Minimalist Architecture Celebrated in Stunning Photos

Patryk Kuleta's photograph of Zaha Hadid’s MAXXI museum was selected as one of the top photographs of minimalist architecture.

As we have noted in previous posts, architectural photography is an art.  Taking photographs of buildings is much more than point-and-click. Isolating a sunlit corner of a building, or the particular way a wall curves, or revealing its surprising geometries creates new ways of looking and appreciating the built environment.

EyeEm (a photography resource) and We And The Color (a design blog) sponsored a competition for photos that capture the beauty of minimalism in architecture. A week and 45,000 submissions later, 20 winners were selected, handpicked by German photographer Matthias Heiderich, including a shot of Zaha Hadid’s MAXXI museum in Italy, which won second place.

Spectacular Apple Campus Opening in April

Futuristic Apple campus in Cupertino, CA to open in April.

Apple has announced that its new “space ship” headquarters in Cupertino, California – Apple Park — will be ready for occupancy in mid-April. Designed by London’s Foster + Partners, the jaw-dropping corporate headquarters will one of the most energy-efficient buildings in the world with breakthrough, hi-tech interior design elements.

The campus’ ring-shaped, 2.8 million-square-foot main building is clad in the world’s largest panels of curved glass. It will run entirely on renewable energy, and boasts one of the largest on-site solar energy installations in the world.

The campus, which is set on 175 acres of manicured greenspace, will include a theater named for co-founder Steve Jobs and a visitor center with an Apple Store and cafe that will be open to the public. Envisioned by Steve Jobs as a center for creativity and collaboration, the project has transformed miles of asphalt sprawl into a haven of green space in the heart of the Santa Clara Valley.

Must-See Cities for Architecture Students

View of Chicago from Willis Tower. Photo: Andrew Horne

In addition to studio classes, lectures, art shows and actual work placements, every architecture student should take some time to travel. Domestic and foreign cities provide fantastic opportunities to experience architecture in a plethora of historical styles. No photographic image – still or video — can replace the impact, value and inspiration of experiencing great architecture in person. Architizer editors and students from the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada compiled the following bucket list of cities that every architecture student should visit:

Chicago — The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 paved the way for the modern skyscraper in the early 20th Century with the introduction of structural steel, elevators, windows and even air conditioning. Chicago became North America’s preeminent city of architecture with the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 and the City Beautiful Movement, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie-style homes, and then Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Illinois Institute of Technology and other municipal structures, Frank Gehry’s Millennium Park, and the city’s famous skyscrapers including the Chicago Tribune Building, Willis Tower and Marina City apartments.

Havana — With Neoclassical and Baroque buildings lining streets filled with classic cars and minimal foreign investment for decades, Cubans maintained their vintage buildings in place rather than simply tearing them down. The result? An eclectic mix of 19th-century mansions and civic buildings, along with Art Deco residences and Corbusian apartment blocks. It’s an urban museum that may soon be lost to progress.

Barcelona – This port city has much to savor, including a wonderful portfolio of medieval buildings in the Barri Gòtic neighborhood as well as modern contemporary structures like the neighborhood of L’Eixample laid out in the late 19th century by planner Ildelfons Cerdà. You’ll also find the largest concentration of Modernista architecture in the world, by Lluís Domènech i Montaner and Josep Puig i Cadafalch. And then of course there is the incomparable Antoni Gaudi and his La Sagrada Família.

Toronto — This city of neighborhoods, each with a distinct character and the largest intact streetcar network in North America, is known for its downtown Art Deco masonry structures and the largest concentration of Victorian-era factories outside of England. This so-called Distillery District was recently restored and upgraded and is now a technology, design and shopping hub. In 1967, the Toronto Dominion Centre (Ludwig Mies van der Rohe) heralded the debut of Toronto on the global architectural stage. The city attracted numerous internationally-acclaimed architects such as Santiago Calatrava (Brookfield Place Galleria) I.M. Pei (Commerce Court), Fumihiko Maki (Aga Kahn Museum) and Daniel Libeskind.

Buffalo – Really?  You may be surprised to learn that Buffalo is home to many great examples of American architecture that are surprisingly well-preserved. The city plan itself was inspired by Pierre Charles L’Enfant’s 1791 plan for Washington with radiating boulevards and an extensive park system designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, famed for New York City’s peerless Central Park. Once the 15th largest city in the United States, Buffalo was also another favorite building site for Frank Lloyd Wright (Darwin D. Martin House, Fontana Boathouse, Blue Sky Mausoleum and Graycliff country estate).

Brasília — The “newest” city on this list was founded in 1960 and was laid out in the jungle like an airplane by Lúcio Costa. Many of the government and civic buildings were designed by famed Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer. Examples of the wider Modernist movement include the Cathedral of Brasília, the National Congress Building, and the Museu Nacional (another Niemeyer). The Monumental Axis connects many of these landmarks through the entire city, representing the fuselage of the airplane in the layout by Costa which acts as a large public park and natural backdrop for the urban landscape

Architecture for the People – Public Forums

Centre Pompidou Metz by Shigeru Ban Architects, in Metz, France -- an art museum but also a community center and public forum.

The term “forum” originally referred to public space in ancient Roman municipalities — sites designated for meetings and speeches, which invariably grew into important religious, political, economic and educational venues. These spaces not only hosted a variety of social activities, but also featured diverse architectural styles.

Today, the word “forum” is almost synonymous with dialogue or exchange, spaces that promote the discussion of ideas and opinions for educational or social pursuits, and many architects are creating their own interpretations and adaptations of the forum structure creating spaces of community and exchange. Some evoke the educational role of a forum, whereas others stress commercial or religious functions; some combine many programs under one roof.

Architizer has showcased seven outstanding architectural examples of contemporary forums from the University of Exeter Forum in the UK and Faena Forum in Miami, Florida, to the Marimekko Forum in Helsinki.

Netflix Bringing Architecture to a Whole New Audience

A new Netflix documentary on design features innovative Danish architect & founder of BIG.

On February 10th, Netflix will launch a new documentary series designed to captivate architecture and design enthusiasts. “Abstract: The Art of Design” will spotlight how design influences everyday life. The show, produced by Editor-in-Chief of WIRED Scott Dadich, follows the creative genius of eight innovators in design-related fields. One of those innovators is Danish architect and founder of BIG, Bjarke Ingels, often referred to as a rock star of architecture, whose TED talks alone have received more than 2 million views.

While the program does romanticize the role of architecture to some extent (it is after all a difficult profession involving extremely delayed gratification and designs that may never see the light of day!), it also encourages viewers to think more deeply about the impact of design on their world. Ingels may not be the “everyman” of architecture, but his story is inspirational.

Enduring Architectural Wonders of the World

Erechtheum is just outside of the Parthenon in Greece; an amazing work of art and architecture.

It may be a new year (and here’s to it!) but some things don’t change and have endured the test of time. There is something exotic about ancient architecture that has survived war, famine, disease and other disasters (man made and otherwise). The buildings featured in the following article continue to leave a mark on the world.  Some will be familiar: Petra, Machu Picchu, the Taj Majal and Angkor Wat. Others you may not know: the Paijah Tombs in Hyderabad; Siwa, Qesm Siwah in Egypt’s Great Sand Sea. All of them will make you feel young!