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robertogreco : zahahadid   9

The Avery Review | Air Nationalism: Norman Foster and Fernando Romero’s Mexico City Airport
"As air travel increasingly compresses our muscles and nerves—cue threats of thrombosis and incidents of passenger rage—airports expand their programs, taking up increasingly larger swaths of land. These programs, inflated by extensive security protocols and ambitious retail spaces, are usually arranged under sculptural canopies, like extra weight tucked under additional layers of clothing. Anthropologist Marc Augé famously described airports as “non-places,” generic spaces of transience that resist the rootedness of memory.1 However, the increase in border security has turned Augé’s description upside down. As the architecture that often constitutes a country’s first point of entry, airports are borders, and as such have become loaded with cultural and patriotic tropes. This nationalist anxiety hides the real politics of the expanded airport program.

A few weeks ago, the Mexican state unveiled the plans for a new airport to serve Mexico City, in the form of a digital video that was equal parts promotional rendering and documentary homage to the leader of the design team, Lord Norman Foster. The competition (which Alejandro Hernández has rightly criticized for its lack of transparency) paired famed international architects with local designers—the rationale, one has to assume, being that the Mexicans alone didn’t have sufficient experience in airport design. Foster’s Mexican complement is the young architect Fernando Romero—communication magnate Carlos Slim’s son-in-law. The need to include both a “local” representative and a big name from the world of architecture stardom has the further effect of directing attention away from the third but equally vital component of the team—the airport consultancy. In the winning team, this firm is Netherlands Airport Consultants (NACO), a Dutch firm with a long history of designing and supervising airports in Saudi Arabia. They describe their role as involved in “every aspect of airport design and development.” The delightful coincidence of their acronym “NACO”—a distinctively pejorative term for “unculturedness” in Mexican Spanish—doesn’t fully explain their almost occult presence in the project. The presence of their technical expertise runs counter to the video’s portrayal of Foster’s extensive experience with the airport typology (“the most highly qualified airport architect in the world”), and it reveals Foster’s participation as something other than that of the “outside expert.” The design team instead triangulates between global stardom, increasingly specialized technical expertise, and a questionably “local” avatar of Mexican identity. These multiple readings—purposefully sought by the Mexican state and enthusiastically illustrated in Foster’s competition submission—mark the building as yet another attempt to overcome the irreconcilable binary of local and global through a kind of architectural ambivalence."



"It is easy to criticize Norman Foster, Zaha Hadid, or any number of “starchitects” for their involvement or lack thereof in the processes and regimes with which they collaborate. But it’s more important, and more difficult, to take on these architects’ professed impotence. As program complexity increases, the figure of the consultant has pushed aside many of the roles that architects previously assumed. If we compare these architects’ secondary roles to that of Pani in Tlatelolco, we get a sense of how the discipline has been split between the form-making of the architect-artist and the programmatic management of the consultant. In this light, the program of the building is a conspicuous absence in Foster’s video. While the architectural membrane becomes loaded with a series of nationalist messages, its operational aspects are omitted. Architecture here is reduced to form on the outside and well-lit void on the inside. The architects are thus recast as form- and image-makers in search of the objective correlative of a globalized Mexican state. Or to say it more simply, they’re three-dimensional publicists.

In order for the global network of airports to function, their programs have become increasingly precise and standardized according to elaborate specifications. For the cosmopolitan traveler, increased security protocols seem to go hand in hand with expanded retail opportunities. This is where the real spatial politics of the airport program lie—in the entrails of corridors that sort us by immigration status, in the machines that scan our bodies and our belongings, in the long lines of human beings surrendering their dignity in exchange for the illusory promise of safety. It is telling that the bulk of airport retail is located between the two poles of security, the security check upon departure, and immigration control upon international arrival. Caught in this limbo, we are left free to wander through the world of duty-free shopping, international retail chains, and overpriced food—fear, assuaged by consumption. These spaces are absent from the architectural brief as described by Foster. The emphasis on nationalist tropes, from eagles to serpents, is a desperate populist appeal covering up the construction of a highly politicized space. This video invites us to join the architects in turning a blind eye to these realities."
anamaríaleón  airports  architecture  borders  border  mexicocity  mexicodf  mexico  design  retail  capitalism  neoliberalism  marcaugé  normanfoster  fernandoromero  arrival  departure  tlatelolco  zahahadid  df 
december 2014 by robertogreco
Brute Force Architecture and its Discontents - etc
"More so than cardboard or other model making materials, blue foam erases the signature of its creator allowing for an easier ‘apples to apples’ comparison. The anonymizing uniformity of the cut surfaces and alien blueness of the foam itself allowed multiple workers to prepare options in parallel without the differences of personal craft becoming an element of distraction during moments of evaluation. The cumulative effect means that a table covered in foam models all produced by different individuals can be assessed for their ideas rather than the quirks of who made them or how they were created. What’s on display are the ideas themselves, without any distracting metadata or decoration. This is the model making equivalent of Edward Tufte’s quest to eliminate chartjunk."
bryanboyer  thermalpaper  smlxl  flatness  hierarchy  computation  computing  alanturing  ideation  oma  mvrdv  rex  big  howwework  thinking  making  bruteforcearchitecture  2012  zahahadid  collaboration  chartjunk  edwardtufte  process  remkoolhaas  architecture  design  horizontality  horizontalidad 
june 2012 by robertogreco
The architecture meltdown - Salon.com
"Those who remain in the profession find design work scarce and are teaching, lecturing, entering competitions and moving into Hollywood production design. These gigs have always been part of the field, which revels in its synthesis of theory and practice, but the balance has shifted in a way that leads to architects doing less and less architecture…

It’s part of a professional ethos, he says, that stresses idealism, dues paying, hierarchy, optimism and a heroic self-image while ignoring financial realities. It’s something he’s become intimately familiar with as he tries to chronicle the damage the recession has exacted on the field. “I’m trying to talk to architects about the economy,” Horton says. “Forget it! It’s hard to get real information. They’re so conscious of P.R. – they’re worried about what’s going to get tweeted.”

The current uncertainty makes the old model – poverty in youth, payday sometime in middle age – harder to count on…"
coolhaus  sciarc  richardmeier  starchitects  frankgehry  remkoolhaas  renzopiano  zahahadid  2012  careers  architecture  barbarabestor  ericowenmoss 
february 2012 by robertogreco
festarch - contemporary architecture in cagliari, sardinia
"on the italian island of sardinia, in the southern city of cagliari, architects, artists and writers have transformed the industrial area of an ex tobacco manufacturer into a workshop of cultural research and urban architecture projects. ‘festarch’ is the first sardinian festival of architecture, with master lessons, round tables, discussions and exhibitions focused on architecture theory, planning, urban design, transportation, ecological restoration, economic development, resource use, ... the festival presented four main themes: - converting un-used industrial areas; - the blending of architecture with its surrounding environment; - the attention to urban mobility; - and the communicative power of architecture."

[See also: www.designboom.com/weblog/cat/9/view/5607/paulo-mendes-da-rochas-seaside-dormitory-in-cagliari-italy-will-not-be-built.html ]
enzomari  remkoolhaas  architecture  design  italy  sardinia  cagliari  tcsnmy  paolomendesdarocha  zahahadid  massimilianofuksas  writing 
march 2009 by robertogreco
The New, New City - Life in an Instant City - Shenzhen, China - Dubai, United Arab Emirates - NYTimes.com
"In China, they want to make everything look new. This is their moment in time. They want to make the 21st century their century. For some reason, our society wants to make everything old. I think we somehow lost our nerve.”
china  architecture  cities  planning  future  design  perspective  us  classideas  futurism  dubai  stevenholl  remkoolhaas  nicolaiouroussoff  zahahadid  urban  urbanism  capitalism 
june 2008 by robertogreco
icon | 050 | august
50 manifestoes: maeda, koolhaas, acconci, wamders, mau, sagmeister, thackara, hadid, prince-ramus, mayne, FAT, antonelli, manaugh, holl, chalayan, rogers
design  manifestos  architecture  remkoolhaas  oma  amo  princeramus  vitoacconci  thommayne  jonmaeda  thackara  zahahadid  stevenholl  johnmaeda 
august 2007 by robertogreco
StrangeHarvest.com::Revisions to the Architecture of Hell
"Religion has always been a kind of spatial practice. That's why it built most of the history of architecture." "On past form, OMA, Zaha, Foster and co. would have few qualms in masterplanning hell."
architecture  history  religion  maps  mapping  space  drawing  hell  oma  remkoolhaas  zahahadid 
may 2007 by robertogreco

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