with a series of Archdaily articles shedding light on the topic.
Ronald Lu &Partners revealed their new workplace concept, “Treehouse”, an “eco-conscious integrated system” featuring biophilic elements, which capitalizes on wellness and aims to reconnect users with nature. The project is a response to contemporary workplace needs, as well as to current climate challenges, promoting carbon-positivity and net-zero operations through a blend of design, technology and smart management.
Biodiversity has become ubiquitous in project descriptions as yet another mark of the design’s environmental accomplishments. The increasing focus on sustainability, the standard inspired by the UN Sustainable Development Goals, prompts a deeper understanding of what biodiversity in urban environments means and how can architecture and urban design actively contribute to it. With species extinction rates soaring and urbanization over natural land continuing, cities become an essential factor in sustaining biodiversity, and the following explores how the built environment can foster multi-species habitats.
In December, the European Commission adopted several proposals that put the transport sector on track for a 90% reduction in carbon emissions, moving a step further in implementing the European Green Deal. The initiatives seek to increase rail transport, encouraging long-distance and cross-border rail travel, support the roll-out of charging points for electric vehicles and alternative refuelling infrastructure and further develop multimodality.
The first phase in the development of Heatherick Studio’s 1,000 Trees project in Shanghai was recently inaugurated, showcasing the finished mountain-like structure. The design gives prominence to the structural columns, each topped by a large planter featuring a tree, which becomes the project’s main feature. Balancing the requirements for a dense development with the search for a human scale, Heatherick Studio chose to approach the project as “a visual extension” of the neighbouring park, proposing a new topography defined by its integrated greenery.
The Çanakkale Antenna Tower designed by Powerhouse Company is nearing completion. Located on a forested hill, the weathering steel structure envelops the landscape before growing into a 100-metre tall tower that offers a panoramic view of the historic Turkish city. The single design gesture simultaneously crafts an intimate experience of nature through the creation of an inner garden, immersing visitors into the surrounding forest while creating a new visual identity for the city.