mercoledì 7 marzo 2018

Pritzker Prize 2018 to Balkrishna Doshi

His work in architecture to affect humanity is deeply personal, responsive, and meaningful.

Chicago, IL (March 7, 2018)—Professor Balkrishna Doshi, of India, has been selected as the 2018 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate, announced Tom Pritzker, Chairman of Hyatt Foundation, which sponsors the award that is known internationally as architecture’s highest honor.

Architect, urban planner, and educator for the past 70 years, Doshi has been instrumental in shaping the discourse of architecture throughout India and internationally. Influenced by masters of 20th-century architecture, Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, known as Le Corbusier, and Louis Khan, Doshi has been able to interpret architecture and transform it into built works that respect eastern culture while enhancing the quality of living in India. His ethical and personal approach to architecture has touched lives of every socio-economic class across a broad spectrum of genres since the 1950s. 

“My works are an extension of my life, philosophy and dreams trying to create treasury of the architectural spirit. I owe this prestigious prize to my guru, Le Corbusier. His teachings led me to question identity and compelled me to discover new regionally adopted contemporary expression for a sustainable holistic habitat,” comments Doshi. He continues, “with all my humility and gratefulness I want to thank the Pritzker Jury for this deeply touching and rewarding recognition of my work. This reaffirms my belief that, ‘life celebrates when lifestyle and architecture fuse.’”

Doshi’s architecture explores the relationships between fundamental needs of human life, connectivity to self and culture, and understanding of social traditions, within the context of a place and its environment, and through a response to Modernism. Childhood recollections, from the rhythms of the weather to the ringing of temple bells, inform his designs. He describes architecture as an extension of the body, and his ability to attentively address function while regarding climate, landscape, and urbanization is demonstrated through his choice of materials, overlapping spaces, and utilization of natural and harmonizing elements.

“Professor Doshi has said that ‘Design converts shelters into homes, housing into communities, and cities into magnets of opportunities,” comments Mr. Pritzker. “The life’s work of Balkrishna Doshi truly underscores the mission of the Prize—demonstrating the art of architecture and an invaluable service to humanity. I am honored to present the 40th anniversary of this award to an architect who has contributed more than 60 years of service to us all.”

The architect designed Aranya Low Cost Housing (Indore, 1989), which presently accommodates over 80,000 individuals through a system of houses, courtyards and a labyrinth of internal pathways. Over 6,500 residences range from modest one-room units to spacious homes, accommodating low and middle-income residents. Overlapping layers and transitional areas encourage fluid and adaptable living conditions, customary in Indian society.

Doshi´s architecture is both poetic and functional. The Indian Institute of Management (Bangalore, 1977-1992), inspired by traditional maze-like Indian cities and temples, is organized as interlocking buildings, courts and galleries. It also provides a variety of spaces protected from the hot climate. The scale of masonry and vast corridors infused with a campus of greenery allow visitors to be simultaneously indoors and outdoors. As people pass through the buildings and spaces, Doshi invites them to experience their surroundings and also suggests the possibility of transformation.

Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology
The 2018 Jury Citation states, in part: “Over the years, Balkrishna Doshi has always created an architecture that is serious, never flashy or a follower of trends. With a deep sense of responsibility and a desire to contribute to his country and its people through high quality, authentic architecture, he has created projects for public administrations and utilities, educational and cultural institutions, and residences for private clients, among others.” The Jury continues, “Doshi is acutely aware of the context in which his buildings are located. His solutions take into account the social, environmental and economic dimensions, and therefore his architecture is totally engaged with sustainability.”

His studio, Sangath (Ahmedabad, 1980), translates to “moving together.” The placement of communal spaces, including a garden and outdoor amphitheater, highlights Doshi’s regard for collaboration and social responsibility. Vaulted roofs, porcelain mosaic tile coverings, grassy areas, and sunken spaces mitigate extreme heat. The mosaic tile detail is echoed in the tortoise-shell inspired roof of Amdavad Ni Gufa (Ahmedabad, 1994), an undulating, cave-like, ferro-cement art gallery, positioned underground, featuring works of Maqbool Fida Husain.

Other notable works include academic institution Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology (CEPT University) (Ahmedabad, 1966-2012); cultural spaces such as Tagore Memorial Hall (Ahmedabad, 1967), the Institute of Indology (Ahmedabad, 1962), and Premabhai Hall (Ahmedabad, 1976); housing complexes Vidhyadhar Nagar Masterplan and Urban Design (Jaipur, 1984) and Life Insurance Corporation Housing or “Bima Nagar” (Ahmedabad, 1973); and private residence Kamala House (Ahmedabad, 1963), among many others.

“Every object around us, and nature itself—lights, sky, water and storm—everything is in a symphony,” explains Doshi. “And this symphony is what architecture is all about. My work is the story of my life, continuously evolving, changing and searching…searching to take away the role of architecture, and look only at life.”

Doshi is the 45th Pritzker Prize Laureate, and the first to hail from India. The 2018 Pritzker Architecture Prize ceremony commemorates the 40th anniversary of the accolade, and will take place at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, Canada, this May. The Laureate will present a public lecture, in partnership with the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design at the University of Toronto on May 16, 2018.

martedì 20 febbraio 2018

Christo’s floating sculpture for London lake gets go ahead

The conceptual artist Christo will create a Mastaba sculpture for London’s Hyde Park, which will float on the Serpentine lake during the summer, after Westminster Council approved the scheme, granting planning permission yesterday (23 January). The piece is linked to a show of works due to open at the nearby Serpentine Galleries (20 June-9 September), encompassing sculptures, drawings and photographs from the past 50 years by Christo and his late partner Jeanne-Claude.

“In parallel with this exciting exhibition, Christo hopes to create his first large-scale temporary sculpture in the UK in the middle of the Serpentine Lake. Many years in the planning, this will be funded entirely by the artist,” a Serpentine spokeswoman says. According to the Evening Standard newspaper, the Mastaba will comprise 7,506 barrels placed on a platform of plastic cubes.

Christo’s Floating Piers on Lake Iseo in Italy—the New York-based artist’s first outdoor installation since 2005—was the world’s most-visited work of art in 2016. Christo erected 3km of fabric-covered pontoons between an island and the shore, and invited the public to walk on water. In total, 1.2m people experienced the site-specific installation over 16 days.

Last year, Christo told us that his long-awaited Abu Dhabi-based Mastaba project in the desert is still on track. The artist has been planning the 492-foot-tall structure, comprising 410,000 multi-coloured aluminium barrels, for 40 years. The permanent piece will bearranged in the trapezoidal shape associated with a type of Old Kingdom ancient Egyptian tomb.

Early last year however, he pulled the plug on his Over the River project, which would have covered 42 miles of the Arkansas River in silver fabric for 14 days. After 20 years of planning, Christo said he had no interest in finishing the project under Donald Trump’s presidency.


24th January 2018

sabato 17 febbraio 2018

Kayabuki (茅葺)

Il tetto di paglia, in giapponese kayabuki, non viene usato soltanto per le case dei contadini, ma anche per templi e palazzi. In effetti, questo materiale così rustico e povero è bellissimo. Come il manto di un animale, la pioggia lo arruffa e ne fa grumi che sgocciolano sulla linea di gronda. 

I tetti raggiungono spessori anche superiori al metro. I fasci di paglia sono fissati, compressi, sovrapposti, pareggiati, rasati. Arrotondano le pieghe del tetto, prendono naturalmente una piccola curva convessa (non concava come nei tipici tetti giapponesi). 
Cambiano colore, accolgono erbacce e parassiti, si macchiano di verde e di umidità.

Sovrapposti a case fatte di una pianta libera, di pilotis e finestre/parete, così simili all'architettura moderna, i preistorici tetti kayabuki non sfigurano. L'architetto Horiguchi Sutemi, fra i pionieri del modernismo giapponese, lo capì per primo, accostando un tetto di paglia a una casa in stile secessionista.

giovedì 15 febbraio 2018

Foto di un singolo atomo

Il fisico quantistico David Nadlinger dell'università di Oxford è riuscito a catturare un'immagine che sarebbe stata impensabile fino a qualche anno fa. Un singolo atomo sospeso in un campo magnetico, visibile a occhio nudo. E' il puntino bianco al centro della foto; per essere più onesti, si tratta della foto della luce emessa dall'atomo in uno stato di eccitazione.
La foto, intitolata “Single Atom in an Ion Trap” ha vinto il premio per la migliore immagine secondo lo UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

mercoledì 7 febbraio 2018

Restauro della pagoda del Yakushiji

La pagoda est dello Yakushiji di Nara è un edificio originale del 730. Quello iniziato nel 2012 è il secondo restauro della sua storia; la pagoda viene disassemblata e restaurata elemento per elemento, come una macchina. Il pilastro centrale, alto ben 34 metri, è ormai pietrificato, e cavo all'interno; eppure, continua la sua funzione.

giovedì 25 gennaio 2018

Città, paura e desiderio: Nagoya

Nagoya è una città che non si impara facilmente; la monotonia degli edifici e la ripetizione degli stessi elementi, tutti esatte repliche di un modello sconosciuto, come i konbini, le aree di parcheggio a pagamento, le stazioni della metropolitana, le grandi catene di centri commerciali, non aiutano. Sembra di non poterla conoscere mai bene. I monumenti storici sono chiusi in recinti o resi invisibili dagli alberi, per cui dalla strada non si intendono. Le insegne dei negozi, enormi e colorate, si tendono a dimenticare facilmente per i non yamatologi.
L'ingegneria civile, quella delle strade sopraelevate e delle torri per le telecomunicazioni, dei canali e dei cavi sospesi è ciò che dà la vera forma alla città. Quando si pensa a Nagoya in generale, sono questi gli elementi che vengono in mente.
Piano piano ci si costruisce un modo per classificare Nagoya. Si capisce che, proprio appena dietro a dove ci sono aree commerciali pulitissime e capitaliste, probabilmente si trova la rispettiva area residenziale, con le case che meno piani hanno, più sono belle. Si capisce che è il negozio più piccolo quello su cui basarsi per ricordarsi quel dato posto, perché è probabilmente quello che è lì da più tempo. Si capisce che, anche se ci si perde, prima o poi una stazione della metropolitana la si incontra.

lunedì 15 gennaio 2018

Ipse dixit: Antonin Raymond

Life in these days was profoundly interesting. Creative activity was stirring, the pseudoclassical tradition was cracking up.
Horizons widened, one's blood began to circulate. I felt a need to devote my life to finding out what is good and what is bad, what is true and what is false, what is beautiful and what is ugly.

Antonin Raymond, An autobiography

domenica 24 dicembre 2017

Buon Natale da DaSeyn

José "Pitok" Blanco, Harvest scene
DaSeyn augura a tutti i lettori e anche ai non lettori un buon Natale!
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