The romance of architecture is in its creative potential—a marriage of art and pragmatism. Of course, many architects suffer disillusion, especially in the early years of their career, where all they may be doing is door schedules into the small hours of the night. But for architects mastering their own projects—or bringing ideas into a collaborative process—where does the spark of creativity come from? How is it harnessed into the development of great design? In this special section, RECORD explores the science and psychology of creativity, as well as the approaches architects use to keep that spark alive.
Chicago is used to throwing big architecture parties—the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893 and the Century of Progress in 1933. It’s high time for another. The Chicago Architecture Biennial, which opens this month, will celebrate visions of the future by showcasing more than 90 young international firms. On the following pages, Architectural Record explores the built environment and the cultural and social context for this major convocation, including a commentary on the city’s contribution to the skyscraper, an analysis of public housing today, and a look at the new parks and public spaces animating urban life.
Photo © Iwan Baan
Architects’ offices in Copenhagen, Milan, and Delft demonstrate a sensitivity to the historic setting in which each is located.
Photo © Evan Chavez
Architecture & Money
Not so long ago, architects were struggling to keep their heads above water during the recession. Now huge investments in key sectors have led to a boom in design and construction. Is all this new money good for architects—and for architecture?
Image: MIR, courtesy Perkins+Will
A microcosm of the world’s most architecturally significant K-12 schools, RECORD’s annual review looks at recent projects that exemplify good design as a crucial component in a school’s programmatic development. From an inner-city grade school in New York and a bucolic one on Washington’s Bainbridge Island, to a progressive high school for 1,200 students in Beijing, each demonstrates the value that thoughtful and sustainable architecture can have for the well-being of a community and the education of its children.
Pictured: Lomas del Peyé School; Photo © Sergio Gómez
As the appetite for urban living in the U.S. increases, cities are facing a need for housing not seen in decades. In this special report, we look at three metropolitan areas working to accommodate growing populations. In Boston, as people follow the tech sector and other enterprises into the urban core, the city is reinventing its historic neighborhoods and creating new ones. Portland, Oregon, is racing to keep up with an influx of newcomers seeking the much-hyped quirkiness that the city has embraced as a brand. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans has emerged as a hub for new industries—from technology to film—attracting a population enchanted by its unique history and culture. Despite high demand pushing up housing costs, all three cities are struggling to maintain economically diverse communities—an essential ingredient of a thriving urban center.
Pictured: The Steel Bridge across the Willamette River in Portland, Oregon; Photo © Jeremy Bittermann
Art and Architecture
In this special section, we look at many and various points where art and architecture overlap—but not without some friction. What follows is a short history of artists as architecture’s antagonists, a survey of new architectural projects in the service of art, and a look at the practices of contemporary artists and designers who borrow the tools and concepts of each others’ disciplines.
Pictured: Katrín Sigurdardóttir,Unbuilt 5—Magnús Th. S Blöndal Residence, Sólvellir 18, 1925— Architect: Einar Erlendsson, 2012; Photo courtesy of the Artist and Meessen De Clercq, Bruxelles
Spotlight on Brazil
South America's largest country has long been home to a rich Modernist heritage. But under its 20-year military dictatorship and a later economic boom, that legacy was often obscured in the public realm. Now, as Brazil faces a slowing economy and pockets of civic discontent, it is stepping onto the global stage with next month's World Cup and the Summer Olympics in 2016. RECORD looks at the contemporary scene for design, planning, and infrastructure—and the opportunities and challenges for both local and international architects.
Pictured: Populous's Arena das Dunas, Natal; © Sergio Moraes/Reuters
Big projects by Fuksas, OMA, Ole Scheeren, SOM, and more.
Photo © Leonardo Finotti