Architecture: It’s not for sissies

The buildings that Canadian architects talk about are inevitably the ones that come to shape Canadian cities. Many of them are on the public’s radar, as well: Daniel Libeskind’s Royal Ontario Museum Crystal addition, for example, or Frank Gehry’s Transformation project for the Art Gallery of Ontario.

But within the design business, it’s often the lesser-known buildings, many of them not in Canada, that have the most impact. What follows are a few buildings that savvy architects say are the most influential right now, either as inspiration or as cautionary tale.

A building’s influence today depends on three areas of interest, says Larry Richards, the former dean of the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Toronto: “new materials, sculptural experimentation and sustainability.” For new materials, he notes the extruded pink plastic on the exterior of the new Umbra store in Toronto by Kohn Shnier Architects. And the silvery aluminum mesh on the exterior of Manhattan’s New Museum of Contemporary Art by Tokyo-based Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizwa (jointly known as SANAA), which gives the structure a hard edge at a distance and an up-close softness.

Read more @ Architecture: It’s not for sissies. – National Post – Kelvin Browne

Builders of city parks

PARKS are the refreshing green patches in a concrete, gray dominated urban environment.

They provide the city’s denizens with fresh air to breathe. Unfortunately, there are not too many of them here in Cebu City.

Open spaces, like parks and plazas, compliment architecture. City parks afford its dwellers space, not just for a momentary dialogue with nature but also a spot where they can appreciate the beautiful buildings and vistas around.

This feature reveals the creative takes by Cebuano architects on two of the city’s parks (this week, we talk abuot Fuente OsmeƱa rotunda). With their knowledge, training and experience in site development and planning of buildings, they bring their ideas for the improvement of these spaces in pen and ink.

Sun.Star Cebu – Builders of city parks 

Green city only good for the rich :: The Gateway Online

Waste-free, energy-efficient, and carbon-neutral are all terms thrown about by environmentalists to describe ideal urban development, and the recently unveiled plans for Masdar City incorporate all of those buzzwords.

Read more @ Green city only good for the rich :: The Gateway Online – Mike Otto.

Design steps up in the fight against obesity

Two in three men and three in four women in England don’t get enough exercise, but the good news is that the answer lies on our doorstep. CABE has long argued that the design of your neighbourhood really does influence whether you’re fit in the long term or whether you’re going to gradually just put on weight.

That’s because it’s regular exercise which takes and keeps the pounds off – but you are only likely to take that exercise if local streets and open spaces are inviting.

The case for investing in decent design for streets and open spaces is getting stronger by the day. This week saw the publication of both new government strategy and independent public health guidance into how active lifestyles can be designed into streets, towns, and cities.

Read more @ CABE ‘Design steps up in the fight against obesity’

Outlandish landscapes

A showcase for experimental gardens by top landscape designers, Cornerstone is the first outdoor gallery of its kind in the US. Visitors looking for neatly planted rows and ornamental cherubs will be disappointed. Cornerstone is highly irreverent and playful, from American landscape designer Ken Smith’s “Daisy Border” – a display of candy-coloured plastic pin-wheels that both mocks and pays homage to the classic floral border – to Mexican architect Mario Schjetnan’s “A Small Tribute to Immigrant Workers”. With its regimented boxes of vegetables and rusty metal walls, Schjetnan’s garden delivers a strong political message about the plight of immigrant workers in California. Even the upcoming installation of a 1,000 ft-long fence around the perimeter of the site is expected to defy conventions. “It’s a white picket fence with a twist,” says David Aquilina, general manager.

Read more @ FT.com – Outlandish landscapes by Chloe Veltman

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