Alternatives Strategies for Culture Buildings
Alternatives Strategies for Culture Buildings _ Douglas Murphy
The demand for bold, exciting, visually striking buildings continues to be the driving force behind a whole stream of contemporary architecture. The biggest budgets and the greatest fame are afforded to the creation of cultural buildings at the heart of remade or newly made cities. But if this kind of formal experimentation is no longer the cutting edge, are there other ways in which architects can approach these commissions?
The cultural building lends itself to formally expressive architectural approaches. Its functions are often large interiors such as galleries and auditoria that require disconnection from the outside, allowing for much formal manipulation of the external envelope. The buildings also, thanks to their intense public usage, encourage being considered as outgrowths of public spaces such as parks and plazas, and these open vistas often accentuate the singularity of the buildings, creating images whose boundaries are clearly separated off from the city.
But within this typology there is still variation, indeed more so than there has been for some time. The established names continue to practice and develop their digitally influenced experiments, while other approaches include functional and material innovations in the service of architectural boldness.
Ruins as Collective Monuments
Ruins as Collective Monuments _ Nelson Mota
Ruins perform as mirrors of our current condition, from which we learn a great deal about ourselves, and the world we live in. They are powerful elements to activate our collective memory. However, we often need a physical or intellectual framework to mediate our interaction with them. We seldom interact with ruins without an intermediary device, one that establishes a critical distance between them and us. Art and Architecture are some of these intermediary devices. Indeed, ruins are often depicted in works of art (they were omnipresent in 18th and 19th century painting, for example), and are nowadays a recurrent component, if not the main feature, in architectural commissions.
In 1961, Paul Zucker wrote that there were three aesthetic attitudes regarding the artistic approach to ruins. They were all related with a dialectical relation between the present and the past. In some cases there was a tendency to romanticize the past; in other cases the driving force was documenting the past; finally there were those interested in simply reviving the past. However, as Zucker points out, there are few cases in which one can find a pure aesthetic attitude. Rather, they are usually combined, creating “aesthetic hybrids”.
Changing Landscape of the Office Interior
The Changing Landscape of the Office Interior _ Heidi Saarinen
Today’s positive office interior strives for individualism, openness and spatial inclusivity. Workplace environments have changed along with the evolution of business and industry – demand and supply. Today we see open plan, company and product specific, cleverly designed and communicated office and workspaces. Arriving at an innovative, fun, bright, smart and well-organised office as an employee, director, client, supplier, cleaner, caterer or courier should be a welcoming, exciting and memorable experience.
Design can make or break the workplace environment, reputation and productivity. Wellbeing and consequent effort of the people occupying the office space goes naturally hand in hand. Including practical scenarios on a holistic level will lead to an enjoyable, interesting and productive space. Juxtapositions between informal and formal office environments, adventurous spatial topography and spaces within spaces; hubs, pods, pockets, boxes and even sleeping or power napping areas are becoming more and more common.