Recently in domus

Alessandra Scognamiglio writes about the extension of the Violino district in Brescia, designed by Boschi + Serboli Architetti Associati, in collaboration with Cigognetti-Piccardi-Vitale.This project is featured as Forms of Energy #5, and is highlighted for it’s extensive use  photovoltaic technology and other active and passive sustainable design strategies.

While the project is noteworthy for it’s environmental consciousness and it’s pleasant visual design, the article in DOMUS concludes: “On a final note, the Violino project seems a total success, showing that “low-cost and social” solutions are compatible with quality objectives and technology that saves and produces energy. However, we cannot but wonder (and ask the designers and even more so those who dictated the rules) whether so much uniformity and repetition was really so essential.” Which seems to emphasize the need for ways to realize such an environmentally conscious design that doesn’t rely so heavily on total design/total control.

Beatrice Galilee reviews Zaha Hadid Architects first completed England project, the Evelyn Grace Academy in Brixton, south London. While the school could be criticized for its aesthetic of controlled productivity and it’s “city academy” fueled by hedge-fund manager monies model, architecturally it is surprisingly vibrant (especially in it’s interior) yet as infrastructurally massive and concrete hewn as the best of Zaha’s work.

This passage by Beatrice, seems a fitting epitaph, “This is an extraordinary ordinary school, built for the local community under a previous left wing government whose behaviour towards poverty and education couldn’t stand in more contrast with the current incumbents. In a new England where a devastating assault on public services which cuts funding from inner city families and women in work over any other class, this building takes on more baggage than it probably intended. “It can’t help but be political,” admits Zaha Hadid architect Bidisha Sinha.

Eugenia Kikodze explores the “paper architecture” of  Moscow firm Iced Architects. As opposed to their day job work of constructing real buildings, Iced Architects “paper architecture” allows them to present conceptual research projects tinged with surrealism and utopia.

The key with much of their work is the fact that it is more than simply another utopian project, if anything their “paper architecture” is more along the lines of Volume’s proposed “unsolicited architecture“. Because as Kikodze notes, “There is one fundamental aspect that makes it impossible to consider the work of Iced Architects as entirely “paper architecture”: no matter how whimsical they seem, these projects are intended to be realized in concrete environments. A convincing example is to be found in “Scaffold in the Woods”. When the owner of the lakeside property at the Klyazma Reservoir saw that this construction would be able to make a tiny part of the beach profitable, it was built within only one and a half months.”

Francesca Picchi interviewed Diébédo Francis Kéré. They discussed Diébédo’s not yet completed Woman Centre in Gando and the key role  participation of the village communities plays in the actual construction of Diébédo’s projects. This participation involves knowledge transfer and builds trust between designer and the clients. It also, provides the workers with new skill sets and thus the architectural act has an impact which goes beyond the architectural.

This process thus helps to shape the architecture and redefines the architects role, as noted in such a context “Architecture is defined through the construction process.” He later expands on this notion “Before beginning, we do not know the final details; details are defined progressively as the building takes shape. As in the traditional building, construction is a process.


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