Bubble and Squeak
Bubble and Squeak: Non-solid state – ephemeral tangible structures_Gihan Karunaratne
In the 1960s and 1970s avant-garde architects and theorists such as Reyner Banham, François Dallegret, Ant Farm and Archigram established themselves as a counter-cultural opposition to the Brutalist-dominated midcentury architectural movement. Influenced by such disparate sources as the work of Buckminster Fuller, writings by Marshall McLuhan and The Whole Earth Catalog, the dissidents questioned the obduracy and rigidness of the architecture of modernism. They rejected what had become the formalism of modernism, instead siding with nomadic, informal alternatives to regnant consumerism.
Much of the work of the alternative theorists and practitioners was concerned with the often humorous and witty transformation of technologies. In particular, the focus was on the creation of ephemeral experimental structures with no fixed form. This mobile architecture, that allowed users to take control of their environment, was symbolically and physically antithetical to Brutalism.
The environmental Bubble (Un-House) built in 1965 by Banham and Dallegret as an inflatable domicile for hyper-technological, nomadic youth encompassed all the essential conveniences of contemporary living, such as food, shelter, energy and television. Yet the pneumatic structure, inflated by air conditioning, repudiated the conventional home in favour of satisfying idiosyncratic and personal desires. It was an architecture that encompassed sustainability and technologically-led design.
The Place of Museums
The Place of Museums_Herbert Wright
When you compare museums of previous centuries with contemporary ones, it seems that everything has changed. Rather than maintaining a recognisable set of architectural styles to distinguish the typology, the museum has diversified into a fantastic variety of forms and spaces, across a wider range of materiality and structural approaches than ever before.
The function of the museum has also evolved. Once, they were repositories for artefacts of cultural or academic value, and their mission was to conserve, display and educate. This is still true, but what’s on show has shifted to being curator-led, multimedia-presented, blurred into entertainment and linked to retail. Curators, technicians and shops make demands on the architectural brief.
Finally, while museums were often stand-alone buildings imposed on the urban field, they are now more versatile in the art of place-making, and more adaptive in responding to their location, whether urban or remote. In all but one of the museums in our survey, there is a relationship with what was there before. There is only an arbitrary distinction between museums and great institutional art galleries (such as Guggenheims or Tates), but here, we consider only buildings called museums (plus one ‘international centre’). We will see that certain factors which define their ever-diversifying architecture still resonate with ideas rooted in the oldest museums still existing.
Sports and Urban Renewal_Tom Van Malderen
The architectural qualities present in contemporary sports architecture design is showing a remarkable development towards an architecture that does not content itself with functionality alone but that allows for new perspectives and experiences to bring a diverse group of people together in one environment, under one roof, united by sports. The large number of sports and recreation centres being developed as an integral part of new urban renewal programs and incorporated into other civic programs attests to this, along with the increasing emphasis being placed by governing bodies on the role sport and sports centres might play in developing and promoting social inclusion, community building, and sustainability.
The sports centres presented in this article are all located within or on the edge of residential neighbourhoods and identify varied strategies to inject new dynamics and life. These centres often help restoring previous urban planning mistakes, absorb post-industrial changes and become a catalyst for urban growth and diversification. The designers behind these sports infrastructures deal with the challenge to integrate these extensive building volumes in areas that are mostly determined by the scale and a building fabric typical to residential zones. In their attempts to connect and reconnect people and places, they employ an arsenal of design approaches, from the layering of transparencies, to immersing the existing topographies and a clever application of materials.