Touring The World Of Architecture: Week 9
By Christopher William Reeves
Ah hello again dear arcspace readers! We hope you’ve had a great week and as ever we have a few stories to take you into the weekend. You’ll find an intriguing Casablanca master plan, the ongoing ‘architects duty’ debate, a ribbon tower with a twist and a hit of Scandinavian insights. Enjoy!
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Casablanca Master Plan Set To Impress!
Paris based Architects Maison Edouard Francois have designed “The Gardens of Anfa” master plan for Casablanca, Morocco. As a country that is rarely featured in architectural news we thought this is worthy of a shout out, especially as the designs, due for completion in 2017 look spectacular. To include three residential towers, an office tower and a series of smaller residential blocks and central plaza, the design will incorporate ‘organically shaped’ and vegetated facades of bougainvilleas and jasmine, camouflaging and softening the exterior in line with contextual considerations. This is aimed at demarcating the boundaries of a garden and we hope that the real thing will look just as inviting as these renders!
Check out Maison Edouard Francois history of lush and colourful designs here…Tres bon!
Migrant Worker Deaths spark “Architects Duty” Debate
This week Zaha Hadid distanced herself and the architectural profession from the construction deaths witnessed in Qatar over the past two years. The British newspaper The Guardian reported that more than 500 Indian and 382 Nepalese nationals have died on construction sights since Qatar won the right to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Hadid’s Al Wakrah Stadium is one of five new structures currently being built. When questioned on the subject Hadid commented “It’s not my duty as an architect to look at it, I cannot do anything about it because I have no power to do anything about it. I think it’s a problem anywhere in the world. But, as I said, I think there are discrepancies all over the world.” She continued, “”I have nothing to do with the workers, I think that’s an issue the government – if there’s a problem – should pick up. Hopefully, these things will be resolved.”
Hadid’s comments, given at the opening of the Olympic Aquatics Centre in London have sparked a wave of debate across message boards. There are clearly many who believe Hadid’s statements are justified with architects having little to no control or ‘power’ over the policy and safety regulations of external construction contractors. There are also many who believe Hadid’s comments are rather brash, even ignorant to the wider discussion of migrant worker exploitation and human rights violations.
Taking this story from a purely professional perspective it is surprising to hear Hadid brush this issue aside with such candidness when her firm and the ZHA brand is now inextricably linked with terrible migrant worker deaths.
More importantly however, from a human and moral perspective it is saddening to hear Hadid, an avid defender of women’s rights in Iraq and around the world, speak with such bluntness and disregarded for the situation at hand. The attitude of “Hopefully things will be resolved” is not good enough when you’re the starchitect of a design and build process that is claiming the lives of numerous workers.
The question remains, What exactly is an architects duty? And to what extent does this duty reach in multifaceted design and build processes?
This Weeks Win
IND & Powerhouse Company Ribbon Tower
Dutch IND and Powerhouse Company have won the competition to design a broadcast and observation tower in Canakkale, Turkey. Last week we featured an antenna in Santiago, Chile, but we at arcspace much prefer this one with is continuous sweeping ribbon design! The structure will be raised from the ground to provide great views out over the city and a canopy walkway experience amongst the surrounding forest. The tower design will reach 100m high, with a visitor centre and exhibition centre below.
Arcspace is a Scandinavian based webzine so this week we will do our duty to spread the Viking perspective of architecture by sharing this video from our friends at the wonderful Louisiana Museum. Here Henning Larson Architects talk about building globally with a Scandinavian outlook. Its 20 minutes long but see it through; there are some good insights to be had!