Trend: Creativity Made in China – MAD Architects

Over the last two decades China has become known as the factory of the world; “Made in China” has often come to symbolize cheapness, sub-standard quality and lack of originality. More recently however, thanks to a booming economy, political deregulation and social development, China has witnessed the gradual evolution of a free-thinking generation of creative individuals who have broken free from the system to express themselves in profound and innovative ways.

As part of this movement, growing numbers of Chinese architects, emboldened by the general fervor currently gripping China’s artistic community, are designing buildings which are slowly but surely imprinting a new identity on the Chinese built landscape.

At the forefront of this architectural revolution have been Ma Yansong, a young US-educated Chinese architect, and his Beijing-based architectural agency MAD, founded in 2002. MAD took the international architectural scene by storm in 2006, as the first Chinese studio ever to win an design competition outside China. The “Absolute Tower” in Toronto, Canada, is scheduled for completion in 2009.

Read more @ Trend: Creativity Made in China – MAD Architects | CScout TrendBlog.

L.A. Squared – Los Angeles Times

When is a public square not a public square? When it’s designed and built in Los Angeles, circa 2008. Our city–which has lacked plazas and other open-air gathering spots for so long–is now building them in a number of high-profile locations. Yet none of these spaces is fully civic in the traditional City Beautiful sense. Each one is shaped, controlled or compromised by private, commercial or other interests. Arguably, of course, that makes them right at home in Los Angeles, the most private metropolis ever devised.

Next month, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art will unveil the much anticipated first phase of its expansion, designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano. He is probably best known for the Pompidou Center in Paris, which opens onto a square that, despite its popularity with mimes, ranks as one of the world’s great public gathering places.

Read more @ L.A. Squared – Los Angeles Times – Christopher Hawthorne

In architecture, as elsewhere, sex sells

In the early days of modern architecture, its alien forms were sold to the public using science. Architect Richard Neutra’s “Health House” – designed and built between 1927-29 for physician Philip Lovell in the Griffith Park neighbourhood of Los Angeles – was featured in newspapers and magazines all over the world.

Mr. Neutra’s four-storey, steel-framed and stucco-clad house was graceful in the way it clung to its hillside site. But far outweighing any discussion of architectural merit were reports of its fresh-air sleeping porches, large areas of glass (to allow life-giving sunlight to penetrate), exercise and sports areas and the water-purification and juicing facilities in the kitchen.

Even before that, in 1923, architect Le Corbusier wrote: “A house is a machine for living in.”

Read more @ globeandmail.com: In architecture, as elsewhere, sex sells.

American Institute of Architects to house Dallas Center for Architecture | pegasusnews.com | Dallas / Fort Worth

The Dallas Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) announced today that AIA Dallas has completed a lease to double its office space to almost 9,000 square feet at 1909 Woodall Rodgers. The space also will accommodate the new Dallas Center for Architecture, a major new initiative of AIA Dallas and other architectural groups.

American Institute of Architects to house Dallas Center for Architecture | pegasusnews.com | Dallas / Fort Worth.

Paradise or purgatory: Urban sprawl in spotlight

A debate over city growth has emerged after a housing affordability survey released this week recommended freeing up more land for houses.

Demographia‘s fourth annual survey found New Zealand houses more unaffordable than those in the United States, Canada, Ireland, Britain and Australia.

Read more @ Paradise or purgatory: Urban sprawl in spotlight – NZ Herald

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