Rafael Vignoli rejects the principle of work "from spoon to city", which allows architects to take on a project in almost any area of human activity, but still allows himself to engage in scenography: for example, in 2004 he created the scenery for Dmitry Shostakovich's opera "The Nose", shown at the musical the Bard Summerscape Festival at Bard College, New York, and this year he designed the opera Danaë's Love by Richard Strauss for the same venue.
Unlike colleagues in the profession who tried to work for musical theater, but did not receive special praise (among them - Daniel Libeskind, Herzog & de Meuron, Santiago Calatrava), Vignoli is highly regarded by critics. He
takes seriously the problem of interaction between scenery and action, and a rare architect understands the issues of music as he does: in his youth, Rafael Vignoli was going to become a concert pianist.
Charles Jencks turned to another favorite theme of many architects - jewelry. His works are reminiscent of his own land-art objects: in both, the spiral motif dominates. Jenks took up this field of arts and crafts for charity: the proceeds from the sale of his products will go to the maintenance of Maggie's cancer centers that he created.
But not everyone limits themselves to such a modest scale of creativity: in the Netherlands, the creation of an artificial mountain is seriously discussed. It all started as a joke, but now the project with a budget of 300 billion euros is supported by the national federations of climbers, cyclists and skiers, and representatives of the authorities and commercial firms are interested in it. The initial goal of the project is to provide athletes and everyone with a facility to practice sports that require mountainous terrain and are difficult to practice in the lowlands of Holland.
While some landscapes are created from scratch, others - primarily urban ones - are under threat. So, in connection with the 2012 Olympics, London is threatened by the dominance of advertising, so the national association for the protection of monuments English Heritage opposed the projection of sponsors' logos on the famous Tower Bridge. Its festive illumination on 17 days of the Olympics will be provided by energy companies EDF and GE, which also planned to project their own symbols onto each of the bridge's towers. City officials approved the plan, but heritage conservation officials were more principled.
Less clear is the fate of another bridge - the Academy in Venice. It is now a wooden structure from the mid-1980s, modest and functional. But the city authorities can implement in its place a project by the Schiavina bureau from Bologna - a steel, limestone and glass bridge worth 6 million euros. The reason is the fire hazard of a wooden building and its inability to meet the needs of people with disabilities. Opponents of the project remind that the newest bridge in Venice - the work of Santiago Calatrava near the station - turned out to be not only impassable for disabled people, but also inconvenient for the rest of the public, especially with luggage: its flat marble steps have already caused many falls, so they had to stick bright yellow stickers.
But it is not only the activities of architects and engineers in the reality that surrounds us that attracts attention: the drawings of the Star Wars universe have been awarded the most detailed publication. The volume Star Wars: The Blueprints compiles material from the archives of the Lucasfilm film company regarding spaceships, droids, individual buildings and entire cities.
Another "deferred" publication is dedicated to one of the lesser known projects of Peter Zumthor -
"House Z" in Kure.Photos, descriptions and drawings posted by blog archisquare.it.
Arcoweb, the main Brazilian architecture portal, introduces Oscar Niemeyer's latest project: the Choro Cultural Center in Brasilia, with an area of only 2,500 m2, includes the administration of the Choro Club and a music school. Its elegant and well-thought-out solution makes it one of the best works of the master, which has become a rare case for Niemeyer in recent decades.
British architectural weekly introduces readers to the nominees for its anti-Carbuncle Cup award: for it are selected the ugliest buildings erected in the country in a year. This year's finals included, among others, Richard Rogers with his super-expensive London LCD One Hyde Park, 3XN with the Liverpool Museum and Nicholas Grimshaw with a train station in Newport.
If applicants for the "Carbuncle Cup" (if they really deserve it) demonstrate in their works disrespect for those who will live and work in their building or just regularly look at it, then the architects participating in the Make It Right (MIR) project for New Orleans, they think about them first. MIR has released another collection of photographs of homes for those homeless after Hurricane Katrina in the poorest Lower 9th Ward. Architects include Hitoshi Abe, Shigeru Ban and David Adjaye.
An unusual example of combining the social aspect with heritage preservation is the use of one of the famous New York skyscrapers of the early 20th century, the Standard Oil Building, as a school. Its lower floors - from the second to the eighth - are occupied by three district educational institutions, and the adaptation by John Ciardullo Associates Architects was combined with restoration of historic interiors, according to The Architect's Newspaper. Schools are provided with everything they need, including a gym, while employees of large corporations remain their neighbors from the upper tiers of the 29-storey building.