Tag: Architecture

Building an Identity


he pursuit of vertical dreams is still alive as far as architects are concerned and their designs are amongst some of the most *anticipated buildings of 2018.


V&A Museum of Design Dundee

The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) Museum of Design Dundee is Scotland’s first ever museum that is dedicated to design and opens 15 September 2018. It is being created by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma (Kengo Kuma & Associates). The building will be a landmark structure located at the centre of the Dundee City waterfront.

V A Museum of Design Dundee
V&A Museum of Design Dundee, Scotland by Kengo Kuma.

ARC Power Plant

The ARC Power Plant is in Copenhagen, Denmark. The futuristic waste management building that will also have an artificial ski slope and recreational hiking area which opens in autumn 2018. This power plant has a giant chimney way up on top will be blowing noticeable giant smoke rings, which will be emitted and be visible every time 250 kilos of carbon dioxide has been released into the atmosphere. It’s designer is the Danish architect Bjarke Ingels (Bjarke Ingels Group).

ARC Power Plant
ARC Power Plant, by Bjarke Ingels Group (Copenhagen, Denmark).

Institute for Contemporary Art

The Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virgina, is set to open in April 2018. The architect Steven Holl (New York-based Steven Holl Architects) is behind the design of the building which centers around a double-height atrium and consists of irregularly shaped blocks that are also eco-friendly.

Institute for Contemporary Art
Institute for Contemporary Art, by Steven Holl Architects (Richmond, Virginia).

Menil Drawing Institute

The Menil Drawing Institute in Houston, Texas will be the only free-standing building in the U.S. devoted to the study and display of works on paper. The institute is due to open this space sometime in 2018. It was designed by the Los Angeles–based firm Johnston Marklee. The wide roof overhangs and the surrounding trees shade the building from the Houston heat but also allow natural light which is modulated so you don’t get problems with glare but get a pleasant effect of soft gentle light instead into certain spaces through full-height windows.

Menil Drawing Institute
The Menil Drawing Institute, by Johnston Marklee (Houston, Texas).

Nanjing Green Towers

The Nanjing Green Towers will rise above the Nanjing Pukou District in China. These two green vertical towers were designed by Italian-born architect Stefano Boeri (Stefano Boeri Architetti). As designers of the first vertical forest in Milan, they have brought their concept of vertical green towers to Nanjing, China. The intent of the green towers is to provide the city with a breath of fresh air as the region is suffering from some of the worst carbon dioxide emissions on the planet, and should produce around 132 pounds of oxygen every day as they absorb carbon dioxide. These towers are a result of the pursuit of vertical green dreams that have ignored human scale.

Nanjng Green Towers China
Nanjing Green Towers, by Stefano Boeri Architetti (Nanjing, China).


These are just some of the buildings that made the Architectural Digest’s list of “12 Most Anticipated Buildings of 2018.” They are buildings that will create an identity for their home cities. Other buildings will be looked at in a future post. 

Architects to Fashion Designers


he connection between fashion and architecture is not particularly an oblique one, where crafters of each design consider elements of structure, shape and form. There aren’t too many designers who can do both – but some have made the successful transition from dressing buildings to dressing the body.


The talented, bright and charming American influential designer and film director Tom Ford born Thomas Carlyle Ford studied architecture at New York’s Parsons School of Design The New School before launching his iconic self-brand name. He spent a portion of his degree studying at the school’s Paris campus, where he landed an internship at the Chloé press office and discovered French architecture and design simultaneously, and where some of these influences can be seen in his film A Single Man (2009). It was in his last year at the school that he realized his true calling and pursued fashion. Tom Ford actually only had a tiny bit of fashion training and no formal training as a film director.

Tom Ford
Tom Ford


The Italian-born, French fashion designer Pierre Cardin best known for his geometric avant-garde designs, structured silhouettes and his famed avant-garde Bubble House on the Cote d’Azur. Pierre Cardin briefly studied architecture and in the beginning worked with historic French ateliers like Jeanne Paquin and Schiaparelli. He did try to return to practice, working his nephew (an actual architect) in 2012 to create a building in Venice but the building was cancelled a year later. At 95, he still continues to design, currently resides in Paris and continues to own his own company.

Pierre Cardin
Pierre Cardin


The Greek fashion designer Mary Katranzou studied architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design in America and graduated with a BA in Textile design and an MA at the Central Saint Martins where she earned her success due to her research on shapes and designs, that replicated on her pieces of clothing and her structured dresses are her trademarks as are her visionary another-level prints and ultra-modern silhouettes. Mary Katranzou has gone way beyond her signature digital prints and expanded into many other creative aspects.

Designer Mary Katrantzou
Mary Katrantzou


The designer and D.J. Virgil Abloh has a degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Wisconsin in Madison and an MA in Architecture and is creative director of the clothing brand OFF-WHITE and consultant to Kanye West. He is the mix-master of streetwear fashion making t-shirts and hoodies in luxury houses and building a luxury brand from social media. His clothes come out at different times and are posted on Instagram – virgilabloh where consumers can buy them and his fashion ideology is where haute couture meets street.

Virgil Abloh


The Friendly Alien of Architecture

The Graz Art Museum is a very splendid out of this world architectural landmark in Graz, Austria. Built as part of the European Capital of Culture celebrations in 2003 its exhibition program specializes in contemporary art of the last four decades and where architecture, design, new media, Internet art, film, and photography are united under one roof. Graz also carried the honor of the “City of Design” and is located in the south-east corner of Austria and was largely unvisited and unknown until 2003.

It might look out of place but still manages to blend in with its baroque surroundings and look like some sort of alien mother ship or one that’s about to slip the surly bonds of earth, defying the laws of space and time, ready for launch at any minute. In fact it was the British creators themselves, Peter Cook and Colin Fournier, who dubbed the building as Austria’s “Friendly Alien” but some visitors referred to it’s huge edifice of transparent skin of acrylic glass and steel as looking more like a giant human donor organ. It could also be seen as an enormous blue bubble that looks slightly ridiculous, beautiful and amazing.

Images from Wikimedia Commons

Kindred Spirits

What do a fire station and an elaborate Swimming pool have in common with a small white Modernist villa? They were the creations of two women! Firstly, the much lauded Zaha Hadid, born in Baghdad, Iraq and whose untimely death at the age of 65 occurred last month in Miami. Secondly, Eileen Gray born in Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford, died in Paris in 1976 at the ripe old age of 96. Both of these women fought to become recognized as bona fide members of the male dominated profession of architecture. Hadid achieved the status of a modern day “starchitect” and went on to become the first woman, in her own right, to win the RIBA Royal Gold Medal for Architecture in February 2016, prior to gaining the Pritzker Architectural Prize in 2004. Gray, whose nature though reserved and retiring, would finally become acknowledged as an influential designer and architect of the twentieth century.

Hadid’s whole life was focused on her architectural career. Yet in spite of her numerous proposed and conceptualized projects many never came to fruition. Her designs were often cruelly referenced as “expensive, weird-looking buildings”. Those built were eclectic and ranged from the Vitra fire station, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Weil am Rhein, Germany – 1994, Evelyn Grace Academy, Brixton, London – 2008, Sheikh Zayed Bridge, Abu Dhabi, United Emirates – 2010 and Riverside museum, Glasgow – 2011. Gray’s oeuvre consisted of two houses, E-1027 and Tempe à Pailla, Castellar.

In 2012 a striking building with an undulating roof, echoing the flowing water of the river landscape wherein it sits, was built in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Stratford, London as an aquatic center for the 2012 Olympics. Today, this much lauded space, albeit in a slightly modified form, is a vibrant “open to all” water sports arena. In contrast, some eighty years earlier in the closing years of the 1930’s (water being a common denominator), a small house is built into the rocky coastline above the Mediterranean, in a then remote area of the Côte d’Azur, at Roquebrune-Cap-Martin. However, this was a private build by Gray at the instigation of and for her lover Jean Badovici. Yet both women though architects were also designers. Hadid was a designer of fashion and furniture and a painter, whilst Gray turned to architecture after an early career specializing in lacquer work and decorative arts. Perhaps, or because of, their additional involvement in these “lower elements”. Hadid, throughout her stellar career, fought vigorously against the jealousy and prejudice of her male counterparts. Did she triumph? Of course she did! Yes! She died before her time! But then she did everything ahead of time. “Maybe we were not ready for her arrival – just as none of us were ready for her departure.” As of now, her architectural practice will continue without the founder at its helm!

What of Eileen Gray – she who also dared to be modern and different in her lifetime without courting fame and recognition? E-1027, today viewed as an iconic Modernist space, is newly restored and open to visitors. Nonetheless, this small secluded build, would become an obsession for Le Corbusier – a space he greatly coveted. Did jealousy cause the renowned architect to paint, uninvited, murals on the walls of the house without her permission? An act Gray deemed to be defacement, not only of her building, but also of her person. Maybe fate took a hand, as in 1965 Le Corbusier would die whilst swimming in the waters below E-1027! Recognition came late! Her works are now judged to be on a level with those of Le Corbusier and his early 1920’s male counterparts. Gray’s celebrated ‘Dragon Chair’ would go on to break records for a twentieth century decorative artwork when sold at auction for €21 million in 2009!

At last, poetic ‘justice’ for two multi-talented females who dared to challenge the mores of the preconceived notions prevalent in the world of architecture – AND WIN! Though sadly for Zara Hadid she died before all her projects came to fruition. May her ideas continue to surprise and delight us from beyond the grave!


Feature Photo from StockSnap