Touring The World Of Architecture: Week 2

by | 10. Jan 2014

Article | News

By Jakob Harry Hybel

First up in this year’s first news round-up, a decision has been reached in the controversy regarding the future of the American Folk Art Museum in New York. Next, some good news for Zaha Hadid, a competition in Vancouver with an intriguing shortlist, Renzo Piano to design a campus in France and finally, a lesson from Bjarke Ingels in running an effective business.

As always, please get in touch and tip us on any news you feel is worthy of a mention or let us know about future events at: 


Top Story

touring-week-1-folk-art-museum-ds-r.jpg The transparent facade of the new MoMA expansion by Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Rendering courtesy of MoMA

American Folk Art Museum Set To Be Demolished

In a statement released this week, Glenn Lowry, director of the MoMA, confirmed that the American Folk Art Museum, designed by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien Architects in 2001, will in fact be demolished in order to make way for a re-design and expansion conceived by New York-based studio Diller Scofidio + Renfro – in spite of countless protest from the architectural community.

Most critics deplore not so much the decision to expand, but the shortsighted and commercial reasons that prompted it. Michael Kimmerman of the New York TImes tweeted discontentedly:

If MoMA had treated Folk as architecturally worthy, like objects in its collection, the question of demolition couldn’t have arisen.

No one questions MoMA’s pressing need for more space, but in exchanging the characteristic hammered bronze plates of the Folk Art Museum facade with glass panes, downtown Manhattan takes another step towards total homogeneity. A big shame indeed.

touring-week-1-folk-art-museum-tod-williams.jpgThe tactile facade of the Folk Art Museum. Image by


Another Story

touring-week-1-afragola-station-by-zaha-hadid-in-naples.jpg Afragola Station. Rendering © Zaha Hadid Architects

Afragola Station Project Back On Track

2013 was a tough year for Zaha Hadid. First, the news broke that she was being plagiarized in China, then she was accused of using sexual innuendo in her design of a soccer stadium in Qatar. But the start of the new year suggests that things might be looking up.

Earlier this week, it was announced that construction of the Afragola Station in Napoli, which was unveiled in 2003 but halted in February 2012, is set to resume later this year.


This Week’s Competition

touring-week-1-vancouver-art-gallery.jpg Competition site. Image courtesy of Vancouver Art Gallery

High Stakes in Vancouver Redevelopment Project

It appears that Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects (as previously mentioned, the architects behind the Folk Art Museum) will soon get a shot at redemption, as they are set to compete against the architects in charge of the MoMA redesign, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, for the design of the Vancouver Art Gallery.

It will not be quite the dramatic stand-off, though, as there are a number of other big-shots in the running and the impressive shortlist counts Herzog & de Meuron, KPMB Architects and SANAA. The final decision is not expected to be reached until spring 2014.

Read more about the Vancouver Art Gallery’s redevelopment here .


This Week’s Win

touring-week-1-renzo-piano-ENS-cachan-paris-saclay-campus-project.jpgENS Cachan Paris-Saclay Campus. Rendering courtesy RPBW

Renzo Piano to Build Campus Complex in France

The École normale supérieure (ENS) in Cachan, France has selected Renzo Piano Building Workshop, among six shortlisted firms, to develop a 64,000 m2 building complex as a key part of its Paris-Saclay Campus project.

The volumes are positioned along the perimeter of the premises, facing each other arranged with a rectangular organization, surrounding a large garden at the center of the complex.

The new ENS Cachan Paris-Saclay Campus is set for completion in 2018. 

touring-week-1-renzo-piano-ENS-cachan-paris-saclay-campus-project-aerial.jpgENS Cachan Paris-Saclay Campus. Aerial view. Rendering courtesy RPBW


This Week’s Videos

You may feel, you have reached a level of oversaturation, when it comes to the omnipresent, Bjarke Ingels of BIG. However, in this recent interview the charismatic and silver-tongued Dane offers surprisingly frank insight into the business aspects of running such an exponentially successful studio.

Definitely worth a watch.

In Denmark, everything you do is about maximizing the potential for a lively environment around the building […]. In the US, the concern is not to make the public space overly accomodating [so it will] attract homeless people.

Architects often worry about their office legacy so late in life that it’s too late to do anything about it.