What started as a comment has become a short post in response to an opinion article by Adam Greenfield in the current edition of Dezeen online titled “All those complicit in Neom’s design and construction are already destroyers of worlds.”
• Adam Greenfield’s opinion article titled “All those complicit in Neom’s design and construction are already destroyers of worlds” argues that anyone who accepts money to work on any aspect of the Neom project is automatically complicit in everything that the project does.
• I disagree with this opinion. I believe that everyone is responsible for choosing which parts they work on and to what extent. If they are not comfortable with a particular aspect of the project, they can always decline to work on it or limit their involvement.
• Architecture is often seen as a symbol of power and authority, but it can also be seen as a reflection of the political and economic ideologies of the society in which it is built. In some cases, architecture may even help to shape these ideologies.
• The author paints architects who accept commissions with a broad brush when reality shows that many architects are conscious of ethical implications in their projects.
I disagree that if you accept money to work on any aspect of the Neom project, you need to know that you are complicit. I believe in and support many parts of the project, and I would gladly accept compensation for my work on those aspects. I do not think that taking money makes me automatically complicit in everything that the project does; it is my responsibility to choose which parts I work on and to what extent. If I am not comfortable with a particular aspect of the project, I can always decline to work on it or limit my involvement. Ultimately, it is up to each individual to decide whether or not they want to accept money to work on the Neom.
Architecture is often seen as a symbol of power and authority. This is especially true of traditional, classical architecture, which is often associated with authoritarian regimes such as the Roman Empire or the British monarchy. However, architecture is also drawn to capitalist and socialist governments. In capitalist societies, architecture is often seen as a way to make money and attract investment. In contrast, in socialist societies, it is seen as a way to improve the lives of citizens and promote equality.
Architecture can therefore be seen as a reflection of the political and economic ideologies of the society in which it is built. In some cases, architecture may even help to shape these ideologies. For example, the Bauhaus design school was founded in Germany in the 1920s to combine art and industry. This was when the country was undergoing a period of political and economic change, and the Bauhaus school helped shape the new German identity. Similarly, post-modern architecture emerged in the 1970s as a reaction to the modernist movement dominating architecture.
Noem’s cutting-edge Line project is about new tech and inventions to tackle global warming, setting a new benchmark for future urban cities. The developers and architects are a small part of the project team, which includes futurists, scientists, inventors, engineers, and artists. Their innovative approach means that the line project will not contribute to global warming but instead help fight it. This is a crucial step in the right direction. The Neom team is passionate about making a difference and ensuring that our planet has a bright future. We believe that through technology and innovation, we can make this happen.
The author paints the architects that accept commissions with a broad brush when the reality is much more nuanced. As such, it is essential to consider the ethical implications of their work. This includes whether or not they are contributing to the displacement of indigenous peoples or exacerbating climate change.
While it is easy to paint all architects and the commissions they earn with a broad brush, the reality is much more nuanced. Many architects are conscious of the ethical implications of their work and make an effort to minimize the negative impact of their projects.
It is essential to hold all architects accountable for the societal implications of their work. But it is also important to remember that not all architects are the same. Some are working to make a positive difference in the world. Knowing that sitting on the sidelines affects nothing Morphosis, Zaha Hadid Architects and other studios committed to the Neom project can sleep well tonight.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
After working at various design practices on a full-time and freelance basis and starting his design firm, David McFadden saw a gap to fill in the industry. In 1984, he created an expansive hub for architects and hiring firms to sync up, complete projects, and mutually benefit. That hub was Consulting For Architects Inc., which enabled architects to find meaningful design work while freeing hiring firms from tedious hiring-firing cycles. This departure from the traditional, more rigid style of employer-employee relations was just what the industry needed – flexibility and adaption to current work circumstances. David has successfully advised his clients and staff through the trials and tribulations of four recessions – the early ’80s, the early ’90s, the early 2000s, the Great Recession of 2007, and the Pandemic.
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After a competition that included some of the world’s most prominent architects, Thom Mayne of the firm Morphosis has been selected to design the first academic building for Cornell University’s high-tech graduate school campus on Roosevelt Island in New York City.
“The goal here is to develop a one-of-a-kind institution,” Mr. Mayne said in an interview at his New York office. (Morphosis also has an office in Los Angeles.) “It’s got to start from rethinking — innovating — an environment.”
The building will get extra attention as the first part of an engineering and applied-science campus charged by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg with spurring New York City’s high-tech sector. It needs to embody the latest in environmental advances and to incorporate the increasingly social nature of learning today by creating ample spaces for people to interact. And to succeed, Mr. Mayne said, it must visually connect to the rest of the city, because its setting is surrounded by water.
Mr. Mayne has grappled with academic buildings before, perhaps most notably one for the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in the East Village, completed in 2009, whose concave facade is clad in a perforated metal screen and punctuated by a vertical gash.
Mr. Mayne said the Cornell project presented an opportunity to contemplate what an academic building should look like in the information age. Should it have the bullpen environments of tech start-ups or the more cloistered layout of established universities? How should it use space to foster collaboration while also carving out areas for quiet reflection?
“There is no modern prototype for a campus,” Mr. Mayne said. “You have to have a completely different model which has to do with transparency and exposing social connectivity and breaking down the Balkanization that happens departmentally.”
There are no snazzy architectural images yet, nor can Mr. Mayne speculate about what shape the building will take or what materials he might use. “I haven’t even seen the site plan yet,” he said. The only certainty is that Mr. Mayne will not inaugurate Cornell’s new campus by designing some kind of ivory tower.
“I like being able to tell you that I don’t have any bloody idea what it’s going to look like,” he said.
Daniel P. Huttenlocher, dean of the new campus, to be called CornellNYC Tech, and a Cornell vice provost, said that as a computer scientist, he was “very sympathetic to the form-follows-function view of the world” and that he was “heartened by an architect who doesn’t want to get too caught up in the form too early in the process.”
At the same time, Cornell is in a hurry, having pledged to have classes up and running by September in leased space in Manhattan (location to be announced). The Mayne building is expected to break ground in 2014 and to be completed by the start of the 2017 academic year.
Mr. Mayne’s building is part of a campus that will be developed over two decades. The campus will comprise more than two million square feet of building space at a cost of over $2 billion and will serve more than 2,000 students. It will include three academic buildings; three residential buildings; three buildings for research and development; and a hotel and conference center.
In December Cornell, in partnership with the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, won the yearlong competition to build the campus, beating teams that included one from Stanford University and City College of New York.
The master plan is being designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, which was among the six finalists for the Cornell campus. The others were Rem Koolhaas’s Office for Metropolitan Architecture, Diller Scofidio & Renfro, Steven Holl Architects and Bohlin Cywinski Jackson.
Mr. Mayne’s 150,000-square-foot building is expected to cost about $150 million, Mr. Huttenlocher said, which will be covered by a $350 million gift through an alumnus. The city is providing $100 million in infrastructure improvements, as well as the land on Roosevelt Island, currently occupied by a little-used hospital. The new building will include classrooms, laboratories, offices and meeting space.
Morphosis was chosen partly because of its track record of completing projects on time and at a reasonable cost, Mr. Huttenlocher said. “We can’t afford for the budget to be something that balloons out of control,” he added.
The campus is designed to bring academic and private-sector research and development together to speed the translation of academic work into usable products and services.
Mr. Mayne said he would start by talking with the engineering firm Arup about how to design a building with zero-net energy consumption that will use and produce geothermal and solar power.
While the building’s design should be arresting, Mr. Huttenlocher said it also must satisfy its tech-savvy generation of users, who will adapt the space to their needs if it fails to suit them.
“If the building didn’t function well, I think it would get hacked to pieces,” Mr. Huttenlocher said. He added that Cornell liked Morphosis’s “ability to create iconic structures whose form does not obscure or impede its program.”
Mr. Mayne said he designed spaces that were meant to be personalized and “not in any way pristine.”
Morphosis tries to create spaces that allow work to happen in the most effective way possible, Mr. Mayne said. “After that,” he added, “we should stay out of the way.”
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From our friends at ArchitectureNews.com
Thom Mayne has revealed his dramatic design for the new $185 million Perot Museum of Nature and Science at Victory Park in Dallas with groundbreaking due this Autumn. Described as a “living educational tool featuring architecture inspired by nature and science,” the new facility designed by his firm, Morphosis, will provide 180,000 sq ft of display and archive space on a 4.7 acre site just north of downtown Dallas.
“Museums, armatures for collective societal experience and cultural expression, present new ways of interpreting the world,” said Mayne. “They contain knowledge, preserve information and transmit ideas; they stimulate curiousity, raise awareness and create opportunities for exchange. As instruments of education and social change, museums have the potential to shape our understanding of ourselves and the world in which we live.
“The new Perot Museum of Nature & Science in Victory Park will create a distinct identity for the Museum, enhance the institution’s prominence in Dallas and enrich the city’s evolving cultural fabric.”
At 170 ft and 14 stories high the structure presents itself as a cube structure atop a plinth. Working to a theme of ‘nature in an urban fabric’ its roof alone offers one acre of rolling native landscape featuring all the native flora and fauna of Texas and including a large urban plaza for events. Surrounding the building too landscape design, created in conjunction with Dallas-based Talley Associates, brings together science and technology with nature acting as an extension of the building design. The two are so integrated that, to mention one example, the parking lot is used to generate energy to power water features (post-rain).
80% of the building will be open to the public (an unusually high percentage) and facilities will include 10 exhibition galleries, including a children’s museum and outdoor playspace/courtyard; an expansive glass-enclosed lobby and adjacent outdoor terrace with a downtown view; state of the art exhibition gallery designated to host world-class travelling exhibitions; an education wing; large-format, multi-media digital cinema with seating for 300; flexible-space auditorium; public café; retail store; visible exhibit workshops; and offices.
A signature design feature within the museum is a 54-foot continuous-flow escalator contained in a 150-foot tube-like structure that dramatically extends outside the building. It will take visitors from the light-filled lobby atrium to the museum’s top floor. Patrons will arrive at a fully glazed balcony high above the city, with a bird’s-eye view of downtown Dallas.
“We believe the new Museum will provide an unforgettable experience for our visitors and help them better understand and appreciate the world we share,” said Nicole Small, President and CEO at the Museum of Nature & Science, “And our hope is that it will inspire young people – and those of any age – to pursue careers in math, science and technology.”
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