Last May, the European Union’s Court of Justice ruled that Google and other search engines must give Europeans the options to remove information about them from the search result. After one year, a total of 250000 requests have been sent to Google (more than half came from the UK and Germany) asking “to be forgotten”, 3 quarter of which has been rejected by the company. The Court of Justice stated that information, which are “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant”, can be requested to be removed, however the search engines will have the final decision. Some of the examples of requests can be seen here . Among the websites that have the most requests for removal of information, Facebook tops the chart with almost 7000 requests.
Figure 1: Most people want their information taken off Facebook
2. Everything Awards:
I have been inundated for the past few weeks with multiple awards & shortlists announcement. For my own convenience and those who are interested, I’ve compile this list with attached links to recent announcements of design awards:
- 2015 Victorian Architecture Awards
- 2015 NSW Architecture Awards
- 2015 Brisbane Regional Architecture Awards
- 2015 Australian House Awards
- UK Turner Prize Shortlist
This year Turner Prize has gotten a wide coverage online due to a number of reasons. For a while the prize was considered to be “too obscure, too esoteric, too ungraspable.” This year shortlist shows a shift in the selection agenda to a more social and political conscience art, which received praises from the public. In addition, emerging individuals & groups such as Assemble and Kerbel were shortlisted has broken away from the stigma of the prize favoring established & well-known artists. Assemble; last year Emerging Architecture Practice of the Year, in particular, has caused a ripple across the design community, being the first spatial designers in 3 decades. Sam Jacob, founding director of FAT & Sam Jacob Studio, penned his support for this year’s selection, calling it “an audacity that the architecture profession is conspicuously lacking”.
The Turner Prize is a contemporary art award set up in 1984 to celebrate new developments in contemporary art and is awarded annually to a “British artist under 40 for an outstanding exhibition or other presentation of their work in the 12 months preceding.” Winners will be announced on 7 December 2015.
3. To be or not to be (spectacular), that is the question
Figure 2 (top): Frank Gehry’s Louis Vuitton museum in Paris; Figure 3 (bottom): Frank Gehry’s Pamana Biomuseo
Coincidentally within the same week, I’ve came across 2 articles that could not have been more opposite in their opinion regarding spectacle in architecture, the supporting from Aaron Betsky & the against from Peter Buchanan. For a better understanding of the context, one should look at the background of the 2 authors. Aaron is an alumnus at Yale who worked for Frank O. Gehry, taught at SCI-Arc, served as the director of the 11th Venice International Architecture Biennale & is currently the dean at the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture at Taliesin & Taliesin West. His article is mainly a rebutal to Kriston Capps’s attack on museum design, stating that it’s not bad for them to “attract crowds and please them” via “spectacular design” (although he did not discuss other aspects of spectacles, namely cost, unnecessary engineering, context… which usually fail to perform)
Peter Buchanan is an architect & urban designer in Africa, Europe & Middle East but perhaps is best known for his series of essays for “The Big Rethink” published by The Architectural Review criticising the role of the profession in today’s world of global economic & environmental challenge. His writing heavily denounced the works of Frank Gehry, Rem Koolhaas and Zaha Hadid, stating that they are utterly irrelevant to the problems of today. He also exposes Parametricism, High-tech architecture and biomimicry design, labelling them as mere excuses for the desire for iconic spectacles. Rethinking architecture is desperately overdue.
Figure 4:The first Starbucks coffee shop in Seatle
As part of a series of short essays by The Guardian exploring the rise (and fall) of cities through architecture, Colin Marshall brought us back to where it all started for Starbucks. On 30 March 1971, the first store of this now giant coffee icon was opened in Seattle Pike Place market by founders Jerry Baldwin, Zev Siegl and Gordon Bowker. Their initial idea for Starbucks is not a place to drink, but to buy freshly roasted beans. Howard Schultz, general manager of Starbucks’ filter supplier,became CEO of the company in 1988 and slowly transformed the company into what sociologist Ray Oldenburg termed “third place”, hosting informal gatherings of people outside home and work. After 4 decades since its birth, Starbucks is little like what it was initially, woving densely into the fabric of American cities and the people’s way of living.
Figure 5 (left): Le Corbusier’s Dom-ino model; Figure 6 (right): Greek Polykatoikia
The research, done by the teams at the Berlage Institute in Rotterdam, explored and compared the precursor of infill architecture, Le Corbusier’s Dom-ino system, & Greek Polykatoikia tenement.
Project of the Week
Cineroleum – Assemble
The come-about of this rising design firm is as curious as the nature of their works. In 2010, 16 recent graduates, still in their 20s, found a common ground for their vastly different backgrounds (i.e. architecture, philosophy, literature, art) and established Assemble. Their works “seek to address the typical disconnection between the public and the process by which places are made.” Cineroleum is where it all stated for them, a project which encapsulates their innovative use of materials, their craftsmanship, and their ability to make things happen in unlikely circumstances. The project was born out of the group desire to build something, Utilizing an abandoned petrol station to construct a temporary cinema, Assemble not only gave new lives to cheap recycled materials (foil-like water proof sheet for “curtain wall”, formica for tables tops & stools, plastic tiles being vacuum-formed to construct the ceiling) but also uncovered the social experience of watching the big screen in public space. The structure offers a cinematography experience for visitors, which in turn become a spectacle itself on the street.