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Mark Another Architecture 2015 Set / 6 Sayı (No 54-59)


Mark #54 Feb/Mar 2015


Usurpation is rampant in neutral Switzerland, where industrial zones left vacant by an increasingly service-oriented economy now host large-scale urban redevelopments.

Two stories in Mark #54 analyse this trend specifically among universities. Katharina Marchal writes on EM2N’s Toni-Areal district in Zurich, Juliette Soulez on a collaborative project for the Academy of Art and Design in Basel.

Cape Verde becomes the stage for an unintentionally elegiac cover story. OTO’s headquarters for Fogo Island Natural Park, a carefully planned synthesis of delicate political, social, and environmental concerns, was decimated along with its surrounding community this past November by the island’s worst volcanic eruption in 60 years. Ana Martins traces the project’s tragic history from its inception to the disaster’s aftermath.

Spanish firm SelgasCano and a group of MIT architecture students similarly confront harsh natural conditions in constructing an education and vaccination pavilion for a remote Kenyan village. In Katowice, Poland, atelier KWK Promes attempt to reconcile the suburban, single-family residence with nature in the Living-Garden House. A trio of metro stations in Barcelona designed by local firm Garcés De Seta Bonet bare their raw engineering and silently await the completion of the line.

We converse with – among others – Belgian artist Xavier Delory about his fictional, absurdist architecture via altered photography. Harvard Graduate School of Design professor Rahul Mehrotra closes with observations on literary culture in India and the intersection between digitalisation and democratisation.

Cross Section:

Gehry Partners, Heatherwick Studio, D’Houndt+Bajart, UNStudio, Para-Project, TNA, Aedas, Lens°Ass, Kevin Thompson, Hiroshi Nakamura, Kraaijvanger, Andreas Martin-Löf, Toyo Ito, PPAG, Theo Deutinger, Takeshi Hosaka, Spark, Giancarlo Mazzanti, Fort, Moatti-Rivière, Gregory Barrett

Perspective: Two University Complexes in Switzerland

  • Katharina Marchal delineates Swiss firm EM2N’s conversion of a Zurich milk-processing factory into two universities, apartments, and a museum.
  • In Juliette Soulez’s companion piece, a group of Swiss ateliers transform the Dreispitz industrial zone into a ‘Campus of the Arts’ for the Academy of Art and Design Basel.

Long Section:

  • Lisbon-based OTO’s Fogo Natural Park Headquarters lies in ruins after the eruption of the island’s Pico do Fogo volcano.
  • The Cricoteka Centre in Cracow, Poland, a collaborative effort between local practices nsMoondstudio and Wizja, commemorates the life of Tadeusz Kantor on the Vistula waterfront.
  • Spanish firm SelgasCano and a group of 12 MIT architecture students discover the practical limitations of honest materials in constructing a health and education pavilion for the nomadic Turkana people.
  • Belgian artist Xavier Delory virtually vandalises Villa Savoye, among other digital alterations of architectural photography.
  • KWK Promes merge house and garden in the south Polish town of Katowice.
  • The founders of French practice Antonini Darmon discuss a few of their social housing projects in Paris and Nantes.
  • Barcelona’s Garcés De Seta Bonet take a ‘museological’, highly brutalist approach to their three stations for the city’s still incomplete metro line.
  • Japanese structural engineer Jun Sato employs custom optimisation algorithms to design elaborate, porous frames.
  • In North Holland, native firm UNStudio design a hedonist villa with a ‘pinched’ plan, drawing the landscape into the house.
  • Dutch architect Marc Koehler wraps home around office for his artist mother’s abode and raises a summer residence from the dunes of Terschelling.
  • For a Bookmark feature, Harvard Graduate School of Design professor Rahul Mehrotra laments the decline of the library in his native India and offers a few book recommendations.



Mark #55 Apr/May 2015


Mark #55 goes off the radar, featuring a handful of lengthy, painstaking efforts to restore remote, abandoned villages in Southern Europe.

 Anti-digital hermits and opportunistic estate agencies alike unite in an organic, archaeological process that has come to be known as 'slow architecture'. Through this lens, Sanderyn Amsberg and Daniel Jauslin explore secluded residences in Spain and Portugal, then lavish hideouts in Italy.

Just as they find beauty in age, our cover subject finds beauty in the beast. Rogue concept architect Didier Faustino speaks with Ana Martins about the necessity of bad architecture, expounding on the development of his unorthodox principles through an assorted portfolio. From a comic-book explosion in a quiet suburb, to a human cargo case for an airplane – functionality mingles inextricably with aesthetic statement to disrupt symbolic power constructs.

Faustino pioneers the new bad, while Arno Brandlhuber restores the old – showing tough love to a few 'exceptionally ugly' chunks of concrete on the outskirts of his native Berlin. Claus Van Wageningen’s Dutch military museum in Soesterberg pays close tribute to Mies van der Rohe, while Coop Himmelb(l)au’s new exhibition complex in Lyon forges a brave new world just as multifaceted in subject and structure.

Brooklyn-based Marc Fornes explores the physical frontiers of computer modelling through his workshop Theverymany. Just before a closing book exchange with Norwegian architect Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, the newfound luxury of the ancient remnants from which we emerged in Europe comes full circle with an altogether new type of ruin in a Tokyo apartment complex.

Cross Section:

Bona-Lemercier, Xavier Veilhan & Alexis Bertrand, Renato Rizzi, Nathan Crowley & Paul Franklin, BCHO, Baren Koolhaas, The Creative Assembly, Moshe Safdie, James Silverman, Theo Deutinger, Van Dongen-Koschuch, Davidclovers, Re-act Now, WMR

Perspective: Villages for Sale in Southern Europe

  • Loural to Lisbon, Amares to Aldán, contributors Sanderyn Amsberg and Daniel Jauslin investigate Spanish and Portuguese ruins restored to liveable structures.
  • Amsberg continues on to Italy, where cavernous, impoverished, or otherwise prehistoric villages are given the luxury treatment.

Long Section:

  • Inspired by a 1970s French cult film, Arno Brandlhuber takes a sledgehammer to dilapidated, concrete buildings in Krampnitz from the same period.
  • Kazuyasu Kochi’s ‘Apartment House’ turns the former into the latter, and slashes through the existing room grid with chromatic vibrance.
  • La Musée des Confluences by Coop Himmelb(l)au, an imposing new behemoth on the shores of Lyon, becomes a hub of multidisciplinary enlightenment.
  • David Benjamin channels biotechnology in luminous, ephemeral public installations.
  • The village of Soesterberg hosts Claus Van Wageningen Architects’ new National Military Museum of the Netherlands, where a singular, glass hangar casts transparency as a virtue.
  • Melbourne’s John Wardle Architects and Boston’s NADAAA form an unlikely duo in the conception of the new Melbourne School of Design, where flexible forms take on multiple architectural dimensions.
  • Didier Faustino, founder of Parisian firm Mésarchitecture, navigates a subversive intersection between art and architecture.
  • Camillo Botticini’s new abode etches gracefully into an incline of the Italian Alps.
  • A residence by L3P just outside of Zurich tiptoes on a small plot as impossibly as the image of a concrete grapevine.
  • Protoplasmic graphic designs take on epic proportions through Marc Fornes’ atelier Theverymany.
  • A vorticist hill of verdant balconies comprises Akihisa Hirata’s latest apartment complex, Kotoriku.
  • Kjetil Trædal Thorsen of Oslo firm Snøhetta discusses his preference for fictional over professional literature in our Bookmark feature.



Mark #56 Jun/Jul 2015


Mark #56 delves into the seemingly contradictory subject of architectural preservation in Los Angeles.

Safeguarding the city’s architectural legacy is a challenge: the city comprises 88 administrative entities that all have their own preservation ordinances, the city is largely a 20th-century creation, lacking the rich heritage of colonial and 19th-century architecture, and the legacy is primarily residential and mostly walled off. Nevertheless, awareness is growing and preservation efforts are increasingly successful. Home flipper Michael LaFetra tells about his work on dwellings by Lautner and Schindler, among others, developer Wayne Ratkovich is nowadays convinced that history is a unique selling point and Michael Webb recounts his efforts to persuade a developer to defer to a modern classic.

Not just in the States but also in China, the idea is taking hold that renovation may in many cases be more interesting than demolition and new builds. Atelier Deshaus converted an old towel factory in Shanghai into the premises of a large producer of art books. The former laundry facility, complete with two large basins for washing the towels, now serves as an art centre that shows the company’s books, as well as printing and binding techniques.

In the same city, Gensler’s Shanghai tower is currently the second tallest building in the world. Structural engineer Dennis Poon of Thornton Tomasetti explains the structural ideas behind the design such as the tower’s twisting and tapering shape to disperse wind loads. 

Also studded with towers is Tomorrowland, an imaginary city in the eponymous movie that premiered around the world at the end of May. Production designer Scott Chambliss and visual futurist Syd Mead talk about the mysteries of Tomorrowland and its architecture. Contrary to most sci-fi movies, they wanted to create an optimistic world. ‘Suggesting a good future is more productive than continually imagining that everything is just going to end up in the toilet,’ says Mead. ‘I think that’s a very dangerous attitude to promote over and over again. The kids that are growing up now – teenagers and those in their early 20s – have never been exposed to anything more than end-of-the-world scenarios. I think that’s tragic.’

Mark normally assesses buildings right after their completion, but most structures will only prove their worth after years or even decades of use. In the ongoing series of ‘belated’ building reviews, Austrian writer and photographer Michael Hierner interviewed and photographed eight inhabitants of the Alterlaa housing complex in Vienna that houses over 10,000 people in three apartment blocks, designed in the 1970s by Harry Glück. In spite of its mind-blowing size, most residents are very happy to live there; one of the couples has already called it home for 40 years.

New buildings also get a fair share in this issue of course. Among them are three university buildings: two in Singapore – one by Heatherwick Studio and the other by UNStudio – and another in Toronto by Snøhetta.





Mark #57 Aug/Sept 2015


When it comes to Expo 2015, Milan seems to be unaffected by the economic crisis.

Giovanna Dunmall describes the event as ‘an extravagant temple to consumption, waste and the corporate dollar’. However, at the same time, Expo 2015 was the perfect opportunity for other cultural institutions to open their doors, three of which are highlighted in Mark #57.

Monica Zerboni delves into OMA’s Prada Foundation, a new museum fit for Italy’s fashion capital, injecting a dash of gleaming culture into a rundown industrial area. In the trendy design quarter southwest of the city centre, the controversial Mudec is no longer tied to its original architect, David Chipperfield, who requested his name be removed from the museum’s publicity. Finally, in the Isola district, Baukuh – one of Italy’s youngest and dynamic studios – designed Casa della Memoria, a building that aims to preserve Italy’s past.

At our next stop, Barcelona, we visit Josep Ferrando’s recent project, a ‘house within a house’. Then we head up to Scandinavia for two cultural venues both designed by Danish architecture firm Schmidt Hammer Lassen: Dokk1, a public library in Denmark and Malmö Live, a concert hall in Sweden.

We then move to Los Angeles – where Eric Owen Moss’ Pterodactyl building has finally landed – and we talk about Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s Broad Museum which animates LA’s cultural axis. A conversation with LA-based psychotherapist, Rachel Melvald, reveals how she helps architects and their clients. In New York, Michael Webb speaks to Raj Patel, who leads the acoustic consulting team of Arup in the Americas.

Mass Design Group addresses the spread of cholera with an infrastructural hospital in Port-au-Prince. As Atelier ST Architecture celebrates their tenth anniversary, Florian Heilmeyer converses with the young and successful couple behind the firm. Stefano Boeri, designer of the Vertical Forest in Milan, discusses books which influenced him and on how literature has made an impact on his life as an architect.




Mark #58 Oct/Nov 2015


Mark #58 jumps to Japan where we take a look at how Jun Igarashi makes the most of small spaces.

He has recently completed three houses, which showcase a raw minimalistic design, on the island of Hokkaido. Although Igarashi himself states that he has "no style", there seems to be a similar architectural approach in his houses.

We then venture into Paris to explore the longest building in the city. The former abandoned warehouse, Entrepôt Macdonald, has been renovated by fifteen architecture firms collaborating together. The project now houses a variety of spaces, bringing back life to a neglected area. Responsible for the master plan, architect Floris Alkemade talks to Mark and gives us the insight with an interview.

Back in the Netherlands, 'pimp my boat' looks at a unique hotel experience. Located on the roof of a floating hotel, five large sculpture letters, which can be seen as far away as Amsterdam central station, spell out Botel. Each bold and bright letter accommodates a hotel room, designed by five different architects, each space has its own unique style.

In an era where technology is taking a leading role, in Toronto, Benjamin Dillenburger and Michael Hansmeyer are at the forefront. They are making 3d-printed sculptures with hyper-elaborate surfaces. They carefully assemble the pieces together and display them at exhibitions. The intricate detailing creates a spectacle filled with ornamentation.



Mark #59 Dec 2015/Jan 2016



Mark #59 explores the exciting architectural ancestry of eastern Germany, once home of the nation's famous reformer, Martin Luther.

With the 500thanniversary of him posting his 95 theses onto the door of the All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg coming up in 2017, three towns in Saxony-Anhalt have constructed new museums or visitor centres.

Following the trip into the past, we look into the future with a collection of most recently completed projects by Chinese office Mad Architects, devoted advocates of merging architecture and landscape. Starting with Harbin Grand Theatre – whose architectural form extends the environment to become part of the landscape – and continuing to Beihai's Fake Hills – an 800-m-long ocean front development whose geometry combines two common yet opposing typologies of high-rise and groundscraper – and concluding in the city of Huangshan whose ‘mountain village’ consists of ten apartment blocks composed across the southern slope of Taiping Lake.

Next, we turn down the scale with two single family residences, a mountain cabin and a veterinary practice by Austrian firm Marte Marte architects. These small structures reveal the Marte brothers' true inspiration: the castles and lofty towers that fascinated them as children.

To top it off, filmmakers Ila Bêka and Louise Lemoine show a building's impact on society's ways of life. Makers of Koolhaas Houselife – a cult hit in architectural circles – the duo's signature is to reveal the human side of architecture. A new set of film projects question the way we interact with buildings, live amidst their flaws and enjoy their peculiarities.






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