Growing like an outcrop amongst the hills of Gothenburg, the Kulturkorgen by Swedish firm Sweco Architects offers the public an opportunity to watch, engage, and perform. The scheme is a result of an architectural competition for a new Culture House in the city, run in collaboration with Architects Sweden. The winning proposal, who’s name translates to ‘Basket of Culture’, acts as both a building and a square – a social arena where flexible interior spaces act in tandem with a generous public green landscape for recreation and gathering.
When placed in a historic landscape, contemporary architecture requires a layered approach. It must often strike a respectful, vernacular tone, whilst embracing the innovative, functional hallmarks of a modern building. This balance has particular relevance at Suomenlinna Sea Fortress, located off the coast of Helsinki, Finland. Throughout its 300-year history, it was once occupied by the armies of Sweden, Russia and Finland – a rich history attracting UNESCO World Heritage status, and almost one million annual visitors. The site is more than a museum, however, but a living district of Helsinki with 800 inhabitants and 500 jobs.
Architecture is often intertwined with political context. This deep connection is especially evident in Northern Ireland, a place of infamously complex politics. The state came into existence as a consequence of war in 1921, when Ireland was partitioned into an independent Irish Free State (now the Republic of Ireland) and Northern Ireland, an industrious region still controlled by Britain. Conflict has since ensued in Northern Ireland between a majority pro-British Unionist population, and a minority, though significant, Irish Nationalist community. The latter half of the twentieth century witnessed a brutal struggle, with over three thousand people killed, thousands more injured, and harrowing images spread across the world.
Architectural landmarks can define a city. A mention of Paris conjures images of the Eiffel Tower, whilst no description of Sydney is complete without mentioning its inspiring Opera House. How disorientating it must be, therefore, to encounter a familiar architectural wonder far removed from the city, or country to which it belongs. As it happens, many of our most famous structures have identical twins you may not have been aware of.
Architecture can be demanding. As designers, we perform enough roles to fill a Shakespearean drama – from artist, scientist, and mathematician, to economist, cartographer, and writer. Fortunately, one trait many of us share is curiosity – a willingness to embrace new ideas, continually asking how we can improve ourselves and the world around us. The internet, therefore, is somewhat of an architect’s playground – a labyrinth of inspiration, ideas, and hacks.
In an increasingly paperless world, architecture still relies on channeling ideas by hand. Sketching has endured as the method of choice for designers to communicate with clients, the public, and each other. As we have previously reported, the George Architect YouTube channel, managed by Reza Asgaripour and Avdieienko Heorhii, is devoted to bringing sketching techniques and ideas to the wider world, with a series of tutorials on everything from light and shade to three-point perspectives.
Future cities have captured our imaginations for centuries. From Thomas F. Anderson’s 1900 vision for a Future Boston, through Le Corbusier’s 1924 Ville Radieuse, to modern ‘future-proof’ cities such as Songdo, South Korea, architects and town planners have considered how cities will respond to the movement of people, capital, technology, and ideas.
Researchers at the MIT Senseable City Lab have launched a new platform using Google Street View data to measure and compare the green canopies of major cities across the world. Treepedia, created in collaboration with the World Economic Forum, is an interactive website which allows users to view the location and size of their city’s trees, submit information to help tag them, and advocate for more trees in their area. In the development of Treepedia, the Senseable City Lab recognizes the role of green canopies in urban life, and asks how citizens can be more integral to the process of greening their neighborhoods.