Architect
of the
Week
OPEN EBOOK
'Compact living' has been the focus of many online articles for quite some time now. 

A, now ex-dragon, from the BBC Two show 'Dragons Den' has been involved in the design and development of a small studio flat. 

The one catch though? 

The studio can be transformed into 4 different rooms, all in the same space!

Bedroom and Living Area occupy the same 'floorplan space'
Dining Area is sunken into the floor, and can be used as floor space when 'stored away'

Development and regeneration space in cities are becoming even more elusive. Instead of spreading out your living area, it would surely make sense to compact them all into one space. 

Although this is a great idea in theory, the actual execution in this example is lacking a little 'magic'. 

Currently, the prototype design means that all of the components of the different room have to either slide from the walls, ceiling or floor. This ultimately means that even though the intention was to save space, the same amount of space is being used, due to all of the components being hidden in the walls.

There is also the practicality issue as well.

For example, say you invite some friends around for dinner, and you want to watch the TV afterwards? That involves having to tidy up the entire dining area. Once all of this is done you still can't relax since you have to unpack the living area! 

Hassle or what!



So whilst compact living may be an intuitive 'idea', it is still not a realistic 'template' for the future. 

The main issue with these types of designs is it is made hideously complicated, even before the general mechanics have been tested out.


The ArchitectWeekly Team

Mark Callaghan presents the case for a much maligned style of architecture.

The critics of Brutalist architecture draw from a modest stockpile of clichés. Say ‘Brutalist’ and expect to hear the words ‘ugly’, ‘car park’, and from the lips of the more discerning viewer, something similar to this sentence: ‘it projects an atmosphere of totalitarianism’. Brutalism’s rough exteriors seem to encourage the kind of brickbats rarely thrown toward dainty, pretty constructions; as though their cold appearance, so often linked to another cliché – ‘urban decay’ – is so resilient it can take such condemnation, simply because it’s unattractive and can stoically absorb the hits; because it’s impossible to offend something that looks so offensive. As Brutalism chose to be ‘ugly’, with its designers discarding all make-up, seductive architectural clothing, and instead wishing to expose their structure’s blemishes, what should their creators expect?  In all fairness to the critics, Brutalism is rather strident and uncompromising. But to think of Brutalism as nothing more than dour concrete high rises that evoke Orwell’s 1984 (that’s our fourth cliché already), is to overlook the considerable theory and innovation of this sub-genre. It’s been prosecuted enough. It deserves some PR. 

The National Theatre (Southbank Centre), London
In London, it begins with the Southbank Centre. Built in 1951 to demonstrate Britain’s war recovery, Robert Matthew and Leslie Martin’s Royal Festival Hall was the first in a complex of cultural buildings that revived what used to be a bleak, industrial side of the Thames. When joined by its neighbour in 1976 – Sir Denys Lasdun’s fervently Brutalist National Theatre – this group of radical upstarts were considered as obdurate as the pop culture that coincided with the times, the architectural equivalent of the Sex Pistols calling Bill Grundy a ‘dirty fucker’ on live TV.  Lasdun’s design has been mocked (Prince Charles said it resembled a ‘nuclear power station’) but also cherished, and has become, to many, ‘the nation’s living room’ due to its series of social spaces that afford views of Westminster, The City, and a south bank promenade rejuvenated by The London Eye. Lasdun was hugely influenced by modernists Le Corbusier and Mies Van De Rohe, architects who sought to focus on a building’s function rather than what were seen as the ostentatious and unnecessary design features of pre-war movements. Examples are typically very linear, blockish, and fortress-like, though not devoid of sinuosity. They are concrete constructions (Le Corbusier’s term ‘beton brut’ translates as raw concrete), often combined with amenities built into internal streets meaning entire communities began to live in a new way. It was an anti-aesthetic philosophy that flourished from the 1950’s to the mid-1970’s, and though often derided by critics and the public alike, examples of the sub-genre survive and have recently been granted Grade II listed status, the Southbank Centre being one such case.
The National Theatre (Southbank Centre), London
Though some complain about the Southbank’s inter-connecting walk-ways, circular stairwells, and numerous spilt levels, it’s these same terraces that create the vibrant atmosphere that’s given the Southbank its status as national communal area. One doesn’t need to visit the Centre’s Hayward Gallery or Royal Festival Hall to enjoy the space. A drink outside on the terraces watching London go by is a simple, low-cost pleasure. On such a favourable day Brutalism becomes more visually appealing and even seems to question its own anti-aesthetic stance. Against a blue sky the Southbank Centre looks more striking than any nuclear power station or car park you will ever see. Its concrete façade, which has, it must be said, weathered quite badly in areas due to its porous nature, looks brighter on a fine day, shedding more of its ascetic veneer with every sunbeam. It reminds me of the 1950’s photographs when the building looked revolutionary, when the concrete was near-white, when the complex appealed even to some conservative critics. Not convinced? Then look inside…. 

Low-lit spacious areas, bars and occasional kiosks, modernist shapes, leather seats; brown and orange against the bare concrete walls. It’s hard to enter these buildings and not mutter, “cool” to yourself. If airport interiors were like this all pre-flight nerves would erode, though you’d risk missing your flight due to being so relaxed by the ambience. Have a good look at the texture of the concrete and you will see a variety of finishes, including the imprints left by the wood ‘shuttering’ (moulds) when the concrete was cast in situ. Brutalism shows its scars, but scars can be more interesting than cosmetics. The National Theatre might connect to each space but this is a theatrical setting in itself and it encourages you to take your time and to settle in.


The Barbican Centre, London
From Waterloo Bridge you will see, just beyond the postmodernist cluster of The City, three brownish high rises. Unimpressive from here, imposing from there. This is the Barbican Estate. It’s Brutalist heaven to some, Brutalist hell to others; the apogee of modernism or a veritable excrescence on the London skyline. You might expect a dubious sign upon arrival: “Welcome to the Barbican Estate. Where the weak are killed and eaten”. But the reality is one of pleasant communal areas and tranquillity in an otherwise boisterous part of the capital.

The largest complex of its kind and film location for Get Carter and A Clockwork Orange, the Barbican Estate has come to symbolise the social problems of the 1970’s, despite having a decent record against crime and a vibrant hub of high culture within its grounds by way of the Barbican Centre, which was built in 1982, 23 years after the Barbican Estate began to rise from post-Blitz east London. It was recently voted ‘London’s Ugliest Building’ (presumably voters meant the entire complex of high rises, lower residential blocks, and the Barbican Arts Centre), but is also one of the most sought-after locations in the capital and like the Southbank Centre, is Grade II listed.


The Barbican Centre, London
I have to question whether those who voted have explored the estate in person or just via the scenes of dystopian run-down society in A Clockwork Orange.  Open walkways, raised from street level, provide an immediate escape from the congested, thunderous roads of east London. It’s nearly soundproofed, yet one is still outside; it’s a pedestrianised village elevated from the mêlée. Explore further (the voters can’t have done this) and you will find a large conservatory, then a lake complete with Brutalist fountains (non-decorative, it’s all about the soothing sound they create, not how they look) and on a charitable day for weather, you will see residents and passersby relaxing next to the bar or dangling their feet over the waters. Even the three commanding high-rises – all named after famous writers, Shakespeare being one of them - have features to ponder. The cantilevered balconies create repeated, cascading forms, and also prevent residents from feeling like they live on a cliff edge, as the balconies are chest-high, curve inwards and feel protective. This same feature also protects the lower flats from the full effects of inclement weather. All living rooms are situated at the corner of the blocks, thus allowing maximum natural light to enter. Brutalism is much more than its outer skin. The recent vote was a bad advert for democracy.

Still not convinced? Then head west to The Brunswick Centre in Bloomsbury, a former council estate which felt the full vitriol of the modernist backlash. Now its one of the most fashionable places in this part of the capital, complete with upmarket boutiques, an independent cinema and thriving shops. Above them, in a typical Brutalist arrangement, are terraces of flats – some 560 of them – that have a brighter, less weathered concrete exterior.  Such is the pleasing appearance of The Brunswick Centre, I can’t help but wonder if hardcore Brutalists might think it a censored version of the genus and something of a sell-out. Such fears do not apply further west though, near Paddington, where Erno Goldfinger’s 1972 Trellick Tower broods at nearly 400 feet over Kensington.

The Barbican Centre, London
Unlike The Barbican Estate Trellick did have an unsavoury reputation for anti-social behaviour, this time based on reality rather than cinema (though it has featured in numerous music promos).  Though a gritty edge remains, it’s not uncommon for a flat to be sold for around £500,000, and once again Grade II listed status has been awarded. Besides typically Brutalist characteristics Trellick features a separate lift and service tower linked at every third storey to the access corridors of the main building. It’s a detail that makes it distinct from London’s other surviving Brutalist structures, a signature that makes Trellick as different from The Barbican as The Barbican is from the Southbank Centre. Goldfinger (Ian Fleming appropriated his surname for the Bond villain) created a building that’s experienced the same polemic of love and hate that seems inevitable for any Brutalist construction. Designing a building that provokes disdain must be difficult to stomach, but it might be more palatable than indifference.

Ironic, then, that for all Brutalism’s faults – true, the years are rarely kind to their exterior and you might think that you’re in Pyonyang on a rainy day – Brutalism has what few critics of this subject appear to demonstrate – originality, and a closer inspection of the detail and its accompanying theory. That said, my hypocrisy should be exposed like the shuttering moulds of the concrete casting. I once turned down a place at Wolfson College, Oxford because I loathe its modernist, semi-Brutalist architecture (the interior is divine though), and even threatened to detonate the Oxford’s Brutalist Council Building for offences to architecture and the city. This was more to do with place than architecture though. Brutalism and tumultuous, growling London are a good fit.


Mark Callaghan
Author


Link: Author's Website
Only a concept at this stage, but a new design proposed by Australian based prefab architecture specialists, Modscape Concept, has had the Internet in a frenzy today as computer generated images were released of their new 5 storey 'Cliff House'. 

The positioning of the 3 bedroom house allows for 180 degree, uninterrupted ocean views, although we hope a thorough structural analysis has been completed on the rock face, as the house is supposedly cantilevered on steel pins.

One benefit we can see is that at least purchasing the land to build this house on will be extremely cheap!


Copyright: Modscape Concept (link)
Copyright: Modscape Concept (link)
As any architect will tell you, one that has a decent grasp on technology anyway, there is always the difficult decision of, can I really be bothered to render this CAD model? Yet, we plod on, hitting 'render' and go and get a coffee, some dinner and maybe watch an episode of Homeland (which is awful at the minute by the way!). When we return however, to a hopefully 'successful render' screen, we find that our outdated computer has only managed to get itself to 87%, the waiting goes on...

Before Rending in Google Sketchup
After Rending in Google Sketchup
What should we do then? Buy a new computer, with an i7 processor, or even an iMac? Try another rendering program with slightly less bells and whistles? Give up entirely and go to watch Breaking Bad (a much better series)?

Well no, there is another option, one that won't take an age to accomplish, whilst also putting your computer out of action. This isn't intended to be a blatant sales pitch, but it is kind of inevitable. It is of course the King of rendering programs, Shaderlight. 


They recently rolled out a new update that allows you to upload your CAD model onto a Cloud based rendering service. Nothing happens to your computer at all, you can carry on adjusting your project plans with ease. All of the rendering is handled by their, I assume, gigantic processors, whirring away in a basement somewhere. When it's ready, you simply download the image and everything is sorted. There's only a small price to pay as well in exchange for the service, with discounts available for bulk rendering.



Home to some of the greatest pieces of architecture, Australia best presents itself as a land of free-spirited people if the designs of these masterpieces are anything to go by. 

If  you are planning to visit 'the land down under', there are numerous places that are a must-visit, purely due to the architectural prowess on display. Below are the 5 most amazing Australian architectural delights.

Sydney Opera House
Copyright: Alpha Coders (link)

  • The Sydney Opera House was tendered in an open competition in 1956, receiving 232 entrants. Jorn Utzon's design only just won, since three of the four judges were unimpressed and rejected the design immediately. It took the foresight and imagination of the fourth judge, Eero Saarinen, to convince the other judges and eventually bring Jorn Utzon's design to fruition.
  • So significant is this architectural piece that it was listed as a UNESCO Heritage Site in 2007, aptly described as a 'masterpiece of 20th century architecture'.
  • The Opera House is constructed from a concrete frame and the roof was precast in sections and slotted into place. 
  • Completion of the project in 1973 meant that the total cost of the structure was around $859million in today's money.

Sydney Tower
Copyright: Get Your Guide (link)

  • It is not only Sydney's highest view point at 305 meters, it also offers magnificent aerial views of the city.
  • In addition to an exhilarating view point, Sydney Tower also avails 4D cinematography showing the best views the city has to offer.
  • The architectural genius behind this outstanding structure was Donald Crone who envisioned a 'needle in the skyline'.

Stadium Austrialia (ANZ Stadium)
Copyright: Populous (link)
  • The grand Sydney Olympic Stadium is to date, the largest facility ever constructed that is specifically used for the Olympic Games. 
  • Designed by Bligh V. Nied, the stadium is one of the outstanding pieces of architecture in Australia. What's more, the factors below make it worth mentioning in Australia's grandest works of architecture:
  • The roof is made from translucent material, thus making daytime transmission from the stadium seamless.
  • With Australian weather, the natural ventilation present makes the stadium a perfect temperature. In addition, the stadium also enhances environmental-awareness by using rain water for washroom purposes.

Sydney Harbour Bridge
Copyright: BoomsBeat (link)

  • Commonly referred to as the 'Coathanger' due to its design, this is Australia's (and the world's) tallest steel arch bridge, reaching its highest point at 440 feet above the harbour. 
  • Visitors who want to experience panoramic views of Sydney for a fee can take the Bridge climb for the experience of a lifetime, whether in the early morning or late at night.

Parliament House, Canberra
Copyright: Destiny Rescue (link)
  • The design of Australia's Parliament House was decided on following numerous applications from all over the world overseen by the Parliament House Construction Authority.
  • The House rises out of the Australia landscape, perhaps symbolic of true democracy. The designer of this grand structure, Romaldo Giurgola asserts that the House was not built on the hill as this would seem to impose power on the people.
  • The arms of the House extend downwards, seemingly as a welcoming gesture.
  • Notable features within this House include The House of Representatives, The Senate Area, the Ministerial Area as well as the public arena.

Anna Taylor

About the Author:
Anna is an avid reader and blogger. Since her early years she’s had a passion for writing. Her areas of interest are food, reviews (Book/Movie), Travel, Fashion, Lifestyle and fitness. She works as a guest blogger on her chosen areas of interest. Her articles where published on different blogs namely golfgurls, pricestylist and many more. She is a permanent Guest Contributor at ArchitectWeekly. Currently she works for Australian visa.
The America population is one of the populations in history with a vast social culture. The country has an astonishing number of states each with an array of unique man made features. 

Many of the structures built in America have a world-wide reputation of being an architectural work of art that have no equal. Statistics has it on good authority that the structures are well distributed among the states. 

There are over 150 structures that have made it into history books due to their unique nature and unparallelled beauty.

Golden Gate Bridge
Copyright: Light Galleries (link)
One of the greatest structures on record is the Golden Gate Bridge San Francisco, California. It is a suspension bridge designed by Joseph Strauss, Irving Morrow and Charles Ellis. The bridge spans a length of 3 miles between San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. The Golden Gate Bridge has been declared one of the Wonders of the Modern World by American Society of Civil Engineers. 

The project began in 1933 and had a total budget of $35 million. Unusually, for a bridge of this scale, the project was completed underbudget ($1.3 million), and ahead of schedule.

Lincoln Memorial
Copyright: Kid Port (link)
One of the most striking structures with great historical significance is the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. It was built in the period between 1914 and 1922. The Memorial was constructed to honor the 16th president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln who was an outstanding man and leader. 

It was built by architects Henry Bacon and Daniel Chester and was registered on the National Register of Historic Places on October 15th 1966. The exterior of the building is covered in marble and is surrounded by 36 fluted Doric columns, each to represent the 36 states in America by the time of Lincoln’s death. 

The Chrysler Building
Copyright: D Guides (link)
The Chrysler Building is a picturesque skyscraper in east Manhattan, New York City. The structure held a record of being the world’s tallest building for 11 months before being surpassed by the Empire State Building in 1931. Despite this, it still maintains the record of being the world’s tallest brick building. 

It is a perfect example of art deco architecture, with its jewel-like glass crown. In 2007, it ranked 9th on the List of American Favourite Architecture. It is also considered to be one of the finest New York buildings by many contemporary architects.

Washington Monument
Copyright: Washington Post (link)
Another fine work of art is the Washington Monument. It is located due east of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. The tall obelisk was built to commemorate George Washington, the first American President. The monument was completed in 1884, using granite, marble and blue stone gneiss as it's core materials. 

It is the world’s tallest stone structure, standing at 169.294 meters. The monument was damaged a few times in the Virginia earthquake and Hurricane Irene where it remained closed to the public during repairs. It is an iconic structure in Washington and has featured in several Hollywood movies.

The Brooklyn Bridge
Copyright: Poesy Plus Polemics (link)
The Brooklyn Bridge in New York City is a sight to behold. It is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the United States. It was completed in 1883 by designer John Augustus Roebling. It connects Manhattan and Brooklyn by spanning the East River and has a total length of 486.3 meters and was the flagship steel-wire suspension bridge constructed in America. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1964.

Anna Taylor
Guest Contributor

About the Author
Anna is an avid reader and blogger. Since her early years she’s had a passion for writing.  Her areas of interest are food, reviews (Book/Movie), Travel, Fashion, Lifestyle and fitness. She works as a guest blogger on her chosen areas of interest. Her articles are published on many different blogs, namely golfgurls and pricestylist. She is a permanent Guest Contributor at ArchitectWeekly. Currently she works for esta.

Copyright: Orlando Sentinel (link)
University is a daunting experience, for everyone, even though some may not seem to show it. New friends, new life, no parents to wake you up and certainly nobody shaking their head disapprovingly when you drink too much. 

But University isn't just about the social life, it's also about your course and your grades. Below are 5 quick tips to give you the head start this September.

1. Download the lecture resources, which is usually good old PowerPoint (if available) to your iPad/Laptop and do research on the specific topics covered a couple of days in advance. Evernote is a great way to keep track of notes on all your devices.

2. Set your own deadlines. If your project is due on a Friday at midday, create your own deadline to get the entire project (that means the evaluation as well!) completed for the Tuesday/Wednesday. This avoids copious amounts of stress, and you can always tweak things at the last moment if needed.

3. Remember to ask for help. This is a funny one, I know you're rolling your eyes, thinking back to the thousands of times that your parents have repeated the same line, but how often do you really ask for help when you know you need it. You wouldn't be doing a degree if you already know everything, so don't feel embarrassing.

4. Start looking for potential industrial placements early. The all important industrial placement year will soon come around. Make sure you get the best pickings on offer, before they get snatched up last minute by your fellow classmates who are all scrambling around frantically.

5. Remember to enjoy yourself. You chose architecture because you love the subject, right? So always remember to enjoy yourself, and put all the motivation that's being building up over the Summer holidays into the first term of classes, and things will hopefully go smoothly after that, just try not to think about your student debt!

Turkish architecture has long paid its respects to tradition. The current period is referred to in architecture as “The Republican Period,” and has been the main tradition in architecture since the 1930's. The goals of this era was to conceptually modernise Turkey's architectural movement. 

Starting in the mid-20th century, Turkey began to emerge architecturally and modernised its image through western influence and design. Until the 1980's, Turkey had lagged behind its counterparts and the remainder of the world in technological advance. This drastically hindered Turkey's ability to establish its own architectural identity.


Establishing an Identity
As Turkey began to establish its identity through its architecture, the first movement consisted of many prominent designs that are still in use today. Notably, between 1905 and into the 1930's, Turkey has seen the first mainstays of their own national identity. This included the construction of the first main postal office in Istanbul located in Sirkeci. Designed by Vedat Tek, a Turkish pioneer of architecture, the post office is a four-story building still in use today. 

With the 16th century in mind, Tek designed the facade of marble and stone. Many facets of the building’s design and materials reflect some of the predominant styles of Ottoman influence of this time period. This building also reflected some of the earliest utilization’s of the First Turkish National architecture style and ornamentation.

Modern Influence
Turkish architecture has always had a modern influence, as reflected in its main city Istanbul. Neighbourhoods and districts feature work from some of the most well-known Turkish architects. 16th century Ottoman Empire influence is evident and prevalent throughout Turkey and especially in Istanbul in the commercial and residential centre. Between the 1930's and well into the 1950's, Turkey began to see new and notable influence in their designs and architectures. 

During this period, a more modern influence on the classical era was initiated. Turkey began to modernise its buildings. A new wave of styles began to feature enormous facets such as high ceilings and large windows as well as highly decorative ornamentation. During this time, less complexity as far as shaping of buildings and facades took place such as the usage of basic shapes (i.e.; squares, circles, and triangles). 


Notable Structures 
Turkey features all of the trappings of modern society and is home to a wide variety of historical and modern architecture. There are many museums and monuments of mixed architecture and multiple eras. Sites like “The Blue Mosque” feature some of this mixed architecture from both the Ottoman and Byzantine eras. Today’s Istanbul is a bustling metropolis and commercial focal point for the entire country. The recent years have seen, especially since 2001, an influx of new designs and buildings. Of course well modernised, Turkey's skyline has taken on nearly 50 modern buildings or skyscrapers. 

Turkey also pays homage to its deeply rooted and rich history. Lying in the heart of the capital city is Topkapi Palace. This large palace on the shore has become an enormous tourist attraction and a must see. At one time, it housed thousands of people simultaneously. It features shining examples of Ottoman influence as well. It's architecture from the first national movement up until today all reflect influence from each other. Turkey honours its past while modernising itself as it has grown.

Turkey Today
Turkey’s beautiful architecture and deep history make visiting Turkey an absolute splendour. The tourism industry sees a steady influx of millions of visitors every year. The opportunity to visit Turkey gives you the chance to see firsthand all of its magical historical buildings and museums, as well as it's more modern skyscrapers. Interested visitors and tourists should first seek a Turkey Visa before making travel plans.

Annabel Taylor
Guest Contributor

Anna lives in the UK and is an avid blogger. Since her early years she’s had a passion for writing. Her areas of interest are food, reviews (Book/Movie), Travel, Fashion, Lifestyle and fitness. She works as a guest blogger on her chosen areas of interest. She works as a guest blogger on her chosen areas of interest and currently writes on behalf of Turkey Visa.
Architecture has given us some of the most exciting and remarkable buildings on the planet. What constitutes exceptional architecture has changed massively in recent years. Now, architecture is still centred on the appearance of a building, but things like the environmental impact and carbon footprint of buildings are also now considered important.

At the same time, architecture also gives us some great mistakes that provide us all with a good laugh. Here are our top 10 in that particular category.

1. 20 Fenchurch Street


This distinctive new building in Central London, in the shape of a walkie-talkie, actually looks quite good, but the fact that it reflected sunlight and partially melted a brand new Jaguar a few months ago gets it the top spot here. Surely, someone should have thought that this would happen at some stage?

2. First World Hotel, Malaysia

First World Hotel, Malaysia
To be honest, we quite like this, but it looks more like something you’d expect to find at a Legoland Resort rather than to represent one of the world’s most notable hotel brands. It looks like it has been decorated during a painting festival. By blindfolded people.

3. Fang Yuang Building

Fang Yuang Building, China
This building, which you’ll find in Shenyang, China, was supposed to look like an ancient piece of Chinese currency. It looks more like a magnifying glass or an eye filled with CCTV cameras, and isn’t something we’d be rushing to have on our street!

4. Federation Square

Federation Square, Australia
Architecture in Australia is famous for being both different and for helping with environmental initiatives. Federation Square takes things to far, however, with its outer façade appearing to pay tribute to what happens when machinery gets out of control in a metal and glass factory.

5. Mirador Housing

Mirador Housing, Madrid
This building is simply awful. Trying to make a housing complex in Madrid stand out above all others, it certainly achieves this, but it is because it is an eyesore rather than anything that wows the mind. It wouldn’t look out of place on an estate populated with burnt out houses at every turn.

6. National Library of Belarus

National Library of Belarus
If there is one thing the old Soviet states have given to us, it is a lot of awful architecture. In fairness, this is their way of showing how modern they have become, but with buildings like this you’d think they’d simply hijacked a random office block in a British town like Slough.

8. American Dream Meadowlands

American Dream Meadowlands
This is the one project on this list that could yet be saved, given that construction was recently taken over by the Triple Five Group. That said, the exterior seems to be as good as complete, so it might be a few years before the random colour schemes and candy shop appearance are eradicated forever.

10. ArcelorMittal Orbit

ArcelorMittal Orbit, London Olympic Park
For those who do not recognise the name, this is the horrific, helter skelter gone wrong looking sculpture that is standing in London’s Olympic Park. The sooner someone buys this and does something productive with it, the better!

Modern architecture is brilliant, but it is awful at times, too, and these are definitely the worst examples from recent times!

Alex Reynolds
Author

Published: 23.10.13 at 20:54
Editor: Ryan Holland, CEO

About the Author
Alex loves architecture but is also interested in interior design, too. He has recently purchased sliding wardrobe doors from Superglide Wardrobes, and is planning to buy more furniture to complement his home in the near future.

Hong Kong covers an area of 1,092 square kilometres, and is officially recognised as being the most densely populated city on earth. There are twice as many skyscrapers (buildings of at least 14 stories) in Hong Kong, when compared to its nearest rival city, New York.


Copyright: Artofhdr (link)
Architectural influences are typically gathered from traditional Chinese designs. Feng Shui, the consideration of wind and water, is also taken into account by many Hong Kong based architects who aim to 'harmonize everyone with their surroundings'.


Due to Hong Kong's lack of available space, there are very few historical buildings left, as many have been cleared to create modern high technologically innovative skyscrapers. Hong Kong has, unbelievably, the most amount of skyscrapers, over 150 meters in height, compared to any other city in the world. This gives Hong Kong the right to be classed as having the best skyline in the world.

Prior to being a British Colony, Hong Kong was mainly dominated by traditional Chinese buildings, mainly temples, serving the population. 

After Hong Kong became a British Colony, the British introduced Victorian and Edwardian architectural styles in the mid 19th century. Notable buildings that have survived the test of time include the Legislative Council Building, the Central Police Station and Murray House.

File:Chi Lin Nunnery 8, Mar 06.JPG
Traditional Chinese Architecture meets modern western Architecture
The first building in Hong Kong classified as a High Rise building was constructed between 1904 and 1905. It consisted of five buildings, each stacked 6 stories high. 

Most high rise buildings that were built after this time were mainly for business purposes, such as the HongKongBank, built in 1935, now replaced by the HSBC Main Building. 


In the 1990's the demand for high rise buildings was around the location of 'Central' (the main business district of Hong Kong).

Hong Kong International Airport

Hong Kong is also home to the the Hong Kong International Airport, completed in 1998, and located on Chek Lap Kok island. Widely considered to be one of the most impressive feats of civil and structural engineering, and designed by English architect, Sir Norman Foster the island is mostly reclaimed land, designed specifically for the airport.

Bridges, roads, tunnels, services and rail routes where are included in the project, which had a very ambitious and optimistic 10-20 year programme.

Hong Kong International Airport is built upon an artificial island
Modern cities are an ode to the survival adaptations of man, securely preserving layers of the dead city beneath newer skins. Cities are becoming increasingly crowded today and the competition for space has led to vertically growing serpentine cities, competing for light almost like weeds and trees in a dense rain forest  Apartments on lower levels are usually affordable as they are devoid of sunlight or breathtaking views. As you move up, apartments with mesmerizing vistas flooded with sunlight reveal a totally different side of the city along with exorbitantly high rental prices. The higher you go, the greater you pay. Blame it on the introduction of the passenger elevator by Elisha Otis, about 156 years ago in New York!

Copyright 'ArchitectWeekly' and 'Yasra Daud Khoker'
'Sharjah, United Arab Emirates'
Elevators made access to higher floors easier and paved the way for high-rise buildings which began an architectural revolution. Earlier, buildings with eight or nine floors were called skyscrapers. Lower floors were accessible and therefore valuable whilst upper floors were deemed inconvenient. The introduction of the elevator brought about a change in lifestyles and higher storey apartments turned into a luxury feature with their large windows providing uninterrupted views of the city.

However, a number of catalysts worked simultaneously to bring about the advent of the skyscraper. Primarily, the Industrial Revolution of the 18th century brought about a ‘machine age’ where engineering feats that were previously unheard of, were being realized. In 1857, Henry Bessemer developed the Bessemer converter which marked the beginning of mass production of steel. This in itself, was a ground-breaking event as it allowed  the availability and use of steel in many areas of production, one of them being architecture. Before the Bessemer converter, steel, like other rare resources, was reserved to make smaller decorative objects which only the rich could afford.

[Related - 'The (Second) Tallest Building in Europe']


Interestingly, the classification of ‘rich’ people changed after the industrial revolution as mechanization and mass production brought in a number of jobs and commodities were easily produced. Buying power increased as mass production made no accommodation for exclusivity. However, class disparities took a new form, adding another strata to society- the middle class.

While earlier periods, like the Renaissance and Enlightenment, helped introduce the stream of rationality in people’s thinking and encouraged questioning, the Industrial revolution provided a concrete realization of their beliefs and encouraged scientific inquiry against prevalent dogma. To put it simply, too many changes took place within a short span and people developed an optimistic attitude, looking towards the future with new hope.    

The sudden appearance of possibilities within architecture, with the introduction of steel frame construction was a time of uncertainty and pride as people experimented formally, utilizing past knowledge and expressing confidence in the marvels of science that made man the centre of all possibilities. The opportunities that a lighter steel-framed construction provided, also created a stylistic crisis in the minds of architects who then began focusing on the aesthetics of the façade.

Copyright 'ArchitectWeekly' and 'Yasra Daud Khoker'
'Sharjah, United Arab Emirates'
Architects were faced with the dilemma of presenting the building as an extension of the past with classical orders and embellishments that people admired, or drifting towards a newer aesthetic altogether. Building structures got lighter as shop windows got bigger on the ground level. Instead of building structures that occupied vast stretches of land at a time of real estate boom, architects decided to build vertically. The verticality was an icon of man’s triumph over nature and also an architectural vocabulary in its formative stages.

American architect Louis Sullivan, who is also called the ‘father of skyscrapers’, believed the skyscraper to carry out three functions- the ground floor would hold shops and provide access to other floors, the top-most floor for services and utilities and floors in between for offices. This classification of the building based on function, allowed Sullivan to treat the façade as a juxtaposition of vertical and horizontal lines- a metaphorical play on ‘light’. Sullivan’s buildings celebrated human inquiry but also alluded to the richness of the Classical order with a clearly demarcated base, shaft and capital sequence replicated throughout the façade of the building.

Sullivan is just one of the many architects who added a stylistic tag to buildings of that era. After all, it was a great stride forward from the wood buildings of the 1800s which were highly unsafe, evident from the great fire of 1871 in Chicago. Fire-proofed steel frames, glass and the passenger elevators were developments that pushed forward the quest for the perfect building to reflect concerns of the time.

Skyscrapers are not mere symbols of scientific progress and engineering. They engage in a formal discourse with their immediate surroundings and the quality of the various habitats cultured within its niches. They are reminders of the might of man and the conquest of the spirit of enquiry and reasoning over feudal minds.

Yasra Daud Khoker
Author

Published: 14.11.13 at 18:26
Editor: Ryan Holland, CEO

About the Author
Yasra Daud has a degree in Interior Design from the American University of Sharjah. She is an art critic and artist who divides her time between Dubai and Jaipur. Yasra can be contacted at yasrakhoker@yahoo.com


      To see how you can become a guest writer, click HERE