About Buildings + Cities
Luke Jones & George Gingell Discuss Architecture, History and Culture
1 year ago

70 — Christopher Alexander — 1/2 —Notes on the Synthesis of Form

This is the first episode of a new series on Design Theorist, Architect, Mathematician and Computation Fan, Christopher Alexander. Alexander studied Mathematics at Cambridge University in the 1950s, then undertook the first ever PhD in Architecture at Harvard, where he applied newly emerging ideas of computational analysis to questions of design. The results of this combination are bizarre, often illogical, undeniably of there time, but also lay the foundations for much subsequent interaction between design and computation, including the Parametricism that we discussed in our last series on Zaha Hadid. In this first episode we mainly discuss his 1964 work Notes on the Synthesis of Form, which was based on his PhD thesis. Make sure to subscribe to catch the next episode, where we will discuss his 1977 work with Ishikawa and Silverstein, Pattern Language.

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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1 year ago

69 — Zaha Hadid — 4/4 — The Parametric Years

In this final episode on Zaha Hadid we discuss a small fraction of the huge number of projects that ZHA produced from the early noughties up to Zaha's untimely death in 2016. We attempt to reflect on Zaha's legacy as a designer, try to understand what concepts defined her design process, from Parametricism to pure sculptural form. There are so many projects from this period that we could have talked about, so we focus on discussing the most

Projects discussed: Maxxi Museum in Rome, Ordrupgaard Museum Extension in Denmark, Phaeno Science Centre in Wolfsburg, the Kartal Masterplan proposed for Istanbul, Bergisel Ski Jump and the Nordpark railway stations in Innbruck, the London Aquatic Centre built for the 2012 Olympics, the Library at the University of Economics in Vienna, Dongdaemun Design Plaza in Seoul, the SOHO projects in Beijing and the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center in Saudi Arabia.

Pictures of all these projects will be on our pinned instagram story titled 'Zaha 4'.

The site recording at the London Aquatics Centre will be published in full on our Patreon, which you can access for just $3 a month.

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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1 year ago

68 — Zaha Hadid — 3/4 — Vitra to Cardiff

The third part of our ongoing series on Zaha Hadid! In this episode we discuss the early buildings of the practice, including IBA housing in Berlin, Vitra Fire Station, Spittelau Viaduct Housing, and the unbuilt competition winning design for the Cardiff Opera House. As always, make sure you check out our pinned instagram story to see pictures of all of the projects we discuss. Thanks for listening!

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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1 year ago

Bonus Unlocked — 48.5 — OMA — Bigness

UNLOCKED PATREON BONUS

This unlocked bonus episode comes from our Patreon feed, where we post extra content and bonus discussions with every episode of the podcast. This bonus follows on from Episode 48, discussing the early projects of OMA and the theory of BIGNESS developed by Rem Koolhaas. If you want to access many hours of bonus material like this, you can subscribe to our Patreon for just $3 a month at www.patreon.com/about_buildings.

Our series on Zaha Hadid will continue next week.

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

Support the show on Patreon to receive bonus content for every show.

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1 year ago

67 — Zaha Hadid — 2/4 — The Peak

In our second episode on Zaha Hadid, we're covering the rest of the 1980s, from the competition to design the Peak Leisure Centre in Hong Kong, to the Deconstructivism exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The episode also includes an interview with Andrew King, a principal at Lemay Architects in Canada, Professor at McGill University and winner of two AIA Progressive Architecture Awards. In the late 1980s Andrew worked in Zaha's office, and the interview gives a wonderful insight into Zaha's method and the close personal relationships she forged with people who worked for her. We want to warmly thank Andrew for his time and memories of Zaha, and also thank friend of the show Kai Woolner-Pratt for putting us in touch with him. If you want to listen to the full length interview, you can find it on our Patreon.

Make sure you check out the Zaha Hadid pinned story on our instagram to see all the images for this episode.

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

Support the show on Patreon to receive bonus content for every show.

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1 year ago

66 — Zaha Hadid — 1/4 — AA Days

In our first episode on Zaha Hadid, we dive into the spell-binding work of one of the most famous, controversial and interesting architects of her generation. We begin by imagining the unique atmosphere of the Architectural Association in the 1970s, where Zaha was a student, taught by Leon Krier, Rem Koolhaas and innumerable other architectural luminaries. We examine two of her student projects, Malevich's Tektonik and A Museum for the 19th Century, both heavily influenced by an interest in Russian revolutionary avant-garde art, from Suprematism to Constructivism. We then discuss one of her earliest competition entries, the residence for the Irish Taoiseach in 1979. In the next episode we will cover her competition entry for the Peak in Hong Kong and interview Professor Andrew King, who worked at her office in the late 1980s.

The Rem Koolhaas lecture that Luke discusses in the episode can be found on the AA Lecture Archive.

Go to Instagram, and have a look at our pinned story for Zaha, which will include all the images you could desire in the correct order with captions and explanations.

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

Support the show on Patreon to receive bonus content for every show.

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1 year ago

65 — Andrei Tarkovsky — 3/3 — Nostalghia and The Sacrifice

In our final episode on Andrei Tarkovsky, we discuss the two films he directed after leaving the Soviet Union: Nostalghia (1983) and The Sacrifice (1986). Both films see a continued intensification of the directorial moves that Tarkovsky had been developing for his whole career: from heightened and ecstatic soundtracks to long and suspenseful shots; from close-ups of valuable objects in the mud to underdeveloped and over-emotional female characters. The films both draw heavily on the landscapes of Northern Italy and the island of Gotland in Sweden, which are rendered sublimely beautiful through Tarkovsky's unique blend of painterly compositions and disorientating surrealism. We hope you enjoyed this series on the films of Tarkovsky, next up we will be returning to architecture in the company of the inimitable Zaha Hadid!

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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1 year ago

64 — Andrei Tarkovsky — 2/3 — Stalker

In our second episode on Soviet director and auteur Andrei Tarkovsky we discuss his most well known film and possibly his magnum opus, Stalker (1979). The last film that Tarkovsky made whilst living in the Soviet Union, Stalker is loosely adapted from the novel Roadside Picnic by Boris and Arkady Strugatsky.

In Stalker, Tarkovsky takes decaying the post-industrial ruinous landscapes and transforms them into the mysterious 'Zone', a land full of hidden rules and invisible threats, that our trio of anguished and existentially angsty protagonists must traverse. Our characters are the Writer and the Professor, guided through the mysterious and dreamlike landscape by the eponymous Stalker. In this episode we discuss the unique artistic and technical feats that make this movie such a cult classic, and some of our quibbles with Tarkovsky's ethic.

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

Support the show on Patreon to receive bonus content for every show.

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1 year ago

63 — Andrei Tarkovsky — 1/3 — Setting the Stage

In this first part of our new series on legendary Russian director Andrei Arsenyevich Tarkovsky we discuss his early films: Ivan's Childhood (1962), Andrei Rublev (1966), Solaris (1972) and Mirror (1975). We will also be releasing a Patreon bonus very shortly with discussions of the work Tarkovsky did whilst studying at film school, including The Violin and the Steamroller (1961).

Tarkovsky's work is greatly favoured among architects, despite not being explicitly architectural. His strange dream-like visions conjure up a unique spatial experience, with strange and often confusing materiality that hovers somewhere between a childhood memory and a disturbing nightmare. In this episode we discuss his interest in the paintings of Bruegel, the importance of faith to his work, his overpowering Oedipal complex, his run-ins with the Soviet authorities, and the artificial naturalism of his sets.

Make sure you subscribe to catch our next Tarkovsky episode, where we will be discussing Stalker (1979).

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

Support the show on Patreon to receive bonus content for every show.

Please rate and review the show on your podcast store to help other people find us!

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1 year ago

62 — Leon Battista Alberti — 2/2 — Building the Quattrocento

62 — Leon Battista Alberti — 2/2 — Building the Quattrocento

Having discussed his magnum opus, 'De Re Aedificatoria' in the last episode, here we discuss the curious collection of buildings that Alberti designed across Italy over the course of his lifetime. From the hulking and austere white stone of the Tempio Malatestiano in Rimini to the carefully proportioned fine marble inlay of the Santa Maria Novella in Florence, these buildings have a unique feeling, that reflects the idiosyncratic interests of Alberti in conjuring the authentic mood of Classical Architecture, within the confines of his rigid understanding of proportion and geometry. These moments of strangeness are heightened by the incomplete nature of much of the work, and his own distance from the construction process, most of which he directed by letter. Make sure you check out the pinned story on our instagram for this episode, where you will find lots of high quality images of the buildings we're discussing.

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

Support the show on Patreon to receive bonus content for every show.

Please rate and review the show on your podcast store to help other people find us!

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We’re on the web at aboutbuildingsandcities.org

This podcast is powered by Pinecast.

Read more…