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Posts Tagged ‘Architecture’

Notable High Buildings of the World, 1896

Notable High Buildings of the World, 1896

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons

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Click on Image for VIDEO

Click on Image for VIDEO

Historians had believed modern-day Istanbul was first settled around 700 BC.

However, a grave that has been recently discovered at the site of a rail project instantaneously added 6000 years to Istanbul’s history.

“We found the grave, pots and other artifacts. There were signs of houses made of tree-branches and next to the settlement was a swamp where we found small tools, wooden pieces and bones,” explains Ismail Karamut, head of the Istanbul Archaeology museum, which is leading the dig.

“It all shows there was a Neolithic settlement here in the historic peninsula of Istanbul where people lived, farmed and fished,” he adds.

The Neolithic era – when man abandoned the nomadic, hunting lifestyle and settled to farm the land and raise cattle – began east of here, gradually carrying the foundations of “civilised” life west, to Europe. The new find in Istanbul helps map that transition.

“Neolithic culture changed as it moved west. Not all of what we call the ‘Neolithic package’ was transferred,” explains Professor Mehmet Ozdogan of Istanbul University.

“Domesticated animals and some of the cereal crops came, but mud brick became wooden architecture, settlements were re-organised. The transformation is important to understand the Neolithic culture in Europe. Every new site adds data to the picture.”

The team’s first major discovery was a section of the first city walls, believed to date back to Constantine I.

As anticipated, they also uncovered a 4th Century port – once the busiest in Byzantium – and the stunningly well-preserved remains of more than 30 wooden ships, many wrecked in storms in the 10th and 11th centuries.

“We’re expecting to find more – maybe a small settlement,” Yasar Anilir explains. “We have to remove the Byzantine ships first, then we can complete our dig.”

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Ar. Aditya Prakash, Chandigarh

Ar. Aditya Prakash, Chandigarh

On August 12, 2008 city of Chandigarh (India) lost an eminent architect, designer, painter, a theater enthusiast, academician, Le Corbusier’s associate. He was Ar. Aditya Prakash.

News Release- Aditya Prakash, Indian Modernist

He was on his way to Mumbai for staging the play Life Never Retires, created by G.S. Channi, in which he played the central character. He died on the way, at Ratlam station.

Aditya Prakash is well known in the world of modern architecture as Le Corbusier’s associate in the planning, design and building of the Chandigarh Capital Project which was initiated by the first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru.

Known internationally for its architecture and urban planning, Chandigarh is home to numerous architectural projects of Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret, Edwin Maxwell Fry, Jane Drew, Matthew Nowicki, and Albert Mayer. Nehru famously proclaimed Chandigarh to be “unfettered by the traditions of the past, a symbol of the nation’s faith in the future.”

Le Corbusier with Pandit Nehru

Le Corbusier with Pandit Nehru

Designed in a grid pattern, Chandigarh stands out from the rest of India with its clean lines, broad avenues and imposing government buildings built on a vast scale in concrete with columns, ramps, sculpted roof lines and screens to protect against the punishing sun.

Prakash joined the Chandigarh Capital Project in November of 1952 as one of the nine architects on the team. He had just finished studying architecture at the London Polytechnic, and became an A.R.I.B.A. in 1951.

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Paskov House one of architectural jewels of Russia was under restoration for 19 years, was closed down due to its dilapidated state. Pashkov House is named after its first owner Petr Yegorovich Pashkov, the lieutenant commander of the Life Guards of Semenovsky Regiment and the son of Peter the Great’s batman.

Pashkov House

Pashkov House

Designed by Vasily Bazhenov (1737-1799), one of Russia’s greatest architects, this mansion was erected between 1784 and 1786 for the wealthy Pashkov family. The central building is topped by a round belvedere and flanked by two service wings. The current building is a reconstruction of a private mansion that was badly damaged in the disastrous fire of 1812, which swept through the city as the first of Napoleon’s troops were arriving.

In the 19th century it housed the Rumyantsev collection of art and rare manuscripts and a library, and from 1925it has been a part of the Lenin Library, the second largest in the world, after the Library of Congress, and a magnet for international scholars, even during the Soviet era. Following the 1917 revolution, the museum was closed and the art collection was transferred to the Hermitage in St. Petersburg and the Pushkin Museum of Fine Art. The manuscripts were donated to the Russian State Library which now owns this building. Pashkov House is off-limits to the general public, but after years of neglect, the government finally pledged funds for restoration work, which began in 2003. Money for the state-financed restoration finally started to flow after the visit from Vladimir V. Putin, the former president.

In a city where architectural monuments are readily torn down or gaudily renovated beyond recognition, Pashkov House, which reopened in October after an $80 million renovation, is one of the few restoration projects lauded by preservationists.

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Antilla as seen in artists sketchTo everyone’s surprise, price tagged at $ 2 Billion, Antilla (named after the mythical island) is in India and is world’s first billion dollar home. Indeed, like its name, it houses stuff that surrounds myth!

Owner is India’s richest, Mukesh Ambani of Reliance fame whose net worth was 43 Billion in March of this year and was the 5th richest in the world.

The only remotely comparable high-rise property currently on the market is the 70 million dollar triplex penthouse at the Pierre Hotel in New York, designed to resemble a French chateau, and climbing 525 feet in the air.

When the Ambani residence is finished in January, completing four years of design and construction, it will be 27 story and 550 feet high (height which normally houses 60 floors) with 400,000 square feet of interior space. (Click on the picture to see a video).

However, all of this has not been without its share of controversies. Antilla is being built on land sold to Ambanis’ to be used as orphanage by Waqf Board.The land measuring 11793 sq yards was sold in 2004 by the trust for a charitable purpose of looking after the destitutes and orphan children belonging to the Khoja Mohammedan community. The land was given to the Maharashtra State Board of Waqf by Jivagi Raje Scindia in 1957. The MoU was signed with four companies namely Antillia Commercials, Saphire Realtors, Rockline Constructions and Baun Foundation trust.Balroom at Antilla

The Waqf Board has told the Supreme Court that it sold the property thinking it was to be used for an orphanage and that commercial buildings are not allowed on Waqf land. Property having a market value of Rs 400 crore was sold only for Rs 21.05 cr to M/s Antillia Commercial, a company of Reliance group of Industries. Rs 16 crores were also paid to Waqf Board for No Objection Certificate.

The Supreme Court on Friday decided not to intervene in the construction of the building on Waqf board land in Mumbai and has directed the matter back to the Bombay high court.

Critics have also said that showing off such extravagant wealth in a country rife with poverty is insensitive and ethically questionable. This is excessive and ostentatious given that more than 65 percent of Mumbai’s 18 million residents live in tenements.

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Seventy-five years ago, in Los Angeles, with a no-interest loan from Dutch philanthropist Dr CH Van Der Leeuw, Viennese-American architect Richard Neutra, rightly called ‘second only to Frank Lloyd Wright’, built a radical “glass house” with rooftop and balcony gardens on Silverlake Boulevard.

Richard Neutra\'s VDL

This is the place where Neutra had designed hundreds of projects over the four continents among which are some of the finest schools, public buildings and distinguished residences. So many architects were trained here and whose careers started in this office/studio.

Neutra’s residence played host to cultural figures like Frank Lloyd Wright, Lazlo Moholy Nagy, Jorn Utson, Charles and Ray Eames; religious figures like Robert Schuler and J Krishnamurti; scientists like Rene Dubos and Linus Pauling; and to political figures and activists like John Anson Ford, Frank Wilkinson and Vice President Hubert Humphrey.

VDL, as Neutra had named his residence, was very dear to him. His ashes were later scattered in the backyard.

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The idea of designers and architects working together is nothing new, from the Tokyo store collaboration between Prada and Rem Koolhaas to Hussein Chalayan’s techno virtuosity in morphing dresses into chairs.

Parallel Practices in Fashion and Architecture\'.

We all live in buildings and wear clothes. Traditionally, fashion and architecture have remained quite distinct. However, since 1980s the two disciplines have become closer than ever before.

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Architects Arakawa and Madeline Gins believe that you have a right not to die. Reversible destiny comes as part of their services to you as an architect and designers.

“We believe we can help extend your lives,” architects’ claim.

They recently completed a house (not for mortals) in East Hamoton, New York. The house is called Bioscleave House which literally implies Life Extending Villa. Children are forbidden to enter this house, and even adults have to sign a waiver before they enter the house. The house comes with its own ‘User’s Manual’. The house is meant to lead its users into a perpetually “tentative” relationship with their surroundings, and thereby keep them young.

Bioscleave House

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I have never heard of a profession being related to a particular community or country. Never heard, “Oh, this country produces maximum architects,” or “Architects of this country are the best,” or “This is a country of Architects”, or even “This country loves her Architects.”

Though I have heard about particular communities or countries becoming famous travel destinations because of their architecture. Italy, Greece, India are a few examples falling in the latter category.

Says Christian Lander, “If you ask white people what they love about cities they don’t live in, they will say “restaurants,” “culture,” and “architecture.” They just can’t get enough of old buildings or ultramodern buildings next to old buildings.

If you want to fit in with white people you need to learn about IM Pei, Frank Lloyd Wright, Frank Gehry, and a whole swath of others. Also, be prepared to say “Bauhaus” a lot…

…The reason white people love architecture so much is that deep down they believe that they could have been a great architect. They feel the same way about other professions including: professor, writer, and politician.

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general_motors_building.jpg$3 billion-one, $3 billion-two, and $3 billion- its is. A building to sell for $3 billion does sound insane but this insanity is nearing to become a reality. Larry Silverstein, developer of ground zero, has bid $3 billion for General Motors Building on Fifth Avenue, in the Manhattan District in New York.

Indeed, with its commanding view of Central Park and its Fifth Avenue address, the building is a trophy property and a symbol of New York corporate power since General Motors moved its boardroom and some 3,300 employees there 40 years ago. Since then, though, G.M.’s presence has shrunk to three floors from 26, and its contractual naming rights for the property expire in 2010.

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This week in news we find two of Frank Gehry’s projects declared obsolete- Winton Guest House in Minnesota, and Santa Monica Place mall in Santa Monica.

In early 2007, the University of California, Irvine, razed one of his buildings—a computer science center—to make way for a new engineering complex, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported at the time.Winton House

Mike and Penny Winton, the original clients of Winton Guest House, sold the guest house as well as their main residence, a 1954-vintage house by famous architect Philip Johnson, to Kirt Woodhouse, a real estate developer, in 2002. Woodhouse divided the 12-acre property into three separate lots, and was able to sell Johnson-designed residence but not one by Gehry’s . It stayed on the market for too long with no buyers.

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Recession is the word nobody wishes to hear. But here it is. Economy has to go full cycle- it now has to heal itself after leaps of growth. Panic will spread. Will architects’ world feel the tremors of the recession that is going to brace the country in 2008?

Ned Cramer, editor-in-chief of ARCHITECT and ARCHITECTURAL LIGHTING, advises to Resist the Urge to join the panic procession.

The profession’s learned a lot since the recession of the late 1980s and early 1990s, when giant firms laid off people by the hundreds. For one thing, large and small practices today are alive to the benefits of a diversified portfolio. The strategy is practically a business-world cliché at this point, but it seems to work. In the coming months, the going will get toughest for firms that haven’t diversified—particularly, given the subprime situation, those that specialize in single- and multifamily housing.

Layoffs may be inevitable. But it does not cost a fortune to keep talent happy and pumped up till it is boom time again.

Read on: Resist the Urge on ARCHITECTONLINE

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